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India coronavirus dispatch: What testing protocols is the nation following?

Restarting international flights, the crippled small-scale businesses, and what doctors know so far about the lingering symptoms of Covid-19-a roundup of news on how India is dealing with the pandemic


Sarah Farooqui  |  New Delhi 

Health workers wear protective gear on their way to take health details of the residents of a 'containment zones' at the Kajupada area in Mumbai
Health workers wear protective gear on their way to take health details of the residents of a 'containment zones' at the Kajupada area in Mumbai


Reopening public services is as important as reopening the economy: On May 13, the government announced a Rs 20 trillion ($266 billion) stimulus package to revive the economy and its various sectors. Read this interview with Jean Dreze, development economist and social activist, where he explains the need for immediate relief for vulnerable households. He also explains why putting money in the hands of poor people facilitates the revival of the economy by fortifying consumer demand, and helps to tilt the composition of the gross domestic product (GDP) towards goods and services that are consumed by the working class.

Managing Covid-19

What are the tests and testing procedures being carried out in India, some key states?

The Health Ministry has introduced a range of other tests from time to time as the country ramps up its testing to nearly 215,000 per day. Besides an expansion in testing strategy, including all “symptomatic individuals in every part of the country”, facilities and types of kits have also been gradually increased. With India’s strategy to combat Covid-19 being ‘test, track, and treat’, other types of tests like antibody, TrueNat and CBNAAT (tuberculosis tests) and antigen were introduced as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) faced a backlash for lack of testing. Read more here.

How India is moving a step closer to restart international flights with operations allowed on select routes: Despite the indications from the government pertaining to a potential resumption of commercial International passenger flights next month, the fact remains that a number of obstacles need to be overcome before the operations can actually be resumed. International scheduled flight may be allowed on selected routes on a case-to-case basis. Read more here.

First Covid, now hunger, Bhagalpur migrants start packing — again: But now that they are here, that dream is falling apart, infected by reality. Bihar’s villages have no work, no sustenance. It was why they left. And it is why, despite the yearning to be home at a time of crisis, they will have to leave again. With 63,962 returning migrants, a rising Covid curve, and a town full of

aspirations, Bhagalpur is a microcosm of Bihar — where the system is tottering under the weight of numbers and the scale of unemployment. Read more here.

Why Delhi’s falling Covid positivity rate may not be good news just yet: Delhi recorded 3,460 fresh cases Friday and conducted 21,144 tests in the same 24-hour period. This suggests a positivity rate of 16.4 per cent, which means 16.4 of every 100 people tested are being diagnosed with Covid- 19. This positivity rate is the lowest recorded by Delhi in a week and follows the capital’s worrying brush with figures over 30 per cent earlier this month. The new positivity rate appears to be a milestone in Delhi’s struggle against Covid-19 amid ramped-up testing, but it does not explain the whole story. Read more here.

A city missing its migrants: In Mumbai, the loss of labourers affects small businesses too: An estimated 1.1 million migrants have left Maharashtra since the lockdown began. They include daily wage labourers, domestic workers, auto and taxi drivers and a range of other low-income workers. Now, mega cities like Mumbai are grappling with the absence of essential workers whose services had always been taken for granted. And the privileged classes are not the only ones feeling the pinch: the migrant exodus has also crippled small-scale business owners like Prajapati. Read more here.


Half-truths and twisted data won’t help control Covid-19: The US Centres for Disease Control defines epidemiology as “the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.” As such, epidemiology is the basic science of public health, and it’s important we grasp the salience of this definition to appreciate what follows. Read more here.

What pandemic reveals about the pay gap between frontline workers: The Covid-19 crisis has thrown these gender-based differences into even sharper relief. Regional frameworks, multilateral organizations, and international financial institutions must recognize that women will play a critical role in resolving the crisis, and that measures to address the pandemic and its economic fallout should include a gender perspective. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Novel infection might trigger type-1 diabetes: Diabetes poses one of the key risk factors for developing severe Covid-19, and chances of dying are elevated in people with diabetes. Now, there is growing evidence that novel might actually be triggering diabetes in some people who have so far remained free of it. These patients typically develop type-1 diabetes. The virus seems to be causing diabetes spontaneously in people. Read more here.

What doctors know so far about the lingering symptoms of Covid-19: There are now many people who have recovered from Covid-19. At the same, there have been reports of people who continue to have long-term side effects from the infection. Here is a summary of what is known today about recovering from Covid-19 – and where there are important gaps in our

knowledge. Read more here.

Covid-19 patients may suffer long-term lung damage even after recovery: We know a lot about the symptoms of severe Covid-19, but relatively little about what happens after someone recovers. Could there be long-term effects? Let’s look at what we know so far about the effect of Covid-19 on the body – particularly the lungs – and the potential for lasting damage. Read more here.

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First Published: Sun, June 28 2020. 19:17 IST