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Maha to stop stamping of air, train passengers; Metro to resume

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan flagged off a trial run of Mumbai Metro at Versova Metro Station, Andheri in Mu

Mumbai, Oct 14 (IANS) The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced that metro railways in Mumbai and Nagpur will resume operations from October 15 while stamping of air and train passengers arriving in the state will be discontinued.

As per the latest Unlock Rules, all domestic passengers landing at Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Aurangabad airports shall undergo the mandatory Covid-19 checks, but they will no longer be stamped on the hand with indelible ink.

Railway passengers shall not be subjected to Covid checkups or stamping on the hands though they will be required to maintain all Covid protocols.

Metro rails, currently serving in Mumbai and Nagpur, shall be permitted operations in a graded manner, proving a relief to commuters.

Welcoming the announcement, a spokesperson for Mumbai Metro One said that it has initiated safety inspection and trial runs, and will resume normal passenger operations from Monday, October 19.

The raging controversy notwithstanding, there is no mention of reopening any place of worship for the present, though public libraries have been cleared for opening again.

The government has also allowed B2B exhibitions only outside the containment zones and all types of local weekly markets across the state.

In order to reduce congestion, all shops and markets will be permitted two hours extra and can operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Thursday.

While all educational institutions will remain closed, doctorate or research scholars and post-graduates in science/technology streams requiring laboratory/experiments shall be allowed.

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Covid-19

London to face tougher Covid-19 curbs

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( London, Sept. 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- People sit on the lawn at Potters Fields Park in front of Tower Bridge in London, Britain, on Sept. 14,
( London, Sept. 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- People sit on the lawn at Potters Fields Park in front of Tower Bridge in London, Britain, on Sept. 14,

London, Oct 15 (IANS) Millions of London residents will face tougher ‘Tier 2’ Covid-19 measures from Saturday, with a ban on households mixing indoors, as part of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new ‘3-Tier’ coronavirus alert system enforced to curb the spread of the disease.

The alert system comprises three levels: “Medium”, “High” and “Very High”.

Speaking at London’s City Hall, Mayor Sadiq Khan said there was “simply no other option”, the BBC reported.

“Nobody wants to see more restrictions but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners,” Khan said, adding: “We’ve got a difficult winter ahead.”

Besides London, Essex is also expected to move to high alert restrictions this weekend.

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester and Lancashire could join Liverpool City Region and be placed under Tier 3 – “very high”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to update MPs on the latest measures in a House of Commons statement later in the day.

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Karnataka’s mobile fever clinic wins national award

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Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) managing director Shivayogi Kalasad with the national awards in Bengaluru on Wednesday
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) managing director Shivayogi Kalasad with the national awards in Bengaluru on Wednesday

Bengaluru, Oct 15 (IANS) The mobile fever clinic and the ‘sthree toilet’ of the state-run KSRTC have won the national award under the ‘CSR for social development’ category amid the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Wednesday.

“As our staff is committed to be corona warriors in the pandemic situation, I dedicate the national public undertakings award to it, especially to those who lost their life to the infection,” Shivayogi Kalasad, Managing Director, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), said on the occasion.

Kalasad received the award in a virtual ceremony held in Mumbai earlier in the day.

“The award is the result of our diligent work although the corporation is going through a difficult situation due to Covid-induced restrictions on movement of people to maintain social distancing and contain the virus spread,” said Kalasad in a statement here.

Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa had flagged off the mobile fever clinic on May 11 in this tech hub to combat the state’s efforts in its fight against Covid-19.

The makeshift clinic was set up in an old bus remodelled to collect and test swab samples for Covid or other diseases.

“The award will encourage our employees to work more towards social commitment,” Kalasad noted.

The ‘sthree toilets’, rolled out in the city on August 27, were built by converting the transporter’s old buses which had been withdrawn from service.

Operated on solar power, the toilet-bus has been stationed at the central bus stand in the city centre (Majestic area). They have Indian and western toilets, sensor lights and diaper changing areas for babies.

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Israel’s Covid-19 cases reach 298,500

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( Gaza, Sept. 3, 2020 (Xinhua) -- A member of Palestinian Civil Defense disinfects a street in Gaza City, on Sept. 3, 2020. Palestine on Thursday announces
( Gaza, Sept. 3, 2020 (Xinhua) -- A member of Palestinian Civil Defense disinfects a street in Gaza City, on Sept. 3, 2020. Palestine on Thursday announces

Jerusalem, Oct 15 (IANS) Israel’s Health Ministry on Wednesday reported that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country rose to 298,500, after the addition of 1,848 new cases.

The death toll rose to 2,098, with 43 new fatalities, while the number of patients in serious condition decreased from 807 to 755, out of 1,368 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The total number of recoveries reached 251,711, with 5,900 new ones, while active cases dropped to 44,688, the lowest figure since September 18, when a sweeping lockdown was imposed to curb the virus outbreak.

In a video statement issued earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will convene his coronavirus cabinet on Thursday to discuss possible exit plans to the lockdown.

He said that separate exit plans will be outlined for “red” and “green” cities, referring to cities with high and low morbidity rates.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry announced the three-week lockdown will be extended until October 18.

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Global TB progress mired by scarce funding, Covid-19: WHO

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at the 73rd World Health Assembly at the WHO hea
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at the 73rd World Health Assembly at the WHO hea

Geneva, Oct 15 (IANS) Despite a steady progress in tackling tuberculosis (TB) across the world, global targets for its prevention and treatment will likely be missed due to insufficient funding and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a latest World Health Organization (WHO) report.

The WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2020 released on Wednesday said that between 2015 and 2019, there was a 9 per cent reduction in TB incidence and a 14 per cent drop in deaths, together with high-level political commitments at global and national levels delivering results, reports Xinhua news agency reported.

However, about 14 million people were treated for TB in the period 2018-2019, just over one-third of the way towards the five-year target of 40 million for 2018-2022.

The WHO’s End TB Strategy, which has been adopted by all its members, aims for a 90 per cent reduction in TB deaths and an 80 per cent reduction in the TB incidence rate by 2030, compared to the 2015 baseline.

Milestones for 2020 included a 20 per cent reduction in the TB incidence rate and a 35 per cent reduction in TB deaths.

Funding is a major issue, according to the report.

In 2020, funding for TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care reached $6.5 billion, representing only half of the 13 billion target agreed by world leaders in the UN political declaration on TB.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to further setbacks on access to TB service, as in many countries, human, financial and other resources have been reallocated from TB to the coronavirus response.

Data collated from over 200 countries has shown significant reductions in TB case notifications, with 25 to 30 per cent drops reported in three high burden countries, namely India, Indonesia, the Philippines, between January and June 2020, compared to the same six-month period in 2019, the report said.

These reductions in case notifications could lead to a dramatic increase in additional TB deaths, according to WHO modelling.

According to WHO statistics, about 85 per cent of TB funding in 2020 came from domestic sources, with Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa providing 57 per cent of the global total.

The WHO has called for urgent action and investments to meet the global TB targets.

“Equitable access to quality and timely diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care remains a challenge. Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets by 2022,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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Global Covid-19 cases top 38.4mn: Johns Hopkins

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New York, Sept. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) -- People walk through Times Square during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, the United States, Sept. 13,
New York, Sept. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) -- People walk through Times Square during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, the United States, Sept. 13,

Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 38.4 million, while the deaths have soared to more than 1,091,240, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 38,426,373 and the fatalities increased to 1,091,245, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 7,911,497 and 216,734, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 7,239,389, while the country’s death toll soared to 110,586.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (5,140,863), Russia (1,332,824), Argentina (931,967), Colombia (930,159), Spain (908,056), Peru (853,974), Mexico (830,502), France (820,376), South Africa (696,414), the UK (657,459), Iran (513,219), Chile (485,372), Iraq (413,215), Bangladesh (382,959), and Italy (372,799), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 151,747.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (84,891), the UK (43,245), Italy (36,289), Peru (33,419), Spain (33,413), France (33,058), Iran (29,349), Colombia (28,306), Argentina (24,921), Russia (23,069), South Africa (18,151), Chile (13,415), Ecuador (12,264), Indonesia (12,156), Belgium (10,244) and Iraq (10,021).

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France to implement curfew to stem coronavirus: Macron

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French President Emmanuel Macron. (File Photo IANS)
French President Emmanuel Macron. (File Photo IANS)

Paris, Oct 15 (IANS) A curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. will be implemented in the greater Paris region and eight other big cities in France starting from Friday midnight, and it will last for at least four weeks to stem the spread of coronavirus, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday.

“A curfew will apply to the Ile-de-France region…and eight metropolitan areas — Grenoble, Lille, Rouen, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Montpellier and Rouen,” Macron said in a televised interview, Xinhua news agency reported.

France has been in a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic with an average of 20,000 new infection cases per day. “We have now entered a phase to which we must react… The virus is everywhere in France,” Macron added.

The situation is worrying and the curfew is a “pertinent” measure while having the whole country locked down again would be “disproportionate”, he explained.

“We have not lost control. We are in a situation which is worrying and which justifies that we are neither inactive nor in panic. We have learned from the first wave,” Macron said.

The curfew does not ban driving between 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., but travel will be strictly limited unless with good reasons.

“We must continue to be able to go to work in all sectors,” said Macron. “For those who have emergencies, health for example, there will be authorisations.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex will address a press conference on Thursday to unveil details of these measures, Macron added.

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