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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

India lockdown diary, Day 42: Tripura has a new pastime; Gurdaspur ‘memsahab’ works overtime; and more

Here is a list of striking stories from across the country on the 42nd day of the lockdown.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2020 9:07:38 pm
According to the latest update by the Health Ministry, the total number of cases now stands at 46,711 in the country. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

With as many as 3,900 new cases and 195 fatalities, India on Tuesday witnessed the biggest single-day spike in Covid-19 cases across the country. According to the latest update by the Health Ministry, the total number of cases now stands at 46,711, while the death toll is at 1,583. The ministry said 1,020 Covid-19 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of those cured to 13,160.

Meanwhile, in one of the largest evacuation exercises, named “Vande Bharat Mission”, the government will operate 64 flights from May 7 to 13 to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown.

On Day 42 of India’s lockdown, here are some of the most striking stories:

Tripura youngsters are beating the lockdown blues by flying kites

The skies above Tripura have a welcome new addition: soaring, colourful kites. Youngsters are no longer interested in violating the lockdown to get a peek of life outside their homes, but have instead taken to flying kites on their rooftops every afternoon.

The fact that the business of making kites has picked up pace is testimony to this popular new hobby — as kite runners are busy buying kites, ‘latai’ (rollers) and tempering threads with ‘manja’.

Construction work resumes in Gujarat. (Express Photo: Javed Raja)

‘You are the economy’: People in a liquor queue showered with petals

A video has emerged of a man showering petals on people standing in a queue outside a liquor shop in New Delhi’s Chander Nagar. In the video, the man wearing a handkerchief mask is holding a plastic bag full of flower petals and throwing them on the people. This comes a day after India entered lockdown 3.0, during which alcohol shops are allowed to remain open.

“You are the economy of our country, government does not have any money,” he reportedly told them. (Don’t miss our explainer on why liquor matters to states)

Another video that has emerged is one reportedly from Nainital in Uttarakhand. This shows a line of people outside a liquor store… in the pouring rain!

Also read | Covid-19 cess on liquor in Delhi is the ‘peg of memes’ on social media today

Outside a wine shop in Mumbai. (Express Photo: Amit Chakravarty)

Reaching out to migrants, Singapore minister records message in Tamil

Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran has released a video message in Tamil to address the concerns of foreign migrant workers, who are the worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Iswaran explained the need for rapid testing among the foreign workers, who are mainly engaged in the construction sector.

The Indian-origin minister said the Singapore government had “undertaken numerous efforts to enhance the quality of food and facilities” within the dormitories. “If tested positive, we will provide (your friends) with the necessary medical care fully paid by the government. We will provide you with the necessary quality medical care as we do for Singaporeans. This is our promise,” Iswaran said in the video, which was also dubbed in Bengali for Bangladeshi workers.

Migrants return home from Gujarat on the Special Shramik Express. (Express Photo: Javed Raja)

‘Memsaab’ works overtime against coronavirus in Gurdaspur

A Danish woman, fondly called ‘memsaab’ in Punjab’s Gurdaspur, has taken it upon herself to make the poor people in the district aware about the novel coronavirus and ways to keep it at bay.

Working among slum residents, Natasha Natalie Sommer is assisting the Punjab Red Cross Society in helping the underprivileged. She said she was inspired by the work done by the Punjab unit of the Society after her husband, Malkit Singh, was successfully treated for drug addiction by it.

Sommer had met Malkit on a social networking site. She came to India in January last year and got married as per the Sikh tradition. “We are serving in slum areas and spreading awareness. I know this pandemic is too hazardous as several people in Europe have been gripped by the disease. The situation is not good here too. We have to serve the poor to keep the pandemic under control,” she said.

Indian-origin scientist identifies four possible drugs to treat COVID-19

An Indian-origin researcher in the United States and his team have identified four antiviral drugs — including remdesivir that was originally developed to treat Ebola — which may be effective in inhibiting the replication of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Kamlendra Singh, an associate professor at the University of Missouri in the US, and his colleagues used computer-aided drug design to examine the effectiveness of remdesivir, 5-fluorouracil, ribavirin and favipiravir in treating COVID-19. The study, published in the journal Pathogens, found that all four drugs were effective in inhibiting, or blocking, the coronavirus’ RNA proteins from making genomic copies of the novel coronavirus.

“These antiviral drugs, if they turn out to be effective, all have some limitations. But in the midst of a global pandemic, they are worth taking a deeper look at because based on our research, we have reason to believe that all of these drugs could potentially be effective in treating COVID-19,” he said,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

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