India’s coronavirus infection tally zoomed past 13 lakh Saturday, just two days after it crossed the 12 lakh-mark, and stood at 13,36,861. The total death toll rose to 31,358 with 757 more people succumbing to the virus in the last 24 hours. The total recoveries mounted to 8,49,431, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Of the 757 deaths reported, 278 were from Maharashtra, 108 from Karnataka, 88 from Tamil Nadu, 59 from Uttar Pradesh, 49 from Andhra Pradesh, 35 from West Bengal, 32 from Delhi, 26 from Gujarat, 14 from Jammu and Kashmir, 11 from Madhya Pradesh and eight each from Rajasthan and Telangana. Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha have reported six fatalities each, followed by Punjab five deaths, Kerala and Haryana four each, Bihar and Jharkhand three each, and Puducherry, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland one fatality each.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 1,58,49,068 samples have been tested up to July 24 with 4,20,898 samples being tested on Friday, the highest conducted in a day so far.
On Day 25 of unlock 2.0, here are some interesting stories:
Karnataka govt waives crematorium fees for COVID victims in Bengaluru
The Karnataka government on Saturday announced waiver of crematorium fees for those who succumb to the COVID-19 infection in Bengaluru and said the city civic body would bear the cost. It said that from now on, families of the COVID deceased need not pay any fees fixed by the city civic body- Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)- across 12 electric crematoriums in the city.
“There were reports in the media about difficulties faced in performing the last rites of those who died due to COVID-19 infections. Aimed at resolving those difficulties, certain decisions have been taken,” Revenue Minister R Ashoka said. He told reporters here that BBMP had fixed Rs 250 as the cremation fee, Rs 100 for the ash collection pot and Rs 900 for the bier (bamboo stretcher on which the body is carried), all of which have been waived for COVID deaths. “So it will be a waiver of Rs 1,250 per cremation. The BBMP will bear this cost,” he added. (PTI)
In a unique effort, researchers at IIT-Kharagpur have developed a first-of-its-kind portable rapid diagnostic device that can detect Covid-19 within an hour. This ultra-low cost device will bring the testing for Covid-19 out from the walls of expensive laboratories and RT-PCR machines and enable testing at affordable costs for the under-served communities across the world.
This test can be conducted for less than Rs 400 per test, after taking all components of expenses and business model into account. The results can then be accessed from a customised smartphone application, without requiring manual interpretation.
The device is capable of conducting the test in an ultra-low-cost portable enclosure as an alternative to highly expensive RT-PCR machine. The same portable unit can be used for a large number of tests, on mere replacement of the paper cartridge after each test. The design of the new device enables its use in locations with extremely poor resources, catering to the needs of the under-served communities. Moreover, it can be operated by minimally-trained personnel, precluding the need for skilled technicians.
Tihar inmates with yoga knowledge train others inside barracks
With yoga trainers from outside the Tihar unable to visit the prison due to the coronavirus pandemic and inmate instructors either out on bail or parole, authorities have turned to prisoners aware of the exercise regime to train others within the barracks. “With the help of MDNIY, two sessions of yoga training were conducted last year. The first was from March-June when around 1,000 inmates were trained, including 46 who were trained as trainers.
The classes were conducted from Monday to Friday every week and around 15 trainers in both the programmes used to come from MDNIY for the yoga sessions. “Due to the ongoing situation, we could not start the programme this year. Once the situation gets normal, we will start it once again. This time, we would like to increase the numbers also,” said Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel. (PTI)
Kerala students make technology innovations to battle COVID-19
From a mask-vending machine to a software that detects COVID-19, youngsters demonstrated an array of innovations on Saturday at an event to promote technological inventions vis-a-vis the pandemic. The ‘Innovations Unlocked Kerala Student Innovators Meet’ by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) proved the quality of talent in countering the pandemic since the start of the nation-wide lockdown four months ago.
More than 150 models were displayed at the interactive forum which featured 300 participants in the virtual expo held by KSUM in association with Wadhwani Foundation. The foundation creates jobs for new-age enterprisers and TCS DISQ, an initiative of Tata Consultancy Service Foundation, to groom change-makers, a press release from KSUM said. (PTI)
IIT Madras startup generates Rs 22 crore funding for launching wristband for detecting symptoms
A wearable wrist tracker to detect COVID-19 symptoms at an early stage will be available in the market next month with its developer, a IIT Madras incubated start up, raising a funding of Rs 22 crore for the purpose. “Muse wearbales”, the start up incubated at IIT Madras by an alumni group along with an NIT Warangal alumnus, is planning to launch the trackers in 70 countries.
The wrist-based tracker has sensors for skin temperature, heart rate and SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) which can continuously track these body vitals remotely to help in early diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms. The tracker will be Bluetooth-enabled and can be connected to the mobile phone via an app called the Muse Health App. The user vitals and activity data are stored in the phone as well as a remote server. Administrative access can also be provided for centralized monitoring of people in containment areas for COVID-19 symptoms. The tracker can get notifications from the Arogya Setu app and alert the user when she enters a COVID containment zone.
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