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Sunday, August 09, 2020

Daily briefing: India far away from Covid peak, but its virus strain is possibly weaker

From Cyclone Nisarga to your coronavirus India update, read the top stories from today' edition of The Indian Express.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: June 3, 2020 8:57:10 am

Dear Reader,

“Achhi khasi sankhya” (sizeable numbers): that was how Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described the Chinese presence along the LAC. He also said the two sides would engage in a fresh round of talks on June 6 involving senior Army commanders.

The border situation also figured in a phone conversation between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will be interesting to hear what Trump might have to say about Tuesday’s phone call as he claimed last month that PM Modi was “not in a good mood” over the tensions with China. Delhi, however, had said no such conversation took place.

For India to become self-reliant, PM Modi said, enterprises need to focus on the five ‘Is’: intent, inclusion, investment, infrastructure, and innovation. But the government has already begun laying the groundwork to achieve this in at least 10 promising sectors. The emphasis is on improving the quality of domestically produced good and reduce “unnecessary” imports in these sectors.

Cyclone Nisarga is expected to make landfall today. Its impact would be felt in Maharashtra and Gujarat, two states that are hit the worst by the coronavirus pandemic. The weather department has issued warnings that the wind may cause damage to kuccha houses, roads, power supply and communication lines, and trees.

Meanwhile, a small silver lining has emerged in connection with Maharashtra’s Covid numbers. For the first time in nearly two months, the growth rate of infections in Maharashtra has slowed to fall below that of the country as a whole.

And the bad news is the country is still “very far away from the peak” even as case count is near the 2-lakh mark. Experts say hitting the peak doesn’t mean the outbreak is over. Also, they warn, there could be another wave or peak later.

In related news, Indian scientists have identified a unique trait in the genetic make-up in the novel coronavirus circulating in India. This particular trait could potentially make the virus weaker, one of the scientists involved in the study said.

A couple from West Bengal is driving the advancement of Virtual Reality (VR) in sports that holds the key to the future of broadcasting in the post-pandemic age.

In Covid times, this IE editorial says, the webinar has become ubiquitous and exponentially annoying. “HR departments across companies insist on summoning employees to waste their time listening to soliloquies on scintillating topics like “work-life balance when working from home” (there isn’t one).”

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things podcast, we look at the issues nursing staff face while on the frontline against COVID-19.

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Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G

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