Current Affairs in Short: 27 May 2020
Nepal postpones discussion on constitutional amendment to update its map
• Nepal has postponed the scheduled discussion to amend its constitution to update the country’s map. The country’s House of Representatives was supposed to take up the matter for discussion on May 27 but it has now been removed the schedule.
• The Nepal government had registered a proposal for the constitutional amendment in the Parliament on May 22 after releasing the country’s new political map, which depicted the disputed areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limipiyadhura under its territory on May 18.
• The map was released as a response to India’s move of opening a road to link India through Lipulekh with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
• The constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority. Hence, Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli had called an all-party meeting on May 26 to forge consensus on the matter and to pass the proposal unanimously.The discussion has been delayed for some time as parties decided to seek a national consensus on the matter.
CSIR to develop new RT-LAMP COVID-19 diagnostic kit
• The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has signed an agreement with Reliance to develop a new RT-LAMP COVID-19 diagnostic kit. The information was shared by CSIR Director-General Dr Shekhar Mande on May 27, 2020.
• The new RT-LAMP COVID-19 diagnostic kit will be cheap and will provide a quick result. The test is expected to cost just Rs 200. The results will be produced in less than an hour.
• The COVID-19 RT-LAMP, Reverse Transcriptase-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification test is a nucleic acid-based test, which will be carried out using nasal or throat swab samples from the patients.
• The test has been developed and it was successfully demonstrated using synthetic templates.
Centre asks states to ensure hotels refund extra 7 days charges
• The centre has asked the states to ensure that the hotels refund the advance amount of extra 7 days taken from Indians returning from abroad.
• The direction came after the Ministry of Health and Family affairs issued revised guidelines for people returning from abroad. Under the revised guidelines, the centre has reduced the compulsory hotel quarantine period for Indians returning from abroad from 14 days to 7 days.
• Now, Indians returning from abroad have to stay in paid hotel quarantine for seven days and the remaining seven days in home isolation. All such persons had booked the hotels in advance for 14 days.
• Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the direction to the state Chief Secretaries amid reports of some hotels refusing to refund the amount for the advance payment of the remaining 7 days.
WHO warns of a ‘second peak’ in nations where COVID-19 spread is slowing down
• The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning for an ‘immediate second peak” of infections in countries that are witnessing a decline in COVID-19 cases.
• WHO warned that the nations will see an immediate second peak if they let down their measures to halt the outbreak too soon.
• Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme stated during a press briefing that currently the world is in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic, where the disease is actually on the way up. He added saying that epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later in 2020 in places where the first wave has subsided.
• He also warned that there is a chance that infection rates could rise once again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon. He urged countries in Europe and North America to continue to put in place their preventive public health and social measures, surveillance protocol and testing measures to ensure the continuation of the downwards trajectory of the virus.
Aarogya Setu becomes world's largest contact tracing app
• Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said on May 27, 2020 that India’s Aarogya Setu has become the world's largest contact tracing app, reaching over 11 crore 40 lakh people in just 40 days.
• The Minister tweeted saying that the application is a classic example of coordination between government, industry and citizens. The app was recently made an open source.
• The Health Minister stated that the iOS version of the open source app will be released in the next two weeks. He further added saying that the use of the app is continuously increasing and a large number of people are benefiting from it.