Current Affairs in Short: 31 March 2020
China recommends Bear Bile as a cure for COVID-19
• China has recommended the use of Bear bile as a possible cure for COVID-19 virus. The Chinese government has put out a list of medicines that will be used to treat COVID-19.
• The list includes both China’s traditional medicines and western medicines. One of these medicines, ‘Tan Re Qing’ is identified to be the best cure.
• The ‘Tan Re Quig’ traditional medicine carries bear bile. Bear bile has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 1300 years. The liver secretes bile juice and it is stored in the gall bladder.
• According to China, the ursodeoxycholic acid present in the bear bile can possibly cure COVID-19. It is also called Ursodiol. The acid is generally used for treating liver diseases and dissolving gall bladder stones.
BP Kanungo reappointed as Deputy RBI Governor
• The central government has re-appointed BP Kanungo as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. His current term was set to expire on April 2, 2020.
• Kanungo has been re-appointed for a period of one year from April 3, 3030 or until further order, whichever comes earlier.
• The Deputy Governors of RBI assist the RBI Governor in his/ her functions. There are usually four deputy governors.
• The Current deputy governors include NS Vishwanathan, BP Kanungo, MK Jain and Michael Patra. The current RBI Governor is Shaktikanta Das.
Indian Railways to modify 20000 coaches into isolation coaches
• The Indian Railways is preparing to modify around 20,000 coaches into isolation coaches to increase the country’s quarantine facilities in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.
• The Railways has already prepared prototypes for the isolation wards while ensuring proper hygiene. The Railways has also modified the washrooms to suit the purpose and has created separate sections for the nurses and doctors as well.
• The 20,000 modified railway coaches will be able to accommodate up to around 3.2 lakh beds for isolation needs.
No extension in retirement date for central government employees
• The Government clarified on March 31, 2020 that there will be no extension in the retirement date for the central government employees who are due to retire today.
• The centre stated that the employees due for retirement will retire from government service today itself regardless of whether they are working from office or home.
• The decision was announced by the Department of Personnel and Training.
COVID-19 crisis in Asia and Pacific far from over: WHO
• The World Health Organisation has warned that while the west, especially Western European nations and North America appear to be the new epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific.
• WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Takeshi Kasai has urged the governments to stay engaged in their efforts to combat COVID-19, calling it a long-term battle.
• WHO says there is no one-size-fits-all approach but there are common practices that can help fight the pandemic and reiterated that countries need to still prepare for large-scale community transmission.
Spain bans funeral ceremonies
• Spain has banned funeral ceremonies till April 11, 2020 in an effort to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.
• The European nation has banned vigils at home and ordered that no more than three people can attend burials.
• Spain has the third-largest coronavirus cases in the world after the US and Italy. It has the second largest number of fatalities after Italy and it is struggling to deal with such a large number of fatalities.
Government extends validity of vehicle permits till June 30
• The central government has extended the validity of vehicular permits such as driving licenses, permits and registration that expired since February 1 till June 30, 2020.
• The decision is aimed at ensuring hassle-free transportation of cargo during the 21-day lockdown period to contain COVID-19 spread.
• The Ministry of Road and Highways has asked all states to treat such documents as valid till June 30th.
• The documents include all fitness, permit, driving license and any other kind of document required under the Motor Vehicles Act.