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Current Affairs 18-4-2020

International

World Heritage Day: 18 April

World Heritage Day is observed every year on April 18.

  • The aim of celebrating this day is to promote cultural heritage through activities which are undertaken by the International Council on Monuments and Sites.
  • The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 announced 18th April as the World Heritage Day.
  • It aims to conserve and enhance awareness about the importance of cultural heritage and monuments.
  • The World Heritage Day Theme 2020 is ‘Shared Culture, Shared Heritage and Shared Responsibility’.

Indian Tricolour projected onto Switzerland’s Matterhorn mountain to send a message of hope

The Indian flag has been projected onto the Matterhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps as part of a breathtaking light illumination series as part of an effort to spread hope amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Renowned Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter has been lighting up the 14,690 feet mountain with spectacular displays of country flags and messages of hope to inspire solidarity as people face up to the alarming spread of the deadly pandemic.
  • The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy.

National

CSIR to begin trial on anti-leprosy drug

Council Of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) is slated to begin clinical trials on the anti-leprosy vaccine called Mw (Mycobacterium w) to see if it can be used as a vaccine against coronavirus.

  • Mw is a cousin of BCG and it has been used as a vaccine for leprosy.
  • CSIR along with Gujarat-based pharma-giant Cadila Healthcare Ltd would be working on Mw vaccine for Covid-19.
  • Three hospitals will also be involved in this clinical trial which includes AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Bhopal and PGI Chandigarh.
  • The objective of the study is to carry out controlled clinical trials to compare the efficacy and safety in Covid-19 positive patients but not the ones who are critical.
  • The immune-boosting drug which was developed in 1966 by Indians as an anti-leprosy drug has found some success in the cure for TB, cancer, and warts.

DRDO innovates automatic sanitiser and ultraviolet devices to fight coronavirus

The Defence Research and Development Organisation introduced two new technologies that are aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

  • These two are Automatic Mist Based Sanitiser Dispensing Unit and UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device.
  • Ultraviolet device, which is hand held, can disinfect office and house objects like chairs, files and food packets.
  • It also comes as a box, which has been designed to disinfect personal belongings such as mobile phones, files and wallet.
  • Automatic mist based sanitiser dispensing unit is a contactless sanitiser dispenser, which sprays alcohol based hand sanitiser, for use at the entry of buildings and office complexes.

IIT -Ropar designs ‘WardBot’ to deliver food, medicines to COVID-19 patients

A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar in Punjab’s Rupnagar district has come up with a design of an autonomous ‘WardBot’ which can deliver medicines and food to COVID-19 patients in isolation wards without human intervention.

  • Its deployment in hospitals will help in minimising the risk of the frontline health staff getting infected with the deadly virus.
  • Based on the smart line following, WardBot, fitted with sensors, can work on a known path and can carry food items and medicines for delivery at different beds to patients in a ward.
  • WardBot also has a feature of self-sanitising on the return path and could be used for sanitising walls of the hospitals.

MEA announces COVID-19 training programme for SAARC countries, first session held by AIIMS-Raipur

India has announced a capacity building programme for healthcare professionals in SAARC countries to assist them in their fight against coronavirus and an e-ITEC short training live webinar was held by AIIMS-Raipur.

  • India is assisting SAARC countries in their fight against COVID-19 by having set up a USD 10 million fund, helping them with Rapid Response Teams of doctors, specialists and testing equipment, medical supplies as well as capacity building and exchange of best practices amongst health care professionals.
  • A series of such free and interactive training programmes have been made available for SAARC countries.
  • These will help exchange best practices and connect healthcare professionals and providers across the SAARC region.

Rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases improves to 6.2 days from three days due to Lockdown

India has been doing better than many other countries on outcome ratio- the ratio of number of COVID-19 recoveries Vs number of deaths.

  • India’s doubling rate was about 3 days, before the lockdown.
  • For the past 7 days, the doubling rate is 6.2 Days.
  • 19 states have shown a higher doubling rate better than the national average.
  • Indian government has set up 1,919 dedicated COVID Hospitals and COVID Health Centres have been set up in the country, with capacity of 1.73 lakh isolation beds and 21,800 ICU beds.

Rajasthan claims to be first State in country to carry out Rapid Testing for COVID-19

In Rajasthan, Health minister Raghu Sharma claimed that it became the first state in the country to carry out Rapid Testing for COVID-19.

  • Beginning, 52 persons were tested and all the 52 persons tested negative.
  • Health minister Raghu Sharma told that this test will be done at a large scale to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in hotspots – both in the containment and the buffer zones around the clusters.
  • In addition to rapid testing, PCR based testing will continue to be done in an aggressive manner in the containment zones all over Rajasthan.

Delhi government launched ‘Assess Koro Na’ app for door-to-door survey in containment zones

The Delhi government has asked officials to use the new ‘Assess Koro Na’ app for door-to-door survey in COVID-19 containment zones.

  • Officials say the delay in collecting and analysing the data of a person in a physical form is a major challenge.
  • With this app, the data collected can be uploaded on the servers in real-time and immediately analyse.
  • This will help the control centres in making a quick decision on the requirement of ambulances and other medical equipment and personnel in the area.
  • During the process, surveyors ask questions like travel history, contact history, flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath.

Business

TVS Motor Company completes acquisition of Norton for Rs 153 crore

TVS Motor Company has announced the acquisition of Britain’s iconic sporting motorcycle Norton in an all-cash deal for 16 million pounds (about Rs 153 crore).

  • TVS Motor will acquire certain assets of Norton Motorcycles UK Ltd through one of its overseas subsidiaries.
  • Norton Motorcycles is among the most popular British motorcycle brands of all time and is considered one of the most emotive marques.
  • Since the 20th century, Norton Motorcycles is renowned for its classic models and eclectic range of luxury motorcycles.

RBI increases WMA limit for states by another 30%

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has provided relief to state governments by raising their short-term borrowing limit by an additional 30%.

  • This is estimated to create a space for Rs 12,000 crore for the state governments looking to raise money.
  • The central bank had on April 1 announced raising the Ways and Means Advances (WMA) limit of states by 30%.
  • It has now been decided to increase the WMA limit of states by 60% over and above the level as on March 31, 2020.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gives temporary loan facilities to the central and state governments. This loan facility is called Ways and Means Advances (WMA).
  • Also, The central bank has reduced the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) requirement for banks to 80 per cent from 100 per cent with immediate effect as a relief to these lenders.

Deaths

Nigeria President Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari dies of COVID-19

Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari, has died from Covid-19 after a nearly month-long infection.

  • Kyari was in his 70s and had underlying health problems including diabetes.
  • He was the top official aide to 77-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari.
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