Corona Virus Covid 19

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Agra administration all geared up to demolish locust invasion
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•May 24, 2020




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#India #Agra #UttarPradesh #HornofAfrica #COVID19 #NaturalDisasters
Agra (Uttar Pradesh), May 25 (ANI): The Agra administration is all geared up to demolish locust invasion in the district. The agriculture department has geared up to spray chemicals in order to prevent damage to the crops. “We have procured almost 1,000 kilogram pesticides and arranged 205 tractors to demolish locust invasion,” Ram Pravesh, District Agriculture Officer said. Beside this, an advisory has also been issued to the farmers. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, response to natural disasters is expected to be tested again this summer when a giant locust storm from the Horn of Africa is expected to attack farmlands.
 

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ICMR approved COVID-19 negative certificates required to directly go to home in Goa
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•May 25, 2020





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#India #Panaji #Goa #COVID19 #NegativeCertificates #IndianCouncilofMedicalResearch
Panaji (Goa), May 25 (ANI): Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved COVID-19 negative certificates are required to directly go to home without testing in Goa. The Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant announced the revised standard operating procedure (SOP) for all domestic passengers arriving by air, rail, or road to the state. While addressing a press conference on May 24, the Chief Minister said, “We have decided that whoever wants to come to Goa, if they bring an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved COVID-19 negative certificate issued within 48 hours prior of arrival, they will be allowed to go to their homes.” However, there are other protocols through which stranded people can get back to their home state Goa. Like, COVID-19 testing at the landing station and 14 days quarantine period.
 

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Delhi weekly markets still shut, vendors say ‘lack of clarity’

Usually, vendors in weekly markets usually line up their carts and shops in packed lanes, right next to each other, and attract large crowds, making ensuring social distancing a task.

DELHI Updated: May 25, 2020 00:49 IST

Risha Chitlangia

Risha Chitlangia

Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A wholesale market in Khari Baoli Road.


A wholesale market in Khari Baoli Road.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Even as markets across the city were allowed to open up in a staggered fashion last week, Delhi’s street vendors said a lack of clarity on the state government’s part has kept them from resuming weekly markets. While Delhi government officials said weekly markets could reopen, provided they ensured social distancing, police said civic agencies would need to give them permission.
With social distancing now obligatory in view of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, street vendors’ associations, some resident welfare associations (RWAs) and market associations demand that the government demarcate dedicated vending zones, in accordance with the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.
Usually, vendors in weekly markets usually line up their carts and shops in packed lanes, right next to each other, and attract large crowds, making ensuring social distancing a task.
The exact number of weekly markets in the Capital and vendors associated with them is not known. In fact, civic agencies are yet to begin surveys to identify genuine vendors in Delhi as per the Street Vendors Act.

Street vendors are still to reopen their shops even in popular markets like Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Sarojini, Lajpat Nagar. While some vendors in smaller local markets have reopened businesses, confusion is still writ large.
Rajiv Kumar Gupta (45), head of a weekly market in east Delhi’s Madhu Vihar, said local authorities have asked them to wait till at least May 31. “There are 100-odd vendors in the weekly market we used to set up in Madhu Vihar, Mandawali, Vinod Nagar and other places across the week. We have now been told to wait till May-end,” Gupta said.
While the Delhi government’s order regarding relaxation in lockdown norms in the fourth phase explicitly mentions that markets can open, following an ‘odd-even’ arrangement, it does not mention weekly markets and street vending.

However, the order also reads that all commercial and industrial activities that are not specifically prohibited by the guidelines will be allowed in the city.
“Everyone is interpreting the order differently. As there is no mention of a ban on street vending or weekly markets, we thought we are allowed to operate. But we have been asked by the police not to start work. The government should have clearly stated the rules for street vending and weekly markets like it has done for markets areas,” said Satish Kumar, a street vendor in Karol Bagh market and a member of the area’s Town Vending Committee.
Vendors in Karol Bagh said they are unsure whether they can set the weekly market up on Monday or not. Likewise, vendors in Narela are yet to restart weekly markets.

Senior police officers meanwhile said civic agencies needed to permit the operation of weekly markets, and added that the daily restriction on movement between 7pm and 7am would be a hurdle.
Deepak Purohit, DCP (west), said, “They haven’t got permission from civic agencies yet. So, only the main shops are opening right now in the manner ordered by the government. But vendors providing essential products like vegetables and fruits were never stopped in the first place.”
Monika Bhardwaj, DCP (north), said it is not possible to allow weekly markets since they generally operate in the evening, when complete restrictions on movement, except essential services, are in effect. “They are unable to operate because the lockdown comes into effect at 7pm everyday, which is around the time weekly markets open,” she said.

A senior Delhi government official aware of the matter said street vendors can start work, but have to ensure social distancing, and adhere to the odd-even sequence. “As for weekly markets, civic agencies have to devise a mechanism to ensure social distancing,” the official said.
Another senior government official said there weekly markets can operate provided social distancing is ensured, but also said it was up to civic bodies to ensure a social distancing mechanism.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) said municipal agencies should start work at developing dedicated vending zones.

Arbind Singh, national coordinator, NASVI, said, “The creation of dedicated vending zones in the National Capital is long-pending demand. It should have been done immediately after the Street Vendors Act was passed in 2014, but it is even more important now as social distancing has to be ensured.”
The New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) in Connaught Place has also requested the Delhi government to relocate vendors from the market as it is “impossible to ensure social distancing”, said Atul Bhargava, president, NDTA.
RWAs in the city, too, said vendors and weekly markets are important in residential areas, but agreed there was a need to regulate them to prevent the spread of the disease.
“We are all interdependent. Weekly markets cater to a large population, but there is a need to regulate them and provide dedicated space,” said Atul Goyal, president of URJA, an association of RWAs in Delhi.
Civic agencies, meanwhile, said they are yet to decide on the matter.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation has called a meeting next week to discuss the issue. “Vendors are important and cater to a large population. We have called a meeting to discuss how we can streamline vending in our jurisdiction and ensure social distancing, especially in weekly markets,” Jai Prakash, standing committee chairman, north corporation.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s mayor Sunita Kangra said, “It is difficult to maintain social distancing in weekly markets. We are not planning to give permission to weekly markets immediately. But we are trying to work out a way so that these markets can operate while ensuring social distancing.”


Delhi weekly markets still shut, vendors say ‘lack of clarity’
 

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Flights resume from Monday: How Covid-19 will change Delhi airport

The government last week announced resumption of air travel from May 25. All modes of travel were suspended on March 25 when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to check the spread of Covid-19.

DELHI Updated: May 24, 2020 09:47 IST
Anvit Srivastava | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

Anvit Srivastava | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A Central Industrial Security Force personnel checks the identity card of a woman through a glass shield, ahead of the resumption of domestic flights from Monday.



A Central Industrial Security Force personnel checks the identity card of a woman through a glass shield, ahead of the resumption of domestic flights from Monday.(Reuters Photo)

The flight services are resuming from Monday after an order by the central government. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Union government had restricted all modes of travel including air travel since March 25.
A day before the flights resume, here is a look at what a flyer arriving at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport’s Terminal 3 can expect in the wake of Covid-19.

Outside the terminal
• Outside the terminal, passengers can check-in through kiosk

• After web check-in, the passenger heads towards the airline-allowed entry gate. A guard will check the flyer’s temperature and status on Aarogya Setu app. If they don’t have the app, the flyers will have to fill out a self-declaration form.

Entering the airport
• A security person behind a glass curtain will check the boarding passes and identity cards.

• The passenger then heads to the terminal and goes through a thermal scanner.
• Carpets are soaked in sanitising chemicals to ensure shoes are disinfected.
• Hand sanitisers will be placed at gates for use by flyers.




Baggage scanning

• Before entering the terminal, passengers will put their luggage in a sanitising machine where the bags will be treated with ultraviolet radiation to sanitise them.

Check-in
• The passenger heads to check-in counters where they can opt for self baggage check-in.

• Baggage tags will no longer be issued, and passengers will get an SMS to confirm luggage check-in.


Security check
• The passengers moves to the security hold area with the one allowed ‘hand-bag’. Here, contactless screening will be conducted using metal detectors and security personnel will scan the boarding pass before allowing passenger to the boarding area.


At waiting area
• Shops in non-aero areas will adhere to stringent safety, health and hygiene rules. All F&B retail shops will be open and orders can be placed on apps or kiosks.
• Passengers will sit at alternate seats, with more seating space added.
• Drinking-water fountains will be foot-pedal operated and washrooms will be deep-cleaned regularly.
• On buses for boarding, only alternate seats to be used.


Flights resume from Monday: How Covid-19 will change Delhi airport


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No quarantine for asymptomatic passengers landing at IGI airport

On Sunday, Delhi’s chief secretary Vijay Dev issued an order directing all concerned authorities to “ensure compliance” to guidelines issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

DELHI Updated: May 25, 2020 01:26 IST
HT Correspondent

HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Delhi government has decided to go with the Centre’s standard operating procedure (SOP) for domestic flights arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from Monday, when operations resume in parts of the country.


The Delhi government has decided to go with the Centre’s standard operating procedure (SOP) for domestic flights arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from Monday, when operations resume in parts of the country. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

New Delhi:
The Delhi government has decided to go with the Centre’s standard operating procedure (SOP) for domestic flights arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from Monday, when operations resume in parts of the country. This means passengers who land in the National Capital and are asymptomatic will not require quarantine or isolation.
On Sunday, Delhi’s chief secretary Vijay Dev issued an order directing all concerned authorities to “ensure compliance” to guidelines issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
The annexed guidelines in the order — which HT has seen — said, “Asymptomatic passengers will be permitted to go with the advice that they shall self-monitor their health for 14 days. In case they develop any symptoms, they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the state/national call centre (1075).”

It said, “Those found symptomatic will be isolated and taken to the nearest health facility. They will be assessed for clinical severity in the health facility. Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated Covid health facilities and managed accordingly. Those with mild symptoms will be given the option of home isolation or isolated in a Covid care centre…”
Though the Centre allowed states to prepare their own SOPs, the Delhi government chose to abide by the guidelines broadly drafted by the Union ministry, Dev confirmed on Sunday.
Several states have rolled out stricter rules for arriving passengers. Karnataka, for instance, will mandatorily quarantine people coming from worst-affected states, while Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram said they will allow only residents who were stranded elsewhere to return.

Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu had till Saturday opposed the decision to restart flights.
On Sunday, aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and officials from his department held several meetings with other states to convince them to allow services to resume.
For departures, Delhi has drafted protocol that covers areas including the airport entrance, the area outside the terminal, baggage scanning, check-in, security check and waiting area.



No quarantine for asymptomatic passengers landing at IGI airport
 

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Covid-19: Delhi govt to hire 200 taxis to strengthen its ambulance services

On Saturday, Delhi recorded 591 new cases of Covid-19. The average number of daily cases has increased steadily in May, with the city recording over 500 cases each in the last five days.

DELHI Updated: May 24, 2020 08:32 IST
hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A man checks the Scan & Fly kiosks, after the government allowed domestic flight services to resume from coming Monday, during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease, at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, in New Delhi on Saturday.


A man checks the Scan & Fly kiosks, after the government allowed domestic flight services to resume from coming Monday, during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease, at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, in New Delhi on Saturday.(Reuters Photo)



The Delhi government has decided to hire 200 taxis from cab aggregators Ola and Uber to strengthen its ambulance service which is under pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic, news agency PTI reported.

The hired taxis - 110 from Ola and 91 from Uber - will be used for carrying non-critical and non-Covid-19 patients to and from hospitals, PTI quoted from a Delhi government order.

The taxis to be used as ambulance vehicles will be placed under the CATS director who is responsible for managing the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) ambulances.

The national capital, meanwhile, added 23 more deaths due to Covid-19 on Saturday, taking the toll to 231, even as 591 fresh cases increased the tally to 12,910, according to official data.

The fresh fatalities put the mortality rate of the disease in Delhi at about 1.8 per cent, up from the one per cent on May 11. The figure remains lower than the national average of three per cent.

Of the total Covid-19 deaths so far in Delhi, 158 have been recorded in the last 12 days. A three-member death audit committee recently began clearing the reporting backlog of deaths that were not added to the cumulative tally.

An order by Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev on May 10 directed all designated Covid-19 hospitals to report the deaths by 5pm each day to ensure timely reporting. This was done after discrepancies in the cumulative data and deaths recorded at the hospitals were pointed out.

The average number of daily cases has increased steadily in May, with the city recording over 500 cases each in the last five days.

Even as Delhi is recording a high number of cases, the doubling rate - an indicator of the pace of spread of the infection - has gone up to about 15 days.

Of the 6,412 infections active currently, 1,886 people with severe symptoms have been admitted to designated Covid-19 hospitals. Of them, 184 are in intensive care units, with 27 people on ventilators.


Covid-19: Delhi govt to hire 200 taxis to strengthen its ambulance services
 

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States finally clear air for anxious flyers

INDIA Updated: May 25, 2020 00:11 IST
Anisha Dutta and Rhythma Kaul

Anisha Dutta and Rhythma Kaul



Air travel across the country was set to resume on Monday, with all states finally agreeing to accept at least some flights but announcing varied quarantine and self-isolation rules for arriving passengers to address misgivings about infections being brought in from other cities.
Instead of following the national guidelines issued by the Union government for all departing and disembarking passengers, many of the states chose to set their own rules: Karnataka, for instance, requires mandatory institutional quarantine for passengers from worst-affected states, while Punjab and Meghalaya have made a swab test mandatory for arrivals.
Several states said passengers will be taken to a facility only if they show symptoms of fever or cough — in line with Union government guidelines released on Sunday — while several among them decided to additionally mandate or suggest self-isolation for either 14 or 28 days, even if a traveller is asymptomatic.
Some other states, such as Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh, said that only state residents will be allowed to enter the city from the airports.
The announcements came a day after three states — Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu — requested the Union government to reconsider the decision to allow domestic flight operations to resume as it could lead to a spike in infections. On Sunday, the ministry held several discussions with these states and airline representatives.
“It has been a long day of hard negotiations with various state governments to recommence civil aviation operations in the country. Except Andhra Pradesh which will start on 26/5 and West Bengal on 28/5, domestic flights will recommence across the country from tomorrow,” civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri said in a tweet on Sunday evening..
In the morning, he spoke to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray over video to convince the state to allow some flights to resume.
Shortly after, Thackeray, in a press conference, said: “I spoke to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri today and told him that the Mumbai international airport needs more time to resume its operations. Till the time the airport plans and fine-tunes operations, aviation ministry should initiate minimum possible domestic flights from Maharashtra from May 25.”
On Sunday evening, the ministry announced that some 50 flights will operate from Mumbai. “It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers, inadequate without swabs. Impossible to have autos/cabs/buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid stress to red zone. #MaharashtraGovtCares,” Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said in a tweet before the two administrations came to an agreement.
Several discussions also took place between officials of other states, civil aviation ministry and airline representatives. The meetings covered the quarantine rules for flyers as well as standard operating procedures for airports, according to officials aware of the discussions.
“Negotiations were held with the state governments and they all came on board, as we also agreed to certain terms and conditions. A state like Maharashtra had genuine concerns as it has the most number of cases. We agreed to run fewer flights — only 25 will operate to Mumbai. West Bengal, too, had concerns due to the damage caused by cyclone Amphan and we agreed to delay flight operations,” said an official, asking not to be named.
Flights to and from West Bengal will resume on May 28. After initially seeking time till May 31, Tamil Nadu came on board with the Union government’s plan early on Sunday.
The Union health ministry separately released guidelines for travellers on domestic and international flights. In both types of flights, airlines have been advised not to board anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19. All passengers will need to wear masks while on board.
The federal guidelines lay down that anyone showing symptoms when they land will need to be taken to a facility for isolation where they will be assessed. Passengers will also be advised to download the Aarogya Setu mobile application.
“These guidelines are an extension of our earlier travel advisories with modifications made as per the current Covid-19 situation. Now that travel restrictions are being eased, it will be our aim to ensure disease transmission stays under check. These guidelines can be modified as per what the latest situation demands,” said a senior government official, who asked not to be identified.
The government is yet to allow international flights, but the SOPs for when they resume say that all passengers will need to go into a week-long quarantine at a facility for which they will need to pay.
According to PTI, Saujanya Shrivastava, chief operating officer - flights, MakeMyTrip and Goibibo, said: “With domestic flights taking off after 61 days of lockdown, there is an understandable apprehension amongst flyers. That said, we expect the situation to smoothen out as flyers gradually get attuned to the new safety protocols.”


States finally clear air for anxious flyers
 

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Centre issues fresh guidelines for Indian citizens stranded abroad

A similar SOP was also issued by the government for those who are stranded in India and desire to travel abroad.

INDIA Updated: May 25, 2020 02:07 IST
Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India
New Delhi


The government on Sunday issued a fresh Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for the return of Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown, saying it will be a paid service and preference will be given to people in distress including those who have lost their jobs and pregnant women.
A similar SOP was also issued by the government for those who are stranded in India and desire to travel abroad.
As per the latest SOP, all travellers will have to give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days. It will be a seven-day paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by seven days of isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
Only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the receiving states, home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days and use of ‘Aarogya Setu’ app shall be mandatory in such cases, it said.

According to the SOP issued earlier by the MHA on May 5, the institutional quarantine period was 14 days and another 14 days was for home quarantine while ‘Aarogya Setu’ app was mandatory for all international arrivals.The fresh SOP said that the states and UTs can also develop their own protocol.
Priority will be given to compelling cases in distress, including migrant workers, labourers who have been laid off, short-term visa-holders facing expiry of visas, persons with medical emergency, pregnant women, elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member, and students, the SOP said.


Centre issues fresh guidelines for Indian citizens stranded abroad
 

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Covid-19: Air pollution increases coronavirus risk, Indians need to keep it low post-lockdown

The air pollution has plummeted over many parts of India during nationwide lockdown, but the real challenge will begin after the lockdown, which is likely to end on May 3, when vehicular mobility is reinstated and factories are back in operation.



MORE-LIFESTYLE Updated: Apr 29, 2020 17:53 IST
Indo Asian News Service

Indo Asian News Service
New Delhi


The air pollution has plummeted over many parts of India during nationwide lockdown, but the real challenge will begin after the lockdown, which is likely to end on May 3, when vehicular mobility is reinstated and factories are back in operation.


The air pollution has plummeted over many parts of India during nationwide lockdown, but the real challenge will begin after the lockdown, which is likely to end on May 3, when vehicular mobility is reinstated and factories are back in operation.(UNSPLASH)

The air pollution has plummeted over many parts of India during nationwide lockdown, but the real challenge will begin after the lockdown, which is likely to end on May 3, when vehicular mobility is reinstated and factories are back in operation. Experts say after lockdown, steps have to be taken to curb air pollution, which also include dust, as high pollution levels would make people vulnerable to coronavirus infection, which manifests itself in the respiratory tract.
Doctor Arvind Kumar, Founder and Managing Trustee Lung Care Foundation said if the lockdown had not happened and the pollution levels have not dipped, going by the north Italy experience, the coronavirus would have spread faster.
“Every effort should be made to keep the pollution level low, which also includes dust pollution. High pollution level will contribute towards faster spread of the virus”, said Kumar. A study was conducted on the air quality in Italy’s northern provinces -- Lombardy and Emilia Romagna -- which found a connection between Covid-19 mortality rates and high levels of pollution.
Kumar, presently Chairman Centre for Chest Surgery and Director, Institute of Robotic Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, “The evidence we have is pretty clear that people, who live in places that are more polluted, over time they are more vulnerable to coronavirus.”

According to data compiled by IQAir AirVisual’s 2019 World Air Quality Report, 21 of the world’s 30 cities with the worst air pollution are in India, with six in the top ten. In the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP), the air pollution is worsened by geographical and other factors, highest population density area coupled with industrial clusters. According to the WHO outdoor air pollution kills 4.2 million people across the globe each year.
Manoj Goel, Director Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said that due to air pollution, patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma can have uncontrolled symptoms, and this group of people can have severe complications due to coronavirus. “Historically pollution levels have been high. We need to keep pollution levels low to contain the spread of coronavirus,” added Goel.
A study at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that even small increases in fine particulate matter, PM2.5, have had a big effect in the US. The study said that an increase of just one microgram per cubic metre corresponded to a 15 per cent increase in COVID-19 deaths.

Summer is mostly hot and humid in many parts of the country, if pollution levels are high after the lockdown, then it will further worsen the coronavirus situation in the country. “In humid conditions the chances of survival of coronavirus is high”, said Goel.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed. )


Covid-19: Air pollution increases coronavirus risk, Indians need to keep it low post-lockdown
 

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Strong link between coronavirus count, bad air: Study
The analysis is limited to Italy and does not mention how air pollution and testing positive for Covid-19 are linked. Air pollution in Indian cities is among the worst in the world.

INDIA Updated: Apr 30, 2020 19:48 IST
Jayashree Nandi

Jayashree Nandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The study, which is yet to be published, has concluded that cities and provinces, where coarse particulate matter (PM 10) exceeded standards for over hundred days a year, were found to be associated with a three-fold higher risk of the disease.


The study, which is yet to be published, has concluded that cities and provinces, where coarse particulate matter (PM 10) exceeded standards for over hundred days a year, were found to be associated with a three-fold higher risk of the disease.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)




A University of Verona and Stanford School of Medicine study has found a statistical correlation between highly-polluted areas and Covid-19 infections in Italy, which is among the worst-hit countries by the pandemic. The study, which is yet to be published, has concluded that cities and provinces, where coarse particulate matter (PM 10) exceeded standards for over hundred days a year, were found to be associated with a three-fold higher risk of the disease.
The analysis is limited to Italy and does not mention how air pollution and testing positive for Covid-19 are linked. Air pollution in Indian cities is among the worst in the world; capital New Delhi regularly tops the listing of cities with the worst air. Such studies may give researchers and governments an idea about what to look for, but independent scientists underlined that their conclusions cannot be generalised.
This is the second study from Italy, which has linked air pollution with Covid-19. Air pollution is likely to be a major risk factor for the lethality of Covid 19, scientists from Italy had concluded in a paper that probed whether atmospheric pollution can be considered a co-factor in the extremely high level of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, lethality in Northern Italy. The paper was published in Elsevier’s journal of Environmental Pollution on April 4.
Prolonged exposure to air pollution leads to a chronic inflammatory response even among the young and healthy, which makes people living in polluted areas more susceptible to developing complications. The lethality was 12% in Italy’s Lombardy and Emilia Romagna compared to 4.5% in the rest of the country, the study found.

In the latest study, scientists collected air pollution data in Italy from 2019 and the number of Covid-19 cases per province till April 5. The extent of pollution within each specific Italian province was expressed in terms of days per year during which PM 10 or Ozone exceeded their safe levels.
“Since several lines of evidence also attest that Lombardy region has an extraordinarily high level of environmental pollution, we aimed to explore the potential epidemiological association between the number of cases of Covid-19 and environmental pollution in Italy…the association remained statistically significant even when the number of days above pollutant limits was correlated with the number of Covid-19 cases per 1000 inhabitants,” said the latest paper published in Medrxiv, a pre-print server for health sciences on April 27.
Kalpana Balakrishnan, the director of ICMR Centre for Advanced Research on Air Quality, Sri Ramachandra Institute for Higher Education and Research, cautioned against merely looking for a correlation without adjusting for anything, saying it is not helpful. “The paper does not provide a basis for their analysis,” said Balakrishnan. “I note that this paper is not yet peer-reviewed, and is only available as a preprint.”

People with underlying respiratory conditions are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and people in areas with higher air pollution areas are more likely to be affected.
Pallavi Pant, a staff scientist at Boston’s Health Effects Institute, said during the earlier severe acute respiratory syndrome episode in the early 2000s, studies had pointed towards such a relationship. “Ideally, we would like to see multiple studies showing these results for the scientific process to work.”
Pant has been compiling peer-reviewed and pre-print studies on the link between air pollution and Covid-19. Among the peer-reviewed studies, one in Germany based on spatial analysis of nitrogen dioxide pollution on a regional scale and combined with the number of death cases taken from 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, also found a relationship between pollution and Covid-19.


Strong link between coronavirus count, bad air: Study
 
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