China on Monday “applauded” the aid sent by India during the height of Beijing’s battle against the deadly coronavirus and said it would like to share its experience in handling the COVID-19 with New Delhi and provide necessary assistance in preventing its spread. India sent about 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment to the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city on February 26 by a military plane, which also evacuated 112 Indians and several foreign nationals. In his media briefing here, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China is extending assistance and aid to local governments in 19 countries which have extended assistance to it when the coronavirus outbreak struck the country. Asked about the conspicuous absence of India in the 19 countries listed by him, Geng said India and China have an “unimpeded channel of exchanges and the exchange is close.”
Upping the ante in its fight against the Covid-19 spread, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday ordered sealing of its entire interstate borders with Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh. It also ordered release of an additional Rs 40 crore to all deputy commissioners to support their corona-mitigation efforts besides two months’ advance ration to eligible consumers. The decisions were taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, an official spokesman said. He said the meeting also decided to release Rs one crore to the Jal Shakti (Public Health Engineering) Department to augment the supply of drinking water in Jammu and Kashmir. The Jammu and Srinagar municipal corporations would be allocated an additional fund of Rs 50 lakh each to augment their sanitisation efforts, the spokesman said, adding other municipal committees of the J&K too would be given some additional funds for the purpose. “The interstate borders with Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh UT will be fully sealed.
The Indian Olympic Association on Monday said it will “wait and watch” for at least a month before taking any call on Tokyo Olympics participation after Canada created a flutter by becoming the first nation to pull out of the showpiece due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The north American nation’s withdrawal added to the International Olympic Committee’s woes after a host of top athletes and powerful sports bodies rammed up pressure on the IOC to postpone the quadrennial extravaganza in July-August.
Tens of thousands of migrant labourers from Laos and Myanmar flooded bus stations and border crossings in Thailand on Monday, defying requests to stay put to prevent exporting infections of the deadly coronavirus. Laos and Myanmar — two of Southeast Asia’s least developed countries — both claim they have no cases of COVID-19, which has killed more than 15,000 people globally. The number of confirmed infections in Thailand, which employs millions of migrant workers from its neighbours, more than doubled over the weekend to a regional high of 721.
ICMR Director General Balrama Bhargava on Monday recommended the use of hydroxy-chloroquine for treating healthcare workers tackling the suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases. The treatment protocol recommended by the National Task Force has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for restricted use in emergency situations. Commenting on the lockdown initiated by several states to contain the coronavirus infection, a health ministry official said the states have been told to order superintendents of police and district magistrates to enforce the lockdown strictly. “Partial lockdown defeats the purpose of breaking the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus,” the official said.