Updates On Coronavirus: COVID Treatment To be Covered Under Ayushman Bharat; PM Modi To Address Aation At 8 PM Today; And More…

The National Health Authority (NHA) has decided to cover Covid-19 treatment of the poorest of the poor in private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat — the central government’s health insurance scheme for the deprived. An Ayushman Bharat beneficiary would be able to get himself tested for Covid-19 in any empanelled private hospital free of cost as per the NHA’s decision. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 PM today on the coronavirus outbreak. “Will address the nation at 8 PM today, 24th March 2020, on vital aspects relating to the menace of Covid-19,” Modi tweeted. He had addressed the nation on efforts to combat the virus on March 19.

Loss of smell or taste might be an early sign of infection with the pandemic virus, say medical experts who cite reports from several countries. It might even serve as a useful screening tool, they say. The idea of a virus infection reducing sense of smell is not new. Respiratory viral infection is a common cause of loss of smell, because inflammation can interfere with airflow and the ability to detect odours. The sense of smell usually returns when the infection resolves, but in a small percentage of cases, smell loss can persist after other symptoms disappear. In some cases, it is permanent. Now, there’s “good evidence” from South Korea, China and Italy for loss or impairment of smell in infected people, says a joint statement from the presidents of the British Rhinological Society and of ENT UK, a British group that represents ear, nose and throat doctors. In South Korea, some 30 per cent of people who tested positive for the virus have cited loss of smell as their major complaint in otherwise mild cases, they wrote. So that might be useful as a way to spot infected people without other symptoms — fever, coughing and shortness of breath — of the new coronavirus, they wrote.

US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order to prevent hoarding of vital medical supplies and personal protective equipment as the country for the first time registered over 130 deaths in a day due to coronavirus. Till Monday, more than 43,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the United States. Of these, over 10,000 were added in one day, according to Worldometer, a website which compiles COVID-19 cases. With 139 deaths, the number of fatalities crossed 550 by Monday night. Signing the executive order, Trump said his government would take action against hoarding and excessive pricing of vital medical and personal protective equipment as well as supplies such as hand sanitisers and face masks.

Turkish football icon Fatih Terim, currently manager of Istanbul giants Galatasaray, said he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. “The results of a test done today showed a positive result for coronavirus,” Terim said on Twitter. “I’m in safe hands at the hospital. Don’t worry. Hopefully I’ll communicate more as soon as possible,” Terim added. Dubbed “Emperor”, 66-year-old Terim, the former Turkish national boss, coached Galatasaray in three different stints (1996-2000, 2002-2004 and 2011-2013). He picked up the role for a fourth time in December 2017.

A series of missteps at the US’ top public health agency caused a critical shortage of reliable laboratory tests for the coronavirus, hobbling the federal response as the pandemic spread across the country like wildfire, an Associated Press review found. President Donald Trump assured Americans early this month that the COVID-19 test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “perfect” and that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” But more than two months after the first US case of the new disease was confirmed, many people still cannot get tested.

Australia’s last active sport, the A-League soccer, pulled the plug on its season Tuesday to curb the spread of coronavirus, with bosses saying it had become “mission impossible”. The decision follows the National Rugby League and the country’s most popular spectator sport, Aussie Rules, making similar decisions over the past two days. Rugby union, cricket, basketball and other sports had already shut down.

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