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Morning Digest: WHO says lifting lockdowns too quickly could spark resurgence, govt warned of scarcity of drugs, and more

A countrywide shortage of medicines and medical devices is likely in the coming weeks, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has warned the Home Ministry, urging it to take immediate steps to help drug makers resume production under the current lockdown.

A hasty lifting of restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a fatal resurgence of the new coronavirus, the World Health Organization warned Friday. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was working with countries on ways in which lockdowns could be gradually eased, but said doing so too quickly could be dangerous.

The Union Health Ministry on Friday denied evidence of community transmission (CT) of COVID-19 while reporting at least 700 new cases since Thursday evening. The nationwide death toll from the epidemic touched 206, and the Ministry confirmed 6,761 positive cases.

Despite government orders prohibiting large gatherings, more than 4,500 people assembled at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in mid-March. Saurabh Trivedi recounts the events of the week when costly mistakes were made.

Bihar’s Home Secretary has forwarded to the Union Home Ministry a letter sent by the District Magistrate of West Champaran warning that around 200 Indian Muslims, believed to be COVID-19 infected, are likely to cross the Indo-Nepal border into India.

The worldwide number of fatalities from the novel coronavirus pandemic rose to 100,859 on Friday, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT from official sources. More than 16,64,110 declared cases have been registered in 193 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 3,35,900 are now considered recovered.

Responding to India’s concerns, the United Arab Emirates has offered to fly stranded Indian nationals who want to return home in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ambassador Ahmed Al Banna told The Hindu on Friday that the government of UAE has decided to help all countries fly their citizens home after the completion of the necessary medical tests.

The Union government on Friday exempted the operations of the fishing or marine aquaculture industry, including harvesting, sale and marketing activities, from the purview of the ongoing nationwide lockdown.

Once the COVID-19 dust settles down, a new order will emerge in the job market, analysts say. Several new jobs in the field of health and hygiene and technology may come up. According to HR firms, gaming, over-the-top (OTT) services, work-from-home virtual team, project management software, e-commerce and edutech segments would see a steady increase in business.

Pakistan has asked Afghanistan to extradite a leader in the local Islamic State group affiliate who was arrested in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.


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