Over 1.6 lakh cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across India, with the number continuously rising. This, even as the country has remained under lockdown for over two months now, with businesses and economic activity having taken a severe hit. In India, the death toll due to the pandemic has crossed 4,700, while nearly 3.6 lakh people globally have lost their lives due to the infection.
With the ongoing phase of the nationwide lockdown set to end on May 31, several reports have suggested that the government may further extend the same until June 15.
Here are the top developments of the day:
> In a first, Jharkhand government arranged chartered flights and facilitated the return of 60 migrant workers stranded in the Balakit-Kargil sector of Ladakh. The migrants had, earlier this month, reached out to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Twitter, following which he got in touch with the Ladakh UT local administration and asked Home Minister Amit Shah to allow the state to airlift its people from Leh.
> The Delhi government has attached Hotel Crown Plaza, Okhla, with Batra Hospital, Hotel Surya, New Friends Colony, with Apollo hospital, Hotel Siddharth, Rajendra Place, with Dr BL Kapur Hospital for converting them into extended COVID-19 hospitals. Hotel Jivitesh, Pusa Road, has been attached with Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital and Hotel Sheraton, Saket, with Max Hospital, for the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
> Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a hike in the monthly remuneration of bonded doctors, bringing them on par with their colleagues hired on contract. The state government has also decided to offer Rs 50 lakh insurance cover to government, private, contractual and outsourced staffers discharging duties related to prevention of COVID-19 and treatment of patients, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.
> With nearly 60,000 cases of COVID-19, Maharashtra is reeling under the rising burden of infections. Mumbai has recorded 1,437 new positive cases and 38 deaths today, which takes the total number of positive cases in the city to 36,710, as per the latest update by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
> Spain's left-wing coalition government on May 29 approved the creation of a minimum income worth 462 euros ($514) a month for its poorest people, whose financial fragility has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
> The Odisha government unveiled a Rs 17,000-crore plan to support the livelihood of people, including farmers and migrant workers, hit hard by the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing lockdown.
> West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that religious places can open up from June 1 and allowed full attendance at public and private offices.
> Hospitals in the US said they have pulled way back on the use of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a COVID-19 treatment, after several studies suggested it is not effective and may pose significant risks.
> India's coronavirus death toll has surpassed that of China after it reported a total of 4,706 fatalities, while it overtook Turkey to become the ninth worst-hit nation by the pandemic with 1,65,799 COVID-19 cases.> United Nations (UN) chief Antonio Guterres has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a loss of $8.5 trillion in global output – the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression – if nations did not respond with unity and solidarity.