SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

India’s Testing Strategy Has to Change

AS I write this column (April 2), Covid-19 is crossing a million infected cases in the world and nearly 50,000 dead. In India, the total infected cases are more than 2,000, with 51 deaths. It is clear that all countries are affected. It is a matter of time before a set of clusters or hot spots form and Covid-19 takes off in the country. Once it takes off, we are in exponential growth with a doubling rate that very soon makes the numbers look frightening. This is where Wuhan was six weeks ago, Italy entered about 3-4 weeks back and the US is in now.

The National Coronavirus Lockdown

FOLLOWING the prime minister’s address to the nation on the evening of the March 24, the GOI strategy for dealing with the potential stage 2 to stage 3 transition of the covid-19 epidemic is now evident. They are hoping to break the transition by a full national curfew, curtailing mobility on a huge scale, in which the government itself is to shut down except for particular sectors.

Covid-19 Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to all Societies

IT is now clear that Europe, particularly the core European Union countries – Italy, Spain, France, and Germany – is the new epicentre of the Covid-19 epidemic. China, followed by South Korea, managed to contain their outbreaks; the European countries did not. The US and UK numbers are creeping up, poised to take off at any moment. In the US, only the Trump administration’s lack of testing – either intentional or due to incompetence – is hiding the real numbers. As its testing scope increases, a sharp increase in numbers is already visible.

CORONAVIRUS OR COVID-19: China Supercharged Conventional Epidemic Control With Modern Science and Technology

THE novel coronavirus or COVID-19 epidemic appears to be under control in China, but could create new epicentres in South Korea, Italy and Iran. If this happens and creates multiple countries acting as new centres of the epidemic, we could be moving towards a pandemic. South Korea saw 214 new infections on February 24, though reports indicate a sharp drop in new infections. Northern Italy is now under lockdown, and has emerged as another centre of the epidemic, with people returning from Italy spreading the infections to other countries.

Defence Budget Allocations: Crunch Time

FOR a hyper-nationalistic government that boasts of a muscular military posture, the defence budget of 2020 strikes a discordant note. The finance minister, while presenting the union budget for the year in a dreary two-hour long speech, began by proclaiming that “national security is the top priority of this government.” Yet there was no mention of the allocations for defence in her budget.

The Novel Coronavirus and the Virus of New Cold War

FOR the first time, on two successive days, the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019nCov) have dropped below 4,000 as against the earlier daily figures. The comprehensive measures the Chinese authorities have taken to slow down the transmission, along with larger availability of diagnostic kits, has now started to bite. Wuhan in Hubei province still continues to be the epicentre of the new coronavirus epidemic, with about two-thirds of the total infected in China from Hubei alone.

2019-nCoV, a New Threat and Exemplary Action by the Chinese Authorities

IN two months, the novel coronavirus—or 2019-nCoV—has affected more people than the SARS virus had done in 2002-2003. While it is spreading faster, it is more infectious than SARS, the infections are less severe: the numbers of people becoming seriously ill or dying are less than with SARS. The Chinese authorities have reported 7,711 confirmed cases as of  January 30th, of which 170 people have died of the disease. The bulk of the infections are from the Hubei province, with Wuhan as the epicentre of the outbreak.

After Trump’s Stupid Acts, Can the US and Iran Avoid a Disastrous Collision?

WITH the US walking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—more commonly known as the Iran accord—we all enter into a heightened zone of danger. Trump is threatening a war on Iran through his statements and tweets, and by his actions, assassinating a serving Iranian General. A war in the region threatens the entire oil and shipping infrastructure of West Asia.

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