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India Today July 6, 2020

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India Today is the leading news magazine and most widely read publication in India. The magazine’s leadership is unquestioned, so much so that India Today is what Indian journalism is judged by, for its integrity and ability to bring unbiased and incisive perspective to arguably the most dynamic, yet perplexing, region in the world. Breaking news and shaping opinion, it is now a household name and the flagship brand of India’s leading multidimensional media group. Additionally, the weekly brings with it a range supplements like Women, Home, Aspire, Spice and Simply which focus on style, health, education, fashion, etc. and Indian cities.

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52 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
from the editor-in-chief

Last week, we just completed three months of what is arguably the most significant event of our collective lifetime—an unprecedented nationwide lockdown meant to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. These twin developments will have consequences far beyond the already evident economic downturn. A June 2020 UNICEF report warns that the lives and futures of children across South Asia are being torn apart by the COVID-19 crisis. Young adults may be less susceptible to the virus itself, but they could be profoundly affected by its fallout. Nowhere is this more evident than in education. Teaching and examination schedules have been disrupted, and the academic calendar will now begin in September. Cities like Mumbai and Delhi, which account for the largest concentration of our educational institutions, are the most affected by…

5 min.
the elusive miracle drug

Rudra Govind runs a pharmacy in Delhi’s Shahdara. He remembers the rush for hydroxychloroquine in April when the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) announced it as a possible prophylactic—his stock sold out within two days. Predictably, there is a similar surge in demand for two new Covid drugs—Favipiravir and Remdesivir—as they enter the market. Since news broke on June 21 that pharmaceutical company Glenmark’s Favipiravir formulation FabiFlu had been cleared by the DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) for ‘restricted emergency use’ in ‘mild to moderate cases’, Govind has received daily enquiries about the medicine. It didn’t seem to matter that Favipiravir, like Remdesivir before it, was not a guaranteed treatment for Covid. “People just hear ‘new Covid cure’ and think there is new hope, better recovery prospects,” says Dr T.…

2 min.

KCR’s Rao Revival Beginning June 28, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the birth centenary year of former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. The Congress has all but forgotten the tallest leader to emerge from the region. KCR has constituted a committee led by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi secretary-general and Rajya Sabha member Dr K. Keshava Rao, and including a son and daughter of PVN. Doing so “for a man with such extraordinary qualities who was also a freedom fighter, educationist and a literary figure”, KCR said, “is an honour for the entire state”. Events are to be held through the centennial year in 2021. Bouncing Back Defence secretary Ajay Kumar tested positive for COVID-19 on June 4 and was home quarantined. Several of…

7 min.
can the big five turn the tide?

Not far from Azadpur Mandi in North Delhi stands Mahendru Enclave. A tanker sprays sodium hypochlorite in the narrow bylanes every morning. Here, 47 homes in Gali nos. 3, 4 and 5 were marked as a single containment zone on June 5, making it one of the largest Covid clusters among the national capital’s 240 active containment zones as on June 23. Only 4 km away, in Jahangirpuri, another 400 homes make up 10 of the 32 clusters in North Delhi district. This entire area has been a hotspot since April, when one Covid-positive woman infected 26 members of her family. “We have been regularly sanitising public areas, monitoring movement with the help of drone surveillance and running police patrols,” says North Delhi district deputy commissioner Deepak Shinde, whose team faces…

1 min.
covid and congestion

WHY POPULATION DENSITY MATTERS… •North Delhi district has 32 active containment zones and a population density of 13,019 per sq. km •Slum central Dharavi in Mumbai has over 2,400 Covid cases and 354,167 persons per sq. km •The Padarayanapura area in Bengaluru has 66% of all active cases in the city and a population density of 120,533 per sq. km …AND LESSONS FROM THE COVID BATTLEFIELD • Northeast Delhi: ASHAs and ANMs were engaged for outreach and public awareness and sanitation drives were run Impact: No active containment clusters • The Belgachhia slum cluster in Kolkata was cordoned off; locals convinced people to stay indoors and all essential items were delivered at the doorstep Impact: No new cases • BMC adopted an aggressive contact-tracing and containment strategy Impact: Dharavi’s five-day daily growth rate has dropped from 23% a month ago…

3 min.
new wings in war on locusts

The government has mounted a new air defence to take down the swarms of desert locusts threatening crops across western, northern and central India for the past two months. Drones, fitted with insecticide sprayers, have been approved by the Union agriculture ministry for use in locust control. Two states, worst-affected Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, have started employing these flying machines. On June 22, the ministry’s Locusts Warning Organisation (LWO) pressed into service nine drones in the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner and Nagaur in Rajasthan. A similar exercise has been carried out in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh. Spraying insecticide with drones, officials say, could prove to be effective against locusts. Conventionally, locust attacks are tackled with tractor-mounted insecticide sprayers (for vegetation on the ground) and fire engines (for trees and tracts…