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Photo: iStock

Mint Lite | HCQ trial restarts again, TikTok goes offline in India & other news

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After multiple conflicting reports about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in treating covid-19, a global trial designed to test whether the anti-malarial drugs are can prevent infection is to restart. British regulators have approved restarting the trial led by Oxford University’s Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok. The trial is likely to cover 40,000 healthcare workers worldwide. In India, many states have prescribed hydroxychloroquine as a preventive for healthcare and ASHA workers handling covid screening. For the rest of the news, here’s Mint Lite.

TikTok India goes offline

A day after India banned 59 Chinese apps citing security concerns, TikTok stopped working in India to comply with government directives
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A day after India banned 59 Chinese apps citing security concerns, TikTok stopped working in India to comply with government directives

A day after India banned 59 Chinese apps citing security concerns, TikTok stopped working in India to comply with government directives. It had been delisted from app stores after the ban but continued to work for those who had downloaded it. Bytedance-owned TikTok said it has not shared Indian users’ information with “any foreign government", and would submit clarifications. The ban comes two weeks after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a face-off with the Chinese army in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control. China on Tuesday said it was “strongly concerned" by the ban. For TikTok, India accounts for 611 million downloads, or 30% of its total. It is facing a similar backlash in the US, where lawmakers are suspicious about Beijing’s access to consumer data. Meanwhile, human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said students of IITs and other institutes should take advantage of the ban and develop their own apps.

Hong Kong at UN Human Rights Council

The 44th session of UN Human Rights Council began on Tuesday
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The 44th session of UN Human Rights Council began on Tuesday

The 44th session of UN Human Rights Council began on Tuesday, the same day China’s parliament passed a security law for Hong Kong to punish protests and “acts of secession and terrorism", which critics say will curb democratic freedom in the business hub. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam addressed the session via video, saying the law was needed as the city “has been traumatized by escalating violence fanned by external forces". Some view Lam’s statement as China’s bid to shape a debate at the 47-member forum. The UN high commissioner for human rights set out a report detailing rights violations in Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has led to the death of 27,000 people. A few days ago, UNHCR experts demanded the release of 11 people jailed for taking part in protests against India’s citizenship amendment act, saying the arrests seemed “designed to send a chilling message... that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated".

No focus on heart attack

No focus on heart attack
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No focus on heart attack

The number of patients seeking emergency hospital care for heart attacks has dropped by more than 50% during the covid-19 outbreak, according to a worldwide survey by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). That’s not good news because it’s the fear of going to hospital, and possibly contracting the coronavirus, that’s behind the drop. This suggests that many lives are being lost without timely help. Cardiovascular disease remains the biggest primary cause of death across the world, claiming more than 17 million lives every year. Many healthcare professionals also noted that serious heart attack, ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), patients who did go to hospital arrived later than usual (see chart), often beyond the window for medical intervention.

Tamil Nadu overtakes Delhi in cases

Tamil Nadu has extended its lockdown till 31 July.
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Tamil Nadu has extended its lockdown till 31 July.

Tamil Nadu has recorded nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, and has overtaken Delhi to become the state with the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country. TN has extended its lockdown till 31 July. With 18,522 people testing positive for coronavirus in a single day, India’s covid-19 tally climbed to 5.67 lakh on Tuesday, while the death toll rose to 16,893, according to the Union Health Ministry. The recovery rate stands at 59%. This is the seventh consecutive day that infections have increased by more than 15,000. In terms of progress in vaccine development, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, has got approval to start human clinical trials from the Drug Control General of India. It’s the first domestic vaccine candidate to get the green light. Covaxin, developed in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, will be clinically tested across the country in July.

Koalas may be extinct by 2050

Koalas may be extinct in Australia’s New South Wales by 2050 unless the government protects their habitat
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Koalas may be extinct in Australia’s New South Wales by 2050 unless the government protects their habitat

Koalas may be extinct in Australia’s New South Wales by 2050 unless the government protects their habitat, a year-long parliamentary inquiry has found. Clearing of land for agriculture, urban development, mining and forestry has led to fragmentation and loss of habitat. The 2019-20 bushfires compounded the problem by destroying about a quarter of koala habitat. Koalas injured in the bushfires are still being nursed back to health. The report makes 42 recommendations, including prioritizing protection of koalas in urban planning and increasing conservation funding. Meanwhile, a group of Australian and international palaeontologists have analysed 25-million-year-old fossil remains found in central Australia, known as Mukupirna. They found that Mukupirna is closely related to wombats, but has several unique features that reveal it to be the only known member of a new family of marsupials previously unknown to science.

Curated by Shalini Umachandran. Have something to share with us? Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com or tweet to @shalinimb


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