Mint Lite | New covid-19 drug gets DGCI nod, oil prices hike, other news to know

Mint Lite is a quick update to bring you up to speed on all the news you need to know—and some things that are just fun to know—in five minutes before you start your day

Shalini Umachandran
Updated21 Jun 2020
Prices of petrol and diesel rose for the 15th consecutive day on Sunday
Prices of petrol and diesel rose for the 15th consecutive day on Sunday

Prices of petrol and diesel rose for the 15th consecutive day on Sunday. After 82 days of keeping prices stable during the lockdown, oil marketing companies began raising rates on 7 June. Petrol prices are now at a two-year high with the cumulative increase crossing 8.8 on Sunday. Diesel prices have risen 7.9 in 15 days. To catch up on the rest of the news in five minutes before you start your day, here’s Mint Lite.

New covid-19 drug on shelves

A new medicine to treat covid-19 patients is in the market after the Drugs Controller of India granted approval to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals for favipiravir, an antiviral drug

A new medicine to treat covid-19 patients is in the market after the Drugs Controller of India granted approval to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals for favipiravir, an antiviral drug. It’s a prescription drug, and is priced at 103 a tablet. Doctors say the drug is “promising”, though—as with all coronavirus medication—there isn’t substantial evidence on its efficacy yet. Glenmark said favipiravir has shown clinical improvement of up to 88% in mild to moderate covid-19 cases by reducing the viral load in four days. In China, researchers have started a second phase human trial of a possible coronavirus vaccine, its Institute of Medical Biology at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences said. The trial will evaluate whether the vaccine can safely trigger immune responses in healthy people. About a dozen vaccines are in different stages of human tests globally, but none have passed large-scale, late-stage phase 3 clinical trials, necessary to get regulatory approval for sale.

Dengue adds to covid crisis

Indonesia, already fighting covid-19, is now facing an outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Indonesia, already fighting covid-19, is now facing an outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever. From January to June, 64,251 dengue haemorrhagic fever cases were reported with 385 deaths, its health ministry said. Singapore has reported a spike in dengue cases, and may have its largest outbreak ever this year. Malaysia isn’t far behind as the rainy season has set in. In India too, dengue is a cause of concern, especially with the monsoon arriving. Kerala has reported a rise in dengue cases, even as it battles a sudden surge in covid-19 infections. The pandemic has taken focus away from vector-borne diseases, and much of the prevention work has not happened. Nashik and Hyderabad have issued advisories. A Lancet study in March warned that dengue and covid-19 are difficult to distinguish because of their “shared clinical and laboratory features”. It emphasized the possibility of missing a covid-19 case because of a positive dengue test result.

80 million displaced in 10 years

Number of forcibly displaced people worldwide by year

Nearly 80 million people worldwide, or 1% of the world’s population, were uprooted at the end of 2019 after fleeing wars or persecution. That’s close to double the number recorded a decade ago in 2010 (see chart). UNHCR, which observed World Refugee Day this past weekend, released its new Global Trends report, which shows that 79.5 million people were displaced at the end of 2019, about nine million from a year earlier. More than 40% of these are children, and a majority of the displaced people are from Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. Some of the crises triggering the exodus include conflict in Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine, persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar, the economic crisis in Venezuela, and security concerns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia opens up

The kingdom has recorded more than 1.54 lakh confirmed coronavirus cases, and over 1,500 deaths in the last three months, and the numbers continue to rise

Saudi Arabia lifted all restrictions on movement and resumed all commercial activities from Sunday even as coronavirus cases show no signs of easing. The curfew was lifted across the country from 6am local time, but international travel and the Umrah pilgrimage remained suspended. It has not yet made any announcement regarding the annual Hajj, scheduled to begin in July. The kingdom has recorded more than 1.54 lakh confirmed coronavirus cases, and over 1,500 deaths in the last three months, and the numbers continue to rise. Meanwhile, the oil-rich country has launched a $4 billion fund to develop its tourism industry in a bid to diversify its economy, reduce reliance on oil, and attract more foreign visitors. It expects the tourism industry to contribute more than 10% of its annual GDP and create more than one million jobs by 2030.

F1 champ drives diversity

Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton

Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has launched a research project, The Hamilton Commission, to improve diversity in motorsports. The first and only black motorsports champion, Hamilton has been speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the past too, he has criticized F1 of lacking diversity. In a column in UK’s Sunday Times, Hamilton wrote about the racism he had faced throughout his career in a highly exclusive, male, white-dominated sport. He is working with Royal Academy of Engineering to explore how motorsports can engage more young people from black backgrounds with science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects. Last year, F1 said it would start monitoring diversity in racing to include more women and people from under-represented backgrounds but its six-page document still has no details on targets or how the policies will be implemented or enforced.





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