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Wednesday, 13 May 2020 - Imphal Times

Edn. Minister launches E-video web portal to cater the needs of students during lockdown; Mobile application to be available soon

IT News

Imphal, May 13

An e-Video website to cater the needs of the students in the state amid the closure of school due to COVID-19, was launched by Education Minister Th. Radhesyam Singh today. The website providing E-video classes can be visited at lairik.net or laireek.net. The dedicated website solely for students studying from class 1 to 12 have video classes by teachers for each subject, making self-learning a breeze for both the students and the parents. Syllabus of the videos is based on Board of Secondary Education Manipur and Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur.

Speaking on the occasion of the launching of the website Education Minister Th.Radhesyam said, “The website is in a very infant stage and there may be errors, spelling mistakes, deficiencies in content etc and appealed the people for suggestion and healthy criticism. Radheshyam lauded the efforts put up by all the stakeholders like Teachers, curators, Non-teaching staff of Education(S), Samagra Shiksha, ZEOs, AI who are the Nodal Officers for each teams, Director and Additional Directors of Schools, Commissioner Education(S), Videography team and the website designer. Mobile applications for Android platform will be available on Google Play store within 5 days and for iOS platform, the app will be available within 1 month, the Education Minister said. He said that recently a meeting was also held with the representatives of educational institutions of the state to deliberate and discuss on the impact of COVID-19 and the adverse effect of lockdown in the education sector. He stressed that the best system must be provided for better quality education irrespective of the governing bodies of the educational institutions at this unprecedented time of challenge.

The website on completion will feature contents above 2000 hours of e-videos content. All classes for all the subjects are available in two languages viz Manipuri and English. The website will supplement areas of teaching and learning where teachers are wanting or students are slow learners. This website is the first of its kind in the state of Manipur. As of now 85 video classes of class 3-12 are available and will be updated regularly.

The launching program  was attended by the Commissioner, Education (S) T. Ranjit Singh, Director, Education (S) Th. Kirankumar, Additional Director, Education (S) Hills, Lerte Hmangte Kom, Additional Director, Education (S) Valley,  Ch Sachi Devi and concerned officials of the department and the website designer Xtreme Waves.

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Stranded state natives arrived at Jiribam

IT News

Jiribam, May 13

Manipuris numbering 1140 who were stranded in different parts of the country arrived today at Jiribam railway station at around 11.30am. The Manipur natives were left stranded after lockdown was imposed across the country as a preventive measure against the spread of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The special train carrying the natives left Chennai on Sunday the 10th of this month for Jiribam. The returning natives left for Imphal by buses arranged by the state government after going through the mandatory medical screening on arrival. They will be screened once again upon arrival at Imphal and then put up at respective community or institutional quarantine centres for the mandatory 14 days accordingly. 

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Manipur Health dept. issues strict SOPs for quarantine centres in the state

IT News
Imphal, May 13

Health Department Additional Director Sasheekumar released a statement to the press today stating that the Government has issued various Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) for quarantining of returning stranded persons. Those persons arriving by train will be screened by the medical team of Jiribam district. Any passenger found symptomatic would be immediately separated for further examination, testing, and treatment. All asymptomatic passengers will board the buses arranged by the state Government and proceed to their Home district. Each DC will arrange for screening of all arriving passengers by Medical team at a designated district Screening centre. All asymptomatic passengers will be taken to the Community quarantine centres. DC can also utilize the institutional quarantine centres as required. Symptomatic passenger, if any, would be immediately separated and taken to Hospital isolation ward. As per cabinet decision on date 6 May all arrangements for boarding and lodging facilities in community quarantine centres will be made by the community through local clubs , village authorities with the involvement of MLAs concerned and DC. The state Government will bear Rs 200 per head per day towards food for returnees accommodated in community quarantine centres. The DCs through local clubs may organize food for the inmates. The DC and CMO shall designate a 24 x 7 district control room where doctors and staffs shall be on roster duty. Stranded persons returning to Manipur by road are sent to the district screening centre after medical screening at Mao gate and Jiribam gate. He also further expressed that the quarantine norms are for 14 days and must to followed and ensured that distance of at least 1 meter between two persons is always maintained. In all quarantine centres (community, institutional) strict access control must be enforced and only authorized personnel should enter. Meeting or inter mingling with families or others should be completely banned. Signboards or placards should be placed at the gate of quarantine centres stating that entry is banned for the safety of entire community and families and must be strictly enforced by all.

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If Manipuris face Racial Discrimination, Migrants Should Leave - JCILPS

IT News

Imphal, May 13

JCILPS, in a statement released today, stated that the coming of migrants in the state must be stopped immediately and those who are in the state with expired ILP must be sent back. K Y. Dhiren, convenor of JCILPS, states “it is unfortunate that despite many restrictions and inner line permit system, many migrants are still finding their way to Manipur.” He further said that given that Manipur is a green zone and essentials items are distributed to all, the migrants are coming to Manipur.  Moreover, they are not facing racial discrimination and are not treated badly as Manipuris are treated in other places of India during this pandemic, it added.

The statement further mentioned that Manipuris living outside the state are facing racial discrimination and many being deprived of safety and shelter are now willing to come back to Manipur by any necessary means and the government is helping them. While praising the government for erecting fences along Manipur-Myanmar border, it urges for more effort from the government on the migrants who are coming from the west of Manipur. 

It mentioned that on May 1, three workers from Cachar came to the state. While running away from the police one worker drowned in the river and died.  Since there is lack of employment opportunities in their respective places, many would come to Manipur. Therefore, their entry to Manipur needs to be halted. 

JCILPS further appeals that the government should make arrangements as soon as possible for those migrants who are already in Manipur and whose Inner Line Permit is already expired to leave the state.

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Preparing for the shifting battle line

The litmus test of preparedness, as the state government has been claiming for a while, will begin tomorrow, and with it the mindfulness and regard for the strict public protocol laid down by the authorities as per the recommendations of experts and the WHO. The large number of returnees is bound to create confusion and chaos, and the state government can brace itself for a string of reports of mismanaged, uncoordinated and disorderly functioning of the quarantine centres being prepared all over the state, hopefully only for the first few days.
For a population of more than 135 crores (UN World Population Prospects 2019) the recent claim of the Prime Minister of India of having the capacity to produce 2 lakh PPEs daily at present sounds rather like an afterthought and a feeble attempt of an excuse. The dismal lack of quantity of tests being carried out across the country should have been addressed at the outset, or should be given utmost priority at least. The issue of migrant labourers and daily wage earners walking hundreds of kilometers to their native homes from the cities they helped build could have been avoided had there been a coordinated plan of action. India cannot afford to make any more mistakes, but if the past developments regarding the formation of plans and policies and their implementations are anything to go by, the future prospects are should be of utmost concern. However, the time to dwell on the past mistakes has gone, and we don’t have to luxury of time to undo them at our leisure.
In light of the apprehensions and tensions that is bound to rise in the following days and weeks in the state, the public needs to take things in their hands and discharge their responsibility to the letter. It would be stupid and rather impractical for everyone of us to wait for the state government to act and perform its duties. Political rewards and punishments should wait. From anxious observers of the pandemic from a relatively safe distance all these days, the battle line will be drawn right outside our doorsteps from tomorrow and what we do or how we behave socially will determine our own future as well as for our near and dear ones. Lockdown protocols and government directives are just that- guidelines enforced to form habits with time. Relaxation of lockdowns does not mean that the virus is taking a break and that we can revert back to our old habits and modes of social interactions. We need to embrace the fact that a vaccine for the present Covid-19 pandemic might take months or even years, or never at all as some experts grudgingly opined. Some experts also suggests continuing with the present social protocols of social distancing, sanitization of hands and wearing masks at public places for at least a year in view of the unpredictable and elusive nature of the virus.
Bottomline is, we need to keep our guard guards up and be mindful of our social responsibilities and behaviors at all times. This is our new way of life and we need to accept and embrace the fact. The sooner we change and adapt, the higher chance we have of overcoming the crisis. This time, the ball is in our court and how we play our next move is all that counts.

Food Animal Farming: High Risk for Biosecurity & Bio-containment

Understanding interactions between animals and humans is critical in preventing outbreaks of zoonotic disease. This is particularly important for avian influenza. Food animal production has been transformed since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Poultry and swine production have changed from small-scale methods to industrial-scale operations. There is substantial evidence of pathogen movement between and among these industrial facilities, release to the external environment and exposure to farm workers which challenges the assumption that modern poultry production is more bio secure and bio contained as compared with backyard or small holder operations in preventing introduction and release of pathogens. An analysis of data from Thai government investigation in 2004 indicates that the odds of H5N1 outbreaks and infections were significantly higher in large-scale commercial poultry operations as compared with backyard flocks. These data suggest that successful strategies to prevent or mitigate the emergence of pandemic avian influenza must consider risk factors specific to modern industrialized food animal production.
The emergence and spread of avian influenza viruses are complex and incompletely understood. While preparation for pandemic disease is a critically important public health task, understanding risk factors for disease transmission at the animal –human interface may identify opportunities for disease prevention and outbreak containment. Since 1918, much has changed in the relationship between human populations and domesticated food animals, including poultry and swine. It is often assumed that modern method of intensive food animal production provide increased biosecurity and bio containment and thus reduced risks for transfer of zoonotic disease to humans but these assumptions need to be critically examined. Over the past 70 years, food animal production in much of the world has been transformed from traditional small-scale methods and entrepreneurial organization to industrial-scale operations and vertically integrated management in which most if not all aspects of production( breeding, supply of young animals, feeds, animal husbandry) are controlled by a single entity. Both of these characteristics are relevant to understanding the current nature of the animal-human interface. Industrial or large scale food animal production (IFAP) involves high throughput animal husbandry in which thousands of animals of one breed and for one purpose (i.e. pigs, layer hens, broiler chickens, ducks, turkeys, beef or dairy cattle, tin fish or crustacean) are raised with short-generation intervals at single conditions, often in confined housing with defined feeds replacing access to forage crops. These method for facilitate the uniform and reliable production of consumer products through streamlined organizational and production structure, improvement in breeding and animal husbandry increased veterinary oversight and specially formulated diets, including the addition of antibiotics to promote feed conversion efficiency and growth rates.
These new modes of poultry and swine production have changed the nature of animal-human interface in both agriculture and the surrounding environment with important implications for zoonotic disease and biosecurity more generally. Biosecurity is defined as any practice or system that prevents the spread of infectious agents from infected to susceptible animals or prevents the introduction of infected animals into a herd, region or country in which the infection has not yet occurred. The high throughput and confinement of highly concentrated animal populations increases the intensity of microbial exposure for farmers, their families, farm workers, veterinarians and others in contact with these operations. Scientists, including those from the University of Sheffield in the UK, said overuse of antibiotics, high animal numbers and low genetic diversity caused by intensive farming techniques increase the likelihood of these pathogens becoming a major public health risk.  According to a study, intensive farming techniques have led to a common antibiotic-resistant pathogen to become capable of infecting both cattle and human which suggests the need to check agriculture practices for such outbreaks. Scientists from the University of Sheffield, UK investigated the evolution of Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterium carried by chickens and cattle and a leading cause of food poisoning. Based on their finding, the bacterium is able to infect more than one species because of its ability to transfer genes and adapt quickly to new host environments.
These bacteria are often resistant to antibiotics, due to use of drugs in farming and can be transferred to people when they eat undercooked meat and poultry. When they assessed the genetic evolution of the pathogen, the researchers found that cattle-specific strains of the bacterium emerged at the same time as a dramatic rise in cattle numbers in the 20th century. The Scientists suggests that changes in cattle diet, anatomy and physiology triggered the transferred of genes between general and cattle-specific strains of pathogen. They noted that this helped the bacterium to cross the species barrier and infect humans, triggering a major public health problem. Human pathogens carried in animals are an increasing threat and the findings highlight how their adaptability can allow them to switch hosts and exploit intensive farming practices. Human activities have had profound effect on the Earth’s ecosystem and biodiversity, particularly among livestock species, such as cattle. Escalating livestock numbers and global trade have been linked with the emergence of zoonotic diseases that pose a significant threat to both animal and human health, with the current COVID-19 pandemic being the most dramatic  and serious example to date. There are an estimated 1.5 billion cattle on Earth, each producing 30kgs of manure each day. If roughly 20% of these are carrying Campylobacter that amounts to a huge potential public health. The finding is a wake-up call to be more responsible about farming methods. So we can reduce the risk of outbreaks of problematic pathogens in the future. Combine this with the increased movement of animals globally, intensive farming practices have provided the perfect environment in which to spread globally through trade networks. Over the past few decades, there have been several viruses and pathogenic bacteria that have switched species from wild animals to human: HIV started in monkeys; H5N1 came from birds; now Covid-19 is suspected to have come from bats. The finding shows that environmental change and increased contact with farm animals has caused bacterial infections to cross over to humans too.

NIV’s kits to replace defective Chinese rapid test kits for COVID-19

IT News
Mumbai, May 13,

The National Institute of Virology, Pune (Maharashtra) has successfully developed the first indigenous ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test kit for the antibody detection of the novel coronavirus, with a capacity to test 90 samples together in a single run of 2.5 hours.
The ELISA test is similar to rapid antibody test since it looks for antibodies in the blood to ascertain if one has been infected with the coronavirus or not. The testing technique is used to detect antibodies in the blood of people who may have had coronavirus infection. This robust test will play a critical role in surveillance of proportion of population exposed to “SARSCoV2” infection.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with “Zydus Cadila Pharmaceutical Company” for the mass-scale production of these ELISA test kits. Due to the accuracy of the kit, healthcare professionals can proceed quickly with necessary steps on their patients’ triage paths, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a  tweet.
These kits will be used to launch study of community transmission. ELISA based testing is easily possible even at district level. The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) has already granted permission for commercial production and marketing of these kits to “Zydus”.
The kit developed by NIV, was recently validated at two sites in Mumbai. Developed in a month’s time, the testing kit would help to study the presence of “anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG” antibodies in the Indian population. It is cost-effective, sensitive, rapid, and a large number of samples can be tested at any level of clinical setting, public health centres and hospitals.
At present, most of the diagnostic material for COVID-19 is imported into India, from other countries. India’s first attempt with rapid antibody test kits was not pleasant with the faulty test kits been imported from China’s “Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech” and “Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics”. Huge variations in the accuracy....from 6 per cent to 71 per cent, of the test results were found, as compared  to results of the  real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests done on the same positive samples. RT-PCR test can be run in a singleplex format (three individual assays) or multiplexed into a single reaction and amplification set up.
It may be recalled due to defective Chinese test kits, the ICMR had to recently cancel orders for about half a million Covid-19 rapid antibody test kits, which were imported from China.  Many states including Rajasthan and Maharashtra had complained about the inaccuracy of the Chinese test kits.

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Villagers of hills and plain shares essential items

IT News
Imphal, May 13

Villagers of Keikao, Tamenlong District and Moidangpok in Imphal West district exchanged vegetables and other essential items to meet the needs of the villagers during difficult times.
Due to the ongoing lockdown being taken up as a preventive measure from dreaded pandemic COVID-19 and imposition of restrictions to the movement of general public, there is shortage of essential items and vegetables in both the hills and valley of the state. At such difficult times, sharing of resources between that people of Hills and plains of Manipur will ease the pain of such difficult times. With such thought Villagers of Keikao, Tamenlong District and Moidangpok under the banner of Social Development Association (SDA), Moidangpok Aheibam Leikai, Recent Youth Club (RYC), Moidangpok Maning Leikai along with Meirapibis exchanged vegetables and other essential items.
In an affectionate gesture, representatives of the Keikao Village, Tamenlong District Manipur handed over various vegetables and fruits from the hills to the villagers of Moidangpok. “We have brought the well wishes of Keikao village. We wish that Moidangpok village lead a health and disease free life.” stated Z. Kamei, Chairman, Keikao Village Authority.
A. Pakpi Devi, President, Meira Paibi, Maoidangpok Maning Leikai appreciated the effort made by the Keikao villagers to collect the vegetables and fruits. She stated that such generous actions will lead to a stronger bonding between the people of hills and plains.
A. Ananda Singh highlighted the importance to follow the guidelines of the government to beat the spread of the pandemic. He further stated that we need to be extra cautious considering the fact that the rate of spread of this disease and death due to the pandemic even in many developed countries are alarming.
“Animals attack the weak where as a civilized human will help the weak so that we all march with the same foot step. The donation of vegetables and fruits by villagers of Keikao Village is a sign of their high ethics and brotherly thinking towards the villagers of Moidangpok.” stated Dr. A. Dinamani Singh,  Joint Secretary, Social Development Association. He further wished that villagers of both the villagers stay healthy and interact more in future.
Personal disinfection chamber jointly developed by NIT, Manipur, ATL Sunshine Academy Moidangpok, IKBA Moidangpok with technical input of S. Surjit Singh was deployed at the venue of the simple function. Apart from these, the volunteers of SDA and RYC along with representatives of Meira Paibi handed over rice and vegetables to two persons of Moidangpok who are not able to work because of recent road accidents.

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