Daily GK Update: 16th April 2020

‘Zoom Not Safe’: Govt Bans Officials From Using Video Meet App

  • The video meet app has also become a treasure trove for both ethical and not-ethical hackers who have zeroed in on the video conferencing app to find privacy and security bugs and make money.
  • Deeming it unsafe, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked government officials not to use Zoom video meet app for holding meetings. The software of the app is said to be made in China and it is believed that some calls are routed through the country.
  • The US-based Zoom app, according to the government, can be easily hacked and confidential data and material stolen. While the government officials have been asked not to use Zoom or any other third-party app, the Cyber Coordination (CyCord) Centre of MHA has issued a detailed advisory for private individuals who want to use the platform for private purposes.

Source: Outlook

National-level video conference on evolving Kharif sowing strategy next week

Coronavirus lockdown: Govt sets foodgrain production target at ...

  • The Centre on Thursday called a national-level video conference on April 16 for chalking out a strategy for sowing the rain-fed kharif crops, such as rice, and ensuring safety of farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The video conference assumes importance as quick and effective policy responses are required to be taken as farmers prepare for the kharif (summer) season during the time of lockdown.
  • Kharif sowing begins with the onset of the June-September south-west monsoon. “Kharif National Conference will be held on April 16, 2020, through video conferencing,” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in a statement.
  • A decision in this regard was taken after reviewing the relief measures taken for farmers with state agriculture ministers and senior officials through a video conference on Wednesday. Normally, about 106 million hectares are planted during the kharif crop season. While the onset of monsoon kick-starts sowing in June, which continues through mid-July, harvesting of crops begins by October.

Source: The Economic Times

Covid-19: 6,50,000 kits dispatched from China for India, to arrive later today

India gets 6,50,000 coronavirus testing kits from China; ramps up ...

  • A consignment of 5,50,000 antibody testing kits and 100,000 RNA extraction kits was dispatched by Chinese firms to India on Thursday morning for use in the country’s efforts to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19, people familiar with developments said.
  • The consignment includes part of the large orders placed by India for medical supplies and equipment with Chinese firms, the people said.
    The external affairs ministry has been playing a key role in coordinating the government’s efforts to acquire vital medical supplies from other countries, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

Source: Hindustan Times

South Korea election: Ruling party wins amid coronavirus outbreak

South Korea ruling party wins election with parliamentary majority ...

  • The party of South Korean President Moon Jae-in has won a decisive victory in parliamentary elections, with voters backing the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • South Korea was among the first countries to hold a national vote since the pandemic began.
  • Strict safety and social distancing measures were in place for the vote.
  • With nearly all votes counted, Mr Moon’s Democratic Party won 163 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly.
  • The party’s sister group, the Platform Party, was forecast to win a further 17 seats, giving the government a total of 180 seats.

Source: BBC News

DST creates Integrated geospatial platform to help area-specific strategies & decisions in COVID-19 outbreak

Integrated geospatial platform to help area-specific strategies ...

  • Department of Science and Technology of Government of India has created an Integrated Geospatial Platform out of available geospatial datasets, standards-based services, and analytic tools to help decision making during the current COVID-19 outbreak and aid devising area-specific strategies to handle the socio-economic impact in the recovery phase.
  • The platform is initially expected to strengthen the public health delivery system of the State and Central Governments and subsequently provide the necessary geospatial information support to citizens and agencies dealing with the challenges related to health, socio-economic distress, and livelihood challenges.
  • The mobile application SAHYOG, as well as the web portal(https://indiamaps.gov.in/soiapp/) prepared and managed by the Survey of India. It has been customized to collect COVID-19 specific geospatial datasets through community engagement to augment the response activities by Government of India to the pandemic. Information parameters required as per the Government of India strategy and containment plan for large outbreaks have been incorporated in the SAHYOG application.

Source: All India Radio 

170 districts classified as Hot spot districts, 207 as Non-hotspot districts where cases have been reported: Health Ministry

Coronavirus Latest: Death Toll In India Rises To 414, Over 1,480 ...

  • The number of COVID-19 positive cases stands at 11,439 as on date, while 1,306 people have recovered. A total of 377 people in the country have died because of the COVID-2019 infection; In the last 24 hours, 1,076 new cases have been reported. Thus, based on the available data as on date, 11.41% patients have recovered and this figure is on the rise. This was informed by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Luv Aggarwal, at the daily media briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19, held at National Media Centre, PIB New Delhi today.
  •  Shri Aggarwal informed that all districts of the country have been classified into three categories. 170 districts have been classified as hot spot districts, where i) either the number of cases is high or where ii) rate of growth of COVID-19 cases is high or in other words, the doubling time of cases is low.
  • The number of districts in the second category – districts which are not hot spots but where cases have been reported – is 207. The third category is green zone districts. Stating this, the Joint Secretary informed that besides the hot spots identified by the Centre, states who are fighting the battle at field level may declare additional districts as hot spot districts and take required action accordingly.

Source: Government of India

IPL 2020 suspended until further notice due to Covid-19, season will commence only when it is safe: BCCI

Official: IPL 2020 suspended by BCCI until further notice - Tamil ...

  • The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Thursday. This comes on the heels of extension of lockdown in the country.
  • The IPL 2020, which was scheduled to get underway on March 29, was initially suspended until April 15 after the country went on a 21-day lockdown in a bid to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
  • However, with the Covid-19 crisis intensifying across the globe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the lockdown will be extended till May 3.

Source: India Today

Spitting in public now an offence under Disaster Management Act: MHA

Spitting in public now an offence under Disaster Management Act ...

  • Spitting in public without caring two hoots for regulations may not be so easy now with the Union Home Ministry making the act a punishable offence under the strict Disaster Management Act in its revised guidelines for lockdown issued on Wednesday to contain COVID-19. The guidelines issued by the ministry also make wearing of face masks in public places mandatory.
  • Spitting in public is an offence under municipal laws in various cities, but it is hardly taken seriously by the people in the country.
  • The Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation has imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 if anyone is caught spitting in public. Similar measures are also in place in municipal corporations of Delhi, and several other states.

Source: The Economic Times

WHO welcomes joint efforts with India to fight COVID-19

WHO's polio surveillance team, other field staff join COVID19 fight

  • WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has welcomed the world health body’s cooperation with India to leverage strategies that helped the country win its war against polio into the response to COVID-19 outbreak, saying such joint efforts will help defeat the pandemic.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it will work with India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to leverage the strategies that helped the country eradicate polio to fight the pandemic.
  • The WHO’s national polio surveillance network will be engaged to strengthen COVID-19 surveillance and its field staff will continue to support immunization and elimination of tuberculosis and other diseases.

Source: The Times of India