Current Affairs in Short: 26 May 2020
The World Health Organization has decided to temporarily suspend the clinical trial of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on COVID-19 patients.
WHO suspends clinical trial of Hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients
• The World Health Organization has decided to temporarily suspend the clinical trial of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on COVID-19 patients. The announcement was made by WHO Director General Tedros Adnom Ghebreyesus on May 25, 2020.
• The decision follows an observational study published in the Lancet Medical Journal regarding the Hydroxychloroquine drug and its effect on hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The authors of the estimated higher mortality rate among coronavirus patients when the drug is used alone or with a macrolide.
• WHO had earlier initiated a Solidarity Trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and their combinations against COVID-19. One among the four drugs was Hydroxychloroquine.
• The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, which represents the 10 participating countries, met earlier this week and has agreed to review all the evidence available globally regarding the potential benefits and negative effects of the drug.
• The other parts of the Solidarity trial will continue. WHO Director General reiterated that the concern is only related to the use of Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine on COVID-19 patients, as these drugs are generally accepted as safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.
Japan completely lifts nationwide emergency
• Japan has completely lifted its nationwide emergency that was imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 25, 2020.
• Following the announcement, the nationwide emergency will be lifted in the remaining five prefectures including Japan’s capital, Tokyo.
• The Japanese PM, however, warned that the state of emergency can be re-imposed if the infection starts spreading rapidly again. He further added that an expert commission, established by the Japanese government earlier, will soon present guidelines for clubs, bars and karaoke spots, where several COVID-19 clusters originated.
• Japan had declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six neighbouring prefectures in early April and later expanded it to cover the entire country to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Centre extends validity period of approval, classification of hotels till June 30
• The central government has extended the validity period of approval and classification of hotels and accommodation units till June 30, 2020. The decision brings major relief to the tourism industry.
• The Ministry of Tourism classifies hotels under the star rating system, as per which, hotels and accommodation units are given various ratings ranging from one to five stars.
• The government has now decided that the validity of approval or certifications of hotels and other accommodation units, whose project approvals and classification status have expired or are due to expire between March 24 and June 29, will be extended till June 30.
• The tourism ministry has also allowed a six-month extension to the approvals granted to all categories of tour operators, travel agents and tourist transport operators.
Sri Lanka suspends proposal for new international cricket ground
• Sri Lankan Government has decided to suspend the proposal for the new international cricket ground, which was supposed to come up near Colombo.
• The decision was taken during a meeting convened by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 21, 2020 involving the Sri Lanka cricket officials, former players and administrators.
• The proposed stadium was expected to be the biggest with a seating capacity of around 40,000 in the first stage with the scope of further expansion. The project invited criticism with questions raised on whether it was the right project to invest in in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis.
No confirmation on resumption on Delhi Metro services: Delhi Transport Minister
• The Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot shared on May 26, 2020 that there is no confirmation yet on the resumption of Delhi Metro Rail services.
• He stated that the Delhi Metro would require minimum two days of time to resume its services whenever such a direction will come.
• The Delhi Government is looking to restart metro services soon in the national capital.