Current Affairs in Short: 4 June 2020
Air India will open its bookings on June 5 for 75 additional flights to destinations in US and Canada between June 9-30 under Vande Bharat Mission.
Health Ministry issues guidelines for safe Ear, Nose & Throat practice
• The Union Health Ministry has issued guidelines for safe Ear, Nose & Throat- ENT practice in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines aim to minimise infection risk among ENT doctors, nursing staff, support staff, patients and their attendants.
• As per the guidelines, all patients entering the ENT OPD shall be screened through a thermal scanner to minimize exposure to staff and patients. The patients having symptoms of COVID-19 whether ENT or Respiratory Symptoms will be seen in a separate COVID-19 screening Clinic and not in the regular ENT OPD.
• The guidelines state that the COVID-19 positive patients are to be operated only for emergency indications in designated COVID operation theatres. They also suggest avoiding performing endoscopy in routine OPD, adding that even if this has to be performed, it should be done preferably in a separate demarcated area with Level II PPE kit.
• The guidelines also advise prior teleconsultation to identify patients requiring physical examination in clinic.
Air India to open bookings on June 5 for 75 additional flights to destinations in US, Canada
• The Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri announced on June 3, 2020 that Air India will open its bookings on June 5 for 75 additional flights to destinations in US and Canada between June 9-30 under Vande Bharat Mission.
• The additional destinations include Chicago, New York, Washington, Newark, Toronto and Vancouver. The Civil Aviation Minister said that those who wish to travel to the US and Canada and fulfil the required entry conditions can book themselves on these outbound flights.
• Some of the foreign airlines have already carried out evacuation flights and are planning to operate more such flights. These flights will also take foreign nationals.
• The Aviation Minister added saying that the normal international civil aviation operations will only start when they can. Till then, the Vande Bharat Mission is facilitating both inbound and outbound international passengers.
World food price index hits 17-month low in May 2020: UN
• The United Nations food agency announced on June 4, 2020 that the world food prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in May 2020, hitting a 17-month low.
• The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index averaged 162.5 points in May, the lowest monthly reading since December 2018. The index measures monthly changes in the prices of cereals, dairy products, oilseeds, meat and sugar.
• The dairy price index also dropped by 7.3%, led by sharp falls in prices of butter and cheese, partly because of lower import demand.
• The cereal price index also fell by 1% as coarse grain prices continued to fall with US maize prices falling and wheat export prices falling, amid expectations of ample global supplies. However, international rice prices have edged higher during this period. Rice production reached an all-time high of 508.7 million tonnes in 2020, up by 1.6% from 2019.
• The meat index also slipped 0.8%, as poultry and pig meat prices continued to fall, reflecting high export availabilities and despite an increase in import demand in East Asia.
SC asks Delhi, UP and Haryana to hold meeting for common policy on inter-state movement
• The Supreme Court on June 4, 2020 directed the state governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to hold a meeting to consider a common policy for facilitating inter-state movement in the NCR region.
• The interstate movement in Delhi-NCR region has been restricted with borders being sealed off at short notices by the concerned states to contain coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal directed sealing of all Delhi borders for a period of one week. The restriction on inter-state movement has caused a lot of trouble to the inter-state commuters.
• The SC bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that these states should work to figure out a common programme and portal for inter-state movement within the National Capital Region. It also stated that there should be a consistent policy in this regard.
• The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and M R Shah, was hearing via video-conferencing a plea, filed through advocate Anindita Mitra, which raised the issue of alleged restriction on movement for permissible activities in the NCR owing to sealing of borders.
• The bench said a recommendation suggests that there should be one common pass for NCR which should be recognised in these states.
US suspends passenger flights from China from June 16
• The United States issued an order on June 3, 2020 seeking suspension of passenger flights from China starting from June 16, 2020. The move has been taken in retaliation to China's refusal to let US airlines resume flights to China. The order awaits final approval from US President Donald Trump.
• The US order will apply to four airlines - Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines - which continued to fly between the two countries during the pandemic, though at reduced levels.
• China had issued an order in March 2020 that had stated that domestic and foreign airlines could operate only one weekly flight between China and any given country. It also added that the airlines could not exceed the level of service they were offering on March 12.
• According to the US Department of Transportation, the March order had effectively banned US airlines, which had voluntarily suspended service between the two countries in February due to the coronavirus pandemic.