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NEW DELHI: All central government departments have been asked to ensure that official meetings begin with messages on Covid-19 precautions so as to sensitise officers and staff about the pandemic, according to a Personnel ministry order.

The government has issued several instructions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it said.

“In continuation, it has since been decided that all central government offices shall ensure that every meeting commences with messages on Covid-19 related precautions, so as to sensitise officers and staff about the pandemic,” said the order issued on Wednesday.

The messages may be focused on creating awareness relating to wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and strict adherence to Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it said.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Autopsy finds Covid patient’s lungs ‘hard as a leather ball’

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BENGALURU: The first autopsy of a Covid-19 patient in Karnataka has revealed presence of the virus in nasal and throat swab samples even 18 hours after death.

Dr Dinesh Rao of Oxford Medical College, who performed the autopsy, said the lungs of the 62-year-old patient were “hard as a leather ball”, with air sacks ruptured and clots in the blood vessels.

“Autopsy of Covid victims helps in understanding the disease progression,” said Rao, who heads the forensic medicine department. The procedure was completed in an hour and 10 minutes on October 10 and the last of the microscopic evidence came on Wednesday.

Rao took five swab samples from the cadaver’s nose, throat and mouth, lung surface, respiratory passages (trachea, bronchi) and skin on the face and neck. RTPCR tests showed the nose and throat samples were positive for coronavirus. “This means that a Covid patient’s body can be infectious. Most surprisingly, it was negative on the skin.”

The autopsy was conducted with the family’s consent. When the patient died, his family members were either in home isolation or quarantine and could not claim the body. “My findings are unique to the findings seen in autopsy reports from the US and Italy. This could mean the virus strains seen in India are different,” said Rao.

Rao plans to publish his findings in a peer-reviewed jour nal.

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INDIA

Centre warns Twitter on Leh map mess-up

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NEW DELHI: In a rebuke to global micro-blogging site Twitter, the government has warned the American company over its location setting that showed Leh in China. India said that any “disrespect” of the country’s sovereignty and integrity is “totally unacceptable”.

In a strongly worded letter dispatched on Wednesday, IT and electronics secretary Ajay Sawhney asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to respect the country’s sensitivities, this being the second run-in that government has had with the company in the recent past after it had sought an explanation in September after an account linked to PM Narendra Modi’s personal website was crashed into.

“…any attempt by Twitter to disrespect sovereignty and integrity of India, which is also reflected by maps, is totally unacceptable and also unlawful,” Sawhney is believed to have written in the letter. The incident had seen Twitter face flak from social media users after its geotagging feature displayed “Jammu & Kashmir, People’s Republic of China” in a live broadcast from Leh’s Hall of Fame, a war memorial.

This triggered angry responses from netizens who demanded that stringent action be initiated against the micro-blogging platform. Twitter, earlier this week, called it a technical issue, which has been resolved. Sawhney warned Twitter that any attempt to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of the country will not just bring disrepute to the micro-blogging site but also raises questions about its neutrality and fairness as an intermediary.

Conveying strong disapproval of the government over misrepresentation of the map of India, Sawhney in his letter reminded Twitter that Leh is the headquarters of the UT of Ladakh.

And that both Ladakh as well as Jammu & Kashmir are integral and inalienable parts of India, governed by the Constitution of India. When contacted, Twitter in an e-mail response said: “Twitter remains committed to working with the government of India. We respect the sensitivities involved and have duly acknowledged the letter.”

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INDIA

Mars losing its atmosphere to outer space at faster rate: Isro’s MOM study

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NEW DELHI: A study of data and images sent by Isro’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and Nasa’s Mars orbiter Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (Maven) has found that “Mars is losing its atmosphere to outer space at a faster rate”.

In fact, other terrestrial planets in the solar system are also constantly losing their atmospheres to outer space. The rate at which this loss happens is determined mainly by the size of a planet and temperature of its upper atmosphere”.

As Mars being a relatively smaller planet compared to Earth, it is losing atmosphere fast.

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Wednesday posted on its website these findings of scientists who had studied data and images sent by MOM and Maven about a global dust storm that enveloped the Red planet in June-July 2018. Such a global storm is one of the dynamical meteorological phenomena on Mars.

Isro had placed the Rs 450-crore MOM in the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014, after its launch on November 5, 2013. Though MOM was scheduled to last only for six months as per the space agency’s plan, it is still alive and sending images from time to time nearly seven years after its launch and since then has made several key findings about the Red planet.

An Isro statement said, “In the first week of June 2018, a global dust storm, also called a “planet-encircling dust event”, started growing on Mars and it had grown to its mature phase by the first week of July. Such a storm significantly heated and expanded the Martian upper atmosphere.

The heating and expansion of the global dust storm led to a part of Mars atmosphere quickly reaching the exobase altitude (which lies at 220 km). Any hot gases above the exobase altitude are more likely to move to further higher altitudes and subsequently escape to outer space.

Hence, from the results of the present study it can be inferred that the 2018 global dust storm resulted in enhanced escape of the Martian atmosphere.”

MOM observed the evening side of Mars by diving down to altitude as low as 155 km. The Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) instrument, a mass spectrometer onboard the Isro orbiter, measured the neutral densities of the Mars’ thermosphere (which lies between 100 and 200 km).

By analysing these measurements, scientists at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Gadanki, Andhra Pradesh, found that Mars upper atmosphere was undergoing warming and expansion. As the dust storm slowly engulfed Mars over a month period, scientists found that the neutral densities in the Mars thermosphere increased significantly. Such an increase was also confirmed by Nasa’s Maven mission, which was simultaneously measuring the Martian thermosphere on the morning side, the statement said.

Both the Isro and Nasa spacecraft observed a significant increase in neutral densities in the Martian upper thermosphere (150–220 km) associated with the development of a global dust storm in the lower atmosphere.

The study, whose scientific results have recently been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, shows the scientific potential of Isro’s MOM and the advantages of multi-spacecraft measurements in exploring planetary atmosphere.

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