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Mitra the robot helps Covid patients in India speak to loved ones

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NEW DELHI: A hospital in India has deployed a customer-service robot to patrol its wards, connecting coronavirus patients to friends and relatives.

Mitra, meaning “friend” in Hindi, is best known for interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in 2017.

Its piercing eyes are equipped with facial recognition technology to help it recall people it has previously interacted with. A tablet attached to Mitra’s chest allows patients to see loved ones, as well as medical staff unable to access the wards.

“It takes a lot of time to recover, and during this time, when patients need their families the most, they are unable to visit,” said Dr Arun Lakhanpal, a doctor at the Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital in Noida Extension, a satellite city of the capital New Delhi.

Mitra is mainly used by patients who are not able to communicate using their phones.

“We mainly discuss my health,” said Makhanlal Qazi, a retired government bureaucrat and coronavirus patient who has used the robot to communicate with relatives. “I came here on Friday and now I have started feeling better. I am feeling very happy now.”

The robot, developed by Bengaluru-based start-up Invento Robotics, cost the hospital 1 million rupees ($13,600), according Yatharth Tyagi, director of the company that runs the hospital.

Mitra is also being used for remote consultations with specialists to reduce their risk of becoming infected, he added.

“Normally it is very difficult for a psychologist or a dietician to see a Covid patient,” Tyagi said, adding the robot is “very useful”.

India’s novel coronavirus cases surged past 5 million on Wednesday, only the second country in the world to cross the grim milestone after the United States. ($1 = 73.6800 Indian rupees)

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

PM Modi reviews Covid-19 situation with CMs, representatives of 7 states with high caseload

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reviewed the Covid-19 pandemic situation with chief ministers and other representatives of seven high-case-load states through video conference.

The virtual meeting, also attended by health ministers of these states, began in the evening.

These states are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab, officials said, noting that more than 63 per of the active cases in the country are concentrated in these seven states.

They also account for 65.5 per cent of the total confirmed cases and 77 per cent of the total deaths, a statement had said earlier.

Along with the other five states, Punjab and Delhi have reported an increase in the number of cases being reported recently, they said, adding that Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi are also reporting high mortality with more than two per cent case fatality rate (CFR).

Other than Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, the case positivity rate of these states has also been observed to be above the national average of 8.52 per cent.

The Centre, as per the statement, has been leading the fight against Covid-19 in effective collaboration and close coordination with the state and union territory governments.

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INDIA

Opposition parties request President Kovind not to give assent to contentious farm bills

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NEW DELHI: Opposition parties have requested President Ram Nath Kovind not to give his assent to the contentious farm bills, and conveyed to him that their passage in Rajya Sabha was “unconstitutional”, Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Wednesday.

The government should have consulted all parties, farmer leaders before bringing the farm bills, Azad said after meeting the President.

“The Constitution was undermined …We have given a representation to President that the farm bills have been passed unconstitutionally and he should return these bills,” Azad said.

The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, have been passed by both Houses and await presidential assent.

There was a ruckus during the passage of two of the three farm bills in Rajya Sabha on Sunday following which eight Opposition MPs were suspended.

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INDIA

10 states, UTs reporting 74 per cent of new Covid-19 cases, 83 per cent of deaths

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NEW DELHI: At least 10 states including Union Territories (UTs) are reporting 74 per cent of newer confirmed Covid-19 cases and 83 per cent of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to coronavirus infection, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

“A total of 83,347 new cases (active cases) have been reported in the last 24 hours in the country. About 74 per cent of the new confirmed cases are concentrated in 10 states/UTs,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, in the last 24 hours, Maharashtra has alone contributed to about 18,390 new cases, while Andhra Pradesh has reported at least 7,553 cases. Karnataka has contributed to 6,974 cases, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed 5,650 cases, Tamil Nadu has reported 5,337 cases, Odisha is contributing to 4,189 cases, Kerala has seen 4,125 cases, while Delhi has reported 3,816 cases. West Bengal has witnessed about 3,182 cases and Chhattisgarh has reported 2,736 cases.

“About 1,085 deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours and 10 states/UTs account for 83 per cent of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to Covid. Maharashtra reported 392 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 83 and 77 deaths, respectively. West Bengal has reported 62 fatality, Tamil Nadu has witnessed 76 deaths, Andhra Pradesh has seen 51 mortality, Punjab has reported 66 deaths, Delhi has witnessed 37 fatality followed by Haryana which has registered 29 deaths while 28 people have succumbed in Chhattisgarh due to the virus in the last 24 hours,” the ministry said.

The Union Health Ministry also informed at least 14 states/UTs have demonstrated better Covid-19 response strategy with higher Tests Per Million (TPM) and commensurate lower positivity rate than the national average.

According to the official data, India’s national cumulative positivity rate is 8.52 per cent and the TPM stands at 48,028 on Wednesday.

India’s testing capacity has surged to more than 12 lakh daily tests. More than 6.6 crore total tests have been conducted across the country so far.

“Nearly 14 states/UTs have demonstrated better Covid response with higher Tests Per Million (TPM) and commensurate lower Positivity Rate than the national average. These include– Mizoram, Manipur, Daman and Diu and Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Sikkim, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir (UT), Odisha, Assam, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” the ministry said.

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