Vardhan Cautions against Virus Spread ahead of Festivals, Winter; Ministry Issues Guidelines to Manage Co-infections

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday cautioned people to be more careful and take the necessary precautions against coronavirus ahead of the festive season, saying the respiratory virus could show its effect more rapidly during the winters.

He said social distancing, wearing masks and repeatedly washing hands are crucial to prevent spread of the virus. Vardhan said if the necessary precautions are taken by people, then the chain of transmission of the virus will break.

“The next 2-3 months will have festivals and coincide with the winter season. As you are aware, the…respiratory virus could show its effect more rapidly during the winter,” he said. Vardhan, who is also the Science and Technology minister in addition to being the country’s health minister, was addressing the directors of the institutes under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

He said if people act carelessly and forget about precautions while celebrating festivals, then COVID-related problems can aggravate. If we want to win the war against COVID-19, then precautions are very important, he said.

Vardhan also said preparations are underway to make the coronavirus vaccine available to people when it is ready. He also complimented the corona warriors for their work during the ongoing pandemic. He said at the start of the pandemic, the number of tests done in the country was small but the testing capacity has been ramped up significantly. Similarly, equipment like the PPE had to be imported, but currently the country has the capacity to manufacture 10 lakh kits every day.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry issued guidelines for the management of co-infection of COVID-19 with other seasonal epidemic-prone diseases such as dengue, malaria, seasonal influenza (H1N1) and chikungunya. The ministry said that a high index of suspicion must be maintained for epidemic-prone diseases prevalent in a particular geographic region during

Can temperature scanning slow COVID-19 spread? Airports are the testing ground for new tech

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A camera in the security lines at Dallas Love Field is scanning every passerby for elevated temperatures, in a test by the airport and Southwest Airlines to find out if it can detect sick people before they board flights.

In the back hallways, employees are getting temperature checks at kiosks before they start work each day, trying to keep sick employees out of the airport, too.

As airlines, companies and governments scramble to reopen a battered economy facing the eighth month of a worldwide pandemic, airports are now the frontline for evolving thermal imaging technologies designed to pick out infected travelers before they can spread COVID-19 further.

Temperature scanning device makers such as Dallas-based Wello Inc. and Beaumont’s Infared Cameras Inc. have suddenly been inundated with requests for their technology. Even small restaurants, hotels and schools are asking about it.

“It’s not just convention centers and airlines,” said Gary Strahan, CEO of Infrared Cameras Inc. “It’s impacting so many different places. We have to do something.”

Thermal cameras and other technologies that can pick out COVID-19 cases are a Holy Grail for an airline industry that has lost 70% of its business and is facing another quarter of multibillion-dollar losses, along with any other business or institution trying to keep people safe.

Airlines are trying hard to find ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and assure governments that travelers aren’t bringing the disease with them.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines will let passengers bound for Hawaii take rapid COVID-19 tests at DFW International Airport. The airline is also working on a similar program for travelers to Europe and Latin America.

States such as New York require two-week quarantines for travelers from most other states, as do Hawaii, Connecticut and New Jersey. Hawaii is lifting its quarantine requirement Oct. 15 for

Can thermal cameras slow COVID-19 spread? Airports are the testing ground for new tech

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A camera in the security lines at Dallas Love Field is scanning every passerby for elevated temperatures, in a test by the airport and Southwest Airlines to find out if it can detect sick people before they board flights.

In the back hallways, employees are getting temperature checks at kiosks before they start work each day, trying to keep sick employees out of the airport, too.

As airlines, companies and governments scramble to reopen a battered economy facing the eighth month of a worldwide pandemic, airports are now the frontline for evolving thermal imaging technologies designed to pick out infected travelers before they can spread COVID-19 further.

Thermal camera makers such as Dallas-based Wello Inc. and Beaumont’s Infared Cameras Inc. have suddenly been inundated with requests for their technology. Even small restaurants, hotels and schools are asking about it.

“It’s not just convention centers and airlines,” said Gary Strahan, CEO of Infrared Cameras Inc. “It’s impacting so many different places. We have to do something.”

Thermal cameras that can pick out COVID-19 cases are a Holy Grail for an airline industry that has lost 70% of its business and is facing another quarter of multibillion-dollar losses, along with any other business or institution trying to keep people safe.

Airlines are trying hard to find ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and assure governments that travelers aren’t bringing the disease with them.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines will let passengers bound for Hawaii take rapid COVID-19 tests at DFW International Airport. The airline is also working on a similar program for travelers to Europe and Latin America.

States such as New York require two-week quarantines for travelers from most other states, as do Hawaii, Connecticut and New Jersey. Hawaii is lifting its quarantine requirement Oct. 15 for travelers who test negative

This new cooling technology also prevents viral spread

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In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air-conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.

“Air conditioners look like they’re bringing in air from the outside because they go through the window, but it is 100 percent recirculated air,” said Forrest Meggers, an assistant professor of architecture at Princeton University. “If you had a system that could cool without being focused solely on cooling air, then you could actually open your windows.”

Meggers and an international team of researchers have developed a safer way for people to beat the heat — a highly efficient cooling system that doesn’t move air around.

Scientists lined door-sized panels with tiny tubes that circulate cold water. Stand next to a panel, and you can feel it drawing heat away from your body. Unlike air conditioners, these panels can be used with the window open — or even outdoors — making it possible to cool off while also getting some fresh air. This reduces the risk of spreading airborne viruses, such as the coronavirus.

“If you look at what the health authorities and governments are saying, the safest place to be during this pandemic is outside,” said Adam Rysanek, an assistant professor of environmental systems at the University of British Columbia who was part of the research effort. “We’re trying to find a way to keep you cool in a heat wave with the windows wide open, because the air is fresh. It’s just that it’s hot.”

Cooling panels have been around for a while, but in limited use, because scientists haven’t found a good way to deal with condensation.

Toothless dino’s lost digits point to spread of parrot-like species — ScienceDaily

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A newly discovered species of toothless, two-fingered dinosaur has shed light on how a group of parrot-like animals thrived more than 68 million years ago.

The unusual species had one less finger on each forearm than its close relatives, suggesting an adaptability which enabled the animals to spread during the Late Cretaceous Period, researchers say.

Multiple complete skeletons of the new species were unearthed in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia by a University of Edinburgh-led team.

Named Oksoko avarsan, the feathered, omnivorous creatures grew to around two metres long and had only two functional digits on each forearm. The animals had a large, toothless beak similar to the type seen in species of parrot today.

The remarkably well-preserved fossils provided the first evidence of digit loss in the three-fingered family of dinosaurs known as oviraptors.

The discovery that they could evolve forelimb adaptations suggests the group could alter their diets and lifestyles, and enabled them to diversify and multiply, the team says.

Researchers studied the reduction in size, and eventual loss, of a third finger across the oviraptors’ evolutionary history. The group’s arms and hands changed drastically in tandem with migrations to new geographic areas — specifically to what is now North America and the Gobi Desert.

The team also discovered that Oksoko avarsan — like many other prehistoric species — were social as juveniles. The fossil remains of four young dinosaurs were preserved resting together.

The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, was funded by The Royal Society and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada. It also involved researchers from the University of Alberta and Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Canada, Hokkaido University in Japan, and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

Dr Gregory Funston, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who