Indian Express Explained 21st March, 2020

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1.Why Africa still has lesser cases of coronavirus

  • Like other parts of the world, coronavirus was introduced to Africa by travelers from other continents, notably Europe.
  • It is likely that cases are going undetected if local transmission of the virus has already begun.
  • While WHO’s regional chief Dr Matshidiso Moeti does not believe large numbers of infected people are going undetected, he acknowledged a shortage of testing kits. As many as 43 countries in Africa now have testing capability, up from two when the outbreak began.
  • Africa has to remain cautious and wait to see if the number of cases will explode, as is currently the case in Italy and other European countries. What we know so far is that the virus severely affects the elderly but Africa has a younger population than Europe.

2. Why there’s a question mark over NPR exercise after Odisha says put it off

  • Amidst curbs to check coronavirus, a big question mark hangs over the updation of the National Population Register (NPR), scheduled to begin on April 1. Sources said the exercise might be postponed, though a final decision has not been taken yet.
  • On Friday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging that the NPR updation be postponed.
  • He said: We are all at present fighting against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All efforts of the state machinery are directed towards containment of COVID-19.
  • The mobilisation for Census and other concerned activities shall pose a great risk for field functionaries and people as well
  • It is the state governments that provide manpower for the Census exercise, with school- teachers enlisted as enumerators. They go door to door and seek information on family members in each household.
  • Multiple states ruled by the Opposition, as well as several NDA allies, have said they would not cooperate with the NPR process due to apprehensions associated with the CAA and fears that it is a precursor to a National Register of Citizens.
  • West Bengal, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry Assemblies have passed resolutions against the NPR process.
  • While maintaining that no state can legally obstruct the Census process since it falls under the Central list and has statutory protection, the Modi government has been trying to reach out to states to allay anxieties.

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