9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 6, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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We know for a fact that learning without evaluation is a wasted effort. Therefore, we request you to please go through both our initiatives i.e 9PM Briefs and Factly, then evaluate yourself through the 10PM Current Affairs Quiz.

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Use of CT scan for testing  Covid is not Correct

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Synopsis: The available data and the risk factors suggest that the widespread use of CT scans in diagnosing infectious diseases needs to be sidelined.


  • There are mainly three reasons why tests in clinical medicine are performed.
    • Diagnosis: To identify the disease
    • Etiognosis: To identify the causative factor of the disease.
    • Prognosis: To find out the future development of a particular disease.
  • In this context, the use of computerised tomography (CT) scans for COVID does not satisfy all the above criteria, for an accurate diagnostic test.

Validation on the effectiveness of CT scan test for Covid

  • First, CT scans are not accurate enough to diagnose COVID-19. For instance, according to a study by The Cochrane, CT scan can accurately diagnose COVID-19 in about 88% of individuals with a positive RT-PCR.
    • Since an RT-PCR itself misses 30% of people who have COVID-19, a chest CT is likely to diagnose only 62% of all individuals having COVID-19. It makes it a relatively inaccurate test for diagnosis.
  • Second, CT scans are also not accurate enough to identify the causing factor of the disease (Etiognosis). For instance, according to a study by The Cochrane, radiologists have mislabelled 20% of those who did not have the disease as having COVID-19.
    • This has serious consequences on an individual’s health.
      • One, the real causative factor for the disease is left undetected.
      • Two, individuals are subjected to unwanted psychological stress.
  • Third, using a CT scan to identify the future course of the Covid disease is also unlikely. For instance,
    • A CT scan can only show the infection in the lungs at that particular point in time.
    • This suggests that a CT is unlikely to give a physician more information than a simple tool such as an oximeter.
  • Finally, the risks involved in getting a CT of the chest done are high.
    • According to a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine, in 2007, 4% of all cancers in the United States may be attributed to the radiation from CT studies.
    • Also, apart from the risk caused to individuals, there are risks to radiology technicians, staff, and doctors.
    • Further, Since CT scans are needed to be kept in closed air-conditioned spaces, there is a high risk of transmission of the virus at such centers.

Way forward

  • For diagnosis of Covid, RT-PCR tests, which have higher accuracy compared to CT scans, can be done.
  • Individuals should make an informed decision by evaluating the potential risks involved in getting the CT done.
  • Further, patients with two negative RT-PCR swabs tests need to be  evaluated for  the possibility of other lung diseases

Reason behind Covid Vaccine Shortage Crisis

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Synopsis: Lack of firefight and planning are the main reasons responsible for the current Covid vaccine shortage crisis. Some extra efforts are required from center to address the challenges.

What are the reasons for the current Covid crisis?

  • First, the delayed decision to make the vaccine available in the open market. Though now the government has allowed recently, the withdrawal of the price cap on vaccines can lead to a disparity among states to ensure universal vaccination for its citizens.
    • The Indian-made Covaxin, which was being distributed free, will now cost Rs 400 to the states and Rs 1,200 to private hospitals.
    • The financial position of many states is so weak that they can hardly buy two doses for every person at the rate of Rs 400 per vaccine.
    • Further, removal of price cap may lead to Exorbitant profiteering at the cost of people’s lives.
  • Second, inadequate availability of vaccines across the country due to lack of planning. This has delayed our fight against Covid pandemic. For example, Maharashtra has announced a stop to vaccinations for three days.
    • Further, no steps were taken to increase their availability. While other countries such as the US and EU advanced funding to companies researching the vaccine, India did nothing.
    • The US and the EU also booked 40 crore doses and 80 crore doses respectively in advance. While India placed its first order of vaccine in January 2021 and that too only for 1.60 crore doses. (less than 1 percent of its population).
  • Third, lack of vision from our authorities to ensure ample availability of oxygen by anticipating the possibility of the second wave.
  • Fourth, Lack of access to live-saving drugs due to profiteering by companies and middlemen.

 What can be done?

  • One, to provide universal vaccination, the Centre should bear the cost of vaccination. Also, a one-time tax can also be levied to mobilize funds.
  • Two, a zero-tolerance policy should be adopted towards the black marketing of medicine. Further, Remdesivir should be procured and disbursed directly based on the assessment of the Disaster Management Group.
  • Three, micro-planning at the local level should be carried out and a website for every district to dispense complete information from beds to oxygen, medicines, and ventilators should be enabled.

Poor State of Delhi Prisons Demand Urgent Attention

Source: Indian Express 

Syllabus: GS 2 – mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of  vulnerable sections


The condition of Delhi prisons has become immensely poor amidst the second wave of Covid 19. They have exceeded their sanctioned capacity and are on the verge of becoming hotspots for mass infections. Considering this, the government should take effective measures for decongesting prisons. 


  • Delhi is currently observing over 25000 new Covid 19 cases and 300 deaths every day.
  • The virus has spread enormously across the state and the situation in Delhi prisons is even worse.

Poor state of Delhi Prisons:

  • In April 2021, around 115 positive cases were reported among jail staff and 284 among inmates.
  • Further, they have the highest occupancy rate in the country thereby possessing a high probability of virus spread and greater deaths.
    • As of April 2021, the prison population has crossed 20,500. This is twice the sanctioned capacity. 

Steps taken for Decongest prisons:

  • The Supreme Court directed the states to set up High-Powered Committees (HPC) in March 2020. The objective of HPC was to determine which inmates could be temporarily released.
  • Around 3,499 under-trial prisoners in Delhi had been granted interim bail, and 1,184 convicts had been released on emergency parole till February 2021.
  • However, the HPCs refused to extend the relaxation after this as the number of cases had come down. This again created a burden on Delhi prisons.

The government now again wants to decongest the prisons however some issues would make the process more difficult.

Challenges in decongesting prisons:

  • Unwillingness of Prisoners: Some prisoners feel more safe and secure in prisons. They are unwilling to leave the premises at a time of critical shortages in hospital infrastructure and greater difficulties in finding work.
  • Reluctance of Criminal Justice system: The system failed to adjust as per the circumstances of pandemic-
    • There were a high number of arrests by police during lockdown months.
    • Similarly, reduced functioning of courts delayed trials and enhanced pressure on prisons. 
    • Further, bails were granted based on regular bail jurisprudence. This focuses on individual prisoners and not overall prison conditions. 
  • Inadequate Data: There is a dearth of data on the current prevalence of infection in jails. Effective decongesting is possible only when the government knows the degree of infection spread in jails.
  • Lack of Priority: The authorities have shown very less concern towards the health and safety of prisoners- 
    • For instance, HPC did not reconvene till May 4, and the minutes from this meeting are not yet public.
    • The last assessment of oxygen concentrators and other medical equipment within jails was done in January 2021.
    • The higher courts have not acted on petitions demanding the safety of prisoners in jails.

Way Forward:

  • The government must take robust steps for decongestion. This includes setting up temporary prisons, relaxing criteria for releasing prisoners, etc.
  • The government should restrict the interaction of inmates with jail staff. As it is believed that asymptomatic jail officials may have contributed to the spread of the virus.
  • Further, the government must release data on the prevalence of testing, infection, and vaccination in jails periodically. This will improve public monitoring.

To conclude, we can say that the above steps will help in safeguarding the fundamental right to life of prisoners.

Frequent Hospital Fires during COVID Time in India- Cause and Way forward

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 3 – Disaster and disaster management

Synopsis – The hospital system in India has been overwhelmed by the heavy patient load and arrangement for the pandemic. It has increased their vulnerability to fire.


  • Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and mismanagement, the hospital system is becoming over stressed, resulting in frequent fire incidents.
  • Since last August, more than 93 people have died in 24 hospital fire incidents in India, the majority of whom were Covid-19 patients.

Major reason behind frequent hospital fire in India despite fire checks and audits-

  • Electrical faults are cited as the leading cause of fires –
    • Overheated ICU’s and ACs- In most hospitals, to meet the current COVID-19 situation, medical equipment or wires are in use beyond their capacity. It is overheating the electrical wiring system, causing the fire.
    • Short circuit or overloading due to continuous running ACs in hospitals.
  • Mismanagement in hospital – Placing more ICU beds in limited space also makes it more vulnerable to fire spread.
  • Lack of cross-ventilation – Hospital ICUs (for COVID-19) are at significant fire risk because they are sealed for the purpose of keeping them sterile.
  • Highly inflammable material in Hospitals- sanitizer spills and vapor, higher oxygen content in the air, and PPE kits made of synthetic materials all contribute to the rapid spread of fire.

What needs to be done to reduce fire accidents in hospitals?

  • All states need to carry out proper fire and electrical audits of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals in order to reduce the frequent cases.
  • As the health sector expands to accommodate pandemic arrangements, it is essential that all new facilities and plans meet safety standards such as-
    • Cross-ventilation in ICUs –Proper ventilation passage in ICUs is required to allow fumes, an outlet.
    • Keeping electrical equipment for ACs away from oxygen-saturated areas will reduce the risk.
    • Fire safety drills- Hospitals should mandatorily hold regular fire safety and evacuation drills.
    • Hospitals must install sprinklers, which start dispensing water [35 liters per minute] as the temperature increases above 78 °C.
    • Fire extinguishers should be installed in temporary hospitals, and a fire truck should be stationed outside hospitals in the event of a major disaster.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 6 May, 2021

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