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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

H9N2 Virus

Why in news?

Indian scientists have detected the country’s first case of infection with a rare variant of the virus that causes avian influenza, or bird flu.

The A(H9N2) virus:

  • H9N2 is a subtype of the influenza A virus, which causes human influenza as well as bird flu.
  • The H9N2 subtype was isolated for the first time in Wisconsin, US in 1966 from turkey flocks.
  • H9N2 viruses are found worldwide in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in many areas.

More Information:

  • H9N2 viruses could potentially play a major role in the emergence of the next influenza pandemic.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), with avian influenza viruses circulating in poultry, there is a risk for sporadic infection and small clusters of human cases due to exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments.

Human infections rare:

  • H9N2 virus infections in humans are rare, but likely under-reported due to typically mild symptoms of the infections.
  • Human cases are exposed to the A(H9N2) virus through contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments.
  • The first case globally was reported from Hong Kong in 1998.
  • The cases have also been observed in Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt.

Note – Recently,the virus was detected in India during a community-based surveillance study in villages of Korku tribes in Melghat district of Maharashtra.    


Fact For Prelims

Kolkata port renamed:

  • Centre has renamed the Kolkata Port Trust after Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

Key facts:

  • In the early 16th century, the Portuguese first used the present location of the port to anchor their ships, since they found the upper reaches of the Hooghly river, beyond Kolkata, unsafe for navigation.
  • After the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1833, this port was used to ship lakhs of Indians as ‘indentured labourers’ to far-flung territories throughout the Empire.
  • The Kolkata port is the only riverine port in the country, situated 203 km from the sea. The river Hooghly, on which it is located, has many sharp bends, and is considered a difficult navigational channel.
  • The Farakka Barrage, built in 1975, reduced some of the port’s woes as Ganga waters were diverted into the Bhagirathi-Hooghly system.


Mission Purvodaya:

  • The Centre unveils Mission Purvodaya to develop eastern region into an integrated steel hub.
  • The eastern belt has the potential to add over 75 percent of the country’s incremental steel capacity envisioned by the National Steel Policy.
  • Through this programme, the government aims to transform logistics and utilities infrastructure which would change the socio-economic landscape in the eastern India.

The steps, under mission, also include growth of steel industry along with employment opportunities across the entire value chain.


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