Lockdown Diary, Day 75: Robots ensure physical distancing at Jaipur firm; Man held for birthday celebration; and more

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 7, 2020 8:58:17 pm

The number of coronavirus cases is going up every day, with 9,000 to 10,000 fresh cases reported in the last three days. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

With over 2.46 lakh cases, India continued to be the fifth worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the latest numbers released by the Health Ministry, the total number of confirmed cases in India stands at 2,46,628, higher than Spain’s figure of 2.41 lakh. Now, only the US, Brazil, Russia, and the UK have more cases than India. The death toll in India stands at 6,929. There are 1.2 lakh active cases, while 1.19 lakh have recovered.

Amid a surge in the number of cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday announced that all state government-run and a few private hospitals in the city will treat patients only from the national capital. Central hospitals will remain open for patients from across the country. The Delhi border, which was sealed last week, will also be opened for inter-state movement from Monday, he said. Religious places, malls, and restaurants will resume activity from Monday as per the Centre’s guidelines. Hotels and banquet halls will, however, remain shut. Follow coronavirus LIVE updates

Here’s a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 75 of lockdown.

Mumbai man celebrates birthday on street, bursts crackers; held

A 22-year-old man was arrested from Nagpada in south Mumbai for allegedly violating the lockdown and flouting social distancing norms by celebrating his birthday with his friends on a street, and also bursting crackers, police said on Sunday. The accused, Hammad Ansari, who claims to be a social worker, was arrested on Saturday after he shared a video of his birthday celebration on social media, a police officer said.

“Ansari and his friends celebrated his birthday during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday at Madanpura. They burst loud firecrackers and Ansari cut a cake on a street,” the officer said.

“Through their acts, they violated social distancing norms and the lockdown order. In the video that Ansari had posted on Facebook, he boasted about how he celebrated the birthday despite the restrictions,” he added.

Jaipur firm deploys 7 humanoid robots to cut down physical interaction among employees

With a COVID-19-battered world hard-pressed to maintain social distancing, a private firm in Jaipur has deployed seven humanoid robots and other artificial intelligence techniques to reduce human-to-human interaction to almost nil in its functioning.

From carrying files from one person to another to marking the attendance of its employees and taking visitors’ temperature and regulating their entry to the office, the robots have taken up a slew of works requiring human interactions in the office. A robot guards the entry gate to welcome visitors, performs thermal scanning to check their body temperature and sounds an alert if the visitor is not wearing a face mask.

The robotic guard’s artificial intelligence is synced with the working of the entry gate, which opens up only after it gets a green signal from the robot. In a situation when most of the offices have stopped taking biometric attendance, the firm has tasked another robot to mark employees’ attendance through facial recognition. Another humanoid robot can make its way to assigned employees with a tray carrying files, documents and even tea and snacks.

IIT Mandi researchers develop technology for making high-efficiency masks from waste plastic bottles

Researchers at IIT Mandi claim to have developed a technology for making high-efficiency masks using waste pet bottles that are not only more breathable than commercially available masks, but also can be washed and reused up to 30 times. The team at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi has filed a patent for the waste plastic bottles derived filter membrane technology based on electrospinning.

The researchers shredded waste plastic bottles and dissolved the pieces using a combination of solvents and extruded nanofibres from the solution.

According to Sumit Sinha Ray, Assistant Professor, IIT Mandi, the team used waste plastic bottles to develop a single thin layer of nano-nonwoven membrane that provides desirable particle filtration efficiency, at par with N95 respirator and a medical mask. “The first concern that comes to mind when we hear that something is made of plastic is whether it is safe to use. These nanofibres meet the safety requirements of the user by excluding the bacteria and infectious components. The breathability in the developed masks is better than the commercially available masks.

Stranded by lockdown, Ghanian footballer makes Mumbai airport home for 74 days

The Mumbai airport became home for a 23-year-old Ghanaian footballer for 74 days after he was stranded there in the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The ordeal of Randy Juan Muller reminded people of Tom Hank’s character in the Hollywood film “The Terminal”, and it ended after Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the Shiv Sena, reached out to help him. Muller has now shifted to a local hotel and is waiting for airlines to resume operations so that he can fly home.

The Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) also provided him all help, including food, and allowed him to use the airport WiFi network to make calls, an official said.

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