Delhi’s air turns hazardous again, government issues health warnings

Air quality levels in Delhi have moved between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ during the last two weeks due to cooler temperatures. (AFP)
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Updated 11 December 2019

Delhi’s air turns hazardous again, government issues health warnings

  • ‘Severe’ air quality prompted health warnings from the government for the 12th time in two months
  • Air quality levels in Delhi have moved between “very poor” to “severe” during the last two weeks due to cooler temperatures

NEW DELHI: Air quality in India’s capital New Delhi plummeted to “severe” on Wednesday due to a drop in temperature and wind speed that trapped pollutants in the atmosphere, prompting health warnings from the government for the 12th time in two months.
On Tuesday, the air quality index crossed 400, indicating a level of pollution that affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases, according to government guidance.
The index measures small particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5) that can penetrate the lungs and enter the blood system. Chronic exposure to such particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
The Ministry of Health said those vulnerable to health risks should avoid outdoor physical activities when the air quality index is between poor to severe.
Air quality levels in Delhi have moved between “very poor” to “severe” during the last two weeks due to cooler temperatures. Schools were closed for four days in November when the index climbed past 500.
Government-run monitor SAFAR has forecast rains in the next two days. Showers tend to bring down pollution levels.


Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus

Updated 23 January 2020

Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus

Singapore Thursday confirmed its first case of the new SARS-like virus which has killed 17 people in China and spread to multiple countries including the United States.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the patient was a 66-year-old man from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore with his family on Monday.
He was immediately isolated after arriving at a hospital with a fever and cough, and test results later confirmed he was infected with the coronavirus.
One of his traveling companions, a 37-year-old man from Wuhan, has also been admitted to hospital as a suspect case.
Prior to admission, they had stayed at a hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, the ministry said.
It added that Singapore was expecting more cases and alarms “given the high volume of international travel.”
Moreover, tourists leaving Bangkok for China said on Thursday they were worried about the spread of the Wuhan virus, ahead of more air and train travel in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year holidays.
China has placed Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on lockdown, as it is considered the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 17 and infected nearly 600.
Thailand has so far confirmed four cases of coronavirus, the largest number outside China. Two of the cases were Chinese women who have since been allowed to return home. Chinese tourists make up the largest group of visitors to Thailand.
At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, masked visitors lined up as usual to check in for Southern China Airlines flights back to China.
AirAsia said on Thursday it has canceled direct flights between Wuhan and cities in Thailand and Malaysia until Jan 28.
Matt Thomas, who lives in the Chinese city of Xian, said he was worried about the new Chinese virus, especially because he once contracted swine flu which he described as “awful.”
“I’m a bit worried that it will repeat. I have just got to be safe. In these sorts of situations, you know, take everything seriously, don’t take any risks,” Thomas said.
Chinese health officials fear the transmission rate will accelerate, as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year.