The entire 14,000-strong police force of an Argentinian city has been ordered to undergo compulsory DNA testing in a case of suspected serial rape. \nThe move in Cordoba, Argentina's second city, follows a claim by one of the rapist's 32 victims that she was attacked by a police officer. \n"If a man who we pay to protect the lives of citizens is out there raping young women on the street he should get a life sentence," said Jose de la Sota, governor of Cordoba. \n"The best thing we can do, to clear any doubts, is to submit the entire police force to DNA testing." \nCollection of blood samples has already begun in a huge operation being conducted by private and state medical institutions. \nIt is estimated that it will take about six months to gather all the samples and perform the DNA tests. \nOfficers who refuse to be tested may be expelled from the force and turned over to the court investigating the rape cases, the authorities said. \nSome 2,000 women members of the Cordoba police force will be tested as well. The cost is estimated at about US$750,000. \n"The idea is to create a digitalized DNA bank of all police members and prison wardens so that, should new cases appear tomorrow in which our officers are suspected, we can quickly compare the evidence with the genetic patterns we have gathered," said Carlos Alesandri, the security minister. \n"I'm convinced that the supreme aim is to defend the force," said Jorge Rodriguez, the Cordoba police chief, as he became the first officer to submit a blood sample. \nBut legal experts and civil liberties activists have protested that the DNA order is unconstitutional and that only the court investigating the rapes is empowered to demand DNA testing. \nA geneticist, Marcelo Simonetta, said the tests would be legally invalid unless a special law was drafted. Ricardo Moreno, a lawyer, agreed. "This is unconstitutional - there could be a flood of lawsuits against the government."
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and