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Corona roundup: Russia to supply 100 million vaccine doses to India, Covid anxiety & more

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TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Sep 16, 2020, 20:14 IST

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NEW DELHI: Russia‘s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Indian drug company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.

The deal comes after the Russian Direct Investment Fund reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India, which is a major consumer of Russian oil and arms.

Here are the top developments:

INDIA

  • The Covid pandemic has taken anxiety among Indians to record levels with a recent survey showing one in every four persons is so stressed that he or she actually requires medical intervention. Every second Indian shows some signs of anxiety, reveals the survey conducted on a web-based platform by the department of mental health and behavioural sciences at Max Healthcare, Saket.


  • A record 82,961 new Covid-19 recoveries were reported on Wednesday, almost a quarter of them from Maharashtra alone, pushing the overall figures close to 39.5 lakh and the recovery rate to 78.53 per cent, health ministry data showed. It said that nearly 59 per cent of the new recoveries came from five states — 23.41 per cent from Maharashtra (19, 423 recoveries); and a cumulative 35.5 per cent from Andhra (9,628 recoveries), Karnataka (7,406), UP (6,680) and Tamil Nadu (5,735).


  • India has become the second country in the world after the US to record 5 million Covid-19 cases, with the last 1 million coming in a world-record time of 11 days.


  • The government said more than 30 vaccine candidates for coronavirus have been supported, and three of them are in advance stages of trials now, while four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage. Union minister Nityanand Rai also told the Rajya Sabha that 13 clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for Covid-19 patients.


  • Drugs Controller General of India gave permission to Serum Institute of India to resume clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the country while revoking its earlier order of suspending any new recruitment for phase two and three trial.


  • Mass immunization under which large sets of the country’s general population (excluding high-risk vulnerable groups) will be able to access the vaccine — in all likelihood — only in the second half of 2021.


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STATES

  • Delhi: Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. He was unwell for over a week and under isolation. Gupta has advised people, who recently came in his contact, to go for Covid test.


  • Kerala: A single-day highest ever spike of 3,830 Covid-19 cases in Kerala took the state’s infection count to 1,17,863, the government said. The state also recorded 14 deaths, taking the toll due to the disease to 480.
  • Odisha: In the highest single-day spike so far in Odisha, 4,270 more people tested positive for Covid-19, raising the total virus case load in state to 1,62,920. Eleven more died raising the virus death toll to 656.


  • Gujarat: The Gujarat high court has asked the state government to “stop playing on the back foot”, after noting that it has been caught unawares by the rise in Covid-19 cases in certain cities.
  • Karnataka: State home minister Basavaraj Bommai tweeted that he has tested positive for Covid-19. Bommai in the tweet said he is asymptomatic and confined himself in home isolation.
  • Goa: The upward swing of mortalities continued with 11 Covid deaths reported, taking the count to 315 in the state. In the last two days, 25 people have lost their lives due to the novel coronavirus.


  • J&K: Jammu and Kashmir recorded 1,590 fresh Covid-19 cases, while 18 deaths took place in the last 24 hours, officials said. The total number of cases in the Union territory has now risen to 58,244 and the death toll increased to 932.
  • UP: The death toll due to Covid-19 rose to 4,690 in Uttar Pradesh with 86 more fatalities, while 6,337 fresh cases pushed the infection tally in the state to 3,30,265, officials said. The state now has 67,002 active Covid-19 cases.
  • Ladakh: The Union territory of Ladakh reported 80 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths, taking the cumulative figures to 3,499 infections and 44 fatalities, officials said. There are 938 active coronavirus cases in the Union territory now.


  • HP: The Covid-19 death toll in Himachal Pradesh rose to 90 with one more fatality, while 76 fresh cases pushed the infection tally in the state to 10,412. One Covid-19 death was reported from Kangra district.
  • Rajasthan: After exploiting all available options, the state government has now requested the Centre to supply 100 kilolitres of oxygen daily for treatment of Covid-19 patients.


  • Andamans: The Covid-19 tally of Andaman and Nicobar Islands rose to 3,574 as 17 more people tested positive for the infection. The fresh infections have taken the number of active coronavirus cases in the archipelago to 204.
  • Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh state Covid-19 control special officer Dr C Prabhakar Reddy put up a post on social media. Called ‘treatment for Covid-19 with just Rs 300 worth of medicines’, the post mentions treatment details to be used by Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms. The post has gone viral across several social media platforms.


  • Tripura: Tripura’s Covid-19 tally rose to 20,172 as 454 more people tested positive for the infection, while 10 fresh fatalities pushed the state’s coronavirus death toll to 217. Tripura now has 7,497 active Covid-19 cases, while 12,435 people have recovered from the disease.
  • Uttarakhand: A government hospital in Uttarakhand allegedly issued OPD slips to people certifying that they have no symptoms of Covid-19, without conducting an RT-PCR test, prompting the administration to launch an inquiry into the matter.
  • Puducherry: Puducherry recorded 518 fresh cases of coronavirus and 13 related deaths, taking the aggregate to 21,111 in the Union territory. With the death of 13 more people, the toll rose to 418.
  • Telangana: Telangana reported 2,273 new Covid-19 cases and 12 related fatalities, pushing the tally of infections to 1.62 lakh in the state. With 12 more deaths, the overall toll rose to 996.
  • Maharashtra: A total of 247 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths were reported in Maharashtra Police in the last 24 hours. The total count of cases in the police force has gone up to 20,003. Maharashtra has 2,92,174 active cases of Covid-19.

WORLD

  • The novel coronavirus has killed at least 936,095 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December. At least 29,633,590 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 19,787,400 are now considered recovered.
  • US President Donald Trump said that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month — an acceleration of even his own surprisingly optimistic predictions — but added that the pandemic could go away by itself. “We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania.


  • Nepal reported a record 1,539 new Covid-19 cases in a single day, taking the national tally to 58,327. There are currently 16,242 corona active patients undergoing treatment at various isolation centres across Nepal. Eight people died in the last 24 hours, taking the number of fatalities to 379.
  • Nearly 96 per cent of Pakistan’s coronavirus patients have made a successful recovery, a report issued by the country’s nerve centre said. According to the National Command and Operations Centre, 290,760 people recovered so far across Pakistan, making it a significant count” and showing that 95.93 per cent of the patients recovered, with 303,089 total cases, of which 5,936 were active ones.


  • The British government plans to ration coronavirus testing, giving priority to health workers and care home staff after widespread reports that people around the country were unable to schedule tests. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday will face questions about his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the House of Commons and before a key committee amid the outcry over the shortage of testing.
  • Singapore’s Covid-19 cases reached 57,515 on Wednesday after 27 new coronavirus infections, including six who arrived from India, were recorded, according to the health ministry. With 82 more Covid-19 patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Tuesday, a total of 56,884 have fully recovered from the infection.
  • Russia has registered 5,670 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which brings the cumulative total to 1,079,519, the country’s coronavirus response center said on Wednesday. In the past 24 hours, Russia recorded 132 Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 18,917.
  • Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue will be closed for the first time over the Jewish New Year due to the novel coronavirus, authorities said Wednesday, as Israelis braced for a second lockdown. Israel has registered the world’s highest coronavirus infection rate over the past two weeks, according to an AFP tally. It is set to be the first country to enforce a second nationwide shutdown.

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The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Congress did what it said: Rahul Gandhi on Madhya Pradesh farm loan waiver

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NEW DELHI: The Congress did what it said, while the BJP makes only false promises, Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday, taking a dig at the MP government’s reported statement in the assembly that farmers in 51 districts benefited from the farm loan waiver scheme of the Kamal Nath dispensation.

In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi also shared a media report on the Madhya Pradesh government stating in assembly in reply to a question that farm loans were waived in 51 districts under the previous Kamal Nath dispensation.

“Congress — Did what it said. BJP — Only false promises,” the Congress leader said.

Kamal Nath on Tuesday said the Madhya Pradesh government’s “confession” in the legislative assembly was that 26.95 lakh farmers in 51 districts were benefited from the previous Congress-led dispensation’s farm loan waiver.

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INDIA

Programme code violation by TV channel, have issued show-cause notice, Centre tells SC

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NEW DELHI: The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it has prima facie found violation of programme code by Sudarshan TV‘s ‘Bindas Bol‘ show and has issued a notice to the channel.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that Sudarshan TV has to give reply to the show-cause notice by September 28, failing which an ex parte decision will be taken.

The four-page notice has sought a written submission from the channel regarding violation of programme code and why action should not be taken against it, Mehta said during the brief hearing.

The detailed notice under Cable Television Network Act, 1995 has been issued today itself, showing facts that are, according to the government, prima facie not in accordance with the programme code, he said.

Mehta suggested that hearing of the matter be adjourned till the channel’s reply.

The bench observed that if the case wasn’t heard, all episodes would have been aired by now.

It adjourned the hearing for October 5 saying the Centre shall file a report regarding the outcome of the decision taken.

The bench said the order passed on September 15 injuncting the telecast of remaining episodes of the programme will continue till then.

At the outset, the top court asked intervenors to file written submissions if any.

On September 21, the top court had pondered over the nature and extent of its order regulating ‘Bindas Bol’ programme on alleged infiltration of Muslims in bureaucracy saying it did not want to “curtail” freedom of speech as the programme has “public interest” involved on issues of “foreign funding” and “reservation”.

The apex court, which has already imposed the pre-telecast ban on episodes of ‘UPSC Jehad’ on a plea raising grievances against it on grounds including hate speech, was irked over the fact that the channel, in his affidavit, has named one English news Channel for running two shows on Hindu terror earlier.

“Why have you said about the programmes (of the English news channel)? Who asked about your opinion about the programmes,” it had said.

Lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke, had said that his affidavit contained reference of the English Channel and their programmes on Hindu terror as he was asked earlier as to why the ‘UPSC Jehad’ episodes have “shown Muslim men in skull caps and wearing greens”.

The bench then said: “Does this mean that every time, the judges asked questions you will shoot your mouth with your views? If that is the case then judges will stop asking questions. You are not supposed to file affidavits on all the questions which judges ask. Judges ask questions to elicit a better response.”

On being told by the petitioners that the episodes have violated the programme code under cable TV rules, the top court pondered over the extent of control and curb which can be imposed by it through its orders.

“This programme (‘Bindas Bol’) has public interest involved on (issues of) foreign funding or on reservation. If we are to issue injunction (stay) then what kind of injunction will be like, whether it should be a blanket injunction. There is also public interest involved with it,” the bench had observed.

The top court had observed that constitutional values, human dignity are needed to be protected but the court cannot “become the enforcers of programme code”.

The channel had urged the apex court to lift the stay on the telecast of the remaining six episodes of the controversial programme, saying the channel would abide by laws.

Earlier, the top court had questioned Sudarshan TV over its programme asking whether media can be allowed to “target whole set of communities”.

It had asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the National Broadcasters Association to give suggestions for strengthening the “self-regulating mechanism” of NBA for electronic media.

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INDIA

Sikkim cut off as major landslide hits National Highway 10

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GANGTOK: A major landslide, triggered by heavy rain, on the National Highway 10 cut off Sikkim from the rest of the country on Wednesday morning, officials said.

The landslide happened at the 29 Mile area in West Bengal, they said.

The NH-10, which is considered the lifeline for the people of Sikkim, is maintained by the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) and the PWD of West Bengal, they added.

Officials at the site said that it will take at least a day or two to clear the debris completely.

The road can be cleared for one way traffic by evening which is possible if the rain subsides, they said.

Drivers ferrying essential commodities to Sikkim from Siliguri are stuck at the spot.

Travelling on this highway during heavy rains is dangerous as there are many trouble spots along it, officials said.

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