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NEW DELHI: No fresh lockdowns should be imposed on district or state level to contain the spread of Covid-19 unless there is an imminent danger of healthcare facilities being overwhelmed, according to a government-appointed committee chaired by IIT Hyderabad professor M Vidyasagar.

The committee has also claimed that if all protocols are followed, the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active symptomatic infections by February-end.

The 10-member panel which conducted a study on “Progression of the Covid-19 Pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts” has pointed out that with no lockdown, the pandemic would have hit India very hard with a peak load of over 1.40 crore cases arriving in June.

The committee has developed an evidence based mathematical model for Covid-19 progression. The national level ‘super model’ is based on various parameters such as timing of the lockdown, alternative lockdown scenarios, impact of migrant workers returning to their homes, and future course of the pandemic including impact of not following safety protocols.

“If all of us follow these protocols, the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active symptomatic infections by February-end. We do not yet know the weather-specific perturbations of this pandemic (in general, viruses tend to be more active in colder environment) and the effects of possible future mutations in the virus. Hence, the existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure. Otherwise we will see a sharp rise in infections. Fresh lockdowns should not be imposed on a district and state wide levels, unless there is imminent danger of the healthcare facilities being overwhelmed,” Vidyasagar said.

The committee including professors from IITs and IISc besides scientists, said that upcoming festival and winter seasons may increase the susceptibility to the infection but all activities can be resumed provided proper safety protocols are followed.

It also noted that the imposition of an early and comprehensive lockdown pushed the peak of cases far into the future and also reduced the peak load on the system.

“With no lockdown, the pandemic would have hit India very hard, with a peak load of over 140 lakh cases arriving in June. Given our lack of preparedness back then, the healthcare system would have been overwhelmed, leading to many additional deaths. Had India waited until May to impose the lockdown, the peak load of active cases would have been around 50 lakhs by June,” the panel report said.

“In actuality, the peak of active cases came in late September at around 10 lakh. By this time, we were far better equipped to handle the pandemic in terms of diagnostics and vital equipment inventories. Without a lockdown the number of deaths in India would have overwhelmed the system within a very short timeframe, and would eventually have crossed 26 lakh fatalities,” it added.

Based on temporal profiles of analyses done for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the committee concluded that the impact of labour migration on the total number of infections in these states was minimal.

The committee also asserted that the imposition of various safety protocols such as wearing of masks and social distancing, together with a comprehensive lockdown have allowed India to fare better than many other countries.

“India has one-sixth of the world’s population (one-fifth excluding China), and one-sixth of the reported cases. However, India accounts for only 10% of the world’s deaths, and its case fatality rate of less than 2 pc is among the lowest in the world,” it said.

The committee has recommended that the existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure, otherwise the country will see a sharp rise in infections.

“Avoiding congestion especially in closed spaces and special care of those above 65 years and children is even more significant. Personnel with co-morbidities need to be extra cautious,” it said.

The Department of Science and Technology had in June constituted a committee comprising eminent scientists and academicians to evolve a national supermodel for Covid-19 progression.

The mandate of the committee was to create an evidence-based mathematical model for the pandemic after taking inputs from various groups working in the domain in the country and use it to analyse past events and future trajectories of the pandemic.

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

Moved to prevent CBI from taking over TRP scam probe: Maharashtra home minister

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MUMBAI: A day after the Maharashtra government issued a notification withdrawing its general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation, state home minister Anil Deshmukh said the decision was taken as the premier agency “was being used to settle political scores and there was suspicion that just like in the past, the TRP scam case which was being probed by the Mumbai police may be handed over to the CBI”, reports Bhavika Jain.

“CBI is a professional agency, but of late it has been used to settle political scores. A complaint in the TRP case has been registered in UP, and it is rumoured that due to political pressure, there could be an attempt to combine all the cases and to give them to CBI. To prevent misuse of the general consent, we decided to revoke it,” Deshmukh said.

He said there have been instances where the SC, in some of its judgments, has taken objection to the CBI’s ways of functioning.

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INDIA

PM Modi hails Amit Shah hand in nation’s progress

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NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi on Thursday praised Union home minister Amit Shah on his birthday, saying he was making important contribution to country’s progress and BJP’s growth.

“Our nation is witnessing the dedication and excellence with which he is contributing towards India’s progress. His efforts to make BJP stronger are noteworthy,” Modi tweeted, his words being seen by many as underscoring Shah’s cruciality in the government and BJP’s organisational affairs.

Shah, who quit as BJP chief after joining government, continues to play a key role in party affairs and is said to have played an important role in seat-sharing negotiations with allies in Bihar contest.

Other important figures in the government also greeted Shah. “Known for his strong willpower and determination, my colleague in the Union cabinet Amit Shah is working relentlessly to strengthen the country’s internal security,” defence minister Rajnath Singh said.

Functionaries from other parties also wished him on his birthday. Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal was among several members who extended greetings to the home minister.

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INDIA

Indian missions collecting Sikh data, MEA calls it ‘reach out’ bid

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JALANDHAR: All Indian embassies and consulates across the world are seeking and collecting details of the Sikh diaspora in their areas, particularly in countries where the presence of Sikh community is substantial. This was revealed when an email from the office of the Consul-General of India in Hamburg, Germany, seeking details of the Sikh diaspora in the country became public.

However, MEA has claimed the collection of data was a “reach out effort worldwide” to help the Sikh community as there have been complaints of persecution of the Sikh minorities in some countries. Hamburg vice consul Gulshan Dhingra had on October 19 sent out an email from the official account linked to the CGI office, titled “Data of Sikh Diaspora residing in the 4 North German States.” As per the email, “The ministry is in the process of compiling the data of Sikh diaspora residing in Germany.”

The recipients of the email were urged to “compile a list with the names and addresses of Sikhs living in your area for onward transmission to the ministry” by October 21, 2020. Europe-based lawyer and activist Dr Manuvie made the email from office of Consulate General Of India, Hamburg, public on her Twitter handle on Tuesday. Later, Hamburg Consul General of India Madan Lal Raigar told TOI that the letter had been withdrawn.

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