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PM Modi reviews preparedness of Covid-19 vaccine delivery strategy

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the preparedness of Covid-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration. Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of innovators, scientists, academicians and pharma-companies in their efforts to develop vaccines and has directed that every effort should be made to facilitate the research, development and manufacturing of the vaccine.

Five vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which 4 are in Phase II/III and one is in Phase-I/II.  Countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea – have shown keen interest in partnering for vaccine development of Indian vaccines and use thereof.

In an effort to administer the vaccine at the first available opportunity, database of healthcare and frontline workers, augmentation of cold chains and procurement of syringes, needles, etc. are in advanced stages of preparation.

The vaccination supply chain is being enhanced and non-vaccine supplies are being escalated.  Medical and nursing students and faculty will be involved in the training and implementation of the vaccination programme.  Every step is being steadily put in place to ensure that vaccines reach every location and person according to the prioritisation principles.

The Prime Minister has directed to work in collaboration with all reputed national and international institutions and regulators to ensure the rigour and highest global standards in Indian research and manufacturing.

National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with State Governments and all relevant stakeholders have accelerated the implementation of vaccination of priority groups in first phase.

The digital platform for vaccine administration and distribution is prepared and test runs underway in partnership with the State and District Level stakeholders.

The Prime Minister reviewed the aspects of emergency use authorisation and for manufacture and procurement of medicine. As the results of these Phase III trials from national and international vaccine arrive, our robust and independent regulators will speedily and rigorously examine these for according authorisation for use.

The Government has provided assistance of Rs 900 crore under Covid Suraksha Mission to support Research & Development of Covid-19 vaccination.

The Prime Minister directed that a time-bound plan be laid out for speedy regulatory clearances and timely procurement for early rollout of the vaccination drive.

The Prime Minister appreciated comprehensive efforts at vaccine development. He also emphasised that given the persisting pandemic scenario there is no place for any relaxation in preventive measures such as wearing masks, keeping distance and ensuring hygiene.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Principal Scientific Advisor, Secretary Health, DG ICMR, officers of PMO, and Secretaries of related Departments of Government of India.

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6 states show Covid surge; India’s total cases touch 1.11 crore

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Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have shown a surge in new Covid-19 cases contributing to 87.25 per cent of 15,510 fresh infections reported in a day, pushing India’s tally to 1,11,12,241 on Monday, while 106 fatalities mounted the death toll to 1,57,157 the Union Health Ministry said.

India’s total number of active Covid-19 cases was recorded at1,68,627, comprising 1.52 per cent of the total infections, the ministry said highlighting five states that account for 84 per cent of the total active cases in the country.

Maharashtra alone accounts for 46.39 per cent of India’s total active cases, followed by Kerala with 29.49 per cent.

The positivity rate too has been rising gradually, pushing it to 1.52 per cent. As per the Ministry’s data, there are 1,68,627 active cases at present after 11,288 patients were discharged in a day.

The experts have expressed a number of possibilities which could be due to lax attitude of people towards following Covid protocols to “mutations and new strains” causing the surge, sources in the health ministry said.

This trend is alarming as in mid February the average daily new infections oscillated between 9,000 to 12,000 while the deaths were between 78 to 120.

Delhi adds 175 cases, 1 death:Delhi today recorded 175 new coronavirus infections and one fatality, even as the positivity rate rose to 0.44 per cent, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. The city’s Covid toll climbed to 10,911, the health bulletin said.

The new cases took its coronavirus infection tally to 6,39,464. These cases came out of 39,733 tests conducted the previous day.

The active Covid cases in the national capital rose to 1,404 from 1,335 the previous day, according to the bulletin.

source: The Statesman

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SUV with 20 gelatin sticks found dumped near Mukesh Ambani’s house

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In a shocking development, an SUV filled with at least 20 gelatin sticks was found abandoned outside Antilia, the lavish multi-storied home of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, here on Thursday evening, officials said.

“A Scorpio vehicle with 20 gelatin sticks was found near Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai residence. The Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police is investigating the entire matter and the truth will emerge soon,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said late on Thursday evening.

Late in the night, Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP S. Chaitanya said that a letter has been found inside the vehicle, but declined to reveal its content.

“The registration number displayed on the said vehicle (SUV) matches with the registration number of a vehicle in Mukesh Ambani’s security detail. The SUV has been seized by the police for investigation,” Chaitanya said.

The SUV was noticed at around 3 p.m. after which some people from the vicinity alerted the local police, who rushed to the spot and cordoned off the entire area, sending the state government and the police into a tizzy.

Top police officers, including Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre-Patil, a team of explosives experts, sniffer dog squad, bomb detection and disposal squad and others rushed to the spot and inspected the SUV in which the gelatin sticks were kept.

Minister of State for Home, Shambhuraj Desai, told mediapersons that he has instructed the top police officers to probe the matter thoroughly and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.

Desai added that if required, the government would consider other measures, including enhancing the security at the Antilia building and also around the Ambani family, even as the entire locality was brought under a high alert.

CCTV footages of the area revealed that the SUV with a couple of unidentified persons in it was driven and parked beside a tree on the Carmichael Road at around 1 a.m.

The suspicious persons seemed to have fled after deserting the SUV there, but strangely, it was noticed only after another 12 hours.

Chaitanya said that the gelatin sticks recovered in the SUV were “not an assembled explosive device” but details of the risks they posed would be known only after a thorough probe.

Efforts are on to trace the persons who parked the vehicle there, from where they came, what were their diabolic motives, who or what were the exact targets etc., officials said.

Antilia and the south Mumbai neighbourhood house the who’s who of the Indian corporate world, top politicians, official or private residences of various bigwigs, government officials, diplomats, people from the glamour industry and others.

source: The Statesman

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U’khand: 136 missing ‘presumed dead’

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The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, SDRF and other sister organisations on Tuesday launched an operation at the artificial lake, which was formed after the recent flash flood-triggered landslide blocked flow of the Rishiganga river, in Chamoli. To increase the volume of water at the Rishiganga near Muranda, the team removed tree trunks that were blocking the flow.

The artificial lake continues to be a hot topic of debate among scientists and administrators and an object of fear among locals. A team of ITBP, SDRF and other agencies are presently camping at the lake site. The administration is on alert after the Indian Meteorological Department forecast for light rainfall on 24, 25 and 26 February and moderate rainfall at Tapovan area on 27 February.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has issued a notification authorising officials to declare “presumed dead” 136 people still missing after the flash flood in Chamoli district over two weeks ago. Sixty-eight bodies have so far been recovered after the February 7 disaster possibly triggered by an avalanche.

~With inputs from PTI~

source: The Statesman

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