Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. File | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, on Thursday, reviewed the status of COVID-19 in the States/UT of West Bengal, Kerala and Delhi and their public health response measures. He advised these States/UTs to gear up “testing, tracking & treatment” strategy during the festival season and also asked them to ensure that additional thrust be given to public awareness as well as enforcement of COVID-appropriate behaviours. ... more...
Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India
The video conference saw the participation of V.K. Paul, member (Health), NITI Aayog, and Director General of ICMR Balram Bhargava, health secretaries from the States/UT among others.
A release issued by the Ministry said Delhi has 29,378 active cases as of Thursday with a fatality rate of 1.76% and a positivity rate of 7.9%.
“5,673 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours and there has been nearly 46% increase in the new cases over the past four weeks, and the positivity rate over the past four weeks has escalated by nearly 9%. The rising cases were attributed by the Delhi team to social gatherings during the festivities, the deteriorating air quality, increasing incidences of respiratory disorders, and clusters of positive cases at work places,” said the Ministry.
It added that the UT was advised to aggressively ramp up testing, increase RT-PCR tests, focus on contact tracing and effectively enforce isolation of the traced contacts within the first 72 hours.
State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates
“Delhi has been advised to focus on containment zones, and strict perimeter control to be implemented as per MHA guidelines,” said the Ministry.
The Secretary said West Bengal has shown a 1% increase in the positivity rate over the last four weeks.
“Darjeeling, Nadia, Medinipur West, Jalpaiguri, Hooghly are the top districts showing increasing trend in cases. Whereas Murshidabad, Nadia, Coochbehar, Kolkata and Darjeeling have registered increase in the weekly deaths last week. The tests per million population (TPM) stand at 41,261 whereas the national TPM is 77,220,” said the Ministry.
Also read: Coronavirus | October 29 updates
In Kerala, Thrissur, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram are the top districts showing increasing trend in COVID cases.
“The State has been demonstrated better results in terms of COVID fatality. The fatality rate of State stands at 0.34%, although there has been increase in the weekly deaths in Thrissur (133%), Kollam (75%), Alappuzha (31%), Ernakulam (30%), and Kannur (15%),” said the Ministry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured citizens that everyone in the country will be inoculated once a vaccine for the highly-infectious coronavirus becomes available. "No one will be left behind," the prime minister said in an interview with the Economic Times.
'Everyone will be vaccinated': PM Modi assures citizens amid coronavirus threat
Minister Narendra Modi has assured citizens that everyone in the country will be inoculated once a vaccine for the highly-infectious coronavirus becomes available. "No one will be left behind," the prime minister said in an interview with the Economic Times.
"I would like to assure the nation that, as and when a vaccine becomes available, everyone will be vaccinated. None will be left behind. Of course, initially we may focus on protecting the most vulnerable and the frontline workers," Modi said. The prime minister said a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 vaccine has been constituted to chart the way forward.
"We should also realise that vaccine development is still work in progress. Trials are on. Experts can' say what the vaccine will be, its dosage per person, periodicity or how it's to be administered etc. All this, when finalised by experts, will also guide our approach on taking the vaccine to citizens," he said in the interview.
Modi exuded confidence on making the vaccine reach every person in India immediately. "On logistics, more than 28,000 cold chain points will store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines to ensure they reach the last point. Dedicated teams at state, district and local levels will see to it that the vaccine distribution and administration is done in a systematic and accountable manner," he said. The prime minister also informed that a digital platform was being prepared to enroll, track and reach the beneficiaries.
Striking a note of caution, Modi said there is no room for complacency. "The virus is proving to be very fickle. At one time, some places like Gujarat were seen as hot spots while the situation seemed to be under control in Kerala, Karnataka etc. After a few months, things have improved in Gujarat but turning for the worse in Kerala. This is why I feel there is no room for complacency. I stressed the same in my recent message to the nation on October 20 that the only way forward is to take precautions such as wearing mask, hand washing and social distancing because jab tak dawai nahin, tab tak dhilai nahin," he said.
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested developing a vaccine delivery system that is on the lines of how elections are conducted in the country and disaster management work is conducted. Modi said that in a similar manner the vaccine delivery and administration system should be put in place.
At least three vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which 2 are in Phase II and one is in Phase III. Indian scientists and research teams are collaborating and strengthening the research capacities in neighbouring countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are further requests from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar and Bhutan for clinical trials in their countries.
Meanwhile, India's COVID-19 caseload surpassed the 80-lakh mark on Thursday with 49,881 new cases. The recoveries surged to 73.15 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 90.99 per cent, the Union Health Ministry data showed.
The total coronavirus cases mounted to 80,40,203 and the death toll climbed to 1,20,527 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 517 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.49 per cent. There are 603687 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 7.5 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
With the slowing down of cases in India, the prime minister asked the citizens to "strengthen resolve" instead of celebrating this phase. "I believe we should use this phase of slowing down of cases not to celebrate, but further strengthen our resolve, our behaviour and our systems. One special insight and understanding that came early to us was that the agriculture sector is one where the rule of social distancing can be more naturally maintained without compromising on productivity. So, we allowed agriculture activities almost from the very start. And we all see the results today with this sector doing exceptionally well despite so many months of disruption," he said.
During his expansive interview, Modi said experts have been advocating the reforms for a long time. Even political parties have been asking for votes in the name of these reforms, he said. "Everyone desired that these reforms should happen. The issue is that the opposition parties do not wish that credit. It was often jokingly said that India had more labour laws than labour in formal sector. Labour laws often helped everyone except the labour. Holistic growth cannot happen until India's workforce gets the benefits of formalisation. The reforms we gave done will also signal to the world that this is a new India which believes in markets and market forces," Modi told ET.
The prime minister continued to remind people that "we are still not over with the pandemic." But, he said, India's economy has shown a remarkable capability to bounce back, largely because of the resilience of our people. "This is something which is not captured in numbers. The shop-owner, the trader, the person running a MSME, the person working on factory floor, the entrepreneur, all these are the heroes responsible for the strong market sentiment and revival of the economy," Modi said in praise.
He recalled how a new world order was formed after World War 2. "Something similar will happen post COVID-19," he said. Modi said India will ride the bus of manufacturing and integrating in global supply chains. "We have specific advantages in the form of democracy, demography and demand. When India becomes Aatmanirbhar in a certain field, it always helps the world. If someone doesn't understand the ethos and spirit of India, they won't understand this concept. Confusion among experts is not necessarily a contradiction in our approach," he said.
Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the NHAI headquarters via video conferencing.New Delhi: Most politicians would simply be too happy to preside over flashy inaugurations to admonish officials for any kind of lapses. Nitin Gadkari is not among them.The Union Transport Minister who enjoys rare bipartisan respect for his no-nonsense style was in his characteristic form when he pulled up government officers for an inordinate delay in finishing a project.While opening the new headquarters of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Sunday, the minister noted how it took 12 years to complete the building.Mr Gadkari said it was a "matter of shame" that the Rs 250 crore-project was finalised in 2008, had its tender awarded in 2011 and took another nine years to build.Two governments and eight chairmen had passed through the organisation while the building was under construction, he said, speaking via video-conferencing."The current chairman and members are unrelated to it.... more...
But the great personalities who worked on it from 2011 to 2020, If possible, their photos should be put up in the building. They delayed decisions for nine years," he said."We say with pride that we will complete the Delhi-Mumbai expressway in two to three years. It is worth Rs 80,000 to 1 lakh crore. But it took so many years to complete this project of Rs 250 crore," Mr Gadkari said.Saying that the national highway authority needed urgent reforms, he said, the time had come to act against the non-performing employees."We have been unable to identify performance bottlenecks. Many committees were formed, they gave their report. But these corrupt and inept and lazy people of NHAI are so powerful that despite orders, they take wrong decisions," he said.
According to media reports,Saudi Arabia released a 20 Riyal banknote to commemorate its presidency of organising the G-20 Summit ,and the world map displayed on the banknote does not show Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir as parts of Pakistan
Saudi Arabia has removed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistan’s map, said Pakistan- occupied Kashmir(PoK) activist Amjad Ayub Mirza on Wednesday.
Arab removes Pakistani occupied Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistan’s map!!!!,” he tweeted.
He also tweeted a picture that was captioned, “Saudi Arabia’s Diwali gift to India-- removes Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir from Pakistan’s map,”.
According to media reports, Saudi Arabia released a 20 Riyal banknote to commemorate its presidency of organising the G-20 Summit on November 21-22. It was further reported that the world map displayed on the banknote does not show Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Kashmir as parts of Pakistan.
Media reports say that Saudi Arabia’s step is nothing short of an attempt to disgrace Pakistan, which also seems to be “adapting to its new bloc”.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in September stated that they have seen reports regarding elections to the so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan” Assembly to be held on November 15 and took a strong objection to it.
“The Government of India conveyed strong protest to Pakistan Government and reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the so-called Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India,” the MEA stated.
The Imran Khan government previously released a new political map of Pakistan, claiming Indian territories of Junagadh, Sir Creek, and Manavadar in Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir and a part of Ladakh.
This came after the first anniversary of the Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 which gave special powers to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Adityanath said that he would write to the National Testing Agency to declare Akanksha the joint topper who, despite getting full marks was awarded second rank, as she is younger than the topper who also scored full marks.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday felicitated Akanksha Singh, the girl from Kushinagar who scored full marks (720 out of 720) in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-2020 exam, the results of which were declared recently. ... more...
Adityanath presented a tablet to Akanksha and her brother. Interacting with Akansha and her family, the chief minister said the state government would bear all expenses incurred on her medical education fees and hostel fees.
Congratulating Akanksha on her success, Adityanath said that he would write to the National Testing Agency to declare Akanksha the joint topper who, despite getting full marks was awarded second rank, as she is younger than the topper who also scored full marks.
The chief minister also assured that the state government will provide financial support for Akanksha’s education.
The road leading to her village will be named after Akanksha, the daughter of a retired air force personnel.
Odisha’s Soyeb Aftab scored 720 out of 720 marks to emerge as the topper in NEET 2020 exam. Akanksha Singh from UP also scored 720 marks but bagged All India Rank (AIR) of two as she is younger than Soyeb.
It was an article on AIIMS, Delhi, and the questionable medical facilities in eastern Uttar Pradesh that pushed her on to the path of medicine, four years ago.
“I wanted to be an IAS officer till class 8. Then I read about AIIMS and was inspired to help people,” Akanksha Singh said.
Daughter of a former air force sergeant and a primary school teacher, Singh secured all-India rank 2, for being the younger of the two perfect scorers. When asked if she expected this score, she said, “I had expected to get 700 as I was aiming to be among the top 40 (to make it to AIIMS). But 720/720 is unbelievable.”
The medical aspirant said she continued her preparations online even during the lockdown.
“I was stressed that exams might not be conducted and I may lose a year. Still, I decided to make the best use of the time. So, while on normal days, I studied for about 10-12 hours, it went up to 13-14 hours a day during the lockdown. I was relying on YouTube and video lessons offered by my coaching institute to prepare,” said Akansha, who was born and raised in Abhinayakpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district.