Morning digest: Virologist Gagandeep Kang says coronavirus surge may go down by May end, U.S. to support IP waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day.

The current COVID-19 surge in India may begin to start tapering between the middle and end of May, virologist Gagandeep Kang said on Wednesday. At a virtual interaction with members of the Indian Women Press Corps, Dr. Kang said, “Best guess estimates from a number of models put this somewhere between the middle and end of the month. Some models have it [second wave] going out in early June. Based on what we are seeing now, middle to end of May would be a reasonable estimate.”

The United States will support an initiative at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to waive Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) protection for COVID-19 vaccines, the Biden administration said on Wednesday. The news will support the increased production of vaccines globally as countries, including India, continue to reel under the impact of the pandemic. The initiative was first floated by India and South Africa last October.

With India’s economic recovery threatened by the COVID-19 second wave, the Reserve Bank of India stepped in on Wednesday with measures aimed at alleviating any financing constraints for healthcare infrastructure and services, as well as small borrowers who may be facing distress due to a sudden spike in health expenditure.

Cumulatively, India has received (from April 27 to May 4) 1,764 oxygen concentrators, 1,760 oxygen cylinders, seven oxygen generation plants, 450 ventilators and more than 1.35 lakh Remdesivir vials and 1.20 lakh Favipiravir strips, said the Health Ministry on Wednesday.

There is no denying that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has massively increased its vote and seat share in West Bengal compared to the 2016 Assembly election, and this has largely been on the back of a strong Hindu consolidation behind it (50%), as per the Lokniti-CSDS’s post-poll survey.

Questioning the silence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the post-election attacks directed at the BJP workers, party national president J.P. Nadda on Wednesday said 14 workers of the party had been killed in the violence so far and about one lakh people had been affected.

China on Wednesday expressed “concern and regret” at India’s move to not include Chinese telecommunication firms among the companies permitted this week to conduct trials for the use of 5G technology.

A third wave of COVID-19 is inevitable, given the amount of virus circulation, K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Government of India, has warned. There was need to update the COVID-19 vaccines to deal with the new strains and mutations. “There is, however, no clear time-line on when this third phase will occur. We should be prepared for new waves and COVID appropriate behaviour and vaccine upgrades is the way forward,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday shot off another letter to the West Bengal government, saying no steps had been taken yet to abate the post-poll violence in the State.

Germany is sending a massive oxygen plant on loan to Delhi on Thursday, capable of generating 4,00,000 litres of oxygen. The plant will service the DRDO-run Sardar Patel Covid Hospital, and will also help with refilling oxygen supplies for others. Speaking to The Hindu, German Ambassador Walter J. Lindner says calls for transparency in where all the foreign aid is going may be premature.

The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially increased informality in employment, leading to a decline in earnings for the majority of workers, and consequent increase in poverty in the country, according to ‘State of Working India 2021: One Year of Covid-19’, a report brought out annually by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment, Bengaluru.

Over half of the newly-elected MLAs of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and West Bengal had declared criminal cases against themselves in their election affidavits, the Association for Democratic Reforms said in a report on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday appointed DMK president M.K. Stalin as the Chief Minister and invited him to form the government in the State on May 7.

We recorded this episode to coincide with a series of articles that we will carry in The Hindu over the course of this week explaining the verdicts in the four States — West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam — and the Union Territory of Puducherry that went to the polls in March-April 2021.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.