COVID-19 tests in the country have crossed the 1 crore

The number of COVID-19 tests in the country have crossed the 1 crore (10 million) mark as the number of total cases crossed seven lakh on Monday, government data showed.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare termed the milestone of one crore tests a “significant achievement.”

COVID-19

 

“This signifies the importance accorded to widespread testing and the focussed  “Test, Trace, Treat” strategy with several follow-up measures taken in tandem by the Central government and the states and UTs,” the Health Ministry said.

During the last 24 hours 3,46,459 samples have been tested. The cumulative number of samples tested, as of now is 1,01,35,525.

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“This achievement has also been possible by the continuously expanding network of testing labs throughout the country. As on date, more than 1105 labs have enables people to undergo COVID tests. There are 788 labs in the government sector and 317 private labs,” it said.

While there are 592 Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs, including 368 government labds and 224 private facilities, the number of TrueNat based testing labs in the country is 421 which includes 387 government centres. The number of CBNAAT based testing labs in the country is 92, including 33 government labs and 59 private centres.

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The ministry further said that the consistent and focussed efforts for containment and management of COVID-19 by the Central Government along with the states and UTs have led to the number of recovered cases among COVID-19 patients rise to 4,24,432, which is above 60%.

During the last 24 hours, a total of 15,350 COVID-19 patients have been cured, it said.

There are 1,71,145 more recovered patients than COVID-19 active cases. This takes the national recovery rate amongst COVID-19 to 60.86%. There are 2,53,287 active cases and all are under active medical supervision.

Meanwhile, the latest updates provided by the states put the number of total cases in the country above seven lakh.

Uddhav cautions people on COVID-19-Maharashtra

Maharashtra government on Monday extended lockdown provisions in the state till July 31, empowering local bodies to enforce certain measures and necessary restrictions in specified local areas to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

Maharashtra

The lockdown will not put a blanket ban on non-essential activities but concerned District Collectors and Commissioners of the Municipal Corporations in the state may enforce certain measures and necessary restrictions in specified local areas on the permitted non-essential activities and movement of persons to control COVID-19, the state government said. 

The ongoing restrictions would have expired on June 30 in the absence of an extension.

“All Government offices with certain exceptions like emergency, health and medical, treasuries, disaster management, police to function with 15% strength or 15 persons whichever is higher. All private offices can operate up to 10% strength or 10 people whichever is more,” the order issued by the state government said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday said the lockdown curbs in the state would continue beyond June 30.

Speaking to the people of Maharashtra in a televised address, Thackeray had ruled out easing the restrictions, adding the state still faces coronavirus threat.

“Will lockdown be lifted after June 30? The clear answer is no,” Thackeray’s office later said in a tweet.

Thackeray said there will be some restrictions in the state after June 30 but more relaxations will be offered gradually. “The state has now started the unlock process under the Mission Begin Again. There will be some restrictions even after June 30, but eventually more and more relaxations will be offered to the people,” he said.

India to strengthen maritime alliance in Indian

India is the works of strengthening maritime alliance in the Indian Ocean region, as one of the fallouts of Chinese combativeness in the region.

The details of the plan are still in the works but could include countries impacted by Chinese belligerence in the South China sea.

The alliance will not only help maintain balance in the Indo Pacific region but comes even as QUAD grouping consisting of –Japan, US, India, and Australia is expected to gain strength.

India

In contrast to Atlantic or the Pacific ocean, the Indian ocean which is the 3rd largest ocean is not an open one, and entry into it is via straits like Strait of Malacca. India could use its maritime capability by deploying warships near the Malacca Strait, China’s jugular vein – to signal to the Chinese communist party that it means business.

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India has been an active player of the 22 members strong IORA–Indian ocean rim association. The grouping consists of countries that share a boundary with the Indian ocean and expected to be more vocal on illegal fishing by Chinese vessels in the region. 

New Delhi has been engaging with individual countries as well, from the recently announced Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and India to maritime exercises with the Japanese in the Indian ocean.

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India isn’t in a mood to believe in Chinese much after the June 15 violent face-off that killed 20 Indian soldiers. It is believed that any retreat at this juncture would be taken as a sign of weakness, further emboldening the CCP to broaden its strategy of ‘salami-slicing’.

A govt source said,” The martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers – a first on the LAC after 1975- has the potential to permanently alter the prism through which India steers its China strategy and also transform Indo-Chinese dynamics.”

Chinese new claim on Galwan valley has only increased the suspicion. The valley is strategically important for India since the mountain-tops on either side overlook the crucial Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road that connects Sub-Sector North (SSN) with the rest of Ladakh.

After India bans 59 apps, China says ‘strongly concerned

A day after the central government banned TikTok, a popular short video-sharing platform, and 58 other Chinese mobile apps bans in the country citing security reasons, China has responded by saying that they are “strongly concerned” and are verifying the situation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Tuesday said that China is “strongly concerned” and is “verifying the situation”. He said this regarding India’s ban on Chinese mobile apps.

“We want to stress that the Chinese government always asks Chinese businesses to abide by international and local laws and regulations. The Indian government has a responsibility to uphold the legal rights of international investors, including the Chinese ones,” said Zhao Lijian.

China

The applications were removed today from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in India.

All 59 apps with Chinese links that were listed by the Centre in its ban order were removed from the online app stores, including TikTok, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, Vigo Video as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein and games like Clash of Kings.

Here is the full list of banned 59 apps

In an order issued under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009, the Ministry of Information Technology said it has decided to block 59 apps in view of the emergent nature of threats.

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These apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order,” the government said in its order.

The move to ban the apps with Chinese links comes in the backdrop of a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh’s Galwan valley weeks ago, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and reported casualties among.43 Chinese soldiers.

Following the India-China skirmishes in the Galwan valley on June 15, tensions have exacerbated manifold between the two countries with Indian campaigns about boycotting Chinese products gaining rapid popularity in the mainstream.

Although numerous Indian government officials had earlier said that the border tensions will not impact trade between India and China, they have also been urging the citizens to be “vocal about local” and prefer indigenous alternatives to foreign, especially Chinese, brands.

In the following days, the Centre also took action cancelling several contracts with Chinese firms in sectors like railway and telecom, supposedly aimed at preventing Chinese entry into strategic markets in India.

Now, it has culminated into India banning Chinese apps over “raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians”.

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The Ministry of Information Technology said that it has received several reports about the ‘misuse’ of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.

This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace, the government order explained.

Among the banned apps, TikTok has over 200 million users in India, as it had become especially popular in suburban India launching several people into overnight online fame. They had even carefully curated a community surrounding it and catered to demands relating to personalities. E-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein are also widely popular in India. CamScanner and SHAREit were two other popular utility apps that people widely used for scanning documents and rapid sharing of files, respectively.

Human rights activists, including Indians

Several human rights activists of various nationalities, including Japanese, Indians, Taiwanese, Tibetans and others, staged a demonstration against China at Hachiko statue near Shibuya station in Tokyo on Sunday.

The protest was called at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping is being criticized globally for a dictatorial style of working- a trait which is unbecoming of an aspiring world leader.
Human Since the past few years, it is quite evident that the highly ambitious Jinping is aggressively trying to expand and encroach territories of all its neighbours including Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Bhutan, South China Sea, East China Sea, either by force or by its multi-billion dollars worth Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and One Belt One Road (OROB) projects.

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It is noteworthy, that while denying democracy to its citizens belonging to minority communities, Jinping is trying everything within his means to suppress the genuine voices of pro-democracy youth activists in Hong Kong which is beset with pro-democracy protests for over a year.

Until the 1950s, Tibet used to be a beautiful peace-loving Buddhist country which now has been swallowed by Chinese expansionism. On other hand, a highly advanced and progressive country such as Taiwan is also facing various pressure tactics from China and was recently denied representation at World Health Organisation (WHO) at China’s behest- even though Taiwan was one of the two countries in South East Asia, other being Vietnam which put forward a brilliant counter-strategy to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Had the WHO paid heed to the early alarm raised by Taiwanese health authorities regarding COVID-19, the global devastation by Covid-19 would have been greatly mitigated and reduced. Within this context, Xi Jinping’s surreptitious handling of COVID-19 and lack of transparency has raised eyebrows from all over the globe against him.

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The entire world is joining hands and uniting in its fight against COVID-19 where many countries have exchanged medicines and other medical equipment – either at subsidized rates or free on humanitarian grounds.

Many countries have also complained about receiving faulty equipment including faulty test kits from China. This may be due to genuine quality control issues. However, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) under Jinping’s leadership has been caught initiating unprovoked violence in Galwan valley, eastern Ladakh, and accused India of violating the agreement between New Delhi and Beijing. Based on various media reports and intelligence inputs, this bloody fight led to the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers and perhaps more PLA soldiers, the exact numbers have been intentionally undisclosed by China.

This despicable behaviour of China has caught global attention and the need for a call for a more responsible democracy in China.

Bengaluru Readies For Yoga Day At Home, With Family

For the first time in six years since the International Day of Yoga began on June 21, 2015, India’s tech city is readying to celebrate it on Sunday at home with family, thanks to the Covid-induced ban on public gatherings, an official said on Saturday.

Yoga

“Unlike in the past five years, when the main event was held at the Kantirava sport stadium opposite the famous Cubbon Park in the city centre, we have advised the people to celebrate the global event at home with family due to the ban on conducting it outdoors,” a state health official told IANS here.

The state-run Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences will also celebrate the annual event in the virtual world, with special address by Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Art of Living founder Sri Ravi Shankar, Adichunchana Math guru Nirmalanandanatha and Veerashaiva Lingayatha Panchamasali guru Vachananda.

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State Medical Education Minister S. Sudhakar will inaugurate the event and the university’s Vice-Chancellor S. Sachidananda will deliver the welcome speech, which will be streamed live on social media platforms Facebook and Youtube,” said the official.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also perform ‘asanas’ from his official residence in New Delhi, thousands of people from all walks of life across the country will join him with their family in the virtual world as it will be streamed live through all digital platforms and television channels.

“Yoga is good for community, immunity and unity. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, yoga has assumed even greater importance as it helps strengthen the respiratory system,” said Modi in a message to mark the occasion.

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Ahead of the Yoga Day, the Jindal Naturecure Institute on the city’s northern outskirts conducted a 30-minute virtual yoga event for children.

“The event was held in inculcate the holistic way of living in the people during the corona virus pandemic, which has disrupted the outdoor fitness regime,” said the Institute’s chief yoga officer Rajeev Rajesh in a statement.

India,China reach mutual consensus to ‘disengage’

In the Corps Commander level talks between India and China at Moldo, both sides have reached a mutual consensus to disengage in the Eastern Ladakh sector, Indian Army said on Tuesday.

According to sources cited by news agencies, the modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both sides.

India

“The Corps Commander level talks between India and China on 22 June 2020 were held at Moldo in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere. There was a mutual consensus to disengage. Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both sides,” the Army said.

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The meeting had started at around 11:30 AM yesterday at Moldo on the Chinese side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite Chushul to defuse the tensions in the Eastern Ladakh sector due to the Chinese military build-up, sources had said.

This was the second meeting between the two corps commanders. They had met on June 6 and had agreed to disengage at multiple locations. India had asked the Chinese side to return to pre-May 4 military positions along the LAC.

The Chinese side had not given any response to the specific Indian proposal and not even shown intent on the ground to withdraw troops from rear positions where they have amassed over 10,000 troops.

On the perchance of Pangong Lake in Ladakh becoming a major source of contention between India and China, the two countries have engaged in a serious discussion over the past few days in order to sort out and resolve the tensions over the border dispute. According to sources, India has now demanded pre-May 2 status quo at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the meeting with China that took place yesterday (i.e. June 22, Monday).

India and China held Corps Commander-level meeting at Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite Chushul to discuss the ongoing dispute in Ladakh. Last week, as many as 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the face-off in the Galwan Valley after an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation in eastern Ladakh.

The Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the violent clash.

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Earlier, the central government had approved emergency funds for the Indian Army to buy any weapons systems under Rs 500 crore rupees. This is the first time that the armed forces have been granted such authority since the 2019 Balakot airstrike, when Indian warplanes had crossed the de facto border in Kashmir and dropped bombs in the vicinity of the town of Balakot in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

The armed forces can now buy any weapons system which they feel is necessary during war. The Indian Army has also been given full freedom to give a befitting response to any Chinese ‘misadventure’.

The rules of engagement at the LAC have changed and field commanders have been sanctioned to use firearms under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ using all resources at their disposal.

Two agreements signed earlier between India and China, in 1996 and 2005, respectively, did not permit the use of firearms in these areas.

According to the terms of an agreement signed in 1996, “neither side shall open fire or hunt with guns or explosives within 2km from the line of actual control”.

Meanwhile, Chinese state media Global Times’ editor Hu Xijin called the change in the lines of engagement as a “serious violation” of the agreement between New Delhi and Beijing.

research study of Patanjali’s COVID drug Coronil

The Centre on Tuesday said it has taken cognizance of the reports of an Ayurvedic medicine manufactured by Patanjali, which the company claims can cure COVID-19.

research

The Ministry of AYUSH said it has taken cognizance of the news about “Ayurvedic medicines developed for the treatment of COVID-19 by Patanjali”. Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the ministry, it said.

This came on the day the number of coronavirus cases in India touched 4.4 lakh while the death toll crossed 14,000.

“The concerned Ayurvedic drug manufacturing company has been informed that such advertisements of drugs including Ayurvedic medicines am regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder and the directives issued by the Central Government in the wake of COVID outbreak,” the Ministry of AYUSH said.

Ministry had also issued a Gazette Notification on April 21, 2020 stating the requirements and the manner the research studies on COVID-19 with Ayush interventions and medicines should be undertaken.

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Patanjali has been asked to provide details of the name and composition of the medicines and other related information.

“In order to make this Ministry aware of the facts of the aforesaid news and verify the claims, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd has been asked to provide at the earliest details of the name and composition of the medicines being claimed for COVID treatment; site(s)/hospital(s), where the research study was conducted for COVID-19; protocol, sample size, Institutional Ethics Committee clearance, CTRI registration and results data of the study (ies) and stop advertising/publicizing such claims till the issue is duly examined,” the ministry said.

Ministry has also requested concerned State Licensing Authority of Uttrakhand government to provide copies of license and product approval details of the Ayurvedic medicines being claimed for the treatment of COVID -19.

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While launching the drug, Ramdev on Tuesday claimed that the medicine is clinically controlled and based on research, evidence, and trial, following which it has been found that the medicine cures 69% of patients in three days and 100% of patients in 7 days.

“We are proud to announce that the first Ayurvedic, clinically controlled trial based evidence and research-based medicine has been prepared by the combined efforts of Patanjali Research Centre and NIMS,” Yoga Guru Ramdev said at the press conference at the Patanjali Yopeeth in Haridwar, adding that it has shown “100% recovery rate within 3-7 days.”

“We are launching COVID medicines Coronil and Swasari today. We conducted two trials of these, first clinical controlled study, which took place in Delhi, Ahmedabad, among many other cities. Under this 280 patients were included and 100% of those recovered. We were able to control Corona and its complications in this. After this the all-important clinical control trial was conducted,” he added.

With an increase of 14,933 new cases and 312 deaths in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 count reached 4,40,215 on Tuesday. According to the latest update by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 14,011 deaths have been recorded due to the infection in the country so far.

Chinese researchers to conduct phase 2 of human trial

The Institute of Medical Biology at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS) said on Sunday that it has started a second phase human trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

As of now, more than a dozen vaccines are in different stages of human trials globally.

Chinese

However,  none of the vaccines have passed late-stage phase 3 clinical trials, a step required for getting regulatory approval for sale.

IMBCAMS began on Saturday a phase 2 human test for its experimental shot. The phase-2 trial will determine the shot`s dose and continue to evaluate whether the potential vaccine can safely trigger immune responses in healthy people, Reuters reported.

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The institute further says that it expects to use a plant dedicated to producing a coronavirus vaccine this year to prepare for China`s future vaccine supplies.

Meanwhile, there are about 30 groups in India, including big industry, startups and academics, who are working on COVID-19 vaccine development and about 20 of them are keeping a good pace, Government’s top scientific advisor said on May 28.

Addressing a media briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country, Professor K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said the logistics of making COVID-19 vaccine accessible to everyone is a big challenge which is being discussed by the government now.

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Raghavan said a vaccine normally takes 10-15 years to develop and costs $ 200 – 300 million but the effort now is to do this in 1 year which would raise the cost substantially.

“…we need to do parallel processing. Instead of working on 1 COVID-19 vaccine, the world is working on ~ 100 vaccines at the same time. Simultaneously, we have to speed up regulatory processes without compromising on safety, expand manufacturing capacity and build distribution systems, so, instead of $200-300 million, it will cost $2-3 billion,” he said.

Raghavan noted that India’s vaccine manufacturing is world-class.

The Coronavirus has now infected more than 8.8 Million people, killing 465000 people worldwide.

The virus was first detected in late 2019 in China, and is believed to have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan.

China releases 10 Indian Army personnel after intense

Ten Indian soldiers, including four officers, were released by the Chinese Army after a hectic round of negotiations at the Major General-level talks between the two sides in the Galwan valley.

Indian

The officers and jawans were held by the Chinese after the violent face-off between the two countries on June 15-16 where 20 Indian troops, including a colonel, lost their lives.

“All the 10 troops were returned to the Indian side by around 1600 hours on Thursday after the Major General-level talks. With this, all troops are accounted for now,” sources told news agency ANI.

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The round of talks was held between the two sides in the Galwan valley where the Indian side was represented by the 3 Division commander who had been camping close to the Indian Army`s KM-120 position even before the June 15 violent face-off.

On Thursday, the Indian Army had rejected the claims that some of its personnel were captured by the Chinese troops.

The clarification came on a report by the New York Times which said that a few Indian soldiers were missing in action after the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan valley.

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“With reference to the article ‘In China – India Clash, Two Nationalist Leaders with Little Room to Give’ by New York Times dated June 17, 2020, it is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action,” Indian Army said in a statement.

20 Indian Army personnel, including the commanding officer of 16 Bihar regiment Colonel Santosh Babu lost his life at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15-16 night after a more than three-hour-long fight.