Daily Briefing: Wait until we decide on Sena pleas, SC tells EC; CJI Ramana recommends Justice U U Lalit as successor

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 05-08-2022 | 11:45 am

Daily Briefing: Wait until we decide on Sena pleas, SC tells EC; CJI Ramana recommends Justice U U Lalit as successor

Good morning,The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission of India to put on hold any action on Eknath Shinde faction’s plea seeking recognition as the original Shiv Sena. We break down the proceedings for you:🔴 On August 8, the apex court will decide whether it needs to refer to a five-judge Constitution Bench the questions raised in petitions by the rival factions.🔴 The political crisis in Maharashtra has also raised larger questions on disqualification proceedings and interpretations of the anti-defection law.🔴 The EC, meanwhile, has underlined its own duties, maintaining that the Tenth Schedule (on disqualification of members) cannot interdict its responsibility.🔴 While the Shinde faction has said anti-defection law must not become an “anti-dissent law”, the Thackeray faction has contested that the entire claim of the rebels is based on the support of majority MLAs, but the claim goes if they are disqualified.In the latest edition of Express Adda, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya spoke on behind-the-scenes of India’s mammoth vaccine drive, preventive health modules and how the digital health mission can make treatment both accessible and affordable.Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, set to retire on August 26, has recommended to the government the name of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as his successor. Justice Lalit headed the SC bench that quashed the two judgments of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court saying the most important ingredient for constituting an offence of sexual assault under Section 7 of POCSO Act is the “sexual intent”, and not the “skin-to-skin” contact with the child”.Over 50,000 candidates across the country were forced to return from centres without taking the Common University Entrance Test (CUET-UG) 2022 as the National Testing Agency (NTA) failed to upload question papers on time. These candidates will be allotted a new date, between August 12 and 14, the NTA said.The Centre has warned the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh that if the state fails to implement the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), the Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) it will be “compelled to “reconsider” its support to other rural schemes.Consider this: Since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019, more than 690 militants have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir, 132 of them this year. In the same period, 527 individuals joined militant ranks. Why are the recruitment numbers this high? According to J&K Director General of Police Dibag Singh, it is largely because of “social media and internet-based propaganda”. Another alarming trend, the official said, was that the recruitment age had been lowered to include school dropouts.On Monday, a Sierra Leone-registered ship, ‘Razoni’, carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn (maize) set sail from Ukraine’s Odesa port. This was the first time since Russia’s invasion on February 24 that any vessel loaded with Ukrainian grain had departed from its ports on the Black Sea. How significant a milestone is this shipment? How much does Ukraine matter to India? We explain.In our opinion section today, Apar Gupta and Tejasi Panijar write on the withdrawal of the Personal Data Protection Bill: “With the withdrawal in Parliament on August 3, it almost seems institutional processes, in which all three branches of government worked for years, are being jettisoned in favour of “a comprehensive legal framework”. Is this justified? Surely, with the exponential pace in the technology sector, a government can change its mind. What if the draft bill and JPC recommendations were awful and the government acted responsibly to proceed with a tabula rasa?”After his record-breaking overall lift of 405 kg in the 109 kg-plus category of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Pakistan’s Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt, 25, looked around for the bronze medallist, India’s Gurdeep Singh. This wasn’t the winner of Pakistan’s first gold at these Games being gracious for the camera, but friends wanting to share their moment of glory. Much later, away from the media gaze, the two would party into the night, sharing their joy with their favourite Sidhu Moosewala songs playing in the background.Until next time,Rahel Philipose and Sonal Gupta

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Maharashtra: 5 months on, Corbevax uptake at 42%; wastage still high
Times of India | 1 day ago | 11-08-2022 | 09:22 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 11-08-2022 | 09:22 am

PUNE: Only 42% of the target population in the state’s 12-14 age group have been given two doses of Corbevax, five months after Covid vaccination started for this age bracket. Maharashtra has nearly 40 lakh children in this group — 70% have taken the first dose, data revealed. Officials said the response has been slow in the 12-14 age group and as a result, Corbevax wastage (as of August 9) is at an average of 13% in the state, compared to 3.5% for Covaxin and just 0.4% for Covishield. A 10 ml vial of Corbevax vaccinates 20 children and once opened, it has to be used up within four hours. However, due to low turnouts, many vaccination centres don’t have the 20 people they need to completely use up a vial, leading to wastage, officials said. Large urban centres such as Pune, Mumbai, Thane and Nagpur have registered Corbevax coverage below the state average. An official at a vaccine site said planned camps for schools could not be held due to the rains and holidays. Incidentally, Nashik and Sangli — with 72% Corbevax coverage — are currently leading in the state. As of August 9, Mumbai’s 26% coverage (two-dose) is the lowest in the tally. Officials from the state health department said once special vaccination camps take off in schools, Corbevax wastage should reduce. Parbhani has registered about 30% wastage, followed by Palghar and Gondia that have both registered above 27% wastage. “Parents, after the reopening of schools, are have not been approaching vaccination sites. This needs to be addressed and we are doing it through the Har Ghar Dastak programme. But response has been weak,” said a health worker who added that many families want more time to decide on Corbevax vaccination. One state official said this hesitancy is also why high Corbevax wastage was expected.

Maharashtra: 5 months on, Corbevax uptake at 42%; wastage still high
Maharashtra has vaccine , ‘PMR shortage caused by distribution errors’
Times of India | 4 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 06:04 am
Times of India
4 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 06:04 am

PUNE: State immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai on Sunday said Covid vaccine shortages that were reported recently in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad were the result of 'distribution errors' and not supply shortages. currently has enough doses, he confirmed. "We received five lakh doses two days ago and have another five lakh doses in our reserves. A few lakh more are expected in the next three days. So, there is no shortage," Dr Desai said. But officials on the ground maintained the vaccine shortages were due to supply problems. Dr Sanjog Kadam, deputy director of health services, Pune region said, "This is no distribution error. It's a supply shortage. I will look into the matter and ensure all vaccination centres in PMC and PCMC areas are functional from Monday." Dr Suryakant Devkar, the PMC's immunization officer said, "We have just 2,500 doses of Covishield. Only six vaccination centres are currently functional due to low reserves in PMC areas." In Pimpri Chinchwad, there has been no Covid vaccination drive since Friday. "We have no vaccine stock with us. Eight of our hospitals haven't been able to hold vaccination drives since Friday," said Dr Laxman Gophane, an official with the PCMC's health department. Vaccine allocation or distribution issues have cropped up earlier, during months of high demand. State officials had said that doses from low-consumption centres can be diverted to those seeing good turnout. But several state and civic-run vaccination centres are currently seeing high demand due to the free booster drive that started for the 18-59 age group on July 15. A total of 22.46 lakh eligible citizens in the 18-59 age bracket received the precaution or booster dose in Maharashtra between July 15 and August 1. Data shows that from April 10 to July 14, when boosters for the 18-59 age group were available only at private hospitals, only 8.1 lakh people from the age bracket had taken the third shot. Essentially, the number of beneficiaries hit 22 lakh in just 15 days after the shot was made free of charge at all government vaccination sites. The nationwide free booster drive ends on September 30. So far, Mumbai has recorded booster coverage of 2.15 lakh people followed by Thane (2.05 lakh), Pune (1.86 lakh), Nashik (1.70 lakh), Nagpur (1.49 lakh), and Palghar (1.29 lakh). There are 7.5 crore people in the 18-59 years category in the state. Of them, about 75% (5.62 crore) have taken both doses of the Covid vaccine. All these people are eligible to take the precautionary dose of the same vaccine after completing the newly fixed interval of six months from the second dose. Not all age groups though have responded well to the free booster drive. According to data from the state health department, only 26% of people over 60 years of age have taken boosters. There are nearly 1.1 crore elderly (60-plus) in the state who are eligible for a booster dose, but only 26.06 lakh have taken the third shot. Health workers who were deployed to go door-to-door said many elderly were reluctant to get the third dose. "We tried to explain everything, but they refused. And we cannot force them to take the shot," said one health worker.

Maharashtra has vaccine , ‘PMR shortage caused by distribution errors’
Only 26% of elderly covered by precaution shot in Maharashtra
Times of India | 5 days ago | 07-08-2022 | 05:24 am
Times of India
5 days ago | 07-08-2022 | 05:24 am

PUNE: Maharashtra on Friday recorded 2,024 new Covid-19 cases, but its pace of vaccine coverage continues to be slow. According to the state health department data, only 26% of people over 60 years of age have taken the booster dose. Officials are now worried - the 'Har Ghar Dastak' drive has had a weak response and hesitancy remains a major problem. There are nearly 1.1 crore elderly (60-plus) in the state who are eligible for a booster dose, but only 26.06 lakh have taken the jab. And only nine districts have scored higher than the state average in 60-plus vaccination. Free booster drives for frontline workers and the elderly began on January 10. "It is concerning that many over 60 years of age, and eligible for the third shot, are not coming forward. This is more to do with negligence than just hesitancy as they have taken the first two doses," said state immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai. Urban centres have registered good booster uptake with Mumbai (41.5% coverage) leading the state, followed by Thane (37%) and Pune (35%). But districts such as Gadchiroli (10.5%), Buldhana (10.2%) and Nanded (8.29%) are lagging behind. "Unlike the first two doses, interest is minimal towards the third shot, even after counselling," a state health official said. The free booster drives began simultaneously for the elderly, health and frontline workers. Among health and frontline staffers booster coverage is at 42% and 40% respectively. ASHA workers who were deployed to go door-to-door for the Har Ghar Dastak campaign said many senior citizens were reluctant to get the third dose. "We tried to explain everything, but they refused. And we cannot force such people to take the vaccines," said one ASHA worker. Other age groups have responded well to the booster drive. "Third-jab uptake is picking up in the 18-59 group," Dr Desai confirmed. State task force members urged authorities to keep up counselling sessions. "The low coverage among the elderly is alarming," said one task force member.

Only 26% of elderly covered by precaution shot in Maharashtra
Explained: What is Lumpy Skin Disease, the viral infection killing cattle in Gujarat, Rajasthan
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 04-08-2022 | 07:45 pm
The Indian Express
1 week ago | 04-08-2022 | 07:45 pm

Over the last few weeks, nearly 3,000 cattle have died in Rajasthan and Gujarat due to a viral infection called the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) that has spread across the states. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel visited the affected areas in Kutch to review the situation on Tuesday (August 3).At the same time, Bhavya Verma, District Development Officer of Kutch, told The Indian Express that the rate of daily infections has started stabilising of late, and the region was “past the peak of the surge of LSD”.On July 27, the Gujarat government banned the transport of livestock out of 14 affected districts. Around 11 lakh cattle have been vaccinated against the disease, and the National Dairy Development Board has supplied 28 lakh doses of goat pox vaccine to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab, bought from a private entity called Hester Biosciences. A toll-free helpline – 1962 – has also been activated to guide cattle-herders and dairy farmers to tackle the disease.According to a report by GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) disease is caused by a virus called the Capripoxvirus and is “an emerging threat to livestock worldwide”. It is genetically related to the goatpox and sheeppox virus family.LSD infects cattle and water buffalo mainly through vectors such as blood-feeding insects. Signs of infection include the appearance of circular, firm nodes on the animal’s hide or skin that look similar to lumps.Infected animals immediately start losing weight and may have fever and lesions in the mouth, along with a reduced milk yield. Other symptoms include excessive nasal and salivary secretion. Pregnant cows and buffaloes often suffer miscarriage and in some cases, diseased animals can die due to it as well.This is not the first time LSD has been detected in India. The disease has been endemic in most African countries, and since 2012 it has spread rapidly through the Middle East, Southeast Europe and West and Central Asia. Since 2019, several outbreaks of LSD have been reported in Asia. In May this year, Pakistan’s Punjab also reported the deaths of over 300 cows due to LSD.In September 2020, a strain of the virus was discovered in Maharashtra. Gujarat too has reported cases over the last few years sporadically, but currently, the point of concern is the number of deaths being reported, and whether vaccination catches up to the rate at which the disease is spreading.According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), of which India is a member, mortality rates of 1 to 5 per cent are considered usual. The disease is not zoonotic, meaning it does not spread from animals to humans, and humans cannot get infected with it.While the virus does not spread to humans, “milk produced by an infected animal will be fit for human consumption after boiling or pasteurisation as these processes will kill the viruses, if any, in the milk”, said Prof J B Kathiriya, Assistant Professor with the department of veterinary public health and epidemiology of Kamdhenu University’s College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry in Junagadh.Successful control and eradication of LSD relies on “early detection…followed by a rapid and widespread vaccination campaign”, as per the WOAH. Once an animal has recovered, it is well protected and cannot be the source of infection for other animals.In his interview with The Indian Express, Prof J B Kathiriya, also spoke about the measures to protest against the viral infection. He said: “The first thing is, they should sanitise cattle-sheds by eliminating vectors through application of insecticides and spraying disinfectant chemicals. They should isolate the infected cattle immediately from the healthy stock and contact the nearest veterinarian for treatment of the infected animal. This is necessary as otherwise the virus may prove fatal.”“Secondly, they should report the outbreak to the state government so that the rest of the healthy herd can be vaccinated using goat pox vaccine,” said Prof Kathiriya. He added that cattle with healthy immune systems will recover from the disease in some days.Another challenge is the disposal of the dead animals as improper handling of the carcasses can cause health and sanitation issues. Proper disposal of the carcasses can include incineration or burning of the bodies at high temperatures, along with disinfection of premises, as per the WOAH.

Explained: What is Lumpy Skin Disease, the viral infection killing cattle in Gujarat, Rajasthan
Maharashtra likely to run out of Covishield this week
Times of India | 1 week ago | 02-08-2022 | 06:36 am
Times of India
1 week ago | 02-08-2022 | 06:36 am

PUNE: Maharashtra's current Covishield reserves are likely to be exhausted by the end of this week, state officials said on Monday. Dr Sachin Desai, state immunisation officer, said Maharashtra currently holds around 10 lakh doses of Covishield. With average daily vaccination at around two lakh for the last two weeks - due to the increase in booster jabs - this reserve is not expected to last beyond this week, he said. "But we have asked the Centre for fresh vaccine stock and it is being allocated as and when needed," Dr Desai said. He refused to give the exact number of doses the state has asked for. Dr Desai also said stock should be allocated properly at the district-level so that high-response vaccination centres have enough doses for daily sessions. Essentially, the Covid vaccines from low-response sites can be diverted to centres that are recording good turnout. Sanjog Kadam, deputy director, health services, Pune circle, said, "We had distributed some 10,000 Covishield doses to Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune rural last week. More doses are expected this week." On Monday, Covishield shortages were reported across free vaccination centres in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad civic limits. On Tuesday, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will offer Covishield at only five vaccination sites (out of a total of 68). In Pimpri Chinchwad, the PCMC reported zero availability of Covishield doses. In a press release, the PCMC said its sites will be offering only Corbevax and Covaxin doses on Tuesday. Officials from both the civic bodies said orders have been placed for more doses of the Covishield vaccine.

Maharashtra likely to run out of Covishield this week