Latest NEWS Highlights:: "Vaccine Safe", Says Adar Poonawalla On Serum Institute Fire

Latest News Updates: "No actual vaccine was actually being produced there, so there was no damage to any vaccine," CEO Adar Poonawalla said.

Latest NEWS Highlights:: 'Vaccine Safe', Says Adar Poonawalla On Serum Institute Fire

Latest News Updates: 5 people died in fire that broke out at Serum Institute of India. (File)

New Delhi:

A day after a massive fire at vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India's Pune facility, in which five people died, CEO Adar Poonawalla said there was no damage to any vaccine as none were being produced at the site.

"This was a brand new facility. It was for the future production of BCG and Rotavirus. No actual vaccine was actually being produced there, so there was no damage to any vaccine," Mr Poonawalla said, addressing a joint press conference with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The Serum CEO added that there was no damage to Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine being used in India's Covid inoculation drive. "Where Covishield is manufactured and stored, no damage was done to that," he said.

Nearly 10.5 lakh beneficiaries have received anti-coronavirus shots under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination exercise as on date, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. In a span of 24 hours, 2,37,050 people were vaccinated across 4,049 sessions. A total of 18,167 sessions have been conducted so far. On the testing front too, India continues to register growing numbers, the ministry said.

India added 14,545 coronavirus cases today, placing its overall number at 1.06 crore cases, the Health Ministry's data showed. The number of fresh infections reported on Sunday were 4 per cent lower than on Thursday. In this period, India reported 163 deaths linked to the virus, taking the total number of fatalities to 1,53,032.

Here are the highlights:

Jan 23, 2021 04:59 (IST)
Madhya Pradesh records 347 new COVID-19 cases

Madhya Pradesh's COVID-19 tally rose to 2,53,114 as 347 people tested positive for the infection on Friday, an health department official said. As many as 463 patients were discharged from hospitals in the state in the last 24 hours, while four others died of due to the infection, the official said. 

With this, the deaths in the state stood at 3,780, and the number of recoveries has risen to 2,44,855, he said. Indore, Bhopal, Damoh and Rajgarh district recorded one fatality each, the official said.
Jan 23, 2021 04:21 (IST)
Florida to require proof of residence for Covid vaccines

Florida will require proof of residence for those getting a Covid shot in a push to thwart so-called "vaccine tourism," a move experts say could also leave thousands of undocumented immigrants, homeless and low-income people in the lurch.

The decision came after residents of other states and even people from abroad were reportedly arriving in Florida -- which currently vaccinates anyone over age 65 -- with an aim of gaining easier access to immunization.

While the state has administered more than 1.3 million doses, the process has been slow and chaotic.

In a public advisory issued Thursday, Florida's Surgeon General Scott Rivkees indicated that applicants must show proof of residence -- such as driver's license, utility bill or letter from a bank -- in order to be immunized.
Jan 23, 2021 03:47 (IST)
New York state runs out of Covid-19 vaccines: governor

New York state was to run out of coronavirus vaccines on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, increasing pressure on President Joe Biden's administration to speed up deliveries.

"NYS will use up our first dose vaccine allocations today. But our next allocation is coming throughout the week," Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

"Providers should ONLY schedule appointments for allocations they know they'll receive. We want to avoid all cancelations," he added.

Biden took office this week with a pledge to reenergize America's faltering vaccination program.
Jan 23, 2021 03:28 (IST)
Rio de Janeiro scraps 2021 carnival over coronavirus woes

Rio de Janeiro will not host its famous carnival this year due to a deadly revival of the coronavirus epidemic in Brazil, the city's mayor Eduardo Paes has announced.

Rio's samba schools, which organize the celebratory parades, had hoped to hold the signature event in July after it was postponed from its usual slot in February or March.

But this depended on a national vaccination campaign being well and truly under way.

In reality, Brazil's inoculation drive only started Monday with an initial six million doses available for the country's 212 million inhabitants.

The carnival draws millions of visitors, and their tourist dollars, to the beachside city each year.

Jan 23, 2021 03:04 (IST)
Made in India vaccines arrive in Brazil
Jan 23, 2021 02:44 (IST)
Bangladesh to start covid vaccinations next week

Bangladesh received two million coronavirus vaccine doses from India Thursday, with the government saying it plans to start inoculating the population of 168 million people next week.

The South Asian nation was one of several countries to receive a free supply of AstraZeneca-Oxford's Covishield vaccine from India as a gift.

The drug is being produced by India's Serum Insitute, the world's biggest vaccine manufacturer.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Bangladesh is buying a further 30 million doses of the vaccine and expects to receive monthly consignments of five million doses.

Impoverished Bangladesh has seen 8,000 people die from coronavirus, although the pandemic has not been as bad as feared in a country that is home to packed cities and just 600 intensive care beds.
Jan 23, 2021 02:32 (IST)
AstraZeneca Warns Of Limited Coronavirus Vaccine Supplies To Europe
British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca warned Friday that supplies of its coronavirus vaccine to Europe will be "lower than originally anticipated" due to reduced production at a manufacturing site. Read Here
Jan 23, 2021 02:11 (IST)
30,000 more health workers get COVID vaccine shot in West Bengal

Over 30,000 frontline health workers were vaccinated for COVID-19 in West Bengal on Friday, taking the total number of people who got the jab to 84,505, a senior official of the health department said. 

Out of the set target of 35,100 for Friday, 30,517 received Covishield doses in 351 centres across the state during the day. Eleven cases of adverse event following immunization (AEFI), mostly minor, were reported, the  official said. 

"All the AEFI cases reported so far are doing well. The nurse who was admitted to the CCU of the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital (in Kolkata on January 16) with AEFI was also discharged today," the official said. 


 

Jan 23, 2021 01:33 (IST)
Three new COVID-19 cases in Mizoram; schools reopen for students of Classes 10, 12

Three more persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in Mizoram, taking the tally to 4,349,
an official said on Friday. The fresh cases were reported from Aizawl district. 

After a gap of about three months, schools across the state reopened their classrooms on Friday for students who would shortly be appearing for their board examination, the official said. Both the government and private schools along with hostels reopened for students of classes 10 and 12, amid strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, he said. 

However, students have to undergo the rapid antigen test before entering hostels. Online classes will continue for students of other  classes, he said. 

Schools in Mizoram had reopened on October 16 last year for students of classes 10 and 12 but were again closed due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Jan 23, 2021 01:12 (IST)
Belgium bans non-essential foreign trips from Wednesday

Belgium will ban non-essential trips in and out of the country from Wednesday in a bid to curb the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.

The prohibition will run to March 1 and apply to land, sea and air travel but will not affect cross-border workers or those with overriding health or family reasons.

"We are not going to build a wall around Belgium. We can go to other countries but only for essential reasons," De Croo told a media conference on Friday.

The announcement comes a day after a European Union summit by videoconference during which leaders decided against barring travel across the EU's internal borders.

They instead "strongly discouraged" nonessential intra-EU trips, and warned they might toughen that line in days ahead if the worrying virus variants took hold.
Jan 23, 2021 00:44 (IST)
Only 45 % beneficiaries in Telangana take COVID-19 vaccine on Friday

Out of the 28,433 beneficiaries scheduled to take the COVID-19 vaccine shot in Telangana on Friday, only 12,944 beneficiaries (45.5 per cent) were vaccinated, the state health department informed.

All 33 districts in the state conducted vaccinations for central and state healthcare workers in 489 sessions.

As many as five people reported Adverse Effect After Vaccination (AEFI) and their health are stable.

A total of 64 per cent of all beneficiaries have been vaccinated in the state so far. No serious/severe cases of AEFI have been reported.
Jan 23, 2021 00:32 (IST)
Punjab: Samples of another poultry farm suspected to be positive for bird flu

Samples collected from a poultry farm in Punjab''s Mohali district were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, after it was suspected that they were positive for bird flu, officials said on Friday.

After receiving a report of suspected cases of Avian Influenza at a poultry farm at Behra village in Mohali from the Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NRDDL), Jalandhar, the Animal Husbandry Department has sent the samples to NIHSAD for confirmation, Additional Chief Secretary V K Janjua said in a statement here.

He also said 11,200 birds of a poultry farm, whose samples had tested positive for avian influenza, were culled on Friday.
Jan 22, 2021 23:22 (IST)
WHO, Pfizer Announce Deal For 40 Million Vaccine Doses For Poorer Countries
The WHO and pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer on Friday announced a deal for up to 40 million initial doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for poorer countries, through Covax global pool.
Jan 22, 2021 22:32 (IST)
Serum Institute Fire Causes Loss Of Over ₹ 1,000 Crore: Adar Poonawalla
The Serum Institute of India (SII) said it has suffered losses of over Rs  1,000 crore due to the massive fire that broke out a day before at its premises in Pune, while Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that whether the blaze was an accident or sabotage will be known once the probe gets over.

Five contractual labourers died in the fire that broke out in a five-storey building in the SII's Manjari premises in Pune on Thursday.

The chief minister visited the SII today to take stock of the damages. He later addressed a press conference with Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SII
Jan 22, 2021 21:43 (IST)
India Says No COVID-19 Vaccine Request From Pakistan
India is supplying COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured in the country to neighbouring countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh but has not received any request from Pakistan.

Addressing the weekly media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there is an interest in accessing vaccines from India, which is the global hub of vaccine production.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used for the benefit of all humanity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jan 22, 2021 20:17 (IST)
Gurgaon Health Worker Who Got Vaccine Last Week Dies, Autopsy Awaited
A 56-year-old healthcare worker in Gurgaon, who was given the Covishield coronavirus vaccine last Saturday, died in the early hours today. The cause of the death is not yet known, and her body has been sent for an autopsy, doctors said.

According to her family, Rajwanti did not wake up in the morning and was brought dead at the Medanta hospital. She did not have any reaction to the vaccine on the day it was administered, they said.

"Only after the post-mortem report comes, the cause of Rajwanti's death will be known. Till then it will not be right to say that Rajwanti died due to the vaccine," Gurgaon's Chief Medical Officer Dr Virendra Yadav said.
Jan 22, 2021 19:21 (IST)
India's Vaccine Diplomacy Shows Off A Huge Strength: Foreign Media
India only started vaccinating its own population against the coronavirus a few days ago, but it is already using its manufacturing heft to generate goodwill with its neighbors.

The government has made the calculation that it has enough vaccines to share. The result is a form of vaccine diplomacy that appears to be unlike any other in the world.

Since Wednesday, the Indian government has sent free vaccines to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives - more than 3.2 million doses in total. Donations to Mauritius, Myanmar and Seychelles are set to follow. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are next on the list.
Jan 22, 2021 18:49 (IST)
Coronavirus Latest News: Delhi Reports 266 Fresh Cases, 7 Deaths
Delhi recorded 266 fresh COVID-19 cases and seven deaths due to the virus on Friday, with the positivity rate rising to 0.37 per cent.

The tally of COVID-19 cases stood at over 6,33,542 in the city and the death count due to the viral disease mounted to 10,789, authorities said.

The tally of active cases in the city stood at 2,060, while the positivity rate rose to 0.37 per cent, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi Health Department.

On Thursday, the positivity rate was at 0.28 pc.

On Monday, the city had recorded 161 COVID-19 cases, the lowest in nearly nine months, with a positivity rate of 0.32 per cent.

On April 26, the city had recorded 293 cases, according to official data.

The bulletin said the total number of containment zones in the national capital stood at 1,629.
Jan 22, 2021 18:08 (IST)
"Vaccine Safe": Adar Poonawalla, Uddhav Thackeray On Serum Institute Fire
A day after a massive fire at vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India's Pune facility, in which five people died, CEO Adar Poonawalla said the supply of the coronavirus vaccine Covishield would not be affected.

"This was a brand new facility. It was for the future production of BCG and Rotavirus. No actual vaccine was actually being produced there, so there was no damage to any vaccine," Mr Poonawalla said, addressing a joint press conference with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The Serum CEO added that there was no damage to Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being used in India's Covid inoculation drive. "Where Covishield is manufactured and stored, no damage was done to that," he said.
Jan 22, 2021 17:51 (IST)
COVID-19 LIVE Updates: 1.38 Lakh People Administered First Dose Of Vaccine In Karnataka
Out of 1,38,656 people who have been administered the first dose of vaccine in Karnataka, the side effect has appeared in some, but no causality has been reported yet, said the state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Friday.

Briefing media about the vaccination process in the state, Dr Sudhakar said Serum Institute of India's (SII) vaccine COVISHIELD has been administered to 1,36,882 people while Bharat Biotech''s COVAXIN has been administered to 1,774 people in the state.

"2 per cent to 3.5 per cent people have developed some sort of side effect. 8,47,908 lakh people have registered for vaccination in the first phase. Out of which 3,27,201 are government health warriors and 4,45,389 are private health warriors. Today we will be receiving another 1,46,240 doses of COVAXIN," he stated.
Jan 22, 2021 17:31 (IST)
Hong Kong To Impose First Covid Lockdown On Virus-Hit District: Report
Thousands of Hong Kongers will be ordered to stay in their homes for the city's first coronavirus lockdown, local media reported Friday, as authorities battle an outbreak in one of its poorest and most densely packed districts.

The order bans anyone from leaving their apartment unless they can show a negative test where cases have surged in recent days, and will last until everyone within the designated area has been tested, the reports said.

The South China Morning Post said the measures would come in at midnight Friday into Saturday with some 1,700 police ready to enforce the lockdown covering some 150 housing blocks and up to 9,000 people.
Jan 22, 2021 17:03 (IST)
Coronavirus Updates: Covaxin Phase 1 Trial Clears Lancet Review, Phase 3 Trial Ongoing
Covaxin, India's first indigenous vaccine against COVID-19, showed enhanced immune response without any serious side effects in the Phase 1 trials, according to the results published in well-respected Lancet Infectious Disease journal on Friday.

Similar peer-reviewed studies for the Phase 2 are still awaited and Phase 3 trials are ongoing even as the government continues to give out the jabs to lakhs of front-line workers. While the first two phases of vaccine trials usually focus on their safety, the third stage generally determines its efficacy.
Jan 22, 2021 16:20 (IST)
India Sends COVID-19 Vaccine Doses To Mauritius, Seychelles
Indian Navy P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft was loaded with COVID-19 vaccines that will be supplied to Mauritius and Seychelles today.

India has started supplying vaccines on a gratis basis (without charge) to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, according to an earlier statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

A consignment of 100,000 (1 lakh) doses of the Covishield vaccine is expected to arrive in Mauritius today while a consignment of 50,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine is scheduled to reach Seychelles.

Seychelles is only among the four Indian Ocean countries to receive the Covishield vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, as Indian grant assistance.
Jan 22, 2021 15:45 (IST)
6 Migrant Workers Dead After Falling Into Pit In Meghalaya Forest
Six migrant workers from Assam died after they fell into a 150-feet pit in a forest in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills, the same district where 15 men disappeared inside an illegal rat-hole mine after it collapsed in December 2018.

Locals alleged the migrant workers whose bodies were found inside the pit this morning were digging an illegal coal mine.

However, government sources said there is no coal mine in the area and the workers were involved in cutting and shaping hard soil for other purposes.

The National Green Tribunal has banned coal mining in Meghalaya.
Jan 22, 2021 14:56 (IST)
Medical Infrastructure In Varanasi Transformed In Last 6 Years: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the medical infrastructure in Varanasi and nearby areas has been transformed in the last six years. Read more

Medical Infrastructure In Varanasi Transformed In Last 6 Years: PM Modi

Jan 22, 2021 14:55 (IST)
Hungary signs deal for "large quantities' of Russian vaccine

The Hungarian government said Friday it had reached a deal to buy large quantities of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, even though it has not been approved by the European Union's medicines watchdog.

"Hungary has concluded with Russia an agreement to buy in three phases large quantities of the Sputnik V vaccine; the contract has been negotiated, and signed during the night," Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a video statement on his Facebook page after meeting the Russian health minister in Moscow.
Jan 22, 2021 14:29 (IST)
Over 10 lakh beneficiaries vaccinated against COVID-19

Nearly 10.5 lakh beneficiaries have received anti-coronavirus shots under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination exercise as on date, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

In a span of 24 hours, 2,37,050 people were vaccinated across 4,049 sessions. A total of 18,167 sessions have been conducted so far. On the testing front too, India continues to register growing numbers, the ministry said.

The expansion in testing infrastructure has given a boost in India's fight against the global pandemic. The cumulative testing has crossed 19 crore, it underlined. 

A total of 8,00,242 samples were tested for COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours which has increased India's total cumulative tests to 19,01,48,024.

"Comprehensive and widespread testing on a sustained basis has resulted in bringing down the positivity rate. The cumulative Positivity Rate stands at 5.59 per cent as of today," the ministry said.
Jan 22, 2021 13:24 (IST)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with beneficiaries and vaccinators of Covid vaccination drive in Varanasi, via video conferencing.

Image
Jan 22, 2021 13:23 (IST)
No fresh COVID-19 case in Andamans, tally at 4,991

Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not record a single fresh COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, a health department official said on Friday.

The coronavirus tally in the union territory remained at 4,991, while a total of 62 people have died so far due to the contagion, he said.

Four more persons were cured of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries in the archipelago to 4,904, the official said.

The union territory now has 25 active COVID-19 cases and all the cases are in South Andaman district.
Jan 22, 2021 13:08 (IST)
West Bengal Minister Rajib Banerjee Resigns In Fresh Worry For Trinamool
West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee today resigned from his position. The cabinet minister did not cite any reasons for his decision and comes amid a recent string of exits from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress as the state heads for Assembly elections in March-April.

"I regret to inform you that I hereby tender my resignation from my Office as Cabinet Minsiter being in charge of Forest Department on today, i.e., On 22nd of January, 2021," Mr Banerjee said in his letter to the Chief Minister.

His move comes days after he had complained about "some leaders in the Trinamool Congress (TMC)" carrying out propaganda against him.
Jan 22, 2021 12:07 (IST)
Beijing launches mass virus tests as China's daily tally drops slightly

Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday, while Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China battles its worst outbreak of the disease since March and families fret over reunion plans for the Lunar New Year amid new curbs.

Mainland China reported a slight decline in new daily COVID-19 cases on Friday - 103 from 144 cases a day earlier.

Of these new cases, 94 were local transmissions: northeastern Heilongjiang reported 47 new cases, while Jilin province reported 19 new cases. Shanghai reported six new cases, while the capital Beijing reported three new cases.

Some districts in Beijing launched mass COVID-19 tests following several consecutive days of new cases in the Chinese capital, with long queues forming in certain parts of the town.

Shanghai began testing all hospital staff for the disease on Thursday after two such workers tested positive.
Jan 22, 2021 11:36 (IST)
JustIn| PM Modi hails Indian cricket team for Australia win, says positive mindset leads to positive results which is the essence of Atmanirbhar Bharat: Press Trust Of India
Jan 22, 2021 10:57 (IST)
"Normal Construction On Own Territory," Says China On Arunachal Village
China's construction activities on "its own territory" is "normal" and is entirely a matter of sovereignty, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, reacting to a report about China building a new village in Arunachal Pradesh. Read more

'Normal Construction On Own Territory,' Says China On Arunachal Village

Jan 22, 2021 10:26 (IST)
JustIn| CBI files case against UK-based Cambridge Analytica for illegal harvesting of personal data from Facebook
Jan 22, 2021 10:22 (IST)
Japan cabinet approves bill for tougher virus measures

Japan's cabinet approved draft laws to toughen coronavirus restrictions on Friday, a move that could threaten rule-breakers with fines and prison sentences for the first time since the outbreak began.

With just six months until the virus-postponed Tokyo Olympics are due to begin, the capital and other regions are currently under a state of emergency in an attempt to quell a record spike in Covid-19 infections.

But unlike strict lockdowns seen elsewhere in the world, the measure has no means of enforcement -- with people urged rather than ordered to stay home, and no fines for businesses who ignore requests to close early.

While some observers have praised Japan's soft approach, which tries to balance infection control with economic impact, recent surveys show approval ratings for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government have plummeted over its handling of the latest wave.
Jan 22, 2021 10:11 (IST)
Thane district records 286 new COVID-19 cases, 7 deaths

With the addition of 286 new coronavirus cases, the infection count in Thane district of Maharashtra rose to 2,50,693, an official said on Friday.

The virus claimed the lives of seven more persons, pushing the death toll in the district to 6,074,, he said.

The COVID-19 mortality rate stood at 2.42 per cent, he added.

So far, 2,40,879 patients have recuperated from the infection, showing a recovery rate of 96.08 per cent, the official said.

There are 3,740 active cases in the district at present, the official said.
Jan 22, 2021 09:53 (IST)
Shivamogga blast: Rahul Gandhi calls for in-depth investigation

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the news of the blast at a stone mining quarry in Karnataka is tragic and asserted that such incidents call for an in-depth investigation so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future.

At least eight people were killed after a truckload of explosives, suspected to be meant for mining, exploded in Karnataka's Shivamogga district on Thursday night, police said.

"The news of blast at stone mining quarry in Karnataka is tragic. Condolences to the families of the victims," Mr Gandhi tweeted.

"Such incidents call for in-depth investigation so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future," the former Congress chief said.

Jan 22, 2021 09:46 (IST)
JustIn| 14,545 fresh COVID-19 cases in India, 4% lower than yesterday; 1.06 crore total cases, 1,53,032 deaths

Jan 22, 2021 09:46 (IST)
Kamala Harris as US Vice-President further cements importance of India-US ties: White House

The relationship between India and the United States has been further cemented with Kamala Harris becoming the Vice-President of the United States, the White House said.

The new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday (local time) said that President Joe Biden respects and values the "long bipartisan relationship" between Washington and New Delhi and looks forward to "a continuation of that".

"President (Joe) Biden, who of course has visited India many times, respects and values the long bipartisan successful relationship between leaders in India and the United States. It looks forward to a continuation of that," Psaki said responding to a question on India-US relationship.

"The first Indian American to serve as president or Vice President is certainly a historic moment for all of us in this country but a further. You know cementing of the importance of our relationship," she added.
Jan 22, 2021 09:10 (IST)
Uddhav Thackeray To Visit Serum Institute Facility Today After Fire Incident
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is set to visit the Serum Institute of India's (SII) Manjari facility on Friday, where a fire incident led to the deaths of five people. Read more

Uddhav Thackeray To Visit Serum Institute Facility Today After Fire Incident


Jan 22, 2021 08:31 (IST)
PM Modi expresses pain at loss of lives in Shivamogga explosion
PM Modi expresses pain at loss of lives in Shivamogga explosion

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed pain at the loss of lives in an explosion in Karnataka's Shivamogga district and said the state government is providing all possible assistance to the affected.

At least six people were killed after a truckload of explosives, suspected to be meant for mining, exploded in Shivamogga on Thursday night, police said.

The massive explosion took place near a gravel and boulder crushing facility around 10:30 pm, sending shockwaves not only in Shivamogga but also in neighbouring Chikkamagaluru and Davangere districts.

In a message tweeted by the Prime Minister's Office, PM Modi said, "Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The State Government is providing all possible assistance to the affected."
Jan 22, 2021 08:29 (IST)
India willing to support Colombia in its journey towards peace: TS Tirumurti at UN Security Council

Commending the remarkable progress in the process of peacebuilding in Colombia, India on Thursday said it is willing to support Bogota in its journey towards peace, progress, and prosperity.

Speaking at United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on Colombia, TS Tirumurti, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, said democracy in Colombia is deepening through increased political participation and applauded the efforts of the people and the Government of Colombia in realising the achievements of the last four years.

A peace deal was signed between the previous Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016. The deal was meant to put an end to a bloody 50-year armed conflict that killed over 260,000 and displaced millions in Colombia.

"Colombia is witnessing remarkable progress in the implementation of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace. The denouncement of violence, laying down of arms by the FARC-EP and its transformation into a political party; the commitment and resolve of the Government of Colombia to the Agreement and the central role of the UN in its implementation, have all positively contributed to the process of peacebuilding in Colombia," Mr Tirumurti said.

"The conflict-affected communities are witnessing the fruits of long-overdue investments in their regions, contributing to socio-economic development. The extent of violence of this decades-long armed conflict is decreasing, and security situation is slowly improving in the rural areas," he added.

Jan 22, 2021 08:25 (IST)
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to WHO chief Ghebreyesus over phone

US Vice President Kamala Harris has spoken to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over phone to discuss the decision by the Biden administration to rejoin the UN health agency.

In one of the first acts following his inauguration, President Joe Biden reversed a key foreign policy decision his predecessor Donald Trump took last year after accusing the WHO of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus pandemic.

During the call, Harris emphasised that she and Biden believe that the WHO is vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 and building back better global health and pandemic preparedness, according to a readout of the call issued by the White House. "The vice president and the director-general also discussed the resumption of the United States'' role in the global public health and humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic," it said.

Harris also stressed on the Biden-Harris administration's strong support for efforts to strengthen the global COVID-19 response, mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls, and advance global health security to prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic.
Jan 22, 2021 06:49 (IST)
UK PM Boris Johnson says too early to say when national lockdown will end

It is too early to say when the national COVID lockdown in England will end, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, adding that persistently high infection levels demonstrated how infectious a new variant was

"I think it's too early to say when we'll be able to lift some of some of the restrictions," PM Johnson told broadcasters. 

Jan 22, 2021 06:33 (IST)
US President Joe Biden Signs Raft Of Covid Orders: Passengers Flying To US To Quarantine, Wider Mask Mandate

President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened mask wearing rules and ordered quarantine for people flying into the United States, as he got to work on tackling the coronavirus pandemic on his first full day in power. Read Here
Jan 22, 2021 06:25 (IST)
EU leaders "discourage" travel, eye tougher border rules

EU leaders on Thursday "strongly discouraged" Europeans from non-essential travel and warned tougher restrictions on trips could come within days if efforts to curb the coronavirus fell short.

EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel issued the warning after a four-hour summit by video link with the heads of government of the 27-nation bloc focused on responding to the second wave of the pandemic.

The tone of urgency was fuelled by fears over the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants that could send already high infection rates skyrocketing and strain hospitals, as is happening in former EU member Britain.