MORE STATES BEGIN EASING OF COVID-INDUCED CURBS FROM TODAY
Haryana and Sikkim were the latest to extend lockdown from Monday but have eased the curbs like several other states including Maharashtra that have announced cautious steps towards restarting or scaling up activities after over a month following a decline in Covid cases.
“The state govt is taking a calculated risk and hence people have to take care of themselves. Nothing is going to be eased immediately,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said ahead of the start of the five-tier unlock process based on a weekly positivity rate and occupancy of oxygen beds in districts. Thackeray emphasised that the local administration will take decisions on whether to ease restrictions and further tighten them.
In Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, restaurants, shops selling non-essential items and public places are set to reopen from Monday but malls, theatres and multiplexes will continue to remain shut as the metropolis has been categorised under level 3 of the ‘unlock’ plan.
Delhi, which began the unlock exercise from May 31 sees further easing of restrictions from today, with the govt allowing resumption of metro services at 50 percent capacity and reopening of markets and malls on an odd-even basis.
The Uttar Pradesh govt also extended the relaxations in the coronavirus curfew to four more districts on Sunday. With this, curbs have been eased in 71 districts where shops and markets outside containment zones will be allowed to open for five days a week.
Even as the Covid situation has relatively improved in most of the northern and western states, southern and eastern parts of the country are still reporting a high number of cases.
KEY COVID NUMBERS
Current Active Cases Countrywide: 13,98,064
New Cases in last 24 hours: 1,01,195
Recovered in last 24 hours: 1,74,116
Change in no. of Active cases in last 24 hours: -75,366
No. of deaths in last 24 hours (Total Covid Deaths so far): 2,445 (3,49,229)
Daily Tests (Saturday): 35,72,380
Daily Positivity Rate (Proportion of Positives among total Tested): 3.2%
Percentage of Population Vaccinated (At Least One Dose / Two Doses): 13.9% / 3.5%
Most Affected States:
(S. No. / State / No. of Active Cases / New Cases in last 24 Hrs / Deaths in Last 24 Hrs)
1 Karnataka 2,54,505 / 12,209 / 320
2 Tamil Nadu 2,44,289 / 20,421 / 434
3 Maharashtra 1,85,527 / 12,557 / 618
4 Kerala 1,60,996 / 14,672 / 227
5 Andhra Pradesh 1,23,426 / 8,976 / 90
6 Odisha 70,673 / 7,002 / 42
7 Assam 49,518 / 2,228 / 37
8 West Bengal 35,454 / 7,002 / 107
9 Telangana 27,016 / 1,436 / 14
10 Jammu and Kashmir 26,741 / 1,440 / 23
11 Chhattisgarh 23,280 / 999 / 25
12 Punjab 22,160 / 1,563 / 67
13 Rajasthan 18,575 / 904 / 25
14 Gujarat 18,008 / 848 / 12
15 Uttar Pradesh 17,928 / 1,037 / 101
16 Uttarakhand 16,125 / 446 / 35
17 Madhya Pradesh 10,103 / 735 / 42
18 Manipur 9,184 / 823 / 9
19 Haryana 9,097 / 654 / 48
20 Bihar 8,707 / 920 / 41
21 Himachal Pradesh 8,361 / 357 / 18
22 Puducherry 8,270 / 640 / 15
23 Goa 7,154 / 403 / 16
24 Tripura 6,518 / 654 / 8
25 Delhi 5,889 / 381 / 34
26 Jharkhand 5,686 / 293 / 8
27 Meghalaya 5,583 / 488 / 12
28 Nagaland 4,732 / 77 / 4
29 Sikkim 4,306 / 340 / 5
30 Arunachal Pradesh 3,593 / 223 / 2
31 Mizoram 3,363 / 267 / 1
32 Lakshadweep 1,005 / 70 / Nil
33 Chandigarh 833 / 74 / 4
GOVT BUSY FIGHTING FOR BLUE TICK, BE SELF-RELIANT FOR VACCINE: RAHUL GANDHI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took a swipe at the Centre, saying the Modi govt is fighting for a blue tick and people need to become self-reliant for getting Covid vaccines.
His remarks came a day after outrage over the removal of ‘blue tick’ badge from the personal accounts of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and RSS top functionaries including Mohan Bhagwat, by Twitter, only to restore it later.
“The Modi govt is fighting for the blue tick. If you want a Covid vaccine, then be self-reliant,” he said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag “#Priorities”.
In another tweet, he talked about stopping language discrimination after a Delhi govt hospital asked nurses not to converse in Malayalam. The hospital order has however been revoked.
“Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. Stop language discrimination,” he said.
ALARMING LAW & ORDER SCENARIO IN POST-POLL BENGAL: GOVERNOR
Despite visits by a Home Ministry team and statutory bodies like the National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women and National Commission for Scheduled Castes, there is no let up in post-poll violence in West Bengal.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, highlighting the issue, said he had summoned the Chief Secretary on Monday to learn about the steps being taken by the administration to contain this “retributive violence”.
The Governor posted two tweets on Sunday to express his concern about the subject. In one tweet, Dhankhar wrote, “Post-poll violence continues in unabated fury that will put humanity to shame.” He wrote that police inaction was emboldening the perpetrators of violence and added, “All this to punish and discipline opponents for daring to vote in democracy.”
In another tweet posted later in the morning, Dhankhar described the law and order situation in the state as “extremely alarming” with numerous instances of killings and rapes.
On the state police, the Governor said they were “an extension of ruling dispensation to let loose vindictiveness on political opponents”.
“There is a state of anarchy and lawlessness. All elements of police state are amply reflected. Democratic values are openly shredded and trampled by ruling party ‘harmads’. People are in mortal fear of police and that in turn is at the feet of ruling party rogue elements,” the Governor wrote on his official Twitter handle.
CHINA WRECKED NATIONS WITH VIRUS, MUST SEEK $10TN REPARATION: TRUMP
Former US President Donald Trump returned to the national centerstage on Saturday night with his first long political address after his election defeat, telling his Republican faithful gathered for a convention in North Carolina that “our country is being destroyed before our very own eyes”. In a 90-minute speech that was trademark Trump, the former president lit into Biden administration, saying the current leadership is bowing down to China, and the country is being demeaned and humiliated on the world stage and the “survival of America depends on our ability to elect Republicans at every level,” starting with the midterm elections in 2022.
“You look at our border, it’s wide open. Illegal immigration is skyrocketing at a level we’ve never seen before, and this is over a period of a few months. Drugs are pouring in, gas prices are soaring, our industries are being pillaged by foreign cyber attacks... Our freedom is being overtaken by left-wing cancel culture and the Biden administration is pushing toxic critical race theory and illegal discrimination into our children’s schools,” Trump raged.
Trump also doubled down on his demand for reparations from Beijing for triggering the pandemic, saying “all nations should work together to present China a bill for a minimum of $10 trillion to compensate for the damage they’ve caused.” “That’s a very low number. The damage is far, far greater than that. As a first step, all countries should collectively cancel any debt they owe to China as a down payment on reparations. The nations of the world should no longer owe money to China... But China should owe money to the nations of the world... These nations have been destroyed,” Trump said.
He also mocked infectious disease pundit Dr Anthony Fauci, who has become a public enemy for the right wing, saying he was a publicity monger who was wrong most of the time while boasting that he (Trump) got it right on the pandemic from its origins to the race to the vaccines.
DOORSTEP RATION DELIVERY SCHEME: BJP AND AAP ENGAGE IN A SLANGING MATCH
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the BJP on Saturday engaged in a slanging match over the “doorstep ration delivery scheme” proposed by his govt in Delhi.
He said the scheme should be implemented across the country in view of Covid-19 otherwise ration shops will act as super-spreaders.
“If pizza, burgers, smartphones and clothes can be delivered at home, then why can’t ration be delivered at their doorstep,” Kejriwal asked. He said the scheme would have finished the powerful ration mafia in Delhi.
He alleged that the Centre was fighting with everyone, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra, Delhi and Jharkhand govts, farmers and the people of Lakshadweep. “People are distressed that the Central govt is fighting everyone. If we fight like this, how will we tackle Covid-19,” the chief minister said in an online briefing.
BJP’s Sambit Patra accused him of “doing drama for politics” and called his ‘doorstep ration delivery scheme’ a “scam”. “Arvind Kejriwal is trying to mislead. He claims the Prime Minister is preventing door-to-door ration delivery, this is false. One nation, one ration card is a central initiative. The Delhi Govt refused to implement it, denying its benefits to thousands of migrant labourers”.
Patra also countered Kejriwal questioning how he will provide doorstep delivery and ensure that the ration reaches the right people. “They said they will take biometrics. EPOS is a machine to track ration which Kejriwal stopped in ration shops. In Delhi, Aadhaar card verification is also zero,” he said.
BOTH VACCINES WORK WELL, COVISHIELD PRODUCES MORE ANTIBODIES THAN COVAXIN
Both Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin produce a “good immune response” but the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shows “significantly higher” seropositivity rate and anti-spike antibody titre, a new study by Indian doctors has found.
The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed and was published in Medrxiv on 2 June, observed immune responses in 515 healthcare workers and found that 95 per cent showed seropositivity after the two doses of both vaccines.
“Of the 425 Covishield and 90 Covaxin recipients, 98.1% and 80.0% respectively, showed seropositivity,” said the study, adding that the “median interquartile rise” in anti-spike antibodies was also “significantly higher in Covishield vs Covaxin recipient” at 127 AU/mL and 53.0 AU/mL respectively.
Seropositivity refers to the production of antibodies in an individual, and the titre refers to the amount of the antibodies produced.
The study went on to compare the post-vaccination immune responses of all participants with those who had a history of Covid-19, and those who didn’t. It found that participants who had recovered from Covid-19 at least six weeks before the first dose, and took both shots, were 100 per cent sero positive and had higher antibody titres, too.
TWO-FOLD RISE IN MUCORMYCOSIS CASES IN A YEAR
Cases of mucormycosis more than doubled in India in late 2020 compared to the corresponding months of 2019 establishing a direct correlation between Covid-19 and the rising lethal black fungus viral infection now ravaging several states with cases nearing 7,000.
A significant new study on causes, prevalence and spread of mucormycosis in the country, published today in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) journal “Emerging Infectious Diseases”, also vindicates the current evidence that diabetes, rampant steroid use and steroid induced non-obese diabetes among Covid patients were principal risk factors for black fungus and nothing else.
The multi-centre study at 16 Indian hospitals looked at both Covid-19-associated mucormycosis (CAM) and non-Covid mucormycosis (non-CAM) and found the overall mucormycosis case fatality rate at a high of 45.7 per cent at 12 weeks. Deaths were similar for both CAM and non-CAM patients. A higher proportion of mucormycosis patients — 74.6 per cent — were men.
INDIA SLIPS TWO SPOTS ON 17 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: REPORT
India’s rank has slipped by two places from last year to 117 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda by 193 United Nations member states in 2015, a new report has said.
The State of India’s Environment Report 2021 revealed that India’s rank was 115 last year and dropped by two places primarily because major challenges like ending hunger and achieving food security (SDG 2), achieving gender equality (SDG 5) and building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation (SDG 9) remain in the country.
India ranks below four South Asian countries—Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, it said.
Elaborating state-wise preparedness, the report said Jharkhand and Bihar are the least prepared to meet the SDGs by 2030, which is the target year. While Jharkhand lags in five of the SDGs, Bihar lags in seven.
It said the states/UTs with the best overall score which are on the path to achieving the SDGs are Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
COURT REJECTS PLEA TO PRODUCE UMAR KHALID, KHALID SAIFI IN HANDCUFFS
A city court turned down a plea of Delhi Police to produce former JNU student Umar Khalid and activist Khalid Saifi in handcuffs before trial courts, noting that “they are not gangsters”.
The plea application which came up for hearing before Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav sought to produce the 2020 Delhi riots accused in “handcuffs in both hands from back side”, contending that they are “high-risk prisoners”.
The judge dismissed the plea observing that it is devoid of merits and filed in a mechanical manner and without application of mind by the high echelons of the Delhi Police and prison authority.
FAKE CALL CENTRE BUSTED IN GURUGRAM – ACCUSED OF DUPING US NATIONALS
Gurugram police have busted a fake call centre being run from a building in Sector 23 and nabbed its three owners. According to the police, the accused were duping US nationals by using their social security numbers (SSN). The accused duped them of USD 200 to 500 by threatening them with penalisation for using drugs, opening fake bank accounts and taking fake loans.
“The accused used to buy data of American people from various websites, after that they used to send messages to them by uploading the data on their server. They would call them and demand USD 200 to 500 by misusing their identity and threatening them with blocking their SSN and sending them fake arrests warrant to make money,” said a senior police officer.
PVT UNIVS OFFER 6-YEAR BTECH AFTER CLASS 10
Altering the structure of India’s most popular professional programme by clearing the clutter of almost half-a-dozen exams, a few private universities have started offering a 6-year BTech course, enrolling candidates after Class 10 with a deal of “freedom from competitive exams”. And given that Class 10 exams have been cancelled because of the pandemic, engineering admissions in several parts of the country are taking place based on Class 9 scores this year.
MIT-World Peace University, which launched the programme this year, reasoned the popularity to the “assurance of an engineering seat” as soon as the tuition is paid. “Once a student is admitted after Class X, they are saved from the trauma of Class XII exams, CET scores and then finding a college. This is a two-way handshake between what the students need and what an autonomous university can provide,” said registrar Prashant Dave.
Former chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education, SS Mantha said, “Universities can give diplomas, degrees and certifications. That seems to be the provision that these universities are exploiting. However, the UGC says entry to university is XII pass or equivalent, which means their understanding of diplomas may be after XII. This seems to be a grey area.”
FEDERER CHOOSES REST, WITHDRAWS FROM FRENCH OPEN BEFORE FOURTH ROUND
Roger Federer withdrew from the French Open on Sunday to give himself a chance to recover after emerging from a tight third-round victory that lasted about three and a half hours.
“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion said in a statement released by the French tennis federation.
Federer, who turns 40 on August 8, was competing in his first major tournament since the 2020 Australian Open. Shortly after that event, he had the first of a pair of operations on his right knee.
Federer had made clear last month that he did not see himself as ready to contend for the French Open title this time and instead had his sights on Wimbledon, the grass-court major he has won a men’s-record eight times. Play begins at the All England Club on June 28.
Federer edged 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 in the third round, a match that began Saturday night and ended as 1 a.m. approached Sunday.
The No. 8-seeded Federer was supposed to play No. 9 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the fourth round on Monday.
“The Roland Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night,” tournament director Guy Forget said in a statement.
SERENA SHOCKED, TSITSIPAS & MEDVEDEV SET UP QF CLASH
The 24th Slam title is proving to be more elusive than ever for Serena Williams. The legendary American 39-year-old’s latest quest to equal Margaret Court’s all-time haul of Grand Slam crowns ended in a disappointing 6-3, 7-5 loss to Kazakh 21st seed Elena Rybakina in the French Open last 16 in Paris on Sunday. Serena has not gone beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros since losing the 2016 final.
Russian-born Rybakina, 21, extended her best run at a major as she advanced to her first quarter-final, where she will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the last four. She will be buoyed by the fact that she broke one of the most feared serves in the women’s game no less than five times.
In men’s action, Daniil Medvedev, the accidental clay-court artiste, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the form and force of the next generation, will meet in the quarterfinals. The second-seeded Russian and the fifth-seeded Greek, plied their contrasting styles of play to take similar routes to the lasteight on Sunday.
Tsitsipas maintained his unbeaten record against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win on Court Philippe Chatrier.
At the adjacent Court Suzanne Lenglen, Medvedev protracted his best Roland Garros run with a 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 win over Chile’s Cristian Garin in a little over two hours.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
No amount of belief makes something a fact. - James Randi
"Do you love me with all your heart and soul?" asked Becky.
"Mmm hmm." replied Dave.
"Do you think I'm the most beautiful girl in the world?"
"Do you think my lips are like rose petals?"
"Oh Dave," gushed Becky, "you say the most beautiful things!"