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

Workers clearning railway coaches converted into Covid-19 isolation wards at the Sabarmati Station in Ahmedabad on Wednesday May 5, 2021.   | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

COVID-19 surge may taper off by the month-end, says virologist Gagandeep Kang

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

U.S. to support intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

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

RBI steps in to ease COVID-19 burden

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

Coronavirus | All foreign aid allocated to States: Centre

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

West Bengal Assembly Elections | The limits to polarisation in Bengal

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

14 BJP workers killed, Mamata silence speaks of her involvement: Nadda

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

China ‘concern and regret’ over India’s 5G exclusion

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

Coronavirus | Third wave inevitable, says Principal Scientific Adviser

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

Centre seeks report from West Bengal on post-poll violence

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

Need to be patient over foreign aid distribution, calls for transparency premature: German Ambassador

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

Average monthly income for workers fell by 17%

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

Over half newly-elected MLAs have criminal cases

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

M.K. Stalin appointed Tamil Nadu CM, swearing-in on May 7

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

What post-poll numbers tell us about the elections, and how our politics is evolving | The Hindu In Focus Podcast

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

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 3:37:27 PM |

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