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Amid drop in daily Covid tally, Goa CM Pramod Sawant advocates caution




Amid a second consecutive drop in the daily tally of new Covid-19 infections, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has urged people to not self-medicate in case of a fever and opt for testing themselves for the coronavirus infection.

Speaking to reporters late on Monday night outside the Bharatiya Janata Party state headquarters in Panaji, Sawant also said that social distancing norms and basic precautionary measures like wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser would continue to be imposed in the coming days.

“Even though Covid cases have come down, social distancing, masks and sanitisers should be used. We need this for a lot many more days ahead,” Sawant told reporters.

The state over the last few weeks had reported a daily tally of between 300 and 500 cases. On Sunday and Monday however, the daily tally of cases dropped to 187 and 159 respectively, with doctors in the state also suggesting that the state may be finally witnessing a drop in the positivity rate.

Sawant also said that while the number of daily Covid-19 cases appeared to be dipping, people should not take the situation for granted.

“It is my earnest request to the people, get themselves tested if they have a fever. Do not self-medicate. It is a new virus. We cannot say when there can be a spike. Precaution should be 100 per cent,” the Chief Minister said.

In all, Goa has reported 40,746 Covid-19 positive cases out of which 3,283 are currently active.

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Odisha government ready for SIT probe into minor girl’s murder: CM Naveen Patnaik




Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said the government was ready for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the murder of a five-year-old girl in Nayagarh district.

“If SIT investigation is what is required, the state government will take steps in this regard and do it immediately,” the Chief Minister informed the state assembly through video conference.

Patnaik said he was deeply saddened by the incident.

The Chief Minister said the state government is committed to a free and fair investigation and always wants justice to be done.

He requested all the members to co-operate by participating in the discussion.

The statement of the Chief Minister came as the opposition BJP and Congress demanded the resignation of Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo for allegedly shielding the prime accused in the murder.

Earlier, the state government had directed the Crime Branch to probe the murder case.

Following a ruckus by the Opposition over the incident, Speaker Surya Narayan Patro adjourned the House several times and later till Saturday.

The deceased girl’s parents on Tuesday attempted self-immolation outside the Odisha Assembly alleging that they have been denied justice.

The couple accused the Minister of shielding the suspect.

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Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattoo joins Apni Party




A day after getting elected as the Mayor of Srinagar Muncipal Corporation (SMC), Junaid Mattoo joined the Apni Party on Friday.

Apni Party was launched by Altaf Bukhari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP government, after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.

Mattoo had been removed as the Mayor of Srinagar Muncipal Corporation in June 2020 after he lost a no confidence motion moved against him.

Mattoo was a member of the Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference (PC). Later, he quit the PC in 2013 to join the National Conference (NC) and became the party spokesperson. He quit the NC and rejoined the PC in 2018. However, he quit the PC again and joined the Apni Party on Friday.

“Apni Party has come as a breath of fresh air and is the only credible alternative to the politics of exploitation heralded by the traditional parties,” Mattoo said.

While welcoming Mattoo into the party, Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said that their endeavour would be to make Srinagar a world class city.

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PM Narendra Modi to visit Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad




Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting vaccine maker Bharat Biotech’s facility here on Saturday as part of his three-city tour to take stock of the Covid-19 vaccine development work in the country.

Modi is scheduled to land at the Hakimpet Air Force Station around 4 p.m. and from there he will reach Bharat Biotech’s facility at Genome Valley, where the work is underway on Covaxin, India’s first indigenous vaccine for coronavirus being developed by the company in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The Prime Minister will go around the facility to understand the vaccine development process and the preparations by the Bharat Biotech to manufacture the doses in large numbers once the vaccine gets approval from the authorities concerned.

The Bharat Biotech officials will explain to the Prime Minister various aspects of the vaccine development and their rollout plans. The company is currently conducting phase III clinical trials of the vaccine at various centres across the country.

Modi is likely to spend an hour at the vaccine making plant and return to Delhi at 5.10 p.m., official sources said.

Before reaching Hyderabad, the Prime Minister will be visiting the facilities of Zydus Cadila in Ahmedabad where ZyCoV-D is being developed and Serum Institute of India facilities in Pune where AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine will be manufactured.

There have been speculations that Modi will campaign for the BJP in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, but sources said his programme includes no political activity.

Several national leaders of the BJP, including party chief J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are scheduled to campaign for the BJP over the next couple of days.

The campaign is ending on Sunday for the elections scheduled to be held on December 1.

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