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Sunday,16-May-2021

Maharashtra

Centre clears Mumbai’s Haffkine to make Covaxin

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In a major step to ramp up vaccine production amid the Covid-19 second wave, the Centre has approved production of Corona vaccines from the Maharashtra government-owned Haffkine Institute in Mumbai.

Since the past month, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had repeatedly requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow production of vaccines in the renowned institution in central Mumbai.

The central approval came late on Thursday night green-flagging the 122-year-old Haffkine Institute, Parel, to produce the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for one-year under a technology transfer agreement.

Shortly after the announcement, Thackeray thanked the PM for the formal nod, sent by the Department of Science & Technology Secretary to state Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte of the approval for a period of 12 months.

The Haffkine Institute has the capacity to produce 22-crore doses annually, which would immensely help the ongoing Vaccination drive in the country with complaints of vaccine shortages coming up from several states including Maharashtra.

Maharashtra

Congress MP Rajeev Satav loses battle to Covid

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Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, Rajiv Satav, passed away in a hospital here after a 23-day long battle with Covid-19, party officials said here on Sunday.

He was 46, and belonged to the core team of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Satav had developed Covid symptoms on April 19 and a swab test turned out to be positive on April 21.

He was admitted to the Jehangir Hospital in Pune and as his condition worsened, a week later he was put on a ventilator.

After a brief spell of recovery, his condition again deteriorated alarmingly since the last week and he remained in the ICU where he succumbed early today

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday that besides Covid-19, Satav was also being treated cytomegalovirus infection and some additional complications with the help of experts.

State Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat visited the hospital and inquired about his health while Minister of State for Agriculture and Congress leader Vishwajeet Kadam was regularly in touch with the family and the hospital.

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Maharashtra

Mumbai Police give ‘Friends’ reunion witty spin to spread Covid awareness

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Mumbai Police have given a witty, quirky twist to the much-hyped and upcoming “Friends” reunion special, in a bid to create Covid-19 awareness.

The official Twitter handle of Mumbai Police shared a snapshot of the “Friends” reunion teaser and urgd everyone to reunite with friends only after the final season of Covid-19.

“‘Reunite’ with your F.R.I.E.N.D.S – but only after the final season of #COVID19 please? Till then, online meet-ups will �be there for you’ #FriendsForever #FriendsOfSafety #TakingOnCorona,” the tweet on the microblogging website read.

This is not the first time Mumbai Police has referred to the entertainment world to create awareness.

Previously they have tweeted with stills and dialogues from films like “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, “Gulabo Sitabo”, “Main Hoon Na” and “Stree” among many others for the purpose.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra keeps vaccination of 18-44 age group on hold

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Owing to continued shortage of vaccines, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to temporarily put on hold the inoculation drive for the 18-44 age groups, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here.

The stocks would be diverted to carry out a seamless and hassle-free vaccination for the 45-plus age group category till adequate doses of the vaccines are made available.

The decision came after a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

“The vaccination for the 18-44 age group commenced on May 1. Till date, we have vaccinated 5-6 lakh people in that category, however, there is a shortage of vaccines,” Tope told media persons.

He said that there is a scarcity of both brands of the vaccines – Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Pune, and Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad.

The current priority is to give the second dose to the 45-plus age groups who have already got one jab which should not go waste owing to delays due to shortages, he pointed out.

“Efficacy of the vaccines may be affected if the second dose is not administered within the stipulated time period,” said Tope, justifying the government stand to keep in abeyance the drive for the 18-44 age groups.

The government is making requests for more stocks to the Centre besides trying to source it from the international markets and the BMC plans to float global tenders for the same this week.

In a related development, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation has announced ‘Walk-in Vaccination’ for senior citizens aged above 60 for three days from Monday.

“The Walk-in Vaccination shall be permitted for all above 60 years, all who are due for the second dose and all differently-abled people. The special drive shall be conducted in all government and civic-run vaccination centres across the city from May 17-19,” Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal said.

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