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Thursday,20-January-2022

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India using retroviral drugs for COVID-19 patients: Harsh Vardhan

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that India is using retroviral drugs to treat some of the coronavirus patients and approvals in this regard have been given after scientific scrutiny.

Harsh Vardhan made a statement in Rajya Sabha while replying to a query of Trinamool Congress leader Manas Ranjan Bhunia.

“Many countries are experimenting with the treatment process using specific drugs in trials. In the US, Australia, Germany and China, they are trying retroviral drugs used to treat HIV infections. Recently, there was a report that even chloroquine is very effective in the treatment of N-Coronavirus,” said Bhunia and then questioned the minister that he would like to know about the treatment protocol being adopted by India in this regard.

To this, the Union Health Minister said, “Our scientists at Indian Council of Medical Research are in touch with everything that is happening on this particular front all over the world.”

As far as the retroviral drugs are concerned, Harsh Vardhan said that Indian scientists are also using them on some of these patients and “we have given approvals for using them after, you can say, all sorts of scientific satisfaction that we could derive after having been in touch with the whole world”.

He also pointed that they have heard about some research being done on chloroquine in the US right now. “I can only say that these approvals are given after detailed scientific scrutiny, not by the Ministry as such, but by the group of scientists working together at ICMR.”

The minister said that that they are trying to do the best to deliver the best possible treatment to the patients who have already been affected.

Congress leader Anand Sharma raised the issue of reports of unhygienic situation of quarantine centres. Sharma said, “Yesterday there have been some disturbing reports about the conditions of these quarantine facilities, particularly how unhygienic they are in sanitation and toilets. Will the minister set up a committee to immediately go and check the status of the quarantine facilities so that the people coming from foreign nations are kept at places which are medically correct and they are not further exposed to any further infections?”

To this, the minister said, “All over the country, right now, we are subjecting, not in hundreds but in thousands, people coming from various COVID-affected countries to quarantine and with the help of the state governments and with the help of the other Departments of the wings of the government like Army, CISF and others we have located a large number of facilities in the country. So, these reports, I would say, are the exceptions but they are not the rule.”

He explained that in a huge country like India, a whole lot of facilities have all been created in emergency at places which are safe for the people which are vacant where no other activities are actually happening, and this has all come as a matter of emergency.

“So, it is quite possible that, once in a while, at some place, the bathroom may not be, say, five-star type but, by and large, wherever we are receiving any such complaints, we are conveying in the strongest possible manner through the state governments to the concerned District Magistrates of that area to go and visit, look at those complaints,” he clarified.

He reiterated that these complaints are not frequent complaints. “These are very rare complaints that we are receiving,” the minister said.

National News

Modi calls up Badal to enquire about his health

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning called up former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch Parkash Singh Badal on phone to enquire about his health.

The grand old man of Punjab politics, Badal, 94, on Wednesday tested positive for the Covid-19.

“PM Modi spoke to Parkash Singh Badal and enquired about his health,” PMO sources said.

Badal is undergoing treatment at Dayanand Medical College in Ludhiana.

Just weeks ahead of the polls, Badal senior has been touring his Lambi constituency in Muktsar district.

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Amit Palekar is AAP’s CM face for Goa polls

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Describing Amit Palekar as a “fresh, committed face”, Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday nominated this 46-year-old lawyer as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 state assembly polls in Goa.

Kejriwal, who is in the coastal state on a two-day visit, said that Palekar would be contesting from the St Cruz assembly constituency in North Goa.

“We said we will give a Goa CM face whose heart beats for Goa and who is willing to give his life for Goa, who can take everyone along in Goa irrespective of religion, caste. And most importantly, he should be an honest man. That man is Amit Palekar,” Kejriwal told reporters.

Palekar joined the party a few months ago but was indirectly thrust with high profile political and activism-linked assignments. Palekar belongs to the Bhandari samaj, one of the largest non Brahmin caste groupings in Goa.

Kejriwal last year had promised that the party would field a Chief Ministerial face from the Bhandari samaj, a caste grouping which the Delhi Chief Minister said had been largely deprived of political representation at the very top.

“You have seen the dirty politics of the last five years and in the last two months you have seen it fall at such a level that the Goans have begun to feel ashamed. We have entered politics to change this and are asking for one chance to bring a change,” Palekar said soon after accepting the mantle.

“I was a victim of scams. Despite being a state ranker, because my father had no money I didn’t get a government job. And I decided that one day I will fight against this injustice. I want to thank Arvind Kejriwal for this opportunity,” he also said.

The AAP is contesting the state assembly polls in Goa under its own steam and has steered clear of alliance offers from the Trinamool Congress, Congress and other regional parties.

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PM Modi to meet Central Asian leaders virtually

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit in virutal format on January 27.

Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will participate in the virtual meet.

This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders.

The state heads of central Asian countries were invited to grace the Republic Day celebrations but was forced to cancel it owing to the Corona situation.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said: “The first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s Extended Neighbourhood”.

PM Modi paid a historic visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.

The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from 18-20 December 2021, has provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations’, the statement read.

During the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights.

They are also likely to exchange views on regional and international issues of interest, especially the evolving regional security situation.

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