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Wednesday,01-December-2021

Maharashtra

World’s largest Plasma Therapy trial centre launched in Maharashtra

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An 11-member team of doctors in Bengaluru is poised to inject plasma, extracted from two Covid survivors into a needy patient at state-run BMC Victoria hospital to commence plasma therapy clinical trials. The photographs show a Covid survivor donating plasma and a picture of the plasma extracted from his blood.

In a major initiative to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday inaugurated ‘Project PLATINA’ – India’s first and the world’s largest – Plasma Therapy Trial Centre in Nagpur.

“This trial centre will help formulate definite treatment guidelines for the entire country in managing critical Covid-19 patients… and will be a milestone during the pandemic,” said Thackeray at the video-conferencing launch.

He has sanctioned Rs 16.65 crore for Project Platina and clinical trials from the CM’s Relief Fund, and the project has been completed in barely three weeks.

With this project, the government hopes to save around 500 seriously ill Covid-19 patients in the state free of cost, amidst recent apprehensions of prohibitively high costs for this form of treatment expressed in some circles.

“Convalscent Plasma Therapy is now coming up as one of the most important methods in the treatment of severe Covid-19 patients in the absence of definite treatment drugs for the same… with a success rate of over 90 per cent,” Thackeray said.

The trials will be carried out in 23 medical colleges in the state including 17 under the state government’s Department of Medical Education & Drugs, and four colleges of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Mumbai.

Each critical patient would receive 2 doses of 200 ml of convalescent plasma from recovered patients which contains antibodies against coronavirus that will fight the infection and help the serious patients recover.

Appealing to people who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate in large numbers, Thackeray assured that the donors have no health problems after plasma donations as the red blood cells are returned back to them.

Also present at the video-inauguration were Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Medical Education Minister Amit V. Deshmukh and Minister of State Rajendra Patil Yedravkar, Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, Energy Minister Nitin Raut, Industry Minister Subhash Desai, Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh, and top officials from different departments.

Four other facilities were inaugurated simultaneously: Plasma Donation, Plasma Bank, Plasma Trial and Emergency Authorisation centres.

The development came on a day when the state extended the ongoing lockdown till July 31 in view of the serious Covid-19 crisis.

Maharashtra currently has 164,626 lakh Covid-19 positives with 7,429 fatalities, the highest in the country.

Maharashtra

Omicron concerns: Mumbai, Pune, Nashik postpone schools’ reopening

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Amid concerns of the Covid-19 variant Omicron, the reopening of schools from Class 1 to 7 has been postponed by 10-15 days in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, officials said here on Tuesday.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner I.S. Chahal and Pune Municipal Corporation Mayor Murlidhar have said that schools in the two cities — both among the worst-hit in the Covid-19 two waves in 2020 and 2021 — will now reopen from December 15.

Similarly, the Nashik Municipal Corporation, which was also among the badly-hit cities in the past two years of the pandemic, has also postponed the schools reopening plan to December 10.

However, all schools in the rest of Maharashtra are likely to reopen from December 1, for Class 1 to 5 in the rural areas and 1-7 in the urban areas with full Covid protocols, as announced earlier by School Education Minister Prof. Varsha E. Gaikwad.

Taking precautions, the BMC is currently tracking all passengers who have arrived in the city from the 12 Omicron-hit nations since November 10 to detect if any of them are infected by the new strain.

The state government has also sought information on all passengers landing at the three international airports in the state in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, besides those arriving from other states, by flights originating from the 12 nations.

The BMC has already announced that a 14-day institutional quarantine regime will be compulsory for all such passengers and home isolation will not be permitted under any circumstances.

The state, major cities and district health authorities are gearing up to face the challenge of Omicron by readying hospitals, beds, ICUs, liquid medical oxygen stocks, medicines, doctors, para-medical and non-medical staff, and other health infrastructure to cater to a possible patient rush in the coming weeks, even as Covid-19 vaccination drive has gained momentum.

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Maharashtra

Mamata Banerjee to meet Sharad Pawar, India Inc in Mumbai

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 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will call on the Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar during her Mumbai visit starting here Tuesday, official sources said here.

“CM of West Bengal Ms. Mamata Banerjee-ji will pay a courtesy visit to our party President Sharad Pawar Saheb tomorrow, 3 pm at his residence ‘Silver Oak,’ on Dec. 1, in Mumbai,” said NCP National Spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said.

According to indications, Banerjee will arrive here later Tuesday and plans to meet several top industrialists to attract investments to her state, and invite them for the upcoming Bengal Global Business Summit in April 2022.

It was not immediately clear whether she would meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is presently convalescing after a spinal surgery.

On a new high after sweeping the West Bengal Assembly elections last May, Banerjee is currently flapping her wings for a national political flight.

Last April, Pawar was planning to campaign for Banerjee during the Bengal Assembly elections, but was unable to do so owing to certain constraints.

Both Pawar and Banerjee are keenly making efforts to engage the national opposition parties and provide a united fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Besides Pawar, the All India Trinamool Congress chief enjoys a great rapport with Thackeray, whom she has met in the past, though her relations with the Congress — the third partner in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government here — are strained.

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Maharashtra

Nawab Malik granted bail in defamation case filed by BJP activist

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 A Mumbai court on Monday granted bail to Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik in a Rs 100 crore defamation suit filed by Bharatiya Janata Party activist Mohit (Kamboj) Bhartiya.

Malik, who responded to a notice by the Mazagaon Magistrate Court three weeks ago, was granted a bail of Rs 15,000 and the matter has been posted for further hearing on December 30.

Last month, the BJP functionary had filed the defamation case against the NCP leader for allegedly defaming him by revelations that his brother-in-law Rishabh Sachdev was among the persons detained by the Narcotics Control Bureau after it raided the Cordelia Cruise on October 2 and was released later.

Bhartiya contended that the minister allegedly used his power and position to raise doubts and spread canards about the release of his brother-in-law, and has spoiled his image and reputation.

After examining the evidence provided by Bhartiya, the Magistrate ruled that prima facie, Malik’s statements at his media briefings on October 9 and 11 pointed at defamation and issued the process against him.

Interacting with media, Malik said that he had honoured the court notice and appeared before the Magistrate in the defamation suit filed by Bhartiya, but denied the all contentions of the complainant.

“We have also brought on record how Bhartiya himself is a fraudulent person involved in a scam of Rs 1,100 crore and the raids by the Central Bureau of Investigations on him. When the scam started coming out, he changed his name from Kamboj to Bhartiya, we have submitted all evidence to the court and will provide more later,” he said.

Soon after the ministera¿s expose, Bhartiya had sent him a couple of legal notices and when the allegations continued, he filed the defamation case against Malik before the Mazagaon Magistrate Court.

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