WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 14 OCTOBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR THE HARRIS CAMPAIGN ‘FARMERS WILL NOW TURN ENTREPRENEURS’ Partly cloudy sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 21 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY SNS & PTI TEMPERATURE Hope soars: 55,342 new Covid cases in India, lowest in nearly two months SNS &PTI NEW DELHI, 13 OCTOBER A THUMBNAILS Visitors at Akshardham Temple which was reopened after months of closure due to the pandemic, in the Capital on Tuesday. (P2) Mehbooba Mufti released: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was released late on Tuesday night, after being detained for over a year ~ since the eve of the Centre scrapping Article 370 ~ under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA). Ms Mufti's release comes just as the deadline set by the Supreme Court was set to expire. In September the court questioned the central government and the J&K administration over her detention, asking them: “How long can Mehbooba Mufti be kept in custody?” CBI team visits spot where Dalit woman was gang-raped in Hathras: A CBI team on Tuesday r visited the spot in Hathras where a 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly gangraped on 14 September, officials said. The team called the victim's brother to identify the place and directed the local police to cordon off the crime scene, nearly a month after the woman was allegedly raped and assaulted by four men. vaccine against coronavirus is expected to be available in India by early next year and there could be vaccines from more than one source, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said today. "We're expecting that early next year, we should have a vaccine in the country from maybe more than one source. Our expert groups are already formulating and devising strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the vaccines in the country, who do we give the vaccine first and then, of course, we are strengthening the cold chain facilities,” Dr Vardhan said during a meeting of the Group of Ministers. At present, four coronavirus vaccines are in advanced stages of preclinical trial in India. The minister had earlier said that a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be available by the first quarter of 2021. India has the highest COVID-19 recovery rate of 86.78 per cent globally with 62,27,295 recovered cases and the lowest fatality rate at 1.53 per cent, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday. Vardhan, who chaired the 21st meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 via video-conference here, appealed to everyone regarding the observance of COVID-19-appropriate behaviour during the forthcoming festival season and the winter months, “when A health worker prepares to collect a swab sample from a man to test for the Covid-19 AFP at a sample collection centre, in Hyderabad on Tuesday. the likelihood of an increase in the disease is high”, the Health Ministry said in a statement. “A total of 1,927 labs at present have led to an upsurge in testing. India's testing capacity has been hiked to 1.5 million tests per day. Close to 11 lakh samples were tested in the last 24 hours, he was quoted as saying in the statement. “The Prime Minister has launched the countrywide Jan Andolan to encourage people to adopt and encourage COVIDappropriate behaviours to curb the spread of the diseases while celebrating the festivals,” he stated. Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), presented a detailed report on how the data-driven, graded government policies have helped India achieve significant control over the pandemic. While the overall recovery rate for India is 86.36 per cent, he informed that Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have the highest recovery rate of 96.25 pc in India, followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (93.98 pc) and Bihar (93.89 pc). Kerala has the lowest recovery rate of 66.31 pc because of the huge surge in the number of cases in the recent days, the statement said. Through a detailed presentation, Vinod K Paul of NITI Aayog apprised the GoM of the process of COVID-19 vaccine development in India and around the world. He presented a comprehensive study on the priority sections of the population that would have initial access to the vaccine drawing upon recommendations of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), USA and the WHO. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan noted the importance of keeping up aggressive testing to keep the positivity rate below 5 per cent, the countrywide mortality rate below 1 per cent and the deepening and strengthening of COVID appropriate behaviour among the general population. He also cautioned the need to observe the trajectory of the disease in key states of Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which have recently exhibited a surge in cases, the statement said. Media freely commenting on pending cases amounts to contempt : Attorney General to Supreme Court SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 13 OCTOBER Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on Tuesday submitted before the Supreme Court that media comments on pending cases are an attempt to influence judges and their outcome, which is equivalent to contempt of court.The Centre's top law officer contended before a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that issues should be clubbed with the questions of law formulated by the top court in 2009 contempt case against advocate Prashant Bhushan. He added that the top court has already upheld that any attempt to influence a sub judice matter will amount to contempt. The AG said: "Print and electronic media are freely commenting on pending cases, P12 For the fifth day in a row, the active cases of Covid-19 in India remained below the 9-lakh mark NEW DELHI, 13 OCTOBER Min: 19.8°C (0) SUN SETS 17:53 hrs MOON SETS 16:32 hrs AMARJEET SINGH PUT IT BEYOND THE P10 Minister says follow Covid protocols during festival season, winter months Min: 51% Max: 35.4°C (+2) SUN RISES 06:22 hrs MOON RISES 04:24 hrs P6 India may get vaccine early 2021: Vardhan WEATHER 'THE GENIUS' WHO RIDERS' REACH P5 Max: 87% TRUMP BACK ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL which is an attempt to influence the outcome of a matter." He added that this amounts to contempt and asked the top court to examine the role of media. Venugopal emphasised that the trend in media has taken serious proportions these days. Citing a plea in connection with a bail matter, he added when a bail plea of an accused is scheduled for hearing, a TV channel flashes conversations (between accused and someone), which is very damaging to the accused.Citing the Rafale matter,Venugopal said when this matter was scheduled for a hearing before the top court, then there were big articles and commentaries with extracts of certain documents, which was published in the morning of the same day. He contended these issues should also be examined when the top court decides issues connected with the kind of speech and publication amounts to contempt. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Bhushan, disagreed with the AG's suggestions to club these issues in the Bhushan's contempt matter. Dhavan added issues related to sub-judice cases are already covered by the Sahara judgement, and clubbing these issues together would eventually complicate the matter under consideration of the court. Dhavan quoted Lord Reid asking when Shylock's case is on, can we tell the Press not to talk about it?Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing journalist Tarun Tejpal, said the contempt law should be seen in the backdrop of a modern communication system.The AG said he will hold discussions with Dhavan and Sibal in the matter.The top court also requested senior advocate Harish Salve, who was amicus curiae since 2009 in the matter, to assist the court on the next date and adjourned the hearing in the matter on 4 November. The case is in connection with suo moto contempt proceedings initiated by the Supreme Court in 2009 against Bhushan over his remarks against the judiciary in an interview with Tehelka Magazine. The number of new coronavirus infections reported daily across the country dropped below 60,000, even as the caseload surged to 71,75,880 and the total recoveries crossed62 lakh, the Union Health Ministry data stated on Tuesday. The total cases mounted to71,75,880, with 55,342 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,09,856 as the virus claimed 706 lives in 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed. For the fifth day in a row, the active cases of COVID19 remained below 9 lakh. The country has been recording less than 75,000 new infections daily for the fifth consecutive day and fatalities below 1,000 for 10 straight days. India registered a record single-day increase of 97,894 COVID-19 cases on September 17. There are 8,38,729active cases of coronavirus in the country which comprises 11.69 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. The case fatality rate 71,75,880 8,38,729 55,342 77,760 1,09,856 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER 2020 due to COVID-19 was recorded at 1.53 per cent. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11. According to ICMR, a cumulative total of 8,89,45,107 samples has been tested up to October 12 with 10,73,014 samples being tested on Monday. The 706 new fatalities include 165 from Maharashtra, 70from Karnataka,62 from Tamil Nadu, 60 from West Bengal, 44from Uttar Pradesh, 40 from Delhi, 33 from Chhattisgarh and 32 from Andhra Pradesh. Total 1,09,856 deaths reported so far in the country includes 40,514 from Maharashtra followed by 10,314 from Tamil Nadu, 10,036 from Karnataka, 6,438 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,256 from Andhra Pradesh, 5,809from Delhi, 5,682from West Bengal,3,860 from Punjab and 3,574 from Gujarat. The Health Ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. Polls to 11 Rajya Sabha seats in UP & Uttarakhand on 9 Nov SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 13 OCTOBER The biennial elections to fill 11 Rajya Sabha seats in two states, which will fall vacant with the retirement of incumbent lawmakers in November, will be held on November 9, the Election Commission of India said on Tuesday. Ten of these Rajya Sabha seats are from Uttar Pradesh and one in Uttarakhand. The poll notification will be issued on October 20, with October 27 as the last date for filing of nominations. The voting will be held between 9 am and 4 pm, and counting of votes taken up at 5 pm on November 9.The Commission will complete the election process before November 11.The Rajya Sabha members due to retire on November 25 are Chandrapal Singh Yadav, Javed Ali Khan, Arun Singh, Neeraj Shekhar, PL Punia, Hardeep Singh Puri, Ravi Prakash Verma, Rajaram, Ramgopal Yadav, Veer Singh, and Raj Babbar. Raj Babbar is the Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand while others were elected from Uttar Pradesh. The commission has directed that to mark their preference on the ballot paper, only integrated violet-colour sketch pen of prefixed specification, provided by the Returning Officer, shall be used and no other pen. The EC also directed the Chief Secretaries concerned to depute senior state officers to ensure that the extant instructions regarding Covid-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for the RS elections. Every person involved in the process shall wear a face mask during every election-related activity. Thermal scanning of all persons concerned shall be carried out at the entry to hall or room or premises used for election purposes and sanitisers made available at all locations. Social distancing shall be maintained as per the Covid-19 guidelines of the states and the Ministry of Home Affairs.Further, the Commission has appointed Chief Electoral Officers concerned as Observers for the Rajya Sabha elections in their respective states. Covid-19 patients might experience severe symptoms on reinfection: Study 1 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA HOUSTON, OCTOBER 13 COVID-19 patients infected with the novel coronavirus for a second time might experience more severe symptoms, according to a study which is the first to confirm a case of reinfection with the virus in the US.The study, published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, found evidence that an individual with no known immune disorders or underlying conditions was infected with the SARS-CoV2 virus in two separate occurrences. According to the scientists, including those from the University of Nevada in the US, the patient, a 25-year old male, was infected with two distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants within a 48-day time frame, while testing negative in between infections. The study noted that the patient's second infection was more severe, resulting in hospitalisation with oxygen support, indicating previous exposure to COVID-19 may not translate to guaranteed total immunity.The patient tested negative for the virus after testing positive for SARS-CoV2 in April 2020, the researchers said.Then in June 2020, after experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, headache, dizziness, cough, nausea, and diarrhea, the patient was hospitalised and tested positive for a second time.The patient has since been discharged from the hos- pital and has recovered from the second infection, the study noted. While further research into reinfections is required, the scientists believe all individuals -- whether previously diagnosed or not-should take identical precautions to prevent infection with SARS-CoV2.“There are still many unknowns about SARS-CoV- 2 infections and the immune system's response, but our findings signal that a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may not necessarily protect against future infection,” said Mark Pandori, lead author of the study from the University of Nevada.“It is important to note this is a singular finding and does not provide generalisability of this phenomenon,” Pandori said.While more research is needed, the scientists said the possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for understanding COVID-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine. “It also strongly suggests that individuals who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 should continue to take serious pre- cautions when it comes to the virus, including social distancing, wearing face masks, and handwashing,” Pandori explained. According to the scientists, at least four other reinfection cases have been confirmed globally in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Ecuador with the latter being the only other instance in which the second infection displayed worse disease outcomes than the first. “We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2, and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe,” Pandori said.“So far, we've only seen a handful of reinfection cases, but that doesn't mean there aren't more, especially as many cases of COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Right now, we can only speculate about the cause of reinfection,” he added. The study noted several hypotheses that may explain the severity of the second infection, including the possibility the patient subsequently encountered a very high dose of the virus which caused a more acute reaction the second time. According to the researchers, the patient may also have come in contact with a more virulent variant of the virus. They said another plausible explanation could be the mechanism of antibody dependent enhancement in which some protective proteins produced by the immune system during the first encounter with the virus could make a subsequent infection worse. This mechanism, the researchers noted, was seen previously with the 2002-03 SARS pandemic virus, as well as other diseases, such as dengue fever.Citing the limitation of the study, the researchers said they were unable to undertake any evaluation of the immune response to the first episode of infection.Since the confirmed reinfection cases occurred among patients who displayed COVID-19 symptoms, the scientists believe there is a possibility that many similar cases among individuals may be asymptomatic, and therefore likely to remain undetected under current testing and monitoring practices.
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