From The Newsroom: Russia launches world's first Covid-19 vaccine; Modi sets 72-hour target to trace Covid-19 patients' contacts
In your evening news brief, From The Newsroom, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that his country has developed first vaccine that 'works quite effectively" and "forms a stable immunity" against Covid-19; Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a 72-hour target to trace and test people who have come in contact with a Covid-19 infected person and BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde stirs up another controversy by calling BSNL employees 'traitors'.
Here are the top news of today, Tuesday: August 11, 2020:
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced that his country has developed the first vaccine that 'works quite effectively" and "forms a stable immunity" against COVID-19 as he disclosed that one of his daughters has already been vaccinated.
Putin made the claim during a government meeting where he described it as "a very important step for the world", the Sputniknews reported.
He said that one of his daughters took part in the experiment and she was vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"After the first vaccination, she had a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius, while the following day it was slightly over 37 degrees Celsius, that's it. After the second injection, the second vaccination, her temperature also rose a little, and then everything cleared up, she feels good and the [antibody] titers are high,' Putin said.
'It works quite effectively" and "forms a stable immunity," he said.
Putin thanked everyone who worked on the first-ever vaccine against the coronavirus and hoped that Russia will be able to start mass production of this medication in the near future.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday set a 72-hour target to trace and test people who have come in contact with a Covid-19 infected person while emphasising that the country could emerge victorious in the fight against the pandemic if we could defeat the virus in 10 states that account for 80% of the cases.
Modi's comments came during his video conference with Chief Ministers from nine states -- Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka which was represented by Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan.
The Prime Minister noted that the number of daily tests, which has reached seven lakh now, is increasing continuously and this has helped in early identification and containment. He also noted that the percentage of active cases was reducing while the recovery rate is increasing.
"These steps have boosted the confidence of people. The target of bringing down the fatality rate below 1% can be achieved soon," he told the Chief Ministers even as he emphasised the "urgent" need to ramp up testing in Bihar Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Telangana.
Quoting experts, Modi said if the cases are identified in 72 hours, then the spread of the virus can be slowed down and emphasised the need to trace and test all those who had come in contact with an infected person within 72 hours.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that a 'deep and prolonged' economic slowdown in India due to the coronavirus pandemic is 'inevitable', and offered three steps to help fight the crisis, during an interview to the BBC.
In the interview, Manmohan Singh said the government should "ensure people's livelihoods are protected and they have spending power through a significant direct cash assistance". He also said that adequate capital should be made available for businesses through "government-backed credit guarantee programmes", and the financial sector should be fixed through "institutional autonomy and processes". These three steps, he said, would help bring normalcy to the country in the coming years.
"This economic slowdown is caused by a humanitarian crisis. It is important to see this from the prism of sentiments in our society and not mere economic numbers," Manmohan Singh said.
BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde stirred up another controversy, by calling BSNL employees 'traitors' who weren't willing to work to develop the beleaguered firm.
More than 88,000 employees will be fired from the public sector unit (PSU), as government will privatise the company, he said.
In a video of an event held Monday at Kumta in Uttara Kannada district, Hegde is heard saying, "BSNL has a system filled with traitors. I am using accurate words to describe them." He further says that even the Narendra Modi-led government was unable to address the problems faced by the PSU.
"The government has given money, people require services and there is infrastructure. Yet, they (BSNL employees) don't work. PM talks of Digital India, has provided funds and technology. Yet, they are not willing to work," he said, adding that the central government will repair the firm by privatising it.
BSNL has become a black mark for the entire country and we will finish it. The central government will introduce disinvestment policy and close BSNL and the space will be occupied by private parties in the coming days, he added.
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that high speed 4G internet services can be allowed on a trial basis in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir divisions after August 15.
Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted before a bench presided over by Justice N V Ramana that central committee would review the outcome of trial after two months period. The impact would also be examined by the state level committees periodically, at least once in seven working days.
He, however, clarified that any opening on the trial basis should not be in any area adjoining the international border or line of control.
"The area should have low intensity of terrorist activities and minimum spillover effect on neighbouring areas," he said.
Taking his submission into consideration, the bench closed a contempt petition against the top officials of the Union government and the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for NGO 'Foundation for Media Professionals' submitted that the decision is a step forward. He, however, insisted for making public decision of the review committee.
The court asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file its reply within two weeks, including on a plea to review the decision every five days.