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Alert sounded as passengers slip out of airports to board trains

Any person, who is supposed to be self quarantined, and ventures to board a train can face an FIR under the Epidemic Diseases Act, to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.

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Airport in New Delhi

New Delhi, March 20 : In a bid to avoid the 14-day quarantine, international passengers slipping out of airports would no more find their way to trains to reach home as security at airports and at all major railway stations has been tightened.

A high vigil is being maintained on international and foreign returned Indian passengers boarding trains in metros across the country.

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and its intelligence branch has intercepted several passengers, who in a bid to avoid the two-week quarantine, slipped out of from various airports and managed to board trains.

Citing a latest example, Director General of RPF, Arun Kumar told IANS that a passenger was intercepted on Assam border who slipped out of Bangalore airport and boarded a train to Sealdah. The passenger was intercepted when he further boarded Kanchanjunga Express from Sealdah to reach Guwahati.

“Another passenger flying from a destination in Europe , managed to board Rajdhani at New Delhi, was finally searched and intercepted in Bhubaneswar by RPF,” said Kumar adding, “all the co-passengers travelling with these high risk passengers (who could be COVID-19 positive) have been identified along with the running staff.”

In wake of the coronavirus threat, 76,000 RPF personnel have been put on alert as railways continue to be the lifeline of mainstream transport in the country. In each of the 15 battalion headquarters of RPF spread across India, 2,500 quarantined bed facilities have been set up.

Over 100 railway hospitals and its staff, located in various districts have also been alerted. “Thermal scanning and essential procedures have been put in place at all major stations. Measures to reduce crowds at platforms have also been taken. Beside, leave applications of RPF personnel have been cancelled,” said Kumar.

Any person, who is supposed to be self quarantined, and ventures to board a train can face an FIR under the Epidemic Diseases Act, to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.

“An FIR was registered against the passenger who tried to escape from Kolkata (on Kanchanjunga express). We are also taking action against our own officers and staff. A woman officer of the rank of Assistant Personnel Officer (APO) based in South Western Railways, Bangalore has been placed under suspension. The officer tried to hide her son in a Railway guest house. Her son had returned from abroad and was expected to be quarantined for 14 days,” said the DG, RPF.

According to him, action was also taken against another railway officer in Agra who tried to withhold information relating to her daughter’s travel plans. The daughter had escaped quarantine in Bangalore to reach her parents’ place in Agra.

The railways had also restricted entry of visitors to Rail Bhawan, Divisional Headquarters and its other departments nationwide. Trains, platforms and restrooms are also being sanitised at regular intervals to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health

‘Young people play important role in helping stop Covid-19 transmission’

“Working together, all of us, old and young, from everywhere in the world, can overcome this pandemic,”

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus WHO

Geneva, Aug 13 : Although most young people are not at high risk of severe disease during the COVID-19 pandemic, they play an important role in the collective responsibility to help stop the virus transmission, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

In celebrating International Youth Day, with a theme of “Youth Engagement for Global Action” this year, the WHO Director-General, together with UNESCO’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay, recognized young people, youth organizations, and youth networks around the world for their collective action during COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

“This pandemic is having a major impact on the future of young adults — not just from the virus itself, but because of its impacts on the economy, employment, education, and the overall health system,” Tedros said, asking young people to “be informed and make choices about their health to prepare for long and healthy lives”.

“It is critical that we engage with young people now to start the journey to understanding their own health.”

He further left three requests for them.

First, he called on organizations, intuitions and governments “to listen, engage and empower young adults as partners in action. Our future is their future”.

“Second, we have to give young people a much larger role in political decision-making. Their voices often go unheard, even though more than half of the world’s population is under 35 years old.

“Finally, and most importantly, to young adults around the world, I say: Think big and be bold. We count on you for your creativity and your fresh ideas…

“Working together, all of us, old and young, from everywhere in the world, can overcome this pandemic,” he added.

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Health

Over 22,000 ‘Make in India’ ventilators given to states: Centre

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ventilator, prototype

New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Centre on Thursday stated that it has distributed more than 3.04 crore N95 masks and over 1.28 crore PPE kits to states, union territories and Central institutions free of cost in the last five months. Over 22,000 ‘Make in India’ ventilators have also been delivered.

The Centre has been strengthening the health infrastructure to fight the pandemic and effectively manage it. Along with augmenting Covid-19 facilities, the government has been providing medical supplies free of cost to the states and union territories to supplement their efforts.

“Since 11th March 2020, the Union Government has distributed more than 3.04 crore N95 masks and more than 1.28 crore PPE kits to states, UTs, Central Institutions, free of cost. Also, more than 10.83 crore HCQ tablets have been distributed to them,” the government said.

In addition, 22,533 ‘Make in India’ ventilators have been delivered and their “installation and commissioning is also being ensured”.

“Most of the products supplied by the Government of India were not being manufactured in the country in the beginning. The rising global demand due to the pandemic resulted in their scarce availability in the foreign markets,” it added.

As a result, resolve for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ has been strengthened and most of the supplies made by the Union Government are domestically manufactured.

With the combined efforts of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Pharmaceuticals, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and others, the domestic industry has been encouraged and facilitated to manufacture and supply essential medical equipment like PPEs, N95 masks, ventilators, etc., during this period.

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Health

Russia to begin COVID-19 vaccine production within 2 weeks

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COVID-19 Vaccine

MOSCOW, Aug. 12 : Russia will start the production of its COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks, the country’s health minister Mikhail Murashko said Wednesday.

“First of all, the production facilities in Russia will be oriented towards the domestic market, to meet the need of our citizens,” Murashko said during a news conference.

Russia will offer the vaccine to other countries when it has sufficient amounts, the minister said, adding that foreign nations’ doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine are unfounded.

The platform where the vaccine was created has been thoroughly studied and its authors have accumulated a sufficient amount of scientific data to guarantee its safety, he added.

The world’s first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus was announced by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday during an online meeting with government officials.

The vaccine, named Sputnik V, was developed by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, alongside the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Russia plans to produce at least five million doses of the vaccine a month from December through January, according to Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Center.

He said that the center is also preparing documents to obtain permission to test the vaccine on children.

The vaccine for children will be the same as the one for adults, but will likely be administered in a different dosage, requiring additional testing, Gintsburg added.

So far, Russia has tallied a total of 902,701 COVID-19 cases, including 15,260 deaths and 710,298 recoveries.

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