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Allow corporates to donate CSR money to CM’s relief fund: Mamata

The Chief Minister said the Centre has so far announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package which was less than one per cent of the GDP.

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Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, April 11 : Alleging bulldozing of the federal set up, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday demanded that corporates be allowed to donate money from their CSR account to the Chief Minister’s emergency relief fund on the lines of such facilities given to them with regard to putting money in the PM-CARES FUND.

“We have raised objection to the present system of allowing corporates to spend money from their CSR account for the PM-CARES Fund whereas such facility was not granted for the CM’s emergency relief fund. I called it bulldozing of the federal set up,” Banerjee told mediapersons at the state secretariat Nabanna.

Banerjee was briefing the media after attending a video conference where Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with all the Chief Ministers.

“I told them there should not be discrimination and the companies should be allowed to donate money to our relief funds also form their CSR account,” she said.

The Chief Minister urged Modi to announce a Rs 10 lakh crore package nationally to enable the states to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I requested him to announce a national economic cum health package of Rs 10 lakh crore for the state governments to combat the situation arising out of the Covid- 19 induced situation,” she said.

The Chief Minister said the Centre has so far announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package which was less than one per cent of the GDP.

In contrast, Japan is spending 20 per cent of its GDP in fighting the pandemic, while the figure for the US is 10 per cent.

“Rs 10 lakh crore comes to around six per cent of the GDP. So I have asked for this package, so that all states are benefited,” she said.

The Chief Minister also sought a special package for the MSME and the unorganised sectors, and requested that deadlines be relaxed for them for paying licence fees or repaying loans.

She also highlighted the need for package for agro, tourism and drugs sectors.

As for West Bengal, Banerjee repeated her earlier demand for a Rs 25,000 crore worth special package for combating Covid-19 and also sought Rs 36,000 crore pending dues from the Centre.

She said an amount of Rs 2,393 crore is also due to her state from the Centre on account of outstanding GST compensation.

Banerjee also said that long distance passenger trains and international flight operations should not be resumed.

“It was a good meeting. The Prime Minister listened to all the Chief Ministers. I also told him about taking care of the migrant workers,” she added.

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Ravi Shankar Prasad, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe opt for home quarantine

Shah tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday following which he was admitted in Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram.

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ravi shankar prasad

New Delhi, Aug 3 : A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and was admitted in a private hospital, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also went into home quarantine as he had met Shah on Saturday.

Prasad, who is Union Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, said in a tweet, “Friends! I’m absolutely fine. To follow protocol I have isolated myself at home for few days as I had met Amit Shahji on Saturday evening for an official meeting. I’m working from home and following daily routine including Yoga and exercise. Also reading books and enjoying classical music.”

Besides Prasad, BJP national Vice President and President, ICCR, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also went into home quarantine on Sunday. Sahasrabuddhe was also present along with Shah on Saturday at a webinar organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to remember Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

Shah tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday following which he was admitted in Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram.

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‘Turkey’s number of severe COVID-19 cases under control’

Turkish health professionals conducted 40,247 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 4,885,916, he added.

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Corona cases in Turkey

Ankara, Aug 3 : Turkey’s number of serious ill COVID-19 patients seems to be under control, Turkish health minister said.

The COVID-19 cases increased by 987 in Turkey, raising the total diagnosed cases to 232,856, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients is 8.5 per cent, the number of seriously ill patients is 582, he stated.

Meanwhile, 18 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,728, Koca said, adding that a total of 978 patients recovered, raising the total recoveries to 216,494 in Turkey since the outbreak.

Turkish health professionals conducted 40,247 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 4,885,916, he added.

Turkey reported the first COVID-19 case on March 11.

Turkey and China have supported each other in the fight against COVID-19.

Chinese doctors and medical experts held video conferences with Turkish counterparts to share China’s experience in treating coronavirus patients, protecting medical workers, and controlling the spread of the virus.

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Mandatory BCG vaccination linked with slower Covid-19 growth

Mandatory BCG vaccination correlated with a flattening of the curve in the spread of Covid-19, the analysis showed.

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new vaccine strategy-wefornews

New York, Aug 2 : Adding to the growing evidence that early BCG vaccination may be helpful in taming the Covid-19 spread, scientists now claim that countries with mandatory BCG vaccination until at least the year 2000 tended to exhibit slower infection and death rates during the first 30 days of the outbreak.

By applying a statistical model based on their findings, the researchers further estimated that only 468 people would likely have died from Covid-19 in the US as of March 29 – which is 19 per cent of the actual figure of 2,467 deaths by that date – if the US had instituted mandatory BCG vaccination several decades ago.

Martha Berg, the study’s lead author from University of Michigan (U-M) and colleagues focused on changes in the growth rates of Covid-19 cases and deaths, while controlling for variables including diagnostic test availability, median age, per capita GDP, population size and density, net migration rate, and various cultural differences such as individualism.

Their findings suggest that national policies for universal BCG vaccination can be effective in the fight against Covid-19 – an association that merits clinical investigation.

“Available evidence demonstrates that BCG vaccination, typically given at birth or during childhood to prevent tuberculosis, can also help strengthen immunity against various other infectious diseases – perhaps including Covid-19,” the authors wrote in a paper published in the journal Science Advances.

To reach this conclusion, Berg and colleagues analyzed the day-by-day rate of increase of confirmed cases in 135 countries and deaths in 134 countries in the first 30-day period of each country’s outbreak.

Mandatory BCG vaccination correlated with a flattening of the curve in the spread of Covid-19, the analysis showed.

However, the authors caution that their results do not portray BCG as a “magic bullet.”

They found substantial variation in Covid-19 growth rates even among BCG-mandated countries, suggesting that additional societal variables likely have an effect on mandatory BCG vaccination’s effect on the spread of the disease.

In India, the Tamil Nadu government last month allowed a pilot project to study if the BCG vaccine will help reduce the mortality rate among elderly Covid-19 patients. The National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis will start the pilot programme.

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