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Appeal to follow Kim’s order for ‘maximum alert’ against COVID-19

North Korea claims to have had no coronavirus infections so far, but many outside observers suspect that Pyongyang might be hushing up an outbreak, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

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North Korean Kim Jong un

Seoul, July 5 : North Korea’s main newspaper on Sunday made an appeal to carry out leader Kim Jong-un’s order that the country exercise “maximum alert” against the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim issued the order during a politburo meeting on June 2, warning that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to an “unimaginable and irretrievable crisis”.

The appeal was seen as a sign that the North’s COVID-19 situation could be serious, though Pyongyang claims there has not been a single case, reports Yonhap News Agency.

It was the second time in three months that the North has convened a politburo meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said all people should rise up to carry out the leader’s order.

“In a situation where the prospect of resolving the risk is uncertain, we should be on maximum alert without becoming complacent or slackening,” the paper said in an editorial, calling for “absolute” obedience to anti-virus regulations and orders.

The official Korean Central News Agency also said the country is trying to carry out anti-virus measures in a stricter manner nationwide while redoubling monitoring and disinfection efforts in regions near the sea and land borders.

Last week”s politburo meeting shows the country puts the lives of people ahead of anything else, the KCNA said.

The Minju Joson, a cabinet newspaper, also said in an editorial that virus prevention centres across the country should try to come up with detailed and timely measures in a pre-emptive manner so as to maintain the emergency virus prevention system in a stricter way.

North Korea claims to have had no coronavirus infections so far, but many outside observers suspect that Pyongyang might be hushing up an outbreak, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

The country has taken relatively drastic anti-virus measures, including closing its borders.

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India has successfully contained Covid pandemic: Harsh Vardhan

“India has flattened its COVID19 graph- 146 districts have no new cases since last 7 days, 18 districts since 14 days, 6 districts since 21 days and 21 districts since the last 28 days”

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Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, Jan 28 : With a massive decrease in the coronavirus cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said India has successfully contained the pandemic.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan began the meeting by reminding everyone that the Group of Ministers constituted for management of COVID has been operational now for over a year: “The first case was reported on 30th January last year, and the first meeting of the GOM constituted for COVID19 met on 3rd February 2020. With the ‘Whole of Government’ and ‘Whole-of-society’ approach envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has successfully contained the pandemic. Less than 12,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours and the Active Caseload has reduced to just 1.73 lakhs.”

Detailing the achievements, he continued, “146 districts have no new cases since last 7 days, 18 districts since the last 14 days, 6 districts since 21 days and 21 districts since the last 28 days. This has been achieved with pro-active testing of which more than 19.5 crore have been conducted so far. The current testing capacity rests at 12 lakhs per day.”

He added that out of the total active cases, a meagre 0.46% are on ventilators, 2.20% are in ICU and just 3.02% are on oxygen support. Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that 165 cases of UK Variant have been reported so far. They are kept under supervised quarantine and surveillance.

The Union Health Minister proudly mentioned that India has supported other countries with supply of the COVID19 vaccine during such global public health crisis, and trained the personnel of several countries in vaccine administration. “By being a “mitra” to the global community, India has earned global trust by supplying indigenously made vaccines at this crucial hour”, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

Dr. Sujeet K Singh, Director (NCDC) presented a detailed report on the current and future scenario of COVID-19 in India drawing comparison with the trajectory of the confirmed cases and growth rates of COVID-19 in other countries of the world. India has reported 7 Day Growth Rate of 0.90%, lowest amongst the world, he stated.

He presented a granular analysis of the trajectory of the pandemic in India pointing out critical parameters like day-wise confirmed new cases with growth rate %, recovery rate, case positivity rate, trend of active cases, concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like fatality, and spread of new UK variant cases across different states in India. India’s Case Fatality Ratio is showing a declining trend from 3.4% in mid-June 2020 to the current rate of 1.4% due to effective clinical management. He also informed that Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu has the highest recovery rate of 99.79% followed by Arunachal Pradesh (99.58%) and Odisha (99.07%) while Kerala has recovery rate of 91.61% because of its present high active caseload. He informed that Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kozhikode remain the top 5 districts reporting highest number of active cases currently. Maharashtra and Kerala are contributing 70% of the active caseload of the country at the moment. He advised caution in the coming months based on the nature of transmission being witnessed in other countries and because of the mutant strain of the virus being reported throughout the world.

Through a detailed presentation, Dr. Vinod K Paul, NITI Aayog and Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary apprised the GoM on the progress of development of vaccines in the country and the Vaccination Drive which was launched by the Prime Minister on 16th Jan 2021.

The Union Health Secretary showcased the logistics of the vaccination exercise and the gains made so far; 112.4 lakh doses of vaccines were distributed to States/UTs within 3 days (from 12th to 14th Jan 2021) prior to the start of the exercise; another additional 115.6 lakh doses to States/UTs were completed on 20th Jan 2021; 69,000 Programme Managers, 2.5 lakh vaccinators & 4.4 lakh other team members are trained so far; 93,76,030 health care workers and 53,94,098 frontline workers are now registered on the Co-WIN portal. He also updated on the communication strategies employed in co-ordination with the States and UTs to counter misinformation and rumour mongering.

Dr. Paul informed that India currently stands 6th in providing Vaccination coverage and will soon move to the 3rd place in the next few days; 16 AEFI hospitalizations out of 23 lakh vaccinations so far translate to just 0.0007% with no case of severe/serious AEFI or death due to vaccination reported so far. He also apprised the GoM on how India’s daily new cases trajectory compare favourably to the rest of the world.

The GoM discussed issues regarding balancing domestic requirements vis-à-vis requests from other countries for Indian vaccines. Ms. S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, and Head of the Sub-group within NEGVAC formed for these issues, apprised the GoM on the actions taken in this regard.

Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary (Civil Aviation), Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary (DPIIT), Dr. Balram Bhargava, Secretary (Health Research) & DG (ICMR), Dammu Ravi, Addl. Secretary (MEA), Govind Mohan, Addl. Secretary (Home Affairs), Smt. Neerja Sekhar, Addl. Secretary (Information and Broadcasting), Amit Yadav, DG, Foreign Trade (DGFT), Dr. Sunil Kumar, DGHS and other senior government officials participated through video conference.

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Moderna says its Covid-19 vaccine works against new variants

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 US-based drugmaker Moderna on Monday said its Covid-19 vaccine retains neutralising activity against emerging variants first identified in the UK and South Africa.

A two-dose regimen of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against emerging variants detected to date, the company said.

Moderna, however, said it would test a vaccine booster against the South Africa variant in pre-clinical trials to see if that would be more effective in boosting antibodies against the variant and other future variants.

Although all viruses mutate constantly, scientists are concerned about the mutations discovered in Britain and South Africa because they are believed to be capable of altering key functions of the virus.

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The goodness of Argan oil

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Argan oil has traditionally been used topically to improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. It contains a number of different beneficial properties and vitamins that form a powerful combination to boost skin health.

Dr Geeta Grewal – cosmetic surgeon, beauty and health wellness expert explains some prominent uses of the oil for health, skin and hair.

Night Moisturiser

Argan oil absorbs quickly and does not leave an oily residue. In the winter months you may need a second drop but remember to use sparingly. This oil is safe and gentle to use around your eyes. Vitamin A and Vitamin E present in the oil can help to reduce fine wrinkles and keep this delicate area moisturized.

Skin Toner

Toning is an important step in your skin care routine. For an all-over glow, add 3-4 drops of your favourite toner, make your own chemical-free, natural toner at home.

Exfoliant

To experience the argon oil benefits while exfoliating, pay special attention to acne-prone areas and areas that are dry.

Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while giving you a younger, fresher complexion. With the aid of the brown sugar, argon oil’s nutrients are more readily absorbed into your skin. Use this exfoliator for more than just your face. If you have dry elbows or heels, mix up a bit more to massage the dry and dead skin away.

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