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Third Covid wave expected to impact India in 6 to 8 weeks, says AIIMS chief



In view of unlocking in various states after strict restrictions, AIIMS Chief Dr. Randeep Guleria on Saturday warned that India is certain to face the inevitable third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the next six to eight weeks.

In an interview with NDTV, Dr Guleria said, as we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don’t seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. Again crowds are building up, people are gathering. 

It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level. Third-wave is inevitable and it could hit the country within the next six to eight weeks, maybe a little longer. It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds, he added.

Highlighting the importance of vaccination, Dr. Guleria said the country’s main challenge is vaccinating a huge population and the increase in dose gaps for Covishield may not be a bad approach to provide protection to cover more people. A new wave can usually take up to three months but it can also take much less time, depending on various factors. Apart from Covid-appropriate behaviour, we need to ensure strict surveillance. Last time, we saw a new variant – which came from outside and developed here which led to a huge surge in the number of cases. We know the virus will continue to mutate. Aggressive surveillance in hotspots is required, he said.

Several states have begun reopening after lengthy lockdowns over the second wave. Dr. Guleria suggested that local-level lockdowns in any part of the country, which sees a rise in positivity rate beyond 5%, should be imposed. He underlined that people are vulnerable unless they are vaccinated. He also stressed that testing, tracking, and treating should be the focus in hotspots. We have to factor in human behaviour while unlocking, which needs to be done in a graded manner,  he said.

While talking about the new Delta-plus variant, which has evolved from the Delta variant of Covid-19, he suggested that a new frontier will have to be developed in India’s fight against Covid to further study the mutation of the virus. During the first wave (in India), the virus was not spreading that rapidly,  all that changed during the second wave, and the virus became much more infectious. Now the Delta variant that’s spreading is much more infectious. Faster spread is likely, he added.

The AIIMS chief further suggested that the strategy should be multi-pronged and we have to make sure fresh cases don’t rise while asserting that when there is a huge increase in the number of cases, shortage of hospital beds follows. Any healthcare system globally will tend to collapse with the unprecedented rise in infections.

Dr. Guleria wondered if India needed to reconsider its 12-16 week gap decision between two doses of Covishied, a vaccine the country is largely dependent on. Nothing is written in stone. We will have to look at new strategies. But we need to have strong data to make that decision, said the AIIMS chief, suggesting that the decision should be driven by science and not the shortage of doses.

Pointing out the UK’s one-shot strategy for AstraZeneca and Pfizer, Dr. Guleria said the one-shot strategy may not be a bad strategy as it can give protection to a larger number of people.

India News

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw says high-level committee to probe Odisha train crash

The chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik announced on Saturday that the state will observe a day of mourning and that there would be no celebrations.



Railway Minister

Today, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw investigated the accident site in Balosara where three trains collided last night in which 288 people have been dead and 900 are injured. During the investigation he said, in addition to the independent investigation by the rail safety commissioner, a thorough high-level investigation would be performed. He assessed the situation and declared that the administration is concentrating on rescue and relief efforts.

The chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik announced on Saturday that the state will observe a day of mourning and that there would be no celebrations.

The injured passengers will receive the best care possible in Cuttack, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhubaneswar, or the hospitals in Kolkata, according to the railway minister.

According to Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena, the rescue effort is still going on inside one of the damaged coaches that collided with another bogie.

The autopsies of the victims have begun in several locations. The bodies are being given to the victims who have been recognised and whose relatives are in the room. According to Jena, every effort is being made to finish the victims’ postmortems as soon as possible.

Around 7 p.m. on Friday, the train crash occurred close to the Bahanaga Baazar station in the Balasore district, which is located around 250 kilometres south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar. Ten to twelve coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed and fell onto the other track, causing the accident. The Coromandel Express’s bogies were then hit by the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, causing three to four of its carriages to derail.

According to a statement from the Indian Railways, A M Chowdhary, Commissioner of Railway Safety, South East Circle, will be in charge of the investigation into the train disaster.

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India News

Odisha train collision: 288 dead, 900 injured in biggest rail accident in recent memory

A compensation of Rs. 10 Lakh has been announced for the kin of deceased, Rs. 2 Lakh for those who are majorly injured, and Rs. 50,000 to those with minor injuries.



odisha coromandel express derail accident

On Friday evening, a tragic train accident took place in Odisha’s Balasore, when two Express trains collided that has claimed the lives of 288 people and more than hundreds of passengers are left inured, the rescue operations is underway.

Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma said, at around 7 PM in the evening, about 10-12 coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed and fell on the opposite track, after a while, the Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express rammed into the derailed coaches of Coromandel express that resulted to the derailment of its own coaches.

The dreadful accident has taken place near the Bahanga railway station in Balasore district of Odisha, which is around 120 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

Reports said, a three-way accident took place and involves a good carriage train in the accident.

While no official confirmation has been received on the total death toll, reports claimed more than 50 people are already dead with the numbers substantially increasing and around 300 are injured.

Some local channels of Odisha have reported, over 70 dead and around 350 injured.

The Central and state government along with the railway department have mounted a huge rescue operation but is finding it extremely difficult to clear and rush the injured to the nearest medical facilities.

National and State Disaster Management teams along with fire fighting teams and other rescue operation teams are already in place carrying out the rescue operations.

At-least 50 ambulances and 15 fire operations team from the neighbouring districts were rushed to save the trapped passengers, said to be in hundreds in number.

The government has also issued dedicated helpline numbers for various affected regions.

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed about compensation to the victims. Rs 10 lakh is announced for the deceased family members, Rs 2 lakh for critically injured and Rs 50,000 for minor injured victims.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik rushed to the state control room to personally take stock of the situation and direct measures for the rescue and relief operations.

Patnaik informed he will fly to the spot in the first thing in morning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his grief over the terrible accident expressed his thoughts with the bereaved families and prayed for the speedy recovery of the inured.

PM Modi assured all possible assistance to the affected.

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India News

Mumbai man assaults girlfriend for refusing sex at Bandra bandstand, arrested

The accused Akash Mukherjee is a resident of Kalyan on the outskirts of Mumbai and the victim’s name is Lubna Javed Sukte, a resident of Bhiwandi.



Man assaults girlfriend for refusing sex gets arrested by cops in Mumbai

A 28-year-old man has been arrested for beating up his girlfriend and banging her head on a rock for refusing to get intimate with him at a public place in Bandra, Mumbai. Reports said the seriously-injured woman has been hospitalised and her condition is improving and the attacker has been charged by police for trying to kill her.

The accused, Akash Mukherjee, is a resident of Kalyan on the outskirts of Mumbai and the victim’s name is Lubna Javed Sukte, a resident of Bhiwandi. They are both aged 28 years and have been working in the same company and had been romantically linked for the last few years.

On Wednesday, they took a train from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and visited the Gateway of India and Girgaon Chowpatty before heading to Bandra bandstand in the evening. They sat near the rocks by the sea. The police said it was Mukherjee’s birthday.

Sometime later, Mukherjee told his girlfriend that he had converted to Islam to marry her. He said he had a certificate saying this which he would show to her parents and get consent to marry her. Soon, he tried to get physical with her and the woman rejected his advances.

She started crying, when he tried to stop her by covering her mouth. During the altercation, she bit his left hand. She tried to scream, but he tried to choke her.

The woman’s refusal filled him with rage and he tried to attack her. He hit her head against the rock. He also tried to drown her in the drain. After this, she screamed for help.

On hearing the scream, people nearby called police who took the man into custody. They sent the woman to the hospital. Bandra Police are investigating the case after arresting Mukherjee.    

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