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India updates the list of 'at risk' countries as new COVID strain Omicron raises pandemic concerns

As yet, no cases of the Omicron strain have been reported in India

''Omicron', a new COVID strain first traced in South Africa last week, is now becoming a cause of concern for the whole world. WHO on Friday alarmed the siren among countries after the classification of a new strain of COVID-19 in South Africa. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health released a statement informing the same.

The recently designated variant of coronavirus B.1.1.529 is of concern and has more mutations than science knows about other alarming variants, read the statement. As per WHO, existing coronavirus vaccines may be less effective against the new COVID-19 variant. The FOPH also informed that this new strain is more transmissible than the previous globally dominant 'delta' variant. Spreading fast, the strain has plagued almost all provinces of South Africa and has also been traced in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.


India increases testing for travellers coming from 'At-Risk' Countries

As yet, India has not reported cases of Omicron but has raised a caution and has increased the testing for the same. The nation has also updated the list of at-risk countries to prevent the invasion of the new VOC here. The Centre has directed the state governments to increase screening and testing of all international travellers, arriving in India, from all countries listed in the high-risk category.

The list presently comprises UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

India's Omicron tracing plan

“It is a new variant. We need to wait and watch. We do not know its overall infectivity but the probability is that it may bypass your existing immunity either acquired through vaccines or natural infection. If it bypasses, it will be a serious issue", stated Dr Sanjau Rai, Centre of Medicine at AIIMS.

For this, the country has decided to trace the virus promptly. The Union Health Secretary directed concerned health officials across all states and Union Territories to ensure strict Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate measures. The Health MInistry's guidelines have also advised rigorous screening and testing of international travellers, specially those coming from African countries.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has asked for a review with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Monday to discuss a new plan of action to arrest the spread of Omicron. Here, experts will present a step-wise strategy to contain the B.1.1.529 strain of the coronavirus.

New ₹900 crore annual budget plan approved to bolster civic development in Mumbai

A ₹900 crore annual plan has been approved to bolster development in Mumbai city & suburban districts

In light of the upcoming BMC elections in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Government approved the annual district plan budget, allowing a sum of ₹900 crores for the development of Mumbai city and suburbs. Reportedly, this yearly budget has been further segmented into two categories - ₹250 crores for the city and ₹650 crores for the suburban districts. The plan was approved during cabinet review on Monday and will be notably streamlined for use in the next year.

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Goa University postpones final year PG & UG offline exams in wake of COVID rise

The Goa University administration on January 13, 2021, announced to postpone the examinations by three weeks.

Citing the recent hike in COVID cases in the state as a primary concern, the Goa University administration on January 13, 2021, postponed the varsity examinations. According to this announcement, all final year UG and PG offline assessments have been pushed back by three weeks. The Goa University also altered the duration of the term break, preponing it to extend between January 24 to 29, 2022.

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Lucknow charts COVID-19 recovery; fresh case tally sees a dip for second consecutive day

Around 1818 fresh COVID cases were reported in Lucknow on Monday, down from 2326 on Sunday

Pointing towards a recovery trend, fresh infections in Lucknow have dipped for two consecutive days on Monday, bringing a huge respite to the city. Around 1,818 new coronavirus cases were reported here on January 24, down from 2,326 cases on Sunday and 2660 on Saturday. With 2402 recoveries, the healing wave surged stronger than the daily transmission load, adding to the pandemic relief here. However, a single virus-related fatality indicated that the COVID threat has not completely subsided.

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DGCA extends suspension of international passenger flights in India till February 28

DGCA announced the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights to and from India till February 28, 2022

Representative Image

Aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on January 19, announced the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights to and from India till February 28, 2022. While scheduled passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 2020, several special passenger flights are under operation between India and 40 other countries since July 2020. These aviation services are being regulated under an air-bubble agreement to ensure COVID security

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21 Omicron sub-lineage 'BA.2' cases reported in Indore

Of this new load, around 6 are children.

Amid the rampant fears of Omicron spread in the country, 21 infections of BA.2, a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant have doubled the threat in Indore. Of this load, six happen to children including a one-day-old infant. As per reports, all cases of the sub-mutation have been traced at a private laboratory in Indore, in the last 18 days. Since the new variant is relatively new, doctors and healthcare experts are conflicted over the severity of the infection caused by it.

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Painting UP Green! Four 'Vedic Paint' manufacturing sites to be set up in the state soon

The four paint units will be set up at Barabanki, Varanasi, Ballia and Meerut

In a strive to promote the use of greener solutions in Uttar Pradesh, the Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has undertaken the task of setting up 4 'Vedic Paint' manufacturing sites in the state. Vedic paints are naturally procured alternative paints, that are more eco-friendly than chemically sourced materials, making them a smarter and greener choice. As per the Khadi Commission Director, these novel units will be set up at Barabanki, Varanasi, Ballia and Meerut, to boost the pillars of sustainable growth and development in UP.

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Kanpur's Gandhi Bhawan to be developed as a site for light & sound show under the Smart City Mission

Soon you can enjoy light & sound shows at Gandhi Bhawan in Phoolbagh!

Soon, the residents of Kanpur will be able to enjoy a spectacular light and sound show just like the ones at Burj Khalifa and Gateway of India in their own city! The show will take place at the famous Gandhi Bhawan in the Phulbagh area, which is currently undergoing renovation. Being carried out under the Smart City Mission, the work to add a new attraction in Kanpur is expected to complete in the next 3 months. Read on to know more about this initiative that is aimed to boost tourism and the development of local areas in the city.

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