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24 May, 2022
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Contagious Covid-19 Variant XE Enters India; First Case Reported In Mumbai

Contagious Covid-19 Variant XE Enters India; First Case Reported In Mumbai

On Wednesday, a more contagious variant of covid-19 XE’s first case was detected in Mumbai, as reported by a civic health official. During a serosurvey, a case of the Kappa variant was also detected. He also said that out of 230 samples, 228 were of the Omicron variant, which is almost 99.13% cases. The officials have said that the XE variant appears to be at least 10% more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron variant. The XE variant is a combination of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains and is referred to as a “recombinant” According to the initial studies, the XE variant has a growth rate of 9.8% over that of the BA.2 variant and is a stealth variant, due to its ability to evade detection. So far, the BA.2 variant is said to be the most contagious out of all the covid-19 variants. The World Health Organisation has said that the XE variant might be more contagious than the previous ones.

Covid-Bulletin: India Registers 1,033 New Cases; Recovery Rate At 98.76%

According to the latest data released by the union health ministry, India has recorded 1,033 new covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The active caseload of the country currently stands at 11,639. Meanwhile, daily recoveries continue to outnumber active covid-19 cases with registering 1,222 recoveries in the previous 24 hours. The total recoveries have reached 4,24,98,789. The daily and weekly positivity rates stand at 0.21% and 0.22%, respectively. As per the Indian Council of Medical Research, the country has conducted 79.25 crore covid-19 tests so far. On the vaccination front, India has administered 185.20 crore covid-19 vaccine doses so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.

“India Stands Firm To Safeguards Its Interests Without Any Fear,” Says PM Modi

Amid signs of the western side not being happy with India’s stance on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that there is a national consensus over the conflict. PM Modi posted a series of tweets after a healthy debate in Lok Sabha around the matter. He tweeted: “Over the last few days, Parliament has witnessed a healthy discussion on the situation in Ukraine and India’s efforts to bring back our citizens through Operation Ganga. I am grateful to all MP colleagues who enriched this discussion with their views” “Today, the world has witnessed the emergence of such an India, which stands firm to safeguard its interests without any fear and pressure. When the whole world is divided between two opposing poles, India is being seen as a country which is assertive about interests of humanity,” he added.

Rajya Sabha Passes The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill 2022

On Wednesday, Rajya Sabha passed the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill 2022, which seeks to repeal The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. If the Bill becomes an act, it will allow police officers to collect finger impressions, palm print impressions, footprint impressions, photographs, iris and retina scans, and physical and biological samples of convicted, arrested and detained persons. Under the current regime, the police officers are permitted to take only finger and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicts and non-convicted persons. Lok Sabha passed the said Bill on 4th April. Almost all opposition members opposed the passing of the Bill. Congress MP P. Chidambaram said: “I deeply regret to say that when a Bill like this is moved and passed in this house, we are breaking the Constitution every day…Several suggestions were made in Lok Sabha to amend the Bill, to refer it to a Standing Committee or Select Committee, but not one suggestion was accepted by the government. The Bill has been passed as it is introduced…There is no scientific basis to presume that any measurement, including handwriting, fingerprints is unique to a person,” However, Union Minister Amit Shah said that the Bill has been brought to tackle new-generation crimes and enhance the conviction rate in the country. He also added that the provisions of the Bill would be only used in the cases of heinous crimes and that no data would be made available to the police agencies. 

Russia-Ukraine War: US Warns of Consequences If India Aligns With Russia

Hinting that the United States is “disappointed” with some of New Delhi’s reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden’s top economic advisor said that the US administration has warned India of the consequences of its stance on the Russia-Ukraine war. The Director of the White House Economic Council, Brian Deese, said: “There are certainly areas where we have been disappointed by both China and India’s decisions, in the context of the invasion,” “The US has told India that the consequences of a more explicit strategic alignment with Moscow would be significant and long-term,” he added. While most of the world powers, including the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, have put multiple sanctions on Russia, India has declined and chose to continue importing Russian oil. Meanwhile, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “What Daleep (Singh, Deputy NSA) did make clear to his counterparts during this visit was that we don’t believe it’s in India’s interest to accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and other commodities,” While Washington considers India as an important partner to counter Chinese influence in Asia, India needs Russian weapons to counter both China and Pakistan and is the world’s largest buyer of Russian weapons. 

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