Owing to the potential threats created by the raging Cyclone Tauktae, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai has shut all operations for 3 hours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday.
An official spokesperson said that the move was necessitated in view of the alerts over the Cyclone Tauktae - currently passing by Mumbai with windspeeds of 75-85 kmph - as the storm hurtles to south Gujarat.
Till now, one flight of private airline SpiceJet was diverted from Mumbai and further details are awaited.
Cyclone Tauktae hit Mumbai with full fury around after midnight of Monday (May 17) bringing with it heavy rains, thunder, lightning and powerful gales, wreaking havoc though there are no human casualties.
Cyclone Tauktae hit Mumbai with full fury bringing heavy rains, strong gales of over 60-75 km/hr, which wreaked havoc by uprooting scores of trees, damaged some homes, and disrupted road traffic, though there are no human casualties, officials said.
Categorised now as 'Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm', its effects were felt shortly after midnight of Sunday-Monday with many areas lashed by heavy rains, accompanied by lightning and thunder in some places, aggravated by powerful winds, as it whirled northwards from Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri towards Raigad-Mumbai en route to the Gujarat coast.
As a major precautionary measure, the state authorities have already shifted out 7,866 people from vulnerable spots along the coast, besides another around 4,000 in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Thane, an official said.
Till Monday morning, the city had recorded 8.37 mm rains, 6.53 in eastern suburbs and 3.92 in western suburbs, substantially cooling the weather at the height of mid-summer when Mumbai swelters with the mercury remaining in the upper-30s-to-mid-40s.
Several roads were littered as at least 30 big and small trees got uprooted in different parts of Mumbai and Thane, during the night, besides minor damage to several homes.
The cyclone was hovering around 160 kms away from the Mumbai coast and is likely to reach Gujarat by midnight tonight, said the IMD's latest warning bulletin.
It is accompanied by strong winds of 180-190 kmph, gusting to 210 kmph, which is expected to drop gradually over the next 48 hours into a depression with 40-60 kmph windspeeds by Wednesday morning.
The IMD has warned of winds of upto 75-100 kmph in Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Thane and Palghar during the day and people have been asked not to venture outdoors.
The combined effect of the these have resulted in 'Phenomenal' waves in the frothy Arabian Sea with tidal waves to reach heights of upto 3 metres and the authorities have completely banned all fishing and other maritime activities for the next few days.
Militants on Sunday triggered a low intensity blast in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district although no damage was caused by the explosion, officials said.
Police said militants triggered a low intensity blast near an army vehicle in Turkawangam village of Shopian district.
"No damage was caused by the explosion. The are has been cordoned off for searches", police said.
Meanwhile, Vijay Kumar, IGP (Kashmir) told some reporters that the police already had an intelligence input about an improvised explosive device (IED) having been planted by the militants in Shopian district.
Financing the setting up of the oxygen delivery infrastructure/oxygen beds and air conditioned mortuary in hospitals, supply of oxygen concentrators, designing ventilators, oxygen concentrators and supplying oxygen are some of the ways the two strategic sector players - NPCIL and ISRO- are contributing to the nation's fight against coronavirus.
The NPCIL-Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is the only atomic power generator in India while the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the country's sole space agency.
"We have seven nuclear power generation sites. The needs of each site were different and hence they worked along with the local state administration to identify the needs and address the gap," S.K.Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director NPCIL, told IANS.
According to Sharma, the company had financed the oxygen delivery infrastructure for patients in hospitals, construction of air conditioned mortuary in a hospital in Rajasthan.
Sharma also said, NPCIL had made available oxygen concentrators for hospitals and also shared its own health care facilities with local authorities.
"We also converted one wing of our own hospitals as Covid Care Ward and our doctors also offered tele-consultation," Sharma said.
According to him, a sum of Rs.43 crore has been spent on Covid-19 relief by NPCIL.
Out of about 11,000 employees about 1,400 of them got infected by Coronavirus. While about 1,200 have recovered, unfortunately 15 of them lost their lives battling the coronavirus and the balance are under treatment, Sharma said.
Sharma said the families of employees who lost their lives due to coronavirus were paid a solatium of Rs.30 lakh.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Department of Atomic Energy also successfully developed reagents for RT-PCR testing, besides powered respirators, Reefer, Portable Plasma sterilization and plasma incineration technology for medical waste.
On its part, the Indian space agency ISRO has started supplying oxygen out of its ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.
The ISRO supplies to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh.
"Our production capacity is very small," ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had told IANS.
ISRO's Space Application Centre at Ahmedabad has converted two liquid nitrogen tanks with a capacity of about 1.65 lakh litres into liquid oxygen tanks for storage and supply in Ahmedabad and nearby hospitals.
Further, face shields and PPE kits are also being supplied to hospitals in Ahmedabad.
The space agency has also set up Covid Care Centres in Bengaluru, Shillong and Sriharikota.
The space agency has also developed ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
( Courtesy - IANS )
As the Cyclone Tauktae whirls towards the Gujarat coast, Maharashtra is preparing to grapple its impact on the coastal Konkan and some interiors which are likely to be affected with heavy rains and gusty winds, officials said here on Saturday.
The entire coastal belt comprising Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg besides Mumbai is in a state of high alert with all rescue and relief agencies in full preparedness to tackle any eventualities.
The NDRF has deployed 3 teams in Mumbai, 15 in Pune and one in Goa with Cyclone Tauktae now said to be in the Arabian Sea off north Karnataka-south Maharashtra coasts.
However, officials are optimistic that Maharashtra may escape the fury of the cyclone as it is likely to pass around 250 kms in the Arabian Sea, moving at an average speed of 7 kms/hr.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has reviewed the situation and asked the people and the government machinery to be vigilant, rekindling memories of the devastating Cyclone Nisarga that pounded Raigad-Ratnagiri in June 2020, at the height of the pandemic lockdown.
"In a preparatory meeting regarding Cyclone Tauktae on Friday night, Thackeray has instructed all Divisional Commissioners and district Collectors to be vigilant and well-equipped in coastal areas, especially in Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg," informed an official of the CMO.
Delhi reported 6,500 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest since April 7, the day when the city reported 5,506 cases in a day.
The positivity rate - the proportion of samples tested that return positive for Covid -19 -- continued its sharp decline to 11 per cent, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday.
The Capital has been witnessing a sharp decline in daily positive cases and positivity rates for around two weeks.
During the peak of the second wave of the Covid pandemic, on April 20, Delhi's daily positive cases were reported at 28,395, while the highest daily positivity rate was 36 per cent on April 22.
On Friday, the city had reported 8,506 cases in a day, which was the first time Delhi's daily positive case fell below 10k since April 10. On Thursday, it had registered 10,489 new cases. Before that, the number of cases on Wednesday were 13,287, 12,481 on Tuesday, 12,651 on Monday and 13,336 on Sunday respectively.
Similarly, the daily positivity rate has declined since the last few days in the city. On Friday Delhi's positivity rate was reported at 12.40 per cent. Before that the positivity rate was reported at 14.24 per cent on Thursday, 17.03 per cent on Wednesday, 17.76 per cent on Tuesday, 19.10 per cent on Monday and 21.67 per cent on Sunday.
Kejriwal said on Saturday that in the last 15 days, the Delhi government had put in place around 1000 new ICU beds for Covid patients. "I would like to thank all medical staff, health officials, engineers and others who relentlessly worked to establish new Covid care centres which have added 1,000 new ICU beds in the last 15 days," Kejriwal said.
The BJP slammed former Union Minister and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for questioning the progress the country made in recent years. The saffron party leaders said that making fun of the country is Tharoor's favourite pastime.
In a tweet, Tharoor said, "Since the BJP is so obsessed w/our image, reflect: For decades, the world saw India as a land of snake-charmers and fakirs lying on nails. In the last 25 yrs India became the home of doctors and computer geeks. Now we're a land where people drink cow urine and bathe in cow dung. Progress?"
Quoting screenshot of Tharoor's tweet, BJP Rajya Sabha member Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said, "Making fun of India's culture, traditions and heritage has been your favourite pass time."
In another tweet sharing a news report, Sahasrabuddhe said, "Now you must stop this Shashi Tharoor ji, just in case you have an open mind to listen to your senior party colleague Oscar Fernandes ji."
In the report shared by Sahasrabuddhe, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Fernandes talks about an anecdote about a man in Meerut who claimed to have cured his cancer by drinking cow urine and how by doing 'Vajrasana' he cured his knee pain when doctors had suggested for replacement surgery.
BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santhosh tweeted, "Your tweet shows what you read now a days. By the way India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has two vaccines to its credit ... two medicines for mild infected patients. If you need I can quote another 100 for you."
While listing Country's progress in recent time, BJP National Spokesperson, Sanju Verma tweeted, "Under Narendra Modi, this is what happened. Today India is world's second largest steel producer, third largest electricity producer, second largest smartphone market, second largest two-wheeler and third largest automobile producer, seventh biggest stock market, third biggest start-up destination #SenileDown."
While corona wreaks havoc in Bihar, cases of Black Fungus have also been detected in Patna.
On Thursday, six patients infected with black fungus were detected in a private hospital and government hospitals in Patna. They were Covid survivors. The doctors of a private hospital conducted surgery of one of the patients to save his life.
The doctor claims that if he would delay by 24 hours, he would not survived.
Black Fungus or Mucormycosis is a fungal disease, appearing in corona survivor due to side effects of steroids. During the phase of pandemic, many patients are excessively using steroid like Dexona to came out of corona infection.
Besides private hospital, two patient of Black Fungus detected in AIIMS Patna and IGIMS on Wednesday as well.
The condition of all six patients are stable and under close observation of doctors.
According to a doctor in Patna, AIIMS, persons having low immunity could become victim of black fungus. Swelling and pain in eyes, dryness in nose, low eyesight are some of the common symptoms of Mucormycosis.
He further suggested that such corona survivor should avoid high humidity, dusty areas, air conditioning system etc.
The UN Security Council will hold an open meeting on Sunday to discuss the escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestine.
Zhang Jun, China's Permanent Representative to the UN, tweeted that the meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.
"China is deeply concerned about escalation of tensions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. UNSC should act now and send a strong message. Regret a Friday meeting was blocked by one member," said the tweet.
Diplomats said the proposal for a Friday meeting was blocked by the US.
The Norwegian Mission to the UN tweeted that Sunday's meeting was proposed by Norway, Tunisia and China.
China holds the Security Council presidency for the month of May.
Two rounds of closed-door consultations on the issue have been held by the Security Council.
Since the violence erupted on Monday, the Hamas militants in Gaza have so far fired more than 1,700 rockets at northern, central and southern Israeli towns.
Israeli troops, meanwhile, have struck 750 different targets in the Gaza Strip.
The tension between Israel and Gaza militants threatens to further escalate as the Israeli government is reportedly drafting a plan for a possible large-scale ground offensive in Gaza, similar to the one waged in 2014.
The latest wave of violent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians, the worst since 2014, was sparked by an Israeli plan to evict some Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.
An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scaled rocked Indonesia's North Sumatra province on Friday, but did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami, the meteorology and geophysics agency said here.
Earlier the agency said the quake had a magnitude of 7.2 before revising it, Ali Imran, an official in charge at the agency, told Xinhua news agency.
The quake occurred at 1:33 p.m., with the epicentre at 141 km southwest of Nias Barat district and 19 km under sea bed, he said.
"For this quake, no tsunami alert was issued as it was not potential for a tsunami," said Imran.
The intensity of the quake was felt at III to IV MMI (Modified Mercalli Intensity) at Gunungsitoli town, Nias district, Nias Barat district and Nias Selatan district, the official said.
The tremors were also felt at a nearby province of Aceh at III MMI, he added.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories on Friday announced that the first consignment of imported doses of the Sputnik V vaccine that landed in India on May 1 received regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, on May 13.
As part of a limited pilot, the soft launch of the vaccine has commenced and the first dose of the vaccine was administered in Hyderabad on Friday.
Further consignments of imported doses are expected over the upcoming months. Subsequently, supply of the Sputnik V vaccine will commence from Indian manufacturing partners.
The imported doses of the vaccine are presently priced at an MRP of Rs 948 + 5% GST per dose, with the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins.
The Company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfill regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply.
Dr Reddy's will work closely with stakeholders in the Government and private sector in India to ensure the widest possible reach of the Sputnik V vaccine as part of the national inoculation effort. This is a reaffirmation of the Company's commitment to explore every avenue in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
G.V. Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director, said: "With the rising cases in India, vaccination is our most effective tool in our battle against Covid-19. Contributing to the vaccination drive in India is our biggest priority right now to help Indians be healthy and safe."