Current Affairs in Short: 21 July 2021
The Indian Council of Medical Research on July 20, 2021 suggested reopening of primary schools first before opening secondary schools in India.
Former UP CM Kalyan Singh critical, placed on life support
• Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh is currently in a very critical condition. He has been put on life-saving support system, as per the statement by Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) on July 21, 2021.
• The hospital bulletin read that the former CM has been intubated and put on a life-saving support system. All his clinical parameters are currently being closely monitored by the senior faculty of Critical Care Medicine (CCM).
• Kalyan Singh has served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for two terms. It was during his first term that the Kar Sevaks demolished Babri Masjid and he had resigned from the post taking moral responsibility for the incident.
• He was appointed as the Governor of Rajasthan in August 2014 and was succeeded by Kalraj Mishra in September 2019.
Wise to reopen primary schools first: ICMR Chief
• The Indian Council of Medical Research on July 20, 2021 suggested reopening of primary schools first before opening secondary schools in India.
• In a press conference, ICMR Director-General Dr. Balram Bhargava said, "We know clearly that children can handle viral infections much better than adults. "
• He said that the antibody exposure in children is also similar to adults. He further gave the example of some Scandinavian countries that didn't shut their primary schools during any of the COVID waves.
• Dr. Balram Bhargava reiterated however that all the support staff whether it be school bus drivers, teachers and other staff will need to be completely vaccinated.
• The schools and colleges across the country have been shut for conducting classes in physical form since March 2020.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit India next weeks
• The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to pay a visit to India next week, on July 27-28, 2021. This will be the second high-profile visit from a member of the Biden administration after US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin's visit to India. Preparations are currently underway for the visit.
• The US State Secretary is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. The two leaders have already met thrice so far in the past year.
• The Biden administration had lent extensive support to India when it was struggling with the devastating second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The US had not only expedited the procurement of raw materials for Indian vaccine makers but even sent over emergency supplies such as ventilators, oxygen cylinders and other equipment to help India counter COVID-19.
Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee Chief does not rule out cancellation of Olympic Games
• The Tokyo 2020 organising committee head Toshiro Muto said that they have not ruled out the cancellation of the Olympic Games amid the COVID-19 scare in the Olympic village.
• He said that they will continue discussions if there is a further rise in cases. He stated that the "coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."
• The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is expected to kick start on July 23rd and will end on August 8, 2021. The Paralympic Games will start on August 24 and end on September 5.
• The total Games-related COVID-19 infections have risen to 67 so far, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Olympics to go ahead, six people to represent each nation at opening ceremony: Chef de Mission meeting
• The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said that in the meeting of Chef de Mission of all the participating nations, it was reiterated that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead.
• He confirmed that only six officials from each participating nation will be allowed to be present at the Olympics opening ceremony.
• This comes a day after the Tokyo 2020 organising committee chief said that they do not completely rule out the possibility of the cancellation of the Olympic Games if there is a spike in cases.
First bird flu death reported this year in India in AIIMS, Delhi
• The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on July 20, 2021 reported the first bird flu death in the country for this year. A 12-year-old boy undergoing treatment for H5N1 Avian influenza reportedly succumbed to the virus at the pediatric department.
• The 12-year-old was detected to have H5N1 (Avian flu) after the diagnosis. He was suffering from both pneumonia and leukemia and was undergoing treatment in AIIMS ICU in Delhi.
• All the staff who had exposure to him have been asked to monitor themselves for any signs and symptoms of flu and report if any are present.
• H5N1 is the Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus. The avian influenza is a strain of the influenza virus that primarily infects birds, but can also infect humans. This kind of flu is mostly contracted by contact with sick birds or can also be passed from person to person.