Current Affairs in Short: 27 January 2021
The United Kingdom has become the first European nation to report over one lakh COVID-19 fatalities. The death toll due to COVID has risen by an average of over 1,000 per day in the nation for the past seven days.
RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu calls meeting of all party leaders on January 31
•Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has called a meeting of all party leaders in the Rajya Sabha on January 31, 2021. The meeting will be held just a day ahead of the Budget Session of the Parliament.
•Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is also expected to hold an all-party meeting on January 29, 2021. The meetings will be conducted to ensure the smooth functioning of the two Houses of the Parliament during the budget session.
•The centre has also convened an all-party meeting on January 30, 2021 to seek the support of political parties to ensure smooth conduct of business in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
•The budget session will begin on January 29, 2021 with President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the Joint Sitting of both the Houses of Parliament.
India welcomes US President Joe Biden's decision to remain part of WHO
•India has welcomed new US President Joe Biden's decision to remain a part of the World Health Organisation. WHO Executive Board Chairman Dr. Harsh Vardhan noted with pleasure that the US will continue to work with all the members of the organisation with a renewed commitment to take joint action against the COVID-19 pandemic.
•Dr. Harsh Vardhan said this while making closing remarks at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board. The Minister said the post-COVID-19 world will be filled with challenges and to overcome them and that WHO needs to be a trailblazer, empowered to work towards a new vision to strengthen health care systems across member nations.
•He added saying that 2020 was the year of science with all the remarkable achievements by scientists and researchers from across the world. He also noted how there has also been great global solidarity and added that the member nations will need continued cooperation to ensure equitable distribution of the fruits of our collaboration.
UK becomes first European nation to cross one lakh Covid-19 deaths
•The United Kingdom has become the first European nation to report over one lakh COVID-19 fatalities. The death toll due to COVID has risen by an average of over 1,000 per day in the nation for the past seven days.
•Prime Minister Boris Johnson took "full responsibility" for the government's actions, saying that they truly did everything they could. He also said that he is deeply sorry for every life lost. Overall, a total of 100,162 people have lost their lives due to COVID in the UK.
•Overall, UK is the fifth country to pass 100,000 deaths, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. PM Johnson said that it was hard to compute the sorrow contained in this grim statistic.
•Currently, the nation is on a national lockdown with schools shut, all shops accept the ones selling essential items shut and socializing outdoors banned.
US directs citizens to reconsider traveling to Pakistan, Bangladesh and not visit Afghanistan due to COVID-19, terrorism & conflicts
•The United States has updated its travel advisory for three South Asian nations and has urged its citizens to reconsider travel to Pakistan and Bangladesh and not visit Afghanistan.
•The US state department issued separate travel advisories for the three countries due to the threat of COVID-19, terrorism and sectarian violence. It asked its citizens not to travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces due to incidences of kidnapping and terrorism.
•The department further urged its citizens to reconsider travel to Bangladesh due to COVID-19 and asked them to exercise increased caution in the country due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping.
•Travel to Afghanistan has been discouraged due to COVID-19, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping, crime and terrorism.
Union IT Minister to launch virtual intelligence tool Tejas on January 28
•Union Electronics, IT & Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be launching a virtual intelligence tool Tejas on January 28, 2021.
•The system is expected to help in improving policy decisions and efficiency of government's services along with ensuring delivery of citizen-centric services.
President Biden's administration aims to have enough vaccine for most Americans by summer
•US President Joe Biden's administration is expected to purchase 100 million doses each of the vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech and Moderna Inc, increasing the overall total doses to 600 million, with delivery expected by summer.
•The previous purchase target of the United States was 400 million doses. The revised target is expected to cover most American people.
•Each vaccine requires two doses per person to be fully effective, which suggests that the new purchases would build up enough of a stockpile to vaccinate most of the country’s 331 million people. The vaccines have not been approved for use on children.
Covaxin has equivalent immunogenicity against UK-variant & other SARS-Cov2 strains: ICMR
•The Indian Council of Medical Research stated recently that the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine- Covaxin has equivalent immunogenicity against the UK-variant and circulating strains of SARS-Cov2 in India.
•Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR.
•The UK-variant of COVID-19 with its all signature mutations has been isolated and cultured successfully for the first time in the world at ICMR-NIV which was used for testing.