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Centre suggests States measures to curb spike in COVID-19 cases

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New Delhi [India], February 21 (ANI): The Centre has advised States to work on improving overall testing by focusing on an increasing proportion of RT-PCR tests, all negative Rapid Test results to be mandatorily followed by RT-PCR test and refocusing on strict and comprehensive surveillance among others amid the rising concerns over the upsurge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
The country has been witnessing a rise in the active coronavirus caseload over the past few days. More than 74 per cent of cases of the country are in Kerala and Maharashtra. Of late it is seen that there has been a spike in the daily cases in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases, the government said.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare statement, the Centre has advised all these States to work on five major areas. These are:
(1) Improve the overall testing numbers by focusing on increasing the proportion of RT-PCR tests.
(2) All negative Rapid Antigen Test results to be mandatorily followed by RT-PCR test and no such negative persons are to be missed.
(3) Refocus on strict and comprehensive surveillance as well as stringent containment in selected districts.
(4) Regular monitoring of the mutant strains through testing followed by Genome Sequencing, as well as monitoring of the emerging cluster of cases.
(5) Focusing on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths.
In the last four weeks in Kerala, the average weekly cases have fluctuated between a high of 42,000 to a low of 34,800. Similarly, the weekly positivity in Kerala has ranged from 13.9 per cent to 8.9 per cent. The district of Alappuzha is a cause of special concern where the weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7 per cent and weekly cases have increased to 2,833.
In Maharashtra, in the last four weeks, the weekly cases have shown a rising trend and have increased from 18,200 to 21,300; while the weekly positivity has also increased from 4.7 per cent to 8 per cent. The areas of concern are the Mumbai Suburban areas where the weekly cases have risen by 19 per cent. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola and Yavatmal the weekly cases have increased by 33 per cent, 47 per cent, 23 per cent, 55 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively.
Punjab is rapidly assuming a critical dimension in respect of the spread of COVID-19 infection. In the state, in the last four weeks, the weekly positivity rate has increased from 1.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent, while the weekly cases in the last four weeks have seen a rise from 1,300 to 1,682. In one district of SBS Nagar alone, the weekly positivity rate has become 4.9 per cent from 3.5 per cent and the weekly cases have more than doubled from 165 to 364.
5 States/UTs have weekly Positivity Rate more than the National Average. The National average is 1.79 per cent. Maharashtra has highest weekly positivity rate with 8.10 per cent.
On the front of coronavirus vaccination, country cumulative vaccination Coverage has crossed 1.10 crore. At present, total active cases pegged at 1,45,634 today with 1.32 per cent of the country’s total positive cases. (ANI)

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MoS Muraleedharan condemns killing of RSS worker, demands strict action

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 25 (ANI): Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday condemned the brutal killing of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker at Vayalar in Alappuzha by an armed group.
“Condemn the brutal killing of @RSSorg Swayamsevak Nandu R.Krishna at Vayalar in Alappuzha by an armed group with direct links to PFI. The Jihadi – Left nexus is fueling extremism & costing valuable lives. ,” he said.
He also urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take strict action and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“@vijayanpinarayi Kerala must take strict action and bring the perpetrators to justice. @BJP4Keralam will fight these extreme elements and make Kerala a better place for all. GoI views this alarming situation seriously & will take the required steps to counter it,” he added.
An RSS worker was allegedly killed by Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) members after a clash erupted between two groups in Cherthala, Vayalar yesterday night.
Police have arrested eight SDPI workers in connection with the murder of an RSS worker on Wednesday.
According to the police, the deceased was identified as Rahul Krishna alias Nandu, a native of Vayalar.
Three RSS workers and six SDPI workers were also injured in the clash that took place around 8 pm. There is a heavy deployment of police in the area following the incident.
A fund collection by SDPI activists on Tuesday was questioned by RSS workers and both organisations on Wednesday took out separate marches which ended up in the violence. (ANI)

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Shah slams Congress, says its presence seen only during polls

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Nagaon (Assam) [India], February 25 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday slammed the Congress party and said the presence of the party in Assam is only felt during elections.
“Congress has a system, they are seen only when elections approach. In other times they roam around the lanes in Delhi, but when elections come they are seen in Assam,” Shah said while addressing a rally in Nagaon district.
The Home Minister during his trip also recalled that the Congress had fired bullets on the youth of the state during Assam Movement and now they are contesting under different names to cut into Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) share of votes.
“To make Congress win, agitators are contesting under different names to cut into BJP’s votes. Their aim is to make Congress win. Everyone knows that they cannot form a government, but it is sad that they are trying to reduce BJP’s vote share to make Congress win,” Shah further said.
Meanwhile, he praised Congress leader Tarun Gogoi for his contribution in the state and said: “Congress leader Tarun Gogoi had also made great contributions. He was given Padma Bhushan in the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Shah also visited Bordowa Satra – the birthplace of Srimanta Sankardev, in the district. Earlier in the day he had visited Maha Mrityunjay Temple in the district for the ‘Pran Pratishtha Mahotsav’ and offered prayers. (ANI)

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Only Motera stadium renamed after PM Modi, complex still has Sardar Patel’s name, clarifies Vijay Rupani

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Rajkot (Gujarat) February 25 (ANI): Amid a controversy over a cricket stadium in Gujarat being renamed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Wednesday clarified that the name change involves only the Motera stadium and the sports complex where it is located will continue to be named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Hitting out at Congress, he said, “We are building a sports complex on a 233-acre land and have named it as Sardar Patel Sports Complex. Only the cricket stadium has been named Narendra Modi Stadium. So Congress has no right to criticise.”
Earlier taking a dig, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi again invoked his ‘Hum do humare do’ jibe, claiming that the truth was out with the stadium having the Prime Minister’s name.
“Beautiful how the truth reveals itself. Narendra Modi stadium — Adani end — Reliance end. With Jay Shah presiding,” Gandhi tweeted, with the hashtag ‘HumDoHumareDo’.
“Maybe they just realised the stadium was named for a Home Minister who had banned their parent organisation! Or maybe this is advance booking to ensure the next visiting Head of State is hosted here, like Trump? Or is this the beginning of a legacy-creation-thru-labelling spree?” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
The newly-built Motera Stadium was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium on Wednesday ahead of the pink-ball Test between India and England. Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju were also in attendance on the occasion. (ANI)

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Rajnath Singh to visit West Bengal tomorrow

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday informed that he will go to Balurghat, West Bengal for a public meeting tomorrow.
“Tomorrow, 26th February, I shall be in Balurghat, West Bengal for a public meeting. It will be followed by a Road Show,” he tweeted.
Earlier today, West Bengal BJP Vice President Arjun Singh alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ‘Poriborton Yatra’ was cancelled after the city police denied permission for holding the rally on the instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“The Barrackpore City Police have cancelled the permission for today’s Poriborton Yatra’ on Ghosh Para Road from Kanchrapara to Barrackpore on instructions of the Chief Minister. Yatra is postponed, we will move to court and resume the yatra,” he said.
The rest of the programmes of BJP’s National President JP Nadda are being held as per schedule.
The Assembly election for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal are slated to take place in April-May. However, the Election Commission is yet to announce the final dates. (ANI)

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Transport trade unions in Tamil Nadu launch statewide strike over wage revision

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 25 (ANI): Several transport trade unions in Tamil Nadu have called for a statewide bus strike on Thursday, demanding an increase in their wages.
The leaders of the unions said that 50 per cent of buses are operating with temporary drivers and drivers of Anna Trade Union affiliated to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party in Tamil Nadu.
“The government did not adhere to their promise of increasing our wages. The wage revision has been pending for decades. Only 50 per cent of buses are operating today in the state. In coming days, all drivers will join this indefinite strike,” said S Annadurai, an All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) leader.
“For the last 18 months, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has not paid any heed to our genuine demands. The transport trade union members and drivers cannot be blamed for the strike, the government is to be blamed,” said K Lakshmanathan another trade union Member.
“The Government should sign the 14th wage contract immediately so that the drivers can get their salaries, which is rightfully theirs. The wage contract should have been signed-in September 2019 but the Government kept postponing it,” said a passenger affected by the strike. (ANI)

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To protest fuel price hike, Mamata Banerjee takes electric scooter to office

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 25 (ANI): Protesting against fuel price hike, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday rode pillion on an electric scooter to state secretariat Nabanna from her residence at Kalighat in Kolkata.
With a placard protesting against the petrol price hike hanging around her neck, Banerjee sat behind a Trinamool Congress leader who rode the battery-powered electric scooter.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee said, “There was demonetisation, and now fuel prices are rising. Modi government is selling everything in the country. From Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to coal everything in the country is being sold. This is an anti-people, anti-youth and anti-farmer government.”
Over a period of time the prices of petrol and diesel have increased sharply in the country.
Opposition parties have held protests in different parts of the country over the fuel price rise. (ANI)

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