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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Tamil Nadu COVID-19 Wrap: Two Chennai hospitals in Covishield vaccine human trials; TN urges Centre to cancel NEET

Holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test would put the students at great risk of infection even if all precautions are taken, state Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar said in a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Written by Janardhan Koushik , Shivani Ramakrishnan | Chennai | Updated: August 27, 2020 8:37:22 am
The two hospitals will be part of the multi-centric clinical trial in India, according to state Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar. (Representational)

Two hospitals in Chennai, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and Sri Ramachandra Hospital, will join the Oxford University in conducting human clinical trials of ‘Covishield’ on nearly 300 health volunteers aged 18 and above. This will be part of the multi-centric clinical trial in India, according to state Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar .

This vaccine, developed in collaboration with AstraZeneca, is considered the most promising, and is undergoing phase-3 trials in some other countries. Both phase-2 and phase-3 trials will take place in India.

Stating that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has issued orders for the trial, Vijayabaskar told reporters in Chennai that it will commence soon. The Director of public health (Dr T S Selvavinayagam) will be the principal investigator for the project, he said.

“After the successful phase two and three clinical trials, the vaccine would be brought for public use. This pro-people initiative of the Chief Minister will strengthen his efforts in containing the coronavirus,” Dr Vijayabaskar said.

State Assembly session may take place outside Fort St. George

For the first time in 10 years, Tamil Nadu’s Legislative assembly session is likely to take place outside the historic Fort St. George in Chennai due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision has been taken as physical distancing cannot be achieved in the available space at Fort St. George. However, this isn’t the first time the venue of the Tamil Nadu Assembly has been changed.

READ | Next TN Assembly session may take place outside Fort St. George: A brief history of secretariat venues

Kalaivanar Arangam, a three-storeyed fully air-conditioned building situated at Walajah Road in Chennai, has been chosen as the alternative venue for the session. The session is likely to take place on the third floor of the building. The space is closer to the MLAs’ hostel and has a huge space for parking. The auditorium was primarily used for conducting dramas and other musical events.

While inspecting the newly built space, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal told reporters that things were only in the initial stage and a final decision would be taken in few days. “Following a request to find a safe space to hold the assembly session, we Inspected Kalaivanar Arangam today. We have not finalised anything, the decision will be made known to you (reporters),” he said.

Four more labs approved for COVID-19 testing

Four more labs in Tamil Nadu have been approved for COVID-19 testing in the state. Healthcare Diagnostic Services in Dharmapuri, Thangam X-Rays and Computerised Clinical Laboratory in Namakkal, Samrutha Diagnostic in Namakkal and Metropolis Healthcare Limited in Coimbatore were approved for testing on Wednesday. With this, the number of labs for COVID-19 testing in the state has gone up to 145 (63 government and 82 private labs).

Except for final semester, other examinations cancelled: TN CM

Except for the final semester examination, other examinations for undergraduate and postgraduate students stand cancelled in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said on Wednesday.

Students who have paid the fee for subjects related to other semesters shall be exempted from taking the examinations and they be awarded marks, he said.

The move is in sync with the guidelines of the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education, the CM said.

EPS said he has directed the Higher Education Department to issue a detailed Government Order on the matter.

It will be good for everyone if TN govt scraps e-pass system: Pon Radhakrishnan

BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan on Wednesday appealed to the Tamil Nadu government to scrap the existing e-pass system in the state in accordance with the Unlock 3 guidelines issued by the Centre. Dispensing with the e-pass system will eventually be good for people, who have resumed normal life despite the coronavirus threat, he said.

“The Tamil Nadu government is apparently hesitating to do away with the e-pass as the state is reporting about 6,000 (average) new COVID-19 cases daily. But it will be in the interest of the people if the e- pass system is scrapped,” Radhakrishnan, a former Union minister, told reporters after attending a meeting of BJP workers.

After the Centre issued a circular to Chief Secretaries of all states, informing them that there shall be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state travel of people and goods, fisheries minister D Jayakumar had said the state government will take a decision after discussions with officials and a medical expert team in the coming days.

TN urges Centre to put NEET on hold and promulgate ordinance

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday urged the Centre to dispense with NEET this year and promulgate an ordinance to facilitate admissions to medical and dental courses based on class 12 marks, as it flagged concerns about safety of students in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

READ | Tamil Nadu minister writes to Union Health Minister, seeks NEET cancellation

Holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test would put the lives of students at great risk of infection even if all precautions were taken, state Health Minister Vijayabaskar said in a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. “In the current scenario, it would be very difficult for the students to actively prepare/take up NEET this year,”

“…the NEET examination may kindly be dispensed with and request you to direct the Ministry to promulgate an ordinance to keep in abeyance the relevant sections of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and Dentist Act 1948 and connected regulations governing the medical and dental college admissions,” he said.

Manager of SB-CID office succumbs to COVID-19

A 58-year-old official, working in the Special Branch-CID office in Chennai, succumbed to COVID-19 on Wednesday, police said.

Chandrasekar, the manager of the office located on the premises of the Director General of Police, succumbed to the virus, a press release from the Tamil Nadu police said. The manager had been undergoing treatment at a government hospital.

SPB continues to remain on ventilator

Veteran playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at MGM Healthcare in Chennai, is stable and continues to remain on ventilator and ECMO support, said a statement from the hospital on Wednesday.

State tally crosses 3.9 lakh with 5,958 fresh cases

Tamil Nadu on Wednesday recorded 5,958 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the total number of patients undergoing treatment for the disease in the state to 3,97,261.

According to the medical bulletin issued by the state government, 5,606 patients were discharged from hospital following treatment. The total number of patients who have recovered from the infection in Tamil Nadu stands at 3,38,060.

Of the new cases, close to 37 per cent came from Chennai and its neighbouring districts Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. Apart from these districts, Coimbatore (484), Salem (451) and Cuddalore (286) recorded the maximum cases.

A total of 75,500 samples were tested on Wednesday. Till date, 44,22,361 samples have been tested across the state.

As many as 118 deaths were recorded in the state on Wednesday, taking the COVID-19 death toll in Tamil Nadu to 6,839. Among the deceased, 11 patients had no comorbidities.

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