The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday announced a tie-up with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to develop a fully indigenous vaccine using the virus strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. It said it would seek fast-track approvals to expedite vaccine development, subsequent animal studies and clinical evaluation of the candidate vaccine.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the country neared the 60,000 mark on Saturday, including 1,981 deaths. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the testing capacity for Covid-19 had been scaled up to around 95,000 tests per day and a total of 15,25,631 tests had been conducted so far across 332 government and 121 private laboratories.
Here is a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 46 of India’s lockdown:
Masks become a business for rural entrepreneurs
Under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), 5,000 rural entrepreneurs have produced and sold 3.5 lakh face masks for health professionals, policemen, media personnel and cleaning staff amid the coronavirus pandemic. The entrepreneurs from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Haryana have been trained under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)
“They have been trained to innovate and adapt to the changing environment. Their actions in the present scenario prove that the training has been successful,” SVEP-EDII Project Head Rajesh Gupta told news agency PTI.
Indoor scary movies — How SRK is promoting Betaal
To help promote his new file Betaal, Shah Rukh Khan Saturday announced a contest for amateur filmmakers. He asked them to channel their inner filmmaking ghost and create a scary indoor film with an element of horror. #SPOOKSRK, he said!
Since we’ve all got a bit of time on our hands in quarantine, thought I can get us all to work a bit… in a fun, creative and… spooky way! #SpookSRK
Read on for more details. pic.twitter.com/MNh8Osq3ND
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) May 9, 2020
The series is slated to start streaming on Netflix on May 24.
Maharashtra hospital to deploy robot for Covid-related work
Chandrapur civil hospital will soon induct a robot to collect swab samples for Covid-19 tests, and give patients their food and medicines. District collector Dr Kunal Khemnar handed over the “medi-rover robot”, which was developed by Tata Technologies in association with the Government Engineering College, Chandrapur, to hospital authorities on Saturday.
The usage of robots, which has been seen in other parts of the country as well, helps reduce interaction between Covid patients are doctors and nurses.
Telangana Police to enable AI-based system to enforce wearing face masks
The Telangana Police will soon roll out Artificial Intelligence technology to help detect people who are not wearing face masks. The DGP said the technology was being implemented on surveillance CCTVs. It is likely to be a novel initiative in India.
Maharashtra Home Minister’s tribute to the police
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh changed his profile picture on all his social media accounts on Saturday to the state police logo. He also asked others to do the same to encourage police personnel, who are at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is a need to highlight that the brothers in my police family are not alone. The people care for the police as much I do as home minister. I will keep the logo of Maharashtra Police as the DP of all my social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the honour of our brave police. You too should use the logo (as the DP) to participate in big numbers to honour the police brothers,” he said.
Dhoni’s lockdown photo inspires memes on social media
MS Dhoni has largely stayed out of the public eye since the World Cup last year. A fresh video of the former Indian captain with his daughter Ziva got people taking about his appearance, given he suddenly seemed a lot older than he is.
The 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has been spending time at his Ranchi home with his family and dogs. Although the Chennai SuperKings captain isn’t active on social media, fans have been getting glimpses of him thanks to his daughter’s Instagram profile.
Eyes in the sky, Delhi Police book 33-year-old for wandering after curfew
Ten days after the Delhi Police deployed imported drone cameras with night vision and an announcement system in the south district, the first case of violation of the lockdown caught by the camera was Saturday filed. Early Friday night, the camera which hovered over the Saket area caught a 33-year-old man out for a walk. The drone operator, who was with police personnel watching this, announced, “Itni raat ko kyu ghoom rahe ho yaha pe? Lockdown chal raha hai, pata nahi hai aapko? Yeh green t-shirt waale ladke, ruko. (Why are you roaming around so late at night? Do you not know there is a lockdown? Green t-shirt guy, stop).”
DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said that police personnel then reached the spot where the man was walking. “The man, identified as Ram Bahadur, is a resident of Khirkee Extension, and was out for no reason. A case under section 188 (disobedience) of the IPC has been filed against him,” said Thakur.