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Monday, October 19, 2020

Daily briefing: Firms seeking licence for remdesivir stuck in red tape; IPL looks at first step back to ground

From India's revised Covid treatment protocol to India's reaction on Nepal Parliament clearing bill to redraw political map, read the top stories from The Indian Express print edition.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 14, 2020 8:59:40 am
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Dear Reader,

The Pandemic

* India has revised the protocol for clinical management of Covid-19 to include the use of remdesivir and off-label use of tocilizumab.

* Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a detailed meeting with senior ministers and public health experts to review India’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

* ICMR Researchers who conducted a study of contacts tested of Covid-19 patients in different states found Karnataka at the top.

* The Kerala government has made it mandatory for those taking flights from West Asian countries to produce a certificate stating they have tested negative for Covid-19.

* Maharashtra has capped the price for Covid-19 test at Rs 2,800 for swab collection and testing, and Rs 2,200 for cases where swab has already been collected.

Big Story

China’s refusal to talk about the Pangong Tso area after having altered the status quo there has led to fears that Beijing is working on a ‘two-step forward, one-step backward’ strategy to make net gains in border areas. Unlike previous border crises in 2013, 2014 and 2017 — Indian negotiators began talks with the handicap of not having any immediate leverage over China.

From the front page

Nepal’s House of Representatives have unanimously passed a constitution amendment Bill to approve the country’s new map that includes Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura which figure in Indian maps. And Delhi’s response was frosty given that the two countries were now staring at a diplomatic crisis.

Gilead’s remdesivir is now part of India’s Covid treatment protocol, but there is still little clarity on how patients can access the drug. Most generic pharma companies hoping to produce and supply the drug in India are still awaiting approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

Parottas are not rotis. Those making and selling ready-to-eat parotta will have to pay a higher tax, according to a tax authority ruling. The Friday order, tax experts say, will bring in more such classification disputes to the fore. We look back at some of the previous cases, including Nestle’s argument that KitKat is a biscuit.

Beyond Covid-19

As the fissures in the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra become visible, state Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan tells The Indian Express, “We (Congress) have not lost any political space. We are just making it clear that our party should get its due. Our aim to keep the BJP out of power at any cost should not be seen as our weakness.”

The death of three female elephants, including a pregnant one, in Surguja division of Chhattisgarh over five days has prompted the state government to form an SIT and highlight the human-elephant conflict in the area where more than 200 pachyderms jostle for space with villages extending into forests.

Former Union minister P Chidambaram writes: “Despite Wuhan (2018) and Mahabalipuram (2019), Prime Minister Modi and President Xi do not share a warm personal relationship. Mr Xi is the only leader whom Mr Modi does not greet with an embrace. Despite meeting several times in the last six years, Mr Modi has not been able to achieve any notable success in his interactions with Mr Xi.”

Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders’ CEO Venky Mysore wonders when he’ll see a packed Eden Gardens but for this year, he is looking at Mumbai as a single-stop venue. As the IPL stakeholders hope to make the T20 carnival the first big sporting event in India to get past the pandemic, here is how they are preparing for a restart in the post-COVID world.

In an exclusive interview, Chinese contemporary artist and dissident Ai Weiwei talks about how the pandemic has strengthened state powers, why the West struggles to understand China and how he lost his voice in solitary confinement.

And finally

As the Centre and Supreme Court raise alarm over the national capital, where numbers are surging and hospital facilities falling short, The Indian Express’ Shalini Langer shares her family’s story — From a testing centre to an ICU, sanitisation to house inspection, officials to RWA, and infection to recovery.

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