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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Daily Briefing: Jan 16 is vaccination day 1, 3 crore frontline workers first in line; 10 babies killed in Maharashtra hospital fire

From the latest on the ongoing farmer agitation, to a look back at how the government joined hands with Bharat Biotech to develop the Rotavac vaccine two decades ago; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2021 9:13:15 am
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Good morning,

Big Story 

The nationwide Covid vaccination rollout will begin on January 16, with an estimated 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers identified to get the jab in the initial phase. They will be followed by those above 50 years of age and those under-50 with co-morbidities. And for the vaccine distribution effort, an unprecedented official machinery is being cranked up.

Meanwhile, a 45-year-old daily-wage worker died due to suspected “poisoning”,  nine days after he got the first Covaxin jab. Bharat Biotech, which makes the vaccine in partnership with ICMR, said it found that the “serious adverse reaction” was “not related to vaccine or placebo”.

Trucks enter Serum Institute of India’s plant in Pune. (Express Photo By Pavan Khengre)

Only in the Express

Over three years have passed since bus conductor Ashok Kumar, according to the CBI, was falsely implicated by the Gurgaon police in a schoolboy’s murder, but the scars — both physical and mental — are yet to heal. His family said that beaten up in police custody, he can no longer do any physical labour and has been unable to find a job. Recently, the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet against four police officers for allegedly framing him in the case.

P Chidambaram writes on the pandemic, vaccine and controversy: “There was, I suspect, a tinge of business between the SII and Bharat Biotech. Happily, both Mr Adar Poonawalla and Mr Krishna Ella buried the hatchet in a couple of days and promised to cooperate and work together. That is the way frontline companies, especially in research and development, should conduct their affairs, with a right mix of public good and private profit.”

From the Front Page

 A fire, suspected to have been caused by short-circuit, killed 10 newborns at  Bhandara District General in Maharashtra. Sources told The Sunday Express that a proposal to install a new fire safety system at the hospital has been pending with the government for seven months. The hospital only had one fire extinguisher per floor and no training had been given to staff on how to use them. 

For the second time since the start of the military standoff last May, a Chinese soldier who crossed the border has been apprehended on the Indian side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh. “The circumstances under which he had crossed the LAC are being investigated,” the Army said.

The Punjab government said it has finalised petitions to challenge the newly enacted farm laws, with the Supreme Court set to hear tomorrow a clutch of petitions related to the matter. Meanwhile, the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations, which believes that the farm laws are beneficial, approached the court to be heard in the case. 

A team of health workers leave a poultry farm in Haryana after culling birds to curb the spread of avian bird flu. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

Must Read

With India’s vaccine rollout weeks away, we look back at how Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, the developer of Covaxin, dealt with another deadly infection over two decades ago — the most common cause of diarrhoea in infants worldwide, rotavirus. The government was keen to have an affordable vaccine, and was willing to handhold private firms in developing one. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) accepted the help of the then three-year-old firm Bharat Biotech to develop the Rotavac vaccine, which was finally licensed 15 years later. 

With the announcement of a film based on Sukumara Kurup — the mastermind behind one of the most sensational murder cases in Kerala’s criminal history — former police officers recount what happened back in 1984. 


Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said.

The BCCI on Saturday lodged a complaint with the match officials of the ongoing third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground after fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were allegedly abused with racial jibes on the third day of action.

The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) of Aligarh has ordered the discharge of a minor boy booked on rape charge last October last year, saying that his age was below seven years.

Low-cost airline GoAir Saturday said that it has terminated the services of a senior pilot who made derogatory remarks about PM Narendra Modi on his Twitter account. 

Madhavsinh Solanki, veteran Congress leader and former External Affairs Minister of India, who also served as Gujarat chief minister four times, passed away on Saturday. He was 93. 

And Finally

Two months after the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change asked the Uttarakhand government to consider avoiding sensitive areas of the Shivalik Elephant Reserve while exploring land suitable for expansion of Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, the state government stated that there is no viable alternative for the proposed activity. Their justification? Given the state’s proximity to LAC and its shared international border with China and Nepal, they pointed out that the airport is of immense strategic importance. 

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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