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Urgent need to scale-up public health, social measures to curtail spread, says WHO

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With seven countries in the South-East Asia Region confirming new COVID-19 variant Omicron cases, the World Health Organization on Saturday stressed an urgent scale-up of public health and social measures to curtail its further spread.

Countries can and must prevent the spread of Omicron with proven health and social measures, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said.

“Our focus must continue to be to protect the least protected and those at high risk, she said in a statement.

The overall threat posed by Omicron largely depends on three key questions – its transmissibility, how well the vaccines and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection protect against it, and how virulent the variant is as compared to other variants.

“From what we know so far, Omicron appears to spread faster than the Delta variant, which has been attributed to the surge in cases across the world in the last several months,” Singh said.

Emerging data from South Africa suggests an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, she said, adding that there is still limited data on the clinical severity associated with Omicron.

Further information is needed to understand the clinical picture of those infected with Omicron fully, she said.

We expect more information in the coming weeks. Omicron should not be dismissed as mild, Singh said, adding that even if it does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm health systems.

Hence, she stressed that health care capacity, including ICU beds, oxygen availability, adequate health care staff, and surge capacity, need to be reviewed and strengthened at all levels.

We must continue to do it all. Protect yourself and protect each other. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, keep a distance, open windows, clean your hands and cough and sneeze safely. Continue to take all precautions even after taking vaccine doses, Singh said.

On the impact of the new variant on vaccines, she said preliminary data suggests that vaccines may likely have reduced effectiveness against infections by the Omicron variant.

However, studies are underway to understand better the extent to which Omicron may evade vaccine and infection derived immunity and the extent to which current vaccines continue to protect against severe disease and death associated with Omicron, she said.

Globally, the pandemic is driven by the Delta variant, against which vaccines provide a robust level of protection from severe disease, hospitalisation, and death. Hence, the WHO official said efforts to scale-up vaccination coverage must continue.

Vaccines are an essential tool in our fight against the pandemic, but, as we know, vaccines alone will not get any country out of this pandemic. Therefore, we must scale up vaccination and at the same time implement public health and social measures, which have proven critical to limiting transmission of COVID-19 and reducing deaths, Singh said.

Jammu

Jammu: Exodus Day Observed as Black Day

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Due to the increasing influence of terrorism, the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits started on this day in 1990. Kashmiri Pandits celebrated this day of expulsion as Black Day.

On Wednesday, Kashmiri displaced Pandits protested by taking out a rally in Jagti. These Kashmiri Pandits said that this dark day is remembered by every Kashmiri Pandit who was forced to leave the Valley. It is the job of the Government of India to conduct an inquiry by setting up a commission, and those who had spoiled the situation in Kashmir should be fed the air of jails. Kashmiri Pandits demonstrated fiercely and on the other hand, demanded that the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley be ensured.

For the last 32 years, Kashmiri Pandits have been cut off from their own land. Addressing the occasion, Jagti Tenement Committee President Shadi Lal Pandita said that these Kashmiri Pandits had to leave their homes due to terrorism in the Valley, but today this Kashmiri Pandit wants to connect with their soil and establish three big satellite colonies in Kashmir. If the government does this, then 70 thousand Kashmiri Pandit families will go back to the Valley and join their soil. But now, the central government is not taking any step in this direction. Therefore, Kashmiri Pandits should be told the plan with the central government to return to the Valley.

On the other hand, Raj Kumar Tikku said that January 19 would not be forgotten by Kashmiri Pandits. When the situation in Kashmir turned completely against the Kashmiri Pandits and announcements were made on loudspeakers to leave the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits were forced to migrate for their safety and their families. Many Kashmiri Pandits also lost their lives. The Central Government should now constitute an inquiry committee to bring the real culprits to the jails.

Amish Mahajan

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Kashmir

J&K: Terrorist Hideout built in middle of park busted

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The remaining terrorists in Kashmir are adopting many unique ways to save themselves from the security forces and the police, but now it is not possible to escape the terrorists from the eyes of the security forces and the police.

The Pulwama and Awantipora police, conducting a joint search operation with the Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF, have busted a hiding place built in the middle of a garden in Bandarpora, Awantipora. Terrorists often used to hide in this hideout after committing any incident in the area. At present, with the help of security forces, the police have started a search operation in the surrounding areas, demolishing the hideouts of the terrorists. Other details are awaited.

Now the number of active terrorists in Kashmir has remained negligible. This is why the anger of Pakistan across the border has increased. It is well known that Pakistan encourages terrorists in India. Training camps have also been opened for terrorists across the border in Pakistan. Now that the number of terrorists has been reduced considerably, terrorists are engaged in making targets killed with their weapons to register their presence. However, the security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police are fully active in thwarting this nefarious design of the terrorists.

Amish Mahajan

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Jammu

Mystery of Lucknow family allegedly missing in J&K solved

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The startling revelation came to light on Wednesday about the Lucknow family allegedly missing during their travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier reports had said that three members of a family from Lucknow — Mehmood Ali Khan, his wife Darakshan and their son, Shavez — had gone missing in Ramban district while they were on their way from Jammu to Srinagar.

Police sources said according to Salim Khan, brother-in-law of Mehmood Ali Khan, all 3 members were murdered by elder son, Sarfaraz Khan on January 5, the day they were leaving towards Jammu by train.

“After disposing of their dead bodies, he meticulously planned to mislead the relatives and police. He clandestinely visited Jammu and Kashmir and messaged via WhatsApp from his father’s mobile phone on 14th January morning in which he posed as his younger brother, Shavez and said that they are stuck on the highway due to landslides.

“He even posted some pictures of the highway,” said the sources.

The details of the case came to light when the J&K police traced the phone in Lucknow that was used to send WhatsApp messages.

Police said Sarfraz had murdered his father, mother and brother in Lucknow itself. On January 6 the body of a youth with a slit throat was found on Lucknow’s Mall Road in the Itaunja area.

Police were unable to identify the body. After this, two more bodies with slit throats were found in the Malihabad area in Lucknow.

After the photographs of the three persons allegedly missing in J&K’s Ramban area were published, police in Lucknow were able to identify all three.

Subsequent investigation revealed that the eldest son of the family, Sarfraz had murdered them. Sarfraz has been taken into custody.

Police said other contacts of Sarfraz are also being questioned. The motive of the gruesome crime is still not known.

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Covid-19 Stats

19 Jan 2022, 7:58 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

37,901,241 Total Cases
487,226 Death Cases
35,583,039 Recovered Cases

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