Now you can book covid-19 vaccination slots on WhatsApp: Here's how you can do it

News Network
August 24, 2021

In order to make the process of booking a slot for the Covid-19 vaccination hassle-free and reachable to a larger number of people, the Government of India has extended the service to WhatsApp. Now anyone can register for their Covid-19 vaccination via the MyGov chat bot on WhatsApp.

Abhishek Singh, CEO of MyGov and NeGD, took to Twitter to announce the launch of this new service. 

“Now book vaccination slots by simply sending ‘Book Slot’ to @MyGovIndia Corona Helpdesk on @WhatsApp, verify OTP & follow the steps. Grateful to WhatsApp & @haptik for their continued support to build this chatbot,” he tweeted

He also tweeted a link to the WhatsApp booking of Covid-19 vaccine.

Here are the steps to register for your Covid-19 vaccinations via WhatsApp:

1. To start with the registration process, you will first need to add MyGov Corona Helpdesk’s number-- 9013151515 -- as a contact on your phone. Alternatively, you can go through this link https://api.whatsapp.com/send/?phone=919013151515&text&app_absent=0 on your desktop to access the chatbot.

2. Now, send a 'Book Slot' message to the chat that has opened.

3. Then you will need to enter a six-digit OTP that you receive via SMS.

4. After that, you need to select the preferred date and location for vaccination, pin code, and the type of vaccine.

After you finish these four steps, you will receive a confirmation message of your Covid-19 vaccination registration.

WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart also tweeted about the partnership adding that Covid-19 vaccination certificates can be downloaded via the app as well.

The government made downloading vaccine certificates available on WhatsApp earlier this month.

Here's how you can download your Covid-19 vaccination certificate via WhatsApp:

1. Type ‘covid certificate' and send it to the same MyGov chat bot.

2. Enter the OTP that you received on the chat.

3. Download the certificate. 

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News Network
November 18,2021

cows.jpg

Even though the ‘Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020’, claims to protect cattle and increase the breed of cattle, in reality the Act has a detrimental impact on the cattle rearing and market ecosystem, according to a scientific study. 

The study was led by public health specialist Sylvia Karpagam and independent researcher Siddharth Joshi. The study was an initiative by a group of researchers part of Ahaara Namma Hakku collective. 

The study report “Criminalising Livelihoods, Legalising Vigilantism” analyses the impact of the legislation on various communities including farmers, cattle transporters, slaughterhouses, skin and hide curing units, butchers, eateries and consumers.
It states that the justification provided by the government to implement the Act “betrays a complete lack of understanding of how the cattle production cycle works, and the utter disregard for the destructive impact it is going to have on the lives, incomes and livelihoods of the those who are part of the long chain of economic activities sustained by slaughter of cattle...”

While farmers usually sell unproductive cattle to traders who transport them to slaughterhouses, the new legislation which prohibits the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and buffaloes (below the age of 13 years), criminalizes traders who buy cattle for slaughter. Without an option to sell unproductive animals, farmers have to continue taking care of the animal making it economically unviable, it says. The report also highlights farmers lamenting how the legislation portrays them like criminals, leaving them vulnerable to vigilantes.

Further, the measures proposed by the government for mitigation of these adverse impacts are also impractical, it points out. For instance, while the government has proposed to take care of stray cattle in gaushalas, it doesn’t solve the economic loss to the farmers from being unable to sell the unproductive cattle. The report also quotes stakeholders who point out that cattle aren’t fed properly in gaushalas and they are sold on the sly. 

Considering that Karnataka is grappling with malnutrition, the researchers emphasize the importance of beef as a nutrition source.

Karpagam demanded that the government revoke the Act. “Else, it should at least allow slaughter of all other animals such as ox and bull. Now the exemption is allowed only for buffalo, which people in Karnataka do not consume,” she said.

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News Network
November 15,2021

New Delhi, Nov 15: India’s excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic could be as high as 49 lakh (4.9 million), according to a new study that provides further evidence that millions more may have died from coronavirus than the official tally.

Experts who have questioned India’s official covid-19 death toll of 4.63 lakh citing Civil Registry Service (CRS) data, seroprevalence studies and other sources, claimed that the country registered anywhere between 27 lakh and 49 lakh excess deaths during the pandemic till June 2021.

Indo-Canadian epidemiologist Dr Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research, University of Toronto, said various data showed that Covid-19 is the main contributor to excess deaths in the pandemic months in both 2020 and 2021.

“The actual numbers are at least three million or substantially higher than what has been officially reported, and with the adjustments India’s Covid deaths per million are close or similar to Latin America,” he said.

Dr Jha and other experts, who spoke at a specially convened panel by the Indian Academy of Sciences (IASc), said the calculations were made using several sources: CRS data from states, data from the Consumer Payment Household Surveys (CPHS) and surveys by the polling agency CVoter (Since May 2020, the polling agency has been asking households if they have recorded a Covid death).

“In the first wave, there was a modest 1 per cent increase in the number of households reporting deaths but then it abated. Then from April to June, there was a colossal 6% increase in households reporting a death,” said Dr Jha.

According to Dr Arvind Subramaniam, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, the overall Indian “undercounting was somewhere between a factor of 7 and 10”.

Not all of these deaths were recorded as Covid-19 deaths, said Rukmini S, an independent data expert based in Chennai.

Rukmini said the Indian government's definition of a Covid-19 fatality “covered people who tested positive and then died soon after with a clear progression of the disease”.
Low medical certification

Most deaths in India remain without medical certification, which complicates matters.

Dr Jha, citing the United Nations, said there were about 10 million deaths a year in India out of which 3 million (30%) went unregistered. 

“They are just not counted but this is greater in women where close to 60% of women deaths are not counted. And of those seven million deaths registered, only about 13% have medical certification,” he said.

According to an under-review study on excess mortality in India, Bengaluru suffered an excess death ratio of 2.9 in the second wave.

Many of the excess deaths have since been disclosed in the daily Covid-19 bulletins, with one source in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) saying that “some deaths were held back during the second wave to avoid magnifying already high numbers and inducing greater panic in the public.”

This is borne out by data. During April and May, 4,033 Covid-19 deaths were made public. However, subsequent releases of backlog deaths, including some cases re-evaluated as Covid-19 fatalities by the death audit committee, show that 9,917 deaths actually happened during those two months.

Professor Dr Satyajith Mayor, Director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and L S Shashidhara, co-organisers of the panel discussion, demanded data transparency from the government.

"These high numbers must figure in our response to the ongoing pandemic and also caution our citizens of the dire consequences of this disease,” said Mayor and Shashidhara in a joint statement.

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News Network
November 23,2021

Bengaluru, Nov 23: The JD(S) on Monday fielded only seven candidates for the upcoming Legislative Council elections to 25 seats. Elections are scheduled to be held on December 10.

The regional party will contest for the local authorities’ seats in Mandya, Tumakuru, Mysuru, Kolar, Bengaluru Rural, Kodagu and Hassan.

Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) had won four seats in the previous elections. “As announced earlier, we have stuck to seven seats. Our aim is to win all these seven seats,” he said.

The JD(S) list includes a sitting member of the upper house HM Ramesh Gowda, who will be the party’s candidate from the Bengaluru Rural local authorities’ seat.

Although his term ends June 2022, Ramesh said that he decided to contest as he has a “good grasp” of issues in Bengaluru Rural. “I hail from Hoskote and I’m aware of issues faced by people in Bengaluru Rural. I still have six more months for my term to end. However, the process for those elections, too, will begin in another three months. So I decided to contest now," he said.

If he wins from Bengaluru Rural, Ramesh will have to resign from his current membership and take a fresh oath as a Legislative Council member. He is a second-time contestant.
The party has nominated another incumbent MLC Appaji Gowda who will seek a re-election from the Mandya local authorities’ seat.

Suraj Revanna, former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Devegowda's grandson and former minister HD Revanna's son, is the face of the party’s first family in these elections. Suraj is a first-time contestant making his bid to enter the upper house.

The JD(S) has also brought in four fresh faces: Anil Kumar (Tumakuru), CN Manje Gowda (Mysuru), Vakkaleri Ramu (Kolar) and HU Issaq Khan (Kodagu).

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