Why most Indians may be protected from Omicron

News Network
November 30, 2021

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A “very large” number of Indians are likely to remain protected from Omicron or any other variant of Covid-19 and there is no need to panic, eminent virologist Dr Shahid Jameel has said.

Jameel, who is the former head of the advisory group to the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (INASACOG), said people must be cautious and keep wearing masks.

"While we should be cautious, there is no need to panic. India's second wave due to the Delta variant was huge, infecting more people than we imagined. This is reflected in the fourth National Sero-survey that showed 67 per cent of Indians to have Covid antibodies. That is about 930-940 million people at a time when the vaccination levels were very low, and so it came mainly from infection," he said in an interview.

"More recently, Delhi showed 97 per cent with antibodies, Mumbai around 85-90 per cent and so on. All this means that a very large fraction of Indians will be protected from severe disease caused by Omicron or any other variant," Jameel said.

A new variant of Covid-19, feared to have a high amount of spike mutations, has been detected in South Africa. On November 26, the WHO had designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern and named it Omicron.

Speaking on the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variant, Jameel said more data is awaited but vaccine effectiveness against the variant may dip by a few points. However, vaccines will not become useless, he said.

"We don't have this data available yet. It may take another one to two weeks for the first laboratory results to become available. My hunch is that vaccine effectiveness against this variant may dip a few points, but vaccines will not become useless. They will continue to protect from severe disease," he said.

On how India can prepare to tackle the new variant, he said people should not panic, and continue to wear mask while the government should increase the rate of vaccination.

"We are fortunate to have sufficient vaccines and the ability to vaccinate. Along this line, it may help to reduce the duration between two doses of Covishield from 16 weeks to 12 weeks. This will get more people vaccinated quickly, especially those in vulnerable age groups (elderly), those with comorbidities and those in high risk occupations (health care)," he said.

On what role a booster dose of vaccine can play against the new variant to tackle waning immunity against Covid-19, he said booster shots help, but it is more important to first get more people vaccinated with two doses.

"Further, about 90 per cent of doses in India are Covishield, and this has limited use as a booster. For that we will need either RNA, DNA or protein vaccines. For the moment, just make sure more and more people get the two doses," he said.

Responding to reports claiming that the variant mainly affects people below 25 years of age, he said there is no data available on the subject.

"So far, the few known patients are in this age group. I doubt it will pose a bigger threat to children who naturally have no or mild disease to this virus," Jameel said.

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News Network
May 10,2022

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Mohali, May 10: A rocket-propelled grenade hit the Intelligence Wing headquarters of Punjab Police in Mohali last night, shattering windowpanes on one of the floors of the building, police said. No one, however, was injured in the explosion, which political parties termed "disturbing" and "shocking". The explosion took place at around 7.45 pm at the office located at sector 77 in Mohali.

The windowpanes on one of the floors of the building were shattered because of the explosion. “A minor explosion was reported at the Punjab Police Intelligence Headquarters in sector 77, SAS Nagar at around 7.45 PM. No damage has been reported. Senior officers are on the spot and an investigation is being done. Forensic teams have been called,” the Mohali police said in a statement.

The police have cordoned off the area and an alert has been sounded. A police official told reporters that there was no casualty in the incident. “A minor blast took place at the intelligence building. The investigation is going on and our senior officials are on the spot,” the police official said. “The blast took place with a rocket type fire. There is no casualty,” said the official. He further said the forensic teams have also reached the spot. He said an FIR was being lodged over the incident. Asked if it was a terror attack, he said the investigation was going on.

A quick reaction team of the Chandigarh police was also deputed near the Intelligence office building. Senior officials of the Punjab police have reached the spot. Police said a search operation has been launched to nab the culprit. The explosion came close on the heels of the recovery of an explosive device near Burail Jail in Chandigarh on April 24.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed shock over the explosion and urged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to take strict action against those who were behind this incident. “ Shocked to hear about the blast at the @PunjabPoliceInd Intelligence headquarter in Mohali. Thankfully nobody was hurt. This brazen attack on our police force is deeply concerning and I urge CM @BhagwantMann to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice at the earliest,” said Singh in a tweet.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said, “Disturbing news of a blast at the @PunjabPoliceInd intelligence bureau building in Mohali. Praying for everyone's safety and well-being.”

Former Punjab Home Minister and Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa dubbed the explosion as a “sign of deep communalism”. “The bomb blast in Mohali is a sign of deep communalism. I strongly condemn this incident and urge the @PunjabPoliceInd to investigate and take stern action against those who are intent on disturbing the peace of Punjab,” said Randhawa who is also a legislator from Dera Baba Nanak.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said he was deeply shocked at the blast. “Deeply shocked at the blast at Punjab Police's Intelligence Bureau HQs, Mohali, exposing serious security lapses and highlighting once again the deteriorating law & order situation in Punjab. Thorough probe required to expose & punish those responsible,” said Badal in a tweet. 

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News Network
May 22,2022

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Lucknow, May 22: Amid the ongoing Hindutva onslaught against the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and the Shahi Idgah Mosque in Mathura, saffron outfits staked their claim to the historic 'Teele Wali Masjid' in Lucknow, stating that it was in fact 'Laxman Tila' and vowed to march to the Masjid to sing Hanuman chalisa there.

The police, however, banned the proposed march on Sunday and detained Rishi Trivedi, president of Hindu Mahasabha's state unit, late on Saturday night after the imam of the Masjid Syed Fazlul Mannan warned that the Muslims would protest against the march.

Hundreds of Hindu Mahasabha workers laid a siege to the police station where Trivedi was allegedly kept after being detained, demanding his immediate release.

"The Laxman Tila Mukti Sankalp Yatra was banned.....security personnel in strength had been deployed on the roads leading to the Masjid....No yatra was undertaken," said a senior police official here on Sunday.

The 'Teele Wali Masjid', which, according to the Avadh historians, was built in the 16th century, is situated on the bank of the Gomti river near the famous 'Imambara' and was the biggest sunni mosque in Uttar Pradesh. Around one lakh people can offer prayer in the sprawling Masjid and its adjoining lawns.

While the saffron outfits claim that it is 'Laxman Tila' and was 'converted' into a mosque during the Mughal period, the Muslims reject the claims saying that it had been built during the 16th century. "It is nothing but propaganda by the saffron outfits," said Mannan.

The saffron leaders also claimed that the city of Lucknow was built by Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, and also that its old name was 'Lakhanpuri'. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had recently hinted that the state government could rechristen Lucknow as Lakhanpur or Laxmanpuri.

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News Network
May 9,2022

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Bengaluru, May 9: The Hanuman Chalisa campaign against Azaan today reverberated across Karnataka as activists of Sri Ram Sene in Belagavi began chanting Hanuman Chalisa at 5 am from temples. 

According to the police, the incidents were reported in places including Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya, Belgaum, Dharwad and Kalaburagi. Some of the Sri Ram Sene activists were briefly detained by cops. 

Muthalik, who was in Mysuru, played the Hanuman Chalisa and other devotional hymns at a temple. “It is not a symbolic protest or just for a day. This will continue till the government initiates action against loudspeakers installed at mosques,” he said.

“We have launched the campaign against the state government and members of the Muslim community who are not following the Supreme Court order. In future, we will file a contempt case against all deputy commissioners for failing to implement the Supreme Court’s order,” Muthalik told media persons.

Along the lines of a similar call by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, Muthalik had on Sunday exhorted Sene activists to play Hanuman Chalisa and Suprabhata hymn from loudspeakers across temples in Karnataka from Monday if the BJP-led state government failed to act against loudspeakers installed in mosques.

Muthalik claimed several right-wing organisations have extended support to Sri Rama Sene. According to him, the organisation has contacted more than 1,000 temples across the state already.

Comments

HANEEF HASSAN
 - 
Monday, 9 May 2022

Let them play what they need we have benefits only let them play every five times prayer

Farooq Portfolio
 - 
Monday, 9 May 2022

Why do news channels give so much publicity for this? These people don't believe in God. They are just destroying peace and harmony in society.

Will they continue do chant Hunman chalisa or do other pooja 5 times to counter azan, offer special prayer once a week and fasting during Ramadan etc?

Azaan started over 1400 years ago and since the invention of microphone it is being used for azaan. Azaan will continue till the end of this world.

Our faith in Almighty is very strong and we are always praying every day for our country's betterment. May Almighty protect citizens of India from evil forces

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