Free Press Bulletin
Free Press Bulletin

Here are the top 5 news updates of June 19, 2021:

1. Milkha Singh, 91, passes away due to COVID-19; to get state funeral as Punjab marks one day of mourning

Milkha Singh, one of independent India's biggest sporting icons, passed away on Friday night after a month-long battle against COVID-19. He had lost his former national volleyball captain wife Nirmal Kaur to the same ailment days earlier. According to a spokesperson for the family his cremation will take place at 5 pm today.

On Saturday morning, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced a state funeral for the 91-year-old track legend. "Have directed that Late Milkha Singh Ji will be given a State Funeral by our Government. Also Punjab will observe one day of State mourning as a mark of respect to the departed legend," he tweeted.

2. Taken 1st dose of Covishield? Can wait for 12-16 weeks for 2nd shot, says govt and AstraZeneca

The chief investigator of the AstraZeneca vaccine trials on Friday said that the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, being sold under the name 'Covishield' in India, increases significantly in the second and third months after taking the dose.

Amid the ongoing debate over the efficacy and duration of various COVID-19 vaccines and the Centre’s directives, AstraZeneca on Friday backed the idea of keeping a 12-16 week gap between the two doses of its vaccine. Meanwhile, India has increased the gap between the COVID-19 vaccine twice. In the beginning it the gap between two Covishield doses was set at four to six weeks, then increased to six to eight, and is now 12-16.

Professor Andrew Pollard, who is also the Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the immunization policy in Britain and India should not be compared because of the different circumstances in the two countries.

3. Third wave of COVID-19 'inevitable' in India: AIIMS Chief predicts fresh surge in cases within 6-8 weeks


India's COVID-19 cases may be dropping steadily, but experts say that the pandemic is far from over. Doctors and researchers have continue to insist that a third wave of cases is likely to hit the country in the upcoming months. While there is some debate about the exact date or month of arrival, many cite the relaxation of COVID-19 norms in various states as being the catalyst.

AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria said on Saturday morning that covidiotic behaviour and crowding in public spaces may push India into the third wave sooner, rather than later.

"It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level. But it could happen within the next six to eight weeks... may be a little longer," he said, adding that a lot depended on how pandemic appropriate behavior was enforced in the days to come.

Similar concerns have also been voiced by state administrations. In Maharashtra for example, the Health department reportedly believes that the highly virulent Delta Plus variant of the virus, combined with the relaxation of curbs could lead to the third wave within the next two to four weeks.

4. German Ambassador to India fears fourth wave of COVID-19, says, 'more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants are increasing'

While many countries are fearing third wave of the novel coronavirus, German Ambassador to India, Walter J Lindner has cautioned that a fourth wave may arrive as covid numbers of potentially more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants especially Delta variant.

Walter J Lindner has opined that a rise in such cases which are growing in many countries may cause a fear of fourth wave and could reverse the achieved.

Commenting on easing of travel restrictions, Mr Linder said, lifting restrictions on travel from virus-mutation countries is not easy case to make.

He further said, "We try to find realistic solutions. We see and hear students' plights, who wouldn't understand? But job of virologists & health experts to protect own citizens against next wave."

5. FinMin says Indians' accounts in Swiss banks halved since 2019; ask Swiss authorities to share details

While many countries are fearing third wave of the novel coronavirus, German Ambassador to India, Walter J Lindner has cautioned that a fourth wave may arrive as covid numbers of potentially more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants especially Delta variant.

Walter J Lindner has opined that a rise in such cases which are growing in many countries may cause a fear of fourth wave and could reverse the achieved.

Commenting on easing of travel restrictions, Mr Linder said, lifting restrictions on travel from virus-mutation countries is not easy case to make.

He further said, "We try to find realistic solutions. We see and hear students' plights, who wouldn't understand? But job of virologists & health experts to protect own citizens against next wave."

In its statement, the ministry said the figures "do not indicate the quantum of much debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. Further, these statistics do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of third-country entities."

The ministry noted that customer deposits have actually fallen from the end of 2019. The funds held through fiduciaries have also more than halved from 2019-end.

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