The budget session of Parliament is expected to be held under similar COVID-19 safety measures and restrictions, including strict physical distancing norms, that were in place for the monsoon session.
The Parliament is expected to be convened in the fourth week of January. The Budget as a norm is presented on February 1. “Even if the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine begins, with two doses of vaccine spread out over 2-4 weeks, the members can not be inoculated in time for the budget session,” a senior Lok Sabha official said.
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China makes parts of Hebei province high danger zones
China has designated parts of Hebei province near Beijing as a coronavirus high danger zone after 14 new cases of COVID-19 were found.
Eleven of those cases were in Shijiazuang city, where some events for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held. An additional 30 people tested positive for the virus without showing any symptoms, the provincial health authority said Tuesday, January 5, 2021.
The other three COVID-19 cases were in the city of Yantai. Parts of Shijiazhuang were designated high danger areas, meaning they will undergo stricter testing and isolation measures, while parts of Yantai were registered as medium risk areas. Medical investigators were looking into whether a single event such as a family gathering had been the origin of many of the Hebei cases.
China has recorded a total of 87,183 cases of COVID-19, with 4,634 deaths. People who have tested positive but not shown symptoms have been counted separately from its official COVID-19 tally.
Wary of another wave of infections, China is urging tens of millions of migrant workers to stay put during next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, usually the world’s largest annual human migration. Classes are also being dismissed a week earlier than usual and tourists are being told not to come to Beijing for holidays.
Timely action helped control pandemic, says Harsh Vardhan
The COVID-19 pandemic had derailed years of painstaking efforts, but timely action helped control the disease from spreading, said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday.
Strategic thinking, aggressive campaigns, deep commitment from doctors and other frontline workers were needed in this connection, he added.
Theatres in TN to screen movies with full seating capacity
The Tamil Nadu government on Monday said that movie halls in the State will be permitted to screen movies at full seating capacity.
Though the State government allowed cinema halls to reopen with 50% seating capacity in November last year, movie fans did not return to theatres in large numbers for several reasons. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 was one of the reasons, the theatres weren’t able to screen new releases as producers were reluctant to release their movies with just 50% capacity.
Immunisation in a pandemic is a public good: public health specialist Srinath Reddy
With the government approving two candidates for COVID-19 vaccination, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) president Srinath Reddy says vaccination cannot left vulnerable to the paying capacity of a person and cautions that protocols to prevent the disease spread must continue and extend to other areas of environment protection to avoid future events of zoonotic microbes jumping species.
Many colleges record 90% attendance on reopening day
Higher education institutions in Kerala buzzed with activity after close to 300 days when they partially reopened on Monday under stringent restrictions in view of the COVID-19 spread.
The students’ joy of being able to return to their campuses was visible as it eclipsed the concerns over the possibility of a zero academic year. While offline classes commenced for final-year undergraduate and all postgraduate students, a decision on the remaining batches is likely to be taken only after two weeks.
‘Students mingling outside the premises a cause for concern’
While teachers and school managements are attempting to be strict in enforcing physical distancing in classrooms, they are finding it difficult to ensure that students follow the same norm after class hours, before they return home.
Many private school managements have sent advisories to parents to instruct them to maintain distance outside the school premises as well. D. Shashi Kumar, General Secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS), said that schools have spotted many Class X students hanging out at eateries or cafés near the school.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)