RBI cuts key rate, Oxford vaccine trials in next phase: Covid-19 news today


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut the policy rate by 40 basis points to 4% and extended the moratorium on the payment of term loans by another three months till the end of August on Friday, acknowledging the adverse impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the lockdown prompted by it on Indian economy. Meanwhile, developers of a Covid-19 vaccine at the University of Oxford said their efforts were progressing very well, while moving to the next phase of human trials.

RBI predicts economy to shrink, cuts key rate

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut the policy rate by 40 basis points to 4.0% on Friday, acknowledging the adverse impact on the Indian economy of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the lockdown imposed to combat its spread. Read more

Oxford vaccine trial progressing ‘very well’, on to Phase II

Days after reports suggested that a promising coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine being developed by the Oxford Vaccine Group showed limited success on monkeys but could fail to prevent transmission of the virus, the developers of the vaccine at the University of Oxford described their efforts as progressing “very well”, moving to the next phase after completing 1,000 immunisations by its candidate-vaccine on healthy human adults. Read more

Covid-19: What you need to know today

The big middle-seat-in-aircraft question in India doesn’t concern armrests, but why the ministry of civil aviation believes it is alright to seat people there. One reason could be that it doesn’t really help the cause of social distancing. Read more

Power of states usurped by Centre: Oppn leaders

Alleging that the Centre has “unabashedly usurped powers” vested in states, and undermined “the constitutionally guaranteed federal democracy”, 22 opposition parties on Friday presented a 11-point charter of demands to the Union government to deal with the coronavirus disease pandemic and the economic distress resulting from the national lockdown. Read more

Harsh Vardhan takes over as WHO executive board chief

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday took charge as the chairman of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s 34-member executive board at its 147th session to become the third Indian to currently occupy a senior position in the global health agency. Read more

MHA allows OCI cardholders in certain categories to come back to India

The Central government on Friday relaxed visa and travel restrictions for holders of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards stranded abroad since March due to the Covid-19 lockdown, allowing certain categories to come to India. Read more

Govt expands use of anti-malaria drug to curb transmission

Even as medical journal The Lancet published a paper on Friday saying there were no confirmed benefits of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) being given to Covid-19 patients, the Union health ministry issued an advisory expanding the pool of people to be given the medicine as a prophylactic to prevent them from contracting the infection. Read more

Curbs during lockdown averted up to 78,000 deaths: Govt

Lockdown 1 and 2 managed to avert between 1.4 and 2.9 million coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and 54,000 deaths ,according to government data released by Niti Aayog member Vinod Paul on Friday. Read more

Herd immunity is still far: Global data

One out of five people in New York City and one in 10 in Wuhan have been infected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and developed antibodies that protect them against reinfection, but the proportion of immune population is still too low even in outbreak epicentres for it to confer herd immunity that slows the spread of infection, according to data from several studies done around the world. Read more

Protection or threat? Experts say Aarogya Setu poses national security risk

Data of millions of Indians, collected through the Aarogya Setu app, could be vulnerable to threats from adversarial state and non-state actors and pose a national security challenge, according to cybersecurity experts and former intelligence officials. Read more

3.5 million enrol for MGNREGS work amid migrant exodus

The number of enrolments for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) surged almost twentyfold in the period from April 1 to May 20, coinciding with an exodus of migrant workers from the big cities to homes in the hinterland following the Covid-19 lockdown, according to government data and officials in multiple states. Read more

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