COVID-19 tally: 15,144 new cases, 181 more deaths

NEW DELHI, Jan 17: India’s COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,05,57,985 with 15,144 new cases in a day, while 1,01,96,885 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 96.58 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. There are 2,08,826 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 1.98 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. The total coronavirus cases mounted to 1,05,57,985 and the death toll climbed to 1,52,274 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 181 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate stood at 1.44 per cent. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 18,65,44,868 samples have been tested up to January 16 with 7,79,377 samples being tested on Saturday. The 181 latest fatalities include 52 from Maharashtra, 27 from Kerala, 15 from West Bengal, 12 from Uttar Pradesh, six each from Delhi, and Tamil Nadu. The total 152274 deaths reported so far in the country include 50,388 from Maharashtra followed by 12,257 from Tamil Nadu, 12,162 from Karnataka, 10,738 from Delhi, 10,041 from West Bengal, 8,570 from Uttar Pradesh, 7,139 from Andhra Pradesh, 5,499 from Punjab and 4,363 from Gujarat. – PTI

PM Modi pays tributes to late actor-politician MGR

NEW DELHI, Jan 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid tributes to AIADMK founder and former Tamil Nadu chief minister MG Ramachandran on his birth anniversary and lauded his efforts towards poverty alleviation and emphasis on women empowerment. Born in 1917, MGR, as he became popularly known, was a Tamil film superstar who joined the CN Annadurai-led DMK and rose to be one of its popular faces. He formed his own party in 1972 following differences with M Karunanidhi, the then DMK chief after Annadurai’s death. “Bharat Ratna MGR lives in the hearts of several people. Be it the world of films or politics, he was widely respected,” Modi tweeted. “During his CM tenures, he initiated numerous efforts towards poverty alleviation and also emphasised on women empowerment. Tributes to MGR on his Jayanti,” the prime minister said. As chief minister for over 10 years after leading his party to victory for three consecutive terms till his death in 1987, MGR is credited with popularising several welfare programmes, including mid-day meal scheme, in the state. – PTI

Flight makes emergency landing at Bhopal

BHOPAL, Jan 17: An IndiGo Airlines flight going to Kolkata from Surat with 172 passengers on board made an emergency landing at Bhopal’s Raja Bhoj Airport on Sunday due to a technical glitch, said an official. Airport director Anil Vikram told PTI that the flight made an emergency landing just after 12 noon. “The IndiGo Airlines flight from Surat to Kolkata carrying 172 passengers made an emergency landing at 12.04 pm on Sunday. The landing was safe. The pilot informed the ATC (Air Traffic Controller) about the technical glitch and made an emergency landing safely,” he said. Of the 172 passengers, 19 had to go further to Guwahati and Amritsar from Kolkata, and these passengers were sent to Bengaluru by flight to help them get connecting flights to their destinations, he said. “For the remaining passengers, a plane is coming from Nagpur, which will take them further to Kolkata,” the airport director said. – PTI

Wild elephant tramples farmer to death

ERODE, Jan 17: A wild elephant trampled to death a farmer and injured another while they were guarding their tapioca crop in Kadambur Athiyur village in the district, forest officials said on Sunday. The incident happened on Friday midnight. Periyasamy (46) and Sadaiyappan (50) were standing guard when the animal entered their land, the officials said. On seeing the elephant, the two burst fire-crackers to scare the animal away, but it attacked the men. Both sustained injuries and Sadaiyappan managed to escape. The elephant trampled Periyasamy to death and left, they said. On Saturday morning, the villagers conveyed the information to the forest officials, who visited the spot. Sadaiyappan is undergoing treatment in the Government Hospital, Sathyamangalam, they said. – PTI

ITBP launches e-enabled school in Chhattisgarh

RAIPUR, Jan 17: Troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have launched an internet tools-based learning centre for school-going children in a Naxal violence affected district of Chhattisgarh, officials said on Sunday. The smart school is located in Hadeli village of Kondagaon district and has about 50 children who are taught by the force personnel with the help of YouTube videos and other online education portals. The Kondagaon district headquarters, in the southern part of the central Indian state, is over 210 km from state capital Raipur. The classes are organised daily by using internet-enabled phones of the jawans. As the mobile signal is weak, jawans put their mobiles at a height through bamboo poles and the network is connected through WiFi hotspot facility to the laptop, a senior ITBP officer said. The screen is enlarged on a wall for the children through a projector. The classes are usually held in the evening and personnel who are graduates and are trained to hold school education sessions are deputed, he said. The children are also shown animation movies and basic learning videos during these sessions, the officer said. The troops of the 41st ITBP battalion, posted in the district as part of the anti-Maoist operations grid, are also learning the local Halbi dialect from these children, he said. – PTI

Bachchan hails COVID-19 vaccination drive

MUMBAI, Jan 17: As India kickstarted the world’s largest vaccination drive against coronavirus over the weekend, megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he is hopeful that the country will become COVID-19 free. The 78-year-old actor on Sunday said people of India will eliminate coronavirus from the country like polio. “It was a proud moment when we made India polio free;  it shall be just as proud a moment when we make India COVID-19  free  #LargestVaccineDrive @MoHFW_India @UNICEFIndia #largestVaccinationdrive JAI HIND,” Bachchan, who was the UNICEF goodwill ambassador for the polio eradication campaign in India, posted on Twitter. The star fronted UNICEF’s campaign till the country became polio free in 2014. Bachchan was also roped in by the central government to make people aware of preventive measures to fight COVID-19 via a caller tune. The actor, who tested positive for the virus in July last year and recovered in over two weeks, has been actively spreading the word on coronavirus on social media since the pandemic hit the country. Bachchan has also been supporting and promoting campaigns related to tuberculosis-free India, childhood immunisation and Clean India. – PTI