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The Centre has also updated the Co-WIN platform and communicated to states that unlike earlier, when the second dose of the vaccine would be scheduled for Day 29, beneficiaries will have the discretion to choose the date of the second dose within the extended interval of 4-8 weeks.

Fresh reason for worry: 81% of Punjab samples positive for UK variant

Eighty-one per cent of the 401 samples sent by the Punjab government for genome sequencing have tested positive for the UK variant of Covid-19, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Tuesday said. The samples were sent for testing at National Centre for Disease Control.

“A total of 401 samples, collected between 1.1.2021 and 10.3.2021, were sent to NCDC for genome sequencing. The result of these samples was worrying as it showed presence of B.1.1.7 variant in 326 Covid samples,” said a government statement quoting head of the state’s Covid expert committee Dr K K Talwar.

Expressing concern, Amarinder urged the Centre to widen the vaccination net to cover those younger than 60 as the mutant strain has been found to be infecting young people more.

Record spike in Gujarat with 1,730 Covid cases, 9 MLAs positive since start of House session

GUJARAT REPORTED a record high of 1,730 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, surpassing Monday’s spike of 1,640 cases. At least nine MLAs have also tested positive for the infection since the budget session of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly began on March 1.

Congress legislators Naushad Solanki and Punja Vansh, and BJP MLAs Vijay Patel and Mohan Dodiya, who were among those attending the ongoing Budget session, have tested positive for the infection Tuesday, Speaker Rajendra Trivedi informed the House. In Vadodara, MP Ranjan Bhatt and BJP MLA from Dabhoi Shailesh Mehta had tested positive last week.

On Tuesday, the Assembly Speaker banned the entry of visitors as a precautionary measure. “A number of staff members of ministers have got infected. My first request is to the ministers not to call any visitors within the Assembly building till the House is in session. The minister can organise such meetings in their offices,” Trivedi said. The ongoing session is expected to conclude on April 1.

One year since lockdown 1.0: Share in workforce already falling, Covid-19 job losses hit women harder

For 28 years, Munni Devi walked from home to the Welspun Polybuttons Pvt Ltd factory on Gurugram’s Behrampur road where she headed the button assembly process on the shopfloor. Today, the 54-year-old does the same walk via her factory but to a different destination: a protest site at the Gurugram mini-Secretariat.

She is among the 200 employees laid off after the factory closed three months into the lockdown that marks a year tomorrow. Out of a job since last July, Munni’s family struggles to pay rent, cuts corners to buy medicine for her physically challenged grandson. Of the three working members in her household of five adults who lost their jobs since then, two are women.

Far away from her, at Euro Clothing Company’s factory in Karnataka’s Srirangapatna, Shobha S, a mother of two and the breadwinner in her family, was among the nearly 1,300 workers laid off in June. Nearly all the workers fired at this unit of Gokaldas Exports, which counted H&M as among its suppliers, were women like Shobha.


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