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Covid-19 ex gratia After SC rap, state govt drops scrutiny, suicide also eligible for compensation

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The Gujarat government has dropped the scrutiny process for Covid-19 ex gratia compensation after the Supreme Court’s rap on the knuckle last week. It has also taken steps to include deaths by suicide within 30 days of testing positive for Covid as Covid deaths and provide compensation.

Gujarat notified the changes after the apex court last week criticised the state’s constitution of the Covid-19 Death Ascertaining Committee (CDAC) via a government resolution dated October 29. The state government amended the resolution a day ahead of the hearing scheduled for Monday.

A resolution was also passed by the state’s revenue department on November 20 stating the payment of the ex gratia amount would be made from the State Disaster Relief Fund. Annexed to the resolution was also a sample application form, revised on November 21, to incorporate the health department’s amended resolution conditions.

The new resolution, issued by the Gujarat health department, mentions four circumstances under which the next of kin of those deceased need not approach CDAC for the compensation. Instead, they could “directly apply to the district disaster management authority/ district administration for access to Covid-19 death-related assistance”.

Apart from considering Covid-19 deaths specified on Form 4 (filled for medical death certification in case of death at an institutional set-up) or Form 4A (filled for medical death certification in case of death at a non-institutional set-up), the amended resolution also expands the other scenarios that would be considered Covid deaths and would not require any scrutiny.

These include cases of death that occured in the hospital or outside, while testing positive for the coronavirus, either through a positive RT-PCR test, rapid antigen test (RAT) or any other molecular test or clinically determined through investigations at a hospital or in-patient facility by a treating physician.

A positive case, while admitted in the hospital/in-patient facility and who continues as the same admission beyond 30 days and dies subsequently, shall also be treated as a Covid death. If a Covid positive patient dies by “suicide within 30 days of being tested positive”, the next of kin of the deceased would be eligible for financial assistance, the notification says.

It clarifies that in the above-mentioned three scenarios, if the specified provisions and conditions are being fulfilled, it would be considered “death by Covid-19” even if the cause is not written as Covid-19 in the medical certificate.

In cases where the Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD) form does not clearly state the cause of death as due to Covid-19 and fulfills the above-mentioned criteria, the Covid test report and the death certificate issued by the sub-registrar “shall have to be annexed while filing an application for assistance before the district disaster management authority/district administrative unit,” the amended resolution states.

It is only in cases other than those mentioned, the next of kin of the deceased will have to apply to the committee (the concerned jurisdictional CDAC) appointed as per the October 29 resolution to get the Covid-19 death certificate. “In case, the family members of the deceased face any difficulty they may approach the committee (CDAC) constituted as per the resolution dated 29/10/2021. This committee shall also act as a grievance redressal committee,” the amended resolution states.

The notification comes in the wake of the SC order, dated November 18, that took note of Gujarat’s constitution of CDACs. “It appears that an attempt has been made to overreach the directions issued by this court,” the apex court stated.

The court clarified that it had directed to constitute a grievance redressal committee in case the compensation is not paid and the family members are aggrieved and/or they are aggrieved with respect to the death certificate issued.

“There was no direction at all for the purpose of constituting a scrutiny committee for the purpose of issuing a certificate for getting the compensation. Our direction was very clear that the amount of compensation to be paid on production of RT-PCR certificate and the death certificate showing that the death has occurred within 30 days… It was made clear that even in a case where the cause is not shown as death due to Covid the death certificate but if found that the deceased was declared Covid-19 positive and he has died within 30 days, automatically, his/her family members are entitled to the compensation without any further conditions… Still, such a notification has been issued without the application of mind…,” the court said.

Following the SC’s observations, the state government modified its earlier resolution, and in an affidavit dated November 21, submitted by Additional Chief Secretary of Gujarat health department, Manoj Aggarwal before the SC, it was stated that the state did not intend to “overreach” the court’s directions. It added that the eligibility criteria for compensation have been simplified in the modified GR.

“There is no requirement of appearing before any scrutiny committee, in cases where a person has died within 30 days of being declared as Covid-positive or if the Covid patient has passed away during or within 30 days of receiving hospital treatment/facility,” it clarified.

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covid 19: Omicron variant: Returnees from abroad to MP in last one month to undergo COVID-19 test, says CM

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Amid concerns over the potentially more contagious new Omicron variant of coronavirus detected in some countries recently, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday said all the people who arrived in the state from international destinations in the past one month will have to go undergo COVID-19 test.

The state government also withdrew the earlier announced relaxations for schools and decided that they will continue to hold online classes and run physical classes with 50 per cent strength of students only after consent from their parents.

Chouhan had on November 17 announced withdrawal all coronavirus-related restrictions in Madhya Pradesh with immediate effect while allowing all social, political, sports, entertainment, cultural and religious activities with full capacity.

On Sunday, after a meeting with senior officials over the COVID-19 situation, Chouhan said a new variant of the coronavirus has been found in some countries. Though no case of it has been found in India yet, some decisions have been taken in Madhya Pradesh as a precautionary measure.

Along with the central government’s guidelines, some additional precautions will be taken, he said.

“Those who came to Madhya Pradesh from other countries by international flights during the past one month will be tested in accordance with norms set by the Centre. They will be isolated if found with any symptom,” he said.

Chouhan also said that directives have been issued to increase the number of genome sequencing examination.

The chief minister also said he has given instructions to ensure the availability of essential medicines, including Remdesivir injections.

Directives have also been issued to repair other equipment, oxygen lines and plants and make all arrangements in hospitals as well, he said.

He said 58,000 to 60,000 tests for COVID-19 were being conducted per day in the state.

“The number of tests will also be increased now. We will strictly follow guidelines of the Government of India and the World Health Organisation. We have to take special care of children and those below 18 years of age, as they have not been vaccinated,” he said.

Chouhan said the state government has decided that schools will open with 50 per cent attendance from Monday.

This means each child will need to attend school only for three days in a week, he said, adding that schools will also need to run online classes as an alternate option.

“If parents do not want to send their children to school, then they should be given the option of online classes. Parental consent is required for children to go to school for physical classes. The children will go to school only when their parents agree to it,” he said.

Chouhan also said that 62.5 per cent of the eligible people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Madhya Pradesh.

“Vaccination is being done daily, but a mega campaign will be held on December 1. I urge everyone that those who have not taken the second dose must get themselves fully vaccinated,” he said.

The CM said he will virtually review the COVID-19 situation with the district collectors and superintendents of police on Monday.

“I will discuss with the crisis management committees on December 1. We will keep everyone ready so that if the third wave comes, we can fight it with our full potential,” he said, while appealing to people to support the fight against the pandemic.

On Saturday, Madhya Pradesh reported 23 fresh cases of COVID-19, raising the state’s infection tally to 7,93,120, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,528, as per official data. PTI ADU GK GK

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Outlander season 6 release date FINALLY revealed – and it’s so soon!

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Eve Crosbie





Good news, Outlander fans – we finally know when Droughtlander will be over! It’s been announced that the much-loved time travel drama will be returning to screens on 6 March 2022.

MORE: Outlander star Sam Heughan issues plea to social media followers

Irish actress Caitríona Balfe, who plays Claire Fraser on the show, revealed the news on her Instagram on Tuesday, and it’s safe to say fans were more than pleased with the news. “It’s official … Season 6 – coming your way on March 6th,” she wrote alongside a new promotional photo of the cast. “So excited for you to see this season.”

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WATCH: See the official teaser trailer for Outlander season six

One commented below the post: “So excited!!! So glad we now have a date to look forward to!” Another echoed this, writing: “I’ve been waiting for this announcement for so long – can’t believe we can finally start counting down the days!” and a third added: “SOOO happy!! Can’t wait for the new season.”

MORE: Outlander: see the cast’s Instagram accounts ahead of season six

MORE: Outlander’s  Caitríona Balfe shares rare insight into home life with new baby

It was previously revealed that in a first for the series – and perhaps to make up for the long wait fans have had to endure – the season premiere will be 90 minutes long rather than the typical 60 minutes. 

Season six will consist of just eight episodes, rather than the typical 13 due to the “the challenges of filming in these unprecedented times”. Showrunner Matthew B. Roberts explained in a statement to Entertainment Weekly back in summer: “We are excited to get into the editing room to work on bringing the fans one step closer to reuniting with the family back on Fraser’s Ridge.”

outlander-s6

Are you looking forward to catching up with Jamie and Claire?

“Filming in 2021 has presented an unprecedented set of challenges which led us to the decision to truncate the season in order to bring the fans the most vibrant and dynamic season as soon as possible. Dinna fash, we will then film an extended season seven with 16 episodes next year as life returns to normalcy.”

While there’s no synopsis for the new series just yet, Outlander usually covers one Diana Gabaldon novel per season, and as such it’s expected that season six will delve into the events of the sixth book in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

MORE: Outlander’s Sam Heughan reveals surprising reason behind season six reshoots

In the novel, new character Malva Christie arrives at Fraser’s Ridge along with her father and brother and becomes Claire’s apprentice, with the pair striking up something of a mother and daughter relationship. However, things take a dangerous turn after it is revealed that Malva is pregnant – and she says that Jamie is the father. 

Season six is also likely to explore the aftermath of the dramatic season five finale, which saw Claire rescued by Jamie and her family after being kidnapped and assaulted. Meanwhile, Roger and Brianna find themselves still stuck in the past with their son Jemmy, despite trying to return to the present day.

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Covid: South Africa's president calls for lifting of Omicron travel bans – BBC News

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Covid: South Africa’s president calls for lifting of Omicron travel bans  BBC News

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