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India Covid situation stable amid worrying surge in infections in Europe | Latest News India



While India’s coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation continues to be in control, the worrying rise in infections in Europe, the new global epicentre of the pandemic, has raised fresh concerns. Several European countries have tightened restrictions, with Austria announcing a nationwide lockdown, one of the most dramatic measures in recent months.

The Netherlands has also resorted to partial lockdown and is now planning to put some restrictions on unvaccinated individuals, triggering protests from angry citizens. The protests against the Covid curbs turned violent Friday night as the Dutch police fired warning shots and deployed a water cannon to push back the crowd. 

Without providing details about the ammunition used, the police said that two people were injured “related to the fired shots”.

Germany is the latest European nation to warn about a possible lockdown as vaccination alone has failed to contain the infections. According to Robert Koch Institute, Germany reported over 42,000 fresh Covid-19 cases and 75 related deaths in the last 24 hours.

During a news conference, German health minister Jens Spahn was asked whether Europe’s largest economy could rule out an Austria-style full lockdown.

“We are now in a situation – even if this produces a news alert – where we can’t rule anything out,” Spahn replied. “We are in a national emergency.”

India, meanwhile, is witnessing a recovery rate of over 98.2%, the highest since March 2020. The daily infections have hovered around 10,000 this week as vaccination numbers continue to grow. On Saturday, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has crossed the 116 crore milestone. 

More than 60 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered till 7 pm on Saturday, with the daily vaccination tally expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports by late night.

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Karnataka: Make Covid-19 vax compulsory to get electricity and rations, says panel | Bengaluru News



BENGALURU: The Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has suggested that the state make full vaccination mandatory for people to avail various benefits, including rations, water and electricity, from the government. This follows concerns over the possible spread of Omicron, the new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, and experts pushing to ensure all eligible people above the age of 18 years are completely vaccinated to prevent the pandemic situation from spiralling out of control.
TAC members met health minister K Sudhakar on Tuesday and submitted a slew of new recommendations, based on discussions at its 136th meeting on Monday (November 29).
The report recommends that to draw government benefits like rations from the public distribution system, electricity, domestic LPG, salaries, pensions, awarding of contracts and even petrol and diesel at bunks, one must be fully vaccinated. Incidentally, the Centre has insisted that the vaccine is not mandatory, although it has urged people to take the shot.
Karnataka has so far covered 91.5% of the total eligible population with the first dose, while second-dose coverage crossed 60% on Tuesday.
As reported by TOI earlier, the TAC had also recommended that the government refuse free treatment in private hospitals for people who contract the disease and are not vaccinated. They can only be treated in government hospitals. The TAC has also suggested that the government conduct special vaccination drives in shopping malls, bus stands, railways stations, hotels and lodges, and at exhibitions.
While the state has mandated that only fully vaccinated people can enter film theatres, implementation has been lax with theatre personnel not asking cinemagoers for vaccination certificates.
Yet to decide
After his meeting with the TAC on Tuesday, Sudhakar said that there have been suggestions that those who do not receive the second dose should not have access to malls, theatres and the government should take a decision on non-payment of treatment in a private hospital. “We are yet to take any decision on these recommendations,” he told reporters.
Most of the recommendations are already in force in states like Maharashtra. From Sunday (November 28), the Maharashtra government mandated that full vaccination certificate is needed to use public transport such as buses, autos, taxis and trains. People must also furnish a vaccination certificate to enter malls, theatres, shops or any establishment where the public have a right to service.
In Madhya Pradesh, double vaccination was made mandatory to purchase liquor from November 19 onwards.
When contacted a top bureaucrat said that TAC’s suggestion on cutting water and power supply cannot be implemented. “Experts have suggested what they have discussed,” the official said. “We cannot force anyone to take the vaccine. Instead, we must educate people on the benefits of vaccination and explain to them that the vaccine has effectively prevented Covid deaths across the country.” The official said efforts are being made to get people who are hesitant to take the vaccine.

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‘West Side Story’ cast on Stephen Sondheim’s film ‘blessing’



Stephen Sondheim’s immense impact on the world of musical theater was felt at the New York premiere of Steven Spielberg’s version of the composer’s “West Side Story” on Monday night.

The movie’s cast and crew shared their memories of the Broadway luminary, who died last Friday at 91 — and who spent his final days watching his magnum opus once again come to life on the silver screen.

“[In] one of the last messages I received from him, he just gushed over the film,” Justin Peck, the New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer, told Page Six.

“Stephen said to me, ‘On behalf of the original authors, we’re so proud of what this film is, and I’m so happy that it’s been made.’ That was all the feedback I ever needed … I know that he was happy with the film.”

Stephen Sondheim attends the 2019 American Songbook Gala
Sondheim, who was considered one of the most important figures of musical theater, died at his Roxbury, Connecticut, home.
Getty Images

Rita Moreno, who appeared in the original 1961 film as Anita, said she felt “privileged” to have been “in the same generation as him.”

“I’m just so glad he was able to attend our recording sessions,” the actress, who appears in a new role in Spielberg’s adaptation, told Page Six.

Justin Peck and Patricia Delgado on the red carpet.
Choreographer Justin Peck and his wife, associate choreographer Patricia Delgado, reflected on their time working with Sondheim.
Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

Associate choreographer Patricia Delgado said the famed composer and lyricist’s “powerful” presence could be felt as the cast and crew gathered at the premiere.

“He was really the only one alive [from the original film] to give us his blessing,” she said. “He’s contributed so much to all of us already that he lives in us.”

Rachel Zegler on the red carpet.
Zegler stunned on the red carpet at the New York premiere, revealing Sondheim was the “reason” she pursued a career in musical theater.
Getty Images for 20th Century St

The film’s breakout star, 20-year-old Rachel Zegler, who is taking on the role of Maria, also cited Sondheim as the “reason [she] got into musical theater.”

“Getting to share a room with him, getting to talk to him and tell him how much he’s meant to me throughout my entire life is something they can never take away from me,” she said.

Rita Moreno on the red carpet.
EGOT winner Rita Moreno will appear in a new role in the film, 60 years after her star-making turn as Anita.
Getty Images

Zegler stars opposite Ansel Elgort’s Tony in the film, which arrives in theaters Dec. 10. Their characters’ ill-fated love story, based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” ignites the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

While the 1961 movie featured white actors like Natalie Wood in roles such as Maria, who is Puerto Rican, Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner cast Hispanic actors in all Latino roles.

A still from "West Side Story."
The film will be released in cinemas nationwide on December 10, just weeks after Sondheim’s death.

“Both Tony and Steven made an absolute point that Latino [actors] were going to play Latinos,” Moreno said, noting how “grateful” she was that Kushner created a new role in the film especially for her.

“I’m just thrilled to be a piece of this yet again. I owe it all to Tony Kushner for making a new character for me in an iconic movie … we really have become dear and close friends, he’s a genius.”

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