Morning digest | PM Modi to hold meeting on COVID-19 situation today; UNSC adopts resolution to ease Afghan aid, and more

With the Omicron variant of coronavirus slowly spreading its tentacles in the country, a number of States enhanced surveillance to trace, track and quarantine contacts of COVID-19 positive persons while Delhi began genome sequencing of samples of all infected people and has prohibited Christmas and New Year gatherings.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution permitting a carveout in sanctions against the Taliban to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

India on December 22 gave 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Myanmar. The doses were handed over by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla who is on a visit to the country, the first by any Indian high official after the February coup.

U.S. health regulators on Wednesday authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.

A study analysing the registered COVID-19 deaths in Chennai district found a high degree of excess deaths. A figure of nearly 5.18 excess deaths for every 1,000 people has been reported in the study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The amendments proposed to the anti-child marriage law defines a child as someone under the age of 21 years and contradicts laws where the legal age of competence is recognised as 18 years.

Both Houses of Parliament adjourned sine die on Wednesday after an acrimonious winter session that saw 11 Bills being passed and 13 Rajya Sabha MPs being suspended, with presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha expressing concern over disruption and the now bitter differences between the treasury and the Opposition benches that led to loss of business time.

The Income Tax Department on December 22 carried out searches in different part of the country against several entities linked to the manufacturing of Chinese mobile phones on suspicion of tax evasion.

United Nations (UN) human rights experts on Wednesday sought the release of Kashmir-based rights defender Khurram Parvez, arrested by the National Investigation Agency under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

In an apparent distancing between the Trinamool Congress and Prashant Kishor, founder of the political consultancy group I-PAC, senior party leader Derek O’Brien said I-PAC was a political collaborator distinct from the political party.

The Nilgiris district police questioned Vivek Jayaraman, nephew of V.K. Sasikala, in the Kodanad dacoity-cum-murder-case on Wednesday. Sources in the Nilgiris district police said Mr. Jayaraman was questioned in relation to the April 2017 break-in at the Kodanad estate.

The BCCI is planning to hold the two-day mega Indian Premier League auction on February 7 and 8 in Bengaluru, a senior BCCI official said on Wednesday. It could well be the last mega auction that BCCI might conduct as most of the original IPL franchises want it to be discontinued.

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