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India begins booster shots as Covid-19 cases surge

Health and frontline workers and people above 60 years old with comorbidities are currently eligible to take the jab.

The drive began as India battles a spike in Covid cases fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Early studies from other countries have suggested that a booster vaccine may provide more protection against Omicron.

The highly transmissive Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa in November.

Since then, several countries have expanded their booster programmes or shortened the gap between jabs to shore up protection against the variant.

In India, the booster shot – dubbed a “precaution dose” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – will be the same vaccine that was given to a person for their first and second doses.

India has been mainly administering two locally-manufactured vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, since its vaccination drive began in January 2021.

On Sunday, India reported more than 179,000 new infections for the past 24 hours, driven by a steep rise in cases in big cities such as the national capital Delhi and financial centre Mumbai.

On the same day, Mr Modi chaired a review meeting with top officials, and asked for “technical support” to be provided to states reporting more cases.

The government had begun administering vaccines to 15-18-year-olds last week – it has said that 31% of Indians in this age group have been given the first dose so far.

More than 91% adults have been partially vaccinated so far, while 66% have received both doses.

But experts say that still leaves millions of unvaccinated people – many with underlying health problems that could increase the severity of the infection – at risk.

The spread of Omicron has also increased worries – India has confirmed a total of 4,003 cases of Omicron, with Maharashtra state reporting the highest (1,126), followed by Rajasthan (529) and Delhi (513).

The country has so far recorded more than 35 million Covid cases and about 483,000 deaths from the virus.

Last year, a devastating second wave overwhelmed the country’s health system, leading to a shortage in oxygen, hospital beds and critical drugs.

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Benefits of Health Insurance

 

Health insurance is a critical part of protecting your health. It gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on living a healthy life. Without it, your health can be threatened by unexpected medical expenses.

The cost of health care is skyrocketing in many areas of the world. Unexpected illnesses and injuries can leave a person in financial ruin.

A lack of health insurance can lead to medical debt and bankruptcy. Medical bills for emergencies can easily exceed thousands of dollars. Not only can these bills drain your savings, but they can also hurt your credit score.

Insurance providers are willing to adjust the terms of your plan based on changes in your lifestyle. In addition, you may qualify for a tax break or reduced premium.

Health insurance can cover the costs of preventive care, such as annual physicals, screenings, and vaccinations. Preventive care is an important way to avoid developing serious illness.

If you do become sick, your insurance will cover the costs of surgery, emergency room visits, and other treatments. You can even receive free preventive care through your health insurance.

Without health insurance, you will often delay seeing a doctor until you are very ill. This is a dangerous habit. When you are in pain, you are more likely to seek medical attention.

The lack of insurance also leads to a higher risk of death for uninsured adults. Women with breast cancer have a 49 percent greater risk of dying if they do not have health insurance.

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How to Build a Successful Business Without Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for any business. It helps you engage with your audience and can lead to more traffic, better SEO and increased conversion rates. However, it takes time to build a following. The process can take several months or even years.

While social media can help you connect with your audience, it’s important to maintain a consistent voice. This will help establish a positive impression and create a loyal following.

Social media can also be a great tool for monitoring customer behavior. You can learn more about your customers’ interests, preferences, and needs. When you know who your audience is, you can tailor your content to meet their specific needs.

If you want to get the most out of your social media strategy, set goals. Be sure to measure your results and adjust your spending accordingly. Also, use a SMART goal strategy. Goals that are attainable and relevant to your business will help you reach your overall objectives.

A good strategy is to allow one hour each day to interact with your audience on social media. Respond to any comments, inquiries, or concerns your audience may have.

Another benefit of monitoring social media is gaining industry insight. This information can help you make important business decisions. Knowing your competition can help you fill in strategy gaps and identify your target audience.

Having a social media presence can be a fun and exciting way to generate leads, increase traffic and improve SEO. You can also promote your business, interact with customers, and create a friendly atmosphere that keeps people coming back.

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Nuclear annihilation just one miscalculation away, UN chief warns

The world is one misstep from devastating nuclear war and in peril not seen since the Cold War, the UN Secretary General has warned.

“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far,” Antonio Guterres said.

Amid rising global tensions, “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”, he added.

His remarks came at the opening of a conference for countries signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The 1968 deal was introduced after the Cuban missile crisis, an event often portrayed as the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. The treaty was designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries, and to pursue the ultimate goal of complete nuclear disarmament.

Almost every nation on Earth is signed up to the NPT, including the five biggest nuclear powers. But among the handful of states never to sign are four known or suspected to have nuclear weapons: India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.

Secretary General Guterres said the “luck” the world had enjoyed so far in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe may not last – and urged the world to renew a push towards eliminating all such weapons.

“Luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” he said.

And he warned that those international tensions were “reaching new highs” – pointing specifically to the invasion of Ukraine, tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East as examples.

Russia was widely accused of escalating tensions when days after his invasion of Ukraine in February, President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s substantial nuclear forces on high alert.

He also threatened anyone standing in Russia’s way with consequences “you have never seen in your history”. Russia’s nuclear strategy includes the use of nuclear weapons if the state’s existence is under threat.

On Monday, Mr Putin wrote to the same non-proliferation conference Mr Guterres opened, declaring that “there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed”.

But Russia still found itself criticised at the NPT conference.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he called Russia’s sabre-rattling – and pointed out that Ukraine had handed over its Soviet-era nuclear weapons in 1994, after receiving assurances of its future security from Russia and others.

“What message does this send to any country around the world that may think that it needs to have nuclear weapons – to protect, to defend, to deter aggression against its sovereignty and independence?” he asked. “The worst possible message”.

Today, some 13,000 nuclear weapons are thought to remain in service in the arsenals of the nine nuclear-armed states – far lower than the estimated 60,000 stockpiled during the peak of the mid-1980s.

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-62381425

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