Morning Digest: $3.6 million in U.S. funding to Indian labs may be delayed; PM CARES makes first allocations, and more

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A decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to donate $3.6 million to Indian laboratories and research agencies to assist in countering the COVID-19 pandemic could run into delays, given that the agency has been placed on a “watch list” since December 2019, officials said in New Delhi.

New Delhi – Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced a ₹3 lakh crore collateral free loan scheme for businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as part of a ₹20-lakh-crore economic stimulus package to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, better known as PM CARES, will allocate ₹3,100 crore to COVID-19 relief, including funds for ventilators, migrant workers and vaccine development, according to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on May 13 evening.

Taiwan has proposed a regular communication channel with India to link up medical agencies to better cooperate in the fight against COVID-19, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told The Hindu in an exclusive interview on May 13.

A staggered resumption of work following the end of the nationwide lockdown may reduce peak hospitalisations due to COVID-19 to almost 50% as compared with a total resumption that would force authorities to impose intermittent lockdowns to contain surges in the incidence of the disease, a model built by a group of scientists estimates.

The Railway Board on May 13 issued an order stating that waiting lists would be introduced from May 22 for the current special trains as well as the ones to be notified later, in an indication that more trains may be announced for travellers.

A civilian, who allegedly jumped the checkpoints set up by the CRPF and the police, was killed in a firing on Wednesday in central Kashmir’s Budgam, forcing the authorities to snap Internet in the district as a precautionary measure.

In a first of its kind proposal. the Army plans to take civilians on a three- year ‘Tour of Duty’ (ToD) or ‘three-year short service’ on a trial basis to serve in the force as both officers and other ranks initially for a limited number of vacancies and then expanded later.

The United Nations forecast Wednesday that the COVID-19 pandemic will shrink the world economy by 3.2 per cent this year, the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Indian seafarers stranded in different parts of the world will have to register for evacuation through the Vande Bharat Mission so that the government can evacuate them, sources said here on Wednesday. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is compiling data about the seafarers who are likely to be part of the third phase of the evacuation towards the end of this month.

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