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Andhra reports first case of Omicron


Andhra Pradesh on Sunday reported its first case of Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus.

A 34-year-old man, who returned from Ireland late last month, tested positive for the new variant, health officials said.

The man from Vijayanagaram district had come to Visakhapatnam via Mumbai on November 27. He had tested negative for the coronavirus in an RT-PCR test conducted at the Mumbai airport.

However, after the mandatory 14-day home quarantine in Vijayanagaram, he was subjected to another RT-PCR test which turned out to be positive.

The man, who was asymptomatic, was kept in isolation and sent his samples to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad for genome sequencing. The genome sequencing report received on Sunday revealed that he is infected by Omicron.

With the first case in Andhra Pradesh, India’s Omicron tally has gone up to 34. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases at 17. Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka have also reported cases of the new variant.

Director of public health and family welfare, Andhra Pradesh, Dr G. Hymavathi said a total of 15 foreign returnees tested positive for Covid-19.

Samples of all the 15 were sent for genome sequencing. She said genome sequencing reports of 10 of them had been received and one of them tested positive for Omicron.

The director of public health advised people not to panic and believe in any rumours. She said people should continue to take all Covid-19 precautions like wearing masks, frequent hand washing and maintaining social distance.

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Coronavirus fever grips Tollywood


A heap of films are announced for release in summer but the second wave of coronavirus spoiled the plans of several stars. Almost 10 films that are in the summer race are postponed and they will hit the screens when the situations turn favorable. The number of cases of coronavirus too are increasing across the Telugu states. With no major releases this weekend, Vakeel Saab turned out to be the only option for film lovers in AP and Telangana. The coronavirus fever gripped the Telugu states that the footfalls are quite low all over.

With more than 2 lakh cases reported on a regular basis, most of the audience are not preferring to watch films in theatres. Vakeel Saab will have a decent Sunday and the footfalls will come down from tomorrow. The theatrical business of the film is expected to be closed by next weekend. A bunch of small-budget films will release in the upcoming weeks in this tough time. Telugu film industry will have a tough time in the next 4-5 weeks as there would be no films featuring stars.

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Yet to receive SEC communication on Sputnik V approval: DRL


Amid reports that the subject expert committee (SEC) has approved Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories’ (DRL) application for the Russian vaccine candidate Sputnik V to tackle Coronavirus pandemic, the city-based company is yet to receive official communication about the approval.

“There is no approval received yet. We are still awaiting the statement from the SEC. Once we get something, we will release a statement,” a DRL official told IANS on Monday.

He said that the SEC has to first pass on the recommendation to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and then the latter has to give the nod.

The pharmaceutical major is expecting that this process might take a day or two.

When quizzed on the company’s preparedness to produce the vaccine in large numbers, the official said ‘we will be releasing details as and when we get some input there (from SEC and DCGI)’.

This development comes at a time when several Indian states are facing severe vaccine shortage and is a positive development.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy’s scrip rallied on the bourses, reacting to the approval news reports.

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Coronavirus scare: Audience not interested to watch films in theatres


The Indian government granted permission to reopen the theatres and screen films with 50% occupancy. Most of the completed films headed for a digital release and there is no content available for release immediately. Though the government granted permission to reopen the theatres, some of the state governments are yet to give a green signal for the film screening. States like Maharashtra and Karnataka reopened theatres for the public and the footfalls for the recent days are really worrying and disappointing. The audience are not much interested to watch films in theatres at this point of time.

The coronavirus scare is not completely down in the country and the second wave that attacked European countries is also worrying Indians. Several experts warned that the situation would be worse in the country if the second wave attacks India. The coronavirus pandemic also left the country in huge financial stress. Most of them are left jobless and some of them are not taking home their complete salaries. Analysts predict that the situation of Indian theatres would continue to be worse for this month.

Several theatre owners across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka decided to shut down the screens as of now. The theatres across Telugu states may reopen in December and some prominent films are aimed for Sankranthi 2021 release. Some of the multiplex chains are screening limited shows and are operating limited screens despite of the low footfalls. As of now the problems of Indian exhibitors continues to be worse.

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‘8297104104’ – AP launches Coronavirus Helpline number


The Central Government already launched helplines to render services to the people to save themselves from Covid threat. Now, in the face of rising and unchecked infections, the Andhra Pradesh Government also launched its own helpline number – 8297104104. The general public can consult at this number if they have any doubts or fears about their risk exposure and vulnerability to the disease.

The government says that the helpline staff will also give critical guidance necessary for the public if they report any symptoms that show possibility of infections. All information will be provided on how to get treatment under home isolation and how to access ambulance services in case of emergencies. Guidance will be given on the availability of telemedicine services.

The officials say that the helpline will be providing integrated Coronavirus services and guidance. The need for special State level care center was felt in view of the rising fears among the public amid the spread of rumours and misinformation. Also, it is aimed to give confidence to the people in times of severity and the need for hospitalisation.

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AP largest single day contributor to India’s Covid cases


Andhra Pradesh has emerged as the largest single day contributor of 7,948 cases to India’s total 42,002 new cases on Tuesday i.e. July 28. Maharashtra stood next and contributed 7,717 new cases, Tamil Nadu 6,972, Delhi 1,056 and Karnataka 5,536. Going by the current trend of single day rise, AP is expected to overtake Delhi in the next five to six days. While AP completed 50,000 to 1 lakh race in 7 days, Delhi took 18 days.

AP reported 7,948 infections on July 28, taking the total number of cases to a whopping 1,10,297. During the day, 56 patients succumbed to the deadly infection, taking total to 1,148. Andhra Pradesh is now the fourth worst-hit state. In the last three weeks, Andhra Pradesh has emerged as one of the biggest Covid-19 hotspots in the country.

AP emerged as the fastest state with its Covid cases rising from 50,000 to 1 lakh in just 7 days. Maharashtra took 19 days, Tamil Nadu 16 days, Delhi 18 days and Karnataka 11 days. By the time AP crossed 1 lakh mark, it conducted 16.4 lakh tests, Maharashtra 6.2 lakh tests, Tamil Nadu 12.7 lakh, Delhi 6.4 lakh and Karnataka 12 lakh. Tamil Nadu was not giving priority to antigen tests. It is not yet clear whether AP was relying on RT PCR tests or trunat tests.

Maharashtra is still the number one state with 3.83 lakh cases followed by Tamil Nadu with 2.27 lakh, Delhi with 1.32 lakh cases and Andhra Pradesh with 1.10 lakh. The total cases in India reached 15.6 lakh while the world cases reached 1.64 crore.

On March 12, Andhra Pradesh reported the first positive case of corona. On May 25, AP reported more than 3,000 cases with 56. By June 25, the number of Covid-19 positive cases and fatalities more than doubled to 10,884 and 136 respectively. By July 25, the cases had galloped by more than seven times to 80,858. In a month period, the state reported 70,000 Covid-19 cases.

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AP overtakes Karnataka, 7,813 new cases & 52 deaths


Andhra Pradesh overtook Karnataka to become the fourth worst-hit state by coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Jagan-led state reported over 7,813 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh stood at 88,671 cases, according to the health bulletin released by the state government.

In the last two weeks, Andhra Pradesh has emerged as one of the biggest Covid-19 hotspots in the country. The state’s coronavirus caseload is galloping and worrying experts.

With 88,671 positive cases, Andhra Pradesh is only behind Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. Karnataka reported 85,870 cases so far.

Now, Andhra Pradesh is inching closer to the grim milestone of 1 lakh Covid-19 cases with the state reporting between 6,000-8,000 each day.

Andhra Pradesh has also remained the biggest contributor of Covid-19 cases for the last two weeks surpassing states like Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana in the South in a single-day surge. In Southern States, Andhra Pradesh is continuing to drive India’s novel Coronavirus numbers which have been touching new highs every day for the last one week hovering around 6,000-8,000 cases.

In a worrying trend, COVID-19 deaths also rose for the second straight week in Andhra Pradesh. In the last 24 hours, around 52 people succumbed to Covid-19 taking the total number of fatalities to 985. In an alarming trend, the recovery rate in the state has been on the decline. At 50% recovery rate, AP is way below the national average of 63 per cent.

In the state, East Godavari emerged as the hotspot for Covid-19 cases. In the last four days, the district has reported at least 4,000 corona positive cases. In the last 24 hours, East Godavari reported around 1,324 cases with six deaths.

In the last week, Andhra Pradesh has recorded one of the highest single-day spikes in the country. On Friday, the state registered a record single-day jump of 8,147 new Covid-19 cases and 49 Covid-19 patients succumbed to the infection. The previous day, Andhra Pradesh reported 7,998 new positive cases while 61 people succumbed to the deadly infection. On Wednesday, the state reported a record single-day spike of 6,045 new coronavirus cases and 65 deaths.

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1,284 new COVID cases, 6 deaths in Telangana


COVID-19 cases in Telangana mounted to 43,780 with 1,284 more people testing positive on Saturday.

The state also reported six fresh fatalities, taking the death toll to 409. According to the director of public health, the mortality rate is 0.93 per cent.

The state saw more people recovering from the infection than the new cases. The official said 1,902 people recovered in a single day. With this the cumulative number rose to 30,607.

The recovery rate of Telangana is seven per cent higher than the national average at 70 per cent.

The active COVID cases stands at 12,765, which is 29 per cent of the total cases reported so far.

On Saturday, the state conducted 14,883 tests. With this 2,52,700 tests have been conducted so far. The tests per million population is 4,945.

According to the health department, the state’s cumulative sample positivity rate is 17 per cent.

The state has 39 testing laboratories including 23 in the private sector. Out of 17,081 COVID beds in government hospitals, 15,169 beds are vacant.

Of the fresh cases, 667 were reported in hotspot Greater Hyderabad. The districts bordering the state capital continued to see the spike. Sangareddy recorded 86, Rangareddy 68 and Medchal 62.

The officials said 58 new cases were reported from Karimnagar, 46 from Nalgonda and 35 from Vikarabad.

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2 Hyderabad jewellers’ corona deaths create panic among party guests


The death of two city jewelers due to coronavirus within five days has led to panic among around 150 people from various walks of life who attended a birthday party thrown by one of them in Hyderabad a few days.

A 63-year-old diamond jeweler who had organised the party for his relatives and friends two weeks ago succumbed on Friday. One of his guests, another city jeweler, had died earlier.

A leading politician from the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and 11 others who attended the party have since tested positive and are undergoing treatment at different hospitals.

As many as 150 people had attended the birthday bash hosted by the jeweller who owns a shop in Himayatnagar area. Many leading jewellers, politicians and prominent people from various walks of life were among the attendees.

Since many important personalities attended the party, the incident was kept a closely guarded secret.

According to sources in the Telangana Health Department, three days after the party, a jeweler, who was among the guests, developed COVID-19 symptoms and was admitted to a private hospital, where he tested positive. He succumbed on Monday.

Later, the host too developed corona symptoms. He died at a corporate hospital on Friday.

Telangana, especially Hyderabad, has been witnessing a massive surge in COVID-19 cases for the last 3-4 weeks.

The number of cases crossed 22,000, with 1,850 new cases on Saturday. Greater Hyderabad alone accounted for 1,572 cases.

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After missing Dasara, a heap of films gearing up for Sankranthi


With the huge rise in the coronavirus cases, the situations are beyond control. Though some of the filmmakers are keen to start the shoots, it is clear that it is not possible to shoot in the current situations. No Tollywood actor is ready to join the sets and take a risk. Most of the Tollywood producers made up their mind about skipping the shoots this year. They came to a conclusion that the film shoots will not resume before the vaccination for coronavirus arrives.

Some of the films which completed shoot are waiting to hit the screens. Though it was initially predicted that they would release for Dasara, the latest updates say that these may release for Sankranthi 2021. A heap of films now has hopes on getting a Sankranthi release. Some other films which are in final stages of shoot are in plans to release during the Sankranthi season. As of now, Tollywood lost their hopes in 2021.

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Centre’s corona fight confined to clapping, lighting lamps: TRS


Stepping up the attack on the Centre, Telangana Health Minister E. Rajender on Monday said its fight against coronavirus is confined to clapping and lighting lamps.

On a day when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organized state-wide protests over Telangana government’s failure in containing the spread of Covid-19, the minister intensified his attack on the BJP-led Central government.

“Without giving funds to contain coronavirus and treat the patients, the Centre is washing its hands off by asking people to clap and light lamps,” the minister said referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s calls for clapping to express solidarity towards doctors and other frontline workers and lighting the lamps to show unity in the fight against coronavirus.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had not only backed Modi’s calls but also took part in the programmes on March 22 and April 5.

The minister said the Centre was only paying lip-service and had not provided funds. He said the Centre gave only Rs 214 crore.

BJP state President Bandi Sanjay had stated earlier in the day that the Centre provided Rs 1,000 crore and asked the TRS government to explain where the money was spent.

Rajender said while the state government was making all efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, some leaders were playing cheap politics. “Staging dharnas in front of hospitals for politics is shameful,” he said referring to BJP’s protest on Monday.

The Health Minister said the BJP leaders who were critising the state government for conducting fewer tests should know how their government at the Centre diverted a machine meant for Telangana.

He said Telangana was the first state in the country to order COBAS 8800 machine which has the capacity to do 3,500 to 4,000 tests every day. The state had ordered three machines but the first machine to reach the country was diverted to West Bengal.

He released to the media copies of the letter from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to Roche Diagnostics to send the machine to Kolkata for installation at National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED).

The machine was originally meant for installation at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad.

Roche Diagnostics in a letter dated June 14 informed the Telangana authorities that ICMR directed them to divert the machine to NICED, Kolkata considering the national emergency and pandemic scenario.

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AP tally at 3200, no Covid death reported on Tuesday


Andhra Pradesh’s single-day count of COVID-19 cases climbed by 82, the health officials said on Tuesday. The state nodal officer reported that 12,613 samples were tested during the 24 hours ending 9 a.m. on Tuesday as against 10,567 samples tested during the preceding testing cycle. The latest update saw the state’s tally touch 3,200.

In a relief of sorts, the Koyambedu connection did not crop up in the last 24 hours. While no cases had been reported on Sunday, 8 cases with travel history to Koyambedu market had cropped up on Monday. The Koyambedu market which has since been closed, was identified as one of the biggest spreaders of COVID-19 cases in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The cumulative tally of foreign returnees to the state remained unchanged on Tuesday. There are now 112 positive cases among the foreign returnees in the state.

Tuesday also saw 40 persons being discharged from hospitals, resulting in a cumulative tally of 2,209 cured persons in Andhra Pradesh.

The number of active cases in the state now stands at 927 with a recovery rate of 63.49 per cent. As per data available till Tuesday, the state’s average in terms of tests conducted per million population stands at 7,410, below Delhi’s 11,156, and Jammu and Kashmir’s 13,060.

However, in terms of tests conducted, Andhra Pradesh, with 395,681 tests conducted till Thursday, lags behind Rajasthan with 425,184 tests, Maharashtra with 472,344 tests, and Tamil Nadu’s 503,339, with a total 396,6075 tests conducted across India as a whole.

With no deaths reported from anywhere in the state, the death toll in the state remained 64 on Tuesday morning. Andhra Pradesh’s mortality rate of 1.69 percent ranked 10th among the states of India, according to latest figures circulated by the state government.

Meanwhile the cumulative tally of COVID-19 cases among returnees from other states climbed to 479 from 446, even as the tally of active cases jumped to 282 from the 249 cases reported on Monday.

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No quarantine in Telangana for domestic travellers without Covid symptoms


With domestic flights set to resume from Hyderabad Airport on Monday, Telangana government announced late Sunday that the travellers need not undergo a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days unless they are symptomatic.

Official sources said that there is no quarantine for domestic passengers arriving in Hyderabad If they have no Covid-19 symptoms. They will have to self-monitor their health for 14 days as per the guidelines of the central ministry of health and family welfare.

Domestic passengers arriving at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, except those with Covid-19 symptoms, will be allowed to proceed without any need to follow quarantine protocol.

Those found symptomatic will be isolated and taken to the nearest health facility. Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated Covid-19 health facilities.

Sources said the same rules would also apply to people reaching the state through trains or by road.

Health minister Eatala Rajender held a telephonic review with the officials on the preparations for the domestic air passengers. The officials briefed him about the guidelines issued by the union ministry of health and family welfare.

The state government will follow the Centre’s guidelines with regard to the international passengers. They will be in seven days institutional quarantine and seven days in home quarantine.

Pregnant women, people with prolonged ailments like cancer and those with bereavement in families will be directly sent to home quarantine.

However, all those in home quarantine will be under constant observation of the health staff. Those showing symptoms will be shifted to hospital.

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Corona cases in India cross 1 lakh-mark with 134 deaths in 24 hours


The number of novel Coronavirus patients in India passed the significant one-lakh mark on Tuesday with total number of cases rising to 1.01 lakh, with a rise of 4,970 cases in past 24 hours, Union Health Ministry data revealed.

According to the Ministry, there are 58,302 active cases, 39,173 people have been cured and 3,163 have died so far. In the past 24 hours, 134 people lost there battle to Covid-19.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 35,058, followed by Gujarat which has 11,745 cases and Tamil Nadu 11,760 cases so far.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths at 1,249, followed by 694 in Gujarat and 252 in Madhya Pradesh.

Maharashtra has reported 23,313 more cases and 555 more deaths than Gujarat.

In Delhi, the tally rose to 10,054, according to the Health Ministry data.

States which have reported more than 4,000 cases are Rajasthan (5,507), Madhya Pradesh (5,236) and Uttar Pradesh (4,605).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (2,825), Andhra Pradesh (2,474), Punjab (1,980), Telangana (1,597), Bihar (1,391), Jammu and Kashmir (1,289) and Karnataka (1,246).

Other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are Haryana (928), Kerala (630), Odisha (876), Jharkhand (223), Chandigarh (196), Tripura (167), Assam (107).

States that have still not touched triple digits are Uttarakhand (93), Himachal Pradesh (90) besides, Goa which after maintaining Corona Free status for quite more than a month, reported at least 9 new cases, taking the total tally there to 38, said the Health Ministry.

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Govt extends nationwide lockdown by two more weeks

The Centre on Sunday extended the nationwide coronavirus lockdown by two more weeks from May 18 while easing curbs in areas with limited virus infection to boost the economy.

The nationwide lockdown 4.0 will end on May 31, said a National Disaster Management (NDMA) order which followed similar announcements already made by Punjab, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Considering the fact that the lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period in the country to contain the spread of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, the NDMA directed the ministries, departments of Indian government and states to continue the lockdown measures up to May 31.

The authorities further directed departments concerned to issue modifications in the guidelines as necessary, keeping in view the need to open up economic activities while containing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, it said.

The extension came amid considerable relaxations being introduced in non-containment zones across the country. The order came as the lockdown 3.0 was to end on Sunday midnight.

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Indian firms reimagining business continuity plans amid Covid-19: Oracle India

The current pandemic has compelled several Indian organisations, that were still contemplating a move to the Cloud, to explore more and let leading Cloud providers manage data centres for them, help shun legacy infrastructure and adopt digital ways of remote working, according to a top Oracle executive.

Now more than ever, organizations are realising the need for a strong digital foundation for their businesses as Covid-19 has disrupted their future plans.

“To keep their business up and running and serve customers with minimal disruption, enterprises are reimagining business resiliency and fine-tuning their business continuity plans. Just look at how the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry has responded with agility, for instance,” Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, told IANS.

Deemed “essential services”, in a very short time span, most banks have successfully empowered their employees to work-from-home, minimising inconvenience to their customers.

“In fact, one of our customers, a leading mid-size bank with origins in south India, saw digital migrations increase by almost 10 per cent at an overall bank level. So organisations are increasingly looking to digital technologies like Cloud for ensuring business continuity,” said Kumar.

Traditional enterprises now aim to reduce their CAPEX model of managing data centres on their own, and instead switch to an OPEX model which Cloud provides in terms of price and performance advantages.

“Most IT leaders also agree that some Public Clouds are far more secure than their traditional on-premise IT setups,” Kumar added.

Manappuram is among leading NBFCs that has leveraged modern technology, especially Cloud, to drive business growth and deliver innovative solutions to its customers.

“Mannapuram Group will be moving databases and applications of its 17 group companies to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in a phased manner. The move to Cloud also allows them to modernise and consolidate their IT infrastructure via an OPEX model,” informed Kumar.

The company did evaluate a few other Public Cloud offerings before choosing Oracle Gen 2 Cloud.

According to Nandakumar VP, MD and CEO, Manappuram Finance Limited, their primary need to have a secure, enterprise-grade cloud to power Manappuram’s future business growth made then choose Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud.

“To put this into perspective, by moving to Oracle Cloud, we anticipate 3X performance improvement vis-a-vis our existing IT setup, and nearly 35 per cent cost savings, over the next five years. This will help Manappuram focus more on its core business and increase customer satisfaction quotient”, said Nandakumar.

Buoyed by rising demand for high performance, enterprise-grade, secure cloud services in the country, Oracle is set to announce its second Gen 2 Cloud region before the end of this year in the country.

“As more and more organisations look to optimise IT investments and improve their business efficiencies, there’s bound to be a switch to an OPEX model, leading to increased usage of cloud based services. To help customers manage this shift to the cloud seamlessly, we’re on track to announce our second Gen 2 Cloud region in India very soon,” Kumar told IANS.

Oracle is currently helping its customers in the country adapt to the new normal, by providing free access to online learning content and certifications for a broad array of users for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle Autonomous Database, as well as content related to topics such as data science, machine learning, and multi-cloud environments such as integration with Microsoft Azure.

The Cloud giant is also providing free Oracle Cloud Infrastructure credits for startups part of our ‘Oracle for Startups’ programme and free HR tool to help customers keep their employees safe.

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Lakshmi Manchu: Interesting time awaits cinema post pandemic


Lakshmi Manchu feels if the novel coronavirus is here to stay, so is the thriving culture of cinema. The Telugu actress says the ongoing pandemic will bring a lot of logistical changes, and it will be interesting to witness the evolution of showbiz post pandemic.

“It is definitely going to be an interesting time for cinema going forward,” Lakshmi told IANS when asked about the future of cinema post Covid-19.

“Lots of logistical changes will need to be made but we all know cinema cannot leave people’s lives. The virus is here to stay. We need to adapt and change our lifestyle and how we perceive things going further. No more crafts services for a while,” she added.

Coronavirus pandemic has led to massive slowdown of the economies, bringing the entertainment industry worldwide to a standstill. There’s no clarity about when normalcy will set in, or if the world will have to embrace the new reality of social distancing and virtual hangout sessions.

But Lakshmi isn’t anxious about the uncertainty.

“Actually for the first time I’m not anxious. Now you know nothing is in your control. It has truly taught me to be in the moment in many ways. We all have to learn a new way of life and how fabulous is that. How many of us will get this opportunity. What we are going through is pretty wild,” she said.

The daughter of veteran actor Mohan Babu is spending her lockdown with her family.

“This is the first time since college to have spent so much time with them,” she said, who mentions that staying with parents “feels like a resort”.

“Family is someone you don’t choose to like but have to love. Over the years of bickering.. you know what I mean..But I realise I have a beautiful loving caring family. A family that lives by morals and ethics. It is so nice to see how we perceive life and how close we really are,” added the actress.

Amid the lockdown, the actress has come out with “Locked Up With Lakshmi Manchu”. In the show, she interacts with people from different walks of life, including film and political personalities, live on her Instagram.

Talking about the series, she said: “I was generally having a conversation with a friend of mine who suggested I should do lives with people I know around the world. One thing led to another and this whole series came together. I couldn’t be happier that I could entertain my fans and myself through this quarantine. I am so glad that I could reach out to so many people around the world and connect with what’s going on right now.”

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IAF chopper showers petals on Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital


As a symbol of thanksgiving to medical professionals and others involved in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, a helicopter of the Indian Air Force showered petals on them at Gandhi Hospital and Medical College here on Sunday.

Flying over the hospital, Chetak helicopter showered the petals on doctors, nurses, other paramedical staff, sanitation workers and policemen who had gathered in the hospital premises for this rare honour.

Led by Gandhi Hospital superintendent Dr Raja Rao, doctors, nurses, technical staff, sanitation workers and police personnel in their uniform stood in front of the hospital building.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

The chopper, which took off from Indian Air Force Station, Hakimpet, showered the petals under the leadership and command of Group Captain K.S. Raju (Medical) and Group Captain Pankaj Gupta.

The state-run Gandhi Hospital is the state nodal centre for treatment of Covid-19 patients. About 500 people have been treated and discharged from this hospital while 560 are undergoing treatment.

Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar told media persons at Gandhi Hospital that showering of petals was a symbolic act to thank doctors, nurses, technical staff and safai karamcharis for their services as the frontline warriors in the war against Coronavirus.

“This is the salute by warriors protecting the country’s frontiers to those fighting for internal safety of the country. This battle has been going on for the last six weeks and everyone is busy fighting this battle 24×7,” he said.

He also thanked all police constables who are rendering valuable services in this battle. “They are performing their duties in 42 degree Celsius heat during day time and in dark and silent nights,” he said.

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Second potential COVID-19 vaccine in US starts safety test


A second US company is poised to begin safety test of a vaccine against COVID-19.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals said on Monday that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for INO-4800, its DNA vaccine candidate designed to prevent COVID-19 infection, paving the way for Phase 1 clinical testing in healthy volunteers beginning this week, reported Xinhua news agency.

The Phase 1 study will enroll up to 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, where screening of potential participants has already begun, said the company.

The first dosing is planned for Monday. Each participant will receive two doses of INO-4800 four weeks apart, and the initial immune responses and safety data from the study are expected by late summer.

Additional preclinical trials, including challenge studies, will continue in parallel with the Phase 1 clinical trial, according to the company.

The study is a first step to see if the vaccine appears safe enough for larger tests needed to prove whether it will protect. Even if the research goes well, it is expected to take over a year before any vaccine could be widely available.

The first safety test in people of a different vaccine candidate, developed by the US National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., began in Seattle last month.

Numerous research groups around the world are attempting to make vaccines against COVID-19 using different methods in hopes at least one will offer protection.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Rayalaseema is AP’s corona hotspot. Kurnool tops state in virus tally


With a sudden spike in positive cases of corona in Kurnool and Chittoor, Rayalaseema region has become a major hotspot for the spread of Covid-19 in Andhra Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh reported around 62 new cases on Sunday evening. Of this, as many as 52 cases new cases of corona virus were reported in a single day on Sunday in Kurnool alone in Rayalaseema. Till Saturday, the district reported only four cases. The State government has placed Kurnool on a high alert and declared 24-hour curfew in Nandyal. The state government has directed the district officials to strictly implement all the guidelines keeping in view the surge in coronavirus positive cases in the last few days. The district administration has intensified contact tracing since most of the positive cases were identified to be Jamaat returnees.

Andhra Pradesh has so far reported 252 cases of corona, 190 of them linked to the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin. The state government had placed the residential locations of people who tested positive on a red alert list. Kurnool tops the list with a total 56 positive cases of Covid-19, followed by Nellore with 34 cases and Guntur with 30 cases.

The first case in Kurnool was reported in Nossam village of Sanjamala mandal when a 23-year-old man from Rajasthan was tested positive for the virus. While Kurnool tops the list with a total 56 positive cases of Covid-19, Nellore reported 34 cases, Chittoor reported 17, Kadapa 16 cases, Tirupati (5), Anantapur (3).

Rayalaseema has now become the fulcrum of attention amid the Tablighi Jamaat episode with a majority of the congregation attendees hailing from this region in Andhra Pradesh. The AP government has estimated that more than 1,000 people from the state might have attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Markaz in Nizamuddin. In Rayalaseema alone, at least 150 people who were tested positive for the virus have been linked to Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

AP saw a spurt in COVID-19 cases after March 20, when large numbers of people who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Delhi, between March 13-15, began returning to their homes. However, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had appealed to the people to refrain from blaming any particular community for the spread of the virus in the state.

With a sudden spike in positive cases of corona in AP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called up the Chief Minister and enquired about the measures being initiated by the state government to contain the spread of the contagion.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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