31 JULY 2020
A) Herd immunity, not a strategic option, says Health Ministry.
On 30 July, the Health Ministry said that it cannot be a strategic option. Herd immunity is a kind of indirect protection from an infectious disease similar to Covid-19. Herd immunity happens only when a population becomes immune. This statement comes amid a scenario where, even as some areas are approaching the infection levels required for herd immunity, the rate of spread of the disease continues to be uneven. The Health Ministry has also said that the fatality rate has decreased from 3.33% to 2.21% between 18 June to 30 July and over one million patients have recovered now.
B) Jaya Jaitly sentenced to 4 years in jail, gets stay from High Court
On 30 July, Former chief of Samata Party, Jaya Jaitly, and two others were sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment by a special court in connection with a corruption case related to a purported defense deal. They all were held guilty of criminal conspiracy and corruption earlier. Soon after the sentencing, the Delhi High Court on July 30 stayed the 4-year jail term and sought the CBI’s response on Jaitly’s appeal challenging her conviction and sentence. Jaitly had earlier challenged the July 21 order of the trial court that had convicted her in the case.
C) Rajasthan saga: Court issues notice to Speaker, six MLAs
The Speaker of Rajasthan and 6 former BSP MLAs who merged with the Congress have been issued notice by the High Court on petitions filed by the BSP and the BJP. The High Court has asked them for a reply till August 11. A decision on the six MLAs may be key to the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government. Meanwhile, the Congress MLAs of the Ashok Gehlot government will stay in a hotel located on the outskirts of Jaipur till the Assembly session is convened on August 14. CM Gehlot said the MLAs will go directly from the hotel to the Assembly.
D) Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments
The number of coronavirus cases reported from India stood at 16,35,438 with the death toll at 35,792. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has extended the lockdown till August 31 with fresh relaxations, both for areas under Chennai City and in other parts of the State. He said that a complete lockdown would be imposed across the State with strict restrictions on all Sundays in the next month.
A) U.S. economy shrinks 33%.
The U.S. economy has shrunk by an annual rate of 33% in the April-June quarter, which is the worst ever quarterly decrement. The pandemic has thrown millions of people out of their work and sent unemployment surging to 14.7 %. The estimate of the Commerce Department is that the second-quarter decline in the GDP marked the sharpest drop on such records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction occurred in 1958 with a drop of 10 % during the Eisenhower administration.
B) Trump raises the possibility of delaying 2020 Presidential polls.
On 30 July, U.S. President Donald Trump has raised the possibility of delaying the November Presidential elections, despite the date being enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Without any credible evidence, Trump has repeated his claims that mail-in voting, which many more people are set to do this time owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, could lead to election fraud.
C) Australia urges India, China to show restraint.
On 30 July, Australia urged both India and China to maintain a restraint along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Australia also expressed support to the ongoing de-escalation efforts made by both the countries. Australia said that they opposed the attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo, which will only increase the tension and the risk of instability. The Embassy of China reacted and said that Australia should not way forward to harm the relationship between the two countries and their attempt to put pressure on China will go in vain.
A) Roller-coaster start for Shubhankar Sharma.
Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma has begun with a flourish 1 over 73 in the Hero Open which was held on 30 July. He won twice on the European Tour. He also had a birdie and an eagle on the second and third holes, but double bogeys on the 10th and 13th on the backstretch saw him drop a bunch of shots. Overall, he had an eagle, three birdies, two bogeys, and two double bogeys.