To combat the spread of COVID-19, Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser to the UK government, said authorities would contain the spread of the virus but would “not suppress it completely”. Vallance said “a 60 per cent infection rate would help build up a degree of ‘herd immunity’.”
What is ‘herd immunity’?
- Herd immunity is when a large number of people are vaccinated against a disease, lowering the chances of others being infected by it. When a sufficient percentage of a population is vaccinated, it slows the spread of disease. It is also referred to as community immunity or herd protection.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO). “Herd protection of the unvaccinated occurs when a sufficient proportion of the group is immune. The decline of disease incidence is greater than the proportion of individuals immunised because vaccination reduces the spread of an infectious agent by reducing the amount and/or duration of pathogen shedding by vaccines, retarding transmission.”
- In case of coronavirus, as there is no vaccine, the approach would require those exposed to the virus to build natural immunity and stop the human-to-human transmission.
Battle ready Tejas takes to skies
The first Light Combat Aircraft Tejas in Final Operational Clearance-standard (SP-21) took to the skies for its maiden flight recently.
About LCA Tejas –
- LCA Tejas was designed and developed by India’s HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited).
- It replaced the ageing Mig 21 fighter planes.
- It was in 2003 that the Light Combat Aircraft programme was named ‘Tejas’ (meaning radiance in Sanskrit) by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- It is the second supersonic fighter jet that was developed by HAL (the first one being HAL HF-24 Marut).
- LCA Tejas is a single-engine multirole light combat aircraft.
- It is the lightest and smallest multirole supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
- It is designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided and standoff weaponry.
- Tejas has a single engine, compound Delta wing and has a tailless design.
Abortion till 24 weeks for special categories
The Lok Sabha has passed a Bill to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to amend the MTP Act, 1971 has made for the provisions of such abortion.
Special categories –
The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors.
Salient features of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 –
- Proposing requirement for opinion of one provider for termination of pregnancy, up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing the requirement of opinion of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
- Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women which will be defined in the amendments to the MTP Rules and would include ‘vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, Minors) etc.
- Upper gestation limit not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board.
- Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorised in any law for the time being in force.
Navy to get 4 more P-81 aircraft from May
The Navy will start receiving four more P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft from Boeing from this May and the process will be completed by January 2022, according to Navy sources.
- These aircraft will also be in the same configuration as the earlier eight aircraft. Plans are on to install encrypted communication systems on the earlier ones.
- These systems are available to India following the conclusion of the foundational agreement Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US.
- The P-8I is a long range maritime surveillance aircraft based on Boeing 737 commercial airliner and India was its first international customer.
What is COMCASA?
- The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) is one of the four foundational agreements that a country needs to sign to become a major defence partner of the United States. The agreement comes into effect immediately and has a lifespan of 10 years.
- The other three agreements are General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMoA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
- COMCASA provides the legal framework for the US to part with its sensitive communication equipment and codes to enable transfer of real-time operational information. This equipment is largely used for ground-to-air communication to enable best battle situation awareness.
- It ensures that the militaries of the US and India can boost their “interoperability” as well as share operational intelligence in real-time in the years ahead.
- COMCASA allows the US to transfer high-tech avionics, encrypted communication and electronic systems as well as ensure secrecy of its C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems.