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News18 Evening Digest: India Considering Accelerated Review of Vaccine Emergency Use; Central Team to Probe Eluru Mystery Illness & Other Top Stories

Employees operate a filling machine inside a lab at the Serum Institute of India, in Pune. (Image: Reuters)

Employees operate a filling machine inside a lab at the Serum Institute of India, in Pune. (Image: Reuters)

Here are the top stories we are covering this evening: India considering accelerated review of vaccines for emergency use; Centre asks states to tighten security for tomorrow's Bharat Bandh; Central team to probe Eluru mystery illness; Ravindra Jadeja could miss two tests; WhatsApp quietly rolls out in-app notifications feature in India

India Considering Accelerated Review of Pfizer, AstraZeneca's Vaccines for Emergency Use, Says Govt Official

India is considering reviewing Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca's vaccines for emergency use on an accelerated basis, a senior government official said on Monday. "We are in the process of reviewing. It is an accelerated reviewing process, which is there for Serum too," the government official said. "All applications are accelerated. It is the need of the hour."

The Serum Institute of India on Sunday became the first indigenous company to apply to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking emergency use authorisation for the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in the country citing unmet medical needs due to the pandemic and in the interest of the public at large, official sources said. A day earlier, the Indian arm of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer became the first to seek a similar approval from India's drug regulator for its own Covid-19 vaccine in the country, after securing such clearance in the UK and Bahrain.

Centre Asks States to Tighten Security for Tomorrow's Bharat Bandh, Farmers Say Don't Want to Trouble Common Man

The Bharat bandh or the nationwide strike called by the farmers against the farm laws will begin Tuesday morning and continue till late evening but the "chakka jam" will be between 11am and 3pm, a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union said on Monday. “We don’t want to cause problems for a common man. Therefore, we will begin at 11am, so that they could leave for office on time. Work hours in offices will end by 3pm,” BKU’s Rakesh Tikait was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. “People can show their card and leave,” Tikait said.

During the strike, they are expected to block roads and services such as transport and banking may be affected. However, medical services like an ambulance or even weddings will go as usual.

Eluru Mystery Illness Not Showing Signs of Contagiousness, Centre Forms Team to Investigate as 340 Fall Sick

The mystery disease that began spreading in Eluru in Andhra Pradesh has not shown any signs of contagiousness so far, state authorities said on Monday even as the Central government announced that it will fly a team of experts to the town on Tuesday. "So far, the illness has not spread from one person to another," a note shared by Collector Revu Muthyala Raju stated, even as over 340 people have fallen sick so far.

The undiagnosed disease has also caused the death of one person. Currently, 157 patients are receiving treatment while 168 others have been discharged. Of all the affected persons, 307 hail from Eluru town, 30 from Eluru's rural areas and three from Denduluru.

India vs Australia: Ravindra Jadeja Could Miss Two Tests Due to Concussion and Dodgy Hamstring

Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is likely to miss the opening Test against Australia owing to the concussion and a hamstring injury that he sustained during the opening T20 International in Canberra. The 32-year-old, who is on the cusp of his 50th Test, is likely to be out for at least three weeks which certainly rules him out of the first Day/Night Test in Adelaide starting December 17.

In case it turns out to be a hamstring tear, it could well rule him out of the second Boxing Day Test in Melbourne from December 26.

Johnny Lever Revealed How Shah Rukh Khan Supported Him While His Father Was Being Operated

Veteran film actor Johnny Lever opened up about having to perform during personal turmoil, in a recent interview. He talked about performing on stage after his sister passed away, and once had to film a comic-scene while his father was undergoing a surgery. Talking to Bollywood Hungama, Lever said that his co-star at the time, Shah Rukh Khan supported him and offered his help.

He said, "One such time was when my father had to be operated on, I was a bit preoccupied with it, but I still had to shoot a comic sequence. Now I don’t let my personal issues interfere with work, so at that time I had not told anyone about this issue. I don’t know how, but Shah Rukh came into the room I was in and said he heard about my father and was inquiring about him. Here I was getting ready for a comedy scene, so I tried underplaying the issue. But he continued saying that if I needed anything I could tell him."

WhatsApp Quietly Rolls Out In-App Notifications Feature in India, Here's How it Works

WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature that enables users to get in-app notifications. This feature, as the name suggests, sends alerts or other notifications in two different methods to users while they have the app opened. The In-App Notifications is currently available to users with the iOS version of the app, and Android users are expected to receive it soon as well. More details from the company over its availability is expected shortly.

The new in-app feature would enable the company to send alerts about new updates available on WhatsApp. This is somewhat similar to how Telegram notifies users about changes within the app; however, the messaging platform uses a dedicated ChatBot.