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Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill

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New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 (CAB) on Wednesday with 125 members voting for and 105 against the Bill. Earlier the demand for referring the Bill to the Select Committee was negated.

The members of Shiv Sena, the latest Congress ally, were absent at the time of voting. The Janata Dal (United) voted for the Bill.

The CAB paves the way for citizenship to lakhs of illegal immigrants living in various parts of the country, even if they lacked any document to prove their residency.

The cut-off date for being eligible for the Indian nationality is December 31, 2014, which means those applying for citizenship should have entered India on or before this date. The citizenship would be granted with retrospective effect.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on Monday.

Seeking all members” support to the legislation, Home Minister Amit Shah requested opposition not to use politics to divide the society.

Replying to the debate, Shah said 44 members presented their views, suggestions and objections in the House. “I want present few facts. This Bill should have not been brought. There was no need to amend the Citizenship Act if country was not divided. Also, had some previous government acted, we would have not brought the Bill,” he said.

Stressing the need of the Bill, Shah said, “For how long we will keep on delaying the problems of the country. The Liaquat-Nehru pact (or the Delhi Pact) happened on April 8, 1950. Both the countries agreed to treat minorities with dignity and allow them to freely follow their religion. It was a promise. But eventually the promise was broken.”

He assured the House that the Bill would allow illegal immigrants to say the truth that they were immigrants and seek citizenship. “The cries and tears of these people were never heard or cared for for so many years,” the Minister said.

Life Style

Coronavirus: Precautions you need to take while travelling

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New Delhi: With the novel coronavirus leading to over 100 fatalities in China, people need to be extra cautious while making their travel plans, be it an international conference abroad or a vacation.

While several organisations have started putting restrictions on the travel of their employees to China, there could still arise the need for you to travel to other countries. As the infection from the virus is spreading to other destinations as well, it would be better for travellers to be cautious.

“As there is no vaccinations available to prevent the spread of this virus, it is advisable to take certain precautions to prevent nCov (novel coronavirus),” Suranjeet Chatterjee, Senior Consultant in the Internal Medicine Department of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi, said.

“Wash your hands often with soap and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, observe good personal hygiene and avoid contact with people with possible symptoms and avoid travel to areas where coronavirus infection has been reported,” Chatterjee said.

Experts in population mapping at the University of Southampton in Britain have identified cities and provinces within China, and cities and countries worldwide, which are at high-risk from the spread of the 2019-nCoV.

Bangkok (Thailand) is currently the city most at risk from a global spread of the virus – based on the number of air travellers predicted to arrive there from the worst affected cities in mainland China, according to a report by the university’s WorldPop team.

Hong Kong is second on the list, followed by Taipei. Sydney (12), New York (16) and London (19) are among the 30 other major international cities ranked in the research.

The most ‘at-risk’ countries or regions worldwide are Thailand (1), Japan (2) and Hong Kong (3). The US is placed 6th on the list, Australia 10th and the UK 17th.

Within China, the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing were all identified as high-risk by the researchers, along with the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Henan.

While much is yet to be known about the novel coronavirus in China’s Wuhan city, human-to-human transmission has been confirmed. Early studies have revealed that the virus can cause severe respiratory illness.

“So far, the main clinical signs and symptoms reported in this outbreak include fever, difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing bilateral lung infiltrates. As of 27 January 2020, human-to-human transmission has been confirmed largely in Wuhan city, but also some other places in China and internationally,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“With the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions on international traffic,” said the statement from WHO.

Talking of the precautions that one needs to take, Vaibhav Rohatgi, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Jaypee Hospital, Noida, said, “First of all if possible travel to China at this time should be avoided, unless it is very important.”

“For safety measures, wear masks, avoid crowded places, maintain basic hygiene and keep sanitising your hands, and avoid direct hand contact with eyes and nose.

“People with weak immunity are more prone to the risk of getting this infection, hence opt for healthy cooked food. This new coronavirus strain is rapidly spreading now in China and only prevention is the best cure,” Rohatgi said.

The WHO has advised that you should avoid travel if you have fever and cough.

“If you choose to wear a face mask, be sure to cover mouth and nose – avoid touching mask once it is on. Immediately discard single-use mask after every use and wash hands after removing masks,” said the advisory.

“Eat only well-cooked food, avoid spitting in public, avoid close contact and travel with animals that are sick,” it said, adding that if you become sick while travelling, it is important to seek medical care early.

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