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Dr Harsh Vardhan Elected As Chair Of Executive Board Of WHO

I am committed to working for efficient, effective and responsive discharge of public health obligations: Dr Harsh Vardhan

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NEW DELHI: The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan has been elected as Chair of the Executive Board of World Health Organization for the year 2020-21. This took place today during the 147th session of the Executive Board, in a meeting that was virtually held.

He replaced Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan.

Accepting the Chair of the Executive Board, Dr Harsh Vardhan paid tribute to the lakhs of people who have lost their lives due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.


He requested all dignitaries present on the occasion to give a standing ovation to all the frontline health workers and other COVID Warriors by saluting their dignity, determination and dedication.

I feel deeply honoured to have the trust and faith of all of you. India, and all my countrymen, too, feel privileged that this honour has been bestowed upon us”, he stated.

Acknowledging that this is a great human tragedy and the next two decades may see many such challenges, he stated that “All these challenges demand a shared response because these are shared threats requiring a shared responsibility to act.”


He further added that “while this is the core philosophy of our alliance of member nations that comprise WHO, however, it needs a greater degree of shared idealism of nations.”

He said that “The pandemic has made humanity acutely aware of the consequences of ignoring the strengthening and preparedness of our healthcare systems. In such times of global crisis, both risk management and mitigation would require further strengthening of global partnerships to re-energize interest and investment in global public health.”

Dr Harsh Vardhan also shared India’s experience of combating COVID-19.

He noted that “We have a mortality of 3 per cent only. In a country of 1.35 billion, there are only 0.1 million cases of COVID19. The recovery rate is above 40 per cent and the doubling rate is 13 days.”

As the new Chair of the Executive Board of WHO, Dr Harsh Vardhan underlined the need for higher commitments in respect of diseases that have plagued humankind for centuries, collaborations for supplementing each other by pooling of global resources, an aggressive roadmap to curtail deaths from diseases that can be eliminated, a fresh roadmap to address global shortages of medicines and vaccines and the need for reforms.

I am sure that constant engagement with member states and other stakeholders will reinforce reforms and help accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable development goals and universal health coverage with the most productive, efficient and targeted utilization of resources. I will put myself to work to realise the collective vision of our organisation, to build the collective capacity of all our member nations and also build a heroic collective leadership”, he stated.


Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that WHO believes in the principle that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

We, therefore, commit to working with the Member States; the Organization and the global community of partners for the efficient, effective and responsive discharge of public health obligations”, he added.

Dr Harsh Vardhan while taking charge as the Chair of the EB also shared his thoughts on the future health scenario of the world.

I believe that health is central to economic performance and enhancing human capabilities. However, public health policy must be based and guided on a proper understanding of nature. This is also the underlying principle of the Indian traditional systems of medicine based on holistic health and wellness, which I have lived and experienced”, he said.

He also outlined the policy of India towards ‘Universal Health for All’ through national flagships programmes such as Ayushman Bharat with its twin pillars of Health & Wellness centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).

Reminiscing about his long-standing association with WHO, he expressed his gratitude for the strong support of WHO in India’s fight against Polio.

If it had not been for the support and morale-boosting by friends in WHO, I would not have achieved what I did. If today polio stands eradicated from India, I must admit it could never have been possible without the perseverance of WHO”, he stated.

Dr Harsh Vardhan has also been a member of several prestigious committees of WHO like Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and the Global Technical Consultative Group (TCG) on Polio Eradication. He has also served as an Advisor to the WHO.

The Executive Board of WHO is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for a three-year term. The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly and advise and facilitate its work.

This is another feather in the cap of Dr Harsh Vardhan’s illustrious career:


He earned his graduation and post-graduation in medicine from G.S.V.M. Medical College, Kanpur in 1979 and 1983, respectively. He has been associated with public service since 1993 when he was elected to the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

He served his constituency continuously for five terms until he was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha in May 2014 from Chandni Chowk constituency.

From 1993 to 1998, he served as the Minister of Health, Education, Law & Justice & Legislative Affairs for the Govt. of NCT of Delhi.

In 1994, as the Delhi Health Minister, he oversaw the successful implementation of the pilot project of the Pulse Polio Programme which involved the mass immunisation of 1.2 million children up to the age of 3 in Delhi, laying the groundwork for a Polio free India in 2014.

He has championed the passing and implementation of the Delhi Prohibition of Smoking and Non-Smokers Health Protection Act, 1997, which was later replicated by several States in the country.

Dr Harsh Vardhan has been the Union Health Minister in 2014 and later took over as the Union Minister Science & Technology and Earth Sciences.

He was also Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

He was re-elected to the 17th Lok Sabha and sworn in on May 30th, 2019 as Union Cabinet Minister and was given the portfolios of Health and Family Welfare; Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

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COVID19

COVID-19: Want To Enter Goa? Produce A ‘Coronavirus Negative’ Certificate

ICMR-approved Covid-19 negative certificate issued within 48 hours prior to arrival now required.

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PANAJI (Goa): Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant announced on May 24 that only those who will bring an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved COVID-19 negative certificate will be allowed to enter the state and go to their homes. The certificate must have been issued within 48 hours prior to the arrival.

We have decided that whoever wants to come to Goa if they bring an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved Covid-19 negative certificate issued within 48 hours prior of arrival, they will be allowed to go to their homes,” Dr Sawant said at a press conference here.

Around 4,000 more people will come to Goa tomorrow, by air, railway and road passengers will come. Goans have made arrangements for their stay. No one is going to stay in the hotel,” he said.


Goa Chief Minister also mentioned that it is the only state that has conducted 13,000 COVID-19 tests on all the people who have entered the borders.

He added that the Goa model has been followed by the other states as well.

Govt issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP):

Goa government released a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for all the domestic passengers who will be arriving by rail, air, or road to the state.


• Thermal Screening to be done at the entry point.

• Those who will be found symptomatic will be mandatorily tested and quarantined.

• Those who will be found asymptomatic will be given with the following options and one of which the passenger must select on the self-declaration form- (i) COVID-19 certificate must be produced issued by ICMR within the 48 hours prior to the date of arrival. (ii) Get the test done by giving swabs at the collection centre and paying Rs. 2000 and maintaining self -isolation until the results come.

• If there has been an international travel history, the person has to pay Rs. 2000. They will be mandatorily tested and quarantined until the test results are declared.

• People who do not have a place of residence in Goa must avoid coming, as no hotels and guesthouses have been functioning for the services, as per the guidelines released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).


• The protocols existing for stranded Indians coming either by air or sea will be as per the MHA’s guidelines.

Removal of Voluntary Quarantine option from SOP:

On May 27, Goa CM informed that the option of the voluntary home quarantine for a period of 14 days will not be available for the passengers arriving in the state.

The voluntary quarantine for 14 days was earlier available as one of the options in the self-declaration form for those who have been found asymptomatic. However, the previous conditions like carrying COVID-19 negative certificate or getting tested after arriving in Goa will remain unchanged.

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COVID-19: No Permission To Open Any Educational Institutions Across Country, Says MHA

All educational institutions have been shut since mid-March when the nationwide lockdown started.

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NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy today said that the Ministry has not granted permission to open any educational institutions across the country.

Many media reports earlier said that the schools and colleges have been granted permission to reopen but on May 26 the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, MHA clarified that there has been no decision yet on the opening of schools and colleges and all educational institutions across the country are still prohibited to be opened.

All educational institutions have been shut since mid-March — some of them from March 25 when the nationwide lockdown started — to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.


The nationwide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days in a bid to combat the pandemic.

It was first extended till May 3 and again till May 17. The lockdown has now been extended till May 31.

The CBSE Board has announced the CBSE Board Exam dates this month for the remaining exams. The students of classes other than 10th and 12th have been asked by CBSE to be promoted to the next class by the schools based on an internal assessment conducted.


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COVID-19: WHO Warns Of ‘Second Peak’ In Countries Where Coronavirus Is Declining

Outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided.

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GENEVA (Switzerland): The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that countries seeing a decline in COVID-19 infections could still face an “immediate second peak” if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak.

During a media briefing yesterday, Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme said that we are right in the middle of the first wave, globally and are still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up.

He added that epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided.


He added that there is also a chance that infection rates could rise once again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon. Ryan warned that a second peak or wave could come during the normal influenza season, “which will greatly complicate things for disease control.

He said that countries in Europe and North America should continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don’t have an immediate second peak.

Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said that a hallmark of coronaviruses is its ability to amplify in certain settings, its ability to cause transmission – or super spreading events.


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