Large Scale Phishing Attack using COVID-19 as Bait alerts CERT-In
To steal personal data (such as bank account details- debit/ credit card information) of Individuals and Businesses across the country, from 21st June 2020, a large scale phishing attack has been planned by malicious actors. This information asking the citizens to be cautious was issued by the nodal agency responsible to deal with cyber-attack threats in the country- The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
How you could be targeted?
Indian Citizens will be targeted through malicious ‘Emails’. These emails are likely to use COVID-19 as bait by using details of local government authorities (details such as logo, name, etc of government officers or departments those who are in-charge for various COVID-19 initiatives of the government) for making it look authentic.
The email will contain an external link that will drive the recipients of the email to some fake websites designed in such a way that the website may install a malicious file without the consent of the recipient of the email or may ask for entering personal or financial details on the pretext of raising fund for some government initiative.
As per the alert issued by CERT-IN: The Emails that will be sent might have a subject –‘Free COVID-19 testing for all residents’. The attackers could use various fake Email Accounts such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
FM radio stations in Nepal starts Weather Bulletins of Indian Territories
The House of Representatives in Nepal on 18th June 2020 had made a constitutional amendment under which the map of Nepal was revised. The revised map surprisingly included three Indian territories as part of Nepal. The 3 areas are- Kalapani, Lipulekh, and Limpiyadhura.
On 21st June 2020, it was reported from Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand that some Nepalese FM radio stations located in Nepal’s bordering district with India- Darchula, have started broadcasting weather report of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura.
The local authorities however are yet to confirm any such developments from the Nepalese FM site yet. The information was provided by the residents of Pithoragarh.
Treaty of Sugauli signed in December 1815 and was ratified in the month of March 1816 establishes and serves as the borderline between India and Nepal.
Earlier on 8th May 2020, Rajnath Singh (Defence Minister of India) had inaugurated a much-awaited road route for pilgrims to reach Kailash Mansarovar. The 80 Km long new road was built between Ghatibagarh and Lipulekh by Border Roads Organisation (BRO). There was no new construction of a road on the Lipulekh Pass, the road which already existed through Lipulekh Pass was upgraded by BRO.
The Southern side of the Lipulekh Pass is the Kalapani territory, which is a disputed territory that has been controlled by India. Since the up-gradation of the road at Lipulekh pass, the Nepalese Government has started its objection and went on to declare 3 Indian territories as its own under its new revised map.
India’s First Oral Vaccine for Moderate COVID-19 Cases gets Approval
For the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 positive patients across the country, on 19th June 2020, for manufacturing and marketing of oral antiviral drug ‘Favipiravir (Fabiflu)’ was approved by the National Regulatory Authority for Indian pharmaceuticals -Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to Mumbai based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.
The approval for the drug was given in India based on the global evidence of the ongoing clinical trial on 150 subjects. The drug must be strictly sold by the pharmacists to customers having a valid prescription.
The drug has shown notable efficacy as per results from Russia and Japan. Japan and Russia have already approved the drug for COVID-19 treatment on 15th March and 1st June 2020 respectively.
It is an antiviral drug that was approved first in the year 2014 in Japan. Tokyo based Toyama Chemicals was the first to develop and manufacture the drug. The drug has been used to treat a number of viral infections over the years, especially for influenza. In 2019 it became a generic drug.
The drug targets the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) polymerase (RdRp) enzymes that are dependent on RNA. For transcription and replication, the RNA polymerase enzymes are necessary for the DNA or RNA genes of the virus.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has assured the availability of the drugs in the next 7 to 10 days across the country. The price of each tablet will be Rs 103/-. The tablets will be available in a combined strip of 34. The cost of the strip will be Rs 3,500. Each tablet will be of 200 mg.
On the first day of treatment, the patient is advised to take 18 tablets (9 each in the morning and evening). From the second day onwards, 4 tablets each in the morning and evening. The company has stated that the treatment through Favipiravir could last up to 14 days.
The medication is for COVID-19 positive patients in the age group from 18 to 75 years having mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
U.S. Temporarily Suspends ‘Green Cards & Non-Migrant Work Visas’ till 31st December 2020
Following a global economic crisis since the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic back in March 2020, the United States Government has decided to suspend ‘Green Cards and Non-Migrant Work Visas’ till the 31st December 2020 in an effort to protect jobs for the citizens of the United States.
The executive order was signed by the United States President Donald Trump on 22nd June 2020.
The suspension of Green Card and Non-migrant work visas will create around 5,25,000 jobs in the United States. Due to COVID-19, as per reports, a record 47 million could lose their jobs in the United States.
Suspended Work Visas:
Reform in H-1B Visa Programme:
President Donald Trump had also instructed his administration to make reform in the current H-1B Visa Programme. As per the reform, immigrant workers those who are offered the highest wages by the recruiter shall be given priority, this is to ensure that the wages of United States citizens are protected as employers will not be able to recruit low-cost foreign labour.
Until today, the H-1B visas were distributed through a random lottery.
Impact on India:
Every year H-1B Visas are issued to 85,000 only, out of these, as per the records the largest beneficiaries of the visa programme was the Indians. A more than 70 percent of the total 85,000 beneficiaries are from India.
Healthcare & Hygiene EXPO 2020- India’s first-ever Largest Virtual Exhibition
Organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), the five-day Virtual Healthcare & Hygiene Expo was e-inaugurated on 22nd June 2020 by Mansukh Mandaviya (Union Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers).
As Digital India is making a way forward, the exhibition is the first-ever virtual exhibition in India. The virtual event will be live daily from 22nd to 26th June.
Aim of the Event:
The event is to create a self-reliant ecosystem in the Pharmaceuticals and Health & Hygiene Sector by ramping up domestic production. In our resolute fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, this sector has a greater significance.
During the five day event, the focus will also be on (i) Health Infrastructure such as medical devices, ventilators, etc, (ii) Benefits of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) and (iii) On Medical Textiles & Consumables.
Bulk Drug Park in India:
At the beginning of the Pandemic in March 2020, India’s dependence on foreign imports for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) was highlighted. Indian Pharmaceutical Companies imported more than 70% of the API used for manufacturing medicines in the country.
In order to end this dependency, the Government of India has taken steps for setting up Bulk Drug Parks in the country. API is also known as Bulk Drug, it is the most essential component for the manufacturing of any drugs.
At the inauguration event, Mansukh Mandaviya informed that by equity participation, the Government is ready to provide the private sector for setting up of Bulk Drug Parks in the country. This will further help in building an AtmaNirbhar Bharat.
Rs 2000 Crore from PM CARES Fund allocated for 50,000 Made-in-India Ventilators
The Government of India on its way to create an AtmaNirbhar Bharat had allocated Rs 2000 crore for 50,000 Made-in-India ventilators. The entire sum of Rs 2000 crore was allocated from PM CARES Fund Trust.
These ventilators will be supplied to various government-run COVID hospitals based on priority across the country. To date, a total of 1340 ventilators have already been delivered out of 2923 that have been manufactured. A total of 14,000 ventilators will be delivered by 30th June to various government-run COVID hospitals across the country. Out of the total 50,000 ventilators, 30,000 will be manufactured by the state-owned company- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
PM CARES Fund for Migrant Labourers:
From PM CARES Fund, a sum of Rs 1000 crore was also released for the welfare (arranging food, accommodation, medical treatment, etc) of migrant labourers in the country. Maharashtra with Rs 181 crore was the highest recipient for this sum followed by Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu with Rs 103 and Rs 83 crore respectively.
PM CARES Fund:
Prime Ministers Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARE) Funds is a dedicated national fund that was created on 28th March 2020. The fund was created for raising funds for providing help to the affected during any sort of distress situation or emergency (such as COVID-19 pandemic) in the country.