India to offer Covid-19 vaccine at Rs 250 max per dose at private hospitals

The authorities in India have announced to expand the country’s inoculation drive against Covid-19 to private hospitals and also allowing people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from Monday.

Private hospitals across India can charge up to Rs 250 per dose of Covid-19 vaccine, reports our New Delhi correspondent quoting official sources.

The Covid-19 vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals while people will need to pay for it at private facilities, according to the sources.

“Rs 250 will be the ceiling — Rs 150 will be the cost of vaccine while Rs 100 will be service charge. This arrangement will remain effective till further orders,” the sources said.

According to sources, all states and union territories have been informed about it.

Earlier on Friday, the Indian health ministry said that vaccine beneficiaries would be able to self-register in advance using a portal and through other IT applications, and would also be allowed for walk-in registration and inoculation.

The beneficiaries would be able to select the vaccination centre of his or her choice and book an appointment for vaccination, the ministry added.


Are we aware enough about our curious children from drowning?

Wania Maryam Laibah Ahmad was born in 2018 in Alabama, USA. She is the daughter of Dr Ahmad Salam and I (Dr Ruksana Amin Eva), both pursuing our doctoral studies in the USA. We noticed that Wania is a curious toddler, active, and she loves to play in the water. She is quick to discover new things to explore in her surroundings while playing in the water. Wania has also noticed in her playful toddler mind that, the water shines, waves, ripples, reflects, splashes, and can even make things float! What fun! But she does not understand yet that playing in the water can be perilous too and she is not old enough to know what to do when in trouble.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40 drowning-related deaths per hour occur per day worldwide, with 10 deaths per day in the USA alone between 2005-2014. Also, drowning injuries can lead to several health problems such as severe brain damage that may lead to future cognitive disabilities like learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering problems etc.

Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) in a 2016 survey found, on average, 40 children under the age of 18 dies by drowning and 30 children under 5 die by drowning per day as documented by NGOs.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that drowning is the main public health concern worldwide and it can happen to any family, anywhere without consideration of race, religion, gender, geography, or socio-economic status.

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) reported that drowning is the number one leading cause of injury and death of US children under 4 and claimed the lives of around 1,000 US children in 2017.

Water safety education is important for all ages, but especially for toddlers, it is of paramount importance. Like many parents, we were also concerned about the fact that drowning is the single leading cause of injury death under the age of 4. I had seen many drownings of mostly infants and toddlers from rural areas of Bangladesh. The toddlers fall into a pond or ditch and drown. What a heartbreaking event this is!

Amina (alias), mother of two active and energetic toddlers stated they had been chatting at their friend’s place on the weekend and their kids were playing in the playground near the swimming pool. Suddenly, she heard screaming and ran to the spot quickly and found her active, playful, energetic boy floating in the pool. Amina was so overcome that she fainted suddenly. When she opened her eyes, she was with her younger baby boy in the emergency room but her little prince is no more and will never call her mommy again. She lost him forever.

This concerned us a lot regarding Wania’s safety while playing in the water. It is quick and silent and young children can drown in water as shallow as an inch or two. There is no splashing that could alert someone that the child is in danger.

Considering all these, we tried to figure out a solution to protect her from water hazards, without ending our daughter’s passion for playing in the water. Finally, we figured out that by teaching life-saving skills such as proper, formal swimming lessons, children can be protected from drowning. According to the CDC, proper swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning of children under the age of 4 by 88%.

Since most children want to play in the water for recreational purposes, it is good for parents to sign them up for proper swimming lessons, not only so that they know how to swim, but also acquire the knowledge of water safety and can avoid water hazards.


Drake Batherson extends goal streak as Senators roll past Flames

Drake Batherson scored a pair of goals for the Ottawa Senators in a 5-1 win Monday over the visiting Calgary Flames.

Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot (72) and Brady Tkachuk (7) congratulate Drake Batherson (19) on his goal against the Calgary Flames during the second period of the Senators’ victory in Ottawa on Monday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Drake Batherson scored a pair of goals for the Ottawa Senators in a 5-1 win Monday over the visiting Calgary Flames.

With seven goals in his last six games, the 22-year-old Batherson matched the franchise record held by Jason Spezza for the longest goal streak.

Colin White, with an empty-net goal, Artem Anisimov and Evgenii Dadanov also scored for the Senators (8-15-1). Tim Stutzle had two assists in Ottawa’s fourth win in its last five games.

Matt Murray, who was pulled in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Flames, stopped 27-of-28 shots for the win.

Milan Lucic scored for the Flames (10-11-2), while David Rittich made 31 saves in his fifth straight start.

After White’s empty-netter, Dadanov scored with Rittich back in net at 17:47 of the third.

Ottawa capitalized on a pair of Calgary mistakes and outshot the visitors 22-6 in the second period to lead 3-1 heading into the third.

Rittich put a clearing attempt on the stick of Batherson at the faceoff circle. The right-winger whipped the puck by the Calgary goaltender’s pad at 11:44 for his second of the game.

WATCH | Batherson scores twice in Senators’ victory over Flames:

Drake Batherson scores twice in Ottawa’s 5-1 win over Calgary. Batherson ties franchise record with goals in 6 straight games. 1:02

Lucic had just pulled the Flames within a goal scoring on the power play at 10:20. He collected his own rebound and his shot that went off a Senators skate slid by Murray’s outstretched pad.

Batherson made it 2-0 at 8:26 with a high shot from the high slot.

Anisimov scored his first of the season at 6:22 off a Flames turnover in the neutral zone where Sam Bennett overskated a Lucic pass.

Stutzle dished to Anisimov, whose shot deflected off a stick and by Rittich.

The Flames outshot the Senators 12-7 in a scoreless first period in which both teams failed to convert a power-play chance.

Over the last 30 years, only six different players age 22 or younger have recorded a goal streak of longer than six games during the regular season.

How far will @drrakebatherson climb on this list? 🤔 #NHLStats


Calgary’s pre-game warmup was adventurous. Defencemen Nikita Nesterov and Rasmus Andersson collided and went down near the blue-line.

A helmetless Sean Monahan took a puck to the face during warmup, but played in the game.

The Flames capped a six-game, 10-day road trip Monday.

The Sens start their own six-game road swing Tuesday facing the Montreal Canadiens before heading to Calgary for Thursday’s rematch with the Flames.


Raptors-Pistons game tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday, pending additional COVID-19 test results

The Toronto Raptors game against the Detroit Pistons scheduled for Tuesday at Amalie Arena has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday, pending additional COVID-19 test results.

The Toronto Raptors game against the Detroit Pistons scheduled for Tuesday has been tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors game against the Detroit Pistons scheduled for Tuesday at Amalie Arena has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday, pending additional COVID-19 test results.

The NBA made the announcement Monday night.

The league says the game is being postponed due to “positive test results and ongoing contact tracing within the Raptors organization.”

Toronto also had its game Sunday against the Chicago Bulls postponed for COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

It was the first postponement this season for the Raptors, who are playing their home games in Tampa, Fla., because of coronavirus restrictions in Canada.

Toronto played Friday without head coach Nick Nurse, five members of his staff and starting forward Pascal Siakam because of virus-related issues. Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo coached the team to a win over Houston.

The names of players or staff members affected have not been revealed.

Prior to Sunday, the Raptors had been one of just four teams with no game postponements.

The Raptors are currently schedule to play once more — Thursday at Boston — before the all-star break.

Toronto tips off the second half of the season March 11 against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.


4-time WNBA champion Sue Bird returns for 20th season with Seattle Storm

Four-time WNBA champion Sue Bird re-signed with the Seattle Storm on Monday for what will be her 20th season with the team.

Sue Bird, seen above during the 2020 WNBA Finals, re-signed with the Seattle Storm on Monday for what will be her 20th season with the franchise. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Four-time WNBA champion Sue Bird re-signed with the Seattle Storm on Monday for what will be her 20th season with the team.

Bird’s signing has been expected all off-season but seemed to be delayed while the team figured out the rest of its roster. The 11-time All-Star has spent her entire WNBA career with the Storm after the franchise made her the No. 1 pick in 2002.

This season will be her 18th on the court with Seattle after missing the 2013 and 2019 seasons due to injuries.

“Seattle and the Storm franchise have been home for my entire career,” Bird said in a statement. “This is a special team and I’m looking forward to getting back on the court with them as well as representing this great city and our amazing fans.”

The 40-year-old Bird is coming off another championship season after Seattle won its fourth title playing in the WNBA bubble in Florida. Bird shot a career-best 49.4 per cent from the field and 46.4 per cent on 3-pointers last season, while averaging 9.8 points and 5.2 assists per game. She was limited to 11 regular-season games due to a bone bruise in her knee.

Bird appeared in all six of Seattle’s playoff games and set a WNBA playoff record with 16 assists in the Storm’s victory over Las Vegas in the opening game of the Finals.

“Sue Bird has been synonymous with Storm basketball for two decades, leading this franchise to four WNBA championships,” Storm general manager Alisha Valavanis said. “She is not only one of the best to ever play the game but one of the most important leaders in it. She has been integral in the growth of the league and its impact off the court. We are thrilled she’ll be back to lead the Storm this season.”

Bird’s Hall-of-Fame-worthy basketball resume includes four Olympic gold medals, four FIBA world championships, two NCAA titles and the four WNBA crowns.

She could add one more Olympics opportunity should she be selected for the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.


Women provide successful test of Calgary’s curling bubble ahead of Brier

All systems are go for the Canadian men’s curling championship after the women proved elite curling can happen in a pandemic, as no one tested positive for the COVID-19 virus during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary.

All systems are go for the upcoming Tim Hortons Brier in the Calgary curling bubble after the women proved elite curling can take place safely during a pandemic at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

All systems are go for the Canadian men’s curling championship after the women proved elite curling can happen in a pandemic.

Curling Canada says no one tested positive for the COVID-19 virus during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts which concluded Sunday in Calgary.

In an arena with no spectators, Kerri Einarson’s team from Gimli, Man., claimed a second straight title.

“We said at the start of the week if we sent everybody home healthy, then we did our job,” said Curling Canada’s Nolan Thiessen, who among his many titles is director of event presentation, innovation and athlete liaison.

“The women that came and participated did amazing. They took everything seriously. They just did whatever they needed to do to make sure they could compete.

“Proof of concept. They’ve shown it can be done. It’s on everybody else who descends into the bubble to do what we need to do.”

About 500 on-site tests were conducted during the Hearts with no positive tests, Thiessen said Monday

1st of 4 Curling Canada events in Calgary bubble

The Hearts was the first of four Curling Canada events relocated to Calgary in a hub-city model walling participants off from the general public.

The men start arriving Tuesday in Calgary for the men’s national championship, the Tim Hortons Brier, opening Friday at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.

The 35-team field for the national mixed doubles March 18-25 will be announced Tuesday. The men’s world championship follows April 3-11.

A pair of Grand Slams, which are Rogers Sportsnet’s properties, are also scheduled for Calgary in April.

The women were confined to the arena and their hotel on either side of Trans-Canada Highway in Calgary’s west end, and drove themselves back and forth in rental cars.

They bought into testing and self-isolation before and after arrival in Calgary, regular temperature checks, mandatory masks off the ice, and no socializing at the hotel with other teams with nary an eye roll or sigh, Thiessen said.

The women accepted Curling Canada needed to do what Alberta Health required so they could curl.

“There were times when they were like ‘oh, what are we supposed to be doing here?’ but not in a bad way,” Thiessen said.

WATCH | Einarson wins 2nd straight Scotties:

Gimli, Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson and Team Canada won their second Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 9-7 victory over Rachel Homan and Team Ontario. 0:57

“We have a chief medical officer on site and they are responsible for that piece of it. It wasn’t a curling person making a medical decision.

“Any time we told them anything health and safety related, they knew it was us passing on the information.”

Northwest Territories third Jo-Ann Rizzo’s bout of food poisoning on the first night of the tournament was a test run of some pandemic protocols.

While the CMO was convinced it was a stomach bug, Rizzo was tested anyway. She and her teammates isolated in their rooms all day awaiting the result.

N.W.T.’s game against Canada that day was postponed two days to what was a morning off for all teams.

“It definitely showed a good reason why we kept a draw open in the middle of the week,” Thiessen said. “It showed a good reason for what our protocols were and why we put safety first.

“We’re not expecting to go this whole thing with every day going exactly according to plan and there’s no health issues. That hasn’t been the case with any sport.”


Black scientists around the world are calling for action, equality and representation

Corina blue shirt

After a woman walking in Central Park falsely accused a Black man of assaulting her, social media erupted in support of the scientist who was simply birdwatching causing anger, outrage — and action. Now, Black scientists from around the world are taking part, promoting their work and calling for change.


It’s March, the month when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed

It’s now March, the month when the Tokyo Olympics came apart just a year ago and about 40 per cent of the qualification slots for the Olympics are still open, so there will be plenty going on in terms of getting athletes in through new rulings and some missing out.

President of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Organizing Committee Seiko Hashimoto is looking to deliver on her promise on changes from the gender-equality front, as well as increasing the executive board membership to 40 per cent female. (Behrouz Mehri/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s now March, the month when the Tokyo Olympics came apart just a year ago. Will it happen again? Frankly, it seems unlikely.

The start of the torch relay on March 25 from northeastern Fukushima prefecture is just over three weeks away. It will involve 10,000 runners and end in Tokyo at the opening ceremony on July 23.

These are certain to be a made-for-television Olympics. There will be few tourists and no party atmosphere. The focus will be on getting 11,000 athletes into the venues to perform in front of cameras, and then getting them out of Japan as quickly as possible.

And there will be lots of guidelines to follow, which are spelled out in so-call Playbooks issued by the International Olympic Committee. They are vague for now, but will be updated in April and June.

These Olympics have been through plenty: a global pandemic, and a bidding bribery scandal that forced former IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda to resign as the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee. And just last month the 83-year-old president of the organizing committee was forced out for making sexist remarks.

Yorhiro Mori has been replaced by a woman, 56-year-old Seiko Hashimoto, who is promising changes on the gender-equality front.

Q: What difference will it make now that a woman heads the organizing committee?

A: It feels mostly symbolic, which is still a major victory for women in Japan. The “Old Boys” network was beaten back last month even as Mori tried to replace himself with a man who was even older.

Hashimoto has promised to almost immediately increase the executive board membership to reach 40 per cent female. It’s now about 20 per cent. Unfortunately, the organizing committee, which employs about 3,500 people, will dissolve after the Olympics.

The present executive board has 37 members, including Hashimoto. Eight are women. Hashimoto, a medal-winning former Olympian, is expected to add 11 women this week, according to local newspapers.

Q: What is the state of the pandemic and vaccinations in Japan?

A: Japan is several months behind other major economies. It began the vaccine rollout about 10 days ago. Japan has also controlled the virus far better than most other large countries. Japan, with a population of 126 million, has attributed almost 8,000 deaths to COVID-19. This compares to the United States, with a population of 330 million, with more than 510,000 deaths.

Japan is expected to rescind a state of emergency on March 7. After that happens, the country is reportedly ready to lift a ban on athletes who want to enter and train or compete.

Q: Will athletes need to be vaccinated to enter Japan?

A: No. The IOC has said it will not require athletes or “participants” to be vaccinated. But it is encouraging it, and the 206 nations and territories participating are all handling it differently.

Q: What exactly is it the cost to putting on the Tokyo Olympics?

A: Olympic costs are difficult to track. The heart of the problem is this: what are Olympic expenses, and what are not?

The official cost of the Tokyo Games is $15.4 billion, which makes it the most expensive Olympics on record. And several national audits suggest the real costs might be twice that much. All but about $6.7 billion is public money. The IOC picks up only a tiny fraction of the costs.

Q: Will there be fans? When will officials decide?

A: Hashimoto has indicated there should be a limited number of fans. A decision should come in the next few weeks. Many fans from abroad seem unlikely. Any reduction in fans will be costly. The organizing committee has budgeted $800 million in income from ticket sales. Any shortfall will be made up by a Japanese government entity.

Hashimoto said last week the decision on fans will be made in a joint meeting of the organizing committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the IOC and the national government.


Sunday best: Tiger Woods thanks golfers for red shirt tribute

Tiger Woods offered a heartfelt thanks to his fellow golfers for their tribute on Sunday, where many donned the 15-time major champion’s signature Sunday red and black for the final round.

Rory McIlroy was one of many golfers to pay tribute to Tiger Woods by wearing a red shirt and black trousers during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship on Sunday in Bradenton, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods offered a heartfelt thanks to his fellow golfers for their tribute on Sunday, where many donned the 15-time major champion’s signature Sunday red and black for the final round.

An 82-time PGA Tour winner, Woods famously wears a red shirt and black trousers on Sundays.

“It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the TV and saw all the red shirts,” Woods said in a Twitter post shortly after the conclusion of the World Golf Championships event in Florida.

WATCH | Golfers pay tribute to Tiger Woods by wearing red shirts:

Various PGA Tour players at the World Golf Championship event in Bradenton, Florida wear red and black in support of golfer Tiger Woods. 0:25

“To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.”

With his win on Sunday, rising star Collin Morikawa joined Woods as the only two golfers to win a major championship and a World Golf Championship event before turning 25 years old.

Morikawa, 24, took time after his victory to thank Woods directly.

“Tiger means everything to me,” Morikawa said.

“He had the crash and thankfully he’s alright and hopefully he has a quick and great recovery, but I don’t think we say thank you enough.

“So, I want to say thank you to Tiger. Sometimes you lose people too early. Kobe, I lost my grandpa about a month ago, and you don’t get to say thank you enough.

“So thank you, guys.”


Yohan Blake says he would rather miss Olympics than get COVID-19 vaccine

Olympic champion sprinter Yohan Blake of Jamaica said he would rather miss the Tokyo Games than get the COVID-19 vaccine, although getting vaccinated will not be required of the athletes competing there this summer.

Jamaica’s Yohan Blake is seen above after competing in a men’s 100-metre heat at the World Athletics championships in September 2019. (Martin Meissner/The Associated Press)

Olympic champion sprinter Yohan Blake of Jamaica said he would rather miss the Tokyo Games than get the COVID-19 vaccine, although getting vaccinated will not be required of the athletes competing there this summer.

“My mind still stays strong, I don’t want any vaccine, I’d rather miss the Olympics than take the vaccine, I am not taking it,” he was quoted as saying in Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.

“I don’t really want to get into it now, but I have my reasons.”

Blake, a one-time rival of Jamaican great Usain Bolt, will likely still be able to participate in what is expected to be the 31-year-old’s third and final Games even if he does not get the vaccine.

The International Olympic Committee has said getting the vaccine is “encouraged” but not compulsory for athletes.

“Follow your mind, don’t follow the crowd,” the two-time Olympic gold medallist said in a video posted to Twitter on Saturday.

“At the same time, be respectful to each and every one. Don’t let no one take away your choice.”

The Jamaican government is expected to receive its first shipment of the vaccine next week, The Gleaner reported.

Blake’s remarks came after a series of eight meets were held across the Caribbean island nation on Saturday, marking a return to large-scale sporting events that had been on hold due to the pandemic.

The Olympics, which were pushed back by a year due to the global health crisis, are set to begin on July 23 though speculation remains the event might yet be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.