Health Study on South Asians: A major study is underway in Britain spearheaded by Imperial College into the health profile of South Asians, who have long been known to be particularly prone to diabetes, heart diseases and some other health conditions. The study called the ‘South Asia Biobank’ aims at as many as 100,000 South Asians in Britain. It offers those who participate in a free health check-up and feedback on changes they could make towards building a healthier lifestyle.
India’s New Travel Curbs: Mandatory new restrictions in India for arrivals from the UK have been brought in, and cancellation of tickets and plans. Quarantine for seven days following a negative result may not be the toughest of the measures yet. Emergence of new data is expected to bring more stringent steps. The fear of further disruptions is not leading to large-scale cancellations. Just when it seemed that normal commercial flights could resume, travel plans are flying the opposite way.
‘Air Bubble’ Flights to Continue: The planned restart of commercial flight operations out of India from December 15 has now been dropped, and a new date will be announced “in due course”. That due course will depend of course on the course of the pandemic. At the moment, flights will continue under an ‘air bubble’ arrangement with tighter restrictions and checks on passengers. But the surfacing of several Omicron cases in the UK means that flights between India and the UK are likely to be among the first to face further axing.
Not Many Taking Quarantine Seriously: A requirement for quarantine at home for a week after arrival from Europe may not prove a particular disincentive for travellers headed to India on home and family visits, which is the bulk of travel to India this season. The reason is simple; not many observe such quarantine seriously. That makes the time lag between catching an infection and catching it in a test potentially serious. No one has forgotten that the first and second waves in India were brought in primarily by travellers from the UK.
UN Rights Office on UAPA: The United Nations Human Rights Office has expressed deep concern over the arrest of human rights activist Khurram Parvez under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The UN office says the Act enables detention under “imprecise criteria”. The UN says it is also “increasingly alarmed by the rise in killing of civilians, including members of religious minorities, by armed groups” in Kashmir. But it says sweeping measures only lead to deepening discontent.