COVID-19 vaccination slots can now be booked on WhatsApp

•Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on August 24, 2021, announced that now one can book their COVID-19 vaccination slots on WhatsApp.

•To book their vaccination slots, send ‘Book Slot’ text to MyGovIndia Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp number 9013151515, verify the OTP, and follow the steps as instructed further.

•To obtain the COVID-19 vaccination certificate via WhatsApp, send ‘COVID certificate’ text on WhatsApp number 9013151515 and verify the OTP.

•Earlier, the COVID-19 vaccination certificate was available to download from Co-WIN, Aarogya Setu, Umang mobile application.

•An SMS sent to the beneficiary successfully updating their vaccination status on Co-WIN would contain the link to download the COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

UAE temporarily suspend visa-on-arrival facility for Indian passengers

•The UAE authorities have temporarily suspended the visa-on-arrival facility for passengers who have been staying in India for the past 14 days or arriving from the nation. This was informed by Etihad Airways on August 23, 2021.

•The UAE on August 3, 2021, had lifted the ban for passengers for six countries including India. The other five countries were Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Uganda.

•UAE’s National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) informed that the categories of these passengers included those who had valid residency permits and have received full vaccination in the UAE and 14 days have passed since their second dose.

•The vaccination certificates of these passengers should have been approved by the official authorities in the country.

•The National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) in UAE is the nodal agency that manages the COVID-19 related relaxations for traveling to other countries.

US targets to complete evacuation from Afghanistan by August 31

•The US government on August 23, 2021, said that it is decided to complete the evacuation of all Americans from Afghanistan by August 31.

•President Joe Biden is assessing the possibility of whether to extend the deadline beyond August 31. However, he is confident that the evacuation will be complete and successful by then.

•During the Pentagon briefing on August 24, 2021, it was confirmed that 16,000 passengers have been evacuated in the past 24 hours across 25 US military C-17s, three US military C-130, and 61 chartered commercial and other military flights. Of the 16,000, the US military personnel were just under 11,000.

Ajit Doval chairs BRICS 2021 NSA meeting

•The National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval chaired the virtual meeting of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) 2021 National Security Advisors meeting under India’s Chairship.

•The BRICS Summit 2021 is the 13th edition of the series. The theme for 2021 is ‘BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation, and Consensus’. India is hosting the BRICS Summit for the third time after 2012 and 2016.

•The Afghanistan crisis amid the Taliban’s takeover is expected to be on the agenda of the NSAs at the BRICS Summit 2021. The meeting of the NSAs further aims to bolster security cooperation among the member countries.

India targets to achieve $400 billion merchandise exports in FY21, says Commerce Minister

•Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has announced that India is targeting to achieve $400 billion in merchandise exports in the current financial year 2021.

•Goyal during an interaction with the Industry Associates deliberated on the measures to increase and enhance exports.

•Merchandise exports have registered an increase by 71 per cent from April to August 2021 as compared to 2020-21.

•India is working on developing a Sustainable, Agile, Futuristic, and Efficient (SAFE) ecosystem that helps in making the country a Global Hub of Manufacturing, said Goyal.

•In the employment sector, 50 thousand new start-ups are expected to generate more than 20 lakh jobs in the next 5 years.

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