Singapore Current Affairs - 2020

President Halimah Yacob dissolves Parliament, 2020 Singapore General Election will be held on 10th July

In the midst of a global pandemic, the Elections Department of Singapore had announced on 23rd June 2020 that the 2020 General Election will be held on the 10th of July 2020. This announcement came after President of Singapore, Halimah Yacob had dissolved the ongoing 13th Parliament of Singapore earlier on the same day.

The announcement that the Parliament has been dissolved was made by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. The Prime Minister justified his actions for calling an imminent election at the time of a global pandemic by stating that the COVID-19 outbreak is relatively stable in the country, further he assured that for the elections to be carried out safely, actions such as- suspension of mass rallies, an increased number of polling stations, designated time-bands for the senior citizens to vote, etc will be taken.

In order to reduce the risks of virus transmission, the Election Department issued further safety guidelines that the political parties will be required to follow, such as for door-to-door campaigns a maximum of 5 persons will be allowed in a group, etc.

Parliament of Singapore

It is a unicameral parliament with 105 seats. 47 seats is the majority mark that is required by a political party or coalition to form a government.

  • Out of 105, 93 members are elected through the Parliamentary Elections, 3 seats are reserved under the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) while the remaining 9 seats are reserved for the Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).
  • The 3 NCMP seats are for those who have lost in the General Elections of the Parliament but are among the best performing losers (top 3 those who have lost in the General Election by least Margin).
  • 9 NMP members are appointed directly by the President of Singapore.

Hetero’s injectable ‘Covifor’ gets DCGI approval for COVID-19 Treatment

For the treatment of COVID-19 positive cases, on 21st June 2020, Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company -Hetero Drugs has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India (a department under- CDSCO: Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) for manufacturing and marketing of antiviral drug Remdesivir.

Brandname for Marketing

Under the brand name ‘Covifor’, Hetero Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of Remdesivir will be marketed in India.

The drug is manufactured at the Hetero company’s Hyderabad facility, while its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) is being developed at Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam.

Remdesivir

The antiviral drug ‘Remdesivir’ is administered via injection into a vein. This antiviral medication was developed by the United States biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for treatment of Hepatitis C.

United Kingdom, Singapore, and Japan are the countries where the drug has been approved to date for the treatment of COVID-19 cases.

Price and Availability

As it is an injectable drug,  it has to be administered under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner and will not be available through any retail channel. The drug will be made available for hospitals and government healthcare agencies. It will be available in a 100mg injectable dose. The price will be in the range of Rs 5,000 to 6,000 per dose.

Hetero has targeted to manufacture one lakh doses of it in the upcoming weeks, the company has stated that production can be increased based on the demand.

Covifor will be used for the treatment of confirmed COVID-19 cases for those who have severe symptoms of the disease.