Chennai, Jan 8 (PTI): Highlights from the southern region at 5.30 PM.

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MDS1 KL-VIRUS-SURGE Kerala's spurt in covid cases due to robust surveillance, civic polls, says Minister By Rohit Thayyil Thiruvananthapuram: After managing to flatten the Covid-19 curve within months of reporting the country's first coronavirus case last year, Kerala is now grappling with a sharp surge in its daily infections, prompting the Centre to send a high-level team to assist it.

MDS2 KL-GOVERNOR-BOYCOTT Opposition boycotts Governor's policy address in Kerala Assembly Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF opposition boycotted Governor Arif Mohammad Khan's policy address in the Kerala Assembly on the first day of the budget session, demanding the resignation of Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan who was facing allegations in connection with the dollar- smuggling case.

MDS3 TL-VIRUS-CASES Telangana clocks 346 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths push toll to 1,561 Hyderabad: Telangana recorded 346 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total positives to over 2.89 lakh while two fatalities pushed the toll to 1,561, the state government said.

MDS4 PD-AGITATION Ruling alliance in Puducherry begins protest seeking recall of Lt Governor Puducherry: The ruling Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA) in Puducherry began its four-day long agitation here demanding recall of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi for allegedly 'impeding developmental plans and welfare measures of the elected government.' MDS5 PD-VIRUS-CASES Puducherry logs 20 new COVID-19 cases, tally rises to 38,389 Puducherry: The union territory of Puducherry reported 20 new coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours taking the overall tally to 38,389, a top Health department official said.

MES1 TL-INTRANASAL VACCINE-BHARAT BIOTECH Bharat Biotech to begin Phase-1 trials of its intranasal vaccine for COVID-19 in Feb-March Hyderabad: Buoyed by the Emergency Use Authorisation approval from theDrug Controller General of India (DCGI)for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, Bharat Biotech has said Phase-1 clinical trials of its new intranasal antidote for the killer virus will begin during February-March this year.

MES2 KA-VACCINE-MINISTER K'taka to receive 13.90 lakh vaccine vials in a couple of days: Health Minister Bengaluru: Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said the state is expected to receive 13,90,000 vials of vaccine against COVID-19 in a day or two.

MES9 PD-TOXIC LIQUID-PROBE CB-CID to probe into toxic liquid served to Pondy Collector Puducherry: The CB-CID police here would probe into the case of alleged supply of a water bottle with colourless toxic liquid to the Puducherry Collector Purva Garg, Territorial DGP B Srivastava said.

SRG1 KA-POULTRY Dakshina Kannada district authorities ban supply of poultry from Kerala Mangaluru: In view of the spread of bird flu in Kerala, the Dakshina Kannada district administration has banned the transportation of poultry from the state. PTI NVG NVG