Sun. Jun 13th, 2021
Officials screen the temperature of people arriving at Mumbai’s Dadar Railway Station on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Amit Chakravarty)

Covid-19 India Live Updates: India, in the last 24 hours, recorded 2,11,298 new Covid-19 cases. Tamil Nadu was the top contributor with 33,764 people testing positive for the virus, while Kerala saw 28,798 cases.

Active cases decline to 24.19 lakh, a reduction of over 75,000 on Wednesday. However, the country also recorded 3,847 deaths reported on Wednesday. While Maharashtra witnessed 1,013 deaths, Karnataka saw 530 and Tamil Nadu 475.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that the manufacturers of the Russian ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine have agreed to supply the jab to the National Capital. However, they have not yet confirmed how many doses of the vaccine will be provided. “Talks with the makers of Sputnik V are on. They will give us vaccine, but the quantity is yet to be decided. Our officials and the representatives of the vaccine manufacturers met on Tuesday, too,” the CM told reporters.

In a keynote address on the occasion of Virtual Vesak Global Celebrations on Buddha Purnima, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic “the worst crisis humanity has faced in decades”. “I extend condolences to those who suffered, lost near and dear ones in pandemic. I grieve with them,” PM Modi added.

India recorded 3,847 deaths due Covid-19 and 211,298 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry dashboard on Thursday morning. With this, the country’s total infection tally went up to 27,369,093 and the toll was pushed to 315,235. The active cases further reduced to 24,199,07, which is now 9.19 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has improved to 89.66 per cent. 

The Covid-19 tally of Andaman and Nicobar Islands rose to 6,901 on Thursday as 23 more people tested positive for the infection, while two fresh fatalities pushed the Union territory’s coronavirus death toll to 108, a health official said. Twenty-nine more people were cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries in the archipelago to 6,573, he said. The Union territory now has 220 active cases, the official said. The administration has so far tested over 3.84 lakh samples for Covid-19, in which the positivity rate was 1.8 per cent, he said. (PTI)

We have around 6.52 lakh vaccines for all age groups which will be consumed in a day or two. We have the capacity of administering 4 lakh doses in a day, says Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta. (ANI)

In a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Emmanuel Macron highlighted that France would continue to stand by India to fight the pandemic together, with more support underway. The two leaders discussed how to bolster multilateral action against virus. To respond to this emergency of exceptional magnitude, France launched unprecedented solidarity operation, initiated on 1 May with delivery of 8 oxygen generator plants and medical equipment, and which is continuing in form of supplying oxygen containers, says Ambassador of France to India. (ANI)

Seeking fast-track approval for its Covid-19 vaccine, American pharmaceuticals major Pfizer has told Indian authorities that the vaccine has shown “high effectiveness” against the novel coronavirus variant prevalent in India, and on people of Indian ethnicity or nationality.

Pfizer has also said that its vaccine is suitable for everyone aged 12 years or older, and can be stored for a month at 2-8 degrees Celsius, sources said on Wednesday.

“Recent data points confirm the high effectiveness of BNT612b2 (as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is technically known) 2-dose regimen against SARS-CoV-2 variants, and among individuals of Indian ethnicity,” Pfizer has said. (Read Payal Banerjee’s report

The UK’s latest study on vaccine effectiveness against variants of the Covid-19 virus has inadvertently revealed a major gap in India’s own inoculation efforts — the lack of evidence of how effective these shots are on its own population.

The absence of such data is expected to make it difficult to formulate evidence-based strategies and respond adequately when new data emerges from real-world studies elsewhere, said experts. Take, for instance, Public Health England’s (PHE) data suggesting that two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are necessary to provide “strong protection” against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.2 variants. (Read Prabha Raghavan’s report)

Ever since Karnataka went into a lockdown to combat and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the transgender community has been suffering like never before as the shutting down of public spaces and cancellation of weddings have led to a complete loss in earnings for them.

Like last year, the community is looking for a relief package from the government to help them tide through these difficult times. (Read Darshan Devaiah BP’s report)

Rajasthan is among the top three performers in the country in Covid-19 vaccinations for the 18-44 age group, ranks third in shots overall, and has among the lowest coronavirus tolls (8,018) of states with high case burdens. Behind the relatively impressive numbers is a vaccination plan that kicked into place as far back as November, advance orders placed by the state with both the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech for doses for the 18-44 group, involvement of officials down to the local level, and the focus on health by the state government.

Says Siddharth Mahajan, Secretary, Medical, Health and Family Welfare Department: “We planned everything and from the very beginning, involved local representatives, including at panchayats and urban local bodies, and the leadership was given to Collectors. So when vaccination was launched for 60 plus, we were doing 20-25% daily vaccinations of the whole country.” (Read Hamza Khan’s report)

Mumbai’s Dharavi, the 2.5 sq km sprawl known as Asia’s largest slum, recorded three new Covid cases on Wednesday, the lowest since February 11, when the second wave surged through the city.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Dharavi has reported 6,798 cases since last year’s outbreak. Of these, around 36 per cent (2,500) of cases were recorded in March and April this year.

Soon after the second wave began in mid-February, Dharavi recorded 10 daily cases, its first double-digit tally for a day after a gap of 37 days. In March, the area was averaging 50 cases daily. And by March 23, the 250-bed quarantine centre in Vanita Samaj Hall was full even as the active caseload rose to 180. (Read Sanjana Bhalerao’s report)

Punjab recorded 4124 fresh Covid cases, while adding 186 more deaths in the past 24 hours, the state health bulletin released on Wednesday satted.

The state’s positivity rate dipped to around 5.44 per cent on Wednesday, even though the case fatality rate (CFR) remained at a worrying 2.50 per cent, the highest in the country.

The number of fresh recoveries (6397) on Wednesday, again exceeded the number of new cases. Read More

The Haryana Medical Services Corporation Limited, Wednesday, floated two global tenders for 1 crore Covid-19 vaccine supplements and 15,000 vials of Amphotericin-B injections that are used in treatment of black fungus.

Health Minister Anil Vij said, “The Union government is regularly supplying Covid vaccines that are benefitting people of the state. Although the Union government is providing these vaccine doses to all the states without any discrimination, but if more vaccine is available by way of global tenders, then the state will be able to vaccinate all its people, sooner”. Read More

The Haryana Medical Services Corporation Limited, Wednesday, floated two global tenders for 1 crore Covid-19 vaccine supplements and 15,000 vials of Amphotericin-B injections that are used in treatment of black fungus.

Health Minister Anil Vij said, “The Union government is regularly supplying Covid vaccines that are benefitting people of the state. Although the Union government is providing these vaccine doses to all the states without any discrimination, but if more vaccine is available by way of global tenders, then the state will be able to vaccinate all its people, sooner”. Read More

Seeking a fast-track approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, US major Pfizer has told Indian authorities that its jab has shown “high effectiveness” against the SARS-CoV-2 variant prevalent in India and on people of Indian ethnicity or nationality, while it is suitable for everyone aged 12 years or above and can be stored for a month at 2-8 degrees, sources said on Wednesday.

Pfizer, which is ready to offer 5 crore doses to India between July and October this year and has sought certain relaxations including indemnification, has held a series of interactions with the Indian government authorities recently including one this week, during which it shared the most recent data points regarding efficacy trials and approvals for its vaccine in various countries and by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The current situation in India, and across the world, is not ‘business as usual’ and we must not respond to it with processes as usual too,” a source quoted Pfizer as having communicated to the Indian government.

Another source privy to the discussions said that following recent meetings between the Indian government and Pfizer’s Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, they have agreed to jointly work on three key issues to accelerate approval for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine in India, namely procurement through a central government pathway; indemnity and liability; and the regulatory requirement for post-approval bridging studies. (PTI)

Assam reports 5,699 new cases and 90 deaths.

Madhya Pradesh reports 2,182 new cases and 72 deaths and 7,479 recoveries.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says, “Takeaway for India from this devastating second COVID wave is global cooperation and mitigation. We’ve been dealing with challenges such as hospitalization or oxygen. Right response is to help each other. Our conversations are now about decentralized globalization.” (ANI)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the COVID-19 situation in the state is declining but asked the people to exercise caution as the situation is still not completely satisfactory. 

As many as 28,798 new cases of COVID-19 were detected today from 1,44,372 sample tests in the last 24 hours with a test positivity rate of 19.95 per cent. This is the first time the test positivity rate is falling below 20 per cent in more than a month, Vijayan told reporters here. A total of 151 deaths were also confirmed today as caused by COVID and the related death toll in the state is now 7,882. (PTI)

Dyadic International, Inc., a global biotechnology company, today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Syngene International Limited (“Syngene”), an integrated research, development, and manufacturing services company, to develop a Covid vaccine candidate that can protect against the emerging variants of concern and which can be manufactured affordably, at very large scale, using Dyadic’s proprietary C1-cell protein production platform.

In the first of its kind study since the launch of the AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will conduct a survey from next week to examine the effectiveness of these vaccines in preventing progression of COVID into a severe form.

Around 4,000 people above the age of 45 years who have taken either one or both doses of any of these two vaccines will be reviewed, according to Dr Tarun Bhatnagar, senior scientist at ICMR’s National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) in Chennai.

“As a part of the study we will take people who are COVID-19 positive and hospitalised and compare their vaccination status with those who have tested COVID negative,” Bhatnagar told PTI. “The aim is to assess how effective vaccination is in preventing progression of the disease into a severe form,” he said.

Noting that this is first of its kind study since the launch of these vaccines in the country and used in India’s inoculation drive, Bhatnagar said the survey is expected to be undertaken from next week. (PTI)

With the cumulative number of patients infected with mucormycosis (black fungus) in Karnataka now rising to 481, the state government has advised doctors not to administer steroids to patients during the first week of Covid-19 infection.

According to Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, the move comes after an expert panel constituted to study the source of infection pointed out that using steroids in the first week of Covid treatment was the primary reason for rise in cases of mucormycosis. Read more

A person who died of COVID-19 being taken for cremation, amid a spike in coronavirus cases countrywide, at Nigam Bodh Crematorium in New Delhi, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

As India combats an acute shortage of coronavirus vaccines, US manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer are expected to bring some relief. Moderna is set to launch its single-dose vaccine in India by next year and is in talks with Indian manufacturers, including Cipla among others. Meanwhile, another US giant Pfizer is ready to offer 5 crore shots in 2021 itself but is calling for significant regulatory relaxations, sources told PTI.

Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said it expects approval for Covaxin from the World Health Organisation for Emergency Use Listing during July-September. The company said regulatory approvals for Covaxin are in process in more than 60 countries including the USA, Brazil and Hungary among others.

Meanwhile on Monday, the number of fresh cases reported 1,568 in Delhi, 1,037 in Mumbai, 6,243 in Bengaluru, 2,979 in Kolkata and 4,041 in Chennai.

Covid patients will not be allowed to remain in home isolation in 18 Maharashtra districts and must go to quarantine centres. Maharashtra Health Minister said, “We have decided to stop home isolation for Covid patients in 18 districts where the positivity rate is high. The patients from these districts will have to go to a quarantine centre and won’t be allowed to stay in home isolation.”

India recorded over 1.96 lakh new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Tuesday, taking the country’s total infections to over 2.69 crore . The daily spike in new cases have fallen below 2 lakh after a month. Out of these, over 25 lakh are active cases while over 2.40 crore people have recovered after testing positive. With 3,511 news deaths, the toll is now at 3,07,231. This is the the lowest spike since May 3. The drop is mainly because of Maharashtra reporting far lesser number of deaths.

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