As India gets ready to roll out one of its largest immunisation programmes, the Union Health Ministry said 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators would be used for Covid-19 vaccine storage. Addressing a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also asked states to be prepared for possibility of an adverse event after being vaccinated.
India recorded 22,065 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest single day spike since July. With this, India’s caseload breached the 99 lakh mark. With 354 new fatalities, the death toll now stands at 1,43709.
On the global front, the coronavirus vaccine by Moderna was found to be highly protective for adults and prevented severe cases of Covid-19, according to data released Tuesday by the US Food and Drug Administration. Based on the encouraging findings, the agency intends to grant emergency use authorization for use of the vaccine by Friday, paving way for millions of Americans to get access to a second Covid-19 vaccine beginning as early as next week.
Here are the top Covid-19 developments that you need to know today
Possibility of adverse event after COVID vaccination can’t be ruled out: Govt
At a press briefing, Rajesh Bhushan, secretary in the Health Ministry, said adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were critical aspects and states had been asked to identify at least one AEFI management centre in each block. “Even during universal immunisation programmes, which have been going on for decades, some adverse effects are seen in children and pregnant women after they are administered shots,” he said.
“So, we can’t deny the possibility of an adverse event when the COVID-19 vaccination begins. In countries where inoculation has already started, especially in the UK, adverse events took place on the very first day. So, it is essential that states and union territories prepare for this too,” Bhushan said.
Even as uncertainty induced by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic looms large over Hyderabad’s most-awaited annual extravaganza Numaish, the organisers of the Nizam-era exhibition are hopeful of having an uninterrupted show, although a bit delayed or shortened in duration.
Continuing since 1938, the All India Industrial Exhibition witnesses the annual participation of traders and artisans from far and wide. From garments, jewellery, crockery, pottery, footwear, bags, carpets, furniture, leather products, and handicrafts indigenous to different regions, to electronic gadgets and household goods, across nearly 2000 stalls, the exhibition also features joy rides, eateries, and cultural shows. The Exhibition Society estimates an annual average of 22 lakh visitors during the 46 days starting January 1, every year.
While Numaish has been the go-to place for annual shopping as well as recreation and relaxation for a Hyderabadi household for the last several decades, traders and craftsmen are never disappointed with the revenue from sales. For the exhibition society, the proceeds from the allotment of stalls as well as entry tickets go towards enabling affordable education to girl students. As many as 18 educational institutions including polytechnic colleges across Telangana, all exclusively for girls, are run by the Society.
A Delhi court Tuesday acquitted all 36 foreign nationals facing trial for allegedly breaking Covid-19 related guidelines by attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area. The Jamaat was in news in March after the Nizamuddin Markaz emerged as a hotspot. As many as 955 foreigners were chargesheeted by the Delhi Police for allegedly violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities and not following the government’s Covid guidelines.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, while a majority of foreign Tablighi Jamaat members had taken plea deals and left for their countries, 44 had decided to face trial in Delhi. Out of them, the court had earlier discharged eight members, stating that there was “no prima facie evidence” against them.
The coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna is highly protective for adults and prevents severe cases of COVID-19, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Based on the encouraging findings, the agency intends to grant emergency authorization for use of the vaccine Friday, people familiar with the FDA’s plans said. The decision would give millions of Americans access to a second coronavirus vaccine beginning as early as next week.
The review by the FDA confirms Moderna’s earlier assessment that its vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1% in a trial of 30,000 people. Side effects, including fever, headache and fatigue, were unpleasant but not dangerous, the agency found.
At least 79 residents of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, taking the number of infected on the campus to 183. The cluster of cases in IIT-Madras has prompted the government to instruct officials to monitor other colleges and universities across the state.
A team from the Tamil Nadu Health Department and Chennai Corporation is already conducting Covid-19 tests in colleges across Chennai.
“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami has instructed district collectors to closely monitor other colleges and universities. We are conducting aggressive testing… We have already issued two Government Orders (GOs), and if any person or management fails to adhere to them, we will initiate action against them under the Epidemic Disease Act,” Dr Radhakrishnan told reporters in Chennai.
Mukesh Ambani says will provide tech tools for Covid-19 vaccination drive
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday said his group is working with authorities to provide technology tools and backbone for mass inoculation against COVID-19. At a Facebook event, Ambani said the government’s digital push kept the country running even during the pandemic and is now helping in the rollout of one of the largest vaccination programmes.
“We are working very closely with all the authorities to make sure that we provide the technology tools and backbone for even vaccination in the coming quarters using technology,” he said. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had spoken of using mobile technology for mass inoculation against COVID-19.
SC asks Centre to consider granting break to doctors engaged in Covid-19 duty
The Supreme Court asked the Centre on Tuesday to consider granting break to doctors engaged in COVID-19 duty for the last seven-eight months. The top court said that continuous work might be affecting mental health of doctors.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah, which is hearing a suo motu case on proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to consider the suggestions of giving the doctors some break. Mehta assured the bench that the government would consider the suggestion of the bench to grant some break to health workers engaged in COVID-19 duty.
“For last seven-eight months doctors have not been given any break and are continuously working. You take instruction and think over giving them some break. It must be very painful and might be affecting their mental health,” the bench told Mehta.
(With inputs from PTI)