Coronavirus June 13 Highlights: PM Modi meets senior ministers to review pandemic response
With over 11,400 fresh cases, the Covid-19 tally in India rose to 308,993 on Saturday, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepared to hold another round of video-conference with chief ministers from across states next week.
The primary mascot of the McDonald’s restaurant chain seen wearing a mask at a Karve road outlet on Friday. (Express Photo: Ashish Kale)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday held a detailed meeting with senior ministers and government officials to review India’s response to Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting reviewed the national level status and preparation in the context of the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Loss of smell and taste are now among the symptoms of Covid-19 while remdesivir, tocilizumab and plasmatherapy are new additions to the list of investigational therapies for the disease as per the clinical management guidelines notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The new symptoms had already been added by US’ Centres for Disease Control in the list of coronavirus symptoms in early May.
With over 11,400 fresh cases, the Covid-19 tally in India rose to 308,993 on Saturday, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepared to hold another round of video-conference with chief ministers from across states next week. On June 16 and 17, Modi is scheduled to hold an interaction with state chief ministers, with the second day of the video-conferencing set aside for CMs from states such as Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and others, which are seeing a spurt in cases and death numbers. Globally, 7,632,377 people have been infected with the virus and at least 425,385 have died. The United States, with over 2 million infections remains the worst-hit country.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tracker, India Lockdown Highlights: Over 3 lakh people infected in India; PM Modi prepares for meeting with CMs next week; more than 7 million test positive worldwide. Follow Highlights here
Coronavirus LIVE updates: The coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the coronavirus care centres (Express photo by Arul Horizon)
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The Delhi High Court Friday directed the AAP government in Delhi and the Centre to increase the number of beds and ventilators for Covid patients in the national capital. The Delhi government is also planning a 10,000-bed makeshift hospital for the coronavirus patients under a sprawling tent in south Delhi as part of the preparations to address the projected surge in cases in the city.
Meanwhile, estimating that the “90 per cent dip” in public transport ridership volumes during the lockdown is unlikely to pick up any time soon, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has called on states and Union Territories to come up with “alternative modes of transport” and “encourage and revive Non-Motorised Transport (NMT)” such as bicycles.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday said that no coercive action will be taken against private firms which failed to pay full wages during the lockdown period, adding that industries and labourers need each other and efforts should be made to resolve dispute over wage payments. The court asked states to facilitate settlement between firms and employees over wage payment and submit reports before labour commissioners. It also asked the Centre to file an affidavit within 4 weeks on the legality of March 29 circular that mandated payment of full wages during the lockdown.
The ICMR has termed the lockdown phases as "successful" in containing the rapid spread of the virus. Less than one per cent of 26,400 people, randomly chosen from 65 districts with varied caseloads, were exposed to the coronavirus in the first month of the national lockdown, according to the first phase of a nationwide sampling to check for the pandemic’s spread via testing for antibodies.
The spike in cases has pushed states to seek requisitions of isolation coaches from the Indian Railways to accommodate as beds for Covid positive patients and avoid overwhelming the health infrastructure. The Centre has warned that five most affected states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh — going by current trends, are projected to fall short in terms of ICU beds and ventilators between June and August.
After almost two months, the railways' isolation coaches have finally found takers -- Uttar Pradesh has asked for 240 such coaches for 24 locations, Telangana has requisitioned 60 for three places and Delhi has asked for 10 such coaches as COVID-19 cases in India close in on the three lakh mark.
The railways' first such COVID-19 care centre was deployed at Shakur Basti railway stations in Delhi on May 31. It consisted of 10 coaches with a capacity of 160 beds. The coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the coronavirus care centres according to guidelines issued by the health ministry.
Coronavirus LIVE updates: A lab technician extracts portions of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate during testing at the Chula Vaccine Research Center, run by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Even though the US and China seem to be on the global frontline in terms of developing a Covid-19 vaccine, an Italian Health Ministry official said Europe was far ahead in the race and the results of an ongoing research could lead to first doses “by autumn-winter”.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has decided to expedite the start of human clinical trials for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine by two months to the second half of July. The move saw its shares rising nearly 2 per cent to $148.69. On the other hand, Moderna Inc has started testing its vaccine candidate in a 600-subject mid-stage trial.
Coming to India, New Delhi-based biotechnology company Panacea Biotec has partnered with US-based Refana Inc to develop, manufacture and distribute an experimental Covid-19 vaccine, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, the number of people who have recovered from Covid-19 disease in India is now more than those who are still sick. However, apart from being an interesting milestone, this statistic has little relevance.
This doesn’t mark the beginning of the end of the epidemic, nor is it the arrival of the “peak”. It does not mean either that the number of cases would be declining from now on. In fact, once the number of deaths is brought into the equation, 8,102 at last count, it becomes clear that less than 50 per cent of the total infected people (2.86 lakh) have recovered so far. The total recoveries, in fact, work out to 49 per cent of all cases.
More importantly, total recoveries and the number of active cases are not comparable metrics. Total recoveries account for everyone who has recovered from the disease since the start of the outbreak. It is an accumulated number. Active cases, on the other hand, are only those that have been infected in the last 14 days, if it is assumed that every infected person, apart from those who die, is recovering in 14 days. So the comparison being made is between a number that has accumulated over three months, and increasing, which is the case in India right now, and a number that has emerged in the last two weeks.
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