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Coronavirus India HIGHLIGHTS: Covaxin trails for those in age group of 2 to 18 years to begin in next 10-12 days

Meanwhile, Delhi reported 4,482 cases, the lowest since April 5, and 265 fatalities on Tuesday while the positivity rate dropped to 6.89 per cent. On the other hand, there are 953 cases in Mumbai, 8,676 cases in Bengaluru, 6,016 cases in Chennai and 3,785 cases in Kolkata.

By: Express Web Desk | Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune |
Updated: May 19, 2021 8:19:16 am
Covid-19The Centre has said that a total of 199 districts in the country are showing a continued decline in cases and positivity since the last three weeks (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Covaxin has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for Phase II/III clinical trials in the age group of 2 to 18 years, Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog has said. “I have been told that trials will begin in the next 10-12 days,” he added.

In a recently released media statement, Serum Institute of India has stated that it has never exported vaccines at the cost of people in India and remains committed to supporting the vaccination drive in the country. “A vaccination drive for such large population can’t be completed within 2-3 months, as several factors & challenges are involved. It’d take 2-3 yrs for entire world population to get fully vaccinated,” SII stated.

Meanwhile, Delhi reported 4,482 cases, the lowest since April 5, and 265 fatalities on Tuesday while the positivity rate dropped to 6.89 per cent. On the other hand, there are 953 cases in Mumbai, 8,676 cases in Bengaluru, 6,016 cases in Chennai and 3,785 cases in Kolkata.

Holding a health briefing, Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health, on Covid-19, said on Tuesday, “1.8% of total population of India has been affected by the disease so far. We have been able to contain the spread of the infection to under 2% of the population. A total of 199 districts in the country are showing a continued decline in cases and positivity since the last three weeks.”

Earlier, interacting with state and district officials on the Covid-19 situation, PM Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that local containment zones, aggressive testing and correct and complete information to the people are the weapons against the virus. He also stressed on the need to be more vigilant in the face of decreasing infections. Modi said that work is being done rapidly to install oxygen plants in hospitals in every district of the country through PM-CARES Fund and these plants have already started functioning in many hospitals. He also said that continuous efforts are being made to increase the supply of vaccines on a very large scale.

Live Blog

2.63 lakh new cases, 4,329 deaths; Govt to add 14 regional languages to CoWIN; plasma therapy dropped from Covid-19 protocol; DRDO 2-GD therapy drug launched.

22:24 (IST)18 May 2021
Uttarakhand releases SOP for issue of anti-fungal drug used to combat Mucormycosis

Uttarakhand government releases SOP for issue of anti-fungal drug, Amphotericin B, used for Mucormycosis (black fungus) treatment. “Medicine to only be issued to medical colleges & institutions of state, and no other private or individual prescription will be entertained,” the order states.

22:21 (IST)18 May 2021
Assam reports 5,835 new cases and 73 deaths

Assam reports 5,835 new cases, 4,311 recoveries and 73 deaths.

22:20 (IST)18 May 2021
Telangana reports 3,982 cases and 27 deaths

Telangana reports 3,982 new cases, 5,186 recoveries and 27 fatalities till 5:30 pm on Tuesday.

21:46 (IST)18 May 2021
Punjab reports 7,143 cases and 231 deaths

Punjab registers 7,143 fresh cases, 231 fatalities and 8,174 discharges in the last 24 hours.

21:14 (IST)18 May 2021
Bihar reports 6,286 cases, 145 deaths

Bihar reports 6,286 fresh cases and 11,174 recoveries.

20:40 (IST)18 May 2021
West Bengal reports 19,428 cases and 145 deaths

West Bengal reports 19,428 new cases, 19,050 recoveries and 145 deaths.

20:33 (IST)18 May 2021
Less than 1,000 cases in Mumbai, 44 deaths

Mumbai reports 953 cases and 44 deaths.

20:31 (IST)18 May 2021
Maharashtra reports 28,438 new cases and 679 deaths

Maharashtra reports 28,438 new Covid cases, 52,898 discharges and 679 deaths.

20:15 (IST)18 May 2021
Tamil Nadu reports 33,059 cases, 364 deaths

Tamil Nadu on Tuesday reported 33,059 positive cases of Covid-19 taking the overall tally to 16,64,350. With 364 causalities in the past 24 hours, the death toll reached 18,369. As many as 21,362 people got discharged following treatment and there are still 2,42,929 active cases in Tamil Nadu.

Among the 37 districts in the state, Chennai recorded 6,016 cases and 85 deaths. The city has 48455 active cases. (PTI)

20:13 (IST)18 May 2021
Gujarat reports 6,447 new cases, 67 deaths

Gujarat reports 6447 new cases, 67 deaths and 9,557 discharges.

19:59 (IST)18 May 2021
Uttar Pradesh reports 8,737 new cases, 255 deaths

Uttar Pradesh reported 8,737 new cases, 21,108 recoveries and 255 deaths in the last 24 hours.

19:56 (IST)18 May 2021
Delhi's Covishield stock will last only 3 days: AAP MLA

Delhi's Covishield stock for 18-44 group will last only 3 days, we might have to stop vaccination for them from next week, says AAP MLA Atishi. She adds, “Centre has sent over 60,000 Covaxin doses for 45-plus age group. Now we have two days' stock of this vaccine” (PTI)

19:20 (IST)18 May 2021
Karnataka reports over 30,000 cases, 525 deaths

Karnataka reports 30,309 new cases, 525 deaths and 58,395 discharges. The positivity rate is at 32.50%.

19:07 (IST)18 May 2021
Never exported vaccines at the cost of people in India: SII

In a recently released media statement, Serum Institute of India has stated that it has never exported vaccines at the cost of people in India and remains committed to supporting the vaccination drive in the country.

18:52 (IST)18 May 2021
Kerala logs 31,337 new cases, 97 deaths, 45,926 recoveries

Kerala on Tuesday reported 31,337 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the caseload to 21,70,651, while the toll mounted to 6,612 with 97 more deaths, the state government said. As many as 45,926 persons have been cured, taking the recoveries to 18,46,105 and the active cases to 3,47,626. (PTI)

18:34 (IST)18 May 2021
Covaxin approved by DCGI for Phase II/III clinical trials in age group of 2 to 18 years

Covaxin has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for Phase II/III clinical trials in the age group of 2 to 18 years, says Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog. “I have been told that trials will begin in the next 10-12 days,” he adds. (ANI)

18:19 (IST)18 May 2021
Halt Singapore flights, new Covid variant can usher in third wave here: Arvind Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said a variant of the novel coronavirus found in Singapore could usher in a third wave in the country, and appealed to the Centre to immediately halt air services with Singapore.

He said the new variant could be especially dangerous for children.

In a tweet, Kejriwal said, “A new variant of coronavirus found in Singapore is being said to be very dangerous for children. This can usher in the third wave (of COVID-19) in India. I appeal to the Central government to immediately halt air services with Singapore, and work on developing a vaccine for children on a priority basis.” Read more

17:54 (IST)18 May 2021
Stalwart of solar industry in Australia, Govind Kant, dies of Covid-19 in India

Sydney businessman Govind Kant has died in India after contracting Covid-19. Kant, 47, who was considered to be a pioneer of solar industry in Australia, died in a hospital in Delhi on Sunday.

He had arrived in India in April for family reasons and was stranded here after a temporary travel ban was imposed by Australia on those travelling from India amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

17:12 (IST)18 May 2021
Children orphaned by Covid will get Rs 2,500 till age of 25: Arvind Kejriwal

Children orphaned by Covid-19 will get Rs 2,500 each till age of 25, their education will be free, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. (PTI)

16:45 (IST)18 May 2021
Every family hit by Covid death will get Rs 50,000: Arvind Kejriwal

Every family that has had a death due to Covid among them will be given Rs 50,000 each as ex-gratia, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. (A NI)

The BKC vaccination centre in Mumbai was damaged as heavy winds from cyclone Tauktar lashed the city Monday (Express Photo: Pradip Das)

India reported 2.63 lakh cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday. The biggest contributor was Karnataka, which added 38,603 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu with 33,075 cases. Maharashtra registered 26,616 cases. At least 4,329 deaths were reported on the same day, the highest daily toll so far. Maharashtra reported more than 1,000 deaths, while Karnataka had 476. In the biggest drop ever, India's active cases fell by about 1.65 lakh on Monday to 33.52 lakh.

Two key decisions to aid India's battle against Covid-19 were announced on Monday: the government will add 14 regional languages to the CoWIN portal, through which slots are booked for vaccination; and 17 additional laboratories will be added to the INSACOG network to conduct genome surveillance and monitor variants of Covid-19.

Amid the second wave, states along the west coast have been battered by an extremely severe cyclonic storm, Tauktae (pronounced Tau'Te), which made landfall in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat last night. At least three people died in Gujarat, 12 in Maharashtra, and eight in Karnataka. Goa was also badly hit by the storm.

Centre draws up 3-tier response plan

Bharat Biotech on Sunday said its Covid-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' has been found to be effective against coronavirus strains found in India and the UK. Citing a study published in peer-reviewed medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the Hyderabad-based vaccine major noted that vaccination with Covaxin produced neutralising titres against all key emerging variants tested, including B.1.617 and B.1.1.7, first identified in India and the UK, respectively.

With at least 516 districts returning a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent, and increased mortality being reported in rural India, the Centre on Sunday directed states to set up a three-tier health infrastructure to manage the epidemic in the hinterland, including makeshift 30-bed Covid Care Centres (CCCs) in villages, each equipped with at least two oxygen cylinders.

The Health Ministry said that schools, community halls, and panchayat buildings should be turned into CCCs to manage mild cases of the disease.

Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), and Sub-district Hospitals — which constitute the backbone of India’s rural health infrastructure — shall be designated as 30 oxygen-bed facilities to handle moderate cases of the disease, where the oxygen saturation level has fallen below 94, the Ministry said.

After Kumbh surge, Ayodhya locks down with cops, CCTVs watching

In Ayoudhya, the lockdown has gained a grudging acceptance, in sharp contrast with several other smaller towns and rural districts in UP where the second wave has breached the barricades.

During the first wave, the daily case peak was 143 on August 25, with the death toll peaking at four on September 9 and active cases at 1,154 on September 12. In the second wave, cases peaked at 357 on April 18, deaths at five on April 22, and the active caseload at 2,661 on April 27.

As such, in the lanes of Ayodhya, there is an eerie silence. The temple town is in lockdown — and it is showing. There are policemen manning turns and entry points every few metres, shops are boarded up, and there are no crowds near vegetable carts.

Virologist Shahid Jameel quits govt’s genome mapping group

Virologist Shahid Jameel, one of the most prominent scientific voices of the pandemic, has resigned as the head of the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (INSACOG), the scientific advisory group coordinating the country’s genome sequencing work.

INSACOG had come into being in January this year as a scientific body to promote and expedite genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV2 virus and its multiple variants. The consortium had established a network of ten leading laboratories to carry out gene sequencing of virus samples from across the country. The consortium was initially given a tenure of six months, but later got an extension. The genome sequencing work, which had been progressing at a very slow pace, gathered momentum only after the constitution of INSACOG.

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