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Coronavirus India HIGHLIGHTS: Masks mandatory for next 6 months in Maharashtra; 26,624 new cases in India

India reported 26,624 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. With 341 fatalities, the death toll touched 1,45,477. There are as many as 3,08,751 active cases in the country, while 95,80,402 people have recovered from the disease.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi | Updated: December 21, 2020 9:28:26 am
Coronavirus Live Updates: New Covid-19 cases below 30,000 for sixth consecutive dayA health worker collects swab sample for COVD-19 test at M Block CP in New Delhi (Express File Photo by Amit Mehra)

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said wearing masks will be mandatory for the next six months in the state. Addressing people of the state on social media, Thackeray said experts are in favour of imposing night curfew or another lockdown, but he is not in favour of these steps. The coronavirus situation in the state is under control, through not completely, he said. “Prevention is better than cure. Wearing of mask at public places should be made a habit for another six months at least,” Thackeray said.

India reported 26,624 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. With 341 fatalities, the death toll touched 1,45,477. There are as many as 3,08,751 active cases in the country, while 95,80,402 people have recovered from the disease. With 6,294 cases, Kerala now has more than seven lakh confirmed infections. India is only the second country in the world, after the United States, to have more than one crore confirmed novel coronavirus infections.

Globally, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a full lockdown on London and large parts of southeast England in a desperate attempt to stop a new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the region. Sydney also widened restrictions following 30 new local Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours amid a growing outbreak in the Australian city’s Northern Beaches area. South Korea also reported a surge after an outbreak in a Seoul prison infected 185 people

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Read highlights on Coronavirus in India

20:11 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Kerala coronavirus tally touches 7.05 lakh with 5,711 new additions

Kerala on Sunday recorded 5,711 fresh cases of COVID-19 and 30 related deaths, taking the total number of those affected in the state by the virus to 7.05 lakh. State Health Minister K K Shailaja said the state has tested 53,858 samples on Sunday and the test positivity rate was 10.60 per cent.

"Out of the total infected in the state, 111 came from outside the state while 5,058 contracted the disease through their contacts. The sources of infection of 501 people are yet to be traced. Forty one heath workers are also among the infected," Shailaja said in a release.

The state has tested 73.47 lakh samples till now. With 30 more deaths, the toll in the southern state rose to 2,816.

18:10 (IST)20 Dec 2020
2nd Covid-19 vaccine authorised in US preparing to ship out

Workers on Sunday began packaging shipments of the second COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the US, a desperately needed boost to efforts to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. Employees at a factory in the Memphis area were boxing up the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health.

The much-needed shots are expected to be given starting Monday, just three days after the Food and Drug Administration authorised their emergency rollout. Later Sunday, an expert committee will debate who should be next in line for early doses of the Moderna vaccine and a similar one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany's BioNTech.

Pfizer's shots were first shipped out a week ago and started being used the next day, kicking off the nation's biggest vaccination drive. Public health experts say the shots -- and others in the pipeline -- are the only way to stop a virus that has been spreading wildly.

14:59 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Men have 30% higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than women: Study

Men have a 30 per cent higher risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to women of the same age and health status, according to a new study which analysed the link between common patient characteristics and the risk of dying from the novel coronavirus infection.

Hospitalised COVID-19 patients have a greater risk of dying if they are men or if they are obese or have complications from diabetes or hypertension, the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, noted.

In the research, the scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) in the US assessed nearly 67,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in 613 hospitals across the country. READ MORE

14:29 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Maharashtra: Masks mandatory for next 6 months, says Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said wearing masks will be mandatory for the next six months in the state. Addressing people of the state on social media, Thackeray said experts are in favour of imposing night curfew or another lockdown, but he is not in favour of these steps. The coronavirus situation in the state is under control, through not completely, he said. "Prevention is better than cure. Wearing of mask at public places should be made a habit for another six months at least," Thackeray said. Maharashtra reported 3,940 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the state tally to 18,92,707. It also reported 74 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 48,648. (PTI)

A man cycles past a mural in Mumbai urging people to wear masks. (Express Photo: Amit Chakravarty)
13:49 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Asymptomatic COVID-positive air crew would undergo home isolation for 10 days:DGCA

Flight crew members who are asymptomatic but test positive for COVID-19 need to undergo home isolation for 10 days and once it is over, they can be declared fit for flying again by their medical supervisor, according to aviation regulator DGCA. If COVID-positive crew members have 'mild symptoms', they will "continue home isolation and will stand discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for three days", the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular, adding there is no need for "testing after the home isolation period is over". However, if the isolation period for mildly symptomatic crew members is more than 14 days, they have to be examined by DGCA empanelled Class-1 examiner and crew is fit to fly if the examiner declares so, stated the circular that has been accessed by PTI.

12:47 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Thailand to test over 10,000 people after record COVID-19 surge

Thailand plans to test more than 10,000 people after a record daily surge in coronavirus cases to over 500, most of which were among migrant workers linked to a shrimp market near the capital, an official said on Sunday. By Wednesday the authorities aim to conduct 10,300 tests in the southwest province of Samut Sakhon, where the outbreak appeared, and such nearby provinces as Samut Songkhram and Nakhon Pathom, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand's COVID-19 taskforce, told a news conference. "Active case findings will continue in several provinces, actually across the country," he said. Thailand, the first country outside China to report coronavirus infections, has largely kept the outbreak under control with 4,907 cases and 60 deaths.

12:25 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Thailand confirms 576 new coronavirus infections

Thailand confirmed 576 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, including 516 migrant worker cases announced the day before, according to a health ministry statement. The new cases include 19 locally transmitted cases in Bangkok and in the southwestern province of Samut Sakhon, where the 516 inflections were also found. All of them were linked to a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon, the statement said. There were also 41 imported cases.

A health worker in protective clothing collects nasal swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19 in Samut Sakhon, South of Bangkok, Thailand (AP)
10:46 (IST)20 Dec 2020
26,624 new cases, 341 deaths reported in India

India reported 26,624 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. With 341 fatalities, the death toll touched 1,45,477. There are as many as 3,08,751 active cases in the country, while 95,80,402 people have recovered from the disease. With 6,294 cases, Kerala now has more than seven lakh confirmed infections.

10:27 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Karnataka minister hints at free COVID vaccine in state

Karnataka is likely to join the list of a few Indian states that have announced that the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed free of cost in the state.

Hinting at the same, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said,"Either the Government of India or the Government of Karnataka or both together will ensure that the (costs of the Covid-19) vaccine to be rolled out will be taken care of in the interest of the people. Money is not an issue." He was responding to queries raised by reporters in Bengaluru citing neighbouring state Kerala's recent promise of free Covid-19 vaccination for all in the state.

A couple wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus shop at a Christmas souvenir shop ahead of Christmas in Bengaluru (AP)
09:33 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Moderna says CDC panel recommends its COVID-19 vaccine for adults

Moderna Inc said on Saturday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the use of the company's COVID-19 vaccine on people 18 years of age and older. The panel voted 11-0 in favor of the vaccine, the company said in a press release. The vote result came a day after the Food and Drug Administration's authorization for emergency use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

09:19 (IST)20 Dec 2020
There may not be a second peak of COVID-19 in India: Experts

Healthcare experts have said that there may not be a second peak of COVID-19 in the country, and even if it occurs, it is unlikely to be as strong as the first one. The comments come as the country's COVID-19 caseload surpassed the one crore mark, though the number of daily cases and daily fatalities have been continuously coming down. Noted virologist Dr Shahid Jameel said India's curve for daily cases is on a downward slope since a peak in mid-September. "At this time, we are getting about 25,500 cases daily compared to over 93,000 cases per day in mid-September. I believe the worst is over. But there will be small peaks in the future just as we witnessed in late November," he said. "I don't think there would be a second peak as we have gone through the festive season (Dussehra to Diwali) and a state election without a significant jump. What is the reason for this? If we go by the second national serosurvey, likely cases were 16 times confirmed cases. By that factor, India would have 160 million cases now," he told PTI. It is possible that by now there are over 300-400 million infections in the country, Jameel said.

14:27 (IST)19 Dec 2020
Third wave of Covid-19 brought under control in Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal

A day after the national capital recorded 1,333 new Covid-19 cases at a positivity rate of less than 1.5 per cent, one of the lowest so far, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it seems “we have together brought the third wave of Covid-19 under control in Delhi”. Active cases in Delhi are down to about 12,000.

“There was a time in November when the daily cases went up to nearly 8,600. But, even then it wasn’t a panicky situation in Delhi, and beds were available. We fought it all together. The fresh cases count today is 1,133, the official report will soon be out,” the CM told an online briefing. The highest single-day spike till date, 8,593 cases, was reported on November 11.

13:10 (IST)19 Dec 2020
WHO says expert team heads to China in January

The head of emergencies at the World Health Organisation says a team of international experts looking into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic will travel to China the first week of January.

Dr Michael Ryan says there will be quarantine arrangements for the team, which will visit the suspected site of the outbreak in the city of Wuhan.

“The purpose of the mission is to go to the original point at which human cases were detected and that we fully expect to do that,” he said.

12:29 (IST)19 Dec 2020
Stroke, altered mental state increase death risk for COVID-19 patients, shows study

People hospitalised with COVID-19 and neurological problems including stroke and confusion, have a higher risk of dying than other patients infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a new study, reported PTI.

The research, published in the journal Neurology -- the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology -- assessed data from 4,711 COVID-19 patients who were admitted to the Montefiore Medical Center in the US during the six-week period between March 1, 2020 and April 16, 2020.

According to the scientists, including those from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the United States, 581 of the 4,711 patients had neurological problems serious enough to warrant brain imaging.

They compared these individuals with 1,743 non-neurological COVID-19 patients of similar age and disease severity who were admitted during the same period.

10:58 (IST)19 Dec 2020
59-yr-old man leaves Sola Civil Hospital after 113 days of treatment for Covid-19

A 59-year-old man discharged from hospital after 113 days of Covid-19 treatment was among 1,155 patients discharged on Friday, when the state added 1,075 new cases — lowest in a month — to its total tally of 2,33,543 cases.

Devendra Parmar, the man who spent nearly 90 out of 113 days in hospital on ventilator, at the Civil hospital in Sola was admitted to Sharnam Multispeciality Hospital on August 26, with fever and breathlessness. He was referred to Sola hospital later after testing positive for Covid-19, said his daughter Himangi.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel who also holds the health portfolio, said, “I believe, it is possible that this is a first-of-kind case (in terms of duration of hospitalisation) in the entire country.”

Coronavirus Live Updates: New Covid-19 cases below 30,000 for sixth consecutive day The Government expects to vaccinate approximately 30 crore beneficiaries on priority in the early phase. (File)

Those who have recovered from Covid are advised to get a vaccine shot to develop strong immunity; those who have tested positive should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms are resolved; all beneficiaries have to register officially for vaccination; and, the vaccine will not be administered to those who don’t produce a photo ID at the site.

With one of the world’s largest immunisation drives against Covid set to roll out in India early next year, these are the Union Health Ministry’s answers to some key questions on the administration of the vaccine among 21 FAQs compiled for the public, and an additional six for healthcare providers and frontline workers.

The Government expects to vaccinate approximately 30 crore beneficiaries on priority in the early phase. And for the first time, multiple vaccine candidates will be administered against one infection. “…all the COVID-19 vaccines that receive license will have comparable safety and efficacy. However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable,” the Ministry said.

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