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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Coronavirus India HIGHLIGHTS: Will Centre have Rs 80k crore to provide each with Covid vaccine, asks SII CEO

India continues to remain the second worst-hit country after the United States, but topped the global chart in terms of virus recoveries.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 27, 2020 9:36:25 am
Coronavirus vaccine, Covid vaccine roll out Oxford Covid vaccine, Covid-19 cases, world news, Indian expressSyringes of SARS CoV-2 Vaccine for COVID-19 produced by SinoVac are displayed during a media tour of its factory in Beijing on Thursday, September 24, 2020. (AP Photo)

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday asked whether the central government will have Rs 80,000 crore over the next one year to provide each citizen with the Covid-19 vaccine. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Quick question; will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that’s what Ministry of Health and Family Affairs needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle.”

With India reporting 85,362 cases in the last 24 hours ending 8 am on Saturday, the total number of Covid-19 infections in the country crossed the 59 lakh-mark to reach 59,03,933. Also, as many as 1,089 new fatalities pushed the death toll to 93,379. At present, India has 9,60,969 active cases, while 48,49,585 people have been treated and discharged, the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. The nation’s recovery rate has risen to 82.14 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate was recorded at 1.58 per cent.

Globally, as many as 32,475,585 people have been infected while 987,754 have lost their lives. Also, 22,377,620 people have recovered so far. India continues to remain the second worst-hit country after the United States, but topped the global chart in terms of virus recoveries.

Live Blog

Read highlights on covid-19 cases in India

05:00 (IST)27 Sep 2020
UP: Dip in new Covid cases as recovery hits a high

Continuing the positive trend of higher number of Covid patients recovering in comparison to the number of fresh positive cases, at least 6,546 patients were declared recovered against 4,412 new cases in the last 24 hours in Uttar Pradesh. Read More

22:30 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Jharkhand reports 1,226 new COVID-19 cases

Jharkhand reported 1,226 new COVID-19 cases, 1,324 recoveries and 6 deaths today, taking total cases to 78,935 including 65,839 recoveries, 670 deaths and 12,426 active cases: State Health Department

22:00 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Cinema halls to reopen in West Bengal from October 1: Mamata

Cinema halls and open air theatres will be allowed to operate in West Bengal from October 1 with limited number of participants, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday. She also said musical, dance and magic shows would be permitted in the state from next month. (PTI)

21:47 (IST)26 Sep 2020
‘Where is United Nations in Covid-19 fight’: PM Modi at UNGA address

Addressing the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday raised questions on the response of the global body to the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed nearly one million people and infected over 32 million worldwide.

The Prime Minister listed out India’s priorities and its role in the global setup, assuring its cooperation in dealing with the pandemic. Highlighting India’s achievements and role in 75 years of the United Nations, Modi called for reforms with “changing times” and India’s inclusion in the decision-making process within the global body. Read more

20:59 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Bengal reports 56 more COVID deaths, 3,181 fresh cases

The COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal on Saturday went up to 4,721 with 56 more people succumbing to the disease, the state health department said in a bulletin. The tally increased to 2,44,240 after 3,181 people tested positive for the infection. In the last 24 hours, 2,955 patients recovered from coronavirus taking the states discharge rate to 87.61 per cent, the bulletin said. (PTI)

19:31 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Modi raises questions on UN's response in combating COVID-19; assures world of India's vaccine production prowess

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday raised questions on the response of the United Nations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured the global community that India will use its production and delivery capacity to help all humanity in fighting the deadly disease. "Over the last 8 to 9 months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the coronavirus. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?" Modi said as he asserted that reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour.

19:22 (IST)26 Sep 2020
India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity: PM Modi

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said, "As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.

17:49 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Will Centre have Rs 80k crore to provide each with Covid vaccine, asks SII CEO

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday asked whether the central government will have Rs 80,000 crore over the next one year to provide each citizen with the Covid-19 vaccine. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that’s what Ministry of Health and Family Affairs needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle.”

16:52 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Sisodia's condition improves, likely to be shifted out of ICU: Official

The condition of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is suffering from COVID-19 and dengue, has improved, a day after he was administered convalescent plasma therapy, reported news agency PTI. He is likely to be shifted from the ICU to a normal ward, said the hospital officials. He was admitted on Thursday evening after a "falling" blood platelet count and low oxygen level.

15:14 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Weekend lockdown begins in Jodhpur amid spike in COVID-19 cases

A weekend lockdown began in Jodhpur on Saturday to check the spread of the novel coronavirus amid a sudden spike in fresh infections and deaths. Police and civic officials took out marches in parts of the desert city to sensitise people about the prevailing situation and request them to stay indoors. District Magistrate Indrajeet Singh said, "We have taken this decision (to impose lockdown) considering the spurt in infections in the city. We expect people to adhere to it. If they do not understand the seriousness of the situation now, it will be too late." The city has reported close to 1,200 cases in the past two days, leading to a huge pressure on its healthcare infrastructure. More than 150 people have died due to COVID-19 in the city this month. (PTI)

14:06 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Lockdown effect: Athletes deficient in Vitamin D
Lack of the Vitamin D can lead to stress fractures or muscle injury, especially when athletes resume training after long breaks.(Representational Image)

Staying indoors during the lockdown and subsequently resuming training early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the sweltering summer heat has caused an unexpected problem for India’s top track and field athletes. Not getting enough sunlight has resulted in low Vitamin D levels, that help in muscle recovery and improved bone density. Lack of the Vitamin D, produced when the body is exposed to the sun’s rays, can lead to stress fractures or muscle injury, especially when athletes resume training after long breaks.

Athletes across sport, including the country’s top cricketers, have spoken about taking time to regain muscle memory to play a stroke, build endurance and getting used to training regimens after lockdown-enforced breaks. However, even changes in nutrition levels can make a world of a difference if not detected early.

Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) high performance director Volker Herrmann said the Vitamin D deficiency was observed in all the national campers in Patiala following results of blood tests in June.

13:44 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine produces strong immune response in early trial

A single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ.N experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response against the novel coronavirus in an early-to-mid stage clinical trial, according to interim results published on Friday.

The vaccine, called Ad26.COV2.S, was equally well-tolerated at two different doses, the results showed. A single shot, versus a rival two-dose approach being tested by Moderna Inc MRNA.O and Pfizer Inc PFE.N, could simplify distribution of the vaccine.

However, it is unclear whether elderly people, one of the populations most at risk from the virus, will be protected to the same degree as younger people with the J&J vaccine.

12:56 (IST)26 Sep 2020
In seven out of last eight days, recoveries have exceeded the new detection of cases
As on Friday, the active cases in the country had dropped to 9.6 lakh from a high of 10.17 on September 17.

In seven out of last eight days, recoveries have exceeded the new detection of cases, leading to a significant fall in the active cases. As on Friday, the active cases in the country had dropped to 9.6 lakh from a high of 10.17 on September 17.

The number of confirmed infections in Maharashtra has now touched 13 lakh. Close to 18,000 new cases were reported from the state on Friday, well below the recent normal of 22,000 to 25,000 cases every day. The death toll in the state has crossed 35,000, which is more than 37 per cent of all the coronavirus-related deaths in the country.

Odisha now has more than 2 lakh people who have so far been infected with the virus. The state has been reporting more than 4,000 cases every day

12:00 (IST)26 Sep 2020
India Covid-19 numbers explained: Why Kerala might re-enter top 10 states soon
Daily new cases in Kerala in September.

With more than 18,000 new cases being detected in the last three days, Kerala has emerged as the state with the fastest growing coronavirus numbers right now. Kerala still has relatively lesser number of confirmed infections compared to states like Maharashtra or Andhra Pradesh, but at the rate at which it has been adding new cases in the last couple of weeks, it is all set to make a re-entry into the list of top ten states with highest caseloads within a few days.

In the last one week, almost 35,000 new cases have been discovered in the state, taking the total number of confirmed infections to 1.61 lakh. The current growth rate of cases is 3.51 per cent per day, which is the highest in the country and more than double of national rate which is 1.53 per cent per day.

Kerala also has close to 49,000 active cases, which is the fifth highest in the country. Only Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have more active cases.

11:31 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Too much or too little sugar? Depends on a new wave of lockdowns
Piles of refined white sugar cubes sit at the ED&F Man Ltd. refinery in Nikolaev, Ukraine.  (Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg)

A new wave of lockdowns due to the novel coronavirus may decide if the world will have too much or too little sugar.

Some of the industry’s prominent analysts are divided on whether the market will face a surplus or deficit in the season starting next month. The difference in opinion lies on how much the pandemic will slash consumption or prompt top producer Brazil to make more lucrative sugar at the expense of cheaper ethanol.

Global sugar production is forecast to fall short of demand by 1.1 million tons next season, according to Patricia Luis-Manso, head of agriculture and biofuels analytics at S&P Global Platts. That’s similar to an estimate by John Stansfield, a veteran analyst at Group Sopex. For Raissa Cury Pires da Silva, head of Americas sugar research for trader ED&F Man, the world will face a second year of surplus.

“We have two quite strong bearish flags,” said Luis-Manso, referring to further cuts in demand and Brazil’s ability to make more sugar. “Both flags have the potential to solve this deficit without any significant sugar price increase. That’s why I think this deficit may be too small to be significant.”

11:22 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Boris Johnson calls for global plan to prevent future pandemics
Boris Johnson said, "We are determined to do everything in our power to work with our friends across the UN to heal those divisions and to heal the world.”

Boris Johnson will call for a global plan to prevent pandemics and pledge more U.K. funds to the World Health Organization in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Saturday. The prime minister wants a global network of research hubs to spot dangerous pathogens, a boost to manufacturing capacity for vaccines and treatments, and reduced trade barriers to smooth cooperation between nations, according to extracts of the speech released by his office.

“Unless we unite and turn our fire against our common foe, we know that everyone will lose,” Johnson will say in the speech, which has been recorded and will be played to the assembly on Saturday. “We are determined to do everything in our power to work with our friends across the UN to heal those divisions and to heal the world.”

The coronavirus crisis is the worst pandemic in a century and has officially claimed almost a million lives, though the real toll may be almost double that. Johnson, whose country has the fifth-highest virus death toll in the world, will say the notion of an international community currently looks “tattered” and “we cannot continue this way.”

11:20 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Health Minister of Australia’s virus-hit Victoria State resigns
Mikakos said in her statement she never shirked her responsibility but that it wasn’t hers alone. (Source: Bloomberg)

The health minister of the state at the center of Australia’s coronavirus outbreak resigned amid a furor over the bungling of quarantine procedures at hotels.

Jenny Mikakos released a statement on Saturday saying she could not continue to serve in Victoria’s state Cabinet following comments by Premier Daniel Andrews to an investigation into the government’s quarantine program.

Andrews told the inquiry he didn’t know who made the decision to hire security firms to monitor the quarantine in hotels in the state capital Melbourne but that he regarded Mikakos as accountable for the program, according to a report from Australian Broadcasting Corp.

11:04 (IST)26 Sep 2020
India's recovery rate rises to to 82.14%, fatality rate recorded at 1.58%

The nation's recovery rate has risen to 82.14 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate was recorded at 1.58 per cent.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and it went past 50 lakh on September 16. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 7,02,69,975 samples have been tested up to September 25 with 13,41,535 samples being tested on Friday.

10:46 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Hunt for coronavirus vaccine: The story so far
  • 187 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
  • 38 of them in clinical trials
  • Nine in final stages, phase-III of human trials
  • At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I.

The ones most talked about:

* AstraZeneca/Oxford University
* Moderna
* Pfizer/BioNTech
* Johnson & Johnson
* Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline
* Novavax
* Russian vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Insttiute in Moscow
* Three Chinese vaccines that have been approved for use in China without phase-3 trials being completed. One of them has been given emergency use authorisation in UAE

10:26 (IST)26 Sep 2020
Vaccine headed to India enters phase-3 trials

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by US company Novavax has said it was beginning final stage clinical trials in the United Kingdom. In the United States, these trials would begin next month.

This vaccine candidate is one of those that are supposed to be available in India as well. Pune-based Serum Institute of India has an agreement with Novavax to manufacture and distribute this vaccine in India and other low and middle income markets.

The company has said it plans to enrol 10,000 participants for its UK trial.

Novavax vaccine is the tenth candidate to enter phase-3 trials, including four from China and one from Russia. Apart from these, vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are currently undergoing phase-3 trials in different locations.

Coronavirus India LIVE updates

Former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi said he has tested positive for Covid-19 and urged those who came in contact with him in recent days to get tested. Meanwhile, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is battling a double infection of COVID-19 and dengue, has been administered convalescent plasma therapy and his condition is better now, an official from his office said.

As India’s coronavirus numbers continue to grow, some promising signals over the last few days offer a glimmer of hope, even if temporarily. Wednesday was the sixth consecutive day when the number of people recovering from the disease, as reported in government data, exceeded the detection of new infections. Never before has this happened for more than a day — and those occasions were more in the nature of anomalies in the reporting of data, rather than the representation of a trend. The result has been that the number of active cases has started to show a declining trend for the first time.

On the vaccine front, the World Health Organisation has released a detailed financial document arguing the case for investing in an initiative that seeks to accelerate the development and equitable distribution of a coronavirus vaccine to everyone.

Active Covid cases in India have come down from a high of 10.17 lakh on September 17, to 9.66 lakh now. For the spread of an epidemic, only the active cases matter, because they are the ones who transmit the disease to others. Also, only active cases require medical attention, so a reduction in active cases reduces the burden on the health apparatus.

In an epidemic such as this, a clear trend of recoveries exceeding new infections is keenly awaited, because it can be read as signalling a slowing spread. These are still very early days — the trend has to hold for several weeks to convey something more meaningful — but the fact that it has begun brings hope.

What’s more, the reproduction number, or R, a key epidemiological metric that indicates how fast the disease is spreading in a population, has fallen below 1 for the first time since the pandemic began in India in the first week of March. R-value is a measure of the number of people who are being infected on average by an already infected person. A value less than 1 means fewer people are getting the infection than those who are carrying the disease right now.

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