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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Coronavirus India Highlights: First nasal Covid vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech gets regulator nod for 2/3 trials

Coronavirus India Highlights: This is the first of its kind COVID-19 jab to undergo human clinical trials in India.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: August 14, 2021 9:28:42 am
A health worker takes a nasal swab sample from a person for COVID-19 tests inside a mobile van, in Amritsar. (Photo: PTI)

Coronavirus India Highlights: Indian vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech’s intranasal Covid-19 vaccine has received the regulatory approval for mid- to late-stage trials, the government’s ministry of science and technology said in a statement on Friday. This is the first of its kind Covid-19 jab to undergo human clinical trials in India.

Mumbai has recorded its first death due to the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 with a 63-year-old woman in Ghatkopar succumbing to it in July. This is the second Delta Plus death in Maharashtra, the first being an 80-year-old woman from Ratnagiri, who succumbed to the disease on June 13. Delta Plus is a mutation of the highly transmissible Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2).

India recorded 40,120 new covid-19 infections in the 24 hours ending 8 am Friday, taking the country’s tally to over 3.21 crore. Out of the new cases, active cases have come down to 3.85 lakh while recoveries have risen to 3.13 crore. Kerala continues to top the charts with 21,445 infections. The country recorded 585 deaths, the total toll now exceeds 4.3 lakh.

Meanwhile, no death due to COVID-19 was recorded in Delhi on Thursday, the second consecutive day when the daily fatality count was nil, while 49 fresh cases were reported with a positivity rate of 0.07 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. This is the eight time, since the starting of the second wave of the pandemic in the national capital, that zero fatality has been logged in a day.

Live Blog

40,120 new cases recorded in last 24 hours; death toll over 4.3 lakh; Mumbai records its first Delta Plus variant death. Follow this space for the latest updates.

18:18 (IST)13 Aug 2021
SII's Cyrus Poonawalla against using mixing of Covid-19 vaccines

Serum Institute of India (SII) chairman Dr Cyrus Poonawalla on Friday said he was not in favour of administering two different coronavirus vaccines for better efficacy. Poonawalla, whose firm makes the Covishield vaccine, was speaking to reporters after receiving the Lokmanya Tilak National Award here. "I am against the mixing of two different vaccines. There is no need to mix two different vaccines," he said, when asked about a recent ICMR study that a cocktail of Covishield and Covaxin could generate better immunity. "If cocktail vaccines are administered and if the result is not good, then SII may say that another vaccine was not good, vice versa, the other company might say that since you mixed Serum's vaccine, it did not give desired results," Poonawalla said. The efficacy of this approach has not been proven in field trials involving thousands of participants, he added. --PTI

18:02 (IST)13 Aug 2021
In Andhra Pradesh, active cases increase by 349 in the last two days

Active coronavirus cases increased by 349 in the last two days in Andhra Pradesh as fresh cases of infection have been outnumbering recoveries. In the 24 hours ending 9 am on Friday, the state reported 1,746 fresh cases, 1,648 recoveries and 20 Covid-19 deaths. Consequently, the number of active cases increased to 18,766, an increase of 78 over the previous day, according to the latest bulletin. The total positive cases reached 19,90,656, recoveries 19,58,275 and deaths 13,615, the bulletin said.

The two Godavari districts, East and West, reported the highest of 304 and 261 fresh cases respectively, followed by SPS Nellore 236, Chittoor 203, Guntur 160, Krishna 125, Visakhapatnam 115 and Prakasam 106 in 24 hours. Srikakulam added 91 and Kadapa 78 while the remaining three districts logged less than 30 new cases each. Chittoor and Visakhapatnam reported four fresh fatalities, SPS Nellore three, East Godavari, Krishna and Srikakulam two each, Anantapuramu, Guntur and West Godavari one each in a day.  --PTI

15:46 (IST)13 Aug 2021
Over 2.82 crore COVID-19 vaccine does still available with states, UTs: Govt

Over 55.01 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been provided to states and union territories so far, and 59,16,920 more are in the pipeline, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. Of this, the total consumption, including wastage, stands at 52,59,93,669 doses (as per data available at 8 am on Friday). More than 2.82 crore balance and unutilised doses are still available with states, UTs and private hospitals, the ministry said. The Union government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country, it said. The new phase of universalisation of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from June 21. --PTI

15:17 (IST)13 Aug 2021
Two major Covid clusters emerge in Chennai

The city has witnessed the emergence of two major Covid clusters in the span of about a fortnight, recording over 40 infections and the death of a woman with comorbidity. A gated community in Sholinganallur here has emerged as the second major Covid-19 cluster, seen as different from the first one at Kilpauk which was a religious gathering. As many as 23 people including 15 adults who have taken either single or two doses of COVID vaccine and six children have tested positive in the latest cluster, Dr J Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, said on Friday. This second major cluster, in Zone 15 on Model School Road, Sholinganallur (two blocks) has come as a surprise to the health officials who have been hectically involved in sensitising people on pandemic-related safety precautions. --PTI

13:04 (IST)13 Aug 2021
575 people including 112 children test positive for COVID-19 in Mizoram

At least 575 people, including 112 children, have tested positive for novel coronavirus in Mizoram, pushing the state's COVID-19 tally to 47,471, an official said on Friday. The COVID-19 death toll in the state climbed to 174 as a 64-year-old man from Lawngtlai district died at Zoram Medical College (ZMC) on Thursday night, he said.

The fresh COVID-19 cases were detected from 8,083 samples and the single-day positivity rate is 7.11 per cent, he said. Aizawl district reported 302 new cases, Kolasib (97), Mamit (55), Lawngtlai (50), Lunglei (35), Serchhip (19), Champhai (9), Hnahthial (5) and Saitual reported 3 cases, the official said. Two patients have travel history and the rest 573 were found to have locally contracted the infection, he said, adding that of 575 patients, 362 have developed symptoms of COVID-19.

12:01 (IST)13 Aug 2021
WHO expert ‘had concerns’ about lab close to 1st COVID cases

When a World Health Organization-led team travelled to China earlier this year to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, a top official said he was worried about safety standards at a laboratory close to the seafood market where the first human cases were detected, according to a documentary released Thursday by Danish television channel TV2.

The Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention was handling coronaviruses “without potentially having the same level of expertise or safety or who knows,” Peter Ben Embarek said during a conference call in January, according to footage shown by TV2. Ben Embarek is a WHO expert on disease transmission from animals to humans and one of the team’s leaders.

But months later, when WHO released its dense report on its mission to Wuhan, the U.N. health agency concluded that a leak of the virus from the lab was “extremely unlikely” to have caused COVID-19. The WHO report even lent credence to a fringe theory promoted by the Chinese government that the virus may have been spread via frozen seafood packaging.

09:43 (IST)13 Aug 2021
India records 40,120 new covid-19 cases, 585 deaths

India recorded 40,120 new covid-19 infections in the 24 hours ending 8 am Friday, taking the country's tally to over 3.21 crore. Out of the new cases, active cases have come down to 3.85 lakh while recoveries have risen to 3.13 crore. Kerala continues to top the charts with 21,445 infections. The country recorded 585 deaths, the total toll now exceeds 4.3 lakh.

09:16 (IST)13 Aug 2021
National Health Authority teams up with IIT Delhi to strengthen India's response to COVID-19 crisis

Recognising the role of innovations to strengthen India's response to COVID-19 crisis and preparedness for emerging healthcare needs, the National Health Authority has signed an MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.Through this partnership, the National Health Authority (NHA) will be a technical collaborator on the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Financing Facility, a statement by the NHA said.
 

IIT Delhi serves as the hosting entity for SAMRIDH. This initiative is implemented by a Technical Support Unit managed by IPE Global.
SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Financing Facility aims to catalyse market-based health solutions to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare services for low-income and vulnerable communities, particularly for Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) beneficiaries. SAMRIDH has mobilised a capital pool of more than USD 100 million from private sector and development funders.

09:05 (IST)13 Aug 2021
Bengal Covid-19 curbs extended till Aug 30, night restrictions relaxed

The Mamata Banerjee government on Thursday extended Covid-19 restrictions till August 30, but relaxed the night curfew timings.

The night curfew, which was earlier in force from 9pm to 5 am, will now be between 11 pm and 5 am.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Banerjee said local trains would be allowed to function only after more people from rural areas were vaccinated.

20:53 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Karnataka: 1,857 new Covid cases, govt denies plea to allow full occupancy at cinema halls

Karnataka Thursday reported 1,857 new Covid-19 cases and 30 deaths, taking the total number of infections to 29.24 lakh and the toll to 36,911. The day also saw 1,950 discharges, as it outnumbered the fresh cases, thereby resulting in the dropping of the active caseload to 22,728. The total number of recoveries in the state so far has increased to 28,65,067.

Meanwhile Bengaluru Urban reported 321 new cases, as the city also saw 413 discharges and five deaths, the health department said in a bulletin.

While the positivity rate stood at 1.15 per cent, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was 1.61 per cent. Districts that reported the most related fatalities apart from Bengaluru were Dakshina Kannada (5), Kolar (3), Belagavi, Chitradurga, Hassan, Shivamogga, and Tumakuru (2 each). Read More

20:36 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Kerala records 21,445 fresh cases

According to the state government's data, Kerala's Covid tally rose to 36,31,638 with 21,445 fresh cases on Thursday. It added 160 more fatalities, pushing the death toll to 18,280.

17:52 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Only 2% Covid beds occupied in Delhi: Health Minister

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday stated that 298 out of the 16,000 Covid beds in the national capital are occupied, registering only 2 per cent occupancy. He added that almost all major hospitals are occupied at 70-80 per cent capacity, which includes their non-Covid beds, ANI reported.

16:40 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Health Minister holds discussion over Covaxin approval with WHO Chief Scientist

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya met WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan and held a discussion over its approval of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, ANI reported.

(Photo: ANI)
16:27 (IST)12 Aug 2021
‘BMC moving in right direction’: Bombay High Court on civic body vaccinating 25% of disabled, bedridden beneficiaries

Saying that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was “moving in the right direction” by vaccinating one-fourth of the registered people who are either bedridden or cannot move, the Bombay High Court on Thursday asked other civic bodies to follow BMC’s model to initiate similar drives.

The BMC on Tuesday had informed the high court that between July 30 and August 9, of the 4,889 registered beneficiaries, 1,317 people have been inoculated. “This figure constitutes roughly 25 per cent of total registered beneficiaries. Encouraging part is that none of the persons vaccinated had any adverse effects. We record our satisfaction that the BMC has been moving in the right direction. We expect the corporation to cover more such individuals in the days to come,” the Bench noted. Read more.


Home vaccination drive in Navi Mumbai. (Express file photo by Narendra Vaskar)


16:06 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Covid-related restrictions in West Bengal extended

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced Thursday that the Covid-related restrictions in the state have been extended till August 30. The timings for the night curfew have been relaxed, from 11 pm to 5 am, PTI reported.

15:31 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Over 54.04 crore Covid vaccine doses provided to states, UTs so far: Govt

More than 54.04 crore Covid vaccine doses have been provided to states and UTs so far, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday, of which over 52 crore doses have been consumed, including wastage. A total of 1,09,83,510 additional doses are in the pipeline, PTI reported.

15:25 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Covid-19 may become a mostly childhood disease in few years: Study

Covid-19 may behave like other common-cold coronaviruses in the next few years, affecting mostly young children who have not yet been vaccinated or exposed to the virus, according to a modelling study published on Thursday.

The US-Norwegian team noted that because Covid-19 severity is generally lower among children, the overall burden from this disease is expected to decline as the SARS-CoV-2 virus becomes endemic in the global population. “Following infection by SARS-CoV-2, there has been a clear signature of increasingly severe outcomes and fatality with age,” said Ottar Bjornstad from the University of Oslo in Norway. “Yet, our modelling results suggest that the risk of infection will likely shift to younger children as the adult community becomes immune either through vaccination or exposure to the virus,” he said. Read more.

14:57 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Karnataka CM directs officials in border districts to be extra cautious

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai visited the district headquarters town of Dakshina Kannada district, which borders Kerala and is seeing a siginificant increase in number of Covid-19 cases. He directed the officials to only allow people coming from neighbouring states after Covid tests.

"I have come here to review the Covid-19 situation. Our objective is to completely control Covid-19 in Dakshina Kannada district. There is a need to take extra precautionary measures in the border regions," he was quoted as saying by PTI. He also inaugurated the new intensive care unit at the Wenlock Madison Government Hospital. He will also be travelling to other border districts. 

14:13 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Told Union health minister difficult to ascertain oxygen-related deaths without probe: Sisodia

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Thursday said he has written to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya saying that without a proper probe, it is difficult to ascertain if any oxygen-related death happened during the second wave of coronavirus. Sisodia said the Delhi government had formed a committee to probe the deaths and prepare a report so that the affected families can be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each.

"But through the LG (Delhi's Lieutenant Governor), the Centre did not allow that committee to be formed. We are sending the file again to the Delhi LG for approval. We will carry out the probe with full responsibility and even punish those who were guilty," he told the media in an online briefing. Delhi has recorded over 25,000 fatalities due to the infection, he said, adding it will have to be probed how many of these were linked to the oxygen crisis during April and May. (PTI)

13:51 (IST)12 Aug 2021
Covid-19 cluster in Chennai’s Kilpauk: 20 positive, 1 dead after attending temple festival

Twenty people, who attended a temple festival on August 2, have tested positive for Covid-19 at Varadhammal Garden Street near Kilpauk in Chennai. Reportedly, close to 300 people had participated in the annual religious event and among them a 47-year-old woman, who was diabetic and unvaccinated, has succumbed to the disease

The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), which identified the Covid-19 cluster after one of the organisers of the event turned positive, has taken stringent measures to curb the spread, like tracking and testing those who were in close contact with the people who had participated in the event. The corporation officials said the samples of all the people who had participated in the event were taken on August 7, 8, and 9  and they would again be taking the sample in a few days.

According to the latest reports, the infected people are stable and have been provided treatment at ESI, KMC hospitals in the city. The streets adjoining the temple have been barricaded to avoid any further public movement. On Wednesday, the GCC said stringent action will be taken under Section 188 of the IPC and the Disaster Management Act against those who have violated the Covid-19 norms. In a statement, it said the government had banned public entry at places of worship on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a view to avoid large gatherings. It added that an explanation has been sought from the organiser of the event in Chennai which led to a cluster. (Express Web Desk)

People get their shots at a vaccination centre in Bengaluru. (PTI)

Covid cases stabilising but reproduction number in newer states a concern: Centre

Raising a red flag, the Centre on Tuesday said that while Covid-19 cases are “stabilising” across the country, the reproduction number (or R value) greater than 1, specifically from newer states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, is a “significant reason to be concerned”.

The warning by the head of India’s Covid-19 task force, Dr V K Paul, came after the Health Ministry on Tuesday said that eight states are reporting R value equal to 1 and above, which indicates how fast the virus is spreading in a region.

The ministry said that in Punjab, which is reporting R of 1.3, the daily cases are increasing. Similarly, in Himachal Pradesh (1.3 R), Uttar Pradesh (1.1 R), and Andhra Pradesh (1 R) there is an indication of a likely increase in cases. In Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (1.1), Goa and Nagaland (1), daily cases are stable but require strict containment.

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