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Coronavirus India HIGHLIGHTS: Delhi records 1547 fresh cases, 32 deaths; positivity rate 1.96%

The total number of infections now stand at 99,32,548, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2020 11:29:43 am
Mumbai covid, bmc, mumbai covid gudelines, mumbai covid cases, mumbai night curfew, mumbaui night club covid violation, mumbai news, indian express newsOut of the total cases, over 3.39 cases are active while over 94.2 lakh people have recovered after testing positive.

Continuing the trend of contraction of coronavirus cases, India’s COVID-19 active caseload now stands at 3,32,002 comprising 3.34 per cent of the total number of infections reported in the country, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.  A total 26,382 people were found to be infected with COVID-19 in India in a single day, as per the Health ministry’s latest data update on Wednesday. During the same period, the country also registered 33,813 new recoveries ensuring a net decline of 7,818 cases in the active caseload.

“India has recorded less than 40,000 daily new cases since the last 17 days,” the ministry underlined. The figure of new cases per million population in India in the last seven days — 147 — is one of the lowest in the world, it said.

Out of the total cases, over 3.32 lakh cases are active while over 94.56 lakh people have recovered. With 387 new fatalities, the death toll now stands at 1,44,096. Daily deaths have remained below 400 for the fourth consecutive day. Kerala was the only state to report more than 5,000 cases on Tuesday. Underlining the potential challenges of serious adverse reactions that could be triggered by Covid-19 vaccines during the largest adult immunisation drive expected next year, the central government on Tuesday said it has directed all states to identify at least one health centre in each block level that would be linked to the vaccination centre for management of such adverse events.

During the weekly briefing on the pandemic, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the time-line for vaccination will not be impacted in the backdrop of the drug regulator currently examining applications of the three vaccine manufacturers who have sought emergency use authorisation of their vaccines.

Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, emphasised that the additional mechanism on adverse event reporting is being implemented, keeping in view the unique challenge of vaccinating a large adult population, most of who will have associated comorbidities.

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Read highlights on Covid-19 in India.

21:49 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Haryana reports 807 cases, 14 deaths; recovery rate 95.95%

New cases of Covid-19 as well as the number of active patients continue to witness a decline over the last few days while the recovery rate continues to go up across Haryana. According to Wednesday evening Covid-19 bulletin, the state reported 807 new cases of Covid-19 patients while 1,452 recovered in the last 24 hours. The number of active Covid-19 patients decreased to 7,573. At least 14 patients died in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate of Covid-19 patients, however, reached 95.95 per cent Wednesday evening.

Among the new cases, Gurgaon added 230, Faridabad 180, Sonipat 46, Hisar 22, Ambala 30, Karnal 32, Panipat 32, Rohtak 30, Rewari 22, Panchkula 34, Kurukshetra 20, Yamunanagar 28, Sirsa 15, Mahendragarh 11, Bhiwani seven, Jhajjar 22, Palwal nine, Fatehabad four, Kaithal six, Jind 24, Nuh two and Charkhi Dadri one. Among the fatalities, two each died in Gurgaon, Sonipat, Hisar and Panipat, and one each in Faridabad, Ambala, Kaithal, Panchkula, Jhajjar and Fatehabad.

As of Wednesday evening, there were 239 patients in a critical condition, including 208 on oxygen support and 31 patients on ventilator support. (With inputs from Express News Service)

20:47 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Delhi records 1547 fresh cases, 32 deaths; positivity rate 1.96 pc

Delhi recorded 1,547 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with over 79,000 tests conducted, even as the positivity rate stood at 1.96 percent, authorities said.The death toll mounted to 10,147 with 32 new fatalities while the active case tally dropped to 13,261 from 14,480 the previous day, they said. This is the second consecutive day when the positivity rate remained below two percent.

The positivity rate from December 3 to December 7 had successively dipped to 4.96 percent, 4.78 percent, 4.2 percent, 3.68 percent and 3.15 percent respectively. However, on December 8 it had risen again to 4.23 percent, falling again to 3.42 percent on December 9 and 2.46 percent on December 10. (PTI)

20:03 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Bharat Biotech’s Covid vaccine produces robust immune response, shows Phase 1 findings

The Covid-19 vaccine being developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech has been found to be well tolerated with no serious adverse events and produced robust immune responses, interim findings from Phase I trials revealed.

The Hyderabad-based company, which is developing Covaxin, in collaboration with National Institute of Virology, an ICMR institute in Pune, has started phase-III trials only recently, and is yet to enroll all the participants as per its design.

“Reactogenicity was absent in the majority of participants, with mild events. The majority of adverse events were mild and were resolved. One serious adverse event was reported, which was found to be unrelated to vaccination. All three vaccine formulations resulted in robust immune responses comparable to a panel of convalescent serum,” the interim study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found.

19:48 (IST)16 Dec 2020
J&K's COVID-19 tally rises to 1,16,922 with 332 fresh cases

Jammu and Kashmir recorded 332 fresh COVID-19 infections on Wednesday which took the union territory's caseload to 1,16,922, while five more fatalities pushed the death toll to 1,817, officials said. Of the fresh cases, 151 were reported from the Kashmir division and 181 from the Jammu division, they said. Jammu district recorded the highest number of fresh cases at 96, followed by 53 in Srinagar district, according to the officials.

The number of active cases dropped to 4,346 in the union territory as 415 patients recovered from the infection. So far, 1,10,769 patients have recovered, the officials said. Jammu and Kashmir also reported five more COVID-19 deaths the previous day, four from Jammu and one from the Kashmir region, they said. With these, the death toll due to the pandemic stands at 1,817, they said.

18:34 (IST)16 Dec 2020
London enters highest COVID-19 alert as UK reviews other lockdown tiers

The UK government is reviewing the tiered lockdown allocations for different parts of the country as scheduled by law on Wednesday, even as millions of more people in and around London moved into the highest alert level of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions after a worrying spike in infections.

With the addition of the UK capital and surrounding areas of Essex and Hertfordshire to Tier 3, or near complete lockdown, around 61 per cent of England's population is now living under the toughest lockdown rules which impose a ban on inter-household mingling indoors and a closure of all restaurants and bars except for takeaways and deliveries. "The number of COVID-19 cases in London has increased significantly over the past two weeks and we continue to experience the highest case rates of anywhere in the country," said Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England.

"We are now in a situation of exponential growth which, if left unchecked, would lead to a rapid escalation in cases and hospitalisations that could overwhelm our NHS (National Health Service) services over the festive period and into the New Year. Whilst no-one wants to see London under tighter restrictions, the stark reality of the situation means we have no choice," he said.

17:49 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Odisha reports 407 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths

Odisha reported 407 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the tally to 3,24,796, a Health Department official said. Five more deaths raised the toll to 1,820, he said. Of the new cases, 236 were reported from different quarantine centres. Sundergarh recorded the highest 62 new cases, followed by Angul (60) and Khurda (46). Four districts -- Deogarh, Nabarangpur, Subarnapur and
Rayagada -- did not report any new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, he said. Khurda, of which state capital Bhubaneswar is a part, has so far reported 52,224 COVID-19 cases, followed by Cuttack (28,428) and Ganjam (21,748), the official said.

16:25 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Latest updates on Covid-19 from around the world

  • India recorded 26,382 new Covid-19 cases, 387 deaths; caseload at 99.3 lakh
  • Identify health centres in every block to check adverse effects, says Centre
  • Cipla partners Premier Medical Corporation to launch Covid-19 rapid antigen test kits in India
  • Tamil Nadu government allows outdoor gatherings from Dec 19
  • In Gujarat’s Bhavnagar, teachers who opt out of vaccine survey to be ‘retired’
  • More than 73.5 million tested positive for Covid-19 worldwide; death toll at 1.63 million
  • One in four people globally may not get Covid-19 vaccines until 2022
  • London moves into highest level of coronavirus restrictions
  • Indonesia pledges free Covid-19 vaccines, with president first in line
  • Russia scales back Covid-19 screening amid surging cases

15:44 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Germany enters harder lockdown as virus deaths hit new high

Germany hit a new record level of coronavirus deaths as it entered a harder lockdown Wednesday, closing shops and schools to try to bring down stubbornly high new cases. The country recorded 179.8 deaths of new infections per 100,000 residents over the last seven days, a new high and significantly more than the 149 per 100,000 reported a week ago by the Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control center.

It also blew past its previous daily total, with Germany's 16 states reporting 952 people had died of the virus, the agency said. That was far greater than the previous daily record set Friday of 598 deaths, although included two days of figures from the hard-hit eastern state of Saxony, which did not report Tuesday. It brought the country's overall pandemic death toll to 23,427. Faced with exponentially increasing cases in October, Germany implemented a lockdown light at the start of November, which closed bars and restaurants but left shops open. The measures succeeded in leveling off the numbers of new daily infections, but didn't bring them down, prompting the new stricter restrictions. (AP)

14:57 (IST)16 Dec 2020
A pandemic atlas: How COVID-19 took over the world in 2020

Almost no place has been spared and no one. The virus that first emerged a year ago in Wuhan, China, swept across the world in 2020, leaving havoc in its wake. More than any event in memory, the pandemic has been a global event. On every continent, households have felt its devastation joblessness and lockdowns, infirmity and death. And an abiding, relentless fear. But each nation has its own story of how it coped.

The story of COVID-19 in Brazil is the story of a president who insists the pandemic is no big deal. Jair Bolsonaro condemned COVID-19 quarantine, saying shutdowns would wreck the economy and punish the poor. He scoffed at the little flu, then trumpeted the fatalistic claim nothing could stop 70 per cent of Brazilians from falling ill. And he refused to take responsibility when many did.

In many ways, normal life has resumed in China, the country where COVID-19 first appeared one year ago. China's ruling Communist Party has retracted some of the most sweeping anti-disease controls ever imposed. The challenge is jobs: The economy is growing again, but the recovery is uneven. (AP)

14:03 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Cipla partners Premier Medical Corporation to launch COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits in India

Drug major Cipla on Wednesday announced its partnership with the Premier Medical Corporation Pvt Ltd for commercialisation of the rapid antigen test kits for COVID-19 in India.

“In this collaboration, Cipla will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of the Rapid Antigen Detection Test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen that will be manufactured by Premier Medical Corporation Pvt Ltd,” Cipla said in a regulatory filing.

The company said it will commence supply of rapid point-of-care nasopharyngeal swab tests from this week.

13:20 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Tamil Nadu government allows outdoor gatherings from Dec 19

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday permitted political/religious gatherings in open space with certain restrictions from December 19.

In a statement, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said following all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), social, political, sports, educational, cultural, entertainment, and religious gatherings of a maximum of 50 per cent capacity would be permitted in open spaces. He said other districts need to obtain prior permission from the District Collector, and Greater Chennai Police Commissioner with respect to Chennai.

Edappadi further instructed the public to wear masks while stepping outside and follow all safety precautions issued by the government to curb the spread of the virus.

The state government had given nod to conduct religious congregations, social, political, cultural, and other functions inside an auditorium with 50 per cent capacity or a maximum ceiling of 200 people from December 1 till December 31.

Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, reported 1,132 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the overall tally to 8,01,161. With 10 deaths, the toll reached 11,919. The number of recoveries reached 7,79,291 after 1,210 patients were discharged on Tuesday. There are 9,951 active cases in the state.

Meanwhile, the state School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan announced that half-yearly exams for government and government-aided schools have been suspended. The minister said private schools can conduct the exams online if required. On reopening of schools, Sengottaiyan said Chief Minister will take a decision after consulting educational experts, teachers, parents, students, etc.

12:35 (IST)16 Dec 2020
One in four people globally may not get COVID-19 vaccines until 2022

Nearly one in four people may not get COVID-19 vaccines until at least 2022 because rich countries with less than 15% of the global population have reserved 51% of the doses of the most promising vaccines, researchers said on Tuesday.

Low- and middle-income countries – home to more than 85% of the world’s population – would have to share the remainder, said researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States.

An effective response to the pandemic requires high-income countries “to share in an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the world”, they wrote.

12:03 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Chennai: Six students test Covid positive at Anna University; IIT-Madras’ tally reaches 191

At least eight residents of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, taking the number of infected on the campus to 191. Meanwhile. six students also tested positive at Anna University’s College of Engineering, Guindy campus. The institution decided to conduct tests after two students residing on the campus complained of fever.

Speaking to the reporters after inspecting the IIT campus, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr. J Radhakrishnan, said: “We have been telling this, again and again, not wearing masks could increase the risk of getting infected by the virus. While eating we need to remove masks and hence we should make sure we maintain social distancing. Few small mistakes will cause great danger. As I said yesterday, we will initiate action the management which lacks to implement these things.”

11:35 (IST)16 Dec 2020
India’s coronavirus numbers explained, Dec 16: New cases below 30,000 for third straight day

Tuesday was the third straight day that detection of new cases of coronavirus infections remained within 30,000. Not since the middle of July, when India’s daily tally was still to touch 30,000, has this happened. Incidentally, the total number of infections in the country at that time were yet to cross one million. Now, that number is poised to reach ten million in a couple of days.

If current trends continue, by the end of this month, not more than 20,000 cases are likely to get detected every day.

“That is what our mathematical model is predicting. The numbers being predicted by the model right now are in close alignment with what is being reported every day. And, going further, the model shows that the daily detection of new cases should come down to about 20,000 by the end of December,” said Manindra Agarwal, a professor at IIT Kanpur, who was part of a government-appointed team that developed a mathematical model to map the trajectory of the disease in India.

11:10 (IST)16 Dec 2020
Identify health centres in every block to check adverse effects: Centre

Underlining the potential challenges of serious adverse reactions that could be triggered by Covid-19 vaccines during the largest adult immunisation drive expected next year, the central government on Tuesday said it has directed all states to identify at least one health centre in each block level that would be linked to the vaccination centre for management of such adverse events.

During the weekly briefing on the pandemic, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the time-line for vaccination will not be impacted in the backdrop of the drug regulator currently examining applications of the three vaccine manufacturers who have sought emergency use authorisation of their vaccines.

10:06 (IST)16 Dec 2020
In Bhavnagar, teachers who opt out of vaccine survey to be ‘retired’

The Bhavnagar Municipal School Board has issued an order directing teachers who exempted themselves from the Covid-19 vaccination survey to “mandatorily apply for retirement”.

The order issued on Monday by Yogesh Bhatt, administrative officer of Bhavnagar municipal school board, states, “…it is to be urgently ordered to obtain medical fitness certificates of such teachers who have got their orders (to conduct Covid-19 survey) cancelled. Also, teachers above the age of 55, who are unable to perform their duties, will be motivated to take voluntary retirement. If some teacher is found unfit to perform this duty, (he or she) will have to mandatorily apply for retirement so that he (or she) can avail of retirement benefits on time… Teachers, who applied for an extension in service (despite age to retire) till the semester concludes, also have to obtain medical certificates.”

According to sources, of 650 teachers employed at 65 schools under Bhavnagar Municipal School Board, 30-32 had sought to be exempted from the survey on medical grounds.

00:41 (IST)16 Dec 2020
As situation improves, Gurgaon hospitals to reserve 35% beds for COVID patients instead of 50%

A month after the Gurgaon District Magistrate directed all hospitals in Gurgaon to reserve “at least 50% of total bed capacity” for COVID-19 patients, fresh orders issued Tuesday brought down the cap to 35 per cent, as Covid cases fell. 

In the order, District Magistrate Amit Khatri has stated that “at least 35% of total bed capacity of all Public/Private Hospitals” must be “dedicated for COVID-19 cases. The order also directs that “adequate availability of human resource and logistics (Drugs, Consumables, ICU etc.)” be ensured.

While the district recorded between 470 and 870 Covid-19 cases in the last nine days of November, this figure has reduced to between 250 and 500 this month, despite the number of samples being collected daily remaining more than 4,000. As a result, the situation at hospitals has also improved, with the number of vacant beds rising from around 72 per cent of reserved beds at the end of November to over 88 percent. 

(Inputs from Sakshi Dayal, Gurgaon)

21:44 (IST)15 Dec 2020
Coronavirus highlights, Dec 15: Govt spells out vaccine storage plan; data shows Moderna vaccine ‘highly protective’

As India gets ready to roll out one of its largest immunisation programmes, the Union Health Ministry said 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators would be used for Covid-19 vaccine storage. Addressing a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also asked states to be prepared for possibility of an adverse event after being vaccinated.

India recorded 22,065 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest single day spike since July. With this, India’s caseload breached the 99 lakh mark. With 354 new fatalities, the death toll now stands at 1,43709. Read more here

20:48 (IST)15 Dec 2020
Gujarat reports 1,110 COVID-19 cases, 1,236 recoveries; 11 deaths

Gujarat's COVID-19 tally increased to 2,29,913 on Tuesday with the addition of 1,110 new cases, the state health department said. Eleven fresh fatalities pushed the state's COVID-19 death toll to 4,193, it said. The number of recovered cases increased to 2,12,839
with 1,236 more patients getting discharged from hospitals during the day, the department said in a release. With this, the coronavirus recovery rate in Gujarat improved to 92.57 per cent. There are now 12,881 active cases, of which the condition of 61 patients is critical, said the department.

20:22 (IST)15 Dec 2020
Moderna vaccine is highly protective and prevents severe COVID-19, data show

The coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna is highly protective for adults and prevents severe cases of COVID-19, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Based on the encouraging findings, the agency intends to grant emergency authorization for use of the vaccine Friday, people familiar with the FDA’s plans said. The decision would give millions of Americans access to a second coronavirus vaccine beginning as early as next week.

The review by the FDA confirms Moderna’s earlier assessment that its vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1% in a trial of 30,000 people. Side effects, including fever, headache and fatigue, were unpleasant but not dangerous, the agency found.

COVID-19 test, Coronavirus Test A health professional collects swab samples for Covid testing (File/Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Vaccinating 100-200 people in each session per day, monitoring them for 30 minutes after administering the shots for any adverse event and allowing only one beneficiary at a time are among the guidelines issued by the Centre for the COVID-19 inoculation drive, PTI reported. According to the guidelines issued to states recently, the COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis. At the vaccination site, only pre-registered beneficiaries will be vaccinated in accordance with the prioritisation, and there will be no provision for on-the-spot registrations. The states have been asked, as far as possible, to allocate the vaccine from one manufacturer to a district to avoid mixing of different COVID-19 vaccines in the field.

Former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi tested positive for Covid-19, he announced on Monday. In a tweet, translated from Hindi, Manjhi said “Today my corona test report has come up positive. People who have come in contact with me in the last one week are requested to get their corona test done.”

The first batch of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine was shipped from Michigan on Sunday, commencing the biggest vaccination drive in American history. About 2.9 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered in the first shipment. Another 2.9 million is being held back for the second dose,to be given 21 days later.

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