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Coronavirus India Highlights July 20: Pandemic should not be a matter of politics, PM Modi to floor leaders

The active cases in the country have come down to 4.06 lakh, while 374 deaths were recorded on Monday. Every state reported less than 100 deaths, Maharashtra reported the highest number of 77 fatalities.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 21, 2021 9:11:57 am
ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi. (Youtube/NarendraModi)

Coronavirus India Live Updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday apprised the floor leaders of both Houses on Covid-19 situation and said that “pandemic should not be a matter of politics and is a matter of concern for entire humanity,” a statement from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs stated. PM also stressed the need to properly plan the vaccination drives at the district level based on the advance availability information.

Earlier in the day, the ICMR said that it would be wise to consider reopening primary schools first as children can handle viral infection much better. In the latest national sero survey conducted by ICMR in June-July, one third of the population did not have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies meaning that about 40 crore people still vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. The government further said that 67.6% of India’s population above 6 years have been found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and that 85 per cent of surveyed healthcare workers had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 while one-tenth of HCWs still unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, four Covid-19 vaccine candidates are at different stages of human trials while one, developed by Genique Life Sciences, is in the advanced pre-clinical stage, Union Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, news agency PTI reported.

He said that Cadila Healthcare Ltd’s DNA-based vaccine candidate is in phase three clinical trial and it has also submitted the interim data for emergency use authorisation. Biological E Ltd’s vaccine candidate is also in phase three clinical trial. Bharat Biotech International Ltd’s Adeno intranasal vaccine candidate is in phase three clinical trial, while Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd’s mRNA-vaccine candidate is in Phase one clinical trial. The Gurgaon-based Genique Life Sciences Pvt Ltd’s vaccine candidate is in the advanced pre-clinical stage, he added.

Live Blog

India recorded 30,093 cases, 374 deaths; all states reported less than 100 deaths; Health Secretary to brief Opposition leaders on Covid. Follow this space for the latest updates on Covid-19.

22:35 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Centre, states should work as team to combat Covid pandemic, rise above politics: PM

With some opposition parties including the Congress skipping an all-party meeting on the COVID-19 management, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for the Centre and states to work together as a team and rise above politics to combat the pandemic.

Speaking at the meeting called by the central government, Modi said India is in a better position than many other countries in terms of the ratio of the population hit by the disease but underlined the need to remain vigilant as he cited the resurgence of the infection in some countries like the UK, sources said.

He said vaccines from more companies are likely to be available in some time and spoke about the push being given by the government to vaccination. (PTI)

21:29 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Maharashtra reports 6,910 new cases, 147 deaths, 7,510 recoveries

Maharashtra on Tuesday recorded 6,910 new COVID-19 cases and 147 fresh deaths, and also added previously unreported 3,509 deaths and 2,479 infections, while 7,510 patients recovered from the viral disease, said a health department official.

The state health department, in a statement, said due to the ongoing process of data reconciliation, the positive case tally increased by 2,479, while 3,509 previous deaths were added to the cumulative toll figure.

Post these additions, the state's cumulative coronavirus caseload rose to 62,29,596 (6,910 plus 2,479), while the death toll increased to 1,30,753, said the official. (PTI)

20:00 (IST)20 Jul 2021
16,848 fresh Covid cases in Kerala, TPR rises close to 12 pc

Kerala on Tuesday recorded 16,848 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the infection caseload to 31,87,716, with the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) climbing close to 12 per cent after remaining around the 10 per cent mark for several weeks. The number of people who have succumbed to the virus rose to 15,512 with 104 more deaths, a state government release said.

As many as 12,052 people have been cured of the infection, taking the total recoveries to 30,45,310 and the number of active cases to 1,26,398, the release said. (PTI)

19:45 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Strategy to prevent resurgence of Covid cases deliberated upon in expert panels: Govt

The strategy to prevent resurgence of Covid-19 cases through various public health measures has been deliberated upon in different technical committees and the Centre continues to advise states to strictly follow the strategy of "test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour", Rajya Sabha was told on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said this in response to a question on whether the government has undertaken any detailed study with experts on how to minimise the threat and likelihood of a third wave of the pandemic, if not prevention.

19:12 (IST)20 Jul 2021
UP makes negative Covid report must for travellers from states with high positivity rate from Aug 1

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday made a negative coronavirus report or vaccination certificate mandatory between Aug 1 and 15 for those entering the state from areas having more than three per cent weekly positivity rate.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters said it will be applicable for all those coming by air, rail or road routes from such states. All those coming from other states having weekly positivity rate more than three per cent will have to produce a negative RTPCR report not older than four days or vaccination certificate of both doses, Prasad said. 

19:10 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Ffrom Aug 1, negative Covid report must for travellers from states with high positivity rate to enter UP

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday made a negative coronavirus report or vaccination certificate mandatory between August 1 and 15 for those entering the state from areas having more than three per cent weekly positivity rate.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters said it will be applicable for all those coming by air, rail or road routes from such states. All those coming from other states having weekly positivity rate more than three per cent will have to produce a negative RTPCR report not older than four days or vaccination certificate of both doses, Prasad said. (PTI)

18:58 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Vaccine production rising; India may become first country to have a DNA-based jab: Mandaviya

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said several Indian companies are increasing their production of COVID-19 vaccines and that the country may become the first in the world to develop a DNA-based vaccine.

Replying to a short duration discussion on COVID-19 management in Rajya Sabha, the minister said technology transfer to several companies has started and they will begin production in the coming days to reduce vaccine shortage in the country. (PTI)

17:50 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Punjab allows reopening of schools for Classes 10 to 12 from Jul 26

The Punjab government on Tuesday ordered reopening of schools for Classes 10 to 12 from July 26 as it further relaxed Covid curbs.

Besides, the state government also announced to increase the number of people for indoor events to 150 and outdoor programmes to 300, subject to an upper limit of 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue, a statement said.

During a Covid review meeting, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said schools will be allowed to open for Classes 10 to 12, but only those teachers and staff will be allowed to be physically present who are fully vaccinated. The presence of students at schools shall be purely at the consent of parents and the option of virtual classes shall be continued. Read full report here

17:05 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Two-thirds of Indians have Covid antibodies, another 40 crore still vulnerable to infection: Health Ministry

The government on Tuesday said that 67.6% of India's population above 6 years have been found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the latest national sero survey conducted by ICMR in June-July. One third of population did not have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which means about 40 crore people still vulnerable to Covid-19 infection, it further said.

According to the government, 85 per cent of the surveyed healthcare workers had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and one-tenth of HCWs were still unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, the ICMR suggested that it would be wise to consider reopening primary schools first as children can handle viral infection much better.

16:30 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Congress, SAD to skip govt’s all-party meeting on Covid management

The main opposition party Congress and BJP’s former ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have said they will not attend the government’s meeting with floor leaders of all parties on Covid management later on Tuesday.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress is not boycotting the meeting, but it will not attend as it wants the government to present the facts on the floor of both houses of Parliament.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has confirmed that the party will not attend the meeting, news agency PTI reported. Read full report here

16:16 (IST)20 Jul 2021
India's deaths during pandemic 10X official toll: Report

India's excess deaths during the pandemic could be a staggering 10 times the official Covid-19 toll, likely making it modern India’s worst human tragedy, according to the most comprehensive research yet on the ravages of the virus in the south Asian country.

Most experts believe India's official toll of more than 414,000 dead is a vast undercount, but the government has dismissed those concerns as exaggerated and misleading.

The report released Tuesday estimated excess deaths — the gap between those recorded and those that would have been expected — to be between 3 million to 4.7 million between January 2020 and June 2021. It said an accurate figure may “prove elusive” but the true death toll “is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count.” (AP)

16:14 (IST)20 Jul 2021
India offered 7.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine, no consensus on indemnity clause: Sources

India has been offered 7.5 million doses of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine sharing programme, but it is not clear when the jabs will arrive in the country as a consensus on the indemnity clause is yet to be reached, sources said.

The government last week said that it is working actively with vaccine manufacturer Moderna to see how its vaccine can be made available in the country.

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine was granted emergency use authorisation by India's drug regulator last month. (PTI)

15:55 (IST)20 Jul 2021
188 crore Covid vaccine doses required to inoculate 18-plus population: Govt

The projected 18-plus population in the country is 94 crore and therefore, the total requirement of Covid-19 vaccine doses for the beneficiaries in this age group is 188 crore, but the number may reduce if in the future, single-dose vaccines are approved and used, the government told Parliament on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on whether the present Covid vaccine manufacturing firms have the capacity to produce the required quantity, Minister of State for Health Bharati Praveen Pawar said it is estimated that around 1.87 billion (187 crore) doses will be available between January and December 2021. In addition, a few vaccines under development may also receive approval and may be available for use to inoculate the eligible population, she added. (PTI)

15:51 (IST)20 Jul 2021
4 Covid vaccine candidates in human trial stage, 1 in pre-clinical stage, govt tells Rajya Sabha

Four Covid-19 vaccine candidates are at different stages of human trials while one, developed by Genique Life Sciences, is in the advanced pre-clinical stage, Union Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday.

In a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said Cadila Healthcare Ltd's DNA-based vaccine candidate is in phase three clinical trial. It has also submitted the interim data for emergency use authorisation.

Biological E Ltd's vaccine candidate is also in phase three clinical trial. Bharat Biotech International Ltd's Adeno intranasal vaccine candidate is in phase three clinical trial, while Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd's mRNA-vaccine candidate is in Phase one clinical trial. The Gurgaon-based Genique Life Sciences Pvt Ltd's vaccine candidate is in the advanced pre-clinical stage, Singh said. (PTI)

15:19 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Delhi reports 44 new Covid-19 cases, 37 recoveries and 5 deaths

Delhi on Tuesday reported 44 new cases of Covid-19. It also reported 37 recoveries and 5 deaths on the same day.

14:41 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Home vaccination for bed-ridden people to start in Mumbai from August 1: Maharashtra govt to HC

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court Tuesday that door-to-door Covid vaccination for bed-ridden and immobile people in Mumbai will begin from August 1, as a pilot project. 

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the state government, stated that 3,505 responses were received from people unable to travel to the vaccination centres in Mumbai. The court directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to begin the home vaccination drive and file a status report by August 6 on its progress, PTI reported. The policey applies to all those who are bed-ridden, immobile or suffering from terminal illness. 

14:29 (IST)20 Jul 2021
UK’s daily Covid-19 testing scheme to avoid self-isolation: All you need to know

The United Kingdom is conducting a pilot study that requires those in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus to undergo daily testing at their workplaces, instead of self-isolating.

A report by The Guardian says that the testing scheme involves 20 public bodies, such as government departments, Transport for London, Network Rail and Border Force, that have set up testing sites, which rely on lateral flow tests, used for those without symptoms, and only require individuals to isolate when not at work.

Earlier, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that he will be part of the daily testing study, however, agreed to self-isolate after backlash. Read more.

14:08 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Bengaluru: Number of Covid-19 micro-containment zones rise even as new cases drop

The number of micro-containment zones in Bengaluru has increased in the last few days even as daily new Covid-19 cases witnessed a drop over the month, statistics issued by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) indicated. The officials attribute this to enhanced micromanagement to prevent the virus spread.

While the Karnataka capital had 44 active micro-containment zones on July 1, the number rose to 56 by July 19. Bommanahalli has most of such zones (14), followed by BBMP East (13), Dasarahhalli (7), and Mahadevapura (5). As many as 563 of the total 613 micro-containment zones declared since the beginning of the second wave have been delisted so far. Meanwhile, Bengaluru Urban reported only 266 cases on Monday as opposed to the 676 on July 1.

13:51 (IST)20 Jul 2021
People flout Section 144 in Pune, sneak into tourist spots

Despite imposition of Section 144 in Pune district in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, revellers continue to sneak into tourists spots like dams and waterfalls, especially in Maval, which houses four dams and over 100 waterfalls. As a result, Maval police have sealed the points leading to the water falls.

Police said restrictions will continue not only on weekends but on weekdays, including Thursdays, which are weekly offs for the industrial units in Maval and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Read more.

13:43 (IST)20 Jul 2021
Over 150 children found Covid-positive as Mizoram reports highest daily cases

In its highest single-day spike, Mizoram on Tuesday reported 807 new Covid infections in the last 24 hours, pushing its tally to 28,295. Of these, more than 150 were children, PTI reported. 

The state also recorded two new fatalities taking its death toll to 125. Aizwal recorded the highest number of new infections at 550.

A new study by Oxfam found that India’s low spending on public healthcare systems and focus on supporting private healthcare has led to serious inequalities in access to healthcare, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic

The report — ‘Inequality Report 2021: India’s Unequal Healthcare Story’ — released on Tuesday says that states attempting to reduce existing inequalities and with higher expenditure on health had lower confirmed cases of Covid-19.

“There are two facets to what we have found. First is states that have for the past few years been reducing inequalities, such as inequalities to access to health between the general category and SC and ST populations, have less confirmed cases of Covid – such as Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. On the other hand, states that have had higher GDP expenditure on health, such as Assam, Bihar and Goa, have higher recovery rates of Covid cases,’’ said Apoorva Mahendra, researcher at Oxfam India and one of the authors of the report.

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