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Coronavirus India Highlights: Kerala to impose complete lockdown on weekend, mass testing campaign to be held on Friday

India recorded 42,015 new coronavirus cases and 3,998 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate is at 2.27 per cent, less than 3 per cent for 30 consecutive days.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 26, 2021 11:13:16 am
People queuing up at Baker Memorial School, Kottayam for Covid-19 vaccine. (Express Photo)

Following the Supreme Court’s rap to Kerala government over easing of Covid restrictions for Bakrid, the state has announced a complete lockdown for July 24 and 25. It also stated that the Health department will conduct a mass testing campaign on Friday, July 23 with a focus on districts with high test positivity rate (>10 per cent).

Meanwhile, in a sharp criticism to the Centre’s remarks in the parliament, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said “They (Centre) will soon say there was no Covid-19. If there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen, then why were hospitals going to High Court for shortages? This is completely false,” he told reporters.

On Tuesday, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar informed Rajya Sabha that no death due to lack of oxygen has been specifically reported by the states and union territories. The government, however, said there was “unprecedented surge” in demand of medical oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19.

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India records 42,015 new coronavirus cases, 3,998 deaths; Assam doctor infected with Alpha and Delta variants of coronavirus simultaneously. 

20:31 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Delhi reports 62 Covid cases, 4 deaths in last 24 hours

In its Wednesday health bulletin, Delhi reported 62 new Covid-19 cases and four fatalities. It currently has a positivity rate of 0.09 per cent. The total number of deaths in the national capital stands at 25,039, while the cumulative case tally has reached 14,35,671. Currently, Delhi has 566 active cases. 

20:20 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Over 95 lakh Covid vaccine doses administered in Delhi till now: Bulletin

Over 95 lakh Covid vaccine doses were administered in the national capital till Wednesday, PTI reported. 

On Wednesday, 61,782 vaccine doses were administered, taking the cumulative vaccination tally to 95,18,167, of these 54,74,804 are men and 40,41,290 women. While over 46 lakh people in the age group 18-44 have been inoculated with at least one dose, over 30 lakh have been been given at least one dose in the age group 45-60. Over 18 lakh people aged above 60 have also been vaccinated.

20:11 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Mumbai reports 435 new Covid cases, 13 deaths

Mumbai on Wednesday reported 435 fresh coronavirus cases and 13 deaths in the last 24 hours. With 560 recovieries, the city currently has 6,020 active cases. 

19:44 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Tripura TMC leaders, supporters detained for violating Covid norms

Tripura Police Wednesday detained over 30 Trinamool Congress activists, including the party's state president Ashish Lal Singh, for purportedly violating Covid-19 norms by assembling at Gournagar in Unakoti district.

Singh and the party's Unakoti district president Anjan Chakraborty were detained in presence of the Executive Magistrate, since they led the stir.

"We detained them as they had violated Covid norms by gathering in the pandemic. They didn't have prior permission for the gathering. They were kept in a temporary jail here," Kailasahar sub divisional police officer Chandan Saha told reporters.

According to Singh, the detention was made while they were “hoisting the party flag as part of paying respect to their party's martyrs”.
The gathering was to pay homage to Youth Congress leaders killed in police action in 1993, when Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was still a Congress leader and had led them. "Police arrested 82 party leaders and kept us all in a temporary jail today,” Singh said. Debraj Deb

18:32 (IST)21 Jul 2021
No death due to oxygen shortage in Maha: Health minister Tope

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said the state government never reported any death due to shortage of oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19. When asked by a TV channel about the Centre's statement, Tope said, "We never said people died due to oxygen shortage in the state. Many of them had issues like co-morbidities and other illnesses. No death has taken place due to the shortage of oxygen."
Notably, in April this year, 22 patients died after the oxygen supply was disrupted at a Nashik hospital due to leakage in an oxygen storage plant, local officials had said. Tope had then said a thorough probe will be conducted to find out if negligence led to the leakage of oxygen at the hospital. (PTI)

17:57 (IST)21 Jul 2021
NCP MP Supriya Sule announces welfare scheme Jivlag Yojna for Covid-19 orphans

NCP and its welfare trust will take care of 450 Covid orphans and have deputed 450 individuals to connect with these children in Maharashtra. The project for Covid orphans will be launched on July 22, the birthday of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Read more.

17:26 (IST)21 Jul 2021
'No deaths due to lack of oxygen, CM made arrangements': Madhya Pradesh Health Minister

Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Prabhuram Choudhary on Wednesday stated that there have been no deaths due to lack of oxygen in the state. His remark comes in response to the Union health ministry's claim in the Parliament Tuesday that states and UTs had not reported any deaths due to a lack of oxygen specifically.

"We had completed all arrangements. The chief minister facilitated oxygen through roads, railways and air. There were indeed problems over oxygen supply, but the govt promptly made arrangements." the health minister was quoted as saying by ANI.

16:49 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Kerala to impose complete lockdown on July 24, 25

The Kerala government on Wednesday announced a complete lockdown for July 24 and 25, following the Supreme Court's order to the state to heed to Article 21 and Article 144. It also stated that the Health department will conduct a mass testing campaign on Friday, July 23 with a focus on districts with high test positivity rate (>10 per cent).

The order states that the categorisation of the areas based on TPR, announced on July 13, shall continue. No additional relaxations will be provided, it said. The state government also aims to increase daily testing to curb the rising number of cases.

16:27 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Low-key Eid celebrations in Kashmir due to Covid-related restrictions

Amid Covid-related restrictions in the valley, Kashmir witnessed muted celebrations on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. No Eid prayers were offered for the fifth consecutive time in three years at the major mosques and shrines of Kashmir due to restrictions on large gatherings, officials told PTI.

While some local mosques witnessed small gatherings for Eid prayers, people preferred to offer the prayers at home, either individually or in small groups consisting of family members only, officials said. 

15:41 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Assam doctor contracts alpha and delta variants of Covid-19 at the same time

In possibly the first case for the country, a doctor in Assam was found to be infected with two different variants -- Alpha and Delta -- of the coronavirus at the same time. She was fully vaccinated.

"We collected their samples again and the second round of tests re-confirmed the double infection in her. We also did whole genome sequencing and it made us sure that it was a case of being infected by both variants at the same time,” Dr B Borkakoty, senior scientist at the ICMRs Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Dibrugarh told PTI.

15:34 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Covid vaccination centre for pregnant and lactating women set up in North West Delhi

A dedicated Covid vaccination centre for pregnant and lactating women has been set up in North West Delhi’s Mangolpuri.

The dedicated centre at Government Co-Ed Senior Secondary School, C Block Mangolpuri, allows walk-in registrations for the women, including for their immediate and eligible family members.

According to the DM North West’s office, regular awareness sessions regarding women-related welfare schemes have also been arranged at the centre. Read more.

15:20 (IST)21 Jul 2021
No data related to oxygen deaths in Delhi because Centre did not let us form audit committee: Sisodia

Following the Union Health ministry's remarks in the Parliament yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Wednesday that the Delhi government did not have any data regarding deaths due to the lack of oxygen as the Centre had not let it form a committee to look into the deaths of people, who allegedly died because of the lack of oxygen in hospitals between April and May.

"When the Delhi government said yes, it seems like people died due to the lack of oxygen and decided to set up a committee to look into the deaths and give them Rs 5 lakh as compensation, the Centre did not let us do it…The Centre wants to hide the truth about the mismanagement it brought on, and doesn’t want the figures to come out," he said. Read more.

13:40 (IST)21 Jul 2021
'No deaths due to oxygen shortage in Tamil Nadu,' says TN Health Minister

No deaths were caused due to shortage of oxygen in Tamil Nadu, the state's health minister M. Subramaniam said. "CM has worked on a war footing to prevent this. When we faced lack of oxygen, we came in touch with the Centre at once and procured oxygen from them. So we didn't face big effects here," he told ANI. 

13:18 (IST)21 Jul 2021
People celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, offer namaz at homes in Delhi amid pandemic

evotees mostly stayed indoors to offer namaz and celebrate Eid-al-Adha in Delhi on Wednesday, as religious and festive gatherings remain prohibited in the city to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greeted people on the occasion. "Hearty wishes to all the countrymen on Eid-ul-Adha. May this festival bring happiness and prosperity in your lives," Kejriwal tweeted.

The day lacked usual hustle bustle and festivity as major mosques such as Jama Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid in old Delhi were closed for the visitors. Police personnel were also deployed outside the mosques to prevent crowding.

"As congregational prayers are not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, just a few staffers and their family members offered namaz on Eid-ul-Adha today. People themselves are careful and not thronging the mosques to keep safe from the virus," said Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid. (PTI)

13:17 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Guj HC orders collection of critical COVID-19-patient's sample as wife wants child

The Gujarat High Court has directed a hospital in Vadodara to conduct an IVF/Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedure for the collection of sample of a critical COVID-19 patient having slim chances of survival, after his wife expressed the desire to bear his child.

The HC issued the order issued on Tuesday, considering it as an "extraordinary urgent situation". After an urgent hearing of a petition filed by the patient's wife, Justice Ashutosh J Shastri directed the Vadodara-based hospital to conduct the IVF (In vitro fertilisation)/ART procedure for the collection of his sample and keep it stored in an appropriate place as per medical advice.

The petitioner wants to conceive his child through the IVF/ART technology, but the hospital was not allowing this unless she got a court order directing it to collect his sample, her lawyer Nilay Patel said. Hence, she approached the high court on Tuesday with an urgent plea, he said. The HC said "the ad interim relief is granted in an extraordinary urgent situation before the court and the same shall be subject to the outcome of the petition". (PTI)

12:57 (IST)21 Jul 2021
A subdued Bakrid for Muslim community in Kerala under COVID second wave

The Muslim community in Kerala on Wednesday celebrated Bakrid in a subdued manner at their homes sans any public festivities and usual social gatherings as the state is reeling under a severe second COVID-19 wave.

Large Eid-Gahs (mass prayer on the beach, etc)and mass Namaz at mosques were absent this year also as the government continued to impose strict restrictions in view of the fear of resurgence of the pandemic after a drop in cases this month.

As only 40 people were permitted for prayers adhering to stringent pandemic protocol, there was no usual festive mood in mosques across the southern state, which used to witness a sea of devotees since morning during the occasion. Devotees could be seen following social distancing norms during the prayers inside the mosques. (PTI)

12:04 (IST)21 Jul 2021
'Centre will soon say there was no Covid,' says Delhi Health Minister

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain criticised the Centre for claiming that state's and union territories did not report any deaths due to a lack of oxygen during the second wave. "They (Centre) will soon say there was no COVID-19. If there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen, then why were hospitals going to High Court for shortages? This is completely false," he told reporters. (ANI) 

11:53 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Pune: In Maval and Lonavala, curbs to continue even on weekdays

DESPITE the imposition of Section 144 in Pune district, people continue to visit tourist spots like dams and waterfalls, especially in Maval area, which has four dams and over 100 waterfalls. Now, Maval police have sealed the points leading to these waterfalls.

Police said the restrictions will continue not only on weekends but on all weekdays including Thursdays, which is a weekly off for industrial units in Maval and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

“We have sealed all major points leading to waterfalls in Maval taluka. There are over 100 waterfalls in the talukas and Section 144 has been imposed around the waterfalls, dams and other popular tourist points,” Additional Superintendent of Police Navneet Rawat told The Indian Express on Tuesday. Read the report here. 

09:54 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Mansukh Mandaviya: India will be first to make DNA-based jab

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday told Rajya Sabha that India will be the first country to develop a DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine even as other manufactures are steadily ramping up production.

“It is a matter of great pride for us that our scientists will be the first to develop a DNA vaccine,” the minister said, referring to Zydus Cadila, which has applied for emergency use authorisation of its DNA vaccine.

Mandaviya said while Serum Institute of India has begun providing 11-12 crore doses of Covishied vaccine every month, Biological E is conducting third-phase trial of its vaccine, which is expected to come in the market by September-October with 7.5 crore doses. Read the full report here. 

09:52 (IST)21 Jul 2021
Top Telangana health officer slams politicians for flouting Covid rules

In a rare outburst from a government official, Telangana’s Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao on Tuesday censured political leaders of all hues for violating Covid-19 protocols and putting the lives of the people in danger, and negating gains made by the state’s health officials in containing the spread of the pandemic.

Rao, who is often praised for his handling of the pandemic in Telangana, said while political leaders think they are doing their job in a democracy, they are also putting lives of their party workers, supporters, and general public at risk by not adhering to the Covid rules and restrictions.

“Elections in the state are still two-and-half years away but leaders of all political parties are behaving as if elections are due shortly. They are holding rallies, party workers’ meetings and public functions, and opposition parties are holding dharnas and protests without any care. It is an invitation to the third wave of Covid-19,” Rao told reporters. Read the full report here. 

Bengaluru: Passengers wear face masks for prevention against COVID-19, at Sangolli Rayanna railway station in Bengaluru, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

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.

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