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Coronavirus India Highlights: PM Modi reviews vaccination drive, underlines need to involve NGOs

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Cases in India Highlights: Today's Covid numbers -- Delhi (85 cases), Mumbai (648 cases), Kolkata (176 cases), Bengaluru (955 cases), Chennai (314 cases)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting. (Photo: ANI)

Coronavirus India Highlights: Expressing satisfaction at an increased pace of Covid vaccination this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said it is important to keep this up and also underlined a need to involve NGOs and other organisations in order to expand the drive, PTI reported. PM Modi, while taking stock of the progress of immunisation programme, also directed the officials to work closely with states to ensure that the speed of testing does not go down as testing remains a very important tool to track and contain rising infections in any region.

The ICMR Saturday said India has achieved the milestone of conducting 40 crore COVID-19 tests, with the average of more than 18 lakh tests per day in the month of June. India has tested 40,18,11,892 samples across the country till Friday, it said.

India reported 48,698 new Covid-19 cases and 1,183 deaths on Saturday, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stand at 3,01,83,143 while the overall death toll has touched 3,94,493. There are 5,95,565 active cases in the country at present while as many as 2,91,93,085 people have recovered from the disease, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders including Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and party president J P Nadda, held a meeting at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday, PTI reported. The ruling party leaders have been holding deliberations for some time over a number of issues, ranging from the COVID-19 vaccination exercise to various governance and political matters.

On Friday, the Health Ministry Friday said that the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is present in at least 174 districts of the country — and its sub-lineage, Delta plus, has been detected in 48 samples in 10 states. The Delta variant was a major contributor to the second wave of infections that peaked in April-May, the government said. Data released by the Ministry showed that the variant was present in 52 districts across the country in March, and had spread to 174 districts by June.

ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava warned that even though more than 500 districts were now reporting less than 5 per cent test positivity, the second wave of the epidemic should not be assumed to have ended.

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Coronavirus India Highlights: India reports 48,698 new Covid-19 cases, 1183 deaths; Delta plus variant of coronavirus found in 48 samples in 10 states, Delta now in 174 districts; Serum seeks approval for trial of Covovax on children. Follow this space for latest updates.

23:40 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Watch: Anti-lockdown protest in London

An aerial footage of the anti-lockdown protest underway in London today.

22:30 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Punjab reports 308 new cases

Punjab reports 308 new cases

22:22 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Kerala records 12,118 fresh COVID-19 cases, 118 deaths

Kerala's active cases touched 1,01,102 on Saturday as 12,118 fresh COVID-19 cases were recorded, while 118 deaths took the toll to 12,817. As many as 11,124 people were cured of the infection, taking the total recoveries to 27,63,616. The cumulative cases have mounted to 28,77,989. Thiruvananthapuram reported the highest number of 1,522 cases, followed by Ernakulam 1,414, Malappuram 1,339 and Thrissur 1,311. Of the new cases, 66 are health workers, 59 had come from outside the state and 11,394 were infected through contact, a government press release said. --PTI

22:22 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Odisha wants vaccine allocation in 95:05 ratio

Seeking modification of the vaccination policy, the Odisha government has urged the Centre to allocate the COVID-19 vaccines in 95:5 proportion between the state government and private hospitals instead of 75:25 ratio. Odisha's Heath and Family Welfare Minister N K Das in a letter to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that the vaccination activities will be "severely affected" if the Centre does not change its guidelines. Earlier on June 14, Additional Chief Secretary, Health, P K Mohapatra had written a letter to Union Health secretary making a similar demand. Das in the letter mentioned that the procurement by private hospitals in Odisha is very negligible. --PTI

19:54 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Delhi Unlock: Gyms, banquet halls likely to reopen from Monday; cinemas will remain shut

Gyms are likely to reopen in Delhi while banquet halls will be allowed to host events with the number of guests capped at 50 as part of the next round of relaxations being offered in the national capital from Monday.

While the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is yet to issue an order specifying the course of the unlock, sources said that a decision has been taken to let gyms reopen, with owners complaining about mounting losses and people pointing out the impracticality of keeping fitness centres shut despite throwing open malls, markets and public transport.

The DDMA has also discussed the situation outside stations of the Delhi Metro, marked by long queues due to a cap on the seating capacity at 50 per cent in each train coach. As a result, only a limited number of people are allowed to enter the stations at a time so as to avoid violation of the DDMA order on seating capacity. Read more

19:12 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Manipur reports 561 new Covid-19 cases

Manipur reports 561 new Covid-19 cases, 534 recoveries and 15 deaths Active cases: 5,680 Total recoveries: 60,529 Death toll: 1,108

18:20 (IST)26 Jun 2021
PM Modi holds meeting on progress of vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a meeting to take stock of the progress of the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive in the country.

17:48 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Delhi reports 85 Covid cases

Delhi reports 85 (lowest this year) new #COVID19 cases, 158 recoveries and 9 deaths. Total cases: 14,33,675 Active cases: 1,598 Deaths: 24,961

14:40 (IST)26 Jun 2021
‘If we fight amongst ourselves, then corona will win’: Arvind Kejriwal amid row over oxygen report

The people of Delhi faced a “severe shortage of medical oxygen” during the second wave of Covid-19, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote on Twitter on Saturday, issuing an appeal to “get to work” to tackle another round of possible surge in infections.

Kejriwal’s tweet came amid a war of words between the AAP and BJP on the usage of medical oxygen during the second wave in Delhi as laid out in aninterim report of a sub-group of the Supreme Court set up in May to carry out an audit of supply, distribution and supply of oxygen in Delhi.

“If your fight over oxygen is over, then can we get to work? Let’s make such a system together that no one suffers due to lack of oxygen in the third wave. In the second wave, people faced a severe shortage of medical oxygen. Now this should not happen in the third wave. If we fight amongst ourselves, then Corona will win. If we fight together, the country will win,” Kejriwal tweeted. Read more

14:25 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Over 1 crore people given Covid-19 vaccines in Telangana

More than 1 crore people have been administered a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Telangana till Friday, the health department said.

Of the 1,00,53,358 people inoculated so far, 86,06,292 have received their first dose while 14,47,056 have been fully vaccinated.

Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and other officials cut a cake to mark the occasion.

13:44 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Tamil Nadu reports first 'Delta Plus' variant fatality

Tamil Nadu has registered its first death due to the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 with a person from Madurai succumbing to it, according to the state health department, PTI reported.

Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said three positive cases of the new 'Delta Plus' variant were identified of which two have recovered.

Those tested positive for the Delta Plus variant include a 32 year old nurse from Chennai and another individual from Kancheepuram district.

12:54 (IST)26 Jun 2021
India achieves milestone of conducting 40 crore COVID-19 tests: ICMR

India has achieved the milestone of conducting 40 crore COVID-19 tests, with the average of more than 18 lakh tests per day in the month of June, the ICMR said on Saturday.

India has tested 40,18,11,892 samples across the country till Friday, it said.

The country tested 35 crore COVID-19 samples till June 1, 2021.

12:52 (IST)26 Jun 2021
COVID-positive prisoner escapes from Assam hospital

A prisoner, undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the Diphu Medical College and Hospital in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, escaped, police said on Saturday.

The prisoner was admitted to the COVID ward of the hospital on Thursday afternoon after he tested positive, they said.

He escaped from the hospital on Friday night, they added.

12:36 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Over 1.45 crore vaccine doses available with states: Centre

More than 1.45 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories and over 19,10,650 jabs are in the pipeline and will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday, PTI reported.

The states and union territories have so far got over 31.17 crore vaccine doses through the free-of-cost channel of the central government and direct procurement. Of these, the total consumption, including wastage, has been 29,71,80,733 doses, the ministry said.

"More than 1.45 crore (1,45,21,067) balance and unutilised Covid vaccine doses are still available with the states/UTs to be administered," the ministry said.

12:36 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Over 1.45 crore vaccine doses available with states: Centre

More than 1.45 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories and over 19,10,650 jabs are in the pipeline and will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday, PTI reported.

The states and union territories have so far got over 31.17 crore vaccine doses through the free-of-cost channel of the central government and direct procurement. Of these, the total consumption, including wastage, has been 29,71,80,733 doses, the ministry said.

"More than 1.45 crore (1,45,21,067) balance and unutilised Covid vaccine doses are still available with the states/UTs to be administered," the ministry said.

12:07 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Maharashtra reports first death due to Delta Plus variant, level 3 curbs in place

Maharashtra on Friday reported the first death due to the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. An 80-year-old woman with comorbidities from Ratnagiri district succumbed to the infection, said health minister Rajesh Tope.

With Delta and Delta Plus variants ‘fuelling the potentiality of the imminent third wave,’ the Maharashtra government has decided to impose stricter restrictions.

In a statement, the state government said that the Delta Plus variant has become a variant of concern (VOC) because of its characteristics including increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cell, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. Hence all administrative units, will be placed under a minimum of level 3 restrictions, irrespective of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy, it added.

12:07 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Maharashtra reports first death due to Delta Plus variant, level 3 curbs in place

Maharashtra on Friday reported the first death due to the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. An 80-year-old woman with comorbidities from Ratnagiri district succumbed to the infection, said health minister Rajesh Tope.

With Delta and Delta Plus variants ‘fuelling the potentiality of the imminent third wave,’ the Maharashtra government has decided to impose stricter restrictions.

In a statement, the state government said that the Delta Plus variant has become a variant of concern (VOC) because of its characteristics including increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cell, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. Hence all administrative units, will be placed under a minimum of level 3 restrictions, irrespective of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy, it added.

12:06 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Top BJP leaders hold meeting at party headquarters in New Delhi

Senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and party president J P Nadda, held a meeting on Saturday, PTI reported.

The meeting, held at the party headquarters in New Delhi, was attended by several other senior leaders, including those handling organisational charges, sources said.

The ruling party leaders have been holding deliberations for some time over a number of issues, ranging from the COVID-19 vaccination exercise to various governance and political matters.

11:01 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Delta the ‘most transmissible’ of variants, spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations: WHO chief

The Delta variant of COVID-19, identified in at least 85 countries, is the “most transmissible” of the variants identified so far and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned.

“I know that globally there is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant, and the WHO is concerned about it too,” Director-General Ghebreyesus said at a WHO press briefing on Friday. The Delta variant was first identified in India.

“Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far, has been identified in at least 85 countries, and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations,” he said in Geneva.

10:12 (IST)26 Jun 2021
Maharashtra government tightens unlock rules

With Maharashtra reporting at least 20 cases of Delta plus variant of the coronavirus, including a death in Ratnagiri, the state government announced stricter unlocking rules on Friday.

On June 4, the government had announced a five-level unlock plan based on positivity rate and occupancy of oxygen beds – with Level-1 having the most relaxations, and Level-5 the most restrictions.

But according to the new order, the first two levels, which allowed shops to remain open till night, have been scrapped. All districts will have to implement at least Level-3 or above restrictions. The new rules will come into effect from Monday.

A beneficiary gets a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Weeks after the second Covid-19 wave led to a surge in demand for medical oxygen, an infrastructure of oxygen plants, deep inside districts and remote locations, is fast emerging across states.

The Centre is aiming at 1500 such plants by August-end, more or less translating to two such plants in every district of the country, officials said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was entrusted the task of building the civil infrastructure (the rooms) for the plants, and two other agencies, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), too were brought in for the works.

The money has been sanctioned from the PM-CARES Fund and there is scope for additional sanction for laying pipelines from the oxygen plants to hospitals

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