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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Coronavirus India Highlights: Maharashtra sees 227 deaths in last 24 hours, highest this year

Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Devegowda and his wife Chennamma tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chennai, Guwahati, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: April 1, 2021 8:51:18 am
Swab testing at Mumbai's Juhu beach.

With 227 deaths in the last 24 hours, the death toll due to Covid-19 in Maharashtra reached 54,549 on Wednesday. This was the highest death toll recorded in a single day this year. The state also reported 39,544 new Covid-19 cases. The total caseload of the state is now at 28,12,980.

A day before India open up its Covid-19 vaccination drive to people above 45, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and Union Territories to identify low vaccine-coverage pockets, particularly in districts reporting a surge in new infections, and take corrective action. The status and pace of the inoculation drive across the country were reviewed at the meeting held through video-conferencing, as were the preparations for April 2021, when vaccination would be extended to cover everybody above the age of 45, a statement by the health ministry said.

In other news, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Devegowda and his wife Chennamma tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. “My wife Chennamma and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are self-isolating along with other family members. I request all those who came in contact with us over the last few days to get themselves tested. I request party workers and well-wishers not to panic,” Devegowda said in a tweet.

Live Blog

India reports 53,480 new Covid-19 cases, 354 deaths; Covid-19 situation going from "bad to worse" says Health Ministry; 3rd phase of vaccination drive to cover all those aged over 45 to roll out from tomorrow.

08:49 (IST)01 Apr 2021
Follow live Covid-19 news in India on April 1

Looking for Covid-19 India updates? Follow live news here

20:52 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Maharashtra sees 227 deaths in last 24 hrs

With 227 deaths in the last 24 hrs, the death toll due to Covid-19 in Maharashtra has reached 54,549. This was the highest death toll recorded in a single day this year. The state also reported 39,544 new Covid-19 cases. The total caseload of the state is now at 28,12,980.

20:42 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Third phase of vaccination starts tomorrow: All your questions answered

Amidst a growing surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, the government will roll out the third phase of its vaccination drive from April 1. The Centre has warned that the situation is going from “bad to worse” and urged states to achieve 100 per cent vaccination coverage of those above the age of 45 years in surge districts within the next two weeks. From eligibility to the registration process, here's everything you need to know about the next phase of the vaccination.

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18:59 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Russia registers world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for animals

Russia has registered the world’s first vaccine for animals against COVID-19, its agricultural regulator said on Wednesday, after tests showed it generated antibodies against the virus in dogs, cats, foxes and mink. Mass production of the vaccine, called Carnivac-Cov, can start in April, regulator Rosselkhoznadzor said. 

17:44 (IST)31 Mar 2021
DCGI extends shelf life of Covishield from 6 to 9 months

India's drug regulator DCGI has extended the shelf life of Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, from six to nine months from its manufacturing date. In a letter to the Serum Institute of India, Drugs Controller General of India V G Somani said the SII is permitted to apply the shelf life of nine months to unlabelled vials available on hand.

Shelf life is the length of time for which an item remains fit for use. The DCGI said it has no objection in respect of 'Extension of Shelf Life of Covishield Vaccine' in a multi-dose glass vial (10 dose-5ml) from six months to nine months. (PTI)

17:23 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Vietnam: Court convicts flight attendant for ‘spreading’ Covid

A court in Vietnam on Tuesday issued a two-year suspended jail term to a flight attendant over breaking Covid-19 quarantine rules and allegedly spreading the virus to others. The 29-year-old man is the first person in the country to go on trial for violating Covid rules.

16:54 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Pfizer says its Covid-19 vaccine protects younger teens

Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.

Most COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out worldwide are for adults, who are at higher risk from the coronavirus. Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older. But vaccinating children of all ages will be critical to stopping the pandemic — and helping schools, at least the upper grades, start to look a little more normal after months of disruption. More details here.

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16:10 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Identify low vaccine coverage pockets: Centre tells states

A day before India open up its Covid-19 vaccination drive to people above 45, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and Union Territories to identify low vaccine-coverage pockets, particularly in districts reporting a surge in new infections and take corrective action. The status and pace of the inoculation drive across the country were reviewed at the meeting held through video-conferencing, as were the preparations for April 2021, when vaccination would be extended to cover everybody above the age of 45, a statement by the health ministry said.

15:29 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Yes, you can take your Covid-19 shot and have a drink too.

As India starts vaccinating everyone above the age of 45 from April 1, a commonly asked question remains whether taking the jab will mean you can no longer drink alcohol. So should you avoid alcohol after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine?

There is no need to abstain from alcohol only because you have taken your shot of the vaccine. Alcohol will not by itself render the vaccine ineffective against the novel coronavirus infection. More details here.

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15:19 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Maharashtra should be ready for stricter steps: Rajesh Tope 

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope Wednesday said that people should be ready for stringent measures in the coming days to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the state. "Though the state does not want to implement a lockdown, saving lives is paramount. Thus, the state could undertake measures to curb further spread of the coronavirus," he was quoted as saying by PTI. On Tuesday, Maharashtra reported 27,918 new cases of coronavirus, taking the tally to 27,73,436.

15:02 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Pandemic pushes gender equality back a generation: WEF

Women will not reach parity with men until the middle of the next century as the COVID-19 pandemic hits them hardest, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report released on Wednesday.

“The pandemic has fundamentally impacted gender equality in both the workplace and the home, rolling back years of progress,” said WEF’s managing director Saadia Zahidi.

The annual report estimated that the gender gap will not be closed for another 135.6 years, versus 99.5 years previously. More details here.

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14:30 (IST)31 Mar 2021
No shortage of beds, medicines and doctors in Maharashtra, says state Health Minister

Maharashtra Health Minister Wednesday said there is no shortage of beds, medicines and doctors in the state. "We're increasing testing, tracking & tracing in the State. We are also going to increase the number of vaccination centres. Today, there is no shortage of beds, medicines, doctors. If the number of cases keeps rising,then, we'll have to take a decision," he added.

14:24 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu govt extends statewide lockdown with relaxations till April 30

Tamil Nadu government Wednesday extended the statewide lockdown with relaxations till April 30. It stressed on effective enforcement of the Test-Track-Treat protocol. 

13:06 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Explained: One vaccine for Covid-19 is good. How about mixing two?

In January, Britain made a change to its vaccine guidelines that shocked many health experts: If the second dose of one vaccine wasn’t available, patients could be given a different one.

The new rule was based on sheer guesswork; there was no scientific data at the time demonstrating that mixing two coronavirus vaccines was safe and effective. But that may change soon.

In February, researchers at the University of Oxford began a trial in which volunteers received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine followed by a dose of AstraZeneca’s formulation, or vice versa. This month, the researchers will start analyzing the blood of the subjects to see how well the mix-and-match approach works.

12:28 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Former PM HD Devegowda and wife test positive for Covid-19

Janata Dal (Secular) chief and former Prime Minister H D Devegowda Wednesday confirmed that he tested positive for Covid-19.

"My wife Chennamma and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are self-isolating along with other family members. I request all those who came in contact with us over the last few days to get themselves tested. I request party workers and well-wishers not to panic," Devegowda said in a tweet.

The 87-year-old veteran leader also requested party workers and well-wishers to avoid panic and take suitable precautions to avoid infection.

12:24 (IST)31 Mar 2021
8 states account for 84.73% new Covid-19 cases: Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry Wednesday said that eight states -- Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab & Madhya Pradesh accounted for 84.73% of the new Covid-19 cases.

12:09 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Delhi Covid-19 spike mainly among young, says AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria

The Covid surge in Delhi has mainly affected the younger population with most of the patients reporting “relatively milder symptoms”, according to AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria. But there is a need to remain vigilant, he said, because the infection can “spread to the elderly” and trigger “serious symptoms”, which would once again put healthcare resources under strain.

And, while some states are considering the option of imposing another lockdown, Guleria said that having more containment zones within a city would be a better strategy in containing the spread.

11:55 (IST)31 Mar 2021
China reports Covid-19 outbreak on border with Myanmar

At least nine people have tested positive for COVID-19 in a Chinese city on the border with Myanmar, health officials said Wednesday.

Five are Chinese citizens are four are Myanmar nationals, the Yunnan Province Health Commission said in a report posted online.

The city of Ruili, with a population of about 210,000 people, said all residents would be tested for COVID-19 and would have to home quarantine for one week. The residential compound where the infections were found has been locked down.

11:45 (IST)31 Mar 2021
Delhi Airport to begin random Covid-19 testing of passengers

In view of increasing covid cases in the national capital, random COVID-19 testing of passengers arriving at the Delhi Airport will be done from Wednesday, the Airport authorities have said, news agency ANI reported.

Passengers who are found to be positive will be quarantined.

11:31 (IST)31 Mar 2021
DCGI extends shelf life of Covishield from 6 to 9 months

India's drug regulator DCGI has extended the shelf life of Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, from six to nine months from its manufacturing date, PTI reported.

In a letter to the Serum Institute of India, Drugs Controller General of India V G Somani said the SII is permitted to apply the shelf life of nine months to unlabelled vials available on hand.

Shelf life is the length of time for which an item remains fit for use.

Coronavirus India Live Updates: 'Uddhav Thackeray wants lockdown plan with least impact on economy' A health worker collects swab sample from a person for Covid-19 test, at the India Gate in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express file photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Mumbai reports 4,758 Covid-19 cases: Longer wait time, queues at test centres

In a grim indicator of the worsening Covid-19 situation, queues at RT-PCR testing centres in Mumbai have increased, with a waiting time that ranges between 3 to 4 hours for swab collection. The test reports now take up to 48 hours to arrive.

On Tuesday, Mumbai reported 4,758 cases. The figure was lower than the preceding days as testing had halved on Holi.

Several hospitals and jumbo centres in Mumbai now have Covid-19 patients waitlisted for admission. There is a shortage of beds as most patients, despite being asymptomatic or having mild symptoms, need hospital beds for isolation, as they do not have space for the same at home.

The city is diagnosing 6,000 to 7,000 cases a day, with 80 per cent of the patients asymptomatic. For patients who live in chawls and slums, self-isolation is a challenge, officials said. Of the 3,241 beds in Covid Care Centre-2 meant for mildly ill or asymptomatic patients, 2,219 are already full.

To underline Covid message, Shivraj Singh Chouhan hits the street with white paint, mask

The bustling New Market area of Bhopal had an unusual visitor last week — Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. What he brought along was unusual, too — not a shopping bag, but white paint and masks.

Chouhan’s appearance was part of a move to promote the ‘Mera Mask, Meri Suraksha’ initiative to combat the spurt of Covid cases in Madhya Pradesh. On March 23, the Chief Minister launched the statewide campaign by visiting crowded places, distributing masks to people, and using the paint to draw distancing circles outside shops.

Migrant workers jittery as Maharashtra govt considers lockdown

THE LOOMING threat of a lockdown in the state with a daily surge in Covid cases has put migrant workers on the edge with some contemplating plans of returning back to their native places to avoid being caught off guard even though the state government is yet to make any announcement of a lockdown.

After the 21-day national lockdown was announced on March 24 last year, many stranded workers without ration or money had walked thousands of kilometers or hitched overpriced rides to reach home.

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