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Coronavirus India Highlights: Existing COVID-19 guidelines to continue till March 31, says MHA

Coronavirus India Highlights: India recorded 16,577 new Covid-19 cases and 120 deaths in the last 24 hours. With this, the country's total virus caseload rose to 1,10,63,491, while the death toll surged to 1,56,825.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 27, 2021 9:01:49 am
Coronavirus, COVID-19, Coronavirus live, COVID-19 live, COVID-19 live updates India, Coronavirus india, Coronavirus live updates, Coronavirus death, Coronavirus globally, India news, Indian Express newsThe next phase of vaccination, aimed at protecting 27 crore Indians from the novel coronavirus infection, will be based on a “citizen-centric model”.

Coronavirus India Highlights: The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday informed that the existing COVID-19 guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution will remain in force till March 31.

In a statement, the MHA said while there has been a substantial decline in the active and new COVID-19 cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution so as to fully overcome the pandemic. The states and union territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population so as to break the chain of transmission and overcome the pandemic.

“Accordingly, containment zones continue to be demarcated carefully; prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones; COVID-appropriate behaviour promoted and strictly enforced; and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed in respect of various permitted activities followed scrupulously,” the statement said. It further said that focused approach on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines/ SOPs, as envisaged in the guidelines issued on January 27 need to be enforced strictly by states and union territories.

So far, India has provided around 361.94 lakh doses of the Covid vaccine to countries around the world, the Ministry of External Affairs has announced. Of these, 67.5 lakh doses have been supplied as grant assistance, while 294.44 lakh were provided on commercial basis, the Ministry said.

“The supply of vaccines to countries will continue in the coming weeks and months in a phased manner but it will be ensured that domestic requirements for the national vaccination programme are kept in mind,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told PTI.

In the next phase of the nationwide Covid vaccination drive, those who choose to get the vaccine will have the option of either registering online or walking into a designated inoculation centre, the head of the committee directing the exercise said on Thursday.

Self-registration for beneficiaries above the age of 60, and those who are older than 45 and have associated comorbidities, will begin on March 1, R S Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority and chairperson of the empowered committee for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine, told The Indian Express. The next phase of vaccination, aimed at protecting 27 crore Indians from the novel coronavirus infection, will be based on a “citizen-centric model”, Sharma said.

India recorded 16,577 new Covid-19 cases and 120 deaths in the last 24 hours. With this, the country’s total virus caseload rose to 1,10,63,491, while the death toll surged to 1,56,825.


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Coronavirus live updates: India sent over 361 lakh anti-Covid vaccine doses to various countries. Follow the latest news and developments

22:15 (IST)26 Feb 2021
More than 1.37 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses administered: Govt

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to healthcare and frontline workers has crossed 1.37 crore in the country, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.
As per the provisional report till Friday 6 pm, a total of 1,37,56,940 vaccine doses have been given through 2,89,320 sessions - 66,37,049 (76.6 per cent) healthcare workers (HCWs) who got their first dose, 22,04,083 (62.9 per cent) HCWs who received their second dose and 49,15,808 (47.7 per cent) frontline workers (FLWs) who were administered their first dose.
While the countrywide inoculation drive was rolled out on January 16, vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2. (PTI)

20:34 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Rise in Covid cases in Delhi; experts warn against non-adherence to safety norms

Just as the Delhi government had asserted that the coronavirus pandemic had been "defeated" in the national capital, cases are on the rise again dramatically, as doctors on Friday warned that the numbers could go up in the coming months and urged people to continue to wear masks and follow COVID-19 safety norms.
Many doctors at leading healthcare facilities here cautioned that the rise was "alarming" with an "upsurge" in the number of patients going there in the last couple of days, after the cases had shown a downward spiral for nearly six weeks.
Delhi had recorded 94 fresh COVID-19 cases on February 16, the lowest in over nine months then. However, after a week on February 24, it more than doubled to 200 and increased further to 220 on Thursday and 256 on Friday.
Health experts and doctors on Friday attributed this "sudden rise" to complacency in people and not following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and "assuming all is well now". (PTI)

20:32 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Kerala to test all returning expats free of cost using RT-PCR

In view of rise in fresh COVID-19 cases, the Kerala government will conduct RT-PCR tests free of cost for expatriates returning to the state, the government said on Friday as 3,671 more peopled tested positive, taking the infection count to 10.52 lakh.

The decision on RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard to detect the COVID-19, has been taken following a direction by the Centre in view of over 30 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state in the last one week, Health Minister K K Shailaja said.

Addressing a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram, she said the Centre has directed the state to intensify testing at airports and also cautioned that there were chances of a second wave of coronavirus in the state
'The state government will conduct RT-PCR tests free of cost for the expats reaching the state and the results will be given to them,' the Minister said. (PTI)

20:27 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Bharat Biotech signs pact to supply 20 mn doses of Covaxin to Brazil

Bharat Biotech will supply 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to Brazil during the second and third quarters of current year, the city-based vaccine maker said on Friday.
It has signed an agreement with the Brazilian government for the supply of the indigenously developed vaccine, a press release from the company in Hyderabad.

"The company is delighted to partner with Brazil in its battle against Covid-19 and aid its immunisation programme against the virus. It has signed an agreement for delivery of Covaxin during Q2 and Q3 2021," it said.
Several countries around the world have expressed strong interest in Covaxin and the company was fully committed to ensuring supplies promptly and efficiently, the release added. (PTI)

16:16 (IST)26 Feb 2021
COVID-19 testing tripled in Nagpur amid rise in cases: Maharashtra minister

Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut on Friday said coronavirus testing in Nagpur has tripled to over 10,000 tests per day, amid rise in infections. Addressing the media after a review meeting with district officials, Raut said that there are 1,769 oxygen beds, 684 ICU and 263 ventilator beds available for COVID-19 patients in the district.

The district's guardian minister said that although the cases of coronavirus are increasing in Maharashtra, the administration has been able to control the situation in Nagpur. 'Coronavirus testing has tripled, as more than 10,000 swab samples are tested in the district in a day,' he said.

He said that apart from this, stamping of people placed under home quarantine and recording data of patients visiting government hospitals are also underway. Nagpur had on Thursday recorded 1,116 fresh cases of coronavirus and 13 more casualties. The district's COVID-19 tally now stands at 1,46,831, of which 4,314 patients have died of the infection. (PTI)

16:05 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Hope other countries follow your example: WHO chief lauds India, PM Modi

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment for supporting vaccine equity and sharing COVID-19 vaccines with over 60 countries across the world, hoping that other nations will follow his example.
In a tweet, Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said that India's support in supplying its vaccines is helping over 60 countries to begin the vaccination process. (PTI)

15:58 (IST)26 Feb 2021
No on-the-spot nod for darshan at Siddhivinayak temple from March

Considering the rise in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, the city's famous Siddhivinayak temple has decided not to give on-the-spot permission to devotees for taking darshan of Lord Ganesh from March 1, its office-bearers said on Friday.
Only those who have registered themselves online, will get a chance to take darshan, and only 100 such devotees will be allowed inside the temple per hour from next month, the said

The Siddhivinayak temple located in Prabhadevi area of the city is very popular. It was shut for devotees for several months last year due to the coronavirus outbreak. It was reopened in November 2020. (PTI)

15:48 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Maharashtra: Social worker Prakash Amte tests COVID-19 positive

Noted social worker and Ramon Magsaysay award recipient Prakash Amte has tested positive for coronavirus and is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Maharashtra's Nagpur city.
Amte (73) had been experiencing symptoms of coronavirus for the last seven days, but his test in Gadchiroli had come out negative for the infection, the Padma Shri recipient's son Aniket told PTI.
Amte suffered from fever and was taken to Chandrapur, before being admitted to a private hospital in Nagpur after he tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday evening, he said.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh wished Amte a speedy recovery. (PTI)

14:19 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Japan partly ending pandemic emergency, keeps it for Tokyo

The state of emergency Japan set up to curb the spread of the coronavirus will be lifted in six urban areas this weekend and remain in the Tokyo area for another week, a government minister said Friday. Partially lifting the emergency, and just a week early, underlines Japan's eagerness to keep business restrictions to a minimum to keep the economy going.

The emergency, which began in January, centers around asking restaurants, bars and other businesses to close at 8 p.m. Japan has never had a lockdown, but has managed to keep infections relatively low, with deaths related to COVID-19 at about 7,600 people so far.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of pandemic measures, told a special government panel that the emergency would be lifted in Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, central Japan, as well as southwestern Fukuoka. Tokyo and surrounding Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures will continue to observe the emergency until March 7, although an official decision has not yet been announced. (AP)

14:17 (IST)26 Feb 2021
COVID-19 vaccination sessions not to be held this weekend due to digital platform transition

The COVID-19 vaccination sessions will not be held this Saturday and Sunday in view of the Co-Win digital platform transitioning from Co-Win 1.0 to Co-Win 2.0 as India gears up to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 years with comorbidities against the infection from March 1.

All states and UTs have been already informed about this transition, the Union Health Ministry said.

 The Co-Win software was created for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

The nationwide COVID-19 inoculation drive to vaccinate healthcare workers was launched on January16 by the prime minister. Vaccination of frontline workers started onFebruary 2.

"The country wide vaccination exercise is being exponentially expanded to include those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with co-morbidities, fromMarch 1.

"On this Saturday and Sunday (Feb 27 and 28), the Co-Win digital platform will be transitioning fromCo-Win1.0 toCo-Win2.0. In view of this, COVID-19 vaccination sessions will not be scheduled during these two days. The states and UTs have been already informed about this transition," the ministry said.

According to official sources eligible beneficiaries would be able to register themselves on the Co-Win platform from Monday itself after the transition.

There will also be a walk-in provision for beneficiaries to get themselves registered at the session site itself to get vaccinated. (PTI)

13:29 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Situation worrisome, but no immediate plans for a lockdown: Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Chief

With Covid-19 positive cases having doubled in the past week, the civic administration of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has said the situation was “worrisome” but it had no “immediate plans” of imposing a lockdown in the industrial city.

“Covid-19 positive cases have surged in the past few days. The situation is worrisome but there is no need to panic. We have no immediate plans to impose a lockdown,” Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil told The Indian Express Friday.

In the last two days, coronavirus cases have gone beyond the 400 mark which used to be the case late last year. Asked whether the PCMC would impose a lockdown after cases cross a 1000-mark, the PCMC chief said, “It will depend on how the situation pans out in the next few days. As of now, we are not thinking of imposing a lockdown. We will keep reviewing the situation.” Read the report here. 

13:25 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Mumbai International Airport to reopen Terminal 1 for domestic flights from March 10

Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport will reopen Terminal 1 for domestic flight operations from March 10. 

" Go Air, Star Air, Air Asia & Trujet will resume all their domestic operations from T1," the airport said in a statement. (ANI)

12:08 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Pandemic likely made 2020 ‘another devastating year’ for world’s forests

The rate of destruction of the world’s tropical forests is likely to have gathered pace last year, green groups warned, as the pandemic weakened environmental regulations, cut funding for protection work and forced city migrants back to rural areas.

In 2019, tropical rainforests disappeared at a rate of one football pitch every six seconds, according to monitoring service Global Forest Watch (GFW), despite more awareness of the key role of carbon-storing forests in slowing climate change.

The tracking platform, which uses satellite imagery and is run by the U.S.-based think-tank World Resources Institute (WRI), is due to release its deforestation numbers for 2020 -when the COVID-19 pandemic struck – in the next three months.

Frances Seymour, a senior fellow at WRI, said the work of law enforcement and forest protection agencies had been constrained by limited mobility due to coronavirus lockdowns and budget cuts linked to economic woes.

“In addition, there are indications that some governments have reacted to the economic crisis by relaxing environmental regulations as a way to facilitate investment and jump-start economic growth,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Read the report here. 

12:07 (IST)26 Feb 2021
US Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murthy says his first and foremost priority is to turn coronavirus pandemic around

Indian-American physician Dr Vivek Murthy, US President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as America’s Surgeon General, has told lawmakers that his first and foremost priority would be to turn the coronavirus pandemic around, an issue very personal to him as he lost seven family members to the deadly disease.

During his confirmation hearing by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Thursday, Murthy, 43, said that Americans are struggling due to the pandemic.

In his opening remarks, Murthy said that this is a moment of tremendous suffering for the nation, more than half a million people have lost their lives to COVID-19including beloved members of his own family.

“Many more are facing long-term health consequences and stressful financial struggles. If confirmed as the surgeon general my highest priority will be to help end this pandemic,” he said.

“I have had the privilege of serving once before. And the reason I’m back.. is because my priority, first and foremost, is to address COVID to turn this pandemic around,” Murthy said. Read the report here. 

11:47 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Latur: Coaching centres asked to get students' COVID-19 test done

The district administration in Maharashtra's Latur has ordered private coaching centres and training institutes to get coronavirus testing of all its students done in five days, an official said. Latur district collector Prithviraj B P gave an order to this effect on Thursday, he said.

The collector urged such educational institutes in the district to follow the guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. He asked them to get the coronavirus testing of every student done in the next five days, the official said.

The institutes have been asked to coordinate with the medical teams for the testing (RT-PCR or rapid antigen test), he said. These institutes have also been asked to ensure that each student maintains a distance of 1.2 meters in the classroom. Besides that, hostels have been asked to allow maximum 50 students to stay at a time and not more than two students should stay in a single room there, he said. (PTI)

11:21 (IST)26 Feb 2021
India records 16,577 new Covid cases, 120 deaths in last 24 hours

India recorded 16,577 new Covid-19 cases and 120 deaths in the last 24 hours. With this, the country's total virus caseload rose to 1,10,63,491, while the death toll surged to 1,56,825. 

11:18 (IST)26 Feb 2021
India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 1.34 crores, says Union Health Ministry

More than 1.34 people have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in India, according to the Union Health Ministry. 

10:14 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Odisha makes screening of passengers coming from 12 states mandatory

The Odisha government Thursday made screening of passengers coming to the state by flights and trains from 12 states mandatory as its COVID-19 tally touched 3,36,924 after 89 more people tested positive for the contagion, a senior state health official said. Keeping in view the upsurge in COVID-19 cases in 12 states the Odisha government alerted the authorities to take measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

The 12 states from where passengers will be screened are Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattishgarh, West Bengal, Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the official said.

The additional chief secretary to the health and family welfare department, P K Mohapatra said in a letter to all district collectors, municipal commissioners, directors of Bhubaneswar and Jharsuguda airport and the general manager (operation) of East Coast Railways that precautions should be taken in order to enhance surveillance in Odisha to prevent resurgence of COVID-19 cases. (PTI)

09:35 (IST)26 Feb 2021
Brazil signs vaccine deal with Indian company

On the same day Brazil reached the grim milestone of 250,000 deaths by COVID-19, the country's health ministry signed a deal with Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech for the purchase of 20 million doses of the Covaxin vaccine, which is yet to be approved by local regulators.

The administration of President Jair Bolsonaro said the first 8 million Covaxin shots, which will be made by Brazilian company Precisa Medicamentos, will arrive in March. A second batch of another 8 million doses is expected for April and in May, another 4 million doses will be available.

So far Brazil has vaccinated less than 4 per cent of its population of 210 million people, with some cities stopping immunization campaigns last week due to shortages. Neither Precisa nor Bharat confirmed the deal or the delivery dates. (AP)

09:32 (IST)26 Feb 2021
South Korea injects first shots in public vaccination campaign

South Korea on Friday administered its first available shots of coronavirus vaccines to people at long-term care facilities, launching a mass immunization campaign that health authorities hope will restore some level of normalcy by the end of the year. The rollout of vaccines come at a critical time for the country, which has seen its hard-won gains against the virus get wiped out by a winter surge and is struggling to mitigate the pandemic's economic shock that decimated service sector jobs.

The vaccinations began shortly before the country reported another new 406 cases of the coronavirus, brining its caseload to 88,922, including 1,585 deaths. More than 5,260 residents and workers at 213 nursing homes, mental institutions and rehab centers who are under the age of 65 will receive their first shots of a two-dose vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Friday.

An unspecified number of patients and workers at 292 long-term care hospitals in the same age group will also get the vaccine, according to officials at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. (AP)

A senior resident wears a mask and shows his "Green Pass", a pass for those vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or those with presumed immunity, as he enters a live performance by Israeli singer Nurit Galron, at Yarkon park, in Tel Aviv, Israel February 24, 2021. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

A new coronavirus variant, which is similar to the more virulent South Africa strain, is on the rise in New York City, Reuters reported. The variant, known as B.1.526, was first identified in samples collected in New York in November, and represented about 12 per cent of all cases by mid-February, researchers said. Studies show that coronavirus vaccines are able to neutralise the virus, even in the case of new variants. Now, vaccine makers are also working to develop booster shots to combat mutated versions of the virus, the Reuters report stated.


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