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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Coronavirus India HIGHLIGHTS: Night curfew eased; weekend lockdowns partially lifted in Madhya Pradesh

Coronavirus (Covid-19) India News HIGHLIGHTS: Meanwhile, India's Covid-19 tally crossed the two million mark to stand at 2,027,074 while fatalities were recorded at 41,585 on Friday, data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 8, 2020 10:53:48 am
The temperature of a child being recorded as part of a COVID precautionary measure in Mumbai.

Coronavirus India News HIGHLIGHTS: The Madhya Pradesh government Friday relaxed night curfew by two hours and partially lifted weekend lockdowns in coronavirus-affected districts of the state. Night curfew will now be observed from 10 pm to 5 am as opposed to the earlier timing of 8 pm to 5 am, news agency PTI reported.

While the lockdown on Saturdays has been lifted completely, curbs will remain in place on Sundays, an official said, adding that an order to this effect will be issued shortly.

India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the two million mark to stand at 2,027,074 while fatalities were recorded at 41,585 on Friday, data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed. As many as 62,538 fresh cases were recorded within a span of 24 hours.

Globally, over 19 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus; over seven lakh have died so far. The United States continues to be the worst-affected followed by Brazil and India.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) India News HIGHLIGHTS: Over 2 million cases in India, death toll at 41,585. Over 19 million infected globally. Get latest updates here.

19:47 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Medieval ‘wine windows’ are making a comeback in Italy to maintain social distancing

Keeping social distancing rules intact amid the coronavirus pandemic, some restaurant and bar owners in Florence, Italy, have now revived a medieval tradition to keep their businesses running. According to Florence’s Wine Window Association, a handful of “wine windows” have opened across the city. These are little hatches carved into concrete walls of wineries and shops, through which one can serve drinks from a distance. Click here to know more. 

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19:46 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Nepal coronavirus death toll rises to 70

Nepal on Friday reported five more deaths from COVID-19 and 464 new coronavirus cases, taking the country's toll to 70 and total infections to 22,214.

Dr Jageshwar Gautam, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), said the new cases were detected while 7,926 PCR tests were conducted at various labs across the country.

The Kathmandu Valley alone has recorded 106 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, according to Gautam. "The country's COVID-19 recovery tally has risen to 15, 814," he said. There are 6,330 active coronavirus patients undergoing treatment at different hospitals across the country.

18:35 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Karnataka CM's health stable, responding well to treatment: Bengaluru hospital

Karnataka CM's health stable, responding well to treatment: Bengaluru hospital Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa continues to be stable since his admission to the hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, Manipal Hospital confirmed in a medical bulletin issued on Friday. "CM Yediyuappa continues to be stable since admission on August 2, 2020. He is responding well to the treatment. Hos vital parameters are within normal limits. He is comfortable, attending to his duties from his room. Our team of specialists are monitoring him closely," Dr Manish Rai, Hospital Director, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru said.

18:04 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Russia offers to supply Philippines with COVID-19 vaccine

Russia is willing to supply a coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass-produce it, its ambassador to Manila said on Friday, as infections in the Southeast Asian nation surge. Russia is expecting regulatory approval for its first potential COVID-19 vaccine this month, with doses to be administered to frontline health workers first. But the frenetic race globally to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is raising some concern that speed could compromise safety and that some countries could be putting national prestige before solid science.

17:08 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Night curfew eased; weekend lockdowns partially lifted in MP

The Madhya Pradesh government Friday relaxed night curfew by two hours and partially lifted weekend lockdowns in coronavirus-affected districts of the state.

Night curfew will now be observed from 10 pm to 5 am as opposed to the earlier timing of 8 pm to 5 am, news agency PTI reported. While the lockdown on Saturdays has been lifted completely, curbs will remain in place on Sundays, an official said, adding that an order to this effect will be
issued shortly.

Sassoon deaths rising as patients are brought in only when they ...

16:15 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Serum Institute of India to provide Covid-19 vaccines through COVAX at $3 a dose

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has decided to provide $150 million in at-risk funds towards helping the Serum Institute of India rapidly manufacture the Covid-19 vaccines developed by the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax. As part of this new agreement, SII will be responsible for delivering up to 100 million doses of the vaccines priced at $3 (around Rs 225) a dose for India and low- and middle-income countries. Read the full report here.

16:03 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Swiss ink deal with Moderna for 4.5M doses of COVID vaccine

The Swiss federal government says it has struck a deal with Moderna to supply Switzerland with 4.5 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine if the US biotech firm successfully develops one.

The Federal Office of Public Health says the agreement aims “to guarantee Switzerland early access to the vaccine of Moderna” and is one of the first such deals by any government with the company.

“The federal government wants to ensure that the Swiss population has rapid access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” an office statement said on Thursday. “At the same time, Switzerland is supporting multilateral projects for the fair distribution of a future vaccine.”

Swiss ink deal with Moderna for 4.5M doses of COVID vaccine

15:46 (IST)07 Aug 2020
BCG vaccine safe, does not lead to increased risk of Covid symptoms: Study

Scientists have compared volunteers who had received the BCG vaccine -- originally made against tuberculosis -- with those who did not, and have found that the immunised individuals "did not get sick more often, or become more seriously ill" during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, evaluated a group of healthy volunteers who received the BCG vaccine in the five years before the ongoing pandemic, and compared their immune system function to that of healthy volunteers who were not administered the shots.

According to the scientists, including those from Radboud University in the Netherlands, the Bacille Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine was originally intended to treat tuberculosis but was later proven to provide a long-lasting, general boost to the immune system. Click here to read the full report.

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15:32 (IST)07 Aug 2020
11 Assam Assembly employees test Covid positive ahead of session

Eleven employees of the Assam Legislative Assembly tested positive for Covid-19 in a single day, ahead of the scheduled commencement of a session from August 31, news agency PTI reported.

The Assembly administration is testing all its employees with the help of the Health Department.

"We are conducting rapid antigen tests on all our employees. In three days till Thursday, 270 of our staff were tested, of which 11 tested positive for the infection on the previous day," Assembly Principal Secretary Mrigendra Kumar Deka said. The infected people were admitted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and the COVID Care Centre set up at IIT-Guwahati, a senior official said.

14:40 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Delhi job portal: 10 lakh jobs offered so far, says minister

At least 10 lakh jobs have been offered through a jobs portal launched 10 days ago by the Delhi government, employment minister Gopal Rai said at a press briefing on Friday. Hailing this as a new “Delhi model” for success, Rai said over 6,000 companies have advertised on the web portal and nine lakh vacancies are still open for applying. Rai said, “Following the coronavirus lockdown, a large number of people faced unemployment in Delhi. Companies had a shortage of workers after many of them left Delhi in the lockdown.” “Considering this, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched this job portal — the Rozgar Bazar… It has created a new model to get the economy back on track and offer employment to people,” he added. Click here to read more.

14:30 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Meghalaya's Covid-19 tally crosses 1,000 mark

Meghalaya's coronavirus tally crossed the 1,000 mark as 13 more people tested positive for coronavirus, PTI reported. The fresh cases pushed the state's Covid-19 tally to 1,003 and the number of active cases to 587, officials said. Of the 13 new cases, eight were reported from East Khasi Hills district, two in Ri-Bhoi district and one each in West Garo Hills, West Khasi Hills and East Jaintia Hills district, Director of Health Services Aman War said. The eight cases in East Khasi Hills district include five armed forces personnel while the two cases in Ri Bhoi district are BSF personnel, officials said. The first COVID-19 case in Meghalaya was detected in mid-April.

14:10 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Delhi airport develops online portal for international passengers

The Delhi international airport has developed an online portal that will allow international arriving passengers to fill a mandatory self-declaration form and eligible passengers to apply for exemption from compulsory institutional quarantine for coronavirus. In a press release, the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said the portal will make passengers' journey contactless as they won't have to fill physical copies of a self declaration form and a quarantine exemption form at the time of arrival in India.

13:37 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Air India allowing travel agents to sell seats only on select Vande Bharat flights, alleges TAAI

Air India is allowing travel agents to sell seats only on select flights under the Vande Bharat Mission and "other inventories have been blocked", the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has alleged. In a statement late on Thursday night, it alleged that at a juncture when economies are trying to revive and come back on their feet, Air India continues to play "monopolistic". "After our repeated request to your good-selves, agents were permitted to book on the GDS (global distribution system), but now inventories have been blocked and selective sectors are only being permitted. This is totally unfair and biased," it added. The TAAI has over 2,500 travel agent companies as its members. "We once again request you (Civil Aviation Ministry and Air India) to ensure that accredited member travel agents are given due respect and permitted to promote and sell airline seats... on all sectors that are being operated by Air India under the Vande Bharat Mission," it said.

13:04 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Rajasthan reports six more Covid deaths

Rajasthan reported six more deaths due to Covid-19 and 422 fresh cases of coronavirus on Friday, officials said. Six BSF personnel were among those who have tested positive. Officials said the deaths were reported from Alwar (1), Bharatpur (2), Dholpur (1) amd Nagaur (2). Maximum cases were reported from Alwar where 164 people have tested positive. Other cases were from Sikar (44), Nagaur (21), Sirohi (23), Jhunjhunu (16), Jaipur (49), Kota (6), Jhalawar (4), Chittorgarh (11), Ajmer (45), Tonk (22) and Dungarpur (11). The number of active cases at present is 13,469, according to an official report.

12:27 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Liquor shops in Delhi to remain open for one more hour

The Delhi government has extended timings for opening of liquor shops in the national capital by one hour, PTI reported. According to an order issued by the excise department on Thursday, liquor shops in the city will now open from 10 am to 10 pm instead of the earlier timing of 10 am to 9 pm. "In pursuance to guidelines issued by chairperson, state executive committee, Delhi Disaster Management Authority, Government of NCT of Delhi vide order no..dated 31.07.2020, all L-6, L-7, L-8, L-9 and L-10 liquor vends are allowed to open from 10 am to 10 pm instead of 10 am to 9 pm with immediate effect till further orders," the order read.

12:21 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Tripura's Covid-19 caseload rises to 5,743; death toll mounts to 36

Tripura registered the highest single-day spike in Covid-19 deaths on Friday as six more patients succumbed to the infection, a health bulletin said. The fresh fatalities have pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 36, it said. The northeastern state's COVID-19 caseload shot up to 5,743 as 128 more people tested positive for the infection, the bulletin said. The fresh infections have taken the number of active cases in the state to 1,826, it said.

11:48 (IST)07 Aug 2020
HP BJP chief tests Covid negative, still goes in self-quarantine

Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Suresh Kashyap has gone into self-quarantine as a precautionary measure despite testing negative for Covid, a party spokesperson said on Friday. Kashyap had recently come in contact with Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhry who tested positive for coronavirus infection on Thursday. He has self quarantined as a precautionary measure, the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, the office of Superintendent of Police (SP) in Shimla has been closed for sanitisation on Friday, the police said.? In a Facebook post, the Shimla police stated that a police personnel who had visited the SP office on Wednesday tested positive for Covid-19 on the next day. So, the SP office will remain closed on Friday for sanitisation, it added.

11:27 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Former HP CM Dhumal in home quarantine

Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal along with his staff members has quarantined himself at his house here as a precaution after the state power minister tested positive for coronavirus. In a Facebook post, Dhumal stated that "he has quarantined himself at his house." He quarantined himself as a precautionary measure as he had recently attended a meeting with the state BJP chief Suresh Kashyap, who was in close contact with Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhry. Chaudhry tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.

10:52 (IST)07 Aug 2020
HC allows Delhi University to conduct Online Open Book Examination

Amid the pandemic, the Delhi High Court today allowed Delhi University to conduct Online Open Book Examination for final year students.

10:42 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Facebook employees to work from home until July 2021, get $1,000 for home offices

Facebook Inc will allow employees to work from home until July 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak and will give them $1,000 for home office needs, a spokeswoman for the social media giant said on Thursday. The company joins other big technology firms that have taken similar steps recently. Late in July, Alphabet Inc’s Google said it would allow employees who do not need to be in the office to work from home until the end of June 2021, while Twitter Inc had proposed remote work indefinitely for some of its employees.

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India's proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to Covid resulted in maintain "very low cases and deaths per million" population, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Thursday. While speaking at a virtual meeting of the regional director of WHO for South-East Asia (SEA) with ministers of health of the member nations, he added that this could be achieved and maintained despite high population density, low fractional GDP spending and per capita doctor and hospital bed availability compared to developed nations, reported PTI.

With the virus spreading rapidly all over the country, there are only three states right now, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, that have less than 1,000 people infected with the disease. Lakshadweep, hasn’t reported even a single case till now, becoming the only region in India entirely free of the epidemic.

Two Indian vaccine candidates that have started human trials are progressing at great speeds. Dr Balram Bhargava, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, announced on Tuesday that phase-I trials of these two candidates were all but over.

Bhargava said Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had completed its phase-I studies for its vaccine candidate at 11 of the 12 selected sites. The company had already started phase-II trials at these places. The other vaccine candidate, being developed by Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, had also started phase-II trials at 11 sites, he said.

The two companies had begun injecting the participants for their vaccine candidates around July 15. Bharat Biotech was aiming to rope in around 1,125 participants in its phase I/II trials, while Zydus was targeting around 1,048 participants.

Both these companies had got approvals to carry out phase-I and phase-II trials at one go. In phase-I trial, the vaccine is tested for its safety in human beings, while in phase-II its ability to trigger immune response in human body is assessed. In normal times, each phase of trial takes up to several months to be completed.

Meanwhile, Russia’s candidate vaccine was reported to have completed phase-I human trials in the second week of July. According to a news report in the Russia’s TASS news agency at that time, the phase-II trials were started on July 13. It is not clear whether the phase-II trials have also declared to have been completed. Usually, each of these phases can take several months to be completed. But considering the prevailing emergency situation, vaccine trials are being fast-tracked across the world.

This rush to produce the vaccine is leading to a lot of discomfort. Over the weekend, while testifying before a panel of US lawmakers, Anthony Fauci, a top US public health expert and one of the most trusted voices on the Coronavirus epidemic, had expressed doubts over the vaccines being produced in China and Russia. A Chinese vaccine has already been approved for limited use, without going through phase-III trials. It is being administered only to army personnel right now.


*More than 160 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials *23 of them in clinical trials *Six in final stages, phase-III of human trials *At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase-I human trials.

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