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.
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.
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.
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.
HUNT FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE: THE STORY SO FAR
*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.