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Coronavirus India Highlights: PM Narendra Modi reviews vaccination drive, says wastage must be brought down

Coronavirus (Covid-19) India Lockdown and Cases News Highlights: Today's Covid numbers: Delhi (523 cases), Mumbai (973 cases), Kolkata (899 cases), Bengaluru (3221 cases), Chennai (1971 cases)

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: June 5, 2021 9:18:59 am
Covaxin, Covaxin vaccine, Cowin, Delhi government, Covaxin stock in Delhi, Covaxin second dose in Delhi, Covaxin availability, Delhi news, india news, indian expressCovaxin is developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

Coronavirus India Highlights: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while reviewing the progress of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, said that vaccine wastage numbers are still on a higher side and that steps need to be taken to bring them down.

The prime minister also took stock of the status of vaccination coverage in healthcare workers as well as frontline workers, besides those in 45-plus and 18-44 years age groups, the PMO said. “Government of India is actively working with vaccine manufacturers ad helping them in terms of facilitating more production units, financing and supply of raw materials,” it added.

Earlier today, the health ministry said that data sharing is going on with WHO to give recognition to Covaxin. “We have been working with both Bharat Biotech and the WHO to make it happen. There is data sharing going on and we are very keen that this milestone is achieved as soon as possible. We are pursuing it,” NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said in response to a question during a press briefing.

The WHO approval holds importance as there is a discussion about granting vaccine passports only to those given WHO-approved vaccines.

India recorded over 1.32 lakh new covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Friday, taking the country’s total infections to over 2.85 crore. Out of the total cases, active cases further declined to over 16 lakh and the total number of recoveries went up to over 2.65 crore. With 2,713 new deaths, the toll is now at 3,40,702.

Live Blog

Over 1.32 lakh new cases in India; active cases decline to 16 lakh; death toll over 3.40 lakh. Follow this space to get latest coronavirus updates.

21:26 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Bring down vaccine wastage: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while reviewing the progress of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, said that vaccine wastage numbers are still on a higher side and that steps need to be taken to bring them down.

The prime minister also took stock of the status of vaccination coverage in healthcare workers as well as frontline workers, besides those in 45-plus and 18-44 years age groups, the PMO said. “Government of India is actively working with vaccine manufacturers ad helping them in terms of facilitating more production units, financing and supply of raw materials,” it added.

PM Modi holds review meeting on vaccination strategy | India News,The Indian  Express

20:28 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Serum Institute gets DCGI's nod to manufacture Covid jab Sputnik V in India

The DCGI has granted permission to the Serum Institute of India (SII) to manufacture the Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine in India for examination, test and analysis with certain conditions, news agency PTI reported citing official sources.

"The DCGI has granted permission to the Serum Institute to manufacture the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine in India for examination, test and analysis at its licensed Hadapsar facility with certain conditions," an official source said.

The Pune-based firm has collaborated with Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moscow in Russia for developing Sputnik V at its licensed Hadapsar facility. The company had submitted an application to the DCGI in this regard on Thursday. 

Phase 3 trials almost over, Dr Reddy's seeks emergency use nod for Sputnik V  | India News,The Indian Express

19:46 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Data sharing going on with WHO to give recognition to Covaxin: Centre

Data sharing is going on with WHO to give recognition to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, the government said, noting that it wants to achieve this "milestone" as soon as possible.

Responding to a question on recognition of Covaxin by the WHO, NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said the government is pursuing it.

"We have been working with both Bharat Biotech and the WHO to make it happen. There is data sharing going on and we are very keen that this milestone is achieved as soon as possible. We are pursuing it," he said. 

On May 24, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) conveyed to the government that it has already submitted 90 per cent of the documents to the WHO for obtaining emergency use listing (EUL) for the Covaxin vaccine. (PTI)

90 crore doses per annum: Bharat Biotech says Covaxin set for a boost |  India News,The Indian Express

18:28 (IST)04 Jun 2021
What is the new Covid-19 variant found in Vietnam

Vietnam has often been held up as a leading example in containing the coronavirus outbreak thanks to an aggressive strategy of early screening of passengers at airports and a strict quarantine and monitoring programme.

It was able to better manage the crisis than its larger neighbours despite sharing a long border with China, where the outbreak was first reported. However, luck might be running out for Vietnam as a troubling new variant has led to the country recording half of its caseload in the past one month. Read our explainer for more details.

18:02 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Indians in S Korea come together to ship oxygen cylinders back home

When the Covid-19 crisis in India worsened in April this year, like others in the diaspora, the Indian community in South Korea could only watch in despair. By the first week of May, the community began having serious discussions on what they could do, both individually and collectively, for their homeland. Read the full report here.

AWWA, Oxygen

18:00 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Decline of 68% noted in Covid cases since May 7 peak: Centre

The Union Health Ministry Friday said that almost 68 per cent decline has been noted in Covid-19 cases since the highest reported peak of cases on May 7. There has been a decrease in active cases by more than 21 lakh since the peak of active cases on May 10, it said, adding that 377 districts are reporting less than 5 per cent case positivity rate.

17:25 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Need to buy time to ensure high coverage of vaccination is achieved: govt 

The Union Health Ministry Friday said that the country needs to buy time to ensure that high coverage of vaccination against Covid is achieved. If the containment measures, Covid-19 appropriate behaviour or vaccination pace slackens, cases can rise again, it said.

A health worker collects swab samples of poor and street people for Covid tests, in Nagercoil, Friday, June 4, 2021. (PTI)
16:39 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Over 370 districts reporting less than 5% case positivity rate: Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry Friday said that 377 districts in the country are reporting a less than five per cent positivity rate. “There has been a continuous decrease in districts reporting more than 100 average daily new cases, 257 districts reporting more than 100 daily cases,” Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry said on the Covid-19 situation.

16:13 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Consistent increase in recovery rate: Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry Friday said that there has been a consistent increase in recovery rate which currently stands at 93.1 per cent.  "There has been a continuous decrease in districts reporting more than 100 average daily new cases," Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry said during a briefing on the Covid-19 situation.

16:10 (IST)04 Jun 2021
UK approves Pfizer/BioNTech Covid shot for 12- to 15-year-olds

Britain’s medicines regulator said on Friday it had extended approval of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech so it can be used on 12- to 15-year-olds.

“We have carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years and have concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk,” June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said. Read the full report here.

15:50 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Pfizer jab produces less antibodies against Delta variant: study

People fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are likely to have more than five times lower levels of neutralising antibodies against the Delta variant first identified in India compared to the original strain, according to research published in The Lancet journal.

The study also shows that levels of these antibodies that are able to recognise and fight the virus are lower with increasing age, and that levels decline over time, providing additional evidence in support of plans to deliver a booster dose to vulnerable people. More details here.

15:23 (IST)04 Jun 2021
PM Narendra Modi speaks to Milkha Singh, enquires about his health

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to legendary sprinter Milkha Singh, who has been ailing, to enquire about his health.
Modi expressed hope that Singh, who was on Thursday admitted to a Chandigarh hospital, will be back soon to bless and inspire athletes, who will be participating in the Tokyo Olympics, government sources said. Fondly called “flying Sikh”, Singh, who recently contracted COVID-19 infection, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital due to dipping levels of oxygen. The 91-year-old is in a stable condition.

Modi Milkha

14:37 (IST)04 Jun 2021
PM hails Indian scientists for developing vaccine against COVID-19

Prime Minister Narendra modi on Friday lauded scientists at Council of Scientific & Industrial Research Society for making a made-in-India Covid vaccine in just an year. "India used to wait for years to get hold of innovations achieved outside, now our scientists working at same quick pace," Modi said. 

14:28 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Four-member panel formed to look into deaths due to shortage of oxygen, says Sisodia

The Delhi government has formed a four-member expert committee to look into the deaths due to the shortage of oxygen during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and is awaiting the lieutenant governor's approval, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Friday. During the second wave of coronavirus, there was an oxygen crisis and there were reports that the oxygen shortage led to deaths at some hospitals, Sisodia said in an online briefing.

"We took the issue seriously and took a decision to form a four-member committee to look into the matter. It is a committee comprising medical experts. We have sent the file for the L-G's approval," he said.

14:15 (IST)04 Jun 2021
HC seeks stands of Centre, Delhi govt on plea for CBI probe into deaths at Jaipur Golden Hospital

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the stand of the Centre and the city government on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the death of 21 Covid patients at the Jaipur Golden Hospital here last month allegedly due to oxygen shortage. Justice Rekha Palli issued a notice to the Union ministries of home and health and the Delhi government seeking their response by August 20 on the plea filed by the families of some patients who died on the intervening night of April 23 and 24. (With PTI)

13:39 (IST)04 Jun 2021
‘At-risk’ policy change: Govt puts money on new-platform Covid-19 vaccine

The decision to book 30 crore doses of Biological E’s Covid-19 vaccine before it has launched marks a major shift in the government’s stance on procurement for mass immunisation against the coronavirus. The advance order, which includes Rs 1,500 crore in monetary assistance to help the company stockpile doses, is the government’s first at-risk investment on vaccines so far.

It is significant that the government has put its money on a novel platform for a Covid-19 vaccine that is yet to receive regulatory approval.Bio E’s two-dose vaccine, known as Corbevax, is likely to be among the cheapest Covid-19 vaccines that will be available in India; it is also expected that it will be easy to scale up production.

Corbevax uses a recombinant protein platform, which is not used by any other vaccine in India currently. The recombinant protein vaccine is expected to target the specific part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can help the body trigger an immune response, in this case, the spike protein on its surface.

13:13 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Prior Covid infection reduces second infection risk for up to 10 months: Lancet study

he risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is substantially reduced for up to 10 months following the first infection with the virus, according to a study. The research, published in the journal Lancet Healthy Longevity on Tuesday, looked at rates of COVID-19 infections between October lat years, and February this year among over 2,000 care home residents and staff in England.

The researchers from the University College London (UCL) in the UK compared people who had evidence of a previous infection up to 10 months earlier, as determined by antibody testing, with those who had not been previously infected. They found that residents with a previous infection were 85 per cent less likely to be infected during this four-month period than those who had never been infected.

12:37 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Kerala announces Rs 20,000 crore second Covid-19 package

Covid-19 stimulus package worth Rs 20,000 crore; allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for free distribution of vaccines for all above 18 years; Rs 1,500 crore for first-phase conservation of fragile coastal areas; a scheme to reduce extreme poverty; and no new tax proposals — these are some of the important announcements in the revised budget presented by Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal Friday for FY 2021-22.

As Balagopal’s predecessor T M Thomas Isaac had presented a full budget in February, and with the LDF government returning to power in the state in the recent elections, the budget was merely a continuation of Isaac’s proposals. (With Vishnu Varma)

12:26 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Kejriwal to discuss preparations for possible third wave of Covid-19 in Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called two meetings on Friday to discuss preparations for the possible third wave of coronavirus. “The CM will meet the expert committee at 11 and the  preparation committee at 3,” the CM’s office said in a tweet. On May 27, the Delhi government had set up a 13-member committee to prepare an action plan for a possible third wave.

This committee is tasked with assessing the current situation and future requirements of infrastructure such as hospitals, oxygen plants, drug supplies in the capital.

11:32 (IST)04 Jun 2021
Delta variant 50% more infectious than Alpha, study says

The new Delta or B.1.617 variant, primarily responsible for the explosive surge in Covid-19 infections in India has 50 per cent more transmissibility than the Alpha variant  or B.1.1.7 variant, as per study by INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia ) & National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). (With ANI)

A health worker administers a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

The Rajasthan government has cancelled the Class 10 and 12 exams of the Board of Secondary Education Rajasthan "apprehending a third wave of the pandemic". "In view of the apprehensions of the third wave of Covid-19, it has been decided to cancel the Class 10 and Class12 board examinations of Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) in the meeting of Rajasthan Council of Ministers today in the interest of students. A decision regarding the marking scheme will be taken soon,” Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra Dotasara tweeted.

Rajasthan’s decision to cancel board exams came a day after the Central Board of Secondary Education’s announcement to scrap Class 12 final exams.

Meanwhile, saying that there is a “tearing emergency” to fast-track approvals and “handhold” vaccine manufacturers in the country, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said some people need to be “charged with manslaughter” for sitting on the “untapped potential” of Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing. “What answer will you give for the loss of lives because of lack of vaccines?” the court asked the Centre in another strong indictment of its vaccine policy.

SC calls Centre’s vaccine policy for 18-44 to pay ‘arbitrary, irrational’

Underlining that “our Constitution does not envisage courts to be silent spectators when constitutional rights of citizens are infringed by Executive policies”, the Supreme Court said Tuesday that the Centre’s policy of arranging free Covid-19 vaccine jabs for the 45-plus age category, Health Care Workers (HCW) and Front Line Workers (FLW) while asking the 18-44 age group to pay for the vaccination by state and Union territory governments and private hospitals was “prima facie arbitrary and irrational”.

Directing the Centre to “undertake a fresh review of its vaccination policy addressing the concerns raised”, the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat — the order in the suo motu matter of Covid-19 management heard May 31 was uploaded Tuesday — sought detailed information in the form of an affidavit in two weeks.

Kerala House lends heft to ‘free vaccine’ call

As more states joined the chorus for free universal vaccination by the Union government, the demand gained political momentum Wednesday with the Kerala Assembly unanimously passing a resolution that the Centre should make vaccines available free of cost to all states in a time-bound manner. The resolution moved by Kerala Health Minister Veena George said the most suitable preventive step against the pandemic was universal vaccination, but asking states to procure vaccines from the open market was “highly objectionable”.

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