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Coronavirus News Highlights: India records 2,451 new Covid-19 cases; IIT-Madras covid cluster rises to 30

Covid-19 India LIVE News Updates, Coronavirus News Today, 22 April 2022: After Delhi, Punjab makes face masks mandatory in public places; India reported 2,451 Covid-19 cases and 54 deaths

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 23, 2022 8:10:45 am
A health worker takes swab sample for Covid test in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Coronavirus News Highlights Today: India recorded 2,451 new Covid-19 cases and 54 deaths in the 24 hours ending 8 am Friday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Active cases increased to 14,241 while the recovery rate remained unchanged at 98.75 per cent.

Eighteen more students of IIT Madras tested positive for Covid-19 Friday morning taking the tally to 30. Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, who termed the spread as a small cluster, visited the campus on Friday alongside other health department officials to oversee the RT-PCR tests being carried out for those residing on the campus. The first case was detected on the campus on April 19.

In another development, Delhi will provide free Covid precautionary dose to beneficiaries in the 18-59 age group at government vaccination centres, the city health department said on Thursday. “In order to give the benefit of precaution dose to all eligible beneficiaries in Delhi, the same will be available for 18 to 59 years’ age group, free of cost in all government CVCs,” the health department said in an order.


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Coronavirus News Highlights Today:  2,451 new Covid-19 cases, 54 fatalities; active cases at 14,241. Follow this space for more updates.

22:25 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Polish health minister upbeat on Moderna vaccine talks

Poland can reach a compromise with Moderna on increasing the flexibility of Covid-19 vaccine contracts, the health minister said on Friday, striking an upbeat tone after initial talks with the US pharmaceutical company.

Poland has said it will not take or pay for more doses of Covid-19 vaccine under the European Union's supply contract as it already has sufficient doses, potentially setting the stage for a legal battle with manufacturers.

The country has seen lower vaccine uptake than many other European countries and is seeing its public finances stretched by the effects of the war in neighbouring Ukraine, which has resulted in 2.9 million refugees entering Poland.

"Thank you @moderna_tx for the dialogue started today," Adam Niedzielski wrote on Twitter. (Reuters)

21:55 (IST)22 Apr 2022
3,08,380 precaution doses of Covid vaccine administered in those aged 18-59 yrs in India: Govt

A total of 35,636 precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccine were administered in those aged 18-59 years till 7 pm on Friday, taking the total precaution doses given in this age-group to 3,08,380 so far, according to the Union health ministry data.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 187.44 crore, with more than 17 lakh vaccine doses being administered till 7 pm, the ministry said.

India on April 10 began administering precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres.

All those above the age of 18, who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose, are eligible for the precaution dose.

Over 2.63 crore precaution doses have been administered to healthcare workers, frontline workers and to those aged 60 and above so far. (PTI)

21:19 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Nearly 150 Punjab cops including DGP get booster shot of Covid vaccine

Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) V K Bhawra was among 149 police personnel who were administered the booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine during a special camp here on Friday.

Two additional DGPs -- Arpit Shukla and Sharad Satya Chauhan -- and assistant inspector general Sukhwant Singh Gill also got the booster jab.

The Punjab police in association with the health department has been organising special camps for administering Covid-19 vaccination booster dose for its personnel at a dispensary at the Punjab police headquarters here.

This was the third such camp organised here. A total of 363 police personnel have got the booster dose, according to an official release.

21:11 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Spain to probe Covid-19 contracts allegedly linked to ministers

Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor said on Friday it would open a preliminary inquiry into alleged corruption by companies purportedly linked to government ministers that won lucrative contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prosecutor's office said it would assess the allegations submitted by Spain's opposition People's Party (PP) to determine whether the seven companies involved received special treatment and if there were grounds for a full investigation.

Under scrutiny are a contract for a marketing company allegedly linked to Economy Minister Nadia Calvino's husband and the awarding of government support to a business with ties to the parents of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Neither the Economy Ministry nor the Prime Minister's office responded to a request for comment. (Reuters)

20:48 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Mumbai reports 68 Covid-19 cases, addition to tally dipping for second consecutive day

Mumbai on Friday reported 68 Covid-19 cases, a dip from 98 on Wednesday, which was the highest for April so far, and 91 on Thursday, a civic official said.

It took the tally in the metropolis to 10,59,141, while the death toll remained unchanged at 19,562, he said.

He said 44 persons were discharged during the day, which had taken the recovery count to 10,39,105, leaving the city with an active caseload of 474.

So far, 1,68,26,035 samples have been examined, including 8,700 in the last 24 hours, he added.

A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation health bulletin said 65 of the 68 new cases were asymptomatic, while the remaining three had been hospitalised, though none of them needed oxygen support.

It also stated only 12 out of the 26,044 hospital beds earmarked for Covid-19 treatment were currently occupied.

Civic data showed the recovery rate is 98 per cent, the positivity rate stands at 0.007 per cent, the caseload doubling time was 11,343 days and the overall case growth rate between April 15 and 21 was 0.005 per cent. (PTI)

20:39 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Delhi records 1,042 Covid-19 cases, two deaths

Delhi logs 1,042 fresh Covid cases, two deaths in a day. Positivity rate 4.64 per cent: Health Bulletin.  (PTI)

20:04 (IST)22 Apr 2022
EU regulator backs using Pfizer Covid shot as booster after other vaccines

A European Medicines Agency committee on Friday recommended approving the use of Pfizer and BioNtech's Covid-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, as a booster for adults who have previously been inoculated with other vaccines.

The recommendation from Europe's drug regulator comes days after the two companies showed that a third dose of their shot produced significant protection against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in healthy children aged five to 11. (Reuters)

19:39 (IST)22 Apr 2022
WHO chief meets PM Deuba, praises Nepal's fight against Covid-19

World Health Organisation Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus on Friday appreciated Nepal's national campaign against Covid-19, as he met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and discussed measures to further strengthen the cooperation between the country and the UN health agency.

Ghebreyesus, who arrived here on Thursday on a three-day official visit, praised Prime Minister Deuba for such effective work that most of the eligible people were vaccinated against the coronavirus with smooth management, according to sources at the Prime Minister's Office.

During the meeting, Ghebreyesus termed Nepal government's strategy for control and prevention of Covid-19 as effective, the prime minister's press coordinator Govinda Pariyar said.

In the meeting, Ghebreyesus also extended thanks to the Nepal government for launching the vaccination against typhoid among children - the first in South Asia. 

"Another compliment he made was Nepal's progress on various health indicators, including child and maternal mortality over a short span of time," Pariyar said. (PTI)

19:18 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Mask mandate returns in Delhi within 3 weeks, Rs 500 fine for violation

Within three weeks of lifting its mask mandate, the Delhi government Friday made masks mandatory at public places with immediate effect, and imposed a fine of Rs 500 for any violation as coronavirus cases rise in the city again.

However, those travelling together in a private four-wheeler are out of the purview of the new rule, according to an order issued by the city's Health and Family Welfare Department.

The order does not mention if people travelling in hired cabs and taxis will be required to wear masks.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority(DDMA) had in a meeting last Wednesday decided to make masks mandatory at public places with a fine of Rs 500 for any violation.

The DDMA meeting, attended by Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among others, had noted that Covid case positivity rate has been increasing in Delhi over the past fortnight. (PTI)

18:29 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Maharashtra: Nashik logs four new Covid-19 cases

With the addition of four new cases of Covid-19 the tally of infections in Maharashtra's Nashik district reached 4,76,040 on Friday, an official said.

As many as 4,67,128 have recovered from the disease so far in the district, while the toll stands at 8,899, he said.
There are currently 13 active cases in the district, the official said.

According to the administration, of the total number of cases, 2,72,797 were from Nashik city, 1,77,112 from other parts of the district, 13,882 from Malegaon and 8,333 patients were from outside the district. (PTI)

18:12 (IST)22 Apr 2022

With its ancient fort and sandy beaches, the city of Galle on Sri Lanka's southern coast should be awash with holidaymakers at this time of year.

Instead, another power cut has plunged the city into darkness, and the historic quarter lies mostly deserted except for a lone tourist using a flashlight to find his way along the pitch black street.

As Sri Lanka sinks deeper into its worst economic crisis since independence, hopes in Galle that it could once more become the booming tourist destination it was before COVID-19 halted global travel in 2020 have been dashed.

Power cuts and essential food shortages have hit the island nation hard for weeks, drawing out protesters onto the streets and putting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa under mounting pressure to resign. On Tuesday, one person died in a protest, the first fatality since the demonstrations began last month.

Tourism earned Sri Lanka $4.4 billion and contributed 5.6% to GDP in 2018, but this dropped to just 0.8% in 2020. However, arrivals topped 100,000 in March for the first time in two years, Sri Lanka's tourism office said. Overall tourism numbers are higher than they were in 2021, marking what many thought would be a pandemic revival. (Reuters)

17:30 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Hong Kong to allow international travellers for first time since 2020

Hong Kong will allow non residents to enter the financial hub from May for the first time in more than two years, a small step in unwinding stringent coronavirus restrictions which have turned the city into one of the world's most isolated places.

Hong Kong's rules for airlines that carry infected Covid-19 patients will also be eased slightly, the government said in a statement on Friday, with the threshold for suspending incoming flights rising to five infected passengers from three currently.

A ban on individual airline routes will be shortened to five days from 7.

Foreign travellers will be subject to the same procedure as residents, the government said.

The announcement comes with daily infections under 1000 for more than a week from a peak of more than 70,000 on March 3.

Hong Kong's borders have essentially been closed since early 2020 with very few flights and weeks-long quarantine for arrivals. (Reuters)

16:44 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Adar Poonawalla says Serum Institute has stopped vaccine production to avoid waste

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Friday warned against the return to the business-as-usual approach, saying we “can’t afford to put a price tag on the life of a citizen” as the pandemic is not behind us yet.

The chief executive defended his call for lowering the vaccination gap to six months from the present nine months to ensure that people don’t see again the pains they underwent in the first two waves of the pandemic, and not for making money, as he has made already enough.

“I have also offered vaccines for free to avoid waste, which I wouldn’t have done if my objective is money,” he said. (Read More)

16:33 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Singapore to remove most Covid restrictions next week

Singapore will remove most remaining Covid-19 restrictions from April 26, in response to a decline in new daily infections, its health ministry said on Friday.

The measures include removing limits on group sizes, allowing the full return of employees to workplaces and scrapping a requirement for vaccinated travellers to take a Covid test before departing for Singapore. (Reuters)

15:47 (IST)22 Apr 2022
Shanghai vows to ease anti-virus controls amid food worries

Officials in Shanghai promised Friday to ease anti-virus controls on truck drivers that are hampering food supplies and trade, while city streets were still largely empty after millions of people were allowed out of their homes.

A deputy mayor, Zhang Wei, promised ``every effort'' to resolve problems that prompted complaints about lack of food and fears that the shutdown, which barred most of Shanghai's 25 million people from going outdoors, might disrupt global trade.

The streets of China's most populous city were quiet despite an easing of restrictions beginning April 13 that has released more than 10 million people. Many were barred from leaving their neighborhoods. Others had nowhere to go because most factories, shops and offices were closed.

In one neighborhood, a woman rode a skateboard and a couple took a child's photo outside a park. Delivery drivers rode past on scooters while government employees in white suits sprayed disinfectant on trash bags. (AP)

15:36 (IST)22 Apr 2022
No student or staff should be allowed entry into schools without thermal scanning: Delhi govt

No student or staff should be allowed entry into school premises without thermal scanning and if any of them tests Covid positive, the institute's authorities must take appropriate quarantine measures, according to Delhi government guidelines for schools.

The guidelines were issued in the wake of a spike in coronavirus patients in the city that on Thursday logged 965 cases, 1,009 on Wednesday, 632 on Tuesday and 501 on Monday.

Schools have also been advised to ask students to not share lunch and stationery items, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the city government stated.

Parents should be advised to not send their ward to school if the child or any member in the family tests positive or shows Covid symptoms, it said.

"If a student as well as staff member displays any Covid symptoms, they should be moved away from other people into an outdoor ventilated space or quarantine room," the SOP stated. (PTI)

14:01 (IST)22 Apr 2022
18 more test positive for Covid at IIT Madras, tally now at 30

Eighteen more students of IIT Madras tested positive for Covid-19 Friday morning taking the tally to 30 till now. Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, who termed the spread as a small cluster, visited the campus on Friday alongside other health department officials to oversee the RT-PCR tests being carried out for those residing on the campus.

Radhakrishnan said the first case was detected on April 19 and two more students tested positive on April 20 following which the health department, the Chennai municipal corporation and the medical team at the IIT Madras campus took samples of those who were in close contact with these students.

13:32 (IST)22 Apr 2022
UK patient had Covid-19 for 505 days straight, shows study

A UK patient with a severely weakened immune system had Covid-19 for almost a year and a half, scientists reported, underscoring the importance of protecting vulnerable people from the coronavirus.

There’s no way to know for sure whether it was the longest-lasting Covid-19 infection because not everyone gets tested, especially on a regular basis like this case.

But at 505 days, “it certainly seems to be the longest reported infection,” said Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell, an infectious disease expert at the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. (AP)

13:31 (IST)22 Apr 2022
As Covid-19 turbulence eases, three airlines in race for domestic No. 2 spot

DOMESTIC AIR traffic is recovering from the Covid blow, having edged past the pre-pandemic daily passenger count of 4 lakh, and the aviation market is now seeing a fresh dose of competition with a pitched battle for the second spot.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo stays at the top with more than half the domestic market share, but there are three contenders — Air India, SpiceJet and GoFirst — for the second spot. According to monthly traffic data published by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for March, GoFirst became the third airline this year to occupy the No.2 rank in terms of passenger market share after Air India and SpiceJet had dominated the spot.

Read Pranav Mukul's full report here

12:00 (IST)22 Apr 2022
China| Shanghai extends Covid-19 lockdown till April 26 as death toll rises to 36

Shanghai has extended the COVID-19 lockdown to April 26, amid reports of growing public resentment as the eastern metropolis of 26 million reported 11 more deaths on Thursday, taking the toll in the current outbreak to 36.

China on Thursday reported 2,119 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,931 were reported in Shanghai, according to the National Health Commission. Shanghai has added 17,629 new cases in the previous 24 hours, 4.7 per cent fewer than a day earlier, according to data released on Friday, taking the city's cumulative cases since March 1 to 443,500. (PTI)

Jammu: A healthcare worker collects a swab sample of a woman for Covid-19 testing, at a market in Jammu, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (PTI Photo)

India’s effective reproduction number (R-value) for Covid-19, an indicator of how quickly a disease is spreading in the population, has increased to over 1 for the first time since mid-January, during the third wave of the pandemic. The R-value, which saw a steady increase over the last few weeks, was 1.07 for April 12-18, according to Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher from Chennai’s Institute of Mathematical Sciences who has been tracking the country’s R-value since the beginning of the pandemic. It was 0.93 the previous week.

The Pune-based Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) has reported three episodes of Covid-19 infection in a healthcare professional. The report was published in the Journal of Infection on Tuesday. The professional had primary SARS-CoV2 infection, breakthrough infection with Delta and reinfection with Omicron over a 16-month period.

NIV researchers said the findings of the study prove the immune evasion potential of the Omicron variant, even after infection and vaccination. In the case of the 38-year-old healthcare professional from New Delhi, researchers at NIV said the patient had a breakthrough infection with Delta derivative (AY.112) and reinfection with the Omicron sub-lineage BA.2. Although the clinical specimens of the primary infection couldn’t be characterised, the probability of B.1 as an infecting variant would be higher as the infection occurred in October 2020, when emerging variants had not been detected in India.

READ | Three episodes of Covid infection found in healthcare professional: report

Just when the pandemic seemed to be getting over in India, the rise in cases in Delhi and Haryana has begun to sound alarm bells once again. The silver lining, as of now, is the fact that the rise in cases has been restricted in these two states, basically Delhi and its neighbourhood, and has not been reported from other parts of the country.

Unlike the other major cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai or Pune where the number of daily new cases dropped to the lower double-digits, Delhi has continued to report a significantly higher number of cases, over 100 per day on an average.

EXPLAINED | As Covid-19 cases rise in India, making sense of the trends

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