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Covid-19 highlights: India greenlights Covavax, Corbevax vaccines; Delhi announces yellow alert; and more

Today's Covid numbers: Delhi (496 cases), Mumbai (1377 cases), Kolkata (217 cases), Bengaluru (269 cases), Chennai (194 cases)

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 28, 2021 9:07:09 pm
Passengers being tested for Covid-19 at Dadar station in Mumbai.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya Tuesday said that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has given authorization to the Serum Institute of India’s Covid vaccine Covovax, Biological E’s jab Corbevax and anti-Covid pill Molnupiravir for emergency use.

“CORBEVAX vaccine is India’s first indigenously developed RBD protein sub-unit vaccine against Covid-19, made by Hyderabad-based firm Biological-E. It’s a hat-trick! It’s now the third vaccine developed in India!” Mandaviya said in a tweet, adding that the approvals will further strengthen the global fight against the pandemic.

The announcement comes a day after the expert panel of the country’s central drug authority recommended granting emergency use authorisation (EUA) to Covovax and Corbevax with certain conditions.

With this approval, the number of Covid vaccines which have received emergency use authorisation in the country has increased to eight.

Prior to this, a total of six Covid-19 vaccines –Serum Institute’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D, Russia’s Sputnik V and the US-made Moderna and Johnson and Johnson — had received EUA from the Indian drug regulator.

Meanwhile, India’s Omicron tally went up to 653 on Tuesday, with the highest being reported from Maharashtra at 167, followed by Delhi with 165 cases, Kerala 57, Telangana 55 and Gujarat at 49. The country also recorded 6,358 new covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Active cases currently stand at 75,456 while the recovery rate is at 98.90 per cent.

Yellow alert in Delhi

In view of the rising Covid-19 cases following the emergence of Omicron variant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said that restrictions under the yellow alert for Covid will be implemented in the national capital..

The restrictions under the Covid Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) include shutting all educational institutions, capping wedding and funeral gatherings to 20, reducing seat occupancy in Delhi Metro and buses to 50%, among other things.

“Over the past few days cases have been going up but there is no need to worry and panic. We are mostly seeing mild and asymptomatic cases and there is no need for hospitalisation in these cases. Most patients admitted in hospitals do not need oxygen or ICUs… But we do not want the disease to spread and you to fall ill… We had earlier notified GRAP to deal with an increase in cases. It was drawn up in a scientific manner and would aid simpler implementation,” Kejriwal said.

As per the plan, shops in markets and malls dealing with non-essential goods and services will be allowed to open as per the odd-even formula between 10 am to 8 pm, while one weekly market will be allowed per municipal zone at half the capacity of vendors. Shops selling essential items will remain open on all days.

Delhi coronavirus cases Today Live Update, News Delhi Pollution Live A crowded market in New Delhi.

Restaurants will operate at 50 per cent capacity between 8 am – 10 pm, bars will open between 12-10 pm also at 50 per cent capacity. Schools, educational institutions, cinemas, banquet halls, auditoriums, spas, gyms and entertainment parks will remain shut.

The Delhi Chief Minister also warned saying that the government will be forced to close markets if crowding continues and Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed.

Meanwhile, the timing of night curfew imposed from Monday night has also been extended by an hour and it will now begin at 10 pm. The night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am will remain in force till further orders, stated the order issued by the DDMA.

The city on Tuesday reported 496 new Covid cases and one death. The positivity rate in Delhi stands at 0.89%.

‘Doctor certificate not required to establish co-morbidity’

The Union Health Ministry Tuesday said that all person aged 60 and above with co-morbidities will not be required to produce or submit any certificate from the doctor at the time of administration of precaution dose.

“…Such persons are expected to obtain the advice of their doctor before deciding to avail of precaution dose…,” Union Health Ministry said.

A medic administers a dose of Covid-19 vaccine to a beneficiary, at Sarojini Nagar Market in New Delhi. (PTI)

The health ministry has said that healthcare workers, frontline workers and citizens above 60 years with comorbidities will be eligible for the “precautionary” doses. It also said that when beneficiaries become eligible for the additional dose, Co-WIN will send out text messages informing them that their third shot is now due. Beneficiaries can only take the additional jab after nine months (or 39 weeks) between the second dose being administered to them.

Delhi reported 496 fresh Covid-19 cases

Delhi reported 496 fresh Covid-19 cases and one death on Tuesday. The positivity rate has now gone up to 0.89%.

Following genome sequencing, 23 more Omicron cases have been detected in the city.

With the sudden rise in cases over the past week, the number of active cases in the city has gone up to 1,612—the figure was at 624 a week earlier.

Maharashtra reports 2,172 fresh Covid cases; 1,377 in Mumbai

Maharashtra reported 2,172 fresh Covid-19 cases, 22 deaths and 1098 recoveries on Tuesday. No new Omicron case has been detected in the state. A total of 167 cases due to the new Covid-19 variant have been found in Maharashtra to date.

Among the fresh Covid-19 cases reported on Tuesday, 1,377 were from Mumbai, which has taken the total number of active cases in the city to 5803. A total of 338 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the city. This took the total number of recovered Covid-19 patients up to 7,48,537. The recovery rate is at 97%.

TMC MP Dereck O’Brien tests positive

Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O’ Brien Tuesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is presently at home isolation.

Brien, who is TMC Rajya Sabha party leader, requested those who have come in contact with him in the last three days and have symptoms to seek medical advice.

“Have tested positive for #COVID Moderate symptoms. Isolating at home. If you have come into contact with me in the last three days, and have symptoms, please seek medical advice.

Gujarat to set up vaccination camps at schools

The Gujarat government will set up camps at schools to inoculate as many as 35 lakh children in the 15 to 18 years age group, news agency PTI reported citing a senior official on Tuesday. Online registration for vaccination will start from January 1.

As per the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry, children in this age group will receive only Covaxin doses. “Online registration will begin from January 1, but on-site registration is also available. We will approach schools in coordination with the education department to cover an estimated 34-35 lakh beneficiaries,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Manoj Aggarwal.

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