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India Coronavirus highlights: Give priority to elderly for admission, SC directs private hospitals

Coronavirus India highlights: President Ram Nath Kovind was administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Army R&R Hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday. He was accompanied by his daughter.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 5, 2021 10:26:50 am
Lockdown Mumbai expectancyCivic officials said that two factors will determine whether lockdown is required— lack of isolation beds and change in nature of transmission or infectivity pattern (Express Photo by Pradip Das)

India has recorded a total of 242 cases of the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of the novel coronavirus infection, the Government said on Thursday. With 17,407 new Covid-19 cases and 89 deaths registered in the last 24 hours, the country’s overall caseload rose to 1,11,56,923, while its death toll surged to 1,57,435.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech Wednesday said its indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine Covaxin has demonstrated an interim vaccine efficacy of 81 per cent in Phase 3 clinical trial.

Covaxin was approved for restricted use in an emergency situation by the Drug Controller General of India on January 3. However, since Bharat Biotech had not finished recruiting and vaccinating enough participants for Phase 3 trials, the approval was without efficacy data.

President Ram Nath Kovind was administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Army R&R Hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday. He was accompanied by his daughter. The President thanked doctors, nurses, health workers and administrators who were implementing India’s vaccination drive, and urged other eligible citizens to get inoculated.

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India Coronavirus highlights: India records 17,407 new Covid cases, 89 deaths; Bharat Biotech’s Covid shot shows interim vaccine efficacy of 81% in Phase 3 trial

22:33 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Kerala CM urges people to shed hesitation on taking Covaxin

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday urged people to take the indigenous Covaxin vaccine without any hesitation on the basis of the latest report of the Indian Council of Medica Research, the country's apex research body, about its third phase clinical trials.

People had some doubts about the Covaxin, manufacture by the Bharat Biotech with the support of the ICMR, he said at a press meet.

There was some reluctance among the public to take the vaccine as part of the delay in getting the results of its third phase trials, he said.

"ICMR has now released the interim results of the third phase clinical trials. According to it, the vaccine has shown an interim efficacy of 81 per cent in preventing COVID 19," Vijayan said. (PTI)

22:17 (IST)04 Mar 2021
For Mumbai’s first Covid couple, vaccine brings hope after a year in isolation

The last time Vithal Sonawane and wife Lata Sonawane left their Andheri flat together was on March 10, 2020, to go to Kasturba, the city’s first infectious disease hospital. The next day they were Mumbai’s first confirmed Covid-19 positive cases. After a 14-day isolation period, they took an ambulance home and were unprepared for what they saw — empty roads, shut markets, and their masked neighbourhood. In the year since, Covid-19 has changed their lives completely.

Afraid of being reinfected, the elderly couple have remained confined to their apartment for the entire time, except for short trips to the bank and a grocery shop nearby. They also stopped their maid domestic help from coming in. They have rare visits by friends and relatives. They do not step out even for a walk in the nearby park, which was a habit with them before the pandemic struck. Both have diabetes; Vithal is a heart patient with history of angioplasty and Lata has arthritis.

With the start of the second phase of vaccination, in which senior citizens and people with co-morbidities are being immunised, the Sonawanes are eager to get their shot– this, they believe, is their only chance to break free from the fear of reinfection that has bound them indoors. The 70-year-olds plan to get their vaccine on different days, so that in case of an adverse reaction one can look after other. Read this report by Tabassum Barnagarwala

22:07 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Hookah parlour raided, 18 held for flouting COVID-19 norms

Police conducted a raid at a hookah parlour in Mira Road suburb of Maharashtra's Thane district and arrested 18 persons for allegedly violating COVID-19 norms, an official said on Thursday.

The raid was conducted during the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday in Shital Nagar locality, he said.

The operation was carried out by the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar police based on a tip-off. Those arrested include the owner, manager and waiters of the hookah parlour. Eleven others were customers, the official said. (PTI)

22:06 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Mizoram CM Zoramthanga gets COVID-19 vaccine

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga and Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Zoramthanga announced this on his official Twitter handle.

"Took my first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on 04.03.2021 at 10:25 AM," he tweeted.

At least 12 other legislators also took the COVID-19 vaccine, officials said.

According to the state health department, a total of 28,350 people have been administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine till Wednesday. (PTI)

21:14 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Goa adds 69 new COVID-19 cases to tally; two more die

Goa's coronavirus caseload reached 55,212 after 69 persons tested positive for the infection on Thursday, an official from the state health department said.

With two more casualties during the day, the toll went up to 798, the official said.

Apart from this, as many as 38 patients were discharged from various treatment facilities, taking the count of recoveries to 53,775, he said.

This has left the coastal state with 639 active cases, the official said.

With the addition of 1,565 samples tested during the day, the total number of tests conducted in the state has gone up to 4,99,371, he added. (PTI)

21:14 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu records 482 new COVID-19 cases; 4 fatalities

Tamil Nadu posted 482 new coronavirus cases and four more deaths, taking the caseload to 8.53 lakh and the toll to 12,508, the health department said on Thursday.

Recoveries outnumbered new cases with 490 people being discharged, taking the cumulative number to 8,36,963, leaving 3,978 active cases in the state.

Chennai accounted for the maximum number of infections with 189, taking the total to 2,36,260 till date.

The metropolis also accounted for a little over one-third of the COVID-19 fatalities at 4,160 deaths.

A total of 50,706 samples were tested on Thursday, taking the total specimens examined so far to 1.76 crore. (PTI)

21:13 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Karnataka govt thinking of making corona vaccine available at PHC and CHCs: minister

The government was mulling extending the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to the primary and community health centres to cover more people during the vaccination drive, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Thursday.

"At present Covid vaccine is being administered at Taluk hospitals, we are considering extending the service to PHCs and CHCs so that more and more members of the public can get the vaccine at the earliest," the minister said in a statement.

He said he would discuss the availability of coronavirus vaccines in PHCs and CHCs for speedy vaccination of senior citizens. (PTI)

21:12 (IST)04 Mar 2021
1,104 new coronavirus cases, five deaths in Mumbai

Mumbai reported 1,104 new coronavirus cases and five fatalities on Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

The tally of COVID-19 cases in the country's financial capital thus increased to 3,29,843 and the death toll to 11,487, it said.

The city reported over 1,100 COVID-19 cases on the second day ina row. On Wednesday, it had reported 1,121 cases and six fatalities.

On the other hand, 654 patients recovered, taking the number of recoveries to 3,07,027, about 93 per cent of the tally. (PTI)

19:41 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Bangladesh PM Hasina gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday received her first dose of coronavirus vaccine, nearly a month after the country launched the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive with the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Prime Minister Hasina, 73, received her first shot of COVID-19 vaccine at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in Dhaka and sister Sheikh Rehana was by her side at the time, the bdnews reported.

Hasina's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim confirmed that she was vaccinated on Thursday afternoon, but no detail was given about the vaccine she was given.

The vaccination drive began in Bangladesh with a nurse given the first shot at Kurmitola General Hospital in Dhaka on January 27. The prime minister had inaugurated the programme.

The government launched the mass vaccination campaign on February 7 after a dry run. More than 518,000 people have taken their first doses of the vaccine. (PTI)

19:28 (IST)04 Mar 2021
J-K reports 79 new COVID cases, 1 death

Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded 79 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 1,26,772, while one fresh death was reported in the past 24 hours, officials said.

Out of the fresh cases, 14 were from the Jammu Division and 65 from the Kashmir Division of the union territory, they said.

The officials said Srinagar district recorded the highest of 47 cases, followed by 12 in Jammu district.

While 10 districts did not report any fresh cases, eight other districts had cases in single digits.

The number of active was 883 in the union territory, while 1,23,930 patients have recovered so far, the officials said. (PTI)

18:50 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Himachal Pradesh CM, Speaker get COVID-19 vaccine shots

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar and several MLAs took their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the state Assembly complex on Thursday.

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly's budget session is underway. All the beneficiaries were administered the Covishield vaccine, an official spokesperson said.

Speaking on the occasion, Thakur said the first phase of vaccination for COVID-19 was completed successfully with active participation of health and frontline workers. He lauded them for their services to combat the situation. (PTI)

18:41 (IST)04 Mar 2021
UK coronavirus variant could spark resurgence of COVID-19 cases, study says

The coronavirus variant that was first reported in the UK is more transmissible than pre-existing variants, and can lead to large resurgence of Covid-19 cases, according to a new modelling study.

The research, published in the journal Science, noted that without stringent control measures such as limited closure of educational institutions and a greatly accelerated vaccine roll-out, Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths across England in 2021 will exceed those in 2020.

Reserachers, including those from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, estimate that the novel variant has a 43-90 per cent higher reproduction number than pre-existing variants of SARS-CoV-2 in England.

Reproduction number indicates the average number of people who will contract a contagious disease from one infected person.

After emerging in November last year, evidence began to emerge in December that VOC 202012/01 was rapidly outcompeting pre-existing variants in southeast England, the researchers said.

They noted that as of February 15, the variant comprises roughly 95 per cent of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the UK, and has now been identified in at least 82 countries, including India. (PTI)

18:05 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Senior citizens get Covid-19 vaccine shot at Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex

Senior citizens getting inoculated at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) Jambo Covid Hospital Vaccination site in Mumbai on Thursday morning. (Express Photo by Pradip Das)

17:50 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Indian scientists reveal new mutations, proteins of novel coronavirus

A studyfrom the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has identified multiple mutations and unique proteins in isolates of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The recent study, published in the'Journal of Proteome Research', has also shown that the host produces several proteins of their own as their body launches an immunological defence in response to the viral attack, the Bengaluru-based IISc said in a statement on Thursday.

To better understand how the virus is mutating and its protein biology (proteins are made using genetic information), an IISc team led by Utpal Tatu, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, has carried out a comprehensive proteo-genomic investigation a series of analyses of SARS-CoV-2 isolates.

The isolates or viral samples were recovered from nasal secretions of consenting Covid-19 positive individuals here.

The genomic analysis was done using what molecular biologists like Tatu call next generation sequencing (NGS), a technology that allows for rapid sequencing of the entire genome. (PTI)

17:20 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Hyderabad: 54% population developed antibodies against Covid-19, says latest serosurvey

The latest seroprevelance survey in Hyderabad has revealed that around 54 per cent of the city’s residents have developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, indicating prior exposure to the coronavirus. The survey also revealed that more than 75 per cent of the seropositive population did not know they had contracted coronavirus infection in the past.

The study, which was jointly conducted by CSIR – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), ICMR – National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Bharat Biotech, was aimed at estimating the seroprevalence of antibodies against the coronavirus in Hyderabad.

The scientists checked over 9,000 samples for antibodies against the virus in people from across 30 wards of the city. At least 300 people from each ward, all of them older than 10 years of age, were tested during the survey.

Women showed a marginally higher seropositivity rate (56 per cent) than men (53 per cent). Those above 70 years of age showed a lower seropositivity (49 per cent), possibly because of limited mobility and extra care taken by older individuals during the pandemic.

15:18 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Need sense of urgency: Delhi HC asks Centre to inoculate citizens first instead of exporting Covid vaccines

The Delhi High Court on Thursday pulled up the Centre for exporting Covid-19 vaccines instead of vaccinating the country’s citizens on a priority basis and demanded a “sense of urgency” in the matter.

Making its observation on the matter, the high court said that Covid-19 vaccines are being donated and sold to foreign countries, while the people of India are still to get vaccinated against the virus.

The high court further questioned the Centre’s rationale behind keeping strict control over class of persons being vaccinated against COVID-19 currently. Read More

14:46 (IST)04 Mar 2021
HC asks Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech to disclose capacity to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines

The Delhi High Court Thursday directed Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to disclose their capacities to manufacture Covaxin, Covishield vaccines. The high court also asked the Centre to explain in affidavit the rationale behind keeping strict control over class of persons who can be vaccinated against COVID-19 currently as under the present system those above the age of 60 years or between 45 to 60 years with comorbidities can receive vaccination.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said the two institutes-- Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech -- have more capacity to provide the vaccines but it seems that they are not exploiting it fully. "We are not utilising it fully. We are either donating it to foreign countries or selling it to foreign countries and are not vaccinating our own people. So there has to be that sense of responsibility and urgency," the bench said. (PTI)

14:17 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Consignment of India-made Covid vaccines airlifted for Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal
13:23 (IST)04 Mar 2021
Ex-PM Manmohan Singh, wife take COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday took his first dose of COVID-19 vaccination at AIIMS here. 
Singh was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, who also took the vaccine shot.
They were administered Covaxin, India's first indigenously developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech.
The 88-year-old Congress leader remained in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for around half an hour after being administered the vaccine. Sources close to him said he was fine and returned home thereafter. (PTI)

12:27 (IST)04 Mar 2021
242 infected by UK, South Africa and Brazil Covid variants in India, says govt

According to recent government data, 242 people have been infected by the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of the novel coronavirus infection in India. 

Meanwhile, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka continue to report a surge in daily new cases. They account for 85.51 per cent of new cases reported in the last 24 hrs, the Government said. 

MP, Haryana, Rajasthan, J&K (UT), Odisha, UP, HP, Goa, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Puducherry, Assam, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Sikkim, Ladakh, Tripura, A&N Islands, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, D&D & D&N and Arunachal Pradesh have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in last 24 hours, ANI reported. 

More than 1.48 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered till 1 pm yesterday since the second phase of the inoculation drive kickstarted Monday, the government informed. Out of this, 2,08,791 people are above the age of 60 or are aged between 45-60 with comorbidities. Also, the government has received 50 lakh registrations on CoWIN for COVID-19 vaccination so far.

As many as 1.5 million schools remained shut during 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdowns, impacting 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools in India, according to data released by UNICEF Wednesday. “Online education is not an option for all as only one in four children has access to digital devices and Internet connectivity. Pre-Covid, only a quarter of households (24 per cent) in India had access to the Internet and there is a large rural-urban and gender divide,” says the UNICEF statement, raising concerns on a higher dropout rate in schools once classes recommence.

The data released by UNICEF notes that more than 888 million children worldwide continue to face disruptions to their education due to full and partial school closures. The analysis of school closure reports notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed since March 2020 to February 2021. Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million schoolchildren.

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