Coronavirus updates | August 27, 2021

Children push one another, unmindful of social distance norms, as they move ahead for their Midday Meal, at a government school at China Waltair in Visakhapatnam on August 26, 2021   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 61 crore, the Union health ministry said on August 26. Nearly 68 lakh (67,87,305) vaccine doses were administered on August 26, according to the 7 pm provisional report. No report of COVID-19 vaccine shortage has been received from States and Union Territories in the past two to three weeks and the present situation is "satisfactory", the government added.

The Supreme Court is likely to resume physical hearing of cases from September 1 in a limited manner. According to apex court sources, the physical hearing of cases will be held in matters requiring lengthy hearings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:


1 crore jabs of COVID-19 vaccination

Record COVID-19 vaccination numbers today; crossing 1 crore jabs is a momentous feat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.


Over 4.05 crore Covid vaccine doses still available with States, UTs: Health Ministry

More than 4.05 crore Covid vaccine doses are still available with States and Union Territories for inoculation, the Union Health Ministry said on August 27. Over 58.86 crore vaccine doses have been provided to the States and Union Territories so far and more than 17.64 lakh doses are in the pipeline, the statement said. - PTI

Tamil Nadu

Around 90.1% of teachers in Tamil Nadu schools vaccinated, says Minister

Tamil Nadu Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian on Friday said that 90.1% of teachers and 89.32% of non-teaching staff in Tamil Nadu’s schools have been vaccinated (with at least first dose) of COVID-19 vaccine.

Inaugurating a special camp for vaccinating teachers, non-teaching staff and family members organised by Greater Chennai Corporation in Chennai, he said that officials have been asked to target and ensure that 100% of teaching and non-teaching staff were vaccinated by September 1, when schools are set to reopen for Class 9 to Class 12.

He said that teachers, non-teaching staff and their family members can get their first and second dose of vaccines through such special camps organised across the State in collaboration with the School Education Department. Minister for School Education Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi was also present at the event.

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Delhi schools to reopen in phased manner from Sept. 1

Schools in the national capital will reopen in a phased manner from September 1, according to sources. A decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on August 27.

“Reopening of schools will begin in phased manner. Classes for 9-12 grades will begin from September 1 and that for 6-8 grades from September 8,” a source said. Mr. Sisodia said that permission of parents will be required for students to attend school. No student will be forced to go to school.  The issue of reopening schools in Delhi was earlier discussed in a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) that was attended by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia among others. - PTI

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka extends COVID-19 lockdown till September 6 as deaths rise

Sri Lanka on August 27 extended its nationwide lockdown till September 6, amidst a surge in the number of COVID-19 deaths and mounting pressure from medics and the Opposition to step up efforts to fight the raging third wave of coronavirus.

The government took the decision following a top-level meeting held on August 27. Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had ordered a 10-day lockdown on August 20.

“The current curfew will continue till 4 a.m. on September 6,” Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters. - PTI

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England's COVID-19 prevalence rises to 1 in 70: ONS

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England was around 1 in 70 people in the week ending August 20, Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on August 27, compared with the previous week's estimate of 1 in 80. - Reuters



Denmark lowers COVID threat, cites vaccinations

The Danish government will no longer consider COVID-19 as “a socially critical disease in Denmark,” citing the large number of vaccinations in the country.

“The epidemic is under control. We have record high vaccination rates,” said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke in a statement on August 27.

Starting September 10, “We can drop some of the special rules we had to introduce in the fight against COVID-19," he said. - PTI


Karnataka to start five lakh COVID-19 jabs daily from September 1: CM Bommai

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai on August 27 said the State will start at least five lakh COVID-19 vaccinations everyday from September 1 with the help of the Centre.

"We did five lakh inoculations on a trial basis on August 25. Now we will start five lakh vaccinations daily from September 1," Mr. Bommai who returned here on August 26 evening after a visit to Delhi, told reporters. - PTI


Delhi schools to reopen in phased manner from September

Delhi schools will be opening in a phased manner from September. The decision was taken at a Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting, according to sources.

Schools will reopen for classes 9th to 12th on September 1, for classes 6th to 8th on September 8.  - Jatin Anand


Russia reports 798 COVID-19 deaths, 19,509 cases

Russia on August 27 reported 798 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours as well as 19,509 new cases, including 1,509 in Moscow.

Official case numbers have been gradually falling since a surge of infections that was blamed on the contagious Delta variant peaked in July.


Delhi Airport sees gradual growth in passenger traffic numbers: Report

Delhi Airport has seen a gradual growth in passenger numbers in line with the recovery in air travel demand, as around 90,000 passengers travelled per day through the facility during the first 10 days of this month, according to a White Paper by GMR.

This is five times more than the mid-May passenger volumes when Delhi Airport handled around 18,000 travellers per day. The number by the end of June 2021 increased to about 62,000 passengers per day, the White Paper released on August 27 said.

According to GMR, with the improvement in COVID situation and the high level of vaccinations being achieved, domestic traffic is expected to reach pre-COVID level by the end of FY23. - PTI


Experts sound out warning ahead of festive season

The upcoming festive season could be dangerous and lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases if people are not cautious, doctors and experts from across India have warned. They said social gatherings could turn into super-spreader events if communities fail to follow protocols.

The cautionary note comes close on the heels of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Balaram Bhargava’s recent advice that vaccination is a disease-modifying, not disease-preventing, option. He advocated continued use of COVID-appropriate behaviour.

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Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu government issues SoP for schools reopening

The Tamil Nadu government has released a detailed set of SoP ahead of the reopening of schools for senior classes from September 1 onwards and has said all teaching and non-teaching staff must get themselves vaccinated.

Not more than 20 students per classroom can be seated. All students, teaching and non-teaching members on campus are also expected to compulsorily wear masks inside and outside the campus.

Task teams which will be in-charge of areas such as emergency care, general support and hygiene inspection can be formed on campuses with earmarked responsibilities. Health profiling of students and staff members too should be completed within a week after schools reopen, the SoPs have indicated.

Schools are set to reopen for classes 9 to 12 in Tamil Nadu after a break.

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Experts suggest booster COVID shots for higher-risk groups in China

Experts in China have recommended making booster COVID-19 doses available to specific groups, such as employees at higher risk of exposure to the virus and those who have weak immunity or are aged above 60, a health official said on August 27.

A booster shot should be given six months after those people completed their regular vaccination regimens, Zheng Zhongwei, an official at the National Health Commission, told a news briefing. - Reuters

Andhra Pradesh

12 more succumb to COVID-19 in Andhra Pradesh

The State reported 12 new COVID deaths and 1,539 infections in the 24 hours ending on the morning of August 26. The cumulative tally and toll increased to 20,07,730 and 13,778 respectively.

The number of active cases increased to 14,448, as the number of patients recovered at 1,140 was less than new infections reported for the second time in a row. The recovery rate and total recoveries stand at 98.50% and 19,79,504 respectively.

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106 children among 816 new COVID-19 cases in Odisha, 69 more fatalities

Odisha’s COVID-19 caseload on August 27 surged to 10,04,875 as 816 more people tested positive for the infection while 69 fresh fatalities pushed the State’s coronavirus death toll to 7,697, a health department official said. The new COVID-19 cases included 106 children and adolescents below 18 years of age whose infection rate stands at 12.99%. The State's positivity rate now is 5.64%. - PTI


Puducherry adds 80 fresh COVID cases, overall tally rises to 1,23,231

The Union Territory of Puducherry reported 80 new coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours taking the overall tally to 1,23,231 while the test positivity rate stood at 2.67%, a senior Health Department official said on August 27.

The fatality and recovery rates were 1.47% and 97.91% respectively, he added. The number of active cases stood at 768 with 160 patients in hospitals and the remaining 608 in home isolation, he said. - PTI


Blood clot risk much higher from COVID-19 than after vaccination: Oxford-led study

The risk of developing adverse events such as blood clots is considerably higher after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus than after immunisation with Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, according to a large U.K. study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on August 27.

The team led by researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. conducted the study on thrombocytopenia -- a condition with low platelet counts -- and thromboembolic events or blood clots following COVID-19 vaccination with Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech preventives. -PTI


India adds 44,658 new cases

With 44,658 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has increased to 3,26,03,188, while the active cases rose to 3,44,899, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on August 27.

The death toll climbed to 4,36,861 with 496 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The active cases comprise 1.03% of the total infections while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.63%, the ministry said. -PTI


Two Uttarakhand officials suspended for involvement in Kumbh Mela fake testing scam

Two officials in Uttarakhand have been suspended for their alleged involvement in the fake COVID-19 testing scam during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Then Mela officer (medical and health) Dr. Arjun Singh Sengar and then officer-in-charge (medical and health) Dr. N.K. Tyagi were suspended on Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami's orders August 26 night.

The action is based on the recommendation of a probe committee set up by the Haridwar District Magistrate to look into the fake testing scam. -PTI

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New Zealand

New Zealand to extend COVID-19 lockdown until Tuesday -media report

New Zealand is expected to stay in lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until midnight on Tuesday with Auckland and the Northland to stay shut for longer, the New Zealand Herald reported without citing the source for the information.

New Zealand reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Friday. -REUTERS


Zimbabwe opens COVID-19 vaccines to those aged 14 and older

Zimbabwe is opening COVID-19 vaccinations to those aged 14 and older and is only permitting fully vaccinated people to eat in restaurants, to encourage more people to get shots, as a devastating wave of the disease recedes. -AP


Australia PM, leaders to meet on COVID-19 reopening plans

Australia's national cabinet is set to meet on August 27 as the federal government looks to convince States to proceed with the national plan to ease COVID-19 curbs and do away with lockdowns once the country reaches a 70%-80% vaccination rate. -REUTERS


IISc’s solutions to generate more oxygen take off

Clinical trials on oxygen concentrators developed by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), as one of the two key efforts to address the oxygen shortage during COVID-19, have found that they are on a par with compressed oxygen cylinders. To date, the technology has been transferred to 24 companies and about 35 units have been supplied to various hospitals, said IISc in a press release.

It added that the Karnataka government recently issued a circular for the supply of two units each to 2,508 public health centres from the licensees.

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Health Minister Veena George says COVID-19 transmission within families is on the rise in the State

COVID-19 disease transmission within homes has been rising in the State, accounting for 35% of the total cases, according to a statement issued by Health Minister Veena George on Thursday.

Ms. George said that improper home quarantine has been resulting in entire families getting infected as soon as one member is diagnosed with the disease.

People who test positive for COVID-19 should opt for home quarantine only if they have proper facilities for total isolation, or else, they should move to domiciliary care centres, said Ms. George. Those in home quarantine should remain in total isolation and wear masks and desist from interacting with other family members.

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Andhra Pradesh

Officials on edge as school kids begin testing positive for COVID

Reports of schoolchildren testing positive for COVID-19 have begun streaming in from several areas of the district, sparking concern among parents and officials of the Education Department. Six students have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours in various parts of the city and Agency areas of the district.

Four students of Zilla Parishad High School at Yellapuvanipalem in Gopalapatnam area tested positive for COVID-19 in the city on Thursday. All the students are learnt to be asymptomatic, according to officials.

District Medical & Health Officer (DMHO) Visakhapatnam, P. Surya Narayana, said that three days ago, students of the government school had undergone testing, and out of them four students tested positive.

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U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations hit eight-month high over 100,000

The number of coronavirus patients in U.S. hospitals breached 100,000 on August 26, the highest level in eight months, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, as a resurgence of COVID-19 spurred by the highly contagious Delta variant strains the nation's health care system. -REUTERS


Meghalaya to reopen tourism, education institutes from Sept. 1

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on August 26 announced reopening of the State's tourism sector from September 1 with relaxations of COVID-19 protocols for travellers.

Tourists, who have been fully inoculated, will be allowed to visit Meghalaya, while negative COVID-19 test reports, conducted 72 hours before arrival in the State, will be mandatory for those who received the first dose of vaccines, he said. -PTI


Zydus Cadila's COVID-19 vaccine can be available from first week of Oct

The Union government is expecting Zydus Cadila's needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D to be available from the first week of October.

Further, a decision on whether all children or only those with co-morbidities will be administered the COVID-19 vaccine on priority has not yet been taken, the government said on August 26. -PTI


All set for CET-2021: Higher Education Minister

All preparations have been made along with precautionary measures to conduct the Common Entrance Test for various vocational courses, including engineering, in 530 examination centers across the State, which is scheduled to be held on August 28 and 29, Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said on August 26. -PTI


UNICEF to provide India with 160 million syringes for vaccination against COVID-19

UNICEF India has signed a $15 million agreement with COVID-19 relief initiative Crypto Relief to procure an estimated 160 million syringes to support India in its inoculation drive, according to a statement.

Under the agreement, UNICEF India will procure re-use prevention (RUP) syringes from manufacturers across the world through a global tendering process. To maintain quality, only WHO pre-qualified manufacturers will be asked to participate in the tender. -PTI


Celebrate festivals with caution, second COVID-19 wave not yet over, says Centre

The central government on Thursday said the months of September and October will be crucial in pandemic management and cautioned that festivals should be celebrated in accordance with COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.

Addressing a media briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the country is still in the midst of the second wave.

ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said vaccines are disease modifying and not disease preventing so it is very important to continue the use of masks even after vaccination.

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Clinical trials still ongoing on efficacy of 3rd jab of COVID vaccine: Centre to Kerala HC

Clinical trials are underway to ascertain efficacy of administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine and it will take several months to complete, the Centre told the Kerala High Court on August 26 while opposing a man's plea for a third jab of an internationally recognised vaccine so that he can go abroad for work. -PTI


Scheme launched in Maharashtra for women who lost their husbands

To extend help to women who lost their husbands due to pandemic, the Maharashtra government’s Women and Child Development Department has launched ‘Mission Vatsalya,’ aimed to serve around 18 benefits, schemes, services to them under one roof.

“COVID widows, especially from rural areas, underprivileged backgrounds and deprived sections were a neglected facet of the crisis. Due to the death of the breadwinner, their hardship aggravated. Considering these aspects, Mission Vatsalya is launched,” said Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur.

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Counselling for children who lost parent to COVID-19

Maharashtra government’s Women and Child Development Department in association with NGO Arpan will provide counselling services to over 2,600 children who have lost a parent to COVID-19.

The ‘grief counselling’ services will be extended to three districts – Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban and Thane — to reach over 330, 940 and 1,340 children respectively.

These counselling sessions will take place through voice calls, video calls or in-person, based on feasibility and the child’s comfort. The surviving parent or primary care-giver of the child will be apprised of the progress.

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Reducing gap between two doses of Covishield is being considered: Sources

Reducing the gap between two doses of Covishield is being considered and it will be discussed in the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI), official sources said on August 26.

Chairman of India's COVID-19 Working Group of NTAGI, Dr N.K. Arora, however, said no such proposal for changing the dose interval for any COVID-19 vaccine is under consideration. -PTI

Tamil Nadu

Passengers from Kerala turned away at inter-State checkposts in Coimbatore

With Kerala logging a whopping 31,445 new COVID-19 infections in a day on Wednesday, following Onam holidays, authorities in Coimbatore on Thursday sent back people who came from the neighbouring State without a COVID-19 negative report or the final vaccination certificate.

The checking was intensified at Walayar, the busiest inter-State checkpost in the district, from Thursday morning.

A joint team of the police, Health and Revenue Departments checked private vehicles from Kerala and allowed passengers into Coimbatore only if they produced proof of having taken both doses of any COVID-19 vaccinate, or a COVID negative report (RT-PCR) taken within 72 hours prior to the journey.

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West Bengal

100% teachers vaccinated in Bengal, govt prepared to tackle third wave: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on August 26 said all teachers in the State have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines, a day after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said two crore additional doses will be made available across the country for them.

Ms. Banerjee, after chairing a meeting of health department officials, also said that the state is "prepared to tackle the possible third wave" of the COVID-19 pandemic, and priority for vaccination was being accorded to parents of children who are 12 years of age and below. -PTI


Over one lakh children need care and protection, NCPCR tells SC

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has told the Supreme Court that over one lakh children are in need of care and protection as they are either orphaned, lost one of their parents or are abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic from April last year.

In an additional affidavit filed in the apex court, the NCPCR has given details of the number of children who have lost either their mother or father or both between April 1, 2020 to August 23 this year based on the information uploaded on its ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal by the States and Union Territories. -PTI

New Delhi

COVID: plea against reserving hotels for govt. officials rejected

The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a petition challenging Delhi government’s notifications reserving rooms in four hotels linked to two hospitals for treatment of officials of various public authorities and their families.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh refused to accept the submission of the petitioner’s counsel that resources of the State remained unutilised due to the exclusive reservation of facilities for COVID-19 treatment of government officials and their families.

The HC passed the order on a plea by Delhi-based doctor Kaushal Kant Mishra who argued that creating a classification in favour of a certain category of persons was “arbitrary” and “unimaginable” when the common man was running from pillar to post in search of oxygen beds.

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New Delhi

Ambedkar University extends last date to apply for UG, PG courses

Delhi government-run Ambedkar University has extended the last date for registration for undergraduate and postgraduate admissions to September 10.

Earlier, the deadline for registering for the courses was September 1. The registration for UG admissions began on July 12 while for PG courses, it commenced at the end of July. -PTI


Japan suspends 1.63M doses of Moderna over contamination

Japan suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine on August 26 after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge.

The health ministry said contamination was reported from multiple vaccination sites. Some doses might have been administered, but no adverse health effects have been reported so far, officials said. -PTI

New Delhi

DDMA likely to take decision on reopening of schools in Delhi in Friday meeting

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority in its meeting on August 27 is expected to discuss and take a decision on reopening of schools in view of an improved COVID-19 situation, official sources said.

The authority's meeting, which will be attended by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will discuss the report of a committee that has recommended opening of schools in a phased manner, starting with students of senior classes, from next month, they said. -PTI

New Delhi

RT-PCR testing lab inaugurated at Delhi's Hindu Rao Hospital

In anticipation of the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a laboratory for conducting RT-PCR tests to detect COVID-19 was inaugurated at the civic-run Hindu Rao Hospital here, officials said.

The facility was inaugurated by North Delhi Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh, at the largest civic-run facility in the national capital. -PTI


Institutional quarantine must for coronavirus patients in Nagpur

In view of the rising number of Delta plus variant cases in Maharashtra, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on August 26 made institutional quarantine or hospitalisation mandatory for every patient testing positive for coronavirus in the city.

Municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan. B has issued an order regarding this and directed all zone commissioners to put patients testing coronavirus positive under institutional quarantine or ensure their hospitalization, a NMC release said. -PTI


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