Coronavirus updates | August 28, 2021

While classroom learning took a hit during the COVID-19 lockdown, students learn silambam near Keeranur in Pudukottai district, Tamil Nadu on August 27, 2021   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

India has administered more than one crore COVID-19 vaccination doses under its nationwide vaccination drive on August 27. “This is highest ever vaccination achieved in a single day since the start of our vaccination drive,” a Health Ministry release said.

In another significant achievement, the COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the country has crossed 62 crore doses, according to a provisional report compiled at 7 pm.

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:

New Delhi

Delhi govt making 'thorough' preparations for possible third Covid wave: Health Minister

Health Minister Satyendar Jain stressed that the government's preparations for an impending third wave are "thorough''.

The government has its ear to the ground and is not taking any chances, he said, asserting that 37,000 COVID-19 dedicated beds are being laid out, include 12,000 ICUs beds.  "Along with this, 47 PSA oxygen plants along with five LMO storage tanks have already been set up in the city with many more to come up.

"Moreover our vision is to move a step forward by making ICU facilities so readily available in the capital that even a normal oxygen bed can be converted into an ICU one instantly without having to shift the patients," he said.

The health minister asked people to remain vigilant to stop another outbreak, and advised them to not panic in case they get infected or have symptoms.  "Being motivated and calm boosts the recovery process," he said. - PTI


Rajasthan: Covid protocol in place, Kota coaching institutes all set to reopen from Sept. 1

Coaching institutes in Kota are all set to reopen from September 1 following the Rajasthan government's nod for reopening of schools in the state. However, the coaching centres have announced several safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus among the students, the owners of the institutes said.

At the hostels and messes, biometric attendance will be replaced with registers which will have a column for categorising students with influenza like illness (ILI) and they will be advised on regular medical care and monitored by medical teams, they said. - PTI

New Delhi

Vaccination, ration distribution in schools to continue after classes start from Sept. 1: CM Kejriwal

Vaccination and ration distribution centres set up in schools in the national capital will still be operational after they reopen for classes 9 to 12 from September 1, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on August 28.

Following a marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the city, the Delhi government on August 27 announced that schools for classes 9 to 12, colleges and coaching institutions will reopen from September 1.

"There are plenty of classrooms and no dearth of space. Vaccination and ration distribution will continue in schools where it is underway," CM Kejriwal said, responding to a question on the subject. - PTI



Risk of hospitalisations higher with Delta variant: UK study

Those infected with the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the UK have been found to be twice as likely to be admitted to hospital compared to the Alpha variant, according to a large new study.

The study, carried out by Public Health England (PHE) and Cambridge University and published in ‘The Lancet’ journal on August 27, is the first of its kind to compare the hospitalisation risk of the two variants and highlights the need for people to be fully vaccinated.

It confirms previous reports that Delta – first identified in India – is more infectious than Alpha – first identified in Kent, England. - PTI


Germany takes Spain off high-risk COVID-19 list from August 29

Germany is removing Spain from its list of high-risk areas for COVID-19 from August 29, meaning that incoming travellers who are not fully vaccinated will not longer have to quarantine, the Foreign Ministry said.

Spain has been a high risk area since the end of July. -REUTERS


Ensure no large gathering during coming festival season: MHA to states

The Centre on August 28 asked all States and Union Territories to ensure there is no large gathering during the upcoming festival season and, if necessary, impose local restrictions to check the spread of coronavirus.

Extending the ongoing COVID-19 guidelines for one more month till September 30, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the overall pandemic situation now appears to be largely stable at the national level, except for the localised spread observed in a few States. -PTI


Two die in Japan after shots from suspended Moderna vaccines - Japan govt

Two people died after receiving Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots that were among lots later suspended following the discovery of contaminants, Japan's health ministry said on August 28.

The men in their 30s died this month within days of receiving their second Moderna doses, the ministry said in a release. Each had a shot from one of three manufacturing lots suspended on Thursday. The cause of the deaths is still being investigated.

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U.S. intelligence agencies fail to reach conclusion on COVID-19 origins

The U.S. intelligence community has failed to reach any firm conclusion on the exact origin of COVID-19 and is split on whether it leaked from a lab in China or emerged in nature, even though it does not believe the virus was developed as a biological weapon, according to results of a detailed review ordered by President Joe Biden.

The Director of National Intelligence in a report on August 27 said SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of COVID-19 cases arising in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

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New Delhi

Delhi govt directs private, unaided schools to vaccinate staff ahead of reopening

The Delhi government has directed private aided and unaided schools to vaccinate their teachers and staff ahead of the reopening for classes 9-12 from September 1.

A circular was issued in this connection by the Directorate of Education of the city government.

"It is the prime concern of Directorate of Education, GNCT of Delhi to ensure the vaccination of all teachers and staff working in schools of Delhi. Therefore, all the HOS/managers of private aided/unaided schools in Delhi, are hereby directed to ensure that their teachers and staff get vaccinated immediately," it read. -PTI


India records 46,759 COVID-19 cases, 509 deaths

With 46,759 people testing positive for COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours, India's infection tally rose to 3,26,49,947 on August 28, while the count of active cases registered an increase for the fourth consecutive day, according to Union Health Ministry data.

The death toll has climbed to 4,37,370 with 509 more fatalities being recorded, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The number of active cases has now increased to 3,59,775 which comprises 1.10% of the total infections. The national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.56%, the ministry said. -PTI


Myanmar says Rohingya will get COVID-19 vaccine

A spokesman for Myanmar's military-installed government said Friday that COVID-19 vaccines will be given to members of the country's persecuted Rohingya ethnic group.

The Muslim minority was the target of a fierce counter-insurgency campaign in 2017 that some critics charged amounted to ethnic cleansing or genocide. The Rohingya face widespread discrimination and most are denied citizenship and other basic rights. -PTI


China says U.S. report on COVID origins 'not scientifically credible'

A U.S. intelligence community report on the origins of COVID-19 "is not scientifically credible" and wrongly claims China is hindering a global investigation of the pandemic, the Chinese Embassy in Washington said on Friday. -REUTERS


England gets ready for mass COVID inoculations for 12- to 15-year-olds

Britain's government said on August 27 it had told England's health service to get ready for a mass COVID-19 vaccination programme for children aged between 12 and 15 starting in September, if vaccination experts give the green light.

A first vaccine dose has already been offered to all 16- and 17-year-olds in England as well as to 12- to 15-year-olds with specific underlying health conditions and those who live with someone who is immuno-suppressed. -REUTERS


US Open COVID-19 protocols changed: Fans need vaccination proof

U.S. Open spectators now must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to attend matches, a change made less than 72 hours before the tennis tournament starts.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced Friday that the New York City mayor’s office decided to require proof of vaccination to go into Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main arena at the National Tennis Center. -AP


Biden says China still withholding 'critical information' on COVID origins

President Joe Biden said Friday that China was withholding "critical information" on the origins of COVID-19 after the U.S. intelligence community said it did not believe the virus was a bioweapon -- but remained split on whether it escaped from a lab.

The United States, however, does not believe Chinese officials had foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak of the pandemic that has now claimed 4.5 million lives, according to an unclassified summary of an eagerly awaited intelligence report.

"Critical information about the origins of this pandemic exists in the People's Republic of China, yet from the beginning, government officials in China have worked to prevent international investigators and members of the global public health community from accessing it," Mr. Biden said in a statement.

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Courts are cable of functioning whether or not there is another wave of COVID-19: CJ

Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka on Friday assured the citizens of the State that courts, due to tech-driven initiatives, were capable of functioning whether there would be a third wave of COVID-19 or not.

Mr. Oka, who led the State’s judiciary to become first in the country to use virtual mode to hear cases on a regular basis when courts were shut due to the nationwide lockdown imposed in March 2020, was addressing judges and advocates during a farewell given to him on his elevation as judge of the Supreme Court.

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Man, who fought COVID-19 twice and spent 104 days in the hospital, dies

Despite defeating COVID-19 twice after 104 days of hospital stay in Mysuru, Murugesh, who was recently discharged after finally testing negative for the infection but was still facing health complications, died on Wednesday night.

Murugesh, a carpenter and resident of Ittigegud, was under oxygen support at home after his discharge but was suffering from complications due to severe damage to his lungs by the virus. Despite continuous oxygen support and medication, he did not survive, his family said.

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U.S. reports world's first deer with COVID-19

The U.S. government said on August 27 confirmed the world's first cases of COVID-19 in deer, expanding the list of animals known to have tested positive for the disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported infections of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in wild white-tailed deer in the state of Ohio, according to a statement. There were no reports of deer showing symptoms of infection, the USDA said.

New Delhi

Reopen schools in Delhi but tread with caution, say experts

Medical experts on August 27 welcomed the Delhi government's decision to reopen schools, colleges and coaching institutes in the national capital but advised parents to tread with caution by teaching Covid protocols to children.

Following a marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation here, the Delhi government on Friday announced that schools for classes 9 to 12, colleges and coaching institutions will reopen from September 1. -PTI


Pay school fees for children orphaned by COVID-19, Supreme Court tells States

The Supreme Court has ordered State governments to bear the private school fee of children who have lost both or one parent during the pandemic for the current academic year in case the schools refused to waive it.

“The catastrophe caused by the cataclysmic COVID-19 has devastated many lives, especially children at a tender age who have lost their parents. More than a lakh children have lost either or both parents during this pandemic. It is heart-wrenching to note that the survival of so many children is at stake… The State has a duty and obligation to facilitate education for children,” a Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao observed in a 27-page order published late on Friday.

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Navodaya schools to reopen for Classes 9 to 12

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), residential schools run by the Central government in rural areas, will open their doors for Classes 9 to 12 in the States and Union Territories (U.T.) that have permitted reopening of schools, the Education Ministry said on Friday. The reopening will be done in a phased manner and will only allow 50% capacity of students on campus, it added.

The decision of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, an autonomous body under the School Education Department which administers the JNVs, is the latest signal that the Centre is in favour of a quick return to in-person education disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. Earlier this week, the Centre also allocated more than 2 crore vaccine doses specifically for school staff in a bid to facilitate the reopening of physical classes.

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Battle against COVID-19 far from over, we must not lower our guard: President

President Ram Nath Kovind on August 27 said COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet and no one should have a non-serious attitude towards it.

He also appreciated the work done by doctors, nurses and health workers during the pandemic outbreak.

Speaking at the 26th convocation of the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI), the president said, “The world continues to grapple with this pandemic. In our fight against the novel coronavirus infection, medical institutions like SGPGI have worked relentlessly.” Appreciating the untiring efforts of all doctors, nurses, medical students, healthcare and sanitation workers, and administrators, he said that they have risen to the challenge and selflessly served fellow citizens.

“They risked their lives; some of the fellow corona warriors also sacrificed their lives. The entire nation is grateful to them for their dedication,” he said. -PTI

Madhya Pradesh

School for classes VI to XII to begin from Sept. 1

Schools in Madhya Pradesh will conduct classes for standards VI to XII with 50% attendance and other COVID-19 safeguards from September 1, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said after chairing a review meeting on August 27.

In the meeting, which was also attended by State school education minister Inder Singh Parmar, it was decided that the consent of parents and guardians would be mandatory for students to attend school, a release informed. -PTI


Kerala reimposes Sunday lockdown

The Kerala government on August 27 decided to continue with Sunday lockdown in view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the State.

The government, facing flak from opposition and public health experts for alleged poor COVID-19 management in the State, tonight issued an order in this regard.

It said lockdown shall be in force on Sundays, with only limited permissible activities. -PTI


Ahead of festivals, Centre asks Maharashtra to consider imposing restrictions to prevent Covid spread

Ahead of upcoming festivals in Maharashtra, the Centre has advised the State to consider imposing local restrictions on these festivals and mass gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter to the Maharashtra chief secretary, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said even though the trajectory of daily new cases has shown a decline over the last month, there are some districts in Maharashtra which are showing early signs of an upsurge in COVID-19 cases and test positivity Mr. Bhushan said the directions were issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 by the Home Ministry for focussed containment measures. -PTI

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