Coronavirus updates | June 29, 2021

Authorities allowed 50 per cent of shops to open in Udhagamandalam. A scene at the Municipal market on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.   | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

A higher dose of the Chinese vaccine CoronaVac was “well tolerated and safe, and induced neutralising antibody responses in children and adolescents aged 3-17 years”, a study in the recent edition of the peer-reviewed journal Lancet Infectious Diseases has stated.

The seroconversion rates of neutralising antibodies in children and adolescents with two different doses were over 96% after a double-dose vaccination, the paper reported.

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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

Moderna to be fourth vaccine available in India

Niti Ayog member (Health) V.K. Paul says new drug permission for restricted use has been granted for Moderna’s vaccine which gives a clear possibility of this vaccine being imported into India. This will be the fourth vaccine for India.

We are working at bringing Pfizer and JJ vaccine besides increasing production, he says.

Moderna vaccine needs no bridging study. The regulatory step okayed today allows import of other vaccines also.

Moderna is coming as ready to inject vaccine. We hope that we can enabled to manufacture this on Indian soil, he says.

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New Delhi

Consistent decline in new cases: Health Ministry

In his weekly COVID briefing, Health Ministry spokesperson Lav Agarwal says, there is a consistent decline in average daily new cases since week of 5-11 May.

There is a decline of 17 per cent in average daily new cases in last week. There is also consistent increase in recovery rate since 3rd May — it is currently at 96.9%.

Covid vaccination

A total of 8.99 crore doses have been given in April, 6.1 crore in May and in June so far 10.75 cr doses have been administered.

From May 1 to June 24

Rural : 9.72 crore doses

Urban: 7.68 crore doses

Female: 14.99 crore

Male: 17.48 crore

- Bindu Shajan Perappadan


More Australian cities lock down

Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, reported a slight rise in COVID-19 infections on Tuesday as officials tightened curbs and pushed for vaccinations to contain flare-ups of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Australia is fighting the Delta strain in five of its eight states and territories, since the first case was found in Sydney two weeks ago.

Queensland is set to impose a snap three-day lockdown in capital Brisbane and some neighbouring regions from Tuesday evening. Perth, capital of Western Australia, began a four-day lockdown starting Tuesday, joining Sydney and Darwin. — Reuters


Indonesian COVID surge nears 'catastrophe'

Indonesia's COVID-19 surge is on the edge of a "catastrophe" as the Delta variant dominates transmission and chokes hospitals in Southeast Asia's worst epidemic, the Red Cross said.

Indonesia has reported record daily infections of more than 20,000 in recent days.

"Every day we are seeing this Delta variant driving Indonesia closer to the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe," said Jan Gelfand, head of the Indonesian delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. — Reuters


Philippines extends curbs until mid-July

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte prolonged restrictions on movement and businesses in the capital and nearby provinces until mid-July and retained stricter curbs in central and southern areas, an official said on Tuesday.

Infections in the capital region, home to at least 13 million people, have dropped since peaking in April, but some provinces are battling spikes as the country scrambles to distribute vaccines.

Entertainment venues, amusement parks, and contacts sports are prohibited in the Manila region and nearby provinces, while restaurants, gyms and indoor tourist attractions are allowed to operate at up to 40% capacity. — Reuters


Maharashtra gears up to protect children

Maharashtra is training thousands of health workers in how to care for children afflicted with COVID-19 as a first line of defence against surges involving new variants, health officials and experts said.

The State, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, was the worst hit by a second wave of infections in April and May that killed hundreds of thousands, and is still reporting a quarter of all new cases nationwide.

While there is no data showing children are more vulnerable, a government survey in Mumbai from April to mid-June showed the presence of virus antibodies in at least half of those under 18. — Reuters


No trial needed for its COVID-19 vaccine in India, says J&J

U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has said the requirement to conduct a bridging clinical study of its single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate no longer exists in India.

The company said it was following Drug Controller General of India’s recent announcement that there was no longer any requirement for conducting post-approval bridging clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines in India for restricted use in emergency situation in case of those already approved for restricted use by US FDA, EMA, UK MHRA, PMDA Japan, listed in WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) or are well-established ones from the standpoint that millions of individuals have already been vaccinated.

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New Delhi

Cipla seeks nod to import Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in India

Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) will examine an application by Mumbai-based Cipla to bring Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to India for emergency use in those aged 18 and above.

A decision on the same is expected later in the day, said a Health Ministry official.

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New Delhi

Guidelines issued for administering COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women

The Union Health Ministry has prepared a fact-sheet to guide frontline workers and vaccinators on counselling pregnant women about the value and precautions of the COVID-19 vaccine so that they can make an informed decision.

Although more than 90% infected pregnant women recover without any need for hospitalisation, rapid deterioration in health may occur in a few and that might affect the foetus also, the document said. — PTI

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India records 37,566 new cases, 907 more deaths

A newly-married couple coming out of Sri Palani Andavar temple in Vadapalani, Chennai on June 28, 2021. Around 3,000 temples in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpettu districts reopened on Monday.

A newly-married couple coming out of Sri Palani Andavar temple in Vadapalani, Chennai on June 28, 2021. Around 3,000 temples in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpettu districts reopened on Monday.   | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ


The single-day rise in fresh cases was recorded below 40,000 after 102 days, bringing India's COVID-19 infection tally to 3,03,16,897, while the daily fatalities remained below 1,000 for the second consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

India saw 37,566 new cases being reported in a day, while the COVID-19 death toll rose to 3,97,637 with 907 daily fatalities, the lowest in 77 days.

Recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 47th consecutive day. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,93,66,601, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.31 per cent, the data stated.

According to the data published at 7 am, 32.90 crore cumulative vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.

The number of active cases has further declined to 5,52,659, comprising 1.82 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 96.87 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.

A net decline of 20,335 cases has been recorded in the active virus count in a span of 24 hours.

Also, 17,68,008 tests were conducted on Monday, taking the total cumulative tests done so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 40,81,39,287, while the daily positivity rate has declined to 2.12 per cent. It has been less than 5 per cent for 22 consecutive days, the ministry said.

The weekly positivity rate has declined to 2.74  per cent. — PTI


U.S. announces $41 mn additional COVID-19 assistance to India

The United States has announced an additional USD 41 million assistance to help India respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s preparedness for the future health emergencies, taking the total aid to more than USD 200 million.

In April and May, India struggled with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new cases. Hospitals were reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

“India came to the assistance of the United States during this country’s time of need, and now the United States stands with the people of India as they continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” the US Agency for International Development said on Monday, June 28, 2021.

USAID announced an additional USD 41 million in support to help India respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s preparedness for COVID-19 and future health emergencies.

USAID's assistance will support access to COVID-19 testing, pandemic-related mental health services, timely referrals to medical services, and access to healthcare in remote areas, the independent agency of the US federal government primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance said.

Through this additional funding, USAID will continue to partner with India to strengthen healthcare supply chains and electronic health information systems, support its vaccination efforts, and mobilize and coordinate private sector relief, it said.— PTI

West Bengal

2 more held in dubious vaccine camps case

Two more persons were arrested in connection with the dubious COVID vaccination camps case in Kolkata, a police officer said on Tuesday.

With the latest arrests, the Kolkata Police has so far nabbed six persons in the case, including fake IAS officer Debanjan Deb who masterminded the dubious COVID vaccination camps in the city, he said.

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Bhubaneswar heading towards meeting vaccination target by July 31

With the vaccination drive gaining speed across Odisha, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday exuded confidence that it would complete vaccinating all eligible population by July end.

The fast-paced drive is likely to achieve the target of vaccinating 9 lakh population in a little over month — first among the urban centres in the country.

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Govt. reduces COVID-19 beds

The Delhi government on Monday reduced the number of beds for COVID-19 treatment in government facilities and allowed for reduction of such beds in private hospitals, according to official orders.

On April 18, the Delhi government had directed all private hospitals and nursing homes providing COVID-19-related treatment in the city to reserve at least 80% of their ICU bed capacity and 80% of their ward bed capacity for COVID-19-related treatment, the order said.

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Tamil Nadu

Temples reopen, but crowds stay away

Temples, churches and mosques in and around the city saw comparatively less crowds when they reopened on Monday.

Authorities at temples, including Kapaleeswarar temple and Mundagakanniamman temple in Mylapore, said there were not many devotees. More devotees are expected on Tuesday, which is considered auspicious.

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West Bengal

Bengal govt. extends COVID-19 restrictions till July 15

The West Bengal government on Monday extended the restrictions placed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic till July 15, but allowed certain relaxations for the operation of public transport.

“Government and private buses, autorickshaws and e-rickshaws will be allowed to operate with 50% passengers,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, adding that such vehicular movement would be allowed with the vaccination of drivers and regular sanitisation of the vehicles. Local trains and Metro services would remain suspended in the State till July 15.

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Maharashtra geared up to give 15 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said the State had set up the infrastructure to deliver 15 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses in a day.

“Even if number of patients are decreasing, the new Delta Plus variant of coronavirus is spreading across the world and we should be prepared for the possible third wave. Everybody must follow all the health protocols. At the same time, vaccination is an important tool in a fight against the pandemic. Maharashtra has set up the infrastructure to deliver 15 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses in a day,” Mr. Thackeray said.

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(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)

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