Coronavirus updates | August 14, 2021

First dose of Covishield vaccine being given at Chickpet Assembly constituency in a mega vaccination drive in Bengaluru, Karnataka   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

66 people have been found infected with the Delta plus variant of coronavirus in Maharashtra so far, some of them fully vaccinated, and five of them have died, including one in Mumbai, the State health department said on August 13.

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:


Hospitals refund money unduly charged from insured patients

The private hospitals in Rajasthan have refunded money to the tune of ₹36 lakh unduly charged from the patients insured under the State government’s flagship health scheme, the Chief Minister’s Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana, following an intervention by the Medical and Health Department. The universal health insurance scheme was launched here on May 1 this year.

The hospitals empanelled under the scheme have refunded the claim amount in 267 cases. Several of them pertained to the treatment of mucormycosis or black fungus, which had emerged as a major threat in the middle of the second wave and was subsequently added to the list of permitted procedures. - Mohammed Iqbal

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UK cuts COVID-19 tests’ cost for global travellers, including from India

The UK on Saturday reduced the cost of COVID-19 tests for international travellers from Amber list countries like India from 88 pounds to 68 pounds (USD 122 to USD 94), after many representations over the high charges of the mandatory testing.

Passengers returning from Green list countries or Amber list destinations like India, if they are fully vaccinated, will now pay 20 pounds (USD 27) less per Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

The test must be taken on or before day two after the traveller arrives in England.

People who have not had both doses of the coronavirus vaccine and are returning from Amber list countries like India will also see the price of the two tests they need fall from 170 pounds to 136 pounds (USD 235 to USD 188). The tests must be taken on days two and eight of their arrival from abroad. - PTI


No new COVID-19 case in Mumbai's Dharavi; active infections at 11

Mumbai's Dharavi area did not report a single fresh case of COVID-19 on Saturday, keeping the total count of infections at 6,993, an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

This is the fifth day in a fortnight that the slum-dominated area has not reported any fresh cases. The locality had not reported any infections on August 3, 8, 11 and 12.

Of the total number of cases reported in Dharavi so far, 6,596 patients have recovered from the infection, and 11 are currently undergoing treatment, the official said. - PTI


Pondy Lt Guv calls for coordinated efforts to drive away COVID-19

Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Saturday called for sustained and coordinated efforts to drive away the COVID-19 pandemic from the country.

In her message on the eve of the 75th Independence Day,   Ms. Soundararajan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established a record by promoting 'self reliant economy'.


Negative RT-PCR report or full vaccination mandatory for entering Punjab from August 16

The Punjab government Saturday announced that from August 16 the State will allow entry to only those who are either fully vaccinated against coronavirus or have a negative RT-PCR report.

The directions, issued after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh held a Covid review meeting here, also said there will be strict monitoring of people coming from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu.

According to an official statement, Mr. Singh expressed concern about the positivity rate in Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country, which probably also pushed Punjab's positivity rate marginally up to 0.2% in the last week.

The new restrictions will apply to all those entering Punjab by road, rail or air, the Chief Minister said, adding if a person does not fulfil either of the criteria, he/she will have to undergo RAT (rapid antigen test) unless they recently recovered from Covid.


Lakshadweep administration asks islanders to avoid travel to Kerala

The Lakshadweep administration has issued a travel advisory asking people to avoid travelling to Kerala unnecessarily where it says the number of COVID-19 cases has been rising.

The advisory, issued on August 12, says that the union territory of Lakshadweep has just 42 active cases of COVID-19 whereas the situation in Kerala is different, which increases the risk of infection to people travelling to/from Kerala.

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State’s adult population can be fully vaccinated by May 2022

If the State receives one crore doses per month, the target can be achieved by the first week of February 2022.

Karnataka can hope to fully vaccinate its adult population only by mid-May 2022 at the present pace of vaccination that is hovering around 65 lakh per month or 2.1 lakh doses per day.

However, by stepping up the vaccination drive to 3.3 lakh doses per day, if the State receives one crore doses per month as promised by the Centre, the target can be achieved by the first week of February, 2022. Karnataka is unlikely to fully vaccinate its adult population before the year end if the Centre does not accept the State’s demand for 1.5 crore doses per month, which will facilitate administering 5 lakh doses per day.

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Minister rules out lockdown in Bengaluru

Revenue Minister R. Ashok on Friday clarified that there would not be any lockdown in Bengaluru and that the government would be reviewing the situation by holding discussions with the technical committee after August 15.

“I want to clarify that curfew or lockdown is not the only solution. Lockdown creates a lot of hardship to people. Hence, we will take all other possible steps to check COVID-19 rise,” Mr. Ashok said.

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India reports 38,667 new coronavirus cases, 478 fresh fatalities

India saw a single-day rise of 38,667 new coronavirus infections, taking the total tally of cases to 3,21,56,493, while the death toll rose to 4,30,732 with 478 fresh fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated Saturday. The ministry said the country has now reported less than 50,000 daily new cases for 48 consecutive days.

The active cases have increased to 3,87,673 (1.21% of the total infections), while the recovery rate was recorded at 97.45%, the data updated at 8 am showed.

An increase of 2,446 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours, it showed. -PTI


Rs 14744.99 cr approved for States, UTs under Covid emergency response package

The Union Health Ministry on Friday approved another instalment of Rs 14744.99 crore under the India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package (ECRP-II package) to all States and UTs. 

In view of the second wave, its spread into rural, peri-urban and tribal areas, and the evolving pandemic situation, the Union Cabinet approved a new scheme 'India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package: Phase-II (ECRP-II package)' on July 8 amounting to Rs 23,123 crore. This scheme is to be implemented from July 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the Ministry said in a statement. -PTI


J-K L-G Sinha to honour Covid warriors in I-Day

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha will honour 50 Covid warriors on Independence Day for their selfless services in managing the pandemic, an official spokesperson said on Friday.

The Union Territory handled the COVID-19 pandemic with great professionalism and used all possible resources to provide care to patients suffering from the disease, he said. -PTI


Use past learning to tackle third Covid wave: J-K LG Sinha to officials

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday directed the officials to apply learning from the past to be prepared to tackle the future challenge of an anticipated third wave of COVID-19.

Mr. Sinha chaired a series of meetings with members of Covid Task Force, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs in the Union Territory, an official spokesman said.

While taking a detailed assessment of the district-wise Covid containment measures and the vaccination and other steps to effectively tackle the spread of the coronavirus, the Lt Governor asked the officials concerned to apply the learning from the past and prepare themselves to tackle the future challenge of a possible third wave, the spokesman said. -PTI


SII's Poonawalla bats for booster dose, opposes mixing of vaccines, criticizes export ban

Serum Institute of India chairman Cyrus Poonawalla on Friday said that taking a third or `booster dose' of Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by his firm, was desirable.

He also said he was not in favour of mixing two difference vaccines, and criticized the Union government for banning exports of vaccines.

"After six months, the antibodies go down and that is why I have taken the third dose. We have given the third dose to our seven to eight thousand SII employees. For those who have completed the second dose, it is my request to take a booster dose (third dose) after six months," he said. -PTI


Bengal allows business establishments to remain open till maximum 10.30 PM

The West Bengal government on Friday allowed all shops and business establishments including bars and restaurants to remain open till usual working hours but not beyond 10.30 PM.

The relaxation will come into effect from Monday onwards. The State administration had on Thursday extended the existing COVID restrictions till August 31 but reduced night curfew timings by two hours, imposing it from 11 PM to 5 AM.

It allowed outdoor government programmes with strict adherence to COVID protocols. The State administration also permitted theatres, auditoria and open air theatres to operate with not more than 50 per cent of their respective seating capacities. -PTI


Canada to require air travellers to be vaccinated

The Canadian government will soon require all air travellers and passengers on inter-provincial trains to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Friday that includes all commercial air travellers, passengers on trains between provinces and cruise ship passengers. -PTI

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