Coronavirus live updates | India reports 8,635 new cases, lowest in eight months

A worker wearing personal protective equipment sanitises the seats at a theatre in Amberpet, Hyderabad in Telangana. File   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

From February 1, frontline workers of government departments other than health, such as police, local administration and revenue, as well as mediapersons, have been receiving the COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

The Health Ministry had said all States and Union Territories would initiate simultaneous vaccination of frontline and healthcare workers against COVID-19.

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:


India reports 8,635 new cases, lowest in eight months

India registered 8,635 new coronavirus infections in a day, the lowest in eight months, while the daily deaths fell below 100 after almost nine months, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on February 2.

The country’s COVID-19 tally stands at 1,07,66,245 and the death toll increased to 1,54,486 with 94 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,04,48,406 pushing the national recovery rate to 97.05%, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate has dropped to 1.43%.

The COVID-19 active caseload remained below two lakh for the 14th consecutive day.


Japan to extend virus emergency, months before delayed Olympics

Japan’s government is set to approve a month-long extension of its coronavirus state of emergency on February 2, less than six months before the pandemic-postponed Olympic Games open in Tokyo.

An official announcement is expected later in the day, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga scheduled to hold an evening press conference.

The extension has been widely trailed by local media and officials, with government spokesman Katsunobu Kato telling reporters February 2 morning that “it is our understanding that continued vigilance is warranted for a while”.

Eleven of Japan’s prefectures, including the greater Tokyo area, are currently under a state of emergency that runs until February 7.


Joe Biden meets Republicans as Democrats push on for virus aid

U.S. President Joe Biden met late on Monday with a group of Republican senators who have proposed a slimmed down $618 billion coronavirus aid package — a fraction of the $1.9 trillion he is seeking — as congressional Democrats vowed to push ahead with or without GOP support.

Mr. Biden greeted the lawmakers in the Oval Office, joking that he felt like he was “back in the Senate” as they started the private session. He and Vice President Kamala Harris were hearing the Republicans’ pitch for a smaller, more targeted COVID relief package that would do away with Democratic priorities but could win GOP support and appeal to his effort to unify the country.

The Republican group’s proposal taps into bipartisan urgency to shore up the nation’s vaccine distribution and vastly expand virus testing with $160 billion in aid, similar to what Mr. Biden has proposed. But from there, the two plans drastically diverge. Less focussed on economic aid, the GOP's $1,000 direct payments would go to fewer households than the $1,400 Mr. Biden has proposed, and the Republicans offer only a fraction of what he wants to re-open schools.

They also would give nothing to States, money that Democrats argue is just as important, with $350 billion in Mr. Biden’s plan to keep police, fire and other workers on the job.


Enforcing COVID protocol getting tougher, say sector magistrates

While COVID-19 cases remain on the rise, enforcing pandemic-related protocol in public places has become increasingly difficult with penalties like fines often proving to be ineffective in some cases, according to sector magistrates in Kochi.

Alertness to protocol like distancing, and the use of thermal scanners, sanitisers and masks in shops and other establishments, had dipped in the city, with even bank branches failing to adhere to requirements such as checking temperature and wearing masks within the premises, said E.K. Lal, sector magistrate for Kadavanthra, Thrikkakara and Palarivattom.

A fine of ₹500 is imposed in the case of violations by an individual, while establishments are charged a fine of ₹3,000. Often, larger establishments were willing to pay fines without introducing any corrective measures, he added.

Nearly 1,600 offences were registered on January 29, followed by over 1,400 on January 30. A total of 15 sector magistrates were newly appointed in the district in January, with each magistrate holding charge of three or four police station limits.

Tamil Nadu

HC lifts curbs on trial courts in T.N., Puducherry

The Madras High Court has decided to withdraw from February 8 all restrictions and limitations imposed by it on the functioning of trial courts across the State and the Union Territory of Puducherry to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In an official memorandum issued on Monday, Registrar General C. Kumarappan said the Administrative Committee of the High Court had taken the decision after reviewing the prevailing situation of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. “It is open to the Principal District Judges to decide on the mode and manner of functioning depending on the situation prevailing in their respective district or even in a particular taluk,” the memorandum, circulated to all judicial officers, read.

Annexing an SOP to the memorandum, the R-G said all PDJs in the State and the Chief Judge of Puducherry should ensure better functioning of subordinate courts without compromising the COVID-19 protocol.


Pandemic taught role of public health-care institutions: WHO Chief Scientist

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the importance of investing in public health care, Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, has said.

Dr. Swaminathan underscored the importance of equity, sustainability and resilience in planning health systems for the future.

Speaking at Kerala Looks Ahead, she lauded Kerala for its excellence in development and its high health indicators. Kerala should now look at aspects of public health which includes disease prevention, health promotion and attention to risk factors and determinants of disease that are outside the health sector such as air pollution, nutrition, balanced diets and dietary diversity, she said.

New Delhi

Back to campus: DU students relieved but teachers complain

The Delhi University on Monday reopened college campuses for its staff members. Final-year students will be permitted to visit their respective campuses to access laboratories and libraries among other facilities.

However, theory classes will continue to be held in the online format.

In a notification on January 29, DU said: “It is notified that all colleges, centres and departments shall be functional and therefore all teaching staff must attend to their work place with effect from February 1. Only final-year students, in small batches, are allowed to visit their respective colleges...”

The students, who visited their respective college campuses after almost a year, said they were looking forward to returning to classrooms soon as online classes had proved to be difficult.

However, professors said the university should have prepared a proper SOP before announcing the reopening of campuses.

New Delhi

JNU to allow some students on campus from Feb. 8

Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday said fourth-semester MPhil and MTech students, final-semester MBA students, and those who have to submit their dissertation or thesis before June 30, can enter the campus from February 8.

The relaxations are part of the seventh phase of JNU’s reopening plan.

The university also announced partial resumption of services at B.R. Ambedkar Central Library.

The facility, however, can only be availed 24 hours after sending an email to the librarian.

Andhra Pradesh

Anganwadi centres, primary schools reopen

After a gap of 10 months, primary schools and Anganwadi centres reopened in Andhra Pradesh. Children were seen attending classes in play way in the Anganwadi Pre-Primary Schools on Monday.

Following the directions of the government, all the 55,607 Anganwadi schools, renamed as Pre-Primary Schools, were reopened. Teachers, Anganwadi supervisors, Child Development Project Officers and staff of Women Development and Child Welfare officials decked up the centres.

Children were seen attending classes by wearing masks and face shields. In some primary schools, children brought willingness letters from their parents as many private schools insisted on submitting the consent letters.

Andhra Pradesh

A.P. DGP lauds police officers’ decision on COVID vaccine

Director-General of Police (DGP) D. Gautam Sawang has praised the Andhra Pradesh Police Officers’ Association (APPOA) members for agreeing to take the COVID-19 vaccine after the gram panchayat elections.

Speaking to the media at the AP Police Headquarters at Mangalagiri on Monday, the DGP said: “Police are facing a challenging situation to attend for election duties, take COVID vaccine and provide bandobust for vaccination (at the centres).”

After a series of deliberations, the association members have decided to take the COVID vaccine later and attend to bandobust and cooperate for peaceful conduct of the elections, he said.

Tamil Nadu

TNAU, affiliated colleges to re-open on Feb. 8

Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has said that it would re-open on February 8, as per the order issued by the State Government. In a release issued here on Monday, Dean M. Kalyanasundaram said the 10 UG programmes for the 2018 and 2019 batches offered in 14 constituent colleges and 28 affiliated colleges would be re-opened on that day.

Classes for first year students would open on February 15, the release said. The university hostel would start functioning from February 8. All COVID-19 standard operating procedures would be in place.


AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million more vaccine doses, says Von der Leyen

AstraZeneca will deliver nine million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union in the first quarter of this year, making a total of 40 million for the period, and will start deliveries one week earlier than expected, the president of the European Commission said on Sunday.

The Anglo-Swedish company unexpectedly announced earlier this month that it would cut supplies to the EU of its vaccine candidate in the first quarter, sparking a row over supplies.

“AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer and will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled,” Ursula Von der Leyen, president of the European Commission wrote on Twitter. The company would expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe, she said.

New Delhi

Sero survey shows 56% have antibodies: officials

About 56% of the over 28,000 people whose blood samples were collected in January during a serological survey have developed antibodies against COVID-19, officials told The Hindu.

The Delhi government conducted the fifth serological survey — the largest till now — to get an idea about the percentage of the population with antibodies against COVID-19, before the vaccination drive. As a part of the survey, blood samples of people of different age groups were collected.

“The overall seroprevalence is a little over 56%. In some districts, the value is higher, and others have a lower value,” the Delhi government official said.

A second official also confirmed the development. The Delhi government is yet to make the results of the survey public.


Gujarat launches second round of vaccination

Gujarat on Sunday launched second round of vaccination of frontline workers, including police, district and municipal officials. Among the top officials who were jabbed included police commissioners and superintendents of police at districts, Collectors and others.

As per the State government release, as many as 54,825 frontline workers/officials were inoculated at 722 vaccination centres across the State. So far, 3,00,755 people in the State have received the vaccine shots since the drive was launched in mid-January.

Talking to reporters after taking the vaccine shot, Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Sanjay Srivastava said everyone needed to get inoculated to win the war against COVID-19 pandemic.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 11:40:54 AM |

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