Coronavirus India lockdown day 229 updates | November 10, 2020

A health worker taking a swab test at the Sabarmati River front in Ahmedabad on November 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they expect to supply up to 50 million coronavirus vaccine doses globally in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. This comes a day after they said that a vaccine jointly developed by the two was 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials.

Pfizer is now is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, once it has the necessary safety information in hand. Even if all goes well, authorities have stressed it is unlikely any vaccine will arrive much before the end of the year, and the limited initial supplies will be rationed.

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:

Punjab

Punjab govt allows opening of bars in hotels

The Punjab government on Tuesday allowed opening of bars in hotels, shopping complexes and multiplexes falling outside coronavirus containment zones, according to an official spokesperson.

He said the management of such commercial establishments must ensure meticulous compliance of the standard operating procedures issued by the Health Department from time to time.

Earlier on June 8, the State government had allowed the opening of hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services in areas outside containment zones with a stipulation that liquor could be served in restaurants and rooms of hotels as per the licence of the Excise Department. However, the bars were kept closed. - PTI

Odisha

Odisha MLAs to undergo COVID-19 test ahead of Assembly winter session

All legislators and staffers of the Odisha Assembly will have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test before the commencement of the winter session from November 20, Speaker S.N. Patro said on Tuesday. A special counter will be set up on the Assembly premises for collection of samples of the lawmakers, officials and journalists from November 17, and those who test negative for the disease will be allowed to participate in the proceedings, he said.

Another round of test will be conducted during the 40-day winter session, and the dates of which will be announced later, he said after holding a meeting with officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

The COVID-19 protocols followed in the previous monsoon session of the Assembly will be in place this time, and the House will function in strict adherence to the health safety norms, he said.

The Assembly building will be sanitised every day during the session, he said. The Speaker said the proceedings will continue on Saturdays and Sundays, while an option for the elderly MLAs to participate in it through video conference will also be given. - PTI

Punjab

Punjab CM orders to maintain testing at 30,000 a day

Amid projections of a second coronavirus wave hitting Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday directed the Health and Medical Education Departments to maintain levels of testing at 30,000 a day.

He also ordered amendment in rules to enable direct recruitment of super specialist doctors to meet the shortfall of the medical staff.

Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the pandemic situation in the State, the CM asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to work on amending the rules for ensuring direct recruitment in super specialty departments to prevent weakening of response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chief Minister directed the Departments concerned to ensure that at least 25,000 RT-PCR and 5,000 Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are conducted every day, according to a release.

“The current decline in cases, notwithstanding, the situation remains grim with a second wave expected to hit the State, he said, stressing the need to strictly follow all safety protocols. He directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to crack down on those not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing norms. - PTI

New Delhi

India's recovered cases highest in the world: Health Secretary

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan addresses a press conference.

"Recovered cases have crossed 79 lakh, the highest in the world. On an average 51,476 cases have recovered daily in the last week; more than 11.96 crore tests have been conducted so far; on an average 11,18,072 tests have been  conducted daily in the last week; cumulative positivity rate is 7.18% and daily positivity rate in the last week is 4.2%," he says.

"Cases per million population is among the lowest in the world. While the world average is 6,439, it is 6,225 in India. The maximum of 29,497 is in the US; 26,855 in France; 26,597 in Brazil; 17,559 in UK; 12,431 in South Africa; and 12,308 in Russia."

"New cases per million population reported in the last seven days is 235 in India, against 482 in the world. The maximum of 5,687 is in France, followed by 2,314 in UK; 2,209 in US; 967 in Russia; and 555 in Brazil.

"Deaths per million population in India is also among the lowest in the world. Against the world average of 160, it is 92 in India. It is maximum (763) in Brazil, followed by 722 in UK, 711 in US, 614 in France, 334 in South Africa and 211 in Russia.

"New deaths per million population reported in the last seven days in India is 3, against the world average of 7.  The maximum of 52 is in France, followed by 34 in UK, 20 in US, 16 in Russia, 11 in Brazil and seven in South Africa."

High number of cases in Delhi

"Active cases are under 6% and recovery rate is more than 92% in India. 54% of new cases are in six States and UTs in the last 24 hours: Delhi (5,023), West Bengal (3,907), Kerala (3,593), Maharashtra (3,277), Haryana (2,427) and Tamil Nadu (2,257),  he says.

"62% of the new deaths were reported from 6 States/UTs in last 24 hours: Maharashtra (85), Delhi (71), West Bengal (56), UP (25), Kerala (22) and Punjab (20)."

"Air pollution, cold weather, festivals and wedding season are major factors leading to increase in number of cases in Delhi," said Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.

"There was one spike in June, after which the cases came down considerably, second spike was in September and then this is the third spike reporting more cases than the previous spikes."

"Last week, at the Union Health Secretary level, the situation was reviewed with the Delhi government officials," said Mr Bhushan.

"The Union Health Ministry advised not only increased, but also targeted testing. Accordingly, the Delhi government has started targeted testing. There is some decline in numbers, but it has to be seen if the declining trend holds in the days to come."

Pfizer vaccine

On a query if the government considering any tie-up with Pfizer on the vaccine, the Health Secretary said the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration is in dialogue with both the domestic and foreign vaccine manufacturers.

"We also look at the status of development and regulatory approvals to the vaccines. And we also engage in a dialogue about the logistical requirements if such vaccines have to be restored at temperatures ranging from 2 to -90 degrees as well as the doses required to be administered.

"The ratio of RTPCR/Antigen tests conducted across the country is 46:49."

"If we take the last two weeks' figures, we are testing more than any other country in the world (average per-day test)," said Mr Bhushan.

- Devesh Pandey

India

Indian researchers working towards developing effective vaccine strategies against SARS-CoV-2 and HIV

Indian Institute of Science claimed on Tuesday that researchers led by Raghavan Varadarajan, Professor at IISc’s Molecular Biophysics Unit, are working towards developing effective vaccine strategies against two viruses: SARS-CoV-2 and HIV.

In two studies published in the past week, they reported the design of a ‘heat-tolerant’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate and a rapid method to identify specific regions on the HIV envelopeprotein that are targeted by antibodies, which can help design effective vaccines, an IISc press release said. - PTI

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Tamil Nadu

After 8 months, curtains go up in theatres in T.N.

Theaters re-opened in Tamil Nadu on November 10, 2020 after a gap of several months with COVID-19 protocols in place. See in the picture are audience at a theater in Dindigul, playing old movies.

Theaters re-opened in Tamil Nadu on November 10, 2020 after a gap of several months with COVID-19 protocols in place. See in the picture are audience at a theater in Dindigul, playing old movies.   | Photo Credit: G. Karthikeyan

After nearly eight months, curtains will go up in most theatres and multiplexes in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. They will be screening films released before the pandemic and old movies that are of interest to the audience.

In pockets such as Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchi, most theatres decided to open only on November 12 or 13 after clarity on films that are likely to be released during the festival week. A few theatre owners pointed out that it was not auspicious to resume business on a Tuesday, adding that they would start work from Wednesday.

Most standalone theatres said bookings were quite low, while the bigger ones said they had managed to get 20% bookings in the 50% seats that can be allotted to the audience.

Theatre owners have positively indicated that more movie-goers will come in before the show commences. To lure customers in, many theatres have also slashed prices of food and beverages.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu CM to announce decision on reopening of schools on November 12, Minister says

Around 45% of parents of school students gave their feedback on whether schools should be reopened for classes 9 to 12, and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami will announce the State’s decision on the issue on November 12, said School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan in Gobichettipalayam Taluk on Tuesday.

Addressing the media after distributing Deepavali bonus to members of milk co-operative societies at Siruvalur and Vettaikarankovil villages, the Minister said that only 45% of parents participated in the consultations held at schools across the State on Monday. “A final decision on reopening the schools on November 16 will be taken by the Chief Minister and he will make an announcement,” the Minister said.

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Karnataka

Free RT-PCR tests at malls, markets during festive season

Ahead of the festive season when people throng markets for shopping, free RT-PCR tests are being conducted at all malls across the city of Mysuru in an effort to check the spread of COVID-19.

The free tests for the staff of shops at the city’s two major malls in Nazarabad got off to a start on Sunday. This measure will continue until Deepavali is over. The malls are places that attract large crowds for festive shopping. Mobile testing units set up by the Mysuru City Corporation are being used to collect swab samples of the staff and shoppers.

MCC Health Officer D.G. Nagaraj said places attracting large crowds are being focused on at the moment as a precautionary measure. “The cases have come under control in the past few days and we want to ensure that it does not spread, taking all precautions by stepping up the tests,” he said.

 

Oil jumps on vaccine hopes, OPEC+ signals

Oil prices jumped by close to 10% on Monday for its biggest daily gain in almost six months after news of a highly effective vaccine against COVID-19 and Saudi Arabia’s assurance that an OPEC+ oil output deal could be adjusted to balance the market.

Brent crude was up $3.37, or 8.5%, to $42.82 a barrel at 7:32 p.m. IST.

“Oil and other risk assets are reacting positively today to the Pfizer vaccine news,” said BNP Paribas analyst Harry Tchilinguirian. Oil prices also found support from a weaker U.S. dollar on the back of Joe Biden’s victory, said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

United Kingdom

U.K. PM Boris Johnson cautiously welcomes ‘loud toot’ of the vaccine bugle

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday struck a note of caution as he welcomed the promising results from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and warned that the new possible vaccine against COVID-19 has cleared only one significant hurdle and there are several more to go.

Addressing a briefing from 10 Downing Street in London, Mr. Johnson urged the British public not to slacken their resolve as it is still very, very early days , even as he confirmed that the U.K. had pre-ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine — enough for about a third of the U.K. population, taking into account that two doses each are required.

“We have talked for a long time, or I have, about the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill, and tonight that toot of the bugle is louder. But it is still some way off. And we absolutely cannot rely on this as a solution,” he said.

Tamil Nadu

More tourists visiting the Nilgiris

Since the start of November, when the e-pass system requiring prior permission from the district administration to enter the Nilgiris was scrapped, the number of tourists has steadily increased, especially over the last ten days, officials said.

Based on the tourist numbers visiting government parks and gardens since the beginning of November, the average number of tourists has more than doubled. During the weekends, more than 5000 visitors visited all the parks and gardens in the district for the last two weeks. Since the e-pass system was scrapped, e-registration has become mandatory for visitors to the district.

Joint Director of Horticulture (Nilgiris district), Sivasubramaniam Samraj, said that prior to the relaxations, around 300-400 people were visiting the Government Botanical Garden on an average each day. However, he said the number increased to around 600 during weekdays.

Kerala

Kerala’s weekend dip in number of cases doesn’t lower positivity rate

Only 3,593 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Kerala on Monday, when 32,489 samples were tested. The case numbers were low, but test positivity rate remained almost the same as previous days, at 11.05%.

The COVID toll touched 1,714, with the Health Department adding 22 deaths to the list. Thiruvananthapuram accounted for eight deaths, Alappuzha four, Ernakulam and Kollam three each, Wayanad two, while Malappuram and Kannur reported one death each.

At present, according to official figures, 815 COVID-19 patients are critically ill and being treated in ICUs with 235 on ventilator support.

Brazil

Brazil suspends Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine trials

Brazil’s health regulator halted clinical trials of the potential coronavirus vaccine CoronaVac, citing an adverse, serious event, according to a statement it posted to its website Monday night.

The potential vaccine is being developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac and in Brazil would be mostly produced by Sao Paulo’s state-run Butantan Institute. Butantan said in a statement that it was surprised by Anvisa’s decision and that it would hold a news conference Tuesday.

The CoronaVac shot has stirred controversy in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has cast doubt on its prospective effectiveness. He sparked confusion last month when he publicly rejected it, saying Brazilians would not be used as guinea pigs. The declaration followed news that his health minister, Eduardo Pazuello, had agreed to purchase CoronaVac doses produced locally by Butantan.

Tamil Nadu

Kallakurichi AIADMK MLA tests positive for COVID-19

AIADMK MLA from Kallakurichi (Reserved) Assembly constituency A. Prabhu, 39, has tested positive for COVID-19. He has been admitted to the Kallakurichi Government General Hospital.

Mr. Prabhu said he got himself tested since he had fever and cough for the past few days.

“I volunteered to test myself on Monday and the test results returned positive around 9 p.m. on Monday night. The swab samples of my wife were also lifted and she tested negative. She is under home quarantine as a precautionary measure”, he said.

Mr. Prabhu asked all those who had come in contact with him to undergo COVID-19 tests as a precautionary measure.

Karnataka

Schools to reopen in December?

With a dip in the number of COVID-19 cases reported across the State over the past few weeks, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is mulling over reopening high school classes in December.

Classes for second pre-university and class 10 students are likely to be conducted in the first week of December if the number of COVID-19 cases reported every day continue to remain low over the next two weeks. The department has already drafted SOPs that need to be followed once schools and PU colleges reopen.

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Kerala

Kerala’s weekend dip doesn’t lower positivity

Only 3,593 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Kerala on Monday, when 32,489 samples were tested. The case numbers were low, but test positivity rate remained almost the same as previous days, at 11.05%.

The COVID toll touched 1,714, with the Health Department adding 22 deaths to the list. Thiruvananthapuram accounted for eight deaths, Alappuzha four, Ernakulam and Kollam three each, Wayanad two, while Malappuram and Kannur reported one death each.

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New Delhi

'Celebrate with caution'

COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is still the best bet against infection and it is no rocket science.

This was stated by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday in an interaction with State Health Ministers and senior officials of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala to review COVID-19 situation and preparedness.

Dr. Vardhan said, “The country had stepped into the 11th month of the pandemic and now we all need to be more vigilant for the entire festive season that started with Dussehra and would continue onto Diwali, Chhat Puja, Christmas and then onto Makar Sankranti in the next year. Respiratory virus also spreads rapidly in the winter months”.

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Tamil Nadu

Govt. issues guidelines for museums

If you are planning to visit government museums in Chennai, especially in large groups, you have to book online, according to the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the State government on Monday.

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Telangana

Minister seeks vaccine details from Union Heath Ministry

Health Minister Eatala Rajender has asked Union Health Ministry for details regarding COVID-19 vaccine supply and the priority list during a video conference held on Monday.

For his part, Mr Rajender shared information about the number of tests conducted, treatment facilities and other containment measures being taken in Telangana with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

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