Coronavirus India lockdown day 237 updates | November 18, 2020

A man in personal protective equipment (PPE) sanitizes a cinema hall before a movie amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

India wants to reiterate what the World Health Organisation has said about the vaccine “being a game-changer but not being the end-all of the pandemic,” NITI Aayog member (health) Dr. V.K. Paul has said.

He said the vaccine, when it is available, will complement the other tools that already exist to tackle the pandemic. His comments come after Moderna and Pfizer, two U.S.-based pharma companies, released promising data from their COVID-19 vaccine trials.

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 updates:

New Delhi

Kerala to commission genome survey for SARS-CoV-2

To better understand the genomic variation in the strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the State, the Kerala government has tied up with the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) for a survey.

The study, commissioned on November 11, will collect 100 samples from 14 districts every month, for three months. The exercise is a follow-up of a pilot study that the same group of scientists did in Kozhikode, from which it emerged that outbreaks in the State were less due to international expatriates and more due to reduced monitoring of inter-State movement once the restrictions were eased.

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News Delhi

MHA outlines steps to curb Delhi COVID-19 cases

The railways were in the process of equipping coaches with 800 beds for COVID-19 patients at the Shakur Basti railway station in Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday.

As many as 45 doctors and 160 paramedics of the paramilitary forces have arrived in Delhi for COVID-19 duties.

The MHA said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was going to add 250 additional ICU beds to the existing 250 ones, besides creating 35 BIPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) beds in the next 3 to 4 days at its COVID-19 hospital near the Delhi airport.

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New Delhi

Delhi HC refuses to grant permission for Chhath Puja celebration at public places

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with Delhi government’s decision to ban Chhath Puja celebrations at public places like ponds and riverbanks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Can surgical masks be reused?

Health authorities say the most widespread anti-Covid weapon — surgical masks — must be thrown away after a single use, but environmental concerns are pushing some scientists to question this recommendation.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, masks have in many places become mandatory on public transport, in shops and at work. But cost has become an issue, as has the fact so many disposable plastic masks wind up in waterways and the oceans.

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YouTube to add link on COVID-19 vaccines to combat misinformation

Alphabet Inc's YouTube said on Tuesday it is adding a link to provide information on the development of COVID-19 vaccines to the coronavirus panel on its site, expanding its efforts to combat misinformation related to the pandemic.

The link will send users directly to authoritative COVID-19 vaccine information from a third-party source like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization (WHO), the company said in a statement.

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Goa govt to issue new SOP for hotels amid tourist season

The Goa government is drawing up a new standard operating procedure (SOP) for hotels amid the ongoing tourist season, state health minister Vishwajit Rane said on Wednesday.

“We are in the process of issuing guidelines for hotels, which will make it mandatory for them to reserve one room as an isolation room on their property," Mr. Rane said.

New Delhi

ICMR warns against indiscriminate use of convalescent plasma therapy

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned against the indiscriminate use of convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) for treating COVID, with the top-medical body on Wednesday releasing reports of an open-label phase II multicentre randomised controlled trial (PLACID trial) conducted in the country across 39 public and private hospitals on the use of CPT in the management of cases with moderate COVID infection.

The report concluded that the therapy “did not lead to a reduction in progression to severe COVID or all-cause mortality in the group that received CPT as compared to the group that did not receive CPT.’’

ICMR added that benefits of CPT in improving the clinical outcomes, reducing severity of disease, duration of hospitalization and mortality in COVID-19 patients are dependent on the concentration of specific antibodies in convalescent plasma that could neutralize the effects of SARS-CoV-2. - Bindu Shajan Perappadan


Bengaluru’s COVID-19 fatality rate lowest among major Indian cities: Health Minister

Bengaluru’s coronavirus case fatality rate of 1.1 per cent was the lowest among all major cities in the country, Karnataka Health Minister Sudhakar K said on Wednesday.

With 3,36,880 recoveries and 17,707 active cases as on Tuesday, city’s recovery rate stands at a healthy 93.94 per cent and active rate stands at 4.93 per cent”, he tweeted.


Railways providing coaches with 800 beds to Delhi for COVID-19 treatment: MHA

As many as 45 doctors and 160 paramedics of the paramilitary forces have arrived in Delhi for deployment on COVID-19 duties while the Railways will make available coaches with 800 beds at a station here to be used as COVID care-cum-isolation facilities, the MHA said on Wednesday.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is going to add 250 additional ICU beds to the existing 250 ICU beds in addition to creating 35 BIPAP beds in the next 3 to 4 days at its COVID-19 hospital near the Delhi airport.

The actions come in the wake of 12 decisions taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday.


LG approves Delhi govt’s proposal to allow only 50 people at weddings

Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal has approved the AAP government’s proposal to allow only 50 people to attend wedding functions in the national capital, officials said on Wednesday.

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39 per cent of Kashmir’s population has COVID antibodies: Sero survey

sero survey conducted in Kashmir has found that two out of every five people in the valley have developed antibodies against the coronavirus.

The survey carried out in October found the highest prevalence of antibodies in Pulwama at 43.1 per cent and the lowest in Kulgam at 28.5 per cent.

“We conducted a sero survey in all 10 districts of Kashmir which has revealed that nearly 39 per cent of the 6,200 persons tested negative but had developed antibodies,” said Dr Muhammad Salim Khan, head of community medicine at Government Medical College.


No selection test for students appearing in Meghalaya Board class 10 & 12 exams in 2021: Minister

Meghalaya Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui on Wednesday said the state school board has decided not to hold selection tests for students scheduled to write class 10 and 12 examinations next year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister said the Class 10 and 12 examinations conducted by the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBOSE) will be held in March-April next year.

Case count update

COVID-19 caseload in India breaches 89-lakh mark

India’s COVID-19 caseload went past 89 lakh, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 83 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 93.52%, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 89,12,907 with 38,617 infections being reported in a day while the death toll climbed to 1,30,993 with 474 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the eighth consecutive day.There are 4,46,805 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date which comprises 5.01% of the total caseload, the data stated.

The total recoveries have surged to 83,35,109 pushing the national recovery rate to 93.52%, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.47%.


Curbs on mass Chhath Puja celebration in Mumbai

The Mumbai civic body has put restrictions on mass celebration of Chhath Puja at beaches, river banks and other natural water bodies in the city in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked devotees to avoid crowding.

The annual festival dedicated to the Sun god will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday by people who originally hail from north India and are residing in the metropolis. In the past, the festival used to see large number of people thronging prominent beaches, river banks and other water bodies to make offerings to the Sun god at sunrise and sunset.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has issued guidelines about the Chhath Puja celebration on mass scale to avoid the spread of the coronavirus infection. In a release, the BMC said it has decided to put restrictions on Chhath Puja celebration as it will be difficult to enforce social distancing if people gather in large numbers at beaches and river fronts for rituals and prayers.

No permission will be granted for mass scale celebration at natural water bodies, the BMC said and appealed to citizens to follow COVID-19 protocols like wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and hand sanitisation while taking part in the festival. - PTI


Breather for healthcare workers in Mysuru as COVID-19 cases see decline

The continued fall in COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Mysuru has come as a breather for exhausted doctors and other healthcare staff, particularly those in the government set-up, who had been working strenuously from the past seven months battling the pandemic.

Cases in Mysuru surged till October second week and have seen a drop since then. The case fatality rate, which was the second highest in the State after Bengaluru, is also coming down, much to the relief of healthcare professionals. Several beds in designated hospitals here are empty. Mysuru had 733 active cases as on Monday.

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Random COVID-19 test for people coming from Delhi to Noida from today

People coming from Delhi to Noida will be randomly tested for COVID-19 from Wednesday, the administration of Gautam Buddh Nagar, adjoining the national capital, in Uttar Pradesh said.

The decision for random sampling came during an online meeting of senior administration and health department officials with District Magistrate Suhas L.Y. on Tuesday amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi.

There will be no restriction on free movement of people between Noida and Delhi, Mt. Suhas told PTI.


A mutlipronged approach to tackle COVID surge in Delhi

The Union Health Ministry said it will augment Delhi’s ICU bed capacity from 3,500 to 6,000 over the next few days, bring in 325 doctors and paramedical staff to address manpower shortage, and double COVID-19 testing capacity in the city, which has seen a surge in infections and deaths over the past few weeks.

Around 75 doctors and 250 paramedics from central forces are also being roped in. "Half of them have already joined and the rest will be in soon. This will ensure that there is no shortage in trained manpower to tackle the COVID situation in Delhi," said NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr. V.K. Paul.

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(With inputs from Agencies)

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