Coronavirus India lockdown day 241 updates | November 22, 2020

A healthcare worker requests fruit vendors to undergo COVID-19 tests, in Mumbai on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world is facing since World War-II and is an important turning point in the history of humanity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the G20 summit on Saturday, as he offered India’s IT prowess for efficient functioning of the grouping.

The Prime Minister also suggested developing a new global index for the post-corona world that comprises four key elements — creation of a vast talent pool, ensuring that technology reaches all segments of society, transparency in systems of governance and dealing with Mother Earth with a spirit of trusteeship.

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:

West Bengal

West Bengal likely to lose chance to conduct Phase II trial of Sputnik V for want of govt. approval

West Bengal will likely lose the chance to conduct Phase II clinical trial of Russian COVID-19 vaccine candidate Sputnik V because of the delay in grant of approval by the State government, a top official of an organisation involved in facilitating the exercise said on Sunday.

The trials were proposed to start at the State-run College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital (CMSDH) in North 24 Parganas district adjoining Kolkata later this week along with six other centres in different parts of the country.

“We are on the verge of losing Phase II trials of Sputnik V vaccine at the CMSDH because of the slow approach of the State Health Department in giving the approval. We had applied for the approval on November 4 and there is no response yet,” the head of business development at site management organisation CliniMed LifeSciences, Snehendu Koner, told PTI.

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New Delhi

Centre rushes high-level teams to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, U.P.

High-level central teams have been deputed to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to support them in COVID-19 response and management.

These States have been either reporting a rise in the number of active cases - those who are hospitalised or are in home isolation under medical supervision, or demonstrating a rise in the daily new cases of coronavirus infections, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Earlier, high-level teams were sent to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Manipur and Chhattisgarh.

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Air cargo operators, airports planning steps to ensure smooth transport of COVID-19 vaccines

Major Indian airports will provide flexible slots and separate temperature-controlled zones while air cargo operators would run multiple flights in a short time span to transport COVID-19 vaccines that are expected to become available in India early next year.

The Indian government is in touch with Moderna, Pfizer, Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila over the progress of the clinical trials of each of the vaccine candidates.

The CSMIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport) in Mumbai is the “largest pharma gateway in the country” and it will provide flexible slot allocation for ad hoc freighter operations for transportation of COVID-19 vaccines, a spokesperson of the airport told PTI.

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Second wave has hit country: Karnataka Minister

Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education K. Sudhakar has said that the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic had hit several countries including India, which was evident in the reports of the spreading of the disease in Ahmedabad and Delhi.

Speaking to presspersons in Dharwad on Saturday, Mr. Sudhakar said that the possibility of the second COVID-19 wave hitting Karnataka depended on how responsibly the people behaved. “If people continue to be cautious and adhere to the COVID-19 advisory issued by the Health Ministry, there will be no problem. But if people are reckless, then the possibility of another wave cannot be ruled out,” he said.

The Minister negated reports about laxity in testing as the reason for the decline in number of cases and said that till Saturday, nearly one crore people had been tested in the State for COVID-19 infection.


Night curfew imposed, fine for not wearing mask raised in Rajasthan

The Rajasthan government on Saturday imposed night curfew, between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., in eight cities with the highest COVID-19 infection and raised the penalty for not wearing face mask at public places from ₹200 to ₹500, after a record 3,007 positive cases were detected on a single day across the State.

The district headquarters where the night curfew was clamped were Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Bikaner, Udaipur, Ajmer, Alwar and Bhilwara. Markets, restaurants, shopping malls and other commercial establishments in the urban areas of these districts will be allowed to remain open till 7 p.m.

The decisions were taken at an urgent meeting of the Council of Ministers convened here late in the night in view of the virus infection spreading fast during the festive season and the cold weather conditions. Over 550 positive cases were reported on Saturday in Jaipur, followed by 444 in Jodhpur, 215 in Bikaner and 210 in Ajmer.

Chandigarh/ New Delhi

Ready to help Delhi fight pandemic, says Amarinder

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the State government was ready to help Delhi manage its spiralling COVID-19 cases.

The national capital, which has seen a sharp spike in daily COVID-19 cases in the festival season, witnessed 5,879 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 5,23,117, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government. Also, 111 more deaths were reported in the city in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll to 8,270.

“Delhi is fighting a tough battle and we are there to help if needed. I have said this earlier too,” Capt. Amarinder said. “While nobody knows when the second wave of the epidemic will strike Punjab, the experience of the National Capital Region and other States shows that it is an almost certain eventuality.” He assured the people that his government was taking all possible measures to meet the situation.


Boris Johnson to end England’s national lockdown on Dec. 2

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end an England-wide lockdown as scheduled on Dec. 2 and to announce a return to regional restrictions as statistics show coronavirus infections have stabilized.

Mr. Johnson’s office said late Saturday that the government plans to return to using a three-tiered system of localized restrictions in England, with areas facing different measures based on the severity of their outbreaks. More communities are expected to be placed in the two highest virus alert categories, Mr. Johnson’s office said in a statement.

The government put England under a four-week lockdown that started November 5. The Cabinet is scheduled to discuss the plans Sunday, and the prime minister is aiming to give Parliament the details on Monday, according to the statement.


U.S. surpasses 12 million cases, says John Hopkins

The United States surpassed 12 million Covid-19 cases Saturday, according to the Johns Hopkins University real-time tracker.

The world's largest economy currently has 12,019,960 cases and 255,414 deaths, both by far the worst global tolls. The new toll comes just six days after the U.S. crossed the 11-million case threshold.

Cases have been surging in the U.S. at an alarming rate, forcing many cities to re-impose punishing lockdown measures.

New Delhi

Remdesivir is no magic bullet but can’t rule out its benefit completely, say doctors

Many doctors who have been treating COVID-19 patients in India say that remdesivir is no magic bullet but it may still have its uses. The World Health Organisation has recently been advising against the use of remdesivir, which is listed as experimental therapy for COVID-19 by the Health Ministry.

The doctors said that to read the WHO recommendation as a strict do or do-not-do might be a “misinterpretation of the evidence”.

Neeraj Nischal, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said, “The final decision (to use or avoid the drug) should be done after discussion with the patient. They should be given facts about the relative lack of benefit of the drug on the ultimate survival.”


More than 30 officer trainees test positive at Mussoorie-based civil services training academy

As many as 33 civil services officer trainees have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoorie, prompting authorities to close “all non-essential departments” there.

The LBSNAA has tweeted, “33 officer trainees have tested COVID-19 positive at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. A total of 428 officer trainees are on campus for the 95th Foundation Course. Academy is taking every measure to break the chain of COVID-19 spread in consonance with guidelines of government.”

Food and other necessities are being delivered to the officer trainees in their hostels by staff who have been equipped adequately in protective gear, it said in another tweet.


Indian-American doctor identifies possible COVID-19 treatment

An Indian-American scientist has discovered a potential strategy to prevent life-threatening inflammation, lung damage and organ failure in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Published online in the journal Cell, the research coming from the lab of Dr. Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, an Indian-born researcher working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, identified the drugs after discovering that the hyperinflammatory immune response associated with COVID-19 leads to tissue damage and multi-organ failure in mice by triggering inflammatory cell death pathways.

The researchers detailed how the inflammatory cell death signalling pathway worked, which led to potential therapies to disrupt the process.


Iran closes businesses, curtails travel amid coronavirus surge

Iran on Saturday shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including the capital of Tehran, as it grapples with the worst outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Mideast region.

Top Iranian officials initially downplayed the risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak, before recently urging the public to follow measures such as wearing masks and avoiding unessential travel. Iran has recorded daily death tolls of above 430 over the past five days. The Iranian Health Ministry said on Saturday that the total number of confirmed cases has risen to above 8,40,000.

The new lockdown measures, which include shuttering most businesses, shops, malls and restaurants, include Iran’s largest cities of Mashhad, Isfahan and Shiraz. Iranian authorities have designated the nearly 160 towns and cities affected as hot spots because these urban centres have the highest daily per capita positive coronavirus test results.


Central team meets Gujarat officials on COVID-19 steps

A three-member Central team met top officials in Gujarat in the wake of a massive surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, forcing the State authorities to impose weekend curfew in Ahmedabad and night curfew in other major cities to contain the pandemic.

The team led by Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), met senior officials of the Gujarat Health department in Gandhinagar and visited the civic body run SVP Hospital in Ahmedabad where COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment.

According to Dr. Singh, the team will make a realistic assessment of the pandemic situation after getting feedback from the ground.

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