Coronavirus India lockdown Day 174 | September 15, 2020

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The battle against COVID-19 was still far from over, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said in Parliament on Monday.

“We are in the stage of unlock to revive the economy and it’s important that sustained community support is ensured consistently to control the spread of COVID-19 infection and break its chain of transmission,’’ he stated on the first day of the 18-day Monsoon Session.

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:

10.20 pm | Hyderabad

CSIR, Aurobindo Pharma collaborate to develop COVID-19 vaccine

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Aurobindo Pharma Limited would collaborate to develop vaccines to protect against COVID-19.

Under the signed agreement between CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here and Aurobindo Pharma, Aurobindo will partner with CSIR for development of several novel COVID-19 vaccines, the CCMB said in a release on Tuesday.

“The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Aurobindo Pharma Limited are pleased to announce a collaboration to develop vaccines to protect against SARS- CoV-2, also known as COVID-19,” it said.

Three CSIR labs CCMB in Hyderabad, Institute of Medical Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata, are developing vaccine candidates using different technology platforms.

Aurobindo will undertake clinical development and commercialisation of the vaccines, it said.

“Joining of hands of premier CSIR labs with industry for development of vaccines will amplify India’s efforts in indigenous vaccine development and also help in preparedness for future pandemics,” Shekhar C Mande, Director General, CSIR, said.

“Our labs are working on novel proteins for vaccine development that have the potential to address the need for a second-generation vaccine. We are happy to partner with Aurobindo who have proven manufacturing and commercialisation capabilities,” Rakesh Mishra, Director, CSIR-CCMB said.

“We are proud to join hands with CSIR for developing vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This collaboration further strengthens our COVID-19 vaccine development efforts. — PTI

10.05 pm | Kerala

Man held for Facebook post against COVID-19 protocol

Five days after registering a case for an incendiary and provocative Facebook post calling for boycotting COVID-19 protocol, the Central police on Tuesday arrested a person in this connection.

The arrested was identified as Nizar, 48, of Kalamassery. He is accused of giving a call for boycotting the protocol through the Facebook page of one Muhammed Ashraf. Both of them are accused of propagating similar messages through a WhatsApp group of which one Rafeeque of Perumbavoor was the admin.

The police said that the other two accused were absconding and were reportedly attempting to secure anticipatory bail. The Central police had registered a case against two Facebook profiles of Muhammed Ashraf and Rafeeque.

Read more

9.40 pm | Rajasthan

Nagaur MP questions his ICMR’s +ve test report for COVID-19 after testing negative in Jaipur

Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal, who was found positive for COVID-19 in the test conducted ahead of the Lok Sabha session in Delhi but later tested negative in Jaipur, has demanded an inquiry into contradictory reports.

The national convener of RLP, an NDA ally, said he is pained and surprised that neither the Union Health Ministry nor the Lok Sabha Secretariat has responded to his queries to clear the confusion.

Mr. Beniwal, who was first infected with coronavirus in July but recovered a few days later, gave his sample on the Lok Sabha premises on September 11 for the test before the Parliament session and was informed over the telephone on September 13 that he has been found positive for the infection.

The MP, who was in Jaipur when he received the call, immediately consulted doctors at the SMS Hospital there and got himself tested again. The test report at SMS Hospital came negative. Along with the COVID-19 testing, Mr. Beniwal also got himself tested for antibody in Jaipur.

The COVID-19 test report of SMS Hospital, Jaipur is negative. Doctors said that I am healthy and have developed antibodies and in a position to donate plasma, so how come the test report of ICMR, Delhi is positive? the MP questioned. He asserted that the ICMR’s test report is incorrect and raises serious questions about its credibility. - PTI

9.20 pm | Mumbai

COVID-19: Mumbai daily count below 2,000 after 6 days; 49 die

Mumbai’s COVID-19 tally rose to 1,73,534 on Tuesday with the addition of 1,585 new cases - the lowest in a week - while the toll increased to 8,227 with 49 more patients succumbing to the infection, the city civic body said.

The daily count in the financial capital recorded a significant drop on Tuesday after registering over 2,000 cases for six consecutive days. However, the death toll rose sharply to 49 from 31 on Monday.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the number of recovered patients increased to 1,34,066 with 1,717 more patients discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours.

Mumbai has a recovery rate of 77%, it said.

The civic body informed that at present, the city has 30,879 active cases and it has conducted 9.36 lakh COVID-19 tests across Mumbai so far.

According to the civic body,the city’s average growth rate of COVID-19 cases is 1.24%, while the doubling rate is 54 days. — PTI

9.00 pm | Jacob Koshy

Scientists document cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 reinfection

Researchers have reported what may possibly the first instance of people in India being infected twice over by sars-cov2 but remaining asymptomatic. Moreover, one of those infected appeared to carry a variant that conferred resistance to neutralising antibodies.

The report appears in a paper that has been posted on a pre-print repository, meaning it has not been peer-reviewed.

Globally and in India, there have been intermittent reports of people being infected at least twice and confirmed positive by an RT-PCR test. However, they have almost always involved the person being symptomatic atleast once.

Read more

8.50 pm | India

National Task Force, JMG will decide on continuing plasma therapy for treatment of COVID-19 patients: ICMR

The National Task Force on COVID-19 and the joint monitoring group (JMG) in the Health Ministry will take a decision on whether to continue plasma therapy in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in India after reviewing the data of its randomised controlled trial, the ICMR said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference, ICMR Director General Dr. Balram Bhargava said a randomised controlled trial, including 464 patients in 39 hospitals in 25 districts across 14 States and UTs, has shown that plasma therapy does not reduce mortality or prevent progression from moderate to severe disease.

He said that plasma therapy has been used for more than 100 years now in some form or the other for various virus infections. It was used during ebola and it was also being used amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, India’s novel coronavirus tally crossed 49 lakh on Tuesday with 83,809 new cases, while 38.59 lakh people have recuperated so far, taking the recovery rate to 78.28%, the Health Ministry said.

The death toll rose to 80,776 with 1,054 more people succumbing to the infection. The case fatality rate stands at 1.64%, according to the Ministry data. — PTI

8.40 pm | Jammu & Kashmir

1,329 fresh COVID-19 cases in Jammu & Kashmir, tally rises to 56,654; 17 more die

Jammu and Kashmir recorded 1,329 fresh coronavirus cases on Tuesday, raising the infection count to 56,654, while the death toll reached 914 with 17 more fatalities, officials said. It was for the 13th consecutive day that the number of fresh cases crossed 1,000 in a 24-hour period.

The Union Territory recorded 1,329 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours - 741 in the Jammu region and 588 in the Kashmir valley,” the officials said.

The cumulative figure of positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir has now risen to 56,654. Of the fresh cases, Jammu district reported the highest at 254, followed by 148 in Srinagar district, the officials said.

There are 18,678 active cases of coronavirus in the UT as of now, while 37,062 patients have recovered, they said.

A total of 19 deaths took place in the past 24 hours - 14 in the Jammu region and five in the Valley - taking the toll to 914, the officials said. - PTI

8.20 pm | New Delhi

National Task Force, JMG will decide on continuing plasma therapy for treatment of COVID patients: ICMR

The National Task Force on COVID-19 and the joint monitoring group (JMG) in the Health Ministry will take a decision on whether to continue plasma therapy in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in India after reviewing the data of its randomised controlled trial, the ICMR said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference, ICMR Director General Dr. Balram Bhargava said a randomised controlled trial, including 464 patients in 39 hospitals in 25 districts across 14 states and UTs, has shown that plasma therapy does not reduce mortality or prevent progression from moderate to severe disease.

He said that plasma therapy has been used for more than 100 years now in some form or the other for various virus infections. It was used during ebola and it was also being used amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having said that whether it benefits or not is being studied,” the ICMR director general said.

Referring to the findings of the ICMR funded randomised controlled trial, Bhargava said this a pre-print version which is still undergoing peer review. — PTI

8.00 pm | New Delhi

Insurance scheme for health workers extended for 6 months

The ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19’ has now been extended for another 180 days, said the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.

The scheme was announced on March 30 for 90 days and was extended for 90 days (up to Sept. 25).

This Central sector scheme provides an insurance cover of ₹50 lakh to healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and therefore at risk of being infected. It also includes accidental loss of life on account of contracting the infection.

Read more

7.40 pm | India-Nepal

India gifts Remdesivir medicine to Nepal to treat COVID-19 patients

India on Tuesday gifted over 2,000 vials of Remdesivir medicine for the treatment of coronavirus patients in Nepal as part of the ongoing assistance to the Himalayan nation’s fight against the pandemic, the Indian embassy said.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra, on behalf of the Indian government, handed over 2,000 vials of Remdesivir to Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Tuesday, a press release issued by the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said.

The medicines are a part of the Indian government’s ongoing assistance to Nepal in meeting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier on August 9, the Indian embassy extended ICU ventilators to the Nepal government.

India has also provided anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to Nepal to treat corona-infected patients. Meanwhile, the Nepal government has decided to resume domestic flights from September 21. The government had suspended the domestic and international flights in March.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday took the decision to allow domestic flights and inter-district vehicular movement from September 21. The government has already resumed international flights from September 1, though on a limited basis.

The government has allowed private and public vehicles to operate on the basis of odd and even numbers. - PTI

7.32 pm | Gujarat

Gujarat records 17 deaths and 1,349 new infections, increasing its COVID-19 case tally to 1,16,345 while death toll reached 3,247. Active cases are: 16,389 and discharges 96,709. - Mahesh Langa

7.20 pm | Nagaland

Single-day recoveries outnumber new COVID-19 cases in Nagaland

Single-day recoveries outnumbered new COVID-19 cases in Nagaland on Tuesday as 30 people were cured of the infection and 15 tested positive for the disease, Health Minister S Pangnyu Phom said.

The COVID-19 recovery rate in the state is 75.1 per cent. It had gone up to 87.82 per cent on August 8.

The fresh cases have raised the state’s caseload to 5,229.

“Out of 304 results received, 15 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed 8 in Dimapur, 4 in Kohima and 1 each in Mokokchung, Tuensang and Mon,” Phom tweeted.

The daily COVID-19 bulletin said, 27 patients from Kohima and three from Mokokchung district recovered from the disease on Tuesday. — PTI

7.00 pm | Rajasthan

COVID-19 test rate at private labs in Rajasthan slashed to ₹1,200

The Rajasthan government on September 15 revised the rates for COVID-19 tests conducted by private labs in the State from ₹2,200 to ₹1,200.

Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the prices of RT-PCR testing kits, reagents, VTM kits and other consumables have reduced and therefore it was decided to provide the testing facility to people at lower prices.

Principal Secretary, Medical and Health, Akhil Arora issued an order in this regard on September 15.

The test for COVID-19 will now be conducted at ₹1,200, inclusive of GST, at the private laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and approved by the ICMR. — PTI

6.40 pm | New Delhi

Delhi Assembly’s main hall sanitised after 2 MLAs test COVID-19 positive

Delhi Assembly’s main hall has been thoroughly sanitised and those who came in contact with the two COVID-19 positive Legislators have been asked to take preventive measures, officials said on Tuesday.

Two AAP MLAs, who tested negative for COVID-19 when they underwent the mandatory rapid antigen test on Monday ahead of the one-day session, attended the proceedings but later left the House after reports of their previous RT-PCR test came positive in the evening, they said.

“The Assembly hall has been sanitised thoroughly. All the members and officers who came into contact with MLAs Vishesh Ravi and Parmila Tokas have been advised to take adequate precautionary measures,” a senior official of the Delhi Assembly Secretariat said.

Besides Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues, the session was also attended by ruling AAP and Opposition BJP MLAs.

On a lighter note, Mr. Ravi, who is AAP MLA from Karol Bagh constituency and had tested positive for the virus previously, said coronavirus seems to be in no mood to leave him alone. Earlier in May, Mr. Ravi and his brother had tested COVID-19 positive.

It was mandatory for all legislators to undergo COVID-19 test in order to attend the House proceedings on Monday.

A total of 180 people underwent COVID-19 test at the coronavirus testing facility set up on the Assembly premises on Monday. Nine people including an AAP MLA and staff members were found positive, following which the Legislator did not attend the proceedings. - PTI

6.27 pm | Bihar

COVID-19 update from Bihar: Total death 836; total recovered persons 1,46,533 (90.96% recovery rate); total active cases 13,731; total positive cases 1,61,101 and total sample tests done 50,94,239. - Amarnath Tewary

6:20 pm | Sheopur

Video of Madhya Pradesh villagers chasing away COVID-19 ambulance goes viral

A video of villagers in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh chasing away an ambulance with sticks and stones to stop it from ferrying a coronavirus positive resident to hospital went viral on social media on Tuesday after which the administration had to ask the local BJP MLA to intervene.

The incident happened in Kakardha village on Sunday where four people have been detected with COVID-19, and while three have been hospitalised, the ambulance had gone to get the fourth one, said Sheopur District Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr B.L. Yadav on Tuesday.

“People there are having some apprehensions about hospitalisation during the outbreak. We spoke to local BJP MLA Sitaram Adivasi, who belongs to the same area, to speak to the villagers and make them see reason. We will get the woman patient admitted soon,” Mr. Yadav added.

6.15 pm | Tamil Nadu

COVID-19 count from Tamil Nadu | 5,697 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, taking the overall tally to 5,14,208; 5,735 persons discharged today and the total discharged are 4,58,900; 68 deaths were reported today and the total death toll stands at 8,502; active cases are 46,806. - Serena Josephine

6 pm | Gujarat

Gujarat minister, BJP MLA test positive for coronavirus

A minister in the Gujarat government and a BJP MLA on Tuesday said they have tested positive for coronavirus.

In a tweet, Gujarat Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister Jayesh Radadiya said he has contracted the infection and is home quarantined.

“My coronavirus report is positive. I am currently home quarantined and my condition is stable. Those who have come in contact with me in the last one week should also get themselves tested,” Mr. Radadiya said in a tweet.

Similarly, BJP MLA from Jamnagar Raghavji Patel also took to Twitter to say that he had tested positive for the disease. - PTI

5.45 pm | New Delhi

Over 38.5 lakh COVID patients have recovered; one of the highest number of recoveries globally: Govt.

Amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases, the government on Tuesday said India learnt from the experience of nations that suffered high mortalities and was able to “distribute the curve” of coronavirus infection due to a “very effective” lockdown and avoid the “huge peak” those countries had in terms of deaths.

Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava, hailed a very effective lockdown for India not experiencing a “huge peak” as some of the European countries.

At a press conference, Bhargava also said reinfection was “very, very rare” with COVID-19, but it can happen as had been seen in a case in Hong Kong

He, however, said it is not a matter of serious concern.

Talking about India’s COVID-19 fight, he said, “If you look at the countries of Europe and the United States, they had a peak and then they came down and during that peak whether it was Spain, the UK or Sweden or Italy, there were huge number of mortalities. Then there was a peak which came down and then they had a second wave which is recently occurring in those countries.” - PTI

5.30 pm | Uttarakhand

U’khand govt asks Centre for 10,000 oxygen cylinders

With COVID-19 cases steadily on the rise, the Uttarakhand government on Tuesday asked the Centre to provide 10,000 oxygen cylinders to help the state be ready to deal with any emergency situation.

Though there is no shortage of oxygen at present, the request for 10,000 oxygen cylinders has been made to keep ourselves prepared to deal with any situation in future, Health Secretary Amit Negi said.

The oxygen cylinders will be installed at the COVID care centres in the state, he said.

Of late, Uttarakhand has seen a sudden rise in coronavirus cases with 7,580 people testing positive for the infection in just a week to take the state’s pandemic tally from 25,436 on September 7 to 33,016 on September 14. - PTI

5.15 pm | Rajasthan

Top doctors urge people to strictly follow COVID-19 safety protocol

In a video conference streamed live to panchayats across Rajasthan, top doctors on Tuesday said the coronavirus pandemic was here to stay for a while and asked people to adhere to health protocols like masks and social distancing.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Health Minister Raghu Sharma and senior officials of the state government, among others, participated in the virtual discussion.

Devi Shetty, chairman, Narayana Health, said the pandemic is going to last a year and there is a need to induct more doctors to handle the situation in future.

He said shops should open, travelling be started and other activities be run, but unnecessary gatherings and meetings should be stopped.

Several MPs, MLAs, district collectors, superintendents of police (SPs), sarpanch and ward panch in more than 8,000 panchayats across the state attended the video conference streamed live on social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube, Chief Secretary Rajeeva Swarup said. - PTI

5 pm | New Delhi

’Excellent safety’ of 2 indigenous COVID candidate vaccines revealed during Phase-I trials: Minister

Phase-I clinical trials have revealed “excellent safety” of the two candidate vaccines indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and Cadila Healthcare Ltd and their immunogenicity testing is now in progress, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Their phase II clinical trials are going on, Choubey said in response to a question on the present status of the vaccine programme/clinical trials for COVID-19 undertaken by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other private research centres in the country.

Choubey further informed that discussions on collaborations on the recombinant vaccine developed by Russia are ongoing. However, no formal studies have been initiated.

Serum Institute of India (SII) and ICMR have partnered for clinical development of two global vaccine candidates. - PTI

4.45 pm | United States

Some immunosuppressants do not increase COVID-19 risk: Scientists

Therapeutics which suppress the immune system in those with inflammatory diseases like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis “are not associated with a significantly greater risk” for contracting COVID-19, according to a study which says these patients should continue taking their medicine as prescribed. Dermatology researchers from the Henry Ford Health System in the US, which treats a large number of patients with inflammatory diseases like psoriasis, eczema and lupus, said most of these patients are not at any greater risk for COVID-19 than the general population, despite their weakened immune system.

While patients who are immunosuppressed are predisposed to upper respiratory infections like the common cold, which may cause coughing, a runny nose and a sore throat, the scientists said this patient population has not been reported to be at higher risk for COVID-19 to date.

According to the researchers, the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, is one of the first to analyse the association between immunosuppressive medications for skin diseases and the risk of COVID-19 infection and outcomes. - PTI

4.30 pm | Uttar Pradesh

UP records highest 113 fresh coronavirus deaths

Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday recorded the highest single-day spike in COVID-19 deaths with 113 people succumbing to the infection in the last 24 hours, raising the total fatalities due to it to 4,604, said officials.

The number of people testing positive for the infection on Tuesday stood at 6,895, taking the overall figure 3,24,036, they said.

“The count of active COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 67,335 while 2,52,097 people have recovered till date. The death figure in the state has reached 4,604,” Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters here.

The death toll till Monday was 4491. In the past 24 hours, the state witnessed the highest single-day spike of 113 deaths. Earlier on Aug 20, maximum of 95 deaths were reported in the state. - PTI

4.15 pm | England

England hospitals warn of virus test shortages

The group that represents hospitals in England says a shortage of COVID-19 testing is jeopardising efforts to restore medical services and prepare for a potential surge in coronavirus cases this winter.

NHS Providers said Tuesday that inadequate testing is leading to increased absences in the National Health Service as staff members are forced to self-isolate while they and their family members wait for test results after possible exposure to the virus.

CEO Chris Hopson said that last weekend hospital leaders in Bristol, London and Leeds all raised concerns about the lack of testing.

He said hospitals are working in the dark — they don’t know why these shortages are occurring, how long they are likely to last, how geographically widespread they are likely to be and what priority will be given to healthcare workers and their families in accessing scarce tests.” - PTI

4 pm | New Delhi

Delhi, Karnataka, Bihar, AP, Maha and TN asked to ramp up testing: Health Secretary

About 14 states still have less than 5,000 active COVID-19 cases, 18 states have between 5,000 to 50,000 cases and only 4 states have more than 50,000 cases in India, said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a press conference here on Tuesday.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu contribute 60.35% of the total active cases, he said.

Of the new deaths, nearly 69% are concentrated in five State/UTs of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, he added.

India is still registering fewer cases per million population, among the lowest in world. The same can be said of the deaths per million, he said, adding that the recovery rate has touched 78.28% today.

We want Delhi to ramp up its testing, since the positivity rate is at 8.9% despite the high testing numbers, Mr. Bhushan said, Karnataka, Bihar and AP have also been asked to ramp up testing. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also been advised the same.

The country’s positivity rate is now 8.4%, he said.

- Bindu Shajan Perappadan

3.30 pm | Andhra Pradesh

Prasanthi Nilayam to reopen on September 27

The Prasanthi Nilayam at Puttaparti,  in Anantapur district, housing the Samadhi of Sri Satya Sai Baba, will reopen on September 27 for the devotees.

A release from Prasanthi Nilayam said all devotees were welcome to take part in the morning and evening Arati from that day conforming to all COVID19 protocols. 

However, for some more time, the Accommodation Office inside the Ashram will remain closed, it said. - Ramesh Susarla

2.30 pm | Karnataka

Sex workers in Karnataka adopt community networking strategy to meet needs during COVID times

Thousands of sex workers, especially those living with HIV, in parts of Karnataka adopted an inspiring community-led response to meet their basic and emergency needs during COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The sudden loss of livelihood and lack of access to health care and social protection intensified their vulnerabilities, according to a group of 12 authors whose perspective paper was published in the September issue of WHO (World Health Organisation) South-East Asia Journal of Public Health.

For people living with HIV, the lockdown of Mysuru city immediately disrupted antiretroviral therapy (ART) access, as the majority of ART dispensation takes place through the government-run district hospital, although there are two private hospitals being part of the government ART programme, they said.

Between 200 and 250 people per day collect their medication from the district hospital. - PTI

1.30 pm | Canada

Tiny antibody completely neutralises novel coronavirus: Study

Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that they say completely and specifically neutralises the SARS-CoV-2 virus which cause COVID-19.

Ten times smaller than a full-sized antibody, the molecule has been used to construct a drug -- known as Ab8 -- for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2, according to the study published in the journal Cell.

The researchers, including Sriram Subramaniam from the University of British Columbia in Canada, found that Ab8 is highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters.

Its tiny size not only increases its potential for diffusion in tissues to better neutralise the virus, but also makes it possible to administer the drug by alternative routes, including inhalation, the researchers said.

The drug does not bind to human cells, which is a good sign that it won’t have negative side-effects in people, they said. - PTI

1 pm | New Delhi

40 lakh people kept under surveillance as part of COVID contact-tracing: Centre

Around 40 lakh people have been kept under surveillance as a part of the contact-tracing efforts in the country and 5.4 crore samples were tested for coronavirus till September 10, Union minister Ashwini Choubey told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

The minister of state for health said there were 15,290 COVID-treatment facilities with 13,14,171 dedicated isolation beds till September 10. There are also 2,31,269 oxygen-supported isolation beds and 62,694 ICU beds (including 32,241 ventilator beds).

Guidelines on clinical management of COVID-19 have been issued and are being updated regularly. States are being supported in terms of supply of logistics, Mr. Choubey said.

So far, 1.39-crore PPE kits, 3.42-crore N-95 masks, 10.84-crore hydroxychloroquine tablets, 29,779 ventilators and 1,02,400 oxygen cylinders have been supplied to state and central government hospitals till September 10, according to the minister.

More than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported and they are in different stages of development. Three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I, II and III trials, and more than four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage, Mr. Choubey said. - PTI

12.30 pm | Mizoram

Health secretary, 10-year-old girl among 40 new COVID-19 cases in Mizoram

Mizoram’s COVID-19 tally increased to 1,468 as 40 more people, including state health secretary and a 10-year-old girl, have tested positive for the disease, an official said on Tuesday.

Of the fresh cases, 35 were reported from Aizawl, two from Hnahthial and one each from Lunglei, Khawzawl and Lawngtlai districts, he said.

“State Health Secretary H Lalengmawia, a 10-year-old girl from Aizawl and an employee of the Border Security Force from Lunglei are among new patients. Twenty-three fresh cases were detected during contact tracing,” the official said.

The COVID-19 patient from Lawngtlai district has been referred to the Zoram Medical College (ZMC) as he is also suffering from diabetes, he said.

The number of active cases now stands at 549 in Mizoram, while 919 people have recovered from the disease.

According to the health department official, 51,316 samples have been tested for COVID-19, including 1,306 on Monday. - PTI

12 pm | Odisha

Odisha reports 3,645 new COVID-19 cases, 8 more deaths

Odisha’s COVID-19 tally on Tuesday mounted to 1,58,650 with 3,645 people, including a ruling BJD MLA, testing positive for the infection, a health department official said.

The death toll rose to 645 with eight more people succumbing to the infection - three in Cuttack and one each in Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Subarnapur, he said.

Of the 3,645 new cases, 2,151 were reported from various quarantine centres, and 1,494 were detected during contact tracing.

Khurda district, of which state capital Bhubaneswar is a part, reported the maximum number of fresh cases at 517, followed by Cuttack at 357 and Puri at 246, the health department official said. - PTI

11.30 pm | Telangana

Ten more deaths, 2,058 fresh COVID-19 cases in Telangana

Telangana recorded 2,058 new COVID-19 cases and ten related fatalities, pushing the tally of infections to 1.60 lakh in the state.

Out of the fresh cases, 277 were reported from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), followed by Rangareddy 143, Karimnagar 135, Warangal Urban 108, Siddipet 106, and Khammam 103 districts, a state government bulletin said on Tuesday, providing data as of 8 PM on September 14.

As 10 more people succumbed to the disease, the toll rose to 984.

The cumulative recovered cases stood at 1.29 lakh, while 30,400 were under treatment.

The bulletin said 51,247 samples were tested on September 14.

Cumulatively, the number of samples tested was 22.20 lakh. - PTI

11.15 pm | Dubai

COVID-19 will likely become seasonal, but not yet, say scientists

Once herd immunity is attained, the novel coronavirus may follow suit and become a seasonal virus in countries with temperate climates, but until that time, COVID-19 will continue to spread across the seasons, a new study says.

According to the review research, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, when a significant section of the population becomes immune to the novel coronavirus and achieves herd immunity, the effective transmission of the virus may drop substantially making it more prone to seasonal fluctuations.

“COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved,” warned study senior author Hassan Zaraket from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

“Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it, and continue practising the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoidance of gatherings,” Mr. Zaraket added.

According to the scientists, there could be multiple waves of COVID-19 before herd immunity is achieved.

Citing earlier research, they said other respiratory viruses similar to the novel coronavirus - SARS-CoV-2 - follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate regions.

They said influenza and several types of coronaviruses that cause common cold are known to peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions. - PTI

10.15 am | New Delhi

India's tally nears grim 50-lakh mark

India’s novel coronavirus tally crossed 49 lakh on Tuesday with 83,809 new cases, while 38.59 lakh people have recuperated so far, taking the recovery rate to 78.28 per cent, the Health Ministry said.

The death toll rose to 80,776 with 1,054 more people succumbing to the infection. The case fatality rate stands at 1.64 per cent, according to the ministry data.

There are 9,90,061 active cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), comprising 20.08 per cent of the total 49,30,236 cases, it said.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 5.83 crore tests have been conducted so far and 10.73 lakh samples were tested on Monday.

9.30 am | Delhi

30% recovered COVID-19 patients have no antibodies: govt. survey

Seventy-nine of 257 people who had COVID-19, recovered, and later tested for antibodies against the virus, did not have the antibodies, according to a report of the second serological survey done in August by the Delhi government.

Experts, however, said that there was no need to “panic”, as the neutralising antibodies (IgG) tend to vanish after three months, but in most cases the memory cells will remember the virus and trigger an immune response if the person who recovered from COVID-19 is again attacked by the virus.

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9.00 am | Mumbai

Why deny insurance to private doctors?: Raj

Raj Thackeray

Raj Thackeray  


As complaints by families of private doctors, who lost their lives while treating COVID-19 patients, being denied ₹50 lakh insurance cover rise, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Monday questioned the sensitivity of the State government led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

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8.00 am | Telangana

At least 50 employees test positive,rail Nilayam shut for sanitisation

South Central Railway (SCR) has decided to shut the Rail Nilayam headquarters for two days (Monday and Tuesday) to take up intensive sanitisation after at least 50 employees tested positive for COVID-19 during a mass RT-PCR testing drive last week.

All office blocks, staircases, toilets, lifts, concourses, etc., are being sanitised thoroughly and all the employees have been asked to disclose their test results so that proper medical treatment can be given to them.

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7.00 am

‘IICT is now working on a new antiviral drug for COVID-19’

CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) has been one of the first indigenous labs to gear up to combat COVID-19 by scouring existing anti-virals to treat the infection and has been successful in providing the vital Active Pharma Ingredient (API) to Indian companies for making affordable drugs. The institute is working on a few more APIs to tackle the novel coronavirus and other diseases. In this interview, IICT Director S. Chandrashekar explains what goes into drug discovery and other related issues.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 1:13:23 PM |

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