Coronavirus India lockdown Day 245 updates | November 25, 2020

Taking the test: A healthcare worker takes the swab sample of a shopkeeper at a market in Andheri on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

As news about various vaccines in the last few days brought some cheer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with Chief Ministers. While telling the State governments to keep logistics ready for vaccine roll out, Prime Minister Modi said the primary focus of the States should still be in containing the spread of COVID-19, especially after the post festival surge being seen in several States.

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

Bengal’s Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan COVID-positive, admitted to hospital

West Bengal’s Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan tested positive for COVID-19, following which he was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata, State Health Department officials said on Wednesday.

Mr. Mannan (68), a veteran leader of the Congress in the State, got himself tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday after noticing some symptoms, they said.

“He tested positive for the disease on Tuesday and was admitted to a private hospital in the night. He is having several comorbidities and high blood sugar, which are obviously matters of concern. His condition is stable at the moment,” he said.

Date | Time

MHA issues guidelines for COVID-19 surveillance

The Minister of Home Affairs has issued fresh guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution in wake of rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The guidelines said that "Listing of contacts shall be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow up of contacts for 14 days (80 percent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours)"

Keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in few States/ UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, focussed on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines/ SOPs issued by MHA and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW).

The guidelines will be effective from December 1, 2020 and to remain in force upto December 31, MHA said.

Only essential activities shall be allowed in the Containment Zones. States/ UTs will ensure careful demacationof Containment Zones by the district authorities, at the micro level, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by MoHFW in this regard.

There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.

There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose. Testing shall be carried out as per prescribed protocol.

Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed and State/ UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.

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Punjab to re-impose night curfew from December 1

Amid the grim Covid situation in Delhi-National Capital Region and apprehensions of a second wave in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a series of fresh restrictions in the state, including re-imposition of night curfew in all towns and cities with effect from December 1.

The curbs, which will shall be reviewed on December 15, also restrict opening timings of all hotels, restaurants and marriage palaces till 9.30 p.m. Night curfew will remain in force from 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., announced the Chief Minister.

Giving details of the new restrictions after a high-level state Covid review meeting, an official statement said fine for not following Covid appropriate behaviour shall be hiked from the present Rs 500 to Rs 1000.


Online taxis, autos start scaled-down operations in Kochi

Online taxi cars and a smaller number of online autorickshaws have resumed operation in Kochi in a scaled down manner, even as a considerable number of people have sold their taxi cars or have ventured into roadside vending following the pandemic. “A whole lot of drivers sold their cars, unable to remit monthly loan instalment. Still, over 50% of our fleet of cars is back on the roads, since demand is increasing at a slow but steady pace,” said sources in an online taxi aggregator firm.

“Online autorickshaws too are back on the road and, just like cars, have slashed their fare. They too are having takers, including trips from the city to the airport which has been priced ₹400 to ₹450,” they added.

“Most customers are individuals or people who are venturing out of their houses to do shopping in bulk. Only two passengers are permitted, that too in the rear of cars, which is separated by a transparent screen. A few car models which have rear AC vents have many takers. Passengers in other cars are willing to travel with window glasses pulled down. Drivers have been instructed to cancel trips of customers who are unwilling to wear mask or resist COVID SOPs, and report these incidents,” they added.


Russian virus vaccine to cost less than $10 per dose abroad

Russia released new results Tuesday claiming its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective, and promised it would cost less on international markets than vaccines by some of its Western competitors.

According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which bankrolled the development of the jab, Sputnik V will cost less than $10 per dose — or less than $20 for the two doses needed to vaccinate one person — on international markets. The vaccination will be free for Russians, the Fund said.

The two-shot jab, the fund promised in a statement, will be two or more times cheaper than those by Pfizer or Moderna, which cost about $20 and $15-25 per dose respectively, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the US government.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the fund, told reporters Tuesday that over 1 billion doses of the vaccine are expected to be produced next year outside of Russia.


Schools to stop online classes if parents don’t pay fees

Private schools affiliated to the State board have threatened to stop online classes from November 30 for students who have not paid the fees for the 2020-21 academic year. This, despite the fact that the Department of Primary and Secondary Education is yet to give permission to school managements to collect fees for the second term.

D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said that schools that do not have a large corpus were unable to pay their staff. “The Association has time and again requested the government to issue an order asking all parents to pay the fees, without which schools say they will not be able to conduct online classes,” he said.

After a request from managements, the State government had allowed schools to collect fees for the first term. However, many private schools claim that less than 30% of parents paid up. In some schools, parents have reportedly given only ₹500 or ₹1,000 as registration fees to complete the admission process.

Many of the parents have raised objections to this ‘threat’ and said that they will not pay the entire fees for this year until physical classes resume.


Kerala briefs PM about its COVID-19 control strategy

The successful strategies adopted by the State in controlling COVID-19, the decreasing trend in new cases, and the low case fatality rate of 0.4% in Kerala have all been briefed at the meeting on COVID-19 held via videoconferencing with the Prime Minister on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

The coordinated efforts between the State Health department, local bodies and other socio-political institutions in the State, the effective strategy of early detection, isolation and treatment, and contact tracing as well as the efficiency and preparedness of the State’s health system had helped the State manage the pandemic well.

The active case pool in the State had been on a steady decline and the test positivity rate too was going down, he said.


Vaccine likely in four to six weeks, says Yediyurappa

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has claimed that there were indications of the vaccine against COVID-19 becoming available in about four to six weeks.

Speaking to reporters after his arrival in Mysuru on Tuesday, Mr. Yediyurappa referred to the virtual meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with Chief Ministers of different States earlier in the day and said the Prime Minister had asked States to prepare themselves for distribution of the vaccine in all the districts.

He said the Prime Minister had asked the Chief Ministers to establish a system for proper distribution of the vaccine, which can take about four to six weeks.

When asked about the possibility of a fresh lockdown in view of indications of a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections, Mr. Yediyurappa nodded in the negative and walked away.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai told presspersons that the government had decided to constitute a State-level steering committee headed by the Chief Minister to monitor vaccination for COVID-19. Similarly, Deputy Commissioners and tahsildars will head steering committees at the district and taluk levels, he said.

Andhra Pradesh

Prepare plan for storage of COVID vaccine: Jagan

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday participated in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with Chief Ministers on the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Later, Mr. Jagan held a review meeting with officials and asked them to focus on methods to be followed on storage and distribution of the vaccine.

Directing them to prepare an action plan on storing the vaccine at optimum temperature, as well as transporting it to remote areas at the same temperature, the Chief Minister asked them to focus on the infrastructure facilities required for refrigeration of the vaccine. “Prepare an action plan on readiness of vaccine distribution. Collect technical information on the respective issues and also take relevant information from various companies and conduct a study on it,” he said.


Others to get vaccine first as Canada lacks production capacity, says Justin Trudeau

Canadians can expect the first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in early 2021, likely later than those countries that can produce it themselves, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

“Canada no longer has any domestic production capacity for vaccines,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference.

“We used to have it decades ago, but we no longer have it,” he said, while “countries like the United States, Germany and the UK do have domestic pharmaceutical facilities, which is why they’re obviously going to prioritise helping their citizens first.”

Mr. Trudeau added, “we’ve begun to invest once again in ensuring that Canada will have domestic vaccine production capacity.”

In case of another pandemic in the coming years, he said “we never want to be caught short again, without the ability to support Canadians directly.”

Uttar Pradesh

Noida, Ghaziabad start random testing of Delhi travellers

After Gautam Buddha Nagar, the Ghaziabad administration started random screening of people travelling from Delhi for COVID-19 from Tuesday evening.

This has come after the two districts saw a surge in cases after Deepavali.

Officials from the health department stopped travellers from Delhi at the Ghazipur border and tested them through rapid antigen test kits. Later, they were joined by police officials for effective management.

“We have done random sampling earlier, but this time we are doing it in the evening to check whether Ghaziabad residents who are working in Delhi are bringing the virus from the Capital, which has seen a spike in cases after Deepavali. We will do it for a few days and calculate the positivity rate,” said N.K. Gupta, Chief Medical Officer (Ghaziabad) adding the test were voluntary.

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