Coronavirus live updates | January 18, 2021

A guard checks temperature of students outside the Government Girls Senior Secondary School at Tagore Garden in West Delhi on January 18, 2021, as schools in the capital reopened for classes X and XII.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

With 3,000 vaccination sites and a capacity of 100 persons per site, the Centre had planned to vaccinate 300,000 persons nationally on Saturday. Consolidated figures on Sunday show that about 207,000 — or about seven in ten — were inoculated on the inaugural day.

Of all those vaccinated so far, 447 reported reactions such as pain, mild swelling, mild fever or nausea, with only three persons requiring hospitalisation. The drop in hospitalisations compared to the inaugural day on Saturday was because of it being Sunday with only six States — Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur and Tamil Nadu — conducting vaccinations.

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 live updates:

New Delhi

1,48,266 beneficiaries vaccinated today: Health Ministry

Dr Manohar Agnani announces the latest figures for the Covid-19 vaccinations:

As on January 18, 5 p.m.,  a total of 3,81,305 beneficiaries have been vaccinated and a total of 7,704 sessions were held till 5 p.m.

On January 18 alone, till 5 p.m., a total of 1,48,266 beneficiaries were vaccinated.

State-wise figures:

Andhra Pradesh: 9,758; Arunachal Pradesh: 1,054; Assam: 1,822; Bihar: 8,656; Chhattisgarh: 4,459; Delhi: 3,111; Haryana: 3,486; Himachal: 2,914; J&K: 1,139; Jharkhand: 2,687; Karnataka: 36,888; Kerala: 7,070; Lakshadweep: 180; MP: 6665; Manipur: 291; Mizoram: 220; Nagaland: 864; Odisha: 22,579; Puducherry: 183; Punjab: 1,882; Tamil Nadu: 7,628; Telangana: 10,352; Tripura: 1,211; Uttarakhand: 1,579; West Bengal: 11,588.

Dr Agnani: So far, cumulative 580 adverse events following immunisation have been reported. Seven people were hospitalised. Three were hospitalised in Delhi, two of them have been discharged.

One with fainting is under observation at Max Hospital at Delhi's Patparganj. In Uttarakhand, one case was reported. The person is stable and under observation at AIIMS-Rishikesh.

Another case was reported in Chhattisgarh, the person is under observation at the Government Medical College in Rajnandgaon.

Two cases were reported in Karnataka, one is fine and under observation at District Hospital in Chitradurga. The second case is under observation at General Hospital Challakere in Chitradurga.

Two deaths have been reported. One of them is a 42-year-old male from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. He was vaccinated on January 16. He died on evening of January 17. Post-mortem conducted by a board of three doctors revealed that the death was caused due to cardiopulmonary disease (pockets of pus in lungs, enlarged heart), and was not related to the vaccination.

One 42-year-old male, a resident of Bellary in Karnataka, was vaccinated on January 16. He died on January 18. The cause of death was anterior-wall infarction with cardiopulmonary failure. The post-mortem was to be conducted today at Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellary.

(Inputs from Devesh Pandey)

Uttar Pradesh

Moradabad hospital ward boy dies after COVID-19 vaccination, officials say death due to heart disease not vaccine

A 46-year-old ward boy employed in a district hospital in Moradabad died a day after receiving the vaccine for COVID-19 but officials said the death was not linked to the vaccine.

He died of cardiopulmonary disease, officials said on January 18.

Mahipal Singh, a ward boy in the district hospital Moradabad, received the vaccine shot at noon on January 16, said an official. On January 17, he complained of chest pain and breathlessness during the day and by the time he was taken to the hospital for treatment he was declared dead, said Chief Medical Officer Moradabad M.C. Garg. Mahipal died around 6 p.m. on January 17, said the official.

Mahipal Singh’s son Vishal told reporters that he believed his father died due to the side effects of the vaccine. After receiving the vaccine, Mr. Vishal says he took Mahipal home around 1.30 p.m. on January 16. Mr. Vishal said his father was breathless and felt unwell after returning home. “He already had a bit of pneumonia, cough and cold but after returning home [following the shot] he started feeling worse. We got him some warm water and tea and made him lie on the bed,” Mr. Vishal said.


Japan PM vows to press ahead with Olympics amid virus surge

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed on January 18 to get the pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympics this summer with ample coronavirus protection.

In a speech opening a new Parliament session, Mr. Suga said his government would revise laws to make anti-virus measures enforceable with penalties and compensation.

“In order to restore sense of safety, I will get the coronavirus pandemic, which has raged worldwide and is now severely affecting Japan, under control as soon as possible,” Mr. Suga said. “I will stand at the frontline of the battle while I get the people’s cooperation.”


Parliamentary Secretary to Puducherry CM tests positive

K. Lakshminarayanan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Puducherry Chief Minister, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Mr. Lakshminarayan has been admitted to a private hospital at Chennai, an official with the Health Department told The Hindu. He is the ninth legislator to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Union Territory.


India records lowest fatalities in eight months

The daily coronavirus infections fell below 14,000 for the second time this month taking India’s COVID-19 caseload to 1,05,71,773, while 145 new fatalities were recorded, the lowest in around eight months, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on January 18.

A total of 13,788 infections have been reported in a day. The country’s death toll increased to 1,52,419 with 145 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The recoveries have crossed 1.02 crore.

The daily COVID-19 infections were 12,548 on January 12.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,02,11,342 pushing the national COVID-19 recovery rate of 96.59%, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.44%.

Tamil Nadu

All T.N. students of classes X, XII and faculty to be screened within a week

With schools all set to reopen for classes X and XII on Tuesday, the Directorate of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine has directed all deputy directors (DD) of health services to screen all students and faculty within a week.

In a circular issued, the DPH instructed all DDs to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to the reopening of schools for classes X and XII. The SOPs, along with Information Education and Communication materials, should be shared with school managements. The officials should ensure that the SOPs are strictly adhered to, without any deviation.

All students of classes X and XII and faculty should be screened in a week using the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram teams. If needed, primary health centre (PHC) teams could be mobilised. The screening of students should include checking for co-morbidities.


COVID-19 vaccination to resume in Kerala today

COVID-19 vaccination will resume in the State on Monday on a regular basis, when the vaccine would be administered to health-care workers four days a week.

Accordingly, vaccination would be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will be avoided so as not to disrupt the childhood immunisation which regularly takes place on this day.

The State will continue to have 133 sites and the target will be to administer the vaccine to 100 persons at every site.

Some vaccination sites will be re-located as on the launch day itself, the vaccination of the registered health workers had been completed. District administration will decide the sites or shift the sites as required.


Vaccination of all healthcare workers registered in first phase in a week: BBMP

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is hoping to complete vaccination of all healthcare workers registered in the first phase in a week. A total of 1.82 lakh healthcare workers have been registered to be vaccinated in the first phase. However, the percentage of coverage was 65% on Saturday and 58% on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting vaccination sites at Manipal Hospital on Sunday, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that, on Monday, vaccinations will be taken up in the civic body’s 141 PHCs (primary health centres), 106 private hospitals and nine medical colleges in the city.

“There are 7,300 beneficiaries under the 141 PHCs, 42,000 beneficiaries who are staff of 106 private hospitals and around 28,000 beneficiaries of the nine medical colleges,” he said.

Claiming that vaccination of 7,300 beneficiaries under the 141 PHCs would most likely be completed on Monday, he said it may take at least five days to cover staff of the private hospitals.


80-year-old doctor takes the jab in Karnataka

Despite increasing safety concerns of COVID-19 vaccine with regard to the elderly with serious underlying health conditions, especially in the wake of the deaths in Norway, an 80-year-old specialist in emergency medicine at St. Philomena’s Hospital took the jab on Sunday.

The doctor – K. Subbalakshmi – who is the hospital’s Casualty Medical Officer (CMO), was the first one to get vaccinated. She is the senior-most person in the State to get vaccinated so far.

“I wanted to be the first one to take the shot to boost the confidence in our young medical fraternity, who are the prioritised group for vaccination in the first phase,” she told The Hindu after her vaccination.

Stating that the medical fraternity has suffered a lot ever since the pandemic hit the country early last year, the doctor said, “We have reached the final stage of our battle against COVID-19. When the vaccine is offered, we should have faith and take it without any fear. It is for our own good.”


72 tennis players in lockdown after coronavirus cases on flights

The number of players in hard quarantine swelled to 72 ahead of the Australian Open after a fifth positive coronavirus test was returned from the charter flights bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the season-opening tennis major.

That means they won’t be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Other players in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily.

Australian Open organisers confirmed late on Sunday that the latest case involved a passenger on the flight from Doha, Qatar to Melbourne who was not a member of the playing contingent. But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players, now cannot leave their hotel rooms for 14 days.

There were already 47 players, including Grand Slam winners, in hard quarantine after three positive tests were returned from a charter flight that arrived from Los Angeles and one on a flight that departed Abu Dhabi.


South Africa cricket squad clears COVID tests upon arriving in Pakistan

The entire South Africa cricket team has cleared the COVID-19 tests, allowing the tourists to take part in their first outdoor practice session in Karachi on Sunday.

The South African squad, which includes 21 players, underwent their first COVID-19 tests soon after landing in Karachi on Saturday morning and according to their media manager, all the reports came negative.

The players and officials were then allowed to go to the Karachi Gymkhana ground adjacent to their hotel and have their first training session.

The players and officials will undergo another round of COVID-19 tests in two days time.


Brazil’s health agency approves the use of two vaccines

Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunisation program that’s been subject to months of delay and political disputes.

Brazil currently has 6 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days, and is awaiting the arrival of another 2 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University.

On Saturday night, the health regulator Anvisa rejected an application for use of a Russian vaccine called Sputnik V, submitted by Brazilian company União Química. Anvisa said it didn’t evaluate the application because it didn’t meet minimum requirements to start an analysis.

Vaccination in Brazil is beginning later than neighbors such as Argentina and Chile despite a robust public health system and decades of experience with immunisation campaigns. The process to present and approve the COVID-19 vaccines was fraught with conflict, as allies of President Jair Bolsonaro sought to cast doubt on the efficacy of the Sinovac shot backed by his political rival, Sao Paulo state’s Gov. João Doria.

Tamil Nadu

Vaccination numbers in Chennai fall on second day

The Greater Chennai Corporation has registered a decrease in the number of beneficiaries who received COVID-19 vaccination on the second day of the immunisation programme.

The number of beneficiaries reduced from 568 on Saturday to 437 on Sunday at the 12 centres in the city, seeing a 14% decline in numbers.

Officials made arrangements to vaccinate at least 100 persons in each centre every day. But some of the 12 centres registered less than 10 beneficiaries on Sunday. The Porur urban community health centre registered just seven. The Institute for Obstetrics and Gynaecology registered eight, compared with the 70 on Saturday.

Most beneficiaries visited in the morning, with the 12 centres registering 274 beneficiaries at 1 p.m. After that, many centres registered less than 10 visitors. Between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, no one visited three of the 12 centres.


58.4% covered on second day of vaccination in Karnataka

On the second day of the vaccination drive that was conducted in 63 vaccine session sites in Bengaluru Urban and one site in Udupi, the State achieved an overall coverage of 58.4%. While Udupi recorded 40% coverage, Bengaluru Urban recorded 57.7% coverage.

On the first day on Saturday, the State had achieved nearly 62%. Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said vaccination would continue in more centres from Monday onwards.

Speaking to presspersons after visiting the programme at Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru on Sunday, where 4,055 healthcare workers were targeted to be covered at 41 sites, the Minister said the second phase of vaccination in the State will start only after both the doses are administered to targeted healthcare workers. The first will be given to all healthcare workers in the next ten days, he said.

Andhra Pradesh

13,041 persons turn up to get the jab on Day 2 in A.P.

Only 47.8% beneficiaries who had registered themselves for vaccination against COVID-19 received the vaccine on the second day at 308 session sites across the State as of 8.30 p.m. on Sunday, the Health Department said.

Officials planned to vaccinate 27,009 beneficiaries at 312 session sites, but only 13,041 of them received the shots. The remaining did not turn up due to various reasons.

Two cases of Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) were reported in Krishna and Nellore districts.

New Delhi

Some didn’t turn up for COVID vaccination at the last moment in Delhi: Health Minister Satyendar Jain

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday said some people did not turn up for coronavirus vaccination at the last moment, adding that the government cannot ask anyone to compulsorily take the jab.

He also said that the number of vaccination centres in Delhi will be increased from 81 to 175 soon.

In Delhi, a total of 4,319 healthcare workers - 53.3% of those registered - got the vaccine shots on the first day of the COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, the minister said.

Mr. Jain noted that a similar trend was observed across the country, adding that around 50% of those registered got the jabs on the first day.

New Delhi

10% of CSIR staff exposed to COVID-19, survey finds

A first of its kind pan-India survey tracking about 10,000 employees of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on the prevalence of COVID-19 found that nearly 10% of the staff were infected. Key neutralising antibodies that protect against the virus waned after infection but were at “detectable levels” even after six months — a proxy for the period of effectiveness of future vaccination and general immunity, the serology survey found.

About three-fourths of the respondents could not recall having experienced a single one of the symptoms commonly associated with the disease, and a vegetarian diet as well as smoking appeared to be “protective” against the infection.

The CSIR has about 40 labs across the country in nearly every State and its staff — from scientific staff to contractual employees — is a microcosm of India, Shantanu Sengupta, Scientist at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), among the corresponding authors of the study, told The Hindu. “This is a first of its kind longitudinal study anywhere in the world in that we are tracking a cohort over time and will continue to do so. Some of the associations, of smoking and vegetarianism, are significant but we can now only speculate on why this is so but we don’t yet have a cause,” he said in a phone conversation.

Tamil Nadu

States fall short in meeting COVID-19 vaccination targets

With State governments reporting shortfalls in meeting their COVID-19 vaccination targets, the experience of the last couple of days has made one thing clear — uptake of the vaccines against COVID-19 in the first phase among healthcare and frontline workers is uneven.

Health authorities in various States cite a “wait and watch” approach as the main reason. With the vaccination itself being voluntary, it is estimated that people are waiting to see how those who have already received the vaccine fared. What is also clear now is vaccine hesitancy even among medical professionals. In some districts in the country, the Covishield vaccine was dispensed much faster than Covaxin, district-level figures show. Technical glitches in the CoWIN app were also blamed for poor vaccine coverage.

Tamil Nadu recorded just over 16% coverage on January 16, the first day. Health secretary J. Radhakrishnan acknowledged that there seemed to be a “wait and watch” trend. “We are continuing with the vaccination even if there is sluggish uptake. Some associations of health professionals have promised to come for vaccination after one or two days. We expect the response to improve after the weekend,” he said.

New Delhi

Delhi schools reopen after 10 months

For the first time since March 19, 2020, schools reopened in the national capital and students walked the corridors again with their classmates, albeit following social distancing norms and a host of other protocols that have been set by the Directorate of Education (DoE) to ensure a safe environment for classes to resume.

Students of Class 10 and 12 have been allowed to attend classes in schools so that they are able to complete their practicals, project work and counselling requirements ahead of the CBSE examinations that will be conducted between May 4 and June 10.

The government has reiterated that physical attendance is not compulsory and students would attend schools only with the consent of their parents. The schools have to be outside the containment zones to be able to function.

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