Coronavirus updates | 1.17 crore coronavirus vaccine doses administered across the country: Health Ministry

84% of the new coronavirus cases are from 6 States. Maharashtra, Kerala continue to lead the number of active cases.

Updated - February 24, 2021 08:18 am IST

Published - February 23, 2021 09:16 am IST

Active COVID-19 cases in India rose for the fifth consecutive day and went past the 1.5 lakh mark again after a gap of 17 days, according to Union Health Ministry data on Monday, as the total infections crossed 1.10 crore.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the surge in active cases is due to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh reporting a spike in the daily infections.

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:

Health Ministry press conference

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said vaccination for older population will start soon The programme will also see more involvement of the private sector.

- Delhi Bureau

Health Ministry press conference

187 people diagnosed with the U.K. variant off COVID-19: Niti Aayog Member (health) V.K. Paul

Niti Aayog Member (health) V.K. Paul while speaking on the mutated strain of coronavirus, said: "187 people have been diagnosed with the U.K. variant strain of COVID-19, six with the South Africa strain and one with the Brazil strain."

"Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana — has seen two other variants. These are the N440Q variant and the E484 variant. But we can’t say that these are responsible for surge here. This virus is still around and it surprises us. There is still many things that we don’t understand. We are still vulnerable. COVID appropriate behaviour is essential. The surge is a warning signal to us," he added.


Health Ministry press conference

1.17 crore coronavirus vaccine doses administered across the country: Health Ministry

At a press conference, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health said: "84% of the new coronavirus cases are from 6 States. Maharashtra, Kerala continue to lead the number of active cases. Maharashtra, Kerala Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are showing a surge and teams have been dispatched to inspect why this surge is happening."

"They are also looking at the strains in circulations to see if these are pushing up the cases. The average no. of COVID deaths taking place daily has been less than 100 deaths for a week now. Till 1 p.m. today — Over 1.17 crore vaccine doses administered across the country - 1.04 crore first doses & 12.61 lakh second doses," he added.

- Delhi Bureau

BioAsia 2021

‘We should not worry about mutations’

Acclaimed virologists and government officials, who participated in BioAsia-2021, said that they were not surprised that the novel coronavirus has mutated and that there are new strains of the virus. What is, however, is important is that there are the consequences of the new variants and its biological effect, they added.

The focus on the first day of the two-day BioAsia 2021 was Global Health and COVID-19. As part of it, virtual panel discussions on ‘Immunising the world’ and ‘COVID-19 – hits, misses, and hidden pandemic’ were held on Monday.



Hyderabad’s position as vaccine capital bolstered: KTR

Telangana Industries and IT Minister K.T.Rama Rao on Monday said the dream and vision of growing the life sciences sector to over $100 billion looks plausible.

“We remain committed,” he said, seeking to highlight how the sector in Telangana responded with resilience and witnessed tremendous growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector, in the State, attracted about ₹3,700 crore investments in the last one year with an employment potential for around 14,000 people, he told the inaugural session of BioAsia 2021.


BioAsia 2021

Spotlight on India’s role in global vaccine supply

A senior official of the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) on Monday underlined the role India can play in accelerating COVID-19 vaccine supplies globally and ensuring equitable distribution.

“We will need to collaborate, to do our part in the US to be able to export as much vaccines as we can. But we want India and others to do all of the production that they can to help us globally,” said Peter Marks, director of Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, USFDA.

Taking questions after his virtual keynote address at BioAsia 2021, Dr.Marks said India and US are in very “good mutual alignment” and ought to use the mutual pharmaceutical capacities to help bring an end to the pandemic.



Karnataka sets up check posts on Maharashtra and Kerala border

Police seek COVID-19 negative report from people coming from Maharashtra at a check post near Belagavi.

Police seek COVID-19 negative report from people coming from Maharashtra at a check post near Belagavi.


A series of check posts have been put up across the Karnataka-Maharashtra border in Belagavi, Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and Bidar districts to make sure that those entering the State have COVID-19 negative reports.

Kalaburagi has the highest number of checkposts (5), followed by Belagavi (4), Bidar (3) and Vijayapura (2). Posters were put up stating that RT-PCR negative certificate was mandatory for crossing into Karnataka.



Ex-MP, two others booked for COVID-19 norm breach at marriage reception

Police have registered a case against Maharashtra BJP leader and former MP Dhananjay Mahadik and two others for violating COVID-19 norms at a marriage reception in Pune, said an official.

According to the police, the marriage reception of Mr. Mahadik's son was held on Sunday evening at Laxmi Lawns in Pune'a Magarpatta area, where over 1,000 people attended the ceremony.

Authorities have put a limit of 200 people at social gatherings, including ceremonies related to marriage, as part of steps to enforce COVID-19 norms and avoid crowding.


Marshals to be deployed in weddings, events

As another cluster emerged in Bengaluru, the State government announced that marshals would be deployed at marriage halls and at events to ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Speaking to reporters here on Monday after a videoconference with all district administrations, Minister for Health and Medical Education K. Sudhakar admitted that VVIPs, VIPs were also not following the COVID-19 protocols recommended by the Technical Advisory Committee.

“Even when we attend events, organisers ask us to remove the mask. Protocols are routinely flouted. Marshals will levy fines against all violators. A circular has been issued with regard to their deployment,” he said and remarked that it was “unfortunate” that protocols were violated by leaders and thousands who participated in the Panchamasali rally in the city on Sunday.

Tamil Nadu

Public have become careless since Tamil Nadu has a positivity rate of 0.9%, says Health Secretary

Tamil Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan inaugurates facilities at a government hospital in Chennai on February 22, 2021.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan inaugurating facilities at a government hospital in Chennai on Monday.


Complacency in adhering to precautionary norms may lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan warned on Monday.

“COVID-19 cases are on the rise in various districts of Maharashtra. On Sunday, it recorded nearly 6,900 new cases. Neighbouring Kerala is also continuously reporting daily cases between the range of 4,000 and 6,000. The positivity rate is high in many States, such as Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The public have become careless because Tamil Nadu has a positivity rate of 0.9%,” he told presspersons.

“If we are complacent about wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing in public places, washing hands and other standard operating procedures [SOPs], there are chances for the cases to rise in Tamil Nadu too,” Dr. Radhakrishnan said.



Baijal stresses on cluster-based testing

Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal chaired the 17th meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Monday to review the COVID-19 situation in the Capital and the ongoing vaccination roll-out with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Mr. Baijal, at the meeting, emphasised the need to continue to be vigilant without lowering the guard while appreciating efforts put in by all stakeholders in the effective management of the pandemic in Delhi.

According to Raj Niwas, the L-G, based on experts’ advice, stressed upon the adoption of cluster-based surveillance and testing and genome sequencing strategy.



Karnataka imposes entry curbs

The Karnataka government has again decided to close all roads to Kasaragod in Kerala, except at four points, citing the increasing COVID-19 cases in Kerala.

As per the order, issued by the Mangaluru Deputy Commissioner, all roads to Kasaragod, except the Thalappadi-Mangaluru, Jalsur-Sulia, Sardka-Bantwal, and Nettanige-Puthur roads, would remain closed.

At these four points, people will be allowed to cross the border from Kasaragod if they show an RT-PCR negative certificate taken within 72 hours. Those arriving with antigen test reports will not be allowed to enter Karnataka.



Boris Johnson lays out 4-step ‘cautious’ roadmap for easing U.K. lockdown

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tabled a four-step “cautious” roadmap in Parliament for the country to be eased out of its strict stay-at-home lockdown, with a tentative June 21 timeline for most limits on social contact to be lifted if the coronavirus infection rates remain under check.

In the first phase, schools will be reopened from March 8 and, under a minimum five-week gap between each phase of relaxation, outdoor gatherings will be allowed from April 12 before more indoor settings such as pubs, cinemas and gyms being allowed to reopen by May 17.

Finally, June 21 is expected to mark an end to all lockdown measures but Johnson was keen to reiterate that this roadmap would be data rather than dates driven because the deadly threat from the virus currently "remains substantial".



Schools to reopen for classes 3 to 5

Schools in Haryana will reopen for students of classes 3 to 5 from February 24, an official statement said on Monday.

The decision is applicable to all government and private schools across the State. Classes will be held from 10 am to 1.30 p.m., it said.

Students of classes 3 to 5 will be returning to classrooms after a gap of almost a year. Physical classes were suspended early last year to check the spread of COVID-19.

Schools for classes 6 to 12 have already opened in the State over the past few months. - PTI


People entering Gujarat to be screened for COVID-19

To stem the spread of coronavirus in Gujarat, the State government has decided to set up border check posts to screen people coming from neighbouring States, including Maharashtra, through roads.

The decision to conduct coronavirus test on people coming to Gujarat has been taken in view of "continuous increase in COVID-19 cases in the neighbouring states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh", said a government release.

Apart from setting up border check posts at entry points, the State government has also decided to start screening of passengers arriving at major railway stations like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar from different parts of the country by trains, it said.

Screening booths will also be created at all the major airports of Gujarat, the release said. - PTI


U.S. tops 5,00,000 virus deaths, matching the toll of 3 wars

The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. has topped 5,00,000, a staggering number that all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.

The U.S. recorded an estimated 4,05,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War.

President Joe Biden held a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House on Monday and ordered American flags lowered at federal buildings for the next five days.


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