Coronavirus updates | July 17, 2021

Kolkata: Passengers travel in a metro train following ease in some COVID-induced restrictions, in Kolkata, Friday, July 16, 2021.

Kolkata: Passengers travel in a metro train following ease in some COVID-induced restrictions, in Kolkata, Friday, July 16, 2021.

At the Health Ministry press conference, V.K. Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, said people were still vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, which was very much around. “We have to be alert. Our COVID case decline has slowed down and this is a warning sign,” he said.

Dr. Paul said that the COVID-19 situation in most of the regions has turned from bad to worse. “Overall, the world is moving towards a third wave. World Health Organization’s warning about the third COVID wave is a red flag,” he said.

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 :


Odisha schools to reopen for Classes 10 and 12

The Odisha government on Saturday announced the reopening of schools for Class 10 and Class 12 from July 26 following a fall in the number of COVID cases in the State.

The decision to reopen schools even though the State is still under different stages of lockdown appears to have been prompted by the inability to reach a majority of students through online modes of education.

Schools and colleges were shut down in the wake of the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in the State. Since the number of COVID-19 cases reported daily has gradually fallen, the reopening of schools has been allowed.



Strictly adhere to COVID-19 norms, Uddhav tells film and television producers

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday asked the film and television producers to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 norms laid down by the State government and coordinate with police authorities about the place of shoot as well as extension for timings.

Mr. Thackeray held a virtual meeting with the members of film producers guild where he asked them to ensure norms are followed, crew members are vaccinated and routine tests for the virus are conducted.



Assam govt to provide financial help to families of people who died due to COVID-19

The Assam government will provide one-time financial assistance of ₹1 lakh to families of people who have died of COVID-19, State Finance Minister Ajanta Neog said on July 16.

Presenting the Budget for 2021-22 in the Assembly, Mr. Neog claimed this is a first-of-its-kind scheme by any government in the country.

The State government had already announced the 'Chief Minister Shishu Seva Scheme' for children who lost their parents due to coronavirus and the 'Chief Minister COVID-19 Widow Support Scheme' for widows.

Under the scheme for children, an amount of ₹3,500 will be provided per child each month. For those below 10 years who may not have an extended family or guardian, the Assam government will take steps to house them in child care institutions and provide adequate funding towards their upkeep and education.

In the other scheme, each widow is eligible for a one-time grant of ₹2.5 lakh. — PTI


Local manufacture of drugs, med equipment being considered ahead of third wave: Kerala Health,Industries depts

The Health and Industries departments in Kerala are exploring the possibility of locally manufacturing medicines, safety kits and medical equipment in the state to ensure their adequate availability ahead of any third wave of COVID-19.

For this a committee of Principal Secretaries of both departments and the managing directors of Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. (KMSCL) and Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KSDPL) will be constituted, Ministers of both the departments said in a release on July 17.

It said that the joint meeting of State Health Minister Veena George and Kerala Industries Minister P. Rajeev was convened to ensure availability of safety kits, like gloves, masks and PPE, and medical equipment. — PTI


France allows visitors with Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine

France will allow international travellers who have had AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine into the country starting from Sunday.

At the same time, France is tightening border checks to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, according to a statement from the Prime Minister on Saturday. — AP

New Delhi

Over 41.69 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses so far provided to States/UTs: Centre

Over 41.69 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have so far been provided to States and Union Territories, and more than 2.74 crore jabs are available with them and private hospitals, the Health Ministry said on July 17.

In a statement, the Ministry said 18,16,140 more doses are in the process of being supplied.

It said that 41,69,24,550 vaccine doses have been provided to States and Union Territories (UTs) so far through all sources.

Of this, the total consumption, including wastage, is 38,94,87,442 doses, according to data available at 8 a.m. on July 17, the Ministry said.

It said that 2,74,37,108 Covid vaccine doses — balance and unutilised — are still available with States and UTs, and private hospitals. — PTI


Desperate for vaccines amid surge, Iranians flock to Armenia

In Iran, the urgency of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is growing by the day.

A crush of new cases fuelled by the fast-spreading delta variant has threatened to overwhelm Iranian hospitals with breathless patients too numerous to handle.

But as deaths mount, and the sense swells that protection for most citizens remains far-off, thousands of desperate Iranians are taking matters into their own hands: They’re flocking to neighboring Armenia. — PTI

New Delhi

Delhi airport's T2 terminal to reopen from July 22

The T2 terminal of the Delhi international airport will resume operations from July 22, two months after it was shut down due to significant drop in domestic air traffic owing to the COVID-19 pandemic's second wave, a statement said on July 17.

The resumption of operations at T2 from July 22 onwards will be with approximately 200 air traffic movements (100 departures and 100 arrivals) per day and increase progressively up to around 280 movements by August-end, the statement of Delhi airport's operator DIAL said.

Currently, only the T3 terminal of the Delhi airport is handling flight operations.

"The T2 terminal will resume operations with IndiGo's 2000-2999 series flights and entire operations of GoAir, and is expecting to witness around 25,000 passenger footfall in the initial phase," the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) stated. About 27 counters — 11 for GoAir and 16 for IndiGo — will be available to cater to the passengers of respective flights, it said. — PTI

New Delhi

New academic session in varsities by October 1, admission process to be completed by September 30: UGC

The new academic session in universities and colleges across the county will begin from October 1 while the admission process has to be completed by September 30, according to new guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Universities and higher education institutions (HEIs) have been asked to ensure that the admission process for undergraduate courses begins only after the declaration of results by the CBSE, ICSE and all state boards. — PTI


Reporting of COVID-19 in children not unusual, says Puducherry Health Secretary

Health Secretary of Puducherry T. Arun on Saturday said the reporting of paediatric COVID-19 cases was “not unusual.”

“It is true we have reported a good number of cases this month. But even in May and June when the cases were on the rise, we used to get around 10 to 15 cases in children. We are doing a micro-analysis of the present cases to see whether there is any deviation from the trend,” Mr Arun told The Hindu .


Govt to procure 66 crore more doses of Covishield, Covaxin at revised rates

The Centre has placed an order to procure 66 crore more doses of Covishield and Covaxin to be supplied between August and December this year, at a revised price of ₹ 205 and ₹ 215 per dose, respectively, excluding taxes, official sources said.

They said 37.5 crore of Covishield doses from the Serum Institute of India and 28.5 crore Covaxin doses from Bharat Biotech will be procured by December. - PTI


Pilgrims trek up Sabarimala after COVID-19 induced break

Devotees have begun trekking up the Sabarimala hill once again after a brief gap as the Lord Ayyappa temple opened in Pathanamathitta on July 17 morning for the five-day-long Pooja to mark the onset of Karkidakam.

The authorities have made elaborate arrangements for regulating the movement of pilgrims inline with the COVID-19 protocol. As per estimates, just over 16,000 pilgrims have booked slots for darsan through the virtual queue till Friday evening.

According to officials, only those producing COVID- 19 negative certificates after undergoing the RT-PCR test within 48 hours or those completed two shots of vaccine have been permitted to trek up the hillock. Earlier in May, the board imposed a ban on the entry of pilgrims to the hill shrine in view of the worsening pandemic situation.


NGOs, volunteers step in with gadgets, help students attend online classes

Twelve-year-old Shreya B. was struggling to access online classes held by the private school she was enrolled in even though her mother had a mobile phone, since she did not have access to it at all times.

Her mother, a single parent who worked in the garment sector, had lost her job during the second wave of COVID-19, and needed her phone when she stepped out of the house to look for other sources of employment.


United Kingdom

U.K. reverses plan to open up travel to France due to Beta variant

The British government threw the holiday plans of tens of thousands of people into disarray on Friday night when it reversed plans to open up travel from France because of concerns about a COVID-19 variant circulating in the country.

Plans to relax self-isolation rules for people travelling from a wide range of countries will no longer apply to France because of the persistent presence of the Beta variant, which was first discovered in South Africa and is believed to be more dangerous than other variants, the government said.

The announcement came just days after authorities confirmed plans to lift the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated people arriving from “amber list” countries, including most destinations in the European Union.


Thailand tightens measures as daily cases cross 10,000

Thailand has tightened coronavirus restrictions and warned of further measures as daily cases surpassed 10,000 and the death toll hit a record 141 on Saturday despite an overnight curfew in Bangkok and several other provinces.

The surge since April has overwhelmed hospitals, strained the economy and thrown tourism recovery plans in doubt. The vaccine rollout, hindered by supply problems, is slugging with some 5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% only partially.

“I would like everyone to realize our necessity to impose stricter measures soon. We all may get affected and be inconvenienced in many ways,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha wrote on his Facebook page late on Friday.

Cases have been climbing particularly in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The government imposed additional measures overnight including a ban on any gatherings and activities that can spread the virus, including anti-government rallies that have criticized Mr. Prayuth's handling of the pandemic.

- AP

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka receives 1.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine donated by U.S.

Sri Lanka has received 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the U.S. through the UN-backed COVAX facility. It was the second shipment to Sri Lanka from the global COVAX effort after an AstraZeneca delivery in March.

Sri Lanka has given 36% of its population their first vaccine dose while 13% have received both doses.

Its vaccination campaign was set back by halted shipments of AstraZeneca from the Indian producer. It then turned to Sinopharm, Sputnik V and Pfizer to get its population inoculated.

- AP


Mizoram reimposes total lockdown in AMC area as cases rise

The Mizoram government has reimposed a seven-day complete lockdown in Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC) area in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, over two weeks after easing restrictions, officials said.

The shutdown will be in force from July 18 till the midnight of July 24, an official order said. Lockdown and other stringent restrictions may be imposed in other parts of the State by deputy commissioners depending on the coronavirus situation, it said.

The Mizoram government had eased restrictions in the AMC area from June 30.



Social media platforms 'killing people' with misinformation, says Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden has said that social media companies are “killing people” by failing to police misinformation on their platforms about COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr. Biden's comments came a day after  U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy  declared misinformation about the vaccines a threat to public health, and as US officials advised that deaths and serious illness from the virus are almost entirely preventable because of the vaccines.

Mr. Biden, asked if he had a message for platforms like Facebook where false or misleading information about the coronavirus vaccines has spread, told reporters, “They're killing people.” “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated," he said.


Markets in city reopen after nearly three months

After nearly three months, two major wholesale markets that were shut down during the second wave have been allowed to reopen. While the historical K.R. Market reopened on Thursday, Kalasipalyam market will open to traders and the public on Sunday.

The BBMP has accorded conditional approval to reopen the markets. In a recent order, it stated that traders must ensure that COVID-19-appropriate behaviour (CAB) is adhered to by employees and customers, and also introduce measures to prevent overcrowding. Shop owners and visitors have been urged to make use of the testing and vaccination camps on site. Temperature scanners must be used and the market premises must be kept clean, stated the order.

BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Revenue and Markets) S. Basavaraj told  The Hindu  that the BBMP would take action in case the conditions were not complied with.


Medical, dental colleges to reopen

The State government has granted permission to medical and dental colleges and other academic institutions in the health and medical sector to resume classes on campus.

Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science (RGUHS) on Friday announced that colleges will be asked to reopen on Monday. However, only students, teaching and non-teaching staff who have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be permitted to attend offline classes.

Colleges have been closed since March during the onset of the second wave of COVID-19. While they were allowed to hold online classes, students faced the same problem that they did last year during the lockdown. They pointed out that online classes were not effective as they were unable to grasp concepts without practical exposure.

Ground Zero

The vaccine scamster of Kolkata

Masquerading as an IAS officer, Debanjan Deb held several fake COVID-19 vaccination camps in the city, duping hundreds of people for money. Shiv Sahay Singh reports on Deb’s carefully cultivated image and how his web of lies was finally unravelled.

Read the full story here .

Andhra Pradesh

Sputnik V vaccine available at Manipal Hospitals

Manipal Hospitals in Vijayawada has started providing Sputnik V vaccine from Friday as part of its COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The hospital will administer the vaccine, priced at ₹1,145 for a single dose as per the government’s tariff, to around 250 people per day.

“We are expanding our vaccination portfolio by adding Sputnik V vaccination and we have procured 2,000 doses of the vaccine, which will be available for the public between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on all days of the week except on Sunday,” said Charan Tej Koyi, Medical Superintendent of the hospital.

New Delhi

Police prepare report to check adherence to COVID-19 guidelines at religious places

The Delhi police have prepared an intelligence report on religious places in the national capital that see higher footfalls, said a senior officer on Friday.

The move has been taken after the second wave to check the implementation of COVID-appropriate behaviour in the areas.

The report accessed by  The Hindu  found that a survey was done in all 15 police districts and the list includes religious places like Jama Masjid and Akshardham Temple.

The report states that at Hanumaan Temple in Connaught Place and Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, both in New Delhi district, COVID protocols are being maintained partially.

Details of the report here .

New Delhi

Delhi manages to give jabs to only 14% of daily capacity

The number of beneficiaries vaccinated in the Capital fell further with 33,186 persons getting the jab in 24 hours, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Friday.

The city has the infrastructure to vaccinate 2,26,552 people daily.

On Thursday, the government had said 64,983 doses of vaccine were administered compared to 1,29,054 doses the previous day.

The Capital has been facing a shortage of vaccines all week.

Tamil Nadu

Mask compliance still below 50% in Chennai

A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR-NIE) and the Greater Chennai Corporation has shown that while mask compliance has improved in the city, it was still below 50%.

The study showed that compliance in outdoor areas was 41% in slum areas and 47% in non-slum areas.

Importantly, in indoor areas, the compliance was significantly poorer at just 24% in slum areas and 33% in non-slum areas.

This study was round four of the periodic study being conducted by ICMR-NIE and the GCC at different points since the outbreak of COVID-19. Rounds one, two and three were conducted in October 2020, December 2020, and March 2021 respectively. Round 4 was conducted from July 8 to 10.

Tamil Nadu

Curbs eased; teachers can go to schools

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday announced that admission and distribution of textbooks at schools would be allowed, even as the government extended the COVID-19 lockdown till 6 a.m. on July 31.

In a statement, he announced that teachers would be allowed to go to schools for work. Industrial Training Institutes and industrial schools and typewriting and shorthand institutes would be allowed to reopen but only with 50% of their students and by following the public health measures.

The ban on inter-State government and private bus transport (except to and from Puducherry), cinema halls, bars, swimming pools, social and political meetings with public participation, recreational, sports and cultural events, schools and colleges and zoos would continue.

Only 50 persons will be allowed at weddings and 20 at funerals. None of the fresh relaxations would be applicable to containment zones.

West Bengal

After 2 months, Metro resumes in Kolkata

Metro services resumed in Kolkata on Friday after two months and the authorities had a tough time managing the crowd in keeping with COVID-19 protocols. Many coaches were crowded and could have been carrying more than 50% of the permissible passenger capacity. The north-south Metro service that connects Kavi Subhash in the south to Dakshineswar in the north had ferried 1.28 lakh passengers by the end of the day. Metro officials had announced le 192 trains on its north-south route, and 48 on the east-west corridor from July 16 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

By the end of the day they decided to add 16 more services from July 19. “In order to facilitate the Metro commuters, it has been decided to add 16 more services (UP & DN) in the morning and evening peak hours from 19.07.2021 (Monday). Metro will run 208 daily services instead of 192 services from Monday to Friday so that the passengers can travel comfortably,” a statement from Metro Railways Kolkata said. The statement also added that during morning and evening peak hours, Metro services would run at the interval of six minutes.

New Delhi

Over 86% of breakthrough infections caused by Delta variant: ICMR

A majority — over 86% — of the breakthrough infection after COVID-19 vaccination have been caused by the Delta variant , with hospitalisation of 9.8% of such cases and fatality observed in 0.4% of cases, according to the results of a nationwide study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on breakthrough COVID-19 infection.

A breakthrough infection is a case of illness in which a vaccinated individual becomes sick from the same illness that the vaccine is meant to prevent.

For the study, “Clinical characterisation and Genomic analysis of COVID-19 breakthrough infections during second wave in different States of India’’, ICMR collected 677 clinical samples of individuals who have been partially or fully vaccinated but contracted the infection. The samples were collected from 17 States and Union Territories, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh.


First case of COVID-19 in Tokyo Olympic Village: organisers

A woman wearing a protective mask, walks past a large-scale reproduction of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games medal at Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower in Tokyo, Japan, July 14, 2021.

A woman wearing a protective mask, walks past a large-scale reproduction of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games medal at Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower in Tokyo, Japan, July 14, 2021.


The Tokyo Olympics has registered its first COVID-19 case in the Olympic Village six days before the Games open, organisers said on July 17.

“There was one person in the Village. That was the very first case in the Village that was reported during the screening test,” Masa Takaya, spokesman for the Tokyo organising committee, told a press conference.

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