Coronavirus updates | July 22, 2021

A health worker collecting a swab for COVID-19 testing in Bengaluru.  

The World Health Organisation says there were more than 3.4 million new global cases of the coronavirus last week, a 12% increase from the previous week. The UN health agency says the number of deaths is continuing to decline, with about 57,000 in the last week.

It notes the highest increases in COVID-19 cases were in the Western Pacific and European regions. In the past week, WHO says the highest coronavirus infections were in Indonesia, Britain, Brazil, India and the US.

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:


COVID-19: Health Ministry says it has always advised States to conduct death audits in their hospitals

Given the robust and statute-based Death Registration System in India, while some cases could go undetected as per the principles of infectious disease and its management, missing out on the deaths is unlikely, said the Health Ministry in a release issued on Thursday while responding to allegations about “missing COVID deaths”.

“This could also be seen in the case fatality rate, which, as on 31st December 2020, stood at 1.45% and even after an unexpected surge observed in the second wave in April-May 2021, the case fatality rate today stands at 1.34%,’’ said the Ministry.

It added, moreover, that the reporting of daily new cases and deaths in India followed a bottom-up approach, where districts report the number of cases and deaths to the State governments and to the Union Ministry on a continuous basis. - Bindu Shajan Perappadan

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Madhya Pradesh

HC asks Centre to supply enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate MP's entire adult population by Sept end

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the Centre to supply enough COVID-19 vaccines to the state to ensure that the entire adult population in the region gets at least one dose by September-end.

The division bench of Chief Justice Mohammed Rafiq and Justice Satyendra Kumar Singh made the observation on Monday while hearing in a suo motu case about the state government's preparedness in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, senior advocate Naman Nagrath told PTI on Thursday.

“This court in this connection requires the Central government to ensure supply of vaccines in sufficient quantity to Madhya Pradesh, keeping in view the required demand of 1.5 crore vaccines per month regularly, so that the target of vaccination of first dose to all people in the 18 plus population in the state is achieved by the end of September,” the bench said. - PTI


Delhi reserves its Covishield stock only for second dose

Due to vaccine shortage, Delhi government on Thursday reserved Covishield only for second dose in all government-run vaccination centres till July 31, as per an official order. - Nikhil M. Babu

Uttar Pradesh

Claim of 'no deaths due to lack of oxygen' very unfortunate and sad: Mayawati

BSP president Mayawati on Thursday said the claim of "no deaths due to lack of oxygen" during the COVID-19 second wave was very unfortunate and sad, and added that such statements were creating a distrust among people of the government's ability to tackle any future wave.

In a series of tweets, the BSP leader said, "Due to lack of oxygen, especially in the second wave of corona, there were panic and deaths in India. To deal with it, the central government even had to take foreign help and this is not hidden from anyone. Yet it is very unfortunate and sad to claim that there have been no deaths due to lack of oxygen." "Such false statements are also creating a distrust of the Centre among the people as to what will happen if the third wave of corona strikes. The priority of the central and state governments should be 100 % towards the people and less towards political and government interests."

On Tuesday, responding to a question on whether a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and in hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave, Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar in a written reply in Rajya Sabha had said that health is a state subject and states and union territories regularly report the number of cases and deaths to the Centre.

"Detailed guidelines for reporting of deaths have been issued by the Union Health Ministry to all states and UTs. Accordingly, all states and UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis. However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs," Mr. Pawar had stated. - PTI


Three COVID strains detected among 75 patients in Mizoram

At least three different COVID strains have been detected among 75 patients from Mizoram whose samples were randomly selected and sent for whole genome sequencing, a health official said on Thursday.

Seventy-three cases of India's highly transmissible Delta variant (B.1.617.2), and one case each of United Kingdom's Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Eta (B.1.525) strains were found among 100 samples, state nodal officer and official spokesperson on COVID-19, Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, said.

The samples were sent for whole genome sequencing to the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) in West Bengal's Kalyani in June, he said.

"The Mizoram government is making massive efforts to detect other variants in the state. People have to be very cautious and strictly follow the guidelines as different COVID variants may be already present in other parts of the state," he said.

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India vaccines

More than 3.20 crore vaccine doses currently available with states, UTs, private hospitals: Centre

More than 3.20 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are currently available with states, union territories and private hospitals for inoculation, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.

States and union territories have so far received a total of 43,79,78,900 vaccine doses through all channels and a further 7,00,000 doses are in the pipeline, it said.

The total consumption, including wastage, so far is 40,59,77,410 doses, the ministry said, citing data available at 8 AM on Thursday.

More than 3.20 crore —  3,20,01,490 —  balance and unutilised doses are still available with states, UTs and private hospitals to be administered, the ministry said.

The Union government is committed to accelerating the pace of vaccination and expanding its scope, it said. - PTI


China says “shocked” by WHO plan for second phase of COVID origins study

A senior Chinese health official said on Thursday he was shocked by the World Health Organisation’s plan for the second phase of a COVID-19 origins study.

National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin dismissed the lab leak theory as a rumor running counter to common sense. - AP

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Those who have taken two doses of vaccine should be allowed to go out, says Ajit Pawar

Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that he was of the view that those who have received both the jabs of coronavirus vaccines should be allowed to "go out".

He was going to discuss this issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he told reporters here.

"In my opinion those who have received two shots of COVID-19 vaccines should be allowed to go out, in a phased manner. I will speak with the CM on this subject in the next two days," he said. - PTI


Government claim on oxygen-scarcity deaths is appalling, say experts

The Centre’s claim in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that a lack of oxygen did not lead to deaths of COVID-19 patients was hollow and callous, public health experts said.

Public health expert and epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya said that technically no COVID-19 death would be recorded as “due to lack of oxygen,” but the experience of patients and the fact that the availability of oxygen would have saved lives meant that the Centre should have chosen its words with care.

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