Coronavirus updates | July 24, 2021

A mass COVID test for merchants on S.M. Steet in Kozhikode under way on Friday.   | Photo Credit: K Ragesh

Vaccination is an ongoing and dynamic process, and therefore, a fixed timeline cannot be given for the completion of the COVID-19 immunisation drive, but those above 18 years of age are expected to be vaccinated by December 2021, the Health Ministry informed the Lok Sabha on Friday in a written reply.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was one of two MPs who had asked if all adults would be fully vaccinated by December 2021, sought information on the availability of vaccines, and other related questions. Trinamool Congress’s Mala Roy was the other MP with the same queries.

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:

Madhya Pradesh

MP govt issues SOP for reopening of schools for Classes 11, 12 from July 26

The Madhya Pradesh government has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for reopening of schools for Classes 11 and 12 with 50 per cent attendance starting July 26.

Physical classes for students of Classes 9 and 10 standard classes will resume once a week from August 5. Classes will be held twice a week for students of Classes 11 and 12, and virtual sessions will continue simultaneously.

Class 11 students will attend school on Tuesdays and Fridays, while Class 12 students will convene at schools on Mondays and Thursdays.

Students of Classes 9 will attend school on Saturdays and for those in Class 10, sessions will be held on Wednesdays.

Morning assembly and swimming are not permitted. -- PTI


Karnataka allows opening of places of worship, amusement parks from July 25

Further extending relaxations, the Karnataka Government has allowed the reopening of places of worship such as temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, and related activities pertaining to the places of worship from July 25 by strictly adhering to COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the department concerned.

However, annual festivals, temple festivals, processions, congregations are not allowed, said an order issued by the government on Saturday.

The government has permitted re-opening of amusement parks and similar places strictly adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and following guidelines issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department.


Brazil suspends Bharat Biotech's Covaxin clinical trials

Brazil has suspended the clinical studies of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin following termination of the company's agreement with its partner there, the South American Country's health regulator said.

Bharat Biotech on Friday, July 23, 2021 announced cancellation of the MoU it signed with Precisa Medicamentos and Envixia Pharmaceuticals LL.C for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for the Brazilian market.

The termination of the pact comes after the deal with the Brazilian government for supply of 20 million doses of the vaccine landed in controversy and attracted investigation by authorities in that country.


Olympic organisers announce 17 new Games-related COVID-19 cases

The Olympics organisers announced 17 new Games-related COVID-19 cases on Saturday, July 24, 2021, including one athlete and an event-related personnel staying at the Games village, taking the total number of infections to 123.

As per the official count, the total number of infected athletes now stands at 12. The Olympics officially began on Friday with an opening ceremony here. The athlete, who has tested positive most recently was not staying at the Games village.

So far, 65 Games-related contractors have tested positive for the virus after the addition of 14 new cases to the tally on Saturday.

Andhra Pradesh

All Intermediate students in A.P. declared ‘pass’

All Intermediate final year students in Andhra Pradesh have been declared “pass” and promoted.

At a press conference, Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh released the results for Intermediate second year for the academic year 2021, and said a total of 5,19,797 students in the State had passed the exam.

Though the practical exams were conducted in compliance with COVID guidelines from March 31 to April 24, the theory exams scheduled from May 5 to May 23 were cancelled as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

New Delhi

COVID-19-hit AAI defers 50% of perks to staff for 6 months

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday issued an internal order informing employees of deferral of 50% of perks for six months as COVID-19 has resulted in losses for the first time since its inception. The order comes into effect immediately.

“Taking into consideration the present financial position of the AAI, it has been decided that payment of 50% of perks paid as part of salary be deferred till 31.12.2021 starting from July onwards,” said a circular issued by the Executive Director, Human Resources, R. Prabhu.

AAI employees are paid a lump sum amount equivalent to 35% of their basic pay as perks. A 50% deduction in perks will set an employee back by 17.5% of basic pay.


Gujarat to allow classes IX, XI to resume

With a decline in COVID-19 cases, the Gujarat government has allowed reopening of schools for classes IX and XI from July 26, with 50% capacity and following all protocols.

The students who are willing to attend the physical classes will have to submit the consent form of their parents, the State government has said.

Earlier, the State government allowed schools to start offline classes for the students of class X and XII with 50% capacity in the classroom. However, the government said attendance will not be mandatory and any student not willing to attend the offline classes will not be affected by the rules regarding attendance in the class.


Varsities, colleges get set to welcome students

Universities and degree colleges that are all set to reopen on Monday have decided to conduct awareness programmes on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour for students and staff. Some colleges have taken the extra step to organise ‘welcome back to campus’ programmes. Campuses were closed in March this year during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic.

During the first wave, when colleges resumed physical classes in November 2020, most reported 60%-70% attendance. However, they continued to hold online classes for the rest of the students. This time around, with staff and students vaccinated, managements are undecided on whether they will continue online classes.

Tamil Nadu

Chennai Corporation stops zonal-level COVID-19 data updates on social media

The Greater Chennai Corporation has stopped providing zonal-level data on COVID-19 cases, recoveries and deaths, which it was releasing on a daily basis through social media platforms.

Arguing that the data provided earlier was helpful, a section of academics and users of social media, who were following the data closely, have appealed to the civic body to resume releasing the information.

Ever since the first wave of COVID-19, the Corporation was providing zonal-level data everyday through its social media platforms, which remained the only regular source of such data from the civic body. This data also included age group and the gender-wise breakdown of cases.

However, on July 16, the civic body switched to a different reporting format, in which the zonal-level data on recoveries and deaths were removed, along with the age group and gender-wise breakdowns. Instead, the new format only had the fresh cases reported from each zone.

Tamil Nadu

All 13 lions in Vandalur zoo test negative for COVID-19

All the 13 lions housed in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) have tested negative for COVID-19.

The zoo had sent nasal and rectal swabs of three lions, which had tested positive, for SARS CoV-2 re-testing, on July 9, to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal. All the samples returned negative, according to a report from NIHSAD, a release said.

Further, the AAZP sent the next set of nasal and rectal samples of five lions with COVID-19 to NIHSAD on July 17. All these samples, too, returned negative, according to a report from NIHSAD on July 23.

New Delhi

Will take cue from others on school reopening: CM

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said that the Delhi government would review the experience of other State that have opened school and would take a decision regarding opening schools based on the information received. He added that the ideal situation for reopening schools would be after vaccination is complete.

“Ideally, we will not open the schools until everyone is vaccinated. However, seeing that other States are also reopening schools we will review how it goes for them and accordingly plan out. We have been receiving a lot of messages from the parents regarding the safety of children and want to assure them that safety will be our priority,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

He added that there are not enough vaccines being supplied to Delhi and that the Centre needs to rethink its system of supplying vaccines so it can provide the States with more stock.

Tamil Nadu

Diagnosed with COVID-19 in April, patient finally returns home

It took nearly 90 days for 37-year-old Naresh, a resident of Gudiyatham, to recover from multiple complications caused due to severe COVID-19.

In a span of over three months, he was treated in four different hospitals, the longest stretch of hospitalisation being at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), from where he was discharged on Friday.

Read his recovery story here.


Thousands still struggle to get slots for COVID-19 vaccination

Thousands of people in Kozhikode district are struggling to get vaccination slots booked via CoWIN portal set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Many in the 45-plus age category who had received the first jab are now unable to book a slot on the portal for their second dose.

People have no option but to use multiple methods, including networking with private hospitals or their circle of friends and acquaintances at health centres, to get first and second doses.

As of July 22, nearly 10,96,467 got their first dose in Kozhikode district and 4,38,074 got the second dose. In the 45-plus category, 7,03,233 received the first dose and 3,31,989 two doses.


61% adolescents have COVID anti-bodies: study

About 60.1% population, including 55% children in the age group of 6-9 years, has had a silent prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 as per the sero-positivity rate found during the fourth round of the sero-prevalence study led by the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) in the districts of Jangoan, Nalgonda and Kamareddy recently.

In an official communique on Friday, the ICMR-NIN informed that the survey has been taken up in association with the State Health department. It covered all age groups, like in the previous three phases, in addition to children in the age group of 6-7 years, for the first time in this fourth phase.

About 61% adolescents had COVID antibodies and among healthcare workers, the sero-positivity was as high as 82.4%, and this is being attributed to early vaccination to frontline workers. The ICMR strategy has been to do repeat cross-sectional sero-studies in the same geographic locations so that the infection transmission trends could be documented and studied.

Andhra Pradesh

Schools in A.P. to reopen on Aug. 16

Schools in Andhra Pradesh will reopen for the 2021-22 academic year on August 16, the government announced on Friday.

The decision to reopen schools was taken at a meeting of the School Education Department, chaired by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Mr. Jagan said the government would also come out with detailed guidelines on August 16 on the implementation of the National Education Policy-2020.

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