Coronavirus updates | June 20, 2021

A health worker performs nose swab test during a coronavirus testing drive in Palakkad.   | Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah

India recorded less than 60,000  new coronavirus infections after 81 days taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,98,81,965, while the active cases further reduced to 7,29,243, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.

A total of 58,419 fresh infections were reported in a day.

The death toll climbed to 3,86,713 with 1,576 fresh fatalities, the lowest in 63 days.

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:


China says 1 billion vaccine doses administered

China has announced that more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the country.

The National Health Commission did not say Sunday how many people had been vaccinated. As elsewhere, most of the vaccines in China are given in two doses.

The pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the country of 1.4 billion people after a slow start. The total number of doses given doubled from 500 million in less than a month, according to government tallies. - AP


Haryana extends lockdown till June 28, announces more relaxations

The Haryana government on Sunday extended the COVID-19 lockdown in the state by another week till June 28, but eased restrictions imposed on weddings and funerals, and allowed corporate offices to operate with full attendance.

According to an order issued by Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, up to 50 guests can now attend weddings and funerals or cremations, up from 21 earlier, subject to strict observance of COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and social distancing. - PTI

New Delhi

Sputnik V roll out delayed in Delhi

The roll out of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V at Indraprastha Apollo and Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital in Delhi has been delayed for some days, officials said on Sunday.

A spokesperson of Apollo Hospitals said the facility in Delhi will tentatively start administering the two-dose vaccine by June 25.

An official had earlier said the hospital would start giving Sputnik V jabs by June 20.

According to an official of Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital, there is a delay on the part of the suppliers.

"We are expecting (roll out) next week," he said. - PTI


Over 3.06 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses still available with States and UTs: Health Ministry

More than 3.06 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with States and union territories and over 24.53 lakh doses will be received by them in the next three days, the Union health ministry said on Sunday.

It said that 29,10,54,050vaccine doses have been provided to States and union territories (UTs) so far through the government of India's free of cost channel and the direct State procurement category.

Of this, the total consumption, including wastage, is26,04,19,412doses, according to data available at 8 am on Sunday, the ministry said.


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Odisha launches aid for children losing parents during pandemic

The Naveen Patnaik Government on Sunday launched a special scheme, ‘Ashirvad’ under which ₹2,500 will be given every month to children, who have lost both parents.

A comprehensive package announced by the government will support orphans. Beneficiaries have been divided into three categories — children who have lost both parents, loss of a single parent or loss of the earning parent. - Satyasundar Barik

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COVID-19: People deserve to know death toll, Patna HC to Bihar govt.

The Patna High Court has pulled up the Bihar government again for not maintaining its records of births and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and said that State’s reluctance to publish the number of deaths was “uncalled for” and was “not protected by any law”.

The Division Bench of the court, comprising chief justice Sanjay Karol and justice Sanjay Kumar, further said that “to cover with a veil of secrecy the common routine business is not in the interest of the public. Such secrecy can seldom be legitimately desired”. - Amarnath Tewary

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Tamil Nadu

TN government announces fresh relaxations

Groceries, vegetable stores and meat stalls would be allowed to operate between 6 am and 7 pm. Shops selling flowers and fruits on pavements would also be allowed during this time.

Eateries, restaurants and bakeries would be allowed but only for parcelled food between 6 am and 9 pm. Food delivery services would also be allowed to operate during this time period.

"All essential government departments would be allowed to function with 100% of their staff and the remaining departments would be allowed to function with 50% of its staff," an official release said. Sub-registrar offices would be allowed to function.

All private companies would be allowed with 33% of their staff. - Special correspondent

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New Delhi

Public parks, gardens to open in Delhi from Monday, outdoor yoga activities to be allowed: DDMA

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Sunday announced further unlock measures in the Capital.

It allowed bars to reopen with 50% seating capacity between noon and 10pm from June 21 along with public parks, gardens, and golf clubs. It also allowed outdoor yoga activities.

Educational institutions, gyms, cinema halls and auditoriums will continue to remain closed. Weddings are also restricted to either at home or in Court with a maximum of 20 people in attendance.

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44.49 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Bengaluru

The target set: 30 lakh doses in 30 days. New target: Covering the city’s estimated 91 lakh citizens aged above 18 years over the next four months. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has set itself an ambitious target, but Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, said it is doable.

As on June 19 (till 6 p.m.), 44.49 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccinations had been administered in the BBMP limits. Over 37.59 lakh citizens have been administered the first dose.

As per population projections, there are 26 lakh citizens aged above 45 years, of whom over 15 lakh have already been vaccinated. There are nearly 66 lakh citizens in the 18-44 age bracket. Over the next 30 days, the civic body hopes to cover 45 lakh citizens across all age groups.

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Popular Odia singer Tapu Mishra dies of post-COVID complications

Popular Odia playback singer Tapu Mishra died due to post-COVID complications while undergoing treatment at a private hospital here, family sources said on Sunday.

She was 36. Her father had also succumbed to COVID-19 on May 10.

The singer breathed her last on Saturday night. She was put on ventilator support two days ago after her oxygen level drastically dropped to 45. Her lungs had also suffered extensive damages, sources at the hospital where she was admitted on May 19 said. - PTI


Odisha faces many hurdles in rehabilitation of orphaned children

The devastating super cyclone in 1999 left hundreds of children of Odisha orphaned throwing them into a sea of despair and loneliness and forcing them to fight the battle of life too early. Two decades later, COVID-19, that has so far taken the lives of 3,500 people in Odisha, may leave scores of children facing a gloomy future.

As of now, 54 children have lost both their parents while 967 have been left with single parent due to the pandemic in the State.

What problems plague the rehabilitation efforts and what lessons can be learnt from the super cyclone of 1999 that affected the State? Read the complete story here.

West Bengal

Bengal plans more COVID beds for women amid third wave threat

The West Bengal government is planning to allot more hospital beds for women as it prepares to deal with the possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior health official said on Sunday.

The state is planning to reverse the gender ratio in the 26,000 COVID beds at state-run and private hospitals, Director of Health Services Ajay Chakraborty told PTI.

"The gender ratio for COVID-19 beds in West Bengal at present is around 60:40 for males. We are planning to reverse this by reducing the number of beds for male patients and increasing those for the females and make it 40:60," he said. - PTI


COVID-19 surge in Oman leads to new lockdown

The sultanate of Oman has lurched back into a strict nightly lockdown as it struggles to curb a major surge in severe coronavirus cases that has overwhelmed hospitals.

Mere weeks after lifting most restrictions amid its vaccination campaign, the country on Saturday announced a wide-ranging movement ban and the shutdown of all public places and nonessential businesses from 8 pm to 4. am.

Daily coronavirus infections have more than tripled in the last month in the Gulf Arab state. Doctors struggling to handle the influx of new patients have reported bed and staff shortages at major hospitals. - AP


Dubai airport terminal 1 to reopen this week, operator says

Dubai's state airport operator on Sunday said it would reopen Terminal 1 at Dubai International Airport on Thursday after a 15 month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 40 international airlines will now gradually shift operations to the reopened terminal, the airport's main facility for foreign airlines, from terminal 2 and 3, it said.

Terminal 1, where the airport's Concourse D is located, has an annual passenger capacity of 18 million passengers. The airport, a major international transit hub, is capable of handling up to 100 million passengers a year. - Reuters

Tamil Nadu

Villupuram student develops wearable device to track oxygen levels

A 24-year-old student, Mohamad Shakul Ameed, from Villupuram claims he has developed a wearable device, which enables users to keep track of their SpO2 (oxygen saturation in blood) levels. The continuous tracking may help in early diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms, he says.

According to Shakul Ameed, the wearable device modelled like a wrist band works on Zigbee, a wireless technology, and helps users to keep track of their oxygen levels via an app called Blyink installed on their mobile phones.

The vitals are stored in the phone and access can be provided to the COVID-19 war room for centralised monitoring of people in containment areas and those isolated at home, he says. The device, strapped to the wrist, is connected to a mobile phone and the readings can be remotely monitored. - Special correspondent

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Dubai eases travel restrictions from India

Authorities in Dubai have eased travel restrictions for its residents from certain countries, including India, if they have received two doses of a UAE-approved COVID-19 vaccine, according to a media report.

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai, headed by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced updates to Dubai’s travel protocols for inbound passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India, effective from June 23, the Gulf News reported.

With regard to travel from India, only passengers with a valid residence visa who have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine, are allowed to travel to Dubai. There are four vaccines approved by the UAE government — Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca, the report added.

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Third wave in 6-8 weeks if Covid-appropriate behaviour not followed, warns AIIMS chief

If Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed and crowding not prevented, the next wave of the viral infection can strike the country in the next six to eight weeks, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria warned on Saturday.

Until a sizeable number of the population are vaccinated, Covid-appropriate behaviour needs to be followed aggressively, he said and stressed on the need for stricter surveillance and area-specific lockdowns in case of a significant surge.

Mr. Guleria reiterated that till now, there is no evidence to suggest that children will be affected more in the next wave of the infection.

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Do excess deaths suggest mortality crossed one million?

If the official count as on May 15 was over 0.27 million deaths in India since the pandemic began, based on modelling, The Economist had estimated around one million COVID-19 deaths as on May 15. Against a daily tally of over 4,000 deaths in May this year, the report estimated between 6,000 and 31,000 excess deaths per day. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated that India will have one million COVID-19 deaths by August 1.

Based on modelling, a few Indian researchers outside India too had predicted that unrecorded COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic might be at least five times greater, taking the total COVID-19 deaths in India to over one million. “We have estimated death underreporting by a factor of two-five in the first wave. Now with the surge, the reporting infrastructure has probably eclipsed dramatically. So I expect the underreporting of deaths to be massive right now,” Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee, Professor of Epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Michigan told The Hindu on April 24.

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