Coronavirus lockdown Day 247 | November 27, 2020

A health worker in an ambulance for COVID-19 patients in Kannur.  

About 30 crore people will be part of the first “wave” to get the COVID-19 vaccine in India. They consist of health care workers, police personnel, those above 50 and those younger with underlying illnesses that make them vulnerable, said Principal Scientific Adviser K. VijayRaghavan.

He said from “March to May” vaccines were likely to be available in significant numbers and would be progressively rolled out over the years using the national immunisation programme.

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 updates:


Schools in Mizoram to remain closed till year end

All schools in Mizoram will remain closed till the year end to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, as per a decision taken by the state government on Friday, an official said.

Education Minister Lalchandama Ralte said classes for all students in all schools from kindergarten to Class 12 will be suspended as the Covid-19 infection is likely to be aggravted during winter.

Schools and other educational institutions are closed since March due to the lockdown. Although regular classes resumed for students of classes 10 and 12 on October 16, they were suspended after eight days following the detection of Covid-19 infection among several students.


Visit by foreign envoys to Pune pharmaceutical firms canceled

A visit by ambassadors and envoys from 100 countries to two pharmaceutical units in Pune which are involved in manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines has been canceled, a senior official said on Friday.

The visit to Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd here had been scheduled for December 4.

“We have been told that the scheduled visit of December 4 stands canceled,” said Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh.

Earlier the visit was to take place on November 27, but it was deferred to December 4.

Serum Institute of India has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for a COVID-19 vaccine.



Maharashtra extends existing lockdown restrictions till December 31

The Maharashtra government on Friday extended the lockdown on account of coronavirus in the State till the midnight of December 31, 2020, an official release said.

In the last couple of months, the government has eased several lockdown restrictions.

Revised guidelines have been issued from time to time by, allowing resumption of various activities as part of the “Mission Begin Again”, the release said.

Earlier this week, the government allowed reopening of places of worship. Schools for students from  standard 9th to 12th have also reopened in some parts of the state this week.


New Delhi

States have to rise above politics & take strict measures to contain COVID-19 surge, says SC

The Supreme Court on Friday said States have to rise above the politics and harsh measures were required to be taken to contain the surge of COVID-19 as things have gone from bad to worse .

The apex court also said there are policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures (SoP) for COVID-19 management in the country but there is lack of implementation by the authorities and no concrete steps have been taken to deal with the issue.

The top court said “this is high time to take strict measures , otherwise Central government’s effort will go in vain.

The observations by a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan came after the Centre apprised it that ongoing wave of the pandemic appears to be harsher than earlier.


New Delhi

Have enough infra to vaccinate Delhi’s entire population in few weeks, says Jain

Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said Delhi has sufficient infrastructure and equipment to vaccinate its entire population in a few weeks once a COVID-19 vaccine is available. “There is no need to worry about storage of vaccines. We have a large number of health care facilities, such as mohalla clinics, poly clinics, and hospitals etc, where a COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to people,” Jain told reporters.

“Once a vaccine is available, we can vaccinate the entire population of Delhi in a few weeks,” the minister said.

Mr. Jain also said Delhi should be given priority during the distribution of the vaccine as it is the national capital.

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Some States, and Delhi, continue to have highest active COVID-19 caseload: Health Ministry

Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh continue to have the highest load of active COVID-19 cases, and account for 70% of the active cases in the country currently, said data released by the Health Ministry on Friday.

“Maharashtra leads the tally with 87,014 total active COVID cases Kerala has recorded 64,615 active cases, while Delhi follows with 38,734 total active cases. As for the change in active cases in the last 24 hours Maharashtra recorded the maximum positive change with addition of 1,526 cases whereas Chhattisgarh recorded maximum negative change with a decrease of 719 active cases. The active caseload of India stands at 4,55,555 currently. Present contribution of active caseload to India’s total positive cases is 4.89%,” said the Ministry.

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Organisers postpone sixth edition of Premier Badminton League due to COVID-19 pandemic

The sixth edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) was on Friday postponed to next year, keeping in mind the health and safety of the players amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The league, which is one of the highest prize money badminton tournaments in the world, was initially scheduled to take place in the last week of December in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

However, SportzLive, the official license holder of the league under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), decided to postpone the event due to the prevailing conditions.

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New Delhi

PM Modi to visit three vaccine plants tomorrow

Three helipad being under construction at Zydus Research Centre ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.

Three helipad being under construction at Zydus Research Centre ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting three pharmaceutical plants to review COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing process. The Prime Minister's Office tweeted: "Tomorrow, PM @narendramodi will embark on a 3 city visit to personally review the vaccine development & manufacturing process. He will visit the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad & Serum Institute of India in Pune.

"As India enters a decisive phase of the fight against COVID-19, PM @narendramodi’s visit to these facilities & discussions with the scientists will help him get a first hand perspective of the preparations, challenges & roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens."


39 COVID positive cases so far in Sabarimala

As many as 39 people including pilgrims, police personnel and temple employees, have tested positive for coronavirus in Sabarimala so far since the Lord Ayyappa temple here was opened for the annual pilgrimage season on November 16.

“Four employees of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) including two temporary staff are among those who have been tested positive during the period,” a TDB official told.

Two employees of the police mess were tested positive on Thursday.


PM Modi to visit Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad on November 28

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to visit the vaccine manufacturing facility of Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) which is engaged in the manufacturing of vaccine for COVID-19, during a brief visit to Hyderabad on November 28.

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Impractical to vaccinate all in a short span, says NIMHANS virologist

V. Ravi, Senior Professor and HOD of Neurovirology at NIMHANS.

V. Ravi, Senior Professor and HOD of Neurovirology at NIMHANS.  


Although vaccination is the most attractive strategy, it is impractical to administer it to every citizen in India in a short time, said V. Ravi, senior professor and head of the Department of Neurovirology at NIMHANS.

“We need to prioritise and we hope there will be herd immunity by the time the priority group is catered to,” said Dr. Ravi, whom the State depended on for establishing testing labs after the pandemic hit Karnataka in March, in an interaction with The Hindu. The doctor, often referred to as “Virus Ravi”, is set to retire this month.

Dr. Ravi, who launched the State’s first virology lab in 1985, has been tasked with the responsibility by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) of mentoring all the private and government laboratories across Karnataka to establish COVID-19 RT-PCR testing facility. He was key in developing 164 (58 govt. and 106 private) ICMR-approved laboratories in less than six months.


Narendra Modi to visit Serum Institute of India in Pune on Nov. 28

A research scientist works inside a laboratory of India's Serum Institute, the world's largest maker of vaccines, which is working on vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pune.

A research scientist works inside a laboratory of India's Serum Institute, the world's largest maker of vaccines, which is working on vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pune.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit the city-based Serum Institute of India on Saturday, senior Pune administration authorities confirmed on Thursday. The SII has partnered with pharma major AstraZeneca and Oxford University for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said the detailed programme of the Prime Minister’s visit was expected soon.

“We have received confirmation regarding the Prime Minister’s visit to the SII on November 28 [Saturday], but we are yet to receive his minute-to-minute programme,” said Mr. Rao.

The Central Drug Standard Control Organisation has granted permission for the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine for pre-clinical test, examination and analysis to seven firms, two of which are the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Gennova Biopharmaceuticals.


Russia agrees to produce coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in India

Sputnik V, the vaccine for COVID-19 developed by Russia

Sputnik V, the vaccine for COVID-19 developed by Russia  

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund and Indian pharmaceutical company Hetero have agreed to produce over 100 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 per year in India, according to a statement on the Sputnik V Twitter account on November 27.

Hetero and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which has been backing the vaccine and marketing it globally, plan to start production of Sputnik V in India in the beginning of 2021, the statement said.

Phase II-III trials are ongoing in India, the statement said. Drugmaker Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. has said it expects late-stage trials to be completed by as early as March 2021.

- Reuters


Five COVID-19 patients killed as fire breaks out at Rajkot hospital

Patients being rescued from a designated COVID-19 hospital, where a fire accident occurred, in Rajkot on Friday.

Patients being rescued from a designated COVID-19 hospital, where a fire accident occurred, in Rajkot on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


Five COVID-19 patients were killed and six others injured after a fire broke out on Friday at the intensive care unit (ICU) of a private hospital in Rajkot. The injured have been shifted to another hospital.

The fire gutted the ICU ward at Uday Shivanand hospital, a designated COVID-19 hospital in the city.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed grief over the incident, announced ₹4 lakh ex-gratia to the next of kin of those who died in the incident and also ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.

According to the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) fire division, there were 33 patients at the hospital, including 11 at the ICU.


RT-PCR test zone set up at Mumbai airport for domestic passengers

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) here has created a dedicated zone inside the airport for domestic passengers arriving from Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan without COVID-19 negative certificates.

As per the latest State government rules, they would need to undergo the RT-PCR test upon arrival at the airport before entering the city.

Such passengers will be directed to the test zone located near the baggage carousel before exiting the airport, Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) said in a statement.

“In keeping with the latest edict from the State of Maharashtra, passengers arriving at CSMIA from Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan are required to provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test prior to boarding their flight or undertake the test upon arrival at Mumbai,” it said.


U.K. asks regulator to assess AZ-Oxford vaccine amid questions

The British government on Friday said it has formally asked the country’s medicines regulator to assess whether a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University should be authorised for use.

The step comes amid questions about preliminary results from trials, after the company and the university acknowledged that the most encouraging part of their findings stemmed from a dosing error.

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had asked the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to determine whether the vaccine “meets rigorous safety standards.”

It’s the second vaccine candidate to reach the formal assessment stage in Britain, following a shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. A third vaccine from US firm Moderna is not far behind.


Re-examine decision asking employees to report for duty, Karnataka HC tells govt.

A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore.

A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy


The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday directed the State government to reconsider its May 18, 2020 decision of asking all the employees of the government and its autonomous agencies to report to the respective offices for duty, keeping in mind the difficulties being faced by such employees, particularly the blind, to adhere to COVID-19 norms.

Noticing that the Union government had granted exemption from reporting to duty for pregnant women and employees with disabilities, the court said the State government was required to reconsider its decision in the light of the rights guaranteed to persons with disabilities.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition filed by the Karnataka Federation of the Blind, Bengaluru.

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