Coronavirus updates | February 18, 2022

Health workers wait for people to be tested for COVID-19, at Tummalapalli Kalakshetram in Vijayawada on Friday.

Health workers wait for people to be tested for COVID-19, at Tummalapalli Kalakshetram in Vijayawada on Friday. | Photo Credit: V. Raju

Maharashtra

Less than 50 % NHRM funds spent by Maharashtra, Centre on COVID-19 patients, says healthcare outfit

The Maharashtra and Union governments have spent less than 50 % of funds under the National Rural Health Mission to treat COVID-19 patients, functionaries of healthcare initiative Jan Aarogya Abhiyan said on Friday. The JAA, an informal group of healthcare activists, made the statement based on data shared by the Maharashtra government’s health department on its portal. “Out of ₹ 1,583 crore for NRHM as state’s share, only 32.3 % funds have been spent in 2021-22. The Union government, likewise, spent only 41.3 %. Less than two months are left in this fiscal. The overall expenditure of the health department is just 46.7 %, while the medical education department has spent 49.7 % so far,” the JAA said. - PTI

Karnataka

Dry cough, scratchy throat persist in recovered COVID-19 patients

Although there is no lung involvement, persistent cough lasting for up to two weeks, scratchy throat, fatigue, and a feverish feeling are some of the lingering symptoms even after recovery in patients infected during the third wave of COVID-19.

Doctors, who have been observing these symptoms in patients, said while most infected persons get back to their normal selves after the prescribed seven-day treatment, some are reporting these persistent symptoms even up to a month after recovery. Due to the dry cough and throat discomfort, people being awake for the better part of the night is another post-recovery issue in the third wave.

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India

Active COVID-19 cases in country settle below three lakh

With 25,920 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India’s tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,27,80,235, while the active cases dipped below three lakh after 43 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

The death toll climbed to 5,10,905 with 492 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. stated.

The daily COVID-19 cases have remained less than one lakh for 12 consecutive days. - PTI

Hong Kong

Hong Kong hospitals hit 90% capacity as COVID-19 cases surge

Hong Kong’s hospitals reached 90% capacity on Thursday and quarantine facilities were at their limit, authorities said, as the city struggles to snuff out a record number of new COVID-19 cases by adhering to China’s “zero tolerance” strategy.

To ease the strain on the city’s healthcare system, officials said they will take a different approach to hospitalization and isolation policies and allow some patients to be discharged sooner. The move comes amid reports of patients being treated on beds outside a hospital in the city’s working-class neighborhood of Sham Shui Po.

Hong Kong reported 6,116 new coronavirus infections on Thursday. Any person in the city who is infected with COVID-19 must be admitted to a hospital or community isolation facility. — AP

Truckers hold their ground despite threats of crackdown

Hundreds of truckers clogging the streets of Canada’s capital stood their ground and defiantly blasted their horns Thursday as police poured in, threatening to break up the nearly three-week protest against the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Busloads of police arrived near Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, and workers put up extra fences around government buildings. Police also essentially began sealing off much of the downtown area to outsiders to prevent them from coming to the aid of the protesters.

“The action is imminent,” said interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell. “We absolutely are committed to end this unlawful demonstration.”

Police made at least three arrests just before nightfall Thursday around Parliament Hill, but officers were not moving in force on the demonstrators. One of the organizers was seen in handcuffs between two police officers. — AP

USA

Oscars will require COVID tests for all and vaccines for most: NYT

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will require attendees of the 94th Oscars to show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus and at least two negative PCR tests, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Performers and presenters are required to undergo severe testing, but will not need to show proof of vaccination, the report said, citing an Academy spokeswoman.

Face covering requirements will also vary at the award show, which will be held on March 27. Nominees and their guests will be seated in the orchestra and parterre areas of the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles and will not be required to wear masks, according to the newspaper. — Reuters

USA

California adopts ‘endemic’ virus policy

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the first shift by a state to an “endemic” approach to the coronavirus pandemic that emphasizes prevention and quick reactions to outbreaks over mandates, a milestone nearly two years in the making that harkens to a return to a more normal existence.

Mr. Newsom said the approach — which includes pushing back against false claims and other misinformation — means maintaining a wary watchfulness attuned to warning signs of the next deadly new surge or variant.

“This disease is not going away,” he told The Associated Press in advance of his formal announcement. “It’s not the end of the quote, unquote, war.” A disease reaches the endemic stage when the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds. — AP

Kerala

Kerala gears up to open schools in full-swing

District Collectors should convene online meetings of various departments from Friday to Sunday to review arrangements ahead of resumption of full-time schooling from Monday, Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty has said.

Addressing an online meeting of District Collectors on Thursday, the Minister said though the government had eased restrictions, COVID-19 precautions should be adhered to as students reach schools en masse.

Schools should be cleaned and disinfected over the weekend. Safe travel facilities for students to and from school should be ensured. Police presence should be ensured in places that are likely to be crowded.

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RT-PCR negative certificate not required for Kerala, Goa travellers visiting Karnataka

Passengers coming to Karnataka from Kerala and Goa, through all modes of transportation, no longer need a negative RT-PCR report.

Following a recommendation by the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Karnataka on Thursday relaxed this rule. However, carrying a double dose vaccine certificate is mandatory.

This waiver was given to passengers from Maharashtra last week. In a circular issued on Thursday, T.K. Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), said the rule has been relaxed in view of the current COVID-19 situation in the State.

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Tamil Nadu

DPH issues guidelines for COVID-19 testing

Symptomatic individuals and at-risk contacts with or without symptoms are among those who would be tested for COVID-19 in the State, according to the Directorate of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine.

Following the Indian Medical Council of Research’s (ICMR) advisory on “purposive testing strategy for COVID-19”, the DPH has issued guidelines for testing in the State. In a circular to all Deputy Directors of Health Services (DDHS) and corporation /municipal health officers, the DPH listed out the persons who must be tested. 

Individuals who are symptomatic (cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste and/or smell, breathlessness and/or other respiratory symptoms) and at-risk contacts that is elderly, aged above 60 years, and individuals with co-morbidity such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic lung or kidney diseases, malignancy and obesity with/without symptoms must be tested. 

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 8:14:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-live-updates-february-18-2022/article65061483.ece