Coronavirus updates | February 25, 2021

Students and workers leave for their respective cities after the Pune administration announced partial restrictions citing an increase in COVID-19 cases, in Pune early this week.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union Health Ministry will soon issue the format of the medical certificate required by beneficiaries in the 45+ category with co-morbidities who have become eligible for COVID-19 vaccination from March 1 along with those above 65 years population.

“The government will also require beneficiaries to register on the CoWIN app — along with Aadhaar card details, photo ID and signed medical certificate (if needed) to get the details of where and when to get the vaccine. We are getting queries about older persons not being able to use the app and their registration. This is also being looked into,” said a senior Ministry official.


The Ministry is also yet to release the list of co-morbidities or the cost of the vaccination in private medical care sector. “Announcement will be made soon,” a health official said.

The Health Ministry in a release on Thursday added that an advisory has been issued to States/UTs to expand COVID-19 vaccination sessions to all public health care facilities along with Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) empanelled hospitals from March.

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:

Indian expats in UAE

Indian expats in UAE seek exemption from self-paid COVID tests on arrival in India

Indian expats in the UAE are seeking exemption from the self-paid COVID-19 tests for passengers on their arrival in India, saying it would be an added burden for those returning home after losing their jobs during the ongoing pandemic, according to a media report.

In a plea, the expats have urged the Indian government to fund the RT-PCR test on arrival in India and exemption for children below 12 years from getting tested twice- in the UAE and India. Various community groups and social workers have supported the plea, the Gulf News reported.

India has since February 23 made it mandatory for passengers to produce the negative report of the RT-PCR tests taken within 72 hours before their departure to India.

The passengers are also required to undergo self-paid confirmatory molecular test on arrival in India.

The on-arrival test cost would be an additional burden for several Indian families flying home, Ashraf Thamarassery, a prominent social worker and winner of India’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for NRIs, said.

“There are many people, who have lost jobs, flying back home. There are families with four or five members leaving the UAE. Also, how can people, who are leaving after staying without any documents and financial cases, pay this amount? Those who came on visit visa looking for jobs will also be affected,” Thamarassery was quoted as saying in the report.


Home quarantine norms breach among reasons for COVID-19 surge: Officials

Blatant violation of COVID-19 home quarantine and social distancing guidelines and unavailability of adequate resources for contact-tracing have led to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, a senior health official said on Thursday.

Maharashtra on Wednesday recorded a single-day spike of 8,807 new cases, taking the count of infections in the state to 21,21,119. The state reported over 8,000 cases in a day after a gap of over four months.

"We are helpless as people are not following the basic guidelines for home quarantine after discharge from hospitals post recovery or after return from a place that mandates such isolation for a limited period," Dr Subhash Salunke, technical adviser to the state government on COVID-19 outbreak, said.


229 school hostel students test coronavirus positive

A total of 229 students of a public school hostel in Maharashtra's Washim district have tested coronavirus positive, an official said on Thursday.

Four school staffers have also tested positive, the official said, adding the area has been declared a containment zone.

Altogether 327 students from various districts in Vidarbha region reside at the hostel of the Bhavna Public School.

Earlier this week, 39 students and five employees of a hostel in Latur district of Marathwada had tested positive.

Risod tehsildar Ajit Shelar told PTIthat the students had joined the Washim hostel on February 14.

Twenty one students tested positivein the first few days after which RT-PCR tests of all the 327 students were conducted, he said.


India records 16,738 new cases, 138 fresh fatalities

The daily rise in coronavirus infections in India was recorded above 15,000 after nearly a month taking the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,10,46,914, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

A total of 16,738 infections were reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 1,56,705 with 138 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.  On January 29, 18,855 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours after which the daily rise of cases stayed below 15,000.  The daily deaths were registered above 130 after a gap of 26 days.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,07,38,501 which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of  97.21 per cent and the case fatality rate stands at 1.42 per cent.

The active caseload increased to 1,51,708 which  comprises 1.37 per cent of the total infections, the data stated.


No new case in Arunachal

Arunachal Pradesh did not report any new COVID-19 case for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday, a senior health official said.

The state's caseload stands at 16,836, of which four are active cases, while 16,776 people have recovered from the disease and 56 patients have succumbed to the infection so far, State Surveillance Officer Dr Lobsang Jampa said.

The recovery rate among the coronavirus patients in the state stands at 99.64 per cent, he said.

The state has so far tested over 4.04 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 457 on Wednesday, Jampa said.

State Immunisation Officer Dimong Padung said that 27,760 health workers and frontline personnel have been vaccinated in Arunachal Pradesh so far.


Devotees will not be allowed to offer Pongala at temple

Devotees will not be permitted to offer Pongala on the Attukal temple premises the Pongala day on Saturday, given the COVID-19 scenario, the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Trust said on Wednesday.

The Pongala offering at the temple will be limited to the ‘Pandara Aduppu,’ the main hearth, which will be lit at 10.50 a.m.

Temple officials requested devotees to offer Pongala at their homes this year and not throng the temple premises for the purpose. The temple will not be deputing priests for sprinkling the holy water on hearths.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

No new COVID-19 case in Andamans

Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not report any new COVID-19 case on Thursday, a health official said.

One more person has been cured of the disease, he said.

The archipelago's caseload stands at 5,016, of which four are active cases, while 4,950 people have been cured of the disease and 62 patients have succumbed to the infection so far, the official said.

The administration has tested over 2.63 lakh samples for COVID-19 so far, he added.


COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and Punjab increase sharply

After peaking in mid-September 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases in India has been consistently declining. However, in the past week, some States have reversed this trend. In Maharashtra and Punjab, new cases have surged. Alarmingly, cases increased in February 2021 amid reduced testing in both these States. This is of concern because the rise in cases cannot be attributed to increased testing. Going forward, tests should be ramped up in these States to identify more positives in a shorter duration to mitigate the disease spread.

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Mexico starts administering Russian Sputnik V vaccine

Mexican authorities administered their first shots of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine on Wednesday to residents of the capital, with people lining up at a vaccination station on the city's south side, eager to get any protection they could.

“I just want to be vaccinated; I don't care what company made it,” said Ismael Avila , 72, of the southside borough of Xochimilco. “I want to make it out of this alive.” Avila said he was satisfied with the Russian vaccine's reported effectiveness rate of around 92%.

Some came fearing the long lines and disorder that marked the early stages of the vaccine campaign.

Tamil Nadu

T.N. steps up vigil on borders

Tamil Nadu has stepped up vigil as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in some parts of the country, including Maharashtra and Kerala. While fever surveillance is being strengthened in the border areas, Chennai, Coimbatore and Chengalpattu will be put on alert for clusters.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said officials had been told to set up or reinforce checkpoints along the border with Kerala (about 26), Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to check for fever among those entering Tamil Nadu.

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Andhra Pradesh

TTD urged to lift curbs on Tirumala temple footpaths

Pilgrims seeking darshan at the Lord Venkateswara temple have urged the Tirumala Tirupati Devestahanams (TTD) to relax the restriction imposed on trekking the foot paths leading to the hill shrine. At present, only the devotees with valid tickets are allowed to trek the footpaths to the shrine either a day in advance or on the same day of their scheduled darshan.

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West Bengal

Mamata writes to Modi on vaccines

Emphasizing it is important to roll out rapid vaccination programme for people of the State before elections Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that Government of West Bengal has decided to procure adequate number of vaccines for members of the public at large.

Also read: West Bengal spent ₹4,000 cr. to tackle COVID-19, says TMC

“We would request to kindly take up the matter appropriate authorities so that the State government is able to purchase the vaccines from designated point(s) on top priority basis because the West Bengal government wants to provide vaccination free of cost to all,” Ms. Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister.

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(With inputs from our Correspondent and agencies)

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