Coronavirus updates | February 27, 2021

Beds are lined up at a COVID-19 care centre at Goregaon in Mumbai on February 27, 2021 amid concerns over a surge in number of cases.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Private hospitals can charge up to ₹250 per dose of COVID-19 vaccine, official sources said on Saturday as India prepares to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from March 1.  The COVID-19 vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals, while people will need to pay for it at private facilities.

The Union Health Ministry has also announced the list of 20 medical conditions that will enable those between 45 and 59 years to avail the vaccine.

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The daily rise in coronavirus infections was registered above 16,000 for the third consecutive day on Saturday, pushing India's case tally to 1,10,79,979, while the recoveries surged to 1,07,63,451, according to the latest Union Health Ministry data.

A total of 16,488 infections were reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 1,56,938 with 113 new fatalities, showed the data updated at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

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.

COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine: Private hospitals can charge up to ₹250 per dose

Private hospitals can charge up to ₹250 per dose of COVID-19 vaccine, official sources said on Saturday as India prepares to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from March 1.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals, while people will need to pay for it at private facilities.

"₹250 will be the ceiling — ₹150 cost of vaccine plus ₹100 service charge. This arrangement will remain effective till further orders," a source said.

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- PTI

Review meeting

COVID-19 upsurge: Cabinet Secretary reviews situation

With Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir reporting a high active COVID-19 caseload and an increasing trend in new cases in the last week, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday reviewed the situation with the Chief Secretaries.

Also read: Coronavirus | Select a COVID-19 vaccination centre, book appointment

The States have been advised not to lower their guard, enforce pandemic-appropriate behaviour and deal firmly with violations. They are also required to follow effective surveillance and tracking strategies in respect of potential super spreading events.

- Special Correspondent

Review meeting

Cabinet Secretary to hold review meeting with 8 states, UTs

The cabinet secretary will chair a high-level review meeting on Saturday with eight states and union territories exhibiting a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry said.

The states showing a surge are Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal.

India's total COVID-19 active caseload is 1,59,590 which is 1.44 per cent of the total infections.

Six states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat — have shown a surge in new cases in a span of 24 hours, the ministry underlined.

Maharashtra continued to report the highest daily new cases at 8,333. It was followed by Kerala that reported 3,671 new cases and Punjab with 622 new cases.

The ministry said 85.75 per cent of 16,488 new cases registered in a span of 24 hours are from six states and UTs.

"Eight states are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases," the ministry said.  "In the last two weeks, Kerala has shown the maximum decline in the number of active cases, from 63,847 on February 14 to 51,679 today, while Maharashtra has shown the highest rise in active cases in the same period, from 34,449 on February 14 to 68,810 currently," the ministry added.

The cabinet secretary will chair a high-level review meeting on Saturday with Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, MP, Gujarat, Punjab, J&K and WB which are exhibiting a surge in cases, it said.

Reduce in severity of COVID-19

Protein inherited by humans from neanderthals linked to reduced COVID-19 severity: Study

Increased levels of a protein, which humans have inherited from neanderthals, are associated with reduced disease severity in COVID-19 patients, according to a study that may lead to the development of new therapeutics against the novel coronavirus infection.

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine on Friday, noted that the protein OAS1 is linked to less severe disease requiring ventilation and reduced mortality among COVID-19 patients, and may help develop potential therapies to treat those infected with the virus.

"Our analysis shows evidence that OAS1 has a protective effect against COVID-19 susceptibility and severity," explained Brent Richards, study senior author from Lady Davis Institute (LDI) in Canada.

"This is a very exciting development in the race to identify potential therapies to treat patients because there are already therapies in pre-clinical development that boost OAS1 and could be explored for their effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection," Richards said.

In the study, the scientists explored proteins detectable in the blood as a potential drug target against COVID-19.

However, the researchers said they faced several hurdles in determining which proteins play a causal role in disease progression, and which were influenced by COVID-19 itself or other confounding factors.

Night curfew

Night curfew in 4 Gujarat cities gets another 15-day extension

 In view of the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the Gujarat government has decided to extend the night curfew in four major cities of the state, including Ahmedabad, by another 15 days.

The ongoing night curfew in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, was to end on February 28.

An official statement issued on Friday night said, the government decided to extend the night curfew by another 15 days in view of the recent rise in coronavirus cases in four municipal corporations.

This is the fifth extension of the night curfew, which first came into force in November last year after a spurt in COVID-19 cases in these cities post-Diwali.

The ongoing night curfew starts at midnight and ends at 6 am. Although the statement about the extended night curfew does not mention the time, the existing schedule is likely to continue.

In view of increasing COVID-19 cases, the government has decided to expedite the vaccination drive, the statement said.

The statement was issued followinga meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday evening to review the coronavirus situation in Gujarat.

In the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination, out of the total 4.82 lakh health care workers, more than 4.07 lakh (or 84 percent) have been administered the first dose of the vaccine, the statement said.

 

National

India records 16,488 new COVID-19 cases, 113 deaths

The daily rise in coronavirus infections was registered above 16,000 for the third consecutive day on Saturday, pushing India's case tally to 1,10,79,979, while the recoveries surged to 1,07,63,451, according to the latest Union Health Ministry data.

A total of 16,488 infections were reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 1,56,938 with 113 new fatalities, showed the data updated at 8 am on Saturday.

The active case count has further increased to 1,59,590, which comprises 1.44 per cent of the total infections, the data stated.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,07,63,451, which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of 97.14 per cent and the case fatality rate stands at 1.42 per cent

Expert opinion

Second national wave of infections unlikely, says expert

A recent surge in infections notwithstanding, India is unlikely to see a “second wave” in infections, according to Deputy Director at IIT, Kanpur, Manindra Agrawal, also one of India’s leading mathematicians and among those involved with the National ‘Super Model’ initiative, led by the Department of Science and Technology.

As on Friday, India has confirmed a little over 11 million infections since March 2020 of which 1,52,895 were active ones. Prof. Agrawal told The Hindu that based on the model, this would at most rise to 11.3 or 11.5 million infections by April 2021 — or about 3,00,000-5,00,000 new confirmed infections over the next 10 weeks (approx).

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Sputnit V vaccine

Panel seeks more data to give emergency use authorisation for Sputnik V vaccine

A Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has sought more data on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine trials from Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to accord emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The committee recommended that [the] firm should submit immunogenicity and safety data of Phase II and III trial as per approved protocol for further consideration. Further, the firm is requested to present its data with more clarity,” minutes of the February 24 meeting of the SEC made public on Friday said.

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Data

India unlikely to meet its target of 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by July

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in October 2020 that India is expected to receive and utilise 400-500 million doses and cover approximately 200-250 million people by July 2021. If India continues to vaccinate at the current pace, it will have administered just 60 million doses by July 31, 2021 — about 15% of the intended target.

To meet the target, India needs to administer 2.44 million doses a day in the remaining days, against just 0.3 million doses a day at present. However, 40 days into the campaign, the pace of vaccination is yet to pick up, unlike in most other nations with a high burden.

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Kerala

Free RT-PCR tests for foreign travellers

The mandatory RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 at airports for foreign travellers coming into the State will be done free of cost by the State government, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja has said.

The Minister said here on Friday that as the Centre had given strict instructions regarding the conduct of RT-PCR tests for those coming from abroad, the tests cannot be avoided. The traveller would be allowed to leave the airport after giving the sample and the results would be sent within 6-8 hours to the mobile number provided.

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Vaccine registration norms

Select a COVID-19 vaccination centre, book appointment

The Union Health Ministry on Friday announced options for advance self registration, on-site registration and facilitated cohort registration for potential beneficiaries of the second round of COVID vaccinations, starting on March 1.

The second round of vaccination will cover those over 60 years of age and 45+ with comorbidities.

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(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 11:49:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-live-updates-february-27-2021/article33947184.ece

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