Coronavirus updates | July 29, 2021

Youngsters wearing face masks protect against coronavirus, as waiting DTC bus at Dhaula Kuan in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Madhya Pradesh has the highest seroprevalance, or the presence of antibodies to the novel coronavirus, and Kerala the lowest among 21 States studied, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) fourth national serology survey. Though headline results of the survey were published last week, the State-wise approximate prevalence was issued on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

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:

Nationwide update

PVR Cinemas to reopen its theatres with 100% vaccinated staff

Multiplex chain PVR Cinemas on July 29 announced that its theatres will be reopening from July 30 with all of its staff fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a statement, PVR said that its cinemas will resume operations from July 30 in States and Union Territories that have allowed theatres to reopen.

To encourage and thank people who got vaccinated during the nationwide vaccination drive, PVR has introduced a 'JAB Offer' for the customers.


Officials in Tokyo alarmed as cases hit record highs

Japanese officials sounded the alarm on July 29 as Tokyo reported record-breaking Coronavirus cases for the third straight day with the Olympics well underway.

Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases on July 29, up from 3,177 on July 28 and double the numbers a week ago, setting an all-time high since the pandemic began early last year.

Tokyo has been under its fourth state of emergency since July 12, ahead of the Olympics, which began on July 23 despite widespread public opposition and concern that they Games could worsen the outbreak.

United Kingdom

AstraZeneca to apply for COVID-19 vaccine approval in U.S. later in 2021

British-Swedish biopharma giant AstraZeneca, which manufactures the COVID-19 vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, on July 29 indicated that they would seek approval from the U.S. medicines regulator for its jabs in the second half of this year.

The AZD1222 vaccine, also being produced under licence by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as Covishield and approved for human use by the U.K. and European medicines regulators, is pending a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) application.


BMC to launch home vaccination of bed-ridden citizens from July 30

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it will begin home vaccination of bed-ridden people in the city against coronavirus on an experimental basis from July 30. The initiative will be rolled out first in the K-east administrative ward covering the western suburbs of Andheri east, Marol, Chakala and others, it said.

In a statement issued on July 29 afternoon, the BMC said that the citizens, who are bed-ridden due to various physical or medical reasons, will be vaccinated under this exercise starting July 30.

These citizens will be administered Covaxin doses as per the directives of the expert committee and the vaccination process will be carried out in the presence of experts, wherein all necessary precautions will be undertaken, it said.


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West Bengal

West Bengal government extends COVID-19 restrictions till August 15.

West Bengal government extends existing COVID-19 restrictions already in place till August 15.

Government programmes which can be held indoors allowed with 50% seating capacity. No relaxations allowed for operation of local trains.

The number of COVID-19 infections in the state has dropped to about 800 new cases a day. On July 28, the State recorded 815 new infections and the case positivity rate was about 1.81%.


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Pole vaulter Kendricks positive for COVID-19

American world-champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks will miss the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed the news and said Kendricks has been placed in isolation at a hotel.

Kendricks won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and took gold at the last two world championships.


After suspending EUA request, Brazil now shelves import authorisation of Covaxin

After suspending the proposed clinical trials of Bharat Bioetch's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin and a request for Emergency Use Authorisation, Brazil now has suspended its decision to import four million doses of the jab into that country.

According to a statement issued by the National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil, Anvisa its Collegiate Board took a decision to suspend the exceptional and temporary authorisation for import and distribution of Covaxin after Bharat Biotech informed the South America government about the termination of its pact with its Brazilian partners.

Bharat Biotech on July 23 said it terminated the MoU it entered with Precisa Medicamentos and Envixia Pharmaceuticals LLC for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for Brazilian market.


Centre rushes high-level team to Kerala

The Health Ministry on Thursday decided to depute a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala to collaborate with the State health authorities in instituting effective public health measures for COVID-19 management in view of the significantly enhanced number of daily cases being reported there.

Also read: Kerala may have to live with COVID for a very long time

The Ministry said in a release that a six-member Central team to Kerala would be headed by Dr. S.K. Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control. The team would reach Kerala on Friday and visit a few districts.

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HC pulls up Uttarakhand govt. for violation of SOPs in tourist places

The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday pulled up the State government for violation of COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) in tourist places and extended the stay on the Char Dham Yatra until the matter pending in the Supreme Court is decided.

Observing that 75% of tourists coming to Nainital were not following the COVID-19 SOPs, contributing to a rise in positive cases last week, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice R.S. Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma expressed concern over the increasing crowds at tourist places on weekends and inquired about the steps taken to control them.

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Active cases

Active cases register increase for second consecutive day

India logged 43,509 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to  3,15,28,114, while the active cases registered an increase for the second consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

The death toll climbed to 4,22,662 with 640 fresh fatalities.

The active cases have increased to 4,03,840 and comprise 1.28 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.38 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.

An increase of 4,404 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The weekly positivity rate was recorded at  2.38 per cent, according to the ministry.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,07,01,612, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.34 per cent, the data stated.

Cumulative vaccine doses administered so far has reached 45.07 crore under the nationwide vaccination drive. — PTI


‘Possible to avert third wave, even end pandemic’

We can not only avert a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also put an end to it by the end of the year if we adhere to face masks, ensure there is no clustering of people in closed spaces, increase the pace of vaccination besides taking up large scale testing, tracing and isolation of positive cases, said former director of CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) and now adviser Rakesh Mishra on Wednesday.

“No variant can spread without people’s cooperation. It cannot break through a properly worn mask covering the nose and mouth. It is uncivil not to wear a mask in public as you may spread the virus to your own family and friends. No one predict the third wave but we can tilt this in our favour if we can do these things,” he asserted.

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Kerala has the lowest seroprevalance among 21 States, M.P. has the highest: ICMR study

Madhya Pradesh has the highest seroprevalance, or the presence of antibodies to the novel coronavirus, and Kerala the lowest among 21 States studied, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) fourth national serology survey. Though headline results of the survey were published last week, the State-wise approximate prevalence was issued on Wednesday.

Kerala, which is recording the sharpest rise in cases in the country fuelled by the Delta variant, had a seroprevalence of only 44% implying 56% lacked antibodies — and consequently — remained vulnerable to the infection. The antibody levels reported State-wise as part of the ICMR survey didn’t distinguish between those in response to a natural infection or through vaccination.

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60% expecting mothers vaccinated in Mohanpur

The Health Department of Rewari district in Haryana, held a special vaccination drive for pregnant and lactating women at Mohanpur village in which around 60% were vaccinated.

Paediatrician Balraj Yadav from Mohanpur village said the pregnant and lactating women were reluctant to get vaccinated despite the approval from the authorities that vaccination was safe for them. Therefore, he decided to take an initiative to hold a special camp for them in his village.

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Only a few private hospitals in Karnataka interested to buy vaccines

Only a few private hospitals are continuing to express interest in administering COVID-19 vaccines even as the Centre has pulled up the private sector for not utilising the 25% quota of vaccines. According to the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA), only around 120 hospitals in State are still procuring vaccines. PHANA has around 6,000 members.

(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)

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