Coronavirus updates | June 17, 2021

A health worker inoculates a construction worker with a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Chandivali in Mumbai on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

The average daily COVID-19 vaccination rate in the first 10 days of June was relatively higher than the levels recorded initially in May after India opened up inoculation for all adults.

From June 1 to 10, 3 mn average daily doses were administered. At the current rate, by July 31, around 403 mn doses can be administered, about 100 mn lower than the target.

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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:


Covaxin moves a step closer to WHO nod

India’s vaccine against COVID-19 Covaxin is set to get closer to World Health Organization (WHO) approval with a pre-submission meeting for its emergency use listing scheduled for June 23 by the organisation.

The meeting on the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech is planned for June 23, a WHO document on the status of COVID-19 vaccines within EUL/PQ evaluation process and last updated on Thursday said.

Bharat Biotech, which in association with Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has developed the whole-virion inactivated vaccine, last month said the WHO approval was expected in the July-September quarter. The WHO had then said the application was submitted in April 19 and more information was needed. A pre-submission meeting was scheduled in May-June, the U.N. agency had said.

A WHO approval will come as a big boost for Covaxin and expected to pave the way for all those inoculated with it to travel to many countries. “We are also looking forward to WHO’s approval for India’s indigenous vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had told WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on COVID-19 earlier this month.

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India adds 67,208 new COVID-19 cases, 2,330 fresh fatalities

A single day rise of 67,208 new coronavirus infections were recorded taking India's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,97,00,313, while the active cases declined to 8,26,740, the lowest after 71 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,81,903 with 2,330 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed The active cases declined to 8,26,740 comprising 2.78 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 95.93 per cent.    A net decline of 38,692 cases has been recorded in the COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

 As many as 19,31,249 tests were conducted on Wednesday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 38,52,38,220.

The daily positivity rate  was recorded 3.48 per cent . It has been less than 5 per cent for the 10th consecutive day, the ministry said, adding the weekly positivity rate has declined to 3.99 per cent.

Recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 35th consecutive day. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,84,91,670, while the case fatality rate has increased to 1.29 per cent, the data stated. — PTI


Virus origins probe should shift to U.S., says China

Senior Chinese epidemiologist said the United States should be the priority in the next phase of investigations into the origin of COVID-19 after a study showed the disease could have been circulating there as early as December 2019, state media said on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

The study, published this week by the U.S. National Institutes for Health (NIH), showed that at least seven people in five U.S. states were infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, weeks before the United States reported its first official cases.

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Interim trial data shows low effectiveness for CureVac shot

German vaccine maker CureVac has said that interim data from late-stage testing of its coronavirus shot show a comparatively low effectiveness in protecting people against COVID-19.

The results on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, appear to be a significant setback for CureVac's efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and the company's stock value tumbled in after-hours trading.

While not all the data from its trial involving 40,000 participants in Latin America and Europe have been assessed yet, the company said interim results show the vaccine has an efficacy of 47% against COVID-19 disease of any severity.

This did not meet what the company said were its “pre-specified statistical success criteria,” though it didn't state what those were.

The World Health Organisation has said vaccines with an efficacy above 50% are worth using, though many of those already approved have a far higher rate. — AP

New Zealand

New Zealand lays out vaccine plan after grumbling over delay

New Zealand will take up to the end of the year to inoculate all those eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday, June 17, 2021, as she announced details of a vaccine campaign.

The Pacific island nation shut its borders and used tough lockdown measures to become one of the few countries to have virtually eliminated COVID-19, but the government is facing criticism for a slow rollout of vaccines.

About 560,000 people in the country of 5 million have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine while about 325,000 have been given a second dose.

"Based on the delivery and supply of vacancies we are working towards taking to the end of the year for vaccinating all those who are eligible," Ms. Ardern told a news conference, adding that the drive was going faster than expected.

Announcing details of the plan, she said vaccines would be allocated according to age with people over 60 offered one from July 28 and those over 55 from Aug. 11.

Those over the age of 45 would get vaccine invitations from mid to late August while those over 35 from mid to late September, and everyone else would be eligible from October, she said. — Reuters


Speed, scale of vaccination to shape recovery: RBI Bulletin

The speed and scale of vaccination against COVID-19 will shape the path of recovery of the economy, which has the resilience and the fundamentals to bounce back from the pandemic and unshackle itself from pre-existing cyclical and structural hindrances, according to an RBI bulletin article.

As per the current assessment, the second wave of the pandemic has mainly hit domestic demand, Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor M.D. Patra and other central bank officials wrote in the article on ‘State of the Economy’.

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Daily average of jabs continues to improve

About 28 lakh vaccine doses were administered in India in the 24 hours ending 7 a.m. on June 16, which is 11.26 lakh doses fewer than what was recorded in the previous 24 hours. It is also 24,362 doses more than what was recorded during the corresponding period a week ago.

The seven-day rolling average of daily vaccinations in the country continues to increase. It stood at 31.14 lakh on June 15, which is more than the 26.96 lakh recorded a week before (June 8).

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Fresh stock of vaccine arrives for 18+ group in the nick of time

The Capital has received fresh supply of vaccines — 62,160 doses of Covaxin and 1,73,340 doses of Covishield — for 18-44 age group on Tuesday, AAP leader Atishi said while presenting a daily vaccination bulletin on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, she had said that all government-run vaccination centres for the age group will be shut from Wednesday due to shortage of vaccines. Fortunately, the government received the fresh stock later in the day, as per officials.

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Tamil Nadu

Chennai zoo loses another lion to virus

A 12-year-old male lion, named Pathbanathan, housed in the Lion Safari area of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, died due to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Pathbanathan is the second big cat to have died at Vandalur zoo this month. On June 3, Neela, a 9-year-old lioness, died of the disease.

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(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)

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