Coronavirus updates | May 28, 2021

Police personnel stand at a traffic intersection wearing a coronavirus-themed headgear during a COVID-19 safety awareness drive in Hyderabad on May 27, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Centre has directed States and Union Territories to continue the ongoing COVID-19 guidelines till June 30 and asked them to go for intensive and local containment measures in districts with a high number of cases to check the spread of the deadly disease.

Also read: States, Centre spar over vaccine wastage

The fresh guidelines for COVID-19 management came amid some decline in the daily count of the coronavirus cases and improvements in the situation of the availability of the beds, ICU and oxygen in some parts of the country like Delhi.

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:

 

 

India

RT-PCR test: NEERI develops simple, fast method of swab collection and processing

The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has developed a simple and fast method of swab collection and processing for RT-PCR coronavirus test which could be used in rural and tribal areas.

The method is simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said.

The Nagpur-based NEERI is a constituent laboratory of CSIR.

Krishna Khairnar, senior scientist, Environmental Virology Cell at NEERI, said the swab collection method requires time. Moreover, since it is an invasive technique, it is a bit uncomfortable for patients.

"Sometime, it is also lost in the transport of the sample to the collection centre. On the other hand, the Saline Gargle RT-PCR method is instant, comfortable and patient-friendly. Sampling is done instantly and results will be generated within three hours," he said.

The method is non-invasive and so simple that a patient can collect the sample himself, said Mr. Khairnar. - PTI

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Ranchi

Jharkhand govt. writes letter to Centre seeking rectification of vaccine wastage data

At loggerheads with the Centre over vaccine wastage data, the Jharkhand government has shot off a letter to the Union government seeking rectification of wastage figures, saying CoWIN portal till May 27 erroneously showed State's wastage data at "38.45%", a top official said.

The State sent the letter on Thursday night to set the record right, close on the heels of Chief Minister Hemant Soren trashing the Centre's vaccine wastage data for Jharkhand.

"If wastage figures are rectified on the basis of data attached with the letter sent by us to the centre, the wastage figure will come below 4.63%," A Dodde, State's nodal office for vaccination said. The Union Health Ministry, in a statement on May 25, had said despite urging States repeatedly to keep vaccine wastage below 1%, many States such as Jharkhand (37.3%) were reporting much higher wastage than the national average (6.3%).

In return, Jharkhand had contested, saying it is wrong to project vaccine wastage proportion is as high as 37.3% in the State whereas the fact remained that it is much below the national average and currently stands at 4.63%.

India

Kenya donates 12 tonnes of food products to India

Kenya has donated 12 tonnes of food products to India as part of its COVID-19 relief efforts, a statement said on Friday.

The east African country has sent 12 tonnes of tea, coffee and groundnut produced locally to the Indian Red Cross Society, it said adding that the packets will be distributed across Maharashtra with food aid. - PTI

India

Over 1.84 crore Covid vaccine doses available with states, more on way: Health Ministry

More than 1.84 crore coronavirus vaccine doses are currently available with states and union territories, and three lakh more will be received by them in the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

The central government has so far provided, through the free of cost channel and direct state procurement, more than 22.46 crore doses to states and UTs.

Of these, the total consumption, including wastage, is 20,48,04,853 doses, according to data available till 8 a.m. on Friday. - PTI

Singapore

Singapore rejects tightening of COVID restrictions, announces aid for struggling businesses

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday said there is no need for "further tightening" of the already-in-place COVID-19 safety restrictions in Singapore, as he announced a slew of welfare measures for businesses affected by the pandemic.

Mr. Wong, who co-chairs the COVID-19 Multi-Ministry Task Force, said the support measures would aid businesses during the current Phase II of restrictions, also called 'Heightened Alert', which are to last till June 13.

Under the 'Jobs Support Scheme', 800 million Singapore dollars (USD 604 million) has been earmarked for enhanced wage subsidies and rental relief. - PTI

Delhi

Lockdown is a solution but causes pain to people: Rahul Gandhi

"Vaccination is the permanent solution. Lockdown is a solution but causes pain to people. Mask and social distancing is a temporary solution," said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a press conference.

"Lots of people including me warned the government about the coronavirus non-stop. The government ridiculed us," he said.

"As you saw in the video (played out at the start of press conference), Prime Minister has declared victory, that he defeated the coronavirus. The problem is that the Prime Minister and his government have not understood until today. Coronavirus is not just a disease but an evolving disease. The more time you give to the virus, the more it spreads."

Mr. Gandhi said, "Last year, I had told the government to stop the spread of the virus. How does it attack? It attacks those who don't have enough food, immunity, who have co-morbidities like obesity."

"If we allow the virus, it will become more efficient by mutating. If the vaccine strategy is not good, there won't be just a second or third wave but multiple waves and there will be deaths. Today the situation is that we have vaccinated only 3 %."

"Prime Minister should take responsibility for the second wave. The way he did a nautanki (drama). The rate at which we are vaccinating, it will reach May 2024. Understand the virus and change the way in which you are working. Lakhs of people are dying because of it," the Congress leader said.

"I am not scaring people"

Mr. Gandhi said that our death rate is a lie. "This is not the time to lie or do politics but save Indian lives. The government must understand that we are not their enemies."

"When it comes to corona, we are all on the government's side. The government seems to understand that we are fighting the government. I am requesting the government again that get your vaccination strategy right."

He said, "People say Rahul Gandhi is trying to frighten people. No, I am not scaring people. I am trying to save people."

"Since February, I have been speaking with experts. If you allow, 97 % of the people to be potential victims of corona, the vaccines may not work if the virus mutate. We are lucky that second wave is still within the umbrella of the vaccine."

"The current rate of 3 % vaccination almost guarantees a third wave. The problem is with strategy. The Prime Minister doesn't think strategically, he is an event manager. Shut the space wherever you find corona. Use vaccine, social distancing, whatever but shut down the door for the virus."

"I have spoke to our Chief Minister and told me that the truth about death rate may cause pain to people but eventually the truth will help us. On V.K. Paul's statement blaming the States, the buck stops with the Prime Minister."

Mr. Gandhi said, "Did Chhattisgarh export vaccines? I didn't remember Chhattisgarh Chief Minister talking about vaccine maitri. Prime Minister is worried about his image. His image is gone, dead. I would say stop worrying about your image and work for your people. Leadership means the buck stops with the Prime Minister. This time for him to the leader and show how he will get the vaccine. Don't get scared."

"The most important thing is that listen to the people who are trying to help people, be it opposition leaders, bureaucrats. In a war, you need a strategy and different weapons. Lockdown is one of them. Lockdown is a blunt weapon. It causes as much pain as benefit."

"Vaccination order should have happened last year. PM should for make a  corona group where inputs from States, experts to decide on strategy and different weapons. They were busy with events, elections in Bengal. You were addressing crowds without masks. What message did you give?"

"If Baghel ji, Narendra Modi ji, Mamata ji are on the same page, we can tackle the virus."

"The idea is to suppress information, lie about the death rate, pressure journalists, twitter and so on. You have shut down the information system. Lying about the situation is helping corona. Bring the country together. How many Opposition leaders have you spoken to? None. It's gone past the stage of doing politics."

"My view is that we should vaccinate as many people as possible in the shortest time. I don't care how you do it. On S Jaishankar's statement that an attempt is being made to paint India in a certain way, he said the foreign minister has to say this because the Prime Minister wants him to do so. This reflects the mindset of ignorance. If there is a conspiracy, it is one of ignorance.

On a question about Mr Gandhi referring to Covid as Movie, he said he wanted to convey the message that had Mr Modi's action were different, India would have faced only Covid. But because of the actions of Mr Modi, India experienced something more and that's why I added Modi ji first part with the second part of Covid," he adds. - Sandeep Phukan

Delhi

HC seeks Centre, Delhi govt stand on PIL for more crematoriums in national capital

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre and the Delhi government to respond to a PIL seeking more electric or CNG crematoriums in the national capital in view of the large number of people succumbing to COVID-19.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notices to the Centre, the Delhi government and the municipal corporations, seeking their responses to the plea filed by social activist Sunil Kumar Aledia.

Aledia, in his petition filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, has also sought directions to the authorities to fix uniform charges for cremation at electric crematoriums in the city, as according to the petitioner, the rates range from Rs 500 -- at Sarai Kale Khan -- to Rs 8,800 -- at Lodhi Road.

The petition has also sought a centralised online facility for issuance of death certificates so that people need not travel physically to the local authorities to register deaths.

It has also sought that the authorities repair the non-functional electric crematoriums. - PTI

 

Daily COVID-19 count in India lowest in 44 days

The single day rise in coronavirus cases in India fell below the 2-lakh mark for the second time this month, while the recoveries continue to outnumber daily cases for the 15th consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

A total of 1,86,364 new coronavirus infections were reported in a day, the lowest in around 44 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,75,55,457. The death toll climbed to 3,18,895 with 3,660 daily deaths, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The daily COVID-19 count in India last fell below the 2-lakh mark on May 25. - PTI

 

Facebook changes policy on COVID-19 information

Facebook said it will no longer remove claims that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from its apps.

The change comes “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of Covid-19 and in consultation with public health experts,” Facebook said.

The company had said in December that it would remove vaccine-related misinformation.

“We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, in a statement. - AP

 

Global supply of COVAX hit due to coronavirus crisis in India, USAID tells lawmakers

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis in India, the global supply of COVAX has been badly hit, so much so that there are many parts of the world where one shot has been dispensed to health workers or frontline workers and the second shot has not been forthcoming, a top Biden administration official told lawmakers on Thursday.

"COVAX has suffered a big blow given the scale of the pandemic in India," Samantha Power, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations for a hearing on the Fiscal 2022 Budget Request for the USAID.

"The Serum Institute of India, which had planned to supply upwards of 140 million doses by the end of June, has had to pull back that supply because of the domestic emergency," Power said responding to a question on the vaccine crisis that has been created across the globe due to the scale of the pandemic in India. - PTI

Chennai

Chennai’s hospital occupancy drops noticeably over two days

For the first time during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chennai has seen a sharp drop in the number of patients in hospitals over the past two days.

The decline in hospitalisations has come as a relief to the city, which struggled to find beds for sick patients for the best part of May. Meanwhile, the bed capacity in the city, particularly oxygen-supported beds, continued to rise amid sustained efforts by the administration.

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Delhi

Pandemic takes a toll on mental health

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that mental health problems could be the next pandemic after COVID-19 fades away,” said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) senior fellow Akshay Kumar, who is also a consultant in the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Science at Artemis Hospital.

Speaking to The Hindu, Dr. Kumar, said he was overwhelmed daily by the number of clients seeking counselling for mental health issues during the pandemic. Most of the cases pertained to anxiety and depression.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:48:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-live-updates-may-28-2021/article34663370.ece

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