In a recent development, Australia has recognised Covishield vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India (SII).
In a statement to the media, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said Covishield would be treated as part of the “recognised vaccines” in Australia. However, it is not yet clear if the recognition of the India-made vaccine will help Indian tourists and students to visit Australia as that may also require verification of Indian vaccination certificates by the Australian authorities.
Meanwhile, India on Friday logged 26,727 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,37,66,707, while the active cases declined to 2,75,224, the lowest in 196 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.
The death toll climbed to 4,48,339 with 277 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.
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With the festive season approaching, the West Bengal government on Thursday extended the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions till October 30 but allowed movement of people and vehicles at night during the Durga Puja festival from October 10 to 20, according to an order. Odisha, on the other hand, banned publich gatherings and increased night curfew during the upcoming Durga Puja celebrations.
Here are the latest updates:
Trains packed with commuters as Japan fully ends emergency
Japan fully came out of a coronavirus state of emergency for the first time in more than six months as the country starts to gradually ease virus measures to help rejuvenate the pandemic-hit economy as the infections slowed.
At Tokyo’s busy Shinagawa train station, a sea of mask-wearing commuters rushed to their work despite an approaching typhoon, with some returning to their offices after months of remote work.
The emergency measures, in place for more than half of the country including Tokyo, ended on Thursday following a steady fall in new caseloads over the past few weeks, helping to ease pressure on Japanese health care systems.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga thanked the people for their patience and cooperation and asked them to stick to their basic anti-virus measures.
Puducherry adds 64 new COVID-19 cases, overall tally rises to 1,26,431
Puducherry logged 64 fresh Covid- 19 cases during the last 24 hours pushing the overall tally to 1,26,431, a senior official of the Health Department said on Friday. The number of active cases in the union territory fell below 800 as the count stood at 791.
The 64 new coronavirus cases were identified at the end of the examination of 5,365 samples, Director of Health Department G Sriramulu said in a release.
The fresh infections were spread over Puducherry (38), Karaikal (16), Mahe (9) and Yanam (one), he added.
Of the 791 active cases, 114 were undergoing treatment in hospitals while the remaining 677 were in home isolation, the Health department Director said.
Australia recognises Covishield vaccine
Australia has recognised the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
“Today, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) has published its initial assessment of the data on the protection offered by the Coronavac (Sinovac) and Covishield (AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India) vaccines and has advised that these vaccines should be considered as ‘recognised vaccines’ for the purpose of determining incoming international travellers as being appropriately vaccinated,” said Australian PM Scott Morrison, emphasising that the latest announcement is aimed at reuniting Australian families and to welcome tourists back to Australia.
This announcement is likely to help Australian nationals who have taken Covishield doses and were expecting to travel to Australia, which at the moment has travel barriers. The Government of Australia is committed to ensure that Australians who were “fully vaccinated” abroad can return home without unnecessary obstacles.
“The recognition of these two additional vaccines is a major milestone towards more Australians vaccinated overseas getting home sooner.” said Mr. Morrison.
Active COVID-19 cases lowest in 196 days
The active cases comprise 0.82% of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.86%, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.
A decrease of 1,796 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.
Number of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline globally: WHO
Globally, the numbers of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to decline, WHO said.
The largest decrease in new weekly cases was reported from the Eastern Mediterranean Region (17%), followed by the Western Pacific Region (15 per cent), the Region of the Americas (14%), the African Region (12%) and the South-East Asia Region (10%); while weekly cases in the European Region were similar to the previous week.
The number of new weekly deaths reported showed an over 15% decline for all regions except for the European Region and the African Region. The largest decline in weekly deaths was reported from the Western Pacific Region, with a 24% decline as compared to the previous week.
Andhra Pradesh adds 50,000 cases in 41 days
The State reported 13 more deaths due to COVID-19 and 1,010 infections in the 24 hours ending Thursday morning.
The cumulative tally of infections reached 20,50,324. The last 50,000 infections were reported in the past 41 days, during which period 23.21 lakh samples had been tested with a positivity rate of 2.15%.
The cumulative toll increased to 14,176 with a mortality rate of 0.69%.
Odisha bans gatherings during Durga Puja, increases night curfew timings in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar
Keeping in view a rise in the COVID graph after major festivals in some parts of the country, the Odisha government on Thursday prohibited gatherings during the upcoming Durga Puja celebrations and increased night curfew timings in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar by an additional two hours during the festivities.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P. K. Jena said that there will be graded unlocking throughout the state from 5 AM on October 1 till 5 AM on November 1.
"Congregations for Durga Puja will not be allowed. It has been observed that unrestricted religious celebration by large gatherings led to a rise in infection rates in some parts of the country.
"Night curfew will continue to be imposed in all urban areas from 10 PM to 5 AM, but it will be in effect from 8 PM to 5 AM in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack from October 11-20," he said.
The period coincides with the Durga Puja and Dussehra celebrations.
BMC caps height of Durga idols for navratri, says no garba events in Mumbai
The Mumbai civic body on Thursday said no 'garba' events will be allowed during the upcoming Navratri festival in view of the coronavirus pandemic and capped the height of Goddess Durga idols to four feet for community mandals and two feet for household ones.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) urged citizens to scrupulously follow COVID-19 protocols and keep celebrations low-key in view of the pandemic as it issued guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) for the nine-day-long Navratri festival which begins on October 7.
For the second straight year, the popular festival will be celebrated under the long shadow of the pandemic.
Bengal govt extends curbs to Oct 30, makes an exception in night curfew during Durga Puja
"In continuation of the earlier order, restriction and relaxation measures as already in force stand extended up to October 30.... In view of the ensuing festive period the said restriction relating to movement of people and vehicles between 11 pm to 5 am is relaxed during October 10 to 20," the order by the West Bengal government read.
The order shall come into effect from October 1.
The government has decided not to allow local trains to run, though Metro Railway trains would continue to be operational.
The state has permitted public buses, taxis and autorickshaws to operate at 50% capacity.
Offices, both government and private, are also allowed to function with half the manpower.
Havana reopens its beaches, citing high vaccination rate
Beaches and recreation centers reopened in Cuba's capital Thursday after authorities announced it was time to resume outdoor activities, including strolling on the Malecon coastal promenade that has long been a gathering place for Havana.
Officials said the reopening was decided on because 90% of the city's residents are vaccinated against the coronavirus and the number of new cases has been declining.
Some people were quick to take advantage of the announcement and headed to the beach to enjoy the sun and sand.