Coronavirus updates | October 19, 2021

The World Health Organization said on October 18 said it expects Bharat Biotech to provide more information on its COVID-19 vaccine in a further setback to the Indian company's hopes of getting an emergency-use listing for the shot.

October 19, 2021 08:12 am | Updated 09:46 pm IST

Health staff administering COVID vaccine at rythu bazar in MVP colony in Visakhapatnam on Monday, October 18, 2021.

Health staff administering COVID vaccine at rythu bazar in MVP colony in Visakhapatnam on Monday, October 18, 2021.

India logged 13,058 new coronavirus infections, the lowest in 231 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,40,94,373, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The death toll climbed to 4,52,454 with 164 fresh fatalities, while the active cases declined to 1,83,118, the lowest in 227 days, according to the data updated at 8 a.m.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 30,000 for 25 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 114 consecutive days now.

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:


Restaurants and eateries in Maharashtra can function till midnight: Govt

The Maharashtra government has permitted all restaurants and eateries to function till midnight, according to a government notification issued by state's Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte on Tuesday.

The notification comes a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray chaired a meeting with the state's COVID Task Force and directed officials to prepare guidelines for extending the operational hours for restaurants and shops.

“… all restaurants and eateries may be allowed to function till midnight 12 a.m. and all other establishments that have been allowed to function by the government may be allowed to function till 11 p.m.,” the notification said. - PTI


Second wave of pandemic not receded yet, third wave feared post-Diwali: Maharashtra health minister

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has not receded yet in the state but at the same time conditions are not favourable to immediately trigger the third wave.

Speaking to reporters in the Nashik district, Mr. Tope also said the COVID Task Force has cautioned about a third wave of the pandemic post the Diwali season.

“The second wave of the pandemic is not over yet. But there is no favourable condition for a third wave as of now. The state task force has cautioned of a third wave post the Diwali season. We are assessing the situation,” he said.

Mr. Tope said over nine crore people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose in Maharashtra and 35 % of them have taken both doses. - PTI



India's R-value below 1 since September, say researchers

India's R-value, which reflects how rapidly the coronavirus pandemic is spreading, has remained below 1 since September, suggesting that the infection rate is declining, according to a study.

The Reproduction number or R refers to how many people an infected person infects on an average. In other words, it tells how 'efficiently' a virus is spreading.

An R-value smaller than 1 means the disease is spreading slowly. Conversely, if R is greater than 1, the number of infected people is increasing in each round - technically, this is what is called the epidemic phase.

The bigger the number than 1, the faster the rate of spreading of the disease in the population.

According to figures calculated by researchers of the Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the R-value of top 10 states with most number of active cases was below 1 till October 18. - PTI


Centre urges States and UTs to focus on second Covid vaccine dose coverage

Highlighting that the nation is close to administering a billion Covid vaccine doses, the Centre has urged States and Union Territories to focus on increasing the coverage of the second dose in the light of adequate availability of shots.

The cumulative vaccine doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 inoculation drive has exceeded 99 crore.

The countrywide COVID-19 vaccination programme was launched on January 16 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. - PTI


Madhya Pradesh

A total of 163 oxygen plants set up in Madhya Pradesh after shortage during second COVID-19 wave: CM Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh has set up 163 oxygen plants, generating over 182 metric tonnes (MT) of the life saving gas per day so far, after facing scarcity during the second wave of coronavirus, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said.

In March 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak), oxygen generation plants were not available in any of the government hospitals in the State, the CM noted. - PTI


Andaman and Nicobar

Andaman MP demands withdrawal of seven-day quarantine rule in Great Nicobar Island

Andaman and Nicobar Islands MP Kuldeep Rai Sharma has requested the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory administration to withdraw the seven-day quarantine rule in Great Nicobar Island for the convenience of the public.

Mr. Rai also requested the administration to schedule a passenger ship with cargo or a cargo ship for Great Nicobar Island in Nicobar district as soon as possible as the people in the island are facing a shortage of potatoes, onions, tomatoes and eggs due to delay in the transfer of cargo from Port Blair to Campbell Bay. - PTI


WHO expecting more info as it weighs approving India's Covaxin for COVID-19

The World Health Organization said on Monday it expects Bharat Biotech to provide more information on its COVID-19 vaccine in a further setback to the Indian company's hopes of getting an emergency-use listing for the shot.

Without WHO's nod the two-dose Covaxin is unlikely to be accepted as a valid COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Bharat Biotech has been pursuing a WHO emergency-use listing for several months, having submitted data on a rolling basis since July. - Reuters


Russian regions introduce QR codes for entry to public venues as COVID-19 cases hit record

Many Russian regions on Monday announced plans to keep cafes, museums and other public venues open only to those who have recently recovered from COVID-19, have proof of inoculation with a Russian vaccine or a negative coronavirus test, as new cases in the country hit a record.

The round of unpopular measures that limits freedoms in Russia comes as the number of daily COVID-19 infections reached an all-time high of 34,325 despite the state-driven vaccination programme. - Reuters


U.S. FDA to allow mixing and matching of COVID-19 boosters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to allow Americans to get a different booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine than the one initially taken, the New York Times reported on Monday.

The FDA in September authorized a booster dose of Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech's two-shot COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 65 and older and some high-risk Americans.

The regulator's advisory panel has also backed the use of Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

United Kingdom

One in three U.K. music jobs wiped out by COVID, report says

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out one in three jobs in the UK music industry, a trade body said on Tuesday, as it called for government support to help the sector recover.

The number of jobs fell 35% to 128,000 in 2020 from 197,000 in 2019 as the pandemic shut down live events and forced studios to close their doors, UK Music said in its annual report.

Some 69,000 jobs were lost in a sector where three quarters of workers are self-employed and did not receive help from government support schemes, according to the "This Is Music 2021" report. - Reuters

Tamil Nadu

Fresh cases fall below 1,200 in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu reported 1,192 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, after testing 1,26,312 persons. The overall case tally has gone up to 26,88,284. The death of 13 persons took the toll to 35,912. Currently, 14,570 persons are under treatment, according to the daily bulletin of the Directorate of Public Health.

The number of recovered patients has gone up to 26,37,802 with the discharge of 1,423 persons.

In Chennai, 150 fresh infections were identified and 166 persons were discharged. As many as 1,774 patients are under treatment.



Daily COVID caseload in Telangana drops to pre-second wave level

The daily load of COVID-19 cases in Telangana has declined to pre-second wave numbers. After the first wave of the pandemic started to wane, the lowest daily case burden (less than 200) was recorded in February this year. The second wave took root from second week of March. From mid-October — after nearly seven months — the number of daily infections now is the same as it was in February. This indicates that the second wave is on its way out.

Currently, more than 200 new infections are detected whenever daily tests are around 45,000. On Monday, 45,418 samples were examined and 208 persons were detected with coronavirus.


Andhra Pradesh

Kin of government staff who died of COVID-19 to get jobs in Andhra Pradesh

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday instructed officials to provide jobs on compassionate grounds to the kin of the government employees who died of COVID-19, by November 30.

He wanted focus to be laid on the construction of 176 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in order to take the health-care services to the people’s doorstep, and all government hospitals to have sufficient staff as per the national standards.

At a review meeting on COVID-19, vaccination, health hubs and recruitment of staff in government hospitals and health centres, on Monday, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy said emphasis had also to be laid on implementing the job calendar in the Medical and Health Department.

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