Coronavirus updates | Active COVID-19 cases lowest in 221 days

RT-PCR test for COVID-19 diagnosis underway at a Centre in New Delhi on Monday, October 18, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The U.S. will allow fully vaccinated foreign travellers to enter the country from November 8, the White House announced on October 15.  With the announcement of the implementation of the new date, the U.S. will essentially lift travel restrictions from countries like India, United Kingdom and China.

Also Read: Coronavirus | Protection against COVID-19 reinfection may last only for months

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:

 

Valneva jumps on positive results for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Valneva reported positive Phase III results on Monday for its inactivated, adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate VLA2001, lifting its shares in a boost for the French biotech company after Britain cancelled a big deal to buy its shot.

Valneva said its latest trial, on 4,012 participants aged 18 and older across 26 trial sites in Britain, showed the vaccine prompted a stronger immune response and fewer side-effects than AstraZeneca's shot.

The update fuelled a jump of 37.5% in early session trading of Valneva's shares, which had fallen sharply in September after the cancellation. - Reuters

Australia

Australia's Queensland State to open to vaccinated travellers

Australia's Queensland State announced plans on October 18 to open up to vaccinated travellers, ending the status it has enjoyed throughout the pandemic of remaining virtually free of COVID-19.

Queensland and Western Australia have been among the states most successful in keeping COVID-19 out, and they also were among the most reluctant to relax their strict border controls after the highly contagious delta variant took hold in New South Wales state in June and spread through Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Queensland authorities warned infection rates would rise and remain high for months. - AP

 

 

Pooja Bedi tests positive for COVID-19, says staying unvaccinated her 'personal decision'

Actor-host Pooja Bedi has tested positive for COVID-19 and says she is taking all the necessary precautions.

In an Instagram video on Sunday evening, the 51-year-old actor, who has been a vocal anti-vaxxer, informed that her businessman-fiance Maneck Contractor and their house help have also contracted the virus.

"I have finally been diagnosed as COVID positive. I chose/choose to stay unvaccinated as it's my personal decision to allow my own natural immunity and alternative healing and wellness practices to accelerate my healing. You do what's right for you. Each to their own. Caution. Not panic," Ms. Bedi wrote. - PTI

National

Active COVID-19 cases lowest in 221 days

India added 13,596 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,40,81,315, while the active cases declined to 1,89,694, the lowest in 221 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The death toll climbed to 4,52,290 with 166 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 a.m.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 30,000 for 24 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 113 consecutive days now. - PTI

A security guard testing the temperature to devotees at entrance of the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada on Saturday, October 16, 2021.

A security guard testing the temperature to devotees at entrance of the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada on Saturday, October 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: V. Raju

Australia

Sydney eases more COVID-19 curbs as vaccinations pass milestone

Thousands of children returned to school in Sydney on Monday after months of home learning as Australia's largest city, buoyed by rising vaccination rates, eased more COVID-19 restrictions.

Masks will no longer be mandatory in offices and more people will be allowed to gather in homes and outdoors after New South Wales state, home to Sydney, reached an 80% double dose inoculation rate for people aged over 16 over the weekend. - Reuters

Assam

Assam's Covid positivity rate crosses 1% mark again within four days

The positivity rate of new Covid-19 cases in Assam breached the 1% mark for the second time within a period of four days on October 17 while six fresh fatalities were reported, an official bulletin said.

Altogether 205 new coronavirus cases were registered in the state during the day from 19,350 tests conducted, taking the total caseload to 6,06,468, the bulletin issued by the National Health Mission, Assam, said. - PTI

Delhi

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal lays foundation stone of new 1,430-bed hospital

To improve the health infrastructure in the city and prepare for the possibility of further waves of COVID-19, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday laid the foundation stone of a new hospital with a capacity of 1,430 beds at Shalimar Bagh.

Being constructed at a cost of ₹275 crore, the hospital would be ready in six months, he said. He announced the government’s plan to build seven new hospitals with a total capacity of 6,800 beds in the next six months.

“The Delhi government is taking all necessary steps in view of the possible third wave of COVID-19. We are going to make such a system under which every citizen of Delhi will have their own health card. Earlier, it used to cost ₹1 crore to make a normal bed, but our government is spending only ₹20 lakh on an ICU bed,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

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National

COVID-19 vaccine for children still away: Government

The government will take a final decision on vaccinating children and adolescents against coronavirus on the basis of overall scientific rationale as well as the supply situation of vaccines available for those below 18 years old, COVID Task Force chief V.K. Paul said on Sunday.

Mr. Paul, who has been playing a key role in the government’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, also cautioned that even though infections are coming down and the second wave is subsiding, it will not be fair now to say that the worst is over since many countries have seen more than two waves.

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National

COVID-19 possible despite earlier infection: doctors

Stressing the need for vaccination, doctors say that past natural COVID infection will not protect everyone against re-infection. Vaccination in fact could give higher rate of protection, they say.

“We can’t say with certainty that past, natural COVID infection offers 100 % protection against re-infections,” said Sarita Sharma, consultant Pediatrics at PSRI Hospital in New Delhi. Pointing out that the pandemic situation is evolving, Dr. Sharma stressed that not everybody who has been infected will have protection.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 7:55:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-october-18-2021-live-updates/article37047730.ece

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