Coronavirus updates | September 22, 2021

A health worker administers the vaccine for COVID-19 at a vaccination center set up at a government-run school in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, September 21, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

India reported 26,964 new cases of COVID-19, according to Health Ministry data as of 0800 IST on September 22. This has taken the total number of cases in India to 33.53 million. The daily tally of cases has remained below the 30,000-mark for the second straight day. The death toll has risen to 445,768, with 383 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours.

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 developments:


NDMA has recommended ex-gratia of ₹50,000 to kin of those who died due to COVID-19, Centre tells Supreme Court

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recommended that ₹50,000 be given to the kin of those who died of COVID-19, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

It said that ex-gratia assistance will also be given to the kin of those who died of the virus due to involvement in COVID-19 relief operations or activities associated with the preparedness for dealing with the pandemic.

The ex-gratia assistance will be given subject to the cause of death being certified as COVID-19 as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and ICMR, the government said.

It added that the ex-gratia assistance will be provided by States from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

On September 3, the top court had expressed displeasure over delay in framing of guidelines for issuance of death certificates to the families of those who died of COVID-19.

The apex court had in its June 30 verdict directed the NDMA to recommend within six weeks the guidelines for ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of persons who died due to COVID-19.



Biden to announce another half a billion Pfizer vaccines for poorer countries

U.S. President Joe Biden will announce that the U.S. is going to buy another half a billion doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for distribution to low and lower middle income countries. This brings the total number of doses the U.S. is sending abroad to 1.1 billion, a senior administration official said.

Half a billion Pfizer doses were already promised in the summer and at least 80 million, mostly AstraZeneca doses were committed to other countries in June .

Officials re-iterated that American vaccine doses do not come with strings attached – a veiled reference to China particularly. The doses will be made in the U.S. and start being distributed in January; the U.S. will ship out 800 million vaccines between January and September next year, an official said.

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SRH pacer Natarajan tests COVID-19 positive

Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer T. Natarajan has tested positive for COVID-19. Despite him and all-rounder Vijay Shankar — identified among six close contacts — being unavailable, the Sunrisers’ Indian Premier League match against Delhi Capitals will be played as per schedule on Wednesday night.

A statement released by the IPL confirmed that Natarajan was diagnosed during routine testing and “has isolated himself from the rest of the squad” and is “asymptomatic”.

Besides Shankar, the close contacts that have been identified are team manager Vijay Kumar, physiotherapist J. Shyam Sundar, doctor Anjana Vanna, logistics manager Tushar Khedkar and net bowler G. Periyasamy.

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U.K. includes Covishield in list of recognised vaccines

The United Kingdom has recognised the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The recognition will become effective from 4 a.m. of October 4. It was, however, told to The Hindu that the discussion on vaccination certificates is still on.

The development came a day after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his British counterpart Liz Truss and urged the U.K. to resolve the quarantine rules that require Indian travellers to the U.K. to be quarantined for 10 days at home “irrespective of vaccination status”.

The Hindu had reported that recognition of Covishield vaccine is not a problem, as the U.K. had issues regarding the vaccination certificates issued.

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UK and the Republic of Korea will share over 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with each other

United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea are set to share over one million COVID-19 vaccine doses with each other. The UK is sending over one million Pfizer/Bio-N-Tech vaccines to the Republic of Korea. By the end of 2021, the Republic of Korea will return the same volume of doses to the United Kingdom. - Reuters



Almost 40 million Russians fully vaccinated against COVID-19: Report

Almost 40 million people in Russia have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the TASS news agency quoted Anna Popova, the Head of the consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, as saying on September 22.

Authorities in Russia, which has a population of 146 million, have said they are aiming for 80% of the population to have immunity by November. - Reuters


Severe COVID-19 can lead to delirium, U.S. study finds

A study of 150 patients hospitalised for COVID in the US at the beginning of the pandemic found that 73% had delirium, a serious disturbance in mental state wherein a person is confused, agitated and unable to think clearly.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that patients with delirium tended to be sicker, with more comorbidities like hypertension and diabetes, and appeared to have more severe COVID-related illness.

"COVID is also associated with a number of other adverse outcomes that tend to prolong hospitalisation and make recovery difficult," said study author Phillip Vlisides, from the University of Michigan in the U.S. - PTI


India to target children for COVID-19 vaccine from October: Sources

All Indian children aged 12 or older will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations from next month, when drug maker Cadila Healthcare launches its ZyCoV-D product, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The world's first DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D won emergency authorisation from Indian regulators last month. From October, the company, better known as Zydus Cadila, will produce 10 million doses a month.

The health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. - Reuters


WHO chief thanks Health Minister Mandaviya for announcing resumption of vaccine shipments

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, thanked Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya for announcing resumption of COVID-19 vaccine shipments to the COVAX global pool in October.

COVAX is an initiative for equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

"Thank you Health Minister @mansukhmandviya for announcing #India will resume crucial #COVID19 vaccine shipments to #COVAX in October. This is an important development in support of reaching the 40% vaccination target in all countries by the end of the year. #VaccinEquity," Mr. Ghebreyesus said in a tweet. - PTI

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COVID-19 cases creeping up slowly in Madurai

With three students and two faculty members of Madurai Medical College (MMC) testing positive for COVID-19 and a few sporadic cases reported from some schools over the week, doctors have urged people not to take the coronavirus lightly. It is still lurking and people should not be caught unawares, they say.

Even though two UG students, a PG student and an ophthalmology faculty member had received both the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, they reported with sub-clinical infection in the last three days. “The injection does not give 100% immunity, but precautions can keep you safe,” says a doctor with Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH).

After a UG student reported symptomatic of COVID-19 three days ago, the swab test was done for her roommate, who also tested positive. More than 150 students were tested on September 21 and so far there have been no other cases of fever reported from the UG or PG hostels in MMC.

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Doctors see many new cases of diabetes post COVID-19

While it is known that senior citizens and people with co-morbidities are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, doctors in Bengaluru are seeing many new cases of diabetes post the infection.

Doctors said diabetes increases the risk of complications and death if COVID-19 is contracted. Nearly 62% of the total 37,648 COVID-19 victims, in the State so far, had either diabetes or both diabetes and hypertension, along with other co-morbidities.

State Health Commissioner K.V. Trilok Chandra told the Hindu on Tuesday that while almost all the patients who succumbed to COVID-19 reported SARI and ILI symptoms, 62% of them had one or more co-morbidities, mainly diabetes and hypertension.

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7th serosurvey likely to start this week; result to be specific

The Delhi government is expected to begin the seventh serological survey later this week, wherein part of data collection will be done through a mobile application, officials said.

A serological survey is done to find out how much percentage of the population have antibodies against COVID-19, either through natural infection or vaccination.

The government aims to collect 28,000 blood samples of random people from all 272 wards of the city. The result of the seventh survey will tell us the impact of the second wave of the pandemic, as the last survey was started in April, before the second wave and had to be cut short due to the spike in cases.

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As restrictions ease, passenger flow picks up from Chennai airport

With gradual relaxations in COVID-19 curbs in the State, air travel has started picking up pace and Chennai airport is beginning to witness a positive trajectory in passenger traffic. From recording 4.46 lakh domestic travellers in July, there was a 37% increase in the number of travellers in August, with the airport handling 6.15 lakh passengers. From Chennai, which are the cities within the country that people mostly travel to and why?

Apart from those heading out of the city for medical reasons and for making family visits, leisure and business travel has now improved marginally, according to travel experts. In the tier I category, as always, it is the metro cities that top the charts, with the maximum number of flyers going from Chennai to Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

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Delhi HC gives nod to HPC for compensation for death due to oxygen shortage during COVID-19

The Delhi High Court on September 21 said it saw no difficulty in the constitution of a high powered committee (HPC) by the AAP government to probe the deaths caused by an alleged medical oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

The court, dealing with a plea to operationalise the HPC, noted Delhi government's stand that the committee would not attribute any fault to any hospital and any compensation will be paid and absorbed by the government alone.

It further recorded that as per Delhi government, the criteria for determining compensation will be open to scrutiny and its task would not overlap with that of a sub-group constituted by the Supreme Court on allocation and utilisation of oxygen.

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Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh received COVID donations worth ₹57 crore

The State had received COVID-related donations worth ₹57 crore so far from various individuals and organisations across the world, said COVID-19 nodal officer Dr. Arja Srikanth.

Dr. Srikanth, in a release, said that of the ₹57 crore worth of donations received, donations worth ₹31 crore were made for medical equipment like oxygen concentrators, ICU beds, masks and others while donations of ₹25 crore were made towards setting up of oxygen plants and ₹1.3 crore donations were made towards medicines.

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Panama to give immunocompromised people third COVID-19 vaccine shot

Panama will offer a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to moderate and severely immunocompromised people starting this week, Health Minister Luis Sucre said on September 21.

The decision follows similar moves by other Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Chile, which are already giving a booster vaccine dose to people at risk, for instance those with immunodeficiencies or the elderly.

Among those eligible to get an extra shot during the first phase of the Panamanian plan are people undergoing cancer treatment and transplants, as well as those who received stem cells in the last two years or suffer from an advanced or untreated HIV infection.  - Reuters


Over 2.10 lakh Covid vaccine doses administered in Delhi

More than 2.10 lakh people were vaccinated against coronavirus in Delhi on September 20, and over 1.11 lakh of them got the first dose, according to official data.

Over 1.64 crore doses have been administered in the city since the inoculation exercise started on January 16, the government data showed.

As many as 49.98 lakh people have received both the doses. - PTI


Brazil's Health Minister tests positive for COVID-19 in New York

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for COVID-19 hours after accompanying President Jair Bolsonaro to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, September 21,2021, the government said.

Mr. Queiroga will remain in New York in quarantine, the government's communications office said.

"The Minister is doing well," the statement said. It added that the rest of the delegation tested negative for the virus.

Mr. Queiroga told CNN Brasil that he had worn a mask the entiretime that he was in the U.N. building. - Reuters

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COVID-19 deaths in U.S. topping 1,900 a day

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group, 71 million unvaccinated Americans.

The increasingly lethal turn has filled hospitals, complicated the start of the school year, delayed the return to offices and demoralized health care workers. - AP

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IMF calls for coordinated action, accountability in COVID-19 battle

The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund on September 21 called for coordinated action and greater accountability to ensure that the world meets a target of vaccinating 40% of people in every country against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

India's decision this week to resume vaccine exports was "a very important part of the solution," but major economies also had to ratchet up vaccine deliveries to honor their pledges, Gita Gopinath told Reuters in an interview.

The pandemic has killed nearly 5 million people across the world, and the IMF has warned that highly unequal health prospects, with just 2% of people in low-income countries vaccinated to date, poses "severe risks". - Reuters


Locked-down Melbourne braces for more protests as COVID-19 cases rise

Australia's Victoria State on September 22 reported a jump in new COVID-19 infections as Melbourne, the State capital, braced for a third straight day of protests against tough restrictions.

Thousands protested in locked-down Melbourne on September 21, damaging property, blocking a busy freeway and injuring three police officers after authorities shut construction sites for two weeks. More than 60 were arrested.

"The ugly scenes that we saw yesterday are not only appalling, they're unlawful," Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing in Melbourne. - Reuters

New Zealand

New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again

New Zealand may not get back to having zero coronavirus cases in the community, the director general of health said, as the country continues efforts to stamp out the infectious Delta variant of the virus.

New Zealand eliminated COVID-19 last year and had been largely virus-free, barring a small number of cases in February, until the latest outbreak of the Delta variant erupted in August, prompting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to order a nationwide lockdown.

Its biggest city Auckland is still in lockdown with a small number of new cases being reported everyday. - Reuters

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