Coronavirus updates | September 24, 2021

The CDC advisory panel recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and some adults with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease

Updated - September 24, 2021 10:12 pm IST

Published - September 24, 2021 07:36 am IST

The World Health Organization (WHO) on September 24 recommended the synthetic antibody treatment Regeneron for Covid-19, but only in patients with specific health profiles. Persons with non-severe Covid-19 who are nonetheless at high risk of hospitalisation can take the antibody combo, as should critically ill patients unable to mount an adequate immune response, according to a WHO finding published in BMJ .

Read |Rulings that impact a State’s medical infrastructure

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 :


Maharashtra to reopen schools from October 4

Maharashtra government announces to reopen schools from October 4. Classes of standard 5 to 12 in rural areas while that of standard 8 to 12 in urban areas will resume.



Pfizer in talks over full license for COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore

Pfizer Inc is in discussions with Singapore's Health Sciences Authority regarding obtaining a full license application for its COVID-19 vaccine, the company said in response to a query from Reuters .

Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine has interim authorisation under the pandemic special access route in Singapore. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the vaccine last month. - Reuters


WHO recommends antibody treatment for critical Covid patients

COVID-19 patients at high risk of hospitalisation or those with severe disease should be given a combination of two antibody treatments, according to latest World Health Organization guidelines published in The BMJ on September 24.

The WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel recommends treatment combining casirivimab and imdevimab for two specific groups of patients with COVID-19.

The first are patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at highest risk of hospitalisation and the second are those with severe or critical COVID-19 who are seronegative, meaning they have not mounted their own antibody response to COVID-19. - PTI

Andaman and Nicobar

Andaman administration exempts fully vaccinated tourists from carrying negative RT-PCR report

The Andaman and Nicobar administration has decided to exempt fully vaccinated people from mandatory carrying a negative RT-PCR report to travel to Port Blair, an official said on September 24.

The official told PTI that the Union Territory administration's Health department has decided to implement fresh Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with effect from September 25.

As per the new SOPs all asymptomatic passengers who have been vaccinated with both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 15-days has passed since the administration of the second dose of the vaccine will be exempted from the mandatory requirement of carrying a negative RT-PCR report to travel to Port Blair from the mainland. - PTI


Tamil Nadu

‘COVID-19 cases among students only sporadic': Tamil Nadu Health Secretary

Around 400-odd students had tested positive for COVID-19 since schools reopened for higher classes in Tamil Nadu and “these were isolated, sporadic cases and not clusters,” State Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said on September 23.

“The decision to reopen schools was recommended by the expert committee at a time when the COVID-19 positivity rate was less than one percent. The committee was of the view that we reopen schools taking into consideration the mental health issues faced by students and we came up with Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) to ensure safe protocols,” he explained at a panel discussion on ‘Back to School: Challenges and Opportunities’ organised by UNICEF and the Press Institute of India.

“We are keeping a close watch and officials across the health and education department are participating in regular reviews to keep an eye on the situation,” he said, adding that every school has been directed to strictly follow SoPs.



Active COVID-19 cases in country lowest in 188 days

India logged 31,382 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,35,94,803, while the active cases declined to 3,00,162, the lowest in 188 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on September 24.

The death toll climbed to 4,46,368 with 318 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 a.m.

The active cases comprise 0.89% of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.78%, the highest since March 2020, the Ministry said. - PTI


Australia hits vaccine milestone as Melbourne cases hover near record levels

More than half of Australia's adult population were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of September 24, authorities said, as they step up inoculations in hopes of easing restrictions while cases linger near daily record levels in Victoria.

Australia is grappling with a third wave of infections from the highly infectious Delta variant that has led to lockdowns in its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital, Canberra, affecting nearly half the country's 25 million people.

These tough curbs and a decision to shut construction sites for two weeks over the rapid spread of the virus among workers triggered anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, for three straight days. - Reuters



Inmate found COVID-19 positive in barrack holding Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen

A senior citizen inmate, lodged in the same barrack as Sudha Bharadwaj and Shoma Sen at the Byculla jail, was found COVID-19 positive on September 23.

Confirming it with The Hindu , DIG Yogesh Desai said, “One senior citizen who was given one dose of vaccination has tested positive and has been shifted to a temporary COVID Center next to the jail.” He said Ms. Sen and Ms. Bharadwaj have tested negative on the RTPCR test. They are accused in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case.

Twenty other inmates have been found to be positive inside the prisons and have all been shifted out to the COVID center.



At-home COVID-19 vaccination for disabled: Centre

Persons with restricted mobility, disabilities and those with special needs can avail COVID vaccination at-home facility while following all safety protocols, the Health Ministry said on September 23.

Niti Aayog member (health) V.K. Paul said India had already achieved the milestone of vaccinating 66% of its adult population with one dose of the vaccines.

“The Health Ministry aims to provide maximum vaccine cover to as many people as possible and in the endeavour this is an important step forward. Those who do not have enough mobility, and cannot even access the near-to-home vaccination facility, can be covered under this programme. We have made the provision for at-home vaccination under supervision specially for this group of persons,” Dr. Paul said.



U.S. CDC advisers recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for ages 65 and older, those at high risk

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel on September 23 recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and some adults with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease.

The panel declined to recommend boosters for adults ages 18 to 64 who live or work in institutions with high risk of contracting COVID-19, based on individual risk, such as healthcare workers, teachers and residents of homeless shelters and prisons. Some panel members cited the difficulty of implementing such a proposal. - Reuters


WHO backs Regeneron COVID-19 drug cocktail as U.N. body calls for equal access

A World Health Organization (WHO) panel on September 24 recommended the use of Regeneron and Roche's COVID-19 antibody cocktail for patients at high risk of hospitalisations and those severely ill with no natural antibodies.

The treatment has been granted U.S. emergency use authorisation, having gained attention when used to treat former President Donald Trump's COVID-19 illness last year. Europe is reviewing the therapy, while Britain approved it last month. - Reuters


Sixth serosurvey to start in Delhi; 28,000 samples to be collected

The Delhi government will start the sixth serological survey on September 24 to find out how much percentage of the population have antibodies against COVID-19, either through natural infection or vaccination, as per an official order. The government aims to collect 28,000 blood samples of random people from all 272 wards of the city for the survey.

In April, the government had started the sixth serological survey, but due to the second wave it had to be cut short. The government never made public the result of the over 12,000 samples collected in April, despite the team submitting the results to the government.



China tests Indian seafood online for COVID-19 virus

China, which suspended imports of frozen seafood products citing the presence of the COVID-19 virus, began inspecting stocks at the Indian processing plants and export units.

After finding traces of nucleic acid on the packaging of the seafood, China rejected the marine products shipped from India citing a threat of COVID-19, besides blacklisting some international exporters a few months ago. More than 500 seafood containers were stranded at ports in China for several days.


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