Coronavirus updates | September 25, 2021

A health worker inoculates a beneficiary against COVID-19, at a vaccination centre at Parel Railway Workshop, in Mumbai, September 24, 2021   | Photo Credit: PTI

Physical classes in schools would resume across Maharashtra from October 4, the State government said on September 24. “All the schools in rural areas will resume physical classes for standards 5th to 12th," said State education minister Varsha Gaikwad. Physical classes for standards 8th to 12th would resume everywhere in urban areas too, she added.

Read | A disease surveillance system, for the future

Editorial | A flicker of hope: On declining COVID-19 numbers

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 84.82 crore on September 24, the Union health ministry said. More than 64 lakh (64,58,806) vaccine doses were administered till 7 pm, it said.

Here are the latest updates:

Maharashtra

Cinemas, drama theatres to reopen in Maharashtra from Oct 22

The Maharashtra government has allowed reopening of cinema and drama theatres across the State from October 22. The decision was announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Work is underway to prepare a detailed SOP in this regard and it will be announced soon, the CMO has tweeted.

The government has allowed religious places of worship to reopen from October 7. - Alok Deshpande

National

CoWin certificates to mention date of birth of fully vaccinated travelling abroad

People who are fully inoculated and want to travel abroad will have a CoWin certificate with their full date of birth, official sources said on September 25 amid ongoing discussions between India and the U.K. over Covid vaccination certificates.

Currently, CoWin certificates mention the beneficiary's age based on the year of birth besides other details.

The new feature is being introduced in compliance with the WHO norms and likely to be available from next week. -PTI

National

Over 82.57 crore Covid vaccine doses given to States, UTs so far: Govt

More than 82.57 crore Covid vaccine doses have been provided to States and Union Territories so far and over 94 lakh doses are in the pipeline, the Union Health Ministry said on September 25.

Over 4.15 crore balance and unutilised vaccine doses are still available with the States and the Union Territories for inoculation, it said.

The Union government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of Covid vaccination throughout the country, the ministry said in a statement. -PTI

El Salvador

El Salvador to begin giving third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

El Salvador will begin administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to various groups including the elderly, healthworkers and people with underlying health conditions, President Nayib Bukele said on September 24.

The Central American nation of roughly 6.4 million people has obtained some 12 million vaccines since February.

Third shots would be given to people including those aged over 60, frontline health staff, teachers, the armed forces, police and firefighters, as well as Salvadorans with pre-existing health problems, Bukele said on Twitter. -Reuters

National

India logs 29,616 new COVID-19 cases, 290 fatalities

India logged 29,616 new coronavirus infections, taking the total tally of cases to 3,36,24,419, while the active cases rose by 1,280 to reach 3,01,442, according to Union Health Ministry data updated September 25.

The death toll climbed to 4,46,658 with 290 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The active cases now constitute 0.90% of the total infections, while the nationwide COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.78%, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said. -PTI

National

India tells Quad will allow export of 8 million Indo-Pacific vaccine doses

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told fellow leaders of the Quad partnership on September 24 India will allow the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccines by end of October in line with a deal reached by the grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States in March, India's foreign secretary said on September 24.

A plan reached by the Quad earlier this year to supply a billion COVID-19 shots across Asia by the end of 2022 stalled after India, the world's largest vaccine producer, banned exports in April amid a massive COVID outbreak at home. -Reuters

Gujarat

Gujarat allows 'garbas' in housing societies, streets but says no commercial events

The Gujarat government on September 24 relaxed night curfew by one hour in eight cities and permitted organisation of 'garba' events in Navratri in housing societies and on streets during the nine-day-long festival next month with certain norms as coronavirus cases steadily decline in the State.

However, commercial organisation of garba events will not be allowed this year. Garba is a popular folk dance of Gujarat and is performed with passion and fervour during the Navratri festival, which this year will start from October 7.

The government also announced a slew of relaxations related to hotels, marriage functions and funerals. -PTI

Brazil

Brazil approves COVID-19 booster shots for healthcare workers

Brazil has approved booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for "health professionals," with preference given to the Pfizer shot, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on September 24.

The boosters will only be given to people six months after they complete initial round of COVID-19 vaccination, Mr. Queiroga said in a Twitter post. -Reuters

National

India, U.S. ties entering a new chapter: Biden

Sitting in the Oval Office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden kicked off their bilateral talks, with comments on the promise of the India-U.S. relationship, the areas they would work on like COVID-19 and climate and the importance of the diaspora. Their opening remarks were sprinkled with jokes and laughter, interspersed with a serious outlining of the discussions ahead.

Both leaders suggested that the countries were at an inflection point in their relationship. Mr. Modi spoke of a “transformative” decade ahead and Mr. Biden spoke about a “new chapter” in ties.

Read more
 

Karnataka

Study finds positive immune response in healthcare workers six months after vaccination

A study to assess the need for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine taken up at the State-run Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences in Bengaluru has found that 99% of a group of 250 healthcare workers, who received their second dose in February, showed positive antibody response even six months later.

Of the 250 healthcare workers, 20% were delayed responders. Initially, these 20% workers did not show a positive immune response in April when they took their first dose. Now, six months after their second dose (in February), they showed a significant improvement in antibody levels.

Read more
 

Tamil Nadu

T.N. govt. to resume AC bus services from October 1

The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) will resume air-conditioned (AC) bus services across the State from October 1. More than 700 AC buses are proposed to be operated throughout the State.

Transport Minister R.S. Rajakannappan has directed the officials to operate 702 buses. Of these, State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) would be operating 340 AC buses comprising sleeper and semi-sleeper coaches. Chennai’s Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) would run 48 buses.

Read more
 

Tamil Nadu

Lockdown restrictions eased further in Coimbatore

The district administration has allowed owners of commercial establishments to open for business on Sundays by easing the additional restrictions it had imposed a couple of weeks ago.

A release from District Collector G.S. Sameeran said the administration was easing the Coimbatore-specific Sunday restrictions it had imposed following increase in COVID-19 vaccination coverage.

Sources said the easing of restrictions meant that restaurants, eateries and bakeries could start welcoming walk-in customers, malls, cinemas, places of recreation and gyms could be kept open and all those establishments that were asked to shut shop on Sundays could resume business.

Read more
 

USA

'The View' hosts test positive for COVID, scuttling VP Harris's first in-studio interview

Two co-hosts of morning show "The View" tested positive for COVID-19 just before Vice President Kamala Harris was scheduled to appear in a live interview on September 24, forcing her to appear remotely.

Ms. Harris had been due to make her first planned in-studio appearance as vice president. But just before she was set to appear with the morning show's four women co-hosts, to discuss everything from abortion to immigration, Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin were asked to leave. -Reuters

National

Govt withdraws COVID-linked expenditure restrictions

The Finance Ministry on September 24 withdrew expenditure curbs on various departments and ministries imposed in June in the wake of the COVID-19 second wave, reflecting improvement in public finances and the urgency to step up growth.

The expenditure restrictions are being withdrawn with immediate effect following a review of the guidelines, said an office memorandum issued by the Economic Affairs Department of the Finance Ministry.

The June 30 guidelines regarding regulating the overall expenditure within 20% of the Budget Estimate (BE) in the second quarter (July-September, 2021) have been reviewed, according to the office memorandum. -PTI

Karnataka

Nod for 100% occupancy at cinemas, pubs in districts of Karnataka with low infection rate

The Karnataka government on September 24 decided to allow 100% occupancy in cinemas and pubs from October in districts of the State, where there is less than 1% COVID-19 positivity rate.

Announcing this to reporters after consulting with an expert committee on the coronavirus, Chief Minister of the State Basavaraj Bommai said the cent per cent occupancy would be allowed in cinemas from October 1 and in pubs from October 3. -PTI

Maharashtra

Religious places to reopen in Maharashtra from October 7: CM

The Maharashtra government on September 24 announced reopening of all religious places from October 7 in the State with COVID-19 protocols, a move that comes amid indication that the second wave of the pandemic is ebbing.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who made the announcement, urged people not to drop guard and continue COVID-19-appropriate behaviour in view of a possible third wave of the pandemic.

“All religious places will be opened from October 7 in the State. The Maharashtra government has prepared itself for a third wave, but with all precautions, the State is allowing relaxations in various activities,” he said. -PTI

International

Children less severely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic: WHO chief scientist

Children have been less severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and their chances of recovery are very well, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on September 24.

She, however, said SARS-CoV2 virus may not disappear, but it is not going to cause the kind of impact and panic it caused over the last two years.

Participating in a virtual session on 'Priorities after Pandemic; What Young India wants?'- Indian Student Parliament, Ms. Swaminathan said the reason why people talk about children being susceptible is because vaccination programmes today in most countries are targeting people above the age of 18 and elderly as they are the most vulnerable. -PTI

Nepal

Nepal resumes visa on arrival for foreign tourists

In a bid to revive its struggling tourism industry, the Nepal government has done away with its seven-day mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign tourists and resumed issuing visas on arrival to vaccinated travellers.

In another major boost to the sector, major airlines have announced the resumption of the much in demand mountain flights, which draw lakhs of tourists each year.

In a notice on September 23, the Immigration Department of Nepal said foreign travellers to Nepal can obtain visas on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu and other entry points, including buses from neighbouring India, if the applicants have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days in advance. -PTI

West Bengal

Lakhs of crores of rupees donated to PM-CARES, where is that money, asks Mamata

Slamming the Centre over its assertion that PM-CARES was not a government fund, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on September 24 stated that complete transparency should be maintained in the transactions made with the money collected by the trust.

The PM-CARES FUND bears our national emblem, but the central government has insisted that it is not a government fund, “leaving us all confused”, the CM said, tongue in cheek.

"The Chief Minister Relief Fund is regularly audited. PM CARES FUND was formed for COVID-19, but yesterday they (Centre) told the court that it is not a government fund. Government employees have donated money there, funds through CSR have been donated there, lakhs of crores of rupees have been donated. So where is that money?" she fumed. -PTI

USA

CDC leader adds people with risky jobs to COVID booster list

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on September 23 endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans, opening a major new phase in the U.S vaccination drive against COVID-19.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late September 23.

The advisers said boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot. -PTI

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