A new Covid variant that needs more antibodies to fight it and has more severe symptoms has been found by the National Institute of Virology in Pune. The variant - B.126.96.36.199 - was detected in samples from two travellers from Brazil but not from anyone in India.
The new variant is seen to have "increased severity" and higher levels of antibodies are needed to neutralise the B.188.8.131.52 variant, NIV sources told NDTV. The strain was found in people who came from Brazil and the UK.
"We found it earlier but it is not in circulation in the country now so we do not see it as a matter of public health importance," the sources said.
Meanwhile, forty-four crore doses of Covid vaccines will be made available to the country from August, the government today said amid a raging shortage that has forced a closure of vaccine centres in many states. These doses will be delivered between August and December 2021, the Union Health Ministry said.
The health ministry announcement -- that orders have been placed for 25 crore doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin to achieve universalization of vaccination -- came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a fresh vaccine policy.
The new policy takes back the onus of vaccine purchase from the states. The finance ministry said today that the new programme will cost around Rs 50,000 crore and the Centre has the necessary funds.
India reported less than one lakh new coronavirus infections after a gap of 63 days, while the daily positivity rate dropped to 4.62 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
A single day rise of 86,498 cases were registered, the lowest in 66 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,89,96,473,
The COVID-19 death count climbed to 3,51,309 with 2,123 daily deaths, the lowest in around 47 days, the data updated at 8 am showed.
A total of 81,466 new cases were recorded in a span of 24 hours on April 2.
Also, 18,73,485 tests were conducted on Monday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 36,82,07,596.
The daily positivity rate has dropped to 4.62 per cent . It has been less than 10 per cent for 15 consecutive days, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre is taking back vaccine-buying from states, the Finance Ministry said the programme will cost around ₹ 50,000 crore and the government has the money.
"We don't need to go for the supplementary grants immediately as there are enough funds. We may have to go for this in the second round, near the winter session of Parliament. At present we have the money," Finance Ministry sources said.
Here are the Live Updates on Coronavirus:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday reviewed the COVID-19 situation and its management in the state and emphasised on the advance preparatory measures for the possible third wave of the pandemic, reported news agency ANI.
During the review meeting with senior government officials and district collectors, Mr Patnaik said, "Even though the situation has improved in the state, we are still not completely free from the effects of the second wave, so with the advent of various festivals, we need to be more vigilant."
Keeping in view the number of Covid cases in some districts of the state, Telangana has extended the lockdown for another 10 days, starting June 10, reported news agency ANI.
"The spread of Covid is not under control in Satthupalli, Madhira, Nalgonda, Nagarjuna Sagar, Munugode, Devarakonda, Miryalguda Assembly segments. Therefore, it has been decided to extend the existing lockdown," the state cabinet said.
The cabinet has also decided to ease restrictions between 6 am to 5 pm during the lockdown and also granted an additional one hour, till 6 pm, for people to reach home from their offices.
US' Washington is offering "joints for jabs," in the latest innovative bid to get more Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 as inoculation rates continue to slow.
Altogether 450 people, including artistes and technicians, were vaccinated on Tuesday as the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India began a free COVID-19 inoculation drive in the city.
FCTWEI President Swaroop Biswas said the drive was conducted at the ''Chalachchitra Satabarsha Bhaban'' in south Kolkata evoking a huge response.
"We aim to vaccinate 6,000 people in the industry in the coming days as part of our initiative to ensure vaccination for all in the entertainment sector. We call upon all stakeholders to come forward so that we can make our shooting zones free from the threat of coronavirus," Mr Biswas said.
Uttar Pradesh's COVID-19 caseload surged to 16,99,787 on Tuesday with 797 fresh infections while the death count climbed to 21,425 as 94 more people died due to the disease.
Lucknow reported the highest number of fresh cases at 50, followed by 33 from Pilibhit, 31 from Gorakhpur, 29 from Varanasi, 27 from Kanpur Nagar, 25 from Meerut, 24 from Siddharthnagar, 23 from Kushinagar, 22 from Allahabad, 21 from Ghaziabad and 20 each from Muzaffarnagar and Gautam Buddh Nagar, according to a health department bulletin.
Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for relief given to COVID-19-hit 80 crore people, Uttar Pradesh Vyapaari Kalyan Board Chairman Ravi Kant Garg has requested PM Modi to offer a similar facility to middle class and small traders.
"Over 30 crore middle class and small traders are suffering from first and second waves of the pandemic. They need government assistance as they also have reached hand-to-mouth stage, and are under heavy debt," Ravi Kant Garg, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Vyapaari Kalyan Board, said in a virtual interaction with the reporters on Tuesday.
He said the electricity department's existing minimum bill system is a "curse for small traders and the middle class", as they used the least amount of power.
Bandipora in Jammu and Kashmir has achieved 100 percent vaccination of eligible persons in 45-plus age group in 20 villages while the overall percentage of vaccinated persons in the targeted age group was 85 percent in the district, an official said on Tuesday.
Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, Owais Ahmad said the district administration has been able to administer one lakh doses and vaccinate the 100 percent population of the eligible age group in 20 villages of the district.
The Goa government on Tuesday said it will open up COVID-19 vaccination for persons in the 18 to 44 age group, who need to travel abroad, from Wednesday onwards.
Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the state will administer the first dose of vaccines to people in 18-44 age category, who need to travel abroad for work, education and sporting events, as per the centre's guidelines.
Indian Naval Ship Tarkash on Tuesday brought in critical medical supplies from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to Mumbai harbour in its third trip as part of operation Samudra Setu II, an official said.
As per a release issued by the Navy, INS Tarkash had first entered Al Shuwaikh Harbour in Kuwait on May 31 and took in 785 oxygen cylinders.
The ship then took in 300 oxygen cylinders from Ad Dammam Port in Saudi Arabia on June 1 and entered Mumbai harbour with the medical consignment on Tuesday morning, the release stated.
As COVID-19 cases show a declining trend in the Union Territory, the Chandigarh administration on Tuesday eased restrictions, allowing all shops to remain open till 6 pm and reducing the night curfew timing, news agency PTI reported.
The administration also allowed all restaurants, bars, gyms, clubs and spas to open with 50 per cent capacity.
However, the cinema halls and theatres will continue to remain closed.
The city is witnessing a consistent drop in daily number of infections. On Monday, Chandigarh had registered 48 new cases, taking the infection tally to 60,707.
A day after the civic authorities relaxed certain curbs, the daily count of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai's Dharavi rose to six on Tuesday, a senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
With the addition of six new cases in the last 24-hours, the tally of infection in the slum-dominated area has reached 6,844, the official said.
At least 6,465 patients have recovered from the infection so far, leaving the area with 20 active cases, he said.
Jharkhand reported six fresh COVID-19 fatalities, the lowest in a single day in May and June so far, raising the death count to 5,060, a health department bulletin said on Tuesday.
The state reported 358 new infections, which took the tally to 3,41,576, it said.
Jharkhand now has 5,312 active cases, while a total of 3,31,204 patients have recovered from the disease, including 726 during the last 24 hours.
As markets opened in Jammu and Kashmir as part of the unclock process following a month-long Covid-induced lockdown, the Old City of Jammu on Tuesday witnessed a huge rush of people who flouting all Covid-protocols, news agency ANI reported.
The Old City market of Jammu is filled mostly with readymade garment shops, and the local administration had allowed the opening up of these shops on Tuesday. But considering that the market is a congested one, and with a huge influx of visitors on the first day of its opening, there are fears of a high probability of the spread of Covid-19 infection.
Divyam Sharma, a local resident said, "We Indians do not realize the intensity of it all. After the first wave, we all got too lenient and we could see the effect of it in the second wave. Now again, it's not even been a week that the situation has started improving, and people are back on streets...many of them don't even have masks on".
China has approved the emergency use of a Covid-19 vaccine for those as young as three, the drugmaker confirmed Tuesday, making it the first country to offer jabs to young children.
Since the coronavirus first emerged in central China, Beijing has mostly managed to bring the country's outbreak under control, and has administered over 777 million vaccine doses after a sluggish start.
A spokesperson for Sinovac told AFP its vaccine had been approved for use on children.
Covid vaccine allocation to states may be negatively affected by high wastage rates, the government said Tuesday as part of revised guidelines for the national vaccination drive.
Guidelines released today said the government will procure 75 per cent of vaccines produced in India and distribute them to states "based on criteria such as population, disease burden and progress of vaccination". "Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively," it said.
Amid the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, at least 10 per cent of people who recovered from the coronavirus infection are being admitted to hospitals again in Dehradun due to post-Covid complication like fungal infections and shortness of breath, officials said.
"Patients who are coming to the hospital after recovering from corona are facing black fungus, lung infection, chest pain, persistent cough, fever, weakness, uncontrolled sugar and kidney problems. Among them, the number of elderly people is more," said Dr Narainjeet Singh, Covid Nodal Officer, Doon Hospital, Uttarakhand.
According to Dr Singh, the second wave of the pandemic is more serious as patients need oxygen support even after recovery from the viral infection, leading to their hospitalisation.
Govt of India releases revised guidelines for national COVID vaccination program, to be implemented from June 21- ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2021
"Vaccine doses to be allocated to States/UTs based on population, disease burden & vaccination' progress. Wastage will affect allocation negatively," guidelines say pic.twitter.com/rUsm0MZmwN
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announces relaxations in #COVID19 restrictions; relaxations applicable for next one week- ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2021
Lockdown ends, night curfew to continue from 7 pm to 5 am. Govt & pvt offices to function till 4 pm with 50% strength. Shops will open till 5 pm. Pvt vehicles permitted pic.twitter.com/QfS1tpZdTr
Agra: Seven patients including COVID infected died in a private hospital due to alleged oxygen shortage on April 26&27- ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 8, 2021
There were 22 critical patients admitted in the hospital but have no details of their death. We'll look into the video surfaced about their death:Agra DM(07.06) pic.twitter.com/9shp2OYFWr
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that the decision on vaccinating all above the age of 18 for free should have been taken long back and the delay has cost many lives.