Coronavirus Cases in India: The recovery rate is 96.04 per cent.
Amid global fears over the new mutant strains of coronavirus, detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa, India recorded 21,822 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, 6 per cent higher than yesterday.
India's tally has surged to 1,02,66,674; 1.48 lakh deaths linked to the disease have been recorded so far. A consortium of 10 government labs has started genome sequencing of new Sars-CoV-2 variant believed to be significantly more infectious.
Applications for the emergency use approval for the coronavirus vaccines filed by the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer were taken up for consideration by a government-appointed panel of experts on Wednesday.
Serum Institute which is making the vaccine 'Covishield' developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech which has partnered the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its 'Covaxin' made presentations before the panel. Pfizer has sought more time to present their data.
The analysis of the data is ongoing and the panel will meet again on Friday, a government statement said.
Once the vaccines are cleared by the expert panel, the applications will move to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for final approval. The government wants to start administering the shots starting next month.
Here are the LIVE updates on Coronavirus Cases:
France Detects First Case Of South African Coronavirus Variant
France has detected its first case of the South African variant of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Thursday.
The 501.V2 Variant was detected by South African authorities in mid December.
Cases have since been found in Japan and Britain among others.
The variant, believed to be more easily transmitted like another version found in Britain, was discovered in France in a man who had returned from South Africa to his home in the Haut-Rhin region which borders Switzerland.
COVID-19: 574 Fresh Cases, 13 Deaths Reported In Delhi; Positivity Rate 0.7 Per Cent
Delhi recorded 574 fresh COVID-19 cases and 13 new fatalities on Thursday, even as the positivity rate slipped to 0.7 per cent, authorities said.
The infection tally in the city mounted to over 6.25 lakh and the death toll rose to 10,536, they said, adding over 81,000 tests were conducted on the previous day.
From December 21-23, the daily case count had been below the 1000-mark. On December 21, 803 cases were reported; 939 on December 22 and 871 on December 23.
However, on December 24, 1,063 cases were recorded, dropping again to 758 on December 25 and 655 on December 26. On December 27, 757 cases were recorded while on December 28, the daily case count was 564, the lowest in the last five months.
On December 29 and 30, the city recorded 703 and 677 cases respectively.
The fresh 574 cases came out the 81,750 tests conducted on the previous day, including 43,780 RT-PCR tests and 37,970 rapid antigen tests, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.
WHO Grants "Emergency Validation" To Pfizer Covid Vaccine
The World Health Organization on Thursday granted emergency validation to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution.
The decision "makes the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the first to receive emergency validation from WHO since the (novel coronavirus) outbreak began a year ago," WHO said in a statement.
US expects to approve UK-backed AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in April
The United States is expected to approve the low-cost AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine in April, a senior official said, more than three months after Britain's green light on Wednesday.
Moncef Slaoui, the chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, the military-led US effort for vaccines, told reporters that US trials and assessments would be complete for approval "sometime in early April."
"Several tens of millions of doses will have been manufactured... and therefore will be available for use if the data supports its approval," he said.
He did not allege that Britain rushed its decision and praised Britain's MHRA regulatory agency as "science-based."
"Therefore I am not raising any question as to the decision that they have made," he said.
"Having said that, the requirements of the decision process as we have built it here in the US is what I can really comment on."
Slaoui also voiced hope for approval in the first half of February of the Janssen vaccine by Johnson & Johnson, which in contrast to the initially approved vaccines comes in a single dose.
Maharashtra reports 3,509 new COVID-19 cases, 3,612 discharges, and 58 deaths on Thursday, as per State Health Department
Total cases: 19,32,112
Total recoveries: 18,28,546
Total active cases: 52,902
Total Deaths: 49,521
Nagpur records 393 new COVID-19 cases
As many as 393 persons tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra's Nagpur district on Thursday, raising the count of infections to 1,23,767, a district official said.
Apart from this, the district also recorded eight casualties that took the toll to 3,930, the official said.
The count of recoveries in the region reached 1,16,055, after 335 patients were discharged from various hospitals during the day, he said. The district is now left with 3,782 active cases, the official said. At least 4,966 swab samples were tested during the day, taking the number of tests conducted so far to 9,30,182, he added.
Gujarat registers 780 COVID-19 cases, 916 recoveries; 4 die
Gujarat recorded 780 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking its count to 2,45,038, while four more patients died due to the infection, the state Health Department said.
With the addition of 780 new cases, Gujarat's COVID-19 tally reached 2,45,038, while the deaths have increased to 4,306, said a release by the department. Also, 916 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the count of recovered cases to 2,30,893, it said.
Coronavirus News Updates: 971 people test positive for infection, 12 die in UP, says Official
Uttar Pradesh on Thursday reported 971 new cases of coronavirus infection, taking the contamination tally to 5,85,902 even as 12 people died of Covid-19 raising the death toll due to the disease to 8,364.
The number of active cases stood at 14,260 in the state with 6,337 recuperating in home isolation and 1,275 getting treatment in private hospitals, Additional Chief Secretary Health Amit Mohan Prasad said.
A total of 5,63,278 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals till now, he said, putting the recovery rate at 96.13 per cent.
The fatality rate due to the contagion in the state is 1.43 per cent at present, he said.
On Wednesday, over 1.49 lakh samples were tested taking the total tests done so far to over 2.39 crores.
China reports first case of new coronavirus variant
China has detected its first imported case of the new coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly around Britain, according to a publication run by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Countries around the world have cut off travel links to Britain to stop the spread of the new variant, which scientists have said is 40-70% more transmissible than the original virus.
The variant was detected in a 23-year-old female student returning to China from Britain, who was tested in Shanghai on Dec 14, according to the latest edition of China CDC Weekly published on Wednesday
304 more test positive for COVID-9 in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand's Covid tally rose to 90,920 on Thursday as 304 more people tested positive for infection while five died of the disease.
Nainital district reported the highest number of 108 cases, Dehradun 99, Udham Singh Nagar 25, Haridwar 18, Almora 12, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh nine each, Pauri seven, Champawat and Bageshwar six each, Chamoli three and Rudraprayag and Tehri one each, a state Health Department bulletin said.
Five more Covid patients died in the state taking the deaths so far to 1509, the bulletin said.
A total of 83,506 infected people have recuperated, 1,186 have migrated out of the state and 4,719 are under treatment, it said.
Coronavirus News: 32 UK returnees test positive in Kerala; Over 5000 new COVID cases
As many as 32 people, who recently returned from the UK, have tested positivefor COVID-19 in Kerala, while the state recorded 5,215 fresh infections and 30 more fatalities on Thursday.
The samples of the infected people have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for further testing to ascertain if it is the new variant, Health Minister KK Shailaja said in a press release. While the total caseload climbed to 7,60,932, recoveries touched 6,92,480 and 65,202 people are undergoing treatment for the virus.
Schools to reopen partially in Kerala from January 1
Schools in Kerala, remained closed since the imposition of coronavirus lockdown in March, will reopen partially on January 1, marking a new beginning in the education sector, but strictly in compliance with COVID protocols.
The Classes for 10th and 12th standards would begin with limited hours and restricted number of students, official sources here said on Thursday.
State Health Minister KK Shailaja said on Thursday that the academic year, which comes at a time of COVID pandemic, should be dealt with confidence but caution.
"Students should not be afraid to go to schools. The government has made all arrangements," she said, urging everyone to strictlyfollow the guidelines issued by the health and the educations departments.
South Koreans working with US forces become first to receive COVID-19 vaccination
South Koreans working at US military bases in the country have become the first citizens to be inoculated against the coronavirus, media reported on Thursday.
According to state news agency Yonhap, the US Forces Korea (USFK) confirmed that Korean health care workers and soldiers part of the Korean Augmentation to the US Army (KATUSA) were among those to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech shots.
"USFK confirms that we started inoculating Korean National health care workers and KATUSA today," the command said in a statement.
South Korea's vaccination campaign is not scheduled to begin until February, the agency reported.
South Korea moves coronavirus patients out of nursing homes to hospitals as deaths mount
Dozens of elderly South Korean coronavirus patients were transferred from nursing homes to hospitals this week after criticism that government policy had led to a spike in deaths among the vulnerable residents.
South Korea's total tally of infections passed 60,000 on Thursday, as 967 additional cases were reported.
At least 486 of South Korea's 900 reported deaths were people over the age of 80.
Only 40 deaths have been reported among people younger than 60.
At least 316 residents of nursing hospitals or nursing homes have died, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Thursday.
Tokyo tops 1,300 daily virus cases; warns of possible new emergency
Tokyo reported over 1,300 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, a daily record, as officials warned that a state of emergency might be needed to tackle spiking cases.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held emergency talks with ministers late Thursday but did not immediately outline plans for any new measures.
"The trend is clearly increasing. I regard this as very serious," Suga told reporters, as he urged people to wear masks, wash their hands, and avoid crowds and non-urgent outings.
"I again instructed the ministers to make sure that we will use this holiday to secure an adequate system to provide medical care by coordinating efforts with local governments," he said.
Probably we will have a very happy New Year: Drug Controller General of India on COVID-19 vaccine
India is likely to have a COVID-19 vaccine in the New Year, Drug Controller General of India V G Somani hinted on Thursday. Speaking at a webinar, Mr Somani said the most important thing is that the industry and research organisations have stood the test of time.
He said vaccine candidates have got the funding and also talked about the efforts made by the Department of Biotechnology. "...and probably we will have a very happy New Year with something in hand. That's what I can hint at," Mr Somnai said.
The Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer have applied to the DCGI seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates and are awaiting approval.
COVID-19: Night curfew in Odisha on December 31
The Odisha government has imposed a night curfew from 10 pm on Thursday to avoid large gatherings during the New Year celebrations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an official said.
The restriction will remain in place till 5 am on Friday, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said.
Taking to Twitter, the SRC said, "Govt (Government) of Odisha imposing night curfew from 10 pm of tonight to 5 am tomorrow across the state. General public requested to cooperate. All essential services & movements are allowed to continue during the curfew hours."
He urged people to follow the COVID-19 protocols even though the state has witnessed a declining trend of fresh coronavirus cases.
Coronavirus News: Dry run for COVID-19 vaccination in all states, union territories on January 2
A dry run for COVID-19 vaccination will be conducted by all state and union territory administrations on January 2 to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges, the Centre said on Thursday.
The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites.
Some states will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain/have poor logistical support, while Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their capital, the Union Health Ministry said.
"The objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels," the ministry said.
Over 36,000 ventilators delivered to government hospitals amid COVID: Government
The Health Ministry said on Thursday that it had ensured delivery of 36,433 ventilators to government hospitals in the country and the average cost now ranges between Rs 2-10 lakh as the domestic industry took up manufacturing of the equipment.
The ministry underlined that all public health facilities in the country had only around 16,000 ventilators from the Independence till pre-COVID times.
But in less than 12 months, 36,433 ''Make in India'' ventilators have been supplied to all the public health facilities, it said in a statement.
All export restrictions on ventilators have now been removed and ''Make in India'' ventilators are being exported. The year witnessed tremendous achievements in the medical supplies sector in the country, the ministry said.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, India was almost totally dependent on imported ventilators, PPE kits and N-95 masks," it said. "There were, in fact, no standard specifications for these products which are essential in the fight against the pandemic."
The central government recognised the challenges posed by the pandemic in the very initial stages and successfully ensured more than adequate availability and supplies of essential medical items across the country, according to the ministry.
JustIn| All states to begin vaccine dry run from January 2, say sources
38 UK returnees found positive for Covid in Delhi; new strain detected in four patients
Four persons who recently came to Delhi from the UK and tested positive for COVID-19, have been found infected with the new strain of coronavirus, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday.
Interacting with reporters, he said, a total of 38 people have been found positive since coming to Delhi from the UK recently, and kept in a separate institutional isolation unit in the LNJP Hospital premises.
"Four such patients have been found infected with the new UK strain of COVID-19. The persons who came in their contact have been also traced and tested, and its not in them. So, only these four cases of new strain in Delhi so far," he said.
"Flights have been stopped and those who came before that are being traced and tested rigorously," he added.
Delhi recorded 677 COVID-19 cases and 21 new fatalities on Wednesday, even as the positivity rate dropped to 0.8 per cent, authorities said.
COVID-19 recovery rate in country crosses 96 per cent
India has crossed a significant milestone in its fight against coronavirus, with the national COVID-19 recovery rate crossing 96 per cent, one of the highest globally, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
"The total recovered cases have crossed 98.6 lakhs (98,60,280), the highest globally. The gap between active cases and recoveries is continuously increasing and stands at 96,02,624," the ministry highlighted.
Further, the active cases have drastically declined to 2.57 lakh. The total positive cases of the country are 2,57,656 and now comprise merely 2.51 per cent of the total cases.
"With a high number of COVID patients recovering every day and the sustained fall in the mortality rate, India's steady trend of registering dipping active cases continues," the ministry said.
A total of 21,822 new confirmed cases were recorded in a span of 24 hours in the country whereas 26,139 new recoveries were registered in the same period.
Coronavirus News Updates: US May Expand Required COVID-19 Testing To More International Passengers
The U.S. government may expand coronavirus testing requirements for international air travelers beyond Britain as early as next week, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other U.S. agencies held a lengthy call with U.S. airlines Wednesday that discussed expanding COVID-19 test requirements to travelers arriving from other countries, sources briefed on the call said.
The U.S. government on Monday began requiring all airline passengers arriving from Britain - including U.S. citizens - to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure.
The CDC said in a statement that "efforts are currently ongoing in the U.S. to assess the risk reduction associated with testing and other recommended preventative measures, determine what a feasible testing regime for air travel may look like, and gain some level of agreement on standards for a harmonized approach to testing for international air travel."
The CDC expansion could eventually cover all U.S.-bound international air arrivals, officials said. On Wednesday, Canada said it will soon require that air travelers test negative for COVID-19 before arrival.
Night Curfew, Ban On Gatherings In States Ahead Of New Year: 10 Points
Three metros -- Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai -- and several states including Punjab and Kerala have announced restrictions including big gatherings and night curfew for New Year's eve in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The Centre has advised restrictions to keep large gatherings to a minimum as the highly infectious UK strain of the virus surfaced in the country. Till yesterday, 20 people, all of whom recently returned from the UK, were found to have contracted the new bug. There will be no restrictions in Bengal and Chandigarh. Read more
Two new COVID-19 cases take Arunachal's tally to 16,711
Arunachal Pradesh reported two new COVID-19 cases, which raised the tally in the state to 16,711, a health department official said on Thursday.
Two fresh cases from Tawang and East Siang were detected through rapid antigen tests, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Dr Lobsang Jampa said.
At least eleven people were cured of the disease on Wednesday, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 16,549.
The recovery rate among coronavirus patients currently stands at 99.03 per cent, he said.
Arunachal Pradesh now has 106 active cases, while 56 people have succumbed to the infection so far, he said.
JustIn| 5 new cases of UK coronavirus strain in India, total 25 cases so far
China Is Making It Harder To Solve The Mystery Of How Covid Began
In the year since seafood hawkers started appearing at Wuhan's hospitals sickened with a strange and debilitating pneumonia, the world has learned a lot about Covid-19, from the way it spreads to how to inoculate against the infection. Despite these advances, a chasm remains in our understanding of the virus that's killed nearly 2 million people and whipsawed the global economy: we still don't know how it began. Read more
China Gives Its First Coronavirus Vaccine Approval To Sinopharm
China approved its first COVID-19 vaccine for general public use on Thursday, a shot developed by an affiliate of state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, as it braces for greater transmission risks over the winter.
No detailed efficacy data of the vaccine has been publicly released but its developer, Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG), said on Wednesday its vaccine was 79.34% effective in preventing people from developing the disease based on interim data.
The approval, announced by the National Medical Products Administration, comes after the United Arab Emirates this month became the first country to roll out the vaccine to the public.
Update| Night curfew to remain in place from 11 pm today to 6 am tomorrow. Section 144 to remain imposed prohibiting gathering of 5 or more persons. No parties allowed in restaurants, pubs, bars, beaches, rooftops and boats. We'll keep watch using drones: S Chaitanya, Mumbai Police Spokesperson.
People should not think that they can escape if they drink and drive just because breathalysers are not being used in view of COVID. We can always collect blood samples and examine its alcohol content. Action will be taken against offenders: S Chaitanya, Mumbai Police Spokesperson
JustIn| 21,822 fresh COVID-19 cases in India, 6% higher than yesterday; 1.02 crore total cases, 1,48,738 deaths
Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Jharkhand reports 223 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths
Jharkhand's COVID-19 tally mounted to 1,14,873 as 223 more people tested positive for the infection, a health department official said on Thursday.
The death toll rose to 1,027 as two persons from Ranchi succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, he said.
Ranchi district registered the maximum number of fresh cases at 87, followed by East Singhbhum at 40, Bokaro at 20 and Dhanbad at 18.
Jharkhand now has 1,640 active cases, while 1,12,206 people have been cured of the disease so far, the official said.
Night Curfew In Delhi Today, Tomorrow To Restrict New Year Celebrations
No public gatherings will be allowed in Delhi tonight and tomorrow between 11 PM and 6 AM as the state government has announced a night curfew to restrict the New Year celebrations. The centre had asked the states to consider a series of restrictions and tone down the New Year celebrations after 20 cases of new mutant coronavirus strain - believed to be significantly more infectious - were reported across the country. Read more
UK Covid Strain Could've Entered India Prior To December: AIIMS Director
With India confirming at least 20 cases of the new UK strain of Covid-19, All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria on Wednesday said that it is a possibility that the new mutation could have been present in the country even in November as the mutant strain was reported in the United Kingdom in September and there might be people who would have been infected. Read Here
India Will Have COVID-19 Vaccine Within Days: AIIMS Director
Terming the approval for Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK as a "big step forward", AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Wednesday said that India will have the COVID-19 vaccine within days.
US Logs More Than 3,900 COVID-19 Deaths In New Daily Record: Report
More than 3,900 people died of Covid-19 in the US Wednesday, according to a count released by Johns Hopkins University, a new daily record for fatalities from the virus.
Expert Panel Reviews COVID-19 Vaccines, To Meet Again Friday
Applications for the emergency use approval for the coronavirus vaccines filed by the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer were taken up for consideration by a government-appointed panel of experts on Wednesday. Read Here
"Highly Unlikely" 91-Year-Old's Death Due To Vaccine: Switzerland
There is no indication the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 was responsible for the death of an elderly person in Switzerland just days after she received the jab, Swiss authorities said Wednesday.
The Swissmedic regulatory authority and regional authorities in the central canton of Lucerne confirmed reports that a 91-year-old person who was among the first to receive the vaccine in Switzerland last week had died.
But a Swissmedic spokesman insisted to AFP that the timing of the death on Tuesday in a Lucerne nursing home, just five days after receiving the vaccine, "was a coincidence".
"Investigations by the cantonal health authorities and by Swissmedic have shown that, based on the medical history and disease development, a connection between the death and the Covid-19 vaccination is highly unlikely," Swissmedic said in a statement.
Canada To Require Negative COVID-19 Test For People Entering Country
Canada will require travellers to obtain a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the country, the government announced Wednesday.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests will need to be conducted within three days of boarding a flight, officials told a news conference.
Upon arrival travellers will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc said the new measure -- along with increased monitoring at Canadian airports -- would be in place "quickly," but did not provide a specific date.
It comes after a new strain was identified in Britain, and has already spread to Canada.
Priority Groups Identified, Centre Working Aggressively For Covid Vaccination Drive: AIIMS Director
The government is aggressively working on the Covid-19 mass vaccination program and there will be no delay in the inoculation process, Dr Randeep Guleria, director All India Institute of Medical Sciences said on Wednesday. He also said that priority groups have been identified and the vaccine will be free for healthcare workers, frontline workers, and the elderly.
In an interview to ANI, Dr Guleria explained the mechanism and the twin aims of the vaccination drive- "to decrease mortality as we do not want more people to die because of COVID-19, second is to break the chain of vaccination in which we will aim having a sufficient number of people vaccinated, therefore the cases come down automatically."
"With these aims, we have to see how many people we have to vaccinate. We want to vaccinate our higher population--those having co-morbidity and the elderly because they have a higher chance of having a severe Covid-19 infection.
"We know that there are people who have got the infection and already have the immunity and if we give the vaccine to them then another significant number of people get immunity, In that way, we may have reached so-called ''herd immunity'' and we may not need to vaccinate larger number of the entire population because we broke the chance of transmission," he added.