Updates: COVID-19 active cases were recorded at 1,51,708 on Thursday. (File)
India's COVID-19 active cases were recorded at 1,51,708, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday, highlighting that the surge was due to rise in daily new cases in some states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. A total of 16,738 new daily cases have been recorded in a span of 24 hours.
The ministry said 89.57 per cent of the new cases are from seven states. Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,807. It is followed by Kerala with 4,106 cases while Punjab reported 558 new cases.
The Centre has deputed high-level multi-disciplinary teams to Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir (UT) to ascertain reasons for the surge and coordinate with the state health departments in COVID-19 control and containment measures.
The Centre has also written to states and UTs to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission.
Here are the Latest News Live Updates:
Brazil's Covid-19 death count passes 250,000: Health Ministry
Brazil's death count from Covid-19 surpassed a quarter-million Thursday, a year after the first case was confirmed in the country, which is struggling with vaccine shortages and a devastating second wave.
The new coronavirus has now killed 251,498 people in Brazil, according to health ministry figures -- the second-highest toll worldwide, after the United States, where the number passed half a million Monday.
The news came a day before Brazil marks one year since health officials confirmed its first case of the virus, a Sao Paulo businessman returning from a trip to Italy.
Since then, the virus has spread across the sprawling South American country with dire effectiveness.
Worldwide coronavirus deaths top 2.5 million: AFP count
Covid-19 has killed more than 2.5 million people worldwide since the pandemic began in December 2019, according to an AFP count based on official figures at 1730 GMT Thursday.
In total, 2,500,172 deaths and 112,618,488 cases have been reported. With 842,894 deaths, Europe is the hardest-hit region, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (667,972 deaths) and the US and Canada (528,039). Almost half of deaths have occurred in just five countries: the US, Brazil, Mexico, India and Britain.
Gujarat records 424 new COVID-19 cases, highest in a month
Gujarat recorded 424 new coronavirus cases today, the highest daily count in a month, taking the tally to 2,68,571, while more than 300 patients recovered from the infection, the state health department said.
On January 24, as many as 410 new COVID-19 cases had emerged in the state in a span of 24 hours and since then, the daily infections have been below the 400-mark.
Covid sparking "oxygen emergency": United Nations
The COVID-19 pandemic has left an already strained medical oxygen supply gasping for breath, with the UN and its partners warning that $1.6 billion was needed to address the global emergency.
COVID-19 has put massive pressure on health systems around the world, and in particular in poorer countries, where many hospitals have faced oxygen shortages. This has resulted in preventable deaths and forced families of hospitalised patients to pay extra to ensure access to oxygen for their loved ones.
The WHO-led ACT-Accelerator, a globally-pooled hunt for Covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, said Thursday it was launching an Oxygen Emergency Taskforce to address the spiralling crisis.
UK lowers COVID-19 alert level
British health officials on Thursday lowered the country's virus alert level from 5 to 4, saying case numbers were falling and were less of a threat to the state-run National Health Service.
The UK's chief medical officers and the medical director of NHS England said they had agreed "the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations", as cases were "consistently declining" and the threat of the NHS "being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded."
Hospitals Prep For Phase 2 Of COVID-19 Vaccination As People Eagerly Wait For Turn
Preparations are on at hospitals across Delhi as the second phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive in the country will begin March 1, with priority given to people over 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities. The daily targets are about to double up as second doses of healthcare and frontline workers will go on simultaneously.
J&K reports 108 new COVID-19 cases, infection tally rises to 1,26,201
Jammu and Kashmir recorded 108 new COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 1,26,201, even as no fresh deaths due to the virus was registered in a span of 24 hours, officials said. Out of the fresh cases, 31 were from Jammu division and 77 from Kashmir division of the union territory, they said.
The officials said Srinagar district recorded the highest number of 47 new cases, followed by Udhampur district with 23.
Pfizer-BioNTech testing booster of their COVID-19 vaccine in new trial
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said they are testing a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus. They are also in talks with regulatory authorities about testing a vaccine modified to protect specifically against the highly transmissible new variant found in South Africa and elsewhere, known as B.1.351, as a second arm of the same study.
The companies believe their current two-dose vaccine will work against the South African variant as well as one found in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. But the studies will allow the vaccine makers to be prepared if and when more protection is necessary, they said. "The rate of mutations in the current virus is higher than expected," Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said.
Debilitating "long-Covid" may have severe health, social impacts: World Health Organization
Thousands of COVID-19 patients continue to suffer serious, debilitating and lingering symptoms many months after their initial bout of infection, with major social, health and economic consequences, European health experts said on Thursday.
Publishing a World Health Organization-led guidance report on the condition, often referred to as "long COVID" or "post-COVID syndrome", experts said around one in 10 COVID-19 patients are still unwell 12 weeks after their acute infection, and many suffer symptoms for far longer.
"This is a condition that can be extremely debilitating. Those suffering from it describe a varying combination of overlapping symptoms... (including) chest and muscle pain, fatigue, shortness of breath... brain fog (and) many others," said Martin McKee, a professor at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies who led the report.
Delhi records 220 new COVID-19 cases, 188 recoveries in last 24 hours
Delhi reported 220 fresh COVID-19 cases, 188 recoveries and two deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Delhi Health Department's data. With the addition of new infections, the cumulative COVID-19 cases in the national capital reached 6,38,593, including 6,26,519 recoveries, and 10,905 deaths.
At present, the total number of active cases in the state stands at 1,169. The cumulative positivity rate in the national capital is 5.24 per cent. At present, Delhi has 550 containment zones.
Rajasthan makes Covid negative report mandatory for travellers from Kerala, Maharashtra
Those coming from Kerala and Maharashtra to Rajasthan need to carry a RT PCR Covid negative report to enter the state, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said.
Live Update: Nirav Modi Extradition Cleared By UK Court
Jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted in Rs 14,000-crore PNB scam, can be extradited to India, says UK court.
"No Evidence That If Extradited, Nirav Modi Won't Get Justice": UK Judge
A UK court today said that it was satisfied there is evidence that jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted for fraud and money laundering in the ₹ 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, could be convicted.
District Judge Samuel Goozee at the Westminster Magistrates' Court said there were clearly links between Nirav Modi and other connivers including officials of the bank. "Mr Modi personally subsequently wrote to PNB acknowledging the debt and promising to repay. The CBI is investigating that Nirav Modi firms were dummy partners," the judge noted. These companies were shadow companies operated by Nirav Modi, he said.
Home Quarantine Norms Breach Among Reasons For COVID-19 Surge: Officials
Blatant violation of COVID-19 home quarantine and social distancing guidelines and unavailability of adequate resources for contact-tracing have led to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, a senior health official said on Thursday.
We have decided to have a 3-stair mechanism for OTT platforms. OTT and digital news media will have to disclose their details. We are not mandating registration, we are seeking information.
There should be a grievance redressal system in OTT platforms and digital portals. OTT platforms will have to have a self-regulating body, headed by retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or very eminent person in this category: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
For OTT, there should be self-classification of content -- 13+, 16+ and A categories. There has to be a mechanism of parental lock and ensuring compliance that children don't see that: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Empowering ordinary users of social media. Must have robust grievance redressal mechanism instituting complaint within 24 hours and redressal in 15 days. Must have chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer for significant social media: Ravi Shankar Prasad
There will also be an oversight mechanism at the government level to deal with the case wherein immediate action is needed: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Concerns raised over the years about rampant abuse of social media...Ministry had widespread consultations and we prepared a draft in Dec 2018 - there'll be 2 categories, Intermediary which can be social media intermediary and significant social media intermediary.
If there are complaints against dignity of users, particularly women - expose private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc - you'll be required to remove that within 24 hours after complaint made. This is designed to respect dignity of women.
Significant social media to have chief compliance officer-resident in India-responsible for ensuring compliance of Acts, have nodal contact person-resident in India-for coordination with law enforcement agencies, have resident grievance officer for grievance redressal: Ravi Shankar Prasad.
We have decided to have a 3-stair mechanism for OTT platforms. OTT and digital news media will have to disclose their details. We are not mandating registration, we are seeking information: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Concerns raised over the yrs about rampant abuse of social media...Ministry had widespread consultations and we prepared a draft in Dec 2018 - there'll be 2 categories, Intermediary which can be social media intermediary and significant social media intermediary.
We shall notify users numbers for a significant social media intermediary very soon. They will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism, you will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days.
If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women - expose private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation, etc - you'll be required to remove that within 24 hrs after complaint made. This is designed to respect the dignity of women.
Social media platforms upon being asked either by a court order or a government authority will be required to disclose the first originator of a mischievous tweet or message as the case may be: Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Government Moves To Regulate Digital Content, Streaming With New Rules
The government's new rules to regulate digital content and streaming platforms will include a strict oversight mechanism involving several ministries and a code of ethics that bans content affecting "the sovereignty and integrity of India" and that which threatens national security. Read Here
India is at forefront along with South Africa, in a proposal we had introduced in Oct 2020 before WTO in the TRIPS Council for a TRIPS waiver during COVID-19 pandemic to allow more countries to get equitable access to medicines and other products, waiving IPR regime: Piyush Goyal
We have 57 WTO members supporting us. Developed world's under pressure as on one hand they talk about supporting each other and multilateral fight against COVID-19 but on other hand, they're looking at protecting interest of few companies only in terms of innovation or R&D: Piyush Goyal.
COVID-19 Samples From 8 Maharashtra Districts Sent For Testing Of New Mutations
As cases of COVID-19 surge in Maharashtra, samples from about eight districts have been sent to laboratories across the country, including the National Institute of Virology and National Center for Disease Control, to find out if any new variant is behind the increasing number of cases.
On Request For Sputnik 5 Vaccine Approval, Panel Seeks More Data: Sources
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Indian drug regulator has asked pharma giant Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the Indian manufacturer of Sputnik V, the Russia-developed coronavirus vaccine, for more data regarding its application for emergency use approval for the vaccine, sources said. Read Here
229 School Students, Teachers Found Covid Positive In Maharashtra Hostel
UPDATE: As Maharashtra battles a surge in Covid, 229 cases have emerged from a single hostel in a school in Washim district. Those who tested positive are 225 students and four teachers. The school premises have been declared a containment zone.
COVID-19 Spike: Mumbai's Oval Maidan To Be Closed From February 26
In the wake of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the Mumbai civic body has decided to shut the iconic Oval Maidan from Friday, officials told news agency PTI. No sports or other activities will be allowed at the recreational ground in south Mumbai till further orders, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said. "We have decided to shut the ground till further order as a preventive measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus," assistant municipal commissioner of the BMC''s A-ward, Chanda Jadhav, said on Thursday.
186 Students Found Covid +ve In Maharashtra, School Now Containment Zone
As Maharashtra battles a surge in Covid, 190 cases have emerged from a single hostel in a school in Washim district. Those who tested positive are 186 students and four teachers. The school premises have been declared a containment zone. The students are mostly from Amravati and Yavatmal, two districts that have contributed to a spike in virus cases in recent weeks. Read Here
19,600 Received First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine In Mizoram So Far
Over 19,600 people have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Mizoram since its rollout on January 16, a health official said on Thursday. A total of 38 per cent of the registered beneficiaries have received the first dose of the vaccine so far, she said. Around 15,750 health workers and 27,557 frontline personnel have been registered for receiving the first dose of the vaccine, the official said.
"...It May Not Be 'Fine'": Mumbai Police's Signature Wit In Covid Warning
The Mumbai police have, in their trademark style, warned the residents of the city to strictly follow the Covid-19 protocol, not-so-subtly hinting that life could otherwise turn difficult for delinquents. The warning on Twitter comes amid a steady rise in the number of fresh cases over the past many days. Read Here
Lt Governor-Headed Committee To Monitor COVID-19 Vaccination In Puducherry
A 22-member COVID-19 Intensive Vaccination Committee led by Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been constituted in Puducherry to monitor and upscale the inoculation activities in the Union Territory. In a letter, Lt Governor asked the committee to meet once a week to discuss the progress and to plan future actions. The committee shall access the gaps in implementation, she ordered. It shall adopt methodologies in upscaling the COVID-19 vaccine and also review the awareness and outreach of the programme.
Maharashtra: 614 New COVID-19 Cases In Thane, 5 More Deaths
With the addition of 614 new cases of coronavirus, the infection count in Maharashtra's Thane district has reached 2,62,280,an official said on Thursday. Besides these new cases reported on Wednesday, the virus claimed the life of five more persons in the district, raising the death toll to 6,251, he said.
JUST IN | As Maharashtra battles a surge in Covid, 190 cases have emerged from a single hostel in a school in Washim district. The school premises have been declared a containment zone.
India Reports 16,738 New COVID-19 Cases, 138 Deaths In Last 24 Hours
With 16,738 fresh cases, India's COVID-19 tally has climbed to 1,10,46,914, while the number of recoveries has surged to 1,07,38,501, the Union health ministry said on Thursday. The death count due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,56,705 in the country with 138 more fatalities reported in a 24-hour period, the ministry's data updated at 8 am showed.
Bengal Makes Negative Covid Report Mandatory For Arrivals From 4 States
Amid a spike in coronavirus infections in Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana, the West Bengal government on Wednesday made it mandatory for passengers travelling in flights from these states to produce negative COVID-19 reports. According to a notification issued by the health department, passengers should undergo RT-PCR tests within 72 hours of the flight departure.
A total of 21,38,29,658 samples tested for #COVID19 up to 24th February 2021. Of these, 7,93,383 samples were tested yesterday: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Johnson & Johnson's One-Shot Covid Vaccine Effective, Safe: US Drug Regulator
Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff said in documents published on Wednesday, paving the way for its approval for emergency use. The FDA's panel of independent experts meets on Friday to decide whether to approve the shot. While it is not bound to follow the advice of its experts, the FDA did so when authorizing the Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc vaccines.
South African Variant-Specific Vaccine Ready For Testing: Moderna
US biotech firm Moderna said Wednesday that doses of its new Covid-19 vaccine candidate aimed at the South African coronavirus variant had been shipped to the US National Institutes of Health for testing. "We look forward to beginning the clinical study of our variant booster and are grateful for the NIH's continued collaboration to combat this pandemic," said CEO Stephane Bancel.
Delhi Reports 200 New COVID-19 Cases, Positivity Rate At 0.36 Per Cent
Delhi recorded 200 fresh COVID-19 cases and two new fatalities on Wednesday, even as the positivity rate rose to 0.36 per cent, authorities said. With this, the death count from coronavirus infection has grown to 10,905.
More Than 8,000 New Covid Cases Reported In Maharashtra After 4 Months
Maharashtra on Wednesday witnessed a significant rise in coronavirus cases, with more than 8,000 new infections coming to light in a single day after a gap of over four months, health officials said. The state reported 8,807 cases on Wednesday, taking its total infection count to 21,21,119. It had reported 8,142 cases on October 21 last year, after which the numbers had declined.
Mass "Real World" Study Confirms Pfizer Covid Vaccine 94% Effective
The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine proved 94 percent effective in a huge real world study published Wednesday that involved 1.2 million people in Israel, confirming the power of mass immunization campaigns to end the coronavirus pandemic. The good news came as Ghana became the first country to receive shots under the global Covax scheme, paving the way for poorer nations to catch up with wealthier parts of the world.
How To Get Coronavirus Vaccine From Monday If You Are Over 45
A signed medical certificate - attesting to the severity of the illness - will be required of people who are over 45 and looking to get Covid vaccination in the second phase, sources said Wednesday night. Earlier in the day Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the second phase of vaccination would begin March 1, with priority for those over 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities. He said around 27 crore people would be vaccinated in this stage, of whom around 10 crore are over 60. Read Here
Covid Vaccines Start March 1 For Over 60s, Those Over 45 With Illnesses
The second phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive will begin March 1, with priority given to people over 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said Wednesday afternoon, adding that details of what counted as a comorbidity will be released by the Health Ministry.
The shots will be given at 10,000 government-run centres (where it will be free of cost) and 20,000 private centres. Charges for vaccination at privately-run centres will be confirmed in a few days.
"From March 1, people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres," Mr Javadekar said.
Centre Rushes Teams To 9 States, Warns Against Laxity As Covid Cases Rise
The government today sent high-level teams to 10 states and Union Territories that have seen a surge in Covid cases, warning that slacking off on rules and measures to check infection will escalate the crisis, given the emergence of new virus strains.
The Health Secretary has also written to seven states and Union Territories on the recent spurt in virus cases and has advised specific steps.
Three-member multi-disciplinary teams have been sent to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.