India

Coronavirus India Live Updates: SC questions Centre on mandatory registration on CoWIN app for vaccination – The Indian Express

This is the lowest spike in daily infections since April 9.

Coronavirus India Live Updates: Highlighting the technical difficulties faced by people in rural areas, the Supreme Court on Monday questioned Centre on mandatory registration on the CoWIN app in order to get vaccinated. It added that there is digital divide in the country and that policy makers should pay attention to the realities on ground. This comes as cases continue to rise in rural parts of the country, with vaccination numbers lagging behind. Meanwhile, the Central government told the Supreme Court that it will be able to vaccinate the entire adult population in India by the end of 2021.

India recorded over 1.52 lakh new covid-19 cases in the 24 hours ending 8 am on Monday, taking the country’s total infections to over 2.80 crore. This is the lowest spike in daily infections since April 9. Out of these, active cases further declined to over 20 lakh and the number of recoveries escalated to over 2.56 crore. With 3,128 new fatalities, the lowest since April 26, the death toll is now at over 3.29 lakh.

As daily infections see a downward trend, several states announced a few relaxations while many have extended the lockdown measures. Many states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Goa, have extended the restrictions, while some such as Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have announced relaxations.

In an important development, the Centre is looking at redefining its vaccine strategy and planning to begin testing the feasibility of mixing two different covid-19 vaccines to see if it helps boost immune response to the virus, The Indian Express has learnt. The government will also likely review the impact of extending the interval between covishield doses. A newly proposed vaccine tracker platform is likely to launch shortly too, sources said.Tamil Nadu continued to be the top contributor with 28,864 cases. Maharashtra count below 20,000 for second consecutive day.

Pune reported 2,187 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, a slight decline from the previous day when 2,290 cases were registered. The daily spike in new cases have remained below 5,000 since the past 2 weeks now.

The decline in cases in the last 24 hours coincided with fewer number of tests having been conducted. Only 22,097 samples were tested on Sunday, the lowest in more than two weeks. The district has tested more than 50 lakh samples to date.

Rural areas of Pune continue to account for most of these cases. On Sunday, these areas contributed 1,125 cases, or more than half from the entire district. However, the positivity rate is gradually declining in these regions as well. (With Seona James)

Highlighting the technical difficulties faced by people in rural areas, the Supreme Court on Monday questioned Centre on mandatory registration on the CoWIN app in order to get vaccinated. It added that people in rural areas may face difficulties due to this. This comes as cases continue to rise in rural parts of the country, with vaccination numbers lagging behind.

The Central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will be able to vaccinate the entire adult population in India by the end of 2021. 

British intelligence agencies now believe it is “feasible” that the COVID-19 pandemic began with a coronavirus leak from a Chinese bio laboratory, a media report said here on Sunday, prompting Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi to demand that the WHO must fully investigate the origins of the deadly virus.

The origins of the COVID-19 remain a widely debated topic, with some scientists and politicians maintaining that the possibility of a lab leak of the deadly virus exists.

Western intelligence, including in Britain, at first considered there was only a “remote” chance that it had leaked from the laboratory, where research is conducted into bat-derived coronaviruses, including one closely associated with COVID-19. But there has since been a reassessment, and a lab escape is thought “feasible”, The Sunday Times reported, citing sources. (PTI)

With medical practitioners warning that Covid-19 symptoms are much worse among smokers, the pandemic has seen a rise in the number of people wanting to kick the habit.

“The proportion of people who call and register for quitting is much higher, so the number of people seriously wanting to quit has increased. 90 per cent of callers calling during Covid are because of the health concerns around the disease,” Dr. Pratima Murthy, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Department at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) Bengaluru said. (With Anuradha Mascarenhas)

India’s covid recovery rate increased to 91.60% on Monday. The weekly positivity rate is currently at 9.04% and daily positivity rate at 9.07%, less than 10% for 7 consecutive days, according to the Union Health Ministry.

India may soon begin testing the feasibility of a regimen that mixes two different Covid-19 vaccines to see if it helps boost immune response to the virus.

The testing may be carried out both using vaccines that are currently available in the country, and those that are in the pipeline, The Indian Express has learnt. Work is expected to begin “in a few weeks”, according to Dr N K Arora, chairman of the Covid-19 working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). (Read Prabha Raghavan’s report here)

India recorded over 1.52 lakh new covid-19 cases in the 24 hours ending 8 am on Monday, taking the country’s total infections to over 2.80 crore. This is the lowest spike in daily infections since April 9. Out of these, active cases further declined to over 20 lakh and the number of recoveries escalated to over 2.56 crore. With 3,128 new fatalities, the lowest since April 26, the death toll is now at over 3.29 lakh.

After 47 days, less than 100 bodies were cremated or buried as per Covid protocol on Saturday. According to data from the East, North and South MCDs, which manage crematoriums and graveyards in the city, last rites of 82 people – 79 cremations and three burials – were conducted.

The last time less than 100 bodies were cremated or buried as per Covid protocol was on April 12, when 77 bodies were received. The next day saw 170 bodies.

By the last week of April, when cases and deaths spiked at the height of the second wave, crematoriums were under pressure as they carried out more than 700 last rites (as per Covid protocol) a day. This eased slightly in the second week of May, with the number of such cremations dropping below 450. Since then, there has been a constant drop. (With Abhinav Rajput)

 RSS Sahapracharpramukh (joint publicity chief) Narendra Kumar said media reports of corpses flowing through the Ganga and buried on its banks was part of an “agenda”. In a virtual speech on the occasion of Maharshi Narad Jayanti, Kumar said, “Dead bodies in Ganga were also seen in 2015 and 2017. There was no Covid-19pandemic then. So to connect them to Covid-19 now is clearly part of an agenda.” Read more

The daily Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra are on a decline but these numbers are just close to last year’s peak levels, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday. Addressing people through social media, Thackeray asked them not to let their guard down against the virus while bracing for the third wave of the pandemic.

Karnataka reports 382 more Covid-19 deaths, 223 from Bengaluru (Urban & Rural). Active caseload in state drops to 3,42,010 as recoveries (28,053) outnumber new cases (20,378). Most cases from Bengaluru Urban (4734), Hassan (2227), Mysuru (1559).

The total COVID-19 recoveries in Andhra Pradesh crossed 15 lakh on Sunday, resulting in a drop in the number of active cases as fresh positives too continued their downward slide for more than a week now. In 24 hours ending 9 am on Sunday, 21,133 Covid-19 patients in the state had recovered and 94 others succumbed while 13,400 new cases were reported, a health bulletin said. The gross positives went up to 16,85,142 and the recoveries to 15,08,515. The overall toll touched 10,832, it said. The active caseload is now 1,65,795. –PTI

“Curfew will continue in districts which have more than 600 active COVID cases for one more week. When active cases will come under 600 the curfew will end automatically. We’ve eased restrictions in 55 districts from 7 am to 7 pm,” said UP CM Yogi Adityanath, in Lucknow. “Uttar Pradesh has registered 1900 COVID cases today. The active cases stand at 41,000. We’ve the lowest fatality rate in the country, lowest positivity & highest recovery rate,” he added.

Delhi reports 946 new Covid-19 cases (positivity rate 1.25%), 1803 recoveries, and 78 deaths in the last 24 hours Total cases 14,25,592 Active cases 12,100.

A day after Pimpri-Chinchwad witnessed confusion over the opening of shops during the weekend, shops dealing in essential items in many parts of the industrial city functioned normally on Sunday.

On Saturday, there was confusion among the shopkeepers as there was no order from the PCMC allowing them to operate.

On Friday, the Maharashtra government allowed the opening of shops on weekends as per the weekday timings. The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Health Minister Rajesh Tope. However, by Friday evening, the PCMC failed to issue the orders to allow shopkeepers to operate. The order came only on Saturday afternoon. Read more

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin visited the Covid ward at ESI Hospital in Coimbatore donning personal protective equipment (PPE) kit. He enquired the doctors about the treatment they are providing to those infected with the virus. 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin Sunday visited the Covid ward at ESI Hospital in Coimbatore, donning a personal protective equipment (PPE) kit. He enquired the doctors about the treatment they are providing to those infected with the virus.

An official in charge of the oxygen supply system at the SNR Hospital in Karnataka’s Kolar district, around 60 km from Bengaluru, has a desperate story to tell about the night of April 25, when he and others at the hospital tried to provide oxygen for 250 Covid-19 patients – with an oxygen supply system that could support only 120 patients.

“As the number of patients in the district hospital kept growing we told the officials that the system cannot support 250 patients needing oxygen. Nobody listened. On April 25 we sat the whole night pouring water on the vapouriser of the oxygen system to ensure it does not freeze up and cause a drop in the oxygen pressure,” said Somanna, the technician.

“Even the district surgeon was with us pouring water. He said he would arrange a tanker of water to keep the oxygen system from freezing up and choking supplies,” the technician said.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said that his government is aiming at inoculating 30 per cent of the 3.2-crore population of the state by August 15 if vaccines are available.

The state has only 20,000-25,000 vaccine doses for people in the 18-44 years age group at present, he said.

Sarma, while visiting the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), said he has spoken to authorities of two vaccine-producing companies, which have promised to supply seven lakh doses in June for the 18-44 years age group.

“The two companies have promised to send seven lakh vaccines for this group in June, but they could not say any date,” he told reporters here.

The pace of immunisation for people in the 18-44 years age bracket will be slow till the first week of the next month, the chief minister said. (PTI)

Beneficiaries being inoculated inside Vishnudas Bhave Auditorium, Vashi on Thursday morning. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Meanwhile, the United States is closely monitoring India’s Covid challenge and will “respond positively to any Indian requirement,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is said to have assured External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a “productive discussion” Friday. This was their second interaction after their May 3 meeting on the sidelines of the G-7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in London.

Sources said that the two discussed how ramped-up vaccine production in India can address both domestic needs and the imperatives of global public health. To that effect, India and the US will collaborate bilaterally, in the Quad format, and through multilateral initiatives, sources said.

And as states begin cautiously calibrating how to unwind their lockdowns beginning June, they face a double challenge. Key indicators show that industry and business activities may not be as adversely hit by the second Covid wave as they were by a national lockdown last year, but they are still very vulnerable given the low vaccination levels among the larger, younger population.

And at the individual and household level, public fear and anxiety this time are deeper and have hit consumption and demand harder than last year on several accounts.

So Google mobility and other high-frequency data, until third week of May (see chart), point towards decline in activity on all fronts including retail, grocery, transit stations and toll collections as compared to March and April.

For example, according to Google mobility data, visits on May 18, 2020 (Monday), to grocery and pharmacy stores were down 21% compared to a pre-Covid base line. This year, on May 17, 2021 (Monday), the corresponding decline was sharper at 27.6%. Similarly, for workplaces, visits were down 45% on May 18 last year but down 51% this year.

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