COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

President of India Celebrates Raksha Bandhan with Nursing Professionals

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, celebrated Raskha Bandhan with members of the nursing community at the Rashtrapati Bhavan today (August 3, 2020). Those who met and conveyed Rakhi greetings to the President included representatives of the Trained Nurses’ Association of India, the Military Nursing Service and the President’s Estate Clinic. During a brief interactive session, the nurses offered rakhis to the President and also narrated their experience in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The President felicitated them and described them as saviours who are not only saving lives but also risking their own lives in the line of duty. Such commitment to duty earns respect for nurses who have been performing the role of front-line Covid warriors, he said. Traditionally, on the day of the festival of Raksha Bandhan, sisters seek their brothers’ protection to keep them from harm’s way, the President said, adding that in case of nurses, it is they who through their dedication and commitment extend a helping hand to their brothers and ensure protection for all people.

Home Minister Amit Shah hospitalised with coronavirus

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been admitted to hospital after catching the coronavirus, he said on Sunday, becoming the most senior politician in the country to test positive for the disease. Shah, a close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, heads a ministry that has been at the forefront of managing the epidemic. India's coronavirus outbreak is the third worst in the world behind the United states and Brazil, with nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases and 36,500 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. "I request all of you who came in contact with me in the last few days to isolate yourselves and get tested," Shah said in a tweet. Shah, 55, said he had got himself tested after exhibiting initial symptoms of covid-19. "My health is fine but I am being hospitalised on the advice of doctors," he added.

DCGI approves Phase II+III trials of Oxford University vaccine by Serum Institute, Pune; India’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) further drops to 2.11%

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to Serum Institute of India, Pune to conduct Phase II+III clinical trials of Oxford University-Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine (COVISHIELD) in India. This will hasten the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. India continues to improve the Case Fatality Rate (CFR), and maintain its global position of having one of the lowest COVID fatalities rates. With a further fall, the current CFR touched 2.11% today. India has seen more than 40,574 patients recovered in the last 24 hours. This takes the total recoveries to 11, 86,203 and Recovery Rate to 65.77% amongst COVID-19 patients. With improving daily recovery number, the gap between the recovered cases & the active cases has increased to more than 6 lakh. Presently, it is 6, 06,846. This means the actual active case load is 5,79,357 and all are under medical supervision. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued Revised Guidelines for International Arrivals.

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network has ensured essential immunization services during the COVID pandemic

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) is an innovative technological solution, aimed at strengthening immunization supply chain systems across the country. This is being implemented under National Health Mission by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. eVIN aims to provide real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country. This robust system has been used with the requisite customization during the COVID pandemic for ensuring continuation of the essential immunization services and protecting children and pregnant women against vaccine preventable diseases. eVIN combines state-of-the-art technology, a strong IT infrastructure and trained human resource to enable real time monitoring of stock and storage temperature of the vaccines kept in multiple locations across the country. eVIN has reached 32 States and Union Territories (UTs) and will soon be rolled-out in the remaining States and UTs. To support the Government of India’s efforts to combat COVID-19, eVIN India is helping the State/UT governments monitor the supply chain of COVID response material. Since April 2020, eight States (Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra) are using the eVIN application with 100% adherence rate to track State specific COVID-19 material supplies, ensure availability and raise alerts in case of shortage of 81 essential drugs and equipment. This strong platform has the potential to be leveraged for any new vaccine including COVID-19 vaccine, as and when available.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

India's Covid-19 testing crosses 2 crore mark: ICMR

India has crossed the 2 crore mark of Covid-19 testing across the country on Sunday after 3, 81,027 samples were tested yesterday. A total of 2, 02, 02,858 samples for Covid-19 were tested across the country as of Sunday, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today. "The total number of Covid-19 samples tested up to August 02 is 2, 02, 02,858 including 3, 81,027 samples tested yesterday," said the ICMR in a bulletin shared on Twitter. India's Covid-19 tally crossed the 18 lakh mark with 52,972 positive cases and 771 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The total Covid-19 cases stand at 18, 03,696 including 5, 79,357 active cases, 11, 86,203 cured/discharged/migrated, and 38,135 deaths," said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday.

Difficult to predict if India will see second wave of Covid-19: ICMR DG

ICMR Chief Dr Balram Bhargava said has said that it is difficult to predict whether or not India will see a second wave of COVID-19 infections and there will be smaller peaks at different times due to varied geography of the country. In an exclusive interview with Media, (Prof.) Dr. Bhargava also said that the situation was rapidly evolving and there have been immense variations in spread of infection and mortality rates in different geographies and across different demographics around the world. "SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus. There is still a lot we don't know about it. We have also seen immense variations in the spread of infection and mortality rates in different geographies and across different demographics around the world. So, it is difficult to predict whether or not India will see a second wave of infections. There is also a wide variation in disease distribution in specific states - so one size cannot fit all," he said.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Expect 'lengthy' corona virus pandemic, warns WHO

The World Health Organization has warned the corona virus pandemic was likely to be "lengthy" after its emergency committee met to evaluate the crisis six months after sounding the international alarm. The committee "highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic", the WHO said in a statement, and warned of the risk of "response fatigue" given the socio-economic pressures on countries. The panel gathered Friday for the fourth time over the corona virus crisis, half a year on from its January 30 declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) -- the WHO's highest level of alarm. "WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high," it said following the meeting. The novel corona virus has killed at least 680,000 people and infected at least 17.6 million since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP. Unsurprisingly, the panel, comprising 17 members and 12 advisers, unanimously agreed that the pandemic still constituted a PHEIC.

Six Months after WHO declared it Global Emergency, Corona virus Cases in the World Top 18 Million

The number of corona virus cases recorded worldwide topped 18 million on Monday with the illness continuing its march, after Australia's second-largest city imposed a curfew to halt the spread. Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the virus has killed more than 687,000 people since it first emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources. Fresh clusters have been reported in countries that had previously brought their outbreaks under control, forcing governments to reimpose lockdown measures despite worries over further economic fallout. Australia's Victoria state imposed fresh, sweeping restrictions on Sunday, including a curfew in Melbourne for the next six weeks, a ban on wedding gatherings, and an order that schools and universities go back online in the coming days.

UK to launch two new 90 min Covid-19 tests

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the country will launch two new tests which can detect the novel corona virus in 90 minutes in hospitals, care homes and laboratories, it was reported on Monday. The Department of Health said on Sunday that the swab and DNA tests will help deal with the virus in winter, enabling clinicians and NHS Test and Trace to differentiate between COVID-19, which requires sufferers to undergo specific self-isolation, and other seasonal illnesses. Almost half a million new LamPORE swab tests will be available from next week across adult care settings and laboratories. Millions more of the tests, supplied by Oxford Nanopore, are set to be rolled out later in the year.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Uttar Pradesh reported 4,473 new Covid-19 cases and 50 deaths in the last 24 hours

Uttar Pradesh reported 4,441 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking the total to 97,362 as 50 more fatalities pushed the death toll in the state to 1,778. Of the new deaths reported, seven were from Kanpur, six from Varanasi, five each from Lucknow and Lakhimpur Kheri and four each from Meerut and Gorakhpur, among others, an official statement said here. Among the fresh cases of the infection, the highest number of 507 was reported from Lucknow, followed by 415 in Kanpur Nagar and 194 in Varanasi, it said.

Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa tests positive for Covid-19, hospitalised

Karnataka CM B.S. B.S. Yediyurappa has tested positive for covid-19. The 77-year-old confirmed the news in a tweet. 'I have tested positive for corona virus. Whilst I am fine, I am being hospitalized as a precaution on the recommendation of doctors. I request those who have come in contact with me recently to be observant and exercise self quarantine,' is what he wrote in a tweet. Earlier in the day, union home minister Amit Shah had tested positive for the virus and got himself admitted to a hospital.

19 people on IISc Bengaluru campus test positive for Covid-19

As many as 19 people living on the Indian Institute of Science campus here, including students, faculty, staff, and their family members have tested positive for COVID-19 as of July 31. On retesting within a few days of the first test, 12 out of the 15 COVID-19 positive students who stay in the hostels have tested negative, IISc said in a statement. Most of them have been found to be asymptomatic and are being treated in a covid care centre managed by the campus Health Centre doctors.

805 new corona virus cases in Delhi; death toll rises to 4,021

Delhi registered 805 more novel corona virus cases, taking the tally to over 1.38 lakh on Monday, while the toll rose to 4,021 with 17 more deaths, authorities said. The three-figure count for the new COVID-19 cases was recorded on a day when the total number of tests conducted was 10,133, according to the bulletin. The number of active cases stood at 10,207, down from 10,356 the previous day. The total number of cases climbed to 1, 38,482, the Health Department said.

Jail inmate escapes from Covid-19 hospital in Rajkot

A coronavirus positive undertrial on Monday escaped from a COVID-19 hospital after being shifted there from a sub jail in Gondal in Gujarat's Rajkot district, police said. Anand Giri is an accused in several theft cases and was shifted to the COVID facility late last month after he tested positive for the virus, and he escaped in the early hours of the day, said Inspector Kishor Ramanuj of Gondal Town police station.

Industry Updates

Phase-2 of vaccine trials to begin, SRM calls for volunteers

Even as the preliminary results of phase-1 human clinical trials of indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin are awaited, researchers at the SRM Medical College and Research Centre have begun preparations for phase-2 trials expected to begin by this month end. The city institute is one of 12 institutions chosen by ICMR to conduct trials for the vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and the National Institute of Virology. According to Dr. Melvin George, associate professor of clinical pharmacology at SRM, because of the prevailing global conditions, seamless clinical trials have to be adopted wherein phase-2 trial begins along with the phase 1, without waiting for results like in traditional trials.

Indian drugmaker Wockhardt to supply millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines to UK

Indian drugmaker Wockhardt Ltd will supply millions of doses of multiple COVID-19 vaccines to the UK, including the one being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, it said on Monday. The company has reserved fill-and-finish capacity - the final manufacturing step of putting vaccines into vials or syringes and packaging them - as part of an agreement with the UK government, it said.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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