COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors
India tests more than 6.6 lakh samples in last 24 hours
A record 6, 61,892 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. This takes the cumulative testing to 2, 08, 64,750 samples and the Tests per Million (TPM) to 15,119. The combined and focused efforts of Union and State/UT Governments have resulted in ramped up testing across the country aimed at early detection and isolation of COVID-19 positive cases. The evolving ICMR’s testing strategy has widened the testing net in India. WHO in its Guidance Note on “Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19” has advised comprehensive surveillance for suspected cases. WHO advises that a country needs 140 tests per day per million populations. While India conducts 479 tests/day/million on an average, there are 28 States/UTs in India which are conducting more than 140 tests/day/million, prescribed by WHO. India’s average positivity rate stands at 8.89%, as on date. There are 28 States/UTs which have positivity less than 10% which indicates that the testing strategy is on the right track. The effort of Centre and State/UT governments is to further improve the Positivity Rate to 5%.
India’s total recovered cases are now double the active cases
With 12, 30,509 total recoveries, India’s recovered cases are twice the active cases, as of today. 44,306 patients discharged in the last 24 hours. This has taken the recovery rate among COVID-19 patients to 66.31%. Coordinated implementation of COVID-19 management strategy by the Union and State/UT governments and selfless sacrifice of all frontline health workers has ensured that the recoveries are continuously on the rise. The active cases (5, 86,298) account for 31.59% of total positive cases and all are under medical supervision. Effective containment, aggressive testing and standardized clinical management protocols based on a holistic Standard of Care approach continues to result in a progressively reducing Case Fatality Rate (CFR). India has registered the lowest CFR since the first lockdown at 2.10% as compared to the global average. The mortality analysis of the present data shows that 50% of deaths have happened in the age group of 60 years and above; 37% deaths belong to 45 to 60 years age group; while 11% deaths belong to 26-44 years age group. This clearly highlights the people above the age of 45 belong to the high-risk group and country’s containment strategy is focusing on this group. In the gender wise distribution, 68% of people who died were men and 32% were women.
Covid-19 spread reported in new areas but 82% of total cases from 10 states/UTs: Health ministry
The corona virus infection has spread to new areas in the country, but 82 per cent of the total cases are still limited to 10 states and Union Territories, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Addressing a press briefing, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 50 districts account for 66 per cent of the total caseload and the COVID-19 case fatality rate has progressively declined to 2.10 per cent, the lowest since the first lockdown was imposed on March 25. "Corona virus infection has spread to newer areas but 82 per cent of the total cases are still limited to 10 states and UTs in the country, whereas 50 districts today account for 66 per cent of the COVID-19 caseload in the country, he said.
Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates
Hopeful of Covid-19 vaccine by year-end: ICMR Chief Balram Bhargava
After the August 15 deadline set by Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), for a Covid-19 vaccine turned controversial, the man at the centre of it all is looking at more realistic targets. Bhargava, during an interview, says he is hopeful of a vaccine by the end of this year or early next year. Hitting out at his critics for the ambitious deadline, he’s emphatic that it is the country’s moral duty to fast-track the vaccine without compromising on science and ethics. Optimistic on plasma therapy research and indigenous candidate vaccines, he calls India the pharmacy of the world. ‘’Whoever develops the vaccine first, India or China will have to scale it up,’’ Bhargava points out. “As we are keen to get a breakthrough as soon as possible, this doesn't mean that best of India’s medical professionals and research scientists should be second-guessed for their professionalism or adherence to the highest scientific rigor,’’ the ICMR chief says.
Three Indian vaccines in different phases of clinical testing, says ICMR
At present country has three Indian COVID-19 vaccines which are in different phases of clinical testing, said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday. "At the present moment, we have three Indian vaccines which are in different phases of clinical testing. The 2 vaccines- Bharat Biotech vaccine and DNA vaccine of Zydus Cadila have completed phase 1 and will begin phase 2 while third is Oxford vaccine," said Dr Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR while addressing a press conference. "Oxford vaccine, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) got approval for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, which are starting within a week at 17 sites," he added. Dr. Bhargava, however, said that social distancing and proper hygiene are the best "vaccine" available now and even after.
Covid-19 pandemic "once in a century", but still "in our hands": WHO
The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the Covid-19 pandemic is "a once-in-a-century health crisis," but it is still "in our hands." WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual press conference that the world has never seen anything like this pandemic for decades, and its effects might last for decades more. "Since we started probably recording, this is the first ever corona virus-caused pandemic which has two dangerous combinations: it moves fast, and at the same time it's a killer," the WHO chief explained. However, he noted, although the crisis is very severe, there are still solutions and hopes. "I'm not saying there is no solution now. Whatever happens in the next few months or years, I also believe that it's in our hands," he said.
'No silver bullet' for virus, WHO warns, as cases top 18 million
The World Health Organization warned there might never be a "silver bullet" for the corona virus, as Australia's second-largest city went under curfew and the number of global infections passed 18 million. The world's hope of ending the current cycle of outbreaks and lockdowns rests on a vaccine, but the UN health agency said governments and citizens should focus on what is known to work: testing, contact tracing, maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask. "We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.
India's Covid-19 testing rate lower than other nations, says WHO Chief Scientist
Noting that lockdown was a temporary measure to contain the spread of corona virus, a senior official of the World Health Organisation on Tuesday said India has a low testing rate when compared to some of the countries that are successfully trying to curb it. The Chief Scientist of WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, in an interactive session through video conference said,as of now about 28 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are under clinical trial, of which five are entering Phase-II and over 150 candidates are in pre-clinical trials across the globe. "India as a whole, the testing rates are much lower compared to some of the countries, who have done well like Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan.
State Advisories / Policies / Updates
Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar 36 new Covid-19 cases; tally rises to 5,544
Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar recorded 36 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the tally in the district to 5,544, official data showed. The number of active cases has came down to 902 as 54 more patients were discharged since Monday, according to the data released by the UP Health Department. Tuesday also marked a break in the steady rise in active cases in Gautam Buddh Nagar. There were 921 active cases on Monday, 886 on Sunday, 846 on Saturday, 796 on Friday, 730 on Thursday and 679 on Wednesday, the data showed. So far, 4,599 patients have recovered from COVID-19 in Gautam Buddh Nagar, the second highest among districts in UP after Lucknow (5,043), it added.
Tripura CM found Covid-19 negative, family members test positive
Two family members of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tested Covid-19 positive while Deb tested negative. Deb in a tweet on Tuesday said: "My COVID-19 test results came negative. For the next seven days, I will follow home quarantine and other guidelines. Also I will work from home. The fight against COVID-19 will continue and together we shall win." On late Monday night, the Chief Minister tweeted, "Two of my family members found COVID-19 positive. Other family members found negative." Many important personalities, including two MLAs of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, District Magistrate, District Superintendent of Police and Zilla Sabhadipati of western Tripura's Sepahijala district tested positive for the infectious virus. Most of them are now undergoing treatment.
Sero survey for Covid-19 in Delhi extended for two more days
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said that the government will have to extend the serological survey for COVID-19 in the national capital by two more days due to Eid and Raksha bandhan holidays. The health minister added that around 15,000 samples will be collected during the serological survey in Delhi. He said, "We have to extend the serological survey for 1-2 days more due to the holidays, as there was Eid and Rakshabandhan in between." While speaking about the COVID-19 cases in the national capital, Jain said that Delhi is now at the 14th number in terms of active cases. "There are 10,207 active cases in Delhi as of now and the total COVID-19 count now stands at 1, 38,482. Yesterday, 937 people recovered from the virus after treatment," he added. While Eid al-Adha was celebrated across the country on August 1, Rakshabandhan was celebrated on August 3, this year.
Corona virus test certificate compulsory for Ayodhya invitees
All invitees to the August 5 foundation stone-laying function for the new Ram temple in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh will have to carry a mandatory corona virus-negative certificate, one of the organisers said on Tuesday. Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust General Secretary Champat Rai said that the step was taken as a precautionary measure due to the corona virus situation in the country. "Only those who have a medical certificate that says that they have tested negative for corona virus will be allowed entry for the 'bhumi pujan' on Wednesday," he said.
Kerala revises containment zone norms, CM inaugurates 102 Health Centres
Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday announced a change in the norms for demarcating containment zones in the State. Briefing the media, Vijayan said, "Henceforth, containment zones will be defined after tracing the primary and secondary contacts of a positive person. The containment zones would not be spread across a ward or a wide area but will be highly localised in and around the residences of those identified and mapped during contact tracing."
US drug maker starts phase 3 trial for Covid-19 antibody treatment
American pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company has announced the start of its phase 3 trial to study whether one of its experimental Covid-19 antibody treatments can prevent the virus infection in residents and staff at long-term care facilities. LY-CoV555, the lead antibody from Lilly's collaboration with Canadian biotech AbCellera, is a neutralizing antibody against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. More than 40 per cent of corona virus deaths in the US linked to long-term care facilities creates the urgent need for therapies to prevent Covid-19 in this vulnerable population, Eli Lilly and Company said in a release.
Sun Pharma latest to sell Covid-19 drug favipiravir in India
India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said on Tuesday it would soon begin selling its version of favipiravir, becoming the latest generic drugmaker to supply the antiviral to treat COVID-19 in the world's third worst-hit nation. Favipiravir, along with another antiviral, remdesivir, has emerged as one of the most sought-after drugs at hospitals fighting COVID-19 in India, which saw a surge of 50,000-plus infections for the sixth straight day on Tuesday. Sun's version of favipiravir, to be called FluGuard, will cost 35 rupees (47 cents) per 200 mg tablet, making it the cheapest version available. Stocks will be available from this week.
CCMB decodes 400 genome sequences of corona virus
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has decoded 400 whole-genome sequences and submitted them to global database of SARS-CoV-2 (corona virus). Of the 2,000 genome sequences submitted to GISAID database from India, majority are from CCMB. The premier institute has been conducting Covid-19 tests daily on hundreds of samples in Telangana. “CCMB has done 400 genomes. Many of them are submitted to GISAID. In India, CSIR and other labs have done 2,000 genome sequences of corona virus,” CCMB director Rakesh Mishra told Media.
Prepared by Impact Health Research Team
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