COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

On a continuous slide, Case Fatality Rate further improves to 1.96%

India touched another peak of highest ever single day recoveries of 56,383 in a single day. With this number, the total recovered COVID-19 patients have touched nearly 17 lakh (16, 95,982) today. The concerted, focused and collaborative efforts of the Centre and the State/UT governments along with support of lakhs of frontline workers have ensured the successful implementation of TESTING aggressively, TRACKING comprehensively & TREATING efficiently. While the Recovery Rate has crossed 70% (70.77% today), the case mortality among COVID patients has further regressed to 1.96%, and steadily declining. The record high recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country which is the Active Cases has reduced and currently is only 27.27% of the total positive cases. The recoveries exceed the active cases (6, 53,622) by more than 10 lakh.

India conducts a record high of more than 8.3 lakh tests in a single day

Crossing the 8 lakh/day milestone of tests in a single day, India has registered a record high of 8, 30,391 tests conducted in the last 24 hours in India. In pursuance of the “Test, Track and Treat” strategy, India is geared up to reach the testing capacity of 10 lakh tests per day. The strong resolve and determination of Union and State/UT Governments to follow aggressive testing as the first important step in the early detection and isolation of COVID-19 positive cases has resulted in India rapidly increasing the number of tests done per day. The week-wise average daily tests conducted saw a sharp increase from around 2.3 lakh in the first week of July 2020 to more than 6.3 lakh in the current week. With a record high more than 8 lakh tests done in the last 24 hours, the cumulative testing as on date has jumped to 2,68,45,688 crore. The Tests per Million has seen a sharp increase to 19453. A strong determinant of this milestone has been the sustained expansion of testing labs across the country. From merely one lab in January 2020, the country is today enriched by 1433 labs with 947 in the government sector and 486 private labs. This is a testimony to the coordinated efforts of the Centre and the State/UT governments.

Over 3 crore N95 masks, 1.28 crore PPEs, 10 crore HCQ tablets given to states, UTs by Centre for free

In the relentless work of State/UT governments for containment and management of COVID-19, the Union Government has been providing medical supplies free of cost to them to supplement their efforts. Most of the products supplied by Government of India were not being manufactured in the country in the beginning. The rising global demand due to the pandemic resulted in their scarce availability in the foreign markets. With the combined efforts of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Pharmaceuticals, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, DRDO and others, the domestic industry has been encouraged and facilitated to manufacture and supply essential medical equipment like PPEs, N95 masks, ventilators etc., during this period. As a result, resolve for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ has been strengthened and most of the supplies made by the Union Government are domestically manufactured. Since 11th March 2020, the Union Government has distributed more than 3.04 crore N95 masks and more than 1.28 crore PPE kits to States / UTs / Central Institutions, free of cost. Also, more than 10.83 crore HCQ tablets have been distributed to them. In addition, 22533 ‘Make in India’ ventilators have been delivered to various States / UTs / Central Institutions. The Centre is also ensuring their installation and commissioning.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

E-Pharmacies can collaborate with CSCs to improve healthcare access in rural areas: Govt 

The pharmacy services through e-commerce have been notified by the Home Ministry as essential services during COVID-19 and the e-Pharmacy model can work effectively with the Government's Common Service Centres (CSC) aimed at improving access to essential healthcare facilities in rural India, said Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.  Addressing the webinar on the release of FICCI Whitepaper ‘e-Pharmacies at CVOID-19 Frontline: Fighting the Odds. Serving the Nation,’ Choubey said that technology played a crucial role during the pandemic and ensured the supply of essential items including medicines. “The overall essence of these circumstances is that the importance of technology and digital infrastructure to deliver affordable and quality medicines and health services to consumers across the country has clearly emerged,” he added. 

30% of SARI patients Covid positive: NIV

The Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) has found at least 30 per cent of Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases were positive with corona virus disease (Covid-19). “A sizable number of people with the Covid-19 have been found among those hospitalized with SARI, in Pune. This is an ongoing activity. Of 4,939 referred SARI cases from January-end till August 4, a total of 1,501 were found positive for Covid-19,” said Prof Priya Abraham, director of ICMR-NIV. More than 1.5 lakh samples have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 at the apex research institute. “These are samples mainly from Pune and around. As many as 26,232 out of 1.5 lakh samples were positive (around 17 per cent). Transmission rates are variable in different settings in all regions,” the director said.

States mustn’t procure Covid vaccine on their own: Centre

The Centre today began the process for future Covid-19 vaccine procurement, asking the states not to chart their separate pathways. The advice came at the first meeting of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration. Globally, 24 vaccines are in human trial stage. These include three vaccines under trial in India — Oxford University-Serum Institute’s Covishield; Bharat Biotech-ICMR’s Covaxin and the Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D. The last two are indigenous. Chaired by VK Paul, Member, Health, NITI Aayog, the task force today discussed conceptualization and implementation mechanisms to create a digital infrastructure for inventory management and delivery mechanism of the vaccine. The meeting came as India’s Covid count touched 23,29,638 cases with 60,963 new infections in 24 hours and 56,110 record recoveries over the same period. The toll has climbed to 46,091 with 834 new fatalities over a day.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Global COVID-19 tally surpasses 20 million: WHO

Nearly 214,985 new corona virus cases were reported worldwide over the past 24 hours, and the total tally reached 20.1 million, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

According to the organization, the exact number of COVID-19 cases in the world is now at 20,162,474. At the same time, 4,835 new corona virus-related fatalities were registered globally over the given period, taking the overall death toll to 737,417. The WHO declared the outbreak of the new corona virus a pandemic. 

New Zealand scrambles to trace cluster, reporting 13 new virus cases

Officials were scrambling to trace the source of an outbreak of the corona virus, reporting 13 new cases on Thursday, as long queues of people formed to escape a renewed lockdown in the country's biggest city and be tested. The discovery of four infected family members in Auckland two days ago shocked a country that had not recorded a case of Covid-19 for more than three months, raising some criticism of the government's handling of the crisis. New Zealand announced on Thursday that there were 13 new cases in the community, bringing the total number of active cases to 36.

Australia reports dip in new corona virus cases, deaths

Australia reported a dip in new COVID-19 cases and virus-related deaths on Thursday with nine fatalities and 292 new infections detected in the last 24 hours. Now, the national COVID-19 death toll stands at 361. The total number of cases has climbed to 22,358, including 12,774 cases of recovery. Of the deaths reported in the last 24 hours, eight were from Victoria, while one was from New South Wales. Similarly, most of the new virus cases were reported from Victoria at 278, followed by New South Wales with 12 cases and Western Australia with 2 cases.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

4,537 new Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, tally 140,775

Uttar Pradesh reported 4,537 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday, while 50 more people died due to the infection. Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said the total number of cases in the state stands at 1, 40,775 and the death toll at 2,280. "So far, 88,786 people have been treated and discharged. There are now 49,709 active COVID-19 cases in the state, of which 22,408 are in home isolation," Prasad said. The state's COVID-19 tally was 1, 36,238 on Wednesday.

Delhi reports 956 new Covid-19 positive cases and 14 deaths today; tally now at 149,460

Delhi recorded 956 fresh corona virus cases on Thursday, taking the tally in the city to over 1.49 lakh, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 4,167, authorities said. Fourteen fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi Health department. The number of tests conducted on Thursday stood at 15,356. On Wednesday, the daily cases count was 1,113 while 14 deaths were reported.

121 fresh cases take Tripura's Covid-19 tally to 6,621; death toll mounts to 44

Tripura's COVID-19 tally rose to 6,621 with 121 fresh cases, while the death toll climbed to 44 as one patient succumbed to the disease, a health department official said on Thursday. The fatality was reported from West Tripura district, he said. "A 40-year-old man from Lefunga, about 25 km from here, was admitted to the Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC) a few days ago. He died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The patient was also suffering from liver disease," the official said.

Tamil Nadu govt prohibits public celebration during Ganesh Chaturthi

Ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, Government of Tamil Nadu has prohibited the installation of idols in public places and rallies to immerse idols in water bodies in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the state government has advised people to celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi at their homes to curtail the further spread of corona virus. "Ganesh Chaturthi in Tamil Nadu will be celebrated on 22nd August. People are advised to celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi at their home to curtail COVID-19 spread. No installation of idols in public and no rallies to immerse idols in water bodies will be allowed," read an official directive.

12 more Covid-19 cases recorded in Meghalaya, tally 1,191

Three Air Force personnel are among the 12 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya on Thursday, pushing the tally in the north-eastern state to 1,191, an official said. Thirty people were discharged from hospitals, taking the number of recoveries to 547, the official said. Of the 12 fresh cases, 11, including the three Air Force personnel, are from East Khasi Hills district, and one in North Garo Hills district.

Industry Updates

Biological E signs pact with J&J for Covid-19 vaccine technology

Indian vaccine manufacturer Biological E, which is currently conducting clinical trials on a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, has signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for technology transfer of the latter’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate that is now in phase 1/2a clinical trials. Biological E will produce J&J's vaccine at its vaccine production facilities and sell them both in India and export across various global markets. In a statement on Thursday, Biological E said it has entered into an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical firms of Johnson & Johnson, “for drug substance and drug product for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2.S.”

AstraZeneca says could begin Covid-19 vaccine production early in 2021

Production of a COVID-19 vaccine under an agreement between the Mexican and Argentine governments and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca could begin in the first quarter of 2021, an AstraZeneca executive said on Thursday. Sylvia Varela, head of AstraZeneca Mexico, said at the Mexican president's daily news conference that Phase III trials were expected to conclude by November or December.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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