COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India’s crosses another milestone- Total Recoveries cross 2.5 million

Keeping the focus on “Test, Track and Treat” strategy, India’s cumulative tests reach nearly 3.9 crore today. In the last 24 hours 9, 24,998 tests were conducted across the country. This has spurred the total tests to 3, 85, 76,510. With more patients recovering and being discharged from hospitals and home isolation (in case of mild and moderate cases), India's total COVID-19 recoveries have surpassed 2.5 million today. Recovery of 25, 23,771 patients has been made possible because of effective implementation of the policy of the centre-led policies that have been effectively been implemented by the State/UT governments. 56,013 COVID patients have recovered in the last 24 hours. India's Recovery Rate amongst the COVID-19 patients today stands at 76.24%. India has posted nearly 18 lakh (17, 97,780) recoveries than the active cases (7, 25,991 which are under active medical care). The sustained high recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country viz. the active cases, comprises 21.93% of the total positive cases. Case Fatality Rate (CFR) has further slumped to stand at 1.83% today. 10 States/UTs are faring better in terms of Recovery Rate than the national average. The total number of labs has risen to 1550, including 993 labs in the government sector and 557 private labs.

States urged to proactively limit COVID transmission and keep mortality below 1%

Cabinet Secretary held a video conference with the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of nine States and one UT today. The States/UT attending  the VC were Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. The VC was convened to review and discuss the COVID management and response strategy in this States/UT. The States/UT were advised to proactively take steps towards reducing case fatality to less than 1% across all districts focusing on effective containment, contact tracing & surveillance.

Health Ministry advises Covid screening for all TB patients and vice versa

Covid screening for all diagnosed Tuberculosis (TB) patients and TB screening for all Covid-19 positive patients should be conducted, said the Union Health Ministry. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued a guidance note on bi-directional TB-Covid screening and screening of TB among influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) cases. Both TB and Covid-19 primarily attack the lungs, and the prevalence of TB among Covid-19 patients has been found to be 0.37 - 4.47 percent in different studies, the note read. It further added that there has been an overall decline in TB notification by 26 percent during January to June 2020 as compared to the previous year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe Covid-19 disease. In addition, TB patients also tend to have co-morbid or living conditions (malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV etc) that increase their vulnerability," the note said.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

COVID-19 can affect almost all organs, symptoms maybe unrelated to lungs: AIIMS

COVID-19 can affect almost all organs besides the lungs and the initial symptoms may be totally unrelated to chest complaints, according to experts at AIIMS here. They stressed that classification of cases into mild, moderate and severe categories based just on respiratory symptoms should be relooked to include other organ involvement. Experts from the institute, including its director Dr. Randeep Guleria, Dr. MV Padma Srivastava, head of department of Neurology, Dr. Ambuj Roy, Professor of Cardiology and Dr. Neeraj Nischal, Associate Professor in the department of Medicine during their weekly 'National Clinical Grand Rounds' organised in collaboration with NITI Aayog discussed various possible extra-pulmonary complications of COVID-19. Dr. Guleria said eight months into COVID-19, a lot has been learnt and accordingly strategies are being changed from time to time. From what we thought of as a viral pneumonia has a lot of other manifestations which are beyond the lungs, he said.

Phase II trial of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate to begin in PGI Chandigarh

The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh will be beginning the Phase II trial of oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate -- Covishield from the first week of September. The premier institute has received approval from its internal ethical committee and is awaiting the signing of the tripartite agreement between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Serum Institute of India (SII) within the next two days, Madhu Gupta, principal investigator appointee of the vaccine-trial.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

WHO investigation team fails to reach Wuhan

A group of World Health Organization (WHO) investigators aiming to trace the origins of the novel corona virus failed to make it to Wuhan during their trip to China for this purpose. “A recently concluded three-week trip to China by the two-person WHO team did not entail a visit to Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the first cases of novel corona virus were detected in December 2019, the UN agency has confirmed,” notes the report. This has raised alarm bells in several capital cities across the world. While a US official said, “Any chance of finding a smoking gun is now gone”, Australian MP Dave Sharma remarked, “The international community is right to have serious concerns about the rigor and independence of the WHO’s early response to this pandemic, and its seeming wish to avoid offending China.”

Singapore reports 77 new Covid-19 cases

Singapore on Thursday reported 77 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country's corona virus caseload to 56,572, health officials said. The new cases include five imported ones, who had been placed on stay-home notices upon their arrival in Singapore. Two reported from the community, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). The rest of the patients are migrant workers. The 10 imported cases reported on Wednesday had returned from India, the Philippines and the US.

Moscow State University eyeing dual vaccine against COVID-19, flu: Virologist

Virologists at the Moscow State University (MSU) are studying the efficacy of developing a seasonal vaccine to battle both COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously, Professor Olga Karpova, the head of the Virology Department of the Biological Faculty at the MSU. "Yes, of course, and we have already proposed this option. We can make a seasonal [vaccine]. If, and this is a high probability, the corona virus will remain with us at least for several seasons, then we are ready. We have the [building blocks] and, moreover, we have already been engaged in the development of a vaccine against influenza. That is, we can literally... put the blocks together and get such a vaccine," Karpova said, answering the question of whether it is possible to create a substance that allows vaccination against influenza and corona virus at the same time.

 State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Corona virus testing facilities to be available in all districts of Rajasthan

With the number of active Covid-19 cases mounting to 14,646 in Rajasthan as on Thursday, state Health Minister Raghu Sharma said that the testing facility will soon be available in all the districts of the state while two Cobas-8800 machines from the US will reach Rajasthan in August and October-end. According to the health officials, 998 people have succumbed to the dreaded virus so far in Rajasthan, which has reported a total of 75,303 confirmed cases. With the import of the Cobas-8800 machines, the number of tests in the state is likely to increase to over 60,000 per day, Sharma said, adding that the capacity to conduct 51,640 tests per day has been developed in the state. At present, Covid testing facility is available in 22 of the 33 districts in Rajasthan.

Uttar Pradesh records 76 more Covid-19 fatalities, 5,463 fresh cases

Uttar Pradesh on Thursday reported 76 COVID19-related fatalities, taking the death toll due to the disease to 3,217, while 5,463 new cases pushed the infection tally to 2, 08,419. There are 52,309 active cases in the state, while a total of 1, 52,893 people have been discharged after recovering from the infection, Additional Chief Secretary (Information) Awanish Kumar Awasthi told reporters. Of the 52,309 active cases, 26,504 are in home isolation. "In the last 24 hours, 5,463 fresh COVID-19 cases were found," Awasthi said.

Odisha records highest single-day spike with 3,384 Covid-19 cases; tally rises to 90,986

The Covid-19 positive tally in Odisha rose to 90,986 with the highest single-day spike of 3,384 cases in the last 24 hours, the health department said on Thursday. The Covid-19 death toll increased to 448 as seven more patients died of the infection in the last 24 hours. Three deaths were reported from Sambalpur district, two from Bargarh district and one each from Bhadrak and Bhubaneswar. Of the new 3,384 cases, 2,128 were detected in quarantine centres and 1,256 were local contacts. Khurda reported the highest with 587 positive cases, followed by Cuttack (492), Sambalpur (182), Mayurbhanj (177), Ganjam (177), Jajpur (176), Bargarh (157), Rayagada (154), Puri (121), Balasore (119) and Sundargarh (101).

 Stringent Covid-19 lockdown in Kolkata, violations reported in some districts

Normal life was affected in the city on Thursday as a complete shutdown was enforced across West Bengal to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, while violation of the lockdown restrictions was witnessed in some districts. All public transport, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, were closed due to the lockdown. Flight operations in and out of the Kolkata international airport were suspended for the day, while long- distance trains were rescheduled. Ferry services through inland waterways were also suspended. Essential services like medicine shops and health establishments remained open as these were kept out of the purview of the complete shutdown. Petrol pumps are also allowed to remain open on the lockdown days.

 Industry Updates

EU signs contract with AstraZeneca on supply of potential Covid-19 vaccine

The European Commission said on Thursday it had signed a contract on behalf of EU states with British drug maker AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The move follows an advance purchase agreement signed by Brussels with AstraZeneca earlier in August. It is the first contract signed by the EU with a maker of potential COVID-19 vaccines. The contract envisages an option to purchase 100 million additional doses to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis among the 27 EU states.

Medical Device Innovation Virtual Summit to address growing demand for specialised medical equipment

The Indian medical device industry which is currently estimated at USD 11 billion is poised for significant growth in the next five years. The growth rate of India’s medical-device industry is expected to double the global industry growth rate to touch USD 25 billion by 2025. With an  objective to highlight growth opportunities and latest developments in this field, Messe Frankfurt India has announced the Medical Device Innovation Summit which will take place on 29 August 2020 through a live virtual session. Bringing together medical equipment suppliers, consultants, solution providers, hospitals & the medical fraternity on one platform, the webinar aims to enable the stakeholders to work closely together and identify new growth opportunities. While the over-arching theme will bring attention to Indian Medical Device Industry post COVID-19 and opportunities ahead, the sessions will highlight the rise of tele-health and other digital health platforms as well.

Vedanta bags 4 Gold at CSR Health Impact Awards 2020

The Vedanta Group bagged 4 awards at the CSR Health Impact Awards organized by Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) council. The awards were for the exemplary work and initiatives undertaken to combat the COVID 19 pandemic and were presented to Vedanta Alumina Lanjigarh, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Vedanta’s flagship Nand Ghar project and the Vedanta group. All the initiatives undertaken by the group were under its ‘Vedanta Cares’ program, a unique project hosted by Vedanta Group Chairman Mr. Anil Agarwal, to support the communities to combat the pandemic. The Vedanta Group was awarded Gold for COVID Relief Efforts, Hindustan Zinc got it for Response to COVID-19,  Vedanta Alumina, Lanjigarh  received Gold for COVID Indigenous Response Project, and Nand Ghar for Health CSR Project Category as a Large Corporate category.  

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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