COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India tests more than 9 lakh samples each day, two days in a row

India has tested more than 9 lakh COVID-19 samples each day for the second consecutive day, keeping a sharp focus on “TEST, TRACK AND TREAT” strategy of the Union Government. India has already created a capacity of doing 10 lakh tests per day. 9, 01,338 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. With this steady rise, the cumulative tests are nearing 4 crore. The total tests as on date have reached 3, 94, 77,848. More than 1 crore samples have been tested for COVID in the past two weeks. The Tests per Million too have seen a sharp surge to 28,607. The graded and evolving response has resulted in a testing strategy that steadily widened the testing net in the country. To keep up with this strategy, the testing lab network in the country is continuously strengthened which as on today consists of 1564 labs in the country; 998 labs in the government sector and 566 private labs.

Active cases only 22% of total COVID cases

In the past five months, more than 3/4 of COVID-19 cases have recovered and less than 1/4 is active now. With more patients recovering and being discharged from home isolation (in case of mild and moderate cases) and hospitals (severe and critical cases), India's COVID-19 recoveries is nearing 26 lakh. 60,177 have recovered in the last 24 hours. With these national figures, the Recovery Rate amongst the COVID-19 has touched 76.28%. The number of recoveries is nearly 3.5 times the active cases, which comprise 21.90% of the total cases. Higher number of recoveries has led to a constantly growing difference between recoveries and active cases. Crossing 18 lakhs, the difference stands at 18, 41,925 today.  As on date, the country has 1723 Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCHs), 3883 Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHCs)  and 11,689 COVID Care Centres (CCCs)  with a total of 15,89,105 isolation beds, 2,17,128 oxygen supported beds and 57,380 ICU beds. Effective treatment of the positive cases has resulted in a progressively dipping Case Fatality Rate, which is pegged at 1.82% today.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan digitally inaugurates Super Speciality Block of MGM Medical College, Indore

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare along with Sh. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh digitally inaugurated the Super Specialty Block (SSB) in Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College, Indore in the presence of Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare. The Medical College was also the nodal agency for a NCDC sero-survey. The SSB is built with an investment of Rs 237 crores under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). Health Minister stated that the Centre has provided 13.99 lakh N95 masks, 7.97 lakh PPEs, 54 lakh HCQ and 679 ventilators to Madhya Pradesh to strengthen its efforts to fight COVID-19. This is supplemented by 2, 32,620 RNA extraction kits, 5, 87,140 RT-PCR kits, and 2,55,850 VTM kits provided by the Central Government.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

ICMR starts second all-India sero survey; results expected in September

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has begun the second round of its corona virus disease (Covid-19) sero survey to determine how many more Indians have been exposed to the infection since the first such exercise was conducted in May during the nationwide lockdown. The results of the sero survey to detect the presence of Covid-19 antibodies in the general population are expected by September-end. The first sero survey, which was conducted by ICMR along with National Centre for Disease Control, state health departments and the World Health Organization (WHO) had shown pan-India prevalence of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, at 0.73%.

ICMR may allow COVID-19 testing of babies born to corona positive women

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to allow COVID-19 testing of babies born of mothers who have tested positive for the corona virus. The move comes amid growing evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from COVID-positive mother to her fetus. A task force set up under the ICMR and the joint-monitoring group led by the Directorate General of Health Services discussed the matter at a meeting on August 26 and decided to broaden criteria for COVID-19 testing. "It was decided to include children in the testing basket as it has been seen that children born to COVID-positive mothers are more likely to be infected. A rapid antigen test can be carried out," quoting a person who attended the meeting.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Covid-19 contacts should be tested, regardless of symptoms: WHO

People exposed to someone diagnosed with corona virus should be tested whether they show symptoms or not, the World Health Organization said Thursday, after US health authorities said they were not needed. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website earlier this week shifted from its position that all close contacts of known Covid-19 cases should be tested, suggesting that those with no symptoms "do not necessarily need a test." When asked about the shift, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove did not mention the US situation specifically but told reporters the UN health agency recommends that "contacts, if feasible, should be tested, regardless of the development of symptoms. "We know that people who have symptoms transmit, and we know that people who don't have symptoms can transmit the virus as well," she said. The WHO had developed guidelines for countries at different stages in their outbreaks, leaving it up to them to adapt their testing strategy to their needs and capacities, depending on the intensity of transmission, she said.

UK to give emergency approval to any effective Covid vaccine

The British government on Friday proposed measures to give emergency approval to a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine and train a large number of people in administering it in order to enable a fast-paced mass rollout. If a vaccine is developed before 2021, the proposals will bolster existing powers that allow the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to consider approving its use, before a full product license is granted.

Europe may face spike in hospitalisations, mortality during winter due to Covid-19: WHO

WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri Kluge on Thursday warned of a possible uptick in hospitalizations and mortality rates in the region during the winter, given the situation with COVID-19 and other common circumstances during this time. "At one stage younger people, particularly with the winter coming will be in more close contact with the elder population. We don't want to do unnecessary predictions, but this is definitely one of the options that, at one point, there will be more hospitalizations and uptake in mortality," Kluge told a virtual briefing. The director highlighted three important factors for the coming months: the reopening of schools after closure due to the spread of the corona virus, influenza season and excessive deaths among the elderly during the winter.

 State Advisories / Policies / Updates

UP records 77 more Covid-19 deaths, 5,447 fresh cases

Uttar Pradesh on Friday reported 77 corona virus-related fatalities, taking the death toll due to the disease to 3,294, while 5,447 new cases pushed the infection tally to 2, 13,824 in the state, officials said. "In the last 24 hours, 5,447 fresh COVID-19 cases were found. There are 52,651 active cases in the state, while a total of 1, 57,879 people have been discharged after recovering from the infection," Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters here.

73 fresh cases push Meghalaya's Covid-19 tally to 2,202

Seventy-three more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya on Friday, taking the northeastern state's tally to 2,202, a health department official said. Of the new cases, 35 were reported from East Khasi, 32 from East Garo, three from North Garo, two from East Jaintia and one from West Khasi hills districts, Health Services Director Aman War said. "Two armed forces personnel are among new patients," he said.

With West Bengal lockdown extended till Sept 20, Kolkata airport allows limited flights

With lockdown in West Bengal extended till September 20, the Kolkata Airport has allowed incoming flights from six cities in a limited manner. It has also announced that no flight operations will be permitted on September 7, September 11 and September 12, when the state will observe complete lockdown as per the directives of the West Bengal government. "Flights from six cities viz Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Nagpur will be allowed in a limited manner from September. They will be allowed on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday during the first and second week of September," the Kolkata airport said in a statement.

Jharkhand's Covid-19 tally rises to 34,676; death toll mounts to 378

Jharkhand's Covid-19 tally rose to 34,676 on Friday as 1,365 more people tested positive for the infection, while 11 more fatalities pushed the state's corona virus death toll to 378, a health bulletin said. The fresh infections have taken the number of active corona virus cases in the state to 10,799, while 23,499 people have recovered so far, it said.

 Industry Updates

US-based BCM ties up with India's BE for Covid-19 vaccine production

In the race to find a cure for the corona virus infection, Texas-based Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) has entered into a licensing agreement with Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E Limited (BE) for the development of a safe, effective and affordable vaccine. According to BCM, Hyderabad-headquartered BE has licensed the recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed at Baylor. The company engaged in license negotiations with the BCM Ventures team after initial discussions on Baylor's technology and how it could possibly inform a vaccine to address the current global pandemic.

India may get Covid-19 vaccine by early 2021: Bernstein

As Covid-19 vaccine trials move ahead at a break-neck speed, an approved vaccine is likely to hit the Indian market by the first quarter of 2021, Bernstein said in a report. Globally, there are 4 candidates that are close to approval by the end of 2020 or early 2021. Through partnerships, India has access to two of that AZ/Oxford's viral vector vaccine and Novavax's protein subunit vaccine.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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