COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors
New Covid hotspots are emerging in rural villages across India
After overwhelming India's megacities, the corona virus is now moving through the country's vast hinterland. Home to nearly 70% of India's 1.3 billion populations, the nation's villages have little access to healthcare and are struggling to support themselves through the country's prolonged economic slowdown. Initially isolated from the epidemic that has swamped the capital New Delhi and financial center Mumbai, rural areas were exposed when millions of migrant workers who lost their jobs in the cities due to lockdown reached their home. The states of Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh received the most number of returning labourers - now they are also witnessing the sharpest rise in new cases in the two weeks to June 8, according to internal government estimates. Media reported about new hotspots in rural areas quoting the government internal estimates. In the rural districts of Rajasthan and Karnataka, the virus is also spreading rapidly, it showed.
Need for effective public health approach on the ground to control COVID-19: Dr V K Paul
Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog today emphasized that in order to control COVID-19, it is imperative that the public health approach should be implemented effectively on the ground Addressing a webinar ‘Public Health For Healthy Life’, organised on the second day of FICCI’s Virtual Healthcare & Hygiene Expo (VHHE) 2020, Dr Paul said, “The public health approach to contain the disease through trace, test, isolate, quarantine and timely referral must be implemented on the ground effectively by the government, civil agencies, communities and all concerned stakeholders.” Highlighting the role of community participation, Dr Paul said that it can play a major role if we work in an organized way by supporting those who have tested positive and staying isolated. Emphasising on five pillars for pandemic response, Dr Paul said, “Surveillance, containment and disease control should be the priority. Preparedness on part of hospitals for assured access to ambulance and care is also required. Home care should be reinforced and made more efficient by following prescribed protocols, along with safety of elderly and other people at home.”
Govt. says 1,340 Made in India ventilators delivered to states
Nearly 3,000 of the 50,000 'Made in India' ventilators sanctioned under the PM CARES fund to help Covid-19 patients have been manufactured and over 1,300 have been delivered to various states, an official statement said on Tuesday. On May 14, the PM CARES Fund Trust had decided to allocate Rs 3,100 crore for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the amount was to be used, among other things, to purchase ventilators and caring for migrant workers. Out of the Rs 3,100 crore, nearly Rs 2,000 crore was earmarked for the purchase of 50,000 'Made in India' ventilators."So far 2,923 ventilators have been manufactured, out of which 1,340 ventilators have already been delivered to the States/UTs," the statement said. By the end of this month, an additional 14,000 ventilators will be delivered to all the states and UTs. The prominent recipients include Maharashtra (275), Delhi (275), Gujarat (175), Bihar (100), Karnataka (90), Rajasthan (75), it said. Out of the 50,000 ventilators, 30,000 are being manufactured by the Bharat Electronics Ltd, a government undertaking.
Rath Yatra: Odisha starts Covid-19 testing of 1,500 people who will pull chariots
The Odisha government on Monday launched a massive corona virus test drive in Puri following the Supreme Court's directive that all those engaged in pulling chariots during Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra must have mandatory Covid-19 negative report, an official said. The Rath Yatra involves three chariots - Lord Jagannath's Nandighosh, Lord Balabhadra's Taladwaja and Devi Subhadra's Darpadalan. Not more than 500 people, including servitors and security personnel, are allowed to pull one chariot, and hence, the administration requires 1,500 people to pull the three chariots.
Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates
Delhi’s Covid centre, 10 times bigger than China’s largest, to start this week
Home Minister Amit Shah has roped in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police medical personnel to run India’s biggest facility being set up for Covid patients in south Delhi. The facility, being set up at a Radha Swami Satsang Beas complex in Chhattarpur, would be able to accommodate over 10,200 patients. The Chattarpur facility, the size of 15 football fields, has been named Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital.“This would be 10 times bigger than the field facility for Covid patients that were temporarily set up in China’s Leishenshan to accommodate 1,000 patients,” said a senior Home Ministry official. Back in February, Chinese diplomats had put out a video of the construction of the hospital to showcase what was then considered a feat.
Over 71 lakh Covid-19 tests conducted till June 22: ICMR
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday informed that over 71 lakh Covid-19 tests were conducted by various laboratories across the country, including 1,87,223 tests on June 22. So far, 71, 37,716 tests have been conducted, it said. As of now, a total of 953 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the Covid-19 test. While 699 of them are government laboratories, 254 are private laboratory chains.
China pharmaceutical imports to face curbs
The government plans to tighten the regulatory noose around pharmaceuticals imports from China through stricter scrutiny of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), key starting materials (KSMs) for medicines and medical equipments. Higher duties on Chinese products may also be on the cards, official sources said. These moves gathered pace in the wake of the military face-off between India and China in east Ladakh and the continuing diplomatic tension since then, prompting the government to explore all options to reduce import dependence on China. India imports more than 53 critical pharma APIs, including those used in tuberculosis medicines, steroids and vitamins from China.
WHO chief warns world leaders not to "politicize" pandemic
World leaders must not politicize the corona virus pandemic but unite to fight it, the head of the World Health Organization warned Monday, reminding all that the pandemic is still accelerating and producing record daily increases in infections. The comments by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has faced criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump, comes as the number of reported infections soared in Brazil, Iraq, India and southern and western U.S. states, straining local hospitals. In New York City, once the epicenter of the US outbreak, Monday was a key day for lifting many corona virus lockdown restrictions. It took over three months for the world to see 1 million virus infections, but the last 1 million cases have come in just eight days, Tedros said during a videoconference for the Dubai-based World Government Summit.
Religious Events increasing the spread of Corona virus: WHO
Many countries that have been successful in tackling the novel corona virus are seeing an increase in cases due to religious events and other vulnerable settings like expatriate gatherings, the World Health Organization's Maria Van Kerkhove said. "Any opportunity that the virus has to take hold, it will. It is really important that countries are in a position to rapidly detect these cases," she told an online briefing. The WHO's Mike Ryan said that there seemed to be new clusters in South Korea linked to clubs, shelters and amusement parks and that waste water findings in northern Italy showed there was a chance the virus was circulating there before anyone had realized.
Those with mild symptoms can come out of isolation: WHO
It could be safe to release covid-19 patients who are mildly symptomatic from isolation based on scientific evidence to prevent straining limited health resources, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said in a scientific brief. This is similar to the stand taken by the Union health ministry. Evidence showed the rarity of the virus that can be cultured in respiratory samples after nine days of symptom onset, especially in patients with mild disease, usually accompanied by rising levels of neutralizing antibodies and a resolution of symptoms, WHO said. It thus appears safe to release patients from isolation based on clinical criteria that require a minimum time in isolation of 13 days, rather than strictly on repeated PCR results, it said. Clinical criteria require that symptoms of patients are resolved at least three days before release from isolation, with a minimum time in isolation of 13 days since symptom onset, it said.
States Advisories / Policies / Updates
Mumbai reports 1,098 new cases, tally reaches nearly 68,000
Maharashtra on Monday reported 3,721 new Covid-19 cases, thus taking the state's tally of Covid-19 positive cases to 1,35,796.Active cases, however, are at 61,793 in the state and total number of patients discharged so far are 67,706.The state's capital, Mumbai, reported 1,098 new cases on Monday taking the mega city's tally to 67,586. With 20 more deaths reported in last 24 hours, Mumbai's death toll stands at 3,737. Active cases in Mumbai are 29,720 and 34,121 patients have recovered so far.Thane is the next biggest contributor with total Covid-19 case count rising by 140, taking the total number of cases to 25,390 and death toll is at 732. Active cases in Thane are 14,555 and 10102 patients have recovered so far.
Punjab moves towards further reopening, allows restaurant dine-in, marriage halls at 50% capacity
The Punjab government Tuesday moved towards further reopening of the economy, allowing hotels, restaurants and marriage halls to operate at 50 per cent capacity, with strict adherence to social-distancing norms and other health protocols. According to fresh guidelines issued here, restaurants in the state are now allowed 'dine-in' facility till 8 pm, with 50 per cent occupancy or 50 guests, whichever is less. Keeping in view concerns of the Industry and MHA instructions, we have decided to reopen hotels, restaurants, marriage halls & other hospitality services at reduced 50% capacity. However, establishments must adhere to the Sop and observe full precautions; Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted on Tuesday.
30K people screened daily in Chennai
Around 253 medically well-equipped vehicles were now going from street-to-street in greater Chennai, particularly the badly affected zones, and screening people in every household for any symptoms of the virus. On an average, 530 'fever camps' were being held daily now, and 30,000 people were being screened daily in the city alone, he said, adding, a mini-army of 14,816 including doctors, nurses and other health workers, besides policemen were involved in this massive exercise.
Gujarat's Covid tally climbs to 27,880, death toll 1,685
Ahmadabad’s tally of Covid-19 cases on Monday crossed the 19,000-mark to 19,151.With an addition of 563 cases on Monday, the second highest single-day spike, Gujarat's tally of Covid-19 positive cases climbed to 27,880. The death toll also continued its upward trend to reach 1,685.Out of the 563 cases reported on Monday, 314 cases were detected in Ahmedabad (55.77 per cent), followed by Surat (132), Vadodara (44), Gandhinagar (15), Jamnagar (10), Bharuch (10), Aravalli (9), Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Narmada with (7 each), Anand (6), Bharuch (5), Mahesana (4), Bhavnagar, Patan and Kheda with (3 each), Mahisagar, Sabarkantha, Botad, Gir-Somnath, Valsad and Amreli (2 each), and Banaskantha, Panchmahals, Kutch, Rajkot, Navsari and Surendranagar (1 each).
Ayurvedic cure for COVID-19: Patanjali launches ‘Coronil’ for corona virus, claims 100% recovery in 7 days
In a significant achievement in the fight against the novel corona virus pandemic, Patanjali Ayurved on Tuesday launched 'Coronil and Swasari', which the company claims is the first Ayurvedic cure for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel corona virus or SARS-CoV-2 virus. Launching a kit of three Ayurvedic medicines at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev said they are proud to announce that the first Ayurvedic, clinically controlled trial based evidence and research-based medicine has been prepared by the combined efforts of Patanjali Research Centre and NIMS. Ramdev said at the press conference that the medicine has shown '100 per cent recovery rate within 3-7 days'. The Coronil kit, which is for 30 days, will be made available at just Rs 545. However, the company claimed that it will be given for free to those living below the poverty line.
Hospitals, health-tech start-ups to start free telemedicine app Swasth
More than 100 leading private hospitals, health-tech startups, technology companies and investors have come together voluntarily to launch a free telemedicine consultation app ‘Swasth’ to help fight the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. The initiative is being led by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Manipal Group’s Ranjan Pai, iSPIRT’s Sharad Sharma, Apollo Hospital’s Shobhana Kamineni, former Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation executive Nachiket Mor and Accel’s Subrata Mitra, who form the governing council of the non-profit consortium. Swasth's partners include Manipal Hospitals and Apollo Hospitals, e-pharma and diagnostics startups Medlife and 1MG, new-age medical and diagnostics chain Care. Fit, and e-commerce firms Flipkart and Udaan, among others. The grouping will make available free teleconsultations through a network of over 2,000 certified and trained doctors, which it said was in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to use telemedicine to combat the outbreak.
Cipla to price remdesivir version for Covid-19 treatment under 5,000 rupees
Indian drugmaker Cipla Ltd will price its generic version of Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug remdesivir for use in Covid-19 patients at less than 5,000 rupees ($66), the company said. Cipla and privately held Indian drugmaker Hetero Labs on Sunday gained approval to sell generic versions of remdesivir in the country. Hetero expects to price a similar 100 milligram dose of the treatment at 5,000 to 6,000 rupees. Remdesivir, intravenously administered in hospitals, is the first treatment to show improvement in Covid-19 trials. It has been approved for emergency use in severely-ill patients in the United States, India and South Korea, and has received full approval in Japan. Cipla, in an e-mailed statement, did not provide details on when the treatment, called Cipremi, will be available.
Prepared by Impact Health Research Team
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