COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors
With highest ever single day recoveries of nearly 30,000, the total number of recoveries crosses 7.82 lakhs
For the second day in a row, recoveries in a single day continue to post significant rise. The last 24 hours saw the highest ever single day number of patients cured and discharged i.e. 29,557. While the total number of recovered cases has jumped to 7, 82,606, there has been appreciable growth in the recovery rate, which stands at 63.18%. Higher number of patients getting cured and discharged has contributed to increasing gap between recovered and total active cases. It is pegged at 3, 56,439 today. This accomplishment can be attributed to the Union Government led COVID-19 management strategies. Sustained efforts by the Center and State/UTs are resulting in more effective containment, aggressive testing, and prompt and efficient clinical treatment strategies. These are guided by the teams of domain experts in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare such as the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) and ably complemented by the technical experts at AIIMS, New Delhi, Centres of Excellence in various States/UTs, ICMR and NCDC. The Union Government continues to coordinate with the efforts of the State/UTs by sending Central teams of experts to areas witnessing increase in caseload and handholding of COVID hospitals in States through the tele-consultation program led by AIIMS, New Delhi. These combined efforts have resulted in Case Fatality Rate being managed at low levels. It is 2.41%, as on date, and steadily declining. This has also helped in reducing the actual case load of COVID-19 cases which remains confined to 4, 26,167 Active patients only.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan speaks on India’s novel COVID containment strategy at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Health Minister's Meet
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare digitally participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Health Minister's Digital Meet today. Explaining the steps taken by the government, he said a series of actions were initiated in a graded way that included issuing of travel advisories, point-of-entry surveillance, community-based surveillance, enhancement of laboratory and hospital surge capacities, wide dissemination of technical guidelines on managing different aspects of disease outbreak and communicating risk to the public. The Union Health Minister spoke on the increase in testing capacity and health infrastructure during the lockdown and after.Dr Harsh Vardhan emphasized how the Indian traditional system of medicine has also contributed substantially in boosting the immunity of general population during COVID-19.He proposed the setting up of a new Sub Group on Traditional Medicine under the existing institutional meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Health Ministers.
Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates
Cabinet Secretary reviews the management of COVID-19 in nine States with high active case load
As part of Centre-State coordinated strategy for effective containment and management of the COVID-19 pandemic, a high level virtual review meeting was chaired by Cabinet Secretary with the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of the nine States that are driving the present spurt of the active caseload in the country. The nine States that participated in the VC include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. In keeping with the “Test Track Treat’ strategy,the States were advised to ramp up the testing with special focus on containment zones. Areas of concern with respect to low testing in certain states were highlighted. Cabinet Secretary stressed the need for prompt and proper delineation of containment zones as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; intensive contact tracingand house-to-house active case search within the Containment Zones so as to effectively break the chain of transmission. It was emphasized that Buffer Zones need to be identified outside the Containment Zones and continued surveillance of SARI/ILI cases needs to be undertaken.
DBT provides seed funding for Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd.’s novel mRNA based COVID 19 Vaccine candidate-HGCO19
Department of Biotechnology (DBT-BIRAC) has facilitated the establishment of ‘first-of-its-kind’ mRNA-based vaccine manufacturing platform in India. DBT has provided seed funding for the development of Gennova’s novel self-amplifying mRNA-based vaccine candidate for COVID19. In collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation, Seattle, USA, Gennova has developed an mRNA vaccine candidate (HGCO19), with demonstrated safety, immunogenicity, neutralization antibody activity in the rodent and non-human primate models. The company is working aggressively to ensure first human injection by the end of the year, subject to Indian regulatory approvals.
MHA issues guidelines for Independence Day celebrations amid Covid-19
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday issued an advisory for the Independence Day celebrations on August 15 amid the Corona virus pandemic. It has asked all the government offices, states, Governors etc to avoid congregation of public and urged the use of technology for conducting the celebration proceedings. In view of the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, while organizing various programmes or activities for the Independence Day celebrations, it is imperative to follow certain preventive measures such as maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, proper sanitization, avoiding large congregations, protecting vulnerable persons and follow all guidelines related to Covid-19 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health a Family Welfare.
Red Cross warns of big post-Covid-19 migration as WHO hits back at US
The corona virus crisis could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, the head of the Red Cross has warned. It comes as the WHO’s chief accused the US of making “untrue” and “unacceptable” claims against the global health body. The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, said he was deeply concerned about the secondary effects of the pandemic, as border closures and Covid-19 restrictions have driven millions into poverty. “Increasingly we are seeing in many countries the impacts on the livelihoods and the food situation,” he said in an interview with Agence France-Presse. Many people are already faced with the choice of risking exposure to the novel corona virus or going hungry, Chapagain said, warning that the desperation being generated could have far-reaching consequences.
Singapore reports 277 new Covid-19 cases
Singapore reported 277 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, mostly foreign workers living in dormitories, taking the nationwide tally to 49,375, the health ministry said. The new cases include five from the community- two Singaporeans (citizens) or permanent residents (foreigners) and three foreigners holding work passes but staying outside the dorms, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). The rest of the cases comprised of migrant workers living in dormitories, it said. With this, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 49,375, it said.
Chinese vaccine candidate produces immune response in animals: Study
A Covid-19 vaccine candidate, who is currently undergoing early-stage human trials in China, can produce a "robust" immune response against the novel corona virus in mice and macaques, a new study says. The researchers, including those from Tsinghua University in China, noted that the vaccine candidate, called ARCoV, elicited both antibody as well as cell mediated immune response against the novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2 in mice and non-human primates. According to the study, published in the journal Cell, the ARCoV mRNA vaccine candidate is currently being evaluated in phase I human trials to assess whether it is safe and generates an immune response in humans.
State Advisories / Policies / Updates
Odisha reports 1,594 fresh Covid-19 cases
Odisha's Covid-19 tally mounted to 22,693 with record 1,594 fresh cases in a single day, even as the death toll surged to 120 as six more people succumbed to the disease, a health department official said on Friday. The state's corona virus hotspot Ganjam district accounted for the maximum number of 732 new cases, followed by Khurda (320) and Cuttack (136), he said. As many as 1,067 fresh cases were reported from quarantine centres, the official said, adding, contact-tracing and follow-up action is underway.
Punjab Govt. opens Covid Care Centres for mild, asymptomatic cases
The Punjab government has set up several Covid Care Centres (CCCs) in 10 districts with a total capacity of 7,520 beds, augmenting its ability to tackle mild or asymptomatic cases for people less than 60 years of age. Similar centres, with 100 beds each, would be set up soon in the remaining 12 districts, an official statement said here on Friday. The new CCCs have already made functional in Mohali with total 1,500 beds 1,000-bed capacity centre at Chandigarh University and 500-bed centre at Gian Sagar Hospital -- Ludhiana with 1,200 beds, Jalandhar and Amritsar with 1000 beds each, Bathinda (950), Sangrur (800 beds), Patiala (470), Pathankot (400) and Fazilka and Faridkot (100 each).
6 BSF personnel test positive for Covid-19 in Mizoram, tally rises to 332
Mizoram on Friday reported six more Covid-19 cases, all BSF personnel, taking the state's tally to 332, a health department official said. The six Border Security Force staffers had recently come from West Bengal and were in a quarantine centre at their camp in Vanhne in Lunglei district, he said. "A total of 127 security personnel and National Disaster Response Force staffers have so far tested positive for the disease in the state, and 15 of them have already recovered," the official said.
Cipla gets India approval to sell Covid-19 drug favipiravir
Cipla Ltd has received Indian regulatory approval to sell anti-viral drug favipiravir to treat Covid-19, the drugmaker said on Friday, as coronavirus infections in the world's third worst-hit nation show no sign of abating. The Drug Controller General of India granted Cipla accelerated approval to make and sell favipiravir in an effort to meet the "urgent and unmet" need for Covid-19 treatment options in the country, the company said. Indian drugmakers including Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd are racing to supply generic versions of favipiravir, originally developed by Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp as Avigan for treating influenza.
Phase-I human clinical trial of potential Covid-19 vaccine: Man given first dose at AIIMS
The phase-I human clinical trial of India's first indigenously-developed vaccine against novel corona virus, Covaxin, began at the AIIMS here on Friday with the first dose of the injection given to a man, who is in his 30s. Already, over 3,500 volunteers have registered themselves for the trial at AIIMS since last Saturday, of whom the screening of at least 22 people is underway, said Dr Sanjay Rai, Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS and the principal investigator of the study. "The first volunteer, a resident of Delhi, was screened two days ago and all his health parameters were found to be within the normal range. He also does not have any co-morbid conditions.
Prepared by Impact Health Research Team
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