COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

MHA issues Unlock 3 Guidelines, opens up more activities, Night Curfew ends, Strict enforcement of lockdown in Containment Zones till August 31 

Restrictions on movement of individuals during night (Night curfew) have been removed in the Unlock 3 period. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines today, for opening up of more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. In Unlock 3, which will come into effect from August 1, 2020, the process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further. The new guidelines, issued today, are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.  Yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to open from August 5, 2020. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19. Independence Day functions will be allowed with social distancing and by following other health protocols, e.g., wearing of masks etc.  International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission.  Metro Rail, Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will have to wait for opening up. Dates for opening of these will be decided separately, based on the assessment of the situation. Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 31 August, 2020. These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW. National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing.  Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives. The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.

India\’s cumulative testing crosses 1.77 crore

The StateUT governments under the guidance of Centre are steadily ramping up testing to ensure prompt identification and isolation of COVID-19 positive cases. With 4,08,855 samples tested in the last 24 hours, the number of Test Per Million (TPM) has increased to 12,858 and cumulative testing has crossed 1.77 crore.  A total of 1,77,43,740 samples for COVID-19 were tested across the country as of Tuesday, said the Indian Council of Medical Research. The total number of COVID-19 samples tested up to July 28 is 1,77,43,740 including 4,08,855 samples tested yesterday, said the ICMR in a bulletin shared on Twitter. The testing lab network in the country is continuously strengthened with 1316 labs in the country; 906 labs in the government sector and 410 private labs.  These include:

  • Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 675 (Govt: 411 + Private: 264)
  • TrueNat based testing labs: 537 (Govt: 465 + Private: 72)
  • CBNAAT based testing labs: 104 (Govt: 30 + Private: 74)

57% of Mumbai slumdwellers have Covid antibodies: Sero survey

A sero survey conducted by the BMC on almost 7,000 people in three civic wards in the city found 57% of the people tested in slum pockets had antibodies to Covid-19 as against 16% in non-slum pockets. The SARS-CoV2 sero-prevalence study—covering the wards R North (Dahisar), M West (Chembur) and F North (Sion, GTB Nagar and Matunga)—was done by the BMC along with Niti Ayog and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

Ascertain accuracy of rapid antigen tests: Government to ICMR

The government has asked ICMR to evaluate the accuracy of rapid antigen testing (RAT) in detecting coronavirus through mathematical modelling and analyse if the proportion of false negatives is substantially high, as has been suspected in some instances, official sources said. We have asked ICMR to check the accuracy level mathematically by assessing how many samples are symptomatic but report negative in rapid antigen tests and then what is the average percentage which turn out positive on a repeat test with RT-PCR. This has to be assessed on samples from across the country. If there are concerns, they need redressal. Once it is done , we can be assured that our numbers are correct, a senior official said. 

Covid-19 to take toll on India\’s response to AIDS: ICMR study

The Covid-19 pandemic has already started showing adverse ripple effects on India\’s AIDS response with a study by the ICMR warning that the Government may miss the national target to end the deadly disease by 2030. That target would be difficult to achieve as the decline in annual new HIV infections was only 27 per cent from 2010 to 2017 against a national target of a 75% decline by 2020. The warning comes in a study by the ICMR-National Institute of Medical Statistics, Division of Strategic information — Surveillance and Epidemiology, and the National AIDS Control Organization under the Union Health Ministry. As per the study published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the national adult prevalence of HIV was estimated to be 0.22 per cent in 2017. Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland had the highest prevalence of over 1 per cent.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Covid-19 not necessarily changing with seasons: WHO expert

The change of season or weather did not seem to be affecting the spread of Covid-19, and the pandemic could come as one wave instead of multiple waves like influenza, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said on Tuesday. People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and... this one is behaving differently, said Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO communications officer, at a virtual briefing in Geneva, Xinhua reported.

No, WHO is Not Advertising Home-based Jobs to Fight COVID-19

A message shared on WhatsApp and Facebook claims that the World Health Organization (WHO) is advertising home-based jobs to fight coronavirus and says no experience is necessary. However, there is no such employment offer from the UN health agency, which has warned the public of similar scams. The message circulating on WhatsApp chat groups in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda claims that the advertised jobs pay $5 to $100 for two to three hours of work each day using a mobile phone.

WHO explains why the coronavirus pandemic is about to get even worse

The novel coronavirus pandemic is very much out of control, as the world is experiencing a massive surge in cases. Some regions have successfully flattened the curve, while others are currently going through surges that are even worse than the April peaks. Some refer to the resurgence as a second peak of the first COVID-19 wave, while others call it a second wave. But no matter what you call it, it\’s clear the virus doesn\’t care about the season.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

1,056 fresh cases in Delhi as Covid count climbs to 1.32 lakh; no fatality at LNJP 

A day after reporting a noteworthy dip in daily coronavirus cases, the national capital added 1,056 new Covid-19 patients, authorities said on Tuesday while not a single death was reported for the first time in two months at the LNJP Hospital, a dedicated Covid-19 facility under the city government. The total number of coronavirus cases climbed to 1,32,275. With 28 fatalities, the death toll stood at 3,881, the health bulletin issued on Tuesday said. According to Monday\'s health bulletin, 613 fresh cases were reported, lowest in the last two months. However, only 11,506 tests were conducted. A day later, the tests went up to 18,544 while the fresh cases rose to 1,056.

Ensure strict compliance of Covid-19 test guidelines: Kejriwal to officers

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday directed officers to ensure strict compliance of existing guidelines on COVID-19 testing in the national capital. The direction comes two days after the Delhi Hight Court asked the Aam Aadmi Party government why it was going with Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT), which has a high rate of false negative results, as the primary test for COVID-19 infection. Existing guidelines say that if any patient\'s antigen test is negative but has symptoms, RT-PCR test must be done on him. I directed the officers today to ensure strict compliance of these guidelines, Kejriwal tweeted.

6,972 Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu; more doctors, nurses test positive

Hospitals in Tamil Nadu\’s districts continued to be crowded and more doctors and nurses were sent on isolation as the state reported 6,972 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing the total tally to 2,27,688. There were 57,073 people still under treatment. A total of 88 deaths in the last 24 hours took the toll to 3,659. Hospitals scrambled to rejig resources as doctors tested positive or were suspected to have Covid. At the Rajaji Government General Hospital in Madurai, more than 40 doctors and nurses were forced to go into isolation over the past three days. The hospital moved patients out of a Covid block and closed it for disinfection.

Karnataka\'s Covid-19 tally crosses 1 lakh-mark with record 5,324 cases in a day

Karnataka crossed the one lakh covid-19 cases mark on Monday, showing how the southern state that was lauded for containing the health crisis fairly well, lost control of the situation as soon as it started unlocking way before others. Fuelled by a spike in cases in in Bengaluru, the situation in Karnataka took a turn for the worse since the beginning of July breaching the 2000 mark per day initially, and now clocking over 5000 per day. Karnataka now has almost as many cases as all of Canada, Iraq and Ecuador and can be placed third over Indonesia in South-east Asia.

Covid-19: Gujarat adds 1,108 new cases, 24 deaths

Gujarat on Tuesday recorded 1,108 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours ending at 5pm, taking the state\'s tally to 57,982. It was the second time in three days that the state’s daily tally crossed 1,100 cases. The cases include 293 from Surat, 156 from Ahmedabad, 91 from Vadodara and 79 from Rajkot. With the update, the tally in Ahmedabad and Surat districts climbed to 26,000-plus and 12,000-plus respectively.

Ensure implementation of ICMR guidelines: Telangana HC

Making it clear that the State has to provide critical data through print and electronic media on Covid-19 issue, a division bench of Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to ensure implementation of guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in tackling the menace effectively. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, also directed the government to issue media bulletins with complete and factual information.  Referring to the State\’s pilot project on developing a new app called Home isolation telemedicine and monitoring, the bench suggested to the government to give wide publicity to such an app, which prescribes medicines and advice to Coronavirus patients. While passing a series of directions, the bench hoped that its orders will be complied with by the State government in the next two weeks.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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