COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

News Updates

Centre issues new Guidelines for Unlock 2, opens up more activities 

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued new guidelines for Unlock 2 to open up of more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. The new guidelines will come into effect from July 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.  As stipulated in the Unlock 1 Order and guidelines issued on 30.05.2020, certain activities, i.e., religious places and places of worship for public; hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and shopping malls; have already been permitted from June 8, 2020 outside the Containment Zones. Detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) have also been issued. 

Salient features of the new guidelines for Unlock 2

  • Domestic flights and passenger trains have already been allowed in a limited manner. Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner
  • Night curfew timings are being further relaxed and curfew shall be in force from 10.00 pm to 5.00 am
  • Shops depending upon their area, can have more than 5 persons at a time. However, they have to maintain adequate physical distance
  • Training institutions of the Central and State Governments will be allowed to function with effect from July 15, 2020
  • After extensive consultation with States and UTs, it has been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31, 2020
  • International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission.  Further opening up will take place in a calibrated manner.
  • All activities, except the following, shall be permitted outside containment zones: Metro Rail, Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places
  • Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 31 July, 2020
  • Venerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes
  • The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.

PM Modi Appeals to Indians to not be Careless in 'Unlock' as Covid-19 Cases Rise

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the 66th edition of the monthly Mann ki Baat radio programme, with the focus of the talk on the tensions with China post violent clashes in the Galwan Valley that left 20 Indian soldiers dead as well as the country’s response to the corona virus crisis as cases cross the 5 lakh-mark.  In his radio address, PM Modi said people were commonly talking about when will 2020 end. “They feel it has been a year of many challenges. There could be any number of challenges but our history shows that we've always overcome them. We've emerged stronger after challenges,” he said.

Govt. allows export of 50 lakh PPE medical coveralls per month

The government on Monday allowed the export of personal protective equipment (PPE) medical coveralls with a monthly quota of 50 lakh. The exports were prohibited till now. “Boosting Make in India exports, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) medical coveralls for COVID-19 have been allowed with a monthly export quota of 50 lakh,” said commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) amended the export policy “to the extent that PPE medical coveralls…are now restricted for exports”.

India's Covid-19 recovery rate reaches 58.67%

India's corona virus recovery rate has reached 58.67 per cent as the gap between recoveries and active cases stands at 1, 11,602, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). A total of 12,010 Covid-19 patients have been cured in the last 24 hours.

According to the Ministry on Monday, the total corona virus cases in the country stands at 5, 48,318 including 2, 10,120 active cases, 3, 21,723 cured/discharged/migrated and 16,475 deaths.

"The gap between recoveries and active cases is 1, 11,602 as of today. So far, as many as 3,21,722 patients have been cured of Covid-19. The recovery rate continues to steadily improve. It has reached 58.67% amongst COVID-19 patients today. During the last 24 hours, a total of 12,010 Covid-19 patients have been cured. Presently, there are 2, 10,120 active cases and all are under active medical supervision," said a release by MoHFW.

Covid-19 a setback for education sector, Govt. need to address inclusion challenges: UNESCO report

The Covid-19 pandemic will have a considerable setback on learning, according to the UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring Report, which also urges governments to rebuild education systems that are better and accessible to all. The report said that assessing the effect of school closures on Covid-19 infection rates has been filled with uncertainty, as conclusive evidence is yet to emerge, making the issue at times quite divisive. Some teachers who belong to vulnerable groups are concerned that their health is at risk. Only a minority of countries can enforce strict social distancing rules in schools," the report said. It said that depending on the structure of academic year, school closures have affected their calendars, teacher training and licensing schedules, besides examinations.


Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

ICMR plans to increase rapid antigen-based tests as Covid-19 cases surge 

As India witnessed an exponential rise in the number of corona virus cases, the Centre along with the Indian Council of Medical Research are planning to use the rapid antigen-based COVID-19 method to push the more rigorous RT-PCR test for detection of the virus. A senior official of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said rapid antigen-based tests could help to determine an ongoing infection quickly. “This is why it is a good tool that can be used for diagnosis of Covid-19 along with the RT-PCR testing. RT-PCR, while a gold standard in diagnosing Covid-19, needs a proper bio safety level 2 labs for analysis,” said the official.

Over 14% in Kolkata have antibodies, finds ICMR 

A sero survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to estimate the sero-prevalence of the novel corona virus infection in West Bengal reveals a higher number of antibodies in the population of Kolkata than in other districts. The sero-prevalence is the level of a pathogen in a population, as measured in blood serum. In a letter, written by ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava to West Bengal Health Secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam, reveals that of the 396 samples in Kolkata, 57 tested positive, taking the “unweighted prevalence” to 14.39% in the city. In South 24 Parganas, only 10 of the 400 samples tested positive, indicating a prevalence of 2.5%.


Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

WHO’s Tedros calls for any COVID-19 vaccine to be shared as a public good

Vaccines for the new corona virus should be made available as a global public good, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, to ensure everyone had fair access to any life-saving products that are developed.“Many leaders…have promoted the idea of making any vaccine a global public good, but that should continue to be promoted,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference. “More leaders should join the boat, and we need to have a truly global political commitment and global consensus before we even have the product,” he said. “That is what we are pushing.”

#COVID-19 – Both #WHO and Europe must learn from the current pandemic, say MEPs

The Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety held a debate with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the fight against COVID-19 and the global response to it, including WHO actions to prevent the spread of the disease and to develop treatments and vaccines. Ghebreyesus said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of global solidarity and that health should not be seen as a cost but an investment. He added that all countries in the world must strengthen primary health care and crisis preparedness and stressed the need for EU leadership globally.


States Advisories / Policies / Updates

Over 5,000 Covid patients undergoing treatment at home in Telangana

Over 5,000 Covid-19 patients in Telangana are undergoing treatment at their homes through telemedicine facility, Health Minister E. Rajender said on Monday. While a total of 7,109 people tested positive were in home isolation, 1,438 have recovered and 5,671 were under treatment. Only 26 had to be shifted from their homes to hospitals, he added. He said those tested positive but were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms were being treated in home isolation and they were recovering in 7-10 days. As on Sunday, Telangana had 9,000 active cases of Covid-19. Over 3,000 were undergoing treatment at various government and private hospitals.

Covid-19: Maharashtra extends lockdown till July 31

Maharashtra government on Monday said the lockdown in the state is being extended till July 31.The current lockdown was to end on June 30. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday ruled out lifting the lockdown from that date. An order issued by chief secretary Ajoy Mehta on Monday said wearing face covers or masks, maintaining social distancing, restricted gatherings, and other measures shall continue to prevail. The state government has also advised that work from home should be followed as far as possible. Mehta's order said private offices can operate with up to 10 per cent strength or 10 people whichever is more.

Ahmedabad gets 7 new micro-containment areas

Seven new micro-containment zones have been added to the 37 existing ones in Ahmedabad city in Gujarat, taking the total number of people placed under restriction in civic limits to 27,509, an official said. While six of the new areas are in the western zone of the city, one is in the south-west, he added. The western part accounts for 643 or 22 per cent of all Covid-19 cases in Gujarat's largest city, the highest among all six zones here.

Delhi Govt. to start Plasma Bank to battle corona virus

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government has decided to start India's first Plasma bank. "Delhi Govt. will set up 'Plasma bank'; request people to donate plasma to save lives of Covid-19 patients. The government has so far conducted clinical trials of plasma therapy on 29 Covid-19 patients and the results have been positive. The bank will start operation in two days. This 'Plasma Bank' will be set-up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in Delhi. Anyone who needs plasma will need a recommendation from a doctor."


Industry Updates 

BSL III labs to come up in Noida, Greater Noida

The state government has decided to set up three BSL III (bio safety level) labs in Noida, Greater Noida and Shahjahanpur soon. Besides, 10 BSL II labs would be set up in medical colleges within a month to boost the Covid testing facility. About two months back the UP government had announced setting up of one BSL IV lab and 13BSL III labs in medical colleges of the state to guard against biological warfare. However, it has to shelve its plan of developing the BSL IV lab and curtail the number of BSL III labs due to financial constraints in wake of the novel corona virus pandemic.

Covid-19 vaccine from China shows promise in human trials

A Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by a Beijing unit of China National Biotech Group (CNBG) has shown positive results in early human trials, the company said on Sunday. According to the company, all 1,120 volunteers in the phase-1 and phase-2 clinical trials produced high-titer antibodies against Covid-19 after accepting two doses of the vaccine. The clinical trials which started on April 27 in Shangqiu County in China's Henan province have shown the vaccine to be effective and safe.

Google tests tool to show Covid-19's impact at community level

Google on Monday said it is piloting a new feature in partnership with local news publishers to understand how Covid-19 is impacting different communities. The company said it would test the News feature in a few geographic areas in the US and Canada in the Covid-19 special section of the app, where users can view community reopening timelines, plus updates around business and school openings. They can also see the status of the local healthcare infrastructure, public transportation, events and sections with resources for residents looking for or wanting to help families in need. 

Source: PIB

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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