COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India continues to be among the countries with lowest per million cases 

India has sustained its global position of being the country with one of the lowest cases per million and reported deaths per million. While the global figure for cases/million is 4,794, India is clocking 5,199. UK, Russia, South Africa, USA and Brazil are reporting higher number. The deaths/million in India are 79, while the world average is 138. In the matter of total tests conducted, India is one of the topmost countries. With 10,73,014 tests in last 24 hour, the cumulative number of tests conducted stand at 8.89 Cr (8,89,45,107). 55,342 new cases have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country. From last five weeks, there is a continuous decline in the average daily new cases. The weekly average of daily new cases fell from 92,830 cases in the 2nd week of September to 70,114 cases in 2nd week of October. Presently the active cases comprise merely 11.69% of the total positive cases of the country standing at 8,38,729. The active cases have been below the 9 lakh mark for the fifth consecutive day. 76% of new confirmed cases are from 10 States and UTs. Karnataka has overtaken Maharashtra with the highest number of new reported cases.  Both still are contributing more than 7,000 new cases.  The States which are reporting spurt in cases are Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. 77,760 new recoveries were added in the last 24 hour. With this, the total number of recoveries has crossed 62 Lakh (62,27,295). The number of fatalities due to COVID-19 has been lower than 1000 mark for ten successive days. 706 case fatalities have been reported in the past 24 hours. 

Dr Harsh Vardhan chairs 21st meeting of Group of Ministers on COVID-19

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare chaired the 21th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 by a video-conference, today. He informed his colleagues of the sturdy public health response mounted by India in its fight against the pandemic and the encouraging results so far. He said, “With 62,27,295 recovered cases, India has the highest recovery rate of 86.78% in the world. Fatality Rate of 1.53% is the lowest in the world and we are reporting the three-days Doubling Time has been successfully raised to 74.9 days.” “A total of 1927 labs at present have led to an upsurge in testing. India’s testing capacity has been hiked to 1.5 million tests per day. Close to 11 lakh samples were tested in the last 24 hours,” he added. The Health Minister reiterated his concern and appeal to everyone regarding observance of COVID appropriate behaviour during the forthcoming festival season and the winter months, when the likelihood of an increase in the disease is high. “The Hon. Prime Minister has launched the countrywide Jan Andolan to encourage people to adopt and encourage COVID appropriate behaviours to curb spread of the diseases while celebrating the festivals”, he stated.

Vaccine shot ‘painless’, say Covishield trial volunteers

“It felt like a tetanus shot,” said Joel Joy, 32, who works for a multinational firm in Mumbai, and was among those who’d volunteered for the experimental Covishield vaccine, being tested by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) at various hospitals in India, “I'll be going to the gym later today,” he added. The two-dose vaccine candidate is furthest ahead among the COVID-19 vaccines being tested in India. The trial involves 1,600 volunteers in 17 cities across the country likely to be inoculated in the coming months in the combined phase-2/3 trials. These trials check for whether the vaccine is safe and capable of producing an immune response to disarm future infections by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

Total samples tested up to October 12 is 8,89,45,107, says ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Tuesday said total number of samples tested up to 12th October is 8,89,45,107 including 10,73,014 samples tested till October 12. India reports a spike of 55,342 new #COVID19 cases & 706 deaths in the last 24 hours. Total case tally stands at 71,75,881 including 8,38,729 active cases, 62,27,296 cured/discharged/migrated cases & 1,09,856 deaths, said Union Health Ministry .

Harsh Vardhan says cure to be ready from more than one source in early 2021

India will have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by early next year and it will possibly come from several sources, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday. In a meeting of the group of ministers, the health minister stated that expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country. "We're expecting that early next year we should have vaccine in the country from maybe more than one source. Our expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution.” 

ICMR issues revised advisory on use of hydroxychloroquine

A revised government advisory has recommended use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-Covid-19 hospitals, frontline staff on surveillance duty in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in coronavirus infection related activities. As was mentioned in the earlier advisory, the drug against the infection is also recommended for all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19 and household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Even a few extra kilos up risk of severe Covid: CDC

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, has issued a warning saying not just the obese but even those with moderately excess weight may be at higher risk of severe Covid-19. The warning issued by the US public health institute may have serious implications for Indians as well because almost 40% Indians are obese and overweight, according to the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data. Doctors say the risk may be higher among overweight Indians. “Obesity is defined at a lower weight in Indians than white, because even at such levels of weight, high body fat seen in the former induces high cytokine load, which is markedly increa-sed by Covid-19, leading to organ failure. Hence, even mild to moderate obesity in Indians may cause complications of Covid-19 to occur easily,” says Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis C-Doc.

'Unethical' to rely on herd immunity: WHO 

The head of the World Health Organization has warned against deliberately allowing coronavirus to spread in the hope of achieving so-called herd immunity, saying the idea is unethical. “Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual press briefing.

WHO lauds India's Aarogya Setu app, says it helped officials identify clusters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded Aarogya Setu, a mobile application that was launched by the Government of India for protecting the citizens during COVID-19. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the health agency, said that the app helped city public health departments identify clusters and expand testing.

COVID-19 pandemic can be overcome quickly with right measures: WHO

The global COVID-19 pandemic can be overcome quickly if countries use the right tools, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Monday but warned that if those tools were not used it would remain for a long time. "If we use the tools we have at hand properly, we can end it soon," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the Financial Times' online Africa summit, adding a vaccine was expected late 2020 or early next year.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur tests positive for Covid-19, goes into self-isolation

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jairam Thakur on Monday said that he has tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) and has gone into self-isolation. The minister had come in contact with a Covid positive person and was in quarantine for last one week at his residence. After showing symptoms of coronavirus, Thakur got tested for the disease on Monday for which the results have come positive.

100-bed private Covid care facility opens in Greater Noida

Prakash Group of Hospitals opened a 100-bed Covid facility at Greater Noida’s Omega 1 Sector on Sunday. The hospital has 20 ICU beds, 10 HDU beds and 70 other beds, some of which are in suites or on a twin-sharing basis. “Due to the rise in the number of Covid patients, we have started an exclusive Covid hospital with 100 beds in Greater Noida’s Omega 1. At our non-Covid hospital in Noida, we get daily queries for Covid treatment,” said Dr Ayush Chauhan, executive director, Prakash Hospital.

Covid-19 claims 2 ministers in Bihar, Nagaland

Covid-19 claimed the lives of two ministers — one from Bihar and the other from Nagaland — on Monday, taking the number of legislators who died of the infection and its related complications to 19. While senior Nagaland minister CM Chang died of the virus at a hospital in Kohima, Bihar cabinet minister Binod Kumar Singh succumbed to post-Covid complications on Monday at Gurgaon’s Medanta hospital. He had Type II diabetes and hypertension. Singh, who was BJP’s three-time MLA from Pranpur in Katihar district, was on intermittent ventilator support from August 19. His Covid test on August 19 was negative.

Mumbai reports 1,620 cases; Maharashtra sees 7,089 cases

Maharashtra's Covid-19 deaths nosedived below the 200-mark while new cases suddenly plummeted to sub-10K level, falling to less than half the number of patients discharged. The state recorded another low of 7,089 new infections - much less than the peak single-day tally of 24,886 reported on September 11 - taking the state's overall Covid tally to 15.35 lakh. As many as 1,620 new COVID-19 cases and 36 deaths were reported from Mumbai in the last 24 hours. With this, the total number of cases in the city now stands at 2.31 lakh, including 22,693 active cases and 1.91 lakh discharges. So far, 9466 lives have been claimed by the infectious virus.

Mulund hospital fire: 82-year-old patient on ventilator support dies

An 82-year-old Covid-19 patient died while being shifted from Apex Hospital in Mulund after it caught fire on Monday evening. The patient was on the ventilator. A level zero fire was reported at Apex Hospital in Mulund on Monday at around 6.15pm.

Industry Updates

Johnson & Johnson pauses COVID-19 vaccine trials due to unexplained illness in participant

Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it had temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant, delaying one of the highest profile efforts to contain the global pandemic. The participant's illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company's clinical and safety physicians, the company said in a statement.

AstraZeneca starts late-stage trials of Covid-19 antibody medicine

AstraZeneca Plc started late-stage trials for an antibody medicine against Covid-19 with a large investment from the U.S., after President Donald Trump credited a similar therapy with aiding his recovery. Two trials for more than 6,000 people are starting in the next few weeks looking at prevention, with plans for a further 4,000 adults to test the antibody medicine as a treatment, Astra said in a statement. The drug will be assessed for its ability to avoid infections for as much as a year in some people and as a pre-emptive medicine once patients have been exposed to the virus in others.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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