COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India sets unprecedented record, Doubling Time nearly 73 Days

India is reporting a progressively high increase in the recoveries and a persistent decline in the percentage active cases. As a result, the doubling time of the infection has sharply improved. It is now almost 73 days (72.8 days). This indicates a substantial fall in the daily New Cases and the consequent increase in time taken to double the Total Cases.  According to Union Health Ministry 67,708 new confirmed cases were registered in the last 24 hours in the country. 77% of new confirmed cases are from 10 States and UTs. Maharashtra has the highest number with more than 10,000 cases followed by Karnataka with more than 9,000 cases. India has come a long way from registering a doubling rate of 25.5 days in mid August to now registering a doubling rate of nearly 73 days. This is the result of collaborative action by States/UTs under the Centre's strategy of comprehensive and high countrywide testing, prompt and effective surveillance and tracking, quick hospitalization and effective adherence of the Standard Treatment Protocol issued by the Union Government. This is also the combined outcome of the selfless service and dedication of doctors, paramedics, frontline workers and all other COVID-19 warriors.

India to import 1 lakh metric tonne of medical oxygen to meet any shortage during winters

The Union Health Ministry has initiated the process of importing liquid oxygen as part of its preparedness to meet any unforeseen shortage during the winters when the country may witness an increase in COVID-19 cases leading to a rise in demand for oxygen. HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, has floated a global tender on Wednesday on behalf of the Health Ministry for procuring one lakh metric tonne of liquid oxygen.

Peak holiday season set to send India’s COVID-19 cases surging

Already on track to overtake the United States with the world's most novel coronavirus infections, India is bracing for a surge of cases in coming weeks as it heads into its main holiday season with an economy freed of virus restrictions. The recent experience of the southern state of Kerala, which was praised for its initial handling of the pandemic, indicates how rapidly the situation can worsen. Reported infections there have jumped by five times since it celebrated the 10-day harvest festival of Onam in late August, far outpacing the two-fold increase in cases nationally over that time.


Schools, cinemas, religious gatherings resume today: All you need to know

After remaining shut for nearly seven months due to the lockdown imposed across the country in view of the coronavirus pandemic, cinemas and schools across several states are set to reopen on Thursday while religious gatherings too have been allowed with restrictions. Even as recent trends suggest the peak of the Covid-19 infection in India may be over, the latest ‘unlock’ measures - reopening of schools, cinemas and religious gatherings - pose a big risk given that Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease, may easily spread in closed spaces like movie theatres and auditoriums, children may contract the disease and take it home where there may be more vulnerable people, and if people do not remain cautious crowds at festivals may catch the infection.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

Showcase importance of Covid-appropriate behaviour: Vardhan to AIIMS

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked the heads of all AIIMS and central government hospitals on Wednesday to be the frontrunners in showcasing the importance of COVID-appropriate behaviour, which will act as a "social vaccine" to curb the spread of the disease in the country, in view of the upcoming festival season and winter. The next two-and-a-half months are going to be crucial in the battle against the coronavirus because of the winter and festive season, Vardhan said as he urged people not to let their guard down and to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour to curb the spread of the infection, the health ministry said in a statement.

Health Ministry issues guidelines for management of co-infection of Covid-19 

 With the aim of providing clear guidelines on prevention and treatment of co-infections of coronavirus with other diseases, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was quotedas saying by PTI report, “As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) case definition, a Covid case may present with acute onset of fever and cough, or, acute onset of any three or more of the following signs or symptoms: fever, cough, general weakness or fatigue, headache, myalgia, sore throat, coryza, dyspnoea, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, altered mental status.”

Govt chalks out plan for storage of Covid-19 vaccine

With several experimental vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) reaching late-stage trials, the government has started making logistical arrangements for procurement, storage and distribution to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of a vaccine, when one becomes available

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

WHO urges leaders to protect the vulnerable amid Covid-19 pandemic

As the countries continue to register news cases of coronavirus every day, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has urged the leaders to maintain peace and focus on combatting against the virus and “not the vulnerable”. “It’s a pandemic: go after the virus, not the vulnerable,” said Ghebreyesus on Twitter. In another tweet, he said, “Shanti” (peace). Interestingly, the WHO Director-General tweeted in Hindi.

Important that Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine gets cleared by WHO: UN

Any vaccine for the coronavirus disease, including Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine, must be cleared by the World Health Organization, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Wednesday. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech at the UN General Assembly offered to provide free Sputnik-V vaccines to all UN staff worldwide. "Those discussions are ongoing," Dujarric said when asked about Russia's offer. "For us, it's important that any vaccine be cleared by the WHO, but discussions are ongoing."

Thousands more underfed children may die due to COVID-19: WHO

An extra 10,000 children per month may die this year from malnutrition due to the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the World Health Organisation warned on Wednesday. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a U.N Food and Agriculture (FAO) conference that due to the pandemic he expected a 14% rise in cases of severe child malnutrition this year - or 6.7 million more people - mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. “We cannot accept a world where the rich have access to healthy diets while the poor are left behind... the rich can afford to stay home, the poor must go out to work,” he said.

WHO warns Canada is facing a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus cases

Canada is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases as the provinces of Quebec and Ontario report the bulk of the country’s Covid-19 death toll, the Pan American Health Organization’s top health official warned Wednesday. “Canada is currently facing its second wave, and areas that were not previously affected are now surpassing the numbers seen during the first wave,” Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO and the World Health Organization regional director for the Americas, said at a news briefing. 

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Odisha's Covid-19 tally rises to 262,011 with 2,470 new cases

Schools, entertainment parks, cinema halls, multiplexes and swimming pools reopened across the country from today after the Union home ministry last month allowed these to reopen from October 15 for the ongoing fifth phase of unlock. Schools had reopened partially on September 21, albeit only for classes 9-12 and on voluntary basis, during the fourth phase of unlock. The other places, however, had continued to stay close. Also, on Wednesday, the Maharashtra government announced further relaxations under its ‘Mission Begin Again,’ including allowing Mumbai Metro to resume operations from Thursday.

Mulayam Singh Yadav Tests COVID-19 Positive

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the party tweeted on Wednesday. "Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav has tested positive for COVID-19, and is being monitored by doctors. As of now, there are no COVID symptoms in him," it said.

Delhi records 3,324 coronavirus cases; death toll reaches 5,898

Delhi recorded as many as 3,324 fresh coronavirus cases. With this, the tally of coronavirus cases in the state has mounted to over 3.17 lakh on Wednesday, while the death toll mounted to 5,898. Forty-four fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department. On the eve of the opening of cinema halls, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hoped on Wednesday that they would adhere to the coronavirus safety guidelines and follow protocols of social distancing and sanitisation. At a meeting with the representatives of cinema hall associations, Kejriwal said the people and the associations would have to work together to revive the economy of Delhi.

In Pune, Measures to Stop Private Hospitals From Overcharging Prove Ineffective

Pune has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, and many patients are opting for treatment at private hospitals. The district administration has appointed audit teams to rein in hospitals from overcharging patients. But that might not provide much-needed relief to patients as the committee will check the bills of only 1.86% of the total number of patients who have been treated at private hospitals until now. Pune reported 528 new coronavirus cases yesterday, taking its COVID-19 count to 1,55,595. As per the update by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, 28 people succumbed to the infection, with this the death toll went up to 3,899. A total of 1,413 patients were discharged during the day, taking the number of active cases to 12,285. As of now, 1,40,863 people were dischraged/recovered.

Mumbai COVID-19: Death toll rises to 9,552; over 2 lakh recoveries

Coronavirus caseload in Mumbai increased to 2,34,606 with 2,211 new cases being reported on Wednesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said. The death toll in the city rose to 9,552 with 48 fresh fatalities, it added. On Tuesday, Mumbai had reported 1,325 new cases. According to the BMC data, the number of recovered patients in Mumbai has reached 2,01,497 with 3,370 patients discharged from hospitals in past 24 hours. A civic official said the city's recovery rate is 85 per cent, whereas it has 20,790 active COVID-19 cases.

Industry Updates

Annual General Meeting of IRCS, Celebrates its Centenary Year of Foundation

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare in his capacity as Chairman joined the Annual General Meeting of Indian Red Cross Society and St. John’s Ambulance through video conference, today. Thanking Hon’ble President of India and President of Indian Red Cross Society & St. John Ambulance (India) Sh. Ram Nath Kovind ji for his continued encouragement and support to IRCS, he noted, “This is for the first time that a meeting of this kind in IRCS has been organized virtually. However and as we all know, this is the ‘new normal’ of our life these days. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made us to function this way.” Congratulating all members of IRCS as it completes its 100 years of existence saving innumerable lives and improving the quality of life of a large section of people, he brought attention of the members to the present pandemic which is in its tenth month currently. He continued, “Almost every country is trying its best to minimize this impact in its own way. In India, the central government got into action much earlier and since then has launched a slew of measures to minimize the overall impact of the pandemic.” The minister was apprised that relief materials are not only being stocked in the regional warehouses of National Headquarters but also in the warehouses of those states which are prone to flood and other disasters.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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