COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India registers Recoveries of 65,081 in the last 24 hours, 69,921 new cases 

Continuing the streak of posting more than 60,000 recoveries each day since the past five days, India has registered 65,081 recoveries in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of recovered patients have grown to 28, 39,882, taking the Recovery Rate among COVID-19 patients to further high of 77%. The number of recovered patients has overtaken the active cases by 3.61 times. India has more than 20.53 lakh recovered people than the active cases that stand at 7, 85,996 today. The number of recovered patients has grown 4 times from the first week of July to the last week of August 2020. In the last 24 hours, five States have posted the highest addition to the new cases in the country. These are Maharashtra (11,852), Andhra Pradesh (10,004), Karnataka (6,495), Tamil Nadu (5,956) and Uttar Pradesh (4,782). Together they account for 56% of the confirmed cases added in the last 24 hours. While Maharashtra reported recoveries of 11,158 patients, the corresponding figures for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka stand at 8,772 and 7,238. Tamil Nadu follows with 6,008, while Uttar Pradesh posted recovery of 4,597 COVID patients. With a cumulative figure of 536 deaths in the last 24 hours, the above mentioned five states together account for 65.4% of the deaths added to the national total (819). Maharashtra has reported 184 deaths; Karnataka has added 113, followed by Tamil Nadu (91), Andhra Pradesh (85) and Uttar Pradesh (63).

More than 1 million tests conducted in the last 24 hour

India's cumulative tests have crossed 4.3 crores today (4, 33, 24,834). 1, 22, 66,514 tests were done in the last two weeks alone. States/UTs are progressively increasing their testing capacity. The States contributing maximum to the overall number of tests include Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra among others. These three States account for nearly 34% of the total testing. India’s per day testing capacity has crossed 10 lakhs tests. 10, 16,920 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. The Tests per Million (TPM) have also seen a sharp increase to 31,394. 22 States/UTs have better TPM than National Average. Goa, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are reporting maximum number of tests in a day.

Role played by India during the COVID crisis with the supply of critical medical products indicates our reliability as a partner:  Piyush Goyal

India, Australia and Japan held a ministerial videoconference on Supply Chains Resilience today. Addressing the meeting, Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal said that India, in its tradition of treating the world as a family, played a crucial role during the COVID crisis with the export measures for supply of critical medical products put in place only to ensure equitable distribution. “All these measures indicate our credibility and reliability as a partner and I am sure this is an important parameter as we venture into this new initiative for ensuring resiliency of supply chains. Transparency and trust have to be the hallmark of our initiative if we seek to expand its footprint. We firmly believe that Australia and Japan are key partners for us in our joint endeavor”, Goyal said.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

India's Covid-19 tally nears 3.7 million; recovery rate 76.94%

With 69,921 people testing positive for corona virus infection on Tuesday, India's COVID-19 tally mounted to 36, 91,166, while recoveries surged to 28,39,882, pushing the recovery rate to 76.94 per cent, according to Union Health Ministry data. The death toll, meanwhile, climbed to 65,288 with 819 new fatalities being reported in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate has declined further and now stands at 1.77 per cent. There are 7, 85,996 active cases which constitute 21.29 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 and went past 30 lakh on August 23.

Avoid false hope on corona virus vaccine, discontinue lockdown: Health experts write to PM Modi

Seven months into the corona virus pandemic in the country, the Joint Task Force of eminent public health experts wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said it must be assumed that an effective vaccine against the novel corona virus "would not be available in the near future". They also said that any false sense of hope that this panacea is just around the corner must be avoided. In a joint statement, experts of the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM), and Indian Association of Epidemiologists (IAE) said, "Vaccines do not have any role in current ongoing corona virus pandemic control in India. It must be assumed that an effective vaccine would not be available in near future. We must avoid false sense of hope that this panacea is just around the corner." The group's third joint statement on hope for a corona virus vaccine against Covid-19 states, "Vaccines with proven efficacy and safety, as and when available, should be administered according to the WHO's 'strategic allocation' approach or a multi-tiered risk-based approach." From graded re-opening of schools to discontinuing the lockdown strategy for pandemic control are some of the measures suggested by the public health experts.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Emergency Authorisation of COVID-19 Vaccines Needs Great Care: WHO 

The emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines requires a "great deal of seriousness and reflection"; the World Health Organization said on Monday after the United States announced it was considering fast-tracking candidate drugs. Although every country had the right to approve drugs without completing full trials, "it is not something that you do very lightly", WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference. The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said he would be willing to bypass the normal approval process to authorise a COVID-19 vaccine as long as officials were convinced the benefits outweigh the risks. Russia has already granted regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine this month after less than two months of human testing, prompting some Western experts to question its safety and efficacy. The WHO's preferred approach would be to have a full set of data which could be used for the pre-qualification of vaccines, Swaminathan said. The WHO would then consider the efficacy and safety of each drug on a case by case basis, she added.

Myanmar reports highest single-day spike of Covid-19 cases

Myanmar has reported its highest single-day total of COVID-19 cases since its first cases were confirmed in late March. The Health Ministry announced 95 new cases, bringing the country's total to 882. Of that total, 354 have recovered and six have died. Myanmar has seen a surge over the past week, mostly in the western state of Rakhine, which borders Bangladesh and hosts several major camps for people displaced by years of civil conflict.

WHO warns reopening too quickly amid corona virus pandemic is 'recipe for disaster'

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that opening up societies too quickly amid the corona virus pandemic is a "recipe for disaster". WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advises that "the more control countries have over the virus, the more they can open up," and insists that countries that are serious about opening up must also be serious about suppressing transmission. "This may seem like an impossible balance, but it's not," he told reporters in Geneva. Tedros cited four key points that countries, communities and individuals should focus on: preventing "amplifying events" - as the virus thrives on clusters; protecting vulnerable groups; people taking steps individually to protect themselves; and finding, isolating, testing and caring for cases, while tracing and quarantining their contacts.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Haryana adds nearly 30,000 Covid-19 cases in August; 85% jump

With corona virus infections witnessing a spike in many northern districts, Haryana added nearly 30,000 patients to its COVID-19 tally, a jump of 85 per cent, during August, and an analysis of data provided by the state government shows. On July 31, the total number of cases in the state was 34,965 which soared to 64,732 by August 31, the day which also saw the highest single-day spike of 1,450 cases. A total of 29,767 cases were added to the tally, while the number of fatalities rose from 421 to 689, the state health department data showed. 

5,571 new corona virus cases in Uttar Pradesh; state tally 235,757

Fifty-six more people died of corona virus in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, raising the toll to 3,542, while 5,571 fresh cases pushed the state's infection count to 2, 35,757, an official said. Additional Chief Secretary Medical and Health Amit Mohan Prasad said a total of 1, 49,874 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the state on Monday. As many as 5,571 samples tested positive for the disease, he added. The state also recorded 56 fresh fatalities, Prasad said, adding the death toll has now reached 3,542. The case fatality rate of the state is 1.50 per cent, he said. Prasad said the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 55,538.

All travellers entering Arunachal Pradesh will be tested for Covid-19

All travellers entering Arunachal Pradesh will be tested for COVID-19 by rapid antigen test (RAT) at the state's check gates and helipads, as per the Unlock 4 guidelines issued by the state government. State Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar issued a notification on Monday night on the guidelines which would be effective from September 1 to 30. The antigen tests of all incoming interstate travellers at the point of entry will be strictly carried out from 8 am to 8 pm. If the travellers are detected as being asymptomatic and negative in the test on arrival, they can report to work or perform their activities in the state following the 'new normal', the guidelines said.

 Industry Updates

AstraZeneca bolsters Covid-19 vaccine supply with new deal

AstraZeneca has expanded its agreement with cell therapy firm Oxford Biomedica to mass-produce its COVID-19 potential vaccine, as it looks to scale-up supply ahead of a possible US fast-track approval. While the British drug maker works on the widely watched corona virus vaccine hopeful, AZD1222, its main portfolio of treatments for cancer, diabetes and heart diseases scored a win after its drug, Imfinzi was approved for use in Europe to treat an aggressive form of lung cancer. The company's shares gained as much as 1.5% to trade at 84.6 pounds by 0807 GMT, outperforming the benchmark FTSE-100 index, after Oxford Biomedica announced the expanded agreement and on news of the EU approval for Imfinzi.

 Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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