COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

Dr Harsh Vardhan Launches Vaccine Web portal, National Clinical Registry of COVID-19 

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today visited the headquarters of ICMR and unveiled a timeline depicting ICMR’s historical achievements and inaugurated ICMR’s mobile stroke unit and a COVID Vaccine and Clinical Registry portal to be hosted by ICMR. Dr. Harsh Vardhan unveiled the history timeline of ICMR depicting 108 year journey of the India’s premier Research Council since the day of its inception in 1911 when it used to be known as Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA).  He also launched the Vaccine Portal and portal on COVID Clinical Registry. While emphasizing on the importance of elaborate and transparent information on the status of vaccine development, he said, “The portal provides useful and important information related to vaccine development, ongoing clinical trials and progress made in this area locally and globally at regular intervals. Today, in the times of COVID, vaccine development is watched very closely. Thus, it becomes important to showcase the status of vaccine development in the country.”

India's total Recoveries cross the landmark milestone of 50 lakh

With a very high number of COVID patients recovering every single day, India’s steady trend of posting high level of daily recoveries continues. 74,893 recoveries have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country. India has witnessed a very high level of more than 90,000 recoveries every day in the recent past. The total recovered Cases have outpaced active cases by more than 5 times. With the exponential increase in the recoveries, there is close to 100% increase in recovered cases in one month. The national Recovery Rate has further increased to 82.58%. 15 States/UTs are showing recovery rate more than the national average. 73% of the new recovered cases are being reported from ten States, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala, Odisha, West Bengal and Punjab. 

Uma Bharti tests positive for Covid-19 after Kedarnath-Badrinath yatra

Senior Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti, who has tested positive for Covid-19 after Kedarnath-Badrinath yatra, has informed through social media that she is under home-isolation and is getting all possible treatment from doctors in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. She denied contracting virus from priests, adding that her driver was positive for the virus.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

NPPA steps in to cap price of Liquid Medical Oxygen and Medical Oxygen cylinders

 The present situation of COVID-19 has resulted in increased demand of Medical Oxygen (MO) in the country and hence its availability is of utmost importance. Many of the States/UTs are dependent on the medical oxygen supply from other States/UTs. The government is committed to uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen especially in the times of pandemic. Oxygen Inhalation (Medicinal Gas) is a scheduled formulation, covered under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). Its existing Ceiling Price fixed by NPPA is Rs. 17.49/CUM. However, due to absence of price cap on liquid medical oxygen, manufacturers have hiked prices to fillers. The Empowered Group 2 has recommended NPPA to consider capping the ex-factory price of liquid oxygen in order to ensure its supply to fillers at reasonable prices. To deal effectively with the situation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOH&FW), conferred the delegation of powers to NPPA to take all necessary steps to immediately regulate the availability and pricing of LMO and Medical Oxygen in cylinder.

Covid-19 reinfection cases under investigation, but number is negligible, says Harsh Vardhan

Amid reports that people once cured of Covid-19 are not free from the threats of contracting the virus again, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said the issue of reinfection is under investigation, though it’s not a serious issue at this moment. The Union minister was addressing his weekly programme ‘Sunday Samvaad’.

Modi offers India’s COVID-19 vaccine capacity to ‘all humanity’

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged at the United Nations that his country’s vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the coronavirus crisis. “As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today,” Modi said in a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly.

India Still Far From Achieving Herd Immunity Against Covid: Harsh Vardhan

Indian population is still far from achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 as shown by Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) second Sero Survey, the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday adding that ICMR expert panel examining reinfection cases. While interacting with social media users during Sunday Samvaad-3, Dr Vardhan said: "The findings of the second sero survey are going to be released soon. But second sero survey indications are that we are far from having achieved any kind of herd immunity which necessitates that all of us should continue following COVID appropriate behaviour. The first sero-survey of May 2020 revealed that the nationwide prevalence of novel coronavirus infection was only 0.73 per cent."


Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

WHO chief hails PM Modi's assurance of India's vaccine production prowess to help nations fight COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance that India will use its vaccine production capacity in helping nations fight COVID-19, saying the pandemic can be defeated only by mobilising resources for common good. In his address to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly on September 26, PM Modi said that as the largest vaccine producing country of the world, "I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis".

China says WHO gave blessing for coronavirus vaccine emergency use 

China launched its emergency programme in July, having communicated with the WHO in late June, according to Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official. Hundreds of thousands essential workers and other limited groups of people considered at high risk of infection have been given the vaccine, even though its efficacy and safety had not been fully established as Phase 3 clinical trials were incomplete, raising concerns among experts.

China gives ‘unproven’ vaccine to thousands, makes them sign ‘secrecy’ agreement

China is injecting thousands of its people with Covid-19 vaccine shots, which are still under trial and hence their efficacy unproven, reports said. Those who are getting these vaccine shots are also made to sign a “nondisclosure agreement”, according to which they can’t talk about it to the news media. High-risk population, including staff of state-owned companies, government officials, vaccine company staff, teachers are being inoculated on an emergency basis. Global heath experts are raising questions whether their consent has are being taken or not.

 State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Delhi adds 40+ Covid-19 deaths for 2nd straight day; 3,292 new cases

The national capital reported more than 40 Covid-19 fatalities for the second straight day on Sunday, which also saw 3,292 infections added in the city, taking the tally to 271,114. According to data released by the Delhi government in its daily health bulletin on Sunday, 42 people in the national capital died of the coronavirus disease on the day.

Mandatory Quarantine Order for Covid Patients over 60 In Delhi Withdrawn

The Additional District Magistrate of Delhi's South West district has withdrawn an order making quarantine in Covid care facilities mandatory for infected people over 60. The order - issued September 21 - said people with co-morbidities had to admit themselves to coronavirus care facilities. However, according to guidelines in place across the national capital (these have been issued by the Delhi government), people over 60 who tested Covid-positive and had conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung/liver/kidney diseases and cerebro-vascular diseases, were allowed home isolation after evaluation by the treating medical officer.

Maharashtra records 18,056 new COVID-19 cases; 380 die, 13,565 recover

Maharashtra on Sunday recorded 18,056 new coronavirus infections, pushing the state’s overall tally to 13,39,232, the state health department said. With the death of 380 patients, the total number of fatalities reached 35,571, it said. A total of 13,565 patients were discharged taking the state’s recovery count to 10,30,015, PTI reported the state’s department as saying.

Covid-19: Over 35% of Mumbai’s active cases in 5 wards alone

More than a third of Mumbai’s 26,020 active Covid-19 cases come from five of the city’s 24 wards. The belt from Andheri to Borivli —where these five wards are located—also account for 30% of the total discharged patients and 25% of the total reported deaths. An analysis of BMC’s Covid updates shows that the civic wards containing Borivli, both Andheri East and Andheri West, Kandivli and Malad, have over 10,000 cases each. Worse, the number of active cases here has been rising steadily in the last couple of weeks. While the R Central ward with Borivli has 2,287 active cases, K West with Andheri West has 1,965, R South with Kandivli has 1,787 and K East with Andheri East has 1,541. P North ward, where Malad is located, has witnessed over 424 deaths and has 1,472 active cases.

BMC starts process to buy RT-PCR kits, may increase financial burden

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated the process of purchasing real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) discontinued its supply to states from September. The current stock of RT-PCR kits with the BMC will last till end-October, officials said.

Industry Updates

 ‘R value’ in 5 states with high Covid-19 infection rate dips

The states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have seen a dip in the R value or the reproductive number during the last week, according to a recent study. Reproductive number is the number of people getting infected by an already infected person on average. This value has gone below 1 in these high-burden states in the week starting September 19, according to the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, and this has helped flatten India’s Covid-19 curve. However, the R value in Maharashtra and Karnataka has begun creeping up again, said Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher at the institute.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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