Corona Virus (COVID-19) Latest Updates

With over 6,000 COVID-19 cases for 4th consecutive day, India's total tally crosses 1.38 lakh
25-05-2020 09:50

India witnessed a spike of more than 6,000 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for the fourth consecutive day and also recorded 154 fresh fatalities in 24 hours, country's tally climbed to 1,38,845 with 4,021 people losing their lives to the pandemic.

According to Union Health and Family Welfare department data, India witnessed a surge of 6,977 new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the total 1,38,845 cases, 77,103 are active cases while 57,720 people have been cured, including 3,280 cured in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit state with 50,231 cases. 3,041 new cases and 58 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours the took the tally of fatalities to 1,635. Of the 50,231 cases a total of 14,600 have been cured.

Tamil Nadu stood second with 16,277 cases, and Gujarat third with 14,056 cases. The death toll was 111 in Tamil Nadu and 858 in Gujarat.

Delhi reported 13,418 cases and 261 casualties, while 6,412 patients have been cured here.

States/UTs with more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases are Rajasthan (7,028), Madhya Pradesh (6,665) and Uttar Pradesh (6,268). Others with more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,667), Andhra Pradesh (2,823), Punjab (2,060), Telangana (1,854), Bihar (2,587), Jammu and Kashmir (1,621), Karnataka (2,089), Odisha (1,336) and Haryana (1,184). States and UTs with significant number of cases are Kerala (847), Jharkhand (370), Chandigarh (238), Assam (378), Tripura (191), Chhattisgarh (252) and Uttarakhand (317).

Sikkim and Dadra and Nagar Haveli did not report any fresh incident in the last 24 hours, as per ministry data. Goa has reported 66 cases so far. A spurt has been observed in Pudducherry which now has 41 cases. There are now 52 cases in Ladakh.

 

With highest spike of 6,654 COVID19 cases in 24 hours, India crosses 1.25 lakh-mark
23-05-2020 11:20

In just 24 hours flat India added 6,654 positive cases, Health Ministry data showed on Saturday. It is 566 cases more in a single day than it reported on Friday. With this the total tally went across the 1.25 lakh-mark. Before the first week of the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown ended, cases continually breached the highest record everyday in the last four days.

With a total of 1,25,100 cases, data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there now 69,597 active, 51,783 who recovered while 3,720 people have lost their lives to the deadly virus, including 137 in the last one day, which is 11 less deaths than 24 hours ago.

The worst hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 44,582 active cases, 1,517 people died while 12,583 people have recovered. In the past 24 hours 2,940 cases have come up while 821 new recoveries have occurred.

Tamil Nadu is on the second number with 14,753 cases and 98 deaths while Gujarat is third with 13,268 cases and 802 deaths.

Delhi has so far reported 12,319 cases with 208 fatalities and 5,897 people recovering from the disease.

States with more than 5,000 cases each are Rajasthan (6,494), Madhya Pradesh (6,170) and Uttar Pradesh (5,735).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases each are West Bengal (3,332), Andhra Pradesh (2,709), Punjab (2,029), Telangana (1,761), Bihar (2,177), Jammu and Kashmir (1,489), Karnataka (1,743), Odisha (1,189) and Haryana (1,067).

States and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (732), Jharkhand (308), Chandigarh (218), Assam (259), Tripura (175), Chhattisgarh (172) and Uttarakhand (153).

 

India's Covid-19 mortality rate falls to 3.02%
22-05-2020 17:30

The Union Health Ministry on Friday said the Covid-19 fatality rate has dropped from 3.13 per cent to 3.02 per cent, and the authorities involved in tackling the viral infection are concentrating on containment measures and clinical management of cases.

"We need to save the country from deaths due to Covid-19", said a ministry official.

In the daily press briefing, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary Health Ministry, said there is improvement in the COVID-19 mortality rate, as it dropped from 3.13 per cent on May 19 to 3.02 per cent. The ministry said that 3,234 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, and 48,534 people have been cured so far, and there are a total 66,330 under active medical supervision.

"The recovery rate has improved to 41% and the case fatality rate has improved to 3.02%", said Agarwal, adding the focus of the Health Ministry is on districts which have reported most cases.

The Health Ministry said the growth rate of COVID-19 cases has witnessed a steady fall from April 3, when lockdown was able to put brakes on its growth. "The number of cases today would have been much higher had lockdown not been implemented", added the official.

According to an Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) official, 27,55,714 tests for COVID-19 were conducted till 1 p.m. Friday, and 1,03,829 tests were done in the last 24 hours. "Over 1 Lakh tests for COVID-19 done each day in the last four days", added the ICMR official.

The Centre emphasized that the decision of lockdown in India was timely and that several countries took the decision late. "Like the number of cases, the growth rate of the number of COVID-19 deaths too has fallen significantly due to lockdown, marking a notable difference between pre-lockdown and post-lockdown situations", said a senior official.

 

India's recovery rate improves to 40.32%, lockdown gainfully utilised: Health Ministry
21-05-2020 16:10

The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday said the period of lockdown has been gainfully utilized to ramp up the health infrastructure in the country. In a press statement the Health Ministry said the recovery rate in the country improved up to 40.32%.

"There are reports in a section of media about some decisions of the government regarding the lockdown implementation and response to COVID-19 management. The period of the lockdown has been gainfully utilized to ramp up the health infrastructure in the country. As on date, 45,299 people have been cured, taking our recovery rate to 40.32%."

The ministry said as on May 21,26,15,920 samples have been tested and 1,03,532 have been tested in the last 24 hours, through 555 testing labs (391 in the government sector and 164 private labs).

It also said that Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in collaboration with Health Ministry and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with support from State health departments and key stakeholders including WHO, is conducting a community based sero-survey to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Indian population.

It said at least 3,027 dedicated COVID hospitals and COVID health centres along with 7,013 COVID care centres have been identified. Additionally, more than 2.81 lakh isolation beds, over 31,250 ICU beds, and 11,387 oxygen supported beds have already been identified in Dedicated COVID Hospitals and COVID health centres.

The government supplied 65 lakh PPE coveralls and 101.07 lakh N95 masks to the states. "Nearly 3 lakh PPE coveralls and 3 lakh N95 masks are now being manufactured per day by domestic producers, although they were not produced in the country earlier".

In addition, the Government is consulting and involving epidemiologists actively at all levels in order to combat COVID-19. The National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has held 20 meetings since mid-March and has systematically and effectively contributed towards the scientific and technical response to the pandemic," said the Health Ministry.

It said a team, including researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) -- an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) -- has developed a heuristic predictive model for COVID-19 that provides short-term predictions about the evolution of the disease and the medical needs that are generated as a consequence.

The ministry stated that the Department of Bio Technology and its PSU, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) have announced a COVID-19 Research Consortium Call to support diagnostics, vaccines, novel therapeutics, repurposing of drugs or any other intervention for control of COVID-19.

The Health Ministry had hitherto maintained that the lockdown was to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 and was often asked the rationale behind the lockdown when cases continued to be reported over 4 to 5 thousand per day. However experts at various times have said that the numbers would have spiked exponentially sans lockdown, as it was seen in other parts of the world.

 

WHO warns against using hydroxychloroquine-HCQ outside clinical trials
21-05-2020 11:20

A senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against using hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, the drugs for malaria and other diseases, in the treatment of COVID-19, saying these drugs should be reserved for use "within clinical trials".

Responding to question on hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine being used to treat COVID-19 patients in certain countries, Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, told a press conference on Wednesday that, despite that both drugs are already licensed for many diseases, at this stage, they "have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 or in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease", Xinhua reported.

"And in fact the opposite, warnings have been issued by many authorities regarding the potential side effects of the drug and many countries have limited its use to that of clinical trials or during clinical trials or under the supervision of clinicians in a hospital setting that's specifically for COVID-19, because of a number of potential side effects that have occurred and could occur," Ryan stressed.

"Having said that, again it is for each national authority to weigh and assess the evidence for and against the use of this drug," he added.

Ryan said that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are included in the ongoing "solidarity trials" that take place across multiple countries. "And as WHO, we would advise that, for COVID-19, that these drugs be reserved for use within such trials."

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of Health Emergencies Programme, noted that "As of today we have more than 3,000 patients enrolled from 320 hospitals in 17 countries, and so that's a show of solidarity and called the solidarity trial, but it's really a show of collaboration and willingness to work towards a common goal of understanding which therapeutics are safe and effective against COVID-19".

 

Corona tally in India cross 1.12 lakh, 45,300 patients cured
21-05-2020 09:40

With ,5609 new novel coronavirus cases and 132 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, the total tally of such infections in India stood at 1,12,359 on Thursday the Health Ministry data revealed.

The total includes 63,624 active cases, 3,435 fatalities, and 45,300 patients cured of the disease, the Ministry said.

At least 3,002 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

In Maharashtra, coronavirus cases climbed to 39,297, followed by Tamil Nadu with 13,191 cases and Gujarat with 12,537 cases so far.

Maharashtra has the highest number of deaths at 1,390, followed by Gujarat's 749 and Madhya Pradesh's 267.

In Delhi, the total tally rose to 11,088.

States with more than 5,000 cases each are Rajasthan (6,015), Madhya Pradesh (5,735) and Uttar Pradesh (5,175).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases each are West Bengal (3,103), Andhra Pradesh (2,602), Punjab (2,005), Telangana (1,661), Bihar (1,674), Jammu and Kashmir (1,390), Karnataka (1,462) and Odisha (1,052).

Other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Haryana (993), Kerala (666), Jharkhand (231), Chandigarh (202), Tripura (173), Assam (170), Chhattisgarh (115) and Uttarakhand (122).

 

Only 6.39% Covid-19 cases in India need hospitalisation: Govt
20-05-2020 18:20

Only 6.39 per cent Covid-19 cases need hospitalisation, which includes oxygen, ventilator or ICU support, according to the Union Health Ministry, here on Wednesday.

In a press release, Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal said of the 61,149 active cases, around 2.94 per cent needed oxygen support, 3 per cent ICU and 0.45 per cent ventilator support.

Stressing the Covid-19 recovery rate, Agarwal said, it "has been on continuous upwards climb and is more than 39.62 per cent. When the first phase of lockdown started, the recovery rate was around 7.1 per cent. During the second phase of lockdown, it was 11.42 per cent and rose to 26.59 per cent. Today, the recovery rate is 39.62 per cent."

The efforts for early identification of Covid-19 cases had helped in having a better recovery rate, he said.

Comparing global statistics on Covid-19 with India, Agarwal said, "The mortality rate in India is 0.2 cases per lakh population against the global 4.2 cases. India has recorded 7.9 cases per lakh population against 62 for the world."

The number of confirmed cases in India is 1,06,750 and 3,303 people have succumbed to the infection. 42,298 Covid-19 patients have been cured. "India battle against Covid-19 has to be people driven", said Agarwal.

 

COVID-19: Total tally in India mounts to 1,06,750, Nearly 43,000 recovered
20-05-2020 09:50

With 5,611 new novel coronavirus cases and 140 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, the total tally of such infections in India stood at 1,06,750 on Wednesday, the Health Ministry data revealed.

The total includes 61,149 active cases, 3,303 fatalities, and 42,298 patients cured of the disease, the Ministry said.

In Maharashtra, coronavirus cases climbed to 3,37,136, followed by Tamil Nadu with 12,448 cases and Gujarat with 12,140 cases so far.

Maharashtra has the highest number of deaths at 1,249, followed by Gujarat's 719 and Madhya Pradesh's 258.

In Delhi, the total tally rose to 10,554.

States with more than 4,000 cases each are Rajasthan (5,845), Madhya Pradesh (5,465) and Uttar Pradesh (4,926).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases each are West Bengal (2,961), Andhra Pradesh (2,532), Punjab (2,002), Telangana (1,634), Bihar (1,498), Jammu and Kashmir (1,317), and Karnataka (1,397).

Other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Haryana (964), Kerala (642), Odisha (978), Jharkhand (231), Chandigarh (200), Tripura (173), Assam (142), Chhattisgarh (101) and Uttarakhand (111).

While Goa is witnessing a resurgence of cases with at least 46 patients, Ladakh became COVID-19 free as all 43 patients were cured and no mortality reported.

Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram have zero active cases as their lone patients have since been cured. In Meghalaya, 12 of the 13 coronavirus patients were cured whereas one died. All 33 patients in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been cured.

 

Corona cases in India cross 1 lakh-mark with 4,970 new cases in past 24 hours
19-05-2020 09:40

The number of novel Coronavirus patients in India passed the significant one-lakh mark on Tuesday with total number of cases rising to 1.01 lakh, with a rise of 4,970 cases in past 24 hours, Union Health Ministry data revealed.

According to the Ministry, there are 58,302 active cases, 39,173 people have been cured and 3,163 have died so far. In the past 24 hours, 134 people lost there battle to Covid-19.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 35,058, followed by Gujarat which has 11,745 cases and Tamil Nadu 11,760 cases so far.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths at 1,249, followed by 694 in Gujarat and 252 in Madhya Pradesh.

Maharashtra has reported 23,313 more cases and 555 more deaths than Gujarat.

In Delhi, the tally rose to 10,054, according to the Health Ministry data.

States which have reported more than 4,000 cases are Rajasthan (5,507), Madhya Pradesh (5,236) and Uttar Pradesh (4,605).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (2,825), Andhra Pradesh (2,474), Punjab (1,980), Telangana (1,597), Bihar (1,391), Jammu and Kashmir (1,289) and Karnataka (1,246).

Other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are Haryana (928), Kerala (630), Odisha (876), Jharkhand (223), Chandigarh (196), Tripura (167), Assam (107).

States that have still not touched triple digits are Uttarakhand (93), Himachal Pradesh (90) besides, Goa which after maintaining Corona Free status for quite more than a month, reported at least 9 new cases, taking the total tally there to 38, said the Health Ministry.

 

At 7.1 cases per lakh, India's Covid-19 ratio lowest in world: Health Ministry
18-05-2020 18:50

India has about 7.1 cases per lakh population whereas the average of the whole world is 60 cases per lakh population, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said "in terms of confirmed cases per lakh population, India has so far about 7.1 cases per lakh population vis a vis approx 60 cases per lakh population for the world as a whole." Spain has reported 494 cases per lakh population, which is the highest, followed by the US, which has 431 cases per lakh population. Italy has 372 cases per lakh population and the UK has 361 cases per lakh population.

The Union Health Ministry said a multi-factorial analysis has been done on the combination of the parameters, which are namely, total active cases, active cases per lakh population, doubling rate (calculated over 7 days period), case fatality rate, testing ratio and test confirmation rate.

"India currently has 56,316 cases under active cases. So far, a total of 36,824 people have been cured of Covid-19. In the last 24 hours a total of 2,715 patients are reported cured. We have presently a recovery rate of 38.29 percent," it said.

The Health Ministry said the states have been asked to meticulously delineate the containment and buffer zones and also to ensure stringent implementation of the containment plans in the containment zones. A senior ministry official said in the containment zones, active search for cases through the house to house surveillance by special teams, testing of all cases as per sampling guidelines, contact tracing, clinical management of all confirmed cases are the priority tasks.

"Further, around each containment zone, a buffer zone has to be delineated so as to ensure that infection does not spread to the adjoining areas. In buffer zones, extensive surveillance for cases through monitoring ILI/SARI cases in health facilities has to be coordinated," the official said.

 

With over 5,000 new cases, India Covid tally jumps to 96,169
18-05-2020 10:20

With the sharpest spike of 5,242 new cases in 24 hours, India's total case count of coronavirus jumped to 96,169, the Union Health Ministry data revealed on Monday.

According to the Health Ministry, of the total, 56,316 are active cases while at least 36,823 people have been cured from the disease.

At least 157 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total fatality count to 3,029.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 33,053, followed by Gujarat which has 11,379 cases and Tamil Nadu 11,224 cases so far.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths, 1198, followed by 659 in Gujarat and 248 in Madhya Pradesh.

National capital's total tally crossed the 10,000-mark on Monday and stood at 10,054, according to the Health Ministry data.

States which have reported more than 4000 cases are Rajasthan (5,202), Madhya Pradesh (4,977) and Uttar Pradesh (4,259).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (2,677), Andhra Pradesh (2,407), Punjab (1,964), Telangana (1,551), Bihar (1,262), Jammu and Kashmir (1,183) and Karnataka (1,147).

Among other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are Haryana (910), Kerala (601), Odisha (828), Tripura (167), Jharkhand (223), Assam (101), Uttarakhand (92), Himachal Pradesh (80) and Chandigarh (191).

Goa which had maintained Corona Free status for quite a long time and had few resurged cases recently, reported at least 15 new cases, taking the total tally there at 29, said the Health Ministry.

 

COVID19 tally crosses 80,000 mark in India, fresh cases in corona free states
15-05-2020 09:50

With 3,967 new cases and 100 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the COVID-19 tally in India reached 81970, the Union Health Ministry stated on Friday. And two states, Goa and Manipur, which were declared COVID-19 free, have reported fresh corona positive cases.

Of the total cases, 51401 are active and 2,649 are fatalities so far while at least 27,919 people have recovered from the disease.

After being COVID-19 free for many days, Goa reported seven fresh cases, that took the total number of cases here to 14. Similarly, in Manipur a fresh case emerged after 26 days, taking the total tally in this Northeast state to three so far.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 27,524 followed by Tamil Nadu, which has reported 9,674 and Gujarat has 9,591 cases so far.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths, 1019, followed by 586 in Gujarat and 237 in Madhya Pradesh.

At least 8,470 people in the national capital have been infected with the highly contagious coronavirus.

Other states which have reported more than 3,000 cases are Rajasthan (4,534), Madhya Pradesh (4,426) and Uttar Pradesh (3,902).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (2,377), Andhra Pradesh (2,205), Punjab (1,935) and Telangana (1414).

Among other major states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are, Bihar (994), Haryana (818), Jammu and Kashmir (983), Karnataka (987), Kerala (560), Odisha (611), Tripura (156) and Chandigarh (191).

States/UTs that have zero coronavirus cases are Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

 

India COVID-19 tally crosses 78,000 mark, 26,234 recoveries
14-05-2020 09:50

With 3,722 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, the COVID-19 tally in India reached 78,003, the Union Health Ministry stated on Thursday.

Of the total cases, 49,219 are active and 2,549 are fatalities so far while at least 26,234 people have recovered from the disease.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 25,922 followed by Gujarat that has 9,267 cases and Tamil Nadu has reported 9,227 cases so far.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths, 975, followed by 566 in Gujarat and 232 in Madhya Pradesh.

At least 7,998 people in the national capital have been infected with the highly contagious coronavirus.

Other states which have reported more than 3,000 cases are Rajasthan (4,328), Madhya Pradesh (4,173) and Uttar Pradesh (3,729).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (2,290), Andhra Pradesh (2,137), Punjab (1,924) and Telangana (1,367).

Among other major states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are, Bihar (940), Haryana (793), Jammu and Kashmir (971), Karnataka (959), Kerala (534), Odisha (538), Tripura (155) and Chandigarh (187).

States/UTs that have zero coronavirus cases are Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

 

With 3,525 new cases, corona tally in India reaches 74,281
13-05-2020 09:40

With 3,525 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, the COVID-19 tally in India reached 74,281, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Of the total cases, 47480 are active and 2,415 are fatalities so far while at least 24,385 people have recovered from the disease.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 24,427 followed by Gujarat that has 8,903 cases and Tamil Nadu has reported 8,718 cases so far.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths, 921, followed by Gujarat (537) and Madhya Pradesh (225).

At least 7,639 people in the national capital have been infected with the highly contagious coronavirus.

Other states which have reported more than 3,000 cases are Rajasthan (4,126), Madhya Pradesh (3,986) and Uttar Pradesh (3,664).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are Andhra Pradesh (2,090), West Bengal (2,173), Punjab (1,914) and Telangana (1,326).

Among other major states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are, Bihar (831), Haryana (780), Jammu and Kashmir (934), Karnataka (925), Kerala (524), Odisha (437), Tripura (154) and Chandigarh (187).

States/UTs that have zero coronavirus cases are Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. All individuals have been cured in these states/UTs and no casualty has been reported from here so far.

 

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals starts phase-3 clinical trials on Favipiravir for COVID19 patients in India
12-05-2020 13:15

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said on Tuesday that it has initiated phase - three clinical trials on antiviral Favipiravir for corona virus (COVID-19) patients in India.

COVID-19 patients from over 10 leading government and private hospitals in India are being enrolled for the study.

The trial completion and study results are expected by July-August this year. Glenmark was the first pharmaceutical company in India to be given an approval by the regulator to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials in India on Favipiravir antiviral tablets for COVID -19 patients.

Favipiravir is a generic version of Avigan of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. Ltd., Japan, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Corporation.

Clinical trials have commenced and over 10 leading government & private hospitals in India are being enrolled for the study. Glenmark estimates study completion by July/August 2020.

Glenmark has successfully developed the API and the formulations for the product through its inhouse R&D team.

Favipiravir has demonstrated activity against influenza viruses and has been approved in Japan for the treatment of novel influenza virus infections. The molecule if commercialized, will be marketed under the brand name �FabiFlu�' in India.

Commenting on this development, Monika Tandon, Vice President & Head, Clinical Development, Global Specialty/Branded Portfolio, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd., said, "Several health and medical experts, both in and outside of Glenmark are eager to see the effect that Favipiravir has on COVID-19 cases. We believe the study results will be significant as there is currently no effective treatment for the virus." She added, "The data we get from these trials will point us in a clearer direction with regard to COVID-19 treatment and management."

Sujesh Vasudevan, President, India Formulations, Middle East and Africa, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. mentioned "Our effort is to launch a treatment for COVID-19 patients as soon as possible and control the spread of the pandemic. We will do all it takes to ensure accessibility of the product across the country if the clinical trials are successful."

Glenmark was the first pharmaceutical company in India to be given an approval by the regulator to start the trial on COVID-19 patients in India.

As per the approved clinical trial protocol, 150 subjects with mild to moderate COVID-19 will be randomized in the study in a 1:1 ratio to Favipiravir with standard supportive care or standalone standard supportive care. Treatment duration is a maximum of 14 days and the total study duration will be a maximum of 28 days from randomization.

 

With 3,604 new cases, India's Covid tally surges past 70,000
12-05-2020 09:25

The COVID-19 tally in India surged past 70 thousand cases, with 3,604 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

According to the morning update provided by the ministry, the total number of cases now stand at 70,756.

Of the total cases, 46,008 are active and 2,293 are fatalities so far while at least 22,454 people have recovered from the disease.

In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 cases climbed to 22,171, followed by Gujarat that has 8,194 cases and Tamil Nadu reporting 7,204 cases so far.

The state of Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of deaths, at least 868, which is followed by Gujarat (513) and Madhya Pradesh (221).

At least 7,233 people in the national capital have been infected with the highly contagious Coronavirus.

Other states which have reported more than 3,000 cases are Tamil Nadu (8,002), Rajasthan (3,988), Madhya Pradesh(3,785) and Uttar Pradesh (3,573).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases, are Andhra Pradesh (2,018), West Bengal (2,063), Punjab (1,877) and Telangana (1,275).

Among other major states and UTs that have reported a significant number of cases are, Bihar (747), Haryana (730), Jammu and Kashmir (879), Karnataka (862), Kerala (519), Odisha (414), Tripura (152) and Chandigarh (174).

States/UTs that have zero coronavirus cases are Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. All individuals have been cured in these states/UTs and no casualty has been reported from here so far.

 

Recovery rate improved, no community transmission in India: Health Ministry
11-05-2020 17:50

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Monday said that the recovery rate of the Covid-19 patients in the country improved upto 31.15 per cent with a total 1,559 individuals cured from the disease in the last 24 hours.

Addressing the daily press conference here, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal said: "While at least 4,213 new cases were reported since yesterday, there are 1559 people who have recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to 31.15 per cent.

"Total number of cases in India is 67,152 so far, of which 44,029 people are under medical supervision and total 20,917 people have been cured from the disease."

India on Monday saw the highest jump in the coronavirus cases reported in a single day, and 97 fatalities in 24 hours.

The Health Ministry avoided mentioning the number of fatalities and remained in the denial mode whether it constitutes a community transmission or not, during the press conference.

Asked by the media whether or not the country has entered the community transmission stage, Agarwal said: "We have found few clusters and have noticed relatively large outbreak in a few places. Even Director, AIIMS said that if we do not contain the zones properly, the rate of transmission will become higher. Therefore it is important for us to maintain at this stage only and scale up containment efforts and ensure that we don't go at the community transmission stage."

India is currently under lockdown 3.0 with controlled relaxations by the Central and state governments.

 

Covid-19 creeps into White House sidelining leading voice on pandemic
11-05-2020 10:00

The Covid-19 pandemic has crept into the White House, sidelining Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading voice on the pandemic, and posing a threat to US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The reach of the virus into the home of the nation's leadership comes as some states have begun controversial loosening of the Covid-19 restrictions,some in defiance of the task force guidelines.

Fauci, the leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force who has been a reassuring figure on national TV, is on a modified quarantine since Saturday scheduled to mostly work remotely from home for 14 days after being exposed to a staffer infected by Covid-19.

Two other members of the task force, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, have also gone into self-quarantine after their exposures.

Trump and Pence have also been exposed to the virus but have so far not quarantined themselves - a difficult task as the leaders of the nation.

Trump's personal valet has tested positive for the disease as has Pence's Spokesperson Kate Miller.

Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi is next in the line of succession to the Presidency if both Trump and Pence become incapacitated.

Britain recently suffered through a trauma at the top after Prime Minister Boris Johnson came down with Covid-19 and was hospitalised in an intensive care unit. He nominated Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to stand in for him and has since recovered and returned to work.

Both Trump and Pence have minimised their risks and have not worn masks, but have increased the frequency of tests.

"Now we're going to go testing once a day," Trump said on Thursday after his valet's infection was revealed.

He added, "But even when you test once a day, somebody could -- something happens where they catch something."

The White House has been giving the newly-available rapid tests to those who come into contact with the President, including those who attend meetings he is present in.

The self-quarantine quarantine of three persons from the task force comes as the powerful panel that steered the nation through its response to the pandemic is under a cloud of uncertainity.

 

Indian Govt revises patient discharge policy: Severe Covid cases will have to test negative through RT-PCR
09-05-2020 18:25

The Indian Health Ministry said on Saturday the Covid-19 patients severely ill will have to test negative through RT-PCR test before discharge from a hospital. This decision is part of the revised discharge policy issued by the government for Covid-19 patients.

The ministry said, "The revised discharge policy is aligned with the guidelines on the 3-tier COVID facilities and the categorization of the patients based on clinical severity."

Patients having mild, very mild and pre-symptomatic and also moderate cases of Covid-19 do not require the RT-PCR test before discharge.

According to the ministry's revised policy, the discharge criteria for severe cases, including immunocompromised like HIV patients, transplant patients and those having malignancy, will be based on recovery and patient tested negative once by RT-PCR (after resolution of symptoms).

The total number of cases Covid-19 cases in the country is 59,662 and 1,981 deaths have been reported so far. Since Friday, 95 deaths were reported and 3,320 new cases have been recorded.

Cases clinically classified as "moderate" will undergo monitoring of body temperature and oxygen saturation. "If fever resolves within three days and the patient maintains saturation above 95 per cent for the next four days (without oxygen support), such a patient will be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset in case of absence of fever without antipyretics, resolution of breathlessness and no oxygen requirement. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge," the ministry said.

At the time of discharge, patients will be advised to follow home isolation for seven days as per the guidelines.

"Patients on oxygenation whose fever does not resolve within 3 days and demand of oxygen therapy continues, will be discharged only after resolution of clinical symptoms and their ability to maintain oxygen saturation for 3 consecutive days", said the ministry.

"Mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases admitted to a COVID Care Facility will undergo regular temperature and pulse oximetry monitoring. The patient can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for 3 days. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge. At the time of discharge, the patient will be advised to follow home isolation for further 7 days", said the guidelines.

At any point of time, prior to discharge, if the oxygen saturation dips below 95%, the patient will be moved to Dedicated COVID Health Centre (DCHC). "After discharge from the facility, if he/she again develops symptoms of fever, cough or breathing difficulty he will contact the COVID Care Centre or State helpline or 1075. His/her health will again be followed up through tele-conference on the 14th day", said the policy.

 

COVID-19 patients lose sense of smell by third day of infection: CDC
09-05-2020 11:35

Loss of taste or smell is now among the new coronavirus symptoms that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added to its official list and now, a new study says that loss of the sense of smell is most likely to occur by the third day of infection with the novel coronavirus.

Most of these patients are also experiencing a loss of the sense of taste, said a researcher from University of Cincinnati.

The study also found that younger patients and women were also more likely to experience a decreased loss of smell.

"We also found that the severity of the loss of smell is correlated with how bad your other COVID-19 symptoms will be. If the anosmia, also known as loss of smell, is worse, the patients reported worse shortness of breath and more severe fever and cough," said Ahmad Sedaghat, associate professor in the UC College of Medicine's Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

The study examined characteristics and symptoms of 103 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 over a six-week period at Kantonsspital Aarau in Aarau, Switzerland.

Patients were asked how many days they had COVID-19 symptoms and also asked to describe the timing and severity of loss or reduced sense of smell along with other symptoms.

At least 61 per cent of the patients reported reduced or lost sense of smell, said Sedaghat.

The mean onset for reduction or loss in the sense of smell was 3.4 days.

"The relationship between decreased sense of smell and the rest of the COVID-19 is something to be aware of. If someone has a decreased sense of smell with COVID-19 we know they are within the first week of the disease course and there is still another week or two to expect," suggested Sedaghat.

Sedaghat said experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences to initially treat Ebola, is showing some promise in treating COVID-19 patients.

"Antiviral medications have historically worked best when given early during a viral infection. The same is hypothesized to be true for remdesivir," said Sedaghat.

"Once remdesivir becomes more widely available, decreased sense of smell may therefore identify patients who would be excellent candidates for the medication," said the study available online in the scholarly journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

The loss of smell is an indicator of COVID-19 but it's not the only factor.

‘When you start to experience serious symptoms of COVID-19 which include shortness of breath and respiratory distress, that's when you should become alarmed," he added.

 

Indian regulator SEBI sanitizing its HQ after officer tests positive for coronavirus
08-05-2020 17:35

Markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is sanitizing its office buildings in Bandra Kurla complex after one of its officers "reportedly" tested positive for COVID-19.

SEBI said in statement that since lockdown has been announced, it has been taking all precautionary measures including those announced by Central and State Governments.

"After one if it's officers reportedly tested positive for Covid 19 yesterday evening, SEBI is taking further required action as per the protocol including sanitisation of its office buildings in BKC. SEBI continues to function uninterruptedly," the statement said.

SEBI has assured that its functioning is uninterrupted by the sanitization and other measures. The SEBI head office is located in BKC.

 

3,390 cases, 103 deaths in 24 hours takes India tally to 56,342
08-05-2020 12:55

Despite hundreds of districts said to be corona free for sometime, India on Friday recorded a surge in the number of positive cases taking its tally to 56,342 as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Delhi continued to pile up cases.

According to the Union Health Ministry of the total cases, 37,916 are active while 1,886 people have lost their lives. There were 3,390 people to tested positive in just 24 hours while 103 died in the same time.

A total of 16,593 have also recovered as India undergoes the third-phase of the nation-wide lockdown as the shutdown period touched Day 45. A total of 111 foreign nationals and one migrated patient is included in the tally, said the Health Ministry.

According to the ministry, Andaman-Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Manipur remain corona-free while the number in Andhra Pradesh has increased to 1,847, out of which 780 have been discharged from the hospital, and reached 38 have died.

As of Friday morning, the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Assam has increased to 54, out of which 34 have been discharged from hospitals. So far, only one has succumbed to the disease. In West Bengal the figure has reached 1,548, 364 have been discharged and 151 have died so far -- the fatality rate has been high in the state.

The number of positive cases in Bihar has reached 550, of which 246 have been discharged. Five have died so far. While, in Chandigarh, the virus-count has reached 135 out of which 21 were discharged and one has died.

In Chhattisgarh, the total tally has reached 59, of which 38 have been discharged. Whereas, in Dadra and Nagar Haveli only one COVID-19 case has been reported so far.

Maharashtra continues to top the tally with 17,974 cases and 694 fatalities, while 3,301 people were cured in the state. It is followed by Gujarat with 7,012 cases and 425 deaths and 1,709 recovered.

There are at least 5,980 cases in the national capital with 1,931 recoveries and 66 deaths. Other states which saw an increased number of cases are Tamil Nadu (5,409), Rajasthan (3,427), Madhya Pradesh (3,252) and Uttar Pradesh (3,071).

The COVID-19 count in Haryana has reached 625, while 260 have been discharged. The state has reported seven deaths so far. In Himachal Pradesh the figure has increased to 46, 38 have been discharged, and two have died.

The number of people infected with Coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 793, of which 335 have been discharged and nine have died.

As many as 132 cases have been reported in Jharkhand so far -- 41 were discharged and three have died. The figure has reached 705 in Karnataka, 366 was discharged and 30 have died.

In Kerala, this figure has reached 530, with 474 been discharged from hospital and four have died. In Ladakh, the figure has gone up to 42 by Friday morning while 17 have been discharged from the hospital.

There have been 12 cases in Meghalaya, 10 were discharged and one has died. So far only 1 case has been registered in Mizoram. There have been 219 cases in Orissa, 62 have been discharged. Two have died.

The number of people infected with the virus in Puducherry is 9.

Meanwhile, 1,644 people have been reported to be suffering from the virus in Punjab, out of which 149 have been discharged, 28 have died.

In Telangana the figure has reached 1,123, out of which 650 have been discharged and 29 have died.

The number of corona victims in Tripura reached 65 by Friday morning, of which two have been discharged from the hospital so far.

Uttarakhand has reported 61 COVID-19 cases, out of which 39 have been discharged and one has died.

 

Angela Merkel announces easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Germany
07-05-2020 10:20

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that COVID-19 restrictions in the country would be eased while minimum social distance and hygiene rules would continue to apply.

"I think we can say that we have passed the first phase of the pandemic," Merkel said on Wednesday after a telephone conference with minister-presidents of federal states.

The Chancellor said that the current figures released by Germany's disease control agency RKI were "very pleasing" and German citizens had "lived responsibly and thus saved the lives of other people", reports Xinhua news agency.

Merkel confirmed an "emergency mechanism" which would be triggered if more than 50 new infections over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants were locally detected in a certain region.

If such rates were measured, the affected federal states would be required to reintroduce stricter measures, although states would be allowed to decide how exactly the measures would look like.

A minimum distance of 1.5 metres and obligatory face masks in certain places such as public transport would continue to exist, and the contact restrictions in Germany would remain in force until June 5.

However, the contact restriction on people within the same household was eased.

People from two households, such as two families, two couples or members of shared flats, were now allowed to meet each other.

In addition, emergency care in German schools and day-care centers were to be expanded "because children rightly want to return to their normal lives", said Merkel, stressing that the process was ongoing.

A complete visitation ban in nursing homes for older people was also lifted.

Now a permanent contact person was again permitted to visit relatives in such institutions.

Bavaria on Tuesday announced its schedule for a gradual reopening, ahead of the telephone conference between Merkel and federal state leaders.

The state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also announced plans to lift restrictions on Tuesday.

On Monday, Lower Saxony became the first German state to present a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions.

So far, Germany has reported 168,162 COVID-19 cases, with 7,275 deaths.

 

COVID-19 cases reach 52,952 in India, death toll 1,783
07-05-2020 09:15

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country mounted to 52,952 on Thursday evening, with 3,561 new cases and 89 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry stated.

Of the total cases, 35,902 are the active cases, 15,266 people have recovered, and 1,783 people have succumbed to the disease.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with a total number of cases rising to 16,758, followed by Gujarat which reported 6,625 cases and Delhi with 5,532 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

Maharashtra has also recorded 651 deaths, the highest number of casualties among all the states.

 

Corona tally surges to 49,391 in India, death toll 1,694
06-05-2020 10:00

With 2,958 new cases and 126 new fatalities, India's coronavirus count on Wednesday climbed to 49,391, said the Health Ministry.

In a morning update, the Health Ministry said that of the total number 33,514 are active cases, and 1,694 fatalities have been reported so far.

At least 14,182 people have been cured and discharged from the hospital while one person has migrated to another country.

Maharashtra reported most number of cases 15,525 and 617 fatalities followed by Gujarat with total 6,245 cases and 368 deaths. The national capital reported 5,104 cases and 64 deaths so far. States which saw a sharp rise in the COVID cases are Tamil Nadu (4,058), Rajasthan (3,158) and Madhya Pradesh (3,049).

The Union Territory Dadar Nagar Haveli entered the list with its first case. No cases had ever been reported from here so far.

The Northeastern state Tripura reported a sudden spike in the cases and has 43 cases now and has equal number of cases as another Northeast state Assam.

Other states which reported a significant number of cases are Uttar Pradesh (2,880), Andhra Pradesh (1,717), West Bengal (1,344) and Telangana (1,096).

States that reported more than 500 cases are Bihar (536), Haryana (548), Jammu and Kashmir (741), Karnataka (671) and Kerala (502).

 

India COVID-19 tally reaches 42,533, Over 1,070 recovered in past 4 hours
04-05-2020 09:30

With 2,553 new cases and 72 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 42,533 on Monday morning, the Union Health Ministry said.

Of the total cases, 29453 are active, 11,706 people have recovered, and 1,373 people have succumbed to the disease. At least 1,074 people have recovered from the highly contagious COVID-19 in 24 hours.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with the total number of cases rising to 12,974 and 548 deaths, though 2,115 people have recovered from the deadly virus.

Gujarat has reported 5,428 cases so far followed by Delhi with 4,549 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

The other states which have seen a sharp rise in cases are Madhya Pradesh (2,846), Rajasthan (2,886), Tamil Nadu (3,023) and Uttar Pradesh (2,645).

Maharashtra has the highest number of fatalities, among all the states, followed by Gujarat with 290 deaths, Madhya Pradesh 156, Rajasthan 71 and Delhi 64.

Among other major states, Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,583 cases and 33 deaths so far, Bihar 503 cases and four deaths, Haryana 442 and five deaths, Jammu and Kashmir 701 cases and eight deaths, Karnataka 614 and 25 deaths and Kerala 500 cases and four deaths.

The states which have reported less than 10 cases are Tripura, Mizoram, Puducherry, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

India COVID-19 tally reaches 35,043, deaths touch 1,147
01-05-2020 09:35

With 1993 new cases and 73 new fatalities in 24 hours, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 35,043 on Friday morning, the Union Health Ministry said.

Of the total cases, 25,007 are active, 8888 people have recovered, and 1,147 people have succumbed to the disease.

The total tally includes 111 foreign nationals, the Health Ministry said.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with the total number of cases rising to 10,498 with 459 deaths, however, 1,773 people also recovered from the deadly virus.

Gujarat was the next, which reported 4,395 cases so far followed by Delhi with 3,515 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

The other states which have seen sharp rise in cases are Madhya Pradesh (2,660), Rajasthan (2,584), Tamil Nadu (2,323) and Uttar Pradesh (2,203).

Maharashtra recorded 459 deaths, the highest number of fatalities among all the states. The western state is followed by Gujarat at 214 deaths, Madhya Pradesh at 137 and Delhi at 59 deaths.

Among other major states, Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,403 cases while 31 have died, Bihar stood at 418 cases with two deaths, Haryana 313 and three deaths, Jammu and Kashmir at 614 cases and eight deaths, Karnataka at 565 and 21 deaths and Kerala was docked at 497 cases and four deaths.

States which have reported less than 10 cases are Tripura, Mizoram, Puducherry, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Recovery rate rises to 25.19% in India; Doubling rate increases to 11 days: Health Ministry
30-04-2020 17:15

The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday that the recovery rate of Covid-19 patients has increased to 25.19 per cent, while the doubling rate of positive coronavirus cases has gone up to 11 days.

As per the Health Ministry, 1,718 new cases were reported from across the country since Wednesday.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, said, "Total cases in the country stand at 33,050. Of them, 23,651 are under active medical supervision. The recovery rate has improved from 13.06 per cent to 25.19 per cent in 14 days, which is a positive sign."

Detailing the increase in the doubling rate, Agarwal said that before the nationwide lockdown was imposed, the rate of doubling of cases was 3.4 days, which has now increased to 11 days.

The Health Ministry said that while 1,718 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, 630 patients have been cured during this period. In total, 8,324 people have been cured so far, while 1,074 persons have succumbed to the dreaded virus.

Detailing on the states/UTs which have reported better than the national average of doubling of cases, Agarwal said, "States whose doubling rate is better than the national average are Delhi (11.3 days), Uttar Pradesh (12 days), Jammu & Kashmir (12.2 days), Odisha (13 days), Rajasthan (17.8 days), Tamil Nadu (19.1 days) and Punjab (19.5 days).

States/UTs with doubling rate of 20 to 40 days are Karnataka (21.6 days), Ladakh (24.2 days), Haryana (24.4 days), Uttarakhand (30.3 days) and Kerala (37.5 days).

States with doubling rate of above 40 days are Assam (59 days), Telangana (70.8 days), Chhattisgarh (89.7 days) and Himachal Pradesh (191.6 days).

"The current mortality rate is 3.2 per cent of which 65 per cent are males and 35 per cent are females," Agarwal said.

The Health Ministry has requested the states to ensure that non-Covid related essential services are provided to the people, including immunisation, maternal and child health services, services to prevent communicable and non-communicable diseases etc.

 

With 1,718 new cases, India's corona tally rises to 33,050
30-04-2020 09:50

With 1,718 new cases and 67 new fatalities in 24 hours, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country climbed to 33,050 on Thursday morning, the Union Health Ministry said.

Of the total cases, 23,651 are active, 8,324 people have recovered, and 1,074 people have succumbed to the disease.

The total tally includes 111 foreign nationals, the Health Ministry said.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with the total number of cases rising to 9,915, with 432 deaths, however, 1,593 people also recovered from the deadly virus. Gujarat was the next which reported 4,082 cases so far followed by Delhi which has reported 3439 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

The other states which have seen sharp rise in cases are Madhya Pradesh (2,561), Rajasthan (2,438), Tamil Nadu (2,162) and Uttar Pradesh (2,134).

Maharashtra recorded 432 deaths, the highest number of fatalities among all the states. The western state is followed by Gujarat at 197 deaths, Madhya Pradesh at 129 and Delhi at 56 deaths.

Among other major states, Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,332 cases while 31 have died, Bihar stood at 392 cases with two deaths, Haryana 310 and three deaths, Jammu and Kashmir at 581 cases and eight deaths, Karnataka at 535 and 21 deaths and Kerala was docked at 495 cases and four deaths.

States which have reported less than 10 cases are Tripura, Mizoram, Puducherry, Manipur, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

India reports 31,787 Covid-19 cases,7,796 recoveries & 1,008 deaths
29-04-2020 18:10

With 1,813 cases and 71 deaths in the last 24 hours, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country mounted to 31,787 on Wednesday, the Union Health Ministry said here.

While 22,982 are active cases, 7,796 people have recovered, and 1,008 people succumbed to Covid-19.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with number of cases rising to 9.318, followed by Gujarat (3,774) and Delhi (3,314), according to the Ministry.

Maharashtra has also recorded 400 deaths, the highest number of casualties among all the states.

Other states that have crossed the 2,000-mark are Madhya Pradesh (2,561), Rajasthan (2,364), Tamil Nadu (2,058) and Uttar Pradesh (2,115).

Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,332 cases and 31 deaths; Bihar, 383 cases and two deaths; Haryana, 310 cases and 3 deaths; Jammu and Kashmir, 565 cases and 8 deaths; Karnataka 532 cases and 20 deaths; and Kerala 486 cases and four deaths.

Tripura, Mizoram, Puducherry, Manipur, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh have reported less than 10 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases across the globe has crossed the 3 million-mark and toll has crossed 200,000.

 

Covid-19 tally rises to 31,332 in India, 7,695 recoveries and 1007 deaths
29-04-2020 09:25

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country climbed to 31,332 on Wednesday morning, the Union Health Ministry said. Of the total cases, 22,629 are active, 7,695 people have recovered, and 1007 people have succumbed to the disease.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with the total number of cases rising to 9,318, with 400 deaths and 1,388 people recovering from the deadly virus. Gujarat was the next which has reported 3,744 cases so far followed by Delhi which has reported 3,314 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

The other states which have seen sharp rise in cases are Madhya Pradesh (2,387), Rajasthan (2,364), Tamil Nadu (2,058) and Uttar Pradesh (2,053).

Maharashtra has recorded 400 deaths, the highest number of fatalities among all the states. The western state is followed by Gujarat at 181 deaths, Madhya Pradesh at 120 and New Delhi at 54 deaths.

Among other major states, Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,259 while 31 have died, Bihar stood at 366 cases and two deaths, Haryana 310 and three deaths, Jammu and Kashmir at 565 cases and eight deaths, Karnataka at 523 and 20 deaths and Kerala was docked at 485 cases and four deaths.

States which have reported less than 10 cases are Tripura, Mizoram, Puducherry, Manipur, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune among 15 critical Covid-19 battlegrounds in India
28-04-2020 14:58

Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, Indore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai are among the top 15 districts which have been marked at "high case load districts" in terms of COVID-19 spread, says a government assessment clarifying India's decisive fight against the deadly pandemic.

Besides these seven which show particularly "high case volumes", others have been marked as critical districts. These are Vadodara and Surat in Gujarat, Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Thane (Maharashtra) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu).

As per the report collated on the basis of information received from all states and Union Territories (UTs), Gujarat and Maharashtra are the only states where three districts in each are in "critical" situation as the deadly disease has claimed 162 lives and 3,548 confirmed cases there as per Ministry Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) current data.

Gujarat's Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat districts and Maharashtra's Thane, Pune and Mumbai are declared "critical" COVID-19 zones by the central government.

Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with two districts each are mentioned in the list with Bhopal and Indore, and Jodhpur and Jaipur respectively as critical hotspots.

Among the "high case volume districts", Union Territory of Delhi with 100 per cent contribution to "state caseload" and 12.62 per cent contribution to "India caseload" is passing through most crucial phase in the fight against the novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic amid reports of 54 deaths and 3,108 confirmed infected cases, the data said.

Ahmedabad in Gujarat is second in terms of contribution to state caseload estimated 66.07 per cent and 9.43 per cent to India caseload; followed by Hyderabad (Telangana) with 55.64 per cent state caseload and 2.41 India caseload and Indore with 49.57 per cent state caseload and 4.48 per cent India caseload contribution.

Jaipur with 36.98 per cent state caseload and 3.49 per cent India caseload COVID-19 contribution is on the fifth position in terms of "high case volumes" followed by Mumbai with 33.30 per cent state caseload and 11.62 per cent India case load contribution; and Pune with 8.45 per cent state caseload and 2.95 per cent India case load.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, which has mentioned that the country is passing through a "turbulent time", in his tweet said: "These 15 districts are critical in our battle against COVID-19. Of them, seven show particularly high case volumes."

"India's success in battling COVID-19 is dependent on them. We must aggressively monitor, contain, test and treat in these districts! We must win here."

Kant said if we carefully observe the daily and weekly case growth rates in high caseload states in conjunction, it is "encouraging" that Telangana is showing noticeable improvement.

"All these states must now follow the trajectory of Kerala which shows clear and sharp decline.

"The central government has set up 11 Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs), led by the Additional Secretary level officers, to monitor implementation of lockdown, supply of essential goods and other related issues.

"These teams have already been visiting in most of these 15 districts -- Ahmedabad, Thane, Hyderabad, Chennai, Indore, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, and Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal where the situation is considered 'especially serious'.

"These teams were constituted in exercise of powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act 2005 with an aim to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission and lead India win battle against the virus which have affected across the globe with over 2 lakh deaths and more than 30 lakh infected patients.

 

COVID-19 tally in India mounts to 29,435 with 1,543 new cases
28-04-2020 10:10

India on Tuesday saw the highest spike in the cases of coronavirus. With 1,543 new cases and 62 new deaths the total number of cases of novel coronavirus in India mounted to 29,435.

In a morning update the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that of the total cases, at least 21,632 are active cases, and 934 deaths have been reported so far. A total of 6,868 people have recovered from the disease while one person migrated to another country.

The total number includes 111 foreign nationals, said the Health Ministry.

In Maharashtra, total case count crossed 8,000-mark and stood at 8,590 with 369 casualties. Gujarat after Maharashtra remained badly affected from COVID-19 with 3,548 cases and 162 fatalities. The National Capital reported at least 3,108 cases and 54 deaths so far according to the Health Ministry data.

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh crossed 2,000-mark with 2,262 and 2,168 cases respectively.

In Uttar Pradesh there are at least 1,955 cases while in Tamil Nadu there are 1,937 cases so far.

States which reported more than 1,000 cases are Telangana (1,004) and Andhra Pradesh (1,183).

Other states and UTs that have reported cases of novel coronavirus are West Bengal (697), Punjab (313), Odisha (118), Kerala (481), Jammu and Kashmir (546), Karnataka (512) Haryana (296), Bihar (345), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (33), Assam (36), Chandigarh (40), Chhattisgarh (37), Uttarakhand (51), Himachal Pradesh (40), Jharkhand (82), Ladakh (20), Manipur (2), Arunachal Pradesh (1), Meghalaya (12), Mizoram (1), Puducherry (8), Tripura (2). Goa reported 7 cases so far, all individuals have recovered.

 

India records 1,463 fresh Covid-19 cases, 60 deaths in past 24 hours
27-04-2020 18:55

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country mounted to 28,380 as on Monday evening, with 1,463 cases and 60 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said.

Of the total cases, 21,132 are active cases, 6,361 people have recovered, and 886 people have succumbed to the disease.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with a total number of cases rising to 8,068, followed by Gujarat which reported 3,301 cases and Delhi which has reported 2,981 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

Besides the trio, other states which have crossed the 1,500 mark are Madhya Pradesh (2,168), Rajasthan (2,185), Tamil Nadu (1,885) and Uttar Pradesh (1,955).

Maharashtra has recorded 342 deaths, the highest number of fatalities among all the states. The western state is followed by its neighbour, Gujarat at 151, other neighbour, Madhya Pradesh at 106 and New Delhi at 54.

Among other major states, Andhra Pradesh has reported 1,177 and 31 deaths, Bihar stood at 277 cases and two deaths, Haryana at 289 and three deaths, Jammu and Kashmir at 523 cases and six deaths, Karnataka at 511 and 20 deaths and Kerala docked 469 cases and four deaths.

States which have reported less than 10 cases are Tripura, Mizoram, Puducherry, Manipur, Goa and Arunanchal Pradesh.

On the global front, the total number of cases have crossed 2.9 million mark and over two lakh people have died till now.

 

India's Total Cases Reach 27,892 with 6,184 Recoveries & 872 Deaths
27-04-2020 09:25

The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 27,892, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Monday.

In a morning update, the Health Ministry said, of the total cases at least 20,835 are active. A total of 6,184 individuals have been cured and discharged while 872 people lost their lives. One person migrated to other country.

The state of Maharashtra remains the worst hit with 8,068 cases and 342 fatalities, followed by Gujarat with 3301 cases and 151 deaths and Delhi with 2,918 cases and 54 casualties, according to the Health Ministry data.

COVID-19 cases spiked up to 2,185 in Rajasthan and 2,096 in Madhya Pradesh.

States where the cases crossed 1,000 mark are Tamil Nadu (1,885), Uttar Pradesh (1,868), Telengana (1,002) and Andhra Pradesh (1,097).

Other states and UTs that have reported cases of novel coronavirus are -- West Bengal (649), Punjab (313), Karnataka (503), Jammu and Kashmir (523), Kerala (458), Haryana (289), Bihar (274), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (33), Chandigarh (30), Chhattisgarh (37), Jharkhand (82), Ladakh (20), Odisha (103), Puducherry (7), Himachal Pradesh (40) and Uttarakhand (50).

 

24,506, Covid cases reported so far in India, 5,062 cured, 775 died
25-04-2020 11:20

The total number of coronavirus cases in India reached 24,506 on Saturday, including foreign nationals, with 18,668 active cases, while the death toll has increased to 775, the Union Health Ministry said.

The Health Ministry said in its daily update that of the 775 deaths, the highest -- 301 -- was reported from Maharashtra, followed by Gujarat with 127 fatalities.

"A total of 5,062 patients have been cured and discharged," the Ministry said.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with total number of positive cases rising to 6,817, followed by Gujarat at 2,815 cases, Delhi at 2,514 cases and Rajasthan at 2,034 cases, according to the data.

In Andman Nicobar island, the total number of cases has risen to 127 out of which 11 have been cured and discharged.

Andhra Pradesh has reported 955 cases, 145 cured and 29 deaths. Assam has 36 cases of coronavirus positive cases, while 19 have been cured with 1 death.

Chandigarh has reported only 27 cases with 14 recoveries and Chhattisgarh has only 36 cases so far with 30 people recovered from the virus. The state has only six active cases now.

Delhi has witnessed continuous rise in coronavirus cases. The state has reported 2514 cases out of which 857 have been cured and 53 people have died so far.

Gujarat continues to report rise in cases. The total number has gone up to 2815 with 265 recoveries and 127 deaths.

Haryana has 272 cases with 156 recoveries and three deaths. No new cases were reported in Himachal Pradesh where the tally still stands at 40 with 18 recoveries.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the total number of cases has gone up to 454 out of which 109 discharges and 5 deaths.

Jharkhand has reported 57 cases so far with 8 recoveries and 3 deaths.

Karnataka's tally has risen to 474 out of which 152 have been cured and discharged, while 18 people have died in the state due to coronavirus.

Kerala has reported 450 cases, out of which 331 have been discharged while 3 people have died in the state.

Madhya Pradesh has seen big spike in coronavirus positive cases. The state's tally has climbed to 1852, while 210 have recovered and 92 people have died of the disease so far.

Maharashtra tops with 6817 corona positive cases while 840 people have recovered and death toll at staggering 301, according to the latest information.

Rajasthan has also seen a sharp rise in cases. The tally has gone up to 2034, while 230 patients have been cured and 27 people have died in the state so far.

Tamil Nadu has reported 1755 cases so far out of which 866 have recovererd and 22 people have died of the disease in the state so far.

Telangana's tally has gone up to 984 out of which 253 have been cured and 26 people have died.

The total number of infected cases in Uttar Pradesh is 1621 while 247 have been discharged and 25 people have died so far.

In West Bengal, 571 people are infected with the disease out of which 103 have been discharged and 18 have died.

 

Trump signs $ 484 billion relief bill to aid small businesses, hospitals in the US
25-04-2020 09:40

US President Donald Trump has signed into law a $ 484 billion relief package to boost funding for small businesses, hospitals and virus testing, as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.

The bill will be "great for small businesses, great for the workers", Trump told reporters on Friday the signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House, joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republican lawmakers.

The latest relief bill expands funding for saving small businesses and protecting Americans' paychecks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter shortly after the signing, noting that it also strengthens support for hospitals, healthcare providers, and testing, reports Xinhua news agency.

The package will provide more than $310 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to boost small business lending, $60 billion for small business disaster assistance loans and grants, as well as $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for virus testing.

The PPP, designed to provide loans for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic, ran out of money last week.

In a previously approved $2.2 trillion relief package, $349 billion had been allocated to fund the PPP.

About 80 per cent of PPP applicants said they are still waiting, and many do not know where they are in the application process, according to a survey released earlier this week by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on Thursday at a White House briefing that 4.93 million tests having been performed across the country so far.

According to a data-tracking tool developed by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, 890,524 cases have been confirmed across the US, with 51,017 deaths.

Anthony Fauci, the administration's top infectious diseases expert, said in a recent interview with Time magazine that the United States needs to "significantly ramp up" its testing capacity in order to effectively contain the spread of the virus.

In a tweet Friday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, urged the administration to deliver a concrete, nationwide strategy to expand testing.

The signing ceremony came one day after the House of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 388-5.

On Tuesday, the Senate swiftly cleared the legislation in a voice vote.

Calling the new bill "an interim emergency funding package", Democratic leaders have said they are disappointed that the administration has not agreed to more funding for state, tribal and local governments on the front lines of this crisis, pledging to advance a larger bill in the near future.

 

Dietary supplements important weapon for fighting off COVID-19
24-04-2020 16:10

Supplements containing vitamins C and D and other micronutrients are a safe, effective and low-cost means of helping your immune system fight off COVID-19 and other acute respiratory tract diseases, say researchers.

According to the study, published in the journal Nutrients, public health officials should issue a clear set of nutritional recommendations to complement messages about the role of handwashing and vaccinations in preventing the spread of infections.

"There's a wealth of data that shows the role that good nutrition plays in supporting the immune system. As a society, we need to be doing a better job of getting that message across along with the other important, more common messages," said study researcher Adrian Gombart from Oregon State University in the US.

Specific vitamins, minerals and fatty acids have key jobs to play in helping your immune system, Gombart said. In particular vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, are critical for immune function.

The roles that vitamins C and D play in immunity are particularly well known.

According to the researchers, vitamin C has roles in several aspects of immunity, including the growth and function of immune cells and antibody production.

"Vitamin D receptors on immune cells also affect their function. This means that vitamin D profoundly influences your response to infections," Gombart said.

"The problem is that people simply aren't eating enough of these nutrients. This could destroy your resistance to infections. Consequently, we will see an increase in disease and all of the extra burdens that go along with that increase," he added.

That's why the researchers are urging not only a daily multivitamin, but doses of 200 milligrams or more of vitamin C (higher than the suggested federal guidelines of 75 milligrams for men and 50 for women) and 2,000 international units of vitamin D, rather than the 400 to 800 recommended depending on age.

There is no doubt that vaccines, when available, can be effective, but they're not foolproof, Athe researchers noted.The other collaborators of the study were the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), the University of Otago (New Zealand) and University Medical Center (The Netherlands).

 

Corona tally reaches 23,077 in India, 718 deaths
24-04-2020 09:47

With 1,684 new cases, the total tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 23,000 mark on Friday morning. The number stood at 23,077 and 718 people have died so far, said the Ministry of Health and Family welfare.

The health ministry in the morning update said that of the total cases, 17610 cases are still active.

"At least 4,748 individuals have been cured and discharged from the hospital while one person has migrated," said the Ministry, adding that there are at least 77 foreign nationals in the country who are affected with the disease.

The COVID-19 situation continued to be grim in Maharashtra with 14 deaths and 778 new cases as on Thursday night, leaving other seriously hit states or union territories like Delhi, Telangana or Tamil Nadu far behind. With this, the state's total fatalities shot up from 269 on Wednesday to 283 on Friday morning. The number of COVID-19 patients jumped to 6,430 on Friday.

The national capital has seen 2,376 cases of COVID-19 with 50 fatalities.

Rajasthan has witnessed 1,964 cases and 27 deaths while Tamil Nadu has seen 1,683 cases and 20 deaths so far. Gujarat too had seen a rise in numbers taking the total cases to 2,624. There has been 112 deaths in the state.

 

No exponential rise in Covid-19 cases in India; 1,409 cases in 24 hrs: Centre
23-04-2020 17:52

The Centre said on Thursday that the rise in coronavirus cases in the country has been more or less linear, not exponential.

The country is experiencing 4.5 per cent positive cases among the tested people, which are similar to the situation a month ago before the lockdown was imposed, added the Centre.

"No new case of Covid-19 was reported from 78 districts in the last 14 days. A total of 388 patients were cured in one day, the recovery rate is 19.89 per cent. There are 33 new districts in nine states from where no new case was reported in the last 14 days," said Luv Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Union Health Ministry.

The total number of confirmed cases in India is 21,393. While 4,257 people have been cured so far, 681 persons have succumbed to the dreaded virus. The number of active cases in the country is 16,454. In the last 24 hours, 1,409 positive cases were reported from across the country.

C.K. Mishra, Chairman of Empowered Group 2, said, "On March 23, we had done 14,915 tests across the country and on April 22, we did more than 5 lakh tests, and as per a rough calculation, we have scaled up nearly 33 times in 30 days. We need to consistently ramp up testing."

Mishra said the focus of the government is on the districts.

"Our focus is on the districts now. The way positive cases moved in India, the growth is more or less linear and not exponential. Certain strategies are in work to contain it to a particular level. Beyond this, looking at the story of positive cases in these 30 days, we are more or less in the same position where we were one month ago. Among those tested, 4.5 per cent cases have returned positive," added Mishra.

He insisted that through the lockdown, the government has been able to minimise the spread of the viral infection, cut the transmission rate and increase the number of days in doubling of the cases.

 

Beijing denies permission to US to visit China to probe Covid-19 origin
23-04-2020 16:40

Beijing has denied permission to American scientists to visit Wuhan Institute of Virology or any other part of China to investigate the origin of the novel coronavirus.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo revealed this on Wednesday while speaking to Fox News about why greater transparency from the Xi Jinping government was required.

"Even today, the Chinese government hasn't permitted American scientists to go into China, to go into not only the Wuhan lab but wherever it needs to go to learn about this virus, to learn about its origins," Pompeo told the news channel.

Reiterating that the Trump administration has information about it, he said, "Look, we know it began at onea, but we need to figure this out. There's an ongoing pandemic. We still don't have the transparency and openness we need in China."

"It is the World Health Organization's (WHO) responsibility to achieve that transparency. They're not doing it. They need to be held accountable," Pompeo said adding, that it has been "great to see other countries around the world to begin to recognize the WHO failures as well."

The US secretary of state said the WHO needs structural changes including stepping down of its chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Or even more than that. It may be the case that the United States can never return to underwriting, having U.S. taxpayer dollars go to the WHO. We may need to be have even bolder change than that," he said.

Last week, President Donald Trump said that the US will halt all funding of the WHO arguing that the organization had given precedence to "political correctness over lifesaving measures."

 

Corona cases in India mount to 21393, Over 680 deaths
23-04-2020 09:50

The total cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 77 foreign nationals mounted to 21393, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Of the total cases at least 16,454 are active cases, 4,257 people have recovered and 681 people have lost their lives.

Maharashtra reported 5,652 cases and 269 fatalities so far, followed by Gujarat with 2,407 cases and 103 deaths and Delhi with 2,248 cases and 48 deaths.

Number of people who recovered in Maharashtra stands at 789. In the national capital, it is 724 and in Gujarat 179 people have recovered so far.

Other states which have more than 1500 cases are Rajasthan (1890), Tamil Nadu (1629) and Madhya Pradesh (1592).

 

Corona count in India 19,984; Almost 50 deaths in 24 hours
22-04-2020 17:10

The Union Health Ministry said a total of 19,984 people have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 across the country, and 3,870 people have been cured with a recovery rate of 19.36%.

In the past twenty-four hours, 1,383 new cases have surfaced and 50 new deaths have been reported, said the ministry.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has forwarded a protocol for using rapid antibody test to all states, saying that antibody rapid tests are largely to be used as a tool for surveillance.

"Globally also, the utility of this test is evolving and it is currently being used for detecting the formation of antibodies in individuals. These test results are also dependent on field conditions.

As noted by ICMR, these tests cannot replace the RT-PCR test to diagnose COVID-19 cases. The ICMR has promised assistance to collect data from various States to assess the scope and extent of utility of these rapid antibody test in field conditions. The ICMR will keep advising the states on a regular basis", said the Health Ministry in a statement.

The Centre will be conducting a telephonic survey where citizens will be contacted on their mobile phone from the number 1921. "This is a genuine survey. All citizens are requested to participate to help get proper feedback on the prevalence and distribution of COVID-19 symptoms", said a statement.

Taking cognizance of attacks on doctors involved in the fight against coronavirus outbreak, the Cabinet has recommended an ordinance to ensure the safety of the doctors under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. The Home has Minister assured deoctors and health workers that government would leave no stone unturned in ensuring their well-being and security.

 

Oxford University vaccine in human trials from Thursday: UK Health Secretary
21-04-2020 23:19

The UK government on Tuesday announced that the human trial of a potential COVID-19 candidate vaccine being developed by researchers at University of Oxford will begin from Thursday.

Scientists at the University of Oxford last week promised a super-fast vaccine during a virtual press conference, saying the vaccine will be available by September. According to lead researcher Professor Sarah Gilbert, their ‘ChAdOx1' vaccine can work against the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, during the daily press conference at 10 Downing Street, said the government will provide 20 million pounds to the Oxford research team to help fund their clinical trials, with a further 22.5 million pounds for researchers at Imperial College London, reports The Independent.

"The team have accelerated that trials process, working with the regulator the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency), who have been brilliant. As a result, I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday," said Hancock.

In normal course of time, a vaccine takes anytime between 12-18 months.

What probably separates ChAdOx1 - known as recombinant viral vector vaccine - from the rest is the time it promises to take in order to deliver mass quantities.

Professor Andrew Pollard, a member of the Oxford team, told Sky News: "If you had a sailing wind and absolutely nothing goes wrong in all of that complex technical process and you have all the facilities available, you could have millions of doses by the autumn of this year".

In late March, Professor Gilbert received 2.2 million pounds as funding from the UK government for vaccine development and trials.

Researchers enrolled over 500 healthy volunteers to test if their vaccine can prevent the novel coronavirus.

The vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine vector and was developed at Oxford's Jenner Institute. Adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of participants, from 1 week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over 10 different diseases.

According to Hancock, in the long run "the best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine".

"This is a new disease, this is uncertain science, but I'm certain that we will throw everything we've got at developing a vaccine," he added.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also pitched for the Oxford vaccine on Sunday, saying ‘ChAdOX1' is the frontrunner in the race to take on the deadly COVID-19 virus.

 

ICMR asks Indian states to stop using Chinese rapid test kits
21-04-2020 18:58

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), here on Tuesday, asked states to stop use of rapid testing kits of Covid-19 for at least two days as they were giving inaccurate results.

Addressing the media, ICMR Chief Scientist Raman Gangakhedkar said, "We had received complaints from one state on Monday. On Tuesday, we asked two more states if they also experienced the problem. The difference in results of RT-PCR positive samples is huge, 6 to 71 per cent, at some places. We have advised states to halt its use for two days."

A lot of variations were observed in results of positive samples, tested by RT-PCR which was not good, he said and added, the ICMR would be in a position to give any advisory in at least two days.

The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a laboratory technique combining reverse transcription of RNA into DNA and amplification of specific DNA targets using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The kits would be tested and validated by the on-ground teams instead of labs as Covid-19 was a new disease and the testing kits required to be refined, he said.

"We will deploy teams of our 8 institutes for on-ground validation of kits. If problems were found, those batches of kits would be sent to the manufacturing company for replacement," Gangakhedkar said.

The ICMR has received 500,000 rapid test kits from two Chinese companies - Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics.

When West Bengal accused the ICMR of sending faulty kits, it refuted the charges saying the kits should be stored in below 20 degree Celsius temperature to get accurate results. It also said if the variation in results was not big then there was no need to worry.

But now the ICMR has said any new observation about the testing kits would not be taken lightly and would be cross-checked thoroughly.

 

COVID-19 cases mount to 18,601 in India, 590 deaths
21-04-2020 09:34

With 1,336 new cases in last 24 hours, the total tally of COVID-19 cases stood at 18,601 on Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Health and Family welfare said.

The health ministry in the morning update said that of the total cases, 14,759 are active cases, with 590 casualties.

"At least 3,252 people have been cured and discharged from the hospital while one person has migrated," said the Ministry, adding that there are at least 77 foreign nationals, affected with the disease.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst hit with 4,666 total cases, followed by Delhi with 2,081 cases and 47 fatalities. Rajaasthan has witnessed 1,576 cases and 25 deaths while Tamil Nadu has seen 1,520 cases and 17 deaths so far.

 

80% Covid-19 cases in India are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms: Health Ministry
20-04-2020 17:15

The Health Ministry on Monday warned that 80 per cent of all coronavirus patients are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms.

"On the basis of worldwide analysis, out of 100 coronavirus patients, 80 per cent are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms. Around 15 per cent patients turn into severe cases and five percent cases turn into critical cases," said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, at the daily press briefing.

Raman Gangakhedkar, head of infectious disease and epidemiology at the ICMR, also said that 80 out of 100 people do not show symptoms and therefore chances are that they test positive.

The comments came against the backdrop of concerns that there may be asymptomatic people who are yet to be detected.

 

Coronavirus cases mount to 17,265 in India, 543 deaths
20-04-2020 09:46

With 1,553 new cases in 24 hours, the total tally of novel coronavirus cases stood at 17,265 on Monday, the Ministry of Health and Family welfare said.

The health ministry in morning update said that, of the total cases, 14,175 are active cases, with 543 casualties.

"At least 2,546 people have been cured and discharged from the hospital while one person has migrated," said the Ministry, adding "there are at least 77 foreign nationals, affected with the disease.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst hit with 4,203 cases and 223 deaths, followed by Delhi with 2,003 cases and 45 fatalities, Rajasthan (1,478 cases and 14 deaths) and Tamil Nadu (1,477 cases and 15 deaths)

 

China gets 130-billion-pound bill from Germany for corona damages
19-04-2020 23:28

China is facing a backlash from major European powers after suspicions over its role in the coronavirus pandemic which has caused 1 lakh deaths in Europe.

The Express UK reported that that a major German newspaper has put together a 130-billion-pound invoice that Beijing "owes" Berlin following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

European powers like Germany, France, the UK and the US have unleashed criticism at China after findings have surfaced that China may have covered up the outbreak.

Germany's largest tabloid newspaper, Bild, joined this attack by drawing up an itemised invoice for Euro 149 billion (130 billion pounds).

The list includes a Euro 27 billion charge for lost tourism revenue, up to euro 7.2 billion for the German film industry, a million euros an hour for German airline Lufthansa and euro 50 billion for German small businesses.

Bild calculated that this amounts to euro 1,784 (1,550 pounds) per person if Germany's GDP falls by 4.2 per cent, under the title "What China owes us."

Express UK reported that China has responded by claiming the invoice "stirs up xenophobia and nationalism".

Bild Editor-in-Chief Julian Reichelt rebutted the criticism, saying: "We asked in our newspaper Bild whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the coronavirus is inflicting worldwide.

"Xi Jinping, your government and your scientists had to know long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it."

"Your top experts didn't respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan. You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace."

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump warned that China should face consequences if it was "knowingly responsible" for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump told reporters: "It could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn't, and the whole world is suffering because of it.

"If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, then there should be consequences."

He said the Chinese were "embarrassed" and the question was whether what happened with the coronavirus was "a mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately?"
 

 

Wuhan lab intern accidentally leaked Covid-19 virus: US media
17-04-2020 16:15

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday acknowledged Fox News report that the novel coronavirus (nCoV) may have been accidentally leaked by an intern working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

The Fox News in an exclusive report based on unnamed sources has claimed that though the virus is a naturally occurring strain among bats and not a bioweapon, but it was being studied in Wuhan laboratory. The initial transmission of the virus was bat-to-human, the news channel said, adding that the "patient zero" worked at the laboratory. The lab employee was accidentally infected before spreading the disease among the common people outside the lab in Wuhan city.

The Wuhan wet market initially identified as the place of origin, Fox News said, never sold bats. However, China blamed the wet market to deflect blame from the laboratory, the report said.

The virus was being studied in the lab as an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to "demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States," Fox News said quoting multiple sources.

At the daily White House briefing of the US President on Wednesday, Fox News reporter John Roberts while asking Trump about the claims said, "Multiple sources are telling Fox News today that the United States now has high confidence that, while the coronavirus is a naturally occurring virus, it emanated from a virology lab in Wuhan, that, because of lax safety protocols, an intern was infected, who later infected her boyfriend, and then went to the wet market in Wuhan, where it then began to spread."

President Trump neither confirmed nor denied the report, but noted that "more and more we're hearing the story a" and we'll see." "We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened," the President added.

When pressed by Roberts about whether he had raised Chinese lab security in his recent call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Trump said, "I don't want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory. It's inappropriate right now."

The news channel said that China initially made efforts to cover up the outbreak. Quoting a source, the report said that this could be the "costliest government cover-up of all time." Sources also characterized the World Health Organization (WHO) as being part of a cover-up from the very beginning, the report said.

As per a recent Washington Post, two years ago, the US embassy officials in China raised concerns about the insufficient biosafety at the Chinese government's Wuhan Institute of Virology where deadly viruses and infectious diseases are studied.

Though the institute, located quite close to the Wuhan wet market, is China's first biosafety level IV lab, the US state department had warned in 2018 about "serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory".

 

Wuhan's revised COVID-19 death toll up by 50% to 3,869
17-04-2020 12:35

Wuhan city, the capital of China's Hubei province where the global coronavirus pandemic originated last December, on Friday revised the number of deaths caused by the disease in the city, leading to some 50 per cent increase in the figures.

The revised death toll is 3,869, which is 1,290 more than the 2,579 reported barely hours earlier by the National Health Commission, which had pegged the number of fatalities for Hubei province to 3,222, reports Efe news.

The Wuhan authorities have also revised the total number of COVID-19 cases, revealing another 325 previously unreported cases, which took the total number to 50,333, Xinhua news agency reported.

In an announcement, the Wuhan municipal headquarters for the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control said the revisions were made as per the laws and regulations concerned, and out of the principle of being responsible for history, the people and the deceased.

It added that this would ensure that the information on the city's COVID-19 epidemic was open and transparent, and the data accurate.

Moreover, it gave four reasons for the "discrepancies" in the figures.

The first reason was that "a surging number of patients at the early stage of the epidemic overwhelmed medical resources and the admission capacity of medical institutions," resulting in some deaths at home without treatment in hospitals.

The second reason was that at the peak of the epidemic in the city, "hospitals were operating beyond their capacities and medical staff were preoccupied with saving and treating patients, resulting in belated, missed and mistaken reporting."

The third reason given was that due to a rapid increase of designated hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients - including provincial, municipal, private and makeshift ones - some medical institutions were "not linked to the epidemic information network and failed to report their data in time."

The final reason given was "the registered information of some of the deceased patients was incomplete, and there were repetitions and mistakes in the reporting".

An official of the headquarters told the media that a group for epidemic-related big data and epidemiological investigations was established in late March.

The group used information from online systems and collected full information from all epidemic-related locations to ensure that facts about every case are accurate and every figure is objective and correct, the official said.

"What lies behind epidemic data are the lives and health of the general public, as well as the credibility of the government," said the official, adding that the timely revision of the figures, among other things, shows respect for every single life.
 

India's COVID-19 tally mounts to 13,387; 437 fatalities
17-04-2020 9:15

The total number of coronavirus cases in India reached 13387 on Friday morning, including 76 foreign nationals, with 11,201 active cases, the Union Health Ministry said.

The Health Ministry said in its daily update that 437 deaths have been reported in India so far, with the highest -- 194 -- getting reported from Maharashtra, followed by Madhya Pradesh, where 53 deaths have been reported so far.

"A total of 1,748 patients have been cured and discharged," the Health Ministry said.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with total number of positive cases rising to 3,205, followed by Delhi at 1,640 cases, Tamil Nadu at 1,267 cases and Rajasthan at 1,131 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

 

325 districts in India are Covid-19 free, no case in 27 in 14 days
16-04-2020 17:20

There has been no coronavirus case in 325 of the 736 districts in India and also no one has tested positive in 27 districts of 17 states in the past 14 days, according to the Union Health Ministry, here on Thursday.

In the past 24 hours, 941 fresh Covid-19 cases and 37 deaths had been reported, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry.

Stating that 12.02 per cent people have recovered from the coronavirus infection, Agarwal said lockdown and containment measures were proving beneficial.

The Ministry said of the 12,380 Covid-19 cases in the country, the number of active cases was 10,477. So far, 414 people have succumbed to the disease and 1,488 recovered.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said it had received 500,000 testing kits, including rapid anti-body kits, from two Chinese companies with 80 per cent sensitivity and 84 per cent specificity.

The ICMR said these kits were not meant for early diagnosis, but only for epidemiology purposes.

 

Total tally crosses 12,000 mark in India
16-04-2020 09:20

With 941 new cases the total number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in India mounted to 12,380 stated the data published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.

Of these, 10,477 are active cases of COVID-19, 1,488 individuals have recovered and discharged from the hospital, one person migrated to another country and 414 people succumbed to the disease.

The total confirmed cases include 76 foreign nationals.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with a total number of positive cases rising to 2,916, followed by New Delhi with 1,578 cases and Tamil Nadu, which has reported 1,242 cases and Rajasthan with 1,023 cases. according to the Health Ministry data.
 

 

9,756 active cases in India; 11.41% people recovered: Health Ministry
15-04-2020 17:10

The Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday that 11.41 per cent of coronavirus patients have recovered from the infection and a total of 170 districts have been identified with hotspots, while 207 have been identified as non-hotspots.

The total number of confirmed cases in India is 11,439, while 377 people have succumbed to the disease and 1,305 people have been cured. The total number of active cases in the country is 9,756. A total of 1,076 cases have been added in the last 24 hours, said the Health Ministry.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, said the rate of recovery of coronavirus patients is gradually increasing and 11.41 per cent of patients have recovered from the disease.

"We are focusing on following the proper protocol for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, especially people in the high-risk group and patients with comorbidities," said Agarwal while emphasising on saving lives from the viral infection.

He added that Covid-19 hotspots and green zones have been identified after conducting door-to-door surveys.

Agarwal said that states have been issued guidelines for dealing with Covid-19 hotspots across the country and special teams will search for new patients.

He insisted that movement will not be allowed in the containment zones except those related to essential services. He repeated that no community transmission has been noticed so far, though there have been some local outbreaks.

 

Coronavirus cases in India surge past 11,000
15-04-2020 09:26

The total number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in India mounted to 11,439 stated the data published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday.

Of these, 9,756 are active cases of COVID-19, 1,305 individuals have recovered and discharged from the hospital, one person migrated to another country and 377 people succumbed to the disease.

Maharashtra remained the worst hit state with a total number of positive cases rising to 2,687, followed by New Delhi with 1,561 cases and Tamil Nadu, which has reported 1,204 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

 

France extends COVID-19 lockdown until 11th May
14-04-2020 11:36

French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the ongoing lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended till May 11, as the country witnessed over 570 deaths due to the disease in 24 hours.

On Monday, death toll from the novel coronavirus increased to 14,967, after 574 fatalities were reported in a span of one day, Xinhua news agency quoted the Health Ministry as saying.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 137,877, although infections dropped for the fifth day in a row, it added.

In his third TV appearance since the pandemic hit the country, Macron said on Monday evening: "The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there. Thanks to your efforts, everyday we have made progress.

"Hope is reborn but nothing is settled... Everywhere in French mainland or overseas, the (health) system is under pressure and the epidemic is not yet under control.

"We must therefore continue our efforts and apply the rules. The more we respect the rules, the more lives we save. This is why strict containment must continue until May 11."

The announcement came two days before the current confinement, which started on March 17, was due to end on April 15.

Under the lockdown, people can only leave their homes to buy food and medicine or for work, while all non-essential businesses and open-air markets have been closed, and schools were shut down.

People are allowed to go out for a walk with their children or to exercise once a day for no more than one hour, and within 1 km of their homes.

Stressing that the prolonged lockdown was "the only way to work effectively and the condition to further slow down the virus spread", the President in his address stressed that the restrictions already put in place must be strictly respected in the coming four weeks.

The recommendation of the scientific council, which advises the government on the epidemic crisis, was for at least six-week strict containment after it was put in place, which means till the end of April.

An end of the confinement would be possible if pressure on intensive care units eases, the virus circulation slows down and there are sufficient stocks of equipment, including masks and testing kits, it said.

 

796 new cases in past 24 hours takes India's total corona cases to over 9,150: Health Ministry
13-04-2020 17:11

The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Monday that at least 141 people have recovered from novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

Addressing the daily press briefing, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal, said, "Total number of Covid-19 cases reported so far in the country is 9,152. At least 141 people have recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured persons to 857. A total of 796 new cases and 35 deaths have been reported since yesterday."

Agarwal told the media that the containment measures taken by the government have started showing results on the field.

"At least 25 districts from 15 states have not reported any new case since the last 14 days. These are Gondia in Maharashtra, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, Davangiri, Kodagu, Tumkuru, Udupi in Karnataka, South Goa, Wayanad and Kottayam in Kerala, West Imphal in Manipur, Rajouri in J&K, Aizawl West in Mizoram, Mahe in Puducherry, SBS Nagar in Punjab, Patna, Nalanda and Munger in Bihar, Pratapgarh in Rajasthan, Panipat, Rohtak, Sirsa in Haryana, Pauri Garhwal in Uttrakhand, and Bhadradri Kothagudem in Telangana," Agarwal said.

 

China's new COVID-19 cases rise to near six-week high
13-04-2020 13:11

China reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases in nearly six weeks on Monday, as it tried to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections, a media report said.

Having largely stamped out domestic transmission of the disease, China, where the pandemic originated last December, has been slowly easing curbs on movement as it tries to get its economy back on track, but there were fears that a rise in imported cases could spark a second wave of the pandemic - especially among Chinese citizens returning from abroad, said the South China Morning Post report.

Authorities repoted 108 new coronavirus infections over the past day, including 98 cases among travellers returning from abroad, according to data released on Monday by the National Health Commission.

This is the highest number of reported infections since March 6, when authorities reported 143 new cases.

Beijing on March 28 banned the entry of foreigners into China.

Around 300 cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in the city by Saturday, including 100 infected people who did not appear to be showing any symptoms, the South China Morning Post reported.

China has so far reported 82,160 coronavirus cases including 3,341 deaths and 77,663 recovered patients.

 

New model predicts peak of US active COVID-19 cases in late April
13-04-2020 07:51

A new data-driven mathematical model of the novel coronavirus pandemic predicts that the United States will peak in the number of "active" COVID-19 cases around April 20, which marks a critical milestone on the demand for medical resources, said a University of Washington study.

"We predict that the United States is on course to reach this point in the coming weeks," said Ka-Kit Tung, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Washington. "It is a point of maximum strain on a country's health and medical infrastructure."

For the United States, this model predicts that the number of "active" COVID-19 cases - individuals who have been diagnosed but haven't recovered or died - will peak on April 20, plus or minus four days, and will then slowly decline as the number of cases entering the medical system becomes less than the number of cases leaving the medical system, reported Xinhua news agency.

The US outbreak will taper off in the first week of June with projections of 710,000 total cases but could be up to 990,000; and 28,000 deaths, but could be up to 39,000, if the current US fatality rate of 4 per cent holds, according to the analysis.

The predictions differ significantly from the Imperial College London projections of a longer outbreak with 40 per cent to 80 per cent of the US population infected and 1.1 to 2.2 million deaths. The results from the model used by Imperial College London differed significantly because it relied on separate assumptions about COVID-19 and the predictions were generated when key parameters, such as its infection rates, were unknown, according to Tung.

The model finds that the length of outbreaks will also vary by country. Germany and Italy will take a week longer than the Chinese city of Wuhan to reach their turning point in active COVID-19 cases. The United States is projected to take two weeks longer than Wuhan considering that the United States has no national lockdown, though a majority of states have issued stay-at-home orders, said Tung.

Norden Huang and Fangli Qiao, both from the First Institute of Oceanography's Data Analysis Laboratory in Qingdao, China, created the model with Tung. Their paper describing the analysis is not yet peer-reviewed but has been submitted to a journal for consideration. Their study was posted on March 30 to the preprint site medRxiv.

The researchers tested the model's efficacy using COVID-19 data from China. With an accuracy of a few days, their model predicted key events in the outbreak's growth, spread and decline of COVID-19 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province and the rest of China including the peak of new cases, the peak of active cases and the subsidence of the epidemic. the study said.

 

COVID-19 slows down in Europe, WHO still against lifting restrictions
11-04-2020 08:17

As some of the European countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to see signs of slowing in infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) sounded a stern warning against lifting restrictions too soon, saying it could lead to a deadly resurgence of COVID-19.

"In the past week, we've seen a welcome slowing in some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, like Spain, Italy, Germany and France," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a regular press briefing on Friday, reported Xinhua news agency.

As "some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions," the WHO chief warned that "lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence."

"The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly," he said, underlining that the WHO is working with affected countries on strategies for gradually and safely easing restrictions.

The novel coronavirus has claimed 13,197 lives in France. But the country is witnessing a decline in the number of critically-ill patients on Friday for a second consecutive day, a "pale ray of sunshine," according to Director General of Health Jerome Salomon.

In Spain, where the total number of infection cases has reached 157,022, and death toll stood at 15,843, the single-day numbers of new cases and related deaths dropped on Friday for the second day in a row, according to the data collected by the Spanish Ministry for Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare.

Italy is also witnessing a drop in those hospitalized and those in intensive care, as total fatalities in the country amounted to 18,849 by Friday.

Nonetheless, Italy remains one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 150,000 infections. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday extended the country's national coronavirus lockdown by "at least" additional 20 days to May 3.

Some European countries are already considering relaxing their restriction measures as they see a slowing trend in the number of COVID-19 infections. Austria, for instance, aims to gradually ease the exit restrictions and reopen shops and businesses from mid-April. Switzerland also suggested "the first relaxations" by the end of April.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that a further tightening of restrictions on daily life in Germany is not necessary at present.

"The curve is flattening out," said Merkel at the Chancellery. The latest COVID-19 infection figures in Germany gave "reason for cautious hope." But she stressed that it would be necessary to be "very, very careful" with relaxing the current restrictions.

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday proposed prolonging travel restriction at its external borders. The European Commission said in a statement that it invited Schengen member states and Schengen associated states to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until May 15.

 

White House experts warn against relaxing social distancing rules
11-04-2020 07:57

America's top medical experts on the White House coronavirus task force Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci pointed to encouraging signs that the US infection curve is levelling off but warned against relaxing social distancing guidelines and declaring victory too early.

The doctors' comments come on a day when the world passed a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the pandemic and America's death toll crossed 18,000. More than 4 in 10 deaths in the US have come from New York State, which reported 777 new deaths on Friday.

"You can see for the first time that in the United States we're starting to level on the logarithmic phase, like Italy did about a week ago. And so this gives us great heart," Dr. Birx said at a White House briefing on Friday.

Hope springs from New York's hospitalisation rate slowing consistently throughout this week. The numbers are down to the below 300 level compared with more than 1000 per day last week.

The nation's top infectious-diseases expert Dr. Fauci cautioned that the virus' trajectory decides the timeline of when social distancing rules are relaxed.

"The one thing you don't want to do is you don't want to get out there prematurely and then wind up backtracking," he said as US president Donald Trump looked on.

Trump has been enthusiastic about reopening the economy as soon as possible.

Both Fauci and Birx have doubled down on their public messaging from the White House megaphone that social distancing does work and is blunting the curve in ways that weren't clear even a week ago.

Exactly 10 days ago, the predictive model most frequently quoted by the White House had projected 100,000-200,000 total deaths in the US. Today, that projection has been revised downwards to around 61,000 deaths.

 

Indian govt directs states, UTs not to allow religious gatherings
10-04-2020 18:10

Ahead of ensuing festivals this month, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday directed all the states and the Union Territories (UTs) not to allow any social or religious gathering and ensure strict compliance of lockdown to contain spread of Covid-19.

In a fresh letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla instructed them to inform district authorities and field agencies on the specific prohibitions as mentioned in the consolidated guidelines on lockdown measures.

He also directed them to take "all required precautionary and preventive measures for maintenance of law and order, peace and public tranquillity".

"In view of the ensuing festivals in the month of April 2020, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed all states and UTs to ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures to fight COVID-19 and not allow any social and religious gathering or procession," a Home Ministry statement said.

The instruction came in view of Baisakhi, and Ambedkar Jayanti which will be celebrated on April 13, and April 14 respectively, while Ramadan will begin April 23.

 

US death toll crosses 16,500; 11% under 25 years testing positive: White House
10-04-2020 07:22

In the US, 11 out of 100 people under the age of 25, 17 per cent of those in the 25 to 45 age group and 21 per cent of those between 45 and 65 years who presented with symptoms have tested positive for coronavirus, according to age-wise testing data available for the first time from the White House on a day when America's death toll climbed past the 16,500 mark with total confirmed cases more than 462,000.

On the same day, New York State suffered the deadliest blow, posting a record-breaking increase in coronavirus deaths for a third consecutive day even as hospitalisations and intubations slowed, suggesting the curve is finally flattening. The net 200-patient increase in hospitalisations is the lowest since the nightmare began.

White House data is also showing that US men are testing positive at a much higher rate than women.

Data on those under 25 years were drawn from a universe of 200,000 tests while more than half a million people in the 25-45 years age group and in the 45-65 age group have been tested, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the White House response to the pandemic.

Among 200,000 people in the 65-85 age group, Birx reported 22 percent positive tests and a slightly higher 24 per cent positivity level among 30,000 people above 85 years who were tested.

The pattern emerging from the US testing data are consistent with insights the White House has absorbed from attack rates in other countries which have come off their infection peaks, especially Europe.

Birx urged American men who are symptomatic to get tested. So far, nearly 6 in 10 people who have been tested are female while a little more than 4 in 10 are men. Positivity rates are 16 per cent for women and 23 per cent for men.

"Men often don't present in the healthcare delivery system until they have greater symptomatology. This is to all of our men out there no matter what age group. If you have symptoms, you should be tested, and make sure that you are tested," Birx said.

More than 6 in 10 states, Birx said, have less than 10 percent positive rate "despite significant testing".

"Issues around those with comorbidities and those of the elderly" continue to be the dominant concerns, according to Birx.

Despite the rising tide of horrible news, the White House task force remains focused on the upside of mitigation efforts which are showing up as flatter curves in outbreaks outside the New York and New Jersey metro areas.

Birx said the curves in Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Denver "are much lower than New York and New Jersey and this gives us hope".

America's top infectious diseases expert on the White House task force Dr Anthony Fauci backed up Birx's comments saying America is headed in the "right direction".

"That means that what we are doing is working, and therefore we need to continue to do it. I know I sound like a broken record, that's good - I want to sound like a broken record, let's just keep doing it," Fauci said about continued adherence to social distancing guidelines in place since March 16.

Predictive models from the Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington which earlier projected a nationwide death toll of 100,000-200,000 have now revised downwards to a little over 60,000 deaths by August first week of this year. These models assume "full social distancing" in place.

 

Lockdown tightened in Mumbai's 'carefree' Dharavi
09-04-2020 14:40

The police and health authorities have tightened the lockdown in Dharavi, Asia's biggest slum amid growing fears of coronavirus spreading here, officials said on Thursday.

At least 10 localities in the 2.25 sq. kms area have been red-flagged and all movement of people stopped, all shops and establishments, fruit/vegetable markets or vendors, hawkers, etc, have been shut down, barring pharmacies.

To minimise peoples' unrest in the area, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), plans to come up with a scheme for doorstep delivery of essentials shortly.

Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, who represents Dharavi constituency, along with Health Minister Rajesh Tope visited hospitals and quarantine centres in her constituency on Wednesday for a spot assessment of the situation.

"We have requested state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to direct the police to strictly enforce lockdown in this area to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We have also requested the government to provide more ventilators for the hospitals here, speed up test reports for those in quarantine as more and more people keep coming here daily," Gaikwad told mediapersons after the cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Dharavi -- the most congested place on the planet -- has over 200,000 families living and working here, besides more than 20,000 big and small businesses generating revenues of an estimated Rs 7,000 crore annually.

Considered a ticking time-bomb in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dharavi has recorded two deaths and at least another 13 positive patients till date, sparking alarm among the civic and state health authorities struggling to contain the further spread of the coronavirus in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.

Despite the obvious risks, most people in Dharavi seem oblivious of the invisible dangers around them and continue to move around in a carefree manner, with all social distancing norms thrown to the winds.

 

COVID-19 total tally reaches 5,734 in India, 166 dead: Ministry data
09-04-2020 10:07

The total tally of novel coronavirus cases in India reached up to 5,734 on Thursday, the data of Union Health Ministry said.

As per the Ministry data, of the total number, 5,095 are active cases, 166 are dead, one has migrated, while 472 people have been discharged after recovery.

Maharashtra is the worst affected state so far with 1,135 active cases, 117 cured and discharged and 72 have died.

After Maha, Tamil Nadu is the second worst affected area with 738 active case, 21 cured and eight deaths.

Gujrat total tally may have been low but it's the worst hit in terms of death with 16 deaths i.e. maximum deaths after Maharashtra.

While the cases aren't taking a stall, another of assault on doctors was reported from the national capital last night.

A man in Delhi's Gautam Nagar assaulted two female doctors of Safdarjung Hospital on Thursday.

The alleged incident took place while the two female doctors were buying grocery on Wednesday night.

Speaking to IANS, Dr Manish, President, Resident Doctors Association, Safdarjung Hospital said, "The two doctors are posted in the Emergency Ward. At around 9 p.m. while they were buying vegetables, a man asked them to step aside accusing them for spreading coronavirus."

"The man said that you come from the hospital and spread coronavirus, when the doctors resisted and argued, the man slapped them and even twisted their hand. The local residents came in an helped the two woman but the man escaped from the spot."

A FIR has been registered in connection with the incident.

Labs in India should not overcharge for COVID-19 tests, observes SC
08-04-2020 13:14

The Supreme Court on Wednesday suggested private labs should not charge exorbitantly for COVID-19 tests, and asked the Centre to explore a mechanism wherein the amount spend on these tests could be reimbursed.

The observation from the apex court came on a petition that sought its direction to ensure free COVID-19 testing for all citizens - both in government and private labs.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan observed, amid the ongoing public health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, that the private laboratories should not charge heavily for such tests.

After the court asked the Centre, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, to consider developing a reimbursement mechanism, Mehta said that he will take instructions from the government on this matter.

During the hearing through videoconferencing, Mehta contended that 118 labs in India have a total capacity of conducting 15,000 tests per day, and 47 private labs too had been been roped in.

When Justice Bhushan insisted on not allowing labs to charge money for corona tests, Mehta said it was a developing situation for the labs and thus difficult to ascertain how many more were required. Also to be condered was the duration this lockdown would continue.

The petition filed by advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi challenged the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory to fix maximum Rs 4,500 for corona test by private entities.

The petition also sought direction that all such tests be conducted by accredited pathological laboratories, and to strike down the ICMR advisory for allegedly being violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

Suggesting free tests, the petitioner also claimed that capping test charges at private labs violates the ideals and values of the Constitution.

Crowd swarm trains as Wuhan lifts outbound travel ban
08-04-2020 01:25

As cars queued up at expressway toll gates and passengers prepared to board trains to leave Wuhan, the megacity in central China started lifting outbound travel restrictions from Wednesday after almost 11 weeks of lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.

At Fuhe toll gate in nothern Wuhan, cars honked horns and rushed out after barricades were removed at midnight, Xinhua news agency reported.

Guo Lei, who ran a business in Wuhan, drove his car with six other people aboard to the toll gate at around 8.40 p.m. and waited for a homebound trip.

"I can't wait returning to my hometown," said Guo, a native of east China's Shandong Province. "I have lived in Wuhan for eight years. During the Spring Festival holiday, my relatives came to the city and helped me deliver goods. We were all stranded here due to the epidemic."

Big data from Wuhan traffic police forecasted the expressways would see the peak of outbound vehicles on Wednesday.

As more enterprises resume their operations, Wuhan has seen an increase of nearly 400,000 vehicles in transit in the past half month, and the number is expected to reach 1.8 million after Wednesday, according to the city's traffic police.

Traffic police will release real-time traffic information through radio stations, online social platforms, and map apps.

"I'm very happy to see the lockdown was lifted. The reopening of outbound traffic represents the epidemic situation has improved, and our hard work over the past two months has paid off," said Fang Jing, a staff member of an expressway toll station in Wuhan.

"We still need to protect ourselves from the virus and remind passengers to pay attention to personal health since the epidemic is not yet over," Fang added.

At Wuchang Railway Station, a total of 442 passengers jumped on the train K81 early Wednesday, which is heading for Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.

More than 55,000 passengers are expected to leave Wuhan by train on Wednesday, and about 40 percent of them are going to the Pearl River Delta Region. A total of 276 passenger trains will leave Wuhan for Shanghai, Shenzhen and other cities.

The railway authorities required passengers to scan health codes and have temperatures checked when entering the stations and wear masks to reduce the risks of infection.

Workers have disinfected bullet trains, the entrance and exits, waiting halls and platforms of the railway stations in advance.

Wuhan Tianhe International Airport started resuming domestic passenger flights early Wednesday. The airport is expected to see more than 200 inbound and outbound flights on the day, according to the airport.

On January 23, Wuhan declared unprecedented traffic restrictions, including suspending the city's public transport and all outbound flights and trains, in an attempt to contain the epidemic.

JK Rowling shares breathing techniques to recover from Covid-19
07-04-2020 18:38

Amid the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, acclaimed author J.K. Rowling has shared a post on her Twitter account, showing techniques she used to overcome the symptoms of Covid-19 after two weeks of illness.

The "Harry Potter" author shared the video with the caption: "Please watch this doc from Queens Hospital explain how to relieve respiratory symptoms. For last 2 weeks, I've had all symptoms of C19 (tho haven't been tested) & did this on doc husband's advice. I've fully recovered & technique helped a lot."

"I really am completely recovered and wanted to share a technique that's recommended by doctors, costs nothing, has no nasty side effects but could help you/your loved ones a lot, as it did me. Stay safe, everyone," she added.
 

In the video posted by Rowling, a UK hospital doctor named Sarfaraz Munshi describes a vital breathing technique for Covid-19 sufferers that could prevent the patients from contracting secondary pneumonia, which could prove dangerous to health.

The doctor said that his colleague Sue Elliot relies on the technique every day in intensive care. The video features a breathing technique that involves inhaling and exhaling, and holding breaths and a ‘big cough'.

Speaking to IANS about the breathing techniques recommended in the video, Vivek Nangia, Director and HOD, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj, said: "There are two parts of the video, the first part is deep breathing and coughing. While deep breathing is good to do (just like pranayama), one will never ask a Covid-19 patient to cough, as there is high risk of transmission of the disease to the others."

"It is always advised to never ever ask a Covid-19 patient to cough. On the contrary, the patients are always given a mask to cover their faces so that the chances of spreading the infection through droplets can be minimised," Nangia told IANS.

The other part of the video focuses on lying on front, and that is supposed to prevent the development of secondary infection and basal atelectasis (i.e. collapse of the basal portions of the lungs).

"Lying on the front is referred to as prone positioning, and is basically done by patients who have involvement of lungs by Covid-19 or any other similar infection and it helps in improving the oxygen levels and also in preventing a basal atelectasis (collapse of the basal segments of the lungs)," Nangia said.

"As described in the video, it does not prevent a secondary pneumonia. However, it only helps in improving the oxygen levels in patients who have a long involvement in the presence of Covid-19 or any other similar infection, which could result in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) like situation," he added.
 
Covid-19 cases reach 4,421 in India, Maharashtra worst affected with 52 deaths
07-04-2020 11:40

With India in the third week of its 21-day nationwide lockdown, the total active cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday reached 3,981 with Maharashtra continuing to be the worst-hit with 868 total confirmed cases and 52 deaths so far, followed by Tamil Nadu.

The national capital appeared fast catching up with 523 total cases so far and 7 deaths, as the Aam Aadmi Party government plans to go for random testing at all hotspots in the city.

So far 114 people have died due to the coronavirus in India, according to the website of Union Health Ministry. A total of 325 people have recovered since the first case was reported in the country on Januray 30.

The total number of novel coronavirus affected patients in India, including those who have recovered, stand at 4,421.

Meanwhile, the Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday said it scaled up its capacity to fight COVID-19 pandemic. The apex medical research body has allowed rapid antibody based blood tests for COVID-19. However, these tests will be conducted as a strategy for areas reporting clusters (containment zone) and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centres. ICMR has validated and recommended 7 such test kits for use. Also, antibody tests are not suitable to diagnose live COVID-19 infections.
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    Maharashtra To Take Over 80% Beds in Private Hospitals; Caps Costs for Treatment
    The Maharashtra government has finally decided to cap charges levied by private hospitals for treating patients of coronavirus (COVID-19). A notification issued by the public health department caps the charges per day for COVID-19 patients at Rs4,000 for general beds, followed by Rs8,000 for intensive care unit (ICU) and Rs9,000 for ventilators beds. 
     
    In addition, the state government also decided to take control of up to 80% beds in private hospitals run by charitable trusts for the treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients for three months till August.

    The government has also imposed ceilings on treatment of around 270 procedures or surgeries for non-COVID cases.

    While regular government rates would be applicable for the 80% beds, the hospitals would be permitted to fix their charges for the remaining 20% beds.
     
    As per the notification signed by Dr Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary to the government, these charges include monitoring and investigations like complete blood count (CBC), urine routine, HIV spot, anti-HCV, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), serum, creatinine, ultrasonography (USG), 2D echo, X-ray, ECG and drugs as well as consultations, bed charges, nursing charges, and meals. 
     
    Charges for personal protective equipment (PPE), interventional procedures, COVID-19 testing, cost of high-end medicines would be charged at maximum retail price. Cost of high-end investigation like CT scan and MRI would be charged as per the department's earlier circular issued on 31 December 2019. 
     
    Apart from this, the mark-up on expensive medicines has been capped at 10% of the procurement rates, and the hospital cannot charge the patient more than the MRP, the notification says.
     
    The move comes as the state touched a staggering 1,454 deaths and 41,642 Coronavirus cases to date, while 11,726 have been cured and sent home.

    The decision was also prompted by many complaints of exorbitant bills churned out by private hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients allegedly taking advantage of the prevalent crisis situation.
     
    As per the notification, several healthcare providers in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel and Pune have specific agreements or agreements with general insurance public sector associations (GIPSA) as a member of preferred private network (PPN) for rates of various treatment packages. However, there are many, who are not part of the GIPSA-PPN and have their own agreements or understanding with various third-party administrators (TPAs) on rates for various treatment packages. 
     
    However, the notification points out that persons who are not covered by any health insurance product or who have exhausted their health insurance cover are being charged exorbitantly causing hardship to public in general during the pandemic situation.
     
    The notification asks healthcare providers to make attempt to increase their bed capacity to accommodate maximum number of patients. It says, "80% of the total operational bed capacity, excluding beds of PICU, NICU, day care, maintenance haemodialysis, will be regulated by the rates as prescribed. That means 80% of the isolation beds available with any healthcare provider should be regulated by the state government or district collectors or municipal commissioners along with 80% of the non-isolation beds. Healthcare providers may charge their rack rates to the remaining 20% of beds."
     
    The notification also prohibits hospital from charging extra from those patients who have insurance cover or who are availing the treatment in the 20% beds quota.
     
    Meanwhile, the state has readied 1,200 beds in St. Xaviers' College near Marine Lines and Mehboob Studios in Bandra to cater to COVID-19 patients, in addition to the Wuhan-style hospitals at Bandra Kurla Complex, NESCO Goregaon and NSCI Worli.

    A health department official said the latest moves would greatly enhance the COVID-19 treatment facilities and infrastructure in the state as the cases continued to increase.
     
    Here is the notification issued by the public health department…
     
     
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    NPPA Asks N95 Mask Manufacturers, Importers and Suppliers to Maintain Parity in Prices
    Instead of capping price of N95 masks that are most required by healthcare professionals who are frontline fighters in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked makers, importers and suppliers of these masks to maintain parity in prices for all buyers.
     
    In an office memorandum, Alok Ranjan, assistant director in the NPPA, which functions under the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemical and fertilizers, says, "...in order to ensure availability of N95 masks at affordable prices in the country, NPPA hereby directs manufacturers, importers and suppliers of the N95 masks to maintain parity in prices for non-government procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices."
     
    The Authority, however, failed to explain what is the reasonable price of N95 masks. 
     
    As repeatedly pointed out by Moneylife, without any directive from the government, there is rampant black markereering and hoarding of N95 masks across the country. 
     
    In fact, on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court (BHC) had asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil C Singh to take instructions from the Union government on capping prices for N95 masks and respond by Friday on two letters sent by Maharashtra government on the same subject.
     
    When the ASG informed the bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice SS Shinde that the government had already capped prices of two-ply, three-ply masks and hand sanitisers, the bench orally directed him to take instructions on what the central government has done regarding the representation sent by Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on prices of N95 masks.
     
    The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sucheta Dalal, founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation and Anjali Damania, founder-trustee of Voice of Indian Taxpayers, a non-government organisation (NGO). 
     
    The 13th May letter sent by the commissioner of Maharashtra food and drug administration (FDA) had requested the chairman of NPPA to fix price for sale of N95 masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) kits. 
     
    The second letter sent on 15 May 2020 by the Maharashtra FDA to the NPPA shares details of investigation carried out and reports the findings against four companies in the state. The joint commissioner's response also includes the prices currently being offered by various manufacturers namely, Magnum (Rs250), Venus (Rs180) and 3M (Rs121 or Rs146 depending on the model no.) of N95 masks. The commissioner reinforces in his letter that while investigation in this matter is being carried out, the NPPA should expedite the pricing matter on top priority. 
     
    The PIL sought relief from black marketeering, hoarding and profiteering of N95 masks in Maharashtra despite N95 masks being declared as essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The petition also alleged that Maharashtra state had failed to take adequate measures to ensure that sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks at fair prices.
     
    "While these N95 masks are being sold at marked up rates of over 150% by insidious dealers, the frontline workers do not have enough N95 masks and till date more than 800 frontline workers have tested COVID-19 positive mainly due to the lack of adequate protective gear including N95 masks," the PIL mentions. 
     
    N95 masks or N95 respirators are particulate-filtering facepieces which filter at least 95% of airborne particles. The N95 mask requires a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers, also known as non-woven polypropylene fabric, which is produced through a process called melt blowing that forms the inner filtration layer that filters out hazardous particles. These masks provide protection against particulates but not against gases or vapours. Thus, these masks are ideal for use for frontline workers including healthcare workers who work in close proximity to the COVID-19 patients, as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads via respiratory droplets and particulates from cough, sneezes and talking.
     
    As the number of confirmed cases grew, the demand for hand sanitizers and masks (including N95 masks) grew exponentially. On 13 March 2020, the union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution issued an order for regulating production, quality, distribution, logistics of masks (two-ply, three-ply surgical masks and N95 masks) and hand sanitisers and further prevented hoarding, black marketing and profiteering on these items.
     
    The ministry of chemical and fertilisers also passed an order on 13 March 2020 directing all state governments, union territories (UTs) and concerned state authorities to take necessary steps to ensure sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks, hand sanitisers and gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail prices (MRP) printed on the pack size. 
     
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