Coronavirus LIVE: 5,182 new cases, 115 deaths in Maharashtra in past 24 hrs

Coronavirus live updates: On Wednesday, India reported 35,551 fresh Covid-19 cases. Its case tally now stands at 9,538,757. The country's death toll has mounted to 138,712. With 1,832,176 cases, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 887,667, Andhra Pradesh 869,412, Tamil Nadu 784,747, and Kerala 614,673. Delhi recorded 3,944 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 578,000, while 82 more fatalities pushed the toll from the disease to 9,342. 

While the UK government has cleared Pfizer-BioNTech's mRNA vaccine for use in public, the same is unlikely to be available anytime soon in India. For one, US giant Pfizer’s India arm has not yet applied for conducting clinical trials here, and secondly, the vaccine has stringent temperature requirements (-75 degree Celsius), which make it unviable for cold-chain logistics in India.

World coronavirus updates: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 65,012,013. While 45,098,162 have recovered, 1,502,610 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 14,314,265 cases, and 279,763 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 9,538,757 cases, Brazil (6,436,650), Russia (2,375,546), France (2,244,635).

Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.

LIVE UPDATES

Mexican presidents says Trump helped him get Covid vaccine

Mexico's president said Thursday he plans to give the military a role in distributing coronavirus vaccines, which he says U.S. President Donald Trump helped him get. President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador said that on his visit to Washington in July he spoke with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and they helped facilitate so that Mexico was taken into account and could get the vaccine. Lpez Obrador suggested Mexico will probably wait until U.S. regulators approve the Pfizer vaccine later this month before giving it the go-ahead in Mexico.


On Wednesday, Mexico's Health Department signed a contract for 34.4 million doses of that vaccine, and said it hoped to receive 250,000 doses in December. Each person requires two doses. The president said the government is discussing with the army and the navy, and we are defining the whole operation to distribute the vaccine. Lpez Obrador has given the military an unprecedented array of responsibilities in his two years in office, including distributing medical supplies and guarding hospitals.

Dr. Fauci says UK rushed approval of Covid vaccine

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, on Thursday said the UK was not as rigorous as the US health authorities in its COVID-19 vaccine approval process. The UK on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus. "The UK did not do it as carefully," he told Fox News. "If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated." "We really scrutinise the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine," he said.


We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead," the 79-year-old expert said. The Pfizer/BioNTech is the fastest ever vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same developmental steps that normally span a decade. The UK has defended its approval process, and said the jab is safe and effective.


Dr June Raine, the head of the UK medicines regulator, on Wednesday said that "no corners had been cut" in vetting the jab. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviewed preliminary data on the vaccine trials dating back to June. "No vaccine would be authorised for supply in the UK unless the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy are met," the regulator said.

Andhra records 664 more Covid cases, tally reaches 870,000

Andhra Pradesh reported 664 new Covid positive cases, increasing the state's tally to 8.7 lakh, even as 835 more patients recovered from the virus to outnumber infections on Thursday. Chittoor and Krishna districts accounted for the highest number infections in the past 24 hours, 105 each, followed by Visakhapatnam (73), Guntur (72) and West Godavari (70). Among other places, East Godavari (67), Prakasam (40), Nellore (34), Anantapur (29), Kadapa (21), Kurnool and Vizianagaram (19 each) and Srikakulam (10).


With the new additions, East Godavari continues to shoulder the highest number of cases at 1.22 lakh. On Wednesday, 835 more patients recovered from the disease to increase the total number of recoveries to 8.56 lakh, narrowing the gap between total number of infections and recoveries. Of the 8.7 lakh cases, active cases have plummeted to 6,742. With 63,049 more Covid tests, the total number of tests crossed the one crore mark to reach 1.02 crore.

Karnataka logs 1,446 new Covid cases; 894 recover

Karnataka registered 1,446 new Covid cases while 894 recovered in a day, taking its Covid tally to 8,89,113, including 24,689 active cases on Wednesday, said the state health bulletin on Thursday. "With 894 patients discharged during the day, 8,52,584 recovered across the southern state so far, while 11,821 died of the infection, including 13 in the last 24 hours," said the bulletin.


As the epicentre of the pandemic, Bengaluru reported 758 fresh cases, taking its tally to 3,71,962, including 18,938 active cases, while 3,48,861 recovered, with 208 during the day. With six succumbing to the infection, the city's death toll rose to 4,162 since the pandemic broke in the state on March 8. Of the 299 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs), 163 are in Bengaluru Urban hospitals, 14 in Hassan, 12 each in Mysuru and Tumakuru, 11 in Gadag and 10 in Mandya district.


Out of 1,08,685 tests conducted in the day, 18,683 were through rapid-antigen detection and 90,002 through RT-PCR method. "Positivity rate was 1.33 per cent and case fatality rate 0.89 per cent for the day across the state," added the bulletin.

Assam reported 165 new Covid-19 cases, 177 discharges

Jharkhand reported 233 Covid-19 cases, 208 recoveries

Chandigarh Covid-19 case count rises by 1,555, death toll by 22

Chhattisgarh on Thursday reported 1,555 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 22 fatalities, taking the total count to 2,42,418 and toll to 2,941, a health official said. The number of recoveries reached 2,20,177 after 174 people were discharged from hospitals, while 1,599 others completed their home isolation during the day. This took the number of active cases in the state to 19,300, he said.


Raipur district reported 229 new cases, taking its total count to 47,177, including 667 deaths. Durg district recorded 117 new cases, Korba 112, Raigarh 112, Bilaspur 109 and Rajnandgaon 101, among other districts, he said. "Of the latest fatalities, eight took place on Thursday, nine on Wednesday while five had taken place earlier but were added to the tally on Thursday," he added. Chhattisgarh's coronavirus figures are as follows: Positive cases 2,42,418, new cases 1,555, deaths 2,941, recovered 2,20,177, active cases 19,300, people tested so far 26,67,762.

582 fresh Covid-19 cases take J-K's tally to 111,712

Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded 582 fresh COVID-19 cases which took its tally to 1,11,712, while 10 more fatalities pushed the union territory's death toll to 1,718, officials said. Of the fresh cases, 310 were from the Jammu division and 272 from the Kashmir division, they said. Jammu district recorded the maximum fresh cases at 142, followed by 126 in Srinagar, according to the officials.


The number of active cases in the union territory stands at 5,104, while 419 more patients recovered from the infection. So far, 1,04,890 patients have recovered, the officials said. Of the 10 fresh deaths, five each were reported from Jammu and Kashmir regions, they said.

West Bengal reports 3,246 new Covid-19 cases, 3,257 recoveries

Covid-19 vaccine may become reality soon, but students' loss of education cannot be compensated: Sisodia

The COVID-19 pandemic will be a thing of the past when the vaccine becomes a reality, but the loss of education suffered by students cannot be compensated, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Thursday.
 
Sisodia, who is also Delhi's education minister, said while efforts were being made to provide online education as schools remain closed, providing access to these classes to students who lack internet facilities or devices continues to be a challenge.
 
"Soon, the corona vaccine will be released around the world, and this pandemic would be a matter of history. But the loss of education that our students are facing today cannot be compensated by any vaccine. To minimise this loss, we are consistently working on solutions," Sisodia said at an event, where tablets were distributed among students of Class 11 of Delhi government schools.
 
"Due to the closure of schools, efforts were made to provide online education in Delhi government schools. However, it continues to pose a challenge to the students who lack access to the internet or devices to study," he added.

Maharashtra reports 5,182 new coronavirus positive cases

Hackers targeting Covid-19 vaccine cold chain through phishing, warns IBM

Tech giant IBM on Thursday said its team has uncovered a global phishing campaign targeting organisations associated with a Covid-19 cold chain. The cold chain plays a very important role in vaccine supply chain by ensuring the safe preservation of vaccines in temperature-controlled environments during their storage and transportation.
 
This calculated operation targeting organisations linked to Covid-19 cold chain started in September, IBM said in a blog post.
 
The Covid-19 phishing campaign spanned across six countries and targeted organisations likely associated with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance's Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP) programme. While the identity of the attackers could not be determined definitively, the precision targeting of executives and key global organisations hold the potential hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft, IBM said. READ ON...

Tamil Nadu adds 1,416 new coronavirus cases; 14 fatalities

Tamil Nadu on Thursday reported 1,416 new COVID-19 cases, taking the overall infection count to 7,86,163, while 14 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 11,747. As many as 1,413 people were discharged from healthcare facilities after getting cured, taking the aggregate to 7,63,428. The number of active cases in Tamil Nadu stood at 10,988.
 
Two districts, including the State capital, logged cases in triple digits with Chennai adding 382 and Coimbatore 140, while the rest were scattered across other districts.
 
Chennai continued to top the list of cases with 2,16,496 infections out of more than 7.86 lakh in the state. The state capital also topped in the number of fatalities, accounting for 3,863 of the total. Six districts have added new cases in single digits, while 32 districts reported zero fatalities.

SC asks Delhi govt about mechanism to cross-check Covid-19 data

The Supreme Court Thursday asked the Delhi government as to whether there is any mechanism to cross-check the veracity of COVID-19 data, after it said that positivity rate of the virus in the national capital has come down as per the latest figures.
 
The apex court was told by Delhi government that it has taken earnest steps to deal with the COVID-19 situation and issues such as availability of ICU beds, testing, cremation of those who died of the virus and fire safety measures in hospitals are being monitored at the highest level.
 
When the Delhi government's counsel referred to the latest data regarding number of tests being conducted and the positivity as well as the recovery rate, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked, These figures which you are giving, whether there is any mechanism to cross-check these figures?.
 
The top court was hearing a matter in which it had taken cognisance on the issue of proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals.

Delhi reports 3,734 new Covid-19 cases and 82 deaths in last 24 hours

Emergency approval for vaccine should come by Dec-Jan: AIIMS director

India may get emergency-use authorisation for a coronavirus vaccine from regulators by the end of December or early January, with several candidates now in the final stage of trials, Dr Randeep Guleria, director, All India Institute of Medical Science said on Thursday.
 
Speaking to ANI, Guleria said that the data showed that in the short term the vaccine is safe. “There is good data available that the vaccines are very safe. Safety and efficacy of vaccines not compromised at all. Around 70,000-80,000 volunteers have been given vaccines in trials with no significant serious adverse effects seen.”
 
Russia was the first in the world to give emergency approval in August to its vaccine Sputnik V, even before crucial Phase-3 trials were conducted. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to start large-scale vaccinations against Covid-19 next week. READ ON...

Five Covid vaccines undergoing trial in India logistically feasible for distribution: AIIMS director

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Thursday pinned his hopes on the five COVID-19 vaccine candidates which are in advanced stages of clinical trial in India, stating they are logistically feasible for distribution in both urban and rural areas. His assertion comes amid Pfizer-BioNTech's anti-coronavirus vaccine getting emergency clearance in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccinations against the deadly novel coronavirus from as early as next week.
 
Dr Guleria expressed hope that by the end of this month or early next month, at least one of the five vaccines being locally-tested should get emergency use authorisation from the drug regulator to be administered to the public starting with priority groups.
 
According to sources, global pharma giant Pfizer had talks with the Indian government late August, but since then there has been no development.
 
Duringa briefing last month, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V KPaul, who also heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, said that sufficient doses of the Pfizer vaccine as required for the Indian population will not be available but the government is examining the possibilities and will work out a strategy (for its procurement and distribution) in case the vaccine gets regulatory approvals.

No directive for affixing posters outside homes of Covid-19 patients, Centre tells SC

The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that its guidelines do not contain any instructions regarding affixing posters and signages outside the homes of COVID-19 patients and there cannot be any stigma attached to it. The government said this before a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan which reserved order on a plea seeking directions to do away with the practice of pasting posters outside the homes of those infected by coronavirus.
 
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta referred to the affidavit filed in the apex court by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and told the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, that the guidelines do not require any such affixation of posters.
 
The Central government guidelines do not require this, he said, adding, There cannot be any stigmatic impact. The bench asked Mehta whether the Centre can issue an advisory that this should not be done. To this, Mehta said the central government has already done this. We will close it. Heard. Judgement reserved, the bench said.

Sanofi to publish Covid-19 vaccine price in development with GSK after Phase I/II trial results

French drug maker Sanofi will announce the price of the potential COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline after it has released Phase I/II results of the trials, vaccines chief Thomas Triomphe said on Thursday.
 
The company is expected to release the results from the Phase I/II clinical trials this month. It is also developing a vaccine with U.S. biotech firm Translate Bio, with clinical human trials expected to start this month.

Africa needs COVID-19 vaccine for 60% in 2-3 years

Africa's top public health official says 60 per cent of the continent's population needs to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the next two to three years. The director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told reporters on Thursday that if it takes four to five years, the virus will be endemic in our communities.
 
African health officials are taking heart in vaccine progress, but concerns are growing that the continent of 1.3 billion people will be near the end of the line in obtaining doses. Nkengasong isn't sure whether vaccines will be available in Africa before the second quarter of next year.
 
But he is pushing back against fears and misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines, saying that if I had my way today to take a flight to the U.K. and get that vaccine, I would be doing it right now. He was referring to Britain's go-ahead for emergency use of the vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech.

Slump in positivity rate in last 7 days; steady rise in number of containment zones

The COVID-19 positivity rate in the national capital has slumped in the last one week, dropping from 8.65 per cent on November 26 to 5 per cent on December 2, even as the count of containment zones has grown steadily in the same period, according to official data. In this duration, nearly 100 containment zones have been added each day, rising to 5,772 on Wednesday.
 
Delhirecorded 3,944 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the tally to over 5.78 lakh,while 82 new fatalities pushed the toll to 9,342. These fresh cases came out of a record 78,949 tests conducted on Tuesday, including 36,370 RT-PCR tests, whilethe positivity rate dropped to 5 per cent, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.
 
This is the highest number of tests conducted in a day till date and also the first time when over 70,000 tests were done. The positivity rate has been steadily dropping since November 26 till date, except on November 29 when it marginally rose to 7.64 per cent compared to 7.24 per cent on November 28, as per the official figures shared by the Delhi health department.

Pakistan to start coronavirus vaccination drive from April 2021

The Pakistan government will provide the coronavirus vaccine free of cost to its people and plans are afoot to start the immunisation drive by April next year, officials said on Thursday. Parliamentary Secretary on Health Nausheen Hamid said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has approved funds to purchase the vaccine doses.
 
"The PTI government will provide the coronavirus vaccines free of cost to the people. The government will start the vaccination from the second quarter of 2021," Hamid tweeted.
 
Hamid said the phase III of clinical trials of Chinese vaccines was proceeding well and the shots would be available to the people soon. Pakistan's coronavirus caseload rose to 4406,810 on Thursday after 3,499 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

Six US soldiers, two American civilians in South Korea test Covid-19 positive

Six more US soldiers and two other American cilians in South Korea have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, it was confirmed on Thursday. In a statement, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said that the eight USFK-affiliated individuals were infected with Covid-19 after arriving in South Korea between November 17 and December 1, reports Xinhua news agency.
 
The confirmed patients have been transferred to designated isolation facilities at the US Army Garrison Humphreys and the Osan Air Base, both of which are located in Pyeongtaek. The total number of infections among the USFK-affiliated personnel rose to 391, according to Yonhap news agency.
 
"Despite the recent confirmed cases, USFK remains at a high level of readiness with less than 1 per cent of its active-duty service members currently confirmed positive with Covid-19," the statement said.
 
South Korea has witnessed a resurgence of the virus since last month. On Thursday, the country reported 540 new confirmed cases, raising the total number of infections to 35,703.

SC stays Gujarat HC order to send people not wearing masks to serve at Covid centres

The Supreme Court Thursday stayed the Gujarat High Court direction to send people caught without wearing masks to do community service at the COVID-19 patient care facilities. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah took note of the submissions of the Gujarat government that the order was harsh, having serious repercussions on health of the violators.
 
The top court also expressed displeasure over the fact that the COVID-19 guidelines are not being followed scrupulously in the state. The top court directed that the state additional chief secretary (home) ensure that guidelines issued by the Centre as well as the Gujarat authorities on wearing masks as also social distancing are vigorously followed.
 
It also asked the police officials and other administrative authorities in the state to ensure that guidelines are scrupulously followed and action be taken against those found violating them. The apex court was hearing the state government's appeal against the high court order of Wednesday.

India reports more recoveries than active Covid-19 cases for sixth consecutive day

With 40,726 recoveries and 35,551 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, India on Thursday reported more recoveries than active cases for the sixth consecutive day. According to the Union Health Ministry, India's active caseload has fallen under 4.5 per cent today. There are currently 4,22,943 active cases in the country, 4.44 per cent of the total positive cases, which breached the 95-lakh mark on Thursday and now stands at 95,34,965.
 
Ten states/union territories contribute to 77.64 per cent of the new recovered cases. Kerala recorded the most recoveries at 5,924. Delhi registered 5,329 daily recoveries, while Maharashtra reported 3,796.
 
About 75.5 per cent of the new cases are from 10 states/union territories. As many as 6,316 new cases were reported from Kerala, followed by Delhi with 3,944 new cases. Maharashtra registered 3,350 new cases yesterday. As many as 526 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, out of which 79.28 per cent reported in the past 24 hours are from 10 States/UTs.

Press Coucil of India asks Centre to treat journalists who died due to coronavirus as 'Covid warriors'

Coronavirus LIVE: Daily Covid-19 recoveries outnumber daily new cases

India has reported more daily COVID-19 recoveries than the daily new infections in the last 24 hours leading to a net decline of 5,701 cases from the total active caseload which fell below the 4.5 per cent mark on Thursday, the Union health ministry said. There are4,22,943 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprises4.44per cent of the total caseload,the data showed.
 
While 35,551 people were found to be infected with COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, during the same period, 40,726 new recoveries were reported, the ministry said.
 
"It has led to a net decline of 5,701 cases from the total COVID-19 active caseload in a span of 24 hours. The new recoveries have overtaken the daily new cases continuously since the last six days," the ministry highlighted. The national recovery rate has improved as well to 94.11 per cent while the total recovered cases stand at 89,73,373, the ministry said.
 
"The gap between recoveries and active cases is steadily increasing and presently stands at 85,50,430," the ministry said. It said 77.64 per centof the new recovered cases are contributed by 10 states and Union Territories.

Covid-19: No night curfew in Delhi for now, AAP govt tells HC

The AAP government informed the Delhi High Court on Thursday that no night curfew would be imposed in the national capital, or parts of it, for now, to contain the spread of coronavirus. The submission was made before a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad in response to the court's query on November 26 as to whether night curfew would be imposed in Delhi to contain spread of COVID-19 infection, as has been done in some other states.
 
In a status report filed in court, the Delhi government, represented by senior advocate Sandeep Sethi and additional standing counsel Satyakam, has said that it has for now issued an order directing that status quo be maintained with regard to permitted and restricted activities in the city till December 31.
 
"Therefore, no new activity has been permitted/ allowed till December 31," the report said. The court was hearing a PIL by advocate Rakesh Malhotra seeking increase in the COVID-19 testing numbers in the national capital and getting speedy results.

Committed to engaging with Indian govt to make Covid vaccine available in country: Pfizer

Global pharma major Pfizer on Thursday said it remains committed to engaging with the Indian government to explore opportunities to makePfizer/BioNTech vaccine available in the country. The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 with the UK regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)granting a temporary authorisation for its emergency use.
 
"Right now we are in discussions with many governments around the world and remain committed to engaging with the Government of India and explore opportunities to make this vaccine available for use in the country," a Pfizerspokesperson said in a statement. Pfizer is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to have access to the vaccine,and is working closely with governments, it added.
 
"During this pandemic phase, Pfizer will supply this vaccine only through government contracts based on agreements with respective government authorities and following regulatory authorisation or approval," the statement said.
 
The UK regulator, MHRA has granted a temporary authorisation for emergency use of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

79.28% of 526 case fatalities from Ten States/UTs: Health Ministry

Focus on Covid-19 testing, tracing, Delhi HC tells AAP govt

The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the AAP government to "focus on testing and tracing" to deal with the COVID-19 infections numbers in the national capital. A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad also said that the time to declare results should be brought down to within 24 hours from 48 hours or more even now.
 
The court said the labs can message the results to people on their mobile numbers, which are taken at time of sample collection, and it can be put up on the websites later.
 
The directions and suggestions by the court came while hearing a PIL by advocate Rakesh Malhotra seeking increase in the COVID-19 testing numbers in the national capital and getting speedy results.

Puducherry clocks 42 new coronavirus cases, one more death

Puducherry posted 42 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Thursday pushing the overall tally to 37,119 while one related fatality took the toll to 613.
 
The new cases were identified after examination of 2,820 samples in the last 24 hours.
 
Director of Health and Family Welfare S Mohan Kumar said in a release that a 45 year old woman from Villianoor died of the viral infection at JIPMER.
 
She had co morbidities such as diabetes

Brazil to get 15 mn doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Jan-Feb

The first batch of 15 million doses of Oxford University and AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine will be shipped to Brazil in January and February, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said.
 
"In January and February, 15 million doses will arrive from this AstraZeneca-Oxford and Fiocruz technology order [Rio de Janeiro Oswaldo Cruz Foundation]. In total, 100 million doses will be delivered in the first semester," the minister said, speaking to the National Congress. Read on...

Coronavirus India update: Five most affected states by cases

Maharashtra (1,832,176)
Karnataka (887,667)
Andhra Pradesh (869,412)
Tamil Nadu (784,747)
Kerala (614,673)

UN to open special session on coronavirus crisis, India's Secretary West listed as speaker

A special two-day session will be held at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday with more than 100 world leaders -- some 53 heads of state, 39 heads of government and 38 ministers due to make pre-recorded video statements, including India's Secretary West Vikas Swarup.
 
Among the leaders slated to address the session are French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and European Union chief Charles Michel. The United States will be represented by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
 
The President of the UNGA, Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir, will host the assembly's 31st special session Thursday to Friday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
"Following 1.5 million deaths, more than 62 million cases worldwide and one of the largest social and economic crises in living memory, controlling and recovering from COVID-19 is the international community's top priority," according to a UNGA press release.

Kidney disease leading risk factor for Covid-related hospitalisation

An analysis of Geisinger's electronic health records has revealed chronic kidney disease to be the leading risk factor for hospitalisation from Covid-19.
 
A team of Geisinger researchers studied the health records of 12,971 individuals who were tested for COVID-19 within the Geisinger system between March 7 and May 19. Of this group, 1,604 were COVID-positive, and 354 required hospitalisation.
 
The team analyzed the records for association between specific clinical conditions, including kidney, cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic conditions, and COVID-19 hospitalisation.
 
Overall, chronic kidney disease was most strongly associated with hospitalisation, and COVID-19 patients with end-stage renal disease were 11 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital than patients without kidney disease.
 
The results were published in PLOS ONE.

Vaccines won’t prevent short-term coronavirus surge: WHO

The World Health Organization does not believe there will be enough quantities of coronavirus vaccines in the next three to six months to prevent a surge of infections, its top emergency expert said on Wednesday.
 
“We are not going to have sufficient vaccinations in place to prevent a surge in cases for three to six months,” Mike Ryan told a social media event, calling on people to maintain social distancing and respect other measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19.
 

Coronavirus LIVE updates: Second wave could hit Karnataka, warn expoerts

A technical advisory committee advising the Karnataka government on how to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic has warned that a second wave of the coronavirus may hit the state in January and has suggested measures like imposition of night curfew between December 26 to January 1 and a ban on New Year celebrations to minimise the impact on the state. 

NBA: 48 players positive for coronavirus as testing resumes

The NBA has said that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus since testing resumed last week.
 
The league and National Basketball Players Association said on Wednesday that 546 players were tested between Nov. 24-30 in the initial phase of testing after returning to team markets.
 
That means about 9% of the tests were positive.

59% people say won't rush for coronavirus vaccine: LocalCircles survey

As the UK readies to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine by next week, a survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, showed that most Indians would not rush to take a vaccine even if it was available in February 2021. Many would like to wait till 2022, while some would take it only if it were available with the private healthcare sector. The survey received more than 25,000 responses from citizens across 262 districts of India. Read on...
 

A worrying outlook: Covid shows health systems can't handle climate crisis

India saw the second highest number of heat-related deaths in the world among those over 65 years of age in 2018. At an estimated 31,000 deaths, India was right behind China which had an estimated 62,000 deaths, as per a new report.
 
Heat stress, heat strokes and their impact on existing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases claimed 296,000 lives of those over 65 years of age across the world in 2018, said the fifth edition of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report published in The Lancet on December 3, 2020. This crisis was observed in both big and small economies indicating that wealth cannot shield countries from the health impacts of climate change. READ ON...

Different norms for Covid treatment across nation causing confusion: Gehlot

The protocol for treating COVID-19 infection should be the same across the country as different treatments are causing confusion among doctors as well as patients, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Wednesday.
 
Rajasthan has set an example in the management of the disease with its strong will, sensitivity, humanitarian attitude and vigilance, he said here.
 
Gehlot was speaking to a central team that is in the state to review the COVID-19 situation.
 

Putin orders Russia to begin mass coronavirus vaccinations next week

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday instructed the government to begin large-scale vaccinations against the coronavirus next week.
 
Medical workers and teachers, who are two high-risk groups, will be among the first to get shots, Putin said at an online meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and other senior officials, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
According to the president, the number of produced vaccine doses will reach two million in the coming days. Read on...

Putin orders Russia to begin mass coronavirus vaccinations next week

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday instructed the government to begin large-scale vaccinations against the coronavirus next week.
 
Medical workers and teachers, who are two high-risk groups, will be among the first to get shots, Putin said at an online meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and other senior officials, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
According to the president, the number of produced vaccine doses will reach two million in the coming days. Read on...

Coronavirus in USA: Joe Biden's Covid team pledges to fight disproportionate impact on minorities

US President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board pledged to address the outsized impact of the pandemic on minorities in a meeting with the US Hispanic community, the transition team said in a statement Wednesday.
 
"Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board Co-chair Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith and board member Dr. Robert Rodriguez met with Latino and immigrant workers and providers to hear directly from individuals who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis," the release said. Read on...

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