Coronavirus LIVE: WHO warns vaccines no magic bullet to contain virus

A health worker shows samples of a Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) employees for Covid-19 testing, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
Coronavirus live updates: On Friday, India reported 36,652 fresh Covid-19 cases. Its case tally now stands at 9,608,211. The country's death toll has mounted to 139,714. With 1,842,587 cases, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 890,360, Andhra Pradesh 870,675, Tamil Nadu 787,554, and Kerala 625,767. Delhi reported 4,067 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total count of cases in the national capital to 586,125.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India's vaccination programme against Covid-19 would begin as soon as scientists have their go-ahead, and asserted that healthcare workers involved in treating coronavirus patients, frontline workers and old people suffering from serious conditions would be inoculated on priority.

World coronavirus update: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 66,195,510. While 45,782,784 have recovered, 1,523,360 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 14,759,965 cases, and 285,473 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 9,608,211 cases, Brazil (6,534,951), Russia (2,402,949), France (2,268,552).

Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.


Ahmedabad registers 332 new coronavirus cases; nine more deaths reported

At least 332 persons tested positive for coronavirus, while nine died of the infection in Gujarat's Ahmedabad district on Saturday, an official from the state health department said.
With the addition of new cases, the district's COVID- 19 caseload has risen to 51,724 and the toll reached 2,109, the officials said.
As many as 344 patients were discharged during the day, taking the total number of recoveries to 46,495, he said.
With 445 infections, the west zone of Ahmedabad city has the highest number of active cases, followed by the north-west zone with 433 infections, south-west with 430 and south with 403, the official said.
Of the seven zones in the city, the central zone has the least number of active cases at 292, he said.
According to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, the number of micro-containment areas in the city has come down to 279, with 19 existing areas removed from the list and three new areas.
As per the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, the bed occupancy rate in city's private hospitals requisitioned to treat COVID-19 cases has eased to 75.6 per cent, with 2,504 out of 3,312 available beds occupied.

Mumbai's coronavirus positivity rate drops to 10-month low: BMC official

The Covid-19 positivity rate in Mumbai has fallen to just 5 per cent, the lowest in the past 10 months since the outbreak of the pandemic, a top BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said here on Saturday.
"The Covid-19 test positivity rate for the past 10 days in Mumbai looks promising. But we should not be complacent and not lower our guard," said Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal.
When the pandemic hit Maharashtra in full force in March, the positivity rate was as high as 35-36 per cent, he said in a statement.
On Friday, of the 16,394 tests conducted in the city, only 825 - or 5.03 per cent - returned positive, boosting the morale of the health authorities.
The 16,394 tests comprised 8,867 RT-PCR and 7,527 Rapid Antigen Tests of which 684 and 141 tested positive, respectively, informed Chahal.
The Mumbai city and the district still remain in the top position on the country's Covid-19 graph in terms of fatalities - reporting 10,945 deaths so far, besides registering 284,509 cases till date, of which 13,754 are active cases.

Gujarat sees 1,514 new Covid-19 cases

Gujarat on Saturday reported 1,514 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the total count of infections to 2,17,333, the state health department said.
With 15 more persons succumbing to the viral infection, including nine deaths in Ahmedabad, three in Rajkot, two in Surat, and one in Aravalli, the cumulative toll in the state mounted to 4,064, it said.
At the same time, 1,535 patients were discharged from hospitals after treatment, taking the tally of recoveries to 1,98,527, the department said in a release.

WHO warns vaccines no magic bullet for coronavirus crisis

The World Health Organization warned that vaccines were no magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis, as Russia started vaccinating its high-risk workers Saturday and other countries geared up for similar programmes.

"Vaccines do not equal zero Covid," said WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, adding that not everyone will be able to receive it early next year.

"Vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job."

Nepal reports 1,024 new cases of coronavirus

Nepal has reported 1,024 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections in the nation to 239,885, the health ministry said on Saturday.
Ministry of Health and Population said that the cases were detected after conducting 6,074 tests across the country.
The total number of new cases in the last 24 hours stand at 1,024. With this the total number of cases in the country has reached 239,885, according to a statement from the health ministry.
So far, 2,206 people have recovered from the disease on Saturday.

Uttarakhand reports 680 more Covid-19 cases, eight fatalities

Uttarakhand's COVID-19 infection tally rose to 77,573 on Saturday with 680 more people testing positive for the disease, while eight fresh fatalities pushed the death toll in the state to 1,281.
Dehradun district reported the highest number of 307 new cases, followed by Nainital with 87, Almora with 50, Haridwar with 38, Pithoragarh with 36, Pauri with 33, Udham Singh Nagar with 31, Chamoli with 27, Bageshwar with 25, Tehri with 15, Champawat with 14, Rudraprayag with nine and Uttarkashi with eight, a state Health department bulletin said.

AI, machine learning to play key role in fight against Covid, say experts

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are helping analyse massive amounts of data around the human genome and drug molecules, and these new-age technologies can play an important role in the fight against COVID-19, industry experts said on Saturday.
Speaking at KnowDis Machine Learning Day, Avantika Lal - Senior Scientist (Deep Learning and Genomics) at NVIDIA - said larger data sets on genome sequences (DNA arrangement) are being acquired, and this data is being studied for multiple parameters.
"As the cost of sequencing goes down, more and more people can get their genome sequence and in fact, governments, research institutes and public health organisations around the world are trying to sequence many thousands of people in order to be build up an idea of the genomes of the populations of their countries," she said.

Covid-19: 100 cops in Ahmedabad found positive in special drive

About 100 police personnel have tested positive for coronavirus in a special drive in Ahmedabad in the last four days, a senior officer said on Saturday.
Among the infected police personnel, two constables have been hospitalised while others are in home isolation, Joint Commissioner of Police (Admin) Ajay Chaudhary told PTI.
"We started a drive from Tuesday (December 1) to test all 14,000 police personnel in Ahmedabad. Nearly, 1,000 police personnel are being tested everyday. About 100 personnel have tested positive for the virus so far," Chaudhary said, adding that this is the second drive to test the police personnel in the city.

Moscow opens dozens of coronavirus vaccination centers

Thousands of doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up for Covid-19 vaccinations in Moscow starting Saturday, a precursor to a sweeping Russia-wide immunization effort.
The vaccinations come three days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of a large-scale Covid-19 immunization campaign even though a Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety in line with established scientific protocols.
The Russian leader said Wednesday that more than 2 million doses of the Sputnik V jab will be available in the next few days, allowing authorities to offer jabs to medical workers and teachers across the country starting late next week.

Russia reports all-time high daily Covid-19 cases

At least 28,782 additional people in Russia have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which marked the highest single-day spike in the number of confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, health authorities said on Saturday.
The new figure recorded in the last 24 hours has increased the country's overall caseload to 2,431,731, TASS News Agency quoted the anti-coronavirus crisis centre as saying in its latest update.

Vaccine should be given free to everyone: Nawab Malik

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an all-party meeting on COVID-19 vaccination in the country, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik has said that COVID-19 vaccine should be given free to every citizen of the country.
Speaking to ANI, Malik said, "The Prime Minister held an all-party meeting and now they are saying State and Centre will decide the price, how can it be? In Bihar, they have given the assurance that vaccination will be free. We demand vaccine should be given to each Indian free of cost."

India's total COVID-19 active caseload lowest in 136 days: Health ministry

India's total COVID-19 active caseload dropped to 4,09,689 on Saturday, the lowest in 136 days, according to the Union health ministry.

India's present active caseload comprises 4.26 per cent of the total positive cases, and new recoveries have led to a net decline of 6,393 in the total active cases, the ministry said in a statement.

"India's total active caseload has dropped below 4.10 lakh (4,09,689) today. This is the lowest after 136 days. The total active cases were 4,11,133, on July 22," it said.

The ministry said that for the past eight days, the daily new recoveries recorded in the country have been more than the daily cases.

Odisha's COVID-19 death toll rises to 1,765, tally at 3,20,803

Odisha's COVID-19 caseload mounted to 3,20,803 on Saturday after 409 people tested positive for the virus, while five more fatalities pushed the death toll to 1,765, a health department official said.

The fresh cases were detected in 27 of the state's 30 districts, of which 234 came from quarantine centres and the remaining were local-contact infections.

Sundergarh district recorded the highest of 53 positive cases, followed by Khurda (44) and Angul (35). Three districts - Gajapati, Kandhamal and Subarnapur - did not register any fresh coronavirus case during the last 24 hours, he said.

Poonawalla of Serum Institute among 6 named 'Asians of the Year' by Singapore daily

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, is among six people named "Asians of the Year" by Singapore's leading daily, The Straits Times for their work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the COVID-19 vaccine, ''Covidshield'', and is conducting trials in India.

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij tests positive for COVID-19

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij tweeted on Saturday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been admitted to a hospital.

Vij (67), who is also the state's home minister, urged all those who had come in contact with him recently to get tested.

Pondy adds 44 new cases of coronavirus, tally touches 37,209

Puducherry clocked 44 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Saturday pushing the aggregate to 37,209, the territorial government said.

The toll remained 614 as no fresh fatality was reported from any of the four regions of Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam in the last 24 hours.

Director of the Department of Health and Family Welfare S Mohan Kumar said 52 patients recovered and were discharged on Saturday.

Coronavirus India update: Five most affected states by cases

Maharashtra (1,842,587)
Karnataka (890,360)
Andhra Pradesh (870,675)
Tamil Nadu (787,554)
Kerala (625,767)

Germany confirms over 23,300 new Covid-19 cases over past day

Germany has registered 23,318 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, with total count reaching 1,153,556, the Robert Koch Institute said on Saturday.
The death toll has grown by 483 to 18,517 people within the same period of time.

Coronavirus vaccine supply chains bend but don't break as firms rise to challenges

It’s been one terrible year, but it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate how corporate America has risen to the challenges of the moment — especially when it comes to manufacturing and transporting essentials like vaccines. Supply chains have been tested in ways they never have been before and, yes, there have been pileups, shortages and other snafus. By and large, though, companies have figured it out and kept moving, at times under impossible circumstances. Read on...

WHO says almost all Covid-19 cases develop immune response

Almost 100 per cent of coronavirus patients develop antibodies no matter the course of the disease, WHO's Maria Van Kerkhove said on Friday.
"What we understand is 90 to 100 per cent of people who are infected with the virus do develop an antibody response, whether you have mild infection or asymptomatic infection all the way to severe infection. And we're still learning how long that antibody response lasts, how strong it is, how it relates to immunity from another infection, and how long that lasts," Van Kerkhove, an expert on epidemiology, said at a virtual press briefing.

Coronavirus is devastating US, leaving uneven toll, more questions than answers

The United States saw the most new coronavirus cases of the pandemic on Thursday, with deaths and hospitalizations also rising. Underlying conditions largely determine who survives.
The United States is winding up a particularly devastating week, one of the very worst since the coronavirus pandemic began nine months ago. Read on...

Coronavirus India update: Summary of MoHFW data (December 5)

Active cases: 409,689 (Net reduction: 6,393)
Deaths: 139,700 (Net addition: 512)
Cured: 9,058,822 (Net addition: 42,533)
Total cases: 9,608,211 (Net addition: 36,652)

Coronavirus vaccine will not be mandatory: Joe Biden

US President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that Americans will not be forced to take the coronavirus vaccine and he is willing to get vaccinated publicly to assuage any concerns about its efficacy and safety.
I don't think they should be mandatory. I wouldn't demand it to be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power just like I don't think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide, Biden told reporters at a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden was responding to a question if COVID-19 vaccine be made mandatory.

US Congress must pass economic relief for workers and businesses as soon as possible, says Kamala Harris

Congress must pass economic relief for workers and businesses as soon as possible. People across our country are hurting and Congress has not done enough for folks struggling to pay rent and put food on the table.

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 5, 2020

Poonawalla of Serum Institute among 6 named 'Asians of the Year' by Singapore daily

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, is among six people named "Asians of the Year" by Singapore's leading daily, The Straits Times for their work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the COVID-19 vaccine, ''Covidshield'', and is conducting trials in India.
The other five named in the list are Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen, who led the team that mapped and published online the first complete genome of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that sparked the pandemic, China's Major-General Chen Wei, Japan's Dr Ryuichi Morishita and Singapore's Professor Ooi Eng Eong, who are among those at the forefront of developing vaccines against the virus, and South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin whose company will enable the making and dispensing of the vaccines and other Covid-19 treatments to the world.

Canada's coronavirus cases surpass 400,000

Amid a raging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Canada reported 3,763 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the overall infection tally to 400,031, according health authorities.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said on Friday that the country's death toll has also increased to 12,470, reports Xinhua news agency.
The spread of the pandemic across Canada has been accelerating.

Karnataka govt to not impose night curfew again: Minister

Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said the state government has no intention of imposing night curfew again in view of the Covid-19 situation in the state.

New Covid cases outnumber recoveries in Karnataka

New cases at 1,247 outnumbered 877 recoveries on a day across Karnataka, taking its Covid tally to a whopping 8,90,360, including 25,046 active cases till Thursday, said the state health bulletin on Friday.
"With 877 discharged from the hospitals across the southern state in the last 24 hours, recoveries rose to 8,53,461, while 13 succumbed to the infection, taking the state's death toll to 11,834 so far," said the bulletin in a statement.
Accounting for about 50 per cent of the cases, Bengaluru registered 620 fresh cases, taking its Covid tally to 3,72,582, including 19,268 active cases, while recoveries rose to 3,49,143, with 282 discharged in the last 24 hours.

US labour market losing steam as coronavirus pandemic rages

The US economy added the fewest workers in six months in November, hindered by a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases that, together with a lack of more government relief money, threatens to reverse the recovery from the pandemic recession.
The Labor Department's closely watched employment report on Friday also showed 3.9 million people have been out of work for at least six months, with many giving up, a sign of a lack of confidence in the labor market. The report, which only covered the first two weeks of November, when the current wave of coronavirus infections started, underscored the challenges facing President-elect Joe Biden when he takes over from President Donald Trump on Jan. 20.
Biden called the report "grim" and urged Congress and Trump to provide additional fiscal stimulus. "Americans need help and they need it now," the president-elect said in a statement.

Responsibility of post-Covid world huge: PM Modi to IIT alumni

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked the IIT alumni across the world to contribute towards offering solutions for the post-COVID world, stating that the "responsibility is heavy but I know that your shoulders are capable".
"I urge you to debate, discuss and contribute to solutions in the emerging new world. The responsibility is heavy but I know that your shoulders are capable," Prime Minister Modi said at the Global IIT Summit through a video message. Read on...

Coronavirus vaccine update: Bahrain grants emergency use for Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine

The island kingdom of Bahrain says it has become the second nation in the world to grant an emergency-use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
The state-run Bahrain News Agency made the announcement on Friday night.
It said it followed thorough analysis and review of all available data. Bahrain had already granted an emergency-use authorization for a Chinese vaccine made by Sinopharm.

Actor Neetu Kapoor, Varun Dhawan test positive for coronavirus

Veteran star Neetu Kapoor and actor Varun Dhawan on Friday tested positive for coronavirus in Chandigarh.
The two Bollywood actors, along with Anil Kapoor and Kiara Advani, were shooting for their upcoming movie "Jug Jugg Jeeyo" in the city.
According to a source close to the family, Neetu, 62, is now flying back to Mumbai after her actor-son Ranbir Kapoor made necessary arrangements. Read on...

Mizoram coronavirus update

Mizoram reported 25 new Covid-19 cases.
Total cases 3,913
Total discharged 3,690
Death toll 6
Active cases 217

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