Coronavirus LIVE: India's recovery rate crosses 95%; among highest globally

Health workers collect swab samples from COVID suspected people at Anand Vihar bus terminal, in New Delhi
Coronavirus update: On Monday, India reported a significant drop of 22,065 in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases. Its case tally now stands at 9,912,054. The country's death toll has mounted to 143,802. With 1,886,807 cases, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 902,240, Andhra Pradesh 875,500, Tamil Nadu 800,029, and Kerala 672,037. Delhi reported 1,376 fresh cases on Monday, the lowest in over three-and-a-half months, even as the death toll mounted to 10,074 with 60 more fatalities.

The Union health ministry on Tuesday said 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators will be used for Covid-19 vaccine storage.

World coronavirus update: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 73,358,079. While 51,497,069 have recovered, 1,631,427 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 16,934,817 cases, and 308,009 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 9,906,507 cases, Brazil (6,929,409), Russia (2,681,256), France (2,379,915).

Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.


Biden to take oath outside Capitol amid virus restrictions

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office outside the US Capitol building as inauguration planners seek to craft an event that captures the traditional grandeur of the historic ceremony while complying with Covid-19 protocols.
Biden's team released some broad details for the January 20 event on Tuesday. They're proceeding with the plans without any assurances that outgoing President Donald Trump will participate.
The president, who continues to make unproven claims of widespread voter fraud, has not yet told current and former White House aides whether he will attend Biden's inauguration.

Assam logs 142 new Covid cases

Assam's Covid-19 caseload went up to 2,14,945 on Tuesday after 142 more people tested positive for the disease, while one fresh fatality took the death toll to 1,004, Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
He said that 102 patients recovered from coronavirus during the day, taking the total number of cured people in the state to 2,10,398.

WHO to sift Chinese samples, data in hunt for virus origins

A German scientist who is part of a small team of experts assembled by the World Health Organisation to investigate the origins of the coronavirus says they plan to sift through samples and medical data from China to help determine where the bug first jumped from animals to humans and which species it came from.
The search for the source of the new coronavirus has sparked claims of cover-ups and fuelled political tensions,, particularly between the US administration of President Donald Trump and Beijing.
Most researchers think that the virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, originated in animals in China, probably bats, and the WHO has put together a 10-person team to examine the science.
Mission member Fabian Leendertz, a biologist at Germany's Robert Koch Institute who specialised in emerging diseases, said that the goal is to gather data to be better prepared for possible future outbreaks.

Poor countries face long wait for vaccines despite promises

With Americans, Britons and Canadians rolling up their sleeves to receive coronavirus vaccines, the route out of the pandemic now seems clear to many in the West, even if the rollout will take many months. But for poorer countries, the road will be far longer and rougher.
The ambitious initiative known as COVAX created to ensure the entire world has access to COVID-19 vaccines has secured only a fraction of the 2 billion doses it hopes to buy over the next year, has yet to confirm any actual deals to ship out vaccines and is short on cash.
The virus that has killed more than 1.6 million people has exposed vast inequities between countries, as fragile health systems and smaller economies were often hit harder.

No medical practitioners, Ayush or others, can claim Covid-19 cure: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that when the entire world is engaged in research for a Covid-19 vaccine, no medical practitioner of any stream of medicine can claim that they can cure Covid-19. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah said: "When statutory regulations itself prohibited advertisements, there was no occasion for homeopathic and other medical practitioners to claim that they are competent to cure Covid-19 disease."
The top court did not agree with the Kerala High Court's direction that if any qualified doctor practising AYUSH medicine made any advertisement or prescribed any drugs or medicines, as a cure for Covid-19 disease, except as prescribed in the March 6 advisory, it was open for the authorities to take appropriate action under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
However, the apex court added that the High Court was correct in observing that no medical practitioner can claim that they can cure Covid-19.

Maharashtra reports 3,442 fresh Covid-19 cases; state tally 1,886,807

Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 3,442 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the count of infections to 18,86,807, the state health department said. With 70 more persons succumbing to the viral disease, the cumulative toll mounted to 48,339.
A total of 4,395 patients were discharged during the day, taking the tally of recoveries to 17,66,010, an official said, adding that the state has so far conducted 1,18,06,808 tests. Maharashtra is now left with 71,356 active cases. Mumbai city reported 521 new cases, taking its caseload to 2,91,634, while its death toll rose by seven to 10,991, the official said.

29,000 cold chain points, 41,000 deep freezers: India ready for Covid-19 vaccine storage

The Union health ministry on Tuesday said 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators will be used for COVID-19 vaccine storage. Providing the details about cold-chain management at a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said guidelines for estimation of electrical and non-electrical cold chain equipment and their strengthening have been issued to states by the Centre.
The guidelines for management of cold chain at last cold chain points and session sites have also been issued, he said.
"A total of 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators will be used, Bhushan said. "All these equipment have already been delivered to the states. Some other equipment are being supplied," he said.

1,185 new coronavirus cases, 11 deaths in Karnataka

Karnataka has reported 1,185 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 related fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 9,03,425 and the death toll to 11,965, the health department said on Tuesday. The day also saw 1,594 patients getting discharged after recovery. The active cases stood at 15,645. Out of the 1,185 fresh cases, as many as 673 cases were from Bengaluru Urban alone.
Cumulatively 9,03,425 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state and they included 11,965 deaths and 8,75,796 discharges, a bulletin said. Of the active cases, a total of 15,392 patients were in isolation at designated hospitals while 253 in the intensive care unit. Three out of the 11 deaths reported on Tuesday are from Bengaluru Urban, followed by Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura, Chitadurga, Hassan, Haveri, Kodagu, Tumakuru and Uttara Kannada (one each).

Will provide tech tools for Covid-19 vaccination drive in India: Mukesh Ambani

As India gets ready to roll out one of the largest vaccine programmes, billionaire Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday said his group is working with authorities to provide technology tools and backbone for mass inoculation against Covid-19.
Ambani's telecom venture Jio was rolled out four years back, offering free voice calling and dirt-cheap data. Today, Jio is India's largest telecom operator with over 400 million users, each connected to the internet.
At a Facebook event, Ambani said the government's digital push kept the country running even during the pandemic and is now helping in the rollout of one of the largest vaccination programmes. Good digital and internet access allowed people to work from home and helped businesses to run without disruption. READ ON...

Nepal's coronavirus tally crosses 2,50,000-mark

Nepal's coronavirus tally crossed the grim milestone of 250,000 after 936 more cases were confirmed on Tuesday. The Ministry of Health and Population said that the country's COVID-19 tally reached 250,180 on Tuesday. With 14 more deaths due to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours, the death toll has reached 1,7730.
In the past 24 hours, 1,996 people have been discharged from various isolation centres after they recovered from the infection.
Currently, 9,881 coronavirus patients are undergoing treatment in various isolation centres across the country. Of the total cases so far, 2,38,569 people have recovered which means the country's coronavirus recovery rate has reached 94 per cent.

Emergency use process won't impact vaccine timeline: V K Paul of Niti Aayog

The process of emergency use authorisation of covid vaccines will not disturb the timelines for their rollout since the government has already factored in this stage in its estimations, Niti Aayog member V K Paul said on Tuesday.
“We have factored in the time it will take. We are looking forward to a good decision soon,” Paul told reporters during the press briefing on the covid situation in India.
The government has also issued detailed guidelines to the states to estimate the electrical and non-electrical cold chain requirements. In all 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators are to be used, according to the health ministry estimates. READ ON...

EU regulator set to approve Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on December 23

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is set to approve its first COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 23, a German government source told Reuters on Tuesday, putting EU countries on track to start to catch up with the United States and Britain, where immunisation campaigns are under way.
"Yes, the EMA will be done on December 23," the source said, referring to the watchdog's review of a vaccine developed by U.S. company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. German Health Minister Jens Spahn told a news conference that he hoped European Union approval for the vaccine would be in place before Christmas, clearing a path for innoculations before the end of the year.
"It is good news that the approval can be granted on December 23," Jens Spahn said at a news conference when asked about the reported date. The goal was still to have a regular approval, not an emergency approval.

Covid-19 care centres to be opened at all district Ayurveda hospitals: Rajasthan Minister

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said that post-COVID care centres will be opened at all the district Ayurveda hospitals. Experts will treat the patients who have recovered from the infection at these centres through Homeopathic, Ayurvedic and Unani medical systems. He was addressing the advisory committee of Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, Yoga and Naturopathy departments at Swasthya Bhawan on Tuesday.
Looking to the huge potential of medical tourism in the state, the minister said 20 such places have been identified in the state where there are maximum movement of tourists. He said that a yoga centre with state-of-the-art-facilities will be opened at these places in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
Sharma claimed that the entire world believed in the AYUSH system during the coronavirus period. While no medical treatment was discovered in any medical system, positive results started coming out of the Ayurveda medical system, he said.

Coronavirus LIVE: India's recovery rate crosses 95%; among highest globally

Odisha reports 300 fresh Covid-19 cases, four more fatalities

Odisha reported 300 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing the coastal state's tally to 3,24,389, while the death toll mounted to 1,815 with four more fatalities, a health department official said. Of the new cases detected in 26 of the 30 districts, 174 have been registered in different quarantine centres and the remaining are local-contact infections.
Angul recorded the highest of 44 cases, followed by Khurda (36) and Sundergarh (34). Four districts - Boudh, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Malkangiri - did not register any fresh case during the last 24 hours, he said.
"Regret to inform the demise of four Covid positive patients while under treatment in hospitals," the Health and Family Welfare Department said on Twitter. The deaths were reported from Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Sambalpur. A total of 53 other COVID-19 patients have died in the state due to comorbidities, the official said.

Tablighi Jamaat: Delhi Court acquits 36 foreigners

LIVE: Six Covid-19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials in India, says Health Ministry

Death toll due to coronavirus rises to 8,103 in Uttar Pradesh

The death toll due to COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh rose to 8,103 on Tuesday with 20 more fatalities, while 1,336 fresh cases pushed the tally to 5,68,064 in the state, an official said. "At present, there are 18,382 active cases and the total number of people discharged after treatment stands at 5,41,579," said Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad.
The recovery rate in the state has now increased to 95.38 per cent, Prasad said. With 20 new fatalities, the death toll has risen to 8,103 from 8,083 on Monday while the total number of cases rose to 5,68,064 from 5,66,728.
On Monday, over 1.48 lakh samples were tested for detection of COVID-19, taking the total number of tests conducted so far in the state to over 2.16 crore, Prasad said. He said that the state has started training staff to be engaged in COVID-19 vaccination.

India's Covid-19 Case Fatality Rate amongst the lowest globally: Health Ministry

Covid-19 situation improves in Delhi; low cases, death and home isolation counts falling

The Covid-19 situation in the national capital has improved in the last several days, with low number of cases and reduction in death count, and the daily positivity rate staying below 5 per cent since December 3. Delhi recorded 1,376 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, the lowest in over three-and-a-half months, even as the death toll rose to 10,074 with 60 new fatalities.
The number of cases and the single-day fatality count now indicate a marked improvement in the situation since the third wave of the pandemic had hit the city in November. The highest single-day spike 8,593 cases till date was reported on November 11.

Number of Covid-19 cases in India is 7,178 per million population: Ministry of Health

Vice Admiral Srikant dies due to Covid-19-related complications, Rajnath expresses condolences

Vice Admiral Srikant died on Tuesday morning at the base hospital here due to COVID-19-related complications. The vice admiral, the Navy's senior-most submariner, was due to retire on December 31. Expressing his condolences, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, "Deeply pained at the untimely and sudden demise of Director General Seabird, Vice Admiral Srikant." The Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy will always remember his stellar contributions and remarkable service to the nation, Singh said.
"My deepest condolences to his bereaved family and friends. Om Shanti!" the minister stated.
Srikant was admitted at the base hospital in Delhi after he contracted COVID-19, said a junior Navy officer who had worked under him. Subsequently, the vice admiral tested had negative for COVID-19 on Sunday morning, but developed breathing difficulties by evening, the officer said.

First 10 days after leaving hospital carry high risk for Covid-19 patients: Study

The first week and a half after leaving the hospital carry a high risk for COVID-19 patients, including trips back to the hospital, and death, according to a study. Researchers found that COVID-19 patients had a 40 to 60 per cent higher risk of ending up back in the hospital or dying in the first 10 days, compared with similar patients treated at the same hospitals during the same months for heart failure or pneumonia.
The study, published in the journal JAMA, found that by the end of 60 days, the COVID-19 patients' overall risk of readmission or death was lower than that for the other two serious conditions.
It compared post-hospital outcomes for nearly 2,200 veterans who survived their hospitalisation at 132 hospitals for COVID-19, with outcomes for nearly 1,800 similar patients who survived a stay for pneumonia that wasn't related to the disease, and 3,500 who survived a heart failure-related stay.

Decline in household savings due to Covid-19: Survey

A significant number of consumers have indicated decline in household savings during the COVID-19 pandemic due to job loss, salary cuts or delays in payments, says a survey. According to the bi-annual Mood of the Consumer Survey by LocalCircles, in close to nine months of the pandemic many consumers are yet to recover from the giant-fall in their personal finance amid job losses and salary cuts.
"Of 8,240 responses, 68 per cent consumers said their household savings declined in the last 8 months during the COVID-19 pandemic," said the survey done to assess consumers spending behaviour during the festive season, spending plans for the next four months, and household's expectation regarding earnings and savings situation by March.
The survey received more than 44,000 responses from consumers across 302 districts of India. 62 per cent respondents were men and 38 per cent were women. As many as 55 per cent respondents were from tier I, 26 per cent from tier II, and 19 per cent from tier III, IV and rural districts.

India's Covid-19 recovery rate crosses 95%, among highest in world; active cases below 3.4 lakh

India's active COVID-19 caseload has fallen below 3.4 lakh, a mere 3.43 per cent of the total infections, supplemented by an impressive recovery rate of over 95 per cent, which is among the highest in the world for countries with high caseloads, the Union Health Ministry said Tuesday. The daily new cases recorded on Tuesday -- 22,065 -- were also the lowest in over five months. As many as 22,252 cases were reported on July 7, the ministry said.
The number of recoveries have crossed 94 lakhs (94,22,636), pushing the national recovery rate to over 95 per cent, which is "one of the highest in the world for countries with high caseload", the ministry underlined. With a high number of patients recovering every day and the sustained fall in the mortality rate, the country's steady trend of decline in active cases continues, the ministry said.
There are 3,39,820 active cases of coronavirus infections as on Tuesday. The slide in the active cases is supplemented by an exponential rise in the recoveries.

SC asks Centre to consider granting break to doctors engaged in Covid-19 duty

The Supreme Court asked the Centre on Tuesday to consider granting break to doctors engaged in COVID-19 duty for the last seven-eight months. The top court said that continuous work might be affecting mental health of doctors.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah, which is hearing a suo motu case on proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to consider the suggestions of giving the doctors some break.
Mehta assured the bench that the government would consider the suggestion of the bench to grant some break to health workers engaged in COVID-19 duty.

Indian Navy's senior-most submariner Vice Admiral Srikant dies of coronavirus in Delhi

He was Director-General of Project Seabird & had earlier held appointments of Inspector General Nuclear Safety & Commandant of NDC: Indian Navy officials

Coronavirus update: Delhi has added 1,376 cases to take its tally to 608,830

Delhi reported 1,376 fresh cases on Monday, the lowest in over three-and-a-half months

J&J has applied to South Africa for registering coronavirus vaccine

South Africa's pharmaceutical regulator SAHPRA said on Monday it has received its first application to register a Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
"As of today we have received one application, this was received on Thursday evening from J&J, and we started the review process," said Boitumelo Semete, chief executive of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).
J&J did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Read on...

Coronavirus India update: Summary of MoHFW data (December 15)

Active cases: 339,820 (Net reduction: 12,766)
Deaths: 143,709 (Net increase: 354)
Cured: 9,422,636 (Net increase: 34,477)
Total cases: 9,906,165 (Net increase: 22,065)

Asian stocks weaken as infection worries curb vaccine enthusiasm

Asian stocks drifted lower on Tuesday as worries about increasing COVID-19 deaths and lockdowns overshadowed optimism about the roll-out of coronavirus vaccinations.
Markets showed little reaction to China's industrial output, which grew in line with expectations in November, expanding for an eighth straight month as an economic recovery gathered pace.
The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States crossed 300,000 on Monday as the hardest hit nation started its first vaccine inoculations.
"Considerable uncertainty surrounds the timeline for rollout but key safety milestones could be met by around mid 2021," economists at Westpac said in a note.
"Meanwhile several jurisdictions continue to struggle with major outbreaks with a particularly notable rise in cases in the U.S.," they said.

'Covid-19 circulated in Italy months before 1st case was reported'

Researchers recently discovered that Covid-19 had started circulating in Italy as early as November 2019, about three months before the country's first case was reported.
According to the study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, an oropharyngeal swab specimen collected in early December 2019 from a four-year-old boy who lived in the surrounding area of Milan tested positive for Covid-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

US Covid-19 death toll surpasses 300,000: Johns Hopkins University

The US has reached the grim milestone of 300,000 coronavirus deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
With the national case count topping 16.3 million, the death toll across the US rose to 300,267 as of Monday afternoon, according to the CSSE data, Xinhua news agency reported. Read on...

18 Covid patients discharged in Chinese mainland

A total of 18 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery in the Chinese mainland on Monday, the National Health Commission said in a daily report on Tuesday.
There were 312 confirmed cases still being treated, including seven in severe conditions, the report showed, Xinhua news agency reported.

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