Covid LIVE: Vaccine should be available for public by April 2021, Serum CEO

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute
Coronavirus update: India has reported merely 45,576 fresh Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. The total caseload now stands at 8,958,483. The country's death toll has mounted to 131,618. 

The Centre has rushed high-level teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipurwhere they will visit districts reporting high number of Covid-19 cases and support the state's efforts towards strengthening containment, surveillance, testing and efficient clinical management of positive cases.

Delhi recorded 7,486 fresh coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the infection tally in the city to 500,000, while 131 new fatalities, the highest single-day death count till date, pushed the toll to 7,943. With medical facilities under strain, as many as 45 doctors and 160 paramedics of the paramilitary forces have also arrived in the capital to serve the people. Meanwhile, the Delhi government is working to add 660 ICU beds in its hospitals in the next few days and the Railways will be providing coaches with 800 beds, while an all-party meeting has been called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today to discuss the situation.

World coronavirus update: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 56,540,754. While 39,320,041 have recovered, 1,353,871 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 11,869,289 cases, and 256,206 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 8,958,483 cases, Brazil (5,947,403), France (2,065,138), Russia (1,991,998).

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LIVE UPDATES

Meghalaya's Covid-19 tally nears 11,000-mark, death toll at 104

Meghalaya reported 109 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 10,979, a senior health official said on Thursday. The death toll rose to 104 after one more patient succumbed to the virus, Health Services Director Aman War said.


He said 60 patients have recovered from the disease since Wednesday, increasing the number of those cured to 10,074 in the state. Meghalaya now has 801 active cases, War said, including 325 in East Khasi Hills district and 138 in West Garo Hills.

CDC warns Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving

With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency advised Americans on Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. It was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.


The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued the recommendations just one week before Thanksgiving, at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalisations and deaths are skyrocketing across the country. In many areas, the health care system is being squeezed by a combination of sick patients filling up beds and medical workers falling ill themselves.


The CDC's Dr Erin Sauber-Schatz cited more than 1 million new cases in the US over the past week as the reason for the new guidance The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household, she said.

22,609 new Covid cases take Germany's tally to 855,916

Germany has recorded 22,609 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 855,916, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said. The increase is slightly above the previous week's level. Germany is currently in the second half of a month-long partial coronavirus lockdown, Xinhua news agency reported.


The situation is "still serious, very serious," said RKI President Lothar Wieler at a press conference on Thursday. The case numbers are "still very high overall, much too high." "The case numbers have stabilized at a high level in the last two weeks," said Wieler. "But we do not know whether this is already a trend reversal." The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Germany increased by 251 on Thursday to a total of 13,370, according to the RKI.

US Covid-19 hospitalisations jump 50% in 2 weeks, ushering in new shutdowns

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States has jumped nearly 50% in the last 14 days, straining the nation's healthcare system and forcing cities and states to impose new restrictions to curb the alarming viral spread. Nearly 79,000 people were being in treated for the disease in hospitals across the country on Thursday, a Reuters tally showed, the most at any time during the pandemic.
 

Meanwhile, Americans were grappling with a spate of new school and business closings aimed at slowing community spread and lowering infection rates.Suzanna Riordan, a Brooklyn mother, said she burst into tears upon hearing the announcement that classrooms inside New York City public schools would shut starting on Thursday as the city's 7-day positive test rate average hit a previously-agreed closure threshold of 3%.
 

Riordan's 7-year-old daughter Olivia had been excited at the prospect of adding one more day of in-person education a week starting next week, based on the city's previous hybrid learning plan, Riordan said."Since September she's gotten maybe seven days in school," Riordan told Reuters. "And those are the days where...she comes home excited and happy and she gets to see other second graders. And that's gone again."
 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his decision to limit teaching in the nation's largest school district to virtual classrooms. He said additional safety standards to reopen schools would be announced before Thanksgiving Day after consultation with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Tripura reports 105 new Covid-19 cases

Tripura on Thursday reported 105 new Covid-19 cases, taking the state's tally to 32,217, a Health Department official said. There are 1,000 active cases in the state at present, he said.


Sixty-three patients were discharged from GB Pant Hospital after they recovered from the disease, the official said. So far, 30,833 people have recovered, while 23 patients have migrated to other states, he said.


Altogether 361 people have died of COVID-19 in Tripura. So far, 5,02,951 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in the state.

G20 leaders urged to provide funds for Covid-19 vaccines, drugs, tests

G20 leaders must help close a funding gap to buy vaccines, drugs and tests to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter from South Africa's president, Norway's prime minister, and the heads of the World Health Organization and European Commission said.


The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent ahead of the Group of 20's virtual summit at the weekend in Riyadh organised by Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the club of rich nations and big emerging powers. "A commitment by G20 leaders at the G20 summit in Riyadh to invest substantially in the ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools) Accelerator's immediate funding gap of US $4.5 billion will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass procurement and delivery of COVID-19 tools around the world, and provide an exit strategy out of this global economic and human crisis," it said.

Noida: 235 new Covid-19 cases, tally nears 21,000-mark

Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar recorded 235 new Covid-19 cases that pushed the district's infection tally to 20,989 on Thursday, official data showed.


Active cases rose to 1,411, the third highest in the state, from 1,300 the previous day, according to data released by the Uttar Pradesh Health Department for a 24-hour period.


On the bright side, 129 more patients got discharged during the period in Gautam Buddh Nagar with the overall recoveries reaching 19,505, the fifth highest in the state, it showed.

India's Covid-19 tally nears 9 million mark after 45,576 new cases in a single-day

After a dip in daily coronavirus cases count for some days, India is again witnessing a surge in fresh infections as 45,576 confirmed cases were reported on Thursday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The country's Covid-19 tally has risen to 8,958,484 including 8,383,602 recoveries and ,443,303 active cases. With 585 new deaths, the cumulative toll mounted to 131,578.


This is the twelfth consecutive day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. The last time daily new cases crossed the 50,000-threshold was on November 7. The new recoveries continue to overtake the daily new cases continuously since the past 47 days. India's active caseload has fallen under the five per cent mark today, according to an official press release.


Delhi remains one of the worst affected states with 7,546 new Covid-19 cases (out of 62,437 tests), 6,685 discharges, and 98 deaths, according to Delhi Health Department Total cases: 5,10,630 Total recoveries: 459,368 Active cases at 43,221 Death toll at 8,041.

Coronavirus LIVE: Vaccine should be available for public by April 2021, Serum CEO

Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla on Thursday said the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine should be available for healthcare workers and elderly people by around February 2021 and by April for the general public, and will be priced at a maximum of Rs 1,000 for two necessary doses for the public, depending on the final trial results and regulatory approvals.


Probably by 2024, every Indian will get vaccinated, he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), 2020. "It will probably take two or three years for every Indian to get inoculated, not just because of the supply constraints but because you need the budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure and then, people should be willing to take the vaccine. So these are the factors that lead up to being able to vaccinate 80-90 per cent of the population.


"It will be 2024 for everybody, if willing to take a two-dose vaccine, to be vaccinated,"Poonawalla said. Asked at what price the public will get it, he said it will be around USD 5-6 per dose with an MRP of around Rs 1,000 for the two necessary doses.


"The government of India will be getting it at a far cheaper price at around USD 3-4, because it will be buying in a large volume and get access to the price that is similar to what COVAX has got. We are still pricing it far cheaper and more affordable than other vaccines we have in the market today," Poonawalla said. Asked about the efficacy of the vaccine, he said the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine is so far proving to work very well even in elderly people, which was a concern earlier.

Coronavirus LIVE: Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda tests positive

Union Minister for Chemical and Fertilisers D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday said he has tested positive for coronavirus. "After initial symptoms of Covid-19, I got myself tested and the report came out positive. I have isolated myself," the Union Minister tweeted on Thursday.


He requested everyone who had come in his contact to be careful and adhere to the protocol. Following the tweet, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Karnataka cooperative minister S T Somashekar prayed for Gowda's early recovery and wished that he would return to his duties as usual.

ICC postpones women's T20 World Cup from 2022 to 2023 due to Covid

The South African edition of the Women's T20 World Cup was on Thursday postponed by three months to February 2023 to avoid a cluster a big-ticket events in 2022 and manage players' workload, International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Thursday. The tournament was scheduled in November 2022 but will now be held in February 2023.


In August this year, the ICC had postponed the 50 over Women's World Cup slated in New Zealand from 2021 to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and women's T20 cricket is also set to make its debut in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.. "The Board confirmed that the ICC Women's T20 World Cup will move from its current slot at the end of 2022 to 9-26 February 2023," ICC said in a statement.
 

If not postponed, the year would have "three major events in 2022 with the Commonwealth Games in July 2022 and the ICC Women's T20 World Cup due to be held in November 2022." "As there are currently no major women's events scheduled to take place in 2023 the Board confirmed the switch for the T20 World Cup to better support player preparation and to continue to build the momentum around the women's game beyond 2022," the apex body said.

2,212 fresh Covid cases, 20 more deaths in Haryana

Haryana on Thursday reported 2,212 fresh Covid-19 cases, pushing the caseload to 2,09,251, while 20 more fatalities took the death toll to 2,113. Of the fresh deaths, four were from Hisar, three each from hardest-hit Gurgaon and Faridabad, two each from Rewari, Sirsa and Bhiwani, while one death each was reported from Jind, Kurukshetra, Panchkula and Ambala, according to the state health department's daily bulletin.
 

Among the districts which reported the biggest spike in cases included Gurgaon (645), Faridabad (489), Hisar (162), Sonipat (130) and Rewari (106).


The number of active cases in the state currently stands at 19,579 while the recovery rate was 89.63 per cent.

Mumbai reports 924 Covid-19 cases, 1,192 recoveries; 12 fatalities

Mumbai reported 924 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, taking its tally to 272,449, while 1,192 more patients were discharged from hospitals following recovery, the city civic body said. This was the highest daily count so far this week.


Cases have registered a steady rise after 409 new coronavirus patients were detected on November 16, the lowest daily count since April. On November 17 and 18, the city had recorded 541 and 871 new cases, respectively.


According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) updated data, the death toll increased to 10,624 with 12 fresh fatalities being reported in the last 24 hours. The city has conducted 1.72 mn Covid-19 tests since February 3, 2020.

SC says everybody can't be permitted to treat Covid, seeks Centre response on alternative medicines

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from Centre on the manner and extent of alternative medicine that can be permitted as an immunity booster against Covid-19 disease.
 
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan was hearing a plea filed by Dr. AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homeopharmacy against the Kerala High Court decision in August this year holding that doctor under AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) can prescribe immunity boosters in the backdrop of Covid-19, but it cannot be prescribed as a cure for the viral infection.
 
The bench also comprising Justices Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, to file a counter affidavit detailing to what extent the alternative medicine could be are permitted in view of COVID.

Coronavirus tests conducted at Inter-State Bus Terminus in Chandigarh

Rajasthan reports 2,549 new coronavirus cases, 15 more deaths

Rajasthan reported 15 more COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday, taking the death toll to 2,116, while 2,549 new cases pushed the state's infection tally to 2,34,907. According to a health department bulletin, 20,168 patients are currently undergoing treatment for the disease in the state. The total number of recoveries is 2,12,623, it said.
 
The death toll from the coronavirus infection stands at 403 in Jaipur, 210 in Jodhpur, 160 in Ajmer, 154 in Bikaner, 120 in Kota, 98 in Bharatpur, 81 in Udaipur and 81 in Pali.
 
Of the new cases reported in the state, 519 are in Jaipur, 346 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 205 in Alwar, 203 in Kota, 197 in Bikaner, 88 in Sikar and 85 in Sriganganagar, besides those in other districts.

Madhya Pradesh records 1,363 fresh coronavirus cases; state tally 188,018

Madhya Pradesh on Thursday recorded 1,363 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 1,88,018, while 14 fatalities pushed the toll to 3,129, health officials said.
 
A total of 887 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the state's overall recovery count to 1,75,089. Of the new fatalities, three died in Indore, two each in Gwalior, Sagar and Raisen and one each in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Damoh and Mandsaur. Out of the 1,363 fresh cases, Bhopal accounted for 231, Indore 255, Gwalior 92 and Jabalpur 60.

India talking to vaccine companies, to procure 400-500 mn doses till July: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that India is in talks with the vaccine companies for the procurement of 400 to 500 million doses till July next year.
 
Speaking at an event on 'Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-Covid', the Health Minister stressed the importance of following safety protocols, and said that vaccine distribution will be rolled out with a scientific and systematic approach.
 
Harsh Vardhan said, "Priority will be given on medical grounds. We are a country of 135 crore people, and it's not possible to procure vaccines for such a large population at one go. By July-August 2021, we will have 400-500 million dosages available."

5,535 new coronavirus cases in Maharashtra

Maharashtra's COVID-19 tally on Thursday went up to 17,63,055 with the addition of 5,535 fresh cases, a state health official said. As the virus claimed 154 lives, the fatality count reached 46,356, he said.
 
A total of 5,860 patients were discharged during the day. With this, the state's recovery count increased to 16,35,971. The count of active patients is now 79,738, he said. Mumbai city reported 924 positive cases during the day, which pushed its overall case count to 2,72,455, while its death toll rose to 10,627 as 12 patients succumbed to the infection.

Anti-Covid-19 nasal spray developed for use in humans: University of Birmingham

A nasal spray that can provide effective protection against the COVID-19 virus has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, using materials already cleared for use in humans, the varsity said on Thursday.
 
A team in the University's Healthcare Technologies Institute formulated the spray using compounds already widely approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US.
 
The materials are already widely used in medical devices, medicines and even food products. This means that the normal complex procedures to take a new product to market are greatly simplified, so the spray could be commercially available very quickly.

Maharashtra reports 5,535 new coronavirus cases, tally rises to 17,63,055

Delhi accounts for 22.39% single-day coronavirus deaths in India: Health Ministry

Delhi accounted for 22.39 per cent of the fatalities reported across the country due to the coronavirus infection in a span of 24 hours by recording 131 deaths and became the largest contributor to the single-day COVID-19 deaths in India, the health ministry said on Thursday.
 
Even in terms of new single-day cases, Delhi reported the highest number of infections, followed by Kerala and Maharashtra. Delhi recorded 7,486 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over five lakh, even as 131 new fatalities, the highest single-day death count till date, pushed the toll to 7,943.
 
The ministry said 79.49 per cent of the585COVID fatalities reported in a span of 24 hours were from 10 states and Union territories -- Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Delhi govt orders 90 private hospitals to reserve 60% of total bed capacity for treatment of Covid-19 patients

560 people tested positive for Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir in past 24 hours

A total of 560 people tested positive for Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir in the past 24 hours taking the union territory's tally to 1,04,715. With 565 patients discharged from different hospitals after recovery on Thursday the number of recoveries from the pandemic stood at 97,537. An official bulletin said 247 tested positive for Covid from Jammu division while 313 were from Kashmir.
 
So far 1,618 patients have succumbed to the disease, including five on Thursday. The number of active cases is 5,560 out of which 1,722 are from Jammu division and 3,838 are from Kashmir division.

Coronavirus LIVE: Fine for not wearing mask raised to Rs 2,000 in Delhi

Battling the surge in coronavirus cases in Delhi on a war-footing, the AAP government on Thursday announced sweeping measures including a steep Rs 2,000 fine for not wearing masks, reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals, doubling testing centres in every district and postponement of non-critical surgeries at health facilities.
 
Private hospitals have also been directed to increase the percentage of non-ICU COVID-19 beds from 50 per cent to 60 per cent. The government will increase the number of RT-PCR test to 27,000 a day in the national capital and MBBS students and interns will be engaged to tackle the COVID-19 situation.
 
Addressing an online media briefing, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the fine for not wearing masks has been raised from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. The hard line by the AAP government comes days after Kejriwal repeatedly appealed to Delhiites to wear masks amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Active coronavirus cases drop to 16,000 in Andhra Pradesh

The active coronavirus cases dropped exactly to 16,000 in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday even as the gross confirmed positives touched 8,58,711 with the addition of 1,316 in 24 hours. The total recoveries increased to 8,35,801 after 1,821 patients got cured in 24 hours ending 9 am on Thursday.
 
Another 11 patients succumbed to COVID-19, taking the overall toll to 6,910, according to the latest bulletin.
 
Kurnool, which during the initial months of the pandemic was the prime hotbed for coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh, touched the 60,000 total cases mark on Thursday, becoming the eighth district in the state to cross the milestone.

Ministry of Health deputed high level Central teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur

Working on war-footing to expand ICU beds in hospitals: CM Arvind Kejriwal

As Delhi reels under the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said his government is working on a "war-footing" to expand the number of ICU beds in various hospitals. Interacting with reporters after visiting DDU Hospital, he said the doctors have agreed to expand the ICU beds count at the facility from existing 50 to 100.
 
"I had a meeting with the doctors and medical superintendent of the DDU Hospital. Currently, 50 beds are earmarked in ICU for COVID patients, which they have agreed to double soon." he said.
 
The chief minister said his government is working on a "war-footing to expand the number of ICU beds in hospitals". The number of available Intensive Care Unitbeds equipped with ventilatorshave begun to shrink fast at several hospitals here and at about 60 facilities, such ICU beds are totally occupied, according to official data.

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda tests positive for Covid-19

Apollo Hospitals to take Tata Medical's Covid test kit across country

Apollo Hospitals Group and Tata Medical and Diagnostics (Tata MD), the new healthcare venture of the Tata group, today announced a collaboration to launch TataMD CHECK, the world’s first CRISPR Cas-9 based diagnostic test, across the country.
 
Both the companies have entered into “commercial partnership”. The financial terms of the tie-up were not disclosed.
 
Indigenously developed kits will be manufactured at TataMD's facility at Sriperumbudr near Chennai. Initial production capacity is one million units per annum. Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO & MD, Tata Medical and Diagnostics refused to share investment figures and financials on the commercial agreement. READ ON...

Imposition of fines proportionately small in areas hit by rise in Covid-19 cases: HC to AAP govt

The Delhi High Court on Thursday noted that imposition of fines, for violating COVID-19 norms like social distancing and wearing masks, was proportionately small in areas where the number of coronavirus cases are on the rise.
 
Referring to the fines imposed, FIRs lodged and arrests made for violation of national directives for COVID-19 management, a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad questioned the Delhi government's monitoring and marshalling efforts.
 
The high court noted that only five arrests were made in the entire city between September 7 to November 16 for violating the norms and in south and south west Delhi, which were mainly hit by rise in COVID-19 infections, "the fines imposed for non-adherence was proportionately very small".

NCP leader Eknath Khadse tests Covid-19 positive

NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse has tested positive for COVID-19, sources close to him said on Thursday. Khadse will be admitted to a city-based hospital.
 
"Natha bhau (as Khadse is known) tested positive on Thursday afternoon. He will be treated at a city hospital as per the doctor's advice," the sources said.
 
On November 15, Khadse's daughter Rohini had said that she had contracted the coronavirus infection. Earlier, several other key politicians in Maharashtra, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, over a dozen other ministers and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Devendra Fadnavis had tested positive.

UK's Oxford vaccine phase-2 trial indicates strong results in older adults: Lancet study

In a major development, UK's Covid-19 vaccine has shown similar strong immune response in healthy older adults -aged 56 years and above- to those seen in people between 18 to 55 years, according to findings from a phase-2 trial. The Oxford Covid-19 vaccine has collaborated with Indian drug maker--Serum Institute of India (SII) for which phase 2 clinical trials are being conducted in India also.
 
The findings of the study have been published in the leading medical journal--Lancet in which authors have noted that their findings could be encouraging if the immune responses found in their study are associated with protection against infection with SARS-CoV-2, but this study did not assess the efficacy, which will be confirmed only after completion of the ongoing Phase-3 trials.
 
The study is the fifth published clinical trial of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 tested in an older adult population (aged 18-55 years, 56-69 years, and those 70 years and older).

Haryana Health Minister will be administered a trial dose of Covaxin tomorrow

Healthcare workers, people above 65 yrs will be given Covid vaccine on priority: Harsh Vardhan

Noting that it is natural to prioritise the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process, Health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said healthcare workers and people aged above 65 years will be given coronavirus vaccine on priority.
 
Addressing the FICCI FLO's National Webinar on 'The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-COVID', Vardhan said coronavirus vaccine will be available in a couple of months and it is estimated that by July-August, 400-500 million vaccine doses will be made available for 25-30 crore people.
 
"I am confident that the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three-four months," he said.
 
"It is natural that the vaccine distribution would have to be prioritised. As you know the healthcare workers who are corona warriors will be prioritised, then people who are above 65 years of age, they have been prioritised and then those from 50-65 years of age have been prioritised. Then those below 50 years who have other diseases," he said.

Coronavirus LIVE: India's active Covid-19 caseload falls below 5% of total cases

In the last 24 hours, 45,576 persons were found to be infected with COVID in India. During the same period, India has registered 48,493 new recoveries ensuring a net reduction of 2,917 cases from the Active Caseload, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
 
The new recoveries continue to overtake the daily new cases continuously since the past 47 days. India's active caseload has fallen under the 5 per cent mark today, according to an official press release.
 
This trend of more daily recoveries than the daily cases has led to a continuous contraction of India's Active Caseload. It has ensured that India's present active caseload of 4,43,303 consists of just 4.95 per cent of India's Total Positive Cases.

Uttar Pradesh records 2,586 new coronavirus cases, 39 more deaths

Uttar Pradesh reported 39 more COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday, taking the death toll to 7,480, while 2,586 new cases pushed the state's infection tally to 5,19,148. The number of active cases of the disease stands at 22,757, Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters here.
 
"The state reported 2,586 new cases in the past 24 hours. The state has 22,757 active cases, and the number of those who recovered from the infection is 4,88,911," Prasad said.
 
The state has a recovery rate of 94.18 per cent, he said, appealing to people to remain cautious against the disease in the wake of a massive surge of cases in Delhi.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal visited Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital today

Pakistan reports 2,500 new cases of coronavirus

Pakistan has reported over 2,500 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of infections in the country to 365,927, the health ministry said on Thursday. The Ministry of National Health Services said a total of 2,547 new infections were reported and a total of 18 people had died due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
 
The new coronavirus toll stands at 7,248 while infections at 3,65,927, the health ministry said in a statement. Some 886 people recovered in the last one day and with it the number of total recuperated people reached 326,674. Another 1,535 were in critical conditions.

Africa on alert for second Covid-19 pandemic wave

African countries are on high alert for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as the number of confirmed cases on the continent hit 2 million on Thursday. Africa reported its first 1 million confirmed cases on August 7 after it registered the first infection on February 14 in Egypt, reports Xinhua news agency.
 
As of Thursday, the continent's overall caseload and death toll stood 2,013,388 and 48,408, repectively, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the testing level in Africa was still very low compared to other regions.

Covid-19: Centre rushes high-level teams to 4 states to strengthen surveillance, testing

The Centre has rushed high-level teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipurwhere they will visit districts reporting high number of COVID-19 cases and support the state's efforts towards strengthening containment, surveillance, testing and efficient clinical management of positive cases.
 
With the spike in daily new COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Delhi, the spillover effect is being observed in the NCR regions within Haryana and Rajasthan where the number of COVID positive patients is on the rise, the Union Health ministry said on Thursday.
 
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, New Delhi is leading the three-member team to Haryana and Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog is heading the Rajasthan team.

Delhi CM seeks all-party support in fight against rising Covid-19 cases

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday sought support from all political parties here in the fight against Covid-19, requesting them not to do politics on the issue. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor made the appeal in the over one-hour long meeting with all the party leaders at Delhi Secretariat amid rising cases of the deadly disease in the national capital. The latest data shows the overall Covid tally as 5,03,084 including 7,943 deaths.
 
"We have sought the cooperation of all the political parties in the all-party meeting today. This is not the right time for politics, but to do service," Kejriwal said during a press conference after the all-party meet.
 
The Delhi Chief Minister further said that all parties have assured him that they would leave politics and serve the public. Kejriwal said he has requested all the party leaders to get their workers involved in the distribution of masks at all public places. He said all the leaders were in agreement over the issue. The Chief Minister said it was a fruitful discussion and all the politicians shared their valuable suggestions.

Delhi accounts for 22.39% of India's coronavirus deaths in 24 hours

In an alarming development, Delhi has accounted for 22.39 per cent of COVID deaths reported across India in the last 24-hour cycle: 131 of the 585 fatalities. Maharashtra follows with a fatality count of 100.
 
These 131 fatalities denote Delhi's highest daily COVID death toll so far, forcing the UT and central governments to take specific measures to tackle increasing threat posed by the deadly pandemic which so far infected 5,03,084 persons here, as per the latest official figures.
 
In its latest report shared on Thursday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) revealed that 79.49 per cent of the 585 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours across India were from 10 states and Union Territories (UTs), in which Delhi tops. Other leading states are West Bengal (54), Punjab (31), Haryana (30), Uttar Pradesh (29), Kerala (28), Chhattisgarh (23), Karnataka (21), and Tamil Nadu (18).

Covid-19 Factoid: Maharashtra most affected, adds over 5,000 cases in a day

Maharashtra adds over 5,000 new cases in a day after a week
 
Maharashtra is the most-affected Indian state with a total reported cases count of over 1.75 million. Maharashtra added over 5,000 new cases in a day for the first time in the last eight days. The state had been witnessing a drop in its daily new cases since the start if the month. READ ON...

 

Delhi govt to hike fines for not wearing masks, increase beds for Covid-19 patients: CM Kejriwal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced hiking fines for not using face masks from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 and increasing the number of beds for COVID-19 patients at hospitals amid a massive COVID-19 surge. He also appealed to the people not to celebrate Chhath at ponds and other water bodies in the city.
 
The chief minister said the Delhi government was implementing from November 19 its decision to reserve 80 per cent of ICU beds in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients. Private hospitals have also been directed to increase the percentage of non-ICU COVID-19 beds from 50 per cent to 60 per cent, he said in a virtual briefing.
 
Kejriwal said he met Lt Governor Anil Baijal to apprise him of various steps being taken by the government to check COVID-19, and added that the fine for not wearing masks has been raised from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000.

Healthcare workers, people aged above 65 will be given priority for Covid vaccine: Harsh Vardhan

Noting that it is natural to prioritise COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said healthcare workers and people aged above 65 will be early recipients when a vaccine becomes available.
 
Addressing a webinar organised by the FICCI FLO on 'The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-Covid', Vardhan said COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the next few months and it is estimated that by July-August 400-500 million doses will be made available for 25-30 crore people.
 
"It is natural the vaccine distribution would have to be prioritised. As you know the healthcare workers who are corona warriors they will be prioritised, then people who are above 65 years of age they have been prioritised, then those from 50-65 years of age have been prioritised," he said.

Russia registers record single-day increase of over 23,000 cases

Russia has registered a record single-day increase of 23,610 COVID-19 cases, up from 20,985 yesterday, bringing the total to 2,015,608, the federal response center said on Thursday. The previous record of 22,778 COVID-19 cases was registered on Monday.
 
According to the response center, Russia has confirmed 23,610 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions in the past 24 hours, of which 6,078 (25.7 per cent) were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms.
 
Moscow reported 6,438 COVID-19 cases, up from 4,174 yesterday. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 2,312 cases (up from 2,215 yesterday) and the Moscow region with 880 cases (up from 864 yesterday).

DMs directed to double number of Covid-19 testing centres in Delhi districts

Amid a huge surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital, the Delhi government on Thursday directed all district magistrates (DMs) to take steps to double the number of testing centres in their respective districts immediately.
 
The order issued by the Delhi health department also said that manpower required for the new testing centres "may be hired from open market, if required".
 
It has been observed that the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in Delhi and to ensure early detection and subsequent isolation of the COVID-19 infected patients, it is felt necessary to enhance the COVID-19 testing capacity," the order said. The issue was discussed at a meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 15.

People seen shopping at Delhi's Sarojini Nagar Market amid spike in Covid-19 cases

Briefed LG Anil Baijal about coronavirus situation in Delhi: CM Arvind Kejriwal

Confident that Covid-19 vaccine will be ready in three-four months: Dr Harsh Vardhan

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said he was confident that COVID-19 vaccine would be ready in the next three-four months and added that the priority to provide the same to 135 crore Indians would be based on scientific evaluation.
 
The Minister was addressing the FICCI FLO webinar on 'The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-Covid' today.
 
"I am confident that COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three-four months. Priority for the vaccine will be designed on the basis of scientific data. Health care workers and corona warriors will naturally be prioritised followed by elderly and disease-prone people. Very detailed planning is underway for vaccine dissemination. An e-vaccine intelligence platform has been created to discuss the blueprint for the same. Tracking and tracing of the vaccine would be neck-deep once it's available for the public. Hopefully, 2021 should be a better year for all of us," the Health Minister said.

It's time for all of us become one and serve the people of Delhi: CM Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi govt to increase number of RTPCR tests from 18,000 to 27,000 daily: AAP MLA

The Delhi government will increase the number of RTPCR tests conducted daily from around 18,000 to 27,000 and the chief minister will meet market associations if any decision is taken on shutting down markets in view of a COVID-19 surge, AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said on Thursday.
 
Speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the national capital, the AAP MLA said he suggested that market associations should be given a chance to present their views and take precautionary measures to check the spread of the virus.

Difficult time for the people of Delhi when cases are rising: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addressing press conference on Covid-19 containment

ICU beds with ventilators not available at nearly 60 hospitals in Delhi

Amid spiralling cases of COVID-19 in the national capital, the number of available Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds equipped with ventilators is shrinking fast at several hospitals here, with zero vacancy at nearly 60 facilities, according to official data. The rise in cases of the infection has happened at a time when approaching winter and severely deteriorating air quality in the city have worsened complications in people with respiratory illnesses.
 
According to the online Corona dashboard of the Delhi government at 12:30 pm on Thursday, only 131 COVID-19 ICU beds were available out of 1,362 such beds at various facilities here.
 
There was no vacancy at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH), Max hospital's facilities at Saket, Patparganj and Shalimar Bagh, Batra hospital, Fortis hospital's facilities at Shalimar Bagh and Vasant Kunj and Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, and Venkateshwara Hospital in Dwarka, among others, as per the data.

90-99% of Covid-19 is only about protection and motivating others: Harsh Vardhan

90-99% of Covid-19 is only about protection and motivating others. You can protect yourself from this deadly virus with small precautions like wearing a good quality mask properly, maintaining social distance & taking care of hand-hygiene: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Varshan

Govt approves new category for selection & nomination of candidates from ‘Wards of COVID Warriors’ under Central Pool MBBS/BDS seats for 2020-21

“It will honour the solemn sacrifice of all COVID warriors who served selflessly,” says Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Why wait till now to reduce number of attendees at weddings: Delhi HC to AAP govt

Why did you wait for 18 days to restrict number of attendees at weddings, how many died of COVID-19 during this period, HC asks Delhi govt

Maharashtra officials asked to ramp up testing ahead of 2nd Covid-19 wave

Though the graph of COVID-19 cases has shown signs of decline, the Maharashtra government, anticipating a second wave of the infection, has asked authorities not to drop guard and take all necessary steps to deal with any situation.
 
A circular-cum-advisory issued by the state Directorate of Health Services last week said the second wave of the pandemic is likely in January-February, and asked officials concerned to ramp up COVID-19 testing in the state.

India records 50% rise in daily corona cases over two days

With 45,576 more coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Thursday, India witnessed a jump of over 50 per cent in such cases reported on Tuesday, pushing its cumulative tally to 89,58,483.
 
As per Health Ministry data, the total death toll rose to 1,31,578 with 585 more fatalities in the last 24 hours, a jump of 24 per cent over the previous day's figure.
 
On Wednesday, India reported 38,616 new cases and 449 deaths, and on Tuesday 29,154 new cases.
 
The active cases now total 4,43,303 as 83,83,602 people have recovered from the disease so far.

Coronavirus in Delhi: DDMA instructs officials to ensure that Chhath Puja this year is not performed at public places

Delhi Disaster Management Authority instructs officials to ensure that Chhath Puja this year is not performed at public places, river banks and temples in Delhi

Coronavirus DATA STORY: Delhi suffers 131 Covid deaths, its highest single-day fatality yet

National capital Delhi reported another bad day, with 131 Covid-19 deaths, its highest single-day fatality figure so far. While the city’s tally of cases went past the 500,000 mark with an addition of 7,486 in a day, its death toll reached 7,943.

Delay in transition to put Covid vaccination plan on slow track: Biden

US President-elect Joe Biden has warned that a delay in transition by the outgoing Trump administration will put behind the COVID-19 vaccination plan by "weeks or months".
 
In a virtual roundtable with healthcare workers on COVID-19, Biden alleged on Wednesday that his transition team has not been receiving any cooperation from the Trump administration. Read on...

Coronavirus India update: Summary of MoHFW data (November 19)

Active cases: 443,303 (Net reduction: 3,502)
Deaths: 131,578 (Net addition: 585)
Cured: 8,383,602 (Net addition: 48,493)
Total cases: 8,958,483 (Net addition: 45,576)

Coronavirus vaccine update: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveries could start 'before Christmas'

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech could secure emergency U.S. and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday.
 
The vaccine's efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities - a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people.
 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use by the middle of December, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. Conditional approval in the European Union could be secured in the second half of December, he added.
 
"If all goes well I could imagine that we gain approval in the second half of December and start deliveries before Christmas, but really only if all goes positively," he said.
 
The success rate of the vaccine developed by the U.S. drugmaker and German partner BioNTech was far higher than what regulators had said would have been acceptable. Experts said it was a significant achievement in the race to end the pandemic.

Jharkhand reports 251 new Covid-19 cases, 3 fresh fatalities

Jharkhand's Covid-19 tally rose to 1,06,742 on Thursday as 251 more people tested positive for the infection, a health official said.
 
Three more people succumbed to the infection, pushing the state's coronavirus death toll to 934, he said.
 
Ranchi district reported the highest number of new cases at 70, followed by Bokaro (53) and Dhanbad (29), the official said.
 
One fatality each was reported in Dhanbad, Deoghar and Jamtara districts, he said.

Norwegian Air seeks bankruptcy protection as Covid pandemic takes toll

Norwegian Air has asked an Irish court to oversee a restructuring of its massive debt as it seeks to stave off collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic, the budget airline said on Wednesday.
 
Norway's government last week rejected the airline's plea for another injection of state funds, and the company said the following day it was at risk of having to halt operations in early 2021 unless it got access to more cash.
 
"The main purpose here is to come out of this process quite shortly with a company that is 'investable', where we can be attractive again for investors," Chief Financial Officer Geir Karlsen told Reuters. Read on...

Delhi records highest single day death count; CM calls all-party meeting

As the national capital grapples with a spurt in COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government is working to add 660 ICU beds in its hospitals in the next few days and the Railways will be providing coaches with 800 beds, while an all-party meeting has been called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday to discuss the situation.
 
Delhi recorded 7,486 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the infection tally in the city to over five lakh, while 131 new fatalities, the highest single-day death count till date, pushed the toll to 7,943, authorities said.With medical facilities under strain, as many as 45 doctors and 160 paramedics of the paramilitary forces have also arrived in the capital to serve the people. Read on...

Berlin police detain 365 people at protest against Covid-19 restrictions

Police in the German capital of Berlin have detained at least 365 people during a day of protests against the restrictive measures currently in force to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.
 
"As of 19:30 [18:30 GMT], a total of 365 detentions were made. Many of these were due to violations of the Protection Against Infection Act," Berlin Police said in a Twitter post.
 
At least two people have been arrested and placed in custody, law enforcement officials stated, adding that 10 police officers suffered injuries while responding to the protests.
 

Germany coronavirus update: 17,561 new Covid-19 cases reported

Germany has registered 17,561 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally to 833,307, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said.
 
The infection rate in Europe's most populous country continued to decrease as daily new infections declined by almost a thousand cases compared with Wednesday last week, according to the RKI.
 
Infections in Germany had been rising until last week and a partial month-long lockdown was already enforced in November, Xinhua reported. Read on...

Chile coronavirus update: Death toll due to Covid-19 nears 15,000

Chile's Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported 14 more daily deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the death toll to 14,897.
 
In the previous 24 hours, tests also detected 945 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus to 534,558.
 
In a statement, Minister of Health Enrique Paris stressed the high rate of testing nationwide, saying 250,370 tests have been applied per million inhabitants. Read on...

Canada coronavirus update: Covid-19 case tally rise to 310,350, says govt

Canada's Covid-19 cases continue to increase, with the total number hitting 310,350 as of Wednesday evening, according to CTV.
 
The fatalities in the country also rose, reaching 11,176 on Wednesday.
 
Both community transmission and outbreaks are contributing to Covid-19 spread in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Wednesday. Read on...

Oil prices slip as surging coronavirus cases overshadow vaccine hopes

US crude futures fell in early trade on Thursday, giving up some of gains from the previous day as surging COVID-19 cases and widening lockdowns raised fears over fuel demand, offsetting further upbeat vaccine news.
 
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 39 cents, or 0.9%, to $41.43 a barrel by 0039 GMT, after gaining nearly 1% on Wednesday. Brent crude was yet to trade, having risen 1.4% on Wednesday.
 
"The spread of coronavirus infection and fresh restrictions in the United States and other parts of the world hit market sentiment as it would hamper fuel demand," said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Co.
 
"Investors are also booking profits from the recent rally before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday later this month," he said.

Pfizer, Moderna Covid-19 vaccines may be authorised for use within weeks

Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc could be ready for U.S. authorization and distribution within weeks, setting the stage for inoculation to begin as soon as this year, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday.
 
States and territories are prepared to begin distributing the vaccines within 24 hours of receiving regulatory authorization, officials said on a call with reporters, adding that complex cold storage requirements will not be an impediment to all Americans being able to access the vaccines.

Berlin police detain 365 people at protest against Covid-19 restrictions

Police in the German capital of Berlin have detained at least 365 people during a day of protests against the restrictive measures currently in force to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.
 
"As of 19:30 [18:30 GMT], a total of 365 detentions were made. Many of these were due to violations of the Protection Against Infection Act," Berlin Police said in a Twitter post.
 
At least two people have been arrested and placed in custody, law enforcement officials stated, adding that 10 police officers suffered injuries while responding to the protests.
 
A Sputnik correspondent reported earlier on Wednesday that police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered near the Bundestag building in central Berlin.

Empty desks: Coronavirus robs US classrooms of teachers

In July, fourth-grade teacher Susanne Michael was ecstatic as she celebrated the adoption of a former student from a troubled home and two of the girl's brothers. For the festivities, Michael dressed them and her other children in matching T-shirts that read Gotcha FOREVER."
 
By October, the 47-year-old Jonesboro, Arkansas, woman was dead one of an estimated nearly 300 school employees killed by the coronavirus in the U.S. since the outbreak took hold. All together, the U.S. had more than 250,000 confirmed virus deaths as of Wednesday.
 
She just basically would eat, sleep and drink teaching. She loved it, said her husband, Keith Michael, who is now left to raise the three new additions, ages 3, 8 and 13, along with the couple's two other children, 16 and 22.
 
Across the U.S., the deaths of educators have torn at the fabric of the school experience, taking the lives of teachers, principals, superintendents, coaches, a middle school secretary, a security guard. The losses have forced school boards to make hard decisions of whether to keep classrooms open and have left students and staff members grief-stricken.

Office spaces adapt to post-Covid world with safety on its mind

The decisions RPG Enterprises had been making for its office spaces in the last few years unwittingly prepared it for a post-Covid world. The CEAT owner had pruned several of its satellite branches and allowed employees there to work from home or anywhere else. It had also started hotdesking — where seats were not assigned but used ad hoc by different people — which helped it give up real estate. These measures have paid off during the uncertain pandemic months where as little as 10 per cent of its workforce will be in the premises. “Flexibility is a necessity now,” notes S Venkatesh, the group’s head of HR.
 
Less will be more in office design going forward, several architects agree. Read on...

Germany coronavirus update: 17,561 new Covid-19 cases reported

Germany has registered 17,561 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally to 833,307, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said.
 
The infection rate in Europe's most populous country continued to decrease as daily new infections declined by almost a thousand cases compared with Wednesday last week, according to the RKI.
 
Infections in Germany had been rising until last week and a partial month-long lockdown was already enforced in November, Xinhua reported. Read on...

Russia coronavirus update: Moscow's death toll rises by 73 to 8,082

Moscow has registered 73 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 8,082, the city's coronavirus response center said in a statement on Wednesday.
 
"Another 73 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the center said.
 
In the previous day, 76 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow. Read on...

Coronavirus in US: Joe Biden wipes away tears during town hall with frontline workers

US President-elect Joe Biden wiped away tears as he heard emotional testimonies from healthcare workers during a virtual town hall on Wednesday.
 
Mary Turner, a Minnesota nurse, told Biden how she held the hands of dying patients who ached for family and loved ones, as their lives ebbed away on ventilators.
 
Shortage of personal protective equipment was a constant theme across frontline workers' stories.
 
"Sometimes the masks literally fall off our faces," Turner said, explaining how nurses in the hospital where she worked reused N-95s till the point that they tore or fell apart.
 
Turner said, to Biden's surprise, that she is yet to be tested for Covid-19. "You're kidding me!" Biden exclaimed.
 
Turner, dressed in red scrubs, apologized for breaking down. "No, you got me emotional," Biden responded.

Coronavirus in USA: Covid-19 related deaths in US exceed 250,000

The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related deaths in the United States has exceeded 250,000, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
 
The United States has confirmed more than 11.8 million cases of COVID-19 since the first infection was detected in late January, the data showed on Wednesday.

New York City schools to close again as city fights coronavirus

New York City is shuttering schools to try to stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday in a painful about-face for one of the first big U.S. school systems to bring students back to classrooms this fall.
 
The nation's largest public school system will halt in-person learning Thursday, the mayor and schools chancellor said.
 
The city had said since summer that school buildings would close if 3% of all the coronavirus tests performed citywide over a seven-day period came back positive. As the rate neared that point last week, de Blasio advised parents to prepare for a possible shutdown within days. Read on...

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