Coronavirus LIVE: Delhi sees cases below 100 for first time since April 30

Beneficiary gets a Covid-19 vaccine at City Dispensary, in Bikaner
Coronavirus live updates: India recorded 12,569 fresh cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The total number of active cases in the country has fallen to 178,200, while the caseload tally stands at 10,690,279. Globally, more than 100 million people have been infected by the virus. The country continues to be second-most-affected globally, and ranks 14th among worst-hit nations by active cases.

The five most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (2,010,948), Karnataka (936,426), Kerala (893,639), Andhra Pradesh (887,066), and Tamil Nadu (835,280).

Over 2 million healthcare workers across the country have received Covid-19 vaccine jabs.

According to Health ministry data, the highest number of vaccinations in the country till now have been carried out in Karnataka at 231,601 followed by Odisha at 177,090, Rajasthan at 161,332 and Maharashtra at 136,901.

World coronavirus update: Coronavirus cases rise unabated across the globe, with more than 100 million infected by the deadly contagion. While 72,818,627 have recovered, 2,165,016 have died so far. The US remains the worst-hit country with 26,007,762, followed by India, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom. However, it terms of the total number of active cases, US tops the charts, followed by France, UK, Brazil and Belgium.

Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.


Spain running short of vaccines due to delivery delays

Amid another COVID-19 surge, Spanish health authorities are running out of vaccines and have been forced to postpone giving shots to health workers and nursing home residents due to delays in deliveries by pharmaceutical companies.
Catalonia's public health chief Josep Argimon said Wednesday that the northeast region that includes Barcelona will have used up all its available vaccines by Friday, when its “refrigerators will be empty.” Argimon said this will mean that 10,000 people who had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine won't be able to get their required second dose as planned 21 days later.
Argimon said “in theory this should not be a problem” because the guidelines approved by the European Union indicate the second dose can be administered 21 to 45 days after the first shot.
But he said: “All these elements add more uncertainty to the vaccination scheme.” Catalonia has also experienced a delay in receiving the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, the only other vaccine currently approved by the EU, which was supposed to arrive this week but has been pushed back until Monday, Argimon said.
Spain, along with the rest of the EU, has suffered inoculation delays since Pfizer announced two weeks ago that it would have a temporary reduction in deliveries so it could upgrade its plant in Puurs, Belgium.

Protesters in Lebanon clash with police over virus lockdown

Lebanese security forces opened fire in violent clashes Wednesday with dozens of protesters who took to the street in the country's north for a third consecutive day to denounce deteriorating living conditions amid a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
At least one protester was hit by live ammunition and fell to the ground, blood pouring from his thigh. Police said they were responding to hand grenades thrown by the protesters that injured nine policemen, including three officers.
The violence marked a sharp escalation in confrontations in the northern city of Tripoli that began on Monday and continued for three straight days into Wednesday night. The city is the second largest in Lebanon, and the most impoverished.
Earlier, police fired tear gas and water cannons at dozens of young men who tried to storm a government building in the city. The Red Cross, in a statement, said its volunteers transported 11 people to hospital, while 63 others were lightly injured and treated on the spot.
Amid a dramatic surge in coronavirus infections, the government has imposed a nearly month-long nationwide lockdown and round-the-clock curfew, the strictest since the virus hit Lebanon.
The measures have exacerbated a crippling economic and financial crisis that preceded the pandemic in this small Mediterranean country of nearly 5 million people and over 1 million refugees.

India to gift 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka tomorrow

A consignment containing 5,00,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines gifted by India will reach Sri Lanka on Tuesday. This gift of Covid-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka is a part of India's "Vaccine Maitri" initiative under which India has gifted vaccines to seven other countries in the region. The consignment, which will be containing 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will reach Colombo.

This comes days after Sri Lanka's drugs regulatory body -- National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) gave a go-ahead to Oxford Astrazeneca's vaccine. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Sri Lanka from January 5-7 upon the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena. During the visit, Sri Lankan side requested India for urgent delivery of Covid vaccines. The supply of 5 lakh doses is a fulfilment of that request.

The delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka is a fulfilment of PM Narendra Modi's commitment made to Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Virtual Bilateral Summit held in September 2020 for all possible support to Sri Lanka for minimizing the health and economic impact of the pandemic.

Over 6,500 people get Covid-19 vaccine shots on Tue in Delhi; turnout 80 pc

Over 6,500 healthcare workers received COVID-19 vaccine shots in Delhi on Wednesday in the second week of the vaccination drive, as the city recorded a turnout of 80 per cent. After a sluggish start, since the exercise was kicked off January 16, the inoculation drive has picked up pace in the last several days. The targeted number for vaccination on January 27 was 8,100, officials said. 7408 "Today, 6,545 people were administered coronavirus vaccine, and AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) was reported in 12 persons," a senior official of the Delhi Health Department said.

On Monday, 7,408 healthcare workers had got the jabs, with a turnout of over 91 per cent, the highest till date. Under the nationwide mega vaccination drive launched on January 16, a total of 4,319 (53 per cent) health workers against a target of 8,117, were administered the shots at 81 centres across the city on day one. On the second scheduled day, the figures had stood at 3,598 (44 per cent of the target).

The sharp fall had come after one severe and 50 minor adverse effect cases were reported, on the opening day of the vaccination drive. The count on third schedule day was much higher, at 4,936 (48 per cent).

353 test Covid-19 positive in Gujarat; active cases below 4,000

Gujarat reported 353 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 2,60,220, while 462 patients recovered from the infection, the state health department said. With one more death - reported from Ahmedabad - the state's COVID-19 fatalities rose to 4,382, it said. As many as 462 patients were discharged during the day, pushing the number of recovered cases to 2,51,862, said the department in a release.

With this, the state's COVID-19 recovery rate improved further to 96.79 per cent, it said. There are now 3,976 active cases in Gujarat, with 43 patients being on ventilators, the release said. Ahmedabad and Vadodara reported 75 new cases each followed by Rajkot 64 and Surat 47.

Ahmedabad district's tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 61,770, while the death toll went up to 2,291 with one more fatality, the release said. Surat's COVID-19 tally rose to 52,002 with 47 new cases, said the department. These four districts together accounted for 74 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday.

47,470 health workers get vaccines today, total 178,371 in Maharashtra

As many as 47,470 health workers or 77 per cent of the targeted workers for the day were administered COVID-19 vaccine doses across 528 centres in Maharashtra on Wednesday, a senior official said. With this, a total of 1,78,371 health workers have been vaccinated so far, Dr Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary of the state public health department said.

While most of the health workers were administered doses of Covishield vaccine, some others from six districts Amravati, Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Solapur and Aurangabad- were given Covaxin, he said. "As many as 47,470 health workers received their first jab of the vaccine at 528 centres," he said.

Punjab reports 10 more Covid-19 deaths, 193 new cases

Punjab reported 10 coronavirus deaths and 193 cases on Wednesday, taking the overall figures to 5,581 fatalities and 1,72,406 infections, officials said. There are 2,080 active COVID-19 cases in the state as on Wednesday, according to a medical bulletin. Among the fresh cases witnessed in the state, Ludhiana reported 38 new cases, Mohali 28 and Jalandhar 26.

A total of 204 coronavirus patients were discharged after recovering from the infection, taking the number of recoveries to 1,64,745, as per the bulletin. Eight critical patients are on ventilator support while 71 are on oxygen support, the bulletin said. A total of 44,04,889 samples have been collected for testing so far in the state, it said.

Bangladesh launches COVID-19 vaccination drive

Bangladesh on Wednesday launched its nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive with AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine Covishield, a week after the first vaccines were delivered by India.Calling it a "historic day" for Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the vaccination campaign virtually from her residence and a nurse of state-run Kurmitola General Hospital (KGH), Runu Veronica Costa, became the first to receive the shot.

"You are not frightened, are you?" Hasina said as a medical official prepared to vaccinate her at the state-run health facility, which was one of the first designated COVID hospitals in the country. Costa in response showed a negative gesture, earning the premier's appreciation who commented "a brave girl". "Many greetings to you, stay healthy and serve many more patients," Hasina said.

We want protection of all from the coronavirus. I want to say to you all to work with sincerity to make the COVID-19 vaccination a success. We want cooperation from all as everything will go well to this end, Hasina said in her inaugural comments. She said the vaccination programme was initiated strictly following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and protocols while Bangladesh appeared as one of forerunner countries to launch the inoculation campaign.

Kerala reports 5,659 new Covid-19 positive cases in last 24 hours

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said that 5,659 people tested Covid positive on Wednesday. She also said that 5,006 people recovered from the illness and were discharged from hospital. 51,130 samples were tested in the past 24 hours, a government release said as the test positivity rate is 11.07 per cent.
With these positive cases on Wednesday, the total number of Covid patients in the state is now 72,234.
The industrial and commercial capital of the state Ernakulam continues to have the maximum number of Covid positive cases at 879 while Kasargod has the least number of cases at 84.

No case of serious/severe AEFI/deaths attributable to vaccination till date: Health Ministry

No new Covid-19 case found in Dharavi for second time in January

Dharavi, the biggest slum in Mumbai, did not report any coronavirus positive case in the last 24 hours, a civic official said on Wednesday. It is for the second time in January, this slum pocket has not recorded even a single case in a day. This has happened for the third time since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the city, officials said. On January 22, not a single infection case was reported in Dharavi and it had also happened on December 25.
Dharavi's caseload currently stands at 3,911, and so far 3,585 patients have already recovered and got discharge from hospitals, the official said. At present, the area has 14 active cases only, he said. The first coronavirus case in Dharavi was reported on April 1 last year, nearly 20 days after the first was patient found in Mumbai. Spread over 2.5 sq km, Dharavi is considered as Asia's largest slum with a population of over 6.5 lakh.

Nine deaths reported so far post-vaccination

India's vaccine diplomacy: 500,000 Covishield doses to Lanka

As a beneficiary of India's vaccine diplomacy, Sri Lanka will on Thursday receive a consignment of 500,000 doses of 'Covishield' vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). This gift of Covid-19 vaccine doses to Sri Lanka is a part of India's 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative under which India has gifted vaccines to seven other countries in the region, IANS report said.
This humanitarian gesture amid the pandemic is in accordance with India's commitment to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy and SAGAR doctrine in which Sri Lanka has a prominent position.
The delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine doses to Sri Lanka is a fulfilment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Virtual Bilateral Summit held in September 2020.

23,28,779 beneficiaries vaccinated against Covid-19 so far across India: Health Ministry

LIVE: Health Ministry briefing on Covid-19 vaccination

Iran reports 6,608 fresh Covid-19 cases

Iran on Wednesday reported 6,608 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally to 1,392,314. The pandemic has so far claimed 57,651 lives in Iran, up by 91 in the past 24 hours, said Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Xinhua reported. Of the newly infected, 695 were hospitalized, said Lari.
A total of 1,183,463 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals, while 4,024 remain in intensive care units, she added. According to the spokeswoman, 9,070,167 tests for the virus have been carried out in Iran as of Wednesday. Iran announced its first cases of Covid-19 on February 19, 2020.

Delhi sees 96 new Covid cases in last 24 hours; cases below 100 for first time since April 30

Andhra Pradesh reports 111 coronavirus cases, two deaths

Andhra Pradesh reported 111 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to over 8.87 lakh while two fatalities pushed the toll to 7,152 in 24 hours ending 9 am on Wednesday. The state also reported 97 more recoveries, a PTI report said. Anantapur and West Godavari witnessed one death each.
With 33,808 tests, the total number of tests conducted in the state so far stood at over 1.29 crore. The total confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were 8,87,349 while the recoveries stood at 8,78,828, it said. The state has 1,369 active cases. In 24 hours, Krishna district accounted for the most number of cases with 19, followed by Chittoor and West Godavari with 16 and 14 each respectively.

Dr Reddy's Labs terminates Kuwait-based Covid-19 treatment study

Dr Reddy's Laboratories on Wednesday announced termination of Avigan trial study being conducted in Kuwait that was focused on moderate to severe COVID-19 patients in a hospital setting.
It was one of the studies in the overall clinical programme for Fujifilm's Avigan, an antiviral medication, spanning the spectrum of asymptomatic to severe cases of COVID-19 in both outpatient and inpatient setting, the drug major said in a statement.
The Phase-III study, being conducted in an outpatient setting on patients with mild to moderate symptoms in North America by the company in partnership with Appili Therapuetics and Global Response Aid, shall continue. READ MORE...


Sasikala released from prison, but to be in hospital due to Covid-19

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa's close aide, V. K. Sasikala was released from Bengaluru's central prison -- Parappana Agrahara Central Jail -- on Wednesday after prison authorities completed the release formalities.
The central jail authorities wore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and completed the formalities at the hospital where she is presently undergoing treatment for Covid infection. Her sister-in-law, J. Ilavaris too was admitted in the same hospital on January 22.
She will, however, remain in the hospital as she is being treated for Covid.

Coronavirus LIVE: Covaxin effective against UK Covid-19 strain, says ICMR

India's active cases only 1.65% of total infections: Health Ministry

The daily COVID-19 recovered cases in India havebeen surpassing daily new cases from the last 20 days, while thetotal active cases stand at 1,76,498 comprisingjust1.65 per cent of the total infections, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday. The cumulative recoveries have surged to 1,03,59,305 with13,320 patients being discharged in a span of 24 hours.A totalof 12,689daily new cases were added to the national tally during the same period.
"India has one of thelowest daily COVID-19 new cases per Million population (69) in the last 7 days," the ministry highlighted.
These sustained encouraging results have been made possible with the Centre-led proactive and calibrated strategy of test, track, treat technology, the ministry underlined.

Reliance signs $15 mn deal with Israeli firm to distribute Covid-19 breath test kit

Reliance Group has signed a USD 15 million deal with Israeli company Breath of Health (BOH) to distribute the company's swift COVID-19 breath testing system throughout India, a PTI report said. According to the agreement, the Indian corporate giant will purchase hundreds of systems from the Israeli company in a deal valued at USD 15 million and will use them to conduct millions of tests a month at a cost of USD 10 million per month, business portal Calcalist reported.
Reliance will also lead research of the system in India and will distribute the platform throughout the country and in the Far East, it added.
BOH is said to have developed a breath test system that identifies COVID-19 at a success rate of over 95 per cent.

Lowest new cases and new deaths per million population in the last 7 days: Health Ministry

Coronavirus LIVE: Covaxin effective against UK Covid-19 strain, says ICMR

An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study on Covaxin shows a comparable neutralization activity of the vaccinated individuals against UK-variant strain. The ICMR's National Institute of Virology scientist performed the plaque reduction neutralization test using sera collected from the 26 recipients of Bharat Biotech's coronavirus vaccine (COVAXIN) against UK-variant strain.
"A comparable neutralization activity of the vaccinated individuals sera showed against UK-variant and the heterologous strain with similar efficiency dispel the uncertainty of possible neutralization escape," stated document appeared in bioRxiv in a pre-print version.
"We successfully isolated and characterized the SARS-CoV-2 from UK returnees in India with all signature mutations of the UK-variant," noted the NIV- Pune scientist.

Tokyo's new daily Covid-19 cases dip back below 1,000-mark

The Tokyo metropolitan government reported 973 new daily COVID-19 cases in the capital on Wednesday, bringing the city's total tally of people testing positive for the virus to 96,507, according to ANI.
The latest figure, as was the case on Sunday and Monday, dipped below the 1,000-mark, before rising above the threshold on Tuesday where new daily infections in the city of 14 million rose to 1,026.
Health officials said the number of patients designated as being in a "serious condition" stood at 159, rising by 11 compared to a day earlier.

DATA STORY: India conducts 550,426 Covid tests; daily positivity rate rises to 2.3%

India on Tuesday conducted 550,426 coronavirus tests to take the total count of tests conducted so far in the country to 193,613,120. The test positivity rate recorded was 2.3%. Read on...

Serum Institute looking at bilateral deals to supply Covishield vaccine

As India outshines China with its friendly neighbourhood vaccine diplomacy, the world's largest vaccine maker — Serum Institute of India (SII) — is girding itself for bilateral deals to supply to low- and medium-income countries.
The Pune-based biotechnology company will increase capacity to manufacture the Oxford-AstraZeneca-developed Covishield vaccine by 30 per cent by March, from the current daily levels of 2.4 million doses. Read on...

Oil rises as US oil stockpiles drop as Covid-19 cases decline in China

Oil prices climbed on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell unexpectedly last week and China, the world's second-biggest oil user, reported its lowest daily rise in COVID-19 cases, bolstering hopes of a pick-up in demand.
Brent crude futures climbed 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $56.10 a barrel at 0452 GMT, adding to a small gain on Tuesday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 20 cents, or 0.4%, to $52.81 a barrel, reversing Tuesday's loss. Read on...

Kamala Harris gets second Covid vaccine dose, urges everyone to do likewise

"I want to urge everyone to take the vaccine when it is your turn," Harris told CSPAN viewers on Tuesday. "It will save your life." Harris received her first vaccine dose on December 29.
Following a slow roll-out, after two coronavirus vaccines received emergency approval in December, the United States administered more than 1 million shots daily for the past week
President Joe Biden has said the goal of his administration is to vaccinate 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his presidency.

South Korea adds 559 new Covid cases, highest in 10 days; tally at 76,429

South Korea has reported 559 new cases of coronavirus infection, its highest daily increase in 10 days, as health workers scramble to slow transmissions at religious facilities, which have been a major source of infections throughout the pandemic.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 112 of the new cases came from the southwestern city of Gwangju, where more than 100 infections have so far been linked to a missionary training school.
An affiliated facility in the central city of Daejeon has been tied to more than 170 infections. Read on...

Pregnant women in Australia warned of Covid-19 vaccines risk

Australian women who are pregnant have been advised against receiving Covid-19 vaccines until more data is available.
Vijay Roach, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), said that because of the low number of coronavirus cases in Australia it was "reasonable to wait for more data."
As of Tuesday night, Australia has recorded nine consecutive days with no confirmed community transmission of Covid-19.

India's unusual Covid vaccine problem: Plenty of shots, but few takers

Most of the world is struggling to secure enough vaccines to inoculate their populations. India has the opposite problem: Plenty of shots, but a shortage of people willing to take them.
As India rolls out one of the world’s biggest inoculation programs, some health-care and other frontline workers are hesitating because of safety concerns over a vaccine that has yet to complete phase III trials. As of Monday, only about 56% of people eligible to get the shot have stepped forward in a nation with the world’s second-worst Covid-19 outbreak. Read on...

Boris Johnson extends condolences to kin of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in UK

As the United Kingdom on Tuesday crossed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths due to Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended condolences to the kin of victims and said it was hard to "compute the sorrow contained in the grim statistic".
Johnson during a Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday said that he and his government take "full responsibility" for the decisions taken by him and his Cabinet to curb the spread of the virus and reduce the fatalities due to the pathogen. The British Prime Minister further said that he "was sorry for every life that has been lost" stating that the government did everything they could possibly do. Read on...

Covid-19: Mexico close to approving Russian vaccine, with little data

Mexico said Tuesday it is close to granting approval for Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, despite the fact that little public data is available.
The approval process described by Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico's assistant health secretary, sounded like a Cold War spy thriller, and may not foment confidence in the shot.
Lopez-Gatell said a Mexican technical committee on new medications has recommended approving the vaccine, adding only some details were lacking for COFEPRIS, the government medical safety commission, to give the final go-ahead. Read on...

US to purchase additional 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses: Joe Biden

President Joe Biden has announced that the US will purchase an additional 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines, an increase in the available supply by 50 per cent, which will fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.
After reviewing the current vaccine supply and manufacturing plans, Biden on Tuesday announced that his administration will increase overall weekly vaccination distribution to states and tribal territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses.

Global Covid-19 cases surpass 100 million mark: Johns Hopkins University

Global Covid-19 cases surpassed 100 million on Tuesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The global case count reached 10,00,32,461, with a total of 21,49,818 deaths worldwide, as of 2:22 p.m. local time (1922 GMT), the CSSE data showed. Read on...

France tallies 22,086 Covid-19 infections, 612 deaths in one day

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in France spiked by 22,086 over the past 24 hours and a further 612 patients succumbed to the disease, according to official data released on Tuesday.
The cumulative total of infection cases rose to 30,79,943, and fatalities stood at 74,106, the seventh-highest in the world, the data showed.
A total of 27,041 Covid-19 patients remained hospitalized, including 3,081 serious cases, up by 117 and 40 respectively. The two figures, key gauges to evaluate hospitals' ability to deal with the outbreak, increased for the third day in a row, the Xinhua news agency reported.

South Korea adds 559 new Covid cases, highest in 10 days; tally at 76,429

South Korea has reported 559 new cases of coronavirus infection, its highest daily increase in 10 days, as health workers scramble to slow transmissions at religious facilities, which have been a major source of infections throughout the pandemic.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 112 of the new cases came from the southwestern city of Gwangju, where more than 100 infections have so far been linked to a missionary training school. Read on...

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