Coronavirus LIVE: Over 1.6 million vaccinated across the country so far

A medic administers the first dose of Covishield vaccine to a frontline worker, after the virtual launch of Covid-19 vaccination drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a health center in Visakhapatnam, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (PTI Photo)
India reported 14,849 news coronavirus cases and 155 deaths in 24 hours, according to data published Sunday. The country’s recovery rate improved to 96.83 per cent, accounted by 15,948 new daily recoveries. As many as 1,53,339 people have died in total from the disease, according to the health ministry.

India has vaccinated almost 14 lakh people after starting its inoculation campaign on January 16. The campaign to administer a two-dose jab accelerated to over three lakh people per day on Friday, according to the health ministry's data. The average number of vaccinations per day during the past week has been 1,98,656, data collated till Friday showed. The total has touched 13,90,592. Yesterday alone, the number touched 3,47,058. 

World coronavirus news: The total number of global coronavirus cases has topped 98.6 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.11 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Pakistan is close to granting approval to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, as the world’s fifth most-populous nation looks to start inoculations against the coronavirus.


Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.


Italy to take legal action on Covid vaccine delays to get doses

Italy will take legal action and step up pressure in Brussels against Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca over delays in deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines with a view to securing agreed supplies, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday.
The aim was to get the companies to meet the vaccine volumes they had promised and not to seek compensation, Di Maio said on RAI state television.
"This is a European contract that Pfizer and AstraZeneca are not respecting and so for this reason we will take legal action... We are working so our vaccine plan programme does not change," he said.
Pfizer said last week it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output. On Friday, AstraZeneca said initial deliveries to the region will fall short because of a production problem.
Asked why he thought the pharmaceutical companies had been forced to announce reductions, Di Maio said he believed they had simply bitten off more than they could chew.
"We are activating all channels so the EU Commission does all it can to make these gentlemen respect their contracts," he said.
No one was immediately available to comment at Pfizer in Italy. AstraZeneca did not immediately reply to an email and voice message.
Also on Sunday European Council President Charles Michel said the EU would use legal means to ensure pharmaceutical companies respect supply contracts for Covid-19 vaccines.

Israel targets flights, religious scofflaws, as virus rages

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control.
The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
In just a month, Israel has vaccinated over a quarter of its 9.2 million people. At the same time, the virus continues to race through the country, with authorities confirming an average of over 8,000 new cases a day.
Late Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet approved a tight closure on nearly all incoming and outgoing air traffic. The government said it would make exceptions for a small number of humanitarian cases - such as funerals and medical patients - and cargo flights.
“We are closing the skies hermetically, except for really rare exceptions, to prevent the entry of virus mutations, and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," Netanyahu said.
The order is to begin early Tuesday and remain in effect until Jan. 31. Netanyahu's office said the order still required parliamentary legislation to be finalized.
Throughout the pandemic, Israel has restricted entry for most foreigners at its main international airport. But it has made exceptions for certain categories of people, including religious students and Israelis returning from abroad, while allowing Israeli tourists to fly to a handful of “green countries" believed to have low rates of the coronavirus.

Assam reports 16 new Covid-19 cases, 1 fresh fatality

Assam's Covid-19 tally rose to 2,16,992 on Sunday as 16 more people tested positive for the infection, while one fresh fatality pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 1,078, a health bulletin said.
Kamrup Metropolitan and Sonitpur districts reported the highest number of new cases at four each, followed by three in Nagaon, it said.
Ninety-nine more people were cured of the disease, pushing the recovery rate among the coronavirus patients to 98.43 per cent.
Assam now has 976 active cases, while 2,13,591 people have recovered from the disease, 1,347 coronavirus patients have died due to other reasons and three patients have migrated to other states.
The state has so far tested over 63.69 lakh samples for Covid-19, including 6,314 in the last 24 hours, it said.
Meanwhile, 13,881 people have been vaccinated in the state so far.

Nine new Covid-19 cases in UP's Gautam Buddh Nagar

Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar recorded nine fresh cases of Covid-19 on Sunday that pushed the district's infection tally to 25,315, official data showed.
The number of active cases in the district rose to 56 from 55 the previous day, while its recovery rate reached 99.41 per cent, according to the data released by the UP Health Department for a 24-hour period.
Eight more patients got discharged during the period with the overall recoveries reaching 25,168, the fifth highest in the state.
Gautam Buddh Nagar has a Covid-19 death toll of 91 with a mortality rate of 0.35 per cent.
Gautam Buddh Nagar stands 32nd among districts in the state in terms of active caseload and 28th in mortality due to the pandemic, the statistics showed.
The number of active Covid-19 cases in UP came down to 7,082 from 7,330 on Saturday while the overall recoveries reached 5,83,114 and the death toll climbed to 8,617 on Sunday, according to the data.

France faces 3rd lockdown if curfew not enough

France's government may impose a third lockdown in the coming days if an existing 12-hour-a-day curfew doesn't significantly slow virus infections.
Exactly a year after France announced Europe's first confirmed case of the coronavirus, Health Minister Olivier Veran said in an interview published Sunday in the Le Parisien newspaper that if infections don't drop, and “if the variants start to spread everywhere, we will take extra measures. And that's called confinement. ... We will close down.” An official in French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Sunday that “everything is on the table” but no firm decisions will be made until the effect of the nationwide 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew is clear in the coming week.
In addition to the curfew, French restaurants, tourist sites and many other public places have been closed since October.
But virus infections, hospitalizations and deaths have started rising again this month. France, which has lost at least 72,877 lives to the pandemic, has vaccinated more than 1 million people amid bureaucratic and logistical delays.
France on Sunday started requiring a negative Covid-19 test from travelers arriving by air or boat from other European Union countries. Such tests are already required for non-EU visitors, who also must go into 7-day quarantine upon arrival.

Nashik sees 157 Covid-19 cases, 1 death; 1,240 tests conducted

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nashik reached 1,14,781 after 157 people were detected with the infection on Sunday, while the toll rose by one to touch 2,040, an official said.
The number of people who have been discharged stands at 1,11,480, he added.
With 1,240 samples being tested on Sunday, the overall number of tests in Nashik went up to 4,85,816, he said.

Covid-19: 573 new cases, four fatalities in Karnataka

As many as 573 fresh coronavirus cases and four more deaths in Karnataka on Sunday took the total infections and fatalities to 9.36 lakh and 12,197 respectively, the health department said.
The cases include 9,16,325 discharges including 401 on Sunday and 7,510 active cases including 155 patients in the ICU.
Most of the cases and deaths occurred in Bengaluru urban district alone with 306 fresh infections and two fatalities.
Cumulatively, the city has reported 3,97,133 infections, 4,378 deaths 3,87,763 discharges, including 163 on Sunday, and 4991 active cases.
According to the health bulletin, 42 infections were reported in Dakshina Kannada, 31 in Tumakuru, 27 in Mysuru, 19 in Chikkaballapura, 18 in Belagavi, 17 in Udupi, 16 in Kalaburagi, 15 in Hassan and 10 in Davangere.
Cases were also reported in Ballari, Bengaluru Rural, Chitradurga, Dharwad, Gadag, Kodagu, Mandya, Shivamogga and Uttara Kannada.

32 new coronavirus cases, another death in Chandigarh

Chandigarh on Sunday reported 32 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the infection tally to 20,718, according to a medical bulletin.
The death of a 65-year-old coronavirus positive woman took the toll to 334 in the Union Territory, the bulletin said.
There are 136 active Covid-19 cases in Chandigarh, it said.
Twenty-two more patients were discharged after they recovered from the infection, taking the number of recoveries to 20,248 in the UT, according to the bulletin.
A total of 2,08,107 samples have been taken for Covid-19 testing in Chandigarh and 1,86,447 of them tested negative while reports of 92 are awaited, it said.

Two new Covid-19 cases in Ladakh

Ladakh recorded two fresh cases of the coronavirus, taking the tally to 9,675, even as eight more patients recovered from the infection in the Union Territory, officials said.
The new recoveries pushed the Covid-19 recovery count to 9,484 in Ladakh, the officials said.
The fresh cases were detected in Leh on Saturday, they said.

128 new Covid cases in Haryana

Haryana on Sunday reported one fatality linked to Covid-19, bringing the death toll to 3,010, while 128 fresh cases pushed the state's infection tally to 2,67,203, according to a government bulletin.
According to the state health department's daily bulletin, the new fatality was reported from Karnal district.


Fourth Zimbabwean Cabinet member dies in Covid surge

Four Zimbabwean Cabinet ministers have died of Covid-19, three within the past two weeks, highlighting a resurgence of the disease that is sweeping through this southern African country.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the coronavirus is reaping a grim harvest in the country.
The pandemic has been indiscriminate. There are no spectators, adjudicators, no holier than thou. No supermen or superwomen. We are all exposed, Mnangagwa said on a nationally televised address.
Mnangagwa presided at the burial of one Cabinet minister last week, shortly after the death of the foreign minister was announced. Then came the death of the transport minister. Several other high-profile politicians and prominent Zimbabweans have also died recently.

Gujarat sees 410 new Covid-19 cases

Gujarat has recorded 410 fresh coronavirus positive cases in the last 24 hours, taking the count of infections to 259,097, the state Health department said.
With one more person succumbing to the viral disease, the overall toll in the state mounted to 4,376, the department said in a release.

US NSA talks to Israeli counterpart

Reaffirming Biden Administration's unwavering commitment to Israel's security, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a call with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat extended an invitation to begin a strategic dialogue in the near term, the White House said on Sunday.
During the call on Saturday, Sullivan reaffirmed President Joe Biden's unwavering commitment to Israel's security and expressed appreciation for Shabbat's contributions to the bilateral partnership, said National Security Council Spokesperson Emily Horne.
Mr. Sullivan confirmed the United States will closely consult with Israel on all matters of regional security. He also extended an invitation to begin a strategic dialogue in the near term to continue substantive discussions, Horne said.

With 410 new Covid-19 cases, Gujarat's tally rises to 259,097

Oman extends land border closure for 1 more week over Covid

The authorities of Oman have extended the closure of land borders for one more week, until February 1, as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, state-run Oman News Agency reported on Sunday.
In December, the Arab nation closed land, sea, and air borders for one week as a new Covid-19 mutation was discovered in some countries. On January 17, the authorities closed the land border for one week.

Tamil Nadu reports 569 new cases

UP records 297 fresh cases, 8 more deaths

Uttar Pradesh's Covid-19 caseload mounted to 5,98,713 on Sunday with 297 fresh infections while the death toll climbed to 8,617 as eight more people succumbed to the disease.
Thirty fresh cases were reported from Lucknow, the state government said in a statement issued here on Sunday.
Of the eight fatalities, two were reported from Sonbhadra and one each from Kanpur, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Etawah and Mirzapur.

PM exhorts youths to defeat 'network of lies and rumours' on vaccination

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Indian scientists have done their duty by developing the Covid-19 vaccine and "now we have to fulfil ours" by defeating through the right information every network spreading lies and rumours.
Addressing NCC cadets, NSS volunteers and artists who would be participating in the Republic Day parade, Modi said such organisations have always played their role in dealing with challenging times.
"In Covid times also, the work done by you is laudable. When the government and administration needed it, you came forward as volunteers and provided help," he said.

Several countries have shown interest in procuring Tejas aircraft: HAL chairman

The delivery of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to the Indian Air Force under a Rs 48,000-crore deal will begin from March 2024 and around 16 aircraft will be rolled out annually till the completion of the total supply of 83 jets, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited R Madhavan said on Sunday.
In an interview to PTI, Madhavan also said that a number of countries have shown keen interest in procurement of the Tejas aircraft and that the first export order is likely to come by in the next couple of years.
Madhavan said that Tejas Mark 1A jet has superior performance levels compared to China's JF-17 combat aircraft as it has better engine, radar system and electronic warfare suit, besides an edge in the overall technology.

Andhra logs 158 new coronavirus cases

Andhra Pradesh's Covid-19 count rose to 887,000 as 158 fresh cases were reported in 24 hours ending 9 am on Sunday.
No deaths were reported, but 155 coronavirus patients had recovered in the state in a day, the latest bulletin said.
The active cases remained 1,476 after a total of 878,387 recoveries and 7,147 deaths, the bulletin said.

Maharashtra records 2,752 new Covid cases

Maharashtra's coronavirus infection count on Sunday increased by 2,752 cases to reach 20,09,106, the state health department said.
As the virus claimed 45 lives during the day, the death toll reached 50,785, it said in a statement.
A total of 1,743 patients were discharged on Sunday following recovery. This took the overall recovery count of the state to 1,912,264.

UK university scientists finalise nasal spray that blocks out Covid: Report

A nasal spray which can prevent a coronavirus infection for up to two days is being prepped for mass production by scientists at the University of Birmingham with the hope of having them available over-the-counter in pharmacies in a few months, a UK newspaper report said on Sunday.
Dr Richard Moakes, the study's lead researcher, told The Sunday Telegraph' that he is confident in the spray's formula to help unlock society from social distancing restrictions and get schools going again.
The nasal spray, which has not yet been named, is made from ingredients that are already approved for medical use, meaning it is safe for use by humans and does not require further approval.

Indonesia reports 11,788 newly-confirmed Covid-19 cases

The Covid-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 11,788 within one day to 989,262, with the death toll adding by 171 to 27,835, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
According to the ministry, 7,751 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 798,810.
The virus has spread to all the country's 34 provinces.

Covid test mandatory for guests attending Varun Dhawan's wedding

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan is getting married amid the Covid- 19 pandemic. Hence it is not surprising that as a precautionary measure, a Covid test has been made mandatory for all the guests entering the wedding arena.
As the preparations have begun in full swing for the Bollywood actor's big fat wedding to be held later in the day, celebrity photographer Viral Bhayani informed in an Instagram post that "a mandatory Covid test was taken for everyone entering the wedding arena."
Varun will tie the knot with his childhood sweetheart Natasha Dalal at 'The Mansion House' resort in Maharashtra's Alibaug on Sunday.

Delhi reports 185 new Covid-19 cases

Delhi reported 185 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the total number of reported cases in the national capital to 633,924.
According to the Delhi Health department, the death toll has gone up to 10,808 with nine more people succumbing to the virus.
It said 405 Covid-19 patients have recovered taking the total recoveries in Delhi to 621,375.Delhi has 1,741 active cases currently.

First confirmed case of Covid in pet reported in South Korea

In the first case involving a pet, a kitten has tested positive for the Covid-19 in South Korea.
The infected kitten tested positive on Thursday and was found at a religious facility in the southeastern city of Jinju in South Gyeongsang Province, according to government officials.
"During a recent tracking process involving a mass outbreak, health authorities found that a pet has tested positive for Covid-19 in the first such case," Yonhap News Agency quoted Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun as saying on Sunday.
Twenty-nine people were first confirmed to be infected after visiting there earlier this month, and more than 100 linked to the facility, including them, have since tested positive.

Vaccinated people may still transmit Covid-19, warns England's chief medic

One of England's leading medical officers on Sunday urged the public to continue to follow the strict lockdown rules because any vaccine-related immunity from Covid-19 takes at least three weeks to kick in.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, also warned that there is no clear evidence yet to show that vaccinated people cannot transmit the deadly virus on to others.
Regardless of whether someone has had their vaccination or not, it is vital that everyone follows the national restrictions and public health advice, as protection takes up to three weeks to kick in and we don't yet know the impact of vaccines on transmission, said Van-Tam.

Delhi records 185 fresh cases of Covid-19; 9 new fatalities push death toll 10,808

Aviation Ministry urges Health Ministry to prioritise vaccination of airlines, airports employees

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has written to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to consider aviation employees as frontline coronavirus workers and prioritise their COVID-19 vaccination.
The letter addressed to the Health Ministry read, "Considering that the frontline workers of airlines and airports are also involved in the movement of vaccines, this Ministry recognises the merit in the proposal and requests the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to include front line workers of airlines and airports along with front line workers mentioned in the operational guidelines released on 28th of December 2020."
"If the request is considered favourably, the Ministry would coordinate for enumeration of these personnel to be covered under vaccination program", it added.

Around 60 paramedical staff of Delhi prisons dept vaccinated

Around 60 paramedical staff of the Delhi prisons department have been inoculated so far during the Covid-19 vaccination drive, officials said on Sunday.
The vaccination drive began in the national capital on January 16 and the healthcare workers, who were at the forefront of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, got the first shots of the vaccine.
"Around 60 paramedical staff of the prisons department have been vaccinated so far. They were vaccinated on different dates at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital. The vaccination will help boost the morale of the jail officials and security forces personnel, who were at a high risk of catching the virus due to the nature of their job," Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said.
According to a senior jail official, the prisons department has around 200 paramedical staff.

Spain's virus surge hits mental health of front-line workers

The unrelenting increase in Covid-19 infections in Spain following the holiday season is again straining hospitals, threatening the mental health of doctors and nurses who have been at the forefront of the pandemic for nearly a year.
In Barcelona's Hospital del Mar, the critical care capacity has more than doubled and is nearly full, with 80 per cent of ICU beds occupied by coronavirus patients.
There are young people of 20-something-years-old and older people of 80-years-old, all the age groups, said Dr Joan Ramon Masclans, who heads the ICU.
This is very difficult, and it is one patient after another.

Wrestling National Championships asked to explain 'violation of norms'

Organisers of Wrestling National Championships in Noida allegedly broke Covid-19 protocols, prompting the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to seek a report. "We have taken up the matter with the Wrestling Federation of India and impressed upon them that the SOP for competitions has to be adhered to strictly. We have also sought a report from the federation on alleged violation, by Monday," SAI said in a statement, according to PTI. Wrestling on Saturday became the first major Olympic sport to hold its national championship amid the pandemic. 

A million Covid-19 vaccines administered in six days: India

India administered a million Covid-19 vaccines in six days to do better than advanced nations the US and the UK, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday. India will soon administer vaccines to 16 lakh people after starting the inoculation campaign on January 16. The UK took 18 days and the US took 10 to reach the one million mark, the ministry said. 

Telangana reports 197 new Covid-19 cases

Telangana recorded 197 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the total positives to over 2.93 lakh while one fatality pushed the toll to 1,589, the state said on Sunday. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 32, followed by Karimnagar (13) and Medchal Malkajgiri and Rangareddy with 12 each, it said in a bulletin, providing details as of 8 PM on January 23.

India’s recovery rate improves to 96.83%

With 15,948 new daily recoveries, India’s recovery rate has increased to 96.83%. The country now accounts for 0.71% of all active cases globally (one in every 141 active cases), and 7.20% of all deaths (one in every 14 deaths). The country has so far vaccinated 1,582,201 people. That is 14.85 per cent of its total caseload, and 0.114 per cent of its population.

India reports 14,849 new coronavirus cases

India reports 14,849 new coronavirus cases, 4 per cent more than Saturday. As many 1.53 lakh people have died of the disease, 1.03 crore people have recovered: Health Ministry data. The number of active Covid-19 cases down 82% from peak; 0.114% population has been vaccinated. As many as 155 deaths were reported on Saturday.

New virus clusters hit China's north provinces

A Chinese city has brought 2,600 temporary treatment rooms online as the country’s north battles new clusters of coronavirus. The single-occupancy rooms in the city of Nangong in Hebei province just outside Beijing are each equipped with their own heaters, toilets, showers and other amenities, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Hebei's capital Shijiazhung and the city of Xingtai, which encompasses Nangong, have been largely sealed off from the rest of the country. Community isolation and large-scale testing have also been enforced, the Associated Press reported.

Jharkhand reports 78 new Covid-19 cases, one death

Jarkhand's Covid-19 tally mounted to 1,18,232 as 78 more people tested positive for the infection, said a health ministry official said on Sunday. The state's coronavirus death toll rose to 1,061 when more person succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours.

Sri Lanka health minister tests positive, had endorsed herbal syrup for disease

Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for Covid-19, the Associated Press reported. A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine.

Shah blasts vaccine critics

Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday blasted critics the two Covid-19 vaccines is using, saying that there should be no politics over public health. "There are some people who are spreading misinformation on vaccine. Come to another platform and let's have a duel. But why are you creating doubt over people's health and doing politics? There are other issues for that," he said in Guwahati. India’s drug regulator has approved Covishield, the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK, and Covaxin, locally-made by pharma company Bharat Biotech.

Seven more states to get Covaxin vaccine

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will be administered in seven more states — Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal — from next week, the health ministry said on Saturday, according to the Times of India. It is currently being used in 12 states.

Indian Navy delivers coronavirus vaccines to Mauritius and Seychelles

A Poseidon 8I aircraft of the Indian Navy transported 100,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to Mauritius and 50,000 doses to Seychelles as part of India's grants assistance, officials said on Saturday.
Both the countries were delivered the consignments on Friday.
First the aircraft flew to Seychelles and after delivering the consignments to the island nation, it travelled to Mauritius.
"The Indian crew, led by Captain Rahul Mehta, was accorded a warm welcome by diplomats from Seychelles, members of the Indian High Commission and medical crew who received the vaccine shipment at Seychelles international airport," an official said.
The Indian crew was also accorded a warm welcome by a number of top ministers at the Mauritius International airport.
The Poseidon 8I is a maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

Punjab coronavirus update: 10 more deaths, 212 new cases reported

Punjab reported 10 coronavirus deaths and 212 fresh cases on Saturday, pushing the overall figures to 5,553 fatalities and 1,71,733 infections, officials said.
There are 2,293 active COVID-19 cases in the state as on Saturday, according to a medical bulletin.
Of the fresh cases, Mohali accounted for 39, Hoshiarpur 31 and Ludhiana 29.
A total of 232 coronavirus patients were discharged in a 24-hour period after recovering from the infection, taking the number of recoveries to 1,63,887, as per the bulletin.
As many as 11 patients are on ventilator support ,while 77 are on oxygen support, the bulletin said.

Gujarat sees 423 new Covid-19 cases, 702 recoveries, one death

Gujarat on Saturday reported 423 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the count of infections to 2,58,687, the state Health department said.

With only one person succumbing to the viral disease, the cumulative toll went up to 4,375 in the state, it said.

Nagpur sees 354 Covid-19 cases, 7 deaths, 435 discharged

The number of Covid-19 cases in Nagpur rose by 354 to reach 1,32,144 on Saturday, while the day also saw seven deaths and 435 recoveries, an official said.

The toll in the district has reached 4,121, and the recovery count stands at 1,24,470, leaving it with 3,553 active cases, he added.

Chandigarh records 22 fresh Covid-19 cases

Chandigarh reported 22 fresh Covid-19 cases on Saturday, pushing the infection count to 20,686 while the death toll rose to 333 with one more fatality, a medical bulletin said.

There are 127 active cases in the city as of now and 31 patients have been discharged after recovering from the infection, taking the number of cured persons to 20,226.

Kerala prepares action plan for second phase Covid vaccination drive

The Kerala Health Department has prepared an action plan to expand the COVID-19 vaccination in the state and to commence the next phase of the drivemeticulously, Health Minister K K Shailaja said here on Saturday.
A total of 133 vaccination centres were allotted in the southern state in the initial phase which were being increased with the availability of more doses of vaccines.

Delhi records 197 fresh coronavirus cases; positivity rate dips to 0.26 per cent

Delhi recorded 197 fresh Covid-19 cases and 10 deaths on Saturday, even as the positivity rate slipped to 0.26 per cent, authorities said.

The city's infection tally is now over 6.33 lakh and the death toll 10,799, they said.

On Monday, the city had recorded 161 cases, the lowest in nearly nine months, with a positivity rate of 0.32 per cent.

The active cases tally on Saturday stood at 1,880, while the positivity rate dipped to 0.26 per cent, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain had earlier said that the low number of active cases in Delhi was "satisfactory".

Debate rages over 12-week gap between COVID-19 vaccine doses in UK

Senior medics are at odds in the UK over the optimum gap between the two doses of vaccines being administered for protection against COVID-19.

The two vaccines currently being injected among the country's priority groups, Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca, both require a booster shot a few weeks later.

Initial advice for the second dose to be delivered within 21 days was modified by the UK government scientists to up to 12 weeks apart, with the aim of vaccinating larger numbers with at least one jab to inject some level of immediate protection.

Uttar Pradesh reports 323 new Covid-19 cases

150 people infected with UK variant of Covid-19 in India: Govt

The number of people who have tested positive for the UK variant of Covid-19 in India has climbed to 150, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

All of them have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by the respective state governments, the ministry had said earlier.

Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others.

Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said.

Netaji's love for India superseded everything else, says daughter Anita Bose Pfaff

German economist and daughter of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Anita Bose Pfaff, on Saturday, extended greetings on the occasion of Parakram Diwas to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji saying that her father's love for the country superseded everything else.

In a video message, she said, "Netaji was a man of thought and also of action, and he envisioned for his country, a country which would be modern, enlightened and at the same time deeply rooted in her history, philosophy and religious traditions."

"He foresaw that there were many challenges to be faced after attaining independence. He had hoped to be a part of those people who would face them but unfortunately, that was not to be. But all of us, normal people, can make our small contributions to the wellbeing of India, its citizens and citizens of the world," Pfaff added.

Centre did not consult with me while declaring Netaji's birthday as 'Parakram Diwas': Mamata

"The central government did not consult with me while declaring Netaji's birthday as 'Parakram Diwas'," said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Several injured, many vehicles vandalised in BJP-TMC clash at Howrah

Several people were injured, many vehicles vandalised as BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters clashed in West Bengal's Howrah district on Saturday, police said.

BJP alleged that a party member was shot at, while some were beaten with rods and sticks.

Crude bombs were also allegedly hurled during the street fight at Bally, triggering panic in the area. Besides, a few bikes and a police vehicle were vandalised, officials said.

On Friday, Bally MLA Baishaki Dalmia was suspended by the Trinamool Congress for alleged anti-party activities, hours after Domjur MLA Rajib Banerjee resigned as a minister in the Mamata Banerjee government.

China: Wuhan returns to normal as world still battling Covid-19 pandemic

Life has largely returned to normal in the city of 11 million, even as the rest of the world grapples with the spread of the virus' more contagious variants.
Traffic was light in Wuhan but there was no sign of the barriers that a year ago isolated neighborhoods, prevented movement around the city and confined people to their housing compounds and even apartments. Read more...

Brazilian Ambassador calls for 'strengthening Indo-Brazilian partnership' following COVID-19 vaccine supplies

Brazilian Ambassador to India Andre Aranha Correa do Lago on Saturday applauded New Delhi's assistance in providing Covid-19 vaccines to Brazil and called for 'strengthening the Indo-Brazilian partnership'.

"It is significant to see our leaders and our countries so close in these challenging moments. Let's all work together for strengthening the Indo-Brazilian partnership!" tweeted Lago.

India dispatched two million doses of Covishield vaccines to Brazil on Friday. Covishield has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

The flight landed in Brazil today. Elated with the Indian assistance, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying "dhanyavaad" for supplying the "sanjeevni booti" (the vaccine) against the coronavirus to the South American country, which has reported the second-highest death toll from the COVID-19 disease in the world.

WHO Director thanks Modi for Covid-19 response

Coronavirus update: As many as 152 Covid-19 patients succumbed to the disease in the past 24 hours

As many as 152 Covid-19 patients succumbed to the disease in the past 24 hours.

Coronavirus in India: Latest update by MoHFW

Active cases: 185,662 (Net reduction: 3,026)
Deaths: 153,184 (Net increase: 152)
Cured: 10,300,838 (Net increase: 17,130)
Total cases: 10,639,684 (Net increase: 14,256)
Total vaccination: 1,390,592 (Increase over previous day: 347,058)

Brazil President thanks India for 'Sanjeevni Booti' against Covid-19

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying "dhanyavaad" for supplying the "sanjeevni booti" (the vaccine) against the coronavirus to the South American country, which has reported the second-highest death toll from the Covid-19 disease in the world.
In a tweet on Friday, the Brazilian President said that it was an honour to have India as a "great partner" against the "global obstacle."

India is a "true friend", says US

Terming India a "true friend" which is using its pharmaceutical sector to help the global community, the US has applauded New Delhi for gifting COVID-19 vaccines to several countries.
In the last few days, India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles. It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.
"We applaud India's role in global health, sharing millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine in South Asia. India's free shipments of vaccine began with Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal and will extend to others," the South and Central Asia Bureau of the US State Department tweeted on Friday.

Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 shot safe, produced immune response in early human trial: The Lancet

Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech's coronavirus vaccine, which has been authorized for use in the country, proved safe and produced an immune response in a small group of adults aged 18 to 55, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal.
The vaccine, developed with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is being evaluated in a separate 25,800 person trial, which started in November. Bharat Biotech said on Friday 13,000 people participating in the late-stage trial had been given the second dose.
The interim data published in the journal included three different vaccine formulations and a placebo group among 375 adults.
Two formulations of the vaccine, called COVAXIN, have been selected for more advanced stages of testing and further efficacy trials are warranted, the report said.
COVAXIN is an inactivated vaccine that introduces dead virus into the body to trigger an immune response.
This is the first peer reviewed data for the vaccine that has come under scrutiny after widespread criticism over the lack of transparency on the approval process for the shot.
The vaccine was granted emergency approval by the drugs controller general of India this month along with another vaccine, Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
India, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States, kicked off its own vaccination drive on Saturday in what the government called the "world's largest vaccination program."

Biden wields executive power to tackle US pandemic economic crisis

US President Joe Biden on Friday ordered the faster issuance of pandemic stimulus checks to needy families and increased food aid for children who normally rely on school meals, an effort to ease Americans' burdens while Congress negotiates over his proposed $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package.
In the opening days of his administration, Biden is emphasizing that the government must tackle the coronavirus crisis with urgency after his predecessor Donald Trump largely played it down.
More than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus and millions of jobs have been lost.
Biden said his stimulus package to address the economic effects of the pandemic has support from business, labor, Wall Street and Main Street.

"A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. ...Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted.
Job losses are mounting again. We need to act. No matter how you look at it, we need to act," Biden said.
Republican lawmakers have questioned the price tag on pandemic aid and a separate investment proposal for infrastructure, green energy projects, education and research.

Biden administration to discuss stimulus with lawmakers on Sunday

The Biden administration plans to discuss the need for economic stimulus with a group of senators on Sunday, White House national economic council director Brian Deese said on Friday, as it seeks to build support for what it sees as a critical round of new coronavirus relief.
"We're at a precarious moment for the virus and the economy. Without decisive action, we risk falling into a very serious economic hole, even more serious than the crisis we find ourselves," Deese told reporters at a White House briefing.
Democratic President Joe Biden, who took office on Wednesday, has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package. But some key moderate Republicans have said it is too soon to move additional relief legislation following passage in December of a $900 billion stimulus package.
The pandemic recession has hit Americans hard. Some 16 million are now receiving some type of unemployment benefit, and an estimated 29 million don't have enough to eat. Women, minorities and low-income service workers have been disproportionately impacted, with Black and Hispanic workers facing higher jobless rates than white workers.

British PM Boris Johnson says new variant may carry higher risk of death

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday the new English variant of Covid-19 may be associated with a higher level of mortality although he said evidence showed that both vaccines being used in the country are effective against it.
"We've been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant - the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) - may be associated with a higher degree of mortality," he told a news briefing.
The warning about the higher risk of death from the new variant, which was identified in England late last year, came as a fresh blow after the country had earlier been buoyed by news the number of new Covid-19 infections was estimated to be shrinking by as much as 4% a day.
Johnson said however that all the current evidence showed both vaccines remained effective against old and new variants. Read more

Indian vaccines land in Morocco, tweets EAM S Jaishankar

Maharashtra reports 2,779 new Covid cases and 50 deaths in 24 hours

Tata Motors offers refrigerated trucks for Covid-19 vaccines

Homegrown auto major Tata Motors on Friday said it is offering refrigerated trucks for smooth rollout of the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive.
To ensure reliable, safe and speedy transportation of the vaccines, the new range of vehicles has been designed and engineered as per the temperature, volume and weight requirements. The vehicles are available in a variety of capacities and tonnage points to suit the diverse needs, Tata Motors said in a statement.
"These vaccine trucks and vans are available on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal for purchase," it added.
Tata Motors said it has tied up with leading reefer (refrigerated load body) manufacturers of the country, furthering its preparation of offering ready-to-use reefers and insulated vaccine vans.

India undertaking contractual supplies of coronavirus vaccines to several countries: MEA

India is undertaking contractual supplies of coronavirus vaccines to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday. MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing that India has so far sent consignments of coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Seychelles.
Asked whether India is sending the vaccines to Pakistan, Srivastava said he was not aware of any request for their supply by Pakistan on a government-to government basis or commercial basis. He said commercial shipments of the vaccines have already been dispatched to Brazil and Morocco on Friday.
On Wednesday, India sent 1,50,000 doses of Covisheild vaccine to Bhutan and 1,00,000 doses to the Maldives as grant assistance. India on Thursday delivered two million doses of Covisheild vaccine to Bangladesh and one million doses to Nepal under grants assistance, while a consignment containing 1.5 million doses was sent to Myanmar, 50,000 doses to Seychelles on Friday.

228,563 beneficiaries vaccinated in a day: Health Ministry

SII fire accident or sabotage to be known after probe: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that whether the fire at the Serum Institute of India (SII) was an accident or sabotage will be known only after the probe gets over. Five men died in the fire that broke out in a five- storeyed under-construction building in the SII's Manjari premises in Pune on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference after visiting the site of the fire, Thackeray said, "Let the investigation get completed. It is not correct to say anything now. After the probe gets over, we will know whether it was an accident or sabotage."
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII said there was no damage to the Covishield vaccine production, but other facilities involved in the production of Rotavirus and BCG vaccines were damaged.

Delhi records 266 fresh coronavirus cases, seven deaths

Delhi recorded 266 fresh COVID-19 cases and seven deaths due to the virus on Friday, with the positivity rate rising to 0.37 per cent. The tally of COVID-19 cases stood at over 6,33,542 in the city and the death toll due to the viral disease mounted to 10,789, authorities said. The tally of active cases in the city stood at 2,060, while the positivity rate rose to 0.37 per cent, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi Health Department.
On Thursday, the positivity rate was at 0.28 pc.
On Monday, the city had recorded 161 COVID-19 cases, the lowest in nearly nine months, with a positivity rate of 0.32 per cent. On April 26, the city had recorded 293 cases, according to official data. The bulletin said the total number of containment zones in the national capital stood at 1,629.

Health worker in Gurugram dies days after receiving Covid-19 jab; official says no vaccination link

A woman healthcare worker died in Gurugram in Haryana on Friday, days after she had received a COVID-19 vaccine, but an official said that there was nothing yet to suggest any link with the vaccination. The 55-year-old woman died at her Gurugram home.
"She had been administered COVID-19 vaccination on January 16. Her family reported her sudden death at her home today, but there is nothing yet to suggest and link with the vaccination," Chief Medical Officer of Gurugram Virender Yadav said over phone. "However, we have sent her viscera for investigation and details will be known once the report comes," he added.
Vaccination against COVID-19 began in Haryana on Saturday with several health workers, the foremost warriors in the battle against the pandemic, getting the shots on the opening day.

Fire had no impact on production of Covishield vaccine: Serum Institute CEO

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane tests positive for coronavirus

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina thanks PM Modi for Covid-19 vaccine gift

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has thanked her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for sending over two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine as a gift to Bangladesh. India on Thursday officially handed over 2 million doses of domestically produced Covishield vaccine to Bangladesh. The vaccines were provided at a crucial time when the number of coronavirus cases in Bangladesh is rising.
"I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending the vaccine (batch) as a gift," Hasina said at an online international conference held on the occasion of the 100th founding anniversary of the University of Dhaka on Thursday.
She said the government has already planned how it would proceed with the vaccine, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
"We have taken all the steps to face the COVID-19 situation in the country," Hasina said.

Andhra Pradesh logs 137 new Covid cases; active cases fall below 1500

The number of active coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh stood at 1,488, even as 137 fresh infections were reported in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Friday. While 167 patients recovered, four more succumbed during the period, the latest bulletin said.
The cumulative caseload has now increased to 8,86,694, recoveries to 8,78,060 and toll to 7,146, it said. Six districts reported between 10 and 20 new cases each while seven added less than 10 each in a day, according to the bulletin. Anantapuramu, Guntur, Kurnool and Visakhapatnam districts reported one fresh COVID-19 death each.

Indian vaccines arrived in Myanmar: Dr S Jaishankar

Containment measures, immunity, fewer outside patients behind fall in Covid-19 cases in Delhi: Experts

The slide in the number of fresh COVID-19 cases, deaths and positivity rate in Delhi can be attributed to aggressive containment measures, a segment of population achieving immunity and fewer outside patients, experts said on Friday. Some of them, however, noted that it is hard to "ascertain the actual position" as many people having mild symptoms have been skipping testing.
Suresh Kumar, the medical director of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Delhi's largest health facility, said authorities have been able to contain the coronavirus spread through aggressive testing and contact tracing.
"More than one crore tests have been conducted in Delhi so far. On an average, around 60,000 to 70,000 tests are conducted daily. The Delhi government should be credited for its micro-management and planning, he said.
The cumulative number of tests in Delhi crossed the one crore mark on January 20. Over 14 lakh tests have been conducted in the city between January 1 and January 21 -- 66,683 tests a day on an average.

Doctors, health workers' approval sends 'strong message' about vaccine: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to dispel fears and misconceptions over the efficacy and safety of Covid vaccines in an interaction with health workers in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency.
"When doctors and health workers give a clean chit to the vaccine, it sends a very strong message among people about the efficacy of the shots," he said through video conference. Health practitioners who have been vaccinated against coronavirus or have administering the shots to others took part, sharing their first-hand experiences.
"Really, corona warriors have done a wonderful job," Modi said in the 30-minute interaction during which a hospital matron, a nurse, a lab technician and a doctor asserted that there were no side effects after they were vaccinated. READ ON...

No fresh Covid-19 case in Andamans, tally at 4,991

Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not record a single fresh COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, a health department official said on Friday. The coronavirus tally in the union territory remained at 4,991, while a total of 62 people have died so far due to the contagion, he said.
Four more persons were cured of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries in the archipelago to 4,904, the official said.
The union territory now has 25 active COVID-19 cases and all the cases are in South Andaman district. The Andaman and Nicobar administration has conducted 2,09,433 sample tests for COVID-19 so far, and the positivity rate stands at 2.38 per cent, he added. The union territory reported its first COVID-19 case on June 10 last year and the first COVID-19 death on July 27, 2020.

Over 10 lakh beneficiaries vaccinated against Covid-19

Nearly 10.5 lakh beneficiaries have received anti-coronavirus shots under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination exercise as ondate, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. In a span of 24 hours, 2,37,050 people were vaccinated across 4,049 sessions.A total of 18,167 sessions have been conducted so far. On the testing front too, India continues to register growing numbers, the ministry said.
The expansion in testing infrastructure has given a boost in India's fight against the global pandemic. The cumulative testing has crossed 19 crore, it underlined. A total of 8,00,242 samples were tested for COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours which has increased India's total cumulative tests to 19,01,48,024.
"Comprehensive and widespread testing on a sustained basis has resulted in bringing down the positivity rate. The cumulative Positivity Rate stands at 5.59 per centas of today," the ministry said.

PM Modi interacted with Covid-19 vaccination beneficiaries in Kashi

Biggest vaccination program in the world is going on in India: PM Narendra Modi

PM Modi interacted with Covid-19 vaccination beneficiaries in Kashi

UP minister Gulab Devi tests positive for Covid-19

Uttar Pradesh minister Gulab Devi on Friday said she has tested positive for COVID-19 and isolated herself at home. In a statement, the minister of state for secondary education said she is doing fine.
"I want to bring to your notice that I had a cough for two days. I got myself tested in Lucknow and have been found positive for coronavirus. I appeal to all those who came in contact with me to get themselves tested," the BJP MLA from Chandausi said. "I am doing fine and will be available to serve you soon," Devi said.
As of Thursday, Uttar Pradesh's COVID-19 tally stood at 5,97,823 and the death toll at 8,597.

Guterres saddened by loss of life in Serum Institute fire: UN Spokesperson

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is saddened by the loss of life in a fire at the Serum Institute of India facility in Pune and hopes that the incident is fully investigated, his spokesperson has said.
Five men died after a fire broke out in a five-storeyed under-construction building in the Serum Institute of India's Manjari premises in Pune on Thursday, police said.
The Manjari facility is where the Covishield vaccines used in the nationwide inoculation drive against the pandemic are made. The building where fire broke out is one km from the Covishield vaccine manufacturing unit. Read on...

India to begin commercial vaccine exports with shipments to Brazil, Morocco

India's government has cleared commercial exports of Covid-19 vaccines, with the first consignments to be shipped to Brazil and Morocco on Friday, the Indian foreign secretary told Reuters.
The shots developed by UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University are being manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest producer of vaccines, which has received orders from countries across the world. Read on...

Fauci unleashed: Doc takes 'liberating' turn at centre stage

Dr Anthony Fauci is back.
In truth, the nation's leading infectious-diseases expert never really went away. But after enduring nearly a year of darts and undermining comments from former President Donald Trump, Fauci now speaks with the authority of the White House again.
He called it liberating Thursday to be backed by a science-friendly administration that has embraced his recommendations to battle COVID-19.
One of the new things in this administration is, if you don't know the answer, don't guess, Fauci said in one pointed observation during a White House briefing. Just say you don't know the answer.

Biden makes Covid-19 test, quarantine mandatory for people entering US

US President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders to address COVID-19 challenges, including making coronavirus test followed by quarantine mandatory for all travellers coming from overseas.
In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America, Biden said at a White House event wherein he signed the orders. Read on...

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