Covid-19 LIVE: Serum seeks emergency use authorisation for Covidshield

Staffers cleaning the marquee board of Serum Institute on Friday, a day before PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the vaccine plant | Photo: Abhishek Waghmare
Coronavirus LIVE updates: India on Sunday reported 36,011 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the total caseload to 9,644,529. As many as 140,216 people have died of the disease till now. With 1,847,509 cases, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 890,360, Andhra Pradesh 870,675, Tamil Nadu 787,554, and Kerala 625,767. Delhi reported 4,067 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total count of cases in the national capital to 589,544.

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

World coronavirus update: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 66,832,931. While 46,227,853 have recovered, 1,533,741 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 14,759,965 cases, and 285,473 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 9,608,211 cases, Brazil (6,577,177), Russia (2,431,731), France (2,281,475).

Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.

LIVE UPDATES

Bihar reports 585 new COVID-19 cases, three more deaths

Bihar's COVID-19 tally rose to 2,39,125 as 585 more people tested positive for the infection, while three fresh fatalities pushed the toll to 1,295, a health department bulletin said on Sunday. At least 572 people were cured of the disease in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 2,32,438, it said. The recovery rate among coronavirus patients in the state stands at 97.20 per cent.


Three new fatalities were recorded in Patna, Purnea and Saran. Patna reported the highest number of fresh cases at 261, followed by Muzaffarpur (27), Katihar (26), Sitamarhi and Saharsa (16 each), Purnea and Rohtas (13 each), East Champaran and Gaya (11 each). Bihar now has 5,392 active cases, the bulletin said. The state has so far tested 1.54 crore samples including 1,25,904 in the past 24 hours, it added.

1.2 mn doses of China-made Covid vaccine arrive in Indonesia

Indonesia's government said 1.2 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech arrived in the country late Sunday. President Joko Widodo said in a televised address that another 1.8 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in early January. We are very grateful, thank God, the vaccine is now available so that we can immediately curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease, Widodo said.


The government is still waiting for millions of other doses of the Sinovac vaccine to arrive in the form of raw materials that will be further processed by state-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma. However, Widodo said that emergency use authorization from the country's Food and Drug Control Agency is still needed for mass vaccinations to start.


Indonesia is already cooperating with Sinovac in phase 3 clinical trials of its vaccine candidate, with tests being carried out on 1,620 volunteers in West Java's Bandung city since August. The government also looked into partnerships with two other Chinese drug manufacturers, Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics. Penny Lukito, head of the Food and Drug Control Agency, estimated that the Sinovac vaccine would obtain emergency use authorization from the agency by the third or fourth week of January, after the agency evaluates interim results from the third-stage clinical trial.

Assam reports 97 new Covid-19 cases, four more fatalities

Assam's COVID-19 caseload rose to 2,13,759 on Sunday as 97 more people tested positive for the disease, while four fresh fatalities pushed the toll to 993, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. "Sad to share the demise of four #COVID patients today... Condolences & Prayers!," he said on Twitter. The new fatalities were reported from Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Sonitpur and Kamrup Metropolitan districts, he added.


The minister said, "97 cases detected out of 11,514 tests conducted with a positivity rate of 0.84 per cent." The overall positivity rate stood at 3.91 per cent against the total testing of 54,62,004 samples so far. Eighty-four people were cured of the disease and discharged from various hospitals during the day. The state currently has 3,552 active cases, while 2,09,211 people have so far recovered from the disease.

Karnataka logs 1,321 new Covid cases; 889 recover

Karnataka logged 1,321 new cases on a day, taking its Covid tally to 8,93,006, including 25,381 active cases till Saturday, said the state health bulletin on Sunday. "With 889 discharged in the last 24 hours, recoveries across the southern state rose to 8,55,750 so far, while 10 patients succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours, taking the state's death toll to 11,856 since the pandemic broke out on March 8.


Accounting for about 50 per cent of the state's caseload, Bengaluru reported 733 fresh cases, taking its tally to 3,74,024, including 19,636 positive cases, while 3,50,204 recovered, with 275 discharged during the day. Of the 280 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs) across the state, 143 are in Bengaluru hospitals, 23 in Tumakuru, 14 in Chamarajanagara, 13 in Hassan and 12 in Kalaburagi district in the northern region.


Out of 99,320 tests conducted during the day, 15,622 were through the rapid-antigen detection and 83,698 through RT-PCR method."Positivity rate for the day is 1.33 per cent and the case fatality rate 0.75 per cent across the state," added the bulletin.

Coronavirus LIVE: Serum Institute first to seek emergency use authorisation of Oxford vaccine in India, report

Serum Institute 1st Indian company to seek emergency use authorisation for Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield in India, say sources

Staffers cleaning the marquee board of Serum Institute on Friday, a day before PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the vaccine plant | Photo: Abhishek Waghmare

Bengal reports 3,143 new Covid-19 cases, 46 fresh fatalities

West Bengal's Covid-19 tally rose to 4,99,697 on Sunday as 3,143 more people tested positive for the infection, a health bulletin said. Forty-six fresh fatalities pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 8,723, it said. As many as 3,167 more people were cured of the disease, taking the recovery rate among the coronavirus patients in the state to 93.51 per cent, it said.


Kolkata registered the highest number of new cases at 765, followed by North 24 Parganas (746) and South 24 Parganas (209), it said. North 24 Parganas reported the highest number of coronavirus fatalities at 15, followed by Kolkata (10) and Hooghly (four), the bulletin said. The state now has 23,894 active coronavirus cases, it said. West Bengal has so far tested 61.35 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 44,186 in the last 24 hours, it said.

Chhattisgarh sees 1,229 new Covid-19 cases, 12 deaths

Chhattisgarh on Sunday recorded 1,229 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the count of infections to 2,46,809, a health official said. With 12 more patients succumbing to the infection, the cumulative toll in the state rose to 2,989, he said. The number of recoveries mounted to 2,23,772 after 93 people were discharged from various hospitals while 623 patients completed their home isolation during the day.


The state now has 20,048 active cases, the official informed. Raipur district reported 143 new cases, taking its total count to 47,745, including 671 deaths. Bilaspur recorded 117 new cases, Korba 86, Rajnandgaon 83, Durg 82 and Balodabazar 81 among other districts, he said. "Of the latest fatalities, five each took place on Sunday and Saturday while two had taken place earlier," the official added. Chhattisgarh's coronavirus figures are as follows: positive cases 2,46,809, new cases 1,229, deaths 2,989, recovered 2,23,772, active cases 20,048, people tested so far 27,60,291.

1,950 new Covid-19 cases take UP's tally to 5,54,944; death toll 7,924

The COVID-19 death toll in Uttar Pradesh rose to 7,924 on Sunday with 24 new fatalities, while 1,950 fresh cases took the infection tally to 5,54,944, an official statement issued here said. The statement said among the 24 new deaths, five were reported from Lucknow, three from Varanasi and two each from Kanpur and Ayodhya. Of the fresh COVID-19 cases, 283 were reported from Lucknow followed by 223 from Ghaziabad, 171 from Meerut, 138 from Gautam Buddh Nagar and 108 from Varanasi.


In the past 24 hours, 1,993 patients have recovered from the disease, taking the total number of recoveries to 5,24, 860, it said. The recovery rate in the state is 94.58 per cent, it said, adding that the count of active cases is currently 22,160. Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters that the positivity rate in December was 1.20 per cent. In the last 24 hours, over 1.79 lakh samples were tested for COVID-19, and so far more than 2.03 crore tests have been conducted in the state.

Coronavirus LIVE: 306 new Covid cases in Ahmedabad district; 310 recover

With 306 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the highest in Gujarat, Ahmedabad district's tally rose to 52,030, the state health department said. The count of fatalities in the district went up by 10 to 2,119, it said. With 310 patients getting discharged in the day, the number of recoveries outnumbered the newcases. The tally of recoveries now stands at 46,800 in the district, the release said.


Ahmedabad city reported 291 recoveries and the equal number of new infections, while rural areas added more recoveries than fresh cases. At 459, Ahmedabad's north-west zone overtook the west zone with the highest number of active cases, the civic body said in a release. The count of active cases in Ahmedabad now stands at 2,587, it said. The city municipal corporation has designated 106 private hospitals as COVID-19 hospitals.

Haryana reports 24 Covid-19 deaths, 1,498 fresh cases in a day

Twenty-four more fatalities related to the coronavirus infection took the death toll in Haryana to 2,588 on Sunday, while 1,498 fresh cases pushed the state's infection tally to 2,43,896. According to the state health department's bulletin, the new deaths included five each from Faridabad and Hisar and three each from Gurgaon and Karnal districts.


Among the districts which reported a big spike in cases included Gurgaon (310), Faridabad (265), Rewari (144), Panipat (105) and Sonipat (104). The number of active cases in the state stood at 12,897 while the recovery rate was 93.65 per cent, the bulletin stated.

Himachal records 553 new cases, tally near 45,000

Delhi reports 2,706 new Covid-19 cases, 69 fatalities

In 3 mths of resumption, Delhi Metro clocks 22% of 6-mn avg daily footfall

Nearly three months after it was opened to public after a five-month hiatus, Delhi Metro has managed to reach nearly a quarter of its pre-Covid daily footfall of 6 million.

On November 30, as many as 1.3-million riders travelled via the mass rapid transit network.

This may be a sign of significant improvement from the date of resumption of services, but it is just 22 per cent of the 6-million average daily ridership of Delhi Metro before the lockdown restrictions were imposed in March this year. Read more...

Tamil Nadu clocks 1,320 new Covid-19 cases, 16 deaths

Tamil Nadu on Sunday saw 1,320 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the overall infection count to 7.90 lakh, while 16 more fatalities pushed the toll to 11,793, the health department said.

As many as 1,398 people were discharged from health care facilities across the state after getting cured, taking the aggregate to 7,67,659, a bulletin said.

The number of active cases stood at 10,788.

The state capital and Coimbatore logged 346 and 139 cases respectively, while the rest were scattered across other districts.

Twenty more fatalities, 2,089 new Covid-19 cases recorded in a day in Rajasthan

Twenty more fatalities related to the coronavirus infection took the death toll in Rajasthan to 2,429 on Sunday, while 2,089 new cases pushed the infection tally to 2.80 lakh, according to a health department bulletin.

Of the total caseload, 22,427 are under treatment while 2,55,729 people have been discharged after treatment till now, it stated.

In Jaipur, the death toll stood at 455, followed by 253 in Jodhpur, 198 in Ajmer, 163 in Bikaner, 147 in Kota, 113 in Bharatpur, 104 in Udaipur and 95 in Pali.

UK Queen not to get special treatment, will wait in line for Covid vaccine

The UK's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip will not get preferential treatment, but will instead "wait in line" during the first wave of the Covid-19 vaccines reserved for the over-80s and care home residents, a media report said citing sources.
 
The Daily Mail report on Saturday came after the UK on December 2 approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on independent advice of its medicines regulator.

MP sees 1,455 new Covid-19 cases, 1,585 recoveries; 11 die

Madhya Pradesh on Sunday reported1,455 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the count of infections to 2,14,505, health officials said.

With 11 more patients succumbing to the viral infection- including three deaths in Indore, two each in Bhopal and Jabalpur and one each in Khargone, Rewa, Mandsaur and Singrauli- the tally of fatalities rose to 3,337, they said.

At the same time, 1,585 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries to 1,97,777.

Of the 1,455 new cases, Indore accounted for 533 and Bhopal 324.

Health Ministry says not aware where records related to Covid vaccine expert group are kept

The Union Health Ministry has said in response to an RTI application that it does not know where records related to agenda circulated in meetings of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 are held.

Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative had approached the ministry seeking details of the constitution and working of the expert group such as dates of meetings, a copy of the detailed agenda circulated in relation to every meeting, presentations made before its members, and material it had shared with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Nayak had also sought to know the amount of sitting fees and every other remuneration or allowances payable to the chairperson and every member of the expert group and the amount of sitting fees and every other remuneration or allowances actually paid to them.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) was constituted under the chairmanship of Member (Health) of Niti Aayog V K Paul on August 7 to prepare a strategy for the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine.

Meghalaya's Covid-19 tally stands at 12,237, death toll at 120

Meghalaya reported fresh 73 Covid-19 cases, pushing the state's tally to 12,237, a senior health official said on Sunday.

The death toll rose to 120 after two patients succumbed to the virus on Sunday, Health Services director Aman War said.

The northeastern state now has 664 active cases, including 404 in East Khasi Hills district, followed by 138 in West Garo Hills District.

CPCB guidelines in place for disposal of waste from Covid-19 diagnosis, treatment: AAP govt to HC

The AAP government has told the Delhi High Court that guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are in place for handling and disposal of waste generated during treatment, diagnosis and quarantine of Covid-19 patients.

The 'Guidelines for Handling, Treatment, and Disposal of Waste Generated during Treatment/Diagnosis/Quarantine of COVID-19 Patients' issued by the CPCB in July has been filed the Delhi government in response to the court's query regarding any protocol being in place for disposal of test kits and swabs.

The query by the court came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer alleging improper disposal of used swabs from rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 at the office of the southeast Delhi district magistrate at Lajpat Nagar.

Kerala's Covid-19 recoveries go past 5.72 lakh, new cases at 4,777

Kerala's Covid-19 recoveries on Sunday crossed 5.72 lakh as 5,217 people recuperated from the disease and 4,777 new cases were reported, Health Minister K K Shailaja said.

The total virus caseload mounted to 6,36,392 and 60,924 are presently under treatment.

In the last 24 hours, 51,893 samples were tested and the test positivity rate touched 9.21 per cent.

So far, 66,08,606 samples have been sent for testing.

Punjab CM seeks priority allocation of Covid-19 vaccine

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking priority allocation of Covid-19 vaccine to the state, on account of its higher mortality rate resulting from the population age profile and high levels of co-morbidities.

Pointing out that the vaccines currently under consideration would not perhaps reduce transmission so much as prevent serious disease, Amarinder Singh said the best use of these vaccines would therefore be in preventing serious illness in the most susceptible groups, including elderly and persons with high morbidity.

In his letter, the Chief Minister said despite its relatively low case load, the higher fatality rate due to the virus in Punjab, which thus needs special dispensation in the allocation of the vaccine.

Amarinder Singh also sought clarity as to whether the Covid-19 vaccination would be entirely funded by the Central government, including the cost of vaccines and vaccination supplies.

South Korea reports 631 more Covid-19 cases, 37,546 in total

South Korea reported 631 more cases of the Covid-19 as of midnight Saturday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 37,546.

The daily caseload was the highest in over nine months since March 2 when the reading recorded 686. The highest-ever figure was 909 tallied on Feb 29.

The daily number of confirmed cases rose in triple figures for 29 straight days since Nov. 8 owing to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases. Of the new cases, 253 were Seoul residents and 176 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.

Andhra Pradesh Covid-19 tally reaches 871,000 667 new infections

Active coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh dropped below the 6,000 mark to 5,910 on Sunday even as 667 were added fresh, taking the gross to 8.71 lakh.

In 24 hours ending 9 am on Sunday, 914 patients also recovered while nine others succumbed to COVID-19, the latest bulletin said.

The total recoveries in the state now reached 8,59,029 and deaths 7,033, the bulletin said.

Covid-19: UK Opposition Leader Keir Starmer self-isolates for second time

Britain's Leader of the Opposition, Labour leader Keir Starmer, has gone into self-isolation for a second time after a member of his staff tested positive for Covid-19.

In line with the current government rules, even though Starmer was said to be well and not displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, he will now have to stay at home for 14 days since his last contact with the affected person, which his spokesperson said ends on December 16.

"I'm pleased to say my colleague is feeling ok. I'm not showing any symptoms. But will now be working from home. Keep safe and follow the public health advice, said Starmer.

The Opposition leader has previously had to self-isolate in mid-September when a member of his household showed possible symptoms of the deadly virus. He did not experience any symptoms at the time.

Clinical trial: 17 volunteers given Sputnik V vaccine in Pune

A total of 17 volunteers have been administered Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a Pune hospital as part of the human clinical trials, doctors said on Sunday.

Sputnik V vaccine has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). As per reports, India has purchased 100 million doses of the candidate from Russia.

"Seventeen healthy volunteers were administered Sputnik V vaccine in the last three days as part of human trials," Dr S K Raut, Head of Clinical Research Department of Noble Hospital here, said.

Kashyap, Prannoy among four shuttlers test positive for coronavirus

Four Indian shuttlers, including Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy and RMV Guru Sai Dutt, have tested positive for novel coronavirus. Doubles specialist Pranaav Jerry Chopra is the fourth badminton player to have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

According to a source in the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the three shuttlers -- Kashyap, Prannoy and Chopra -- recently attended Guru Sai Dutt's wedding which took place on November 25 in Hyderabad.

They got themselves tested upon reaching the Pullela Gopichand Academy for the ongoing badminton national camp where their results returned positive. However, Saina Nehwal, who also attended the wedding, has tested negative.

Doctors informed me about Covaxin efficacy: Anil Vij

A day after Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij tested positive for coronavirus, he said on Sunday that the doctors had informed him that a second dose of Covaxin vaccine would be administered to him 28 days after the first one and he would develop antibodies 14 days after the second one.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, he said despite taking precautions, he got infected with coronavirus.

"I am undergoing treatment in Civil Hospital in Ambala and feeling better now," Vij said.

On November 20, he was given a shot of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for which he had volunteered.

Gujarat has started preparations for Covid-19 vaccination: CM

Gujarat has started preparations for the Covid-19 vaccination, which would start with around 396,000 healthcare workers, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Saturday.

"The Gujarat government has put together a cold chain infrastructure to store and transport the Covid-19 vaccine and made lists of priority beneficiaries. The first priority will be given to healthcare workers," he said while addressing the convocation ceremony at Marwadi University on Saturday.

"Around 3.96 lakh healthcare workers, including 2.71 lakh government doctors, nurses, and lab technicians as well as 1.25 lakh doctors, nurses, lab technicians and employees of private hospitals engaged in the COVID-19 duty will be given the first priority. People who will be vaccinated will be notified in advance through SMS about the date, time, and place," he added.

'Immune system's requirements for protection against Covid-19 decoded'

Scientists have assessed the novel coronavirus infection in monkeys and found that the immune system's T cells may contribute to protection against the virus if antibody responses are suboptimal, an advance which may aid in the development of vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19.
 
The study, published in the journal Nature, shed light on the role of antibodies and immune cells in protection against SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes Covid-19.
 
"In this study, we define the role of antibodies versus T cells in protection against Covid-19 in monkeys. We report that a relatively low antibody titre -- the concentration of antibodies in the blood -- is needed for protection," said study co-author Dan Barouch from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in the US.

UK prepares for historic moment' of vaccination against Covid-19

The first 50 National Health Service (NHS) hospitals are gearing up for what the UK government has described as the biggest immunisation programme in history as the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 arrived at secure locations in the country from neighbouring Belgium this weekend.

Frontline healthcare staff, people over the age of 80 and care home workers will be among the first to get the vaccine as part of Phase 1 of the programme from Tuesday, which was approved for rollout by the UK's independent regulator earlier this week.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had declared the jab, which claims to offer up to 95 per cent protection against Covid-19, is safe for human use against the novel coronavirus after rigorous checks.

Delhi: 11% of symptomatic negative cases in RAT found Covid-19 positive through RT-PCR

Nearly 11 per cent of those in the national capital who tested negative for COVID-19 in rapid antigen tests (RAT) but had symptoms for the disease were found to have been afflicted by the viral infection in RT-PCR test between September 1 and November 7, according to official data.

Out of the 56,862 symptomatic patients who tested negative in rapid antigen tests, 32,903 were retested through RT-PCR and of them 3,524 were found Covid-19 positive, according to the data shared by health authorities in response to an RTI query filed by a PTI reporter.

In order to effectively curb the spread of coronavirus infection, the Union Health Ministry had in September asked all states and Union Territories to mandatorily retest all symptomatic cases found Covid-19 negative in rapid antigen tests through RT-PCR so that no positive case is missed.

Seoul cancels New Year bell-ringing ceremony amid surge in COVID-19

A traditional New Year bell-ring ceremony will be cancelled in the South Korean capital of Seoul, as the country has faced yet another spike in Covid-19 cases, a municipal government official said on Sunday.

"Considering the rapid spread of Covid-19, we have to cancel the year-end bell-ringing ceremony," the official of Seoul's government said as quoted by the Yonhap news agency reported.

The annual ceremony, which takes place at Bosingak Pavilion, will be cancelled for the first time since it was established in 1953, after the end of the Korean War.

Europe battles surge in coronavirus deaths in nursing homes

As the two mortuary workers pushed a stretcher with a bagged corpse out of the room, the elderly man in the adjacent bed briefly awakened from his dementia. Is he dead? he muttered, extending his arm, trying to touch his roommate for the last time.

Reflecting on a scene repeated too many times, one of the workers, Manel Rivera, despaired at the growing number of elderly people dying as the coronavirus resurges.

The sad thing is, he said of the surviving man in the Barcelona nursing home, in a few days we'll probably come back for him.

France adds 12,923 Covid-19 cases, 216 deaths

France registered 12,923 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, taking its national count to 2,281,475, data from the country's health authorities showed.

The daily figure was higher than Friday's 11,221, data showed.Meanwhile, 216 more deaths were reported across the country, bringing the overall death toll to 54,981. The country also registered 8,589 new hospitalizations, it showed.

France is planning a three-stage vaccination campaign that will initially target 1 million elder people in nursing homes and their staff early next year.

35 fresh Covid-19 cases in Puducherry, no deaths

Puducherry reported 35 fresh Covid-19 cases on Sunday, taking the tally to 37,244, while the toll remained at 614 as there were no fatalities.

The day also saw 62 patients getting discharged from various hospitals after recovery.

Mahe region topped the list of fresh infections (18), followed by Puducherry 13, Karaikal 3 and Yanam 1, the Director of the Health Department S Mohan Kumar said in a release.

Cumulatively 37,244 cases have been confirmed, out of which 36,238 were treated and discharged.

US sets new record of average daily Covid-19 case count

The United States recorded over 214,000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday alone, pushing the seven-day average daily increase to an all-time high of nearly 180,000 cases.

A total of 214,099 cases and 2,439 deaths were reported across the nation on Friday, according to data updated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is the second consecutive day that the single-day count in the country surpassed 200,000, also the 27th consecutive day that the daily case increase exceeded 100,000.

Friday's new infections drove the seven-day average Covid-19 daily case count to a record high of 179,410 cases, and average death count to 1,981 cases, the highest since late April.

India's active Covid-19 caseload further contracts to 403,000

With India recording more recoveries than the new Covid-19 cases for the last nine days, the active coronavirus caseload dropped to 4.03 lakh (4,03,248) on Sunday, the lowest in 138 days, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"This is the lowest in 138 days. The total active cases were 4,02,529, on July 21, 2020," the Ministry said in a release.

The country's present active caseload consists of just 4.18 per cent of the total positive cases.

As many as 36,011 new coronavirus cases were registered while 41,970 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, and with this, the new recoveries have led to a net decline of 6,441 in the total Active cases.

Russia registers new single-day record of 29,039 Covid-19 cases

Russia has registered a new single-day record for Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day as 29,039 new positive tests were confirmed by the federal response center on Sunday, bringing the country's case total to 2,460,770.

The previous single-day record of 28,782 new cases was reported on December 5.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 29,039 Covid-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 6,065 (20.9 percent) were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said.

Pak reports 416,499 new cases of coronavirus: Health Ministry

Pakistan has reported 3,308 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total cases of infections in the nation to 416,499, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The Ministry of National Health Services also said that 58 more people died, taking the total deaths due to the contagious disease to 8,361.

The cases of coronavirus in the country continues to go up and now it has touched 416,499, the health ministry said in a statement.

US Covid-19 deaths could surpass 500,000 despite vaccination: Report

A total of over 500,000 people could die from COVID-19 in the US by early spring despite the release of the coronavirus vaccine, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle projects.
 
"Even with expected vaccine rollout, the United States is forecast to see 539,000 deaths by April 1...In the US, the expected vaccine rollout only reduces the death toll by April 1 by 9,000 deaths," Sputnik quoted IHME as saying, at the University of Washington in Seattle projects.
 
The projections show a rapid vaccine rollout is forecast to reduce the COVID-19-related death toll to 528,000 in the US with vaccination targeting high-risk groups, the death toll could be reduced from 548,000 to 524,000.
 
"The forecasts show that if mask-wearing increased to 95 per cent, combined with expected vaccine rollout, approximately 66,000 lives could be saved, compared to a vaccine rollout scenario with current mask-wearing levels remaining the same. Even with a vaccine, if states do not act to bring current surges under control, the death toll could reach 770,000 by April 1," according to IHME.

611 new Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra's Thane; tally reaches 232,401

Thane has added 611 new COVID-19 cases, raising the tally in the Maharashtra district to 2,32,401, an official said on Sunday. Seven more people have also succumbed to coronavirus infection, taking the toll in the district to 5,733. As of now, there are 7,278 active COVID-19 cases in the district, while 2,19,390 patients have recovered, he said.
 
The COVID-19 recovery rate in the district is 94.40 per cent, the mortality rate is 2.47 per cent, while the active cases constitute 3.13 per cent of the total cases reported so far.
 
Among cities in the district, Kalyan has reported the maximum number of COVID-19 cases at 54,753, followed by Thane city-52,521, Navi Mumbai-48,899 and Mira Bhayander-24,452.

Germany confirms over 17,700 new Covid-19 cases over past day

Germany has registered 17,767 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total count to 1,171,322, the Robert Koch Institute said on Sunday. The death toll has grown by 255 to 18,772 people within the same period of time.
 
One day earlier, public health officials in Germany confirmed 23,318 new positive tests for the disease and a rise to the death toll of 483.
 
The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 66.5 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.5 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

India’s total Active Caseload fallen to 4.03 lakh (4,03,248) today: Health Ministry

Bengal woman, days away from turning 100, recovers from Covid-19

A month shy of 100, Bhabatarini Samanta had to battle the deadliest of foes in the path of her becoming a centenarian - the coronavirus. And, she mananged to get the better of it, stunning doctors and family members alike. Samanta, at 99 years and 11 months, was admitted to a designated COVID-19 hospital in Fuleswar area on November 24 with fever and breathing trouble.
 
Subhasis Mitra, director of the hospital, said she had numerous complications, and a medical team had to be set up to assess her health condition.
 
"With time and care, she started recovering. We are delighted that we could make her free from COVID-19 and send her home in time for the 100th birthday, which is just a few days away," he said.
 
As a farewell gesture to the elderly woman, doctors, nurses and other staff of the hospital sang songs, gave her flowers and sweets before she boarded an ambulance to depart for home on Saturday. Mitra also said that so far, around 4,000 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to the hospital, and of them, 3,700 recovered.

43 quarantined in China after Covid-19 found in frozen food

At least 43 people have been placed under quarantine after a frozen-food sample in China's Heilongjiang province tested positive for the novel coronavirus. On Saturday, the authorities in the provincial capital of Harbin launched an emergency response after a third-party inspection agency found the frozen-food sample from a local trading company that tested positive for the virus the previous day, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
As of 5 p.m. Saturday, 43 close contacts had been quarantined in designated places and 109 were under observation at home, according to the Harbin epidemic response headquarters. A total of 1,350 samples from these people, food products and the surrounding environment have been taken.
 
The 989 samples tested so far all showed negative results. Authorities have disinfected and sealed off the processing and storage facilities of the frozen-food products and sealed up the related frozen-food production materials and semi-finished products. They are also tracking the infection source of the virus.

Coronavirus LIVE: Telangana's Covid cases top 2.72 lakh mark

Telangana has reported 622 fresh Covid-19 infections, pushing the state's tally to over 2.72 lakh, health officials said on Sunday. The declining trend in new cases continued despite authorities stepping up daily tests to over 57,000. The fresh cases pushed the state's tally to 2,73,341 while two more people have succumbed to the disease during the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,472.
 
The fatality rate stands at 0.53 per cent against the national average of 1.5 per cent. According to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 44.96 per cent of the fatalities were due to coronavirus while the remaining 55.04 were on account of comorbidities.
 
Recoveries continued to outnumber the new cases. The last 24 hours registered 993 recoveries, pushing the cumulative recoveries to 2,63,744. The number of active cases dropped further to 8,125 including 6,116 who are in home or institutional isolation. The recovery rate jumped to 96.48 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 94.3 per cent.

21 more people, including two BSF soldiers, test positive for Covid-19 in Mizoram

Brazil's Covid-19 death toll tops 176,000

Brazil's coronavirus death toll has increased to 176,628 after the country registered 664 new fatalities in the last 24 hours. The new death toll puts Brazil in the second place with the highest number of coronavirus fatalities after the US. Also on Saturday, an additional 43,209 people tested positive for the virus, which increased the overall caseload to 6,577,177, the third highest after the US and India.
 
Since November, the South American country has experienced an increase in cases and deaths from the virus, causing hospitals in the two largest cities in the country, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, to reach a 100 per cent occupancy. The state of Sao Paulo, the epicentre of the outbreak in the country, has so far registered around 1.29 million infections and 43,000 deaths.

With 36,011 new coronavirus infections, India's total cases rise to 96,44,222

China prepares large-scale rollout of Covid-19 vaccines

Provincial governments across China are placing orders for experimental, domestically made coronavirus vaccines, though health officials have yet to say how well they work or how they may reach the country's 1.4 billion people.
 
Developers are speeding up final testing, the Chinese foreign minister said Thursday during a UN meeting, as Britain issued approval for emergency use of Pfizer Inc.'s vaccine candidate and providers scrambled to set up distribution. China's fledgling pharmaceutical industry has at least five vaccines from four producers being tested in more than a dozen countries including Russia, Egypt and Mexico.
 
Health experts say even if they are successful, the certification process for the United States, Europe, Japan and other developed countries might be too complex for them to be used there. However, China said it will ensure the products are affordable for developing countries.

622 new coronavirus cases, two deaths in Telangana

Telangana reported 622 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to over 2.73 lakh while two fatalities pushed the toll to 1,472. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 104, followed by Rangareddy 55 and Medchal Malkajgiri 51, a government bulletin said on Sunday providing details as of 8 pm on December 5.
 
As many as8,125 patients are under treatment and57,308 samples were tested on Saturday.
 
Cumulatively, over 57.79 lakh samples have been tested. The samples tested per million population was over 1.55 lakh, the bulletin said. The case fatality rate in the state was 0.53 per cent, while it was 1.5 per cent at the national level. The recovery rate in Telangana was 96.48 per cent, while it was 94.3 per cent in the country.

With 36,011 new coronavirus infections, India's total cases rise to 96,44,222

Covid-19 could push number of people living in extreme poverty to over 1 billion by 2030: UN

An additional 207 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to the severe long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total number of the world's extremely poor to more than a billion, a new study from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has found.
 
The study assesses the impact of different COVID-19 recovery scenarios on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), evaluating the multidimensional effects of the pandemic over the next decade. The study is part of a long-standing partnership between the UNDP and the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver.
 
"Severe long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could push an additional 207 million people into extreme poverty on top of the current pandemic trajectory, bringing the total to over 1 billion by 2030," noted the study.

Vaccine efficacy based on 2 doses: Bharat Biotech after Haryana minister tests positive

After Haryana minister Anil Vij, who is a participant in the phase 3 clinical trial of Bharat Biotech's investigational Covid19 vaccine candidate, tested positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus, the Hyderabad based vaccine maker clarified that Covaxin has been designed to be efficacious based on a two-dose schedule, given 28-days apart.
 
The company also clarified that the vaccine efficacy will be determined 14-days post the second dose. Further, Bharat Biotech International (BBIL) said that the phase 3 trials are double blinded and randomised where 50 per cent of the subjects will receive the vaccine, and 50 per cent would receive the placebo. BBIL also confirmed that the minister had not yet received two doses of the vaccine. READ ON...

Global Covid-19 cases cross 66-million mark: Johns Hopkins

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has crossed the 66 million mark, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.52 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update on Sunday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 66,460,498 and 1,527,972, respectively.
 
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 14,575,623 and 281,134, respectively, according to the CSSE. India comes in second place in terms of cases at 9,608,211, while the country's death toll soared to 139,700.
 
The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (6,577,177), Russia (2,410,462), France (2,334,626), the UK (1,710,379), Italy (1,709,991), Spain (1,684,647), Argentina (1,459,832), Colombia (1,362,249), Germany (1,170,095), Mexico (1,168,395), Poland (1,054,273) and Iran (1,028,986), the CSSE figures showed.
 
Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 176,628. The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (109,456), the UK (61,111), Italy (59,514), France (55,073), Iran (50,016), Spain (46,252), Russia (42,228), Argentina (39,632), Colombia (37,633), Peru (36,195) and South Africa (22,067).

UK records another 15,539 coronavirus cases with 397 deaths

Another 15,539 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,705,971. The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 397 to 61,014, the data showed on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
The figures came as Britain's chief medical officers warned Saturday that the coming winter would be "especially hard" for the health service due to coronavirus despite hopes brought by vaccines.
 
"Although the very welcome news about vaccines means that we can look forward to 2021 with greater optimism, vaccine deployment will have only a marginal impact in reducing numbers coming into the health service with COVID over the next three months," the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said in a letter to colleagues.
 
The experts urged the public to show restraint and self-discipline, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

Private health care providers gear up for Covid-19 vaccination drive

The country’s private health care providers are gearing up to participate in the nationwide Covid-19 immunisation drive planned for 2021. While the government has met industry bodies that represent hospitals and diagnostic labs, the industry, on its part, is drafting out the road map for vaccination and where they can chip in.
 
According to sources, the government has sought data in two templates. One template will have details on how much human resources can the private sector mobilise, how much CSR funds can be mobilised, how many vaccinations can be handled each day, and which are the areas that they can cover. The other template will have data on cold-chain logistics, what kind of refrigeration facilities does the private sector have, and what kind of storage facilities can they offer.
 
Industry bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, and Nathealth-Healthcare Federation of India are working with the government on the road map. READ ON...

US Covid-19 deaths top 280,000: Johns Hopkins University

US COVID-19 deaths surpassed 280,000, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. With the national caseload topping 14.4 million, the death toll across the United States rose to 280,090 on Saturday, according to the CSSE data, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
New York State reported 34,853 fatalities, at the top of the U.S. state-level death toll list. Texas recorded the second most deaths, standing at 22,825. The states of California, Florida and New Jersey all confirmed more than 17,000 deaths. States with more than 10,000 fatalities also include Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Michigan.
 
The United States remains the nation hit the worst by the pandemic, with the world's highest caseload and death toll, accounting for more than 18 percent of the global deaths.
 
The cumulative COVID-19 deaths in the United States surpassed 270,000 on December 1. The past four days saw the US daily deaths skyrocket beyond 2,500. On Thursday, a total of 2,879 deaths were added, the worst single-day loss of lives since the pandemic began, the CSSE data showed.

Pfizer India seeks emergency use authorisation from DCGI for its Covid-19 vaccine

Peru registers 2,014 new coronavirus cases, 970,860 in total

Peru confirmed on Friday 2,014 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total caseload to 970,860, according to the country's health ministry. The ministry also announced 91 new deaths from the virus, and the death toll in this country went up to 36,195.
 
Peru registered a stagnation of death toll, which has been maintained over the last six weeks at an average of 320 to 380 deaths per week, said Luis Rodriguez, director of the epidemiology centre of the Health Ministry.
 
The official also indicated that these figures reflect a trend which can be considered toward normalization of the number of deaths. In spite of this, the official also warned Peruvians "to be prepared for another outbreak of the pandemic in two to three months, similar to what is currently happening in Europe.

Haryana recorded 1,557 new coronavirus cases on Saturday

Coronavirus LIVE: 35 new cases take Nagaland's Covid-19 tally to 11,340

A day after registering the record COVID-19 recovery rate, Nagaland on Saturday reported no fresh recoveries but the state's caseload mounted to 11,340 with detection of 35 new cases, a health department official said. Of the fresh cases, 34 were reported from Kohima and one from Kiphire district, Health Department director Dr Denis Hangsing said.
 
Since no coronavirus patient was cured of the disease during the day, the recovery rate came down to 93.9 per cent, he said, adding that the ratio was at 94.19 per cent on Friday.
 
The death toll remained at 68 as no new fatality due to the infection was reported. Nagaland now has 511 active cases, while 10,649 people have recovered from the disease. A total of 112 patients have migrated to other states. The northeastern state has so far conducted 8,381 rapid antigen tests, while 69,887 samples were tested through RT-PCR and 36,149 through TrueNat, he added.

Pakistan records over 3,000 Covid-19 cases for third consecutive day

The worsening COVID-19 situation in Pakistan does not seem to abate just yet, as the country recorded over 3,000 new cases for the third consecutive day, according to data issued by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Saturday. COVID-19 cases in Pakistan surged by at least 3,119 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total coronavirus tally to 413,191, reported Geo News.
 
In the last 24 hours, Sindh reported the highest number of cases at 1,664 while 540 new infections were reported in Punjab, 419 cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 353 cases in Islamabad, 68 cases in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and 59 cases in Balochistan.
 
The number of active cases in Pakistan has climbed to 52,359 with 2,441 patients in critical care. Furthermore, at least 44 people succumbed to the virus on Friday, raising the death toll to 8,303.

World counting on us for affordable coronavirus vaccine, says PM Modi

A vaccine to prevent Covid-19 could be available in India in a few weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, citing experts.
 
Trials are on for eight different vaccines, of which three are of Indian origin. “As safety in the use of these vaccines, along with their cost, is paramount, India will rely on the judgement of medical experts. But a roll-out could happen in weeks,” Modi told leaders during an all-party meeting. Thirteen leaders from prominent political parties, having five or more than five MPs, spoke at the meeting.
 
The PM said the cost of the vaccine was an issue that would be discussed with state governments. In its Bihar election manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had said the vaccine would be distributed free of cost in the state. State governments had suggested that the medical community and other frontline workers handling Covid-19 patients and older people with co-morbidities should be vaccinated first. READ ON...

Russia confirms single-day record of 28,782 new Covid-19 cases

Russia registered 28,782 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number of daily infections to date. The country has registered 2,431,731 coronavirus infections over the course of the pandemic, making its caseload the fourth highest in the world, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday. Meanwhile, 508 new deaths were reported, taking the nationwide count to 42,684.
 
Moscow, the country's worst-hit region, reported 7,993 new cases, taking its tally of infections to 640,050, the response center said. According to the center, 1,916,396 people have recovered, including 27,644 over the past day. So far, over 78.7 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted across the country.

Recoveries outnumber new Covid-19 cases in Delhi, positivity rates falls to 4%

The positivity rate of Covid-19 cases in the national capital has fallen further to around 4 per cent after the Delhi tested over 80,000 tests in the last 24 hours. The capital city tested 81,473 samples, of which, 3,149 turned out positive while 4,916 people recovered from the Covid-19 on Saturday. Meanwhile, 77 deaths were recorded in the same duration. The continuous high number of tests have pushed the positivity rate further down to 4.2 per cent, the government data showed.
 
The toal tally has reached 5,89,544 while the toll has risen to 9,574. Meanwhile, of the total tests conducted in the last 24 hours, 3,552 were done through RT-PCR and 46,121 were Rapid Antigen Tests. The capital city has conducted 66,67,166 tests so far, according to the bulletin by the Delhi health department.
 
The number of containment zones have been raised to 6,045.
 
After battling the third surge with lack of healthcare facilities, and huge number of daily new infections and fatalities in November, December has arrived as a relief for Delhi. The number of daily cases and the positivity rate has gone down drastically with the start of the month as the daily new cases are now limited to below 5,000, the positivity rate is also below 5%.

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