India had supplied COVID-19 vaccine to 13 countries as grants through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). These countries are Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Barbados and Dominica. Also the vaccine had been supplied to 14 countries (Bangladesh, Myanmar, Morocco, Brazil, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia and El-Salvador) under commercial contract, the Union Health Ministry said.
Here are the latest updates:
Drop in fatality rate in India
India’s tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,09,50,201 with 12,881 new infections, while the recoveries surged to 1,06,56,845, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, February 18, 2021.
The death toll increased to 1,56,014 with 101 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate has dropped to 1.42 per cent, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,06,56,845 which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of 97.32 per cent.
The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 1.5 lakh.
There are 1,37,342 active cases of coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 1.25 per cent of the total cases, the data stated
India’s gift to U.N. peacekeepers
India announced a gift of 2,00,000 doses of vaccine to the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces on Wednesday.
The announcement was made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his remarks at a U.N. Security Council open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020), passed last year, noting the impact of COVID-19 globally and calling for the cessation of hostilities around the world to help combat the pandemic. The debate was attended by the Foreign Ministers of UNSC member countries.
Self-registration for COVID-19 vaccine soon: Health Ministry
Version 2.0 of the CO-Win digital app for self registration of COVID-19 vaccine beneficiaries is ready and will be launched soon, the Health Ministry said Wednesday. Plans to involve private sector healthcare facilities in a significant way in the ongoing vaccination drive was also under way, it said.
“This will enable registration of the population in the 50 yrs+ category for COVID vaccination, which is the third population priority group after healthcare workers and front line workers that are presently taking the vaccine,” said the Ministry in its release issued following a high level meeting chaired by P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
Tamil Nadu and Punjab falling behind other States in COVID-19 vaccination drive
The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in Tamil Nadu and Punjab is slow compared to other major States. As of February 15, both States had vaccinated less than 40% of their registered healthcare workers. Also, Tamil Nadu has administered 0.3 doses per 100 people, the lowest among all States/UTs as of February 15. Overall, India has administered 85,16,771 doses — the fourth highest in the world among 48 countries with updated data. However, only 0.63 doses have been administered per 100 people — the fifth lowest among these nations.
NIMHANS uploads 250 genome sequences
The genome sequencing lab at NIMHANS has uploaded results of nearly 250 genome sequences on the global genomic database so far, said V. Ravi, nodal officer for genetic confirmation for SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka.
Dr. Ravi, who is also a member of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said India has contributed more than 7,000 sequences on the global database and nearly 2,500 were in the last one-and-a-half months alone.
Evidence of COVID-19 reinfection without mutations in spike protein
There have been cases of reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 across the globe and including a particular case where it had occurred despite the presence of neutralising antibodies. The study then showed the presence of a mutation in the structural spike protein of the coronavirus as it has happened in most cases of reinfection.
However, there is also evidence of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 refinfection without any mutations to the spike protein, a joint study by scientists of CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) and doctors at the Apollo Hospitals here indicated on Wednesday.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)