According to Ravi Wankhedkar, member, Indian Medical Association (IMA), rural and tribal areas are facing a grim situation and have increased the incidence of infection due to malnutrition leading to decreased immunity, inappropriate COVID behaviour (gathering at marriages, funerals, religious functions) and lack of proper in-house quarantine facilities.
Here are the latest updates:
Plea seeks door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination for people above 75 years
A public interest litigation has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the Centre, Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination for people above the age of 75 and those who are physically challenged or bed-ridden.
The petition filed by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari on Friday stated that such persons may not be able to visit vaccination centres or may or may find it difficult to do so.
Rajasthan CM expresses concern over infection spread in second wave
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday expressed concern over the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the State, saying most of the people infected in the second wave of the spread of the disease are being found asymptomatic.
“Now the coronavirus has become more dangerous than earlier. In such a situation, we all have to show seriousness. I appeal again to everyone to strictly follow the anti-Covid protocol of wearing masks, frequently washing hands and maintaining social distance. Even a little carelessness can be dangerous,” Mr Gehlot said in a tweet.
Britain adds 4 more countries to travel ban list
The British government is adding four more countries — Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines — to its travel ban list amid concerns over new variants of the coronavirus. Now, there will be a total of 39 nations on the government’s so-called “red list.”
The Department for Transport said the latest restrictions will take effect in England from April 9.
Under the terms of the travel bans, international visitors who have departed from or traveled through through the countries in the preceding 10 days will be refused entry into England.
British and Irish nationals, and those who have residence rights in the UK, can enter but must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days, at their own expense.
Restaurants, bars, malls to be shut for week in Pune
Eateries, bars and restaurants in Pune district of Maharashtra will remain shut for seven days starting April 3 in view of a substantial rise in coronavirus cases of late.
A curfew will be in place across the district from 6 pm to 6 am, and malls, cinema halls and places of religious worship will also be shut during this seven-day period.
The decision to impose these curbs was taken during a review meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. – PTI
Schools upto Class 8 shut till Apr 11 in Uttar Pradesh
The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday extended to April 11 the closure of all schools for students up to Class 8, amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the state. Earlier, the government had shut schools for students up to Class 8 till March 31.
During this period, teachers will continue to go to schools for administrative work while education activities will not be there.
Lockdown in parts of 4 districts of Madhya Pradesh
The Madhya Pradesh government has placed urban areas of Chhindwara district and Ratlam city under lockdown, while it will come into force in Betul district and parts of Khargone from Friday night to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The lockdown in Chhindwara’s urban areas and Ratlam city came into force from 10 pm on Thursday, which will continue till 6 am on April 5.
The entire Betul district will be placed under lockdown from 10 pm on Friday and urban areas of Khargone district from 8 pm. The curbs there will continue till 6 am on April 5.
Priyanka Gandhi self isolates after husband tests positive
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday self isolated after her husband Robert Vadra tested positive for COVID-19.
In a video message, she said she has been exposed to coronavirus and is accordingly self-isolating.
She also announced the cancellation of her poll campaign in Assam on Friday, in Tamil Nadu on Saturday and in Kerala on Sunday.
In a separate Facebook post, Robert Vadra said he has tested positive after he came in contact with someone who was COVID positive.
“Hi friends, unfortunately, I came into contact with someone COVID +ve and have tested positive for COVID although I am asymptomatic so far. As per the COVID guidelines, Priyanka and I are self-isolating although she has tested negative,” he said in his post.
UP cop tests positive for COVID-19 weeks after second vaccine shot
A senior police officer, who took his second coronavirus vaccine dose last month, and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19.
Inspector General of Police (IG) Rajesh Pandey shared a Facebook post on Thursday, saying he, his wife and a policeman deployed for his security have tested positive for the disease.
The officer also requested all those who came in contact with him recently to get tested.
Pandey’s son had tested positive for COVID-19 three days ago.
India records highest single-day vaccine coverage
More than 36.7 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day coverage till now, the Union Health ministry said on Friday.
Of the 36,71,242 vaccine doses, 33,65,597 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 51,215 sessions for the first dose and 3,05,645 beneficiaries received the second dose of vaccine, the Health ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said this is the highest single-day vaccine coverage till now.
Single-day rise of 81,466 cases, highest in six months
India recorded the highest single-day rise in coronavirus (COVId-19) cases in six months with 81,466 new infections in a span of 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,23,03,131, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.
The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded since October 2, 2020, while the death toll increased to 1,63,396 with 469 daily new fatalities, the highest since December 6, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.
Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar hospitalised, after testing positive for COVID-19
Former India captain and batting icon Sachin Tendulkar has been hospitalised as a precautionary measure, six days after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The 47-year-old took to twitter to announce the development on Friday.
Sri Lanka temporarily suspends COVID-19 vaccine jabs
Sri Lanka has temporarily halted its COVID-19 vaccination programme as there was a delay in securing more AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, a top health minister has said.
Sri Lanka launched its inoculation programme late January when India gifted 500,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca. Till Thursday 913,219 people out of the island nation’s 21 million population had been vaccinated.
Vaccination programme has been halted from Wednesday night due to the need to use the available Oxford-AstraZeneca doses for the second jab of those already vaccinated, primary health care and COVID-19 prevention minister Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror newspaper on Friday.
She said the COVID-19 vaccination programme was temporarily suspended as there was a delay in securing more AstraZeneca vaccines, the report added.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) recently suspended exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The WHO has recommended that the second jab must be made available within 12 weeks of the first. The second dose was to be administered from April 19, the report said.
After the free gift, Sri Lanka placed an order for more doses of the Indian vaccine.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Covishield, has been developed in collaboration with SII.
Govt’s expert panel allows clinical trials for third dose of Covaxin
The expert panel of India’s drug regulator, DCGI, has permitted Bharat Biotech to give a third dose of Covaxin to a few volunteers in its clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine, sources said.
Bharat Biotech presented amendments to the subject expert committee of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in the approved Phase 2 clinical trial protocol for administration of booster dose six months after second dose.
“The firm presented amendments in the approved Phase 2 clinical trial protocol for administration of booster dose after six months after second dose. After detailed deliberation, the committee recommended that the firm should conduct the booster dose study only in 6 mcg cohort and also should follow up the subjects at least for six months after the third dose,” the SEC said.
Further, Bharat Biotech was asked to present the details of the primary and secondary objectives and various assessments to be carried out in the subjects.
“Accordingly, firm (Bharat Biotech) should submit the revised clinical trial protocol for evaluation,” the SEC said in the meeting that took place on March 23.
Single-day rise of 81,466 cases, highest in six months
India saw 81,466 new coronavirus infections being reported in a span of 24 hours, the highest single-day rise in six months, taking the COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,23,03,131, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday, April 2, 2021.
The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded since October 2, 2020, while the death toll increased to 1,63,396 with 469 daily new fatalities, the highest since December 6, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Registering a steady increase for the 23rd day in row, the active cases have increased to 6,14,696 comprising 5 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 93.67 per cent, the data stated.
As many as 81,484 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on October 2 while 482 daily deaths were registered on December 6.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 11525039. The case fatality rate stood at 1.33 per cent, the data stated.
Youth at high risk
Children, younger adults at high risk
The second surge of COVID-19 puts children and younger adults at high risk with the situation being very grim especially in rural and tribal areas which were spared in the first wave, warn experts even as the country has been witnessing a steady rise in cases and with the government on Thursday opening up vaccination to all persons 45 years and above.
“Children and young adults are mostly uninfected so far and therefore are at high risk of contracting the infection. The schools and colleges are functioning in most States resulting in higher risk of transmission in closed settings. Young adults have resumed working from office and are again at higher risk in closed spaces,’’ explained Giridhar R. Babu, Head of Life Course, Epidemiology, Public Health Foundation of India.
WHO: Europe’s vaccination COVID-19 programme is ‘unacceptably slow’
European nations’ immunisation campaigns against COVID-19 are “unacceptably slow” and risk prolonging the pandemic, a senior World Health Organisation official said Thursday. Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, said vaccines “present our best way out of this pandemic,” but noted that to date, only 10% of Europe’s population has received one dose and that only 4% have been fully protected with two doses.
“As long as coverage remains low, we need to apply the same public health and social measures as we have in the past, to compensate for delayed schedules,” Dr. Kluge said.
Third vaccine in India
Sputnik V vaccine yet to receive SEC approval for emergency use
Sputnik V vaccine has not got the emergency use authorisation on Thursday, confirmed an official, following the meeting of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC). The Committee, set up by the government, looked into Dr Reddy’s application seeking the approval for the vaccine use in India.
Young patients turning up with clinical, radiological changes
Of late, doctors are noticing changes in clinical presentation of COVID-19 patients and radiological findings in young patients that have led them to analyse the variations when compared to last year.
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, health officials and doctors have been noting that a significant number of patients are now in the lower age group. They were reporting with variations in clinical presentation, early onset of complications and changes in lung findings.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)