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Coronavirus News Updates: Schools in Kerala to partially re-open for Classes 10, 12 tomorrow

Coronavirus News Updates: In its guidelines, the General Education Department has directed that only 50 percent of students be allowed at a time in schools and that classes be arranged as one student per bench in the first week.

FP Staff December 31, 2020 21:21:18 IST
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Coronavirus News Updates: Schools in Kerala to partially re-open for Classes 10, 12 tomorrow

Representational image. News18

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Dec 31, 2020 - 21:07 (IST)

Mutated strain not found in samples of UK returnees, says Odisha govt

The Odisha government on Thursday said that no mutated strain of coronavirus was found in any of the returnees from the United Kingdom or their immediate
contacts, an official said. A total swab samples of six returnees were sent to Pune and Delhi for genome sequencing and no report confirmed the existence of the UK strain, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare P K Mohapatra.
 
A total of 188 people have returned to Odisha from the UK, of whom 179 have been traced by the State Health & Family Welfare Department. Seven of them have so far tested positive for COVID-19, he said. Of the detected seven coronavirus positive cases, four had come from the UK and the rest had come in contact with them, the additional chief secretary said. The mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in any of the samples from Odisha, Mohapatra said.

Dec 31, 2020 - 19:33 (IST)

32 UK returnees test COVID positive in Kerala

 

 As many as 32 people,  who recently returned from the UK, have tested positivefor COVID-19 in Kerala, while the state recorded 5,215 fresh infections and 30 more fatalities on Thursday. The samples of the infected people have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for further testing to ascertain if it is the new variant, Health Minister KK Shailaja said in a press release. While the total caseload climbed to 7,60,932, recoveries touched 6,92,480 and 65,202 people are undergoing treatment for the virus.The toll has gone up to 3,072 with 30 more deaths being added to the tally after they were confirmed due to the infection.

PTI

Dec 31, 2020 - 18:55 (IST)

UP govt cautions against falling prey to fradusters seeking details for COVID vaccine registration

The Uttar Pradesh health department has cautioned people against falling prey to tricksters seeking Aadhaar card numbers, one-time-passwords and bank details telephonically on the pretext of getting them registered for anti- COVID-19 vaccination. A Gorakhpur district health official said the state government has launched no plan as yet to get general people inoculated against COVID-19 as the state’s priority is to vaccinate frontline anti- COVID-19 workers.

Read full report

Dec 31, 2020 - 18:38 (IST)

Kerala schools to re-open for classes 10,12 from tomorrow

 Schools in Kerala, which have remained closed since the imposition of coronavirus lockdown in March, will reopen partially on 1 January, marking a new beginning in the education sector, but strictly in compliance with COVID protocols. The classes for 10th and 12th standards would begin with limited hours and restricted number of students, official sources said on Thursday. State Health Minister K K Shailaja said on Thursday that the academic year, which comes at a time of COVID pandemic, should be dealt with confidence but caution.  "Students should not be afraid to go to schools. The governmenthas made all arrangements," she said, urging everyone to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the health and the educations departments.

PTI

Dec 31, 2020 - 18:06 (IST)

Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till 31 Jan, eases curbs

The Tamil Nadu government has extended lockdown restrictions in the state till 31 January, while announcing relaxations such as lifting time restrictions on places of worship and allowing indoor and outdoor shootings for films and serials to be held without a limit on the number of participants, said reports. As per a report by News Minute,the state government has also increased the cap on visitors to 200 persons or 50 percent capacity of the indoor arenas where religious, social, political, sports, entertainment and cultural meetings are held.

According to the Indian Express, the government has denied permission for the public to gather at the beaches for Kaanum Pongal on 16 January.

Dec 31, 2020 - 17:54 (IST)

Andhra Pradesh records 338 new cases, four deaths

Andhra Pradesh COVID-19 tally rose to 8.82 lakh as 338 cases were added afresh in 24 hours ending 9 am on Thursday. The latest bulletin said 328 patients had recovered and four more succumbed in a day.  The number of active cases in the state now reduced to 3,262 after a total of 8,71,916 recoveries and 7,108 deaths.

PTI

Dec 31, 2020 - 17:41 (IST)

SEC meeting at noon tomorrow: Report

At noon on 1 January, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC)  of the CDSCO will meet to discuss emergency use authorisation of Bharat Biotech's coronavirus vaccine candidate Covaxin and Serum Insititute's Covishield, reports CNN-News18. During the meeting Pfizer will make a presentation and Zydus Cadila is expected to ask for starting phase-3 trials of its vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D.

Dec 31, 2020 - 17:23 (IST)

China approves first locally made COVID vaccine for general use

China has approved its first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine for general use, health regulators said on Thursday, marking the addition of another vaccine in the global fight against a virus that is surging back in many places as winter sets in.The two-dose vaccine from state-owned Sinopharm is the first approved for general use in China. The go-ahead comes shortly after the country launched a program to vaccinate 50 million people before the Lunar New Year holiday in February. 

Technically, China granted conditional approval for the vaccine, which means that research is still ongoing, and the company will be required to submit follow-up data as well as reports of any adverse effects after the vaccine is sold on the market, Chen Shifei, the deputy commissioner of the National Medical Products Administration, told a news conference.

AP

Dec 31, 2020 - 17:16 (IST)

Health Ministry releases communication strategy document to support COVID-19 vaccination

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday released a communication strategy to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in India that seeks to disseminate accurate and transparent information by alleviating apprehensions and ensuring its acceptance.  The 88-page document details information to guide national, state and district level communication activities to enable information about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination process reaches all people, across all states in the country.  According to the document, the strategy aims at managing and mitigating any potential disappointment expressed by unmet demand for the vaccine or 'eagerness' amongst people and addressing vaccine 'hesitancy' that could arise because of apprehensions around vaccine safety, efficacy apart from any other myths and misconceptions.

Dec 31, 2020 - 17:05 (IST)

No gatherings allowed in open public places during night curfew: Delhi Police

No gatherings will be allowed in open public places like Connaught Place and India Gate during the night curfew imposed by the Delhi government on 31 December and 1 January due to COVID-19 and its highly transmissible UK strain, police said on Thursday.    "Till 11 pm on 31 December and 1 January, normal COVID-19 protocols are being followed and gatherings are allowed. But beyond 11 pm till 6 am on next day, public gathering is not allowed in places like Connaught Place and India Gate," Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal said. "Only the licensed premises have been exempted from this. They can continue to operate with their licence condition, including half the seating capacity and other COVID-19 protocols," Singhal said. Police will be deployed in large numbers and action taken against violations, he said, adding people are requested to spend New Year in the comfort of their homes as far as possible. 
 
The night curfew will be clamped from 11 pm on 31 December to 6 am on 1 January , and again from 11 pm on 1 January to 6 am on 2 January .
 
PTI

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates:  Schools in Kerala, which have remained closed since the imposition of coronavirus lockdown in March, will re- open partially on 1 January, marking a new beginning in the education sector, but strictly in compliance with COVID protocols.

The classes for 10th and 12th standards would begin with limited hours and restricted number of students, official sources said on Thursday.

The Tamil Nadu government has extended lockdown restrictions in the state till 31 January, while announcing relaxations such as lifting time restrictions on places of worship and allowing indoor and outdoor shootings for films and serials to be held without a limit on the number of participants, said reports.

The state government has also increased the cap on visitors to 200 persons or 50 percent capacity of the indoor arenas where religious, social, political, sports, entertainment and cultural meetings are held.

The government has denied permission for the public to gather at the beaches for Kaanum Pongal on 16 January.

India is likely to have a COVID-19 vaccine in the new year, Drug Controller General of India VG Somani hinted. Speaking at a webinar, Somani said vaccine candidates have got the funding and also talked about the efforts made by the Department of Biotechnology. "...and probably we will have a very happy New Year with something in hand. That's what I can hint at," Somani said.

Somani said the approval process was fast-tracked in view of the pandemic but asserted that there has been no compromise on the safety or efficacy. "The only thing is that the regulator has accepted partial data," he said.

The Odisha government has imposed a night curfew from 10 pm on Thursday to avoid large gatherings for New Year celebrations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restriction will remain in place till 5 am on Friday, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said.

"We have to be extra cautious after the detection of a new strain of coronavirus . It is more infectious. The general administration department has already issued a notice, prohibiting any event marking New Year's Day celebrations," Jena said.

This is the second dry run being conducted - the first was held on 28 and 29 December in four states and had gone off without a hitch, said the health ministry.

Four persons who recently came to Delhi from the UK and tested positive for COVID-19 , have been found infected with the new strain of coronavirus , Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday.

The Indian economy is coming out of the pandemic-induced degrowth and GDP growth will enter the positive territory in the fourth quarter of this fiscal, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Thursday.

Among the new five cases, the mutated UK strain was detected in four at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and one new case was sequenced at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi, the health ministry said.

Preparations for administering the coronavirus vaccine on Indians is in the last stages, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, a day after the government-appointed experts reviewed the emergency use applications filed by three drugmakers.

The night curfew will be imposed from 11 pm on 31 December to 6 am on 1 January, and again from 11 pm on 1 January to 6 am on 2 January, said an order issued on Wednesday by Vijay Dev, Delhi Chief Secretary and chairman of the Executive Committee of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

India's COVID-19 caseload climbed to 1,02,66,674 on Thursday after 21,821 fresh infections were reported in a day, said the Union health ministry. The toll increased to 1,48,738 with 299 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The number of people who have recuperated from the novel coronavirus surged to 98.60 lakh, thereby pushing the national recovery rate to 96 percent, said the health ministry on Thursday.

Fourteen more people were found infected with the UK strain of the coronavirus on Wednesday, with West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh reporting such cases for the first time and taking the tally to 20 in two days.

The Central government extended the temporary suspension of passenger flights between the UK and India for a week till 7 January and said the services would resume in a "strictly regulated" manner thereafter.

According to local authorities, a number of UK returnees in states like Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka and Punjab remained untraceable and efforts were on to contact them.

The Centre had last week directed that about 33,000 passengers who had arrived in India from 25 November to 23 December midnight, will be tracked and subjected to RT-PCR tests along with their contacts by states and Union Territories, and the positive samples will be sent for genome sequencing.

To detect cases of the new strain, the government has now directed genome sequencing of samples from all passengers who arrived in India from 9 to 22 December and tested positive for COVID-19 or were symptomatic as it ramped up the surveillance and containment strategy.

Experts have maintained that so far it has not been found that the new strain increases the severity of the disease, though it is considerably more transmissible.

At least six cases of the new strain were reported on Monday. Among the new cases, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh reported one and two respectively among the UK returnees, according to state authorities.

The Union Health Ministry said the mutated UK strain has so far been detected in eight samples at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi.

Official sources said among the eight people was the woman who left Delhi and travelled to Andhra Pradesh last week by train. The remaining seven are in quarantine at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) in the National Capital.

The ministry said that one case each was detected at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi, the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani (near Kolkata), and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune and seven were at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences Hospital (NIMHANS)Bengaluru.

Two cases have been detected at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, it said.

Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary Health Amit Mohan Prasad said that the two cases were found in Meerut and Gautam Buddh Nagar and samples of their contacts were also being taken.

Tests of those returning from the United Kingdom after 9 December are continuing and till now around 2,500 samples have been sent to the labs, he said, adding that so far 10 people have tested positive.

In West Bengal, a senior health official said that son of a senior official of the state Health Department, tested positive for the mutant coronavirus strain after returning from London 10 days ago.

"The youth is undergoing treatment at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital's super-specialty section. He is under observation. We have advised all those who have come in contact with him to isolate themselves," the official told PTI.

Six others who had come in contact with the youth at the airport also underwent genetic analysis but tested negative for the new COVID strain, he said.

The youth, however, was not having "serious health issues" and was "quite okay" at the moment, the official said.

Cases of the UK strain have already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

More than 40 countries, including India, have banned travel to and from the UK, a move several scientists said was necessary in the wake of the rapid spread of the strain which was first detected in September in the UK.

On Wednesday, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Puri tweeted: "Decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the UK till 7 January 2021."

"Thereafter strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly," he said.

Indian authorities have stressed the need to remain vigilant, noting that though the cases have been declining in the country, they are on the rise globally and the new strain detected in the UK had spread to several countries.

Aviation regulator DGCA announced that the coronavirus -induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till 31 January.

"However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation added.

Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since 23 March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral "air bubble" arrangements with selected countries since July.

India has formed air bubble pacts with 24 countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.

Indian student groups in the UK on Wednesday urged the government to consider emergency travel options in extremely exceptional cases during the current suspension of air travel.

The Indian High Commission in London said that it is on standby for any "emergency visa" requirements. However, organising flights during a travel ban will prove a challenge for anyone desperate to travel to India.

In India, a standard operating protocol for states and UTs to tackle the mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 was issued on 22 December.

The National Task Force has said that there is no need to change either the existing National Treatment Protocol or existing testing protocols due to the mutant variant.

The NTF recommended that in addition to the existing surveillance strategy, it is critical to conduct enhanced genomic surveillance.

Standard defence mechanisms such as masks, sanitisation and physical distancing will work to contain the new coronavirus strain, experts have said.

The government has also launched the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) comprising 10 lab.

A high-level Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee will guide the consortium, formed to ascertain the status of new variant of the virus, Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, said.

Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday appealed to the UK returnees who are untraceable to get themselves tested.

A total of 2,500 people have come to the state from the the UK from 25 November to 22 December in two flights - Air India and British Airways.

Out of them, tests have been conducted on 1,903 passengers. Of these, 29 tested positive.

The state Health Department has approached the Home Department and the police for tracing returnees who have gone untraceable.

Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said they have has sought the help of police to locate some of the UK returnees who were untraceable.

A list of over 540 people who returned to Pune district from the UK between 25 November and 23 December, was received by the local administration.

"We have already tested 270 people. However, the whereabouts of some people are not known. We have already given a list of such people to police and sought their help to locate them," Mohol said on Tuesday.

Odisha government had earlier appealed to the UK returnees to come forward and cooperate with the administration in curbing the spread of coronavirus .

Director of Public Health Niranjan Mishra said on Tuesday that 119 returnees had been contacted, but 62 remained out of the reach.

Updated Date:

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