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Coronavirus Updates: Johnson & Johnson seeks permission to conduct phase 3 trials in India: Report

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: They said the company has sought an early meeting of the subject expert committee on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to take a decision on its application

FP Staff April 19, 2021 23:58:18 IST
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Coronavirus Updates: Johnson & Johnson seeks permission to conduct phase 3 trials in India: Report

Representational image. AP

Highlights

16:56 (ist)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

India will have 'abundant supply' of remdesivir by second week of May: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw chief of Biocon, the company which manufactures Remdesivir, said that the country may have an abundant supply of the crucial drug in the country by the second week of May and attributed the shortage to slowed down production as the first wave was seen to have been subsided.

Biocon, which manufactures two critical drugs, Remdesivir and Itolizumab, is ramping up manufacturing to meet the sudden surge in demand.

“Remdesivir is a drug that was licensed to a number of Indian companies. We’ve been one of them…The problem is that all of us slowed down production. Production was at a very, very low level because the first wave was seen to have subsided, and you know, that we are in a safe place,” Shaw said in an interview with Moneycontrol.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Apr 19, 2021 - 23:36 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Johnson & Johnson seeks permission for phase-3 trial in India

Multinational pharma giant Johnson & Johnson has applied to India's drug regulator seeking permission to conduct phase-3 clinical trial of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in India as well as import licence, PTI reported.

They said the company has sought an early meeting of the subject expert committee on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to take a decision on its application.

This comes close to the heels of the central government last week deciding to fast-track emergency approvals for all foreign produced coronavirus jabs that have been given a similar nod by the World Health Organization or regulators in the United States, Europe, Britain or Japan.

Apr 19, 2021 - 22:41 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Pakistan bans travel from India for two weeks amid record spike in COVID-19 cases

Pakistan on Monday decided to ban for two weeks travellers coming from India due to a record surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
India's total tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 1.50-crore mark with around 25 lakh cases being added in just 15 days, while active cases surpassed the 19-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The nationwide tally of COVID-19 cases mounted to 1,50,61,919 with a record single-day rise of 2,73,810 coronavirus infections. The death toll increased to 1,78,769 with a record 1,619 daily new fatalities, the data updated this morning showed.

Pakistan's National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) took the decision to impose a two-week ban on travel from India in a meeting chaired by its chief Asad Umar who is also the Minister for Planning and Development, according to a statement.

"The forum decided to place India in the list of Category C countries for two weeks. There will be a ban on inbound passengers coming from India via air and land routes," the statement read.

Apr 19, 2021 - 22:20 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Delhi govt advances summer vacation in schools, to begin from 20 April

The Delhi government on Monday advanced summer vacation in all schools of the national capital in view of the spiralling COVID-19 cases.

The vacation, which was to start from May 11 and continue till June 30, has now been rescheduled from April 20 to June 9.

"In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, the summer vacation has now been rescheduled and will be observed from April 20 to June 9," the Directorate of Education (DoE) said in an order.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a six-day lockdown from 10 pm on Monday till 5 am on April 26, which, he said, was necessary to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases as the city's health system was stretched to its limit.

Delhi has been reporting around 25,000 COVID-19 cases daily in the past few days. 

Apr 19, 2021 - 21:40 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Centre, state failed in migrant workers crisis in COVID-19 lockdown: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court Monday said that the Centre and AAP government miserably failed to think about migrant workers during the 2020 lockdown and lessons are required to be learnt from it as daily wagers are again going to face the grim reality with the imposition of fresh six-day lockdown in the national capital in the wake of second wave of COVID-19.

The high court said as the Delhi government has announced a six-day lockdown, the reports show that migrant workers are again going back to their native places from here.

"We would like that lessons are taken from the past lockdown. The thing in which the government failed miserably was daily wagers", it said. With the imposition of curfew, the daily wagers are again faced with a grim reality. On the last occasion, the civil society had come forward, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said.

Apr 19, 2021 - 21:34 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Uddhav Thackeray may decide on strict lockdown in next 2 days, says state minister

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to decide on a strict lockdown in the next two days as the present restrictions are not yielding the desired results to curb COVID-19, state minister Vijay Wadettiwar said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters, the Relief and Rehabilitation Minister also said the state government will study the lockdown imposed by the Delhi government before taking any decision.

"The ongoing curfew is not helping (in containing the spread of COVID-19) in the way it was expected. A decision is expected in connection with a strict lockdown in a day or two. The chief minister will take a call after consulting others," he said.

-PTI

Apr 19, 2021 - 21:23 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

PM wishes Manmohan Singh speedy recovery from COVID-19

Apr 19, 2021 - 21:20 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Only 54 ICU beds available for COVID patients in Delhi hospitals: Govt data

The number of ICU beds available for coronavirus patients in Delhi hospitals on Monday dropped to 54, according to government data. Of the 4,377 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in government and private hospitals across the city, 4,323 were occupied around 8 pm on Monday, according to data from the city government's Delhi Corona application.

Only two hospitals -- Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital and Madhukar Rainbow Children Hospital in Malviya Nagar -- have more than 10 ICU beds available. Of the 19,322 normal beds available for COVID patients, 3,288 are unoccupied, it showed.

Apr 19, 2021 - 21:11 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

BJD not to hold rallies, campaign meets for Pipili by- polls: Naveen Patnaik

The ruling BJD in Odisha on Monday said it will not hold public rallies or campaign meetings ahead of the by-polls to the Pipili assembly segment on May 13 in the wake of the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The announcement in this regard was made by BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through a series of social media posts on Twitter.

"BJD as a responsible party will not like to put the lives of people in danger. We contest elections to serve people. If the campaign has the potential to endanger lives, I would earnestly appeal to political parties & @ECISVEEP to reconsider both the duration & method of campaigning," Patnaik tweeted.

"Every life is precious and I always consider people of Odisha as my family members. In this extremely serious COVID-19 situation amidst a surge in cases in the country, BJD has decided not to hold public rallies," he added.

-PTI

Apr 19, 2021 - 20:56 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

UK to add India to red list of countries from Friday

Amid concerns over a new variant, the UK has placed India in a “red list” of countries from which most travel to UK is banned, reports BBC quoting Health secretary Matt Hancock.  From 4 am BST (8.30 am IST) on Friday,  23 April, international visitors who have travelled from India in the last 10 days will be refused entry, the report says.

Apr 19, 2021 - 20:49 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Encourage patients to get COVID-19 vaccine, educate people against rumours: Modi urges doctors

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called the vaccine as the biggest weapon in the fight against COVID-19 and urged doctors to encourage more and more patients to get the jab.  In a virtual interaction with the country's leading doctors on the pandemic situation and vaccination progress, he also noted that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in tier-2 and tier-3 cities this time, and asked them to connect with their colleagues working there and give them online consultations to ensure that all protocols are followed correctly.
 
Urging doctors to educate people against "rumours" on COVID treatment and prevention, Modi said it is very important in these difficult times to not become a victim of panic, an official statement said.  For this, Modi said, along with proper treatment, emphasis must also be on counselling of patients admitted in hospitals. He also encouraged doctors to use tele-medicine for the treatment of other diseases, in case there is no emergency.
 
PTI

Coronavirus LATEST News and Updates: Multinational pharma giant Johnson & Johnson has applied to India's drug regulator seeking permission to conduct phase-3 clinical trial of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in India as well as import licence, PTI reported.

They said the company has sought an early meeting of the subject expert committee on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to take a decision on its application.

This comes close to the heels of the central government last week deciding to fast-track emergency approvals for all foreign produced coronavirus jabs that have been given a similar nod by the World Health Organization or regulators in the United States, Europe, Britain or Japan.

Britain on Monday added India to its COVID-19 travel "red list", which effectively bans all travel from the country and makes a 10-day hotel quarantine compulsory for UK residents arriving back to the country.

BJP president JP Nadda has decided that in view of the coronavirus crisis, all public meetings of BJP leaders in West Bengal henceforth, including those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will not have more than 500 people. These small public meetings will take place in open spaces and with adherence to all COVID-19 guidelines, the party said in a release.The

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao tests positive for COVID-19 , reports PTI quoting the state's chief secretary.

Everyone above 18 years to be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine from 1 May under phase-3 of vaccination strategy, says Centre.

The Allahabad HC directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose in five cities of Uttar Pradesh including  Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur till 26 April, said reports.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reviewed the coronavirus situation in the state and ordered extension of night curfew timings (8 pm to 5 am), closure of all bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, coaching centres, sports complexes from tomorrow till 30 April.

Odisha on Monday reported the highest ever single-day rise in COVID-19 cases as 4,445 people tested positive, pushing the coastal state's tally to over 3.72 lakh, a senior official said.

Addressing media, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said there is no difference in deaths between first and second wave among hospitalised patients, while the oxygen requirement is higher in second wave and ventilator requirement is not higher in the second wave

Karnataka Cabinet minister KS Easwarappa said zila panchayat and taluk panchayat polls in the state will be postponed amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

According to reports, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has decided to cancel his visit to India next week amid the spiralling coronavirus cases.

Amid a spike in COVID cases in the state, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Monday while indicating tough control measures, said lockdown is not the only solution and also conceded that Bengaluru city is witnessing a shortage of ICU beds.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi’s health system is “stretched to its limit and is under stress”, adding it is imperative to take harsh measures prevent the collapse of this system.

Even as West Bengal reported 4,338 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, Union minister Amit Shah is set to lead three rallies and a road show on Monday, while BJP chief JP Nadda will address a public meeting and town hall meeting.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday with recommendations of measures to tackle to an exponential new wave of COVID-19 in the country.

This, on a day that 2,61,500 new cases were recorded in 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 1,47,88,109 and the Union Health Ministry said that the daily coronavirus positivity rate in India has doubled to 16.69 percent in the last 12 days.

Singh, who penned the letter a day after Modi held a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the country, suggested five measures to curb the crisis, including ramping up vaccination and boosting the supply of medicines.

Additionally, the veteran Congress leader said that "one must not look at absolute numbers" but consider the total percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.

While several states are grappling with a shortage in crucial medical facilities such as oxygen and the remdesivir drug, the numbers were particularly grim in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh with the states reporting their highest single-day spikes in cases on Sunday.

On the other hand, several states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal on Sunday reported their highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases. The National Capital reported 25,462 new cases while Uttar Pradesh recorded 30,596 new cases.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday and said that the COVID-19 situation in Delhi is "very serious."

Also writing to Modi, he said, "The COVID situation has become very serious in Delhi. There is a huge shortage of beds and oxygen. I request that at least 7,000 out of 10,000 beds in Central government hospitals in Delhi be reserved for COVID patients and oxygen be immediately provided in Delhi. We are making all efforts at our level. Your help is needed."

Meanwhile, in a bid to help the states tackle a spiralling supply of medical oxygen, the Indian Railways is set to run 'Oxygen Express' trains over the next few days, to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country.

Amid the new COVID-19 wave, the demand for medical oxygen in the country has gone through the roof.

Empty tankers will begin their journey from Kalamboli and Boisar railway stations in and near Mumbai on Monday to load liquid medical oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro, PTI quoted officials as saying.

"Railways is leaving no stone unturned in the battle against COVID-19 . We will be running Oxygen express trains using green corridors to get Oxygen in bulk and rapidly to patients," said Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

On the political front, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi cancelled his pending campaign rallies for the West Bengal Assembly election and exhorted other political leaders also to consider doing the same in view of the COVID-19 situation.

West Bengal, which is witnessing an eight-phased Assembly poll that is slated to end on 29 April, reported 8,419 COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda, and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee are among the leaders who held rallies and roadshows in the state on Sunday.

Politics also played out in Maharashtra, with the state government and the BJP sparring over the supply of the remdesivir drug, which is in short supply currently.

On Saturday, the Mumbai Police detained and interrogated Rajesh Dokania, director of Bruck Pharma, on charges of stocking 60,000 of vials of remdesivir. PTI on Sunday reported that the police are likely to quiz Dokania over the matter again in the coming week.

Police have said that they had information that the remdesivir stock was going to be flown abroad by air cargo, despite a ban on the export of the drug. "Dokania was questioned at the BKC police station," the official said, adding that the cops later allowed him to go, but asked him to remain present for inquiry whenever he is called.

However, Maharashtra Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis visited the police station on Saturday night, and questioned why Dokania had been detained.

Fadnavis also said that the FDA had granted permission to donate the stock of remdesevir vials to the Maharashtra government, as remdesevir stocked for export cannot be diverted to the domestic market without the nod of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) or the FDA.

Additionally, the BJP sought an FIR against NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik for alleging that the Centre was blocking the supply of remdesivir e to the state. The saffron party accused Malik of  "spreading panic through false information".

The BJP said the Uddhav Thackeray government should file a case against Malik under the Disaster Management Act.

In view of the rising cases, the JEE-Main exam, scheduled to be held from 27-30 April, was postponed on Sunday. According to an official order by the National Testing Agency (NTA), "looking at the present situation of COVID-19 pandemic and also taking into account the safety and well being of candidates and examination functionaries, it has been decided to postpone JEE-(Main) April session".

Manmohan Singh writes to Modi, suggests 5 ways to tackle COVID-19

In his letter to Narendra Modi on Sunday, Singh also said that invoking compulsory licensing provisions for drug manufacturers, and giving some flexibility to states to define categories of frontline workers who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years are some of the steps that can be taken.

"The key to our fight against COVID-19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated, and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated," he said in his letter.

Noting that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, Singh said he is certain that with the right policy design, "we can do much better and very quickly".

"There are many things we must do to fight the epidemic but a big part of this effort must be ramping up the vaccination programme," he said while making several suggestions.

He said some states may want to designate school teachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend courts as frontline workers, and they can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years.

Singh said the Centre should publicise vaccine dose orders placed and accepted for delivery over the next six months. He said the government should indicate how vaccine supplies are to be distributed to states.

The suggestions come a day after the Congress Working Committee met and discussed the efforts required to fight the COVID pandemic.

Centre bans supply of oxygen to industries

The Centre on Sunday banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes except in nine specified industries in view of the shortage of the essential public health commodity in several states amid a spike in COVID-19 infections. The decision will come into effect from 22 April.

In a communication to all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that in view of the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and resultant rapid demand for medical oxygen, particularly in high-burden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the central government-constituted Empowered Group-II has reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives.

Accordingly, the EG-II has recommended to prohibit the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers from April 22 till further orders, with exceptions of nine specified industries.

The recommendation of the EG-II has been accepted by the government, the home secretary said in his letter.

"I, therefore, urge you to issue necessary instructions to all the authorities concerned in your State to ensure compliance to the decision of the EG-II and take necessary measures to prohibit supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted nine industries. It will help in augmenting supply for medical oxygen in the country and in saving precious lives," the letter addressed to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories said.

Tamil Nadu, Bihar impose night curfew 

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, Bihar and Tamil Nadu governments on Sunday imposed a night curfew.

While the curfew in Tamil Nadu will be effective from 10 pm to 4 am, the restrictions in Bihar will be effective from 9 pm to 5 am.

Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced the postponement of class 12 public examination, complete lockdown on Sundays and effective April 20, night curfew from 10 pm to 4 am.

After Chief Minister K Palaniswami chaired a high-level meeting here to review the COVID-19 scenario in the state, the government announced measures, including the Sunday lockdown to help prevent the rapid rise in the spread of virus.

Though the class 12 public examination is deferred, the ongoing practicals would be conducted as per plan, the government said in an official release.

Originally, the government had planned to hold the Higher Secondary Second Year exams from May 3 to May 21.

Visit to beaches, zoos, parks, monuments, museums and all tourist destinations like Nilgiris, Yercaud and Kodaikanal is barred on all days.

Bihar

Considering the rapid spread of infection during the killer second wave, the Bihar government on Sunday decided to impose a night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am as part of new measures to check the spread of the disease.

Declaring newer measures taken to halt the surge of coronavirus cases, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said a decision has been taken to extend the closure of schools/colleges/coaching centres till 15 May from 30 April.

Religious places of all faiths will remain shut till 15 May in view of the sudden spike in coronavirus cases in Bihar, the chief minister told reporters. Earlier, they were closed till 30 April.

The government offices with one-third strength will function only till 5 pm instead of 6 pm now while shops/mandis/business establishments will be closed at 6 pm, an hour before then what was decided last week, he said.

Attendance at funerals has been reduced to 25 from 50 earlier and likewise gathering in marriage/shraddha curtailed to 100 from 200 earlier till mid-May.

Mamata Banerjee demands 5.7-cr vaccine doses for West Bengal

The West Bengal chief minister sought Modi's intervention to ensure an adequate supply of COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and oxygen to the state, which has been reporting a sharp spike in fresh infections.

In her two-page letter to the prime minister, Banerjee said that vaccines, medicines and oxygen are of paramount importance to contain the second COVID wave.

Noting that vaccination is of top importance in densely populated West Bengal and particularly Kolkata, she said, "Unfortunately for us, the supply of vaccines from the Centre has been scarce and erratic, which is negatively affecting our vaccination programmes."

"We have to vaccinate around 2.7 crore people for which we need 5.4 crore doses. We request for an urgent intervention to ensure that the state gets its requirement of vaccine doses fulfilled at the earliest," she wrote.

She complained that her government wants to purchase the doses from state funds and had earlier written to the prime minister about it but did not receive "requisite clearance" yet.

Banerjee also urged Modi to ensure a steady supply of essential medicines to combat the surge in coronavirus cases. "The supply of essential medicines like remdesivir and tocilizumab is extremely scarce and uncertain today, which has been a matter of grave concern for the doctors here. We need around 6,000 vials of remdesivir and 1,000 vials of tocilizumab every day."

"Presently, only 1,000 vials of remdesivir are available every day and no fresh supply of tocilizumab is coming. It may be seen that the relevant authorities step up their efforts to ensure a steady supply of these most essential supplies of medicines as soon as possible," she
added.

Northern Railways says 463 isolation coaches ready

The Northern Railways has deployed 50 isolation coaches, each having two oxygen cylinders, at Delhi's Shakur Basti railway station and 25 such facilities will be placed at Anand Vihar by Monday, General Manager Ashutosh Gangal said on Sunday.

"We have 463 such coaches across our network. Fifty beds have been placed at Shakur Basti and 25 will be placed at Anand Vihar by Monday. We have purchased oxygen cylinders and two such cylinders will be placed in each coach.

"If more is needed, the state government has to arrange it. However, since these coaches are for mild COVID-19 cases, we do not expect huge demand for oxygen," Gangal said.

Many young people testing positive in second wave, say experts

In comparison to the first COVID-19 wave in India, the latest surge is seeing many young people testing positive for the disease and "are reporting symptoms different than what were common when the infection initially began spreading," ANI quoted Dr Gauri Agarwal, founder-director, Genestrings Diagnostic Centre, was quoted as saying.

COVID-19 caseload details

The Union Health Ministry on Sunday also said that the weekly positivity rate has increased to 13.54 percent in the past one month.

India reported a record 2,61,500 new coronavirus cases and 1,501 deaths on Sunday, while active cases have surpassed the 18-lakh mark, the ministry data stated.

Ten states — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan — reported 78.56 percent of the new infections, it said.

"The daily positivity rate in the last 12 days has doubled from 8 percent to 16.69 percent," the ministry said in a statement. "The national weekly positivity rate has increased from 3.05 percent to 13.54 percent in the last one month."

Chhattisgarh reported the highest weekly positivity rate at 30.38 percent, followed by Goa at 24.24 percent, Maharashtra at 24.17 percent, Rajasthan at 23.33 percent and Madhya Pradesh at 18.99 percent, according to the ministry.

The active cases in the country mounted to 18,01,316, comprising 12.18 percent of the total infections and a net increase of infections in a span of 24 hours.

Five states — Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala — account for 65.02 percent of India's the active cases.

Out of the 1,501 deaths, 10 states account for 82.94 percent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum fatalities at 419, followed by Delhi with 167 deaths.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date:

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