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Coronavirus News Updates: Himachal Pradesh extends COVID-19 restrictions by one week till 7 June

Coronavirus News Updates: However, the state government has decided to provide a few relaxations like opening of all shops and other establishments from Monday to Friday for five hours from 9 am to 2 pm

FP Staff May 28, 2021 23:31:33 IST
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Coronavirus News Updates: Himachal Pradesh extends COVID-19 restrictions by one week till 7 June

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20:45 (ist)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Bombay HC criticises Centre for defending 'faulty' PM CARES ventilators

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court lashed out at the Central government on Friday, for defending "defective ventilator manufacturer" Jyoti CNC and claiming that the doctors and paramedics are not properly trained to handle the ventilators, Live Law reported.

The high court asked the Union health ministry to refrain from questioning the reports of medical experts. "We are unable to accept the contentions of the ASGI (additional solicitors general of India) that the ventilators are in perfect operating conditions, and it is the hospitals who do not have trained personnel to operate them properly," the court said, addinf, "the affidavit before us has a semblance of virtually defending the manufacturer and declaring the ventilators are in immaculate condition."

17:49 (ist)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Indian Immunological Ltd to begin production of Covaxin drug substance from 15 June

Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) is expected to start production of the drug substance required for manufacturing indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from 15 June, which it will supply to Bharat Biotech International Ltd to process it into a formulation, by July.

Stating that Indian Immunologicals is expected to produce the drug substance for about 10-15 million doses per month, MD of IIL Dr Anand Kumar said it will be initially 2-3 million doses and will be scaled up to 6-7 million per month later in the year.

Bharat Biotech has tied up with Hyderabad-based IIL, which is a facility set up under National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), for manufacturing the drug substance of Covaxin as part of efforts to ramp up production of the vaccine.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

May 28, 2021 - 23:16 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Himachal Pradesh extends COVID-19 restrictions by one week 

The Himachal Pradesh government on Friday extended the coronavirus curbs till June 7 but announced relaxations, including increase in the opening hours of shops, an official spokesperson said. The decision was taken in a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur here, he added.

Earlier, the curbs had been imposed in the hill state till May 31. However, the state government has decided to provide a few relaxations like opening of all shops and other establishments from Monday to Friday for five hours from 9 am to 2 pm, the spokesperson added.

This decision will be effective from 6 am on May 31 till 6 am on June 7

May 28, 2021 - 23:02 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Recoveries outnumber new virus cases in Tamil Nadu for first time

Recoveries from COVID-19 for the first time went beyond the new cases in the last few months in Tamil Nadu, even as it reported 31,079 fresh infections and an all-time high of 486 deaths, the Health Department said on Friday.

With this, the caseload crossed the 20-lakh mark to reach 20,09,700 till date and the toll of fatalities at 22,775, said the department.

As many as 31,255 people walked out of healthcare facilities post-recovery aggregating 16,74,539 so far, a bulletin said.

Active infections, including those in isolation, were 3,12,386.

The State has been reaching a new high in the number of new infections on a daily basis.

May 28, 2021 - 22:56 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Rise in UK coronavirus cases stoke concerns over 3rd wave

The number of new coronavirus infections in the UK hit a near two-month high Friday as British regulators authorised the use of the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

The latest authorisation, which takes the number of vaccines in the UK's armoury to four, comes amid growing speculation that the new variant of the virus first identified in India may prompt the British government to delay its next planned easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

Government figures showed that another 4,182 new confirmed cases were reported across the UK, the highest daily figure since April 1. The cases bring the total number of confirmed infections reported over the past seven days to 20,765, a 24% increase from the previous week. The rise prompted scientists to say the UK is now in the midst of a third wave of the pandemic.

May 28, 2021 - 22:39 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Airlines to operate with 50% of pre-COVID domestic flights from 1 June, says Centre

Airlines can operate only 50 percent of their pre-COVID domestic flights from June 1 instead of 80 percent permitted currently, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Friday.

The decision has been taken "in view of the sudden surge in the number of active COVID-19 cases across the country, decrease in passenger traffic and passenger load factor (occupancy rate)", the ministry said in an order.

When the government had resumed scheduled domestic flights in India on May 25 last year after a two-month-long break, the ministry had permitted the carriers to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic services.

May 28, 2021 - 22:25 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

COVID-19 active cases in Karnataka falls below 4 lakh mark

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in Karnataka fell below the four lakh mark, as the state on Friday reported 22,823 new cases and 401 deaths, the health department said. While the total number of COVID infections so far stands at 25,46,821, the toll is 27,806. The total number of active cases is now 3,72,373.

The day also saw 52,253 discharges, continuing to outnumber the fresh cases. Out of the 22,823 new cases reported on Friday, 5,736 were from Bengaluru Urban, as the city saw 31,237 discharges and 192 deaths.

May 28, 2021 - 22:13 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Gujarat adds 2,521 new COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths

Gujarat on Friday reported 2,521 new coronavirus cases, which took its infection tally to 8,03,387, the health department said. The toll due to the virus reached 9,761 as 27 patients succumbed to the infection in the state during the day, including seven in Ahmedabad and three in the Vadodara district.

A total of 7,965 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, which took the recovery count to 7,50,015 and recovery rate to 93.36 percent, it said in a statement. Ahmedabad city recorded 336 new cases, the highest in the state during the day, followed by 308 in Vadodara city, 228 in Surat city, 172 in other parts of Vadodara district and 122 in Rajkot city.

May 28, 2021 - 22:01 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Jammu and Kashmir registers 2,803 new cases of COVID-19, 56 deaths in a day

The COVID-19 infection tally in Jammu and Kashmir rose by 2,803 in a day to reach 2,84,431 while 56 fatalities during the same period took the death toll to 3,795, officials said on Friday. Of the fresh cases, 1,009 were from the Jammu division and 1,794 from the Kashmir division, they said.

The officials said Srinagar district recorded the highest 382 cases, followed by 320 in Jammu district and 228 in Kupwara district. The number of active cases has dropped to 41,382 in the union territory, while 2,39,254 patients have recovered so far, the officials said.

May 28, 2021 - 21:49 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Nagaland extends lockdown till 11 June as COVID cases spike

The Nagaland government on Friday extended the total lockdown in the state till June 11. The lockdown, first imposed on May 14 for seven days, was earlier extended till May 31.

The decision to further extend the lockdown till June 11 was taken by the High Powered Committee (HPC) on COVID-19, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

In the meeting, the Health and Family Welfare Department made a presentation on the status of the COVID-19 case, beds and oxygen availability and the trend of hospitalisations, among others, said minister Neiba Kronu

May 28, 2021 - 21:30 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

European regulators OK Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15

The European Medicines Agency on Friday recommended that the use of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech be expanded to children ages 12 to 15, a decision that offers younger and less at-risk populations across the continent access to a COVID-19 shot for the first time.

The vaccine was the first one granted authorisation across the European Union when it was licensed for use in anyone 16 and over in December. So far, about 173 million doses of the shot have been administered in the 27-nation bloc, about three quarters of the total given.

Extending the protection of a safe and effective vaccine in this younger population is an important step forward in the fight against this pandemic," said Marco Cavaleri, who heads the EMA body that reviewed the vaccine.

May 28, 2021 - 21:15 (IST)

Coronavirus Latest News Updates

Andhra Pradesh reports 229 black fungus cases in a single day

he gross number of Mucormycosis (Black Fungus) cases went up to 808 in Andhra Pradesh on Friday as 229 were reported afresh in a day. But lack of sufficient stock of medicine to treat the affected patients has become a cause for concern, officials of the Health Department told Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy during a review meeting on COVID-19 on Friday evening.

So far, the Centre sent 5,200 liposomal Amphotericin-B injections to the state, but that was not even 10 per cent of the requirement, a release from the CMO quoted the officials as telling the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister said at least 40,000 injections would be required in a week, based on the caseload.

Since the injections were not available in the required quantity, he asked the health officials to look into alternatives.

He asked them to coordinate with pharma companies and procure medicines for Black Fungus, the release said.

Meanwhile, the government has so far identified 78 children orphaned by coronavirus in different districts.

Coronavirus LATEST News Updates: The Himachal Pradesh government on Friday extended the coronavirus curbs till June 7 but announced relaxations, including an increase in the opening hours of shops, an official spokesperson said.

Airlines can operate only 50 percent of their pre-COVID domestic flights from June 1 instead of 80 percent permitted currently, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Friday.

Maharashtra recorded 20,740 new coronavirus positive cases on Friday, taking the state's infection tally to 56,92,920, while 424 fatalities pushed the overall toll to 93,198, the health department said.

The city also reported 30 deaths over the 24-hour period while the recovery rate improved to 94%, the state public health department said.

Mumbai's single-day coronavirus cases Friday dropped below 1,000 after over 11 weeks. The capital city of Maharashtra on Friday reported 929 cases, its lowest since 2 March.

Mumbai had reported 849 cases on 2 March. The next few weeks proved challenging as it was hit by an unprecedented surge.

No relaxation will be given in areas where the number of patients and COVID positivity rate are still high and hospital bed availability is an issue, said health minister Rajesh Tope.

As lockdown-like restrictions in Maharashtra are extended for the next two weeks, a new set of guidelines will be issued on 1 June, the state health minister said on Friday.

Pinarayi Vijayan requested the prime minister to take 'measures for a continuous supply of vaccines so that the balance vaccines can be supplied matching with the pace of Kerala's vaccination potential'.

Chief minister MK Stalin said the existing sale of fruits and vegetables through government departments would continue to exist in all districts to meet the daily requirements of the people.

Stalin on Friday announced the extension of the COVID-19 lockdown across the state by another week till 6 am on 7 June albeit with a few relaxations.

Every hospital with more than 100 beds will have to install a 1,000 Litres Per Minute PSA oxygen plant and those with 50 beds, a 500 LPM plant, according to the state government.

The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday made it mandatory for private hospitals and nursing homes to install Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology oxygen plants in proportion to their bed strength.

Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal issued an order on this and prescribed the minimum standards for equipment and furniture for hospitals based on the bed strength.

On Friday, 1,141 new cases and 139 deaths were reported in the National Capital, while the positivity rate increased from 1.53% to 1.59% in a day. As many as 71,853 tests were conducted in the same period.

This is the third consecutive day when the daily cases count have stood below the 1,500-mark.

Rahul's choice of words like 'nautanki' at a time when Modi is working to curb COVID-19 is part of the toolkit's script, Prakash Javadekar said, referring to a controversial document about targeting the government.

In response to Rahul Gandhi's press conference earlier on Friday where he said Narendra Modi's 'nautanki' (antics) led to the second COVID-19 wave in India, Union minister Prakash Javedekar dubbed it as an insult to the country to the efforts made by the country to tackle the pandemic.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the people of the country is facing COVD-19, at such a time, Rahul Gandhi uses the word 'nautanki' for the efforts made by the government. It is an insult to the country and the people of the country. We will not use such words because people have stopped their gimmicks long back," said Javadekar.

Addressing a virtual press conference, the Congress leader, in one of his sharpest attacks yet on the government's handling of the second surge of COVID-19 , Friday said that the prime minister "did not understand Covid at all."

"The first wave no one understood, but the second wave is the PM's responsibility. His stunts (nautanki)... His failure to fulfil his responsibilities is the reason for the second wave," he said.

The DGCA on Friday extended the ban on international commercial flights till 30 June. In a tweet, the authority said that the restrictions will not be applicable to international cargo operations.

The Centre on Friday said that it has provided more than 22.46 crore vaccine doses (22,46,08,010) to state governments and Union Territories.

"Of this, total consumption, including wastages, is 20,48,04,853 doses as per data available at 8 am today.

"More than 1.84 crore COVID vaccine doses (1,84,92,677) are still available with states and UTs to be administered. 3,20,380 vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be delivered in the next three days," the statement said.

Maharashtra education minister Varsha Gaikwad on Friday announced the state government's decision to assess Class 10 students based on internal marks.

"Board exam results for Class 10th will be based on exams conducted in Class 9th and 10th (internal marks). We will try to declare the results by the end of June. Those who aren't satisfied with their results can write CET exams later."

The state government also announced financial help to students from Classes 1 to 12 who have lost parents due to COVID," Gaikwad said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday that the ongoing lockdown in National Capital will last till 31 May, 5 am.

"Construction activities and factories will be reopened from Monday keeping the daily wage workers in mind," Kejriwal said while addressing a briefing, according to ANI.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday addressed a live press conference on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

"I had told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that unless a proper vaccine strategy is adopted, India will be hit by multiple waves. Lockdown, social distancing, mask are temporary solutions; vaccine is a permanent solution," he said.

The Centre on Friday said that it has provided more than 22.46 crore vaccine doses (22,46,08,010) to state governments and Union Territories /UTs.

"Of this, total consumption, including wastages, is 20,48,04,853 doses as per data available at 8 am today.

"More than 1.84 crore COVID vaccine doses (1,84,92,677) are still available with states and UTs to be administered. 3,20,380 vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be delivered in the next three days," the statement said.

The Union Health Ministry's 8 am update on Friday said that the number of new cases on Friday — 1.86 lakh cases — is the lowest in the last 44 days.

"Active caseload further declines to 23,43,152 with active cases decrease by 76,755 in last 24 hours. The recovery rate rose to 90.34 percent," the statement said.

The "terrible" surge of the coronavirus cases in India has severely impacted COVAX's vaccine supply in the second quarter of this year to the extent that there will be a shortfall of 190 million doses by the end of June, according to a joint statement by the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and CEPI.

The joint statement was issued by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) CEO Dr Richard Hatchett, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO Dr Seth Berkley, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

"Countries that are advanced in their vaccination programmes are seeing cases of COVID-19 decline, hospitalisations decrease and early signs of some kind of normality resume. However, the global picture is far more concerning," the statement said.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a plea seeking directions to the Centre, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) to cancel the Class XII exams on Friday.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday hit out at the Centre over what she said was a "directionless" vaccination policy and questioned the government over the export of jabs earlier this year. The Congress general secretary's attack on the government came in a Facebook post as part of her 'Zimmedaar Kaun?' campaign, under which she is asking questions of the government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The prime minister, after announcing in August 2020 that the government had a complete plan to provide vaccines to all, placed the first order in January 2021, that too for only 1.6 crore vaccine doses for India's 130 crore population," she said in her post in Hindi.

"Today, the locks hanging at vaccine centres everywhere, the appeal by the states for vaccines and the declining pace of vaccination bear testimony to the government's directionless vaccine policy," she added.

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis in India, the global supply of COVAX has been badly hit, so much so that there are many parts of the world where one shot has been dispensed to health workers or frontline workers and the second shot has not been forthcoming, a top Biden administration official told lawmakers on Thursday.

"COVAX has suffered a big blow given the scale of the pandemic in India," Samantha Power, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), told members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations for a hearing on the Fiscal 2022 Budget Request for the USAID.

"The Serum Institute of India, which had planned to supply upwards of 140 million doses by the end of June, has had to pull back that supply because of the domestic emergency," Power said responding to a question on the vaccine crisis that has been created across the globe due to the scale of the pandemic in India.

The Centre on Thursday asked states and union territories to continue with ongoing COVID-19 guidelines till June 30 which include special focus on districts with high number of patients and termed it "important" for strict implementation of restrictions for bringing down the number of active cases.

In a fresh directive, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), without any directions for lockdown, said the states and union territories should go for intensive and local containment measures in districts with a high number of cases to check the spread of the deadly disease.

The MHA had earlier asked for identification of districts where either the Covid positivity rate was more than 10 per cent or the bed occupancy was over 60 per cent in the last one week and in these areas "intensive and local containment measures" should be considered.

In the latest order, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said strict implementation of containment and other measures has led to a declining trend in the number of new and active cases, across states and union territories, barring some areas in the southern and northeastern regions.

"I would like to highlight that in spite of the declining trend, the number of active cases presently is still very high. It is, therefore, important that containment measures may continue to be implemented strictly.

"Any relaxation by states and UTs, may be considered at an appropriate time, in a graded manner, after assessing the local situation, requirements and resources," Bhalla said in his order issued to chief secretaries of the states and union territories.

He said the guidelines issued on April 29 for the month of May will continue till 30 June.

According to the guidelines, the home ministry told the states to take necessary action to ensure sufficient oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds, ventilators, ambulances including creation of makeshift hospitals, oxygen, as needed, besides sufficient quarantine facilities.

The home ministry, however, did not mention anything about the imposition of lockdown anywhere in the country in the fresh guidelines issued in view of the pandemic.

The fresh guidelines for COVID-19 management came amid some decline in the daily count of the coronavirus cases and improvements in the situation of the availability of the beds, ICU and oxygen in some parts of the country like Delhi.

India's COVID-19 infection tally climbed to 2,73,69,093 as 2,11,298 more people tested positive for the disease in a day, while the country's recovery went up to 90 per cent, according to the Union health ministry on Thursday.

The death toll due to the disease rose to 3,15,235 with 3,847 fresh fatalities being reported in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The home ministry asked the states and union territories to identify the districts where either the Covid positivity rate was more than 10 percent or the bed occupancy was over 60 per cent in the last one week.

The districts fulfilling any of the above two criteria should be considered for taking intensive and local containment measures, a statement issued by the MHA said.

The MHA also asked the states to consider the containment measures, as conveyed in an advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on April 25 for immediate implementation based on an assessment of the situation.

The home ministry said focus will be on containment as a major approach to flatten the current curve of the epidemic. Movement of individuals shall be strictly prohibited during night hours, except for essential activities in areas where number of cases high.

The spread of the infection has to be controlled through restricting the intermingling among people, the only known host for the COVID-19 virus, the guidelines said.

Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, festival related and other gathering and congregations have been prohibited.

Marriages should be attended by up to 50 people and funerals should be attended by a maximum of 20 people.

All shopping complexes, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gym, spas, swimming pool and religious places should remain closed.

Essential services and activities such as healthcare services, police, fire, banks, electricity, water and sanitation, regulated movement of public transport including all incidental services and activities needed for a smooth functioning of these activities shall continue.

Such services shall continue in both public and private sector, the guidelines said. Public transport like railways, metros, buses, cabs will operate at a maximum capacity of 50 percent.

There shall be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement including transportation of essential goods. All offices, both government and private, to function with a maximum staff strength of 50 percent.

All industrial and scientific establishments, both government and private may be allowed subject to the workforce following physical distancing norms.

They shall also be tested through Rapid Antigen Test in case of individuals identified with flu like symptoms from time to time.

However, states and union territories should make a careful analysis of the local situation, areas to be covered, and probability of transmission and then take a decision.

Referring to the testing and surveillance, the guidelines said districts will continue with the strategy of 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate' and implementation of Covid appropriate behaviour across the district as the ongoing strategy for the management of COVID-19 .

"Ensure adequate testing and door to door case search in the area through adequate number of teams formed for such purpose," the home ministry said.

The guidelines said analysis has to be undertaken with respect to requirement of health infrastructure so as to manage the present and projected cases (next one month) and necessary action initiated to ensure sufficient oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds, ventilators, ambulances including creation of makeshift hospitals, as needed. Sufficient quarantine facilities shall also be re-activated.

States should leverage government, private health facilities including hospital facilities available with central ministries, railway coaches, temporary field hospitals etc.

States should ensure that people satisfying protocol for home isolation only are allowed under home isolation and create a mechanism for their regular monitoring through call centres along with regular visit of surveillance teams to such houses.

Specific monitoring shall be done for high risk cases and their timely shifting to the health facility, it said. Similarly, elderly and co-morbid contacts of positive cases shall be shifted to quarantine centres and monitored.

States should also ensure availability of sufficient ambulances for such purpose and coordinate availability of oxygen, other related logistics, drugs etc. in collaboration with state officials and ensure their rational use.

Oxygen therapy for the admitted cases shall follow the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health on the rational use of oxygen, it said.

Facility wise cases and deaths shall be analysed on daily basis by the incident commander, district collector, municipal commissioner. Death audit shall be undertaken for all deaths in the hospitals and in the community to provide supportive supervision to field staff and hospitals.
States should ensure 100 percent vaccination for the eligible age-groups.

Details of hospital beds and their vacancy status should be made available online and also released to media on a daily basis.

Updated Date:

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