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Coronavirus News Updates: COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh cross 8.81 lakh; vaccine distribution dry run in Krishna district tomorrow

Coronavirus News Updates: State Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar said the dry run is aimed at testing the planned operations and the laid out mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccination in the state

FP Staff December 27, 2020 19:55:02 IST
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Coronavirus News Updates: COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh cross 8.81 lakh; vaccine distribution dry run in Krishna district tomorrow

Representational image. AP

Highlights

10:15 (ist)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

18,732 new cases take India's COVID-19 tally to 1,01,87,850

India's COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,01,87,850 with 18,732 new cases in a day, while 97,61,538 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 95.82 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. This is the lowest daily count in nearly six months, according to NDTV.

The toll climbed to 1,47,622 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 279 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate was registered at 1.44 percent.

There are 2,78,690 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 2.73 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 16,81,02,657 samples have been tested up to December 26 with 9,43,368 samples being tested on Saturday.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Dec 27, 2020 - 19:28 (IST)

Andhra Pradesh adds 349 COVID-19 cases

For the first time since May,  a district in Andhra Pradesh reported zero cases of coronavirus even as a total of 349 were added afresh across the state in 24 hours ending 9 am on Sunday. Vizianagaram achieved the distinction by not adding a single case in a day and incidentally, it was the last district in the state to join the Covid-19 chart on 7 May. Vizianagaram now has only 54 active coronavirus cases, the lowest in the state. And, Chittoor district reported 105 fresh cases, the first district to cross the century mark in a day in close to three weeks.
     

The latest bulletin said 422 patients had recovered from the infection while two more succumbed in 24 hours.The state Covid-19 table now showed a total of 8,81,061 confirmed cases, 8,70,342 recoveries and 7,094 deaths, with 3,625 active cases.

PTI

Dec 27, 2020 - 19:09 (IST)

AstraZeneca vaccine should be effective against new strain, says chief executive

The coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca should be effective against the highly transmissible new strain of the virus, a UK media report said on Sunday. The Oxford vaccine, which also has a tie-up with the Serum Institute of India, is expected to win approval in the UK before Thursday, speeding up the provision of the jab to the most vulnerable groups. Approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine would mean we are well on course to do that by the spring, a senior government official was quoted as saying by The Sunday Times. The source warned that the new strain of COVID-19 had overtaken the old and was running rampant in the UK. The latest figures are not good, but the guidance is the MHRA [the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency] will give the Oxford vaccine the go-ahead by midweek, the source said.
 
AstraZeneca's chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said that new data will show the vaccine is as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna jabs that have already been approved, protecting 95 percent of patients, and is 100 percent effective in preventing severe illness requiring hospital treatment. He said that it "should be" effective against the new highly transmissible variant of the deadly virus, which put England under complete lockdown again after its rapid spread was detected.
 
PTI

Dec 27, 2020 - 19:00 (IST)

Vaccine dry run to be held in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district tomorrow

 A dry run of the coronavirus vaccination programme will be held in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh on Monday.Andhra Pradesh is one of the four states chosen by the Centre to carry out end-to-end dry run for COVID-19vaccination on 28 December.  The state government picked up Krishna district for the
dry run, where it will be carried out in five locations, according to Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar.

"The dry run is aimed at testing the planned operations and the laid out mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccination in the state. It will provide insights into any gaps or bottlenecks so that those could be addressed before the commencement of the actual drive," Bhaskar said on the eve of the programme. It would be used to test the preparedness for vaccinating pre-identified beneficiaries from specified groups supported by Co-WIN, an electronic application.

PTI

Dec 27, 2020 - 18:54 (IST)

RT-PCR tests for international arrivals on seventh day after arrival: BMC

In view of the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in the UK, the Mumbai civic body on Sunday issued revised guidelines to ensure the compulsory quarantine for 14 days for all passengers arriving from the UK, Europe, and West Asia. As per the amended Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), travellers will be kept under institutional quarantine after arrival and RT-PCR test will be conducted on the seventh day from the arrival at the respective hotels, institutional facilities at their own coast.

"If the report of the test is found negative, the passenger would be discharged from the institutional quarantine after seven days with the advice of seven days mandatory home quarantine. A total of 14 days quarantine is to be ensured," the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a release.

PTI

Dec 27, 2020 - 18:09 (IST)

Uttar Pradesh records 959 new cases, 13 deaths

With 13 more people succumbing to coronavirus infection in Uttar Pradesh, the COVID-19 toll rose to 8,306 on Sunday in the state.The number of total cases touched 5,81,980 with 959 more people found positive for the infection, an Uttar Pradesh government statement said. Of the 13 COVID-19 deaths, three were reported from Lucknow and two from Varanasi.   Of the 959 fresh cases, 199 were reported from Lucknow.
 

In the past 24 hours, 1,391 COVID-19 patients recovered from the viral disease and were discharged, the statement added. So far, 5,58,303 Covid-19 patents have been cured and discharged in the state, with the number of active Covid-19 cases standing at 15,371 in the state, the statement said.  In the last 24 hours, over 1.42 lakh samples were tested for Covid-19, taking the total number of tests in the state to 2.33 crore, it said.

PTI

Dec 27, 2020 - 17:50 (IST)

61 secretariat staff, five MLAs test COVID-19 positive on eve of  MP Assembly  session

On the eve of the three-day session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, 61 employees and officials of the Assembly Secretariat and five MLAs have tested coronavirus positive,said  Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma. "As many as 61 employees and officials of the state Assembly secretariat have tested coronavirus positive so far. Besides, five MLAs were also found infected as per the reports received till now," he said, after taking stock of the preparation for the session that begins from Monday. "So far, the test reports of 20 MLAs have been received. The reports of several other legislators are still awaited," he said,adding that the reports of more employees and officials are also yet to come."
 

Dec 27, 2020 - 17:33 (IST)

Israel enters third lockdown

Israel was set on Sunday to begin its third coronavirus lockdown, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced optimism that a "world record" vaccination drive will restore a degree of normality within weeks. After a sharp rebound in detected infections, Netanyahu's government announced three days ago that it would re-impose the strict measures that had previously helped limit transmission. 

From 5 pm on Sunday, most people will be forced to stay within 1,000 metres of their home. There are a range of exceptions, including seeking medical care, attending legal proceedings or exercising.  A key difference in Israel's third lockdown compared to previous versions relates to schools, with more students able to attend classes. 

AFP

Dec 27, 2020 - 16:59 (IST)

Low turnout at Sani Peyarchi festival in Puducherry

 A low key turnout due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, was witnessed at the famous shrine of Lord Saturn in Tirunallar in the Union Territory of Puducherry
on Sunday on the occasion of 'Sani Peyarchi' festival, reports news agency PTI. Devotees entering the temple were scanned with thermometers. They were not allowed to take a holy dip in the temple tank. The bells of Lord Saneeswara Temple here rang at 5:22 am amidst 'Maha Deeparadhanai' and special prayers marking the transit of Lord Saturn.
 
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Ministers R Kamalakannan and Kandasamy and Madras High Court Judge Velmurugan were among those who participated in the event.   Earlier on Saturday, the government had made the COVID-19 negative certificate mandatory for devotees.

Dec 27, 2020 - 16:44 (IST)

Global coronavirus count crosses 80 million: report

More than 80 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been detected worldwide since the pandemic began a year ago and 1.76 million deaths have been registered so far, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. In total, 80,145,185 cases and 1,756,060 deaths have been recorded. Last week, an average of 5.80,000 new cases were registered every day. Europe is the world's hardest-hit region, passing the 25-million-case mark on Friday and with 5,46,000 deaths.

Dec 27, 2020 - 16:40 (IST)

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine has 'winning formula', claims company's chief executive

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has achieved a "winning formula" for efficacy, the company's chief executive said on Sunday. The vaccine, which is currently being evaluated by Britain's independent medicines regulator, provides "100 percent protection" against severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation, Pascal Soriot said in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper. He added he believes trials will show his firm has achieved a vaccine efficacy equal to Pfizer-BioNTech at 95 percent and Moderna at 94.5 percent.

AFP

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Coronavirus News LATEST Updates:   The Andhra Pradesh COVID-19 table showed a total of 8.81 lakh positives, 8,70,342 recoveries and 7,094 deaths, with 3,625 active cases. The latest health bulletin said 422 patients had recovered from the infection while two more succumbed in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, state Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar said the government picked Krishna district for a dry run of the coronavirus vaccination programme, adding that it will be carried out at five locations in the districts.

On the eve of the three-day session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, 61 employees and officials of the Assembly Secretariat and five MLAs have tested coronavirus positive,said Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma.

"So far, the test reports of 20 MLAs have been received. The reports of several other legislators are still awaited," he said.

More than 80 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been detected worldwide since the pandemic began a year ago and 1.76 million deaths have been registered so far, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. In total, 80,145,185 cases and 1,756,060 deaths have been recorded. Last week, an average of 5.80,000 new cases were registered every day. Europe is the world's hardest-hit region, passing the 25-million-case mark on Friday and with 5,46,000 deaths.

Over 750 volunteers have been administered the first dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' as part of its phase-3 trials at Ahmedabad's Sola Civil Hospital, and none of them have experienced any side effects so far , said Dr Kiran Rami, head of the hospital's TB and chest department.

The Ahmedabad hospital has been chosen for the phase-3 human trials of Covaxin on 1,000 volunteers.

European Union nations officially kicked off a coordinated effort Sunday to give COVID-19 vaccinations to some of the most vulnerable among their nearly 450 million people, marking a moment of hope in the continent's battle against the worst public health crisis in a century.

India's COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,01,87,850 with 18,732 new cases in a day, while 97,61,538 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 95.82 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. This is the lowest daily count in nearly six months, according to NDTV.

Sweden, Canada and Spain on Saturday became the latest countries to report cases of the more contagious and genetically distinct variant of the coronavirus that was first discovered in Britain. The variant has also been detected in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, according to The Washington Post.

In the wake of a mutated variant of coronavirus detected in the UK, a genomic surveillance consortium has been formed for laboratory and epidemiological surveillance of circulating strains of the SARS-CoV-2 in India, the Centre said on Saturday.

The genomic surveillance consortium, INSACOG, has been formed under the leadership of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi. Further, more than 50 samples of UK returnees are currently under sequencing at the designated laboratories.

Five percent of the positive cases of COVID-19 from all states and UTs will be tested for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) as part of the strategy that has been put in place to detect and contain the mutant variant, the Union Health Ministry said after a meeting of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 on the issue.

"It is proposed to continue enhanced genomic surveillance for early detection and containment of the UK variant SARS-CoV-2 strains. However, it is important to understand that like all other RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 will continue to mutate," the ministry said.

The mutated virus can also be contained by measures like social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing masks and also by an effective vaccine, as and when available, the ministry said.

The meeting of the NTF was convened on Saturday by ICMR under co-chairpersonship of Dr Vinod Paul, Member NITI Aayog and Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Director General ICMR.

The main objective of the meeting was to discuss evidence-based modifications in testing, treatment and surveillance strategies for SARS-CoV-2 in view of the recent reports of the emergence of a new variant strain of the virus from the UK.

It was emphasized that since the UK variant strain is implicated to cause increased transmissibility of the virus, it is critical to identify individuals infected with this strain and adequately contain them to prevent its transmission in India, the statement stated.

The NTF concluded that there is no need to change the existing Treatment Protocol in view of mutations emerging in the strain.

Further, since ICMR has always advocated the use of two or more gene assays for testing SARS-CoV-2, it is unlikely to miss infected cases using the current testing strategy, the ministry said.

The NTF recommended that in addition to the existing surveillance strategies, it is critical to conduct enhanced genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 especially in incoming passengers from the UK.

The meeting was also attended by Prof. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS; Director General Health Services (DGHS); Drug Controller General of India (DCGI); Director, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC); other representatives from Ministry of Health and ICMR as well as independent subject experts.

"The variant strain has 14 non-synonymous (amino acid altering) mutations, 6 synonymous (non amino-acid altering), and 3 deletions.

"Eight mutations are present in the Spike (S) gene which carries the binding site (Receptor Binding Domain) of the ACE2 receptors, which are the point of entry of the virus into the human respiratory cells," the ministry said in its statement.

The NTF deliberated in detail on aspects related to the current National Treatment Protocol, testing strategy and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 vis- -vis the UK variant strain.

The NTF was of the view that it will also be critical to conduct genome sequencing in samples where there is a dropout of the S gene in lab diagnosis, proven cases of re-infections etc. Routine genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 from representative samples all across the samples needs to be a continuous and well-planned activity, according to the statement.

The designated laboratories where samples of UK returnees are currently under sequencing include --NCDC, Delhi; CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi; CSIR- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and DBT- Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneshwar.

It is also being done at DBT-National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani; DBT-InStem-National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru; National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru and National Institute of Virology, Pune.

The NCDC informed that the Centre has taken cognizance of the reports of mutant variant and the response of other countries to these reports.

The situation is being monitored proactively.

A strategy has been put under place under which all passengers who had arrived from the UK between December 21n and 23 have been tested at the airports and only after the-PCR test result are available, the negative passengers are permitted to exit the airports

All positively tested passengers are put under institutional isolation and their samples sent for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)

Only after the confirmation of the non-mutant variant upon WGS result, the positive cases are permitted to leave institutional isolation as per the existing management protocol

All the contacts of the positive cases are also put under facility quarantine and are tested as per the ICMR guidelines

Besides, the list of all UK arrivals during the last 28 days has been shared by the Bureau of Immigration with the states concerned.

All passengers who had arrived from the UK between 25th November - 20th December 2020 are being tracked by the IDSP State Surveillance Units (SSUs) and District Surveillance Units (DSUs)

Samples of all positive cases are being sent for WGS and enhanced contact tracing of these positive cases is being undertaken and these contacts are also put under facility quarantine.

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The government also said that thus far the UK strain of the coronavirus has been detected in 71 people, but that there is no untoward cluster of the new strain