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Coronavirus News Updates: Eight UK returnees in Maharashtra infected with new COVID-19 strain, says Rajesh Tope

Coronavirus News Updates: Of the eight, five are from Mumbai and one each from Pune, Thane and Mira Bhayandar. The contact tracing of these patients is going on, the state health minister said

FP Staff January 04, 2021 22:33:46 IST
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Coronavirus News Updates: Eight UK returnees in Maharashtra infected with new COVID-19 strain, says Rajesh Tope

Representational image. PTI

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Jan 04, 2021 - 22:08 (IST)

Tamil Nadu's active cases fall below 8,000 after seven months

After seven months, Tamil Nadu's  active cases on Monday dropped below the 8,000 mark and with 838 fresh infections, the tally stood at 8,21,550, while 10 more fatalities pushed the toll to 12,166. The active cases dipped to 7,970 with 985 patients getting discharged from various hospitals and in total 8,01,414 people have got cured, a health department bulletin said. It was on May 24 that the state had reported less than 8,000 active cases. On that day active cases stood at 7,839.

PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 21:44 (IST)

Eight UK returnees in Maharashtra test positive for new virus strain, says Rajesh Tope

 As many as eight returnees to Maharashtra from the UK have been found to be infected with the new COVID-19 variant detected in the European country, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Monday. Of these, five are from Mumbai, he said, adding contacts of all the COVID-19 patients with the UK strain are being traced. Out of 4,000 returnees from the UK, 43 people have tested positive for COVID-19, out of which eight have the new variant," Tope said in a televised message, citing results of their swab samples. "The protocol to treat them is different and they have been isolated from the other COVID-19 patients," he said.
 
PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 21:31 (IST)

 Maharashtra registers 2,765 new cases

 Maharashtra's COVID-19 tally on Monday rose to 19,47,011 with the addition of 2,765 fresh cases while 10,362 people recovered in a day, state health
department said. With 29 more patients succumbing to the viral disease, the cumulative toll in the state mounted to 49,695, an official said. A total of 10,362 patients were discharged after treatment during the day, taking the tally of recoveries in Maharashtra to 18,47,361, he said, adding that the state is now left with 48,801 active cases. With 46,374 new tests, the number of tests conducted in Maharashtra until now has gone up to 1,30,04,876.
 
PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 21:20 (IST)

Tamil Nadu govt allows cinema theatres to function with full seating capacity

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday permitted 100 percent seating capacity in cinema theatres from the present 50 percent and directed them to follow the
Standard Operating Procedure prescribed to prevent spread of coronavirus.   The relaxation comes after owners of cinema halls made a representation appealing to the government to allow them to screen films with full seating capacity.
    
In its order on Monday, the government said messages on precautionary measures to avoid the virus spread shall also be screened during the show time in cinema theatres to create awareness among the public. "Based on the decrease in the COVID-19 cases day by day, the theatre owners association have represented to the government to increase the seating capacity of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes," the GO said.

PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 20:59 (IST)

Six UK returnees to Kerala found positive for new variant, says state health minister

Six UK returnees from Kerala have tested positive for the new strain of the virus, Health Minister KK Shailaja said on Monday. "Six people who recently returned from the UK have tested positive for the new strain.We have placed them under surveillance.Their samples had been sent to NIV, Pune and results received today," the minister told reporters.
 

While two persons each from Alappuzha and Kozhikode have tested positive for the new variant, Kottayam and Kannur districts have reported one case each, she said.The six are under isolation and observation, the minister added.

PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 20:53 (IST)

Centre taking up COVID-19 vaccination in big way, says Harsh Vardhan

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday said the Centre has initiated a series of actions to prevent the spread of
coronavirus and that it is now taking up the vaccination drive in a big way. Vardhan's remarks came a day after India's drug regulator approved the restricted use of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech in the country.

 In his address at the 32nd Convocation of  Sri Ramachandra rpt Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (SRIHER) held virtually, he said the pandemic showcased the contribution of the government sector towards adequate healthcare - both Intensive Care and otherwise.He also called for a powerful societal commitment to overcome the barriers imposed by the pandemic.

PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 20:40 (IST)

Covishield to cost $3-4 per dose to govt, double in pvt market, says Adar Poonawalla

The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford will cost $3-4 per shot (Rs 219-292) to the government and will be priced at double that rate in private market ones such sales open up, said the CEO of its Indian manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII).SII the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has a license to produce the shot and has already manufactured close to 50 million doses.Its CEO Adar Poonawalla told news agency PTI that the company will start selling the Covishield to the Indian government and GAVI countries in the first stage, followed by the private market.

"We want the vaccine to be affordable and accessible to all. The government of India will receive it at a far more affordable price of $ 3-4, since they will be buying in a larger volume," he said.

PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 20:34 (IST)

Three more UK returnees test positive for new strain in Karnataka, says health minister

Three more people who returned from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the mutant strain of coronavirus, taking the total of such cases to ten in
Karnataka, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Monday. He also said 75 people who returned from the UK were yetto be traced and the Home department and the city corporation authorities have assured to locate them soon.

"Thirty-four UK returnees tested positive for COVID-19. Mutant coronavirus is found in ten people among them and all of them are recovering in government hospitals," Sudhakar told reporters.

PTI

Jan 04, 2021 - 20:15 (IST)

After 9 months, schools reopen in Aurangabad, Nagpur, Pune

 After remaining closed for over nine months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, schools reopened on Monday for students of select classes in Aurangabad, Nagpur and Pune cities of Maharashtra with all protocols and precautions in place.

In Nagpur city, 67 teaching and five non-teaching staff tested positive for COVID-19 during tests conducted ahead of reopening of schools. In Aurangabad in central Maharashtra, two teachers and four other staff members tested positive for coronavirus before reopening of schools for students of classes 9 and 10.

Jan 04, 2021 - 19:41 (IST)

Akhilesh Yadav clarifies "BJP vaccine" remark, says did not insult scientists

Two days after Akhilesh Yadav said he will not get himself injected with a "BJP vaccine" against coronavirus, the Samajwadi Party chief asserted on Monday that he had never insulted the scientists who developed it. Yadav's comment on Saturday that he could not trust a vaccine which would be used by a BJP government had triggered sharp reactions from the ruling party as well as leaders like Omar Abdullah of the National Conference.

The SP chief had tried to make amends on Twitter the same day, saying he was not referring to the scientists.

Questioned again by reporters on his remarks, the SP asked the Centre to tell when the poor people in the state will get the anti-COVID shot and if it will be available free. "I have never raised any questions on any scientist developing the vaccine or any person helping in making the vaccine. I only raised questions on the BJP as people do not have faith in the party because of the decisions taken by it," he said.

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates:  As many as eight returnees to Maharashtra from the UK have been found to be infected with
the new COVID-19 variant detected in the European country, said health minister Rajesh Tope. Of these, five are from Mumbai, he said, adding contacts of all the COVID-19 patients with the UK strain are being traced.

Six UK returnees in Kerala have tested positive for the new strain of the virus, Health Minister KK Shailaja said on Monday. "Six people who recently returned from the UK have tested positive for the new strain.We have placed them under surveillance. Their samples had been sent to NIV, Pune and the results received today," the minister told reporters.

While two persons each from Alappuzha and Kozhikode have tested positive for the new variant, Kottayam and Kannur districts have reported one case each, she said.The six are under isolation and observation, the minister added.

Bharat Biotech on Monday addressed concerns regarding DCGI's approval for restricted emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine without having completed its Phase 3 trials.

"In 2019, CDCSO formed a notification, I request you to read the guidelines... it clearly states that if yours is a proven platform technology, safe platform technology and good pre-clinical trial data is available then you can get emergency license for the product," MD Krishna Ella said.

He added, 'Covaxin is a simple two-dose, we are the only vaccine for above 12 years of age right now. We are planning to do even children trials soon, as per the protocol."

Addressing the questions raised about DCGI's approval for Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, its MD Krishna Ella said it was "just gossip" and backlash" against Indian companies.

"That is not right for us. We don't deserve that. Merck's Ebola vaccine never completed a human clinical trial at all but WHO gave emergency authorization for Liberia and Guinea."

He added, "Even US government says emergency authorization can be given if a company has good immunization data. Merck's Ebola vaccine got authorization for emergency use even before completion of phase-3 trial. Johnson and Johnson did trials on 87 people & got emergency licence."

Stating that Bharat Biotech is aiming to achieve a capacity of 700 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine across its Hyderabad and Bengaluru facilities, MD Krishna Ella said that currently, there are 20 million doses available and added that the company was encountering logistics-related problems.

About the price of the vaccine, he said, "In the beginning, the cost of vaccine may be a little higher. As the scale of production increases, the price will be controlled by market."

Asserting that Bharat Biotech is conducting clinical trials in Pakistan, Nepal, UK, and Bangladesh, along with India, Managing Director Krishna Ella said that the company is "not just Indian, but is truly global". He added that the company has conducted in trials in over 12 countries.

He also claimed that Indian companies are "targeted by everyone in the world".

"People are talking to backlash on Indian companies. That is not done for us. I don’t know why Indian companies are targeted by everyone in the world," he said.

Bharat Biotech managing director Krishna Ella addressed a press conference amid concerns around the company's COVID-19 vaccine.

He started by saying, "Now that vaccine is being politicized, I want to state very clearly that none of my family members are associated with any political party."

""Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the trials without any commercial interests. I come from a small agricultural family in Tamil Nadu. All I know is science. Vaccine is getting political now and I want to state that my family and myself have nothing to do with politics. We are a company with vaccine experience AND have made 16 vaccines," he said.

Amid concerns over approval to Covaxin, Bharat Biotech will hold a press conference at 5 pm today, said reports. As per CNN News18, Dr Krishn and Suchitra Ella will address the presser.

A total of 38 samples have been found to be positive with the new UK variant genome, said the Union health ministry in a statement. Giving a break up of the cases, it said 10 samples have been found positive for the new strain in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, three in CCMB, Hyderabad, five in NIV, Pune, 11 in IGIB, Delhi, eight in NCDC, New Delhi and one in NCBG, Kolkata. NCBS, InSTEM, Bengaluru, CDFD Hyderabad, ILS Bhubaneswar, and NCCS Pune have so far not found the UK mutant strain in samples, it added.

"All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on," the ministry said.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said he will take the COVID-19 vaccine shot after priority groups get vaccinated. Addressing commissioners, district collectors and superintendents of police in the state through video- conferencing, Chouhan said all districts of Madhya Pradesh are ready for the COVID-19 vaccination.

Mumbai on Sunday reported three COVID-19 deaths, which are the lowest in a single day since March last year, city civic commissioner IS Chahal said.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) began rolling out the Oxford University vaccine developed by AstraZeneca as protection against COVID-19 , with an 82-year-old Oxford-born dialysis patient becoming the first to receive the new jab.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the achievements of the scientists in the fight against the pandemic and said India is "on the threshold of starting the largest vaccination programme in the world".

India logged 16,504 cases of COVID-19 and 214 related deaths between Sunday and Monday morning, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare, taking the country’s tally to 1,03,40,469.

There were 16,432 cases of the coronavirus disease on December 29 last year. The number of active cases of COVID-19 remained below the 250,000 mark for the second day on a row at 243,953.

According to the health ministry, 9,946,867 people have recovered so far with 19,557 patients of COVID-19 cured or discharged across the country in the last 24 hours. The national recovery rate has gone up to 96.19 percent. The daily new recoveries have been more than the daily cases registered since the last 38 days.

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani on Sunday approved Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, and Bharat Biotech International Limited’s Covaxin for restricted emergency use, clearing way for the government’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease in about 10 days. However, the emergency use approval to the Serum Institute of India (SII) vaccine against COVID-19 developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and the “restricted use in emergency situation” consent to Bharat Biotech’s locally developed vaccine received criticism.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August, 40 lakh on 5 September and 50 lakh on 16 September. It went past 60 lakh on 28 September, 70 lakh on 11 October, crossed 80 lakh on 29 October, 90 lakh on 20 November and surpassed the one-crore mark on 19 December.

According to the ICMR, 17,56,35,761 samples have been tested up to 3 January with 7,35,978 samples being tested on Sunday.

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