COVID-19 tally reaches 89 lakh, MHA provides more beds, doctors for Delhi; vaccine is 95% effective, says Pfizer

FP Staff November 18, 2020 23:42:24 IST
COVID-19 tally reaches 89 lakh, MHA provides more beds, doctors for Delhi; vaccine is 95% effective, says Pfizer

Representational image. AP

Coronavirus cases in India crossed 89 lakh on Wednesday, with the 6,596 new cases and 474 deaths being reported since Tuesday. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 83 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 93.52 per cent, according to the Union health ministry data.

The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the eighth consecutive day. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August and 40 lakh on 5 September. It went past 50 lakh on 16 September, 60 lakh on 28 September, 70 lakh on 11 October and crossed 80 lakh on 29 October.

The 474 new fatalities include 99 from Delhi, 68 from Maharashtra, 52 from West Bengal, 30 from Punjab, 27 from Kerala and 25 from Haryana.

A three-pronged approach was undertaken by the government to tackle COVID-19 , Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

A "whole of society and whole of government approach" with strong leadership, communication and decisions based on science was undertaken by the government, he said. "

The second approach was strengthening health systems by building on past efforts, by relying on current strategies, by deploying new technology, by strengthening existing partnerships and forging new partnerships. The third approach was the digital initiatives undertaken by the union government to help in our fight against COVID," he added.

MHA lists measures to control cases in Delhi

The home ministry shared the details of the measures being taken following Amit Shah’s announcement of the 12-point plan on Sunday to tackle the COVID-19 case count rise in Delhi.

“Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to add 250 ICU beds to its already existing 250 ICU beds and also to create 35 BiPAP (Bilevel positive airway pressure) beds in the next 3-4 days at COVID hospital near Delhi airport,” the ministry tweeted.

The ministry said 45 doctors and 160 paramedics from the paramilitary forces had already arrived in Delhi for deployment at the DRDO COVID-19 hospital and the Chhatarpur COVID care centre and ICMR is working towards enhancing testing capacity.

MHA also said that it had constituted ten multi-disciplinary teams to visit more than 100 private hospitals in Delhi in order to identify extra intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

Health minister Satyendar Jain reiterated that there will be no lockdown in the National Capital but said that there can be local restrictions at some busy places. “We have learned from the experience of lockdown. There is no need to repeat it. But there can be local restrictions at some busy places. Maximum tests are being conducted which we will further increase. The virus can easily spread due to large gatherings during Chhath Puja, hence the restrictions," Jain told reporters.

At the Delhi-Noida borders at DND and Chilla, health officials began randomly testing commuters through rapid antigen-based test in a combative measure amid the rise in cases.

Pfizer says vaccine candidate 95% effective

Pfizer Inc said final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine show it was 95 percent effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency US authorisation within days.

The drugmaker said efficacy of the vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE, was consistent across age and ethnicity demographics, and that there were no major side effects.

Pfizer reiterated it expects to make as many as 50 million vaccine doses this year, enough to protect 25 million people, and then produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul, however, said that the Centre is currently examining the possibilities if at all the vaccine developed by Pfizer has to be obtained by India, given the cold-chain needed to store the potential COVID-19 vaccine.

India ranks third in terms of the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses the country is committed to procure, as per a  Wall Street Journal repor.

India’s confirmed dose purchases exceed 1.5 billion which is more than European Union’s 1.2 billion doses and the United States 1 billion doses.

India’s public health spending needs to go up significantly over the next few years to cover the gaps in health facilities, especially in the most vulnerable states, NK Singh, chairman of the Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) said.

“The government is dutybound to address the issue of health deficiency at the level of municipal corporations, village panchayats and primary health centres. Private sector participation can be at other levels of specialty where they are better placed given their innovative skills," he added.

Students test positive as Haryana schools reopen

Panic spread in Haryana as 72 students in 12 schools that opened in Rewari were tested positive for coronavirus prompting state education minister Kanwar Pal to say that only the schools where cases were detected will be shut.

Eleven students in Jind district were also tested positive for the infection, according to a report. State health minister Anil Vij said a post-COVID care and research centre will be set up at the Rohtak’s PGIMS hospital to address problems faced by patients recovering from the infection.

 

With inputs from agencies

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