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Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and a hospital here, which is treating him, said the actor’s condition is stable. The actor is on medical management and his condition is stable, Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre said in a bulletin, adding Haasan tested positive for the virus following his admission for lower respiratory tract infection and fever. Haasan said in a tweet, “I had mild cough following my return from the USA. When I tested, the coronavirus infection was confirmed. I have isolated myself in hospital. Everyone should be on guard realising that the COVID-19 spread has not faded.”
The European Medicines Agency says it is evaluating whether to authorize booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. In a statement Monday, the EU drug regulator said it was considering an application from J&J to recommend booster doses of the J&J vaccine for adults 18 and over, at least two months after they were first immunized. Amid an explosive surge of new coronavirus infections across Europe, the EMA said it expected to make a decision on this within weeks.
Delhi recorded 26 cases of COVID-19 and zero daily deaths on Monday with a positivity rate of 0.06 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here. The city has recorded four deaths due to the infection in November so far. Four people had succumbed to it in October and five in September.
Another 127 coronavirus cases have been added to Andhra Pradesh’s tally on Monday, taking the total so far to 20,71,371. A health department bulletin said 184 infected persons got cured in 24 hours ending 9 am on Monday, pushing the total recoveries up to 20,54,737. Two more deaths took the gross toll to 14,428, it said. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state is now 2,206.
Makkal Needhi Maiam president and actor Kamal Haasan today said he has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to a hospital. “I had mild cough following my return from the USA. When I tested, the coronavirus infection was confirmed. I have isolated myself in hospital,” he said.
New Zealand will end a three-and-a-half-month lockdown in the country’s largest city Auckland early next month as it adopts a new coronavirus control strategy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday. Ardern said that from 11:59pm on December 2, New Zealand would adopt a new Covid-19 response — first flagged last month — that aims to contain the highly contagious Delta variant, rather than attempting to eliminate it completely.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya urged Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry, which have been reporting a low vaccination coverage, to launch aggressive campaign to increase the pace and ensure full COVID-19 inoculation of the adult population. Reiterating that vaccination is the most potent weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Mandaviya urged the states and the union territory to innovatively rope in all stakeholders, including NGOs, faith-based organisations, religious leaders, community influencers and other partners, to motivate and mobilise all eligible population towards full Covid vaccination, a health ministry statement said.
Popular actor Kamal Haasan tweeted earlier today that he has been diagnosed with Covid-19, and is currently self-isolating.
அமெரிக்கப் பயணம் முடிந்து திரும்பிய பின் லேசான இருமல் இருந்தது. பரிசோதனை செய்ததில் கோவிட் தொற்று உறுதியானது. மருத்துவமனையில் தனிமைப்படுத்திக் கொண்டுள்ளேன். இன்னமும் நோய்ப்பரவல் நீங்கவில்லையென்பதை உணர்ந்து அனைவரும் பாதுகாப்பாக இருங்கள்.
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) November 22, 2021
New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the virus from Dec. 3, which will end tough coronavirus measures and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement on Monday. New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, forcing Ardern to abandon her acclaimed elimination strategy and switch to a system of treating the virus as endemic.
Its biggest city Auckland has been in lockdown for over 90 days, although some measures were eased recently. “The hard truth is that Delta is here and not going away, but New Zealand is well set to tackle it because of our high vaccination rates and our latest safety measures including the traffic light system and Vaccine Pass,” Ardern said.
The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not record any new COVID-19 case for the seventh consecutive day, a health department official said on Monday. The COVID-19 tally in the archipelago remained at 7,646, he said.
The union territory reported four new COVID-19 cases on November 14 and since then has not reported any new case. The archipelago now has only two active COVID-19 cases and both the patients are in the South Andaman district while the other districts – North and Middle Andaman and Nicobar – are coronavirus free, the official said.
Four more patients recuperated from the disease on Sunday, taking the total number of COVID-19 recoveries to 7,545, he said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 129 as no fresh fatality has been reported in the last 24 hours.
The administration has so far tested 6,25,682 samples for COVID-19 and the cumulative test positivity rate is 1.23 per cent. A total of 5,34,324 beneficiaries have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine to date, of which 2,95,804 have received the first dose and 2,38,520 have received both doses of the vaccine.
The global coronavirus caseload has topped 257.5 million while the deaths have surged to more than 5.15 million and vaccinations to over 7.39 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update on Monday morning, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number number of vaccine doses administered stood at 257,520,965, 5,150,520 and 7,392,037,014, respectively.
The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 47,730,591 and 771,118, according to the CSSE.
North Korea is yet to reopen its land border with China amid indications of brisk preparations to ease the Covid-induced lockdown measures, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Monday. South Korea has been closely monitoring signs of the North reopening its border, which has remained closed for nearly two years due to the virus crisis, reports Yonhap News Agency.
“Signs of preparations to resume trade have been continuously detected, but it’s not at a stage to say trade has resumed or the North Korea-China border lockdown has been lifted,” Ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo said while addressing a briefing.
With the addition of 98 fresh coronavirus positive cases, the infection count in Thane district of Maharashtra mounted to 5,68,454, an official said on Monday. These cases were reported on Sunday, he said. The COVID-19 death toll remained unchanged at 11,572 as no fresh fatality was reported in the district. The mortality rate in the Thane district now stands at 2.03 per cent, he added. In neighbouring Palghar district, the COVID-19 case count has gone up to 1,38,453 while the overall death toll is 3,292, an official from Palghar said.
Australia announced Monday it will again welcome foreign students and skilled workers from next month, easing some of the world’s most stringent pandemic travel restrictions. Twenty months after Australia slammed shut its borders, some visa holders — as well as Japanese and South Korean citizens — will be able to enter from December 1. “Australia is re-opening to the world,” said Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews as she announced the news, adding it was “yet another step forward for Australia.” The government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison lifted restrictions on Australians travelling overseas last month, sparking a flood of travel bookings for the southern hemisphere summer.
From 1 Dec, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can come to Australia without needing to apply for travel exemption. Eligible visa holders incl skilled&student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holidaymaker &provisional family visa holders: Australian PM Scott Morrison pic.twitter.com/mHiFrMkfy7
— ANI (@ANI) November 22, 2021
But Morrison — who is hoping to be re-elected next year — had pointedly refused to relax travel rules for non-Australians. That move left an estimated 1.4 million skilled visa holders stuck in Australia, unable to return if they decided to leave.
Austria powered down public life on Monday as its fourth national COVID-19 lockdown began, making it the first western European country to reimpose the drastic and unpopular measure this autumn in the face of surging coronavirus infections. This lockdown is similar to previous ones but is the first introduced since vaccines became widely available. Most places people gather, like restaurants, cafes, bars, theatres, non-essential shops and hairdressers cannot open their doors for 10 days initially and maybe as many as 20, the government says.
Karnataka on Saturday crossed the seven crore vaccination mark even as the state reported 213 fresh COVID-19 cases and five deaths, taking the caseload and cumulative fatalities to 29,93,352 and 38,174. The figure of over seven crore comprised 4.36 crore first dose and 2.64 crore second dose and included the 2,36,784 jabs given today, a health department bulletin said.
Sharing the information on his Twitter handle, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, “Karnataka crosses 7 crore doses today! Would like thank the entire family of health workers and district administration for achieving this feat! Thanks to PM @narendramodi ji, @mansukhmandviya ji and @CMofKarnataka for all the support.” The health department said 370 people were discharged, taking the total number of recoveries to 29,48,053. Active cases stood at 7,096. Bengaluru Urban remained the major contributor of COVID cases with 134 fresh infections and two deaths.
Sikkim recorded eight new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, a Health Department bulletin said. The state has so far recorded 32,169 COVID-19 cases, it said. The toll remained at 403 with no reports of any new death, it added. Of the new cases, East Sikkim registered six, while South Sikkim reported two. Sikkim now has 123 active cases, while 31,309 people recovered from the disease. Altogether, 334 patients have migrated to other states.
The positivity rate of daily Covid-19 infections in West Bengal rose above 2 per cent again on Saturday after remaining below it for three consecutive days, as the state recorded 12 more deaths due to the disease and 725 new cases on Saturday, a health department bulletin said. The state’s caseload increased to 16,09,118, while the death toll went up to 19,376. The state recorded a positivity rate of 2.01 per cent on Saturday as against 1.98 per cent on Friday, the data said. The positivity rate was 1.95 per cent on Thursday, and 1.97 per cent on Wednesday. On November 16 and 15, the figures were 2.21 per cent and 2.88 per cent respectively. A total of 36,117 samples were tested on Saturday, compared to 44,322 on Friday, the bulletin said. The state recorded 725 new cases on Saturday, 152 less than the previous day’s count. Kolkata recorded the highest number of positive cases at 201 as against 242 on Friday, according to the data. North 24 Parganas followed in the second position with 125 cases on Saturday, decreasing from 158 the previous day, the bulletin said.
The UK’s health service will open up for over-40s to book in their COVID-19 booster vaccine dose from Monday, as the UK government warned top-up doses were important to prevent an infection spike and winter lockdowns currently being faced by many European countries. The National Health Service (NHS) said on Sunday that following new advice from the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) this week, the vaccination programme has been expanded, with over 40s eligible for boosters and people aged 16 and 17 able to book a second COVID-19 vaccine jab.
Those eligible for a booster can book an appointment in advance five months after their second dose to be vaccinated as soon as they reach the six month mark, so far being offered to those aged over 50 and in medically vulnerable groups. Getting your COVID-19 booster vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter and will help reduce the pressure on the NHS, said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
The British government is investigating whether built-in racial bias in some medical devices led to Black and Asian people getting sick and dying disproportionately from COVID-19. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Sunday that the pandemic had highlighted health disparities along race and gender lines. He said that a third of intensive care admissions in Britain at the height of the pandemic were people from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds, more than double their share of the population.
Britains statistics office has found that in the first year of the pandemic, up to March 2021, Black and South Asian people in the U.K. had higher death rates than their white compatriots, even after factors like occupation and underlying health conditions were taken into account. Javid said one issue was research showing that pulse oximeters, which measure blood oxygen levels through the skin, work less well on darker skin. He called it a systemic worldwide issue.
During his visit, Haasan had on November 15 held discussions at Chicago with his North America-based supporters who apprised him on their initiatives so far and future plans. The MNM chief congratulated them for their support to their motherland, despite being in a foreign country for work. Haasan returned home days ago. The MNM chief, ahead of his foreign trip, had also visited flood-hit areas here and distributed welfare assistance on behalf of his party to the affected people.
India reports 8,488 new cases (lowest in 538 days), 12,510 recoveries and 249 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per Health Ministry. Active cases stand at 1,18,443 which is the lowest in 534 days (account for less than 1% of total cases, currently at 0.34% – lowest since March 2020). Of the 8,488 new cases, 12,510 recoveries and 249 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, Kerala recorded 5080 cases, 7908 recoveries and 40 deaths.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a meeting on Monday to review the progress and planning of COVID-19 vaccination in Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry where the first dose coverage is less than 70 per cent, official sources said. The first dose coverage in Meghalaya was 56.7 per cent, Manipur 54.2 per cent, Nagaland 49 per cent and Puducherry 65.7 per cent, they said quoting government data updated on Sunday.
The government has launched a month-long Ghar Dastak campaign for house-to-house COVID-19 vaccination of those who are yet to take the first dose and those whose second dose is overdue. According to officials, over 12 crore beneficiaries are overdue for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine after the expiry of the prescribed interval between the two jabs.
“Mandaviya will hold a meeting to review the progress and planning of COVID-19 vaccination in Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry on Monday where the first dose coverage is less than 70 per cent. The aim is to encourage vaccination there,” an official source said. According to officials, around 82 per cent of the eligible population in India have received the first dose of the anti-Covid vaccine while around 43 per cent have been fully inoculated.
The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 116.50 crores. This has been achieved through 1,20,41,157 sessions.
As far as Europe’s COVID-19 situation is concerned, around 35,000 people took to the streets in Brussels on Sunday to protest against restrictions imposed by the government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, police said. There were some confrontations between demonstrators and police, with protesters throwing smoke bombs and fireworks, the newspaper Le Soir reported. The situation normalized later, police said. Belgium had tightened its coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, mandating wider use of masks and enforcing work from home, as cases rose in the country’s fourth COVID-19 wave.
A fresh wave of protests broke out in several European cities and in some French overseas territories Sunday, as protesters reacted, sometimes violently, to moves to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions. Police and protesters clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels, in several Dutch cities and overnight into early Sunday in the French Caribbean territory Guadaloupe.
There were fresh demonstrations in Austria, where the government is imposing a new lockdown and Covid-19 vaccine mandate. In Brussels, violence broke out at a protest against anti-Covid measures which police said was attended by 35,000 people. The march, in the city’s European Union and government district, largely focused on a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars. It began peacefully but police later fired water cannon and tear gas in response to protesters throwing projectiles, an AFP photographer witnessed.
Police told Belga news agency that three officers were injured. Several of the demonstrators caught up in the clash wore hoods and carried Flemish nationalist flags, while others wore Nazi-era yellow stars. Protesters set fire to wood pallets, and social media images showed them attacking police vans with street signs.