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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: 40-50 Million Vaccine Doses Stockpiled, Says Serum Institute CEO, MoS Health Ashwini Choubey Tests Positive | December 28, 2020, 19:22 IST
Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, has already stockpiled 40-50 million dosages of the Covid-19 vaccine, the company’s CEO Adar Poonwalla said on Monday, adding that the firm will be able to produce around 300 million doses by July 2021.

“Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it'll be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast,” he said. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is likely to get regulatory approval for emergency use this week in India as the updated data submitted by Serum Institute of India (SII) appears “satisfactory”, top government sources have said.
Dec 28, 2020 19:22 (IST)

MHA Issues Fresh Covid-19 Guidelines | The Centre said there has been a continuous decline in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country but there is a need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution, keeping in view the surge in the number of cases globally and the emergence of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom (UK). In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it has issued fresh guidelines for surveillance with regard to COVID-19 and these will remain in force till January 31.

Dec 28, 2020 19:11 (IST)

21 Inmates of Bareilly Central Jail Test +ve | As many as 49 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported from Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district with 21 that of inmates in Bareilly Central Jail, officials said on Monday. DIG of Bareilly Central Jail Anand Pandey said, "Every Sunday, routine check-up is done, and 21 inmates have tested positive. The inmates, who have tested positive have been put in another barrack in the jail, and they are being treated." The central jail was sanitised while efforts are on to ascertain which inmate first got the coronavirus, he said.

Dec 28, 2020 18:57 (IST)

Punjab Starts Dry Run of Vaccination in Two Districts | The exercise to conduct a dry run of the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine over a two-day period in two selected Punjab districts began on Monday, health officials said. The districts of Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) have been selected for the dry run, aimed at testing the laid out mechanisms for the vaccination roll-out in the health system, Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said.

Dec 28, 2020 18:56 (IST)

2-day Dry Run for Vaccination Programme Begins in Assam | A two-day dry run for the COVID-19 vaccination programme began in Nalbari and Sonitpur, two select districts of Assam, on Monday, health department officials said. Assam is one of the four states in the country where the dry run is being carried out to check the preparedness of the authorities before launching the actual vaccination programme. The other three states are Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat.

Dec 28, 2020 18:00 (IST)

Ashwini Choubey Tests +ve | Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey tests positive for Covid-19.

Dec 28, 2020 17:45 (IST)

40-50 Mn Doses of Covishield Stockpiled: Adar Poonawalla | "We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get the regulatory approvals in a few days, it will be down to the government to decide how many doses can be rolled out and at what speed. We will produce around 300 million doses by July 2021," says Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla.

Dec 28, 2020 16:28 (IST)

One-fifth of UP's Active Cases in Its 8 NCR Districts | Eight districts of Uttar Pradesh that lie in the National Capital Region account for over 20 per cent or one-fifth of the active COVID-19 cases in the state and more than 11 per cent of deaths linked to the coronavirus, according to official data. Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Shamli districts of Uttar Pradesh are a part of the NCR, a wider region that also comprises districts of Haryana and Rajasthan, and entire Delhi.

Dec 28, 2020 15:53 (IST)

Overuse of Covid-19 Antibiotics Might be the Reason Behind Rise of Super Gonorrhea

The world is currently fighting Covid-19 pandemic but because of this crisis, a number of other problems are on the rise.

Dec 28, 2020 15:50 (IST)

Parliamentary Panel Discusses Global Response | Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs held a meeting to discuss global response on Covid-19 pandemic, India's contribution during the crisis and the way forward to deal with the disease which has infected a total of 1,02,07,871 people in India, taking the tally of fatalities to 1,47,901 so far. Concluding evidence presented by the representatives of the Ministries of External Affairs, Health and Family Welfare and Civil Aviation on Covid-19 or coronavirus were also discussed in the over half-an-hour meeting here inside Parliament premises.

Dec 28, 2020 14:54 (IST)

The Union government is going to ramp up surveillance of the mutations and different strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in light of the outbreak of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom. The government has proposed a ‘Genomic Surveillance Consortium’ in a bid improve its understanding of how the virus spreads and has evolved.

Dec 28, 2020 13:44 (IST)

Karnataka Health Minister Hints at Police Action Against Untraceable UK Returnees | Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday hinted at stringent action against those returnees from the United Kingdom who were untraceable and had switched off their mobile phones. It could even be police action against them, the minister indicated. "I request the UK returnees to cooperate with us as responsible citizens. You have to get tested. If you don't get tested and switch off your phone, then it's a crime in true sense," Sudhakar told reporters in Bengaluru.

Dec 28, 2020 13:26 (IST)

Odisha Reports 234 New COVID-19 Cases, 3 Fresh Fatalities | Odisha on Monday reported 234 new COVID19 cases taking the tally to 3,28,738, while three fresh fatalities pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 1,864, a health department official said. The new cases were detected in 24 of the state's 30 districts, with 136 reported from different quarantine centres, while the remaining 98 are local contact cases.

Dec 28, 2020 13:14 (IST)

State-wise Covid-19 Update in India:

Dec 28, 2020 12:43 (IST)

Over 70 per cent of the daily new cases are being reported by 10 states and union territory -- Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Dec 28, 2020 12:14 (IST)

When compared globally, India's cases per million population is amongst the lowest in the world (7,397). The global average is 10,149. Countries such as Russia, UK, Italy, Brazil, France and USA have much higher cases per million population: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Dec 28, 2020 12:12 (IST)

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today said 72.99% of new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 states/UTs. Kerala has reported a maximum number of single-day recoveries with 3,463 newly recovered cases. 79.61% of the new COVID-19 cases are from 10 states and Union Territories

Dec 28, 2020 12:03 (IST)

Urgent Action Expected in S Africa as Hospitals Run Out of Beds, Oxygen Amid COVID-19 Spike | South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to recall ministers and top officials from their festive season break to seek urgent ways of addressing an unprecedented spike in COVID19 infections and deaths, with hospitals turning away patients due to a lack of beds and oxygen. "I can confidently say that the meeting (called by Ramaphosa) will be on Tuesday (to) consider further measures to ensure that we curb this alarming rate of spread," the weekly Sunday Times quoted a government insider.

Dec 28, 2020 11:37 (IST)

2 New COVID-19 Cases in Arunachal Pradesh, Tally Rises to 16,689 | Arunachal Pradesh reported two new cases of COVID19 in the last 24 hours, taking the state's tally to 16,689, a senior health department official said on Monday. One case each was reported from the Capital Complex Region and Tawang district respectively and both the cases were detected through rapid antigen tests, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Dr Lobsang Jampa said.

Dec 28, 2020 11:15 (IST)

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7,30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28,70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29,90 lakh on November 20 andsurpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. According to the ICMR, 16,88,18,054 samples have been tested up to December 27 with 7,15,397 samples being tested on Sunday.

Dec 28, 2020 10:30 (IST)
The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh for the seventh consecutive day. There are 2,77,301 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 2.72per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
Dec 28, 2020 10:11 (IST)
Over 20,000 New Infections Reported in Single-day | India's COVID-19 caseload rose to 1,02,07,871 with 20,021 infections being reported in a day, while recoveries have surged to 97.82 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated today. The death toll increased to 1,47,901 with 279 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 97,82,669 pushing the national recovery rate to95.83 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.
Dec 28, 2020 09:39 (IST)
Thane District's Covid-19 Count Rises by 341, Death Toll by 2 | With the addition of 341 fresh coronavirus positive cases, the infection count in Thane district of Maharashtra mounted to 2,41,814, an official said on Monday. These new cases were reported on Sunday, he said.
Dec 28, 2020 08:25 (IST)

4 Covid-positive Jail Inmates Run Away from Hospital; 3 Held Again | Four COVID positive jail inmates, who were taken to a hospital for treatment, ran away on Sunday evening in this Uttar Pradesh district but the police managed to nab three of them, officials said. According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Santosh Kumar Singh, the four accused three from the Khurja Nagar police station and one from the Kotwali Rural police station were sent to jail on December 19.

Dec 28, 2020 08:24 (IST)

46 New Cases Push Sikkim's Covid-19 Tally to 5,845 | Sikkim's COVID19 tally rose to 5,845 on Sunday as 46 more people, including 36 inmates of Rongyek jail, tested positive for the infection, an official said. East Sikkim reported 44 new cases, and South and West Sikkim districts one each, state IEC member Sonam Bhutia said.

Dec 28, 2020 07:43 (IST)

Recoveries Outnumber New Covid-19 Cases in Karnataka | With 1,214 patients discharged in a day, recoveries outnumbered 911 new Covid cases in Karnataka, said the state health bulletin on Sunday. "Recoveries across the state increased to 8,91,095, with 1,214 discharged during the day, while 911 fresh cases on Saturday rose the state's Covid tally to 9,16,256, including 13,080 active cases," said the bulletin.

Dec 28, 2020 07:33 (IST)

US President Donald Trump Signs Covid-19 Relief Bill | The outgoing President of USA, Donald Trump, signed the Covid-19 Relief Bill today. "I'm signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution and much more," Trump said in his official statement.

Dec 28, 2020 07:25 (IST)

Positivity Rate in Delhi Plummets to 1%, Fatalities Below 20 | The national capital reported 757 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the positivity rate of the infections has reduced to 1 per cent in the last 24 hours while the deaths due to Covid also saw a significant drop as the city reported 16 fatalities in the same duration, the health bulletin by Delhi government stated.

Dec 28, 2020 07:17 (IST)

US Taking Hard Look at  Variant of Coronavirus: Dr Fauci | Dr Anthony Fauci endorsed the decision of U.S. officials to require negative COVID-19 tests before letting people from Britain enter the U.S. He declined to weigh in on whether that step should have been taken sooner. He said the variant strain is something to follow very carefully and were looking at it very intensively now.

Dec 28, 2020 07:16 (IST)

US health officials believe the coronavirus mutation that set off alarms in parts of Britain is no more apt to cause serious illness or be resistant to vaccines than the strain afflicting people in the United States but it still must be taken very seriously, the governments top infectious disease expert said Sunday.

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: 40-50 Million Vaccine Doses Stockpiled, Says Serum Institute CEO, MoS Health Ashwini Choubey Tests Positive
A ground staff walks past a container kept at the Cargo Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which according to the officials will be used as a COVID-19 vaccine handling and distribution centre. (Reuters)

The Krishna district administration on Monday successfully conducted a dry run of the Covid-19 vaccination programme by carrying out various exercises that go into the actual event whenever it begins. Krishna district Collector A Md Imtiyaz, who inaugurated the dry run at the urban primary health centre at Prakash Nagar in Vijayawada, said the (dummy) vaccine was transported from the central storage facility to cold chain points at various places.

The dry run was carried out in five locations with 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers) for each session. "We have recorded this in the Co-WIN App and sent SMSes to the chosen patients. We have monitored the time taken for different processes and the logistics involved. This will be used in real-time simulation," the Collector told reporters.

India is holding a two-day dry run for the largest and most ambitious mass immunisation programme in its history. The dummy vaccination exercise for Covid-19 will be carried out today and tomorrow in two districts of four corners of the country —Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam.

With preparations underway for a possible vaccine-rollout by January, the Indian drug regulator may give emergency use authorisation to the Serum Institute that is manufacturing the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine here. The process of granting emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' may take time as its phase 3 trials are still underway, while Pfizer is yet to make a presentation. "Going by this, Oxford vaccine 'Covishield' is likely to be the first to be rolled out in India," a source said.

With over 10 million total infections, India is the world’s second worst affected country, even though daily case numbers have been falling consistently over the past three months. The dry run will proceed through four key steps, which will be monitored closely by the central government:

1. Each district will receive the dummy vaccine for 100 beneficiaries from the nearest depot.
2. Temperature will be tracked through the vaccine’s journey from the depot to the vaccination site.
3. An SMS will be sent in advance to the beneficiaries with the name of the vaccinator, and the time of the vaccination.
4. Each beneficiary will be made to sit for 30 minutes after being administered the shot; if an adverse event occurs, its management will be tracked through the central server.

The dry run is intended to test the country's flagship vaccine delivery IT platform, Co-Win, at every stage, Indian Express quoted its sources.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has finally signed a massive $900 billion stimulus bill, in a long-sought boost for millions of Americans and businesses battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The package "providing coronavirus emergency response and relief" is part of a larger spending bill that, with Trump's signature, will avoid a government shutdown on Tuesday.

For days, Trump refused to put his signature on the relief package approved overwhelmingly by Congress following months of negotiation, calling it a "disgrace."

But in his statement, Trump continued to push for the $600 direct payments to US taxpayers spelled out in the bill to be more than tripled, and argued the legislation included too much excess spending on unrelated programs. He has not said why he waited until the bill was already approved to make his views known. President-elect Joe Biden, due to be sworn in January 20 after beating Trump in November's election, had warned of "devastating consequences" on Saturday if the president continued his refusal.