Mumbai on Thursday reported 5,708 new Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths. The city’s recoveries stand at 15,440. Kerala, meanwhile, reported its highest single-day spike of 46,383 infections. As many as 32 deaths were reported in the state in the last 24 hours, and 309 deaths were added to the Covid death list as per the guidelines of the central government. Read More
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Use of antivirals or monoclonal antibodies is not recommended for those less than 18 years of age, irrespective of severity of Covid infection, and if steroids are used, they should be tapered over 10 to 14 days, subject to clinical improvement, the government said on Thursday. In the ‘Revised Comprehensive Guidelines for Management of Covid-19 in Children and Adolescents (below 18 years)’, the health ministry also said masks are not recommended for children aged five and below. Those aged 6 to 11 may wear it depending on ability of child to use mask safely and appropriately under direct supervision of parents, it said. Those aged 12 and above should wear a mask under same conditions as adults, the ministry said. The guidelines were reviewed by experts in view of current surge attributed to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is also a variant of concern.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration announced 64-hour restrictions on weekends on non-essential movement to arrest the worrying spike in coronavirus cases, officials said. Jammu and Kashmir recorded 5,992 fresh coronavirus cases, its biggest single-day spike in infections so far, pushing the tally to 3,78,661. Seven people also died in the last 24 hours. Announcing the decision of the state executive committee, which met under chief secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, the officials said there will be a complete halt on non-essential movement in the UT every Friday from 2 pm to Monday 6 am. An order issued by the chief secretary said pregnant women employees will be exempt from physical attendance and shall be allowed to work from home on workdays.
The Telangana government today extended its earlier orders prohibiting rallies, public meetings, among other measures, till January 31 as part of steps to check the spread of Covid-19. On January 1, the government issued an order prohibiting rallies, public meetings and mass gatherings of all types, including religious, political and cultural events. Among other directives, the order said the managements of public transport, shops, malls, establishments, offices and others should ensure strict compliance in mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing and frequent sanitation of premises.
For the remaining Sundays of the month on January 23 and 30, the Kerala government said it will only allow essential services. Work from home will be made available to government and private employees, especially those suffering from cancer or have severe health issues or mothers of children below two years.
The state government will impose district-wise restrictions on the number of patients being admitted to hospitals. Districts will be categorised into A, B and C by disaster management authority, based on report by the health department. In category A, all public functions, including marriage and funerals, will be allowed with maximum 50 people. In category B, no public functions will be allowed and religious rituals should be conducted online. For weddings and funerals, maximum 20 people can take part. In category C, in addition to rules in category B, theatres, gyms as well as swimming pools will be closed. Only online classes will be allowed except for classes X and XII, final-year as well as postgraduate students.
Category A: Ernakulam, Kollam, Alappuzha
Category B: Palakkad, Idukki, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Wayanad
Category C: None
The state government also said only critical cases should be referred to medical colleges. The secretariat will have a Covid war room. District collectors have the power to impose restrictions based on the particular situation of a district. They can discuss with chief secretary and decide appropriately.
The Delhi government made RT-PCR tests cheaper in the national capital. Now, home collection of samples for RT-PCR test will cost Rs 500 instead of Rs 700, while hospitals will charge Rs 300 for a test instead of Rs 500. Rapid antigen tests will now cost Rs 100.
Kerala on Thursday registered 46,387 new coronavirus cases, the highest ever single-day spike since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, taking the total caseload to 54,87,898. According to data, 43,529 Covid-19 cases, reported on May 12, 2021, was the highest ever cases of infection in the state so far. The health department said the state tested 1,15,357 samples in the last 24 hours and there are 1,99,041 active Covid-19 cases. However, in a relief to the state’s health sector, only 3% are admitted to hospitals. On Thursday, Kerala reported 341 deaths, taking the toll to 51,501. Among the fatalities, 32 were recorded over the last few days and 309 designated as Covid-19 deaths after receiving appeals based on new guidelines of the Centre and directions of the Supreme Court.
Delhi on Thursday reported 12,306 fresh Covid-19 cases and 43 more fatalities due to the viral disease, while the positivity rate dipped to 21.48%, as per data. This is the highest number of deaths reported in a day since June 10, 2021, when 44 fatalities were recorded. As many as 396 people have succumbed to Covid-19 in the national capital so far in January. A total of 57,290 Covid-19 tests were conducted on Wednesday, as against 57,776 on Tuesday, the data showed.
A steep five-time hike has been registered in active cases in Himachal Pradesh in the last 10 days, a senior health official said on Thursday. There has been a consistent rise in the number of active cases since January 8, he added. The trend shows that the number of active cases has increased from 2,793 on January 8 to 14,918 as on January 19, he added. Out of a total of 19,24,051 active cases in the country, 14,918 cases were from Himachal Pradesh as of January 19, he added. The numbers of admissions of Covid-positive patients have also increased, he said, adding the bed occupancy has also increased by nearly five times in 10 days.
A UN-backed agency has struck a deal for nearly 30 generic drugmakers to make low-cost versions of Merck & Co’s Covid-19 pill molnupiravir for poorer nations, widening access to a drug seen as a weapon in fighting the pandemic. The antiviral pill, which in December received emergency approval in the US, reduces hospitalisations and deaths of high-risk patients by around 30%, according to clinical trial results. The new agreement allows 27 generic drugmakers from India, China and other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to produce ingredients and the finished drug. India’s Natco Pharma, Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmaceuticals, South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare Holdings and China’s Fosun Pharma are among generics firms that will produce the finished product. Other companies, including India’s Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, had struck earlier deals with Merck for the production of molnupiravir. Dr Reddy’s will sell molnupiravir at Rs 1,400 per course. A molnupiravir course of 40 pills for five days is expected to cost about $20 in poorer nations, an official involved in the talks with drugmakers told Reuters, citing initial estimates from drugmakers, which are subject to change. REUTERS
The central government is concerned about the alarming rise in cases in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, and has flagged them as ‘states of concern’ amid the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. READ MORE
Asked about data on vaccinated and unvaccinated persons hospitalised in the third wave, union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the central government had connected ICMR’s vaccine portal with CoWIN portal because of which it had become easier to track breakthrough infections and number of vaccinated people hospitalised in the third coronavirus wave. The date on this will be available during the next Covid review meeting, he added.
Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul said India had vaccinated 52% children in the age group of 15 to 18 years against Covid-19 after the drive was extended to the young adult population from January 3. He said the second dose, however, was still overdue for 6.5 crore people and appealed to all to get their jabs as those who were not protected could spread the infection too. On vaccination drive being extended to those below 15 years, Dr Paul said from January 16 to date, vaccinations had started for young adults based on scientific evidence and assumption of protection for most vulnerable. As scientific evidence evolved, Covid vaccinations will be expanded accordingly, he added.
Union health secretary said Drug Controller General of India will soon decide on full market authorisation of approved Covid-19 vaccines. “Once the decision is taken by the national regulator, we’ll have more details and know if the approval is given with restrictions or not.”
During the Covid-19 review meeting on Thursday, Dr Balram Bharghava, director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research, said an uptick in home testing had been noted by the central government, as two lakh home tests had been used so far as opposed to 3,000 home tests last year. Dr Bharghava said severe illness and deaths low in this surge due to high number of vaccinations in the country.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said deaths were significantly lower in the third coronavirus wave as compared to the devastating second wave fuelled by the Delta variant. He said on April 30 2021, there were 3,86,452 new cases and 31,70,228 active cases, 3,059 fatalities and 2% were fully vaccinated. This had changed in the third wave, as on January 20, 2022, there are 19,24,051 active cases and 380 deaths. Proportion of fully vaccinated people is 72%.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan took national capital Delhi as an example to explain the current Covid-19 situation. In Delhi, the current status stands as follows:
Adult patients: Around 99% patients have common symptoms of fever (with or without rigors), cough, irritation in throat, which usually settle down after fifth day of sickness. Patients have also complained of muscular weakness and tiredness.
Paediatric patients: In children aged between 11 and 18, fever is a common symptom along with upper respiratory tract infection.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan marked Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as states of concern in the ongoing third coronavirus wave. He said central teams had been sent to these states, where the health administration had been briefed. There are over 50,000 active cases in 11 states. Close to 10,000 to 50,000 active cases are there in 13 states, and fewer than 10,000 active cases in 12 states. The TPR is 5% in 515 districts.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said this is the third coronavirus surge in India, and the graph was moving up when it comes to number of daily cases. The total positivity rate of India has risen from 2% at the beginning of the month to over 16%. Tests conducted in the last four days have also increased in number, capturing the soaring daily cases.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said Europe has witnessed a decreasing contribution in daily new coronavirus cases, although it is still contributing to maximum cases. Asia has shown a sharp surge in global contribution from 7.9 per cent to approximately 18.4 per cent in four weeks. Oceania and South America have also shown increase in contribution of cases.
At the Covid-19 review meeting on Thursday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there is a continued surge in coronavirus cases globally. This with a fourth surge. The first Covid surge took place in January 2021. Active cases globally stand at 5,86,07,758.
The Health Ministry on Thursday said that coronavirus deaths are significantly low compared to the second wave, adding that Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are among the states of concern.
In the last 24 hours, India reported 3,17,532 new COVID cases and 491 deaths, as per the Health Ministry’s latest data. World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus poured cold water on the theory that Omicron could mark the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and said “This pandemic is nowhere near over.” Maharashtra is likely to open schools from January 24 and the cabinet will meet on Thursday at 3.30 PM to discuss it.
After a brief respite in the number of infections, India on Wednesday saw a new high for the third wave as the count of daily Covid cases crossed 3 lakh. As per The Times of India report, as of 11 pm, the national tally stood at 3,04,416. On May 15, India had last reported 3,11,077 cases. Maharashtra on Wednesday recorded 43,697 new coronavirus positive cases, 10 per cent more than the previous day, including 214 Omicron infections, and also saw 49 fatalities. With this, the state’s caseload reached 73,25,825, while the fatality count rose to 1,41,934.
Omicron is continuing to infect the world at a startling speed, with more than 18 million cases reported last week alone, according to WHO. The number of Covid patients in the United States is at a record high and continues to climb, overwhelming hospitals. From Australia to Germany, infections are leaping to never-before-seen levels, putting a significant strain on health care systems.
Meanwhile, Japan on Wednesday widened COVID-19 curbs to the capital Tokyo and a dozen regions covering half the population as the Omicron variant of coronavirus drove record new infections. Already in effect in three regions, the measures, set to run from Friday until Feb. 13, were made official by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after getting the sign-off from an expert panel earlier in the day. “We are battling against an unknown virus, and I hope that we can overcome this situation with sufficient preparation and without excessive fear,” Kishida said.