Coronavirus live | DCGI approves clinical trials of Biological E. Covid-19 vaccine CORBEVAX on children
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called on United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on September 2 during which they discussed bilateral ties, regional and global issues including COVID-19.
Amid the third wave scare, many States and Union Territories have reopened educational institutions across the country. A study, however, has revealed that India is unlikely to witness a surge in cases in September.
Read | Editorial on Breakthrough challenge: On vaccines and the virus variants
Here are the latest updates:
DCGI approves clinical trials of Biological E. Covid-19 vaccine CORBEVAX on children
Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Biological E. has received the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approval for initiating the Phase II/III study to evaluate its CORBEVAX vaccine in children aged above 5 years.
It has also received nod for conducting Phase III trial in adults after a Subject Expert Committee’s (SEC) review of its Phase I and II clinical trials data, a PIB release stated on September 3.
Sri Lanka begins vaccinating 20-30 yrs age group
Sri Lanka has begun vaccinating 20-somethings as it nears full vaccination of older people and struggles with a surge of delta variant infections.
The health ministry says 3.7 million people are in the 20-30 age group and they plan to complete their inoculation before the end of October.
Nearly 14.6 million of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people are older than 30 and will be fully vaccinated this month. -PTI
COVID-19 cases fall significantly in New Zealand
The number of new coronavirus cases in New Zealand fell significantly on September 3, raising hopes among health officials that they have contained an Auckland outbreak of the delta variant.
Officials recorded 28 new local cases, down from 49 a day earlier and more than 80 a day during the peak last month.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the results were encouraging, but the job was not yet done. -PTI
Virus rules in Seoul extended another month
South Korea will extend coronavirus restrictions in the greater capital area for at least another month as the nation grapples with its worst surge a few weeks before its biggest holiday of the year.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol on September 3 acknowledged the prolonged virus restrictions were hurting livelihoods but said the pace of transmissions was too “dangerous” for officials to consider easing distancing measures.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,709 new cases of virus infection, the 59th consecutive day of over 1,000. Only 38% of the population of more than 51 million is fully vaccinated. -PTI
Britain sends Australia 4 million Pfizer doses in swap deal
Britain is rushing 4 million Pfizer doses to Australia, where authorities are scrambling to bolster supplies of that COVID-19 vaccine and protect the population against a rapidly spreading outbreak of the delta variant.
The swap deal announced on September 3 follows Australian deals with Singapore and Poland to address a short-term Pfizer shortage.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the British shots would leave Britain on September 4 and double Australia’s Pfizer supplies in September.
India logs 45,352 new cases
With 45,352 people testing positive for coronavirus, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,29,03,289, while active cases registered an increase for the third consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on September 3.
The death toll climbed to 4,39,895 with 366 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.
The active cases increased to 3,99,778 comprising 1.22% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.45%, the ministry said.
Adhere to all protocols in A.P. to preempt possible third wave impact: Jagan
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has instructed the officials to ensure that the COVID-19 protocols are strictly followed in educational institutions and at public places in order to pre-empt the possible impact of the third wave of the pandemic.
Reviewing the COVID-19 situation on Thursday, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy also wanted the officials to focus on “breakthrough infections,” completion of the two-dose vaccination drive, and administering booster doses thereafter.
Besides, he directed that the night curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. be continued in view of the festival season.
Philippines approves emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12-17 year olds
The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 3 approved the emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 doses for children ages 12 to 17, the agency’s chief said.
“With the Delta variant affecting a lot of children, the experts saw that the benefit of using the vaccine outweigh the risks,” FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo told a public briefing. -REUTERS
U.S. hospitals hit with nurse staffing crisis amid COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer.
The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week.
It’s gotten to the point where doctors are saying, “Maybe I should quit being a doctor and go be a nurse,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at Georgia’s Augusta University Medical Center, which has on occasion seen 20 to 30 resignations in a week from nurses taking traveling jobs. -AP
Kim orders tougher virus steps after N Korea shuns vaccines
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered officials to wage a tougher epidemic prevention campaign in “our style” after he turned down some foreign COVID-19 vaccines offered via the UN-backed immunisation programme.
During a Politburo meeting on September 2, Kim said officials must “bear in mind that tightening epidemic prevention is the task of paramount importance which must not be loosened even a moment,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported. -PTI
Unlock-5 extended in Nagaland till September 16
The Nagaland government on September 2 said its latest phase of unlocking will be extended by two more weeks. All relaxations which are in force will remain in effect till September 16, an order issued by Principal Secretary (Home), Abhijit Sinha said.
The north-eastern State began unlocking in phases from July 1 and the 15-day-long fifth phase was to end on September 2. -PTI
Australia postpones top tournaments to 2022 due to COVID-19
Australia has postponed its biggest golf tournaments to 2022 due to COVID-19, organisers said on September 3.
The Australian PGA Championship will be moved from a December slot to Jan. 13-16 in Brisbane, while the Nov. 25-28 Australian Open in Sydney has been pushed back to late-January or February.
“These decisions are not taken lightly when we are talking about our flagship tournaments that are playing opportunities for our members,” PGA of Australia boss Gavin Kirkman said in a statement. -REUTERS
Only 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccines at public centres in Mumbai on Sep 4: BMC
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on September 2 said only the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines will be given to eligible beneficiaries at civic and government-run inoculation centres in the metropolis on September 4.
In a release, the civic body said in the wake of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, a special inoculation session has been organised for people due for their second dose.
“Therefore, the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines won’t be given to anyone (at public centres) on Saturday (September 4) ,” the BMC stated. -PTI
Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine mandatory to buy liquor in Nilgiris district
As part of efforts to inoculate all citizens in Nilgiris district, authorities have made it compulsory for those who want to buy liquor in state-run TASMAC outlets to produce vaccination certificates to show that they have taken two doses against Covid.
This step was part of the drive to vaccinate the residents, Collector Innocent Divya said on September 2.
Stating that almost 97% of the population in the district was administered vaccine doses, either first or second, she told reporters that the administration wanted all the citizens to take the second jab also and decided on such a step to reach the target. -PTI
Ayush Ministry launches campaign to distribute prophylactic medicines to combat COVID-19
The Ayush Ministry on September 2 launched a campaign for distributing Ayush prophylactic medicines and written guidelines on diet and lifestyle to 75 lakh people across the country to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign was launched by Union Minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal and Minister of State (MoS) for Ayush Munjpara Mahendrabhai, a ministry statement said. -PTI
State govt. plans to conduct randomised testing of students
With upper primary classes set to reopen on Monday, the Department of Primary and Secondary Education plans to conduct random testing of students for COVID-19 in taluks where the positivity rate is high. According to officials, this will not only help them monitor the situation on ground, but also build confidence among parents to send their children to school.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh told The Hindu that he will issue oral orders to test students randomly in districts where the positivity rate is above 2%. “School managements, both private and government, will however have to obtain the consent from parents before a student’s swabs are drawn for testing,” said Mr. Nagesh.
Free vaccination drive at Vizag railway station from today
A free vaccination drive will be conducted every day at Art Gallery, near Gate No.1 of Visakhapatnam railway station, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from September 3.
All eligible persons can get vaccinated by registering their names with a valid Aadhaar card at the service centre. They can avail the first or second dose as per the norms of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This drive will benefit incoming and outgoing passengers, vendors, staff, officers and the general public, according to a statement issued by Senior Divisional Commercial Manager A.K. Tripathi.
Karnataka records 97% drop in active cases in 100 days
In 100 days, Karnataka has flattened the active cases by 97% from 6,03,639 on May 17 to 18,386 on August 31. In the last four weeks, active cases dropped from 24,280 to 18,386.
A look at the district-wise spread of active cases in August shows that Bidar and Raichur had the lowest number of active cases — two and six, respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, five districts contributed 75% of State’s total active cases as on August 31. Bengaluru Urban had the highest number with 7,438 active cases, contributing 41% of the total active cases. With 2,322 active cases, Dakshina Kannada shared 13%, Udupi (1,697) 9%, Mysuru (1,021) and Hassan (1,050) 6% each. Experts say the performance of these districts in September and October will set the future COVID-19 trend in the State.
Crowd in Puducherry’s Big Market a concern
The crowding inside the Big Market on Jawaharlal Nehru Street due to lack of space has become a huge concern for the government and the public during the pandemic.
Apathy in either improving the existing infrastructure or shifting the landmark market in Puducherry has led to civic authorities being unable to do anything for crowd management or enforcement of COVID-19 norms.
The 13 gates that exist on Rangapillai Street, J.N. Street, Mahatma Gandhi Road and Bharathi Street have become cramped as vendors have occupied the entrance.
DU to reopen in phased manner from next week
Delhi University to reopen in a phased manner from next week, said senior officials on Thursday.
Dean of Social Welfare (DU) Rajeev Gupta, said: “We are currently working on the modalities after holding a meeting with principals and heads of departments. Hopefully from next week, we will be able to reopen the campus in a phased manner. Third-year students will get first preference.”
According to officials, the colleges will re-open for third-year students in science streams and those that require laboratories for practicals.
Panchayat in Kerala plans to root out COVID by January 2022
A grama panchayat in Kozhikode district has launched a campaign to root out COVID-19 by January 2022.
Titled Vimuktham, the project with the theme Pakarillenikku, pakarthilla njan (I will not get infected nor will I transmit it to others) is being implemented in Ulliyeri grama panchayat.
The concept of ‘social bubble’ where one interacts with only a select number of trusted people to avoid chances of infection is being tried out. Officials claimed on Thursday that such a project was being executed for the first time in any grama panchayat in the State.
Peak hour travel curbs in suburban trains relaxed
The Southern Railway has removed travel restrictions imposed during peak hours (7 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and is allowing common public to travel by suburban trains.
The relaxation came into force from Thursday.
Although the restrictions have been removed for all categories, it is now made mandatory for commuters to produce the two-dose COVID-19 vaccination certificate along with their identity cards at the time of purchasing the train ticket, according to a press release from the Chennai Division of the Southern Railway.
The ticket counters have also started issuing single journey, two-way journey and season tickets.
North Korea rejects Chinese vaccines: UNICEF
North Korea has rejected around three million doses of a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting they should be given to countries in greater need, UNICEF said on Thursday.
The impoverished North was the first country to impose a strict lockdown when it sealed its border in January last year to stop the virus spreading from neighbouring China, where it first emerged before sweeping the world.
Surprise check in Gurugram schools to ensure COVID norms
Around two dozen doctors have been appointed as nodal officials by the Gurugram Health Department to conduct surprise inspection in schools, both government and private, to conduct random Rapid Antigen Tests on students and ensure adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour among them.
New COVID-19 variant C.1.2 may be more infectious, evade vaccines: Maharashtra task force member
A new variant of coronavirus – C.1.2 – which has been detected in South Africa and some other countries, could be more infectious than earlier strains and may evade vaccines, said an infectious diseases consultant who is also a member of the Maharashtra COVID-19 task force on September 2.
Dr Vasant Nagvekar, an infectious diseases consultant with a Mumbai hospital and a member of the government task force on COVID-19, said the new variant also has mutation rate that is nearly “twice as fast” as the rate of other variants. -PTI
Rs 3.66 crore given to people in tourism sector in Uttarakhand
The Uttarakhand government has given over Rs 3.66 crore so far as part of a relief package to people in the tourism sector in view of the financial setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an official release here said.
Rs 3,66,37,580 have been transferred directly to the accounts of 9,398 people till August 31 across the state under the relief package announced by the state government for the tourism sector, it said. -PTI
India, U.K. to work expeditiously on recognition of vaccine certificates
India and the U.K. on September 2 agreed to work expeditiously on the recognition of vaccine certificates to facilitate the free movement of people, including professionals, and contribute to early economic recovery.
“The successful collaboration between Oxford University, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India is a testament to the positive impact of our cooperation to support global vaccination efforts,” said a joint statement issued after 11th India-United Kingdom Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD), chaired by Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and U.K. Treasury Chancellor Rishi Sunak. -PTI
About 80% teaching, non-teaching school staff have got at least 1st Covid jab: MoE officials
Around 80% teaching and non-teaching staff employed in schools across the country have received at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Education Ministry officials said on September 2.
“Among the variety of factors that will contribute to the reopening of schools across the county, vaccination of teachers will have a big contribution. The ministry is rigorously following up with the State governments. -PTI
Govt extends visas of all foreign nationals stuck in India due to COVID-19 till September 30
The government on September 2 extended till September 30 visas of all foreign nationals stuck in India due to COVID-19 pandemic, an official spokesperson said here.
The spokesperson said the decision was taken because a number of foreigners who came to India on various types of visas prior to March, 2020 got stranded in the country in the absence of flights to their destinations due to the pandemic. -PTI