covid 19

Chinese social media abuzz with rumours of Xi Jinping stepping down for Covid-19

Beijing [China]: Chinese social media is buzzing with speculations that President Xi Jinping might step down from his position following the mismanagement of the stringent Covid-19 lockdowns accompanied by the economic slump in the country.

The rising rumours about Xi Jinping stepping down started after a meeting of the party politburo standing committee, which is the collective leadership group that rules China. Further, a video made by a Canadian-based blogger was doing the rounds on social media before China censored it.
According to the blogger, until a major party meeting was organized in the latter part of the year, Xi Jinping would be forced to step aside from the Chinese Communist Party. The current Premier Li Keqiang will be assuming the place on Jinping’s behalf to take over daily management of the party and government.

To curb the spread of the Covid 19 virus, the Chinese President ordered to “resolutely fight” those who try to question the strict zero-Covid policy. However, extensive lockdowns have hampered businesses across the country. As per a senior Chinese official, “the pandemic is a ‘stumbling block’ for economic and social development.”

In another press conference, Han Wenxiu, the Deputy Director at the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee office for financial and economic affairs had spoken that the pandemic should be contained with scientific precision, by stabilizing the economy, and keeping the country’s development secure, instead of targeting only one aspect.

Strict Covid restrictions have also put a stop to industrial production resulting in the disruption of the supply chains for the first time. The manufacturing activity witnessed a steady decline, reaching its lowest since February 2020.

Further, as the period of lockdowns in Shanghai drags on, analysts from various investment banks have also cut their forecasts for the country’s economic growth rate. In the month of April, the yuan currency of China dipped by over 4 per cent, the biggest monthly drop in 28 years.

Moreover, stock markets have also been severely affected which is likely to impact the global recovery as the intensive lockdowns will impact companies’ sales in China and also affect the supply chain.

Reportedly, all these reasons have caused widespread discontentment in China as the Chinese people have been losing faith in Jinping’s governance over the tough conditions and botched management under his rule. (ANI)

North Korea facing biggest challenge in history over Covid-19

Pyongyang [North Korea]: North Korea is facing the biggest challenge since the foundation of the republic over the spread of COVID-19, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said, as quoted by the state-run KCNA news agency.

According to KCNA, Kim said that the country must focus on implementing the anti-coronavirus measures and boost them to stop the spread of the disease, Sputnik News Agency reported on Saturday.
The country has reported 17,400 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections to 520,000, according to the KCNA news agency.

Notably, 21 new fatalities were also reported due to the coronavirus cases, according to Sputnik News Agency.

North Korea reported the first coronavirus deaths on Friday. At least six persons were confirmed dead yesterday in the country.

Kim Jong Un has accepted that country is facing a crisis because of Covid

On Thursday, the country announced a “major national emergency” after reporting its first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant and put in place a “maximum emergency” virus control system with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to “eliminate” the virus.

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), top officials, including the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, held a crisis politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and announced they would implement a “maximum emergency” virus control system.

With this North Korea’s coronavirus-free claim has come to an end, reported the Yonhap News Agency.

Reportedly in a meeting conducted to discuss North Korea’s “most critical emergency” antivirus system that had been “firmly maintained” for more than two years, Kim pledged that the “unexpected crisis” shall be overcome. He further instructed all the officials to block every possibility to stop the spread of the virus.

Further, the North Korean leader ordered stricter vigilance along the borders on all fronts, the air, and sea to prevent a “safety vacuum” in the national defence of the country, reported the Yonhap News Agency. In addition, North Korean authorities stated that samples that were collected from patients suffering from fever indicated that they were identical to the omicron variant.

However, North Korea asserted that it has aimed to manage and also prevent the spread of the virus. It has further mentioned that it will provide treatment to the omicron-detected patients to “root out the source of transmission in the shortest period possible” the country’s state media reported. (ANI)

 

PM Modi stresses on ‘test, track and treat’ with same efficacy to tackle COVID surge

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stressed on the implementation of ‘test, track and treat’ with the same efficacy as it was done during the earlier COVID waves in the country.

Chairing a meeting with the Chief Ministers to review the COVID-19 situation amid the surge in the COVID cases, PM Modi said, “During the third wave, India witnessed up to 3 lakh cases per day and all states handled the situation and also allowed the social and economic activity to continue. This balance should inform our strategy in future also. The situation is being constantly monitored by the scientists and experts and we have to work pro-actively on their suggestions.”
“Preventing infections at the very beginning was our priority and should remain so even now. We have to implement our strategy of ‘test, track and treat’ with the same efficacy,” the Prime Minister added.

He emphasized cent per cent testing of serious influenza cases and genome sequencing of the positive cases, Covid appropriate behaviour in the public places and avoiding panic. He also emphasized the continued upgradation of health infrastructure and medical manpower.

Talking about the increase in the COVID cases in the country in recent days, PM Modi cautioned the states to stay alert on the matter.

“This is clear that the COVID challenge is not fully over. Omicron and its subvariants can create problems as evident in the case of many countries of Europe. The subvariants are causing many surges in many countries. India has been able to deal with the situation better than many countries. Still, in the last two weeks, increasing cases in some of the states show that we need to stay alert,” PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister credited the “massive vaccination drive” for the situation remaining under control during the third wave in the country and said that it is the “biggest safeguard against COVID”.

“In the third wave, none of the states saw the situation going out of control. This should be seen in the context of the massive vaccination drive. The vaccine reached each and every person and it is a matter of pride that 96 per cent adult population is vaccinated with at least one dose and about 84 per cent of people above 15 years of age have received both doses. Vaccine, as per experts is the biggest safeguard against corona,” he said.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the Emergency Use Authorization given to Covaxine for the vaccination of 6 to 12 years age group children and said that the priority should be to vaccinate eligible children at the earliest.

“In March, the campaign to vaccinate 12-14 years of age was started and only yesterday, permission has been granted for Covaxine vaccine for 6-12-year-old children. Our priority is to vaccinate all eligible children at the earliest. For this, as before, special campaigns will also be needed in schools. Teachers and parents should be aware about this,” PM Modi said.

“Precautionary dose is available for all adults in the country to strengthen the vaccine protective shield. Teachers, parents, and other eligible people can take the precautionary dose,” he added.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that with increasing temperature, fire incidents in forests and buildings are increasing. He specially asked for the fire safety audits of the hospitals. PM Modi said that the “arrangements for meeting this challenge should be comprehensive and our response time should be the minimum”. (ANI)

Covid-19 Drugs : South Korea to supply generic drugs for COVID treatments worldwide

Seoul [South Korea]: S. Korea has become a global production hub to supply generic drugs for Covid-19 treatments to middle- and low-income countries. From vaccines to oral treatments, Korea has been recognized for the production and supply of Covid-19 drugs.

Celltrion announced on the 18th that it has signed a license-in contract with the U.N. Medicine Patent Pool (MPP) for the generic production of Pfizer’s oral Covid-19 treatment.
The contract follows Pfizer’s decision to expand the accessibility to its Covid-19 pills in low- and middle-income countries through MPP. The license was only granted for 35 companies in 12 countries. In Korea, two pharmaceutical companies, Celltrion and Dongbanf FTL, have obtained the license.

Under the license contract, Celltrion and Dongbang FTL will develop and produce generic drugs and supply them to up to 95 medium- and low-income countries. Celltrion, which is in charge of supplying finished drugs, is planning to complete the development as soon as possible and start commercialization. The finished products will be manufactured by Celltrion Pharmaceutical’s Cheongju plant.

By securing the license, Korean companies are able to produce and supply all two generic drugs of oral Covid-19 treatments. In January, three Korean companies, Celltrion, Dongbang FTL, and Hanmi Pharmaceutical have secured a license for MSD’s oral Covid-19 treatment.

Korea has also grown into global production hub by manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines on consignment.

Starting with the AstraZeneca vaccine, SK Bioscience has produced Novavax vaccine, becoming the center of Asian vaccine production.

Samsung Biologics currently produces and supplies Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines. It also produces antibody Covid-19 treatments of Lilly, GSK, and AstraZeneca. Hanmi Pharmaceutical will produce a plasmid DNA COVID-19 vaccine ‘Zycov-D,’ developed by India’s Zydus Cadila, on consignment. (ANI/Global Economic)

 

People should learn to live with COVID-19: Top infectious disease expert Dr Faheem Younus

               

New Delhi [India](ANI): People should learn to live with COVID-19 disease and should not throw caution to the wind, said Dr Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Disease at the University of Maryland, on Tuesday.

Speaking to ANI, Dr Younus, top infectious disease expert, said, “We should learn to live with COVID-19. It doesn’t mean dropping our guard against COVID-19. We should get vaccinated or get a booster dose in order to avoid a high-risk situation. Going to a concert or to a bar may not be essential but taking care of our parents is important.”
He also emphasized on wearing good quality masks and getting vaccinated which will help people in keeping high-risk situations at bay.

“So as long as we continue to get vaccinated and wear good quality masks, then we can live with it. Wearing good quality masks and being vaccinated will help prevent death and hospitalisation,” Dr Younus added. (Image – Instagram)

France sees record 104,611 daily COVID-19 cases

Paris [France] (ANI/Sputnik): The French sanitary authority reported 104,611 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest daily toll seen in the country since the pandemic began.

France said daily infections surpassed 94,100 on Friday and 58,500 last Saturday.
Health Minister Olivier Veran said that the Omcron strain was set to become the dominant variant in France by the end of the year but stopped short of toughening COVID-19 restrictions. (ANI/Sputnik)

Kamal Haasan Fully Recovers From Covid-19, Says Doctor

Veteran star Kamal Haasan, who was diagnosed with coronavirus a few days back, has now fully recovered.

On Wednesday, a hospital treating him issued a statement regarding Haasan’s health update. “Mr Kamal Haasan, who has been admitted to SRI Ramachandra Medical Centre on 22nd November 2021 was COVID positive. He had mild COVID for which he was treated,” Dr Suhas Prabhakar, Medical Director, Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre, said.

The doctor also informed that Haasan will be in isolation for a few more days.

“He has fully recovered but advised to be on isolation until 3rd December 2021. He will be fit to resume his routine work from 4th December 2021,” the statement read.

Haasan, the Makkal Needhi Maiam Chief, contracted coronavirus last week.

On November 22, he had taken to Twitter to reveal his diagnosis.

“Had a slight cough after returning from US trip. COVID-19 infection was confirmed after the test and I got isolated at the hospital,” Haasan had tweeted.

Covid-19 Infection Risk Rises After Second Dose Of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

A new study has found a gradual increase in the risk of COVID-19 infection from 90 days after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Results confirm that protection wanes with time and suggest a third (booster) dose might be warranted. The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘BMJ’.

The study was carried out by the Research Institute of Leumit Health Services in Israel. Israel was one of the first countries to roll out a large scale covid-19 vaccination campaign in December 2020, but it has seen a resurgence of infections since June 2021.

The findings confirm that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided excellent protection in the initial weeks after vaccination, but suggest that protection wanes for some individuals with time.

Across the world, large scale covid-19 vaccination campaigns are helping to control the spread of the virus, but even in countries with high vaccination rates, breakthrough infections can occur, which scientists think is due to a gradual loss of immunity over time.

Examining the time elapsed since vaccination and the risk of infection could provide important clues about the need for a third injection and its preferred timing.

To do this, the researchers examined electronic health records for 80,057 adults (average age 44 years) who received a PCR test at least three weeks after their second injection and had no evidence of previous covid-19 infection.

Of these 80,057 participants, 7,973 (9.6 per cent) had a positive test result. These individuals were then matched to negative controls of the same age and ethnic group who were tested in the same week.

The rate of positive results increased with time elapsed since a second dose. For example, across all age groups, 1.3 per cent of participants tested positive 21-89 days after a second dose, but this increased to 2.4 per cent after 90-119 days; 4.6 per cent after 120-149 days; 10.3 per cent after 150-179 days; and 15.5 per cent after 180 days or more.

And after taking account of other potentially influential factors, the researchers found a significantly increased risk of infection with time elapsed since a second dose.

Compared with the initial 90 days after a second dose, the risk of infection across all age groups was 2.37-fold higher after 90-119 days; 2.66-fold higher after 120-149 days; 2.82-fold higher after 150-179 days; and 2.82-fold higher after 180 days or more.

The researchers acknowledge that interpretation of their findings is limited by the observational design, and they cannot rule out the possibility that other unmeasured factors such as household size, population density, or virus strain may have had an effect.

However, this was a large study of people who all received the same vaccine, and the researchers were able to carry out a detailed analysis of the data, suggesting that the results are robust.

As such, they conclude that in individuals who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, protection seemed to decrease over time, and the risk of breakthrough infection increased progressively compared with the protection provided during the initial 90 days.

The results suggest that consideration of a third vaccine dose might be warranted, they added.

Ed Sheeran Reveals About His Daughter Lyra’s Battle With Covid-19

Singer Ed Sheeran had a tough time when he along with his 15-month-old daughter recently contracted coronavirus.

Speaking to Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show, the 30-year-old revealed that he and his daughter tested positive for COVID while his wife Cherry Seaborn was away, reported People. “My wife was away, so, I was there with my daughter … She had it, too, so it was kind of heavy,” he said, adding that three days were “really bad.”

Sheeran also shared that he was sceptical about announcing his diagnosis to the world.

“It’s quite an odd thing getting (COVID-19) and then having to announce it to the world … I’m still sort of being treated (like I have it). I didn’t really want to announce it to everyone, but I had to cancel three big things in England and I didn’t want to be rude,” he added.

Sheeran is now out of COVID isolation. A few days ago, he took to Instagram to share the particular update with his fans.

“Posting this pic to say I’m released from covid isolation today, so if you see me out and about I’ve had the all clear and done my quarantine. Excited to hit the ground running with work again, and SNL is still on, so tune in Saturday, see you there,” he wrote.

Khloe Kardashian & Daughter True Thompson Test Positive For Covid-19

Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, who battled coronavirus last year, recently revealed that she has again tested positive for COVID-19. The star’s 3-year-old daughter, True Thompson, has also contracted the deadly infection.

Khloe took to Twitter on Friday and wrote, “Hi guys I wanted to let you know True and I tested positive for Covid. I’ve had to cancel several commitments and I’m sorry I won’t be able to make those happen. Luckily I have been vaccinated so all will be ok. We will be over here in quarantine and following current guidelines.”

The Good American co-founder, who shares True with NBA player Tristan Thompson, previously tested positive for COVID-19 back in March 2020, with the diagnosis and the family’s reaction unfolding on a previous season of their ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ reality series, reported People magazine.

“It was so incredibly scary,” Khloe told American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres last October about her bout with the coronavirus.

“I mean, it still is scary, but especially then when the whole world was shutting down and we didn’t have really any information or the information we had changed every single day,” added Khloe.

Khloe went on to say that being apart from her daughter proved to be the most challenging part.

“I just was quarantined in my room for like 16 days. We had to wait until I had negative test results for me to leave, and that was the hardest part,” the mom of one recalled. “I mean, I don’t care how beautiful of a place you have, being taken away from your child for that long, because I couldn’t be around my daughter, that was the most heart-wrenching thing.”

Khloe clarified that she has been vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning she contracted a breakthrough case.

Ed Sheeran Tests Positive For COVID-19

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has contracted COVID-19.

Taking to his Instagram account, the ‘Shape of You’ hitmaker posted a statement, revealing that he has tested positive for coronavirus. He also shared that he has isolated himself.

“Hey guys. Quick note to tell you that I’ve sadly tested positive for Covid, so I’m now self-isolating and following government guidelines,” he wrote.

Sheeran has now planned to give already scheduled interviews and performances from home.
“..It means that I’m now unable to plough ahead with any in person commitments for now, so I’ll be doing as many of my planned interviews/performances I can from my house. Apologies to anyone I’ve let down. Be safe everyone,” he added.

After learning about his COVID-19 diagnosis, fans wished him a speedy recovery.

“I’m sorry to hear that! Get better soon,” an Instagram user commented.
“Take rest. You will be better super soon,” another one wrote.

The news comes just days prior to Sheeran’s fourth studio album releasing on October 29. He was also set to appear as a musical guest on ‘Saturday Night Live’ on November 6, reported The Hollywood Reporter.

Prathamesh Parab Receives His Second Dose Of Covid-19 Vaccine

Actor Prathamesh Parab has received his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The ‘Timepass’ star took to his Instagram handle to share this news with his fans.

Taking to his Instagram story, Prathamesh shared a picture from the vaccination centre where he is seen receiving her second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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On the work front, Prathamesh’s much-awaited comedy-drama ‘Darling’ is arriving in theatres on December 10, 2021. Recently, the ‘Timepass’ star took to his Instagram handle to this news with his fans. It also stars Ritika Shrotri and Nikkhhil Chavaan in lead roles.

Study: Covid-19 Related Parenting Stress Impacted Eating Habits Of Children

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Houston College of Education, the incredible stress parents experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on the eating habits of their children.

The findings were published in the journal Current Psychology. When stay-at-home mandates were ordered and the school went virtual at the onset of the pandemic, many parents suddenly had to juggle multiple roles such as caregiver, employee and educator. Leslie Frankel, associate professor of human development and family studies, said all those responsibilities took a toll on parents’ mental health, and in turn, what and how much their children were consuming.

Previous research has shown that stress, in general, is known to have a negative impact on parent-child feeding interactions, but new findings reveal COVID-19 only magnified the problem.

“These parents do not have the time, energy or emotional capacity to engage in optimal feeding behaviours, so they resort to maladaptive feeding behaviours such as using food as a reward or pressuring their kids to eat,” said Frankel, the study’s lead author and expert in parent-child relationships.

“As a result, their children are not able to self-regulate what or how much food they are putting into their bodies, which could have harmful consequences in the long run.”

Frankel and study co-authors Caroline Bena Kuno, a doctoral student in the UH College of Education and UH Honors College student Ritu Sampige, surveyed 119 mothers and fathers of children ages two to seven between April and June 2020.

They analyzed two different types of COVID-related parenting stress and found that stress resulting from uncertainty about the job and financial security was associated with psychological distress, while concerns over family safety and stability led to anxiety. The mothers surveyed reported experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety compared to fathers who participated in the study.

“The stress doesn’t just go away. Many parents are still feeling uneasy and a parent who is overwhelmed and experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety may not pay attention to or acknowledge their children’s cues of hunger and fullness,” Frankel explained.

To ensure children are optimizing their eating habits in the event of another public health emergency or natural disaster, the research team says policymakers or nonprofit organizations interested in improving outcomes for children and parents should provide support systems to help parents manage their daily stressors.

China’s ‘Golden Week’ Travel Drops As Holidaymakers Stay Home Amid Covid-19

Travel during China’s “Golden Week” national vacation was down by a third on pre-pandemic levels, with government measures to contain sporadic coronavirus outbreaks prompting holidaymakers to spend closer to home.

The number of trips taken on China’s roads on Wednesday was 34.1% below levels seen in 2019, according to the transport ministry, and 2.2% lower than last year. Trips taken on roads, rail and other transport networks have been consistently a third below pre-pandemic levels for each of the first five days of the week-long break.  

To achieve its Covid Zero goals, China has used strict measures of quarantine and business closures to stamp out imported clusters of the delta-variant of the coronavirus that emerged from late July. Officials advised against unnecessary travel and gatherings over the Golden Week holiday, which began Oct. 1, citing the risk of further outbreaks.

The seven-day break is China’s most important annual holiday after the Lunar New Year and traditionally a time for tourism trips.

The virus restrictions are hurting consumer spending at a time when electricity shortages caused by high coal prices led to factory shutdowns and tough government policies to control the housing market weigh on property investment. Multiple economists have recently downgraded their forecasts for economic growth for this year. 

“Recent Covid outbreaks are also still weighing on domestic spending and this pressure is likely to linger for longer,” Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note. He downgraded his estimate for China’s growth in the fourth quarter to 3.6% year-on-year from 5% previously, citing the continued impact of property curbs as the main factor.

There are signs consumers may be spending more on leisure activities closer to their places of residence even as they travel less.

Cinema ticket sales over the first five days of the vacation were 3 billion yuan ($465 million), compared with 2.7 billion yuan in 2020, according to ticketing company Maoyan. Sales were driven by the success of “Battle at Lake Changjin” a patriotic film about the Korean War. Those sales were still below 2019 levels, when moviegoers spent 3.25 billion yuan over the first five days of the holiday. 

A Golden Week consumption trend report issued by food delivery giant Meituan on Wednesday showed almost 80% of people consumed at their local place of residence during the holiday. Total spending on the platform on everything from food to travel rose almost 30% compared with last year’s holiday, and grew by more than 50% compared to 2019, local media reported.

China is expected to release more detailed spending data over the period at the end of the vacation on Thursday.

WHO further delays Covaxin clearance

Bharat Biotech has already completed the Phase 2/3 trials of Covaxin for use in children under 18 years of age.

New Delhi, India, September 28 : Emergency use authorization (EUA) for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been further delayed by the World Health Organisation. The WHO has asked for more data from Bharat Biotech for the COVID-19 vaccine. The development comes after Bharat Biotech had said it has submitted all data required for clearance of Covaxin. Without the EUA, Covaxin will not be considered an accepted vaccine by most countries around the world, making it difficult for Indians who have taken the dose to travel internationally.

Bharat Biotech has already completed the Phase 2/3 trials of Covaxin for use in children under 18 years of age and is expected to submit the data to the DCGI, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Krishna Ella had said last week. 

Speaking to reporters, he said Covaxin production would touch 55 million doses in October as against 35 million in September.

He also said the Phase 2 trials of the firm’s intranasal vaccine against COVID-19 is expected to be over by next month.

Intranasal immunization can create an immune response in the nose, which is the point of entry for the virus—thereby protecting against the disease, infection, and transmission also, he noted.

According to Ella, the intranasal vaccine trials are conducted on three cohorts in which one group is administered Covaxin as the first dose and intranasal as the second.

Similarly intranasal-intranasal for the second group and Intranasal- Covaxin for the third cohort, 28 days apart.

He said the trials will be conducted on about 650 volunteers.

Chris Rock Tests Positive For Covid-19, Urges People To Get Vaccinated

Actor-comedian Chris Rock on Sunday encouraged people to get vaccinated while announcing he had contracted COVID- 19.

In his short message posted to Twitter, the comedian shared a bare-bones message with his more than 5 million followers announcing, “Hey, guys. I just found out I have COVID, trust me you don’t want this. Get vaccinated.”

The star did not go into detail about how he is feeling, but given the dire warning he issued his followers, it seems he’s at the very least experiencing some kind of discomfort or illness.

According to Variety, while a guest on ‘The Tonight Show’ in May, Rock told host Jimmy Fallon that he had been vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson and Johnson shot, meaning his current case would be a breakthrough instance of coronavirus.

At the time, he joked to Fallon, “You know, I skipped the line. I didn’t care. I used my celebrity, Jimmy,” he told Fallon. “I was like, ‘Step aside, Betty White. Step aside, old people. Kiss my ass! I did ‘Pootie Tang.’ Let me on the front of the line.'”

“That’s the food stamps of vaccines,” he joked about the Johnson and Johnson shot. Comparing it to the movie ‘Titanic’, he said, “I was like Billy Zane on the Titanic. Leo died! Billy Zane lived to see another day. I don’t want to be Leo at the bottom of the ocean. Billy Zane got another woman after that! You don’t want to be Leo. Well, in real life you want to be Leo.”

Earlier, in a January interview with Gayle King, Rock said “Let me put it this way: Do I take Tylenol when I get a headache? Yes. Do I know what’s in Tylenol? I don’t know what’s in Tylenol, Gayle. I just know my headache’s gone. Do I know what’s in a Big Mac, Gayle? No. I just know it’s delicious.”

While the COVID vaccines do not completely prevent infection, vaccinated individuals have a far greater chance of having milder infections and not requiring hospitalization. Nearly all deaths due to COVID-19 have been in unvaccinated people.

As per The Hollywood Reporter, Rock has noted on different occasions that he takes the pandemic seriously, and he encouraged others to do the same, and wear a mask.

The 56-year-old actor recently starred in ‘Saw’ sequel ‘Spiral’ and last worked on an untitled David O. Russell film with Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek and Margot Robbie that filmed in Los Angeles last spring. It is scheduled for a November 2022 release. The film’s brief description is that it is about a doctor and a lawyer who “form an unlikely partnership,” reported Deadline.

With his COVID announcement, Rock has joined the list of celebrities who have publicly announced breakthrough COVID diagnoses such as Melissa Joan Hart and Wendy Williams.

India reports 30,773 cases

With 30,773 new COVID-19 cases and 309 deaths in the last 24 hours, India has reported less than 50,000 cases for 84 consecutive days now.

New Delhi [India], September 19 : As India reported 30,773 new cases, the active caseload has reached 3,32,158, however it accounts for 0.99 per cent of the total cases. According to the data of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday, 3,26,71,167 people have recovered from the disease out of which 38,945 people recovered in the last 24 hours.
Moreover, the death toll has escalated to 4,44,838 as 309 people succumbed to the disease.
However, the recovery rate currently stands at 97.68 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate stands at 2.04 per cent which is less than 3 per cent for the last 86 days.
India conducted 15,59,895 number of Covid tests in a day. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India has conducted 55,23,40,168 number of Covid tests to date.
India has administered 80,43,72,331 crore vaccines so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.

Goa is playing important role in vaccination drive: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday congratulated the healthcare workers of Goa for completing 100 per cent of first vaccination dose and said the state is playing important role in the success of the world’s largest and fastest vaccination drive “Sabko vaccine, muft vaccine”.

New Delhi [India], September 18 : Interacting with the health care workers (HCW) and beneficiaries of the Covid vaccination programme in Goa via video conferencing PM Modi said, “Goa is playing important role in the success of the world’s largest and fastest vaccination drive – ‘Sabko vaccine, muft vaccine’. In the past few months, Goa fought bravely against heavy rainfall, cyclone and flood, under the leadership of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.” “I thank Team Goa, for their work during such a time. Every eligible person in Goa has received a dose of vaccine. This is a big deal in the fight against corona. Congratulations to all the people of Goa for this. This kind of coordination that Goa has shown to address social and geographical challenges is commendable. The Canacoona sub-division, which is situated far and wide in the state, is proof of the rapid vaccination as in the rest of the state,” he added.
Modi further said that Goa’s vaccine wastage prevention model will help other parts of the country.
Interacting with healthcare workers and vaccine beneficiaries from Goa, PM Modi also hailed the leadership of state Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for 100 per cent vaccination of the adult population in the state.


Lauding the efforts of healthcare workers and corona warriors who could make it possible to set a new world record by vaccinating over 2.5 crore people on a single day, PM Modi said, “The largest vaccination doses administered on September 17 with over 2.5 crore vaccinations by the Indian healthcare workers is worth admiring and shows our dedication to fight against this pandemic. The government is trying to make sure that not a single citizen of India faces any difficulties during these trying times.”
“I also want to appreciate all the doctors, medical staff, people associated with the administration in the country. With the efforts of all of you, India has set a record of giving the vaccine to more than 2.5 crore people in a single day yesterday,” he added.
“The achievement shows India’s strength and the entire world will acknowledge it,” he added further.
Meanwhile, healthcare workers extend greetings to PM Modi, who celebrated his 71st birthday on Friday.
Taking a jibe at Opposition PM Modi said that some parties are experiencing fever after 2.5 crore vaccination.

India logs 35,662 fresh Covid-19 cases, 281 deaths in past 24 hours

According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Saturday, the country saw a total of 33,798 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to 97.65%

New Delhi, India, September 18 : A day after the country set record vaccinations by administering over 2.5 crore vaccinations in a day, India recorded 35,662 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 281 deaths due to the infection in the past 24 hours. According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Saturday, the country saw a total of 33,798 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to 97.65%, and total recoveries to 3,26,32,222.

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India dipped to 3,40,639 the health ministry data showed. The death toll now stands at 4,44,529. In India, the first death due to COVID pandemic was reported in March 2020.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 55,07,80,273 samples have been tested up to September 17th for COVID-19. Of these 14,48,833 samples were tested on Friday.

Karnataka topped the Covid vaccination drive in the country by administering 26.92 lakh doses till 9 PM.

More than 78.02 crore vaccine doses have been provided to States and UTs so far through GoI’s free of cost channel and through direct state procurement category. Further, more than 33 Lakh doses are in the pipeline.

White House ‘Offered A Call’ To Nicki Minaj To Answer Queries About Her Covid-19 Vaccine Concerns

The White House has offered to answer Grammy-nominated rapper Nicki Minaj’s questions about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

The 38-year-old artist took to Twitter on Wednesday and said that she had been invited to the White House after she posted controversial tweets earlier this week about vaccine side effects. “The White House has invited me & I think it’s a step in the right direction,” she tweeted.

She added, “Yes, I’m going. I’ll be dressed in all pink like Legally Blonde so they know I mean business. I’ll ask questions on behalf of the ppl who have been made fun of for simply being human.”

However, despite Minaj’s tweet about a meeting, a White House official told People magazine that the administration reached out to her for public health education over the phone.

“As we have with others, we offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she has about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine,” the official said.

On Monday, Minaj had said that she would not be attending the Met Gala 2021 because of the fashion event’s vaccine requirement to attend.

“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met,” she tweeted.
“if I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one,” she added.

She followed up the tweet by sharing a story about a family member’s friend who she claimed “became impotent” after getting vaccinated.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen,” she wrote.

She added in her tweet, “His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”

However, the health minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Terrence Deyalsingh, denied Minaj’s claim that her cousin’s friend developed swollen testicles and became impotent from a COVID-19 vaccine after he spent the day clarifying if it was possible.

As per People magazine, in a press conference, Dr Deyalsingh apologised for his delay in responding to Minaj’s claims, explaining that they “had to check and make sure that what she was claiming was either true or false.”

“We unfortunately wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim. As far as we know, at this point in time, there has been no such reported either side effect or adverse effect,” Deyalsingh said.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad or … anywhere. None that we know of anywhere else in the world,” he added.

Deyalsingh also expressed his frustration that he had to investigate Minaj’s claim.
“What was sad about this, is that it wasted our time yesterday, trying to track [it] down. Because we take all these claims seriously, whether it’s on social media or mainstream media,” he said.

Minaj also said on Monday that she had contracted COVID-19 while working on a music video shoot. While telling a follower that she recommends vaccination for those who need it for their jobs, she added that she’ll probably get the vaccine herself in order to go on tour.

Minaj faced backlash following her comments on the vaccine, resulting in additional heated Twitter responses to former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, and Meghan McCain.

Wendy Williams Tests Positive For Covid-19

Renowned TV host Wendy Williams has contracted COVID-19.

The social media team of ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ took to the show’s official Instagram handle and updated the fans about William’s diagnosis. “While continuing her health evaluations, Wendy has tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19. To allow Wendy time to quarantine and fully recover and to ensure that our production fully abides by SAG/AFTRA and DGA Covid protocols, we expect to begin the 13th season of The Wendy Williams Show on Monday, October 4th. In the meantime, repeats will be scheduled,” the post read.

After learning about William’s ill-health, netizens poured in get well soon messages for the former.
“Love you Wendy. Get better,” a user commented.
“Rest up Wendy and get well soon. We love you,” another one wrote.

According to Deadline, Williams has battled various health issues over the last few years. She is battling Graves disease, an immune system disorder, that dates to 1999. 

Sputnik V shows 97.2 pc efficacy, high safety against COVID-19 in Belarus

Moscow [Russia], September 15 : The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Wednesday announced the real-world data of Belarus’s Health Ministry on the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine confirming its high efficacy during the vaccination campaign in the country.
An official release stated that the Russian vaccine has demonstrated 97.2 per cent efficacy against coronavirus in Belarus. The efficacy of Sputnik V was measured based on data from more than 860,000 people vaccinated between January and July 2021. The data from the Ministry of Health also confirms high safety of Sputnik V, “No severe adverse events associated with vaccination. No deaths related to the vaccination. Belarus was the first foreign country to register Sputnik V and use it for vaccination of the population.”
RDIF and partners have facilitated the technology transfer to localise the production of Sputnik V by Belarus’s Belmedpreparaty company, which is successfully manufacturing Sputnik V. In April 2021 the vaccine produced in Belarus was authorised by the Ministry of Health.
In April 2021 the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine (the first component of Sputnik V based on human adenovirus serotype 26) was also registered in Belarus.

Bengal : Restrictions till Sept 30

The state government has allowed offices, both government and private, to function with half the manpower.

Kolkata, west Bengal, September 15 : The West Bengal government on Wednesday extended the COVID-related restrictions till September 30 with the existing relaxations, as per an official notification.

The restrictions, first imposed on May 16 and extended at regular intervals, were set to expire on Wednesday.

“Wearing of masks, maintenance of physical distancing and health and hygiene protocols must be followed at all times,” the notification said.

The state government has allowed offices, both government and private, to function with half the manpower, as per the order.

“All outdoor activities including movement of people and vehicles shall be strictly prohibited between 11 pm to 5 am except for health services, law and order, essential commodities including agriculture produce and other emergency services,” the order said.

India Tv - bengal lockdown, bengal covid restrictions, bengal covid news, kolkata night curfew, kolkata night r

West Bengal govt order extending Covid restrictions till Sept 30. District administrations, police commissionerates and local authorities shall ensure strict compliance with the state directives of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, it said. “Any violation of the restriction measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and relevant sections of the IPC,” it added.

India logs 25,404 fresh Covid-19 cases, 339 deaths in last 24 hours

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India slightly dipped to 3,62,207 the health ministry data showed.

New Delhi, India, september 14 : India recorded 25,404 new cases of the novel coronavirus, along with 339 deaths due to the infection in the past 24 hours. According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday, the country saw a total of 37,127 discharges in the last 24 hours, taking the total recovery rate at around 97.54 per cent and total recoveries to 3,24,84,159.

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India slightly dipped to 3,62,207 the health ministry data showed. The total death toll in the country is now at 4,43,213. In India, the first death due to COVID pandemic was reported in March 2020.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 54,44,44,967 samples have been tested up to September 13th for COVID-19. Of these 14,30,891 samples were tested on Monday.

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 75 cr, over 78 lakh doses administered in last 24 hours

With the administration of 78,66,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the last 24 hours, the country’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has surpassed the cumulative figure of 75.22 crores, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
According to the ministry, 75,22,38,324 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far as per provisional reports till 7 am on Tuesday. Of the total, 1,03,64,718 health care workers have received the first dose and 86,13,207 doses have been administered as the second dose to them.
As many as 1,83,38,867 frontline workers were administered the first dose and 1,41,07,030 vaccine doses were given as the second dose to them.
“30,32,52,342 vaccine doses were administered as the first dose and 4,54,19,375 vaccine doses were given as the second dose in the age group 18-44 years,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the recovery of 37,127 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients to 3,24,84,159. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 97.58 per cent.
As the country continues the trend of less than 50,000 daily new cases being reported for 79 consecutive days now, 25,404 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.
The active caseload is presently 3,62,207.
The country conducted 14,30,891 COVID tests in the last 24 hours. India has so far conducted 54,44,44,967 tests so far.

Players were devastated when they came to know Parmar had tested positive : Sourav Ganguly

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly has revealed Indian players were “dead scared” when they came to know that physio Yogesh Parmar had contracted COVID-19 ahead of the fifth Test against England.

New Delhi [India], September 13 : The fifth Test match between England and India was cancelled in Manchester on Friday. The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the game. “The players refused to play but you can’t blame them. Physio Yogesh Parmar was such a close contact of the players. Being the only one available after Nitin Patel isolated himself, he mixed freely with the players and even performed their Covid-19 tests,” Ganguly said in an interaction with the Kolkata-based Telegraph as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
“He also used to give them a massage, he was part of their everyday lives. The players were devastated when they came to know that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
“They feared they must have contracted the disease and were dead scared. It’s not easy staying in a bubble. Of course, you have to respect their feelings,” he added.
The BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled fifth Test match which was scheduled to be played at Manchester from Friday.
The BCCI President said the rescheduled game will be a one-off Test when India and England next lock horns in a bilateral series.
“The Old Trafford Test has been cancelled. They (ECB) have incurred a lot of losses and it’s not going to be easy on [them],” said Ganguly.
“Let things settle down a bit, then we can discuss and decide. Whenever it’s held next year, it should be a one-off match since it cannot be a continuation of the series anymore,” he added.

India reports 27,254 new COVID-19 cases

New Delhi [India], September 13 : India reported 27,254 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 3,32,64,175, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Monday.
Of the new cases reported, Kerala logged 20,240 new COVID-19 infections. The country’s active caseload now stands at 3,74,269, which accounts for 1.13 per cent of total cases.
The weekly positivity rate in the country is at 2.11 per cent. It has been less than 3 per cent for the last 80 days. The daily positivity rate stands at 2.26 per cent currently and the national recovery rate is at 97.54 per cent.
A total of 37,687 patients recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours, bringing India’s total recoveries to 3,24,47,032.
With 219 fresh fatalities in 24 hours, the COVID death toll in the country stands at 4,42,874.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 54,30,14,076 samples for COVID-19 were tested up to September 12. Of which, 12,08,247 samples were tested yesterday.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, 74,38,37,643 vaccine doses have been administered to eligible beneficiaries, out of which 53,38,945 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.

India logs 28,591 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours

New Delhi [India], September 12 : India recorded 28,591 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative covid count to 3,32,36,921, the Union Health Ministry informed on Sunday.
Presently, there are 3,84,921 active cases in the country. In the last 24 hours, 20,487 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Kerala only. According to the ministry, a total of 338 people succumbed to the coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 4,42,655 in the country.
As a sign of relief, India recorded 34,848 recoveries in the past 24 hours and the recovery tally has gone up to 3,24,09,345.
Currently, the overall recovery rate in the country stands at 97.51 per cent.
The daily positivity rate of the country stands at 1.87 per cent while the weekly positivity rate is 2.17 per cent.
India has substantially ramped up its COVID-19 testing capacity wherein over 54 crore tests have been conducted so far.
In the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, 73.82 crore vaccine doses have been administered to eligible beneficiaries to date.

Manchester Test cancellation all about money and IPL, says Vaughan

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said the Manchester Test between India and England was cancelled because players were petrified of catching covid and missing the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Manchester [UK], September 11 : The fifth and final Test between India and England was cancelled on Friday after the visitors’ assistant physio tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. “Let’s be honest, this is all about money and the IPL. The Test has been cancelled because players were petrified of catching covid and missing the IPL,” Vaughan wrote in his column for The Telegraph.
“In a week or so we will be watching the IPL and the players will be running around smiling and happy. But they should have trusted the PCR tests. We know a lot about this virus now. We know how to manage and handle it better. Players are double vaccinated and biosecurity can be raised very quickly,” he added.
Vaughan also said that he finds it hard to believe that India found it tough to find 11 players for the final Test against England.
“The game of cricket needed this Test match. The series was brilliantly poised. It just does not sit comfortably that a Test match can be cancelled 90 minutes before the toss. It is completely disrespectful towards the paying public,” said Vaughan.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO Tom Harrison said that it was frustrating to see the fifth Test between England and India being cancelled and the board tried its best to avoid this outcome.
“A huge amount has happened over the last 24 hours, and from one cricket lover to another, I want to say how sorry I am for all the inconvenience caused by the cancellation of this Test match. We were all looking forward to what promised to be the culmination of this brilliant Test Series, and I’m so disappointed at not being able to get the match played,” said ECB chief Harrison in an official statement.
“I have heard many stories today of people who planned for months or saved hard during this pandemic to have a special day out with friends and family. To not see that happen is hard to take. Today’s news will have been so frustrating, especially given the short notice. Please know that we worked through the night to find solutions and avoid this outcome,” he added.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled 5th Test match which was scheduled to be played at Manchester from Friday. The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the game.

Fifth Test between England and India in Manchester called off

The fifth and final Test between India and England has been cancelled due to a “further increase in the number of COVID cases” inside the Indian camp.

Manchester [UK], September 10 : “Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled,” ECB said in a statement. “Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.
“We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many,” the statement added.
Ahead of the fifth and final Test against England, physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19 in Manchester. This had led to Team India’s training session for Thursday afternoon being cancelled.
However, there were no COVID-19 related worries in the England camp and Jos Buttler had said everything is fine and the hosts were looking forward to the game.
“We don’t know too much about it at the moment. It would be naive to speculate on what’s going on. At the moment we’re fully expecting the game to go ahead and we’re preparing that way so fingers crossed the game will go ahead. Things are fine in our camp and we are looking forward to the game,” said Buttler in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
This came after India head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar returned positive results to their RT-PCR tests during the fourth Test. They are currently undergoing isolation and can come out only after returning two negative results.
On Sunday, just half an hour before the start of play on Day 4 of the fourth Test, the BCCI said its medical team had isolated Shastri, Bharat Arun, Sridhar, and physio Nitin Patel as a precautionary measure after Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive on Saturday evening.
The remaining members of the Team India contingent had undergone two Lateral Flow Tests — one on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the fourth Test at The Oval against England. (

Alert amid Nipah virus

According to the information shared by District Magistrate’s Office, Mangaluru, the advisory instructs the people of Dakshina Kannada to avoid travelling to Kerala till the end of October, except in emergency issues.

Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, September 9 : Amid reports of Nipah virus and COVID-19 cases in neighbouring Kerala, the Deputy Commissioner of Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district issued an advisory on Wednesday to prevent the spread of viruses in the district.

According to the information shared by District Magistrate’s Office, Mangaluru, the advisory instructs the people of Dakshina Kannada to avoid travelling to Kerala till the end of October, except in emergency issues.

It further instructs the concerned educational heads of all the colleges, schools or other institutes not to call their staff and students to attend physical classes.

“Other industries should also continue work from home till the end of October in order to prevent the outbreak of the viruses in the district,” read the advisory.

On September 7, the Karnataka government also issued an advisory note to prevent the outbreak of the Nipah virus in the state. It instructs the district administrations to monitor the arrivals from Kerala for symptoms like fever, altered mental status, severe weakness, headache, respiratory distress, cough, vomiting, muscle pain, convulsion and diarrhoea.

In addition, it also advises the authorities to spread public awareness in this regard and develop a systematic surveillance system to identify clusters of encephalitis cases for the early detection of Nipah outbreaks.

India : 37,875 new cases in 24 hrs

New Delhi [India], September 8 : India reported 37,875 fresh COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.
India’s active caseload now stands at 3,91,256 The total number of cases of COVID-19 infection in the country has reached 3,30,96,718.
Out of the fresh cases recorded across the country, Kerala has recorded 25,772 in the last 24 hours.
As many as 369 people have succumbed to the COVID-19 infection in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 4,41,411.
So far, India has reported 3,22,64,051 recoveries including 39,114 people recovering from the infection in the last 24 hours.
The recovery rate currently stands at 97.48 per cent.
Meanwhile, the daily positivity rate in India stands at 2.16 per cent.
India has substantially ramped up its COVID-19 testing capacity wherein 53.49 crore tests have been conducted so far.
As a part of the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country, India has administered 70,75,43,018 COVID vaccine doses so far, including 78,47,625 doses in the last 24 hours.

Let students have a fair chance: Rahul Gandhi to govt

Rahul Gandhi’s tweet comes a day after the Supreme Court had turned down a petition to defer the NEET exam, which is scheduled for September 12.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday called for the postponement of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)-UG examination. The former Congress chief also urged the government to let the students “have a fair chance” in the exams. Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi alleged the government is blind to the distress of students. 

“GOI is blind to students’ distress. Postpone NEET exam. Let them have a fair chance,” Gandhi tweeted.

Rahul Gandhi’s tweet comes a day after the Supreme Court had turned down a petition to defer the NEET exam, which is scheduled for September 12. Giving its order, the top court said it does not want to interfere with the process and it will be “very unfair” to reschedule it.

A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said if students want to appear in multiple exams, then they need to prioritise and make a choice as there may never be a situation where everyone is satisfied with the date of exams.

The apex court, however, said the petitioners will be at liberty to make a representation before the competent authorities on the issue and the same may be decided at the earliest in accordance with the law.

The apex court was hearing a petition seeking deferment of the examination on the ground that several other exams are scheduled during the period.

Last year, the NEET was conducted on September 13 amid strict precautions in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 13.66 lakh candidates had appeared in the exam of whom 7,71,500 qualified.

In a first, the NEET-UG exam 2021 will be conducted in 13 languages with Punjabi and Malayam being the new additions, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had announced in July.

He had also said that a new exam centre for the NEET has been opened in Kuwait to facilitate the Indian student c

The apex court was hearing a petition seeking deferment of the examination on the ground that several other exams are scheduled during the period.

Last year, the NEET was conducted on September 13 amid strict precautions in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 13.66 lakh candidates had appeared in the exam of whom 7,71,500 qualified.

In a first, the NEET-UG exam 2021 will be conducted in 13 languages with Punjabi and Malayam being the new additions, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had announced in July.

He had also said that a new exam centre for the NEET has been opened in Kuwait to facilitate the Indian student community in the Middle East.

ommunity in the Middle East.

Arjun Kapoor Opens Up About Regaining Fitness Post Covid-19

It has been a year since actor Arjun Kapoor had tested positive for COVID-19 and the actor marked this “one year anniversary” by opening up about his mental and physical struggle of regaining his fitness levels.

The actor took to his Instagram handle on Monday and posted a detailed write-up of his tough journey after contracting the deadly virus. Along with the details, he also posted a picture in which he is seen working out.

“One year anniversary! Aap soch rahe hoge kis cheez ka? Koi khushiyon wali anniversary nahin hai yeh, it’s one year since I tested positive for covid-19… and it pushed my fitness level back by months. I had just started getting into a routine with Drew on zoom sessions in lockdown and boom, I got covid. For someone like me – the struggle is continuous, every day counts, every training session counts. I remember being demoralised, distraught. I was just on the path to making a turnaround – emotionally, mentally, I was there to make it happen,” he penned the caption.

Sharing his recovery process, Arjun added, “I took some days to get over the fact that after taking all the precautions, it happened to me. But I told myself, I will work doubly hard to not let this throw me off the rails. Clean Eating & resting my mind & body was at its peak during my recovery. I thank Akshay Arora for his brilliance in making super healthy & yet enjoyable food that made me bounce back.”

When the ‘2 States’ actor finally tested negative, he regained his lost morale.

“I restarted virtual training sessions with my trainer Drew Neal immediately after I tested negative & that boosted my morale. The slow and steady road to recovery continued for a few months. It took a lot out of me and it took me a couple of months to feel that I’m on the right path to getting fitter again. Even As I began shooting for Bhoot Police I was still finding my feet again with the rhythm of work & my fitness routine. A year later I’m still a work in progress… But I’m proud of the journey, I’m happy where I’m today & Raring to move forward with my newfound vigour over the last 12 months,” he concluded.

Fans and followers flooded the post with heart and fire emoticons.

Meanwhile, on the work front, Arjun is currently gearing up for the release of his film ‘Bhoot Police’ which also stars Saif Ali Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Yami Gautam.

The forthcoming horror-comedy is directed by Pavan Kirpalani. It will trace the story of a group of ghost hunters and their hilarious adventures. It is produced by Ramesh Taurani and Akshai Puri. The movie is set to release on Disney+ Hotstar on September 17.

Apart from ‘Bhoot Police’, Arjun also has ‘Ek Villian Returns’ and ‘Kuttey’ in the pipeline.

People often avoid feeling compassion for others

Washington [US], September 5 : Researchers during a series of studies found that given the option, people often chose to avoid feeling compassion for others. They also reported that doing so was mentally effortful and which were linked to their choices.
The findings of the studies were published in the ‘Journal of Experimental Psychology.’ The researchers also found that if the situation involved a person they were close to, such as a family member, people were more likely to choose to feel compassion and that being compassionate in this context was easier.
Julian Scheffer, a Penn State graduate and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, said the findings suggest a need for new ways to encourage people to open themselves up to feeling compassion for others — especially in times of division and hardship.
“Experiencing compassion often leads to wanting to help others and improve their welfare, but we found that people may be unwilling to experience compassion and find it mentally taxing,” Scheffer said.
“Knowing when effort matters for compassion can help inform how we think about weaker compassionate responses, whether in response to a stranger or even mass suffering, as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Scheffer added.
Daryl Cameron, assistant professor of psychology and research associate in Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute, said the studies were among the first to examine how and when people choose to feel compassion.
“These choices track with felt cognitive costs. So cultivating compassion for your family may feel easier than cultivating compassion for a stranger, and this may be one reason why people tend to show such biases in their compassionate responding,” Cameron said.
Scheffer added that one solution could be preparing people to take on compassion’s mental demands, which might help people be willing to experience it. Otherwise, compassion may be harder to approach than once imagined.
“Oftentimes, people are asked to have empathy or compassion for others, with the idea that these feelings will lead to more openness, cooperation, and a willingness to help those who are suffering,” Scheffer said.
“We wanted to examine how people choose to engage with these emotional processes, whether they would be approached or avoided, and why this would be the case,” Scheffer continued.
To explore these questions, the researchers performed a series of studies with the number of participants ranging from 62 to 215 in each.
They designed three virtual card decks that participants could choose from and would instruct their response to other people — one that asked them to feel compassion for the person on the card, one that asked them to feel empathy, and one that asked them to remain objective and simply describe the person — that they then used in several experiments.
While compassion and empathy may have similarities, Scheffer said, some separate compassion as feelings of caring or sympathy for another person, while empathy is thought to involve taking on another person’s suffering and experiences as if they were your own.
In the first two studies, participants were split into two groups. One was asked to choose between drawing from the compassion or objective decks, and the other was asked to choose between the empathy and objective decks.
Participants chose the compassion deck over the objective deck only about 25 per cent of the time in the first study and about 21 per cent in the second. Additionally, they chose the empathy deck about 30 per cent and 29 per cent of the time in each study, respectively.
Next, participants were asked to choose between drawing from the compassion or empathy decks. This time, people were more likely to choose empathy over compassion.
However, when they could choose between empathy, compassion and objective decks, participants were more likely to opt to remain objective.
“Some psychologists and philosophers have said compassion is easier than empathy,” Cameron said.
“One way to test that assumption is to directly compare them and give people a choice. When we asked people if they wanted to feel compassion, at least for strangers, they typically didn’t want to and found it more challenging than empathy,” Cameron added.
Finally, participants were once again presented with the decks as in previous experiments, but this time instead of the decks containing images of strangers, they included cards with the names of people each participant either knew very well or were just acquainted with.
“We found that people were more willing to experience compassion for their loved ones compared to strangers, and this linked with experiencing reduced difficulty with compassion for loved ones,” Scheffer said.
“Compassion may be more desirable when directed toward more familiar loved ones, and potentially feel less difficult,” Scheffer continued.
Scheffer said he hopes the findings — recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General — will give insight about why some might resist experiencing compassion for others, despite it being considered a generally positive feeling.
“More people are finding it increasingly difficult to engage with each other, and as people are overwhelmed with the amount of suffering right now due to the pandemic, it may make compassion particularly difficult,” Scheffer said.
“Finding ways to better manage the mental challenges of compassion may provide a more rewarding route to generating prosocial motivation, especially in this particularly troubling time,” Scheffer concluded.
Michael Inzlicht, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, also participated in this work.
The National Science Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute helped support this research.

PM Modi urges healthcare workers to avoid COVID vaccine wastage

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with healthcare workers and beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Himachal Pradesh through video conference.

New Delhi [India], September 6 : The Prime Minister during the interaction urged the healthcare workers to avoid the wastage of the COVID-19 vaccine. Interacting with Dr Rahul, who is posted in the Civil Hospital in Dodra Kwar area in Shimla, the Prime Minister said, “Using the COVID vaccine carefully can decrease the expenses of vaccination by 10 per cent.”
“Teams were deployed to visit every house to spread awareness about virus and vaccination. We used to take feedback from the ASHA workers everyday and used to collect data to avoid the wastage of vaccine,” Dr Rahul said while interacting with PM Modi.
“I have seen that all the staff members including doctors, nurses and others have worked in a team to carry out the vaccination drive. We must not show leniency of any kind to complete the vaccination drive,” PM Modi said while interacting with a beneficiary, Dayal Singh from Thunag Mandi.
Himachal Pradesh has successfully covered its entire eligible population with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, the Prime Minister’s Office said earlier on Sunday.
The efforts by the state included geographical prioritisation to focus on difficult terrains, initiatives to ensure mass awareness, and door-to-door visits by ASHA workers, among others, informed an official release by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Himachal Pradesh has set a benchmark in the fight against COVID-19 by giving the first dose of vaccine to all eligible people. Will have the privilege of interacting with many such beneficiaries and health workers of the state through video conferencing tomorrow at 11 am,” informed PM Modi in a tweet in Hindi.
The state gave special attention to women, the elderly, divyangjans, industrial workers, daily wagers and undertook special campaigns like “Suraksha ki Yukti-Corona se Mukti” to attain this milestone.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur was present during the event.

Rural India is empowering COVID vaccination drive: PM Modi

ANI | Updated: Sep 06, 2021 14:35 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised the people of Himachal for not allowing any rumour or disinformation to hamper the COVID vaccination drive in the state and said that country’s rural society is empowering the vaccination drive.
Speaking at the interaction session with the healthcare workers and beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Himachal Pradesh, PM Modi said, “The people of Himachal did not allow any rumour and any disinformation to hamper the vaccination efforts. Himachal is proof of how the country’s rural society is empowering the world’s largest and fastest vaccination campaign.” The Prime Minister als0 expressed happiness that even in a remote district like Lahaul-Spiti has been a leader in giving 100 per cent first dose.
“This is the area which used to be cut off from the rest of the country for months before the Atal Tunnel was built,” he said.
“Tourism is also getting the direct benefit of strengthened connectivity, farmers and gardeners who produce fruits and vegetables are also getting it. By using internet connectivity in villages, young talents of Himachal can take their culture and new possibilities of tourism to the country and abroad.”
Referring to recently notified Drones rules, the Prime Minister said: “These rules will help in the spheres of many sectors like health and agriculture. This will open doors for new possibilities.”
The Prime Minister urged the farmers and gardeners of Himachal to make farming in Himachal organic within the next 25 years.
“Slowly we have to free our soil from chemicals,” he said.
He said the central government is now going to create a special online platform for women self-help groups.
“Through this medium, our sisters will be able to sell their products in the country and the world. They will be able to deliver apple, orange, kinnow, mushroom, tomato, many such products to every nook and corner of the country,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, MPs, MLAs, Panchayat leaders, among others, were present on the occasion.

India logs 38,948 Covid cases

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India dropped to 4,04,874, the ministry data showed. 219 deaths in last 24 hours

India recorded 38,948 new cases of the novel coronavirus, along with 219 deaths due to the infection in the past 24 hours. According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Sunday, the country saw a total of 43,903 discharges in the last 24 hours, taking the total recovery rate at around 97.42 per cent and total recoveries to 3,21,81,995.

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India dropped to 4,04,874, the ministry data showed.

The total death toll in the country is now at 4,49,752. In India, the first death due to COVID pandemic was reported in March 2020.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 53,14,68,867 samples have been tested up to September 5 for COVID-19. Of these 14,10,649 samples were tested on Sunday.

Miles Teller Tests Covid Positive, Shuts Down Production Of ‘The Offer’

Hollywood actor Miles Teller tested positive for COVID-19 after refusing to get the vaccine. His actions have caused his upcoming series ‘The Offer’ to shut down production.

According to Fox News, a source revealed that the Paramount Plus miniseries about filming ‘The Godfather’ was shut down on August 29 after a crew member tested positive. The insider said that the production member was the ‘Whiplash’ star himself. The source said, “Miles Teller is not vaccinated. He wouldn’t even get the test. Now he’s brought the virus to the set and the whole set had to shut down.”
However, Teller’s publicist Lauren Hozempa stated to a news outlet, “Your facts are incorrect,” but refused to explain further.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily halted production. We will continue to follow all safety protocols and monitor the situation closely,” a representative for Paramount Television Studios said.

Teller is set to play Albert S. Ruddy, the producer behind the 1972 mob film. Teller is also credited as a producer on the 10-episode miniseries. Matthew Goode, Giovanni Ribisi, Colin Hanks and Dan Fogler are also set to star on the show.

Other productions forced to shut down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic after crew members tested positive for the virus include HBO’s ‘Westworld’ and FX’s ‘American Horror Story’, as per Fox News.
The ‘Divergent’ actor previously replaced Armie Hammer as Ruddy. Hammer departed the project amid sexual misconduct accusations.

‘The Godfather’ is considered one of the greatest films ever to be made in Hollywood and was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and adapted from Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel of the same name.
The movie spawned off two sequels and starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, John Cazale, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire.

India: 42,766 cases in 24 hours

New Delhi [India], September 5 : With 42,766 people testing positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, India’s active cases rose to 4,10,048 accounting for 1.24 per cent of total cases.
Of the fresh cases reported in the last 24 hours, Kerala recorded 29,682 new cases and 142 deaths yesterday. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the recovery rate is currently at 97.42 per cent as 38,091 people recovered in the last 24 hours.
With this, the number of total recoveries has climbed to 3,21,38,092.
In this, the weekly positivity rate is now at 2.66 per cent that is less than 3 per cent for the last 72 days.
The daily positivity rate is also reported to be at 2.45 per cent in the country.
To detect the presence of COVID-19 in individuals, the ministry informed that it has tested 53.65 crore individuals, to date.
As many as 17,47, 476 tests were conducted on Saturday, while so far 53,00,58,218 tests have been conducted.
As a part of the ongoing vaccination drive in the country, 68.46 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far in the country.
“With the administration of 71,61,760 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has surpassed the cumulative figure of 68.46 Crore (68,46,69,521) on Sunday,” Health Ministry informed.
“As per provisional reports, till 7 am today, the recovery of 38,091 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,21,38,092,” it added.
India commenced its ongoing vaccination drive on January 16 this year. (

India logs 42,618 fresh COVID-19 cases

29,322 positive cases from Kerala, The total active cases of COVID-19 in India rose to 4,05,681, the ministry data showed. 

New Delhi [India], September 4 : India reported 42,618 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours wherein Kerala contributed a majority of cases by logging 29,322 positive cases.
The overall death toll due to this virus touched 4,40,225 in the country. Here, 330 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours wherein Kerala added 131 fatalities, Maharashtra reported 92 fatalities and the rest of the states reported 107 fatalities. The total cases in the country jumped to 3,29,45,907 including 4,05,681 active cases. Active cases account for 1.23 per cent of the total cases.
As a sign of relief, the total recoveries escalated to more than 3.2 crores (3,21,00,001) including 36,385 recoveries in the last 24 hours. With this, the recovery rate is currently at 97.43 per cent.
Following this, the daily positivity rate is at 2.50 per cent and the weekly positivity rate is at 2.63 per cent that is less than 3 per cent for the last 71 days.
To detect the presence of this virus in individuals, the ministry informed that 52.82 crore total tests have been conducted in the country till date.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), cumulative samples tested in the country till September 3 is at 52,82,40,038 with 17,04,970 samples being tested in the last 24 hours.
For the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, the country administered 67.72 crore vaccine doses to people to date. India commenced its vaccination drive on January 16 this year.

Karnataka’s New Covid Travel Protocols For Travellers From Kerala

In a new ruling, the Karnataka government has exempted certain travellers from Kerala from mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine, provided that they have a short-term travel plan. The new rule says that such short term travellers should be in Karnataka for three days.

The rule is applicable to travellers who are in Karnataka for examination with one parent; passengers who are in transit from or to Kerala through any desired mode of transport; health care professionals, and their spouses; constitutional functionaries; children who are below two years of age; and those who are in need of emergency medical treatment, or have a death in the family.

On the other hand, students and employees coming to Karnataka are required to show an RT-PCR negative certificate that is valid for one week. Such certificates should not be older than 72 hours. This is irrespective of whether these travellers have had one dose or both the doses.

A circular that was issued yesterday says that all necessary arrangements are required to be made for seven-day institutional quarantine of students from Kerala The arrangements should be made by the administrators of the educational institutions, and respective employers for their students and employees.

It was also mentioned in the circular that employees must be in institutional quarantine, and under no circumstances should be in home quarantine. At the end of the seven-day period, they shall be tested.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ & ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ Being Delayed Due To Covid-19

Hollywood star Tom Cruise’s next two highly-anticipated movies ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ are being delayed again due to COVID-19 concerns.

As per Variety, Paramount has delayed its tentpoles amid a surge in the Delta variant of COVID-19. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ will now open in theatres on May 27, 2022, instead of November 19, 2021, while the other Cruise-led adventure, ‘Mission: Impossible 7’, will release on September 30, 2022, instead of May 27, 2022.
‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie has directed the seventh installment of the franchise. Joseph Kosinski has helmed ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ was originally set for a June 24, 2020 opening but was shifted back to December 23, 2020, due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It later had release dates set for July 2, 2021, and, most recently, November 19, 2021.

On the other hand, ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ was first delayed from July 23, 2021, to November 19 before ‘Maverick’ took over that spot and pushed it to May 27, 2022. It now lands four months after Maverick’s premiere.

But worry not as there are still several promising titles on the calendar through the end of the year, assuming rival studios keep their biggest movies on the schedule.

In the fall, Universal’s musical adaptation of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is opening on September 24, MGM’s James Bond sequel ‘No Time to Die’ is launching on October 8 and Sony’s ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is debuting on October 15.

Later in 2021, Disney and Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ is dated for November 5, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of ‘West Side Story’ is scheduled for December 10 and Warner Bros.’ ‘The Matrix 4’ is slated for December 22.

Joe Rogan Tests Positive For Covid-19

Popular comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Taking to Instagram, Rogan posted a video in which he revealed that he has contracted COVID-19. “I GOT COVID. My apologies, but we have to move the Nashville show to Sunday, October 24. Much love to you all,” he shared.

In the clip, Rogan also spoke about how he’s been battling coronavirus.
“…feeling very weary, I had a headache, and I just felt just run down,” he said.
Rogan also updated his followers about his medication. He said he took the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin, however, US health officials have strongly advised against it, reported Variety.


Rogan’s COVID positive diagnosis comes months after he dismissed to some extent the usefulness of the vaccine on his podcast.

“I’m not an anti-vax person. In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take ’em. I just said, I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person, that you need it,” he had said.

Dharmendra Pradhan reviews the school reopening

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday reviewed the status of reopening of schools across the country with senior officials of the Department of School Education and Literacy.

New Delhi [India], September 1 : As Per Education Ministry, Union Education Minister also took stock of the roadmap for vaccinating all teaching and non-teaching staff in schools by the month of September. “Government Of India (GoI) is prioritising vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff in schools across India to ensure a safe environment for reopening of schools,” stated the Education Ministry.
Earlier, on Tuesday, Secretary, School Education and Literacy Anita Karwal held a meeting with Education Secretaries of states and Union Territories via video conferencing on National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines on school safety and vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff in schools were discussed.
During the discussion, the Secretary of the Department of School Education and Literacy (DOSEL), advised all the states and UTs to get the first dose of vaccination completed for all the teaching and non-teaching staff during the month of September 2021 and those teaching and non-teaching staff who have already received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be followed up firmly for the second dose.
Department of School Education and Literacy is also obtaining the information on vaccination of teachers on weekly basis from states and UTs through the tracker.

Farah Khan Kunder Tests Positive For Covid-19

Filmmaker and choreographer Farah Khan Kunder has tested positive for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated.

On Wednesday, the ‘Main Hoon Na’ director took to her Instagram Story and revealed that she has contracted the virus somehow, even though she was working with “mostly double vaxxed people.” “I wonder if this happened coz I didn’t put my “kaala teeka”.. Despite being double vaccinated, and working with mostly double vaxxed people.. Iv still managed to test positive for covid.. Iv already informed everyone I came in contact with, to get tested. However if I have forgotten someone (because of old age n fading memory) pls test urself. Hoping to recover soon,” Farah wrote.

Before contracting the deadly infection, Farah had been shooting for the popular ‘Zee Comedy Show’. Recently, she had also made a guest appearance on the sets of the dance show ‘Super Dancer 4’, which has actor Shilpa Shetty, choreographer Geeta Kapur and director Anurag Basu as judges.
It is still unknown whether her family members have tested positive or not.

Pakistan: Over 100 deaths reported in last 24 hours due to COVID-19.

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 1: Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday reported 101 deaths in the last 24 hours due to COVID-19 on Wednesday. The total death tally has reached 25,889, reported Geo TV.
According to NCOC, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan reached 1,163,688, after fresh 3,559 cases were added in the last 24 hours. Currently, the total number of active cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan is 93,901.
Pakistan’s COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen to 6.63 per cent, as compared to 7.36 per cent on Tuesday.
Pakistan has vaccinated 53,314,628 doses of COVID-19 vaccines till now, making only 12.3 per cent under vaccine cover if every person needs 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, reported Geo TV.
COVID-19 Vaccination drive in Pakistan for people of age 17 and above has started on Wednesday, as part of Pakistan Govt.’s strategy to control the spreading virus, reported GEO TV.

Black particles found in Moderna vaccine; batch put on hold in Japan

Last month, Japan had suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine after contamination was found in unused vials.

A batch of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been put on hold in Japan after some black particles were seen in one vial of the vaccine. The particles were noticed by a pharmacist in one vial of the vaccine in Kanagawa Prefecture. Authorities said the pharmacist was checking the vaccine before use. Media reports have said the rest of the batch has now been put on hold, however, some 3,790 people had already received shots from the batch. 

Last month, Japan had suspended the use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge.

The health ministry said the contamination was reported from multiple vaccination sites. Some doses might have been administered, but no adverse health effects have been reported so far, officials said.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese drugmaker in charge of sales and distribution of the vaccine in Japan, said it decided to suspend the use of doses manufactured in the same production line as a safety precaution.

It asked Moderna to conduct an emergency investigation and told medical institutions and organizers to stop using the vaccine produced in Spain and shared the production numbers that may be affected.

Karnataka: Covid scare in Kolar nursing college

32 students test positive, all Kerala returnees. Karnataka Health Minister has taken note of the incident and has stated that he will visit the college and will initiate action against the college management.

Bengaluru, Karnataka, September 1 : As many as 32 students of a nursing college have tested positive for Covid-19 in Karnataka’s Kolar. Noorunnisa Institute of Nursing in Kolar district has come under scanner following Covid outbreak.

Karnataka Health Minister has taken note of the incident and has stated that he will visit the college and will initiate action against the college management.

“All of them are Kerala returnees. I’ll visit the college & take action against the management,” Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar told ANI.

According to report, as per quarantine protocol for Kerala’s visitors, the district administration tested 265 students and staff and one after the other students were found positivie.

A large number of people from Kerala travel to border districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi every day for various reasons including work, educational purposes, and to avail medical facilities here.

This development comes when several schools, colleges, and other educational institutions across several states, including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and many more reopened today i.e. on September 1, adhering to the government-necessitated coronavirus disease (Covid-19) guidelines.

Meanewhile, the Karnataka government has decided to allow schools to reopen for classes 6-8 on alternate days from September 6 in regions where the Covid-19 test positivity rate is below two per cent. 

India : 41,965 new COVID-19 cases, 460 deaths

New Delhi [India], September 1 : India reported 41,965 new COVID-19 cases and 460 deaths in the last 24 hours, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday.
With the addition of new cases, the active caseload of India reached 3,78,181, which is 1.15 per cent of the total cases. Currently, the daily positivity rate is at 2.61 per cent. As many as 33,964 patients recovered across the country from the viral disease in the last 24 hours taking the total recoveries to 3,19,93,644. The current recovery rate is at 97.51 per cent.
With 460 fatalities, the COVID death toll in the country reached 4,39,020.
Notably, of the total new cases recorded in the country, Kerala reported 30,203 new COVID cases and 115 deaths on Tuesday.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the total number of samples tested till today is 52,31,84,293 crore. Of which, 16,06,785 samples have been tested on Tuesday.
Under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, India has administered over 65.41 crore vaccine doses so far.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, more than 18.3 crore doses have been administered in the month of August.

How Parents Can Be ‘Emotion Coaches’ As Kids Go To School During Covid-19

Parents should take time to talk with their children before school starts amid Covid-19. For an anxious child, this might be five minutes of validation and support each day. For another child, checking in occasionally may be enough. Here are some tips for ’emotion coaching’

As children head back to school, families are once again facing a September of uncertainty. This worry is compounded by depressive and anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents that have doubled in the past 18 months.

Our team has been studying the mental health of children and families since the start of the pandemic to develop strategies that support those who are struggling. Getting kids back in the classroom is an important step. However, we must not forget the well-being of families, as children are most successful when they are jointly supported in both the classroom and at home.

Noticing, validating and managing emotions is an important part of family health and wellness. Emotion coaching is a simple strategy parents can use with their children and loved ones.

How the pandemic got in the way

Our family science research group in southern Ontario has recently published three studies highlighting how the pandemic has interrupted relationships and mental health in children and families. Findings were based on an international sample of 549 families and 1,098 children.

We found that pandemic stress falls into one of three categories: economic stress (things like job loss, debt problems), relational stress (showing up, for instance, as more hostility or withdrawal between family members) and pandemic-specific stress (seen in things like being overwhelmed by the news cycle). In other words, many parents are simply too stressed to provide emotionally supportive responses during parenting exchanges. That said, not all families have been affected equally.

Among the parents we studied, we found that women with a history of early life adversity were the most vulnerable to mental health problems. But men with a history of early life adversity were still at greater risk for mental health problems than men without such early adversity.

Parents experiencing mental health challenges creates a ripple effect across the entire family unit. It predicts higher mental health problems in children, psychological distress in parents and parenting challenges.

Even within the same family, one sibling may be struggling more. In a sibling comparison study, forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Psychology, caregivers reported having more parenting challenges over time with the child who had higher levels of anxiety, depression and anger at the start of the pandemic.

This is an important and unique finding since it describes how Covid-19 stress “gets inside the family,” highlighting and widening differences between siblings. This creates an added challenge for parents.

What is emotion coaching?

Emotion coaching is a pattern of communication that emerged from the work of psychologist John Gottman, and has since become embedded in many types of therapy.

That said, it’s not complicated and anyone can do it.

In its simplest form, emotion coaching is a two-step process that parents can use when their child is distressed.

1. Parents first validate the emotion. This requires that they identify the emotion by saying something like: “I understand you might be feeling worried …” and then by explaining the emotion: “… because it’s almost September, because you are worried about what back to school will look like and because you have been home for so long.”

This conveys to a child that their feelings make sense, that they are not wrong or bad for feeling the way they do, and that their parent understands them. To remember this step, parents can remind themselves that you’ve got to feel it to heal it.

2. After validating the emotion, parents provide support. This may be emotional support that is comforting, reassuring and hopeful. It could also be a sign of togetherness, in saying something like: “I will be here with you every step of the way this fall.”

Next, practical support can take the form of distraction, redirection, problem-solving or encouragement. If a child is focused on the uncertainty of September, parents may suggest doing a fun activity together. If an adolescent is refusing school, parents could provide encouragement or set limits and reinforce expectations.

The important thing is the order of emotion coaching steps — first a parent helps their child to feel the emotion (validation), and then the parent helps their child to feel better (support).

Not only will emotion coaching help calm the emotional storm in the moment, but it will also teach children how to manage their own emotions in the future.

Parents’ own emotions

Children transitioning back to school will likely require additional support. Emotion coaching is not complicated, but it can be very difficult for parents to respond with patience and empathy when at their wits end.

Parents can manage their own emotions by seeking professional support by going into therapy, accessing online mental health materials or taking care of their mental health with activities like exercise, healthy eating and sleep routines.

We also recommend that parents take time to talk with their children before school starts. For an anxious child, this might be five minutes of validation and support each day. For another child, checking in occasionally may be enough.

To quote a shorthand version of Mr. Rogers’s philosophy, “If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” There will undoubtedly be a lot to mention this fall.

COVID 19 : 42,909 new case, Kerala logs 29,836

India reported 42,909 new COVID-19 cases and 380 related fatalities in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry on Monday.

New Delhi [India], August 30 : Here, of the total cases reported in the country, Kerala logged 29,836 fresh cases of this virus yesterday and 75 fatalities. The test positivity rate is at a historic high of 19.67 per cent. With this, the total death toll in the country touched 4,38,210 including the fresh fatalities. Of the 380 fresh fatalities, 75 deaths were from Kerala, 131 deaths were from Maharashtra, 67 deaths were from Odisha and the rest 107 deaths were reported from the rest of the states.
The total cases in the country are 3,26,95,030 with 3,76,324 active cases. Active cases account for 1.15 per cent of the total cases.
The total recoveries reached 3,19,23,405 wherein 34,763 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours. Following this, the recovery rate is currently at 97.51 per cent.
Of the 52.01 crore total tests conducted so far, daily positivity rate reported stands at 3.02 per cent. Also, the weekly positivity rate is at 2.41 per cent that is less than 3 per cent for last 66 days.
52,01,46,525 samples have been tested till date wherein 14,19,990 samples were tested yesterday to detect the virus, informed the Indian Council of Medical Research.
As a part of the ongoing vaccination drive, 63.43 crore vaccine doses have been administered till date in the country. India commenced its COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 this year.
Meanwhile, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Sunday that a revised Covid-19 testing strategy is being introduced in the state in the wake of 71 per cent out of total population eligible to be vaccinated taking at least first dose of the vaccine against Coronavirus. 

Wait for two-three months till children get vaccinated against COVID-19, says Dr Trehan on re-opening of schools

​Dr. Naresh Trehan, chairman of Medanta, has raised an alarm over reopening of schools throughout the country. The senior doctor advocated for vaccination of children before they be sent to schools.

New Delhi [India], August 29 : Stating that India approved Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine for emergency use in adults and children, Medanta Chairman and Managing Director Dr Naresh Trehan on Sunday cautioned against the re-opening of schools and said that since the vaccine is around the corner, the government should wait for two-three months till the children get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking to ANI Dr Trehan said, “I believe that we should be a lot more cautious. And the fact is that the vaccine is now around the corner because the drug controller just approved the Zydus vaccine. So even if people get one dose, we know that the protection goes up 30 per cent to 50 per cent. So, we should be patient for another two-three months till the vaccine arrives, children get vaccinated, and then they should be allowed to go to school but it seems we are in a rush right now to open schools.” Dr Trehan’s remarks came as the Delhi government announced the re-opening of schools in the national capital from September 1 for classes 9-12. But, students will need parents consent and no one will be forced to attend the classes. Some groups of doctors, academicians called for an immediate resumption of in-person classes in schools.
On August 23, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Friday approved Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine for emergency use in adults and children aged 12 years and above. It is considered a timely move amid warnings of an upcoming third wave in the country. Recently, a committee of experts under the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) warned of the third COVID-19 wave that could peak around October and sought better preparedness for children.
Further speaking the Medanta Chairman and Managing Director said, “In US, schools opened but even after vaccination many children got infected, “If you look at the history that what is going on in the US where schools reopened and also a large number of children have been vaccinated because vaccine became available soon. The Association of Paediatrics in the US says that the number of cases after the schools have reopened has gone up from 38,000 per week in July to 180,000 per week in August.”
Further explaining the strategy that needs to be followed before re-opening of schools, Dr Trehan said “We have to look at every aspect of it. Primarily, all the students should be vaccinated when they go to school. Apart from this, there should be proper ventilation, and all the precautions of social distancing and masking should be followed 100 per cent.”
“There is a warning from Florida, which says that the hospitals are full with children, and they don’t have any facilities left. So, we have to look at it in perspective for India where children are not being vaccinated at all. We also have to take this fact into consideration that we may or may not have the luxury of open spaces,” said Dr Trehan.
Reminding about the need for sufficient infrastructure and health facilities for children, Dr Trehan said, “If a high number of children fall sick we don’t have the facilities in India, to actually take care of them. We don’t have, we are gearing up but we’re still a long way away from having good facilities because we don’t have enough doctors who are paediatrics, enough ICUs for children and ventilators, We are preparing and the government is trying to ramp up the availability of all the facilities as fast as possible.”

Start of India women’s tour of Australia delayed by two days, all matches to be staged in Queensland

India women’s upcoming tour of Australia will now be staged in Queensland and the opening match of the series is set to be delayed by two days — from September 19 to 21.

New Delhi [India], August 29 : The upcoming tour of Australia will comprise three ODIs, one day-night Test match, and three T20Is. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the opening ODI was originally slated for Sydney Oval but will now be played in Mackay due to the COVID-19 enforced restrictions.
As per the report, the lockdowns around Australia have resulted in the change of schedules and everything is pending for the final green light from the Queensland state government upon India women’s team arrival.
The women’s team will depart for Australia from Bengaluru on Sunday and then the entire squad will spend two weeks under mandatory quarantine.
Talking about the team’s preparation for the Test, head coach Ramesh Powar on Saturday said: “I think we need to understand we are going to play ODIs first. World Cup [in February-March next year] is a very important tournament for us and we’re focusing on that. If you see only the one-off Test, we can’t go in with a mindset of preparing for that.”
“I think it is about taking the one-day confidence into Test. In the last series, the way we came back, without our stars getting their rhythm, I’m confident that we don’t have to prepare separately for the pink-ball Test. We back our players in the format, and they are good enough to react to the situation,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the All-India Senior Women’s Selection Committee picked the squads for India Women’s upcoming tour. Sneh Rana who gave spirited performances against England in the multi-format series earlier this year has found a place in all three squads.

Curb ‘crowded fests’ to avoid Covid spike

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced a near-total ban on the upcoming ‘Dahi-Handi’ celebrations starting Sunday.

New delhi, india, August 28 : The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has urged the Maharashtra government to impose and enforce ‘restrictions’ to prevent the spread of Covid-19, officials said here on Saturday.

The directive from the Centre came late on Friday through Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan — barely five days after the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a near-total ban on the upcoming ‘Dahi-Handi’ celebrations starting Sunday.

Referring to the Centre’s earlier guidelines on ‘focused containment measures’, Bhushan advised the state government to consider imposing and enforcing local restrictions for the people.

Citing the concerns of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) of such mass-gathering fests turning into ‘super-spreader events’, thereby resulting in a spike in Covid cases, Bhushan said the same was communicated to the states on July 20.

“This is particularly important in view of circulation of more transmissible variants of concern being reported by various states, including Maharashtra,” said Bhushan, hinting at the recent increase in Delta Plus cases which have already claimed 5 lives in the state.

However, the state Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ram Kadam has slammed the state government’s move to impose “a blanket ban” on celebrating ‘Dahi-Handi’ and demanded that festivities at local levels should be permitted with full Covid restrictions.

The state Health Minister Rajesh Tope has warned that the possible ‘third wave’ could be a ‘Tsunami’ of over 6-million cases in the state, which could be triple of the 2-million recorded in the ‘first-wave’ in 2020 and much higher than the 4-million notched in the ‘second-wave’ this year.

The MoHFW has cautioned that “any laxity” in ensuring strict adherence to the five-fold strategy of ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate-Ensuring Covid Appropriate Behaviour’ may result in losing the impetus that Maharashtra and the country has gained so far in managing the pandemic.

Kerala re-imposes Sunday lockdown

The southern state has been clocking more than 30,000 Covid-19 cases in the past few days with the Total Positivity Rate (TPR) has also crossed an alarming 19 per cent.

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, August 27 : Owing to the spike in coronavirus cases, the Kerala government has decided to continue with the Sunday lockdown. Earlier, an exemption was given for the same in the last two weeks. However, soaring Covid cases have forced the state government to re-impose the lockdown.

The southern state has been clocking more than 30,000 Covid-19 cases in the past few days with the Total Positivity Rate (TPR) has also crossed an alarming 19 percent.

With the rise in the coronavirus case, the Opposition and public health experts have attacked the state government’s alleged “carelessness” and “unwise” decisions for the spike.

Taking a serious note of the situation in Kerala, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday reviewed the situation and the steps taken to contain the alarming graph of the virus in the southern state. The home secretary reviewed the COVID-19 situation and the steps taken to contain the spread of the virus in the southern state and gave a number of suggestions, a home ministry official said.

Several top officials of the Centre and the state government had attended the meeting, which was held through a video-conference

Amid concerns of rising in cases in Kerala, the central government said the southern state is the only one reporting over 1 lakh active COVID-19 cases, while four states have 10,000 to 1 lakh active cases and 31 states have less than 10,000 active cases.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George, who reviewed the state’s COVID-19 situation had also blamed the violation of home quarantine directives for the worsening situation and cautioned against the increased indoor transmission of coronavirus at homes. It noted that 58.4 percent of the total COVID-19 cases last week were reported from Kerala.

The central government said the months of September and October will be crucial in pandemic management and cautioned that festivals should be celebrated in accordance with COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.

Kiss Cancels Concert After Paul Stanley Test Positive For Covid-19

Popular rock band Kiss called off its latest concert after one of its members, Paul Stanley, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The band took to their official Twitter handle and posted a statement giving an update about their concert which was scheduled for Thursday night. “Tonight’s #KISS show at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, PA is unfortunately postponed due to Paul Stanley testing positive for COVID. More information about show dates will be made available ASAP,” the statement read.

The band members also emphasised that everyone in the band and crew is vaccinated.
“Everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated. The band and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at every show and in between shows. The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines,” the statement continued.

A few hours before the band’s official statement, vocalist Paul quashed rumours of him battling heart problems.

“PEOPLE!!! I am fine! I am not in ICU! My heart allows me to do 26 miles a day on my bike! I don’t know where this came from but it’s absolute nonsense,” he tweeted.

As per Variety, the group’s current tour is being billed as ‘The Final Tour Ever: End of the Road’.

Pfizer jab side effects in 12-15 year olds at high risk of COVID-19 complications, mild to moderate: Study

A new study has revealed that the side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab against COVID-19 in 12-15-year-olds at high risk of complications from the infection are likely to be mild to moderate and clear up quickly because of certain coexisting conditions.

London [UK], August 27 : The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Archives of Disease in Childhood. Although the study numbers are small, the data are representative of those teens most likely to benefit from the vaccination, and should offer reassurance to parents and clinicians, said the authors.
Healthy children with COVID-19 infection generally have a mild illness, but some coexisting conditions, particularly neurological conditions, are associated with severe disease.
These high-risk children were therefore shielded to reduce their risk of infection, and wouldn’t have been included in early vaccine safety studies, said the authors.
The UK’s vaccine advisory group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advised that children aged 12 and over with severe neurological disabilities, who tend to get recurrent respiratory infections and have complex care needs, should be offered the COVID-19 jab.
Given the unknown side effects of vaccination in this complex and vulnerable group, the authors asked the parents of 27 of these children to record any side effects of subsequent COVID-19 vaccinations for each child.
The children were aged between 12 and 15; three were hospital inpatients; 16 were boys and most (21) were white.
They had various neurological conditions, including muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, plus a range of coexisting medical conditions, such as epilepsy, congenital heart defects, and immune deficiency, for which they were receiving drug treatment of various kinds.
The reported side effects were all mild to moderate, except for one child who experienced severe fatigue and discomfort, combined with increased agitation.
One family also reported that seizure type changed to clusters, although this had resolved a week later.
In all, there were 8 ‘events’ in 6 children after the first dose, all of which resolved within 72 hours: mild rash; headache; diarrhoea; presumed sore throat; neck pain; difficulty sleeping; and low blood glucose.
After the second dose, 8 additional events occurred in 5 children: diarrhoea; vomiting; armpit swelling; and blisters around the mouth.
Paracetamol use after the first dose was high and fever was more common than reported in studies of adults (13 per cent vs 4 per cent in 16-55-year-olds). But all recorded side effects cleared up within a week.
“Numbers were small, but these data are especially important as they are representative of the children who are most likely to benefit from vaccination, and parents and clinicians may have concerns regarding an increased risk of unexpected events,” noted the authors.
“The parents choosing to take up this vaccination at a time when it was off-licence, with little available safety data, did so because they (and their clinicians) believed their children to be at high risk of COVID-19 disease. Indeed, many had been shielding and felt that vaccination would make a significant difference to their lives,” the authors concluded.

SEC recommends Phase 1 clinical trials of Reliance’s Covid Vaccine candidate

New Delhi [India], August 27 : The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) has recommended Phase 1 clinical trials of Reliance’s recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Earlier, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Life Sciences had sought approval for the Phase I trial of its proposed two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. The company has received approval during the meeting of the SEC on Friday.
After recommendations from SEC, the company is required to get approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), following which the Reliance Life Sciences can commence Phase 1 trials of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The trials will be done at 10 sites in India that includes centres in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi.
Phase 1 of the trial usually lasts for 58 days to detect the highest dose that most patients can tolerate.
In India, six vaccines have so far received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which includes Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Zydus Cadila’s vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik V, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

Covid : India logs 44,658 case, Kerala alone 30,007

India reported 44,658 fresh cases and 496 fatalities due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. Kerala logged more than 30,000 cases of new infections during the period, informed the Union Health Ministry on Friday.

New Delhi [India], August 27 : Kerala yesterday reported 30,007 new COVID-19 cases, 18,997 recoveries and 162 deaths, as per the state health department. With this, the test positivity rate in the state is at 18.03 per cent. The total cases in the country jumped to 3,26,03,188 including 3,44,899 active cases. The active cases account for 1.06 per cent of the total cases in the country.
The total recoveries, as a sign of relief, are at 3,18,21,428 with 32,988 recoveries in the last 24 hours. The Union ministry informed that the recovery rate currently stands at 97.60 per cent.
However, the total fatalities till date in the country due to this virus escalated to 4,36,861 where Kerala reported 162 deaths and Maharashtra reported 159 fatalities in the last 24 hours. The rest 175 deaths out of 496 fatalities were reported from other States and Union Territories.
The Health Ministry informed that 51.49 crore tests for detecting COVID-19 infection has been conducted till date. In this, the daily positivity rate is at 2.45 per cent that is less than 3 per cent for last 32 days. Also, the weekly positivity rate is at 2.10 per cent that is less than 3 per cent for last 63 days.
Giving details, the Indian Council of Medical Research informed, “Total number of samples tested up to 26th August is 51,49,54,309 including 18,24,931 samples tested yesterday.”
As a part of the ongoing nationwide vaccination drive, the country has administered 61.22 crore vaccine doses till date. Yesterday, the health ministry informed that 50 per cent of the eligible population has been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine under the world’s largest vaccination drive. India’s COVID vaccination drive commenced on January 16 this year.
Taking cognizance of COVID-19 cases soaring in Kerala and Maharashtra, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday stressed on the need for “adequate intervention” in geographical areas having higher infection through measures such as contact tracing, vaccination drives and Covid appropriate behaviour. Bhalla’s direction came as he reviewed steps taken by the state governments of Kerala and Maharashtra for checking the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Rising COVID-19 numbers worrying, govt busy with sales: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a dig at the Central Government amid the rising cases of COVID-19 and alleged that it is busy with sales.

New Delhi [India], August 26 : “Rising #COVID numbers are worrying. Vaccination must pick up the pace to avoid serious outcomes in the next wave. Please take care of yourselves because the Government of India is busy with sales,” the Wayanad MP tweeted. Earlier on Tuesday, the Congress leader termed the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline as a “huge tragedy” saying that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government had mishandled the economy and the move was aimed at creating monopolies in certain sectors.


Meanwhile, Union Health Ministry informed that 46,164 fresh COVID-19 cases and 607 fatalities were recorded in the country in the last 24 hours.
As of today, as per the health ministry, the total cases in the country jumped to 3,25,58,530 including 3,33,725 active cases. Active cases account for 1.03 per cent of total cases.
The overall recoveries mounted to 3,17,88,440 including 34,159 new recoveries. With this, the recovery rate is currently at 97.63 per cent in the country.

Passengers from Afghanistan found COVID positive

Two persons out of the 146 passengers who landed in Delhi from Afghanistan on Monday were found positive for COVID-19.

New Delhi [India], August 23 ): Rajendra Kumar, Sub Divisional Magistrate said, “Two people coming from Afghanistan have been found COVID positive. They have been sent to LNJP Hospital.” The second batch of 146 Indian nationals who were evacuated from Afghanistan via Doha arrived in the national capital on Monday on various flights.
India on Sunday brought back nearly 400 people including 329 of its nationals in three different flights.
Up till now, around 400 individuals from Kabul have been evacuated that covered Indian citizens as well as Afghan nationals including Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan.
Earlier on Saturday, government sources told ANI that India has been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
Permission has been granted by the American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, which have been controlling operations of the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the Afghan capital was taken over by the Taliban on August 15.
Hundreds of Indian nationals have to be taken out of Kabul, which is now under the Taliban’s control. India is airlifting its citizens through Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Qatar. The Indian Air Force has already evacuated around 180 passengers including its Ambassador to Afghanistan and all other diplomats

Hilary Duff Tests Positive For Covid-19

American actor Hilary Duff on Saturday revealed she has tested positive for COVID-19.

Taking to her Instagram handle, a 33-year-old actor shared a picture of herself lying in bed with a caption that read, “That delta…she’s a little bitch. Symptoms: bad headache. No taste or smell. Sinus Pressure. Brain fog. Happy to be vaxxed.”


The news of the actor being COVID-19 positive came just days after she shared a picture from the sets of her upcoming sitcom ‘How I Met Your Father’, the Hulu spinoff to ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

The snap featured her posing alongside fellow cast members Chris Lowell, Francia Raisa, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran, Suraj Sharma, and Brandon Michael Hall. “Who’s ready for us??? We may or may not have been sitting in front of a certain someone’s apartment…. #himyf,” she captioned the picture.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 10-episode TV series ‘How I Met Your Father’ is set to follow Hilary’s character, Sophia, who explains to her son how she met his father, and her close friends. The comedy was given a straight-to-series pickup in April.

On a related note, before Hilary, fellow actor actress Melissa Joan Hart also revealed on her Instagram that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Approval for world’s first DNA-based ‘ZyCov-D’ vaccine is testimony to innovative zeal of India’s scientists: PM Modi

New Delhi [India], August 20 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the approval for the world’s first DNA-based ‘ZyCov-‘ vaccine of Zydus Cadila group is a testimony to the innovative zeal of India’s scientists.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister wrote, “India is fighting COVID-19 with full vigour. The approval for world’s first DNA-based ‘ZyCov-D’ vaccine of @ZydusUniverse is a testimony to the innovative zeal of India’s scientists. A momentous feat indeed.” This comment by the Prime Minister came in response to a tweet by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In a tweet, CDSCO wrote, “After evaluation of interim Phase III clinical trial results in consultation with Subject Expert Committee, CDSCO has approved DNA COVID-19 vaccine (ZyCoV-D) of M/s Cadila Healthcare for restricted use in emergency situation in India for 12 years and above.”
Following this, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and added that ‘Make in India’ delivered another significant accomplishment.
“Double good news for the nation! @CDSCO_INDIA_INF approves the 1st DNA-based, needle-free #COVID19 vaccine in the world – ‘ZyCov-D’ of @ZydusUniverse Making children of India COVID-safe, this vaccine can be used for individuals aged 12 and above,” tweeted the Health Minister.
He further added, “‘ZyCov-D’ is the 6th approved #COVID19 vaccine in India, and the 2nd indigenously developed one. PM @NarendraModi ji’s vision of #AatmanirbharBharat and Make in India delivers another significant accomplishment!”
Zydus Cadila received approval for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for ZyCoV-D today, the world’s first and India’s indigenously developed DNA based vaccine for COVID-19 to be administered in humans including children and adults 12 years and above.
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal also congratulated the Zydus Group especially scientists involved in this success under Mission COVID Suraksha. Taking to Twitter, Goyal wrote, “Make In India’s milestone moment – World’s first DNA based COVID-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D gets Emergency Use Authorization for 12 years and above. Congratulations to Zydus Group esp. all scientists involved in this success under Mission COVID Suraksha.”
Zydus Cadila in a tweet also had informed that ZyCoV-D is the only needle-free COVID vaccine in the world.
“Zydus receives EUA from DCGI for ZyCoV-D, the only needle-free COVID vaccine in the world,” tweeted the healthcare company.

Covid-19 Pandemic Resulted In Increased Rates Of Intimate Partner Aggression

According to a new study led by Georgia State University researchers, the implementation of shelter-in-place restrictions due to the pandemic has resulted in increased rates of physical and psychological aggression among couples.

The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Psychology of Violence’. The study found that the pandemic resulted in a six-to-eightfold increase in rates of intimate partner aggression across the US.
Physical aggression increased from two acts per year before the pandemic to 15 acts per year once shelter-in-place restrictions began.

Psychological aggression increased from 16 acts per year to 96 acts per year.

The findings indicated that stress related to the pandemic was strongly associated with the perpetration of intimate partner aggression, even among individuals considered at low risk.

“If you think about it, that [increase] represents an enormous shift in people’s day-to-day lives,” said the study’s lead author Dominic Parrott, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Research on Interpersonal Violence.

“It’s the difference between having a bad fight with your partner once a month versus twice a week,” added Parrott.

The study is among the first to document increases in the perpetration of intimate partner aggression following the onset of the pandemic in local communities.

Researchers recruited 510 participants in April 2020 — during the height of shelter-in-place restrictions across the US — and asked them questions related to the period prior to and after the onset of the COVID-19 in their community.

Participants answered questions about COVID-19 stressors, perpetration of physical and psychological aggression towards their partner and heavy drinking, which is known to facilitate aggression. About half of the participants identified as a sexual or gender minority.

“People were suddenly under an enormous amount of stress, and we felt relatively certain that this was increasing aggression and violence,” said Parrott.

“There’s data showing that after natural disasters, for example, when basic resources are lost and people have to live in close proximity, intimate partner violence goes up. Our fundamental aim was to document what was happening as a result of the pandemic,” explained Parrott.

While rates of intimate partner aggression remained high among heavy drinkers, it was non-heavy drinkers who were most affected by COVID-related stress.

In fact, the association between physical aggression after the onset of the pandemic and COVID-19 stress was apparent only in people who consumed fewer drinks per day.

“People who aren’t heavy drinkers may be able to prevent stress from affecting their relationships under normal circumstances, but we hypothesised that the extreme events of the pandemic might change that. And that’s how the data played out,” said Parrott.

“Pandemic stress didn’t really tip the scales towards violence among heavy drinkers, but for non-heavy drinkers, all bets were off,” added Parrott.

These findings suggested a focus on couples’ acute and chronic stress is critical, regardless of their average alcohol consumption.

The study authors noted that policies designed to alleviate negative impacts of the pandemic — such as economic relief packages or policies that provide increased access to childcare and healthcare — may, in turn, reduce stress and perpetration of intimate partner aggression.

In addition, the broad implementation of public health policies aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus may also mitigate physical and psychological aggression.

“Most people wouldn’t think about intimate partner violence as a reason to offer an economic relief package, but our data suggest that it has potential to be an effective measure,” said Parrott.

“The data also suggest that typical high-risk groups are not the only ones at risk of perpetrating violence in this kind of crisis environment,” continued Parrott.

“The stress of the pandemic is so profound and so ubiquitous that you need interventions or policies that hit big swaths of the population,” concluded Parrott.

At the individual level, the authors suggest that as-needed text-messaging interventions may be particularly useful during pandemics when social distancing is necessary.

Known as autonomous just-in-time interventions, these are increasingly feasible to deliver and require fewer resources, making them scalable for individuals who may not otherwise receive traditional in-person treatment.

The study’s co-authors are Cynthia Stappenbeck, associate professor of psychology; Miklos Halmos, a doctoral student in community psychology; and Kevin Moino, a doctoral student in clinical psychology.

Over 56 cr COVID-19 vaccines administered in India; Uttar Pradesh crosses 6 cr total doses, leads among states

New Delhi [India], August 18 : India achieved a landmark of administrating over 56 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses till date under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive, the Union Ministry of Health informed on Wednesday.
“India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 56 Crore landmark yesterday. Cumulatively, 56,06,52,030 vaccine doses have been administered through 62,67,149 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today,” the ministry stated in a press release. As many as 55,05,075 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours; including 41,79,215 first doses, and 13,25,860 second doses.
With 6,06,06,763 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, Uttar Pradesh became the first Indian state to cross the 6-crore mark. Following closely, Maharashtra crossed the 5-crore mark and has administered 5,07,52,443 COVID-19 vaccines till date. Gujarat, with 4,12,62,937 COVID-19 vaccines administered so far, crossed the 4-crore mark.
Uttar Pradesh also becomes the state that has administered the highest number of first dose of COVID-19 vaccines (5,11,23,307).
Further, the ministry informed that India’s recovery rate stands at 97.52 per cent; the highest since March 2020. “Out of the people infected since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,14,85,923 people have already recovered from COVID-19 and 37,169 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours,” the release stated.
With less than 50,000 daily new cases reported since the 52nd consecutive day, India has reported 35,178 daily new cases in the last 24 hours.
India’s active caseload at 3,67,415 is the lowest in 148 days; they now constitute only 1.14 per cent of the country’s total positive cases, which is the lowest since March 2020.
With substantially ramped up testing capacity across the country, a total of 17,97,559 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in the country. Cumulatively, India has conducted over 49.84 crore (49,84,27,083) tests so far, the ministry informed.
While on one side testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, the weekly positivity rate, presently at 1.95 per cent has remained below 3 per cent for the last 54 days now. The daily positivity rate at 1.96 per cent has also remained below 3 per cent for the last 23 days.

No data shows the need for booster vaccines

New Delhi [India], August 17 : Speaking about when a booster dose should be administered, Dr Gagandeep Kang, professor at Christian Medical College Vellore on Tuesday, said some countries that have used inactivated, vectored vaccines or mRNA vaccines have begun to offer a booster dose to selected populations, like the elderly. Dr Kang added, “In India (and elsewhere), we do not have any data showing that anyone who has received two doses of vaccine needs booster vaccines at this time.”
Talking about Moderna and AstraZeneca she said, “Yes, the Moderna and AZ correlates of protection analysis shows that higher antibodies correlate with better protection, but there is no cut-off level of antibodies which reliably predict protection at the individual levels. Antibodies are good, but not all of the immune response.”
According to Dr Kang, whether people will have more antibodies or be better protected with the booster dose is still not known.
“It sounds obvious that more antibodies (abs) are better but we really don’t know whether people who push up abs with additional doses will be better protected than with the level they initially made. Or that when abs wane, we need to boost to maintain above some level,” she said.
Further, she explained how people with a poor immune response should get a third dose,
“Who needs the booster dose and when? At the moment, we do not know. But about the FDA recommendation; it is not for boosters as much as a recognition that people with poor immune responses should get a third dose as part of their primary series of immunizations,” she said.
Talking of who should get an additional dose, Dr Kang said, “Remember that even though the 3rd dose may help, it will not guarantee protection, but the list is solid-organ transplant recipients, those getting active treatment for solid-tumours & haematologic malignancies, those with CAR T cell therapy or within 2 years of stem cell transplant, moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes), advanced or untreated HIV infection or active treatment, with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., >=20 mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.”
Dr Kang also said that the third dose isn’t currently recommended in many countries but should be considered, and added,” Different vaccines need to be evaluated in sets of patients to see which vx (or combinations) offer the most benefit to these groups of vulnerable people. Again, not boosters at this time.”
According to the latest updates, Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE have submitted the initial data from an early-stage trial toward seeking authorization of a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier, Dr V K Paul, Member (Health) on booster dose had said, “We are watching the science for the need for such booster dose. World Health Organization has called for a moratorium. Booster dose and whether there is a need for it and who will need it is a very relevant issue. Let’s say it’s a work in progress in fact a work in progress.”

Maharashtra: 80 pc test positive for Delta variant

Out of the total samples sent for genome sequencing of COVID-19 positive patients in Maharashtra, 80 per cent of samples have tested positive for Delta variant, according to the state health department.

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], August 17 : Maharashtra is conducting genome sequencing tests of COVID-19 positive patients’ samples on a regular basis to ascertain the extent of spread of mutants of the virus. According to a state health department, as many as 76 patients have been found to be positive with Delta Plus variant, out of which five have died so far and 71 have recovered. As of now, no patient infected with Delta Plus variant is under treatment.
To intensify its efforts to identify virus mutants, Maharashtra Health Department has selected five laboratories and five hospitals as sentinel centres. Every fortnight, each centre sends 15 samples to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for genome sequencing.
Moreover, an agreement has been signed with a laboratory named Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, which works under Council of Scientific And Industrial Research (CSIR). This laboratory tests 100 samples of each district of Maharashtra to find if there is any mutant virus is present in any of the samples.
On Monday, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology found 10 more people positive with Delta Plus variant. From these, six are from Kolhapur, three from Ratnagiri and one is from Sindhudurg district.
So far, 13 Delta Plus cases have been registered in Jalgaon, 15 in Ratnagiri, 11 in Mumbai, seven in Kolhapur, six each in Pune and Thane, three each in Palghar and Raigad, two each in Gondia, Sindhudurg and Nanded and one each in Chandrapur, Akola, Sangli, Nandurbar, Aurangabad and Beed.
The state government has formed rapid response teams to detect Delta Plus patients. They check patients’ travel history and vaccination details. They also survey for flu-like symptoms in people.
In people aged between 19-45 years, 39 Delta Plus cases have been recorded, 19 have been reported in 46-60 age group, nine patients are below the age of 18 years and nine persons are above the age of 60 years.
Out of the 76 Delta Plus cases, 39 were female and 37 were male. Meanwhile, the state health department also said out of the total 76, 10 were vaccinated with both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, 12 had taken only the first dose, thus, 22 people were vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. Out of these 22, two people were vaccinated with Covaxin and the rest 20 with Covishield.
Symptoms of 37 Delta Plus infected patients were having very mild to no symptoms at all.
As per the health bulletin, one death each was recorded in Mumbai, Beed and Raigad while two were reported from Ratnagiri due to the Delta Plus variant. All patients who succumbed due to the mutated virus were above the age of 65 years and had serious co-morbidities. Two out of the five had taken both doses of Covishield while three were not vaccinated at all against COVID-19.
Maharashtra government in an official statement said the virus keeps changing its genetic structure naturally, so no need to panic about it but everyone must adhere to all the COIVD related protocols.

India achieves highest single day COVID-19 vaccination mark

With over 88.13 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hours, India has achieved the highest single-day vaccination mark on Monday.

New Delhi [India], August 17 : “88 lakh India achieves the highest single-day record in #COVID19 vaccine doses. Yesterday will go down in the history of the world’s #LargestVaccineDrive. Congratulations [India],” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted on Tuesday. The COVID-19 vaccination coverage in India has also crossed the 55-crore mark.
“Cumulatively, 55,47,30,609 vaccine doses have been administered through 62,12,108 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today,” Union Health Ministry informed.
At present, India’s recovery rate is the highest since March 2020; standing at 97.51 per cent.
“Out of the people infected since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,14,48,754 people have already recovered from COVID-19 and 36,830 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours,” the ministry said.
In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 25,166 new COVID-19 cases, its lowest daily new cases in 154 days. The active caseload in the country is at 3,69,846, the lowest in 146 days, constituting only 1.15 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.
The ministry further informed that with substantially ramped up testing capacity across the country, a total of 15,63,985 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in the country. Cumulatively, India has conducted over 49.66 crore (49,66,29,524) tests so far.
“While on one side testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, weekly positivity rate at 1.98 per cent remains less than 3 per cent for last 53 days now. The daily positivity rate also stands at 1.61 per cent. Daily positivity rate has remained below 3 per cent for the last 22 days and below 5 per cent for 71 consecutive days now,” the ministry added.

25,166 new COVID cases, lowest in 154 days

New Delhi [India], August 17 : India reported 25,166 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest single-day rise in 154 days, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday.
India’s cumulative tally has reached 3,22,50,679, and the number of active cases has declined to 3,69,846, the lowest in 146 days. The active cases constitute 1.15 per cent of total cases, which is the lowest since March 2020.
Meanwhile, the daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.61 per cent. It has been less than 3 per cent for the 22nd consecutive day, the ministry said, adding that the weekly positivity rate has also declined to 1.98 per cent.
According to the health ministry, 3,14,48,754 people have recovered from the disease so far, out of which 36,830 recovered in the last 24 hours.
The country’s reported highest ever recoveries since March 2020 and it currently stood at 97.51 per cent.
The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 4,32,079 with 437 new deaths. The case fatality rate is at 1.34 per cent.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 49,66,29,524 samples were tested up to August 15 of which 15,63,985 were tested on August 16.
The health ministry further said that more than 88.13 lakh vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, which is the highest ever vaccination achieved in a single day. 55,47,30,609 COVID vaccine doses have been administered so far.

India: corona active caseload lowest since March 2020

With 32,937 fresh COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, India’s active caseload stands at 3,81,947, informed the Ministry of Health and Family welfare on Monday.

New Delhi [India], August 16 : The active cases constitute 1.18 per cent of the total infections, which is the lowest since March 2020. With this, the cumulative tally of positive COVID-19 cases in the country has reached 3,22,25,513.
The country also reported 35,909 recoveries in the last 24 hours with a recovery rate of 97.48 per cent. As many as 3,14,11,924 patients have already recovered from COVID-19 so far.
According to the health ministry, the death toll climbed to 4,31,642 with 417 new fatalities.
The daily positivity rate remained below 3 per cent for the last 21 day and it currently stand at 2.79 per cent. Also, the weekly positivity rate is at 2.01 per cent.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 49,48,05,652 samples were tested up to August 15 of which 11,81,212 were tested on August 15.
Meanwhile, 17,43,114 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative number of COVID vaccine doses administered in the country to 54,58,57,108.

Pakistan reports 4,786 new COVID-19 cases

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 14 : Pakistan reported 4,786 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Saturday, as the country’s overall confirmed cases rising to 10,94,699, including 9,83,754 recoveries.
In the last 24 hours, 59,136 COVID-19 tests were conducted out of which 4,786 were positive, NCOC said. The disease killed 73 people over the last 24 hours, increasing the overall death toll to 24,339, the NCOC added, and 4,729 are in critical condition.
Pakistan’s southern Sindh province is the most affected region of the country with 409,578 infections followed by the eastern Punjab province which has reported 370,599 cases

Punjab : New covid rules for visiting state

The Punjab government has made negative Covid-19 report or full vaccination mandatory for all people intending to visit the state from August 16.

New, Delhi, India, August 14 : The Punjab government has made negative Covid-19 report or full vaccination mandatory for all people intending to visit the state. The new rule will come into effect from Monday.

The government has also asked agencies to ensure strict monitoring particularly of those coming from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, which are showing increased Covid-19 positivity.

According to a statement issued by the state government, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said that all persons intending to visit the state shall carry their Covid-19 vaccine certificate (double doses) or a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours w.e.f. August 16.

Punjab on Friday reported 89 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the infection count to 5,99,846. Amritsar reported 19 new COVID-19 cases, followed by 12 in Kapurthala and 10 in Mohali. With 53 recoveries from the infection, the recovery count reached 5,82,944. With no Covid-related death reported on Friday, the toll stood at 16,334. The number of active cases rose to 568 against 533 on Thursday.

Pak lifts travel restrictions from 11 countries, including India

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 14 : Pakistan has lifted travel restrictions from 11 countries including India on Friday, local media reported.
The country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revised its international travel list and removed 11 countries from Category C, ARY News reported on Friday. The authority lifted travel restrictions on incoming passengers from 11 countries including India, Argentina, Bhutan, Maldives and Brazil. However, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, South Africa, Nepal are among 11 countries that are still listed in Category C, ARY News added.
However, the authority has allowed the Pakistani citizens to travel back home from Category C countries but a COVID-19 test would be mandatory for them, local media reported.
In an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, the authority also banned domestic air travel for unvaccinated people.
In June, Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre had imposed travel restrictions on travellers coming from 26 countries including India.

India logs 38,667 new COVID-19 cases

New Delhi [India], August 14 : India reported 38,667 new COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 3,21,56,493, and the daily positivity rate to 1,73 per cent, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday.
A decrease of 1,453 daily new cases has been recorded in a span of 24 hours. With this, the daily positivity rate remained less than 3 per cent for the last 19 days and the weekly positivity rate currently stands at 2.05 per cent.
The active cases have declined to 3,87,673 which comprise 1.21 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate is at 97.45 per cent.
As per the health ministry, 3,13,38,088 patients have already recovered from COVID-19 with 35,743 recovering in the last 24 hours.
With 478 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the death toll now stands at 4,30,732.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 22,29,798 tests were conducted on Friday, taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 to 49,17,00,577.
Meanwhile, 63,80,937 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative number of COVID vaccine doses administered in the country to 53,61,89,903.

China rejects need for further WHO coronavirus origins probe

China has opposed next-phase COVID-19 origins-tracing, saying that it is “inappropriate” that the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with the second phase of the study that focused on a lab-leak theory.

Beijing [China], August 13 : In recent months, the lab-leak theory has gained great traction after the Biden administration pushed for a fresh intelligence probe into the virus origin. “The next-phase COVID19 origins-tracing should be carried out worldwide in countries where horseshoe bat and pangolins reside, and which supply Wuhan Huanan market through cold-chain logistics,” said Liang Wannian, a Chinese expert in the WHO-convened joint team on origins tracing, as quoted by Global Times.
“It’s unacceptable and inappropriate that WHO came up with 2nd-phase of COVID19 origins-tracing that focused on a lab-leak theory, classified as extremely unlikely in the 1st-phase study, which ignored evidence and did not consult member states,” said China’s Health Commission official.
This comes hours after the WHO said that the next step in the search of the origins of COVID-19 will be the creation of a new advisory group that will develop a global framework to study pathogens with pandemic potential.
The WHO expressed hope that all countries, including China, can collaborate and put in place the conditions for more missions to be sent to Wuhan to duly probe the “lab hypothesis.”
“The International Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens, or SAGO, is a new advisory group for WHO, which will be responsible for advising WHO on the development of a global framework to systematically study the emergence of future emerging pathogens with pandemic potential. For SARS-CoV-2, it will support the rapid undertaking of recommended studies outlined in the March 2021 report,” the WHO said in a statement on Thursday.
WHO last month proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan. Beijing, meanwhile, had rejected WHO’s proposal. In a statement on Thursday, WHO called for all governments to depoliticize the situation.
The first WHO fact-finding mission to China’s Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 outbreak was reported in late 2019, released its report in March. A WHO-led team of scientists struggled to get a clear picture of what research China was conducting beforehand, faced constraints during its visit, and had little power to conduct thorough and impartial research.

COVID-19 India: 40,120 fresh infections

New Delhi [India], August 13 : After 42,295 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 active caseload dropped to 3,85,227 and now only constitute 1.2 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, according to the Union Health Ministry on Friday.
As many as 40,120 new coronavirus cases were registered in the 24-hour period, taking the cumulative infections to 3,21,17,826. With 585 new deaths, the death toll due to COVID-19 mounted to 4,30,254. As per the ministry, India has also achieved the highest ever recovery rate, presently at 97.46 per cent. The daily positivity rate is at 2.04 per cent also remains less than 3 per cent for the last 19 days.
Under Nationwide Vaccination Drive, 52,95,82,956 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far, while 57,31,574 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 48,94,70,779 samples have been tested for COVID19, up to August 12, 2021, of which, 19,70,495 samples were tested yesterday.

Tourism Sector In Goa Continues To Suffer Due To Covid-19 Pandemic

Travel and Tourism sector in Goa continues to suffer as the state sees low footfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, while speaking to the reporters, Goa Minister Michael Lobo said that “Tourists are visiting Goa with RT-PCR negative certificates. We welcome them but they’ve to wear masks and follow COVID-19 protocols. We’ve to be careful and understand that it’s a pandemic. Resorts have reopened but getting very few customers.” “The whole country is suffering from covid-19, we need to have patience, we are welcoming tourists to Goa with RT-PCR negative report or both doses of vaccination certificate and antigen test when they come to the state,” he further stated.

After the low footfall of tourists, many businesses in the tourism sector has seen losses over the past year, “We have had no business in the last one year. I have 50 vehicles and booking is very low. We are surviving on loans from friends. Government should give us some subsidy.” said Javed Khan, owner of Diana tours and travels.

“Business is low, people are struggling. The business will re-start once tourists come. People are scared and hesitant to come,” Prem Kumar, a restaurant manager said while speaking to ANI.

Earlier, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on June 28, this year, welcomed the decision of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide a financial package to revive the tourism sector which has been hit hard due to COVID-19.

Pakistan reports over 100 COVID-19 fatalities for the first time in nearly three months

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 12 : Pakistan has reported more than 100 COVID-19 fatalities after a gap of nearly three months amid the fourth wave of the infection.
In the last 24 hours, a total of 102 people died due to the COVID-19. The nationwide death tally now stands at 24,187. “Statistics 12 August 21: Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 59,397, Positive Cases: 4934, Positivity per cent: 8.30 per cent, Deaths: 102,” National Command and Operation Centre’s tweeted.
The country last reported more than 100 coronavirus deaths on May 20, Geo News reported.
The NCOC data showed 4,934 positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 1,085,294 COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the country reported a positivity rate of 8.30 per cent.
With the resurgence of cases in the fourth COVID wave, questions have been raised about the low vaccination rate in the country. Pakistan has so far been able to vaccinate only 2 per cent of its population, Geo news reported.
There are anti-vaccination sentiments prevailing in the country. The reason for mistrust in the vaccine has been linked to fake news, one of which states that those who receive the jab will die within a few years.

China punishes 20 more officials over COVID-19 spread

Beijing [China], August 12 : China has punished nearly 20 more officials in its Guangdong Province’s Guangzhou for negligence in curbing the spread of coronavirus soon after it punished nearly 47 officials nationwide for the same reason.
Guangzhou city on Thursday announced punishments to 20 officials for their neglecting their duty in dealing with the local COVID-19 outbreak in May and June, and fired the director of the city health commission and district-level party chief, Chinese state media Global Times reported. Earlier this week, China punished nearly 47 officials over the recent outbreak of COVID-19’s Delta variant in the country.
Officials, ranging from the heads of local governments, health commissions, hospitals and airports, were punished for negligence.
In Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, 15 officials were held accountable for allowing infections to spread at the Nanjing Lukou International Airport, CNN reported.
Some officials were detained while others were received penalties ranging from suspension to severe warnings.
China announced in May to fence all provinces and cities to keep out the novel coronavirus after the nation largely banished the pandemic after it first emerged in the city of Wuhan, Asia Times. reported.
The measures were hastily put in place before the summer of 2020. China’s firewall has become nearly impregnable and is being strengthened as the West edges towards loosening its entry requirements.
On Thursday, the country’s National Health Commission said that mainland China reported 81 new cases of confirmed infections and no deaths. So far, the commission has received reports of 94,161 total confirmed cases and 4,636 deaths.

WB Covid-related restrictions extended till August 30

The COVID-19 toll in West Bengal rose to 18,252 on Tuesday with 12 more people succumbing to the disease, a bulletin issued by the state health department said. The tally mounted to 15,34,999 after 639 new cases were detected, it said.

Kolkata, west bengal, India, August 12 : The West Bengal government has extended Covid-induced restrictions in the state till August 30. According to the new directives, night curbs will be in place from 11 pm to 5 am.

The COVID-19 toll in West Bengal rose to 18,252 on Tuesday with 12 more people succumbing to the disease, a bulletin issued by the state health department said. The tally mounted to 15,34,999 after 639 new cases were detected, it said.

North 24 Parganas accounted for four fatalities, while the city registered one death. Sixty-eight fresh cases were recorded in Kolkata, the bulletin said. At least 724 more people recuperated from the disease, raising the total number of recoveries to 15,06,532. The discharge rate stands at 98.15 per cent.

West Bengal currently has 10,215 active cases. Since Monday, 40,469 samples have been tested in the state, which took the total number of such clinical examinations conducted so far to 1,61,62,814, the bulletin added.

India’s daily Covid cases cross 40,000-mark for first time in 6 days, Kerala worst-affected

The total active cases of COVID in India have now mounted to 3,87,987, the data showed.

New Delhi, India, August 12 : India recorded 41,195 new cases of the novel coronavirus, along with 490 deaths due to the infection in the past 24 hours. According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday, the country saw a total of 39,069 discharges in the last 24 hours, taking the total recovery rate at around 97.45 per cent.

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India have now mounted to  3,87,987, the data showed. 

The total death toll in the country is now at 4,29,669. In India, the first death due to COVID pandemic was reported in March 2020. 

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 48,73,70,196 samples have been tested up to August 11 for COVID-19. Of these 21,24,953 samples were tested on Wednesday.

Over 53.24 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been provided to states and UTs so far and a further 72,40,250 doses are in the pipeline, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Of this, the total consumption including wastage is 51,56,11,035 doses. Over 2.25 crore balance and unutilised COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states, UTs and private hospitals to be administered, the ministry said.

The new phase of universalisation of COVID-19 vaccination commenced in India from June 21.

Chet Hanks Get Criticism For His Rant Against Covid -19 Vaccine

Celebrity couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s son Chet Hanks is being criticised for his rant against the COVID-19 vaccine.

On August 9, Chet took to his Instagram account and posted a video, wherein he shared that he’s tired of wearing masks during the pandemic and even told fans to get over “COVID-19”. He started the clip with a positive tone by saying that he supports the vaccine.

“I’ve been on the fence about this for a while, that’s why I never spoke on it. But with the amount of people I know recently that have gotten COVID, and with the numbers rising, I think it’s important for me to say I got the vaccine, I think everybody should. It’s really important that we all do this,” he said in the clip.
After a few seconds, he changed his statement and stated that he won’t be taking the vaccine and termed it as a simple flu.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I never had COVID. Y’all ain’t sticking me with that motherfu–ing needle. It’s the motherfu–ing flu. Get over it, okay? If you’re sick, stay inside. Okay, why we working around y’all? If you’re in danger, stay your ass inside. I’m tired of wearing a motherfu–ing mask,” Chet added.

The musician’s video did not go down well with social media users. Many slammed him for his insensitive take on the deadly disease.
“You sounded like an illiterate,” a user commented.
“This is not funny. People are dying,” another one wrote.

A section of netizens even reminded him of his parents, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who were among the first Hollywood actors at the start of the pandemic to reveal they had contracted the coronavirus and how they battled it.

UK reports highest daily coronavirus death toll since March

The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 130,503. 

London : Britain recorded another 146 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest daily figure since March 12, according to official data released Tuesday.

The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 130,503. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The country also reported another 23,510 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 6,117,540.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of adults in Britain have now received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Social Care.

The latest Data from Public Health England (PHE) showed that Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant first detected in India.

The analysis showed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96 per cent effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 percent effective against hospitalization after two doses. The Delta variant is currently the dominant strain in Britain.

The data from PHE and Cambridge University showed that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 66,900 hospitalizations have been prevented by the vaccines.

“It’s so important that those who haven’t been vaccinated come forward as soon as possible to book their jab – to protect themselves, protect their loved ones and allow us all to enjoy our freedoms safely,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a statement.

England has lifted almost all its remaining Covid-19 restrictions since July 19. Nearly 90 per cent of the adults in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine, the latest figures showed.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

US Adds Israel To ‘Do Not Travel’ List Due To Spike Of Covid-19 Cases

The US State Department on Tuesday (local time) added Israel on its “Do Not Travel” list amid a spike of Covid-19 cases in the country.

US State Department issued a travel advisory informing Americans about the move. The advisory list, which is updated weekly, is primarily based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices (THNs) and secondary factors such as commercial flight availability, restrictions on US citizen entry and impediments to obtaining coronavirus test results within three calendar days, reported Sputnik. Israel is joined in the so-called Level Four category by other nations experiencing a surge in cases, including Iceland, France, Laos, Thailand, Eswatini, Aruba and French Polynesia.
The number of cases in Israel has increased in the past couple of months despite the fact that more than 60 per cent of the population has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Israeli media has reported that a large part of the new cases is among those who have received the vaccines, reported Sputnik.

Israel was one of the first countries in the world to roll out a vaccine programme, and the first to offer a third shot to adults over 60. Despite that, the number of people contracting COVID-19 continues to climb.
Israel recorded over 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the highest tally in over half a year, as it struggled to contain the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, the Health Ministry said.

Israel last saw over 5,000 cases in a single day on February 14, when it recorded 5,190. Monday’s tally, which does not include the last two hours of the day, will likely be even higher when the full day’s count is announced Tuesday morning, reported Times of Israel.

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said earlier Monday that his office was concerned by the increased rate of infections and would weigh expanding restrictions, including limits on businesses, in the coming days.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz also spoke out against implementing a new lockdown, and insisted that less draconian measures could bring numbers down, reported Times of Israel.

India: 38,353 New Cases

Active caseload lowest in 140 days

New Delhi [India], August 11 : India on Wednesday reported 38,353 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the active caseload to 3,86,351; lowest in 140 days.
As per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the highest ever recovery rate of 97.45 per cent has been recorded; 40,013 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the total recoveries across the country to 3,12,20,981. The daily positivity rate remains less than 3 per cent for the last 16 days; presently 2.16 per cent.
The ministry also informed that 51.90 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.
The testing capacity has also been ramped up; a total of 48.50 crore COVID-19 tests have been conducted across India.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the total number of samples tested up to August 10 was 48,50,56,507, including 17,77,962 samples tested yesterday.

Stevie Nicks Cancels Upcoming Concert Due To Covid-19

American singer Stevie Nicks, who is best known for her songs ‘The Chain’, ‘Blue Denim’ and ‘Rooms on Fire’, has cancelled her upcoming concerts due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nicks was supposed to perform at the BottleRock Napa Valley in California and the Jazz Aspen Festival in Colorado in September. In October, she was scheduled to perform both weekends at Austin City Limits. Opening up about her decision, Nicks said: “These are challenging times with challenging decisions that have to be made. I want everyone to be safe and healthy and the rising Covid cases should be of concern to all of us. While I’m vaccinated, at my age, I am still being extremely cautious and for that reason have decided to skip the 5 performances I had planned for 2021.”

The 73-year-old does not want people to neglect their health.

“Because singing and performing have been my whole life, my primary goal is to keep healthy so I can continue singing for the next decade or longer,” Nicks’ statement said. “I’m devastated and I know the fans are disappointed, but we will look towards a brighter 2022,” she added.

After Nick’s decision, several festivals announce replacement acts. Singer Chris Stapleton will take Nicks’ place at BottleRock.

Drop in daily COVID-19 cases

India reports 35,499 new infections in last 24 hour

New Delhi [India], August 9 : India witnessed a significant drop in COVID-19 cases with 35,499 infections reported in the last 24 hours taking the overall tally to 31,969,954 in the country, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday.
India on Saturday reported 39,070 new COVID-19 cases while 38,628 infections were registered on Friday. The country’s active caseload climbed to 4,02,188 which constitutes 1.26 per cent of total cases.
The daily positivity rate stood at 2.59 per cent and remained below 3 per cent for the last 14 days. Also, the weekly positivity rate is currently at 2.35 per cent.
With 39,686 patients recovered during the last 24 hours, the total recoveries have reached 3,11,39,457 and the recovery rate now stands at 97.40 per cent.
As per the Ministry of Health, the death toll saw a rise of 447 fatalities and now stands at 4,02,188.
The testing capacity has substantially ramped up and so far 48.17 crore tests have been conducted.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 48,17,67,232 samples have been tested for Covid-19 till now of which 13,71,871 were tested in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country so far has reached 50,86,64,759 of which 16,11,590 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.

China reports 95 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours as Delta variant spreads

Beijing [China], August 8 : China on Saturday reported over 95 new COVID-19 cases as delta variant continues to spread in the country despite strict restrictions and rules.
According to National Health Commission said that the country has reported 81 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, China Daily reported. Of the locally transmitted cases, 38 were reported in Jiangsu, 24 in Henan, seven in Yunnan, six each in Hubei and Hunan, according to the commission.
Also reported were 15 new imported cases, of which six were reported in Shanghai, four in Yunnan, three in Guangdong and two in Sichuan.
As the new COVID-19 cases have been reported in at least 18 Chinese provinces, experts in the country have raised alarm due to the latest outbreak in the country fuelled by the spread of the Delta variant.
Chinese public health officials on Sunday said the ongoing outbreak is the most serious one since the initial outbreak in Wuhan, Global Times reported.
The experts said more efforts are needed to plug the loopholes in the infection control work while stressing the need to advance the mass vaccination drive.
Epidemiologists in the country evaluated that the latest outbreaks are still in the early stages and insist that the situation is under control.
Meanwhile, the city of Beijing has rolled out a range of measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by imposing restrictions on travellers from regions with relatively high virus transmission rates.
According to Chinese state media Global Times, people from medium or high-risk regions who are planning to return to Beijing will be prevented from buying tickets for air and railway services.

India’s tally over 38,000 cases

daily positivity rate at 2.39 pc, 617 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours

New Delhi [India], August 7 : India on Saturday reported 38,628 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday. With this, the daily positivity rate remained less than 3 percent for the last 12 days.
The cumulative caseload in the country reached 3,18,95,385 including 4,12,153 active infections. The active cases constitute only 1.29 percent of the total infections. Recoveries of 40,017 patients during the last 24 hours pushed the overall recoveries to 3,10,55,861. At present, India’s recovery rate now stands at 97.37 percent.
The weekly positivity rate remained below 5 percent and is currently at 2.39 percent.
The country recorded 4,27,371 deaths due to COVID-19, of which 617 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.
The testing capacity has substantially ramped up and so far 47.83 crore tests have been conducted.
India crossed a significant milestone of administering 50 crore vaccine doses under a nationwide vaccination drive.
With 49,55,138 vaccinations in the last 24 hours, India has so far administered a total of 50,10,09,609 doses.

India reports 44,643 new cases

New Delhi [India], August 6 : India reported 44,643 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday.
With these new cases, the active tally has climbed to 4,14,159 and constitutes 1.30 per cent of total cases. With 41,096 recoveries in the last 24 hours, the overall recoveries in the country have reached 3,10,15,844. The recovery rate now stands at 97.36 per cent.
A total of 4,26,754 deaths have been reported so far out of which 464 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.
Also, the weekly positivity rate, which is currently at 2.41 per cent, remained below 5 per cent.
The daily positivity rate, currently at 2.72 per cent, has been less than 3 per cent for the last 11 days.
The testing capacity has substantially ramped up as the country has conducted 47.65 crore tests so far.
Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed the landmark of 49 crore yesterday. As per government data, cumulatively, 49,53,27,595 vaccine doses have been administered through 57,64,712 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today. 57,97,808 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, stated the ministry.
The new phase of universalization of COVID-19 vaccination has commenced from 21st June 2021.
The Union Government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country, added the ministry.

COVID: Reopening of Schools

Virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang suggests reopening of schools in a phased manner with vaccinated staff

New Delhi [India], August 5: As the COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks decreased significantly after the nation witnessed a ravaging second wave in April-May, India’s top virologist Dr. Gagandeep Kang on Thursday said that schools should be reopened in a phased manner with vaccinated teachers and staff.
The virologist, who is also Vice-chairman of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Board, said, “The schools should be reopened in a phased manner and the schools should be frequently sanitized. Social distancing should be maintained in the classrooms and all the staff must be vaccinated.” She said that the protection of inoculation is needed for those children who have comorbidity conditions.
“Healthy children are less likely to contract the disease. The children do not get sick as often as adults, so we need to protect the children with comorbidities,” said Dr Kang.
The virologist said that physical interactions with teachers are very important for children.
Kang said that the children should be given an opportunity to get out and have social interactions.
“Learning through online classes will surely enhance their skills but physical interactions are very important,” she said.
“Before reopening, all the teachers should be vaccinated and classrooms should have good ventilation. Children should wear masks inside the classroom, and schools can be run on a shift basis. A lot of precautions should be taken before resuming the schools,” the virologist said.

Mixing and matching of vaccines will help overcome shortage

Mixing of COVID-19 vaccines should be done with the ones available in India, Dr Gagandeep Kang, Christian Medical College, Vellore’s professor, and top microbiologist and virologist said on Thursday adding that it will help to overcome the vaccine shortage. Dr. Kang said, “There are many studies being done around the world, and studies on Viral vector vaccines and mRNA vaccines show that our immune system becomes better if you mix vaccines. So that’s good for us to know and we should try and see what happens with the vaccines that are available in India.”
Notably, there are many countries that are doing research on the mixing and matching of Covid-19 vaccines. Recently, Sputnik V has also shown no serious illness during trials during the of mixing Sputnik V and Astrazeneca vaccines.
Recently, the Subject Expert Committee has also given permission to Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore to start trials for mixing of Covid-19 vaccines administered in India – Covishield, and Covaxin.
Dr. Kang also said that the mixing and matching of Covid -19 vaccines will help to overcome the vaccine shortage.
“The most important thing is that we have been seeing vaccine shortages and people having to wait at vaccination center be disappointed when they don’t get the second dose. The advantage is that knowing that you can give any vaccine, it is good for the program and good for people. So, it doesn’t matter which vaccine you get, you know that your chances of being protected are very high,” she said.
“There is a programmatic reason as well as a scientific reason for these studies and I think we are going to need many more of them. CMC is one of them who are starting this study but I know many others are also planning to do such studies,” she added.
“We should actually be thinking of future vaccines and planning these studies as early as possible,” she further said.

Dedicate this bronze medal to all COVID-19 warriors, says hockey captain Manpreet

Tokyo [Japan], August 5 : India men’s hockey skipper Manpreet Singh on Thursday dedicated the bronze medal win at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics to all the COVID-19 warriors who have been working to save lives during the pandemic.
It took 41 years, but the dream of every Indian was finally realised on Thursday as the men’s hockey team beat Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal here at the Oi Hockey Stadium — North Pitch. “And, now the long waiting dream has been fulfilled. This was a collective effort, from all the players, coaches and support staff. Their unrelenting backing has resulted in a positive outcome today. I dedicate this victory to the COVID warriors, who have been working relentlessly to save lives. This medal came after 41 long years and I’m confident that my team will continue to improve and perform better in the upcoming events also,” Manpreet said in a statement on Twitter.
“At the end, a gratitude to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, Ministry of Sports, Hockey India, SAI, 10A, Punjab Police for the constant support and motivation towards the National Hockey Team,” he added.
The Men in Blue showed absolute resilience, strength, and winning spirit to register a remarkable comeback win against a strong German team.
Minutes after the Indian men’s hockey team won the bronze medal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to skipper Manpreet Singh and coach Graham Reid and said the hard work put in by them over the months had finally paid off.
“Many many congratulations to you and the entire team, you have made history. The entire country is filled with joy. Your hard work has paid off. You have done a lot of hard work, please wish the entire side on my behalf. The entire country is happy, congratulations coach Reid, you have created history. My best wishes are with you,” PM Modi was heard saying to Manpreet and Reid in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of SAI Media. 

India records 42,982 new COVID-19 cases, 533 deaths in a day; recovery rate at 97.37%

The active cases in the country have surged by more than 700 cases in the last 24 hours. The cumulative cases of the infectious disease in the country have now reached 31.8 million.

New Delhi, India, August 5 : As many as India recorded 42,982 fresh Covid-19 cases and also reported 533 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to Health Ministry. The daily test positivity rate stands at 2.58 per cent. With 42,982 cases, the country’s cumulative infections has inched closer to 32 million, the Union health ministry data showed.

For second day in a row, India recorded over 40,000 Covid cases amid concerns of rise in trajectory of fresh infections. The total fatalities in India jumped to 426,290.

The active cases in the country have surged by more than 700 cases in the last 24 hours. The cumulative cases of the infectious disease in the country have now reached 31.8 million. The active caseload currently is at 4,11,076, while 41,726 patients recovered. 

India has administered 48.93 crore Covid-19 doses so far, data released by health ministry showed.

A total of 47,48,93,363 samples tested up to 4th August. Of which, 16,64,030 samples were tested yesterday, said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Covaxin receives certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice from Hungarian authorities

New Delhi [India], August 5 : Bharat Biotech manufactured COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin on Thursday received a certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance from the Hungarian authorities.
“Another milestone in our account as COVAXIN® receives GMP certificate from Hungary. This marks the 1st EUDRAGDMP compliance certificate received by Bharat Biotech from European regulatories. #BharatBiotech #COVAXIN #covaxininhungary,” tweeted Bharat Biotech. The approval was received from the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition Hungary certifying the GMP for the manufacture of Covaxin.
With this approval, Bharat Biotech achieved another significant milestone in innovating and manufacturing vaccines at global quality standards and moving forward in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, read Bharat Biotech statement.

The certificate of GMP is now listed on the EudraGMDP database, which is the database of the European Community of manufacturing authorizations and certificates of the good manufacturing practice.
Bharat Biotech also intends to submit documentation for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in several additional countries worldwide.
“The recognition complements our commitment to driving world-class innovation and being a frontrunner in the research and development of vaccines,” read the company’s statement.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin has shown less reduction in ‘neutralizing activity’ while comparing with Delta and Delta AY.1 (Delta plus) variants in those who are fully vaccinated with the vaccine according to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (NIV).
This means that people vaccinated with Covaxin will be protected against the current variants Delta, Delta AY.1 and B.1.617.3

Kerala COVID-19 crisis

Central teams recommend tracing, containment, augmented healthcare facilities to overcome COVID-19 crisis

New Delhi [India], August 4 : The Central multi-disciplinary teams that recently visited Kerala to review the COVID-19 situation in the state emphasised the need for enhancing testing, contact tracing, enforcing containment measures and establishment of adequate healthcare infrastructure to overcome the crisis.
“Proper hospital infrastructure like ICU and ventilator beds need to be augmented on an urgent basis. Paediatric Care facilities especially paediatric ICU beds also need to be augmented,” they pointed out. The ANI has accessed a draft report of the Central multi-disciplinary team that reached Kerala on July 30, 2021.
“Kerala’s 14 districts are presently reporting more than 20,000 cases per day and according to May’ 2021 data, over 80 per cent of circulating strains are Delta variant,” the report stated.
It has also been recommended that clusters and super events, whenever suspected or reported should be investigated by District level RRT.
The Central teams visited Kerala as the state continued to grapple with increasing COVID-19 cases. The state continues to report the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country and has registered 13,325 COVID-19 related deaths so far.
The target of the Central team was to specifically look at areas of testing, contact tracing including surveillance and containment, COVID appropriate behaviours, availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics including ambulances and hospital-wise case fatality analysis and COVID -19 vaccination progress.
They also recommended that “RAT testing at an expanded level should be implemented to ensure saturation testing and reduce lag in the report, the re-categorisation exercise should ideally be undertaken every 14 days, vaccination, the system of whole house isolation to break the chain.”
“It was indicated by State officials that due to effective home isolation and containment strategies followed after 1st wave of CoVID-19, the population remained largely unexposed. This is also suggested by a recently conducted sero-surveillance study by ICMR. In it, Kerala ranked last with only about 44 per cent of the population showing antibodies against CoVID-19,” said the report.
According to the report, in Kollam, the Positivity rate is relatively lower in coastal and tribal areas but the bed occupancy rate in the district is quite high with nearly 80 per cent of O2 beds occupied (in government setup).
Samples sent for whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was lowest in Kollam among all districts of the State.
However, in Thiruvananthapuram as per the report and data shared by the State, as of July 30 with the central team, the number of cases/deaths reported was 331147 and 3229 deaths. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of the district was highest at 0.98 per cent.
In the Malappuram District, the report stated, “case detection is mainly through testing of those reporting to health facilities with Covid like illness. There is no active surveillance to detect cases.”

“The contact tracing is abysmally low with a case contact ratio of 1:1.5. This is more so important as the average family size in this district is above 5, implying even the primary contacts are being missed out. This lack of contact tracing results in an undetected pool of asymptomatic/ mildly symptomatic individuals in the community,” the report stated.
In Kozhikode District, as per the report, the case detection is mainly through testing of those reporting to health facilities with Covid like illness.
“There is no active surveillance to detect cases. The contact tracing is abysmally low with a case contact ratio of 1:1.2. The lack of contact tracing results in an undetected pool of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic individuals in the community,” the report said.
Among those who tested positive, over 85 per cent are in home isolation.
In the Kannur district, there are 5998 active cases. The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) is 13.72 per cent (for the week ending 31st July 2021). The case detection is mainly through testing of those reporting to health facilities with Covid like illness. There is no active surveillance to detect cases.
The team was divided into Team – 1 for Southern districts of Kerala and Team – 2 for Northern Districts.
While Team 1 visited Alappuzha, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala, Team 2 visited Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargod districts of the state.
The Central teams included the following experts, Dr Sujeet Singh, Director, NCDC, Dr P Ravindran, Former DDG, Dr S. K. Jain, Advisor (PH), NCDC, Dr K. Regu, Addl. Director, Kozhikode Branch, NCDC, Dr Pranay Verma, Joint Director, NCDC, and Dr Ruchi Jain, Public Health Specialist.
Kerala on Tuesday recorded 23,676 new COVID-19 cases and 148 deaths. (

42,625 new Covid cases

India on Wednesday reported 42,625 new COVID-19 cases, 36,668 recoveries and 562 deaths in 24 hours, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

New Delhi [India], August 4 : An increase of 12,076 cases was recorded in the daily infections since Tuesday when 30,549 new cases were reported. With this, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has reached 3,17,69,132 including 3,09,33,022 discharges and 4,25,757 deaths.
The number of active cases has gone up to 4,10,353, accounting for 1.29 per cent of the total number of cases.
According to the health ministry, the daily positivity rate is at 2.31 per cent, the weekly positivity rate at 2.36 per cent, and the recovery is at 97.37 per cent.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 47,31,42,307 samples have been tested for Covid-19 till now of which 18,47,518 were tested in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country so far has reached 48,52,86,570 of which 62,53,741 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.

India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crosses landmark milestone of 48 cr

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed the 48 crore landmark milestone, as per the 7 pm provisional report.

New Delhi [India], August 3 : According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), more than 51.51 lakh vaccine doses have been administered on Tuesday, and over 17.33 crore vaccine doses were administered in the age group 18-44, so far as per the 7 pm provisional report. 29,43,889 vaccine doses were administered as the first dose and 3,87,076 vaccine doses were given as the second dose in the age group 18-44 years today. Cumulatively, 16,34,85,422 persons in the age group 18-44 years across 37 States and Union Territories have received their first dose and a total of 98,23,204 have received their second dose since the start of Phase-3 of the vaccination drive,” read the release by the Union Health Ministry.
Five states namely Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have administered more than one crore cumulative doses of COVID-19 Vaccine in the age group 18-44 years.
Also, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have vaccinated more than 10 lakh beneficiaries of the age group 18-44 years for the first dose of COVID vaccine, the ministry said.
According to the Ministry, total active cases in the country are 4,04,958, and 3,08,96,354 have been recovered and 4,25,195 have succumbed to the disease.

India : 30,549 new COVID cases

New Delhi [India], August 3 : India’s tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 3,17,26,507 after 30,549 new infections were registered in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday.
With this, the number of active cases of COVID-19 in the country reached 4,04,958 which constitute 1.28 percent of the total cases. Also, 422 patients succumbed to the disease and 38,887 recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative count of deaths and recoveries to 4,25,195 and 3,08,96,354 respectively.
As per the health ministry, the daily positivity rate is at 1.85 per cent and the weekly positivity rate is currently at 2.39 per cent while the recovery rate currently stands at 97.38 per cent.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 47,12,94,789 samples have been tested for Covid-19 till now of which 16,49,295 were tested in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 47.85 crores. Cumulatively, 47,85,44,114 vaccine doses have been administered through of which 61,09,587 doses were administered in the last 24 hours

Goa Extends Covid-19 Curfew Till August 9

The Goa government has announced the extension of the ongoing COVID-19 curfew till August 9 due to the rise in positive cases in the country. Earlier, the government had said that the lockdown will end on August 2.

But, on Sunday, the administration issued a fresh extension order. The order said that all the Coronavirus-related restrictions will continue in the state till further notice. It also said that no fresh relaxation has been granted in the state.

Just a few days back, Goa announced reopening its hotels after the state recorded a dip in the number of COVID cases. The positivity rate in the state dipped below five percent, but the lack of tourists and occupancy rate in the hotel was low even after the government allowed entry to fully vaccinated business travellers without any negative report.

TTAG president Nilesh Shah expressed, “Unless a positive message goes around, we will not see a steady flow of tourists. We may see some footfalls in August as there are a few public holidays, but there won’t be a heavy rush”.

But, after the beach state reported 59 fresh positive cases and one death, the state decided to extend the lockdown.

COVID-19 cases rising in Sri Lanka, says WHO

Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 2 : The World Health Organization (WHO) in Sri Lanka said that COVID-19 cases were rising globally including in Sri Lanka as the country had noted a rise in infected patients in recent weeks, local media reported Monday.
The WHO in Sri Lanka, in an official tweet, said that this increase in patients globally and in the country was driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, increased social mixing and mobility, inconsistent Public Health and Social Measures (PHSM), and inequitable vaccination. “Hard-won gains are in jeopardy and health systems are being overwhelmed,” the WHO in Sri Lanka said.
Sri Lanka has in recent weeks recorded a high rise in patients with an average of over 2,000 COVID-19 patients being detected per day.
Health officials said this was due to the highly contagious Delta variant spreading rapidly in the country.
Sri Lanka presently has an active patient count of 27,998 patients across the country and has recorded 4,508 deaths from the virus.
Last week, Deputy Director-General of Health Services Hemantha Herath said that the Delta variant, which was initially reported in capital Colombo, had now spread to all districts of the country.
Health officials said that due to the sudden rise in patients, hospitals across the country were filled and the need for oxygen had risen considerably.
The Health Ministry urged the public to maintain all health guidelines and avoid leaving home without a mask.
The ministry has also made it mandatory to maintain social distance in public.

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