INDIA

Coronavirus updates | November 26, 2021

Coronavirus updates | November 26, 2021, the vie

A new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa which has infected 22 people and experts are working overtime to understand what its potential implications could be, scientists said here on Thursday.

The Centre on Thursday asked all States and Union Territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where a new COVID-19 variant of serious public health implications has been reported.

Read | Experts allay Covaxin concerns, say 50% effectiveness against Delta-driven COVID-19 surge not bad

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest developments:

 

INSACOG closely tracking new COVID-19 variant, presence not yet detected in India: Officials

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is closely tracking the new variant of COVID-19 called B.1.1.529 and its presence has not been detected in the country yet, officials said on Friday.

The new variant, feared to have a high amount of spike mutations, has been detected in South Africa, with the authorities there confirming 22 positive cases associated with it on Thursday.

Commenting on the development, a senior scientist with INSACOG said the consortium is closely tracking the new variant of COVID-19 called B.1.1.529 and its presence has not been detected yet in the country.

Health Ministry sources said INSACOG is “very closely monitoring” the situation to check for the presence of this variant and expedite the results of genomic analysis of positive samples of international travellers. – PTI

 

SII resumes Covishield exports under COVAX

The Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday officially announced that it has resumed exports of its COVID-19 vaccine Covishield under the international vaccine sharing programme COVAX.

The resumption of exports is linked to the SII surpassing its original target to produce one billion doses of Covishield by this year’s end, a statement issued by SII said, adding that it had reached this milestone ahead of time owing to the “rapid expansion of production capacity” at its Pune facility.

Earlier in the day, the first batches of Covishield left the SII manufacturing facility in Pune for distribution to low- and middle-income countries via the COVAX arrangement. SII’s supply of doses through COVAX is expected to increase substantially in the first quarter of next year, the statement added.

 

WHO

WHO convenes experts meeting to assess new COVID-19 variant

The World Health Organization is convening an experts’ meeting from Geneva at midday (1100 GMT) on Friday to assess the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 amid growing concern, a spokesperson said.

“We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” said Maria van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and WHO technical lead on COVID-19.

“This is one to watch, I would say we have concern. But I think you would want us to have concern,” she told viewers of an event on social media on Thursday. – Reuters

EU

EU moves to halt air travel from southern Africa over COVID variant

he European Union aims to halt air travel from the southern African region amid rising concern about a new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

“The Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529,” she said in a tweet.

The executive Commission will recommend that all 27 member states implement the measure and hopes for the European Council to give the green light as soon as possible, an EU official added.

Date | Time

 

National

Active cases in country rise to 1,10, 133

India logged 10,549 new coronavirus infections taking the country’s total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,45,55,431, while the active cases rose to 1,10,133, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

The death toll climbed to 4,67,468 with 488 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 20,000 for 49 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 152 consecutive days now.

The active cases comprise 0.32% of the total infections while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.33%, the health ministry said. -PTI

Karnataka

NK districts consistently reporting zero cases

Eight districts in Karnataka have been consistently reporting zero COVID-19 cases.

Although districts such as Haveri, Shivamogga, Chickballapur, Bengaluru Rural, Davangere and Kolar have also reported zero cases on some days, eight districts – Bagalkot, Ballari, Bidar, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Raichur, Vijayapura, and Gadag – have seen nil cases in the last one week. Bengaluru Urban alone has been adding over 60% of the total daily cases reported in the State while 17 districts have been reporting cases in single digits. All the districts have been reporting a Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of less than 1% with Mysuru, Bengaluru Urban, Tumakuru, Kodagu, and Udupi having a TPR that is higher than the State average of 0.32.

 

Maharashtra

Schools to reopen for primary classes in Maharashtra from December 1

Days after teacher and parent organisations urged the State Government to restart primary schools in the State, Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday cleared the decision to reopen physical classes for students studying in standard I to IV from December 1.

State Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said, “The decision to reopen primary schools has been cleared by the State Cabinet. Those who are studying in standard 1 and 2 have never seen the face of the school. They haven’t been in a classroom and taught directly by a teacher. For them, everything will be new when they enter the class. We will try to ensure that this new experience will be happy and healthy for them.”

 

Telangana

100% COVID vaccination by Dec.: Harish Rao

Health Minister Harish Rao has said that the government was committed to achieve 100% COVID vaccination by the end of December and asked medical officials to expedite the ongoing vaccination drive.

In a teleconference with the officials of Medical and Health department, programme officers, medical officers, health supervisors, ANMs and Asha workers of North Telangana districts, the Minister said that every household should be touched to secure details of the vaccinated, including the first and second dose. The remaining should be vaccinated immediately, he said.

 

Andhra Pradesh

Every PHC in State will get two ‘family doctors’, says Jagan

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has said the government was implementing the family doctor concept by appointing two doctors in each Primary Health Centre (PHC), who would be visiting villages and offering medical services through the 104 service vehicles.

In the last 29 months, a sum of nearly Rs. 4,000 crore was spent on the Aarogyasri scheme and 2,466 procedures were brought under its purview. Another significant thing which the government did was to widen its scope by increasing the annual income limit to Rs. 5 lakh, which resulted in the coverage of 95% of the population, the Chief Minister said during a discussion on the health sector in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

 

Tamil Nadu

Risk of unvaccinated person succumbing to COVID-19 was 3.5x times higher in T.N., says Government

The risk of an unvaccinated person dying of COVID-19 was 3.5 times higher in Tamil Nadu when compared to an individual who is vaccinated, the state government said on Thursday.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said it is a substantial evidence available with the health department and should enable the common man to understand the value of vaccination and take the jabs at the earliest. -PTI

International

Israel restricts travel to southern Africa over new COVID-19 variant

Israel announced on Thursday it was barring its citizens from travelling to southern Africa and banning the entry of foreigners from the region, citing the detection by South African scientists of a new COVID-19 variant.

South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini were added to Israel’s “red”, or highest-risk, travel list that reflects coronavirus infection rates overseas. -Reuters

International

South Africa to be put on England’s travel red list over new COVID variant- The Guardian

England will place South Africa under red list travel restrictions after scientists raised the alarm over the new COVID-19 variant, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

The variant posed “a potentially significant threat to the vaccine programme which we have to protect at all costs,” Whitehall sources were quoted as saying in the report. -Reuters

Portugal

Portugal reimposes COVID-19 restrictions as cases rise

Portugal, one of the world’s most vaccinated nations, has reimposed some restrictions to stop a surge in COVID-19 cases, ordering all passengers flying into the country, even those fully inoculated, to show a negative test on arrival.

“It doesn’t matter how successful the vaccination was, we must be aware we are entering a phase of greater risk,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference on Thursday. “We have seen significant growth (in cases) in the EU and Portugal is not an island.” -Reuters

France

France extends COVID-19 booster shots to all adults

France said on Thursday it would make COVID-19 booster shots available to all adults, toughen rules on wearing face masks and ramp up health pass checks as it seeks to curb a fifth wave of infections that risks undermining its economic recovery.

The number of infections is doubling every 11 days in France but officials said there was no need to follow Austria’s example of reimposing a lockdown. -Reuters

Germany

German COVID-19 deaths pass 100,000 mark in fourth wave

Germany crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday with a surge in infections posing a challenge for the new government.

Another 351 people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 100,119, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. The number of new daily cases hit a new record of 75,961. -Reuters

National

India willing to supply Covishield, Covaxin: Mandaviya to Latin American, Caribbean envoys

Interacting with ambassadors of Latin American and Caribbean nations, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said India is willing to supply Covishield and Covaxin to these countries.

Explaining India’s strategy to curb COVID-19, he spoke on the six vaccines approved in the country, of which two are indigenously developed. -PTI

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