Delhi sees 85 new cases, lowest in a year; SII seeks DCGI nod to begin Covovax trials on children

By | June 26, 2021

Delhi sees 85 new cases, lowest in a year; SII seeks DCGI nod to begin Covovax trials on children

Maharashtra administered over 7 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses, the highest single-day vaccinations in the state so far, on Saturday till 6 pm

Maintaining the daily COVID-19 caseload below 60,000 for almost a week, India Saturday reported 48,698 fresh coronavirus infections, said the Union health ministry.

The number of active cases dropped by around 17,300, and the total figure now stands at 5,95,565. The country also recorded 64,818 recoveries and 1,183 deaths in the past 24 hours.

With this, the national COVID-19 toll rose to 3,94,493 and the total number of patients recovered stood at 2,91,93,085.

PM reviews vaccination drive, calls for NGOs’ help to expand outreach

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Saturday to review the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the country, expressing satisfaction at the rate of vaccination but called for a need to involve NGOs to expand the outreach programme.

“The prime minister was informed that 3.77 crore doses have been administered in the last six days which is more than the entire population of countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Canada,” the PMO said.

Modi directed officials to work with states to ensure that the pace of testing does not go down as testing remains a very important weapon to track and contain rising infections in any region.

During the high-level review meeting, it was noted that 128 districts in the country have vaccinated more than 50 percent of over 45 years of population and 16 districts have vaccinated more than 90 percent of this age group.

The meeting came amid growing concerns about the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus and an impending third wave, weeks after the second wave of COVID-19 in April-May of this year left thousands dead and unleashed unprecedented suffering. The second wave, Centre recently said, is not over yet.

SII to apply for DCGI approval for clinical trial of Covovax on children

Pune-based Serum Institute of India said it will apply for permission from the Drug Controller and General of India (DCGI) to conduct clinical trials of the Covovax COVID-19 vaccine among children.

Covovax is the Indian version of the US-based Novavax, which is currently being developed and manufactured by the SII.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, on Friday tweeted: “A new milestone has been reached. This week we began our first batch of Covovax (a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax). Excited to witness the first batch of Covovax being manufactured at our facility in Pune. This vaccine has great potential to protect our future generations below the age of 18. Trials are ongoing.”

The pharma company will begin phase 2 and 3 paediatric trials of Covovax on 920 children — 460 each in the 12-17 and 2-11 age groups — starting July.

“We plan to begin the paediatric trials in 920 children across 10 sites next month after seeking permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI),” Poonawalla later told TOI.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech has already begun clinical trials of Covaxin for children in the 6-12 age group.

Can’t say Delhi ‘exaggerated’ oxygen needs four times, says AIIMS chief

Day after an interim report of a Supreme Court-appointed panel on Delhi’s oxygen requirement sparked a controversy, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, who headed the panel reportedly said that it would be incorrect to say that the Delhi government exaggerated its oxygen needs by four times.

According to NDTV, when asked if the Arvind Kejriwal govt exaggerated its needs four times as stated by the SC panel interim report, Guleria said, “I don’t think we could say four times exaggeration.”

Later in the day, PTI quoted the AIIMS director as saying, “It is an interim report. The oxygen needs are dynamic and change from day to day. The matter is subjudice.”

The interim report, which is part of the 163-page report of the National Task Force, said that the Delhi government “exaggerated” the consumption of oxygen and made a claim of 1,140 MT, four times higher than the formula for bed capacity requirement of 289 MT.

Guleria is the head of the five-member panel. Now his remarks on the “interim report” are likely to add fuel to the controversy, which has sparked a war of words between the BJP and AAP.

Eight cases of Delta Plus variant in Madhya Pradesh, 51 in India so far

Amid a looming third wave and fears of more transmissible virus mutations, the Delta Plus variant has crossed 50 cases in India, spreading to at least six more states since Wednesday, when it was declared a Variant of Concern (VOC) by the Central Government.

At least eight persons have been found infected with the Delta Plus variant in Madhya Pradesh so far, state Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said on Saturday, adding none of the contacts of these patients was found to be infected with this strain.

According to officials, two persons who died in May this year were found to be infected with the Delta Plus variant.

Speaking to reporters, Sarang said the patients infected with the Delta Plus variant are being tested as per protocol and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been regularly sharing information with the state in this regard.

“At least eight cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus have been brought to our notice so far. Our constant focus is to ramp up testing,” Sarang said.

The minister further said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has decided to set up a laboratory in Bhopal for genome sequencing so that people infected with different mutations of coronavirus can be detected at the earliest.

Tamil Nadu reports first fatality due to Delta Plus variant 

Tamil Nadu has registered its first death due to the Delta Plus variant with a person from Madurai succumbing to it, according to the state health department.

Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said three positive cases of the new ‘Delta Plus’ variant were identified of which two have recovered.

Those tested positive for the Delta Plus variant include a 32 year old nurse from Chennai and another individual from Kancheepuram district.

However, the patient’s contacts have tested negative. According to the Union health ministry, after Maharashtra with the maximum of 21 cases of ‘Delta Plus’ , nine people in Tamil Nadu have tested positive for the new variant as of Friday.

Delhi reports 85 new cases, lowest single-day rise this year

Delhi registered 85 fresh cases of coronavirus , the lowest daily count this year, and nine more fatalities on Saturday, according to data shared by the health department. The positivity rate dipped to 0.12 percent, it said.

The nine new fatalities have pushed the toll in the city to 24,961.

On Monday, Delhi had reported 89 coronavirus cases with a positivity rate of 0.16 percent, while 11 people had died, the data showed.

Ninety-four people had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on 16 February while the daily tally was 96 on 27 January, according to official figures.

The 89 cases recorded on Monday was the first time, the daily count of coronavirus cases had gone below 100 since 16 February.

Despite fall in daily cases in the last several days, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had recently cautioned that the chances of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were quite real, while he asserted that his government was preparing on a “war-footing” to combat it.

The National Capital had been reeling under a brutal second wave of the pandemic, claiming a massive number of lives daily, with the recent oxygen supply shortage issue at various hospitals, adding to the woes.

COVID-19 curfew in Goa extended till 5 July 

The Goa government Saturday extended that state-level curfew, which was imposed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, till 5 July.

The coronavirus -induced curfew, which was first imposed on 9 May, has since been extended from time to time considering the number of infections in the coastal state and was set to end on 28 June.

Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the Goa government had decided to extend the curfew till 7 am on 5 July.

Goa on Saturday recorded 235 new cases of coronavirus and five casualties that took the tally of infections to 1,65,883 and toll to 3,032. The coastal state is now left with 2,604 active cases.

Tripura extends curfew in Agartala, 10 civic bodies till 2 July 

The Tripura government has also extended the COVID curfew from 2 pm to 5 am in Agartala and 10 other urban local bodies (ULBs) till July 2, a notification said.

The restrictions, first imposed on 16 May and then repeatedly extended, were scheduled to end on 25 June.

The restrictions have also been imposed in the municipal councils of Mohanpur, Ranirbazar, Udaipur, Bishalgarh, Kumarghat, Kailashahar, Panisagar, Khowai, Belonia and Jirania Nagar Panchayat.

As per the notification, all standalone shops and commercial establishments shall remain open only between 6 am and 2 pm with strict adherence to COVID guidelines. All government and private offices shall remain open till 4 pm with 50 percent attendance.

Maharashtra administers over 7 lakh vaccine doses, highest in a day

Maharashtra administered 7,02,432 COVID-19 vaccine doses, the highest single-day vaccinations in the state so far, on Saturday till 6 pm, said Dr Pradip Vyas, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of the State Health Department, to ANI. With this, the cumulative total of vaccine inoculation reached 3,09,79,469.

In an official statement, Dr Vyas said, “Today we have achieved another milestone in COVID vaccination in our state. Today till 6 pm, we have administered 7,02,432 COVID vaccine doses, it is the highest ever figure for the state. With this total vaccination till 6 pm today as per dashboard is 3,09,79,469.”

On Friday, Maharashtra became the first state to cross the vaccination mark of 3 crores. However, the state still has the highest number of active cases in India, as per the Union Health Ministry.

With inputs from agencies

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