Tripura extends curfew as Delta Plus cases rise; Kerala’s Sabarimala temple to reopen on 17 July
Tripura is the first northeastern state to report the deadly and highly infectious Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 and accounts for 138 cases, reports said
India Saturday added 42,766 fresh coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, registering a slight drop of 627 cases from Friday, and pushing the overall caseload to over 3.07 crore, according to data released by the Union health ministry.
With 1,206 new fatalities being reported in the same period, the national toll rose to 4.07 lakh. The daily positivity rate currently stands at 2.19 percent, less than 3 percent for 19 straight days. With 45,254 more patients being cured of the illness, the total number of recoveries in India has risen to over 2.99 crores, taking the national recovery rate to 97.20 percent.
Based on figures released by state health departments, Kerala continues to be the topmost contributor, reporting 14,087 cases (an increase from Friday) on Saturday, while Maharashtra detected 8,296 new infections.
Sabarimala temple to reopen for devotees for four days on 17 July
Despite the rise in cases though, the Travancore Devaswom Board in Kerala announced that the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala will be reopened for devotees from 17 to 21 July for monthly puja.
Given the COVID-19 situation, only 5,000 devotees who have booked slots through the virtual queue will be allowed darshan on a day.
Only those producing COVID-19 -negative certificates from RT-PCR tests done within 48 hours or those who have taken two shots of vaccine will be permitted entry to the temple.
Earlier in May, the temple board had imposed a ban on the entry of pilgrims to the hill shrine given the worsening pandemic situation.
Decision on COVAXIN in 4-6 weeks, says WHO chief scientist
The World Health Organisation will decide on the inclusion of India’s indigenously developed COVAXIN in the next four-six weeks, the global health body’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday.
“Bharat Biotech has already started submitting the data and the dossier is being assessed. It is the next vaccine to be reviewed by our committee. There will be a decision on inclusion in the next four to six weeks,” said Dr Swaminathan during a webinar organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
If approved and included in the Emergency Use Listing (EUL), the move will come as a relief and ease international travel for Indian citizens who have been vaccinated with COVAXIN.
“There is a process to be followed for EUL and pre-qualification of vaccines under which a company has to complete phase 3 trials and submit the whole data to the regulatory department of WHO which is examined by an expert advisory group,” Swaminathan said.
Covaxin, which has so far received emergency approval in 16 countries, released its Phase-3 clinical trial data via a non-peer-reviewed pre-print publication earlier this month which showed the vaccine to be 77.8 percent effective against symptomatic infections.
At present, the WHO has approved vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio/Serum Institute of India, AstraZeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm for emergency use.
Tamil Nadu lockdown extended till 19 July with more relaxations
The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday extended the coronavirus -induced lockdown in the state till 19 July adding certain relaxations of restrictions which will come into effect at 6 am on Monday.
Chief Minister MK Stalin announced the decision after a meeting with top officials as the daily COVID-19 cases have declined in comparison to previous weeks. Also, a new set of guidelines will come into effect from 12 July.
According to an order issued by the government, restaurants, tea shops, roadside shops, snacks shops and bakeries can now open for one more hour, till 9 pm, with an occupancy of 50 percent. Last week, the state government allowed these to open till 8 pm, from the earlier deadline of 7 pm.
Additionally, the government has also allowed competitive exams for state and Union government services to be held, though officials will have to ensure strict compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP).
However, schools, colleges, theatres, liquor bars, swimming pools, and zoos will continue to remain shut till further notice.
Tripura extends curfew till 17 July in view of rising ‘Delta Plus’ COVID cases
After detection of the ‘Delta Plus’ variant of coronavirus in Tripura, the state government has extended the 15-hour daily curfew in several urban areas for another week till 17 July, an official said on Saturday.
According to an NDTV report, Tripura is the first northeastern state to report the deadly and highly infectious Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 and accounts for 138 cases.
The government also increased the time for such a restriction by two hours on Saturdays and Sundays, Revenue Secretary Tanushree Debbarma said.
The curfew will be in place from 2 pm to 5 am on weekdays and from noon to 5 am on Saturdays and Sundays in the jurisdiction of Agartala Municipal Corporation and 12 other urban local bodies, she said.
Debbarma stated that the administration decided to extend the curfew after the COVID situation in the state was reviewed.
“The curfew will be enforced strictly in several areas from noon to 5 am on Saturdays and Sundays and from 2 pm to 5 am on weekdays,” the official said.
The COVID curfew will remain in place in Agartala, Ranirbazar, Jirania Nagar, Udaipur, Kailashahar, Dharmanagar, Khowai, Belonia, Kumarghat, Teliamura, Sonamura Nagar, Amarpur Nagar and Sabroom Nagar till 17 July, she said.
The COVID curfew in these urban areas was first imposed on 16 May and then extended several times. Tripura reported 3 more COVID-19 deaths and 531 new positive cases in the last 24 hours.
Over 38.54 crore vaccine doses provided to states, UTs, says Centre
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday informed that more than 38.54 crore vaccine doses have been provided to states and Union Territories.
“More than 38.54 crores (38,54,01,150) vaccine doses have been provided to states/UTs so far, through all sources. Of this, the total consumption including wastages is 36,80,68,124 doses (as per data available at 8 am today)”, read the official release by the ministry.
More than 1.73 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states, UTs and private hospitals to be administered, ANI reported.
Delta variant cases in UK mark 32 percent weekly increase, finds study
UK health officials said the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues as the dominant strain of coronavirus and marked a sharp increase in the UK with 54,268 more cases logged on Friday, which marks a 32 percent increase over the previous week.
Public Health England (PHE) said its weekly analysis shows the continued rise in infections is not followed by a similar increase in hospitalisations and deaths, which reflects high protection offered by both doses of coronavirus vaccine.
In a separate study, PHE also found that all the vaccines being administered are as effective at preventing symptomatic disease in the majority of people with underlying health conditions as the rest of the population.
“The data continues to show that the sharp increase in cases that we are seeing is not being followed by a similar increase in hospitalisation and death,” said Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency.
“This is because two doses of the available vaccines offer a high level of protection against the Delta variant. Getting both jabs is the best way to ensure you and the people you love remain safe, so we once again urge everyone to come forward as soon as they are eligible,” she said.
“As we approach the planned end of restrictions, we must remain careful. Cases are rising across the country, and whilst the vaccines offer excellent protection, they do not offer 100 percent protection,” she added.
With inputs from agencies
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