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Coronavirus Live updates: Kerala’s COVID-19 tally crosses 10.25 lakh; 4,584 fresh cases reported
Kerala’s COVID-19 tally crossed the 10.25 lakh mark on Friday with the addition of 4,584 cases while the toll rose to 4,061. The state tested 67,574 samples and the test positivity rate was 6.67 per cent, Health Minister K K Shailaja said. Till now,1,09,06,927 samples have been sent for testing. “Out of those infected today, 74 reached the state from outside while 4,110 contracted the disease from their contacts.
Coronavirus Live updates: Maharashtra COVID-19 surge: Thane officials meet to assess situation
Civic and police officials in Thane held a meeting on Friday to assess the COVID-19 situation in view of the surge in cases in some parts of Maharashtra, especially Vidarbha.
Officials said the meeting was chaired by Thane Municipal Commissioner Vipin Sharma who directed all departments to ensure COVID care facilities that had been used during the height of the outbreak can be reactivated as soon as the situation warrants.
Coronavirus Live updates: Sri Lanka to procure 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from India: Official
Sri Lanka will purchase 10 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India, officials here have said. In January, under India’s neighbourhood first policy, Sri Lanka received 500,000 doses of free vaccines. They were administered as a priority to frontline health workers and members of the Armed forces.
Coronavirus Live updates: Suriya tests negative for COVID-19, says filmmaker Rajsekar Pandian
Actor Suriya, who has tested positive for the coronavirus a couple of weeks ago, has finally tested negative. His close friend and producer Rajsekar Pandian confirmed the news via a tweet. Rajsekar Pandian tweeted: “ Anna tested NEGATIVE, Thank you for all your prayers and wishes (sic).”
When Suriya tested positive, he wrote on Twitter: “I am undergoing treatment for Covid-19 and am feeling much better now. Let us all realise that life hasn’t returned to normalcy yet. We also cannot be filled with fear and let life come to a standstill. We still need to be careful and safe. Lots of love and gratitude to the dedicated doctors and medical staff standing by my side.” On the career front, Suriya has multiple projects in his kitty. He was recently seen in Tamil biographical drama, Soorarai Pottru, which skipped theatrical release and premiered on Amazon Prime directly. The film was based on the life of Captain GR Gopinath of Air Deccan.
Coronavirus Live updates: Aurangabad records 156 new COVID-19 cases
Maharashtra’s Aurangabad reported 156 fresh cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing the infection count to 48,135 in the district, an official said on Friday.
The latest cases reported on Thursday have taken the number of active cases in the district to 602, the official said. Of the fresh cases, 133 were reported from Aurangabad city and 23 from rural parts of the district, he added.
The district had 334 active cases till February 15 and by Thursday, this number has risen to 602, he said. As many as 46,287 patients have recovered from the infection, while 1,246 have succumbed to it so far in the district, the official said.
Coronavirus Live updates: United States investing $200 million on virus variant detection
United States President Joe Biden’s administration on February 17 said it is investing nearly $200 million to identify emerging strains of the coronavirus through expanded genome sequencing. According to a statement, the investment will increase sequencing carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “more than threefold from about 7,000 samples per week to approximately 25,000.”
The US has been lagging behind dozens of countries in its efforts to track virus variants, putting at risk the progress made in containing its COVID-19 outbreak. CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters that as of February 16, the US had detected 1,277 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Britain, including the first case with the dangerous E484K mutation, which is common to the South African and Brazilian variants and makes them less susceptible to antibodies.
Coronavirus Live updates: India faces massive challenge in pulling students out of academic regression, loss of learning due to COVID-19
The schools of India, which have over 260 million students, have been shut since March 2020. In some states now, the schools are being opened up for higher classes, but on the whole Indian schools have been shut for almost a year. During this period, two kinds of efforts have been made to continue with the education of children — online education and classes held in mohallas in the open. In brief, neither of these efforts has been adequate to compensate for the shut schools.
Online education is fundamentally ineffective. Not only because the vast majority of our children do not have resources to access online education, but also because the intrinsic nature of education and the learning of children, is such that it requires teachers and students to be in close proximity with real social interaction. This is not the place to go into the details of the inefficacy of online education. However, the pandemic-driven enthusiasm for online education very quickly waned through last year, as the reality of its inefficacy hit home to all those involved with school education.
Realising the importance of continuing educational engagement with children, while also recognising the inefficacy of online classes, many state governments did a good job of trying to organise classes in the open, in the very neighbourhoods where children resided. Large numbers of government school teachers made this happen, with exemplary dedication. Such mohalla classes were not in any way increasing the risk of infection amongst those children, because the children were anyhow intermingling, given they were residing in the same neighbourhood.
Coronavirus Live updates: No new COVID-19 case in Andamans
Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not report any new COVID-19 case in the last 24-hours, an official said on Friday. The coronavirus tally in the union territory remained at 5,014, the official said. The archipelago now has eight active COVID-19 cases and all the patients are in South Andaman district, he said. The other two districts of the union territory – North and Middle Andaman and Nicobar – are COVID-19 free as both dont have any active coronavirus case, the official said.
A total of 4,944 people have recovered from the disease, while 62 people have succumbed to the infection so far. The administration has so far tested 2,53,718 samples for COVID-19 and the test positivity rate is 1.98 per cent, he added. Official sources said any person arriving by flight in the union territory is required to produce RT-PCR negative report before allowed entry into the islands. A total of 4,549 health care and frontline workers have received COVID-19 vaccine in the union territory so far, he said. At least 495 health care workers have received the second dose of the vaccine, the official added.
Coronavirus Live updates: Vietnam says COVAX to supply 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2021
Vietnam will receive 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, including 30 million under the COVAX scheme and the rest purchased from AstraZeneca, as it seeks to inoculate its population of nearly 100 million, its health minister said. “The Ministry of Health is also in active talks with other producers such as Pfizer and Moderna to ensure sufficient vaccine for the entire population, ” Nguyen Thanh Long said on Friday in a statement posted on the government website. Long said most of the vaccines under the COVAX facility co-led by the World Health Organization would be used in the second half of the year.
Coronavirus Live updates: India virus infections at three-week high, Mumbai hires marshals to enforce mask-wearing
India reported on Friday its biggest jump in new coronavirus infections in three weeks, with 13,193 cases, while thousands of marshals fanned out to enforce mask wearing across the financial capital of Mumbai, which is battling a recent spurt. The tally of confirmed infections is 10.96 million, the second highest after the United States, with more than 156,000 deaths. But actual infections could range as high as 300 million, a government serological survey showed this month.
In recent days, 75% of India’s new cases have been reported from the southern state of Kerala and Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, a densely populated city of 20 million people. The two states already had the highest number of reported infections. Health experts suggest the re-opening of educational institutes in Kerala and resumption of suburban train services in Mumbai could be key factors. After a gap of 11 months, Mumbai resumed on Feb. 1 full suburban train services, which before the pandemic carried a daily average of 8 million people.
Coronavirus Live updates: WHO to launch declaration on vaccine equity
The World Health Organization (WHO) is all set to launch on Friday a fresh declaration focused on vaccine equity against the backdrop of the need to scale up the manufacturing of covid-19 vaccines, in which India is expected to play a crucial role. The apex global public health agency has said that it will urge vaccine manufacturers across the globe to share knowhow with the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) to increase the global supply of vaccines.
The C-TAP was launched by WHO in partnership with the government of Costa Rica and 40 member state co-sponsors with the Solidarity Call to Action. It urged the global community to voluntarily share knowledge, intellectual property, and data necessary to tackle covid-19. The original was co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca plc.
Serum Institute plans to supply 240 million doses for Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others. Of this, 97.16 million is expected to be given to India, while nearly 13 million will go to Bangladesh, according to the interim distribution forecast of the Covax facility.