Covid Wrap-up: Focus shifts to Kerala, vaccine policy

Covid-19 Wrap-up: Focus shifts to Kerala, vaccine policy

All you need to know about the coronavirus right now

After Kerala's situation, the Centre on Saturday asked states to impose local restrictions, if required, to tackle large gatherings during the upcoming festival season while warning that enforcement Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, like wearing masks, is on the decline. Representative image. Credit: PTI File Photo

Kerala's Covid-19 cases post-Onam have had the nation worried as it continues to drive the surge in daily infections. India saw a single-day rise of 42,909 new Covid-19 infections, which took the total tally of cases to 3,27,37,939, while active cases registered an increase for the sixth consecutive day, according to Union health ministry data updated on Monday. Of these, Kerala alone accounted for 29,836 cases and 75 deaths.

The central government had said that the southern state is the only one reporting over one lakh active Covid-19 cases. To combat this rise, Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Sunday said the government has renewed its plan to test more people than before. The Minister also said new centres and clusters would be created based on the outcome of the sample testing methods.

Considering Kerala's situation, the Centre on Saturday asked states to impose local restrictions, if required, to tackle large gatherings during the upcoming festival season while warning that enforcement of Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, like wearing masks, is on the decline. The Centre asked states to continue following the five-fold strategy to curb the spread of the virus which includes - enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour, ramping up testing and keeping the Covid patient isolated as far as possible.

The Karnataka government announced Monday that physical classes will start for classes 6 to 8 from September 6 in taluks where the Covid-19 positivity rate is below 2%. 

The DGCA also extended the suspension of international flights till September 30 in view of the Covid-19 situation and to prevent it from worsening. 

Covid-19 has devastated many lives and it is “heart wrenching” that the survival of children who lost either or both parents during the pandemic is at stake, the Supreme Court said, but expressed satisfaction over schemes announced by the Centre and states to provide succour to them.

In some good news for Karnataka, the state’s coronavirus outbreak has continued its downward spiral in the past seven days, registering 5.6% fewer cases in the last week than it did the previous week.

Following a marked improvement in the Covid situation in Delhi, the government on Friday had announced that schools for classes 9 to 12, colleges and coaching institutions would reopen from September 1 with mandatory thermal screening, staggered lunch breaks and alternate seating arrangements in classrooms. The Delhi government had clarified that no student would be forced to attend physical classes and the consent of parents would be mandatory.

In what could mount as a major woe for the world, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, has been detected in South Africa and many other countries which could be more transmissible and evade protection provided by vaccines, according to a study. The new variant has more mutations than other variants of concern (VOCs) or variants of interest (VOIs) detected worldwide so far, the researchers said.

Fresh evidence on Covishield’s inability to halt “breakthrough infections” caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in fully vaccinated individuals emerged on Sunday with a group of Indian researchers reporting an unexpectedly large proportion of Covid-19 infections among the vaccine recipients. The large proportion of breakthrough infections and 48% infection rate among the single dose recipients underlines the importance of having a relook at the current vaccination policies, including the gap between the two doses of Covishield. Currently the gap is 12-16 weeks.

However, the Indian Council of Medical Research, on the basis of a preliminary study, said that a single shot of Covaxin in Covid exposed individuals is as good as two doses in people who didn't have the infection. The findings were released at a time when the Union Health Ministry is in the process of finding out ways to vaccinate the target population of 94.47 crore and a clamour for booster doses is growing. So far 50% of that population received a single shot, while less than one-fifth is fully vaccinated.

Will mass vaccine efforts be able to stall or keep up with mutations and breakthrough infections? -- only time will tell. 

On the international front, Japan's Covid-19 vaccination push has been dealt a blow by widening reports of contamination in supplies of Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine. The suspension of Moderna supplies, affecting more than 2.6 million does in total, comes as Japan battles its worst wave of Covid-19 yet.

India on Friday administered more than one crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines in a single day. The country's rising output of Covid-19 vaccines and the inoculation of more than half its adult population with at least one dose are raising hopes the country will return as an exporter within months, ramping up from early next year.

 

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