Covid-19 wrap-up: Lower testing behind low numbers?

Covid-19 wrap-up: Lower testing behind low numbers?

India conducted the lowest number of daily Covid-19 tests since mid-August on Sunday

Representative image. Credit: Reuters File Photo

While new Covid-19 infections in India have plateaued around 30,000 a day as vaccinations surged, health experts say the numbers could have been low due to reduced testing. India conducted the lowest number of daily Covid-19 tests since mid-August on Sunday. The country carried out about 11.8 lakh tests on Sunday, down from about 15.6 lakh on Saturday and against a capacity of more than 20 lakh.

India on Monday reported 30,256 new coronavirus infections and 295 fatalities. India's total tally of Covid-19 cases rose to 3,34,78,419, while the active cases declined to 3,18,181, the lowest in 183 days, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Monday.

In a major development, India will resume export of surplus Covid-19 vaccines next month, Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday. The export of surplus vaccines would begin in the next quarter (October-December) under the Vaccine Maitri programme.

Following the same trajectory, Karnataka's Covid-19 numbers continued their descent - a trend which first set in eight weeks ago. Considering weekly averages, Karnataka’s Covid-19 numbers fell by 29 per cent over the last 30 days, but of equal concern is that the statewide testing numbers, which despite getting a boost in the middle part of last week, have been steadily declining. The average number of tests conducted has declined by 20.4 per cent over the course of the last 30 days.

An ambitious programme to conduct large-scale and in-depth genome sequencing of samples from Covid-19 patients in four cities — Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Delhi — is set to begin. Scientists say the project, which will sequence samples independent of the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium (Insacog), will not only boost India’s genomic efforts, but will deliver near real-time insights to municipal authorities in these four cities about how the novel coronavirus has been evolving.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took a swipe at the government over the record Covid-19 vaccinations on Modi's birthday, and said the "event" is over now. He also shared a graph of the vaccination trend in the last 10 days as per data from the Co-WIN website to show the decline in inoculations after the record. India vaccinated 2.5 crore people in a single day on Friday to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday.

With the Covid-19 situation easing in India, the government is mulling reopening the country for foreign tourists over a year after the doors were shut in March 2020. Officials said the plan is to issue visas free of cost to the first five lakh foreign tourists in a bid to help in the revival of the tourism sector.

With Covid jab side-effects becoming more common, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shared a list of side effects and asked people to consult a doctor if certain symptoms occur within 20 days of receiving the vaccine. These include abdominal pain, vomiting and chest pain.

 

Even as the debate on whether booster shots help or not goes on, US top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said that boosters will soon be mandatory. Booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines will soon become necessary for people to gain maximum protection against Covid-19, Fauci said on Sunday, after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel rejected the broader use of the third dose among people aged 16 and above.

On the research front, what could prove to be an end to the lab leak theory, a new study has found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, could have spilled from animals to people multiple times. This is based on a preliminary analysis of viral genomes sampled from people infected in China and elsewhere early in the pandemic.

Studying bats' responses to SARS-CoV-2 may also provide key insights into how and when to best use existing therapies for Covid-19, and to develop new treatments, suggests a review. The review, published in the journal Science Immunology, explores how the virus that has caused the current pandemic wreaks havoc on the human immune system.

 

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