Covid-19 Wrap-up: Vaccination efforts at the forefront

Covid-19 Wrap-up: Vaccination efforts continue to be priority

India has overtaken the United States in the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered so far, the Union Health Ministry said

Representative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

Yet another week begins as India continues its efforts to overcome the ravaging second wave of Covid-19, along with taking all measures to mitigate the impact of a possible third wave.

To help revival of the economy battered by Covid-19, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced a slew of measures, including Rs 1.1 lakh crore credit guarantee scheme for improving health infrastructure, and enhancing  the limit under the ECLGS by 50 per cent to Rs 4.5 lakh crore for the MSME sector facing liquidity crunch.

India saw a single-day rise of 46,148 new coronavirus infections on Monday, taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 3,02,79,331, while daily fatalities were 979, taking the total death toll to 3,96,730, according to the Union Health Ministry data. This was the lowest number of single-day fatalities in 76 days.

In a very encouraging development, India has overtaken the United States in the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered so far, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday. While India launched its vaccination drive on January 16, and has administered over 32.36 crore doses till date, the US started its inoculation drive on December 14, 2020 and has given over 32.33 crore doses. A total of 32,36,63,297 vaccine doses have been administered through 43,21,898 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Monday, the ministry said.

Dr Reddy's announced the launch of its oral Covid-19 drug 2-DG on Monday. 2-DG is an anti-Covid drug developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory. The drug has a purity of 99.5 per cent and is sold commercially under the brand name 2-DG. The maximum retail price of each sachet has been fixed at Rs 990, with a subsidised rate offered to government institutions.

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla finds himself in hot water after Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured in India, was declared not eligible for the European Union’s “Green Pass”. Poonawalla assured that he was taking steps to resolve the issue. “I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken Covishield are facing issues with travel to the EU, I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries," he tweeted on Monday.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech has to increase its vaccine supply by over nine times of its current levels if it hopes to help the Centre inoculate all adults by the end of December this year. Bharat Biotech is supposed to provide 48 crore doses. The Centre in January placed an order of 8 crore Covaxin doses till the end of July, but as of now, Bharat Biotech has only delivered around 4 crore doses.

As Delhi prepares for Unlock 5.0 and more relaxations in the Covid-19 lockdown from June 29, hospitals still spell a bleak picture for the national capital as the number of Covid patients in the ICU and on ventilators are far higher than those in general wards. Health data from Delhi government suggests that of the 27,284 Covid beds in hospitals, 1,037 are occupied and of these, 930 are either in the ICU or on ventilator support. The rest are in general wards with or without oxygen.

ENT surgeon Dr Prashanth R Reddy, at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, was faced with an unusual finding in the first week of June, when the hospital lab delivered microbiology reports of a patient with both green fungus and black fungus. The patient had persistent headaches and numbness of the cheek. A CT scan revealed a fungal infection in the sinus and below the eye surface.

Positive news came in from Maharashtra, as Surla in Goa's Sattari taluka became the state's first village to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a health official said on Monday. Valpoi Community Health Centre in-charge Dr Shyam Kankonkar said his team visited every home in the village, located on the top of a hill, and got its members to attend a vaccination camp on Sunday.

Complaining that Tamil Nadu has been allotted fewer doses compared to per thousand population, Chief Minister M K Stalin on Monday wrote to the Union government reiterating his demand for allocation of an additional one crore Covid-19 vaccine doses  to correct the “inadequate allotment” in the past. Stalin also asked Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to revise the allocation between the government and private institutions to 90:10 as against the current allocation of 75:25.

The Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 has greater affinity to lung tissues as compared to other strains but it does not mean that it will cause severe disease or is more transmissible, head of coronavirus working group NTAGI Dr N K Arora said. Till now, 51 cases of Delta Plus have been detected across 12 states, with Maharashtra reporting the maximum cases of this variant.

A first-of-its-kind pan-India study has highlighted Mumbai and Pune among hotspots in the country, where high air pollution from the transport and industrial sectors have a visible relationship with a higher number of Covid-19 cases and casualties.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) lamented the lack of coronavirus vaccines being immediately donated by rich countries to the developing world. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said there was nothing to discuss during a recent meeting of an advisory group established to allocate vaccines. In his words: “There are no vaccines to allocate.”

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