Coronavirus live | Officials on edge as school kids begin testing positive in Andhra Pradesh

The Centre has asked Kerala and Maharashtra, both having high number of Covid cases, to intensify efforts to check the spread of the virus through interventions like contact tracing and vaccination

India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 61 crore, the Union health ministry said on August 26. Nearly 68 lakh (67,87,305) vaccine doses were administered on August 26, according to the 7 pm provisional report. No report of COVID-19 vaccine shortage has been received from States and Union Territories in the past two to three weeks and the present situation is "satisfactory", the government added.

The Supreme Court is likely to resume physical hearing of cases from September 1 in a limited manner. According to apex court sources, the physical hearing of cases will be held in matters requiring lengthy hearings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

India adds 44,658 new cases

With 44,658 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases has increased to 3,26,03,188, while the active cases rose to 3,44,899, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on August 27.

The death toll climbed to 4,36,861 with 496 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The active cases comprise 1.03% of the total infections while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.63%, the ministry said. –PTI

Two Uttarakhand officials suspended for involvement in Kumbh Mela fake testing scam

Two officials in Uttarakhand have been suspended for their alleged involvement in the fake COVID-19 testing scam during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Then Mela officer (medical and health) Dr. Arjun Singh Sengar and then officer-in-charge (medical and health) Dr. N.K. Tyagi were suspended on Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami’s orders August 26 night.

The action is based on the recommendation of a probe committee set up by the Haridwar District Magistrate to look into the fake testing scam. –PTI

New Zealand to extend COVID-19 lockdown until Tuesday -media report

New Zealand is expected to stay in lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until midnight on Tuesday with Auckland and the Northland to stay shut for longer, the New Zealand Herald reported without citing the source for the information.

New Zealand reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Friday. -REUTERS

Zimbabwe opens COVID-19 vaccines to those aged 14 and older

Zimbabwe is opening COVID-19 vaccinations to those aged 14 and older and is only permitting fully vaccinated people to eat in restaurants, to encourage more people to get shots, as a devastating wave of the disease recedes. -AP

Australia PM, leaders to meet on COVID-19 reopening plans

Australia’s national cabinet is set to meet on August 27 as the federal government looks to convince States to proceed with the national plan to ease COVID-19 curbs and do away with lockdowns once the country reaches a 70%-80% vaccination rate. -REUTERS

IISc’s solutions to generate more oxygen take off

Clinical trials on oxygen concentrators developed by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), as one of the two key efforts to address the oxygen shortage during COVID-19, have found that they are on a par with compressed oxygen cylinders. To date, the technology has been transferred to 24 companies and about 35 units have been supplied to various hospitals, said IISc in a press release.

It added that the Karnataka government recently issued a circular for the supply of two units each to 2,508 public health centres from the licensees.

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Health Minister Veena George says COVID-19 transmission within families is on the rise in the State

COVID-19 disease transmission within homes has been rising in the State, accounting for 35% of the total cases, according to a statement issued by Health Minister Veena George on Thursday.

Ms. George said that improper home quarantine has been resulting in entire families getting infected as soon as one member is diagnosed with the disease.

People who test positive for COVID-19 should opt for home quarantine only if they have proper facilities for total isolation, or else, they should move to domiciliary care centres, said Ms. George. Those in home quarantine should remain in total isolation and wear masks and desist from interacting with other family members.

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Officials on edge as school kids begin testing positive for COVID

Reports of schoolchildren testing positive for COVID-19 have begun streaming in from several areas of the district, sparking concern among parents and officials of the Education Department. Six students have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours in various parts of the city and Agency areas of the district.

Four students of Zilla Parishad High School at Yellapuvanipalem in Gopalapatnam area tested positive for COVID-19 in the city on Thursday. All the students are learnt to be asymptomatic, according to officials.

District Medical & Health Officer (DMHO) Visakhapatnam, P. Surya Narayana, said that three days ago, students of the government school had undergone testing, and out of them four students tested positive.

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U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations hit eight-month high over 100,000

The number of coronavirus patients in U.S. hospitals breached 100,000 on August 26, the highest level in eight months, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, as a resurgence of COVID-19 spurred by the highly contagious Delta variant strains the nation’s health care system. -REUTERS

Meghalaya to reopen tourism, edu institutes from Sep 1

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on August 26 announced reopening of the State’s tourism sector from September 1 with relaxations of COVID-19 protocols for travellers.

Tourists, who have been fully inoculated, will be allowed to visit Meghalaya, while negative COVID-19 test reports, conducted 72 hours before arrival in the State, will be mandatory for those who received the first dose of vaccines, he said. -PTI

Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine can be available from first week of Oct

The Union government is expecting Zydus Cadila’s needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D to be available from the first week of October.

Further, a decision on whether all children or only those with co-morbidities will be administered the COVID-19 vaccine on priority has not yet been taken, the government said on August 26. -PTI

All set for CET-2021: Higher Education Minister

All preparations have been made along with precautionary measures to conduct the Common Entrance Test for various vocational courses, including engineering, in 530 examination centers across the State, which is scheduled to be held on August 28 and 29, Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said on August 26. -PTI

UNICEF to provide India with 160 million syringes for vaccination against COVID-19

UNICEF India has signed a $15 million agreement with COVID-19 relief initiative Crypto Relief to procure an estimated 160 million syringes to support India in its inoculation drive, according to a statement.

Under the agreement, UNICEF India will procure re-use prevention (RUP) syringes from manufacturers across the world through a global tendering process. To maintain quality, only WHO pre-qualified manufacturers will be asked to participate in the tender. -PTI

Celebrate festivals with caution, second COVID-19 wave not yet over, says Centre

The central government on Thursday said the months of September and October will be crucial in pandemic management and cautioned that festivals should be celebrated in accordance with COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.

Addressing a media briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the country is still in the midst of the second wave.

ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said vaccines are disease modifying and not disease preventing so it is very important to continue the use of masks even after vaccination.

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Clinical trials still ongoing on efficacy of 3rd jab of COVID vaccine: Centre to Kerala HC

Clinical trials are underway to ascertain efficacy of administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine and it will take several months to complete, the Centre told the Kerala High Court on August 26 while opposing a man’s plea for a third jab of an internationally recognised vaccine so that he can go abroad for work. -PTI

Scheme launched in Maharashtra for women who lost their husbands

To extend help to women who lost their husbands due to pandemic, the Maharashtra government’s Women and Child Development Department has launched ‘Mission Vatsalya,’ aimed to serve around 18 benefits, schemes, services to them under one roof.

“COVID widows, especially from rural areas, underprivileged backgrounds and deprived sections were a neglected facet of the crisis. Due to the death of the breadwinner, their hardship aggravated. Considering these aspects, Mission Vatsalya is launched,” said Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur.

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Counselling for children who lost parent to COVID-19

Maharashtra government’s Women and Child Development Department in association with NGO Arpan will provide counselling services to over 2,600 children who have lost a parent to COVID-19.

The ‘grief counselling’ services will be extended to three districts – Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban and Thane — to reach over 330, 940 and 1,340 children respectively.

These counselling sessions will take place through voice calls, video calls or in-person, based on feasibility and the child’s comfort. The surviving parent or primary care-giver of the child will be apprised of the progress.

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Reducing gap between two doses of Covishield is being considered: Sources

Reducing the gap between two doses of Covishield is being considered and it will be discussed in the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI), official sources said on August 26.

Chairman of India’s COVID-19 Working Group of NTAGI, Dr N.K. Arora, however, said no such proposal for changing the dose interval for any COVID-19 vaccine is under consideration. -PTI

Passengers from Kerala turned away at inter-State checkposts in Coimbatore

With Kerala logging a whopping 31,445 new COVID-19 infections in a day on Wednesday, following Onam holidays, authorities in Coimbatore on Thursday sent back people who came from the neighbouring State without a COVID-19 negative report or the final vaccination certificate.

The checking was intensified at Walayar, the busiest inter-State checkpost in the district, from Thursday morning.

A joint team of the police, Health and Revenue Departments checked private vehicles from Kerala and allowed passengers into Coimbatore only if they produced proof of having taken both doses of any COVID-19 vaccinate, or a COVID negative report (RT-PCR) taken within 72 hours prior to the journey.

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100% teachers vaccinated in Bengal, govt prepared to tackle third wave: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on August 26 said all teachers in the State have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines, a day after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said two crore additional doses will be made available across the country for them.

Ms. Banerjee, after chairing a meeting of health department officials, also said that the state is "prepared to tackle the possible third wave" of the COVID-19 pandemic, and priority for vaccination was being accorded to parents of children who are 12 years of age and below. -PTI

Over one lakh children need care and protection, NCPCR tells SC

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has told the Supreme Court that over one lakh children are in need of care and protection as they are either orphaned, lost one of their parents or are abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic from April last year.

In an additional affidavit filed in the apex court, the NCPCR has given details of the number of children who have lost either their mother or father or both between April 1, 2020 to August 23 this year based on the information uploaded on its ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal by the States and Union Territories. -PTI

COVID: plea against reserving hotels for govt. officials rejected

The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a petition challenging Delhi government’s notifications reserving rooms in four hotels linked to two hospitals for treatment of officials of various public authorities and their families.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh refused to accept the submission of the petitioner’s counsel that resources of the State remained unutilised due to the exclusive reservation of facilities for COVID-19 treatment of government officials and their families.

The HC passed the order on a plea by Delhi-based doctor Kaushal Kant Mishra who argued that creating a classification in favour of a certain category of persons was “arbitrary” and “unimaginable” when the common man was running from pillar to post in search of oxygen beds.

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Ambedkar University extends last date to apply for UG, PG courses

Delhi government-run Ambedkar University has extended the last date for registration for undergraduate and postgraduate admissions to September 10.

Earlier, the deadline for registering for the courses was September 1. The registration for UG admissions began on July 12 while for PG courses, it commenced at the end of July. -PTI

Japan suspends 1.63M doses of Moderna over contamination

Japan suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine on August 26 after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge.

The health ministry said contamination was reported from multiple vaccination sites. Some doses might have been administered, but no adverse health effects have been reported so far, officials said. -PTI

DDMA likely to take decision on reopening of schools in Delhi in Friday meeting

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority in its meeting on August 27 is expected to discuss and take a decision on reopening of schools in view of an improved COVID-19 situation, official sources said.

The authority’s meeting, which will be attended by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will discuss the report of a committee that has recommended opening of schools in a phased manner, starting with students of senior classes, from next month, they said. -PTI

RT-PCR testing lab inaugurated at Delhi’s Hindu Rao Hospital

In anticipation of the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a laboratory for conducting RT-PCR tests to detect COVID-19 was inaugurated at the civic-run Hindu Rao Hospital here, officials said.

The facility was inaugurated by North Delhi Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh, at the largest civic-run facility in the national capital. -PTI

Institutional quarantine must for coronavirus patients in Nagpur

In view of the rising number of Delta plus variant cases in Maharashtra, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on August 26 made institutional quarantine or hospitalisation mandatory for every patient testing positive for coronavirus in the city.

Municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan. B has issued an order regarding this and directed all zone commissioners to put patients testing coronavirus positive under institutional quarantine or ensure their hospitalization, a NMC release said. -PTI


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