Coronavirus wrap, Feb 15: About 18-19 vaccines in pipeline; Gujarat CM tests positive and more

Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 outbreak in India today.

With 11,649 new cases of Covid-19 detected on Monday, India’s tally for the coronavirus infection rose to 1,09,16,589, while fatalities were recorded below 100 for the ninth time this month, as per the Union Health Ministry data. The death toll also increased to 1,55,732, the data showed.

There are 1,39,637 active cases of infections in the country, which comprise 1.28 per cent of the total caseload. As per ICMR, as many s 20,67,16,634 samples have been tested up to February 14, with 4,86,122 samples tested Sunday.

Globally, at least 25,05,769 people have died from Covid-19 and 108,924,185 have been infected, following an outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, in early December 2020. As per a Reuters tally, there are nearly 35,000,000 active cases of Covid-19 around the world. With 27,641,135 active cases and 4,85,337 deaths, the United States continue to be the worst-affected country.

Here are some of the top stories of the day

About 18-19 vaccine candidates in pipeline: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Monday said that there are about 18-19 Covid-19 vaccine candidates in the pipeline and in different clinical trial stages.

Addressing the media, Vardhan said that in the next 2-3 weeks, vaccinations against Covid-19 will be started for people above 50 years of age.

“About 18-20 vaccine candidates against COVID-19 are in the pipeline and are in preclinical, clinical and advanced stages,” Vardhan said. He further said that India will be supplying vaccines to 20-25 other countries. Dispelling rumours, Vardhan reiterated that vaccines in the public domain are safe and effective.

He also said no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 188 districts of the country in the last 7 days, while no new cases have been reported in 21 districts in 21 days.

Kerala, Maha, K’nataka account for 77% of active cases

Three states–Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka–cumulatively account for 77 per cent (76.5 per cent) of India’s total active cases, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said that 18 states and UTs have not reported any deaths in a span of 24 hours. These are Assam, Rajasthan, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, PTI reported.

Also, ten states and UTs have reported no deaths in the last week. These are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani tests positive 

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday following an RTPCR test. He is admitted to UN Mehta Hospital in Ahmedabad and is currently stable.

On Sunday, Rupani, who was campaigning for the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) elections, fell unconscious at the third venue of his rally, while addressing the gathering. BJP leader and former mayor of Vadodara, Dr Jigeesha Seth, rushed to Rupani’s aid and helped stablise him, while a medical team rushed him to UN Mehta Hospital in Ahmedabad from Vadodara airport. BJP state president CR Patil told reporters that Rupani had been running a fever for the past few days and campaigning despite requests from party leaders to take a break.

Will send Covishield to Canada in less than a month: Serum Institute

Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) on Monday said it will send COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University to Canada in less than a month.

“Dear Hon’ble PM @JustinTrudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and its vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you,@SerumInstIndia will fly out #COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I’m on it!” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said in a tweet.

Covishield is the brand name for the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 10 had assured his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID vaccines sought by Canada.

Booster shot round begins in Gujarat

Gujarat on Monday began the drive to administer the second dose of the Covid vaccine to those who have been covered in the first phase.

As per medical protocols, beneficiaries are supposed to take the second jab, also known as the booster shot, within four to six weeks of the first dose being administered, officials said.

The vaccination drive began in the state along with the rest of the country on January 16 and, so far, 7.91 lakh persons have been administered the first dose, news agency PTI reported citing an official.

“Today, we started giving the second dose to those who were given the first shot 28 days ago,” MA Pandya, state director, National Health Mission said.

For the first phase of the drive, the state government had identified 4.31 lakh health workers, 6.93 lakh frontline workers, 1.03 crore citizens above the age of 50, and 2.67 lakh citizens below 50 but with severe co-morbidities such as thalassemia (a blood disorder) and heart ailments.

(Inputs from PTI)

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