The Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is piloting Russias Sputnik V candidate vaccine, currently in Phase 3 trials, has partnered with the Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddys Laboratories to test, and subject to regulatory approvals in India, supply 100 million doses of the vaccine.
Here are the latest updates:
Karnatka RS member Ashok Gasti succumbs to COVID-19
Ashok Gasti, BJP Rajya Sabha Member from Raichur in Karnataka, succumbed to COVID-19 at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Thursday.
The BJP leader had taken oath as a Rajya Sabha MP on July 22 this year. Mr. Gasti was admitted to Manipal Hospital 15 days ago after testing positive for COVID-19. Health Minister B. Sriramulu condoled his death in a tweet.
A low-profile leader who rose in the ranks through his work in RSS, Mr. Gasti is credited for organizing the BJP in Raichur district in North Karnataka. His choice for RS nomination, which came as a surprise to many, was regarded a recognition of his dedicated work. - Bengaluru Bureau
Arunachal CM tests negative for COVID-19 two days after testing positive
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday said that he has tested negative for COVID-19.
He had tested positive for the virus on September 15.
Khandu, who is currently in home isolation in New Delhi, tweeted that he has tested negative for coronavirus after he conducted a repeat test on Wednesday.
I had undertaken a repeat Covid19 RT-PCR test yesterday. Because of the wishes and prayers of each one of you, I am glad to inform that I have tested NEGATIVE. Thank you all. #WearMask #StaySafe, Mr. Khandu wrote on his official twitter handle.
Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Kiren Rijiju has expressed happiness over Khandus test result.
A good news for everyone, especially the people of Arunachal Pradesh that our Chief Minister @PemaKhanduBJP ji has tested negative for COVID-19. Lets pray for him to remain healthy and continue to serve the people with full dedication, Rijiju, who hails from the north eastern state, tweeted. - PTI
Irdai to take decision on extending tenure of COVID-19 related products: Chairman
Regulator Irdai is mulling over a plan to allow the tenure extension of COVID-19 specific insurance products as the vaccine for the disease is seemingly away by some more time, its chairman Subhash C Khuntia said on Thursday.
Besides, the insurance sector watchdog is also working towards facilitating a standard product for coronavirus, which will be easy to understand by policyholders and will not require voluminous policy documents.
With regard to extending the tenure of the COVID-19 related products, we are hoping that the vaccine would not be delayed for too long. But now that it appears that it will take some more time, we will take decision about extending the tenure of the policy at an appropriate time, Khuntia said while addressing the CII Insurance and Pensions Summit webcast.
Corona Kavach, which was launched on July 10 and is being offered by both general and health insurers, is a standard health insurance policy created to meet the treatment requirements for coronavirus infection. - PTI
Time for opposition to join hands with Govt. to battle COVID-19: BJP leader
The opposition should join hands with the government to battle the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis that has brought the globe to its knees rather than indulging in petty criticism and blatant sarcasm, BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Participating in a discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps taken by the Government, he said Some are now questioning lockdown...this wisdom of hindsight is easy to develop but early interventions were crucial, and termed the lockdown unambiguously necessary.
Almost all countries resorted to lockdown as the pandemic was unprecedented since 1918s Spanish flu, he said and added that under the present situation, lockdowns are necessary tools in the tool kits of governments till vaccines are developed.
He said it is a tough choice between life and livelihood and credited the government for minimising economic contraction by taking a slew of steps to help revive different sectors. - PTI
Less than 3% population in tribal-dominated districts COVID positive: Govt.
Less than 3% population in 177 tribal-dominated districts in the county has been detected as positive for coronavirus, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda also told the Upper House that so far, there has been no report of major outbreak of the disease in tribal areas.
Citing a recent study conducted by IIT Delhi, the minister said, Less than 3% of the population in 177 districts with 25% tribal population or more has been detected as coronavirus positive.
The minister also said the COVID response team of his ministry has formulated a pandemic response plan to protect the livelihoods and health of Scheduled Tribes. - PTI
WHO calls for consistent message on virus
The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization says scientific disagreements over COVID-19 interventions like masks and vaccines shouldnt be treated as some kind of political football, but acknowledged that it isnt easy for everyone to be on message all the time.
Asked to respond to the open disagreements between U.S. President Donald Trump and the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the effectiveness of masks and when a coronavirus vaccine might be available, Dr. Michael Ryan said it is important that we have consistent messaging from all levels.
This is complicated stuff, Dr. Ryan said at a press briefing on Thursday. What is important is that governments (and) scientific institutions step back, review the evidence and give us the most comprehensive, easy-to-understand...information so that people can take the appropriate action. - AP
Most international students return to Singapore for new semester
Most of the international students, including those from India, studying in different universities in Singapore have returned to attend the new semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the country on Thursday reported the lowest number of 18 new infections in six months.
Some of the students have chosen to continue the online classes from overseas, whole most of the international students at Singapores autonomous universities are back here for classes, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported on Thursday.
For the new semester, that started from September 14, universities have opted for a mix of online and offline classes depending on the field of study, with large-scale lectures still held online.
The National University of Singapore (NUS), the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) said the majority of their international students have returned to Singapore. - PTI
City civic body issues show-cause notice to 36 hospitals for not allocating 50% beds for COVID patients
The city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has issued the final show-cause notice to 36 private hospitals for violating the Karnataka governments mandate to allocate 50 per cent beds for the treatment of COVID infected.
It has warned that, any failure to comply with the same will be viewed seriously and action will be initiated under the relevant provisions of the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020, Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act, 2017 and Disaster Management Act, 2005, which include suspension of registration, fine and even imprisonment.
Among the hospitals that have been issued final show cause notice include- 21 with over hundred beds, 10 with 50- 100 beds and five with 20-50 beds.
It is mandatory for private hospitals to allocate 50 per cent of the beds for the treatment of COVID infected.
Notices have been issued by BBMP to 36 private hospitals in Bengaluru who are denying treatment to those infected in violation of government rules. It is certain that strict action will be taken against hospitals violating law, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar tweeted. - PTI
India should get COVID-19 vaccine at affordable rate: Azad
Noting that several countries have already secured favourable commitment for supply of a COVID-19 vaccine, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said India should be well placed to get the vaccine at an affordable price and at an early stage through a mechanism like pooled procurement.
However, the government should be over cautious about the quality, safety and efficacy of a new vaccine as any long term side effects would impact India which has a large and young population, he said.
Participating in a debate on COVID-19 pandemic in the Upper House, the former health minister attacked the government for losing golden months to stop the spread of the disease despite a warning from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2019 about the spread of a mysterious pneumonia in neighbouring China.
It was happening in our neighbourhood, we should have been alert, he said, adding that even former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had warned about the coming of a pandemic of this nature in March. - PTI
Immune systems T cells play bigger role in reducing COVID-19 severity: Study
Vaccine candidates for COVID-19 should elicit a broad immune response that includes antibodies, and the bodys helper and killer T cells, according to a study which says weak or uncoordinated immunity may lead to a poor disease outcome.
The research, published in the journal Cell, confirms that a multi-layered, virus-specific immune response is important for controlling the novel coronavirus during the acute phase of the infection and reducing COVID-19 disease severity.
Our observations could also explain why older COVID-19 patients are much more vulnerable to the disease, said study senior author Shane Crotty from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in the U.S.
With increasing age, the reservoir of T cells that can be activated against a specific virus declines and the bodys immune response becomes less coordinated, which looks to be one factor making older people drastically more susceptible to severe or fatal COVID-19, Mr. Crotty said.
In the research, the scientists collected blood samples from 50 COVID-19 patients, and analysed multiple branches of their immune system - novel coronavirus specific antibodies, helper and killer T cells. - PTI
Lawyer challenges challan for not wearing mask when driving alone; HC seeks govt. reply
The Delhi High Court Thursday sought response of the Centre and AAP government on a lawyers plea challenging the 500 challan issued to him for not wearing a mask while he was driving alone.
Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Delhi government, Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and the police seeking their stand on the petition which seeks quashing of the challan, refund of the 500 paid as fine and compensation of 10 lakh for mental harassment suffered by the petitioner.
The petitioner, Saurabh Sharma, has claimed in his plea that on September 9 while driving to work he was stopped by Delhi Police officials and was challaned for not wearing mask even though he was alone in the car.
Mr. Sharma, represented by advocate K C Mittal, has contended that there is a Health Ministry notification clarifying that wearing of mask was not compulsory while driving alone in a car.
Advocate Farman Ali Magray, appearing for the ministry, said that such a notification has been issued. - PTI
Targeting to bring down mortality rate to less than 1%: Health Minister
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said Indias COVID-19 mortality rate at 1.64% is lowest in the world and the government is targeting to bring it down to less than 1%.
Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha, he said Indias recovery rate of 78-79% is one of the highest in the world. - PTI
Centre should release funds to states from PM Cares Fund to deal with COVID-19: Sena
Stressing that there should no politicisation of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shiv Sena on Thursday asked the Centre to release money to states from the PM Cares Fund and also clear GST dues to help them deal with the coronavirus situation.
During the second day of discussion in Rajya Sabha on the pandemic and steps taken by the Centre, Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) took exception to the criticism by some BJP leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, of the measures taken by the Maharashtra government to control the pandemic.
More than 30,000 people have recovered from COVID in Maharashtra. How did it happen?, he said
In an apparent dig at Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Mr. Raut said did those people recover by eating Bhabhi Ji Papad.
Mr. Meghwal had come under fire after he reportedly claimed that the ingredients of a papad brand Bhabhi Ji Papad helps in formation of antibodies needed to fight COVID-19. - PTI
9 out of 11 COVID-infected members of Great Andamanese tribe have recovered: Govt.
Nine out of the 11 coronavirus-infected members of the primitive Great Andamanese tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have recovered, the government told Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda also said that the particularly vulnerable tribal groups of Onges, Jarawas and Shompens are safe from the virus.
The 11 infected members of the Great Andamanese tribe are among those who were either themselves engaged or had families working in government establishments. Except two, all of them have fully recovered and moved back to their settlement in Strait Island, the minister told the Upper House.
There are only around 50 surviving members of the Great Andamanese tribe.
Mr. Munda said the archipelago administration was giving special focus and attention to the protection and wellbeing of PVTGs. - PTI
BJP, AAP clash over issue of COVID-19 management during RS debate
The Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP clashed over the issue of COVID-19 management in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, with the AAP terming as foolish the prime ministers call to clap and beat utensils in honour of coronavirus warriors.
BJPs Sudhanshu Trivedi hit back, saying the PMs move was symbolic and sought to unite the country socially just like Mahatma Gandhi chose the symbol of charkha for national cohesion during the freedom struggle.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March asked people to clap, beat steel plates and ring bells to express gratitude towards those risking their lives and working tirelessly during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr. Singh, while participating in the debate on COVID-19, further used the occasion to accuse the government of looking for opportunity in times of disaster and alleged corruption in the procurement of equipment to fight the disease including thermometers and oxymetres. - PTI
Record 221 new cases push Arunachals COVID-19 tally to 6,692
Arunachal Pradesh reported its highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases on Thursday as 221 more people tested positive for the infection, a senior health official said.
The fresh infections have pushed the states coronavirus tally to 6,692, he said.
The northeastern state had registered a spike of 221 coronavirus cases also on September 9.
The Capital Complex region reported the highest number of new cases at 98, followed by Papumpare (33) and Lower Subansiri (13), State Surveillance Officer, Dr. L Jampa, said.
Thirty Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel, four CRPF jawans, three policemen and a health worker are among the new patients, Dr. Jampa said, adding four inmates of the Central Jail at Jully near Itanagar have also contracted the disease. - PTI
Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel tests positive
Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Patel made the announcement in Twitter, saying his reports came yesterday night.
Yesterday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tested positive for the pandemic.
100-year-old woman beats COVID-19
Her age may have posed a challenge but 100-year-old Mai Handiques battle against COVID-19 was won by her positivity, doctors said on Thursday.
Handique, Assams oldest COVID-19 patient, was discharged from the Mahendra Mohan Chowdhury Hospital (MMCH) in Guwahati on Wednesday, they said.
A resident of the Mothers Old Age Home, she was admitted to the hospital ten days ago after testing COVID- positive.
Handique, called Aita (grandma) by all at the hospital, told reporters that she enjoyed her stay and the food. We were given fish or meat on most of the days while egg and banana were given daily. We were also given ruti- bhaji (chappatis and vegetables) which I enjoyed the most, she said.
She also thanked all those who treated her, saying, The girls (the nurses) and the doctors took very good care.
Steely resolve of 100-year old Mai Handique is monumental. With brilliant support of doctors at MMCH, she defeated coronavirus, giving us a lesson in having the right will power, he said.
A doctor treating Handique said, Initially, we were worried due to her age and she also has hypertension, but she was always cheerful and in a positive frame of mind.
Many home isolation patients reporting to hospitals after symptoms worsen
Volunteer doctors assisting the BBMP in triaging positive patients said they are getting at least 10 to 15 calls a day seeking admission from patients who had earlier refused hospitalisation. This apart, many are going to private hospitals directly after their symptoms worsened following five to six days of home isolation.
China's Sinovac to test coronavirus vaccine candidate in teenagers, children
Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech plans to start a clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine with children and adolescents later this month, widening its test on a shot that's already in the final stage of study with adults.
Tripura Tribal Welfare Minister tests positive
Tripura Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia has tested positive for coronavirus even as the total cases crossed 20,000 in the State. He is the eighth MLA to have contracted the infection.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tweeted on Wednesday that Mr. Jamatia, who is also holding the forest portfolio, has been infected with COVID-19.
Delhi BJP chief tests positive for COVID-19
State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Adesh Gupta has tested positive for COVID-19.
Mr. Gupta had previously tested negative but got tested again due to bad health conditions over a week. As many as 17 staffers staying at the partys State headquarters on Pant Marg had tested positive on Tuesday.
63 doctors died after testing positive for COVID-19 in T.N.: IMA (HQ) data
Sixty-three doctors have died after contracting COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, according to data released by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) headquarters on Wednesday.
The association has published a list of 382 doctors who died after testing positive for COVID-19 in the country.
COVID-19 impact: Railways traffic earnings down 42% till August, says Piyush Goyal
With regular operations disrupted due to the COVID-19, the traffic earnings of the Railways has declined by over 42% to 41,844.31 crore till August over the same period last year, Parliament was told on Wednesday.
Up to the end of August, the number of originating passengers was just 1.27% of the corresponding period last year, while freight loading was 86.6% of the corresponding period last year.
Plan for post-COVID care facilities, Shirole tells CM
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Siddharth Shirole has urged the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government to come up with post-COVID care guidelines to help recovered patients who may be suffering from COVID-19 sequelae.