India’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 86,36,011 with 44,281 people testing positive for the infection in a span of 24 hours, while the toll climbed to 1,27,571 with 512 new fatalities, according to the health ministry’s morning update
As India’s coronavirus caseload went past 86 lakh on Wednesday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan advised seven states and Union Territories, including Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, to focus on enhanced testing.
In a virtual interaction with the chief ministers, state health ministers and officials of Uttarakhand, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura Meghalaya and Goa, Vardhan urged them to focus on effective clinical management of COVID-19 cases to reduce deaths in the first 24, 48 or 72 hours.
The health minister highlighted that Maharashtra continues to have a large active COVID-19 caseload with a high fatality rate of 2.6 percent and also noted that at 1.64 percent, the case fatality rate in Uttarakhand is higher than the national average.
The health minister also spoke about the COVID-19 situation in Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Goa.
Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the cap on the number of domestic flights that Indian airlines are permitted to operate was increased from 60 percent to 70 percent of their pre-COVID levels.
On the international front, COVID-19 cases continued to soar in the US, with Texas becoming the first state with more than 1 million confirmed infections.
Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in a press release claimed that the vaccine candidate against COVID-19 being developed by them has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 92 percent.
The announcement comes just days after Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 .
Active cases fall below five lakh
India’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 86,36,011 with 44,281 people testing positive for the infection in a span of 24 hours, while the toll climbed to 1,27,571 with 512 new fatalities, according to the health ministry’s morning update.
Seventy percent of the 44,281 new coronavirus infections reported 24 hours are from ten states and UTs with, with Delhi continuing to report the highest daily new cases at 7,830, followed by Kerala with 6,010 cases, the ministry said.
The ministry said that the country had crossed another “milestone” in the fight against the pandemic as the number of active cases in India fell below the 5 lakh-mark for the first time after 106 days.
There are 4,94,657 active cases of coronavirus infections as on date and comprise just 5.73 percent of the total cases, the data showed. The number was 4,96,988 on 28 July.
“This also indicates a sustained trend of declining active cases in the country. It assumes higher significance in the context of several countries across the globe reporting a surge in the number of new cases,” the ministry said.
Twenty-seven states and UTs have less than 20,000 active cases, the ministry highlighted. “Just 8 states and UTs have more than 20,000 cases; two states (Maharashtra and Kerala) have active cases more than 50,000,” the ministry said.
The number of total recoveries rose to 80,13,783 with 50,326 persons recuperating from the disease in 24 hours and the recovery rate has increased to 92.79 percent, the ministry said.
The ministry said that 77 percent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 states and UTs.
Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of single-day recoveries with 6,718 newly recovered cases closely followed by the 6,698 figure achieved by Kerala. They are followed by 6,157 recoveries in Delhi.
Ten states and UTs account for 79 percent of the COVID-19 fatalities. A total of 512 case fatalities have been reported in a span of 24 hours. Maharashtra saw the most casualties at 110. Delhi and West Bengal follow with 83 and 53 new deaths, respectively.
In another milestone, India has carried out over 12 crore cumulative tests with 11,53,294 tests being conducted in a span of 24 hours.
Vardhan advises seven states to boost testing
Meanwhile the Union health minister, in a video conference, highlighted that active cases are on the rise in recent days in Manipur while 40 percent of the total deaths were recorded in just the last one month in Goa.
With 70 percent of cases concentrated in Aizawl, Mizoram is seeing a further rise in active cases; Tripura and Meghalaya are witnessing higher deaths in the active age groups of 45-60 years, which are preventable, the minister stressed.
He noted that although the active cases have come down in Maharashtra, it continues to have a large active COVID-19 caseload. The fatality rate, at 2.6 percent is also high and it stands at 3.5 percent in and around Mumbai, the ministry quoted him as saying in a statement.
Vardhan advised the states to focus on higher testing, especially in districts with higher positivity, mandatory testing of symptomatic negatives by rapid antigen test, focus on high-risk groups and vulnerable populations for SARI/ILI surveillance, which can give an indication of infection, proper follow-up and monitoring of those in-home isolation, especially the vulnerable group.
He also highlighted the importance of widespread IEC campaigns so that people in home isolation can reach hospitals in time for effective clinical management, and efforts to be made to reduce deaths in the first 24, 48 or 72 hours, which was high in many states and districts, the statement stated.
Vardhan also indicated the need for higher testing in areas like marketplaces, workplaces, places of gatherings.
States also made the presentations with Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat speaking about comprehensive multimedia IEC campaign for encouraging COVID-appropriate behaviour and Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope informing about the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign.
Under the campaign, house-to-house surveys and monitoring of home isolation cases and SARI/ILI patients were undertaken. Of the 5.7 lakh surveyed, 51,000 COVID19 positive cases were identified.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised the states to focus on three areas: the need to suppress and break the chain of transmission; keeping mortality less than one percent and the need for prolonged behaviour change.
To ensure these, he advised quick and aggressive testing, targeted testing at marketplaces, workplaces, religious congregations which have the potential to become super-spreader events, followed by quick tracing; all close contacts to be traced in the first 72 hours; at least 10 persons to be traced for every positive person.
Domestic flights allowed to increase operations to 70%
In another development, the civil aviation minister tweeted: “Domestic operations recommenced with 30,000 passengers on 25 May and have reached 2.06 lakhs on 8 November, 2020.”
“The Civil Aviation Ministry is now allowing domestic carriers to increase their operations from existing 60 percent to 70 percent of the pre-COVID approved capacity,” Puri said.
The ministry had allowed the resumption of scheduled domestic passenger services from 25 May, after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus -triggered lockdown. However, the airlines were allowed to operate not more than 33 percent of their pre-COVID domestic flights.
On 26 June, this was increased to 45 percent and on 2 September, it was further increased to 60 percent. The ministry had clarified on 29 October that the 60 percent cap would be in place till “24 February, 2021 or until further orders”.
Sputnik V shows 92% efficacy: Russian officials
On the global scenario, Russia’s Gamaleya Institute and the RDIF released the first interim data from the largest randomised, placebo-controlled Phase-III clinical trials in Russia involving 40,000 volunteers. The trials evaluated the efficacy among over 16,000 volunteers who received the vaccine or placebo 21 days after the first injection.
As a result of a statistical analysis of 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus , the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received the placebo indicating that the Sputnik V vaccine had an efficacy rate of 92 percent after the second dose, a release said.
On 11 August, the Sputnik V vaccine was registered by Russia’s Ministry of Health and became the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19 based on the human adenoviral vectors platform.
Separately, in September the vaccine was first administered to a group of volunteers from the ‘red zones’ of Russian hospitals. The observation of additional 10,000 vaccinated volunteers representing medics and other high-risk groups under the civil use of the vaccine out of clinical trials also confirmed the vaccines efficacy rate of over 90 percent, the release added.
As of 11 November, as part of the clinical trials in Russias 29 medical centres, more than 20,000 volunteers were vaccinated with the first dose and over 16,000 volunteers with the first and the second dose of the vaccine.
In addition, as on the date, no unexpected adverse events were identified as part of the research. Some of those vaccinated had short-term minor adverse effects such as pain at the injection site, flu-like syndrome, including fever, weakness, fatigue, and headache, according to the release.
Dr. Reddys and the RDIF have entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V vaccine and its distribution in India. As part of the partnership, RDIF shall supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to Dr.Reddys upon regulatory approval in India.
US registers one million cases in Nov
As per the John Hopkins University’s Coronavirus tracker, the virus has infected 5,16,36,989 persons across the world and claimed the lives of 12,74,923. As per its data, the US has reported the maximum number of cases (1,02,70,611) as well as deaths (2,39,732). According to news agency AP, the country has recorded over one million new confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of November.
On Wednesday, Texas became the first state with more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, reported the news agency, citing JHU data.
The nation’s second-most populous state has recorded 1,010,364 coronavirus cases with 19,337 deaths since the pandemic began in early March.
Texas recorded 10,865 cases on Tuesday, setting a new daily record that surpassed by 74 cases an old mark set on 15 July, state officials said. According to state figures on Tuesday, an estimated 1,32,146 cases are active, the most since 17 August and 6,170 COVID-19 cases are hospitalised, the most since 18 August . There were 94 new deaths Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Several other states posted new highs on Tuesday, including 12,000 new cases in Illinois and more than 7,000 in Wisconsin, where the governor planned to take the unusual step of delivering a live address to the state urging unity and cooperation to fight the virus.
With inputs from agencies