India’s First 2 Omicron Cases Detected – Latest news headlines


Bengaluru:

Two COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in India, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, in the first confirmation of the coronavirus strain within the country’s borders that has triggered global alarm.

Both the cases have been reported in Karnataka with the patients being two foreigners aged 66 and 46, the Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal told a news briefing, adding that their identities will not be disclosed for now to protect their privacy.

All people who came in contact with the two men have been traced and are being tested, he said, adding that both the cases are mild and there are no severe symptoms so far.

“There is no need to panic about the Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential. Follow Coivd-appropriate behaviour, avoid gatherings,” Mr Agarwal said.

Early indications have suggested the heavily-mutated Omicron may be markedly more contagious than previous variants, however, there has been no evidence of the strain any deadlier.

“There will be no drastic curbs any time soon. The situation is well under control,” Dr VK Paul, chief of the centre’s COVID-19 task force, said.

India was set to restart scheduled commercial international flights on Dec 15, but on Wednesday scrapped that plan and said a resumption date would be announced in due course.

The government has advised states to ramp up testing, a week after the health ministry said a recent fall in testing could undermine India’s efforts to contain the pandemic.

After battling a record jump in infections and deaths in April and May, coronavirus cases have come down substantially in India, where the Delta variant is the dominant strain.

The country reported 9,765 new cases on Thursday, taking its total to 34.61 million. Only the United States has reported more.



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Latest News Today – India Coronavirus Cases: India’s ‘R-Value’ Inching Up,


India has logged over 3.16 crore cases since the start of the pandemic.

New Delhi:

India’s ‘R-Value’ is inching up, and it’s a cause of concern, AIIMS Chief Dr Randeep Guleria told NDTV on Saturday, stressing on the need of aggressive containment strategies in the parts of the country that are witnessing a surge in fresh Covid infections. His remarks come amid concern over a third wave. 

“Starting from .96, and going all the way up to 1, the rise in R-Value is a cause of concern. Simply put, this means that the chances of infection spreading from a person, who has Covid, to others have gone up. The areas which are witnessing this surge should bring in restrictions and employ “test, track, and treat” strategy to break the chain of transmission,” Dr Guleria explained. The R-Factor or number shows the effective reproductive number of a virus.

India on Friday recorded 44,230 fresh infections, the highest single-day surge in three weeks. The fresh spike in cases has been worrying in Kerala and some northeastern states. Forty-six districts in the country have a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent, the government said on Saturday. 

This week, reports quoting the US health authority –  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – said that Delta variant of the coronavirus may cause more severe illness than all other known versions of the virus and spread as easily as chickenpox.

Explaining this in Indian context, Dr Guleria said: “Measles or chicken pox used to have R factor of 8 or more, which means one person could infect eight others. That sort of suggests that this virus is highly infectious. We saw that in our second wave, because whole families were getting infected. This happens with chicken pox also. In a similar manner, when one person has Delta variant, the whole family is vulnerable.”

With nearly 50 per cent of fresh Covid cases coming from Kerala, there’s a need to evaluate the surge in infections, Dr Guleria further stressed. “In the beginning, Kerala had set a precedent for others by managing the pandemic well. They also had an aggressive vaccination drive. Yet despite that, are witnessing a spike in a way that’s different from other parts of the country. This needs to be evaluated. Also, is there a variant behind the surge? Are containment strategies being aggressively followed – all this needs to be evaluated,” the AIIMS chief explained.

Neighbouring states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also need to adopt aggressive testing strategy to break the chain of transmission, he added.

In Tamil Nadu, 66 per cent of people have developed anti-bodies, a recent sero survey showed. Yet the state has been witnessing a spike. The sero surveys, however, are not an indicator of herd immunity, Dr Guleria explained. “In Brazil, similar survey from a city showed 70 per cent of population had herd immunity. Yet we had a huge outbreak. We really don’t what’s the cut off in such cases, and also the antibodies gradually decrease over a period of time. It, however, shows that the chances of serious infections are lesser. For instance in Kerala, and UK, people are getting the infection, they may be spreading but they are not getting serious infection,” he said. 

India has logged over 3.16 crore cases so far, and 4.23 lakh people have died due to Covid. 



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Latest News Today – India Reports Most New Covid Cases In 3 Weeks As R-Value


More than 45.55 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far.

New Delhi:

India’s Covid graph continued to show an upward trend as the country reported 44,230 new cases on Friday, the most in three weeks, amid fears of another wave of infections. The spread of the disease – which had eased off after a peak of four lakh daily cases in May – has forced at least one state to lock down while movement restrictions are in place in some northeastern states reporting a rise in infection rates.

The R-factor, which indicates the speed at which COVID-19 infection is spreading in the country, has inched up in the past week with Kerala and the Northeastern states reporting a steady rise in cases.

Kerala has been reporting over 22,000 cases for three days now and accounts for more than 37 per cent of India’s active cases, according to government sources. The southern state continues to have an R-value around 1.11.

An R-value of 0.95 means, every 100 infected people on an average pass on the infection to 95 other individuals. If the R-value is lesser than one, it means the number of newly infected people is lower than the number of infected people in the preceding period which means the disease incidence is going down.

“Looks like it will remain in the top spot for the next couple of weeks. The Northeast continues to have a very bad situation with most states having R-value more than one,” Sitabhra Sinha of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, who is leading the team that analysed the R-value, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The spike in infections in Kerala has forced the Centre to send a team for effective COVID-19 management there. 

Neighbouring Karnataka on Thursday recorded a steep spike in Covid cases. The southern state reported 2,052 new cases, 34 per cent more than Wednesday’s tally of 1,531. At least 505 cases were reported from state capital Bengaluru.

The government estimates that 67.6 per cent of the 1.35 billion population already have antibodies against the coronavirus. More than 45.55 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far, according to the health ministry.

When the second wave of the COVID-19 infection was at its peak, the overall R-value in the country was estimated to be 1.37 between March 9 to April 21. It declined to 1.18 between April 24 and May 1 and then to 1.1 between April 29 and May 7, according to the analysis.

Between May 9 and 11, the R-value was estimated to be around 0.98. It dropped to 0.82 between May 14 and May 30 and further to 0.78 from May 15 to June 26. The R-value however rose to 0.88 from June 20 to July 7 and then to 0.95 from July 3-22.

Nearly 194 million people are affected by COVID-19 worldwide, the World Health Organisation said, adding that infections have risen by 8 per cent in the last week. The number of coronavirus deaths globally jumped by 21 per cent during the period, it said. Most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia.

With inputs from agencies



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Latest News Today – Centre Singles Out Kerala For Covid Cases


State Health Minister Veena George had earlier this month defended the state’s Covid strategy.

New Delhi:

The Kerala government is not focusing on containing Covid, as a result of which up to 50 per cent of the new cases are being reported from that state, along with Maharashtra, Health Ministry sources have said.

“Kerala is not focusing enough on containment…They are focused more on mitigation process of treating cases than containment,” the source said. “Up to 50 per cent of new cases are coming from Kerala and Maharashtra. The fatalities are low because their health infrastructure is good.”

Kerala has been reporting a high number of infections for the past many weeks even as the overall numbers have been falling rapidly since the second wave peak across India. The southern state registered 22,129 new cases and 156 deaths today, with a test positivity rate of 12.35 per cent.

It has had to stop the vaccination drive as many of its districts, including capital Thiruvananthapuram, have run out of doses, state Health Minister Veena George said yesterday.

An increasing ‘R’ value, or Covid reproduction rate, in Kerala had earlier this month triggered concerns of a renewed wave, which could even fuel a national spike.

On July 10, Mr George had told NDTV that the continuing reportage of a large number of Covid infections in Kerala was part of the state’s strategy in fighting the pandemic and assured that this was no cause for alarm. 

Overall, infections have plateaued, she said, adding that a similar trend was seen in the first wave, too. She had termed the phenomenon “dragging the wave”.

Ms George, who recently replaced the much-lauded KK Shailaja in the role of the state Health Minister to the surprise of many, countered suspicions of slippage in caution. Despite a high share of susceptible persons in the state’s population, only 20 per cent or 21 per cent of them may have been infected till July 10, she had said.



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Telangana: Wear masks even if vaccinated, say doctors | | Live Newspaper Hyderabad


HYDERABAD: A steady increase in count of people seen without masks in the city, has health experts worried. There are also complaints of people developing rashes on their ears for wearing the mask incorrectly.
“We are still seeing patients wearing the mask at the neck or chin level. Worse, patients’ attendants are turning up without a mask while accompanying Covid-19 patients,” said Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Reseach superintendent, Dr Ehsan Ahmed Khan.
State health authorities admit that compliance to mask protocol has dropped from close to 100% to 60% now. “Even among the remaining lot, many have been wearing it incorrectly so that brings down the numbers even further,” said Telangana director of public health Dr G Srinivasa Rao.The confidence, post-vaccination, is also turning into a hurdle while convincing people to adhere to the norm, said a resident doctor at Gandhi Hospital. “We have been handing out masks whenever we see an attendant walk in without one…. Still, they are reluctant to wear it, especially if they are vaccinated,” he added.



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Latest News Today – Only 394 Insolvency Cases Resolved Under Bankruptcy Law


Only 394 out of the 4,540 cases under corporate insolvency process have been solved in five years

In the last five years since the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 came into existence, only 394 cases have managed to reach a resolution out of the 4,540 cases which have been admitted under it till June 30, 2021.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the aggregate realisable amount from the 394 cases which have been resolved under CIRP is Rs 2.45 lakh crore. This amount pertains to financial creditors as well as banks.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is a bankruptcy legislation, which was passed by the Parliament in May 2016 with the aim of creating a single law for bankruptcy and insolvency.

It was termed as a one stop solution for resolving insolvencies which earlier took a long time to get cleared and often did not offer an economic viable arrangement.

The CIRP is initiated on the basis of default amount and information on the amount of total debt of the corporate debtors under it is not maintained by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.



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Latest News Today – Coronavirus India Cases: No Oxygen Deaths? Opposition


The shortage of medical oxygen had grappled hospitals in April and May.

New Delhi:
No data was provided by states on deaths due to oxygen shortage – this statement by the Centre has led to a huge political backlash. At the peak of second Covid wave, the struggle among India’s hospitals and patients had captured global attention.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. Oxygen shortage led to many deaths in India, including in the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today, slamming the centre. “It’s completely false to say no one died due to oxygen crisis. Why were hospitals making desperate appeals everyday at the High Court? The centre may soon say there was no pandemic,” he said.

  2. “We constituted an Oxygen Audit Committee to assess deaths and provide compensation. But the Central government, through Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, dismissed it to hide the truth,” Mr Jain said. The centre is trying to hide its fault, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, calling the government policies “a disaster”.

  3. In a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, Junior Health Minister Bharati Praveen Pawar stated that health is a state subject and states and Union Territories regularly report the number of cases and deaths to the centre. “However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported,” she said. 

  4. Blaming the states, the country’s new Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told parliament: “Prime Minister repeatedly told the states…deaths have to be registered, there’s no reason to hide. It’s the responsibility of the states. We keep a record of data provided by the states. That’s all the central government has to do.”

  5. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut today attacked the ruling BJP over the statements: “I am speechless. For families who’ve lost their loved ones due to the shortage of medical oxygen, how would they’ve felt listening to this. These families should file a case against the government,” he told reporters.

  6. In a counter-attack, Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi tweeted: “Mr Sanjay Raut, I am aghast at the doublespeak of double defaulters, Shiv Sena and Congress. Please provide the number of deaths in the state of Maharashtra due to oxygen shortage to the Central government and also to the press. Same logic applies to Delhi, which was the epicentre.”

  7. In Delhi, 25 people had died in April at the Jaipur Golden Hospital. Gaurav Gera, 23, and his sister Bharti lost both their parents in the tragedy. “We were pained to hear the government’s statements in the parliament. My father was fine. When we got a call about his death, doctor told us about oxygen shortage,” Mr Gera recalled. “We’ve lost our parents but the politics is still on,” he said.

  8.  In UP, Shankar Dayal, 61, who worked at one of Lucknow’s biggest hospitals till 2020, died gasping at his home. “We went to many hospitals, but we were denied admission. There were no beds, no oxygen. We had to bring our father back home. He died because we could not arrange a fresh oxygen cylinder. We went through an endless struggle,” Prince Kumar, one of Mr Dayal’s sons, told NDTV.

  9. India saw a massive shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds at the peak of the second wave and many nations came forward to help amid desperate appeals on social media. In Goa, over 80 people died at a state-run medical facility over five days in May. In Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, 11 Covid patients admitted to a hospital ICU died.

  10. Across the country, courts saw marathon hearings over the issue as patients and their families faced shortage and black market sales of oxygen cylinders. India is now witnessing a drop in daily Covid cases amid concerns of an impending third wave.



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Latest News Today – Australia, Under Lockdown, Sees Jump In Covid Cases


A lone woman, wearing a protective face mask, walks across an unusually quiet city centre bridge.

Sydney:

Australia’s two largest states reported sharp increases in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a blow to hopes that lockdown orders would be lifted with more than half the country’s population under stay-at-home orders.

New South Wales state, home to the country’s most populous city Sydney, logged 110 new cases, up from 78 the day before, nearly four weeks into a lockdown of the city and surrounding areas to contain an outbreak of the virulent Delta variant.

Victoria state clocked 22 new cases, from nine the day before, its biggest increase since the outbreak began this month, even as it nears its second week of statewide lockdown.

“Had we not gone into the lockdown a few weeks ago, the 110 number today would undoubtedly have been thousands and thousands,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a televised news conference.

“But we need to work harder and, of course, all of us need to be on guard,” she added.

Health leaders have said their greatest concern is the number of people active in the community before receiving their coronavirus diagnosis, and that the number should be near zero before lifting lockdown.

Berejiklian said that number jumped to 43 on Wednesday, double the previous day, and that she could not say until the following week whether the city would exit lockdown by a July 30 target.

Victorian authorities, however, said 16 of its 22 new cases were in quarantine during their infectious period, while exposure sites for the remaining six were “reasonably low” due to lockdown restrictions.

A third state, South Australia, also went into its first full day of a weeklong lockdown on Wednesday, and reported one additional case.

‘MORE PFIZER’

A year and a half into the pandemic, some 13 million Australians are under hard lockdown, raising pressure on the federal government which has seen its polling at its lowest in a year due to a sluggish immunisation program. Just over 11% of the population is fully vaccinated.

So far, the main vaccine in the government’s arsenal, developed by AstraZeneca Plc, has been recommended for use only for people aged over 60 by the country’s drug regulator due to a remote risk of blood clotting, while a vaccine made by Pfizer Inc has been restricted to over-40s due to limited supply.

“We have done as much as is humanly possible but the issue is we need more vaccines, we need more Pfizer,” said NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard at the news conference.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has been criticised for saying last year that the vaccine rollout was “not a race”, went on local radio to defend the program, but acknowledged it was about two months behind plan.

“I understand there is great frustration … but this latest Delta variant has thrown a completely new curveball on this issue, which every single country in the world is wrestling with,” Morrison told one radio station.

Still, Australia has fared better than many other developed economies in keeping COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just over 32,100 cases and 915 deaths.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Latest News Today – Rise Of Covid Cases Among Unvaccinated Population


Dr Vivek Murthy says, “the good news is the vaccinated are still highly protected.” (File)

Washington:

America’s Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy on Sunday expressed concern over the “significant increase” in COVID-19 cases in the US, especially among the unvaccinated population, urging people to get vaccinated and assuring them that the current set of vaccines are highly effective against coronavirus.

The Indian-American doctor said the vaccinated people are “highly protected” and 99.5 per cent of the deaths recorded from the COVID-19 infection are among those who are unvaccinated.

This is an issue of concern especially given the Delta variant, Dr Murthy told CNN in an interview.

“What we’re seeing in LA County is concerning, this rise in cases. Unfortunately, we are seeing rises particularly among the unvaccinated in many parts of the country now and especially given the Delta variant,” he said.

“What the CDC did in its guidance about – close to two months ago now, is based on the science saying that your risk of getting sick or transmitting the virus was low if you were fully vaccinated. They gave communities and individuals the flexibility to make decisions about what to do with masks,” he said.

“I’m concerned about what we’re seeing in the country right now. We are seeing increases in cases, particularly in parts of the country where the vaccination rates are low,” he said.

Dr Murthy, however, said the good news was that among those who are fully vaccinated, there is still a high degree of protection, particularly from hospitalisations and deaths.

“In fact, 99.5 per cent of the deaths that we’re seeing right now from COVID-19 are among those who are unvaccinated,” Dr Murthy told Fox News in another interview.

“So worry that we are seeing, in fact, significant increases among the unvaccinated. But the good news is the vaccinated are still highly protected,” he said.

In areas where there are low numbers of vaccinated people or where cases are rising, it is very reasonable for counties to take more mitigation measures, like the mask rules that you see coming out in Los Angeles, he told CNN in response to a question

“And I anticipate that will happen in other parts of the country, too,” he said.

“Should also say that for individuals, as well, depending on their circumstances, some people may choose to continue wearing masks such as those who may be immunocompromised or people who have those – family members at home who are unvaccinated.

“So people can make these decisions. Counties certainly have the right to put mitigation measures back in place, and that”s not contradictory to the guidance the CDC has issued,” said the Indian-American surgeon general,” he said.

Dr Murthy said the current set of vaccines were highly effective against COVID-19.

In the case of the mRNA vaccines, more than 90 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic infection, but they’re not 100 per cent perfect, he said.

“No vaccine is. That means you will see some numbers of people who have breakthrough cases. But there are two things to know about that. One is that these numbers will be small,” he said.

So far, more than 160 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated.

“So, you will see numbers, a minority, a small minority of people who do have breakthrough infections. But here’s the other thing to know, is that when you’re fully vaccinated, even if you do have a breakthrough infection, it’s much more likely that infection will be either asymptomatic or mild.

“And that’s really good news that continues to tell us that these vaccines are highly effective, and that”s one of the reasons we are recommending them for people across the country,” he said.



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Latest News Today – Maharashtra’s Daily Covid Cases See Uptick With 8,172 In


There are 1,00,429 active cases in Maharashtra. (FILE)

Mumbai:

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 8,172 new COVID-19 cases and 124 deaths which took the state’s infection tally to 62,05,190 and death count to 1,26,851, the health department said in a release.

As many as 8,950 patients were discharged from hospitals, pushing the total of recovered persons to 59,74,594. The state has a recovery rate of 96.28 per cent.

The case fatality rate stood at 2.04 per cent, while there are 1,00,429 active cases in the state, the release said.

There are 5,77,615 people in home quarantine while 4,156 people are in institutional quarantine.

With 2,20,851 samples tested since Friday evening, the tally of coronavirus tests conducted in the state rose to 4,52,60,468.

Mumbai city reported 469 COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths, taking its caseload to 7,30,703 and death count to 15,690.

The larger Mumbai division that covers neighbouring satellite towns reported 1,512 cases and 29 deaths. The division’s case tally rose to 16,24,459 and death count to 33,231.

Nashik division reported 979 cases and seven deaths, while the Pune division added 2,493 cases and 29 deaths. Out of 29 deaths, 16 were reported from Satara district alone.

Kolhapur division added 2,635 new cases and 48 deaths. Aurangabad division reported 170 cases and one death, while Latur division recorded 291 cases and seven deaths.

Akola division reported 51 cases and zero deaths, while Nagpur division recorded 41 new cases and three fatalities.

Coronavirus figures of Maharashtra are as follows: Total cases 62,05,190; New cases 8,172; Total deaths 1,26,851; Recoveries 59,74,594; Active cases 1,00,429; Total tests 4,52,60,468.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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