Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday said that the participation of the private sector in the Covid-19 vaccination drive was “less than adequate”.
Government data showed that Kerala and West Bengal recorded negative wastage of Covid-19 vaccines in May, saving 1.10 lakh and 1.61 lakh doses, while Jharkhand had the maximum wastage of 33.95%. While Kerala reported -6.37% vaccine wastage, West Bengal recorded -5.48.
India reported a record rise in deaths from the coronavirus disease over the last 24 hours after the Nitish Kumar government added as many as 3,951 backlog fatalities to Bihar’s toll.
Deaths from Covid-19 rose by 6,148, pushing the country’s total fatalities to 3,59,676 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. For the third consecutive day, India recorded less than 1 lakh cases. With 94,052 new infections, the country now has total 2,91,83,121 cases.
Globally, the coronavirus disease has infected over 17.40 crore people and killed more than 37.49 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The national helpline number is 011-23978046, and the toll-free number is 1075.
Here are the day’s updates:
10.38 pm: Manipur reports 730 new Covid-19 cases, 668 recoveries and 10 deaths in 24 hours, reports ANI. The state’s case count rises to 58,081 and there have been 47,797 recoveries. The toll stands at 925.
10.30 pm: Haryana reports 539 new coronavirus cases, 1,221 recoveries and 32 deaths, reports ANI.
9.22 pm: India asks China to consider issuing visas to students and professionals who meet travel conditions such as vaccines made in the country, NDTV reports quoting the foreign ministry.
9.14 pm: Karnataka reports 11,042 cases and 194 deaths in the last 24 hours, shows government data.
9.12 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 16,813 new coronavirus cases and 358 deaths in the last 24 hours, shows government data.
7.40 pm: Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan flags low vacination coverage among the healthcare and frontline workers, especially for the second dose, as a cause of “serious concern”, PTI reports. Bhushan raised the matter in a meeting with states and Union Territories.
He also said that the participation of private sector in the vaccination drive was “less than adequate”.
7.33 pm: Kerala reports 14,424 new cases and 194 deaths, according to ANI. Active caseload in the state stands at 1,35,298
7.31 pm: Rajasthan reports 538 new coronavirus cases and 23 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports ANI.
6.35 pm: Goa reports 413 new cases and 13 deaths on Thursday. Its tally rises to 1,58,262, while toll reaches 2,891.
6.29 pm: Sikkim records 287 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, taking its tally of infections to 17,943, PTI reports. The state’s toll rises by three to 279.
6.27 pm: Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Minister Tulsiram Silawat directs officials to provide jobs within eight days to the family members of those employees of the department who died due to Covid-19, PTI reports.
6.23 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 8,110 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking its total count of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic to 17,87,883, PTI reports. Its toll rises by 67 to 11,763.
The state’s active cases fall below 1 lakh as it reports 12,981 recoveries.
6.18 pm: The Bombay High Court says the Centre’s supply of Amphotericin-B, used for treating mucormycosis or black fungus, to Maharashtra is inadequate, considering the number of cases in the state, PTI reports.
“This allocation doesn’t seem rational,” the court adds. “Are the medicines really reaching where they are required? What is the distribution criteria?”
6.14 pm: Delhi records 305 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking its total count of infections to since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year to 14,30,433. The Capital’s toll rises by 44 to 24,748. Its positivity rate stands at 0.41%.
The Delhi government cancels exams for classes 9 and 11. The students will be promoted on the basis of mid-term examinations.
5.19 pm: The Bombay High Court directs the Maharashtra government to widely publicise its advisory on preventing Covid-19 infection among children, reports PTI.
3.50 pm: Government data shows that Kerala and West Bengal recorded negative wastage of Covid-19 vaccines in May, saving 1.10 lakh and 1.61 lakh doses respectively, while Jharkhand had the maximum wastage of 33.95%, reports PTI. While Kerala reported -6.37% vaccine wastage, West Bengal recorded -5.48.
3.32 pm: The Union health ministry clarifies that its letter sent to the states and Union Territories regarding the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network inventory and temperature data of coronavirus vaccine was intended to prevent the use of such sensitive data for unauthorised commercial purposes.
“The crucial information related to specific vaccine usage trends for multiple vaccines used in Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), and temperature-related data in respect to each such vaccine, can be used to manipulate the market as well as associated research with respect to various vaccines and cold chain equipment,” the ministry says.
1.36 pm: Two lionesses at Tamil Nadu’s Arinagar Anna Zoological Park test positive for Covid-19, PTI reports.
1.27 pm: Kerala Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas says the government is considering making popular tourist destinations “100% vaccinated zones” by July 15 by inoculating everyone in the tourism sector, PTI reports.
The government has begun vaccinating tourism industry staffers after including them in the priority list for inoculation.
1.24 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research has approved the self-use Rapid Antigen Test kit developed by Gujarat-based Meril Diagnostics, The Hindu reports. The kit will cost Rs 250.
1.15 pm: The delta variant of Covid-19 can infect people even after they have being fully-vaccinated with Covishield or Covaxin, show separate studies by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi and National Centre for Disease Control, NDTV reports. The studies are yet to be peer-reviewed.
1.10 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reviews the construction of a 57-tonne oxygen storage tank in Siraspur in the North West part of the Capital, ANI reports.
12.38 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says every person walking into a vaccination centre should get the jab.
“Online registration is not enough for the vaccine,” Gandhi tweets. “...Those who do not have access to internet also have the right to life.”
12 pm: Germany now has 15,000 pop-up coronavirus testing centers across the country, reports The New York Times. These centers are funded by the government as experts have pushed for more testing to reduce new infections.
11.52 am: The health ministry has issued detailed guidelines for management of the coronavirus disease in children amid concerns that a possible third wave of the pandemic could affect those below 18 years.
11.50 am: Professor Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College epidemiologist whose modelling helped to persuade British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order the first lockdown, says the Delta variant of the coronavirus, first identified in India, is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha strain, reports Reuters.
“It’s well within possibility that we could see another third wave at least comparable in terms of hospitalisations,” he adds.
11.45 am: Meanwhile, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar says the city is not fudging data of coronavirus deaths, reports ANI.
“There is no river in Mumbai where bodies of people succumbing to corona are being dumped,” she says, taking a swipe at Uttar Pradesh, Bihar. “All Covid deaths in Mumbai are recorded at three places, so the data can’t be hidden.”
11.42 am: Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey tells NDTV that the state government will revise Covid figures if residents prove their family members died due to the disease.
“Our real intention is to help not to hide anything,” says Pandey. “We are not ruling out some names that are still missing.”
9.55 am: Tamil Nadu leads with 17,321 new infections, followed by Kerala (16,204), Maharashtra (10,989) and Karnataka (10,959).
9.35 am: India reports 94,052 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday morning. The country also reports its highest single day toll – 6,148 – after Bihar revised its fatality count upwards of almost 4,000 deaths.
9.20 am: Two coronavirus patients in Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital have been discharged within 12 hours after successful use of monoclonal antibody therapy, reports ANI.
“Monoclonal antibody could prove to be a game-changer in times to come if used at an appropriate time,” says Dr Pooja Khosla, a senior consultant of the Department of Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. “It can avoid hospitalisation in high-risk groups and progression to severe disease. It can help escaping or reducing the usage of steroids...”
9.15 am: The finance ministry, in its monthly economic report for May, has suggested operation of 24 hour-vaccination sites, reports The Hindu. It has also made a strong pitch to vaccinate 70 crore people with at least the first dose by September for herd immunity and economic growth.
9.10 am: United States President Joe Biden is buying 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to distribute among other countries, reports AFP. A formal announcement will be made by the president at the G-7 meeting in Britain this week.
9.09 am: The Centre has written to the states and Union Territories, asking them not to share the data of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network, or eVIN system, reports PTI. The health ministry has prohibited states from disclosing vaccine stocks and the temperature of vaccine storage at public forums, saying that it is a “sensitive information”.
The eVIN system is implemented in India with the help of the United Nations Development Programme.
“In this regard, please be advised that data and analytics generated by eVIN for inventory and temperature is owned by the Ministry of Health and not to be shared with any other organisation, partner agency, media agency, online and offline public forums without the consent of the ministry,” says a letter.
A look at the developments from Wednesday:
- India registered 92,596 new coronavirus cases, pushing the tally of infections to 2,90,89,069 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. This was the second day in a row that India recorded less than 1 lakh cases. With 2,219 deaths, the toll climbed to 3,53,528.
- The existing Covid-related restrictions in Karnataka will be relaxed in a graded manner in four or five phases, starting from June 14.
- Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, criticised a recent study that found that its jab produced significantly fewer antibodies than Covishield. The company also said that the phase 3 trial data for Covaxin will be made public in July.
- The Centre said that beneficiaries of the Covid-19 immunisation programme can correct errors on their vaccination certificates. A new option, named “raise an issue”, has been added to the CoWin portal. The app will also show a single blue border if the resident has received only the first dose. A blue shield with double tick will appear on the app of the beneficiaries who have been fully vaccinated, 14 days after receiving the second jab.
- In a hearing on a batch of public interest litigations on wider access of vaccines, the Bombay High Court asked the Centre and Maharashtra government to inform citizens about the procedure if they did not possess one of the seven identity cards prescribed for Covid-19 vaccination.