India added 21,822 coronavirus infections in 24 hours, taking its tally to 1.02 crore cases, the Health Ministry data on Thursday showed. The number of fresh infections is six per cent higher than Wednesday, when the country registered 20,549 fresh cases. In the 24-hour period, India, reported 299 deaths linked to the virus, taking the total number of fatalities to 1,48,738.
Meanwhile, a total of 17,20,49,274 samples have been tested for COVID-19 up to December 30. Of these, 11,27,244 samples were tested yesterday, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
More than 98.60 lakh people have recovered from Covid since the first case was reported on January 30 from Kerala. The national recovery rate now stands at 96.04 per cent, which is one of the highest globally, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Preparations for administering the coronavirus vaccine on Indians are in the last stages, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, a day after government-appointed experts reviewed the emergency-use applications filed by three drugmakers.
“Preparations are in last stages for the vaccination programme against COVID-19. People will get vaccine manufactured in India,” PM Modi said, laying the foundation stone for an All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gujarat’s Rajkot.
Though the number of new coronavirus cases are decreasing in the country, people should not let their guard down and strictly follow coronavirus safety measures even after vaccination, he said.
“I used to say ‘jab tak dawai nahi dhilai nahi‘ (No let up till vaccination) but now our mantra for 2021 should be: Dawai bhi, kadaai bhi (yes to medicine and yes to caution),” PM Modi said.
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The lines are endless and hospital telephones are ringing off the hook since coronavirus vaccines became available this week for the elderly in retiree-rich Florida.
The state government gave the green light Monday for inoculating those aged 65 and above — a group that makes up nearly 20 percent of the Sunshine State’s population, the largest such proportion in America.
So ever since, it has been mayhem, as tens of thousands try to get a shot they hope will protect them against the potentially deadly Covid-19.
Governor Ron DeSantis has asked for patience, admitting that at least for now, there are not enough doses for every elderly Floridian.
“The Covid vaccine supply is limited,” he told a press conference on Wednesday in a retirement community in Palm Beach.
The United States is expected to approve the low-cost AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine in April, a senior official said, more than three months after Britain’s green light on Wednesday.
Moncef Slaoui, the chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, the military-led US effort for vaccines, told reporters that US trials and assessments would be complete for approval “sometime in early April.”
“Several tens of millions of doses will have been manufactured… and therefore will be available for use if the data supports its approval,” he said.
He did not allege that Britain rushed its decision and praised Britain’s MHRA regulatory agency as “science-based.”
“Therefore I am not raising any question as to the decision that they have made,” he said.
“Having said that, the requirements of the decision process as we have built it here in the US is what I can really comment on.”
Slaoui also voiced hope for approval in the first half of February of the Janssen vaccine by Johnson & Johnson, which in contrast to the initially approved vaccines comes in a single dose.
The World Health Organization on Thursday granted emergency validation to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution.
The decision “makes the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the first to receive emergency validation from WHO since the (novel coronavirus) outbreak began a year ago,” WHO said in a statement.
France has detected its first case of the South African variant of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Thursday.
The 501.V2 Variant was detected by South African authorities in mid December.
Cases have since been found in Japan and Britain among others.
The variant, believed to be more easily transmitted like another version found in Britain, was discovered in France in a man who had returned from South Africa to his home in the Haut-Rhin region which borders Switzerland.