Amid global fears over the new mutant strains of coronavirus, detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa, India recorded 20,549 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, 25 per cent higher than Monday.
India’s tally has surged to 1,02,44,852; 1.48 lakh deaths linked to the disease have been recorded so far. A consortium of 10 government labs has started genome sequencing of new Sars-CoV-2 variant believed to be significantly more infectious; 20 patients have been found to be infected with the new strain in the last two days.
Applications for the emergency use approval for the coronavirus vaccines filed by the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer were taken up for consideration by a government-appointed panel of experts on Wednesday.
Serum Institute which is making the vaccine ‘Covishield’ developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech which has partnered the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its ‘Covaxin’ made presentations before the panel. Pfizer has sought more time to present their data.
The analysis of the data is ongoing and the panel will meet again on Friday, a government statement said.
Once the vaccines are cleared by the expert panel, the applications will move to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for final approval. The government wants to start administering the shots starting next month.
Here are the LIVE updates on Coronavirus Cases:
Canada will require travellers to obtain a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the country, the government announced Wednesday.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests will need to be conducted within three days of boarding a flight, officials told a news conference.
Upon arrival travellers will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc said the new measure — along with increased monitoring at Canadian airports — would be in place “quickly,” but did not provide a specific date.
It comes after a new strain was identified in Britain, and has already spread to Canada.
The government is aggressively working on the Covid-19 mass vaccination program and there will be no delay in the inoculation process, Dr Randeep Guleria, director All India Institute of Medical Sciences said on Wednesday. He also said that priority groups have been identified and the vaccine will be free for healthcare workers, frontline workers, and the elderly.
In an interview to ANI, Dr Guleria explained the mechanism and the twin aims of the vaccination drive- “to decrease mortality as we do not want more people to die because of COVID-19, second is to break the chain of vaccination in which we will aim having a sufficient number of people vaccinated, therefore the cases come down automatically.”
“With these aims, we have to see how many people we have to vaccinate. We want to vaccinate our higher population–those having co-morbidity and the elderly because they have a higher chance of having a severe Covid-19 infection.
“We know that there are people who have got the infection and already have the immunity and if we give the vaccine to them then another significant number of people get immunity, In that way, we may have reached so-called ”herd immunity” and we may not need to vaccinate larger number of the entire population because we broke the chance of transmission,” he added.
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