In view of the newfound Delta Plus variant cases in various states, the Centre on Friday (June 25) directed eight states and union territories to adopt immediate containment measures including preventing crowds, ramping up COVID-19 testing and vaccination drive in districts that have reported such cases.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to the governments of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Haryana stressed on implementing the containment measures on a priority basis.
Further, he asked them to send samples of people who test positive for COVID-19 to the designated laboratories of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be established, PTI reported.
“You are aware that INSACOG is a consortium of laboratories for whole genome sequencing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also giving timely inputs on appropriate public health response in specific geographies where variants have been found,” Bhushan said.
He added, “It has been intimated by INSACOG that the Delta Plus variant, which is currently a variant of concern (VOC), has the following characteristics — increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.”
Bhushan emphasized that public health response has to become more focused and stringent.
Asking these states to adopt containment measures, the Union Health Secretary said, “Thus, you are requested to take up immediate containment measures in these districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, (conducting) widespread testing, prompt (contact) tracing as well as (increasing) vaccine coverage on a priority basis.”
“You are also requested to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG promptly so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be established,” Bhushan was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Earlier in the day, the Centre informed that 51 cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus have been detected in 45,000 samples sequenced so far in the country.
Sujeet Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said 22 cases of the Delta Plus variant have been found in Maharashtra, nine in Tamil Nadu, seven in Madhya Pradesh, three in Kerala, two each in Punjab and Gujarat, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Karnataka.
Meanwhile, three deaths have occurred due to the Delta Plus variant so far, including one in Maharashtra and two in Madhya Pradesh.
63 new COVID-19 cases in J&K, one death in Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir Friday reported 63 new COVID-19 cases while one death was also reported in Kashmir division in the last 24 hours.
Of the fresh cases, 30 were reported in Kashmir and 33 in Jammu as per data thus taking the overall infection tally to 3,20,403 while the death toll has reached 4,374.
A total of 3,14, 620 have already recovered from the disease including the 166 recoveries in the last 24 hours alone.
Presently, there are a total of 1,409 active virus cases in J&K- 845 in Kashmir and 564 in Jammu.
India logs 35,342 new COVID-19 cases
As many as 35,342 new COVID-19 cases and 38,740 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours, the union health ministry informed on Friday.
The cumulative positive cases now stand at 3,12,93,062, including 3,04,68,079 recoveries and 4,05,513 active cases.
The country’s COVID death tally has reached 4,19,470, including 483 in the last 24 hours.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as many as 45,29,39,545 samples have been tested for COVID so far. Of these, 16,68,561 were tested in the last 24 hours.
The daily positivity rate currently stands at 2.12 per cent, and has remained less than 3 per cent for 32 consecutive days. The active cases constitute 1.30 per cent of total cases.
The recovery rate is currently at 97.36 per cent
A total of 42,34,17,030 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country so far, including 33,39,45,151 first doses. 8,94,71,879 people in the country are fully vaccinated.
54,76,423 doses were administered in the last 24 hours, of which 36,24,007 were first doses and 18,52,416 were second doses.
According to the health ministry, 43,87,50,190 vaccine doses have been supplied to states so far. 41,12,30,353 have been consumed (including wastage), while 71,40,000 are in the pipeline.
2,75,19,837 unutilized COVID Vaccine doses are still available with the States and union territories and private hospitals to be administered.
COVID-19: Second dose trial of Covaxin on 2-6 years to begin by next week
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi will commence the second dose trial of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, for children aged 2-6 years.
According to ANI reports, sources on Thursday (July 22, 2021) revealed that as part of its COVID-19 vaccination trials for children, Bharat Biotech is likely to administer the second dose of Covaxin to children aged between 2 and 6 years next week.
Sources also revealed that the children, in the above-mentioned age group, have already received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
AIIMS Delhi is one of the trial centres for the vaccine for those below 18 years. The sources added that the second dose of Covaxin has already been administered to children in the age group of 6-12 years at AIIMS, Delhi.
Additionally, the results of clinical trials are expected to come in one month after the completion of trials of all age groups. The trial is being conducted in three phases by segregating children into categories according to their age.
The first trial was started in the age group of 12-18 years followed by the age group of 6-12 years and 2-6 years which are currently undergoing trials.
Recently, the Centre informed the Delhi High Court that clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 18 years of age were to get completed soon.
Meanwhile, the government officials had also informed the Supreme Court earlier, that Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine has concluded its clinical trial for the age group of 12 to 18.
“It is submitted that Zydus Cadila, which is developing DNA vaccines has concluded its clinical trial for between the age group of 12 to 18 and subject to the statutory permissions, the same may be available in near future for children of the age group of 12 to 18 years of age,” Centre had said, adding that achieving 100 percent vaccination in the shortest time possible is Centre’s topmost priority and all efforts are being made to achieve it.
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