Coronavirus live updates | India records 13,993 new cases, highest in 22 days


Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the medical community and the frontline workers to come forward and get inoculated against COVID-19. He added that the medical community is disproportionately at risk of infection from COVID-19 which has prompted their prioritisation for vaccination. “COVID-19 created immense uncertainties in the lives of all people but the community that it put most at risk is the medical fraternity. Due to this they have been first to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination so that they are protected from the disease and from developing any complications, if exposed,” he said.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:


Manipur Anganwadi worker

Manipur Anganwadi worker dies a week after taking COVID-19 vaccine

A 48-year-old Anganwadi worker in Manipur has died a week after receiving her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, officials said on Saturday.

W. Sundari Devi of Kumbi Terakha area in Bishunpur district had received her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on February 12 at Kumbhi primary health centre (PHC), they said.

She was taken to the Moirang community health centre (CHC) on February 18 as she had breathing problems and died at the CHC on Friday.

Health Department officials said that a special team will conduct the post-mortem of the deceased to ascertain the true cause of the death.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh met the family members of Sundari and heard their grievances. He expressed deep condolences and assured the family members of suitable compensation duly considering the post-mortem report. – PTI

United States

Biden believes U.S. will be approaching normalcy by end of this year

President Joe Biden has said that he believes the U.S. will be approaching normalcy by the end of this year as the country races to deliver coronavirus vaccines to millions of Americans.

Mr. Biden on Friday toured a manufacturing facility of Pfizer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, seeking to highlight efforts to mass produce a coronavirus vaccine as his administration looks for ways to increase supply and streamline distribution.

“I believe we’ll be approaching normalcy by the end of this year. And God willing, this Christmas will be different than the last,” Mr. Biden said responding to a question at the site in Michigan.

At the same time, he refused to make any commitment. – PTI

Gap between vaccine jabs

Three month gap between Oxford vaccine jabs provides better efficacy: Study

A three-month interval between doses of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine results in higher vaccine efficacy than a six-week gap, according to a new study which says the first dose can offer up to 76 % protection in the months between the two jabs.

The results of the analysis from a phase 3 randomised controlled trial, published in The Lancet journal, suggest that the interval between doses can be safely extended to three months given the protection a single dose offers.

According to the researchers, including those from the University of Oxford in the UK, this dosage regimen is beneficial while vaccine supplies are initially limited, and may allow countries to immunise a larger proportion of the population more rapidly.

“Vaccine supply is likely to be limited, at least in the short term, and so policy-makers must decide how best to deliver doses to achieve the greatest public health benefit,” said study lead author Professor Andrew Pollard from the University of Oxford. – PTI


13,993 new cases, highest in 22 days

Daily COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to about 14,000 after nearly 22 days taking India’s tally to 1,09,77,387, while the recoveries surged to 1,06,78,048, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.

A total of 13,993 new cases were registered in a span of 24 hours. The death toll increased to 101 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

On January 29, 18,855 daily cases were recorded.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,06,78,048 which translates to a national recovery rate of 97.27 per cent and the case fatality rate stands at 1.42 per cent.

The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 1.5 lakh.

There are 1,43,127 active cases of coronavirus infections in the country which comprise 1.27 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

According to the ICMR, 21,02,61,480 samples have been tested up to February 19, with 7,86,618 samples being tested on Friday.

The 101 new fatalities included 44 deaths from Maharashtra, 15 from Kerala and 8 from Punjab


No foreign virus strain in Maharashtra

Maharashtra State health department denied the presence of any new virus strain in the samples tested from Amravati, Yavatmal and Satara. The latest surge has taken the number of active cases to 44,765. Mumbai city, along with Pune, Nagpur and Amravati districts contributed to 40% of the surge.



Argentina’s Health Minister resigns amid vaccine scandal

President Alberto Fernández asked Argentina’s Health Minister to resign after a well-known local journalist said he had been given a coronavirus vaccination preferentially after requesting one from the Minister, a government official said Saturday.

ThePresident “instructed his chief of staff to request the resignation of Health Minister” Ginés González García, who is in charge of the government’s COVID-19 strategy, said the official, who was not authorised to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity. He did not say who would replace Mr.González García.


Vaccine storage

Pfizer vaccine can be stored at low temperatures for two weeks, company claims

On Friday, the U.S.-based Pfizer claimed that its COVID-19 vaccine is stable when stored in low temperatures of minus 25°C to minus 15°C, which are commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.

In a release, the company said data had been submitted to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to support a proposed update to the U.S. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Prescribing Information. It claimed that the vaccine could be stored at low temperatures for a “total of two weeks as an alternative or complement to storage in an ultra-low temperature freezer”.



‘Enhanced genome studies, social vaccine can keep check on new coronavirus mutations’

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 genome has evolved as it transmits through its human hosts, but luckily the novel variants worrying many countries globally have had a low prevalence here. But, the low prevalence of — immune-escape ‘E484K’ mutation and the ‘N501Y’ mutation with higher transmission rate — could also be simply because not enough sequencing has been done.

“More coronavirus genomes need to be sequenced across the country to accurately identify the emergence of these two and any other new variants,” asserted CSIR-CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra on Friday.

(With inputs from our Correspondents, agencies)

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