Coronavirus LIVE Updates: WHO discontinues hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID-19 trials after failure to reduce deaths

07:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Assam Latest Update

Assam registered 1,202 new cases on yesterday

 Assam registered 1,202 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, its highest single-day spike in the number of infections so far, taking the tally in the state to over 11,000, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Of the new cases, 777 were reported from Guwahati city alone.

Of the total 18,655 deaths reported so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest with 8,376 fatalities, followed by Delhi with 2,923 deaths, Gujarat with 1,904, Tamil Nadu with 1,385, Uttar Pradesh with 749, West Bengal with 717, Madhya Pradesh with 593, Rajasthan with 440 and Karnataka with 293.

The COVID-19 death toll mounted to 283 in Telangana, 255 in Haryana, 206 in Andhra Pradesh, 157 in Punjab, 119 in Jammu and Kashmir, 80 in Bihar, 42 in Uttarakhand, 29 in Odisha and 25 in Kerala.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of cases at 1,92,990, followed by Tamil Nadu at 1,02,721, Delhi at 94,695, Gujarat at 34,600, Uttar Pradesh at 25,797, West Bengal at 20,488 and Telangana at 20,462, according to the ministry data. The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 19,710 in Karnataka, 19,052 in Rajasthan, 16,934 in Andhra Pradesh, 16,003 in Haryana and 14,297 in Madhya Pradesh.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR,” the ministry said, adding that 4,999 cases are being reassigned to states.

Process to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine trial follows global norms, says ICMR

In the meantime, ICMR issued a statement saying that it is acting in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential.

Earlier in the day, experts cautioned against rushing the process for developing a COVID-19 vaccine after the ICMR stated it plans to launch one by 15 August. Political leaders too alleged that the process was being fast-tracked so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could make the announcement on Independence Day.

The ICMR, however, said that it is important to expedite the clinical trials for a promising indigenous vaccine in larger public interest.  All other vaccine candidates across the globe have been similarly fast-tracked, it said, adding that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has accorded permission to conduct Phase 1 and 2 (human) clinical trial of ‘COVAXIN’ based on in-depth scrutiny of the available data from pre-clinical studies.

The statement said that the letter by ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava to principal investigators of the clinical trial sites was meant to cut unnecessary red tape, without bypassing any necessary process, and speed up recruitment of participants.

Bhargava had on 2 July written to principal investigators of select medical institutions and hospitals to fast-track human clinical trial approvals for the vaccine candidate being developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech.

“ICMR is committed to treat the safety and interest of people of India as a topmost priority,” the statement further said.

Relaxations in Chennai from 6 July

In Tamil Nadu, which reported 4,280 fresh COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths on Saturday, Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced relaxations in the intense lockdown in Chennai from 6 July while extending curbs for Madurai and nearby regions till 12 July.

Chennai and its suburbs had been under a complete lockdown since 19 June with only essential services being allowed. From Monday, grocery shops can open between 6 am to 6 pm while take-away service at restaurants will be allowed between 6 am to 9 pm, said the chief minister.

With the exception of malls, all kinds of showrooms and other businesses including textiles and jewellery can be back in business and work from 10 am to 6 pm, he said.

In Madurai and its surrounding areas only essential services would be allowed to function while no kind of activities shall be permitted in containment zones, said the chief minister, appealing to people to co-operate in the fight against the pandemic.

In Bengaluru, which reported 1,172 of Karnataka’s 1,839 new cases, a complete lockdown has been imposed from 8 am on Saturday till 5 am on Monday, reported ANI.

The lockdown will be applicable within the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike limits and sale of essential items, including meat, will be allowed, said BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar while warning of strict action against those found outdoors unnecessarily.

Flights from six cities to Kolkata temporarily suspended

In light of the spurt in coronavirus cases across the country, no flights will operate to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad between 6 July and 19 July, the Kolkata airport said.

The temporary restriction has been issued on the request of the state government to control the spread of the contagion from the six cities with high caseload, it said.

Meanwhile, the state reported the highest single-day surge in both, COVID-19 fatalities and cases, as 19 people succumbed to the disease and 743 more tested positive for the virus, the state health department said.

The toll mounted to 736, while the state’s coronavirus tally shot up to 21,231, a bulletin released by the department said.

Maharashtra, Kerala report new cases

New cases were also reported in Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, among other states and UTs.

Kerala reported its highest single-day spike of 240 fresh cases, pushing the case count to 5,204. Of the new cases, 152 had come from abroad and 52 from other states, health minister KK Shailaja said in a press release adding that the number of COVID-19 hotspots in the state has gone up to 135.

Maharashtra reported 7,074 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, pushing the total number of cases to 2,00,064, said a state health department bulletin. The toll rose to 8,671 with 124 deaths reported in the last 48 hours and 171 added from the previous period, it stated.

Mumbai alone recorded 1,180 new cases and 68 deaths, according to the city’s civic body.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held a review meeting with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official and stressed on increasing tracing and testing of suspected coronavirus patients. The mortality rate due to the viral infections in the city also should be reduced, the chief minister said.

The Mumbai Police tweaked its two-kilometer radius diktat imposed to curb needless travel and allowed people to move around in the nearby neighbourhood. In a tweet, the police said people were “permitted to shop closer to home (5 am to 9 pm)” and asked them not to forget IDs and other documents while traveling for work.

Delhi recorded 2,505 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the city to 97,200, while the toll from the disease mounted to 3,004. Fifty-five fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, while 26 earlier deaths have been included in the cumulative figure, the Delhi health department said in a bulletin.

Bihar CM, Deputy CM take COVID-19 test

In Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi sent their respective swab samples for COVID-19 testing as Legislative Council Acting Chairman Awadhesh Narayan Singh was found to have contracted the infection.

According to ANI, Kumar has tested negative for the virus, while results for Sushil’s samples are awaited. Sushil along with Kumar and others had shared the dais with Singh, a BJP leader, at the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected MLCs on 1 July.

With inputs from agencies

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