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Coronavirus news highlights: WHO says vaccine program gets access to 2 billion doses; Uttarakhand CM Rawat tests positive for COVID-19

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Coronavirus news highlights: India has recorded 99,56,557 confirmed COVID- 19 cases till now, including 1,44,451 deaths.

Coronavirus news highlights: WHO says vaccine program gets access to 2 billion doses; Uttarakhand CM Rawat tests positive for COVID-19
India’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 99.79 lakh with 22,890 new infections being reported in a day, while total recoveries crossed the 95 lakh-mark, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data updated on Friday. With 338 more fatalities, the death toll due to coronavirus reached 1,44,789, while the total COVID-19 cases mounted to 99,79,447, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 95,20,827 pushing the national recovery rate to95.40 per cent. The COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent. The COVID-19 active caseload remained below four lakh for the 12th consecutive day.
There are 3,13,831 active cases in the country which comprise3.14per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20 lakh-mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5.
Here are the top highlights from the coronavirus pandemic from today:
 
  • COVID-19 has spread like wildfire due to lack of implementation of guidelines: SC
  • The Supreme Court Friday said that COVID-19 pandemic has spread like a wildfire in the country due to lack of implementation of guidelines and standard operating procedure (SoPs) issued to contain it. Terming it as a world war against COVID-19, the apex court said that due to the unprecedented pandemic everybody in the world is suffering one way or the other.
    • WHO: Vaccine program gets access to nearly 2 billion doses
    • The head of the World Health Organization said Friday that the U.N. health agency's program to help get COVID-19 vaccines to all countries in need, whether rich or poor, has gained access to nearly 2 billion doses of several promising vaccine candidates. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agreements mean that some 190 countries and economies taking part in the COVAX initiative will have access to vaccines during the first half of next year. This is fantastic news and a milestone in global health, Tedros, an Ethiopian who goes by his first name, said at a media briefing also attended by COVAX and pharmaceutical industry leaders.
      • Haryana records 749 fresh COVID-19 infections, 21 more deaths
      • Haryana recorded 749 fresh COVID-19 cases on Friday which took its tally to 2,56,477, while 21 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,803, the state health department's daily bulletin said. The latest fatalities include four each from Hisar and Rewari, and two each from Gurgaon, Panchkula, Yamunanagar and Jhajjar, among other districts, it said. Among the districts which reported a big spike in cases are Gurgaon (152) and Faridabad (130). Currently, Haryana's active cases tally stands at 6,577, while the recovery rate is 96.34 per cent, according to the bulletin.
        • Nepal reports 782 new cases of coronavirus: Health Ministry
        • Nepal has reported 782 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of infections in the country to 252,474, the health ministry said on Friday. The Ministry of Health and Population said the new cases were reported after health authorities performed 5,706 screening tests across the nation. The total number of coronavirus infections in the country currently stands at 252, 474, the health ministry said in a statement. As of Friday, 9,317 corona active people were undergoing treatment at different isolation centres across the country. Of the total cases so far, 241,392 people have recovered whereas 1,765 have died, according to the ministry.
          • COVID-19: Delhi records 1,418 fresh cases, positivity rate 1.6 pc
          • Delhi recorded 1,418 fresh COVID-19 cases on Friday with over 88,000 tests being conducted, while the positivity rate stood at 1.6 per cent, authorities said. The national capital's death toll mounted to 10,219 with 37 new fatalities, they said. This is the fourth consecutive day when the positivity rate has remained below 2 per cent. It was 1.51 per cent on Thursday, 1.96 per cent on Wednesday and 1.9 per cent on Tuesday. The 1,418 fresh cases came out of 88,400 tests conducted the previous day, including 48,180 RT-PCR tests and 40,220 rapid antigen tests, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department. The positivity rate from December 3 to 7 had successively dipped to 4.96 per cent, 4.78 per cent, 4.2 per cent, 3.68 per cent and 3.15 per cent, respectively. However, on December 8 it had risen again to 4.23 per cent, falling again to 3.42 per cent on December 9 and 2.46 per cent on December 10.
            • Uttarakhand CM Rawat tests positive for COVID-19
            • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. "I had undergone a coronavirus test today and my report has come out positive. I am well and have no symptoms. So on the advice of doctors, I will remain in home isolation," Rawat said on Twitter. The chief minister also requested the people who had come into his contact over the last few days to get themselves tested for the infection.
              • AP reports 458 fresh COVID-19 cases, only one death
              • A total of 69,062 sample tests turned out 458 fresh positives of coronavirus, taking Andhra Pradesh's cumulative tally to 8,77,806. According to the latest bulletin, 534 patients got cured in 24 hours ending 9 am on Friday, thereby increasing the total recoveries from the infection to 8,66,359. After several months, only one death was reported in a day, pushing the overall toll count up to 7,070. The number of active cases in the state declined to 4,377, the bulletin said.
                • COVID-19: Dharavi records 1 new case, tally reaches 3,767
                • The number of COVID-19 cases in slum-dominated Dharavi in Mumbai increased by one to reach 3,767 on Friday, the third day in this month when the addition to the tally has been a solitary case, a BMC official said. He said 3,445 people have been discharged so far, leaving Dharavi, with a population of 6.5 lakh crammed in an area of 2.5 square kilometres, with 10 active cases. The first COVID-19 cases in Dharavi was reported on April 1.
                  • Hesitancy to get COVID-19 vaccine shot rises in India: LocalCircles survey
                  • A study conducted by LocalCircles on 18,000 people showed that hesitancy to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot has increased from 59 percent in November to 69 percent in December.
                    The side-effects, efficacy of the vaccine and a consistent reduction in the COVID-19 cases in the country are some of the major reasons cited by respondents. Watch this video for more.
                    • 86 percent people in India following AYUSH guidelines, says Official
                    • AYUSH Ministry Secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said through the Ayush Sanjeevani mobile application, the ministry has received a data set of 1.47 crore people.
                      "We found 86 percent people are following one or the other AYUSH guideline whether it is kada or haldi milk... homoeopathy. Of this data set, about 15,000 people reported that they contracted COVID-19, one-third said they were not using the Ayush modalities while two-thirds reported that they used the Ayush modalities," he said. Kotecha said a further evaluation revealed that most of those who had contracted the disease and were using the Ayush modalities did not have severe implications. They were either asymptomatic or mild cases of COVID-19.
                       
                      • Kailash Satyarthi suggests solutions to COVID-19 crisis in the new book
                      • Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi's new book discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the common way of life while suggesting solutions to the ongoing crisis triggered by the disease. The book titled COVID-19: Sabhyata ka Sankat aur Samadhan' (COVID-19: Crisis of Civilisation and Solutions) was launched online on Thursday by former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.
                        The Hindi book, published by Prabhat Prakashan, discusses how the pandemic has influenced the education system, business, politics, public safety, foreign policy, law, medicine, economy and development of countries. "The words written in the book are not merely empty words but an important lesson for the present generation. The nuances and the attitudinal concepts shall be a treat to all the readers who relate to the idea of humanity," Misra said in a statement.
                        • 1 in 5 prisoners in the US has had COVID-19, 1,700 have died
                        • One in very five state and federal prisoners in the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times higher than the general population. In some states, more than half of prisoners have been infected, according to data collected by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project.
                          As the pandemic enters its 10th month and as the first Americans begin to receive a long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine at least 275,000 prisoners have been infected, more than 1,700 have died and the spread of the virus behind bars shows no sign of slowing. New cases in prisons this week reached their highest level since testing began in the spring, far outstripping previous peaks in April and August.
                          • 2021 U-17 Euros cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
                          • The 2021 men's and women's U-17 European Championships have been cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UEFA said on Friday.
                            "Based on a constant monitoring of the development of the pandemic ... the UEFA Executive Committee decided after consultation with all 55 member associations to cancel and/or postpone some of the 2020/21 youth national team competitions," European soccer's governing body said in a statement. UEFA also said the men's U-19 Euros would go ahead in July in Romania, with the women's event set to take place in July-August in Belarus.
                            • UN head stresses the need of virus vaccine for all nations
                            • The secretary-general of the United Nations on Friday stressed that as wealthy nations roll out the coronavirus vaccine for their citizens, the world also needs to ensure it is available for everyone, everywhere. "Our challenge now is to ensure that vaccines are treated as a public good accessible and affordable to everyone, everywhere," he said according to his prepared remarks.
                              • Study sheds light on immunity transfer from COVID-19 positive mothers to babies
                              • Scientists have assessed pregnant patients admitted for COVID-19 and found antibodies against the novel coronavirus in umbilical cord blood, suggesting the possibility of transferred immunity from mothers to babies. The study, published in The Annals -- the official medical journal of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore -- periodically analysed samples from 16 pregnant patients admitted for COVID-19 to four tertiary hospitals in Singapore.
                                According to the research, there was no evidence of mother-to-child transmission of the coronavirus via breast milk or placenta. In the study, the scientists performed SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests on maternal blood and vaginal swabs, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood (UCB), and swabs of the placental and umbilical cord surfaces.
                                The researchers, including those from the Singapore General Hospital, noted that majority of the infected pregnant women had only mild disease and only two of them, who had risk factors like obesity and older age, had a severe infection. None of the women died, the study noted.
                                • FAQs on COVID-19 vaccine, as posted on MoHFW website
                                  • Virus-stricken Macron at presidential retreat with fever
                                  • As French President Emmanuel Macron rides out the coronavirus in a presidential retreat at Versailles, French doctors are warning families who are heading for the holidays to remain cautious because of an uptick in infections, especially at the dinner table.
                                    While Macron routinely wears a mask and adheres to social distancing rules, he hosted or took part in multiple group meals in the days before testing positive Thursday. Critics say that's a bad example for compatriots advised to keep their gatherings to six people.
                                    Macron is suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, officials with the presidency said Friday. They wouldn't provide details of his treatment. He is staying at the presidential residence of La Lanterne in the former royal city of Versailles.
                                    • Russia signs more deals with India to make 300 million Sputnik V vaccines
                                    • India will produce about 300 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines next year, a Russian official was quoted as saying, nearly three times the previously known number as deals have been signed with more manufacturers.
                                      Russia is already testing the first samples of Sputnik V that were produced in India, its embassy in New Delhi said on Twitter on Friday, sharing a news story in which their vaccine czar Kirill Dmitriev was quoted.
                                      • SC directs states to carry out fire safety audit of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals
                                      • The Supreme Court on Friday directed all states to carry out fire safety audits of dedicated COVID19 hospitals across the country to prevent fire incidents in medical institutions. The apex court also directed dedicated COVID19 hospitals to take a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department within four weeks and said failure to do so will invite punitive action.
                                        • Singapore study sheds light on pregnant women infected with COVID-19
                                        • Pregnant women with COVID19 do not get more sick than the wider population, according to a Singapore study published on Friday, which also found that babies born to infected mothers have antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
                                          • Odisha reports 358 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths
                                          • Odisha on Friday reported 358 new COVID19 cases, pushing the tally to 3,25,505, while the death toll rose to 1,829 with four fresh fatalities, a health department official said. The new cases were detected in 27 of the state's 30 districts, with 208 of them reported from different quarantine centres, while the remaining 150 are local contact cases.
                                            • Vaccination for COVID-19 will be voluntary: Health ministry
                                            • Getting vaccinated for COVID19 will be voluntary, the Union Health Ministry has said while underlining that the vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries. The ministry further stated that it was advisable to receive a complete schedule of the anticoronavirus vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID19 as this will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease. It also said that protective level of antibodies generally develop two weeks after receiving the second dose. The ministry listed a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on COVID19 vaccine on Thursday night and responded to questions like if taking a vaccine was mandatory, how long does it take for the antibodies to develop and if it was necessary for a COVID recovered person to take the vaccine.
                                              • Telangana adds 551 new COVID-19 cases
                                              • Telangana reported 551 fresh COVID19 cases, taking the tally to over 2.80 lakh while one fatality pushed the toll to 1,506, the state government said on Friday. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 111, followed by Rangareddy (48) and Medchal Malkajgiri (42), it said in a bulletin, providing details as of 8 PM on December 17.
                                                • 9 new COVID-19 cases in Mizoram; tally rises to 4,094
                                                • Nine more people including three Border Security Force (BSF) jawans have tested positive for COVID19 in Mizoram, pushing the state's tally to 4,094, an official said on Friday. Of the nine fresh cases, three were reported from Lawngtlai district, two each from Aizawl and Lunglei and one case each from Kolasib and Serchhip districts, the official said.
                                                  • Cathay Pacific expands cold storage as COVID-19 vaccine roll-out begins
                                                  • Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is expanding its cold storage facilities at its cargo terminal to allow it to temporarily hold more than 8.6 million vaccine doses a day as countries begin approving COVID19 vaccines.
                                                    • Singapore airport goes sub-zero for COVID-19 vaccine transport plan
                                                    • As the door of the vaccine transport cart opens at Singapore's Changi airport, the subzero temperatures inside collide with the warm, tropical air, creating a carpet of steam like hot breath on a winter's day.
                                                      • 29 new COVID-19 cases push Arunachal Pradesh's tally to 16,603
                                                      • Arunachal Pradesh's COVID19 tally rose to 16,603 as 29 more people, including four security personnel, tested positive for the infection, a health department official said on Friday. Of the fresh cases, 11 were reported from Tawang, four each from the Capital Complex region and East Siang and three from Lohit, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Dr Lobsang Jampa said.
                                                        • Biden's close adviser tests positive for COVID-19
                                                        • Congressman Cedric Richmond, a close adviser to Presidentelect Joe Biden, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the transition team. He developed symptoms on Wednesday and took a rapid test which came out positive, Transition Spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said on Thursday.
                                                          • Thane district records 331 new COVID-19 cases, 7 deaths
                                                          • With the addition of 331 new COVID19 cases, the tally in Thane district of Maharashtra has gone up to 2,37,660, an official said on Friday. He said the death toll rose to 5,849after seven more patients succumbed to the infection.
                                                            • 10 new COVID-19 cases in Andamans
                                                            • Ten more people have tested positive for COVID19 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, raising the tally in the Union Territory to 4,860, a health department official said on Friday. Of the 10 fresh cases, nine have travel history while one was detected during contact tracing, the official said.
                                                              • COVID-19 tally in India rises to 99.79 lakh
                                                              • India's COVID19 caseload rose to 99.79 lakh with 22,890 new infections being reported in a day, while total recoveries crossed the 95 lakhmark, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Friday. With 338 more fatalities, the death toll due to coronavirus reached 1,44,789, while the total COVID19 cases mounted to 99,79,447, the data updated at 8 am showed.
                                                                • 9 new COVID-19 cases in Mizoram; tally rises to 4,094
                                                                • Nine more people including three Border Security Force (BSF) jawans have tested positive for COVID19 in Mizoram, pushing the state's tally to 4,094, an official said on Friday. Of the nine fresh cases, three were reported from Lawngtlai district, two each from Aizawl and Lunglei and one case each from Kolasib and Serchhip districts, the official said.
                                                                  • Jharkhand reports 211 new COVID-19 cases, three more deaths
                                                                  • Jharkhand's COVID19 caseload mounted to 1,12,332 as 211 more people tested positive for the infection, a health department official said on Friday. The death toll increased to 1,007 as three more persons succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours, he said.
                                                                    • FDA advisors recommend emergency use authorisation of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
                                                                    • The US Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel, comprising external experts, has given an emergency use approval to Moderna COVID19 vaccine, making it the second drug after Pfizer to receive such an authorisation in less than a week. FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), made up of independent scientific and public health experts, at its meeting on Thursday voted 200 with one abstention to recommend Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna COVID19 vaccine mRNA1273.
                                                                       
                                                                      • EU COVID-19 poster child Ireland eyes new restrictions as cases rise
                                                                      • Ireland, which has the second lowest COVID19 infection rate in Western Europe, is set for a "serious increase" in cases following the relaxation of restrictions, its health minister said on Thursday, as officials called for new curbs.
                                                                        • COVID-19 restrictions push U.S. weekly jobless claims to three-month high
                                                                        • The number of Americans filing firsttime claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week as a relentless wave of new COVID19 infections hobbled business operations, offering more evidence that the economy's recovery from the pandemic recession was faltering.
                                                                          • Australian states impose border curbs as Sydney COVID-19 cluster grows
                                                                          • Australian states and territories on Friday begun imposing border restrictions after 28 COVID19 cases were detected from a cluster on Sydney's northern beaches, with fears the number of infections will rise.
                                                                            • COVID-19 surge pushes U.S. hospitals to brink as second vaccine nears approval
                                                                            • An unrelenting U.S. coronavirus surge pushed besieged hospitals further to the brink as the United States pressed on with its immunization rollout on Thursday and prepared to ship nearly 6 million doses of a new vaccine on the cusp of winning regulatory approval.
                                                                              • Brazil daily COVID-19 deaths break 1,000 as Supreme Court opens door to mandatory vaccines
                                                                              • Brazil recorded over a 1,000 new COVID19 deaths for the first time in over three months on Thursday, as its Supreme Court ruled that vaccinations could be required in the South American country.
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