Latest News Updates: Von Der Leyen Calls For EU ���discussion��� On Mandatory Vaccination

23:18 IST Sushmita Ghosh

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22:58 IST Sushmita Ghosh

EU chief calls for debate on making Covid-19 jabs mandatory

The chief of the European Union's executive arm said on Wednesday that EU nations should consider making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory because too many people still refuse to get shots voluntarily.

The EU-wide vaccination rate stands at 66 per cent, and unexpectedly high case surges in much of the 27-nation bloc has led many member countries to renew mask and testing requirements, and to take other steps to curb infections.

"It is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now - how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union,” EU President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Since health policy remains a national prerogative in the EU, and making jabs mandatory remains a highly controversial issue, von der Leyen's remarks stood out.

“One-third of the European population is not vaccinated. There are 150 million people. This is a lot,” she told reporters. (AP)

22:16 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Maharashtra logs 767 new Covid -19 cases, 28 deaths in last 24 hours

Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 767 new cases of Covid-19 and 28 deaths. While the recovery rate stands at 97.71 per cent, the fatality rate stands at 2.12 per cent.

The state has 7,391 active cases. (Inputs from Pankaj Khelkar)

21:04 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Odisha CM holds high level meet, directs officials to ensure enforcement of Covid protocols

Amid rising dismay, following the detection of the new Covid-19 variant ‘Omicron’ in several countries, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday held a high level meeting and directed senior officials to remain alert and ensure strict enforcement of Covid protocols across the state.

"We have to enforce Covid-19 safety protocols strictly," Patnaik said.

Odisha has adopted a cautious approach towards the pandemic from the beginning and has taken measures after the detection of Omicron variant, stated Patnaik.

"We have to reactivate all our protocols and keep the Covid facilities and personnel on high alert. I would like to hear from the Health department about the emerging situation and the related preparations. We have to enforce the Covid safety protocols strictly. I urge the DGP to continue the good work done by the Police since the first wave and enforce strictly,” Naveen added. (With inputs from Mohd. Suffian)

20:48 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Japan suspends new flight reservations as Omicron spreads

Japan continued its aggressive stance against a new coronavirus variant on Wednesday, asking international airlines to stop taking new reservations for all flights arriving in the country until the end of December in a further tightening of already strict border controls.

The transportation ministry said the request is an emergency precaution amid growing worry over the spread of the new omicron variant. The move by the world's third largest economy, coupled with its recent return to a ban on foreign visitors, is among the most stringent anywhere, and more in line with cloistered neighbour China than with some other democracies in the region. It comes as scientists work frantically to determine just how threatening Omicron is.

Those who have already made reservations are not affected, although flights may be cancelled if there are insufficient passengers, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said. (AP)

20:05 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Serum Institute seeks DCGI's approval for Covishield as booster dose

Serum Institute of India has sought from India's drug regulator approval for Covishield as a booster dose citing adequate stock of the vaccine in the country and a demand for a booster shot due to the emergence of new coronavirus variants, official sources said.

In an application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Prakash Kumar Singh, the Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India (SII) cited that the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has already approved the booster dose of AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, they said.

"People of our country as well as citizens of other countries who have already been fully vaccinated with two doses of Covishield are also continuously requesting our firm for booster dose," an official source quoted Singh as having said in the application on Tuesday.

"You are aware that now there is no shortage of Covishield in our country and the demand for a booster dose is increasing day by day from the people who have already taken two doses in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and emergence of new strains." Singh said.

"It is the need of the hour and a matter of right to health of every individual that they should not be deprived of third dose/booster dose to protect themselves in this pandemic situation," Singh added.

19:09 IST Sushmita Ghosh

African, Western Pacific & European regions report increase in Covid-19 cases: WHO

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday said the rate of increase of coronavirus cases has held steady over the last week, though its African, Western Pacific and European regions all reported gains.

At the same time, new deaths globally linked to Covid-19 fell 10 per cent.

The UN health agency, in its latest weekly epidemiological report on the pandemic, said case counts shot up 93 per cent in Africa, though it cautioned about interpreting too much from that high figure because it was largely due to “batch reporting” of antigen tests by South Africa. (PTI)

19:06 IST Sushmita Ghosh

South Korea confirms 5 cases of Omicron variant

South Korea on Wednesday confirmed the first cases of the new Omicron variant in five people linked to international arrivals.

18:23 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Blood groupd A, B and Rh+ at high risk to Covid-19 infection: Study

An original research article, conducted by the Department of Research and Department of Blood Transfusion Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has found that blood groups A, B and Rh+ are more susceptible to Covid-19 infection whereas O, AB and Rh- are at lower risk of Covid-19 infection. It also found that there is no association between blood groups and susceptibility to severity of disease as well as mortality.

This research has been published in November 21 edition of “Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology”.

According to Dr. Rashmi Rana, Consultant, Department of Research, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is a new virus, and it is unclear whether blood groups have any impact on Covid-19 risk or progression. Therefore, we investigated the association of ABO and Rh blood group with Covid-19 susceptibility, prognosis, recovery time, and mortality in this study.” (With inputs from Sneha Mordani)

18:24 IST Sushmita Ghosh

RAT, RT-PCR tests detects infection if patient has contracted Omicron variant: ICMR

Dr Samiran Panda, the head of the Indian Council of Medical Research Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases Division, told India Today that Rapid Antigen tests (RAT) and RT-PCR tests will detect the infection if the patient has contracted the Omicron variant and will be effective. He also said that travel bans are unlikely to work. (Inputs from Sneha Mordani)

16:52 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Bengaluru civic body starts seeking vaccination status from companies

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has started seeking vaccination status from employees in all companies. This comes after the Karnataka government stated that all employees must be completely vaccinated. (Inputs from Nolan Pinto)

© Provided by India Today (Photo: India Today)

15:58 IST Sushmita Ghosh

ICMR approves 9 systems for molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the following systems for molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2 (all these systems are considered equivalent to RTPCR). All the labs who would conduct the tests would follow the ICMR/ MoHFW guidelines to ensure genome sequencing for all positive cases.

  1. Open system RTPCR
  2. TrueNat
  3. GeneXpert
  4. RTLAMP
  5. CRISPR/TATAMD CHECK/FELUDA
  6. Abbott ID Now
  7. Accula by Thermofisher
  8. Rapid RTPCR
  9. CoviDx DirectPlex

Airports are directed by MoCA to facilitate the RT-PCR testing of passengers by extending the required facilities and logistics. (With inputs from Poulomi Saha)

15:55 IST Sushmita Ghosh

Japan starts booster Covid-19 vaccinations amid omicron scare

Japan on Wednesday started offering Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to health care workers amid growing concerns over a new variant of the virus that has already been detected in the country.

Japan's initial vaccination drive kicked off in mid-February and some medical workers received jabs more than nine months ago.

At Tokyo Medical Center, a group of nurses and doctors received booster shots.

“It's an important first step for our patients and their families to be treated with a sense of safety," said hospital chief Kazuhiro Araki.

Even though vaccine efficacy against the new variant is still being examined, booster shots are important, Araki said, because the vaccines remain effective against other strains of the virus, including delta, which put heavy pressure on Japan's health care systems this summer.

In principle, those who received their second shot eight months ago are eligible for a third shot to prevent breakthrough infections. Eligibility may be shortened to six months if there is a resurgence of infections, officials said. (AP)

15:03 IST Rishabh Sharma

There should be uniformity in issuance of guidelines: Centre tells Maharashtra govt

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday wrote to the Maharashtra government, saying the travel guidelines issued by the state are not in accordance with the central government's SoPs.

"This is in divergence with the SoPs & Guidelines issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of lndia. I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of lndia, so that uniform implementation of the guidelines may be ensured across all states/UTs. I would also advise that such modified orders of the state government are given wide publicity to obviate any inconvenience to travellers," the health secretary said in the letter.

14:50 IST Rishabh Sharma

4 passengers from UK, Netherlands test positive for Covid in Delhi

Four people who flew into Delhi from the Netherlands and the UK in the early hours of Wednesday have tested positive for Covid-19 and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing to ascertain if they have the new variant, Omicron.

All four have been admitted to the LNJP Hospital, where a dedicated ward has been set up for isolating and treating such patients.

13:44 IST Rishabh Sharma

Compulsory Covid test for foreigners arriving in Karnataka, says state health minister

Karnataka's Minister of Health and Medical Education Dr K Sudhakar today said that mandatory RT-PCR examination will be done at the airport from today for all passengers coming to Karnataka from foreign nations.

Sudhakar also said that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai would meet the Union Health Minister in Delhi and discuss the booster dose for health department staff and frontline workers.

13:38 IST Rishabh Sharma

How much time can travel bans buy us against Omicron?

The Omicron mutant strain is quickly spreading to various continents across the globe. After finding its way from southern Africa to the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Hong Kong, Belgium, and the Netherlands, the latest confirmed cases were reported in Brazil and Japan.

America's leading infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has said that the travel ban will effectively help the nation buy some time. While speaking to the media, he said that the restrictions “will slow things down” and help the US be “better prepared” for it. He acknowledged that there is "no way" that travel bans could prevent the spread of new variants.

“But what you can do is you can delay it enough to get us better prepared. And that's the thing that people need to understand. If you're going to do the travel ban the way we've done now and that we're implementing right now, utilise the time that you're buying to fill in the gaps,” Dr Fauci said. Read this report by Milan Sharma

13:23 IST Rishabh Sharma

Booster doses of Covid vaccines easiest barrier against Omicron, must be created: Virologist

Booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines are the easiest barrier that must be created immediately against Omicron, according to eminent virologist Dr T Jacob John, who noted that it may not seed the third wave of the pandemic, but breakthrough infections may be common due to the new variant.

Speaking to PTI on Omicron, John, an eminent virologist and the former director of the ICMR's Centre of Advanced Research in Virology, on Tuesday said the dictum here should be "expect the best but be prepared for the worst".

John said India's population is well-immunised by the massive first wave (which lasted eight months, infecting probably some 30 per cent of the population) of the Covid pandemic and the deadlier second wave (which in 12 weeks infected probably some 75-80 per cent of the remainder, plus many reinfections within these numbers).

"Against this background, what may happen if the variant enters and spreads far and wide is unpredictable. It may not be as bad as people fear. It may not seed a third wave. Yet, the wise course is to avoid importation and bolster our 'population immunity' (popularly called herd immunity). That means two things -- vaccinate the unvaccinated and offer booster doses to all two-dose vaccinated," he said.

(PTI)

12:56 IST Rishabh Sharma

Maharashtra govt makes negative RT-PCR report mandatory for passengers coming from other states

Maharashtra government order: "In case of domestic air travel, passengers travelling within the state will either have to be fully vaccinated or compulsorily carry a RT-PCR test within 48 hours of the time of arrival."

"In case of passengers from other states, negative RTPCR test within 48 hours of arrival will be compulsory without exceptions."

11:55 IST Rishabh Sharma

India records lowest Covid-19 cases in November since May 2020

With over 3.1 lakh fresh Covid-19 cases, the month of November saw the lowest number of people contracting the viral disease in the country since May last year.

The monthly tally of fresh Covid-19 cases registered a decline for the sixth time in a row in November.

The number of daily cases peaked on May 6, when the country registered 4,14,188 Covid cases in a span of 24 hours, while the number of active cases was recorded below one lakh after 547 days.

The daily rise in the number of new coronavirus cases has been below 20,000 for 54 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 156 consecutive days now.

(PTI)

10:56 IST Rishabh Sharma

US moving to toughen Covid testing requirement for travellers

The Biden administration is moving to toughen testing requirements for international travellers to the US, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, amid the spread of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Tuesday statement that it was working toward requiring that all air travellers to the US be tested for COVID-19 within a day before boarding their flight. Currently those who are fully vaccinated may present a test taken within three days of boarding.

“CDC is working to modify the current Global Testing Order for travel as we learn more about the Omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travellers to one day before departure to the United States,” the agency said.

(Associated Press)

10:35 IST Rishabh Sharma

Karnataka CM to meet Union Health Minister to discuss administration of Covid booster doses

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said the state government intends to administer booster doses of vaccine to health and front line workers and he will discuss it with the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

He said no decisions have been taken regarding restrictions on Christmas and New Year celebrations, and there is no need for "unnecessary worry" on lockdown like measures, when social and economic activities are slowly picking up.

"I'm going to Delhi on December 2 during which I will be meeting the Union Health Minister, I will discuss with him administration of booster dose to health and front line workers who had taken first and subsequently the second dose of vaccine about six to seven months back," Bommai said.

(PTI)

10:09 IST Rishabh Sharma

Air travellers to Bhopal now need to undergo Covid-19 test or present recent report

All air passengers arriving at the Bhopal airport will now have to undergo the RT-PCR test for Covid-19 detection before entering the city, if they fail to present a recent test report, officials said.

The RT-PCR test reports of passengers coming to bus stands and railway stations in the Madhya Pradesh capital will also be checked randomly from Wednesday, an official statement issued on Tuesday said, without mentioning the validity duration of the test reports.

Notably, Bhopal district collector Avinash Lavania on Tuesday said COVID-19 cases were rising in the state capital and everyone needed to be alert.

There have also been concerns over the new potentially more transmissible 'Omicron' variant of the coronavirus found in some countries.

(PTI)

09:51 IST Rishabh Sharma

Over 1,000 passengers from 'at-risk countries' undergo screening at Delhi airport

Operations for international arrivals are running smoothly at the Delhi airport after the implementation of the new guidelines laid down by the Union Health Ministry.

A total 1,013 passengers from four ‘at risk’ countries successfully completed their arrival formalities due to the availability of Rapid PCR Test along with RT-PCR test.

At least 792 passengers decided to take Rapid PCR Test and 221 passengers opted for RT-PCR Test.

09:43 IST Rishabh Sharma

Omicron variant could outcompete Delta, South African disease, expert says

The Omicron coronavirus variant detected in southern Africa could be the most likely candidate to displace the highly contagious Delta variant, the director of South Africa's communicable disease institute said on Tuesday.

The discovery of Omicron has caused global alarm, with countries limiting travel from southern Africa for fear it could spread quickly even in vaccinated populations and the World Health Organization saying it carries a high risk of infection surges. read more

"We thought what will outcompete Delta? That has always been the question, in terms of transmissibility at least, ... perhaps this particular variant is the variant," Adrian Puren, acting executive director of South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), told Reuters in an interview.

If Omicron proves even more transmissible than the Delta variant, it could lead to a sharp spike in infections that could put pressure on hospitals.

(Reuters)

09:41 IST Rishabh Sharma

India reports 8,954 new Covid-19 cases, 267 deaths

India reported 8,954 new Covid-19 cases and 267 deaths in the last 24 hours. The country also saw 10,207 recoveries.

The active caseload now stands at 99,023.

The tally of total administered vaccines in the country stands at 1,24,10,86,850.

08:37 IST Rishabh Sharma

UK PM Boris Johnson sets Jan 2022 booster jabs timeline as 'best' Omicron defence

Booster Covid-19 vaccines increase the body’s immune response and remain the best single defence against the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday as he confirmed an expansion of the country’s top-up booster vaccination programme.

Addressing a Downing Street press conference, Johnson set an end of January 2022 target for all adults aged over 18 now eligible for a booster vaccine to be offered a top-up dose.

"We are going to throw everything at it, to ensure that everyone eligible for that booster will be vaccinated within two months," said Johnson.

“Vaccination is our best single defence against Omicron... If you're boosted, your immune response will be stronger," he said.

"It' time for another great British vaccination effort. We've done it before and we're going to do it again and let's not give this virus a second chance," he added.

(PTI)

08:08 IST Rishabh Sharma

List of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India

List of Countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing (countries at-risk)

1. Countries in Europe including The United Kingdom

2. South Africa

3. Brazil

4. Botswana

5. China

6. Mauritius

7. New Zealand

8. Zimbabwe

9. Singapore

10. Hong Kong

11. Israel

Bangladesh removed from India's list of 'countries at-risk' category.

08:06 IST Rishabh Sharma

New rules for international arrivals kick in today Omicron variant threat

With the threat of the 'highly transmissible' Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 looming large, the Government of India's new guidelines for international travellers is set to kick in starting Wednesday.

As per the guidelines, all international travellers arriving in India will be required to fill a self-declaration form (SDF) and share a copy of their negative RT-PCR test reports with the airlines before boarding the aircraft.

For those with a travel history of countries other than the ones listed as 'at risk' countries, 2 per cent of such travellers will be subjected to random Covid-19 testing upon arrival. Read more

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-in/lifestyle/style/coronavirus-highlights-maharashtra-reports-767-new-cases-28-deaths-in-last-24-hrs/ar-AARk4Tw

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Coronavirus Highlights | Maharashtra reports 767 new cases, 28 deaths in last 24 hrs

Source:MSN

Coronavirus Highlights | Maharashtra reports 767 new cases, 28 deaths in last 24 hrs