Covid-19: Around 40 cases of Delta plus variant found in three states, says health ministry
2.02 pm: The Union health ministry says in over 45,000 samples sequenced in India, Delta plus variant, AY.1, has been reported in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, “with around 40 cases identified and no significant increase in prevalence”, reports PTI.12.07 pm: Mizoram reports 430 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, of which 103 are among jail inmates, PTI reports. 12.04 pm: Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force, says there is not sufficient data yet to be alarmed about the “Delta plus” variant. 11.51 am: A day after delivering record high 90 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses on Monday, India administered only 54.22 lakh shots on Tuesday, prompting criticism from the Opposition.The Centre claims that the record number of vaccinations is because of the it taking back charge of procurement from the states, but the Opposition claims it is a “pre-planned” exercise to boost image. Read more here: How India created a ‘world record’ for highest number of vaccinations in a single dayAs vaccinations drop from 90 lakh on Monday to 54 lakh on Tuesday, Congress criticises Centre11.48 am: There are more than 40 cases of the Delta plus variant of Covid-19 in India, say reports citing government officials. 9.55 am: Federal prosecutors have begun an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Brazil government’s contract with Bharat Biotech to buy 20 million or 2 crore doses of Covaxin, The Washington Post reports. 9.52 am: Australia’s capital city Sydney will enforce new restrictions, including making masks at all indoor venues compulsory, amid an outbreak Delta variant cases, Bloomberg reports. 9.39 am: The Kerala government eases more curbs, but warns people about the dangers of a possible third wave of Covid-19, PTI reports. “All government institutions and banks in Category A and B areas will be allowed to operate with up to 50% employees and all government institutions in category C, with up to 25%, the government said. “Places of worship can open, subject to a maximum of 15 persons at a time.” Kerala follows a triple lockdown strategy in Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts, under which restrictions are imposed at three levels. 9.36 am: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directs officials to prioritise giving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to beneficiaries on time, PTI reports. 9.08 am: India reports 50,848 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking its tally of infections to 3,00,28,709 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country’s toll rises by 1,358 to 3,90,660. The country’s count of active cases stand at 6,43,194, while the number of recoveries reach 2,89,94,855. India’s active cases are the lowest in 82 days, ANI reports, citing the government. 9.04 am: The Delta variant of Covid-19 is the “greatest threat” to the United States’ efforts to eradicate the pandemic, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci says, according to PTI. 9.02 am: AstraZeneca says its vaccine is effective against the Delta and Kappa variants of Covid-19, which were first identified in India, Reuters reports. 8.58 am: Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, shows 77.8% efficacy in phase 3 trials, according to reports. Bharat Biotech submitted phase three trial data for Covaxin to the Drug Controller General of India over the weekend, NITI Aayog (Health) member VK Paul said.8.53 am: Here are the top updates from Tuesday:The Centre called the Delta plus strain of the coronavirus a “variant of concern”, hours after Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog (Health) member VK Paul said it was only a “variant of interest”. A “variant of concern” has the highest threat perception among other coronavirus variants because of its increased transmissibility, infectivity, or resistance to vaccines. The threat perception for a “variant of interest” is comparatively lower.The Union Health Ministry advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh to make their public health response measures more focused and effective after the emergence of cases of the “Delta plus” variant of Covid-19.India reported 42,640 new coronavirus cases, taking its overall count of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 2,99,77,861. This was the first day in more than three months that the daily count fell below 50,000. The number of active cases in the country stood at 6,62,251, while the toll rose by 1,167 to 3,89,302.Pharmaceutical company Pfizer said it was in final stages of obtaining approval for the use of its Covid-19 vaccine in India.The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government and Mumbai’s civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, to frame a policy immediately to avoid unauthorised vaccination drives in which beneficiaries may be given fake vaccines.