The Indian government has said the country is “well prepared” to deal with a possible third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as experts flagged the urgent need to speed up vaccinations.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the ramping up of medical infrastructure is happening at a good speed. “God forbid, if there is a third wave, we are medical infrastructure-wise well prepared,” she said.
The second wave of the pandemic overwhelmed India’s healthcare system, with hospitals across the country running out of beds and medical oxygen.
The chief of the Indian government’s Covid panel, Dr NK Arora, has said that a study shows the third wave is likely to hit India late, and the country has six to eight months to vaccinate the entire population.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has warned that there will be a new wave of the pandemic in Europe unless “we remain disciplined”.
The UN health agency’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said the number of new Covid-19 cases rose by 10 per cent across Europe last week. He said the surge was driven by increased mixing, travel, gatherings, and easing of social restrictions.
COVAX urges countries to recognise WHO-approved vaccines
The UN-backed COVAX has urged all national and local governments to recognise people who have been inoculated with WHO-approved jabs as “fully vaccinated” when making travel decisions. It said that any measure that allows people inoculated by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from the re-opening of travel would “effectively create a two-tier system, further widening the global vaccine divide and exacerbating the inequities.”
This comes after reports that those vaccinated with Covishield — Indian-made version of AstraZeneca — will not be eligible for the EU’s green pass because it’s not one of the vaccines recognised by the European Medicines Agency yet. At least eight EU countries have subsequently approved Covishield, according to reports.
Akshita Jain2 July 2021 07:02
Johnson & Johnson says its vaccine is effective against Delta variant
Johnson & Johnson has said its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine protects against the Delta variant that was first detected in India and has now spread to at least 96 countries.
The company said that data showed the durability of the immune response lasted through at least eight months.
It said that a single dose of its vaccine generated neutralising antibodies against a range of coronavirus variants of concern — including Delta — which increased over time.
Akshita Jain2 July 2021 06:32
India’s Covid death toll crosses 400,000
The number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in India crossed the grim milestone of 400,000 as 853 fatalities were reported in the 24 hours ending Friday morning.
Half of the 400,000 deaths were reported during the second wave of the pandemic that overwhelmed India’s healthcare system, according to Reuters. Its tally also showed the last 100,000 were added in just 39 days.
With 46,617 new cases, India’s overall caseload now stands at 30.45 million.
Akshita Jain2 July 2021 06:03
WHO says Delta plus not yet a ‘variant of concern’
The World Health Organisation has said that Delta plus — a mutation in the Delta variant of Covid-19 which was first identified in India — is not currently a “variant of concern” because of lower number of cases.
The Indian government, however, has classified Delta plus as a “variant of concern,” citing its increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential post vaccination immune escape.
The government said 51 cases of the new variant have been detected in India, and it has been found in at least 12 other countries so far.
Akshita Jain2 July 2021 05:38
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for Friday 02 July, 2021.
Akshita Jain2 July 2021 05:15