The country's financial capital reeled under a massive shortage of the Covid-19 vaccines, with several government and private inoculation centres downing shutters temporarily, here on Friday.
The city's biggest centre at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) had barely 150 doses left by this afternoon and that was being administered to the people as per the rules, frontline workers and those above 45 years, said an official.
Among the estimated two-dozen plus centres that have already discontinued vaccination for the time being is the BKC jumbo facility, NESCO in Goregaon, besides many others run by private hospitals.
Printed or hand-scrawled notices have been pasted outside many centres in the city and the state announcing that owing to shortage of doses, the vaccination process has been discontinued temporarily.
A worried Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar assured that some stocks are expected later this evening (April 9) from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune.
"Many vaccination centres in Mumbai have come down to zero doses now and inoculations have been stopped there. We understand that between 75,000-1,00,000 doses may be received this evening and await official confirmation," Pednekar told mediapersons.
Pednekar, Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh, state Congress President Nana Patole, Nationalist Congress Party President and Minister Jayant Patil besides Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have appealed for an end to politicizing the critical issue of providing vaccines and urged that all must join hands to mitigate the peoples' sufferings.
The scarcity situation was similar in several other districts, major cities or towns with vaccine stocks expected to be exhausted by this evening, as per reports trickling in.
In view of the high population and the highest number of Covid cases and fatalities in Maharashtra, top state leaders have urged the Centre to provide the maximum number of doses to help control the pandemic.
Meanwhile, serpentine queues of anxious people were witnessed outside the BKC and NESCO centres where people thronged with prior appointments from distant places in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) since this morning for their life-saving jab.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has informed the Maharashtra government that it is not at all advisable to use a lower cycle threshold (CT) parameter in RT-PCR tests as it will lead to missing several infectious persons and increase disease transmission.
Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, in a letter to Pradeep Vyas, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Maharashtra, said: "Implementing a Ct cut off value of 24 is not at all advisable as this will lead to missing of several infectious persons and increased disease transmission."
Bhargava was replying to a letter by Vyas on the subject.
He said the globally accepted cut off for CT value for Covid-19 ranges from 35-40 depending upon individual restrictions laid down by individual manufacturers.
However, the ICMR has taken inputs from different virology laboratories across the country to arrive at a single CT value cut off based on individual laboratory experiences.
The ICMR said as per uniform consensus, a single cut off of 35 with good sigmoidal real time RT-PCR curve is acceptable.
All patients with a CT value of less than or equal to 35 may be considered positive while those with more than 35 may be considered negative.
All samples of CT value of less than or equal to 35 with poor sigmoidal curve should be essentially retested, Bhargava said in the letter.
In a new daily high, Telangana on Friday reported 2,478 new Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours as the surge continues across the state.
The new infection climbed to 2,478 from 2,055 the previous day. The fresh cases pushed the state's cumulative tally to 3,21,182.
Five more persons succumbed to the virus during the last 24 hours that ended 8 p.m. Thursday, taking the death toll to 1,746. According to the director of public health and family welfare, the fatality rate remains at 0.54 per cent against the national average of 1.30 per cent.
The number of active cases jumped to 15,472 from 13,362 the previous day. They include 9,674 who are in home/institutional isolation.
A total of 363 people recovered from the pandemic during the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative recoveries to 3,03,964. The recovery rate has slipped further to 94.63 per cent but still above the national average of 91.2 per cent.
Greater Hyderabad crossed 400-mark to report 402 cases while districts bordering it continue to witness a surge. Medchal Malkajgiri and Rangareddy districts reported 208 and 162 cases respectively.
Nizamabad district bordering Maharashtra became the third worst affected district with 176 new cases. Nirmal registered 111 new cases followed by Jagtiyal (105), Kamareddy (98), Mahaboobnagar (96), Nalgonda (88), Karimnagar (87), Mancherial (85), Warangal Urban (82), Sangareddy (79), and Adilabad (72).
The admissions into hospitals treating Covid cases have also gone up to 5,798 from 5,099 the previous day.
According to director of public health, 4,219 patients were undergoing treatment in 244 private hospitals while 1,579 beds were occupied in 61 government hospitals.
For the first time since the pandemic broke out, the authorities conducted over one lakh tests in a single day. Of the total 1,01,986 tests conducted during last 24 hours, 89,645 samples were tested in government laboratories and 12,341 in private labs. With this, the number of tests conducted in the state so far climbed to 1,07,61,939. Samples tested per million population rose to 2,89,143.
The health condition of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his predecessor senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy, who had both tested Covid positive, was stable, said health officials on Friday.
Both tested Covid positive on Thursday and were admitted in two different hospitals,.
While Vijayan admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College is being monitored by a seven-member medical team, Chandy is admitted at a private hospital in the state capital.
A source told that Chandy was cheerful, reading newspapers and watching TV in his room with his son giving him company.
While Vijayan was at his home turf in Kannur, when his daughter and son-in-law first turned positive, he after tested positive on Thursday and got himself admitted to the state-run Medical College hospital at Kozhikode.
In Chandy's case, though he was down with fever for the past two days and was under observation at his home here, it was late Thursday night after the district medical officer came home and recommended that he be moved to a hospital, he was admitted to a private hospital.
While Vijayan had taken the first dose of the vaccine jab, Chandy had not gone for it.
As many as 27,38,972 doses of coronavirus vaccines were administered in India in the past 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday.
Of the total does of vaccination on Saturday, 24,80,031 were first time beneficiaries, while 2,58,941 beneficiaries received their second dose of vaccine.
The cumulative vaccination doses reached to 7,59,79 651 till Day 78, the drive which was started in the country on January 16. These include 89,82,974 healthcare workers (first dose), 53,19,641 HCWs (second dose), 96,86,477 frontline workers (first dose) and 40,97,510 FLWs (second dose), while beneficiaries aged over 45 years -- 4,70,70,019 (first dose) and 8,23,030 (second dose).
According to the Health Ministry's reports, the cumulative vaccination figure includes over 6.5 crore (6,57,39,470) first doses, while the second dose numbers have crossed the 1 crore (1,02,40,181) mark.
On Friday, a total of 28,87,779 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 35,624 sessions for the first dose and 2,06,016 beneficiaries received their second dose of vaccine.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on 16 January with healthcare workers getting inoculated and the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced from 1 March for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions, while the third phase for people above 45 years started on April 1.
India recorded 93,249 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since September 2020, taking the total tally to 1,24,85,509 on Sunday.
The country has been recording an unabated spike in cases from over three weeks. The daily cases peaked on September 16, 2020, with 97,894 people testing positive for the virus in a single day.
The active cases have now increased to 6,91,597 comprising 5.54 per cent of the total infections, while a total 1,16,29,289 patients recovered in the last 24 hours with the recovery rate reported to be 93.14 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry reports.
At least 13 students and two non-academic staff of Delhi's prestigious St. Stephen's college have tested positive for Covid-19. This group of students had gone on a trip to Dalhousie recently, where they might have contracted the virus. Many of them were staying in the college hostel. After returning from the trip, these students were found to be positive for Covid-19.
The college administration while taking all necessary precautions has stopped all activities in the college campus for the time being. It also said the Dean of the residence has been informed and all Covid protocols are followed.
A pilgrim, Yoga Therapist, Aspirant of Samkhya (an eastern philosophy). Shilpa GM is a South Indian girl from Bengaluru. Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts with an array of job and life experiences.
Here is a self-descriptive exciting story of an innovative entrepreneur with a passion to promote India’s soft power of yoga globally.
I started my career at a very young age. I grew up with my grand parents. My Grandpa always assigned me with work and paid a few bucks for my job. That kind of boosted my self confidence. I was a Y2K teenager. The concept of pocket money was already deteriorating with the boom in the Indian BPO industries, software companies back then. I took up part time jobs to refill my wallet. These jobs literally were learning experiences of my life. I worked as a Receptionist, Office Assistant, a call center executive. And finally landed at a billion-dollar company Infosys. It definitely had an impact on my outlook to business and work etiquettes. Studying personality traits handling situations, people accordingly is a quality that has helped shape my professional life.
Decade ago, I moved to Mumbai, in pursuit of a creative life. I started working with the very first international modeling agency in Mumbai. To secure a first of its kind designation as a Head Booker in India itself was trailblazing experience. The job brought luxe, perks and more challenges each day, it was fun though. Having associated with Karl Lagerfeld fashion house models are special cherished moments.
Rewind: As a child, I had an enquiring mind. I would always be curious to learn the know-how of everything that interested me. I was a Volleyball captain in school. That’s where I started taking my physical education seriously. Through times, my interest in physical fitness has only grown. Fitness freak, always a regular at the gym. I was physically fit but lacked mental wellness. That’s when I turned to Yoga. My enquiring mind took me to right places and people. I have learnt the Art & Science of Yoga from one of the oldest traditional schools. I have been religiously practicing and training Yoga for the last 9 years now.
With constant learning, practice and exploring the art of Yoga, I came up with an idea to start a one-of-a-kind Pop-up Yoga studio called Isana Yoga in 2016. The aim is travel places and transform lives. Ever since I have traveled extensively and trained myriad yogic aspirants across the country and globe.
Isana Yoga offers Yogic sessions accordingly studying the body type. It’s more of a therapy than physical exercise. It’s designed to enhance the body, mind and spirit. It is a unique blend of Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga. The intense sessions are a combination of physical, mental and soul enhancing activities. The sessions caters all age group. Anyone willing to enhance their health and lifestyle are welcome. The response from the aspirants have been overwhelming. It’s always a happy feeling to enrich lives.
We have a trained and certified team who share the same passion for Yoga and life. Through the pandemic we have been conducting online Yoga sessions for aspirants from New York, Swedan, Dubai, London, Indonesia, Thailand and more. In India, cosmopolitan cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kerala, Goa, Pondicherry, Benaras, Kolkata form a major clientele.
2020 has been year of introspection globally. The times we have been through has realigned our choices in lifestyle. We had many turning to Yoga. I and my team members have constantly worked throughout the year remodeling mind and immune boosting yogic online sessions to our clientele.
A recent expedition to Hampi (corona free zone) in January this year marked my first physical Yoga session for a month with the aspirant’s post covid times. Thoroughly enjoyed the one on one with the yogis. Look forward for many more. Hoping we sail through the pandemic times open up to the world again.
In a current scenario, we have learnt that Health is and will always be the greatest wealth for the mankind. A quick tip from Isana Yoga would be “Inhale happiness and Exhale the madness. In my spare time I contribute my Yogic learning and tips to one of the leading Yoga Magazine called Yoga And Total Health for The Yoga Institute in Mumbai.
How to protect body and mind in todays stressed working scenario?
Like I mentioned above in my own story. Majority of the population thrive in building bodies and completely neglect the mind. We see people mindlessly running on a treadmill without even observing their bodies. Yoga is the only form of exercise to teach mind, body co ordination & synchronization. There are various Asanas, Pranayamas, Kriyas to protect the mind and body to beat the stress if taught and practiced correctly.
What does Isana YOGA has a final objective to offer for its followers?
Post pandemic times are crucial. Value for time and money and teaching the genuine art of Yoga is what we aim at. To gain one client us easy but to retain the one is where you speak for yourself. I’m proud that we have so far had retained our clients and numbers have only grown.
What not has been taught in the name Yoga?
There are major Do's & Don’ts. The principles of Yoga that should be strictly followed by its teachers and students. I have noticed how many schools wrongly teach Pranayama. Prana is subtle force in a loving being. You can’t mess up with the breathing techniques.
This is what Isana Yoga team offers to its followers, we believe in propagating the genuine form of Yoga. We carefully study the body type and personalize Yogic sessions to the clients. Yoga as it means is a beautiful blend of mind, body and spirit and we promise that very experience to our aspirants.
India has achieved a milestone in its vaccination drive with the highest-ever single day figure of more than 36.7 lakh vaccination coverage recorded over the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
As on Day-76 of the vaccination drive, 36,71,242 vaccine doses were given.
Out of which, 33,65,597 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 51,215 sessions for the first dose and 3,05,645 beneficiaries received their second dose.
Cumulatively, more than 6,87,89,138 vaccine doses have been administered through 11,37,456 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 a.m. on Friday.
These include 83,06,269 healthcare workers (1st dose), 52,84,564 healthcare workers (2nd dose), 93,53,021 frontline workers (1st dose) and 40,97,634 frontline workers (2nd dose).
Vaccine has also been given to 97,83,615 beneficiaries (1st dose) and 39,401 beneficiaries (2nd dose) aged more than 45 years with specific co-morbidities and 3,17,05,893 (1st dose) and 2,18,741 (2nd dose) beneficiaries aged more than 60 years.
Eight states -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala accounted for 59.58 per cent of the cumulative doses given so far.
Maharashtra alone accounts for 9.48 per cent of the total doses given in India.
India kicked-off the third phase of its nationwide inoculation drive against the coronavirus on Thursday.
This vaccination phase comes at a time when the country is seeing a second wave. Daily infections had gone down in December and January. However, in the past three weeks the numbers have exploded -- with over 82,000 fresh cases reported in the past 24 hours.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 and vaccination of the frontline workers started from February 2.
The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specific comorbid conditions.
In a significant step to exponentially expand the countrywide vaccination drive, the Centre has decided to operationalize both public and private sector Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) on all days of month of April and even on Gazetted holidays.
A total of 771 variants of concerns (VOCs) have been detected in a total of 10,787 positive samples shared by the states and union territories, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
These include 736 samples positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage, 34 samples of the South African (B.1.351) lineage and one sample of the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.
"Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish or direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states," the Health Ministry said.
The samples with these VOCs have been identified in 18 states, the Ministry said.
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a grouping of 10 National Laboratories, has been carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating Covid-19 viruses, and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.
Genomic variants of various viruses are a natural phenomenon and are found in almost all countries, the Ministry added.
Genome sequencing and analysis have been carried out on samples from arriving international travellers, contacts of those positive for VOC and community samples from most of the states at INSACOG partner laboratories which are 10 in number.
The analysis of samples from Maharashtra has revealed that compared to December 2020, there has been an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations.
Such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity. These mutations have been found in about 15-20 per cent of samples and do not match any previously catalogued VOCs.
From Kerala, 2,032 samples (from all 14 districts) have been sequenced. The N440K variant that is associated with immune escape has been found in 123 samples from 11 districts.
This variant was earlier found in 33 per cent of samples from Andhra Pradesh, and in 53 of 104 samples from Telangana.
This variant has also been reported from 16 other countries including the UK, Denmark, Singapore, Japan and Australia. As of now these can be at best said to be variants under investigation.
Alarm bells are ringing as 52 per cent citizens say the risk of Covid-19 variant strains leading to a strong second wave in India is now high, as per a survey by LocalCircles.
Sixty per cent believe that the new coronavirus variants have a role to play in the latest surge.
Many citizens are again planning to observe social distancing and mask protocols, maintain healthier lifestyles, and save more to prepare for a strong second wave.
Covid-19 has put pressure on the mental health of several Indians with 30 per cent experiencing its negative impact and cannot afford a strong and prolonged second wave.
Overall, the findings of this study clearly indicated that with Covid case-loads rising in India and the massive surge experienced in Maharashtra, 52 per cent of citizens in the survey now feel that the risk of a strong second wave driven by coronavirus variants is high.
The silver lining here is that with so many people realising the risk, people are once again willing to take social distancing precautions, wear masks and have healthier lifestyles.
From the learnings of handling Covid in 2020 and a massive vaccination drive that has inoculated over 4 crore citizens with approximately 30 lakh getting it each day, India is poised to handle the second wave much better, LocalCircles said.
The daily Covid caseload in India had crossed the 45,000-mark after several months, which is a 4-fold rise in the last 45 days and a 3 fold rise in the last 30 days. Maharashtra, the top contributing state now has over 30,000 daily cases which is over 60 per cent of India's caseload.
Both the SARS-COV2 variants -- the UK variant and South African variant -- have been found in India but due to limited genome testing, less than 500 cases of these variants have been identified so far.
The test positivity rate with this so-called second wave of Covid in India is extremely high.
Districts like Amravati in Maharashtra, where the South African strain was identified earlier this month, still has a test positivity rate of 12 per cent.
For this reason, there are ongoing conversations to reinforce lockdowns, night curfews, along with the issue of Covid bed non-availability.
LocalCircles has conducted a national survey to understand the perception of people about the risk associated with the strong second wave of Covid in India driven by SARS-COV2 variant.
Sixty per cent citizens believe that the new variants have a role to play in the 3-fold rise in COVID cases in the last 30 days.
Fifty-two per cent citizens believe that the risk of new coronavirus variants leading to a strong second wave is high.
This finding is significant even though this wave has only been observed in Maharashtra. With 52 per cent of citizens in the survey from across the country expressing the variant-driven second wave as a high risk indicates that Indians have started getting worried.
Scientists studying variants of coronavirus mutation suggest that we need to continue doing what we were doing-wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and practicing hand hygiene-to prevent ourselves from getting infected. They also suggest that human behaviour is important to drastically reduce the chances of getting infected.
To understand citizens' preparedness, the survey findings indicated that the majority of citizens plan to observe social distancing and follow mask protocols. Also, 69 per cent said they plan to eat healthily and exercise regularly to be better prepared for COVID variants, and thus minimise the impact.
To prepare against the new B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, most people plan to save more and keep liquid funds available for medical expenses.
The pandemic induced by the Covid-19 had caused a giant-fall in the Indian economy in 2020 and also impacted the personal financial situation of many households as people lost their jobs, faced salary cuts and delays within days of the lockdown.
Many migrant labourers, out of work went back to their native places with literally no earnings for six to nine months. It was only in September 2020, that the economic situation started to recover and many who had no savings learned about the importance of it the hard way.
Similarly, many who were impacted by Covid and needed hospitalisation without insurance coverage realised its importance.
With case-loads rising once again, the survey sought citizens' preparedness on their financial front to avert any untoward situation if the new strains of coronavirus spread rapidly. The result of the poll indicated that most citizens plan to save more and keep liquid funds available for medical expenses.
The rising case-loads are likely to have bearing on the spending as the focus of consumers like in 2020 will move from discretionary purchases of products and services to essentials.
The survey found that 12 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, 15 per cent citizens feel anxious or worried, while 11 per cent are feeling depressed or gloomy.
The last 12 months have been a difficult period for many families who lost their dear ones due to Covid, or one of the members got hospitalised with others in the family trying to arrange tests, beds, and taking care of them.
There were also cases where loved ones could not be with each other at a critical time of need. All of this left many with wounds that will take a long time to heal.
Then there were those who lost their livelihoods, jobs or had their earnings cut as businesses remained closed or operated with restrictions. In addition to these, there were also senior citizens who had to limit their movements and social networking, making them feel lonelier than ever.
Even women had to multitask like never before running their household, taking care of children with school shut most of the year, while many were also working full-time from home.
For many students who are used to being around with friends in schools and colleges, staying at home behind screens has caused levels of psychological damage.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalised last year with a severe bout of Covid-19, has received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the virus.
Taking to Twitter on Friday evening, Johnson said: "I've just received my first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine dose.
"Thank you to all of the incredible scientists, NHS (National Health Service) staff and volunteers who helped make this happen.
"Getting the jab is the best thing we can do to get back to the lives we miss so much. Let's get the jab done."
He also attached a photo of him getting the shot.
Johnson, 56, is trying to reassure the public that the AstraZeneca jab is safe after a number of countries in Europe and around the world suspended the use of it earlier this week due to blood clot fears, dpa news agency reported.
The European Union's medicines regulator issued a fresh assessment on Thursday, finding the vaccine is "safe and effective" and not associated with an increase in the overall risk of clots.
That prompted countries such as France and Germany to resume administering the jab.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex also received the AstraZeneca shot on Friday.