The proportion of cases with ‘variants of concerns’ had risen from 10.31% in May 2021 to 51% on June 20, 2021. Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said in India, COVID-19 ‘variants of concerns’ were found to be distributed in 174 districts in 35 States. The highest numbers were reported from districts in Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, West Bengal and Gujarat.
“Variants of Concerns with public health importance detected in community samples in India include Alpha [3,969], Beta , Gamma  and B.1.617, Delta and Kappa were detected in 16,238 samples,” said Dr. Singh.
You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.
Here are the latest updates:
Oxygen needs change from day to day: AIIMS chief on controversy
Amid controversy over a report on Delhi’s oxygen needs submitted by a Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by him, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria on Saturday said it is an interim one and oxygen requirements are dynamic and change from day to day.
In the report, the five-member sub group headed by Mr. Guleria said that Delhi’s oxygen needs were “exaggerated” by four times during the second Covid wave.
“It is an interim report. The oxygen needs are dynamic and change from day to day. The matter is subjudice,” AIIMS chief told PTI.
Following the report, the BJP had on Friday had accused the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation of “criminal negligence”, while the AAP government in turn charged the saffron party with “cooking up” such a report. – PTI
Tripura extends curfew till July 2
The Tripura government has extended the COVID curfew from 2 pm to 5 am in Agartala and 10 other urban local bodies (ULBs) till July 2, a notification said.
The restrictions, first imposed on May 16 and then repeatedly extended, were scheduled to end on June 25.
“The COVID curfew will remain in force in the jurisdiction of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and 10 other ULBs from June 25 to July 2,” the notification issued by Chief Secretary Kumar Alok on Friday said.
The restrictions have also been imposed in the municipal councils of Mohanpur, Ranirbazar, Udaipur, Bishalgarh, Kumarghat, Kailashahar, Panisagar, Khowai, Belonia and Jirania Nagar Panchayat.
As per the notification, all standalone shops and commercial establishments shall remain open only between 6 am and 2 pm with strict adherence to COVID guidelines.
All government and private offices shall remain open till 4 pm with 50 per cent attendance. – PTI
Delta Plus variant: Centre asks Karnataka to take up immediate containment measures
The Centre has urged Karnataka to take up immediate containment measures, including preventing crowds, conducting widespread testing as well as increasing vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts where the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 has been detected.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar in this regard.
Pointing out that this variant has been found in Mysuru district, the letter dated June 25 said, “the Public Health Response, in this case while broadly remaining the same, has to become more focused and stringent.” “Thus, you are requested to take up immediate containment measures in these districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis,” it said. – PTI
Weekend shutdown in Kerala evokes mixed response among stakeholders
The State government’s decision to enforce complete lockdown on weekends has evoked mixed response with some stakeholders criticising it to be even counterproductive.
Unusual rush was experienced on Friday with people hitting the roads in large numbers ahead of the weekend shutdown.
“Even otherwise, most shops other than those dealing in essential items are allowed only on alternative days leading to rush when they are open. Even heavier rush is felt on Fridays because of the weekend lockdown,” said P. A. Sageer, president, Broadway Shop Owners Association.
India reaches milestone in Covid-19 testing: ICMR
India has achieved the milestone of conducting 40 crore COVID-19 tests, with the average of more than 18 lakh tests per day in the month of June, the ICMR said on Saturday, June 26, 2021.
India has tested 40,18,11,892 samples across the country till Friday, it said.
Health Ministry warns States on increased transmissibility of Delta plus
The Health Ministry has warned States that Delta plus, which is currently a variant of concern, has increased transmissibility, causes stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
Directing the States to have more focussed and stringent measures to contain the virus spread, the Ministry has now instructed that adequate samples of positive persons have to be sent to the designated labs so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be established.
Doctors across India have cautioned against any relaxation in adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour.
Chennai Corporation’s vaccination portal gets a good response
The online portal launched on June 24 by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to book slots for COVID-19 vaccination received an overwhelming response on day one with all slots getting booked in a few hours.
People who tried to book early on June 25 were in for disappointment as all the slots were full.
Launching the portal gccvaccine.in on June 24, the Corporation said that one-third of the doses allocated to each vaccination centre every day would be reserved for booking through the portal. The remaining two-thirds would be kept for walk-in beneficiaries. Apart from the portal, the Corporation announced two other modes of booking slots — by calling 044-46122300 or via WhatsApp on 9499933644.
Meghalaya mandates ‘periodical testing’ for unvaccinated shopkeepers
Shopkeepers, vendors and passenger vehicle operators in Meghalaya can opt out of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 to resume business, but they will need to undergo tests every 10 days for the safety of others.
The East Khasi Hills district administration issued an order on June 24 directing the staff of shops, business establishments and drivers, conductors and helpers of local taxis, auto-rickshaws, maxi cabs and buses to get themselves tested periodically if they choose not to get vaccinated.
This, the order issued by Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo said, was for exercising social responsibility and contributing to the safety of society.
‘No spectator’ Games remain an option
A “no-spectator Games” remains an option for the Tokyo Olympics, which open officially in just four weeks, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee said on Friday.
The admission by Seiko Hashimoto comes only four days after she announced on Monday that up to 10,000 local fans would be allowed into venues — with numbers not to exceed 50% of venue capacity regardless of indoor or outdoor events.
Organisers put off the decision on local fans for several months, and fans from abroad were banned months ago.
The move to allow fans went against many medical experts who have said the safest Olympics would be with no fans due to coronavirus.
Over 1.45 crore vaccine doses available with States
More than 1.45 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories and over 19,10,650 jabs are in the pipeline and will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The states and union territories have so far got over 31.17 crore vaccine doses through the free-of-cost channel of the central government and direct procurement.
Of these, the total consumption, including wastage, has been 29,71,80,733 doses, the ministry said. – PTI
Kattur village achieves 100% coverage with first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
All eligible residents of Kattur village in Tiruvarur district have been vaccinated against COVID-19, making it a model village for Tamil Nadu, Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian said.
All 2,334 eligible beneficiaries of the village have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“The village in Koradacheri block has a total population of 3,332. A total of 998 persons were excluded – persons aged less than 18 years, pregnant women and those who cannot take the vaccine on the basis of medical conditions. The remaining 2,334 eligible beneficiaries have been vaccinated, and this is a model village for the State,” he told reporters.
Railway Board for total vaccination of staff by July-end
The Railway Board has instructed general managers of all the zones across the country to take necessary steps to vaccinate the entire railway workforce, including coolies, contract personnel and other stakeholders by July-end.
It has called for more vaccination camps to be set up to increase the pace of vaccination with those needing the second dose to be prioritised. Suitable rewards are to be given to zones and divisions having high vaccinate rates, low wastage and good practices.
However, that is easier said than done since the railways is totally dependent on the State governments for the supply of COVID vaccines and the latter too have been trying to vaccinate prioritised persons of varied age groups, though the supplies are likely to improve in the coming months.