Telangana testing fewer samples, not providing Covid-19 hotspot information: Centre

The Indian Express | 4 days ago | 06-08-2022 | 05:45 pm

Telangana testing fewer samples, not providing Covid-19 hotspot information: Centre

As coronavirus cases continued to rise in Telangana, the Union government Saturday criticised the state government for “inadequate” testing and its failure to furnish information about Covid hotspots on the central portal.In a letter to state medical and health secretary S A M Rizvi, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote that as many as 12 districts in the state have reported a decline in the number of tests this week compared with the last, while four districts have reported an increase in cases during the same period.While describing these as critical areas of concern, the letter said, “It has been observed that the state has not filled the Covid -19 hotspot form on the Covid-l9 India portal [for] the past 6 months and it is essential that the lacunae are addressed swiftly. Quick and continuous updates of data will assist in tracking and monitoring case trajectories and inform the strategies and plans at the Centre, State and District levels.”Telangana reported 1,061 coronavirus infections on Friday, the highest in over six months. According to the Centre, the state has contributed 5.7 per cent of India’s weekly new cases in the week ending Friday and reported an increase in average daily new cases as well as the weekly positivity rate.The Centre also advised the state to diligently follow the five-fold strategy—involving test, track, treat, vaccinate and adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour. It warned the state about upcoming months of festivals that may cause the transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19.“It is critical for the state to ensure adequate testing is undertaken in all the districts while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests. The state must also closely monitor districts reporting a higher number of cases, positivity rates and clusters to prevent further spread of infection and effective case management,” the letter said.The Centre also asked the state to monitor regularly and report district-wise influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) in all health facilities to be able to take pre-emptive action. Samples of international passengers as well as samples collected from health facilities and local clusters should be sent to designated labs of the Insacog (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics) network for genome sequencing, the letter added.While underlining on the need to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded places with the active participation of local community leaders and other influencers, the Union health secretary asked the state to increase the pace of coronavirus vaccination and the administration of precaution doses at all government vaccination centres under the “Covid Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav” till September 30.The Centre has also written to the health secretaries of Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

Google Follow Image


Similar News

Kerala: Covid deaths/million population five times of national average
Times of India | 11 hours ago | 10-08-2022 | 11:38 am
Times of India
11 hours ago | 10-08-2022 | 11:38 am

KOCHI: Kerala’s total Covid cases may be showing a decline but there is no respite from daily new deaths. State now reports 25-30% of the daily new Covid deaths in the country. Kerala has so far reported 2,037 Covid deaths per 1 million people, the highest in the country. This is almost double of Maharashtra, which comes second with 1,297 deaths per 1 million people. In contrast, neighbouring states Tamil Nadu reported 560 deaths and Karnataka reported 627 deaths per 1 million people. The national average is 382 deaths per 1 million people. “The reason for this is because we are testing all suspected cases. We are screening even suspected Covid deaths and reporting in an honest manner,” said Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) president Dr GS Vijayakrishnan. Even though experts have called the present Covid infections mild, there is no respite from deaths. Between June 5 and 11, there were 19 new Covid deaths. This number jumped to 47 between June 12 and 18. Highest number of Covid deaths were seen during this re-emergence of the infection between July 10 and 16 when 101 new deaths were reported. Now, within a month, though there is a drop in reported Covid cases and TPR, death remains high with 99 deaths reported between July 31 and August 6. On an average, state is reporting 10 to 12 new Covid deaths daily. The case fatality ratio (CFR) at 1.32% is highest in Alappuzha district, followed by Palakkad (1.28%) and Kannur (1.27%). Despite high reporting of cases, Ernakulam’s CFR (0.9%) is less than the state average at 1.05%. Wayanad has the lowest CFR at 0.58%. “If you take the national average, then Kerala is still on top in terms of Covid deaths. But, the number is not as high as it was during the past two waves. Looking at the trend, cases continue to fall and deaths may also subside in a short span from now,” said Krishna Prasad NC, state health department official who has been analyzing Covid-19 data since 2020.

Kerala: Covid deaths/million population five times of national average
All eyes on Bihar Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, now Covid-positive, now negative, in frequent run-ins with Nitish, RJD
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 09-08-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
1 day ago | 09-08-2022 | 02:45 pm

With the game of numbers set to begin in Bihar, the one man whose actions will be most closely watched is Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha. The BJP MLA – who has had run-ins with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the past — has already given one sign of what might be coming when, amidst much raised eyebrows, he was reported to be Covid positive when the JD(U) and RJD made their first moves on Monday, only to report Covid-negative within 24 hours as the dice appeared to have been rolled.Then, on Monday night, following his fast-track recovery from Covid, one of the first people Sinha met was members of the Ethics Committee of the Assembly, headed by BJP leader Ram Narayan Mandal. While Mandal declined to divulge details, sources in the BJP said the report was about an incident of March 2021, when RJD MLAs had held the Speaker “hostage” and police had to be called to the Assembly. Sources said the report indicts about 18 MLAs.As per procedure, these MLAs will receive a notice on the advice of the Speaker, who may decide further action, and even order disqualification. With 79 MLAs, the RJD is the single-largest party in the Assembly. Any change in numbers will, of course, have repercussions on which government takes over.The incident dates back to March 23, 2021, when the Assembly had passed the Special Armed Police Act, giving more powers to police to search people, without a warrant, and make arrests, amid protests by Opposition MLAs. RJD MLAs had rushed to Speaker Sinha’s chair, torn papers and laid siege to his chambers, virtually holding him hostage inside. Police had to be called in, to remove the protesting MLAs, with many of them dragged and carried out on stretchers.A Bhumihar leader, an engineer by qualification and a dedicated RSS worker, Sinha is the BJP’s first-ever Bihar Speaker. He was a surprise choice for the post, and believed to have been picked essentially to keep the upper caste leadership of the party happy. A three-time MLA and former state minister, he has been winning from the Lakhisarai Assembly seat since 2010.In the latest instance of tension between them, Nitish had taken exception to Sinha omitting his name in the invitations sent out to mark anniversary celebrations of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha. As per JD(U) sources, that was one of the triggers for Nitish to end his alliance with the BJP.However, before that too, the Assembly was witness to an unusual showdown between the usually calm Chief Minister and the Speaker. On March 14, a heated exchange took place between the two on whether a matter being probed by the government, which had also been referred to a privilege committee, could be raised on the floor of the House time and again. Nitish made his displeasure evident when Sinha asked Cabinet minister Bijendra Yadav to apprise the House of the steps taken in an incident involving police action in Lakhisarai, for the second time. Lakhisarai is Sinha’s constituency.The incident involved alleged violation of the liquor prohibition law in Lakhisarai during Saraswati Puja by people with links to the BJP. Sinha claimed that “mere spectators” were rounded up by police, while organisers with reportedly JD(U) links were let off. BJP MLAs moved a privilege notice against Lakhisarai DySP Ranjan Kumar and two SHOs for alleged misconduct with Sinha when he raised the issue.Following the altercation with Nitish, Sinha had excused himself from the Chair, with the CM later meeting him in the day for a reconciliation. The next day, the Speaker had said the “kaala adhyaya (dark chapter)” must be closed and forgotten, while quoting from a poem by the late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee ‘Kadam milakar chalna hoga (We must march together)’.Weeks later, Lakhisarai got a new Deputy Superintendent of Police.However, Sinha has often rubbed own party leaders the wrong way. In March 2021, Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad had accused the Chair of extending “sanrakshan (patronage)” to Tejashwi, the Leader of the Opposition. Sinha had reacted, saying: “Those who resolve to act in a transparent manner, cannot keep all happy.”The same month, the Bihar House witnessed a confrontation between JD(U) Panchayati Raj Minister Samrat Chaudhary and the Speaker. Sinha had complained about online replies not reaching his office. Chaudhary contested this, adding: “Vyakul hone se kaam nahin chalega (Getting restless will not do)”.After Sinha stayed away when the House reassembled following an adjournment over the remarks, Chaudhary had offered an apology.

All eyes on Bihar Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, now Covid-positive, now negative, in frequent run-ins with Nitish, RJD
More pregnant women infected but severity, mortality lower during Omicron wave: ICMR study
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 05:45 pm
The Indian Express
2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 05:45 pm

Although more pregnant women with symptomatic Covid-19 were admitted during the Omicron wave, the severity of disease and mortality were lower than during the pre-Delta and Delta waves, a new Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study has found.Previous research demonstrated a higher frequency of severe Covid-19, ICU/HDU (high dependency units) admissions, and maternal deaths during the Delta-dominant wave in Mumbai. However, there was no information on the impact of the Omicron variant on pregnant women.Researchers from the PregCovid registry team of the ICMR-National Institute for Research in Reproductive and Child Health (NIRRCH) analysed the data of 2,058 Covid-positive pregnant and postpartum women admitted to Mumbai’s BYL Nair Hospital during the pre-delta, Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic.Of the 1,143 positive pregnant and postpartum who were admitted between April 2020 and January 31, 2021, there were 27 patients with moderate to severe symptoms and eight died. During the Delta wave from February 1, 2021 to December 10, 2021, of the 597 positive pregnant and postpartum women studied, 86 had moderate to severe symptoms while eight died. In the Omicron wave, of the 318 positive pregnant and postpartum women, two had moderate to severe symptoms and one died.The PregCovid Registry was launched in April 2020 by ICMR-NIRRCH, the municipal corporation-run hospital and Maharashtra’s Medical Education and Drugs Department to document the impact of Covid on pregnant and postpartum women and their newborns.A total of 19 tertiary care teaching institutions in the state contributed to the PregCovid registry. The registry has data from more than 9,000 pregnant and postpartum women with Covid and the evidence generated from the registry was useful for making policy decisions on coronavirus vaccination among pregnant women in India.“Our analysis showed that there was a rapid surge in admissions of Covid-positive pregnant women during the initial four weeks of the Omicron wave, suggesting a different epidemiological pattern from the pre-Delta and Delta waves,” said Dr Niraj Mahajan, from BYL Nair Hospital and the lead author of the study. Findings of the study were published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the official journal of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), in the last week of July.“We reported seven major differences on the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection among pregnant and postpartum women during the Omicron wave as compared to the pre-Delta and Delta waves. A greater number of younger women were affected during the Omicron wave compared to the two earlier waves. Although there was a higher proportion of pregnant women with symptomatic Covid-19 admitted during the Omicron wave, the severity of disease and mortality were lower than the pre-Delta and Delta waves,” Dr Rahul Gajbhiye, principal investigator of the PregCovid Registry and corresponding author, told The Indian Express.“The spontaneous preterm birth rate per 1,000 births was lower during the Omicron wave compared to the two earlier waves. There was a higher spontaneous abortion rate per 1,000 births during the Omicron wave compared to the pre-Delta and Delta waves. During the Omicron wave, gestational diabetes mellitus was lower compared to the Delta wave and eclampsia (onset of convulsions) was reported to be higher during the Omicron wave,” Dr Gajbhiye said.Overall, there was a reduction in the severity of disease and maternal mortality during the Omicron wave than during the pre-Delta and Delta waves in the Mumbai metropolitan region. Similar observations are also reported from the US, South Korea, the researchers said. The increase in the number of symptomatic Covid cases could be down to immune evasion, they explained.The decrease in severity may be explained by the fact that Omicron infection was mainly limited to the upper respiratory tract. However, more data is required to better understand the factors responsible for higher symptomatic cases and the decline in disease severity during the Omicron wave, according to Dr Geetanjali Sachdeva, director of the ICMR-NIRRCH and a co-author of the study.“We do not have any control over the nature of the next SARS-CoV-2 variant, but pregnant and lactating women do have control over receiving Covid-19 vaccine and protecting themselves and their babies. Covid-19 vaccination has been proven to help prevent severe illness and reduce mortality and pregnancy complications. Pregnant and lactating women in India have been eligible for Covid-19 vaccination since July 2021 and they must be counselled to get the vaccines,” Dr Smita Mahale, a former director of the ICMR-NIRRCH and co-author, said.

More pregnant women infected but severity, mortality lower during Omicron wave: ICMR study
Goa sees rise in demand for small Ganesh idols, artists say Maharashtrians setting trend
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 02:45 pm

Sculptors in Goa have been observing an increase in demand for small idols of Lord Ganesh for installation at home during the 10-day festival, which they attribute to the steady rise in the number of Maharashtrians settling in the state of late.Artists say that natives of Goa usually opt for idols of the elephant-headed god that are average of two feet in size, while people from Maharashtra — those who have made the state their new home — want idols sized less than a foot.​Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special priceThere is a growing trend of people from Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai, settling in Goa after the pandemic broke out and made work-from-home the new normal.Like Maharashtra, Goa has a rich tradition of celebrating the Ganesh festival, which is known as ‘Chovoth’ here. This year, the festival will start on August 31.Ritesh Chari, an artist, who is taking ahead his family business of making idols, says there has been a perceptible rise in the demand for smaller Ganesh idols over the past couple of years as compared to the pre-pandemic period.“There has been an increasing trend of demand for small idols – as tiny as 10 inches. This was never witnessed in the past,” said Chari, who keeps the Ganesh idols in a makeshift structure in Margao town for display and sale.He said that his unit makes Ganesh idols in Ponda town in North Goa district, his native place, from where they are transported to Margao in South Goa.The buyers of smaller Ganesh idols are mostly Marathi-speaking, which indicates that they are not natives of Goa, Chari said, adding that Goan families usually prefer idols that are two feet or more in size.Another idol maker, Ramakant Amonkar, who is from Marcel village in North Goa, said, “There is tradition in Mumbai to install and worship smaller Ganesh idols at home during the festival, whereas the idols in Goa are bigger in size.” He said that the demand for smaller Idols is across Goa, especially in the urban areas like Panaji, Margao, Ponda and Mapusa.“Many families have shifted to Goa during COVID-19, especially those who are retired are preferring to make home in Goa, away from the fast-paced and crowded city like Mumbai,” he said.Many families have stopped going to their ancestral villages and prefer to celebrate the Ganesh festival at their home in Goa, due to which they prefer to have smaller idols, Amonkar said.“Smaller idols can also be easily transported for immersion,” he added.The art of making Ganesh idols has been preserved by many families in the state.Chari, 29, recalls how he learnt this skill from his uncle and would like to pass it on to the future generation.He said the rise in the prices of raw material has forced them to increase the rates.“The cheapest idols are priced at Rs 800, while the expensive ones are valued at Rs 12,000. Average middle class family buys Idol costing Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,800, which is a price of two foot Ganesh,” he said.Chari has made 200 clay idols this time.Rajendra Deshpande, a photographer by profession, is among the rising number of people who have made Goa their new home after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020.Deshpande, who will be celebrating Chovoth with his family members here, said lower real estate prices and the option to work-from-home made him shift his base to Goa from Mumbai.“Life in Goa is very peaceful. We shifted here when COVID-19 was at its peak. Now we have settled here permanently,” he said.Goa Information Technology Minister Rohan Khaunte said the government is promoting the state as a destination where people from outside can come and work.​​ 📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!

Goa sees rise in demand for small Ganesh idols, artists say Maharashtrians setting trend
Maharashtra has vaccine , ‘PMR shortage caused by distribution errors’
Times of India | 2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 06:04 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 08-08-2022 | 06:04 am

PUNE: State immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai on Sunday said Covid vaccine shortages that were reported recently in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad were the result of 'distribution errors' and not supply shortages. currently has enough doses, he confirmed. "We received five lakh doses two days ago and have another five lakh doses in our reserves. A few lakh more are expected in the next three days. So, there is no shortage," Dr Desai said. But officials on the ground maintained the vaccine shortages were due to supply problems. Dr Sanjog Kadam, deputy director of health services, Pune region said, "This is no distribution error. It's a supply shortage. I will look into the matter and ensure all vaccination centres in PMC and PCMC areas are functional from Monday." Dr Suryakant Devkar, the PMC's immunization officer said, "We have just 2,500 doses of Covishield. Only six vaccination centres are currently functional due to low reserves in PMC areas." In Pimpri Chinchwad, there has been no Covid vaccination drive since Friday. "We have no vaccine stock with us. Eight of our hospitals haven't been able to hold vaccination drives since Friday," said Dr Laxman Gophane, an official with the PCMC's health department. Vaccine allocation or distribution issues have cropped up earlier, during months of high demand. State officials had said that doses from low-consumption centres can be diverted to those seeing good turnout. But several state and civic-run vaccination centres are currently seeing high demand due to the free booster drive that started for the 18-59 age group on July 15. A total of 22.46 lakh eligible citizens in the 18-59 age bracket received the precaution or booster dose in Maharashtra between July 15 and August 1. Data shows that from April 10 to July 14, when boosters for the 18-59 age group were available only at private hospitals, only 8.1 lakh people from the age bracket had taken the third shot. Essentially, the number of beneficiaries hit 22 lakh in just 15 days after the shot was made free of charge at all government vaccination sites. The nationwide free booster drive ends on September 30. So far, Mumbai has recorded booster coverage of 2.15 lakh people followed by Thane (2.05 lakh), Pune (1.86 lakh), Nashik (1.70 lakh), Nagpur (1.49 lakh), and Palghar (1.29 lakh). There are 7.5 crore people in the 18-59 years category in the state. Of them, about 75% (5.62 crore) have taken both doses of the Covid vaccine. All these people are eligible to take the precautionary dose of the same vaccine after completing the newly fixed interval of six months from the second dose. Not all age groups though have responded well to the free booster drive. According to data from the state health department, only 26% of people over 60 years of age have taken boosters. There are nearly 1.1 crore elderly (60-plus) in the state who are eligible for a booster dose, but only 26.06 lakh have taken the third shot. Health workers who were deployed to go door-to-door said many elderly were reluctant to get the third dose. "We tried to explain everything, but they refused. And we cannot force them to take the shot," said one health worker.

Maharashtra has vaccine , ‘PMR shortage caused by distribution errors’