Coronavirus India Updates: India Reports Over 16,000 New Infections; Active Cases Decline
A health worker wearing a protective mask holds a syringe while testing a vaccine process during a nationwide trial of a Covid-19 vaccine delivery system at a vaccination center set up in Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Coronavirus India Updates: India Reports Over 16,000 New Infections; Active Cases Decline

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Vaccine Update

India’s drug regulator on Sunday approved the Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd. and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. for restricted use in emergency situation.

Officials in New Delhi have “indicated orally” that the first 100 million vaccines will be purchased and priced at Rs 200 ($2.74) and a deal should be inked “in the next one or two days,” Serum’s Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla said in an interview on Sunday. “They will probably take another 200 million after that and then we will probably end up selling to the private market,” which might be approved in “two or three months” at Rs 1,000 a vaccine, he said.

On Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’, the DCGI said the vaccine is “safe and provides a robust immune response.” The approval for this vaccine has been given even as, Somani said, “The clinical trial ongoing within the country by the firm will continue.” Unlike his statement on the Serum vaccine, Somani did not offer a data point on the efficacy of ‘Covaxin’.

Experts, however, have voiced concerns on the approval process, and the lack of publicly-released efficacy data for Covaxin.

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Also read: Private Sector Should Be an Ally in India’s Big Vaccine Push

Active coronavirus cases in India continue to decline at a time when the country is faced with a flurry of news around the vaccine, fear of side effects, pricing and distribution.

Close to 2.3 lakh people are currently infected with the virus strain, according to data released by the Union Health Ministry as of Jan. 5, 2020. That is significantly lower than the 10 lakh-odd cases seen in mid-September. The country added over 16,300 fresh infections in the last 24 hour period while one-day recoveries jumped to nearly 30,000.

Confirmed cases have topped 1.03 crore while 99.7 lakh people have recovered from the deadly infection. Deaths reported within 24 hours dropped to 201 -- lowest since May 31-- taking the total toll to nearly 1.5 lakh.

The nation with 1.3 billion people is only behind the U.S. in the number of confirmed infections.

Key figures:

  • Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases: 1,03,56,844
  • Active cases: 2,31,036
  • Cured/discharged/migrated: 99,75,958
  • Deaths: 1,49,850
  • Number of fresh cases in last 24 hours: 16,375
  • One-day recoveries: 29,091
  • One-day deaths: 201

Global Update

The variant strain of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K. has been found in New York State. Global coronavirus infections climbed above 85 million, after daily cases in the U.S. soared to a record of nearly 300,000 following the New Year holiday.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a national lockdown in England starting from Monday night until mid-February to prevent a surge in coronavirus from overwhelming the National Health Service. Israel said it plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of its population by April or May. Germany is set to extend its lockdown.

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