Coronavirus: India should tackle Delta+ with urgency, says WHO expert
India on Sunday reported over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases, while nearly 58,000 patients were discharged after recovery. Sunday marked the 45th consecutive day that recoveries outnumbered daily new cases. However, the sharp decline in infections, as witnessed over May, has slowed. Several parts of India have lifted local curbs, even as the more infectious 'Delta' and 'Delta-Plus' variants emerge. Here are more details.
India's tally crosses 3.02 crore; over 3.95 lakh dead
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Sunday morning, India reported a total of 3,02,33,183 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 3,95,751. So far, 2,92,51,029 patients have recovered, while 5,86,403 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 50,040 new infections, 57,944 more discharges, and 1,258 fresh fatalities. 32,17,60,077 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
71.4% new cases concentrated in 5 states
Maharashtra reported 9,812 new COVID-19 cases along with 8,752 more recoveries. Karnataka, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 4,272 new cases and 6,126 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 12,118 new cases and 11,124 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 5,415 new cases and 7,661 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 4,147 new cases and 5,773 recoveries.
Just vaccine isn't enough with Delta: WHO expert
The World Health Organization's (WHO) representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic has warned that AY.1, the Delta-Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2, needs to be addressed with vaccinations and preventive protocols. "Vaccination plus masks, because just a vaccine isn't enough with Delta. We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise, there would be a lockdown," Vujnovic said on YouTube, according to ANI.
'Additional measures may be required to tackle variants'
Vujnovic—who was speaking to talk show host Vladimir Solovyov on his "Solovyov LIVE"—said vaccinations remain essential as it reduces one's chances to get infected or develop a severe case of the disease. She said "additional measures" may also be required to tackle the variant. As of Friday, India reported 51 Delta-Plus cases across 12 states, with 22 cases in Maharashtra alone.
70% breakthrough infections at Delhi hospital involve Delta variant
Out of 1,600 healthcare workers vaccinated at Delhi's Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, nearly 10% have tested positive for COVID-19. Apart from the high exposure to the virus, it was noted that 70% of the infections involved the Delta variant (B.1.617.2).
Covovax trials for kids to start next month: SII CEO
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is expected to start Phase II and Phase III pediatric trials of Covovax (vaccine developed by US-based firm Novavax) next month. The trials will start with 920 children—460 each in the 12-17 and the 2-11 age groups—at 10 sites across India, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla told TOI. Covovax will likely be launched for adults by September.