Bengal, Uttarakhand extend curbs with some relaxations; India logs 70,421 new cases-India News , Technomiz

Bengal, Uttarakhand extend curbs with some relaxations; India logs 70,421 new cases-India News , Technomiz

Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India issued an order stating that all centrally protected monuments, museums and sites will reopen from 16 June

As India recorded 70,421 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the lowest in 74 days, the governments of Uttarakhand and West Bengal  extended restrictions in their respective states but also announced relaxations.

“We have decided to extend the curfew for another week to 22 June in view of the COVID-19 situation. The old SOPs will largely remain in force except a few major changes such as opening the doors of the Himalayan temples for locals with negative RT-PCR reports,” Uttarakhand minister and state government’s official spokesman Subodh Uniyal said.

The West Bengal administration allowed offices to open from 1 June with restrictions on the staff strength and also permitted restaurants and bars to reopen subject to certain conditions.

Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India issued an order stating that all centrally protected monuments, museums and sites will reopen from 16 June. These include 3,693 monuments and 50 museums across India.

Active cases fall below 10 lakh

The announcements came as the active coronavirus cases in the country fell below 10 lakh after over two months. According to the Union health ministry’s data updated at 8 am, the overall tally of infections rose to 2,95,10,410, the toll reached  3,74,305 with 3,921 fatalities while active cases declined by 53,001 to 9,73,158 and comprise 3.30 percent of the total infections. The total number of recoveries climbed to 2,81,62,947 and  the national COVID-19 recovery rate improved to 95.43 percent.

The health ministry said 14,92,152 COVID-19 tests were conducted on Sunday, taking the total number of such examinations in the country so far to 37,96,24,626 and the daily positivity rate was recorded 4.72 percent. The positivity rate has stayed below 10 percent for 21 consecutive days, the ministry said. The weekly positivity rate has also reduced and stands at 4.54 percent.

‘850 oxygen plant being set up from PM-CARES’

As India emerges from the second wave which caused a major medical oxygen crisis, DRDO chief C Satheesh Reddy 850 oxygen plants are being set up in various districts from the PM Cares Fund.

“We established temporary hospitals specific to COVID-19 in many cities (during the second wave). These are modular hospitals, we call it flying hospitals, and these have been made in a way that the virus does not go out of hospitals,” he said.

“If there is any third wave, all the hospitals will be taking the load, and the government is discussing these aspects with various stakeholders,” Reddy said during the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Discourse Series’ by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), according to a DST statement.

Centre invites bids for vaccine delivery by drones

News agency PTI reported that the government has invited bids for the use of drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and drugs to remote and difficult-to-reach areas to ensure last-mile coverage in select locations of the country.

According to the bid document, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted a successful feasibility study in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and has developed a standard protocol for the delivery of vaccines using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

On behalf of the ICMR, the HLL Infra Tech Services Limited (Procurement Support Agency) has invited expression of interest (EOI) through the Central Public Procurement Portal from experienced Indian agencies for the delivery of medical supplies (vaccines/drugs) by UAVs.

Additional vials of Liposomal Amphotericin-B allocated

Meanwhile, the Centre allocated an additional 1,06,300 vials of Liposomal Amphotericin-B, used to treat mucormycosis, to states and Union Territories.

Union Minister Sadananda Gowda also said that another 53,000 vials of conventional Amphotericin-B have been given to states and UTs.

Bengal, Uttarakhand ease curbs

Also on Monday, Uttarkhand and West Bengal joined other states which have eased curbs imposed to check the spread of the coronavirus infection.

In Uttarkhand, Uniyal announced a slew of relaxations including allowing means of public transport like autorickshaws and tempos to ply and permitting sweet shops to open for five days in a week.

“People of Chamoli district now have the permission to visit Badrinath temple for ‘darshan’ if they have a negative RT-PCR test report. Similarly, people of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts can also now visit Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri respectively with a negative RT-PCR test report,” the minister said.

Fifty people can now attend marriage ceremonies and funerals instead of the present permission for 20. However, those attending weddings will have to carry a negative RT-PCR test report.

Revenue courts have also been reopened with certain restrictions, he said.

District magistrates have been authorised to relax the restrictions for market places in rural areas based on their assessment of the Covid situation, he said.

On the decision to extend the curfew till 22 June, the minister said the cases of COVID-19 may have come down but it would be premature to say that the pandemic challenge has been overcome.

The West Bengal administration extended curbs till 1 July but allowed government and private offices to function with 25 percent workforce from 16 June.

Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi said employers have to arrange transportation for employees as restrictions on public transportation services will continue till further orders.

Shopping malls will be allowed to operate from 11 am to 6 pm while markets can remain open between 7 am and 11 am from Wednesday. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open from noon to 8 pm with 50 percent of the seating capacity, Dwivedi said.

The official further said that sports events can be organised inside stadiums without any spectators present. Parks will be open in the
morning only for walkers who are fully vaccinated.

“Indoor and outdoor film shooting can resume with 50 people if they are fully vaccinated,” the chief secretary added.

ASI monuments to reopen from 16 June

Union Culture and Tourism minister Prahlad Patel tweeted that the culture ministry has given approval to the ASI to open all the monuments in the country from 16 June.

Visitors will be able to book entry tickets online and no offline booking facility will be available, PTI quoted an ASI official as saying.

According to the order issued by the ASI, the opening of the monuments will be in strict compliance with the executive orders, if any, issued by the state, district or the disaster management authority.

Appropriate guidelines and SOPs issued by Union and states governments, ministries and departments will be scrupulously followed while regulating the flow of visitors, the order stated.

Full lockdown in 17 villages of Dakshin Kannada

In Karnataka, lockdown norms have been eased in Udupi district from Monday and shops selling essentials have been allowed to remain open till 2 pm. Udupi deputy commissioner G Jagadeesha has issued instructions to officials to ensure that shops transacting business are strictly abiding by COVID-19 restrictions.

All the previous lockdown guidelines will continue to be followed till 21 June. People can now travel by autorickshaws and taxis subject to a maximum of two passengers at a time, he said.

However, the Dakshina Kannada administration has announced a total lockdown in 17 gram panchayats in the district where more than 50 cases are reported.

District deputy commissioner KV Rajendra said the complete lockdown will be in force in Neermarga and Konaje in Mangaluru taluk, eight villages in Belthangady, five villages in Sullia and two in Kadaba from 9 am on Monday to 9 am on 21 June.

Only those in the medical sector, milk supply, petrol bunks and other emergency services will be allowed to move in the villages and outside.

Also, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa announced Rs one lakh relief to each of the families under Below Poverty Line (BPL) which lost an earning or adult member due to COVID-19 .

He said the decision will benefit about 25,000 to 30,000 such families incurring an expenditure of Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore to the state exchequer.

Novavax claims vaccine 90% effective

On the vaccine front, Novavax said its shot was about 90 percent effective overall and preliminary data showed it was safe. The vaccine also protected against variants in a large, late-stage study in the US and Mexico, the company claimed.

The company said it plans to seek authorisation for the vaccine in the US, Europe and elsewhere by the end of September and be able to produce up to 100 million doses a month by then. “Many of our first doses will go to… low- and middle-income countries, and that was the goal to begin with,” Novavax cchief executive Stanley Erck told The Associated Press.

In India, Dr Sanjay Rai, Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS Delhi told PTI that the recruitment process for the clinical trial of Covaxin among children in the age group of 6-12 years will begin from Tuesday.

The trial is to be conducted in three parts: 175 volunteers each in the groups aged 12-18, 6-12 and 2-6 years. The vaccine will be given by the intramuscular route in two doses on day 0 and day 28.

This will be followed by the clinical trial of children in the age-group of 2-6 years. The enrolment of children volunteers aged 12-18 years at the AIIMS has been completed and they have been given the first dose.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had granted permission for conducting the phase 2/3 clinical trial of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin among children aged two to 18 years on 12 May.

With inputs from agencies

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