Globally confirmed COVID-19 cases passed 3 million; Lockdown likely to be extended in India | The Background

Saturday, October 16, 2021

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Globally confirmed COVID-19 cases passed 3 million; Lockdown likely to be extended in India

The Background:

As India entered into the final week of the 40-day lockdown, the focus is on what kind of exit strategy the country would opt for. Restraints on economic activity would likely to continue beyond May 3. Still, there are no signs yet to show that the country is getting better as far as the cases are concerned. Positive cases seem to rise every day.

The confirmed cases are now 29,050. Globally, it has crossed 3 million- 3,002,303. In India the death toll has reached 925, globally it is 208,131.  Total number of recovered cases worldwide stand at 878,813.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a video call with chief ministers today. The outcome of the meeting is clear: Any exit from the lockdown would be graded, and take into account caseload and virulence.

Many of the chief ministers who attended the meeting had requested an extension of the lockdown. Modi, in response, has stressed that close regulation and restrictions would continue in areas classified as hotspots. Because of time constraints, only nine chief ministers could speak. Chief Ministers from two badly affected states, Maharashtra and West Bengal, could not speak.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee later on told that she want the lockdown to be extended till 21st May.

In a major development today, the ICMR has advised states to stop using rapid antibody test kits procured from two Chinese companies, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics, after it found wide variation in their sensitivity, despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purposes.

“Several States have procured rapid antibody test kits, and on their demand, ICMR has also provided these kits with clear instructions that they are to be used only for surveillance purpose. Later, some States raised issues regarding their performance during the testing exercise that they have undertaken,’’ said the release issued by ICMR.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at companies selling Covid-19 testing kits imported from China, for reportedly trying to profit from India’s fight against COVID-19. Gandhi’s reaction came after reports that the companies were selling kits to the ICMR at inflated prices. “Even when the entire country is fighting the Covid-19 disaster, some people do not miss out on making unfair profits,” he tweeted in Hindi. “Shame, disgust at this corrupt mentality.” He had another tweet regarding the issue.

Meanwhile, plasma therapy seems to be working. The first patient who was administered convalescent plasma therapy on compassionate grounds in Delhi has now fully recovered and was discharged on Sunday with a promising prognosis. The patient had been weaned off ventilator support seven days ago at the Max Hospital in Saket, New Delhi. The 49-year-old male patient had tested positive for Covid-19 on April 4, India Today reported on Sunday.

Cover photo: Representation image


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