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Coronavirus updates | January 10, 2021

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday announced that the COVID-19 vaccination drive will begin on January 16, after the forthcoming festivals of Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Magh Bihu. The government had earlier approved emergency use authorisation (EUA) for two vaccine candidates — the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Bharat Biotech’s indigenous Covaxin. With Saturday’s announcement, the country is set to begin population-level immunisation for COVID-19

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are live updates:


4.5 lakh health workers to be vaccinated in first phase in Rajasthan

Preparations for rolling out COVID-19 vaccination programme in Rajasthan have been made and around 4.5 lakh health workers will be vaccinated in the first phase, Health Minister Raghu Sharma said.

Mr. Sharma said data of 4,36,146 government and private sector health workers had been uploaded on COVIN (COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network) software by 1 p.m. on Saturday.

He said the first phase of vaccination will be conducted at 282 sessions sites from January 16 onwards. Of them, two sites including Jaipur and Ajmer will be interactive. – PTI


Flight from U.K. with 273 passengers lands in Bengaluru after services resume

A flight from the United Kingdom landed at the Kempegowda International Airport — first since India-U.K. flight services resumed — in Bengaluru at around 4.30 a.m. on January 10 with 273 passengers, including 32 children.

A flight from the United Kingdom landed at the Kempegowda International Airport — first since India-U.K. flight services resumed — in Bengaluru at around 4.30 a.m. on January 10 with 273 passengers, including 32 children.  
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement


A flight from the United Kingdom landed at the Kempegowda International Airport — first since India-U.K. flight services resumed — in Bengaluru at around 4.30 a.m. on January 10 with 273 passengers, including 32 children.

A Health department official said, “As per the SoP (standard operating procedure), U.K. returnees are being screened after their arrival.” The official added that around 16 crew members of the flight will also undergo the screening.

On the evening of January 9, Health Minister K. Sudhakar after reviewing screening arrangements at the airport, said all U.K. returnees must undergo RT-PCR tests on arrival and that they will be allowed to leave only after the results have been received. “Those found negative will be sent home and those positive will be kept in institutional quarantine or treated at hospitals.”

Arrangements have been made by Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) for passengers to wait until the test reports are received. A waiting area is made available along with food and beverage arrangements for passengers.


Karnataka has stemmed the spread of the new strain so far: experts

Although there was a fear that some of the missing U.K. returnees (over 120 who are yet to be traced) may be carriers of the new strain of COVID-19 and the risk of the infection spreading was high, Karnataka has so far not witnessed any significant surge or cluster formations.

The Centre had stopped all flights from the U.K. on December 22 and those who landed in the State since November 25 are being traced and tested. However, even after 18 days of the last flight only 11 U.K. returnees including two of their primary contacts have tested positive for the new strain so far.

COVID-19 experts said the fact that no cluster formations have been reported so far indicates that the State has managed to tide over the new strain spread and is unlikely to witness a surge beyond what it has already witnessed. This is mainly because nearly half the population in the State has already been exposed to COVID-19 by now and has developed immunity.

Andhra Pradesh

Five Class X boys test positive for COVID-19

Five boys studying in Class X at the Zilla Parishad Government Boys’ High School at Ramasamudram mandal headquarters have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. All boys are residents of Ramasamudram, 70 km from Chittoor.

District Educational Officer N. Narasimha Reddy said the boys were advised to be under home quarantine.

“As the Sankranti holidays will be till January 18, the threat of other students getting infected does not arise. We are taking all steps to test suspected cases among all students,” the official said.


Enrol students for next year or take transfer certificate, schools tell parents

A file photo of students attending online classes in Bengaluru

A file photo of students attending online classes in Bengaluru

Managements of some of the more prominent schools in Bengaluru, who are uncertain about admissions for the 2021–22 academic year, have asked parents to fill consent forms stating that their children will continue in the same school for the next year. Those who want to pull their children out of school have been told to apply for a transfer certificate (TC) this month itself.

These measures, which have many families up in arms, come in the wake of an uncertain academic year, with an increasing number of parents pulling their children out of expensive schools owing to financial constraints.

One well-known chain of schools has reportedly informed parents that if they wish to discontinue classes, but do not want to apply for a transfer certificate by the end of the month, they will have to pay the first term fees for the 2021–22 academic year.


New Delhi

In phase 1, vaccination to be done at 89 centres in Delhi

The COVID-19 vaccination drive, which will start across the country on January 16, will be done at 89 centres in Delhi in the first phase, Delhi government spokesperson said. This will be gradually scaled up in a phased manner.

Meanwhile, the health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Saturday stated that the Capital had witnessed 519 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 6,29,801.

This is the 16th day in a row that the number of new cases has been less than 1,000. Also, 12 more deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths to 10,666.


13,900 people in Telangana to get vaccine on Jan. 16

Around 13,900 people in Telangana would receive vaccine against COVID-19 on the first day of the much awaited COVID-19 immunisation drive which is set to be rolled out from January 16. The State’s Health Minister Eatala Rajender said on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would interact with staff in two vaccine centres in the State on January 16.

Mr Rajender said that he would take the first vaccine dose. However, officials from the State Health department have mentioned on multiple occasions earlier that the priority will be given to healthcare workers, front line workers from other departments such as municipality, people above 50 years of age, and those under 50 years with co-morbidities.

List of beneficiaries from Health and other departments is being fed into COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN). General population can self-register in Co-WIN. However, the Co-WIN app or website did not go live till Saturday evening.

Tamil Nadu

Only 6% willing to go to theatres, finds survey

Disinfectant being sprayed in a cinema hall as part of Covid-19 safety measure.

Disinfectant being sprayed in a cinema hall as part of Covid-19 safety measure.
| Photo Credit: R_Ragu


Only 6% of citizens were willing to go to theatres and multiplexes in 60 days, a country-wide survey has found.

In a survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, 93% citizens, while responding to a question on whether they would like their State to permit theatres/multiplexes to operate at full capacity, were against theatres and multiplexes operating at full capacity and wanted physical distancing norms to be maintained. Only 6% voted “yes” to the question that received 8,244 responses, according to a press release.

In this recent survey conducted to check the hesitancy level to go to a theatre, citizens were also asked if the current timing was right for the State governments to allow theatres to operate at a full capacity instead of 50% seating capacity.

Though theatres resumed in October last year, only 20%-45% of seats were reportedly occupied in Tamil Nadu. This too depended on the type of movies released across cities and districts’ cinema halls. The survey received over 16,000 responses from citizens located in 219 districts of the country.


26 teachers in Odisha test positive

In a blow to the Odisha government’s move to reopen schools, 26 teachers have tested positive for the SARS-COV-2 corona virus in Gajapati district.

Schools across the State were opened for Class X and XII from January 8 in an attempt to ensure 100 days of classroom teaching before final Board examinations.

“As many as 26 of 31 new infections detected in the district were [found in] teachers. These teachers would be barred from attending schools,” said Pradeep Kumar Patra, Chief District Medical Officer, Gajapati.

Teachers underwent COVID-19 tests as per the standard operating procedure for reopening schools. “Two students have also tested positive for the coronavirus,” said Dr. Patra.


300 supervisors will monitor 1,507 vaccination sites: BBMP chief

A total of 1,507 COVID-19 vaccination sites have been identified. Supervisors will be appointed for every five sites, said N. Manjunath Prasad, Commissioner, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Speaking to reporters here on Saturday after reviewing various measures in place for the vaccination of 1.73 lakh health care workers under the first phase, he said training would be provided to the supervisors/sector officials about their roles and responsibilities. They will also be required to draw up a plan to ensure that 100 beneficiaries are vaccinated at each site per day.

“Special commissioners will be monitoring the vaccination activity in each of the eight zones,” he said.