Johnson & Johnson has withdrawn its proposal seeking approval of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in India, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) sources said on Monday. Johnson & Johnson has not yet cited any reason for the withdrawal. The US FDA authorised Johnson & Johnson’s viral vector COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in February of 2021. However, just weeks after its authorisation, the vaccine was linked to a rare but serious blood-clotting disorder. So far, four vaccines have been given Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) status in India – AstraZeneca’s Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V and Moderna.
Authorities in Wuhan on Tuesday said they would test its entire population for COVID-19 after the central Chinese city reported its first local infections in more than a year. The city of 11 million people is “swiftly launching comprehensive nucleic acid testing of all residents”, senior Wuhan official Li Tao said at a press conference on Tuesday. Wuhan officials announced on Monday that seven locally transmitted infections had been found among migrant workers in the city, breaking a year-long streak without domestic cases. China has confined the residents of entire cities to their homes, initiated mass testing, and cut domestic transport links in recent days as it battles its largest coronavirus outbreak in months.
The Maharashtra government on Monday announced new guidelines for easing of COVID-19 curbs in districts where the case positivity rate is low. The CMO clarified that the orders regarding easing of restrictions are not for Mumbai city, Mumbai suburbs and Thane. It also said that 11 other districts where relaxations would not be applicable are — Kolhapur, Pune, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Beed, Raigad and Palghar. The BMC later in the evening issued orders for Mumbai, stating that malls would remain shut, while restaurants will stay open till 4pm everyday.
Karnataka, one of the 10 states that have been warned because of their alarming COVID-19 situation, reported 1,875 new infections on Sunday. This is higher than the number of people (1,502) who recovered from the disease in the last 24-hours. The government on Saturday has extended the existing restrictions till August 16 and said that a decision on night curfew or weekend lockdown will be taken after 15 days, reviewing the progression of the situation. The government has also made negative RT-PCR tests mandatory for people coming into the state from Maharashtra and Kerala.
Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneshwar becomes the first city in India to vaccinate 100% of its population against COVID-19. In addition to that, about 1 lakh migrant workers have also received one dose of the vaccination. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation set a goal of immunising cent per cent of its population by July 31. During this time, we have administered the second jab to a total of 9,07,000 people above 18 years of age, which includes around 31,000 health workers, 33,000 frontline workers, 5,17,000 people between 18-45 and 3,20,000 above 45. As per reports, around 18,35,000 doses of the vaccine have been given till July 30,” said Anshuman Rath, South-east Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
The new guidelines announced on July 30 night by the Karnataka government mandate that travelers to the State carry a fresh RTPCR negative report. The earlier system allowed a vaccination certificate as an option, however the new rules state that only tests not older than 72 hours are valid entry documents. This sudden enforcement of revised COVID-19 guidelines resulted in chaos at the borders, particularly between Maharashtra and Karnataka. Long lines of vehicles caused severe delays in travel.
Saudi Arabia will impose a three-year travel ban on citizens travelling to countries on the kingdom’s ‘red list’ in efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus and its new variants, state news agency SPA stated on Tuesday. It cited an unnamed interior ministry official as saying that some Saudi citizens, who in May were allowed to travel abroad without prior permission from authorities for the first time since March 2020, had violated these travel regulations. “Anyone who is proven to be involved will be subject to legal accountability and heavy penalties upon their return, and will be banned from travelling for three years,” said the official. Saudi Arabia has banned travel to a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.
On Wednesday, India reported 43,654 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, while 640 people died due to coronavirus, as per Union health ministry data. India’s number of active cases now stands at 3,99,436. The top five states which registered the maximum number of cases are Kerala with 22,129 cases, followed by Maharashtra with 6,258 cases, Mizoram with 1,845 cases, Tamil Nadu with 1,767 cases, and Odisha with 1,629 cases. More than 77% of the new cases were reported from these five states, with Kerala alone accounting for 50.69% of new infections.
While the overall number of cases in Bengaluru Urban continue to decline, areas on the outskirts of the city are seeing higher infection rates. Over the last 10 days, wards like Begur (96 cases), Horamavu (83), Varthur (72), Bellandur (67) and Hoodi (63) have accounted for the highest number of cases in the city. Experts point fingers at large apartment complexes and a floating population of migrant workers. Meanwhile, areas in the city center are witnessing the lowest number of cases.
As of Monday, a new financing mechanism initiated by the World Bank will allow developing countries to buy COVID-19 vaccine doses collectively from the Covax facility. Covax was set up to ensure that 92 developing territories would be able to access coronavirus vaccines to fight the pandemic, with the cost covered by donors. Under the World Bank financing arrangement, up to 430 million additional doses, or enough doses to fully vaccinate 250 million people, would be available for delivery from late 2021 to mid-2022 for these 92 countries.