South Korea Mulls Stricter Social Distancing | South Korean authorities will consider tighter social distancing restrictions on Sunday to clamp down on economic activities after last week saw the fastest spread of infections since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. PM Chung Sye-kyun is to meet with health authority officials to decide whether virus curbs need to be tightened further to slow transmissions, Yonhap News said. South Korea reported 450 infections of the new coronavirus on Sunday after reporting more than 500 new coronavirus cases for three days in a row, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
Coronavirus Deaths Hit New Daily Record in Greece | Greece reported 121 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, a daily record, with hospitals in the north of the country under pressure as intensive care beds fill up with Covid-19 patients. Health authorities reported 1,747 cases on Saturday, bringing the total since the first case was detected in February to 103,034. The death toll stands at 2,223. “This year’s Christmas will be very different,” PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who visited front line workers in northern Greece on Saturday, told a local radio station. Authorities have a nationwide lockdown in place until Dec 7, with repeated appeals to a fatigued public to conform to distancing regulations.
PM Modi’s visit to Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad where a coronavirus vaccine is being developed was encouraging, the pharma major said. The prime minister visited the facility as part of his three-city tour to review vaccine development work. “Today, honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modiji visited our Zydus Biotech park. This visit has encouraged us in doing more and doing fast,” the company’s Chairman Pankaj Patel said in a video statement. “His knowledge, wisdom about the problem, and his guidance have been valuable for our scientific staff and for all of us,” Patel added.
Serum Institute Discussing on Price, Distribution | Serum Institute of India is in active discussions with the Indian government on pricing and distribution of potential Covid-19 vaccines, said Adar Poonawalla. His comments come following PM Modi’s visit to the Serum Institute of India’s sprawling campus in the western city of Pune. Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has partnered with global players including AstraZeneca and Novavax Inc to run domestic trials on their vaccine candidates and produce the vaccines if they secure approvals. Poonawalla said in the next few weeks SII plans to apply for emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate that he described as a “very good” option.
Covid-19 Live Updates | PM Modi visited facilities of three vaccine manufacturers – Zydus Cadila, Bharat Biotech and SII – on Saturday across Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune respectively to review their preparedness and progress on Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Among the three, Bharat Biotech and SII, in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research, have finished enrolment for Phase-III trials of their respective vaccines. In Phase III trials, the vaccine’s efficacy to prevent the infection from progressing to severe disease is tested.
Around 1 Lakh Vaccinators to Give Vaccine Shots | Government is preparing a list of vaccinators required to administer Covid-19 vaccine to an estimated 30 crore priority population in the initial months of 2021. While there are around 70,000 vaccinators in the public sector, the private sector is likely to contribute around 30,000 more staff, official sources reportedly said.
Delhi LG Nod to Cut Presence of Non-essential Services Staff by 50% | Lt Governor Anil Baijal approved a proposal of the Delhi government to reduce presence of its non-essential services employees in offices by 50 per cent amid a spike in Covid-19 in the national capital, Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot said. According to officials, the move, applicable to all Delhi government employees except grade-one and above officers, aims to bring down number of non-essential services staff in the offices in view of COVID-19 pandemic. The Delhi government had also sought recommendations to private establishments to stagger office timings, reduce presence of their staff and encourage work from home.
UP’s Gautam Buddh Nagar Records 156 New Cases | UP’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district recorded 156 new Covid-19 cases taking the district’s infection tally to 22,467 on Saturday. Active cases in the district came down to 1,279 from 1,282 the previous day. The number of active cases in Gautam Buddh Nagar is the fourth highest in the state. Also, 160 more patients got discharged in a day pushing the overall recoveries to 21,107, the fifth highest in the state. With the death toll at 81, the district has a mortality rate of 0.36 per cent. The recovery rate has reached 93.94 per cent, the statistics showed.
Serum Institute to Apply for Emergency Use in Two Weeks | Pune-based Serum Institute of India and the government of India does not have anything in writing so far on the number of doses it would purchase for immunizing citizens against Covid-19, said Adar Poonawalla, the vaccine manufacturer’s Chief Executive Officer on Saturday. Poonawalla said that his company, which is manufacturing Covishield, a Covid-19 vaccine made with a master seed from Oxford-AstraZeneca, is in the process of applying for emergency use authorization from the country’s drug regulator.
Covid-19 Cases Increase in Pune After Diwali | Pune reported 1,080 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the district’s tally to 3,41,540, while 18 deaths increased the toll to 8,380. An official said that the district’s single-day addition of cases had crossed the 1000-mark fro the first time since Diwali, which was celebrated recently. Pune city now has 1,69,394 cases, Pimpri Chinchwad 91,967,” the official said.