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-Top News USA

Biden tests again positive for Covid 19

Biden, 79, first tested positive for the coronavirus on July 21 before receiving negative testing results earlier this week, Xinhua news agency reported…reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid-19 in a “rebound” case, days after ending isolation and treatment, according to his doctor.

White House physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memo on Saturday that the President “has experienced no reemergence of symptoms, and continues to feel quite well” but will reinitiate strict isolation procedures.

“This being the case, there is no reason to reinitiate treatment at this time,” he added.

“But we will obviously continue close observation.”

Biden, 79, first tested positive for the coronavirus on July 21 before receiving negative testing results earlier this week, Xinhua news agency reported.

Fully vaccinated and twice boosted, the President took Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy produced by Pfizer and given to patients with Covid-19.

There is potential for so-called “rebound” Covid positivity observed in a small percentage of patients treated with Paxlovid, according to O’Connor.

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COVID-19 Saudi Arabia

Covid-19: Saudi reports 522 new cases, 3 deaths

The ministry also announced that 574 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic to 789,766…reports Asian Lite News

As many as 522 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, the Ministry of Health has announced. As a result, the total number of cases in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic grew to 806,401.

The authorities also confirmed three new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 9,236.

Of the new infections, 154 were recorded in Riyadh, 95 in Jeddah, 37 in Dammam, 29 in Makkah and 22 in Madinah. Several other cities recorded fewer than 20 new cases each.

The ministry also announced that 574 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic to 789,766.

It said that 7,399 COVID-19 cases were still active, adding that 18,099 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to almost 44 million. The ministry said that of the current cases, 139 were in critical condition.

Nearly 68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with more than 25 million people fully vaccinated.

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COVID-19 India News

India records 21,566 new Covid cases in 24 hours

While the daily positivity rate stands at 4.25 percent, the weekly positivity rate is at 4.51 percent…reports Asian Lite News

India on Thursday reported 21,566 fresh infections of coronavirus in a day, taking the total tally to 43,825,185. With this, the country’s active cases are now nearing the 1.50 lakh mark. Currently, the active caseload stands at 1,48,881 – or 0.34 percent of cumulative cases.

According to the union health ministry data, India reported 45 deaths due to the virus in the past 24 hours – taking the total fatalities count to 5,25,870. Meanwhile, a total of 18,294 people recovered in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate in the country stands at 98.46 percent.

While the daily positivity rate stands at 4.25 percent, the weekly positivity rate is at 4.51 percent.

India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded the milestone 200 crore mark. In the 12-14 age group, 3.82 crore people have gotten their first doses and 2.66 crore the second. Over 6.09 crore people in the 15-18 age group have gotten their first doses and more than 5.03 crore their second. Over 4.68 crore precautionary doses have been given to people above 60, healthcare workers, and frontline workers, and over 1.66 crore to those between 18 and 59.

A total of 87.11 crore Covid tests have been conducted so far with 5,07,360 tests being conducted in the last 24 hours.

The Centre on Wednesday reviewed the Covid-19 surge in nine states – Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh. The union health ministry said that the nine states will “have to monitor and report district-wise cases of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI) on a daily basis”.

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COVID-19 UK News

Death toll from Covid-19 surpasses 200,000 in UK

The country’s excess mortality rate is also higher than other European averages which stand at 2,070 per million people, more than twice that of Germany’s which stand at 1,110…reports Asian Lite News

More than 200,000 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded across the UK, showed the latest data released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The grim milestone has been reached in late June, but not revealed until Wednesday due to a delay in registration. Up to the start of July, a total of 200,247 Covid-19 deaths have occurred, the ONS said. The figures include deaths due to Covid-19 as well as those involving the virus.

In the week ending July 1, 2022, 11,828 deaths were registered in the UK, 12.1 per cent above the five-year average (1,278 excess deaths), said the ONS.

By early January 2021, more than 100,000 Covid-19 deaths had been registered nationwide. It has taken more than a year and a half for the death toll to double, with vaccination uptake, better understanding of how to treat the virus and social distancing measures all contributing to fewer deaths, said British newspaper The Guardian.

According to figures from Our World In Data, as of July 12, Britain has one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in Europe, with a death rate of about 2,689 per million people, compared with a rate of 2,295 deaths per million people for Spain, 2,230 for France and 1,704 for Germany.

The country’s excess mortality rate is also higher than other European averages which stand at 2,070 per million people, more than twice that of Germany’s which stand at 1,110.

With testing no longer free, data on cases is provided mainly through the ONS weekly infection survey, which showed in the latest release the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus continued to increase across Britain, likely caused by increases in infections compatible with Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

In late June, Covid-19 infection levels in Britain have risen by more than 30 percent in a week, with an estimated 2.3 million infected with the disease.

In a recent interview, Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist and a professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, said that levels of infection with the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in Britain are probably going to peak very soon.

“At the moment, given the levels of infection in the UK, it’s a bit of a wake up call that we’re not, as some would have us believe, in the post pandemic phase of Covid. We’re currently seeing an increase in hospitalizations,” said Young.

ALSO READ-Centre to provide free Covid booster dose for 75 days

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COVID-19 India News

Centre to provide free Covid booster dose for 75 days

Around 26 per cent of the estimated 16 crore eligible population aged 60 and above as well as healthcare and frontline workers have received the booster dose…reports Asian Lite News

The Centre will provide free booster doses of Covid vaccines for the 18-59 age group at government vaccination centres under a 75-day special drive from July 15, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Wednesday.

The free booster dose drive will be held for next 75 days as part of the government’s Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence and to boost the uptake of Covid precaution doses, he said.

“Under the Amrit Mahotsav of Azadi, a 75-day free vaccination campaign will be conducted from July 15, in which all citizens above the age of 18 years will be given free vaccination doses at government centres”, Mandaviya said in a tweet. Mandaviya thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this decision.

Urging eligible population to get the precaution doses, he said in subsequent tweet: “With this decision, India’s fight against Covid will be strengthened and additional security of citizens will also be ensured. I urge that all adult citizens must get the prevention dose.”

Less than 1 per cent of the target population of 77 crore in the 18-59 age group have been administered the precaution dose, as per a source. The initiative has been undertaken to increase the uptake the precautions doses.

However, around 26 per cent of the estimated 16 crore eligible population aged 60 and above as well as healthcare and frontline workers have received the booster dose.

To accelerate the pace of vaccination and encourage booster shots, the government also had initiated the second round of the ‘Har Ghar Dastak campaign 2.0’ across states and UTs on June 1. The two-month programme is currently underway.

Daily Covid cases jump to 20,139

India reported 20,139 new Covid cases in last 24 hours, a considerable rise from the previous day’s count of 16,906, said the Union Health Ministry on Thursday.

In the same period, the country reported 38 more Covid deaths taking the nationwide toll to 5,25,557.

The active caseload has also risen to 1,36,076 cases, accounting for 0.31 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The recovery of 16,482 patients in the last 24 hours took the cumulative tally to 4,30,28,356. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.49 per cent.

Meanwhile, India’s daily positivity rate has also increased to 5.10 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate currently stands at 4.37 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 3,94,774 tests were conducted across the country, increasing the overall tally to over 86.81 crore.

As of Thursday morning, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 199.27 crore, achieved via 2,61,97,150 sessions.

Over 3.76 crore adolescents have been administered with a first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket.

ALSO READ-Covid-19 booster dose gap reduced to 6 months

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India News

Stalin tests Covid-19 positive, isolates himself

It may be noted that there was an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases for the past few days and the presence of Omicron and its sub-variants…reports Asian Lite News

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has isolated himself after testing Covid-19 positive.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Chief Minister’s office said Stalin tested positive after he complained of tiredness and fever.

Stalin has appealed to the people of the state to wear masks and get vaccinated and stay safe.

It may be noted that there was an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases for the past few days and the presence of Omicron and its sub-variants.

The state’s Public Health Department has directed people of the state to wear masks, keep safe distancing, and sanitise regularly.

The department also said that while the number of people taking treatment at the hospital is very less and only 5 per cent of the total Covid positive cases are under treatment at hospitals. The department in the statement said that 95 per cent of the people are taking treatment at home.

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-Top News COVID-19

Covid-19 booster dose gap reduced to 6 months

Therefore it has now been decided that the precaution dose for all beneficiaries from 18-59 years will be administered after completion of 6 months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose at Private Covid Vaccination Centres…reports Asian Lite News

The Centre on Wednesday reduced the gap for administration of Covid vaccine booster doses from existing 9 months or 39 weeks to 6 months or 26 weeks.

The Union Health Ministry said that as per the recommendation, it has been decided all beneficiaries from 18-59 years will be administered the booster after completion of 6 months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose.

“In view of the evolving scientific evidence and global practices, the Standing Technical Sub Committee (STSCI) of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended to revise the duration between 2nd dose and precaution dose from existing 9 months or 39 weeks to 6 months or 26 weeks,” it said, adding that the NTAGI has endorsed it.

“Therefore it has now been decided that the precaution dose for all beneficiaries from 18-59 years will be administered after completion of 6 months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose at Private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs),” the ministry said in a letter to the states.

It also said that for beneficiaries aged above 60 years and above as well as the Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs), the precaution dose would be administered after completion of 6 months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose at Government CVCs free of charge.

“Instructions in this regard may be issued to all the concerned officials and it may also be publicised widely. I look forward to your support and leadership for extending the benefits of precaution dose to all due beneficiaries at Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) as well as at household level during the ongoing Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 Campaign,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the letter.

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-Top News COVID-19 USA

Professor claims Covid leaked from American lab  

It is also unclear if Sachs believes Covid originated in the US or was borne out of a collaboration between American and Chinese scientists in Wuhan, the report said…reports Asian Lite News

Covid-19 virus leaked out of a laboratory in the US, rather than the infamous Wuhan lab in China, claimed US economist Jeffrey Sachs.

According to Sachs, who led a two-year probe into the pandemic’s origins, he was “pretty convinced” the virus was the result of ‘US lab biotechnology’, Daily Mail reported.

“I chaired a commission for the Lancet for two years on Covid. I’m pretty convinced it came out of US lab biotechnology — not out of nature — just to mention after two years of intensive work on this,” Sachs said during a global conference organised by Spanish globalisation think-tank Gate Centre.

“So it’s a blunder in my view — of biotech — not an accident or natural spillover.”

Even after two years of the pandemic, the origins of Covid-19 remain unclear. It has been a political and scientific debate with scientists and politicians globally contending that the coronavirus jumped into people from bats, or have been leaked from a laboratory.

Last month, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the Covid lab leak theory needs “further investigations”. But then he privately confided to a senior European politician that the pandemic originated from China’s infamous Wuhan lab, a report said.

While admitting “we don’t know for sure”, Sachs, who was twice named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world said: “There’s enough evidence that it should be looked into and it’s not being investigated — not in the US, not anywhere.”

“I think for real reasons, they (US officials) don’t want to look under the rug too much,” he added.

It is also unclear if Sachs believes Covid originated in the US or was borne out of a collaboration between American and Chinese scientists in Wuhan, the report said.

Chinese government officials said that Sachs’ claim warranted a “thorough investigation”, the Daily Mail said.

“Given the heavy human and economic toll taken by the virus, don’t we owe it to the millions of lives lost to have a thorough investigation into US labs?” Hua Chunying, China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, critics have previously described Sachs as a President Xi “propagandist”, dismissing China’s genocide of Uighurs and publicly calling for US cooperation, the report said.

He is also the Chairman of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission, set up at the start of the pandemic to assist governments and scrutinise responses, which was shut down in September 2021 when it emerged the team had financial links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The celebrity economist had previously claimed that the pandemic was the result of experiments done between Chinese and American scientists, the report said.

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Categories
-Top News COVID-19

Fresh concern over 2 Omicron variants, surge in UK Covid cases

The country dropped nearly all of its Covid restrictions months ago. Apart from the Omicron variant – that took hold of the UK towards the end of 2021…reports Asian Lite News

Scientists in Britain have warned of another fresh Covid wave as the United Kingdom logged over 15,800 new cases on Tuesday. Last week, British health officials also expressed concerns that there were “early signs the country could be at the start of a new wave of infections driven by Omicron variants,” news agency AP reported Tuesday. The new BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant are said to be closer to the earlier, ‘more dangerous’ Alpha and Delta variants as against the highly transmissible but milder Omicron, The Independent, a UK media outlet, reported, citing experts.

Although hospitalisation rates have so far remained “very low,” UK’s fresh infections have been hovering above the 10,000-mark since June 12. In the week ending June 19, the UK recorded a 43 per cent increase in its fresh cases, AP reported. In a period of ten days (from June 12 to 21) the UK has recorded over 1.24 lakh new infections. This as the number of fresh cases globally went down by 3 per cent as per World Health Organisation. “There were 3.3 million new Covid-19 infections last week, marking a 4 per cent decrease, with more than 7,500 deaths. But cases jumped by about 6 per cent in Europe,” the global health body was quoted as saying.

The country dropped nearly all of its Covid restrictions months ago. Apart from the Omicron variant – that took hold of the UK towards the end of 2021, the experts are also attributing the spike to street parties, concerts and other festivities celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee earlier this month.

Elsewhere in Europe, France is already facing a new wave of Covid-19 infections fuelled by new variants of the disease, French vaccination chief Alain Fischer said as per Reuters, as daily new cases reached an almost two-month peak at more than 95,000 infections on Tuesday.

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Asia News China World News

SPECIAL: Why the Covid menace dogs China?

China- manufactured vaccines have turned out ineffective, making already-vaccinated people prone to new infections. The helpless Beijing government now has warned of an “explosive” Covid-19 outbreak. Ineffective jabs cripples China while successful vaccination brings normalcy in India …. A special report by Dr Kailash Yadav

The Asian giants of China and India, which are often at loggerheads, competed with each other to find a vaccine for the Covid-19. China was the first to develop Covid-19 vaccines, which it claimed did bring the coronavirus cases under control. On other hand, India struggled to tame the rising infection before its vaccines were developed. Indian vaccines however have proven to be a great success as New Delhi has freed its citizens from lockdowns and other restrictions. Things however have become murky in China as coronavirus cases are flaring up. China- manufactured vaccines have turned out ineffective, making already-vaccinated people prone to new infections. The helpless Beijing government now has warned of an “explosive” Covid-19 outbreak.

India had witnessed havoc during the second wave of Covid-19 in mid-2021. It was the time when India had just introduced two of its vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin. New Delhi implemented its vaccine programme and managed to administer the jabs to the majority of its population before the year ended. Now, the almost entire population has been vaccinated. India remained unaffected when the fourth wave struck in 2021-end and even during the current fifth wave. It clearly suggests that the Indian vaccination programme has been a great success as it tamed the coronavirus spread in the densely populated country, where hygiene and public health cannot be considered at par with the standards defined by the developed world.

(Photo by Chu Yan_Xinhua_IANS)

It was found that the effectiveness of Indian jabs was 99.30 per cent in full-vaccinated people.  On other hand, the Chinese vaccines’ potency could not go beyond 79 per cent, says World Health Organisation (WHO).  A study by the University of Hong Kong has lowered the Chinese vaccines’ effectiveness further, limiting it to just 60 per cent. It further revealed that those vaccinated with Sinovac were three times more vulnerable to die compared to those inoculated with the German Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine.  Earlier, countries like Brazil, Bahrain, UAE, and Indonesia, which had procured Chinese vaccines questioned the effectiveness of the jabs against Covid-19. , ,  In April 2022, only 6.78 million vaccine doses were exported from China, which is 97 per cent lower compared to that in September 2021.

A Chinese study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal has shown that Chinese vaccines were unable to detect Omicron sub-variants.  Chinese authorities have tried every possible measure including the controversial zero-covid policy to bring the viral transmission down. But everything is in vain. The number of cases is rising at a high rate, crippling normal life in China. Around 400 million people in China are affected, which amounts to over a quarter of the country’s population. As many as 45 cities including the financial hub of Shanghai were placed under strict lockdown in recent times in the wake of Chinese vaccines’ failure to tame the coronavirus.

In India, the situation has returned to pre-Covid times as there are no restrictions on public movement. Even face masks are not mandatory. India is expected to evade the stagflation that has hit China and other major economies.  The deteriorating situation in China has negatively impacted global companies as well as local businesses in the country. Many economists fear for economic recession in China now.  The high-handed approach of the Beijing government to covid-19 management has caused huge inconvenience to people who are stuck in their homes. Food shortage and loss of jobs due to forcefully-induced lockdowns have infuriated them.

People in China have lost their trust in vaccines due to their ineffectiveness and lack of transparency. After major Chinese vaccines proved hopeless, Beijing is betting on new mRNA vaccines.  However, the said mRNA has several side effects including fever.  People are under mental stress as they are forced to undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests often and to stay away from children. On other hand, people in India now appear to be immune to coronavirus as the vaccines have worked. They are allowed to visit any place they want, and businesses are permitted without any restrictions. According to the US Treasury Department, the Indian economy rebounded thanks to the accelerated vaccine rollout. Chinese vaccines however failed to live up to the expectations, hurting the people’s lives and countries’ overall economy in a long term.