Coronavirus updates | January 2, 2021

States and Union Territories across the country are conducting a dry run of the coronavirus vaccination process today. It is being held in 116 districts across 259 sites, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

The dry run will exercise end to end testing of COVID-19 vaccination process and will include planning and preparations for vaccine introduction and primarily, the testing of CoWIN (COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network).

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:


COVID-19 vaccine dry run conducted in Chhattisgarh’s 7 districts

A dry run to assess preparedness of the mechanism rolled out for a COVID-19 vaccination drive, which is expected soon, was conducted in seven districts of Chhattisgarh on Saturday during which 575 people, mostly healthcare personnel, underwent dummy vaccination, an official said.

The mock drill began at 10 a.m. at three centres each in Raipur, Surguja, Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Bastar and Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi (GPM) districts, Priyanka Shukla, Chhattisgarh mission director of the National Health Mission (NHM), told PTI.

She said 25 people participated in the exercise at each centre.


United Kingdom

London schools to stay closed amid COVID-19 infection surge

The U.K. government has instructed all primary schools in London to remain closed and not return for the new term on January 4 amid a surge in COVID-19 infections rates across England.

After an urgent review, the Department for Education (DfE) decided that the “education contingency framework” will be applicable across all of the U.K. capital instead of just a few boroughs.

It has led to growing calls from the Opposition and teachers’ unions for all schools in England to remain shut due to fears of adding to the pressure on the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) with already rising hospital admissions. — PTI

New Delhi

India-U.K. flights to restart from Jan. 6, U.K.-India services from Jan. 8: Puri

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday flights from India to UK will resume from January 6, while services from that country to New Delhi would resume from January 8 onwards.

“Resumption of flights between India & U.K.: India to U.K. from 6 Jan 2021. U.K. to India from 8 Jan 2021. 30 flights will operate every week. 15 each by Indian & U.K. carriers,” Mr. Puri said on Twitter.

“This schedule is valid till 23 Jan 2021. Further frequency will be determined after review,” he added. — PTI


Centre should give free COVID-19 vaccine to poor, says Rajesh Tope

The Centre should ensure that poor people in Maharashtra get COVID-19 vaccine free of cost, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday.

When asked whether the Maharashtra government would provide free vaccine to the poor if the Centre fails to do so, the health minister said, “We won”t leave the poor in the lurch”.

“I heard that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has declared that the governmentwould give COVID-19 vaccine free of cost to health workers and frontline workers. I would request him to give the vaccine free to poor people too in Maharashtra,” Tope said.

Tope was in Jalna, his home district, to review the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination dry run.

The mock drill was conducted in four districts, including Jalna, in Maharashtra during the day.

Tamil Nadu

COVID-19 vaccination dry run a learning experience, says T.N.

Tamil Nadu on Saturday conducted a dry run at 17 centres for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination that showed successful working of the processes involved and it was a learning experience as well, a top state health official said here on Saturday.

The exercise showed that all preparations were in ”ready” mode for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the state, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said, adding that overall, the processes worked successfully.

The dry run was held at three centres each in the districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Nilgiris, Tirunelveli and five in Coimbatore.

“An initial learning was that the room earmarked for vaccination should be more spacious,” the secretary told reporters, adding officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children”s Fund (UNICEF) also witnessed the drive.

Quoting initial inputs, he said the dry run, involving about 2,000 personnel and 510 participants, showed overall satisfactory results, adding that the focus of the exercise was preparation and planning for the proposed roll out of the vaccination.



Four U.K. returnees detected with new coronavirus strain in Gujarat

Four persons who recently returned to Gujarat from the United Kingdom (UK) have tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus, a top state health department official said on Saturday.

Results of the 15 samples that had tested positive for coronavirus on arrival in Ahmedabad from the UK are currently pending with the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, the official added.

“All the passengers who had reached Ahmedabad from the UK were screened, and the samples of those who had tested positive for coronavirus were sent to the NIV. We have received intimation that the UK strain of coronavirus has been detected in four such cases,” Principal Secretary (Health), Jayanti Ravi told reporters.

All these four patients are already kept in isolation at Ahmedabad”s SVP Hospital as per the Centre”s guidelines.

“Results of the 15 samples tested positive for coronavirus on arrival in Ahmedabad are pending with the NIV,” Ravi added.


Uttarakhand CM discharged from AIIMS, to remain in home isolation in Delhi

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was discharged on Saturday from Delhi”s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he had been undergoing treatment for COVID-19 since December 28.

The Chief Minister will remain in home isolation in Delhi for some time, his physician N S Bisht said.

Mr. Rawat is fine and has been discharged from AIIMS as all his tests reports are normal, Bisht said.

Mr. Rawat, who was in home isolation here after testing positive for COVID-19 on December 18, had to be hospitalised here on December 27. He was flown to the premier AIIMS in Delhi the next day after being diagnosed with a mild lung infection.


48-hour lockdown begins in Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand to check spread of COVID-19

A 48-hour lockdown began in Pithoragarh town in Uttarakhand from 7 am on Saturday to contain the spread of COVID-19.

All offices and business establishments in the town will remain closed for 48 hours, subdivisional magistrate Tushar Saini said.

Medical shops will remain open as usual and vegetable shops can operate only till 10 am, he said.

The district administration decided to impose the restrictions after COVID-19 cases recorded a rise in the town and some other parts of the district, officials here said.

Similar restrictions had been imposed in Gangolihat and Ganai towns of the district recently as a containment measure.


Dry run for COVID-19 vaccination held in Kerala

At least 25 health workers took part in the dry run organised in four districts of Kerala on Saturday to asses the preparedness of the State’s health sector for the COVID-19 vaccination once the vaccine is received.

The vaccine mock drill was conducted in four districts- Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Wayanad and Palakkad from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

In the first phase, government and private sector health workers, medical students and ASHA and anganwadi workers would receive the vaccine. So far, 3.13 lakh people have registered for the same, health department sources said.

Taking part in the trial run held at the government district hospital at Peroorkkada, State Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said the State was all prepared for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. “The Centre has informed us that the State will receive adequate stock of vaccine. The state has completed all preparations,” she said adding that after heath workers, senior citizens were on the priority list of the government to give vaccination. – PTI

Madhya Pradesh

Vaccination dry run carried out on 75 health workers in M.P.

Nearly 75 health workers underwent mock vaccination drill at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh as part of the first dry run of COVID-19 vaccine programme, an official said. It was conducted at three health centres in the State capital- Gandhi Nagar community health centre (CHC), Govindpura CHC and L N Hospital, he said.

As part of the process, messages were sent to health workers, with details of allotted health facilities, he added. “After the dummy vaccination shots were given to them, these health workers were asked to wait for 30 minutes at the centres so that they are kept under observation, like in the actual vaccination plan,” the official said.

“Everything went as per the plan during the dry run. The dummy vaccines had been sent to the three health facilities in time and smoothly via cold chain,” the official added.

He said, as per the plan, 20,000 to 25,000 coronavirus warriors would first receive the vaccine in Madhya Pradesh. – PTI

New Delhi

COVID-19 vaccine to be given to people in Delhi for free once it arrives: Health Minister Jain


Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to people in the national capital for free once it arrives, and asserted that the city government had made preparations for the vaccination drive.

Interacting with reporters during his visit to a facility in Daryaganj as part of a dry run exercise held here to assess the preparations for the vaccine roll-out, Mr. Jain said the system “seems flawless” as of now. All preparations are being done, and 1,000 vaccine centres will be set up across the city, the Health Minister said. The Minister said the Delhi government had so far made preparations to vaccinate one lakh people per day.

When asked if the vaccine would be given to people free of cost, Mr. Jain said, “Yes, in Delhi, the treatment and medicines are given for free.” Vaccination centres will either be hospitals or facilities linked to hospitals, he said. Asked about the course of action if complications were noticed after vaccination, Mr. Jain said emergency rooms would be set up at the centres, and those getting the vaccine dose would be kept there under observation for half an hour. – PTI

Tamil Nadu

Each centre can vaccinate 100 persons a day, T.N. Health Secretary says

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan at the vaccine dry run at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Saturday

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan at the vaccine dry run at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Saturday  
| Photo Credit:
S.R. Raghunathan


With the dry run for COVID-19 vaccines being simultaneously held at 17 health facilities in the State on Saturday, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said each vaccine centre will have the capacity to vaccinate 100 persons a day.

“The Centre had instructed that the dry run should be held at three sites in the State’s capital. In TN, we are holding the dry run in five districts that includes places such as The Nilgiris, which is a hilly region, Tirunelveli district in the south, and Coimbatore and Tiruvallur. We are conducting the trial simultaneously in 17 places,” he told reporters at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, one of the three dry run sites in Chennai.

The dry run is being held at three sites each in Chennai, The Nilgiris, Tirunelveli Health Unit District (HUD), Poonamallee HUD, and five sites in Coimbatore HUD. Nearly 2,000 staff are engaged in the dry run for the COVID-19 vaccine, and two hours were allotted to cover 25 persons at each site. Not more than 100 persons would be covered at each site and physical distancing norms would be followed due to COVID-19, he said.



COVID-19 vaccination dry run conducted in Manipur

The COVID-19 vaccination dry run was conducted in the Imphal west and the Thoubal districts on January 2. During the dry run, a large number of health workers were trained on the vaccination process.

Officials said, “Five health centres were selected for the mock drills in these two valley districts. The response was encouraging.”

Dr. K. Rajo, director of health services in Manipur, said, “ All health workers were trained on how to inject the vaccine..” He also said that the identification process for the first round of immunisation was complete and the list mostly comprised health and frontline workers. “They will be injected as soon as the vaccine is delivered in Manipur.”


Vaccine update

Free vaccination for 3 crore frontline workers in the first phase, says Health Minister

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that free coronavirus vaccination will be provided to over three crore prioritised beneficiaries.

“In the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination, free vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers,” said the Health Minister. 

He added that details of how the remaining 27 crore priority beneficiaries will be vaccinated by July are being finalised. – Bindu Shajan Perappadan

New Delhi

All passengers from U.K. to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival between Jan 8 and Jan 30: Health Ministry

All passengers coming from the U.K. between January 8 and January 30 would be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival, the Health Ministry said in a standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on January 2.

Moreover, each passenger arriving from the U.K. would have to bring his or her COVID-19 negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, the SOP stated.

India had suspended all flights to and from the United Kingdom from December 23 to 31 to check the spread of the mutated, more contagious variant of coronavirus found there. Later, the suspension was extended till January 7.



COVID-19 vaccine dry run held in five districts of Karnataka

Dry run for COVID-19 vaccination was held in five districts — Kalaburagi, Shivamogga, Mysuru, Belagavi, and Bengaluru — on January 1.

The mock drill was conducted for two hours from 9 a.m., wherein 25 beneficiaries, including designated health staff at each of the identified primary health centres, taluk and district hospitals, participated.

Overall, nearly 100 vaccinators and 375 beneficiaries participated in the exercise. After the process was completed, beneficiaries were sent messages that said they were vaccinated successfully on their phones.



Dry run for COVID-19 vaccine conducted in Hyderabad

As part of nation-wide dry run for COVID-19 vaccine, it is being conducted in four sites in Hyderabad on Saturday. To conduct the mock exercise, a ward in Nampally Area Hospital was divided into three sections.

There are around 80 lakh beneficiaries in first phase of the vaccination in Telangana. They include healthcare workers, frontline workers in other departments, people above the age of 50 years irrespective of their medical condition and people under 50 years with co-morbidities.


Vietnam reports first case of new coronavirus variant

Vietnam has detected its first imported case of the new coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly around Britain, the Health Ministry said on January 2.

The variant was detected in a 44-year-old woman returning to Vietnam from Britain, who was quarantined upon arrival and was confirmed positive for the virus on Dec. 24, the Ministry said in a statement.

“Researchers ran gene-sequencing on the patient’s sample and found the strain is a variant known as “VOC 202012/01″”, it said.

The variant includes a genetic mutation that, in theory, could result in the virus spreading more easily between people. — Reuters

New Delhi

Dry run for COVID-19 vaccination begins in Delhi

A dry run for COVID-19 vaccination began in the national capital on January 2 at three sites selected for the purpose, officials said.

“Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Shahdara, Urban Primary Health Centre, Daryaganj, and Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka, are the three sites in Delhi which have been selected for the dry run of the roll out of COVID-19 vaccine in the national capital,” a senior official said in New Delhi.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain is scheduled to visit a facility in Daryaganj as part of the exercise, he said. — PTI

Caseload update

India records less than 20,000 fresh COVID-19 cases

The number of fresh COVID-19 cases was recorded below 20,000 in India on Saturday, taking the country”s caseload to 1,03,05,788, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 99 lakh, according to the health ministry.

A total of 19,079 people tested positive for the coronavirus infection in a day, while the death toll due to the disease climbed to 1,49,218 in the country with 224 new fatalities, the ministry’s data updated at 8 a.m. showed.


Vaccine Dry Run

Safety of vaccine prime concern: Health Minister

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who visited the GTB Hospital in Delhi to review a dry run for the COVID-19 vaccination, said that the “safety of vaccine is the prime concern.”

“I want to assure all Indians that the vaccine is aimed at safeguarding your health,” he said, adding that “positive news” can be expected soon.

For the vaccination trial run, each booth has three rooms: waiting room, vaccination room, and observation room.

For the vaccination trial run, each booth has three rooms: waiting room, vaccination room, and observation room.
| Photo Credit: Nikhil M. Babu


“All misconceptions and disbelief is detrimental to ensuring that we have sustained and suitable coverage. The dry run will cover urban/rural/hard to reach terrains and private setting. Besides giving the vaccine the dry run will cover all other aspects. This will help us weed out any gaps,” he said. – Bindu Shajan Perappadan


In Kerala, schools reopen, minus the cheer

It was back to school for students of Classes X and XII in the district on New Year’s Day. The schools remained closed during this academic year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools were all geared up to usher in students for revision classes and practicals in preparation for the public examinations scheduled to begin on March 17, but not all students were upbeat.

Thermal scanners and sanitisers welcomed students at the school gates. Inside, they headed in small groups of 10 and 15 to classrooms allotted to them in order to maintain physical distancing. Guidelines issued by the General Education and Health Departments were followed to make arrangements and guide students on the dos and don’ts.



COVID vaccine trial run starts across the country

Dry run for COVID19 vaccine administration is being conducted in all States and Union Territories  in 116 districts across 259 sites on Saturday, said the Health Ministry. It added that the objective of the drive is to gear up for the roll out of COVID19 vaccine across the country.

The run will also assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation.

“This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels,” said the Ministry. The planning for the vaccine introduction will be as per the Operational Guidelines issued by the Ministry on December 20, 2020.

For each of the three Session Sites, the concerned Medical Officer In-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers).

States and UTs have been asked to ensure that the data of these beneficiaries are uploaded in Co-WIN. These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run. – Bindu Shajan Perappadan


When timely care saved two COVID-19 patients at RGGGH

With pneumothorax being one of the complications in COVID-19, timely intervention by doctors saved two patients at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH).

One of them, a 45-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital after 103 days of treatment, while the other, a 37-year-old man, returned home after undergoing treatment for 95 days.



U.K. re-activates emergency COVID-19 hospitals, closes London primary schools

Britain reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the pandemic and shut primary schools in London on Friday to counter the rapid spread of a much more infectious variant of the coronavirus.

With more than 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for the last four days, the health service said it was preparing for an anticipated rush of patients and needed more beds.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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