Coronavirus live updates | Health Minister asks healthcare, frontline workers to get vaccinated


Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the medical community and the frontline workers to come forward and get inoculated against COVID-19. He added that the medical community is disproportionately at risk of infection from COVID-19 which has prompted their prioritisation for vaccination. “COVID-19 created immense uncertainties in the lives of all people but the community that it put most at risk is the medical fraternity. Due to this they have been first to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination so that they are protected from the disease and from developing any complications, if exposed,” he said.

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 the latest updates:

Maharashtra

No foreign virus strain in Maharashtra

Maharashtra State health department denied the presence of any new virus strain in the samples tested from Amravati, Yavatmal and Satara. The latest surge has taken the number of active cases to 44,765. Mumbai city, along with Pune, Nagpur and Amravati districts contributed to 40% of the surge.

 

Argentina

Argentina’s Health Minister resigns amid vaccine scandal

President Alberto Fernández asked Argentina’s Health Minister to resign after a well-known local journalist said he had been given a coronavirus vaccination preferentially after requesting one from the Minister, a government official said Saturday.

ThePresident “instructed his chief of staff to request the resignation of Health Minister” Ginés González García, who is in charge of the government’s COVID-19 strategy, said the official, who was not authorised to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity. He did not say who would replace Mr.González García.

 

Vaccine storage

Pfizer vaccine can be stored at low temperatures for two weeks, company claims

On Friday, the U.S.-based Pfizer claimed that its COVID-19 vaccine is stable when stored in low temperatures of minus 25°C to minus 15°C, which are commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.

In a release, the company said data had been submitted to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to support a proposed update to the U.S. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Prescribing Information. It claimed that the vaccine could be stored at low temperatures for a “total of two weeks as an alternative or complement to storage in an ultra-low temperature freezer”.

 

Hyderabad

‘Enhanced genome studies, social vaccine can keep check on new coronavirus mutations’

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 genome has evolved as it transmits through its human hosts, but luckily the novel variants worrying many countries globally have had a low prevalence here. But, the low prevalence of — immune-escape ‘E484K’ mutation and the ‘N501Y’ mutation with higher transmission rate — could also be simply because not enough sequencing has been done.

“More coronavirus genomes need to be sequenced across the country to accurately identify the emergence of these two and any other new variants,” asserted CSIR-CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra on Friday.

(With inputs from our Correspondents, agencies)

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