Tag Archives: novel-coronavirus

The Hindu explains | Why has India changed air travel rules as new strains of SARS-CoV-2 emerge? | Instant News

What do the new travel guidelines say? Are the existing vaccines in India effective against these strains? The story so far: The central government this week confirmed the presence of three mutant variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – from South Africa (four cases), Brazil (one case) and the UK (187 cases). Following this, the government released a new set of guidelines for international travel. The new rules, which take effect at 11:59 p.m. on February 22, were released on Wednesday and state that “based on the risk assessment, this document will be reviewed from time to time.” Why are the new strains of concern? The World Health Organization reports that the new variants demonstrate increased transmissibility. Strains from the UK, South Africa and Brazil have so far been detected in 86, 44 and 15 countries respectively. “As India has stabilized its active cases of COVID-19, these new strains and any laxity could lead to an increase in the number,” said VK Paul, member of NITI Aayog. Challenges in developing and testing variant vaccines What do the new travel guidelines say? Although India does not have direct flights from South Africa and Brazil, all international travelers to or in transit by flights from the UK, Europe and West Asia are kept an online self-report form, file a negative COVID-19 report and mention their travel history within the past 14 days. They should also indicate whether they plan to disembark at the arrival airport or take other flights in India. Airlines should identify travelers arriving or transiting through the UK, South Africa and the Brazil and separate them during the trip and during disembarkation. These travelers will have to hand in their samples for testing before leaving the airport. If they test positive, they should undergo treatment according to standard health protocol, the SOP says. The guidelines specify that contacts of suspected cases are co-passengers seated in the same row, three rows in the front and three rows behind, as well as identified cabin crew. Community contacts of travelers who tested positive (during the home quarantine period) would be subject to institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centers for 14 days and tested in accordance with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) protocol. – a pre-trip declaration form and upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, the test having been carried out 72 hours before starting the trip. Passengers must also submit a declaration of authenticity of the report, and if found otherwise, they will be subject to criminal prosecution. Only those traveling to India for emergencies, such as the death of a family member, will be allowed to arrive without a negative report. But they would have to apply for an exemption on the online portal 72 hours before boarding. Coronavirus | According to a scientist, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, in consultation with the Department of Civil Aviation, said it released the guidelines after reviewing the situation regarding actions at the point of entry and what these measures have to minimize the risk of importation of mutant strains of the virus How many cases has India recorded? ICMR said the South African variant, which first appeared independently in the country in mid-December 2020, had undergone multiple mutations, including in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein. . Currently, the majority of cases in South Africa are due to this variant. In India, the strain was detected in four different South African returnees in January 2021 – one each from Angola and Tanzania, and two from South Africa, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said, adding that the first six cases of the British strain were reported in India in the last week of December 2020.Coronavirus | On the Brazilian strain, ICMR noted that it emerged independently in Brazil in early January 2021 and is linked to the increase in cases in Brazil, especially in Manaus. “Mutations in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein were detected and this showed increased transmissibility. India detected a case of this variant strain in a returnee from Brazil during the first week of February, ”said Dr Bhargava. Are the existing vaccines in India effective against these strains? On the UK variant, ICMR said the neutralization potential matches other heterologous virus strains in India and the vaccines we have available. For the other two variants, research is in progress. “The National Institute of Virology (NIV) at ICMR is attempting to isolate and cultivate the South African strain,” said Dr Bhargava. The Brazilian strain has been isolated and cultivated successfully at ICMR-NIV, Pune and experiments to assess the vaccine’s efficacy are underway, he added. Clinical trials indicate Indian vaccines will be effective against COVID-19 variants: ICMR How are variants monitored? To regularly monitor genomic variations of SARS-CoV-2 through a multi-laboratory network, India has set up the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), comprising 10 laboratories. “The consortium will verify the status of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the country, establish sentinel surveillance for the early detection of genomic variants with public health implication, and determine genomic variants in unusual events / trends ( super – spread events, areas of high mortality / morbidity trend, etc.), ”Dr Bhargava said. “The knowledge generated by this essential research consortium will also help develop potential diagnostics and therapies and vaccines in the future.” This story is available exclusively for The Hindu subscribers only. The benefits of the subscription include the daily newspaper. Find a mobile version of daily newspaper articles in an easy-to-read list. Unlimited Access Enjoy reading as many articles as you want without any limitations. 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With no tourists to hire, Australian farms are running out of labor | Instant News

SYDNEY – For harvesting red papayas in the tropical heat of northern Australia, farmer Paul Fagg has long been attracted to an unusual crowd of foreign tourists.

Not this year.

Australia destroyed the coronavirus with one of the strictest border control regimes In the world. But the success created problems for the nation’s farmers, who couldn’t find the labor they needed to pick and grow crops. Backpacking tourists, who typically make up 80% of the workforce harvesting fresh produce, have flocked since the pandemic began, without arriving to replace them. Seasonal workers from the Pacific islands are also largely on lockdown, even though many countries are considered to be free of Covid-19.

Quarantine of workers on farms has been tried, but it is far from what farmers need. Several Australians have accepted offers of government money to move to rural areas. Labor shortages hurt the economy: Farmers report falling profits, and some fear foreclosure. Many are now growing fewer crops, which can drive up food prices.

With increasing fatigue among the regular staff on the 190-acre Skybury farm and little prospect of extra help, Mr. Fagg and colleagues decided late last year to tear up older papaya plants and sacrifice about $ 100,000 in monthly income.


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Brazil Turns Sleepy Sugarcane City Into a Global Covid-19 Experiment | Instant News

SERRANA, Brazil – As Covid-19 rages across Brazil, killing nearly a quarter of a million people, high infection rates have turned the country into a perfect vaccine testing ground.

Now, Brazil is using its misfortune to help answer one of the pandemic’s most pressing questions as millions of people are being inoculated around the world: Can someone being vaccinated still transmit the virus?

In the first trial of its kind globally, researchers on Wednesday started a project to vaccinate the entire adult population of Serrana, the worst-hit commuter city of 45,000 people in the state of São Paulo, before any other state.

By immunizing everyone in the city through a controlled stage, they say the results will help global scientists understand how quickly a vaccine can curb. coronavirus pandemic. And inoculating entire cities would counter the growing anti-vaccination movement in Brazil and demonstrate the broader benefits of mass immunization, such as the rapid economic recovery expected with Serrana’s rapid reopening.

“This will give us information on the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity – nobody knows this yet,” said Marcos Borges, professor of medicine at the University of São Paulo near Ribeirão Preto who led the study.


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In Brazil, People Illegally Take Vaccines and Brag about Them | Instant News

SÃO PAULO – As soon as the Covid-19 vaccine became available in a farming town in Brazil’s central savanna, health secretary Assis Silva Filho ordered nurses to vaccinate his wife before local hospital officials.

“She is the love of my life!” said Mr Silva Filho, who also works part-time as an evangelical pastor in Pires do Rio, a city of 32,000 people. He added, “I will die for him,” in a video he posted to Facebook last month.

After being reported by people who witnessed the vaccinations, he was targeted by prosecutors on criminal charges for suing for profit as a public official, resigned and agreed to pay a $ 9,000 fine.

Brazil has only been running a vaccination campaign against Covid-19, but the country’s authorities have been overwhelmed by several thousand reports of people breaking rules to get immunizations before they are most vulnerable.

Among those investigated were influential politicians, business owners and lawyers, along with a host of other professionals, from veterinarians to fashion bloggers, who mostly incriminated themselves after posting vaccination selfies to social media, prosecutors said. Line jumpers were largely divided into two groups, said prosecutors, with political or wealthy ties and those with friends in the medical community.


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The WHO and Australian agreements raise hopes for the AstraZeneca vaccine | Instant News

The vaccine jointly developed by the drug company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has been approved by a growing number of regulators, paving the way for general use, especially in developing countries.

  • Australian drug regulators give temporary agreement for the AstraZeneca – Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, ahead of the national vaccination campaign that kicks off next week.

  • The Canberra government says it has ordered a sufficient dose of vaccine, to be produced in Australia, to cover the country’s entire population.

  • World Health Organization on Monday approve the vaccine for emergency use, which should allow developing countries broad access to fire.

  • AstraZeneca

    has pledged not to profit from selling the vaccine, which is sold at the lowest price of any vaccine available – at € 1.80 ($ 2.20) per dose, as an example, in the European Union, according to the Belgian health minister, compared to € 18 a dose for Moderna

    vaccine and € 12 for Pfizer



  • UK-Swedish group chief executive Pascal Soriot received the same 3% salary increase as company staff for this year, bringing his base salary to £ 1.33 million ($ 1.9 million), The Financial Times wrote. But his bonuses and long-term incentive program can bring his pay package to over £ 15 million.

  • Even after French President Emmanuel Macron publicly voiced doubts about AstraZeneca’s shot in a media interview, his own health minister Olivier Véran remained take a photo take it, in an attempt to convince French public opinion of its efficacy and safety.

The prospects: AstraZeneca sees doubts about the efficacy of its vaccine in the age group 65 and over slowly disappearing, and its low price, together with ease of transport, storage and manipulation, over time could make it one of the most widely used worldwide.


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