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Coronavirus infections hit 7.7 million in India

Monitoring Desk

The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 41.45 million people and taken more than 1.13 million lives worldwide. Here are updates for October 22.

India’s coronavirus tally crosses 7.7 million

India’s coronavirus infections rose by 55,839, taking its tally to 7.71 million, health ministry data showed.

Cases in India have dipped since a peak in September, but experts warn that infections could surge as the peak festival season approaches.

India has the world’s second highest number of infections after the United States, which has a tally of 8.3 million.

Virus deaths in the south Asian nation rose by 702 in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 116,616, the ministry added.

Czech reports record daily cases as shops shut

The Czech Republic registered a record one-day tally of 14,968 new coronavirus cases, the Health Ministry said, as the government ordered most shops to close and tightened restrictions to curb the virus’s spread.

The country, which is seeing Europe’s biggest surge in new Covid-19 cases, has recorded 208,915 infections since March. Deaths have risen to 1,739, the ministry said, up from 1,619 reported a day earlier, which includes 69 deaths on Wednesday along with revisions to previous days.

Japan researchers show masks do block coronavirus, but not perfectly

Japanese researchers showed that masks can offer protection from airborne coronavirus particles, but even professional-grade coverings can’t eliminate contagion risk entirely.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a secure chamber with mannequin heads facing each other. One head, fitted with a nebulizer, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. The other mimicked natural breathing, with a collection chamber for viruses coming through the airway.

A cotton mask reduced viral uptake by the receiver head by up to 40 percent compared to no mask.

An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90 percent. However, even when the N95 was fitted to the face with tape, some virus particles still sneaked in.

When a mask was attached to the coughing head, cotton and surgical masks blocked more than 50 percent of the virus transmission.

There has been a growing consensus among health experts that the Covid-19 virus can be spread through the air.

Britain partners with Oxford firm to assess coronavirus vaccine T cell responses

Britain said it would partner with an Oxford-based firm to provide testing for the T cell response of coronavirus vaccine candidates to try to assess their immune responses.

T cell immunity is thought to be essential to protection against infection from the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, and could provide longer term immunity than antibodies.

The UK Vaccine Taskforce has chosen Oxford Immunotec to supply T cell testing for its assessment of different vaccine candidates.

Britain has signed supply deals for six different coronavirus vaccine candidates, including those being made by AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech, seen as among the frontrunners in the race for a vaccine.

Oxford Immunotec said its techonology platform enabled the centralisation of fresh blood samples from different locations to measure the T cell response in a standardised way.

It said the platform, known as T-SPOT, was being used to identify the T cells made in response to the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.

Australia scrap England, US games in London due to Covid-19 crisis

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said it has called off a training camp in Europe and scrapped plans for matches against England and the United States in London next month due to the worsening Covid-19 crisis on the continent.

The FFA had been close to confirming dates for the November friendlies but said the “ongoing and worsening Covid-19 landscape across Europe” had forced it to reconsider.

The decision means the Socceroos will not play a competitive match in 2020, with the next international window in March 2021.

England’s FA said they would face Ireland in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on November 12 ahead of their last two UEFA Nations League group fixtures away to Belgium on Nov. 15 and home to Iceland on November 18.

New Zealand were to have met England at Wembley in November but pulled out citing player unavailability and travel restrictions arising from the pandemic.

A total of 26,688 novel coronavirus cases were reported in Britain on Wednesday, the country’s highest daily total to date, and a further 191 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to government data.

New German coronavirus cases rise by more than 10,000 for first time – RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The institute recorded 11,287 new cases in its daily update for a total of 392,049. The previous day’s increase was 7,830.

The reported death toll rose by 30 to 9,905, the tally showed.

While Germany’s infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating rapidly since the onset of cooler weather, wit h politicians warning that stricter social distancing rules may be needed if the trend continues.

Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.

Number of South Koreans dying after flu shot rises, prompts vaccine worries

At least 13 South Koreans have died after receiving flu shots in recent days, according to official and local media reports, ramping up fears about vaccine safety even as authorities rule out a link.

Health authorities said they had no plans to suspend a programme to inoculate around 19 million people for free after a preliminary investigation into six deaths found no direct connection to the vaccines.

No toxic substances had been found in the vaccines, and at least five of the six people investigated had underlying conditions, officials said.

Officials have reported nine deaths following flu vaccinations and the Yonhap news agency reported another four on Thursday.

The deaths, which include a 17-year-old boy and a man in his 70s, come just a week after the free flu shot programme for teenagers and senior citizens was restarted.

The programme was suspended for three weeks after it was discovered that some 5 million doses, which need to be refrigerated, had been exposed to room temperature while being transported to a medical facility.

Diagnostics group Eurofins to expand Covid-19 testing, sets new 2022 goals

Laboratory testing and diagnostics company Eurofins said its new at-home Covid nasal testing product had received ‘Emergency Use Approval’ (EUA) status from the US Food & Drug Administration regulatory body.

Eurofins said the EUA authorised self-collection kit gives consumers a convenient and quick option to test from the comfort of their home, with results reviewed by a licensed physician and provided via email within 24 hours of sample receipt.

Worldwide coronavirus cases crossed 40 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease. 

US hospitalisations hit two-month high

The number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals has hit 40,000 for the first time since August, as the nation battles a surge in infections led by Midwest states.

Hospitals have seen a 36 percent rise in coronavirus patients over the past four weeks and Midwest hospitals are setting new records every day.

So far in October, 16 states have reported their highest daily numbers of hospitalised Covid-19 since the pandemic started, including the Midwest states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Hospitalisations of virus-stricken patients have set records in every region except the Northeast. Hospitalisations are a closely watched metric because they are not influenced by how much testing is done.

In addition to hospitalisations reaching 40,264, the seven-day average of new cases of Covid-19 have risen 45 percent in the past four weeks and is also approaching levels last seen during the summer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

On Friday, the US recorded 69,478 new cases, the highest single-day total since July 24 and the fifth-highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

China reports 14 new cases

China has reported 14 new coronavirus cases in the mainland, compared with 11 cases a day earlier, the health commission said.

All 14 of the new infections were imported, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.

China reported 25 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 15 a day earlier.

As of October 21, mainland China had 85,729 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The death toll remained at 4,634.

Melbourne suburbs on alert as new case sparks outbreak fears

Residents in five suburbs in Australia’s second-largest city have been put on alert and people living in a public housing block urged to self-isolate after a new coronavirus case in a school sparked fears of a fresh outbreak.

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, is just emerging from a second wave after a hard lockdown since July helped bring down daily cases to single digits in recent days from a peak of 700 in early August.
Authorities have asked people in the affected suburbs and 120 residents living in a public housing block to get tested if they experienced any flu-like symptoms.

Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, reported five new Covid-19 cases, the ninth straight day of single-digit rise in new cases.

Australia has recorded just over 27,400 Covid-19 infections, far fewer than many other developed countries. Victoria accounts for more than 90 percent of the 905 deaths nationally.

Mexico reports 522 more deaths 

Mexico’s health ministry has reported 6,845 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 522 more deaths, bringing the official number of cases to 867,559 and the death toll to 87,415.

Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Courtesy: TRT World

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