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COVID-19: All Trains Across India Cancelled Till March 31

A bare minimum level of suburban trains and Kolkata Metro rail services will continue till midnight.

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NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move, the railways on Sunday announced the suspension of all its passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight and said only goods trains will run during the said period.

Railways Minister Piyush Goel announced the decision today to contain the COVID – 19 outbreak.

“As per the latest decision in the fight against coronavirus, it has been decided that metro service will remain completely closed till March 31,” the DMRC announced in a statement.


“The move is aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus by ensuring social distancing and encouraging people to stay at home for the time being,” it added.

A bare minimum level of suburban trains and Kolkata Metro rail services will continue till midnight.

However, trains that had already commenced their journey, prior to 4.00 am on March 22 will run up to their destinations, the railways said. “Adequate arrangements shall be made for the passengers, who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations,” the Railways statement added.


The railways said to ensure essential supplies in parts of the country, movement of goods trains will continue. For those who have already booked train tickets, the Railways will provide a full refund for all cancelled trains till March 21. “Adequate arrangements shall be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations,” the Railways statement said.

The Railways Ministry has also offered full refunds to all passengers affected by train cancellations up to March 21.

The Railways had earlier decided to cancel all passenger trains on today to support the Janta Curfew call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision was taken in view of the fact that the demand for rail travel would be vastly reduced during the Janta Curfew, said Ministry of Railways had said.

“No train except goods trains will run till 2400 hrs of March 31. However, a bare minimum of suburban services and the Kolkata Metro Rail service will continue to run till 2400 hours of March 22. Thereafter, these services will also be stopped till 2400 hours of March 31,” a spokesperson of the Indian Railways said.

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus in the country rose to seven on Sunday with the Union Health Ministry confirming the death of a second COVID-19 patient in Maharashtra. Another coronavirus positive patient died in Patna. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased to 354 in India.


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COVID-19: India’s Serum Institute To Sell 10 Crore Doses Of Vaccine For ₹225 Each

Gates Foundation, along with Gavi-The Vaccine Alliance, will provide funding of $150 million to Serum Institute.

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PUNE (Maharashtra): Pune based Serum Institute of India has entered into a new landmark partnership with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to accelerate the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries.

For this, the Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to GAVI, which will then be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC. SII has set a ceiling price of $3 (approximately Rs 225) per dose.

“Too many times we have seen the most vulnerable countries left at the back of the queue when it comes to new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.


“In an attempt to make our fight against COVID-19 stronger and all-embracing; SII has partnered with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future COVID vaccines for low and middle-income countries in 2021,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII.

“The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty. And to ensure maximum immunization coverage and contain the pandemic, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures. Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease.”

SII shares a long history of successful partnerships with Gavi and pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines that protect against meningitis, severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles. This collaboration further underscores India’s proven-track record in developing safe and quality vaccines.


Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, shared, “India has a proven track record of manufacturing safe and cost-effective vaccines not only for India but for the world. Over the last decade, the Government of India has encouraged innovation and supported the Indian vaccine industry to manufacture high quality, affordable indigenous tools and products to benefit India and the world. We are very happy to see SII enter this global partnership to respond to the global health crisis posed by Covid-19.”

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), commented, “India’s has demonstrated consistent capability in delivering on low-cost and high-quality medical research, while also maintaining technical and scientific rigour. ICMR is deeply supportive of our cutting edge vaccine research and manufacturing prowess, of which SII is one prominent example. This partnership signifies yet another step in India’s efforts to bolster the fight against this global pandemic.”

The Gavi COVAX AMC, which is currently seeking at least US$ 2 billion in initial seed funding, will meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. Last week the Gavi Board agreed the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the AMC. Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 57 Gavi-eligible countries. Novavax’s candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the AMC.

The collaboration between Gavi, SII, and the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the ACT Accelerator’s vaccines pillar, also known as COVAX, co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure rapid, global access to them. Decisions around investment in manufacturing are taken in close collaboration between these three lead organisations of the COVAX pillar.

Under the COVAX umbrella, Gavi is leading the COVAX Facility, which provides governments with the opportunity to benefit from a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by more manufacturers across the world, with a bigger market to provide security of demand. The Facility is reinforced by the AMC which provides funding for vaccines for lower-income countries.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of US$150 million to Gavi, which will be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC. The deal builds on a Memorandum of Understanding between AstraZeneca and Gavi, announced in June, which will guarantee 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine to the wider COVAX Facility, to be supplied upon licensure or prequalification. These two deals can help guarantee access to early doses for the most vulnerable on a truly global scale.

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COVID-19: In 15 Days, Recovery Rate Improves To 67% From 63%

Presently, the total number of active corona cases in the country is 5,86,244.

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NEW DELHI: The highest recoveries from coronavirus have been reported in the country within 24 hours. A total of 51 thousand 706 people affected with coronavirus have recovered in one day which is the highest figure since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in India. This has resulted in further improvement in the recovery rate which has reached 67.19 per cent in the country.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry yesterday said, a total of 12 lakh 82 thousand 215 people have recovered from coronavirus in the country so far. It said, there has been a 63.8 per cent increase in recovered cases in the last 14 days.

The aggressive testing along with ramped up hospital infrastructure has ensured the increased recovery rate which has improved from 63 per cent to 67 per cent in two weeks.


The Ministry said that a total of 52,509 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the country in the past 24 hours taking the total number of cases to 19,08,254.

Presently, the total number of active corona cases in the country is 5,86,244.

In a single day, 857 deaths have been reported taking the nationwide toll to 39,795. The case fatality rate has further declined to 2.08 per cent in the country.


Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research said that a total of 2,14,84,402 tests have been conducted in the country so far.

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COVID19

COVID-19: India Has Now Tested Over Two Crore Samples For Coronavirus

The number of ‘Tests Per Million’ in the country has increased to over 14,850.

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NEW DELHI: In a landmark achievement, India has tested over two crore COVID-19 samples so far. The remarkable feat has been achieved by the State and Union Territories under the guidance of Centre for management of COVID-19.

India has carried out over two crore tests for detection of COVID-19 pursuant to the key strategy of “test aggressively, track efficiently and isolate and treat promptly”, the government said on Monday, hailing the milestone as a “landmark achievement”.

The objectives of testing aggressively, tracking efficiently and isolating and treating promptly are rigorously followed by States and Union Territories in terms of the guidance given by the Health Ministry.


Effective implementation of this approach has led to ramping up the testing capacity across the country and facilitated widespread COVID testing of people. With 6,61,715 samples tested in the last 24 hours, the number of Tests Per Million in the country has increased to over 14,850.

COVID testing in the country has demonstrated a steady upward trend indicating the growing testing network. In another positive development, around 24 States and Union Territories have reported higher testing per million than the national average.

On Aug 3, a record six lakh 61,715 COVID tests were done by various laboratories. This is the highest number of COVID tests conducted in the country in a single day so far.


More than 2,08,64,000 tests have been conducted in the country till now.

Starting from less than 100 tests per day, a multiple fold increase in a few months was made possible by dedicated teams of research institutions, medical colleges, testing laboratories, Ministries, airlines and postal services. Government has created robust health infrastructure for effective management of COVID-19 pandemic within a short span.

In January this year, there was only one testing laboratory for COVID-19 in India. Now, 1,356 labs are engaged in testing the COVID samples across the country. Out of the total 917 are government labs while 439 and private laboratories.

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