- A government-appointed panel of experts will today once again take up the applications of Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Pfizer for the approval of emergency-use of COVID-19 vaccines developed by them. Serum Institute, which is making Covishield, developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca, had made a presentation before the panel on Wednesday along with Bharat Biotech, which has partnered the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for Covaxin. Pfizer had sought more time to present their data.
- In view of declining COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government has reduced the bed-strength reserved for coronavirus patients in 108 private city hospitals. However, at five big facilities – Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital (Saket), Fortis Super Speciality Hospital (Vasant Kunj), Saroj Super Speciality Hospital (Rohini), Maha Durga Charitable Trust Hospital (Model Town), and Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital (Pusa), up to 80 per cent of all beds will remain reserved for Covid.
- The Indian High Commission in the UK has suspended all consular services till January 8, 2021 due to the heightened COVID-19-related restrictions in that country. The new strain of the virus has caused a stir as it is reported to be more transmissible than other SARS-CoV-2 variants.
- India’s national COVID-19 recovery rate has crossed 96 per cent, one of the highest globally, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
- France on Thursday detected its first case of the South African variant of coronavirus. The variant, believed to be more easily transmitted like the British one, was discovered in France in a man who had returned from South Africa. Cases have also been found in Japan and Britain, among other places.
- The WHO on Thursday granted emergency validation to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution.