As countries across the world debate reopening of schools, a new study has found that children younger than five years with mild to moderate COVID-19 have much higher levels of the novel coronavirus genetic material in the nose compared to older children and adults.
The findings, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, shed light on the possibility that the youngest children transmit the virus as much as other age groups.
Here are the latest updates:
12:20 p.m. | Odisha
Odisha’s COVID-19 tally rises to 33,479 with record 1,602 new
Odisha registered its highest single-day spike of 1,602 COVID-19 cases, pushing the state’s tally to 33,479, while the death toll rose to 187 with 10 more fatalities, a health department official said.
The deaths were reported from Ganjam, Khurda, Gajapati and Sundergarh districts, he said.
12.10 pm | Pune
Pune Mayor alleges 400 unaccounted suspected COVID-19 deaths
Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol has alleged that at least 400 suspected COVID-19 deaths have gone unaccounted for in the city in July.
Mr. Mohol said he raised the issue during his meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, when the latter was in the city to take stock of the coronavirus situation.
Speaking on Friday, the mayor said that every month there are at least 400 to 500 deaths of suspected coronavirus patients that are going unaccounted for in Sassoon General Hospital and private hospitals in the city.
Following the allegations, Collector Naval Kishore Ram said an inquiry will be conducted into it and a report has been sought from Sassoon hospital.
11.40 am | World
Mexico now third in the world in terms of COVID-19 deaths
Mexico has become the country with the third most COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind the United States and Brazil.
Mexican health officials said on Friday there were 688 deaths for the latest 24-hour reporting period, pushing the country’s total to 46,688. That put Mexico just ahead of the United Kingdom, which has 46,119, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University. Mexico’s population is double that of Britain. – AP
11.10 am | Thane
Lockdown in containment zones of Thane extended till Aug 31
The coronavirus-induced lockdown has been extended till August 31 in the containment zones of Maharashtra’s Thane district, a senior official said on Saturday.
In a video address, district collector Rajesh Narvekar said concessions granted to the non-containment zones and the state government’s guidelines will be applicable to Thane rural, municipal council and Nagar Panchayat limits.
Containment zones identified by civic authorities of various towns and cities in Thane district will remain in lockdown till August 31, the collector said. – PTI
10.50 am | Kerala
Kerala police order officers above 50 off the field due to COVID-19
The death of a police officer in a hospital in Kottayam, Ajithan, 54, from complications caused by COVID-19 early Saturday has sent alarm bells ringing in the State law enforcement.
The development has prompted State Police Chief Loknath Behera to order police officers above the age of 50 off the field. He has re-assigned officers in the vulnerable age group for station duty to lessen their chance of exposure to the disease.
An initial report indicated that the Special Branch officer stationed in Idukki had contracted the infection from his wife. However, his death has spotlighted the risk of coronavirus infection faced by police officers who often worked in close proximity with each other and the public.
Also read: Why have COVID-19 cases surged in Kerala?
10.20 am | Vaccine
AstraZeneca to be exempt from coronavirus vaccine liability claims in most countries
With 25 companies testing their COVID-19 vaccine candidates on humans and getting ready to immunise hundred millions of people once the products are shown to work, the question of who pays for any claims for damages in case of side effects has been a tricky point in supply negotiations.
It is in this context that the news that AstraZeneca has been granted protection from future product liability claims related to its COVID-19 vaccine gains significance. The British-Swedish pharma company has partnered with Serum Institute of India (SII) to develop COVID-19 vaccine for India.
“This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in … four years the vaccine is showing side effects,” Ruud Dobber, a member of Astra’s senior executive team, told Reuters. “In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest,” he said, but stopped short of naming the countries. – Reuters
9.50 am | India
Over 57,000 new cases in the past 24 hours
India has again registered a record single-day jump of 57,118 cases in the past 24 hours, pushing India’s total COVID-19 tally to 16,95,988, the Union Health Ministry said in its daily bulletin early on Saturday.
The total death toll is now 36,511, with 764 new fatalities, it added.
The active COVID-19 case count stands at 5,65,103, while 10,94,374 people have recovered so far, according to the Union Health Ministry.
9.20 am | Noida
Prohibitory orders extended in Gautam Buddh Nagar till Aug 31
Restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which bars assembly of more than four people, have been extended till August 31 in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district, an official order stated on Friday.
Political, social, sporting or religious congregations, protest rallies or processions will remain banned across Noida and Greater Noida during the period, the district police said.
Except for medical personnel and essential service providers, nobody would be allowed to go in or out of containment zones in Gautam Buddh Nagar, the order said. – PTI
9 am | India
Human clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ begins at Gorakhpur hospital
The human clinical trial of indigenously developed Covaxin, a possible vaccine against coronavirus, began at a hospital in Gorakhpur, officials said.
The trial began on Thursday evening at Rana Hospital and Trauma Centre, which is among the 12 institutes selected for clinical trials of the vaccine, officials said.
Those who were administered the vaccine have been kept under observation and all of them are “absolutely fine”, said Chief Administrative Officer of the hospital, Venketesh Chaturvedi. – PTI
8.30 am | Economy
The eurozone registers a historic 12.1% collapse in the second quarter, according to Eurostat.
France’s economy slumps a record 13.8% over the period following a strict coronavirus lockdown that slammed consumer spending, the INSEE statistics agency says.
Spain also records an 18.5% plunge in GDP, as a result of one of Europe’s most stringent lockdowns which battered its key tourism industry. Portugal’s economy plunges by 14.1% and Italy’s an unprecedented 12.4%. – AFP
8 am | World
Large U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trials will exclude pregnant women for now
The first two COVID-19 vaccines to enter large-scale U.S. trials will not be tested in pregnant women this year, raising questions about how this vulnerable population will be protected from the coronavirus, researchers told Reuters.
Moderna and Pfizer, which has partnered with Germanys BioNTech , this week separately launched clinical trials that use a new and unproven gene-based technology. Both companies are requiring proof of a negative pregnancy test and a commitment to using birth control from women of childbearing age who enroll. – Reuters