India witnessed a record single-day spike of 75,760 COVID-19 cases, as per the health ministry's 8 am update on August 27. The country has been reporting the highest daily rise in fresh cases globally, even as the death toll due to the infection has gone past the 60,000-mark.
Amid the precarious pandemic situation and rising number of cases, students across the country have been demanding postponement and cancellation of several examinations for fear of contracting the infection.
While many have cited the lockdown and restrictions on transport as reasons that would prevent them from reaching their centres, others have said they fear getting infected and putting other vulnerable family members at risk. However, the government has maintained that proper social distancing measures will be implemented to ensure the safety of students.
Globally, over 2.41 crore confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported and more than 8.24 lakh people have died due to the infection.
Here are the latest developments:
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
> The Union Home Ministry on dismissed allegations levelled by the Delhi health minister in his letter dated August 27, saying that claims that the Ministry of Home Affairs has been putting pressure on the government of the national capital to not increase testing are 'false and baseless'.
> Cab aggregator startup Ola is reportedly going slow on its credit business, which was designed to offer small-value loans and credit cards to consumers who use the platform for their daily commute. Sources said the company has currently taken its foot off the pedal for both the credit line and credit card programmes in terms of new customer acquisition. Reason: the slowdown in the overall travel business because of COVID-19.
> The Union health ministry recommended that all tuberculosis patients be tested for the novel coronavirus and vice versa. In a document titled 'Guidance Note on Bi-directional TB-COVID Screening and Screening of TB Among ILI/SARI Cases', the health ministry noted that tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe coronavirus infection. Further, the prevalence of the disease among those infected by COVID-19 has been found to be 0.37 percent to 4.47 percent.
> The European Commission has made a 336 million euro ($396 million) downpayment to British drug maker AstraZeneca to secure at least 300 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, a spokesman said on August 27. The deal covers development, liability and other costs faced by the vaccine maker. The EU has also secured an option to buy 100 million additional doses of the vaccine under development. The deal covers development, liability and other costs faced by the vaccine maker. The EU has also secured an option to buy 100 million additional doses of the vaccine under development.
> SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, can adversely affect nearly all organs in a human body, experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said, highlighting the need to revisit the present system of classification of cases into mild, moderate and severe categories based solely on respiratory symptoms.> Over 12 lakh Indians have returned from abroad after the government launched the 'Vande Bharat' evacuation mission on May 7 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs said on August 27.