India

Coronavirus live | FDA OKs mixing COVID-19 vaccines

A series of events have been lined up to celebrate the milestone of administering 100 crore Covid vaccine doses. The 225-foot-long monumental national flag made by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), which was unveiled earlier in Leh, will be displayed at Red Fort to celebrate 100 crore COVID-19 vaccinations on October 21. The tricolour made of Khadi, which weighs 1,400 kg, is 150 feet wide and was conceptualised to celebrate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”.

Read | COVID-19 pandemic fuelled rise in child sexual abuse online: report

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

USA

“FDA OKs mixing COVID-19 vaccines; backs Moderna, J&J boosters”

U.S. regulators on October 20 signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.

The Food and Drug Administration’s decisions mark a big step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign, which began with extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine last month. But before more people roll up their sleeves, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consult an expert panel later this week before finalizing official recommendations for who should get boosters and when. -AP

Russia

WHO says it continues to assess Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) is still assessing the Russia-designed Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, according to an update on the WHO’s website on October 20.

“As with other candidate vaccines, WHO continues to assess Sputnik V vaccines from different manufacturing sites and will publish decisions on their EUL (Emergency Use Listing) status when all the data are available and the review is concluded,” WHO said in emailed comments to Reuters. -Reuters

Poland

Poland to make COVID-19 booster shots available to all adults

Poland is planning to make third doses of the coronavirus vaccine available to all adults “over the next few weeks”, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on October 20.

“Those over 18 who had their last dose at least six months ago will be able to get another dose,” Mr. Morawiecki said in a Facebook post. -Reuters

Russia

Russians to stay off work for a week as virus deaths rise

President Vladimir Putin on October 20 ordered most Russians to stay off work for a week later this month amid rising COVID-19 infections and deaths, and he strongly urged reluctant citizens to get vaccinated.

The government coronavirus task force reported 1,028 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought Russia’s death toll to 226,353, by far the highest in Europe. -AP

Czech Republic

Czech Republic imposes new restrictions as infections soar

The Czech Republic on October 20 approved several new measures to tame a steep rise in coronavirus infections, which have reached levels unseen since late April.

Face coverings will be mandatory at workplaces. And as of Nov 1, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other indoor places will need to check whether the patrons have the required COVID-19 certificate confirming they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from the virus. -AP

South Africa

South Africa starts vaccinations for those aged 12 to 17

South Africa has started giving COVID-19 vaccinations to adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years, with a goal of inoculating at least 6 million people from this age group.

The country is trying to increase its rate of vaccinations which is running behind the target of 300,000 daily shots. Currently, South Africa is administering about 185,000 doses per day. -AP

National

SC to allow journalists inside courtrooms in physical proceedings

The Supreme Court on October 20 decided to allow journalists inside courtrooms to witness the proceedings to be conducted in physical mode subject to adherence to usual COVID-19 protocols.

Earlier, the apex court registry had come out with the revised SOP saying that from October 20, all the matters listed on Wednesdays and Thursdays would be heard in the physical presence of lawyers and litigants in courtrooms only. -PTI

USA

Sanofi says its flu vaccine can be co-administered with Moderna’s COVID-19 shot

Sanofi SA’s flu vaccine can be safely given along with Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, the French drugmaker said on October 20, citing study data.

The study supports the current recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given simultaneously. The data was reported in slides set to be presented later to a panel of CDC advisers. -Reuters

U.K.

Britain secures COVID-19 antivirals from Merck and Pfizer

Britain said on October 20 it had secured deals for two COVID-19 antivirals, one developed by Merck and the other by Pfizer, which it said could be used to treat patients by the end of the year if regulatory approval is granted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has removed almost all COVID-19 restrictions and is relying on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to try and withstand winter pressures on hospitals given high case numbers of more than 40,000 new infections a day. -Reuters

Maharashtra

Rs. 25 Crore be disbursed for educational expenses of kids who lost parents to COVID-19 in Maharashtra: SC

The Supreme Court on October 20 agreed for disbursal of over Rs. 25 crore deposited with it five years ago by the Maharashtra government in the apex court registry towards educational expenses of children who have lost either or both parents during the COVID-19 pandemic in Maharashtra, one of the worst affected States during the second wave of pandemic earlier this year, had deposited the money in the apex court registry in an old matter related to medical college admissions. -PTI


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