Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 8, 2021)
In a significant directive to states and Union Territories, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday said requirement of a positive COVID-19 test report was not mandatory for admission to a health facility. In its revised national policy for admission of COVID patients to various dedicated health facilities, both public and private, the Union Health Ministry said no patient would be refused services on any account, including oxygen and essential drugs, even if they belonged to a different city.
Marketing companies of Remdesivir, used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, will supply 53 lakh vials of the antiviral drug to the states/UTs for the period between April 21 and May 16, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers said in a statement on Saturday. “The companies have been instructed to ensure timely supplies to all states/ UTs strictly as per the supply plan,” it added.
More than 84 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories, and over 53 lakh doses will be distributed to them in the next three days, the Centre said on Saturday. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that so far over 17.49 crore vaccine doses have been provided to states/UTs, of which around 16.7 crore doses have been consumed.
New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the number of COVID-19 vaccination centres would be increased three times in Delhi and demanded that the Centre supply of around 2.6 crore vaccine doses for inoculation of all people in the national capital in the next three months.
During a virtual meeting between US Health and Human Services (HSS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday, the two leaders noted that the India-US bilateral cooperation on COVID-19, which builds on a strong foundation, has been crucial not only for the health of the two countries but critical to the global response as well.
Port-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group has deployed all resources at its command — from staff and logistics to ports and airports — to secure medical oxygen and transportable cryogenic containers, as well as augment health infrastructure. The froup has already procured 48 cryogenic tanks capable of carrying 780 tonnes of liquid oxygen across the nation, a group spokesperson said.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, New-Delhi-based cloud kitchen startup Cheferd Foods — which runs brands like POMP, Burger in My Box, and Deli Salad Co — is providing free meal service to daily wagers and marginalised communities. At present, the startup is distributing meal packets across South Delhi in AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, and slum areas around the Okhla region.
With Tamil Nadu witnessing a sharp increase in the COVID-19 cases, the government on Saturday announced clamping a two-week "total lockdown" across the state to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Chief Minister M K Stalin said the lockdown was being enforced due to "unavoidable reasons" and pointed out that the decision was taken based on inputs received at a review meeting he had with district collectors on Friday, besides consultations with medical experts.
The Income Tax Department has issued a notification allowing hospitals and nursing homes to accept cash payments of Rs 2 lakh and more for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which frames policy for the department, issued the notification on Friday.
Swasth Digital Health Foundation, along with ACT Grants, a social change movement of the Indian startup ecosystem, is procuring 50,000 Oxygen Concentrators (OC) and other medical supplies to aid the fight against COVID-19. The alliance has deployed 3,500 OCs (as of May 1), with an additional 10,000 expected to be deployed by May 8. It also confirmed the supply of a total of 35,000 concentrators, with a majority expected to be delivered by May 15.
The US corporate sector continues to send its assistance to India to help the country fight the second wave of COVID-19, which has been seeing more than 300,000 infected people daily, putting enormous pressure on the country's hospitals reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Thermo Fisher, with the help of United Airlines, on Saturday, sent the much-needed supplies to India to help expand the COVID-19 testing, the company said.
Indian scientists at Singapore-based molecular diagnostic startup Tzar Labs and Mumbai-based Epigeneres Biotechnology have claimed to have found a breakthrough in early detection and diagnosis of cancer via a novel blood test. According to the official statement, the companies have co-developed a novel blood test called HrC, which can help in determining whether cancer is absent, imminent, or present in a patient. It can also diagnose the stages of the disease.