Coronavirus India lockdown Day 143 updates | August 14, 2020

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal. File

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal. File  

Trained Nurses Association of India, the largest nursing association in the country, released data for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, indicating that 509 nursing staff were infected and 20 died while providing care to COVID patients. Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal have the maximum number of COVID positive staff nurses in the country and also the highest fatality rate.

Close to 200 doctors, the majority of them general practitioners, have lost their lives to COVID-19 till August 7 according to information compiled and released by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

The nation has not yet reached any peak or plateau in terms of coronavirus cases which means the situation will probably get worse, cautioned CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) director Rakesh Mishra.

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:

10:30 p.m. | Karnataka

Karnataka slashes cost of RT-PCR tests by ₹500

The Karnataka government’s COVID-19 task force has decided to reduce the cost of the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests by ₹500, Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said on Friday.

The cost of RT-PCR tests for those referred from government hospitals to private labs have been reduced from ₹2,000 to ₹1,500 and for those going directly to private labs from ₹3,000 to ₹2,500, the DCM’s office quoted him as saying after the task force meeting.

He said, at the meeting it was also decided to purchase 20 lakh new rapid antigen test kits and 18 lakh RT- PCR test kits.

Stating that the ICMR has warned about infections increasing in state capital Bengaluru, and necessary precautionary measures are being taken, Mr. Narayan said, it was decided at the meeting to purchase equipment worth ₹12 crore to start 115 bed ICU at the KC General Hospital in the city.

All necessary measures are being taken to bring down the death rate, for which certain tests should be done.

10 p.m. | Punjab

Amarinder announces extension of night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Punjab

In the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday announced extension of the night curfew in all cities from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. along with a slew of other measures to control the spread of the pandemic.

The night-time curfew will now be applicable to all cities, with the exemption of industries, said the chief minister, while announcing sector-based division of big cities, with a nodal officer to be appointed in each for contact tracing to assist health teams.

On August 7, Mr. Singh ordered night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the worst affected cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala. Currently, night curfew in the state remains in force from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Mr. Singh also announced weekends as ‘stay at home’ in order to avoid unnecessary movement and socialising in Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar for the next fortnight after which the situation will be reviewed, an official statement said.

In another major decision, it was decided that in every marriage palace, restaurant, office, where more than 10 people gather, a ‘Covid Monitor’ would be appointed to ensure full compliance of wearing masks, sanitisation and social distancing, said the chief minister at his weekly Facebook Live #AskCaptain session.

9:30 p.m. | West Bengal

India overcame challenges in the past, will do so again: Mamata on COVID-19 crisis

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed hope that India, which has overcome many challenges in the past, will also win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the eve of the country’s 74th Independence Day, she said people should wear masks and maintain physical distance while hoisting the Tricolour.

“Every year we observe ‘Freedom At Midnight by hoisting the tricolour at the stroke of midnight. This year let’s do the same, but stay safe. Wear a mask and keep distance. Our great nation has overcome many challenges. This one too shall be overcome. Jai Hind. Bande Mataram,” the chief minister tweeted. - PTI

9 p.m. | New Delhi

Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry tests positive for COVID-19

Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said on Twitter that he had tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

"Just to inform that I have tested positive for Covid 19 and initiating home isolation as per guidelines. Requesting all my friends, colleagues for self monitoring. Contact tracing will be done by Health Team. Hoping to see everyone soon," he tweeted.  

8:30 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

TN CM unveils ‘Amma COVID-19 Home Care Kit’ costing ₹2,500

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Friday unveiled the ‘Amma COVID-19 Home Care Kit’ for people who have tested positive for the virus and been advised home isolation.

Costing ₹2,500, the kit comprises a pulse oximeter, a digital thermometer, packs of herbal immunity boosters like ’Athimathuram’ and ‘Kabasura Kudineer’, the state government said.

Also, the kit has 60 tablets of ‘Amookra Chooranam’ having beneficialeffects for the virus-infected, 14 tablets each of multi-vitamins and zinc, 14 face masks and a soap, an official press release said, adding that these would be sufficient for 14 days.

The pack, intended for those advised to isolate themselves in their residences following the infection by the virus and others who have symptoms, is an initiative of the government-run multi-specialty and the government medical college hospital here.

The pulse oximeter is a device used to measure blood oxygen-level and if oxygen saturation was found to be below 94%,the infected person needs immediate healthcare. - PTI

8 p.m. | New Delhi

President Kovind praises India’s ‘super-human efforts’ in containing COVID-19

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday appreciated the “super-human efforts” in containing the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic in the country and said these are “worth emulating” by the wider world.

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, the president complimented the COVID warriors and said the nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of the country’s fight against this virus.

“All corona warriors deserve high praise,” Mr. Kovind said in his televised address.

He said it is very reassuring to note that the central government, while anticipating the tremendous challenge, responded effectively and well in time.

“For a country so vast and diverse with high population density, meeting this challenge requires super-human efforts,” the president said.

He lauded all state governments for taking measures in accordance with local circumstances. - PTI

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7:30 p.m. | Goa

Tourism will normalise after COVID-19 pandemic ends: Goa guv

Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday urged citizens to fall back on agriculture and fishing to tide over the economic crisis, citing that tourism in the state will return to normalcy once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

In his message on the eve of 74th Independence Day, the Governor said, “Every effort is being made by the state government to revive the tourism sector. However, the fact is that it will only come back to its usual once the pandemic is gone.”

It is time for citizens to fall back on more traditional occupations such as agriculture and fishing to tide over the fall in their incomes and the state economy, he said.

“Agriculture was the main occupation in Goa in the earlier days. With the growth of tourism, mining, industries and service sectors, it gradually reached a state of neglect,” he said.

“The COVID-19 crisis has made us realise that there is a dire need for revival of agriculture sector in Goa,” the Governor said. - PTI

7 p.m. | Assam

Assam hospital likely to be selected for Phase-II trials of Covaxin: Himanta

The Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) is likely to be selected as one of the centres for Phase-II trial of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first indigenous vaccine, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has “successfully completed” Phase-I human clinical trials of the vaccine and Phase-II will start soon, Mr, Sarma said at a plasma donation camp organised by the BJP here.

On June 29, Bharat Biotech had announced that it had successfully developed ‘Covaxin’ in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV).

“They (Bharat Biotech) have started the process to have GMCH as one of the centres for Phase-II testing of the vaccine.

“It is almost 99 per cent sure that GMCH will participate (in Phase-II trials),” Mr. Sarma said.

At present, paper work is going on between Bharat Biotech and Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), he added. - PTI

6:30 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Governor tests negative for COVID-19

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who was under treatment for COVID-19, on Friday tested negative, a private hospital here said.

“We are very pleased to inform that Governor Banwarilal Purohit has tested negative for COVID-19 today. His grit and determination has helped in his speedy recovery and he continues to remain active,” Kauvery Hospital said in a statement. - PTI

6:00 p.m. | Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Chief Minister goes into self-quarantine

Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan  


Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday went on self-quarantine and several key members of his Cabinet too followed suit. The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said Mr. Vijayan would skip the Independence Day parade here on Saturday.

His office said health experts had advised Mr. Vijayan to isolate himself after several senior officers who led the rescue operations at the site of the air crash in Karipur airport in Kozhikode had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Governor Arif Muhammad Khan had headed the delegation. The Raj Bhavan said Mr. Khan had limited public interaction and was confined to his official residence mostly.

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5:30 p.m. | Data

A big share of farmers were unable to sell produce on time during lockdown, says survey

About two months into the stringent lockdown owing to the COVID-19 crisis, a significant share of farmers across India were not able to sow their seeds, harvest their crop and sell their produce on time, according to the Gaon Connection and Lokniti-CSDS COVID Rural survey 2020.

Significantly, the distress came despite a slew of exemptions and relaxations for agriculture and allied sectors from the lockdown

The survey is based on face-to-face interviews with 25,371 respondents in rural households between May 30 and July 16 this year across 179 districts.

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5:00 p.m. | New Delhi

India exported 23 lakh PPE to five countries in July, says Health Ministry

A medical worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and a plastic bag over his head as he transports the body of a patient who was suspected to have died of COVID-19, at Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Bhagalpur, Bihar

A medical worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and a plastic bag over his head as he transports the body of a patient who was suspected to have died of COVID-19, at Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Bhagalpur, Bihar   | Photo Credit: Reuters


India exported 23 lakh personal protection equipment to five countries including the U.S., the U.K. and the U.A.E. in July, after the government relaxed export norms and this has substantially helped the country to position itself in the global market of these kits, the Union Health Ministry said. The other two countries are Senegal and Slovania, it said.

According to the Ministry, the ‘Make in India’ spirit “embedded in the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan has resulted in providing resilience and self-sufficiency” to the country for various medical equipment including PPE.

While the Union government is supplying PPE kits, N95 masks, ventilators etc., to the State governments and Union Territories administrations, States are also procuring these items directly. - PTI

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4:30 p.m. | Mumbai

COVID-19 situation not conducive to reopening of temples, says Bombay High Court

Observing that the current situation was “not at all conducive” to reopening of places of worship, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to pass any interim order directing that temples in Maharashtra be opened for public.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice P V Tavade said the COVID-19 situation in the State had not improved and people must therefore, pray at home. The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed through advocate Dipesh Siroya seeking that the Maharashtra government be directed to reopen temples for public.

The State government could open temples and allow only a limited number of worshippers at a time in accordance with its COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, Mr. Siroya argued. The Bench, however, asked Siroya which temple he considered personally, to be the “biggest?”

“The biggest temple is humanity,” Mr. Siroya said. To which, the Bench responded saying, “If you have any love for humanity, do not press for such prayers then.” “For the love and safety of humanity, pray at home,” it said. - PTI

4:00 p.m. | Chennai

Apply with Aadhaar number for instant Tamil Nadu e-pass from August 17: Chief Minister

Edappadi K.Palaniswami

Edappadi K.Palaniswami   | Photo Credit: E. LakshmiNarayanan


All those who apply for e-passes by providing Aadhaar or ration card details, would get their e-passes “at once” without any delay, from August 17, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami announced on Friday.

In a statement, Mr. Palaniswami appealed to the general public to apply and obtain e-passes “only for unavoidable reasons”, as the decision to ease the e-pass system has been taken for the welfare of the people.

He said that relaxations from the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were being granted for the benefit of the general public and e-passes were being granted for inter-district movement.

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3:30 p.m. | Araria

More than 220 inmates of Bihar jail test positive

Altogether 224 inmates of overcrowded district jail here have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few days, sending the authorities into a tizzy, officials said on Friday.

According to Civil Surgeon, Araria, M P Singh, a total of 224 inmates have tested positive. Reports of 182 had come out on Wednesday night, a day after 42 others were found infected. This has triggered panic at the jail premises.

Jailor Pramod Das said: “The premises have a capacity of 600. But, at present we are accommodating 706 prisoners. Nearly a third of them have been infected with the coronavirus. It is, indeed, a matter of concern."

Araria District Magistrate Prashanth Kumar C H said: “We are taking steps to decongest the jail premises. Some of the male and female prisoners are being shifted to Purnea and Dalsinghsarai in Samastipur respectively. This would help in maintaining social distancing and prevention of further spread of the contagion." - PTI

3:00 p.m. | Malappuram

24 officers engaged in Kozhikode Air India crash rescue operations test positive

Security personnel stand guard near the mangled remains of Air India Express flight, at Karipur in Kozhikode. File

Security personnel stand guard near the mangled remains of Air India Express flight, at Karipur in Kozhikode. File   | Photo Credit: PTI


Exactly one week after the Air India flight tragedy, two dozen key Malappuram district officers who supervised the rescue and relief operations at Karipur tested positive for COVID-19.

After District Police Chief U. Abdul Kareem tested positive on Thursday, the results of District Collector K. Gopalakrishnan came as positive of Friday. District Medical Officer K. Sakeena confirmed that Sub-Collector Anju K.S., Assistant Collector Vishnu Raj and 20 other officers too have tested positive for COVID-19. Among them, a few were deputy collectors and senior revenue officials.

These officers had interacted with several ministers and top officials in the wake of the Air India Express B-737 flight crash at Karipur. The list included Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan.

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2:30 p.m. | Mangaluru

Kaup MLA tests positive

BJP MLA from Kaup Assembly constituency in Udupi district, Lalaji R. Mendon, has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a message posted on his Facebook account “Lalaji R Mendon Kapu” on Thursday (August 13), the MLA said he was under home quarantine for the last seven days after his personal secretary tested positive for COVID-19. As a precautionary measures he underwent the test and was found positive for COVID-19.

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2:00 p.m. | Science

Countries switching to immunity passport

Across the world, countries are considering the use of ‘immunity passports.’ These are handed out to those who have recovered from COVID-19 for the purpose of travel. Immunity passports are also known as ‘risk-free certificates.’ According to the World Health Organisation, use of such certificates could lead to the risk of continued transmission.


1:30 p.m. | Hyderabad

Aurobindo Pharma expects phase-I, II trials by end of 2020

Aurobindo Pharma has said it is expecting its proposed vaccine candidate for COVID-19 to undergo Phase I and II trials by the end of 2020, while Phase III may be undertaken during March-April next year.

Managing Director of Aurobindo Pharma, Narayanan Govindarajan said the vaccine for COVID-19 is being developed by Profectus BioSciences Inc in the U.S., which was acquired by AurobindoPharma's subsidiary Auro Vaccines LLC. "So on the VSV platform, they (Auro Vaccines) are already developing a COVID-19 vaccine as well and we are creating the capacity in India wherein there are two phases of capacity. The first set of capacity would be ready by October, where we would like to make the product and start the Phase-I and Phase-II by the end of the year.”

“And our commercial facility, we are aiming to get it ready by around March-April timeline where we would like to make the product for even the Phase III trials. That is the timeline for the COVID-19 vaccine based on our current assumptions,” Mr. Govindarajan said. - PTI

1:00 p.m. | Aizawl

Mizoram issues new guidelines for social gatherings

The Mizoram government has issued additional standard operating procedure (SOP) to be followed in any gathering to ensure that social distancing is strictly maintained in view of the rise of COVID-19 cases in the State, an official said.

The order said that not more than 50 people are allowed in gatherings like marriage ceremony, funeral, memorial stone erection programme, anniversary celebration and any other related functions.

Funeral of a deceased person should be attended by his or her relatives as minimal as possible and only two representatives of an association or union are allowed to attend such funerals, the order said. - PTI

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12.30 pm | Health

WHO reassures on food

The World Health Organization has urged people not to fear catching the novel coronavirus from food, after Chinese testers found traces on food and packaging.

A sample taken from the surface of frozen chicken wings imported into the southern city of Shenzhen from Brazil, as well as samples of outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp sold in the northwestern city of Xian, have tested positive for the virus, local Chinese authorities said.

“People should not fear food, food packaging or delivery of food,” the World Health Organization's head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department said in a joint statement “there is no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from food or from food packaging.”

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12 pm | India

India's COVID death toll fourth-highest in the world

India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain to become the fourth-highest in the world with another single-day record increase in cases Friday.

According to the Health Ministry, India reported 1,007 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its total rose to over 48,000 deaths, behind the United States (over 1.68 lakh), Brazil (over 1.05 lakh) and Mexico (over 55,000).

India’s confirmed cases reached crossed 2.46 lakh with a single-day spike of 64,553 in the past 24 hours.

11.30 am | Medicine

Scientists decode likely order of COVID-19 symptoms

Scientists have found the likely order in which COVID-19 symptoms first appear, an advance that may help clinicians rule out other diseases, and help patients seek care promptly or decide sooner to self-isolate.

According to the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, the likely order of symptoms in patients with COVID-19 is fever, followed by cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrhea.

“This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19,” explained study co-author Peter Kuhn, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in the U.S.

With this new information, Mr. Kuhn said doctors can determine what steps to take to care for patients, and prevent their condition from worsening.- PTI

11 am | Andhra Pradesh

Pandemic surge continues unabated in Andhra Pradesh

The State once again witnessed close to 10,000 new infections in a day taking the overall tally of COVID-19 infections to 2,64,142. During the past 24 hours, 82 new deaths and 9,996 new cases were reported.

The toll has gone up to 2,378 and the death rate remains at 0.90%, according to Health Department bulletin.

The Department claimed that A.P. had become the first major State to have more than 50,000 tests per million ratio.

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10.30 am | India

Over 64,000 fresh COVID-19 cases

India’s COVID-19 caseload surpassed 24 lakh on Friday after 64,553 people tested positive in a day, and the recoveries rose to over 17 lakh, the Health Ministry said.

With 17,51,555 people defeating the disease, the recovery rate has surged to 71.17%. The caseload increased to 24,61,190, while the death toll climbed to 48,040 with 1,007 people succumbing to the disease in 24 hours, the ministry data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The fatality rate has declined to 1.95%.

There are more than 6.60 lakh active cases, which is 26.88% of the total cases. - PTI

10 am | Maharashtra

10 hospitals in Navi Mumbai get show-cause notices for violations

The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, acting on people’s complaints, has issued show cause notices to 10 private hospitals within its jurisdiction for flouting the directives related to COVID-19 treatment issued by the State government on May 21.

“The show cause notices were issued on Wednesday, giving them 72 hours to respond,” additional commissioner Sujata Dhole said.

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9.30 am | Odisha

In Odisha hotspot, one-third of population has antibodies

Nearly one-third of the population of the Berhampur Municipal Corporation area in Odisha’s Ganjam district, the State’s virus hotspot, has developed COVID-19 antibodies, according to a survey by the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar.

The Indian Council of Medical Research institute had carried out a serological survey in the BeMC area in association with the State Health and Family Welfare department, MKCG Medical College & Hospital and other government agencies between August 3 and 7.

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9 am | New Delhi

Testing begins for migrants coming back to the capital

The Delhi government on Thursday started testing migrant workers — who are coming back to the city — for COVID-19 at their drop-off points, said officials.

“On Thursday, workers arriving at Anand Vihar bus terminal were tested using rapid antigen testing. We will start testing at a drop-off point near Wazirabad in north-west district from tomorrow,” an official told The Hindu.

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8.30 am | Tamil Nadu

Only two days institutional quarantine for international passengers with COVID-19 negative certificate in Chennai

International passengers arriving at Chennai airport with a COVID-19 negative certificate will only have to undergo two days of institutional quarantine.

So far, all international passengers were put in seven-day institutional quarantine and they had to be tested twice, first at the time of arrival and second, on the seventh day of quarantine.

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8 am | Punjab

Punjab reports 1,035 cases, 36 deaths

Punjab recorded 1,035 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, and reported 36 deaths, taking the fatalities to 706, according to an official statement.

The number of cases has mounted to 27,936. The major chunk of new cases, 222 and 176, were reported from Ludhiana and Jalandhar districts respectively. The Health department said there were 9,391 active cases and 17,839 had been cured so far.

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7.30 am | Madhya Pradesh

BJP MP Solanki tests positive

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sumer Singh Solanki on Thursday tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Barwani district administration.

“We are going to hospitalise him, and trace his contacts of the past 10 days,” said district Chief Medical and Health Officer Anita Singare. Mr. Solanki, down with fever for a few days, is the second Rajya Sabha MP from the State after Jyotiraditya Scindia to have contracted the illness.

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