Coronavirus India lockdown Day 156 updates | August 27, 2020

Nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Saint Teresa, wearing masks and face shields as precaution against the coronavirus distribute food to poor and homeless people in Kolkata on Aug. 26, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Registering over 75,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time in a span of 24 hours, India’s virus tally sprinted past 33 lakh on Thursday, while the number of recoveries crossed the 25 lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

As many as seven non-BJP CMs have decided to move Supreme Court against Centre's decision to conduct NEET and JEE tests. AIADMK, DMK, BJP and AAP have also urged the Centre to postpone the entrance examinations.

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:

8.55 pm | New Delhi

MHA terms as baseless allegation of putting pressure on Delhi govt not to increase COVID-19 tests

The Union Home Ministry on Thursday termed as baseless the allegation that it is putting pressure on the Delhi government not to increase COVID-19 tests to 40,000 in the national capital.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in Delhi has been possible due to enhanced testing and other containment measures.

“The allegation raised in the letter of the Health Minister of Delhi Govt dated August 27, 2020, which is addressed to Union Home Secretary, to the effect that MHA is putting pressure on Delhi Govt officers not to increase testing in Delhi is false and baseless,” the spokesperson tweeted.

The Home Ministry said it was after the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the daily tests in Delhi, which were averaging around 4,000 per day till mid June, 2020, went up to around 18-20,000 per day in a calibrated manner.

“As such, any allegation that MHA is putting pressure on Delhi Govt not to increase testing in Delhi is absolutely without any basis,” the spokesperson said.

8.45 pm | Karnataka

Highest spike in COVID 19 cases in Karnataka

With as many as 9386 new COVID 19 positive cases reported on Thursday in Karnataka, the State witnessed the highest spike in COVID-19 cases reported in a single day.

With this, the total number of cases in the state so far stands at 3.09 lakh. As many as 3,357 positive cases and 59 deaths were reported from Bengaluru Urban.

According to the Department of Health and Family Welfare’s media bulletin, as many as 7866 patients were discharged on Thursday, taking the total number of discharges in the state to 2.19 lakh.

Meanwhile, 141 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the State, taking the total number of deaths in the state to 5232. Besides this, as many as 19 patients who tested positive for COVID 19 died due to non-COVID 19 causes. Out of the total 84,987 active cases in the state, as many as 747 patients are admitted in intensive care units across different hospitals in the state. On Thursday, as many as 68,187 tests were conducted for COVID 19. While 29,004 tests were rapid antigen tests, the remaining were RT PCR and other tests.

-- Tanu Kulkarni

8.05 pm | New Delhi

Cabinet Secretary reviews 10 States/UT with high COVID-19 fatality rate

The Centre on Thursday reviewed the COVID-19 management and response strategy in nine states and one UT which contributed to 89 per cent of deaths due to the infection in the last two weeks, an official statement said. In a review meeting by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, these States and the Union Territory were asked to continue with rigorous vigil so as to contain the spread of infection as well as take steps to reduce fatalities.

Mr. Gauba held a video conference with the chief secretaries and health secretaries of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, health ministry said in the statement.

The sStates and the UT were advised to proactively take steps towards reducing case fatality to less than one per cent across all districts focusing on effective containment, contact tracing and surveillance.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan made a detailed presentation on the current status of COVID-19 in these states and the UT, with a focus on districts reporting high case fatality and the need to refine as well as strengthen approach and strategies relating to testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, home isolation, availability of ambulances

8.00 pm | Jammu and Kashmir

Govt. re-imposes restrictions on religious gatherings in Kashmir

The J&K administration re-imposed restrictions on religious gatherings in the Kashmir valley on Thursday, a day after a group of Shia mourners clashed with the police in central Kashmir's Budgam.

"In the wake of COVID-19, restrictions shall continue on all religious processions and gatherings in all districts,"  Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole said.

Mr. Pole urged the heads of Shia bodies "to use their influence and aware people about the importance of following COVID-19 related standard operating procedure (SOPs).

An official spokesman said senior Shia leaders — including Abid Hussain Ansari, secretary of the All J&K Shia Association; Aga Syed Muntazir, secretary of the All J&K Anjumane Sharie Shiaan and representatives of the All J&K Itehaadul Muslimeen and other Shia Anjumans — attended a meeting organised by Mr. Pole to assess the situation.

The decision to re-impose restrictions comes just a day after the police booked Shia mourners for raising pro-azaadi slogans and recorded a clash in Budgam. Religious gatherings were allowed for the first time since March 20 just 10 days ago in J&K.

Prominent Shia cleric Ruhullah Mehdi accused the administration of "provoking" the community.

"Imposition of a curfew is a deliberate provocation by the administration. This curfew and beating up of people going out for their routine life will have a backlash. It will turn the situation from bad to worse. I may have my own opinions about processions and SOPs related to COVID-19. The rogue behaviour and firing on mourners is unacceptable," Mr. Mehdi, also a National Conference leader, said.

J&K Apni Party also condemned use of force on Shia mourners. "The police action is unwarranted and interference in religious affairs. The police should stop from such reprehensible actions," J&KAP president Altaf Bukhari.

-- Peerzada Ashiq

7.50 pm | Maharashtra

Maharashtra reports another massive spike in COVID-19 cases

Maharashtra reported another massive spike of 14,718 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, taking the total case tally to 7,33,568 of whom 1,78,234 cases are active. 355 new deaths pushed the total death toll to 23,444. As many as 9,136 patients were discharged today to take the total recoveries till date to 5,31,563.

Pune reported another big surge of more than 3,000 cases to take its total case tally to 1,61,945 while 47 deaths pushed its total death toll to 3,916.

Mumbai reported 1,350 new cases to take its total case tally to 1,40,888 of whom only 19,463 are active. 30 new fatalities saw the city's death toll climb to 7,535. Nagpur district reported 36 deaths while Nashik district in north Maharashtra reported 31 fatalities.

-- Shoumojit

7.30 pm | Maharashtra

Five more volunteers join Oxford COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

 Five more volunteers were inoculated with the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Pune district on Thursday as part of the phase II clinical trial launched in search for an antidote against the viral infection that is showing no signs of abating in the country.

Three of the volunteers were administered the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital in Pune city, a senior doctor from the medical facility said.

Two more volunteers were inoculated with the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate at the KEM Hospital and Research Centre at Vadu in Shirur tehsil, 30km from Pune, an official said.

Earlier, two volunteers, aged 32 and 48, were given a shot of the ‘Covishied vaccine, being manufactured by the city-based Serum Institute of India (SII), on Wednesday when the phase II clinical trial of the medicine began at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital.

“On Thursday afternoon, three more volunteers — two females and a male — were administered the vaccine candidate after their reports of RT-PCR test for COVID-19 and antibody test came negative,” said Dr Sunita Palkar, in-charge of the research cell at the medical college.

7.20 pm | New Delhi

Containment zones likely to increase with doubling of tests, further relaxations: Officials

The number of COVID-19 containment zones in Delhi, which currently stand at 716, may be increased owing to further relaxations under ‘Unlock’ and doubling of coronavirus tests, officials said on Thursday.

COVID-19 tests in Delhi will be doubled to 40,000 per day within a week as there has been a marginal increase in the number of coronavirus cases in New Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Wednesday, asserting that aggressive testing and isolation will remain his government’s strategy to fight the disease.

The number of COVID-19 containment zones in Delhi has risen from 539 on August 1 to 716 on August 27.

Officials said the rise in the number of containment zones has also been congruent with the increase in cases in the national capital.

Officials in some districts said the number of containment zones may rise with the number of COVID-19 tests getting doubled and further relaxations under unlock.

However, testing is the way to detect and isolate the positive cases to spread the check of coronavirus, they said.

A north east district official said the numbers of containment zones keep on changing frequently since the specifications have been changed.

On Wednesday when the national capital recorded 1,693 cases, the city’s highest single-day spike this month so far, taking the tally to over 1.65 lakh, the containment zones were increased to 716.

7.00 pm | Tamil Nadu

TN COVID case count tops 4 lakh mark, death toll now 6,948

Tamil Nadu on Thursday crossed four lakh COVID-19 cases while the death toll touched 6,948 with 109 more fatalities.

The addition of 5,981 new infections took the tally to 4,03,242 with the State capital accounting for 1,286 fresh cases, a health department bulletin said here.

The active cases were only 52,364 with 3,43,930 total recoveries, including 5,870 on Thursday, it said.

Notably, from 3,02,815 cases on August 10, the State has added one lakh plus cases in a matter of about 16 days and in less than two months (from July 3 to till date) it has seen a whopping three lakh new infections.

It was on July 25, Tamil Nadu crossed the two lakh mark (2,06,737 cases including 6,988 reported on that day) and on July 3, the State surpassed one lakh cases.


6.50 pm | Jammu and Kashmir

Five-day lockdown imposed in J&K’s Samba

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba on Thursday announced a five-day lockdown in the district to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown from August 28 to September 1 midnight was ordered by Samba District Magistrate Rohit Khajuria, officials said.

Quoting an order issued by Khajuria, the officials said the step was taken in view of the spurt in COVID-19 cases.

However, the essential services like clinics, chemist shops and testing laboratories would function from 9 am to 8 pm during the lockdown days, while grocery shops, fruit and vegetables shops would be allowed to open from 7 am to 12 noon, the officials said.

6.11 pm | Jammu and Kashmir

Former J&K MLC Chuni Lal dies of COVID-19

Three people, including a former MLC, died of the coronavirus in the Jammu region, while senior BJP leader and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma on Thursday said that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

With these deaths, the coronavirus-related death toll in the region in Jammu and Kashmir now stands at 57, officials said.

Former MLC and Congress leader Chuni Lal, who tested positive for the coronavirus disease on August 24, breathed his last at the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital in Kathua in the early hours of Thursday, they said.

The 87-year-old leader was suffering from various ailments and was admitted to the hospital last week, the officials said.

5.55 pm | New Delhi

India Open, Syed Modi cancelled in BWF’s adjusted calender

The India Open Super 500 and the Syed Modi International Super 300 tournaments were on Thursday cancelled by the Badminton World Federation in its adjusted calendar to salvage a season thrown haywire by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The India Open, which was originally scheduled in March, was to be held from December 8 to 13 in New Delhi and Syed Modi was slated for November 17 to 22 in Lucknow in the previously revised calendar.

“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will implement an adjusted tournament calendar for the HSBC BWF World Tour in 2020,” the world body said in a statement.

“The TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark will remain part of the international tournament calendar and will proceed on the planned dates of 3-11 October 2020.

“All remaining HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments on the calendar will no longer take place at the dates and locations originally listed.”

The badminton season has been on hold after the All England Championship in March.

Read more

5.45 pm | Uttarakhand

Hospital in Uttarakhand closed after pharmacist tests positive

The District Hospital, Pithoragarh was closed for two days on Thursday after a pharmacist working at the facility tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have closed the hospital for two days as a precautionary measure. The pharmacist tested positive on Wednesday evening,” Chief Medical Officer, Pithoragarh, Harish Pant said.

However, the emergency ward of the hospital will remain operational with doctors attending to patients telephonically, he said.

5.40 pm | New Delhi

No need for alarm on COVID-19 reinfection, need more data for reliable inference: scientists

The first documented instance of coronavirus reinfection came from Hong Kong this week followed quickly by Belgium and the Netherlands reporting one case each, but there is no reason for alarm yet, say scientists, calming fears that a surge might be inevitable.

As concerns mount that herd immunity may not be enough to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists in India and elsewhere said more studies are needed for a reliable inference.

Wide conclusions cannot be drawn about reinfection from individual cases, noted Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst told PTI on the three cases reported this week.

“Since we do not yet know how frequent reinfections are, it is difficult to say what these findings mean for the success of a vaccination campaign,” Ranst, a clinical biologist at the academic hospital UZ Leuven in Belgium, told PTI, addressing worries that reinfection might also impact the vaccination programme.

5.00 pm | West Bengal

Will resume services when Centre gives go-ahead: Kolkata Metro

The Metro Railway in Kolkata said on Thursday that it will restart services on receiving the go-ahead from the Union Home Ministry and the Railway Ministry.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Metro Railway authorities can resume services, maintaining all COVID-related safety protocols.

“We will start the process of resuming services once we receive directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Railway Ministry,” Metro Railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.

After receiving the go-ahead, the Metro authorities will discuss the modalities of running the services in the city with the West Bengal government, she told PTI.

The Chief Minister announced a series of relaxations on Wednesday.

Regarding the resumption of Metro and local train services, she said that the Railway authorities should speak to state officials to work out the modalities.

Metro Railway, which forms an integral part of the city’s public transportation system, stopped services as the nationwide lockdown began in March to control the spread of the coronavirus.

4.40 pm | New Delhi

No. of COVID recoveries goes past 25 lakh in India: Health ministry

The number of COVID-19 recoveries has surpassed 25 lakh in the country while the case fatality rate has further declined to 1.83 per cent, the Union health ministry said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the country has reached nearly 3.9 crore, it added.

The strategic approach of the country as regards COVID-19 response and management -- “test, track, treat” -- emphasises the key principle of high level of testing on a sustained basis, leading to an early diagnosis, the ministry said.

A timely diagnosis furnishes opportunities to isolate or hospitalise the positive cases adequately in advance for appropriate treatment, it said, adding, “This in turn facilitates lower mortality rates and speedy recovery.”

A record 75,760 cases were added to the country’s COVID-19 tally in a day, taking it to 33,10,234. The death toll due to the disease climbed to 60,472, with 1,023 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours, health ministry data updated at 8 am showed.

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4.00 pm | West Bengal

Stringent lockdown in Kolkata, violations reported in some districts

Normal life was affected in Kolkata on Thursday as a complete shutdown was enforced across West Bengal to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, while violation of the lockdown restrictions was witnessed in some districts.

All public transport, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, were closed due to the lockdown.

Flight operations in and out of the Kolkata international airport were suspended for the day, while long- distance trains were rescheduled.

Ferry services through inland waterways were also suspended.

Essential services like medicine shops and health establishments remained open as these were kept out of the purview of the complete shutdown. Petrol pumps are also allowed to remain open on the lockdown days.

Schools, colleges and other educational institutes have remained closed in the state since late March when the first phase of the nationwide lockdown started.

3.50 pm | New Delhi

Over 15 lakh people covered under specialised COVID-19 policies

Need for demand-based insurance schemes has grown post the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 15 lakh people already being covered under the recently launched specialised COVID-19 policies, Irdai Chairman Subhash C Khuntia said.

“We must understand that in difficult times, insurance companies have to come to the rescue of the policyholders. It is the changing needs of the customers that we need to assess carefully, and we have to cater to that. I am happy that all of you have collaborated in bringing out these products and we have allowed the pricing (freedom) to the insurance companies.

“More than 15 lakh lives have already being covered under these two products within a period of about a month and that shows what is the demand of the customers,” he said.

3.30 pm | Delhi

Five benches in Delhi HC to hold physical courts on rotation from Sept 1

The Delhi High Court Thursday said five of its benches will start holding physical courts on a rotation basis from September 1, and issued standard operating procedure (SOP) for it.

The high court, which has been conducting hearings through video conferencing since March 24 to contain the spread of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the remaining benches shall continue taking up matters through the virtual mode.

An office order issued by Registrar General Manoj Jain said that while considering the matter regarding resumption of physical functioning of the high court, the suspension of functioning of court has been extended till September 30.

All the pending matters listed before the high court from September 1 to 30 would be adjourned to November 3 to December 7 respectively, the order said.

3.10 pm | Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh govt allows inter-state public transport operations

The Chhattisgarh government has allowed operations of inter-state public transport, which were shut since mid March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

State Transport Commissioner Kamalpreet Singh issued an order for resumption of the inter-state bus service and movement of other public transport with India tourist permit in the state with immediate effect for people’s convenience.

As per the guidelines, buses will be permitted to stop at designated points only while during the journey, travellers as well as the bus staff will have to keep their faces covered.

2.50 pm | Haryana

Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar tests positive for COVID-19

Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar on Thursday said that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 63-year-old MP from Faridabad requested all those who came in contact with him recently to get themselves tested for coronavirus.

Earlier, BJP MPs from Karnal, Hisar and Kurukshetra—Sanjay Bhatia, Brijendra Singh and Nayab Singh Saini- had tested positive for coronavirus.

Eight BJP MLAs from Haryana have also tested positive for coronavirus which includes Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, State Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma and Agriculture Minister J P Dalal.

Meanwhile, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said she has home quarantined herself for a week after coming in contact with a person who later tested positive.

2.25 pm

FAQ: Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?

A boy sells masks in Old Delhi while the city fights the pandemic. Sushil Kumar Verma SushilKumarVerma

A boy sells masks in Old Delhi while the city fights the pandemic. Sushil Kumar Verma SushilKumarVerma  


It likely provides protection for both.

Studies on the new coronavirus and other germs show wearing a mask helps stop infected people from spreading disease to others. Evidence also suggests that masks may offer some protection for the people wearing them.

The virus spreads from droplets people spray when they cough, sneeze or talk. Surgical or cloth face masks can block most of those particles from spreading.

While some droplets may still spread out, wearing a mask could reduce the amount, providing a benefit to others. Research shows people don’t get as sick when exposed to smaller amounts of virus, said Dr Monica Gandhi, a virus expert at University of California, San Francisco. - AP

2.10 pm | New Delhi

Back to the Capital

Migrant workers start returning to Delhi from various districts of Uttar Pradesh. Seen here is Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in New Delhi on Thursday.

Migrant workers start returning to Delhi from various districts of Uttar Pradesh. Seen here is Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Anand Vihar bus terminal — where thousands of migrant workers had assembled four months back in a desperate bid to return to their home towns after a nationwide lockdown was announced — is again abuzz with labourers, but this time they are desperate to return to the city.

With the lockdown virtually shutting down the economy, labourers said they were “forced” to return to their villages in March; and are now coming back in the “hope” of finding work again.

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1.40 pm | Tamil Nadu

Sirkazhi MLA tests positive for COVID-19

P.V. Bharathi, AIADMK MLA representing the Sirkazhi Assembly constituency, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The MLA’s swab sample was tested at the Tiruvarur Government Medical College Hospital in view of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s visit to Nagapattinam on Thursday for the launch of developmental work and to take stock of the preventive measures undertaken to contain the spread of the pandemic.

After the infection was confirmed, the MLA cancelled his participation in the CM’s programme in Nagapattinam and left for Chennai for treatment.

1.30 pm | New Delhi

Pranab Mukherjee still in deep coma and ventilator support, says hospital

Former President Pranab Mukherjee continues to be in a deep coma and on ventilator support, the hospital where he is admitted said on Thursday.

According to the doctors treating 84-year-old Mr. Mukherjee, he is haemodynamically stable.

Doctors say a patient is haemodynamically stable when the blood circulation parameters — blood pressure, heart and pulse rate, are stable and normal.

1.15 pm | New Delhi

Health ministry recommends COVID tests for all tuberculosis patients

Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of a severe COVID-19 disease, the health ministry said, recommending that all newly-diagnosed tuberculosis patients or those currently on treatment should be tested for COVID-19 and vice versa. The prevalence of tuberculosis among COVID-19 patients has been found to be 0.37 to 4.47 per cent in different studies, the ministry said and highlighted that there has been an overall decline in tuberculosis notification by 26 per cent during January to June, as compared to the previous year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In its “Guidance note on Bi-directional TB-COVID screening and screening of TB among ILI/SARI cases” issued on Wednesday, the ministry said studies have shown that a history of active as well as latent tuberculosis is an important risk factor for the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“This not only results in increased susceptibility, but also rapid and severe symptom development and disease progression with poor outcomes. Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease,” the document said. - PTI

12.50 pm | Andaman and Nicobar Islands

COVID-19 reaches remote Great Andamanese tribe

Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal group  ( PVTG) have tested positive for COVID-19. Great Andamnese are one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago.

" We have shifted all the  five to an isolation facility in Port Blair. Of these five persons, four are male and one female. They are all cooperating with us and are not showing any serious health complications," Avijit Roy, Nodal officer for COVID-19  and Deputy Director (Health), Directorate of  Health Services, Port Blair told The Hindu on Thursday.

Coronavirus India lockdown Day 156 updates | August 27, 2020

Health officials say the tribals would have contracted the virus from those who travelled to Port Blair and Strait Island to do odd jobs.

Read more

12.30 pm | Telangana

Elective surgeries at OGH dept. to resume this week

Elective surgeries in the Surgical Gastroenterology department of Osmania General Hospital (OGH) are set to resume after a hiatus of over a month. The non-emergency surgeries in the departments of General Surgery and Orthopaedics will resume next week.

Since the Gandhi Hospital has been converted into an exclusive COVID-19 hospital, people are dependent on OGH for the elective surgeries.

12.20 pm | Delhi

Delhi Police witnessing around 20 COVID-19 infections daily

Concerned over the rise in cases of COVID-19 in the Delhi police department, Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava has instructed the entire force to strictly implement necessary guidelines to prevent the spread of virus.

A senior police officer said that the police force is witnessing around 20 cases of COVID-19 daily. More than 2,500 policemen have tested positive till date and 15 have succumbed to the virus so far.

On Monday, Mr. Shrivastava, via videoconference, instructed all police personnel to revisit the circular and implement it completely.

In May, Mr. Shrivastava had issued a circular to all district DCPs and police heads of other units. As per the circular, all police personnel should wear masks and gloves and disinfect weapons, dragon light, computers and printers. Barracks at police stations should be sanitised on a daily basis.

The circular reads that each group should be appropriately rotated in a manner that 15-20% staffer is always on quarantine for a fixed period and available for duties any time, as per requirement.

12.10 pm | Kerala

Poor maintenance of registers at shops hits contact tracing

Though most shops in Ernakulam have kept registers at their entrances, some customers enter the shops without writing down their personal details.

Though most shops in Ernakulam have kept registers at their entrances, some customers enter the shops without writing down their personal details.   | Photo Credit: File photo

The practice of keeping registers at shop entrances to record details of customers for possible contact tracing seems to have lost steam, with several traders finding it difficult to ensure compliance.

With merchants trying to cash in on Onam sales, the sight of visitors entering shops without providing their names, contact numbers, and places of stay has become common in Ernakulam. A major chunk of traders had started maintaining registers after the authorities tightened vigil in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 situation. However, shop owners now cite logistical hurdles and manpower shortage as reasons for failure to ensure compliance.

“We can only hope that customers cooperate with us by entering their contact details properly in the registers. Only a few bother to do so,” said a retailer at Aluva. Traders pointed out that continued monitoring required additional manpower, which was not practical amid the festival season business. “Sales have already been hit by the pandemic crisis, and we cannot deploy people exclusively to ensure maintenance of registers,” said the manager of a bakery outlet at Edappally.

Read more

12.00 pm | Andhra Pradesh

Andhra University to start online classes from September third week

With the reopening of colleges and educational institution still shrouded in uncertainty, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Andhra University has decided to start online classes from the third week of September. The tentative date to kick-start the online delivery is scheduled for September 20.

For the first time, AU will using GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) to runs its online classes.

Once the online classes begin, AU will addressing about 14,000 students in the campus and over 25,000 in the affiliated colleges.

Read more

11.50 am

India's COVID-19 cases rising quicker than U.S. and spreading beyond cities

It took 169 days for India to cross the first 1 million COVID-19 cases mark compared to Brazil (115 days) and the U.S. (98 days). But the jump from 2 million cases to 3 million occurred in just 16 days - much quicker than Brazil (23 days) and the U.S. (28). This means cases are increasing quickly though the virus remains limited to a few States. Within those States, however, cases are spreading across districts.

The table depicts the State-wise % share of India's new cases recorded in three periods: between 0 and 1 million cases (P1), between 1 million and 2 million cases (P2) and between 2 million and 3 million cases (P3). For instance, Maharashtra recorded 28% of India's new cases during P1 and 19% each in P2 and P3.


Table appears incomplete? Click to remove AMP mode

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11.40 am | Puducherry

Puducherry COVID-19 tally breaches 12,000 mark

Puducherry recorded 10 more COVID-19 deaths to push the toll to 190 even as 511 admissions took the overall tally past the 12,000 mark on Thursday.

The tally is 190 deaths, 4,483 active cases, a cumulative total of 12,434 and 7,761 patients discharged. — Dinesh Verma

11.30 am | Tamil Nadu

Firms told to get their employees tested

Coimbatore Corporation has started asking big and small commercial, industrial establishments in the city to get their employees tested.

Following an announcement it made through a social media post on Tuesday, the sanitary supervisors and inspectors began issuing notices by hand on Wednesday. A senior officer supervising the task of issuing the notices, said each supervisor or inspector would serve the notice and get acknowledgement from the establishment concerned that it had been served.

Within a few days of receiving the notice, each establishment should have all its employees tested and that included a small establishment employing fewer than 10 people to those that employ people in hundreds.

The Corporation would send its officers or teams to each commercial establishment to check if they had had their employees tested. At the time of inspection, the establishment management should furnish the test report.

If any establishment had not taken seriously the notice by failing to ensure that all its employees were tested and reported negative, the Corporation would immediately shut it down until the establishment management showed proof of compliance.

11.20 am | Kerala

Pass system for travel to Karnataka withdrawn

Kasaragod District Collector D. Sajith Babu has withdrawn the need for obtaining passes for daily travel to Karnataka and back. The pass was introduced following an increase in the case of people with COVID-19 travelling to the neighbouring State.

The decision to withdraw it was taken at a meeting conducted through videoconferencing.

The Collector said that from now on, people would have to register themselves on the COVID-19 vigilance portal along with the negative certificate obtained after the antigen test.

11.00 am | Kerala

Now, NRIs stranded in India want to fly back

Thousands of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have been stranded in the country for nearly six months unable to join their jobs and families abroad even as India has made air bubbles with a few countries.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is flooded with inquiries about the request to fly out Indians who wanted to return to various destinations. However, normal operations will resume only when different governments ease their travel restrictions imposed on airlines, officials said.

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10.45 am | Odisha

Cancel NEET, JEE: Patnaik to Modi

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning and requested him to postpone NEET and JEE in view of COVID-19 and emerging flood situation. Stating that student may face difficulties in appearing the examination, Mr. Patnaik urged him to cancel the examination.

Earlier, the Odisha CM had written to Union Education Minister in this regard. - Satyasundar Barik

10.20 am | Karnataka

Fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccine will be a challenge: Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan   | Photo Credit: File Photo


Scaling and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, which should be out by early 2021, fairly around the world will be a challenge, Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO), has said.

At the valedictory programme of the International Conference on Public Policy and Management, hosted by the Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management - Bangalore (IIMB), she said, “But India is in a good position because many companies are working on vaccine development, either on their own or in collaboration, and India is a manufacturing hub for vaccines.”

Responding to a question on how long the COVID-19 pandemic would last, Ms. Swaminathan said while the WHO had no crystal ball, it would be safe to say that eradication was not possible and development of vaccine would protect vulnerable populations.

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10.00 am | Maharashtra

Maharashtra Health Minister stresses on increased contact tracing

Increased contact tracing is imperative in the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies to bring down the number of cases and fatalities, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.

Mr. Tope said while the fatality rate (currently below 1.7%) in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area is under control, it is essential to increase the number of first contacts of positive cases in both civic bodies.

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9.30 am | Telangana

Rally held to pay tributes to corona martyrs

Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment gear analysing samples collected at a COVID-19 rapid free testing centre for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Government Fever Hospital in Hyderabad on August 26, 2020

Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment gear analysing samples collected at a COVID-19 rapid free testing centre for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Government Fever Hospital in Hyderabad on August 26, 2020   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal


Healthcare professionals working in Telangana government hospitals paid tribute to COVID-19 warriors who died after contracting the infection, by holding a candle-light rally in government healthcare facilities across Hyderabad on Wednesday evening.

Junior and senior doctors, nurses, and others gathered in large numbers to participate in the rally. They have demanded government orders to be issued announcing ₹1 crore ex-gratia for the warriors who die of COVID-19.

9.00 am | West Bengal

Flight restrictions to be eased from Sept. 1

The West Bengal government on Wednesday announced that the restriction on domestic flight arrivals from six cities to Kolkata will be eased from September 1.

The restrictions on flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai and Ahmedabad were imposed from the first week of July. The State said the curbs will continue till the end of August.

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8.00 am

Maharashtra govt. provides relief to sectors hit by lockdown

Keeping close watch: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at a meeting with officials in Pune on Thursday.

Keeping close watch: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at a meeting with officials in Pune on Thursday.  


The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday took a slew of decisions to provide relief to real estate developers, farmers, fisherfolk and transporters facing economic losses owing to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

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7.00 am | Tamil Nadu

Vaccine trials at two centres in Chennai

Clinical trials of Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, will be launched at two institutions in Chennai — the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and the Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:01:10 AM |

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