The Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday that it was expecting COVID-19 vaccine supplies to be available from early next year. Meanwhile, an expert panel at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has asked Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to submit a revised protocol for conducting both phase-2 and 3 human clinical trials in India for the Russian vaccine, sources said. Read more
Here are the latest updates:
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi tests COVID-19 positive
Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi on October 7 said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and was under home quarantine.
“I have tested positive for #COVID19. As I am asymptomatic, as per doctor’s advice I am in home quarantine,” he tweeted.
Mr. Joshi, an MP from Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency, played a crucial role in the conduct of the recent Parliament session amid the pandemic in his capacity as the Parliamentary Affairs Minister. — PTI
Rising recovery rate, falling active cases prove success of Centre-led COVID-19 containment strategy: Harsh Vardhan
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said India’s continuously rising recovery rate and progressively falling active cases have proven the success of the Centre-led COVID-19 containment strategy.
Mr. Vardhan, speaking at the digital inauguration of a Super Specialty Block (SSB) in Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa, noted that the testing capacity has been successfully ramped up and the country has crossed the eight crore milestone in terms of total tests.
“Since the last nine months, India has been relentlessly fighting the infectious disease. India’s continuously rising recovery rate and progressively falling active cases have proven the success of the Centre-led COVID-19 containment strategy. We have successfully ramped up our testing capacity which has crossed more than 8 crore milestone in terms of total tests,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
“I have confidence in the scientific developments taking place in the field of treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 and soon India will achieve more success in our fight against COVID-19,” he added.
India’s COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 67.57 lakh on Wednesday with 72,049 new cases in a day, while 57,44,693 people have recuperated so far, pushing the national recovery rate to 85.02%. There are 9,07,883 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country, according to the Union Health Ministry data. Mr. Vardhan also urged the people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. - PTI
’Yakshagana’ tours to be allowed from November
The Karnataka government is likely to allow traditional ‘Yakshagana’ (dance-drama) performances to start by November-end, Dakshina Kannada district-in-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary has said.
Addressing a meeting at the deputy commissioners office on Tuesday, the Minister sought preparations for the annual ’Thirugata’ or Yakshagana tours, which would be allowed to be conducted from next month, by adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
Yakshagana ‘Bhagawata’ Patla Satish Shetty and other artistes, including Ujire Ashok Bhat and Seetharam Kumar, apprised the Minister of the plight of artistes due to the suspension of shows this year. Kateel temple managing trustee Hari Asranna also attended the meeting.
Around 20 professional Yakshagana Melas are conducted in Dakshina Kannada district every year. More than a thousand artistes participate in the melas that also employ several associates as workers. Mr. Poojary asked the artistes to make advance preparations for the melas in time. The State government would extend support to all the artistes who are facing difficulties, he said. Yakshagana, dance-drama of the South, is associated most strongly with the State of Karnataka. Traditionally, Yakshagana was performed in the open air by all-male troupes sponsored by various Hindu temples. - PTI
Maharashtra announces guidelines for timings of restaurants, bars
Restaurants and bars in Maharashtra have been allowed to remain open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or as directed by the municipal commissioners or district collectors, the State government said on Wednesday. The government has conveyed this in a letter sent to the bodies representing hotels and restaurants.
Hotels, food courts, restaurants and bars in the State have been allowed to resume their operations from October 5 with capacity not exceeding 50% or as prescribed by local authorities.
“It is hereby informed that the restaurants and bars will remain open from 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. sharp, or as directed by the respective municipal commissioners or district collectors (depending on the prevalent situation of COVID-19 pandemic),” Dr. Dhananjay Savalkar, joint director (tourism), said in the letter issued on Wednesday. He also said that all the stakeholder restaurants and bars from the State need to follow the timings mandatorily. - PTI
Minister Jitendra Singh lauds NE states for better management of COVID-19
Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday lauded the northeastern (NE) States for better management of the coronavirus pandemic and said five out of eight States of the region had remained COVID-19-free during the lockdown period.
He said that positive cases began to appear in these States only after the movement of people was allowed. Mr. Singh also said sufficient supply of oxygen had been made available well in advance to all peripheral territories, including northeastern States and the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“There was better COVID management in the northeastern States and the good work done by the State governments as well as the civil society was appreciated by all quarters,” he said when Meghalaya Health Minister A. L. Hek called on him to discuss various issues related to the pandemic. - PTI
People should not be under false impression about improvement in COVID-19 situation: Tripura High Court
A division Bench of the Tripura High Court has said people of the State should not be under any false impression that there is “dramatic improvement” in the COVID-19 situation and life can get back to normal.
The apex court’s observation came following an ‘action taken report’ submitted by the State government on the recommendations of a Central expert team, which had recently visited the State.
“The people of the State should not get a false idea that there is a dramatic improvement in the coronavirus spread and that life should go back to normal. This would be a serious mistake with serious consequences,” the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Subhashish Talapatra, said.
It also said the positivity rate in Tripura has been quite high. The high court said the Committee has flagged certain shortcomings with regard to health facilities in the State and suggested remedial measures, which should be implemented at the earliest. The next date of hearing has been fixed for October 13. - PTI
Karnataka government slashes fine on not wearing face masks
Days after imposing hefty penalties, the Karnataka government on Wednesday reduced the fine on people not wearing masks from ₹1,000 to ₹250 in urban areas and from ₹500 to ₹100 in rural parts of the state.
The government had come under sharp criticism from various quarters not only for the exorbitant penalty amount but also policemen reportedly going on a fine collection spree at public places.
“In its recent order the government had fixed a fine of ₹1000 in the urban areas and ₹500 in the rural areas on those not wearing the masks,” Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said in a press release.
“Against the background of the public outrage and experts’ opinion, it has been decided to reduce the fine from ₹1,000 to ₹250 in the urban areas and from ₹500 to ₹100 in the rural areas,” he added. - PTI
Govt to launch awareness campaign to check spread of coronavirus
The government would launch a campaign from Thursday to spread awareness on the measures people need to follow to check the spread of coronavirus, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said.
Addressing a press conference on the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet, he said till the time a vaccine is available, people need to wear masks, maintain distance and sanitise hands as part of efforts to check the spread of the virus.
Posters, banners and stickers would come up at public places and on metros, auto rickshaws and other public transports to spread the message. Social media would also be used as part of the campaign, he said.
Fall in containment zones count in Delhi after steady rise since Aug last week
After rising steadily for over 40 days, the number of containment zones in the national capital fell to 2,697 on October 6, a marginal dip compared to the figures the previous day, according to official data.
Since last week of August, there has been an upward trend in the number of containment zones till October 5 when the count stood at 2,707.
However, on Tuesday, it slipped to 2,697, the fall being registered after a gap of more than 40 days.
The national capital recorded 39 COVID-19 fatalities on Tuesday, as the death toll mounted to 5,581 while 2,676 fresh cases took the tally to over 2.95 lakh, authorities said.
Dasara festival likely to be confined to Mysuru Palace and Chamundi Hills
As part of checking the spread of COVID-19, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu said on Wednesday there is a general view that the Dasara festival should be confined to the Mysuru Palace and Chamundi Hills this year.
“We have discussed the safety measures that should be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection during the Dasara festival in Mysuru.
There is a general view in the meeting that the Dasara should be confined to the Mysuru Palace and the Chamundi Hills,” Sriramulu tweeted after a meeting with the Mysuru district authorities.
According to him, a panel of technical experts will formulate the action plan on behalf of the district administration for the ‘State festival’
The action plan will be finalised after discussing with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, he said.
World Bank praises efforts to arrest COVID-19 spread in Dharavi
The World Bank on Wednesday praised the efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Mumbai’s Dharavi, one of the world’s largest slums, saying its success stemmed from a combination of customised solutions , community involvement and perseverance.
Dharavi’s success stemmed from a combination of customised solutions, community involvement and perseverance , it said. - PTI
Another Himachal minister tests positive for novel coronavirus
Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj tested positive for novel coronavirus on Wednesday, a health official said.
Mr. Bhardwaj is the third Himachal Pradesh minister and ninth MLA in the 68-member state Assembly to have contracted the virus. - PTI
COVID-19 recoveries exceeded active cases by over 48 lakh
The number of people recovered from COVID-19 has exceeded those with active infection by more than 48 lakh as the recovery rate surpassed 85 per cent on Wednesday, the Union Health Ministry said.
Nearly 57.50 lakh people have recovered so far, which is 6.32 times the active cases, it said, adding the sustained high levels of recoveries have widened the gap between active and recovered cases.
“The national recovery rate has jumped past 85 per cent today with the continuous streak of high number of recovered cases being reported in the past few weeks. The recovered cases have exceeded the new confirmed again during the past 24 hours,” the ministry said in a statement.
Dabbawalas, consulates staff allowed to travel in local trains
Mumbai’s dabbawalas and staff of foreign consulates and high commissions have been allowed to travel in local trains which are currently being run only for essential services staff, officials said on Wednesday.
Dabbawalas, the famous lunch-box carriers in Mumbai, last month said there was never a six-month break in the “130 -year-old history of the tiffin services”, and demanded access to local trains to resume their services in full capacity.
Currently, in view of the COVID-19 restrictions, only the dabbawalas who could reach the south Mumbai area on their cycles were able to deliver food to office-goers.
They have now expressed happiness on being allowed to board local trains with effect from Tuesday.
Sumit Thakur, chief public relations officer of the Western Railway, said based on the unlock guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government on September 30, they have allowed the dabbawalas to travel in local trains.
“The staff of foreign consulates and high commissions have also been permitted to travel in local trains, as per the directives received from the Ministry of Railways,” he said.
Over 5,000 dabbawalas run the tiffin delivery business in the metropolis. — PTI
Santhur village goes into self-imposed 10-day lockdown
Santhur village in Kattagaram panchayat has come under self-imposed lockdown here with the deaths of two persons of a same family from COVID-19.
Santhur village, known for its mango nurseries, have attracted and traders from across the State along with inter-State traders travelling causing the spread of the virus. The number of cases reported from the village had reportedly increased even as village wise numbers were still unavailable.
On Monday, two persons of the same family died due to the virus in a private hospital in Bengaluru. Following this, the entire village was being subjected to containment measures. In its wake, the local traders’ association has announced a 10-day long total lockdown announcing the shuttering of all shops.
Following the cases, the authorities have put up camps in the area. Hosur has reported highest number of cases, with a industrial clusters opening up to full production.
Positivity rate in Delhi falls below 5% after months
As many as 2,676 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours, taking the count to 2,95,236, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Tuesday. Also, 39 more deaths have been reported, taking the death toll to 5,581.
As per the bulletin, 2,997 people have recovered in the past 24 hours and in total, 2,66,935 people have recovered.
The number of active cases, which fell below the 25,000 mark after almost 25 days on Sunday, further decreased to 22,720 on Tuesday. Also, the number of people admitted in hospitals decreased for the eighth consecutive day and those under home quarantine came down for the fifth straight day.
Actor Arjun Kapoor recovers
Actor Arjun Kapoor on Wednesday said he has tested negative for COVID-19, a month after contracting the virus. The 35-year-old actor was diagnosed with COVID-19 on September 6 and was in home quarantine since.
In a statement, posted on Instagram, Kapoor said he has made a “full recovery” and thanked those who sent their best wishes for him.
“I’m feeling better after making a full recovery and excited to return to work. Thank you everyone for your good wishes and positivity,” he wrote.
Kapoor had recently started shooting for his latest film before he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Why are tin sheets used to block entrances, asks Madras High Court
The Madras High Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the practice adopted by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) of using tin sheets to block entries and exits to places where COVID-19 patients have been detected and subjected to home quarantine.
A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha directed GCC Commissioner G. Prakash to appear before them through video conferencing on November 10 and explain the rationale behind blocking entrances to individual houses using tin sheets.
The judges wanted to know if there was a scientific basis behind such a course adopted by the Corporation and whether any of the guidelines issued by the Centre or the State government permit the use of tin sheets to block entrances.
Panel suggests limiting pilgrims during Sabarimala season
Allowing pilgrims only through Pampa, limiting the number of pilgrims to 1,000 on weekdays and 2,000 on weekends, and making COVID-19-negative certificate mandatory are among the recommendations made by the high-level committee for the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple that begins on November 16.
Vaccine trial begins in Vizag
King George Hospital (KGH), has embarked on a historic journey on Monday with the beginning of the trial for coronavirus vaccine.
The vaccine Covishield, which was developed by the Oxford University, with Serum India Limited and the IndianCouncil of Medical research (ICMR) as partners, was administered to the first volunteer by KGH Superintendent and principal of Andhra Medical College P.V. Sudhakar.
The vaccine was administered under strict guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and as per the protocols laid down by the Oxford University, Serum India Limited and the ICMR, Dr. Sudhakar told The Hindu .
Doctors, fearing ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 cases after Durga Puja
Doctors in West Bengal have written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asking her to take strict measures to check crowding during Durga Puja as they feared a ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 cases after the festival.
Durga Puja is barely two weeks away and people have already started making purchases, with many iconic stores in Kolkata packed with shoppers. This at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in the State and Kolkata is only climbing. On Tuesday, 85-year-old Soumitra Chatterjee, one of Bengal’s most respected actors, was admitted to Bellevue Clinic after testing positive.
Bengaluru’s active cases shot up tenfold in 90 days
In 90 days - July 1 to September 30 - active cases in Bengaluru shot up by over ten times from 4,649 to 47,145. During the same period, Chennai reduced active cases from 22,781 to 11,323, Mumbai brought down its active cases from 29,715 to 26,663.
The six mega cities in India - Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata - collectively had 89,695 active cases on July 1. While Bengaluru contributed 5.2% of this, Mumbai’s share was the largest with 33.1% followed by Delhi with 30.1% and Chennai 25.4%. Ahmedabad and Kolkata contributed 4% and 2.2% respectively. Cities that have a population of over one million are classified as mega cities.