Coronavirus India lockdown Day 175 updates | September 16, 2020

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

India’s tally of COVID-19 cases galloped past 50 lakh, just 11 days after it crossed 40 lakh, with 90,123 infections reported in a day.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 50,20,359, while the death toll climbed to 82,066 with a record 1,290 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the updated data showed. 

Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that only 10 States — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu , Chhattisgarh, Telengana, Odisha, Assam and Kerala — contribute 77% of active cases in the country.

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:

9:45 pm | New Delhi

Nitin Gadkari tests postive for COVID-19

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on twitter that he has been diagnosed with COVID-19. "Yesterday, I was feeling weak and consulted my Doctor. During the course of my check up, I have been tested COVID 19 positive. I am at present doing well with the blessings and good wishes of all. I have isolated myself," he said in a tweet.


9.30 pm | Madhya Pradesh

M.P. records 2,462 new COVID-19 cases, tally rises to 95,515

With the detection of 2,462 fresh cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the infection count in Madhya Pradesh went up to 95,515, a health official said. The death of 24 patients took the toll to 1,844, the official said.

Of the latest number of fatalities, Indore recorded six, followed by five in Bhopal, two each in Gwalior, Betul, Jabalpur and Rajgarh and one each in Khargone, Morena, Sagar, Dhar and Narsinghpur, he said.

A total of 1,922 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the count of recoveries in the State to 71,535, the official said.

Among the latest cases, Indore alone accounted for 393, the highest in the State on the day, followed by 256 in Bhopal, 226 cases in Gwalior and 124 in Jabalpur, he said.

The tally in Indore, the worst-hit district in the State, rose to 17,940 cases, including 473 deaths, the official said.

While Bhopal’s caseload stood at 13,902, including 339 fatalities, the count in Gwalior and Jabalpur has reached 8,255 and 6,767, respectively, he said.

At 5,399, Indore has the highest number of active cases in the State, while Gwalior and Bhopal have 2,114 and 1,751 patients under treatment, respectively, the official said.

Madhya Pradesh now has 7,448 active containment zones. As per official data, the State has recorded 31,550 COVID-19 cases and 450 casualties in September so far.

Coronavirus figures in Madhya Pradesh are as follows: Total cases 95,515, new cases 2,462, death toll 1,844, recovered 71,535, active cases 22,136, total number of people tested 17,36,474. - PTI

9.15 pm | Maharashtra

​Maharashtra reports 23,365 new cases

Maharashtra reported a massive surge of 23,365 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday as the State's total case tally breached the 11 lakh mark to touch 11,21,221. Of these, 2,97,125 cases are active.

A high fatality spike of 474 new deaths pushed the total death toll to 30,883.

As many as 17,559 patients were discharged today to take the total recoveries till date to 7,92,832. Pune reported nearly 5,000 cases to take its total case tally to 2,44,530. The district reported 48 deaths to take its total death toll to 4,936.

Mumbai reported 2,378 cases to take its total case tally to 1,75,974 of whom 31,766 are active. 50 fatalities saw the city's death toll rise to 8,280.

- Shoumojit Banerjee

9.00 pm | New Delhi

COVID-19 claimed lives of 32 Army, 3 IAF personnel

Thirty-five military personnel- 32 from the Army and three from the Air Force, have deceased due to COVID-19, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

To a separate question, the government informed that there were 1,123 suicide cases in the armed forces from 2010 to 2019.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are 16,758, 1,365 and 1,716 respectively,” Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Read more


8:50 p.m. | West Bengal

4961 more COVID patients die in Bengal; 3,237 new cases detected

Sixty-one people succumbed to COVID-19 in West Bengal on Wednesday pushing the death toll to 4,123, the state health department said in a bulletin.

The tally reached 2,12,383 after 3,237 new cases of infection were reported from various parts of the state, it added.

In the last 24 hours, 2,971 patients have recovered from the disease, taking the discharge rate in West Bengal to 86.69 per cent.

The number of active cases is now 24,147.

Since Tuesday, 45,713 samples have been tested in the state, the bulletin stated.


8.30 pm | Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand records nine more COVID-19 deaths, 1,540 new cases

A total of 1,540 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Uttarakhand on Wednesday, taking the State’s infection tally to 35,947 while nine patients died, a State Health Department bulletin said.

Dehradun district reported the highest number of 429 cases, Haridwar 363, Udham Singh Nagar 246, Nainital 118, Almora 97, Bageshwar 84, Pitgoragarh 55, Pauri 51, Uttarkashi 47, Chamoli 31, Tehri 12, Rudraprayag 7, it said.

Meanwhile, nine more COVID patients died, taking the toll to 447. Of the nine casualties, seven were reported from AIIMS, Rishikesh and two from Haldwani’s Sushila Tiwari Government Hospital, it said.

A total of 24,277 people have recovered, 155 have migrated out of the State and 447 have died, while there are 11,068 active cases in the State, the bulletin said. - PTI

8.15 pm | Tamil Nadu

Recoveries eclipse fresh COVID-19 cases in T.N. for 11th day in a row

Recoveries outnumbered fresh COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu for the 11th straight day on Wednesday with the cumulative number of those cured rising to 4.64 lakh, while the infection count mounted to 5.19 lakh.

The State added 5,652 fresh cases taking the tally to 5,19,860 while the death toll mounted to 8,559 with 57 more fatalities, a government bulletin said.

The day saw 5,768 patients getting discharged from various hospitals as the trend of recovering eclipsing new cases continued since September 6. Totally 4,64,668 people have got cured and the active cases stood at 46,633.

Of the fresh infections, Chennai district logged 983, Coimbatore 549, Chengelpet 319, Tiruvallur 282, Salem 280, Cuddalore 263 and Kancheepuram 189 and the remainder was scattered across the State, the bulletin said.

The State capital accounted for 1,51,560 positive cases out of the total 5,19,860. - PTI

8.00 pm | New Delhi

First phase of Census postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak: Nityanand Rai

The first phase of the Census operations, which was supposed to be held from April 1 to September 30, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Parliament was informed on September 16.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai also said a multiple-layered security approach has been adopted for the security and safety of the Census data.

The first phase of the Census operations (Census 2021) and other related field activities have been postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

The Minister said a multiple-layered security approach has been adopted for the security and safety of the Census data and the data collection will be done on registered devices of the enumerators appointed by the states and Union territories.

“Data is encrypted at the device, during the transmission and at servers/storage. The services of System Integrators have been hired for developing the Mobile Apps, management of Census portal and related activities,” he said.

Mr. Rai said the publicity campaigns are part of the Census operations and all the enumerators are to be registered on the portal before undertaking the enumeration work. — PTI

7.45 p.m. | Mumbai

Mumbai’s Dharavi records 15 new COVID-19 cases

The COVID-19 tally in Mumbai’s slum colony Dharavi rose to 2,960 on Wednesday with the addition of 15 new cases, the city civic body said.

On Tuesday, seven new cases were found in the slum- dominated area.

A senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said 2,545 patients from Dharavi have already recovered from the infection and discharged from hospitals.

The civic body has, however, stopped sharing death figures from Dharavi for the past few months. According to the official, the slum sprawl has 143 active COVID-19 cases at present.

Dharavi, spread over 2.5 square kilometres, has a population of more than 6.5 lakh. — PTI

7.30 pm | Kerala

Kerala logs single-day highest spike of 3,830 COVID-19 cases

A single-day highest ever spike of 3,830 COVID-19 cases in Kerala took the State’s infection count to 1,17,863 on Wednesday, the government said.

The State also recorded 14 deaths, taking the toll due to the disease to 480, Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said.

“Out of those infected today, 49 came from abroad, 153 from other States while 3,562 contracted the virus through contacts. At least 66 health workers are also infected,” she said in a release.

Among the districts, Thiruvananthapuram logged the highest number 675 cases, followed by Kozhikode (468), Alappuzha (323) Ernakulam (319) and Kollam with 300 cases.

The deceased included three in their 40s and as many in their 80s. A 45-year old woman from Kozhikode was the youngest among those who succumbed to the virus on Wednesday while a 84-year old man from Palakkad was the eldest. Palakkad accounted for a maximum of six deaths among the fresh fatalities, the Minister said.

A total of 2,263 people were discharged, taking the total number of those cured to 84,608.

“Currently, 32,709 people are under treatment for COVID-19 in the State. At least 2,11,037 people are under observation out of which 23,079 are in isolation wards of various hospitals,” she said.

A total of 46,162 samples were tested during the last 24 hours, taking the number of specimens examined so far to 22,45,139. This included 1,91,931 samples from high-risk groups as part of Sentinel Surveillance.

7.15 pm | Odisha

Odisha to set up COVID testing camp for MLAs before Assembly session begins on September 29

The Odisha government on Wednesday issued instructions for setting up a camp where MLAs, their personal security officers (PSO) and drivers, besides staff of the Assembly will be tested for COVID-19 before the next session of the House begins on September 29.

The Health and Family Welfare Department also asked the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), State-run Capital Hospital and the Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited (OSMCL), a procurement agency, to observe all safety measures during the session which will continue till October 7.

“As per direction of the Assembly Speaker, the RT-PCR test of all the members of the Odisha Legislative Assembly along with their PSOs and drivers will be conducted from 7.30 am to 9.30 am on September 27 and 28 on the Assembly premises by a team of doctors,” Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, PK Mohapatra said.

Again on October 4, there will be RT-PCR test of all the members, Mr. Mohapatra said in a letter to the BMC, OSMCL and the Capital Hospital.

Altogether 33 of the State’s 147 MLAs, including ministers, have been infected with coronavirus but many of them have recovered from the disease. However, over 12 of them are still in quarantine, an official said.

Mr. Mohapatra in the letter also mentioned that if any member feels uncomfortable during the session which will continue till October 7, they may go for Antigen test by the doctors. - PTI

7.09 pm | Gujarat

Stop playing on back foot while tackling COVID-19: Gujarat HC to govt

The Gujarat High Court has asked the State government to “stop playing on the back foot”, after noting that it has been caught unawares by the rise in COVID-19 cases in certain cities.

In its order on a suo motu (of its own accord) plea on the COVID-19 situation, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J.B. Pardiwala directed the State government to issue appropriate orders to the concerned authorities “to put all the districts across the state on high alert” and take action to curb the surge of cases by following the “Ahmedabad model”.

“We are constrained to observe that despite putting best of its efforts, the state government has been getting caught unawares and it gets into action only after the situation worsens. In other words, or rather in simple words, we may say that the state government should now stop playing on the back foot,” the court said in its order.

When the pandemic in Ahmedabad became serious, the State government gave it extra attention and focus, and the situation was brought under control, the court said, citing that a similar attention was given to Surat.

“Today, Rajkot and Jamnagar are the two cities which are hit extremely bad. This situation could definitely have been averted if timely action and precautions had been taken. Unfortunately, the same was not done and it has resulted in a situation beyond control,” the Bench noted.

In its order, the court also expressed anguish over the fact that people were not cooperating with the state government to control the pandemic and were gathering at public places in large numbers and were not wearing masks.

“If each individual takes upon himself the responsibility of protecting his life, such endeavour will surely bring very good results, and within a short time, we may be able to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

The court also asked political leaders not to flout rules and regulations prescribed to combat the pandemic.

On a plea claiming that the state government has been “suppressing real figures of COVID-19 deaths and positive cases,” the court said it does not propose to go into the question “as, even otherwise, it is a highly disputed question of fact.

“We could have seriously called upon the state government on this issue, but we take it that the figures which are disclosed or declared at the end of the day are true and correct figures,” it said.

The court said that if there is any element of truth in what has been claimed in the plea, then it is surely “not in public interest”.

“It is necessary to disclose the true and correct figures of the COVID-19 deaths and positive cases so that people are able to understand and comprehend the seriousness of the situation. People will not take things for granted. This will definitely have a psychological impact on the society at large. This aspect should be borne in mind by the state government as a suggestion from this court,” it said. — PTI

7.05 pm | New Delhi

Delhi records 4,473 new COVID-19 cases, highest single-day spike so far; death toll reaches 4,839

Delhi recorded the highest single-day spike of 4,473 fresh coronavirus cases pushing the caseload to more than 2.30 lakh on Wednesday, authorities said. As many as 62,593 tests were conducted the previous day, according to Delhi government’s health bulletin.

The bulletin said that the death toll has risen to 4,839 with 33 fatalities. Four of the 33 fatalities are from the previous days.

The total number of cases stands at 2,30,269, of which 30,914 are active cases and 1,94,516 have recovered, migrated out of the city or discharged.

The positivity rate stands at 7.15% while the case fatality rate is 2.1%. The number of containment zones is 1,637, it said. — PTI

6.30 pm | New Delhi

Steel plants supplying medical oxygen for COVID-19 treatment: Steel Ministry

Stepping up fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, steel companies are supplying medical oxygen from their plants to various hospitals across the country, the Steel Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Ministry recently made operational a portal wherein plant-wise information regarding availability of oxygen and daily supply by various plants and States to which such supplies have been made is provided.

According to a Ministry statement, the States which have received oxygen from the steel plants are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

However, the Ministry did not provide names of plants and companies that are engaged in work of supplying oxygen. Earlier in a series of tweets on Tuesday, Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed about a meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on enhancing oxygen supply in the country, and role steel plants are playing in making oxygen available at hospitals for treatment. - PTI

6.15 pm | Andhra Pradesh

A.P. reports 8,835 new cases; 10,845 recoveries

The two Godavari districts, East and West, continued to witness a virulent spread of coronavirus while most other districts in Andhra Pradesh seemed to be gradually lowering their numbers as the State reported 8,835 fresh cases on Wednesday.

The latest COVID-19 bulletin said 10,845 patients had fully recovered in 24 hours ending 9 AM on Wednesday, while 64 more succumbed.

The State's COVID-19 table now showed a total of 5,92,760 positive cases, 4,97,376 recoveries and 5,105 deaths. The active cases came down further to 90,279, according to the bulletin.

After 48.06 lakh sample tests, the infection positivity rate stood at 12.33%, as against the national average of 8.44%. The tests per million increased to a record 90,016.

East Godavari district, which revealed one of the lowest antibody levels of 14.4% in the Sero prevalence study, continued to add its regulation 1,400 daily cases. It has now touched a total of 81,064 cases, with 12,036 of them being active. The neighbouring West Godavari, which too had a lowest Sero prevalence of 12.3%, added 1,051 in the last 24 hours, pushing its overall tally to 53,571. - PTI

6.00 pm | Mumbai

Sushant case: NCB probe team member tests COVID-19 positive

A member of the NCB team probing drugs angle in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday following which questioning of the actors former manager Shruti Modi was postponed, an official said.

Ms. Modi reached the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office in south Mumbai around 10 a.m. for questioning by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

But, before the probe team could start recording her statement, the NCB received report of one of its SIT members testing positive for coronavirus, the official said. — PTI

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5.45 pm | Brussels

EU wants better coordination on virus, announces summit

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the bloc must rise above its fragmented approach on dealing with the coronavirus by centralising more decision-making on health issues.

She also told EU legislators that Italy will host a global health summit next year, during its G20 presidency.

Von der Leyen fully acknowledged the fragile state that the pandemic has left EU in, with the death toll closing in on 150,000 and the economy facing the worst slump in the bloc’s history.

To counter this, von der Leyen said she wants more money poured into research and development and more powers going to EU-wide institutions like the European Medicines Agency.

So for me, it is crystal clear we need to build a stronger European health union. It is time to do that,” she said.

During the early part of the pandemic, EU member states took independent measures, sometimes at the cost of one another, to contain the virus. Borders were closed, creating massive traffic jams and stranding citizens in other EU nations and beyond. — AP

5.35 pm | Uttar Pradesh

Kalyan Singh discharged from hospital on family’s request

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who had been undergoing treatment at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow after testing positive for coronavirus infection, was discharged on Wednesday on his family’s request.

The 88-year-old leader had no fever and was normal at the time of discharge, the hospital said in a bulletin on Singh’s health.

“Singh who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 infection in Rajdhani Corona Hospital SGPGI, Lucknow was discharged on the request of his relatives. He was absolutely stable and was improving,” it added.

“He (Kalyan) did not have fever and his BP was also normal. As per the family wishes, he was discharged today at 3 p.m.,” it added.

Mr. Singh was admitted to SGPG on Monday with complaints of fever, dry cough and breathlessness and was tested positive for COVID-19. - PTI

5.30 pm | Uttar Pradesh

COVID-19 death toll climbs to 4,690 in U.P.

With 86 fresh fatalities, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 4,690 in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, while the tally of cases climbed to 3,30,265 with 6,337 more people testing positive for the viral disease.

The State now has 67,002 active COVID-19 cases and 2,58,573 people have recovered from the disease till date, Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said.

The death toll due to the virus has climbed to 4,690 and the total number of cases has risen to 3,30,265, he added.

While 6,337 fresh coronavirus cases were detected in a span of 24 hours, the number of patients discharged was 6,476, Mr. Prasad said, adding that the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients in the State is 78.29%.

More than 1.5 lakh tests for detecting COVID-19 were conducted on Tuesday, raising the total number of such tests carried out in the State to over 78 lakh, he said.

Presently, 35,415 patients are in home isolation, which is 52.85% of the active cases, the official said. - PTI

5.15 pm | Tamil Nadu

Minister discharged from hospital

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister Sevoor S. Ramachandran, who had tested positive for COVID-19, was discharged from Apollo Hospitals on Wednesday. 

A press release issued by the hospital said the Minister was discharged after successful treatment and complete cure from COVID-19. He was admitted to the hospital on September 8 for COVID-19 treatment. 

5.00 pm | Port Blair

17 new cases push COVID-19 tally of Andamans to 3,574

The COVID-19 tally of Andaman and Nicobar Islands rose to 3,574 as 17 more people tested positive for the infection, a health official said.

Eight new patients have travel history, while nine infections were detected during contact tracing, he said.

The fresh infections have taken the number of active coronavirus cases in the archipelago to 204, the official said.

Forty more people were cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries in the Union Territory to 3,318, he said.

Fifty-two patients have succumbed to the infection in the islands so far, the official said.

The administration has so far sent 46,823 samples for COVID-19 tests, of which 46,639 reports have been received and 184 are awaited, he added. — PTI

4.45 pm | New Delhi

Delhi: 45% jump in number of containment zones in last 10 days; home isolation cases up by 50%

There has been an increase of 45 per cent in the number of containment zones in the national capital in the last 10 days, while home isolation cases of COVID-19 also jumped by over 50 per cent to reach 16,576 during the period, according to official data.

Between September 6 and 15, the city recorded over 4,000 daily fresh cases on six days, with September 12 registering 4,321 infections, the highest single-day spike here till date.

Since the beginning of this month, both new cases and active cases have shown a steady rise, resulting in an increase in the number of containment zones and home isolation cases also.

Also, Delhi Metro services resumed in a graded manner from September 7-12. DMRC authorities have appealed to masses to take metro only if urgently needed, and said they “should not assume that everything is normal again“.

The number of home-isolation cases of COVID-19 on September 5 stood at 10,514 and it rose to 16,576 on September 15, according to figures shared by the Delhi health department.

There were 1,076 containment zones on September 6, which increased to 1560 on September 15. — PTI

4.30 pm | New Delhi

Increase RT-PCR testing capacity as COVID-19 cases shoot up: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday suggested that the AAP government increase the RT-PCR test capacity to the maximum possible to detect COVID-19 infection, as Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) were only 60% accurate.

The High Court asked an expert committee, set by the Lieutenant Governor, to convene a meeting on priority basis to consider the extent to which capacity of testing by RT-PCR should be ramped up. At present, the sanctioned strength of conducting RT-PCR is 14,000 per day in Delhi.

The High Court expressed concern over continuous rise in COVID-19 cases, with nearly 4,500 new infections reported on Tuesday.

“Having regard to the fact that results of RAT are 60% accurate, leaving grave doubt about infection in those who are asymptomatic, we are of the firm view that RT-PCR should be the way forward,” said a Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad.

The court directed the Delhi government to file a status report along with a report of the committee in this regard and listed the matter for further hearing on September 30.

The Bench also noted that in the week from September 8 to 15, the testing done through RT-PCR was less than one fourth of the total number of tests and rest was done by the RAT process.

It asked the Delhi government to place on record before the next date of hearing, the results of the third sero-survey conducted by it in September along with the comparison report with the previous two surveys.

The court was informed that out of 435 mohalla clinics in Delhi, 400 were functional and 50-60 of them were conducting COVID-19 testing after completing their OPDs.

The Bench said it was of the view that not only mohalla clinics, but community centres shall also be roped in for setting up testing facilities as cases of COVID-19 are shooting up on a daily basis and on Tuesday 4,473 fresh cases have come up in Delhi, taking the tally to more than 2.25 lakh.

The court said as RAT mostly gives false negative reports, why the government should wait for it and then go to the next level of RT-PCR. Instead, it should shore up to RT-PCR capacity. - PTI

4.15 pm | New Delhi

AFI requests government to give COVID-19 vaccine priority to Olympic-bound athletes

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Wednesday said it has requested the government to give priority to Olympic-bound athletes when a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

Several countries, including India, are trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The Indian government is considering inoculating the front line workers, army personnel and certain categories first.

“We have already discussed this with the government and told them we will need it (vaccine) for our athletes going to the Olympics,” AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said during a webinar.

“We need to make sure once the vaccine comes out, they (Olympic-bound athletes) should be amongst the first batches to get it and the discussion regarding that has already happened,” he added.

Asked if any player is apprehensive about getting inoculated, like tennis star Novak Djokovic, or if the vaccine could cause problem with dope control, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said the athletes are looking forward to it.

“I don’t think there will be an issue with the athletes, they are just waiting for the vaccine to come. There will be trails which will ensure the players are feeling confident when they take the vaccine,” Gopichand said. - PTI

4.00 pm

RDIF ties up with Dr. Reddy’s for Sputnik V vaccine 

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has tied up with pharma major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories for clinical trials as well as distribution of its Sputnik V vaccine in India.

It intends to supply to Dr. Reddy’s 100 million doses of the vaccine. Deliveries could potentially begin in late 2020, subject to completion of successful trials and registration of the vaccine by regulatory authorities in the country.

The Sputnik V vaccine, which the RDIF in a statement said is based on well-studied human adenoviral vector platform with proven safety, is undergoing clinical trials for the coronavirus pandemic.

RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said, “India is amongst most severely impacted countries from COVID 19. We believe our human adenovirus dual vector platform will provide a safe and scientifically validated option to India in the battle against COVID 19.”

Noting that Dr. Reddy’s has a very well established and respected presence in Russia for over 25 years, he said RDIF partners will receive an effective and safe drug to fight the coronavirus.

The platform of human adenoviral vectors, which is the core of the Russian vaccine, has been tested in more than 250 clinical studies over decades, and it has been found safe with no potential negative long-term consequences, he said.

Dr. Reddy’s co-chairman and managing director G.V.Prasad said the Phase I and II clinical trials of the vaccine have shown promising results. “We will be conducting Phase-III trials in India to ensure safety and efficacy for the Indian population and to meet the requirements of the Indian regulators. Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against COVID 19 in India.”

Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was registered on August 11 by the Ministry of Health of Russia. It is the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19 based on the human adenoviral vectors platform.

Earlier this month, a research paper on the results of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine was published in The Lancet, one of the leading international medical journals, demonstrating no serious adverse effects and a stable immune response in 100% of participants. Post-registration clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine involving 40,000 volunteers were currently underway.

More than 55,000 volunteers have applied to take part in post-registration trials. The first results of these trials are expected to be published in October-November 2020, the release said. Deputy Chief Physician for Anesthesiology and Reanimation at Hospital No. 52 in Moscow Sergey Tsarenko said, “The main criteria for evaluating a vaccine are safety and efficacy. In Sputnik V, safety is ensured by the use of human adenoviral vectors, which we repeatedly encounter throughout our lives. Efficacy is achieved by using two different human adenoviruses sequentially, which differentiates this platform.” - N. Ravi Kumar

4.00 pm | New Delhi

Record 82,961 recoveries in a day, a quarter from Maharashtra alone; recovery rate 78.53%

A record 82,961 new COVID-19 recoveries were reported on Wednesday, almost a quarter of them from Maharashtra alone, pushing the overall figures close to 39.5 lakh and the recovery rate to 78.53%, Health Ministry data showed.

In its figures updated at 8 a.m. Wednesday, the ministry said the number of active cases stands at 9,95,933 (or 19.84% of the total caseload), while the number of recovered patients is 39,42,360.

It said that nearly 59% of the new recoveries came from five states -- 23.41% from Maharashtra (19, 423 recoveries); and a cumulative 35.5% from Andhra Pradesh (9,628 recoveries), Karnataka (7,406), Uttar Pradesh (6,680) and Tamil Nadu (5,735)

A record 82,961 patients recovered and were discharged from home/facility isolation and hospitals in a day, according to the ministry’s data updated at 8 a.m.

The number of recovered patients so far exceeds that of the active cases by nearly four times (3.96), or in absolute terms by 29,46,427 cases, the ministry said.

“The 7-day moving average of the recoveries shows a consistent increase,” the ministry said.

27 states and union territories are reporting recovery rates of more than 70%, the ministry highlighted.

“Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu compose close to 60% of the active cases,” the ministry said.

With more than 20,000 new cases in a span of 24 hours, Maharashtra is also leading the cases tally, followed by Andhra Pradesh (8,846) and Karnataka (7,576).

India’s tally of COVID-19 cases galloped past 50 lakh Wednesday, just 11 days after it crossed 40 lakh, with 90,123 infections reported in a day.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 50,20,359, while the death toll climbed to 82,066 with a record 1,290 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the updated data showed. - PTI

3.20 pm | Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand hospital issues ‘fake’ COVID-free certificates, probe ordered

A government hospital in Uttarakhand allegedly issued OPD slips to people certifying that they have no symptoms of COVID-19, without conducting an RT-PCR test, prompting the administration to launch an inquiry into the matter.

The matter came to light on Wednesday at SPS Government Hospital, Rishikesh where a doctor was doing this for money, officials at the hospital said requesting anonymity.

They also produced a sample of one such OPD slip issued by the doctor bearing his signature and the stamp of the hospital as a proof.

When contacted Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash on Wednesday said a detailed enquiry is being ordered into the matter. - PTI

3.10 pm | New Delhi

Centre approved anti-viral medicines to treat COVID-19 patients, says SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said there was an approval by the Central government on use of Remdesivir and Fabiparivir as medicines to treat COVID-19.

The top court was hearing a plea seeking registration of an FIR by the CBI against ten Indian pharmaceutical firms for manufacturing and selling these two medicines for treating COVID-19 patients allegedly without valid licences.

3.00 pm | Tamil Nadu

Former MP C.P. Radhakrishnan tests positive for COVID-19

Former Coimbatore MP and senior leader of the BJP C.P. Radhakrishnan tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

A resident of Tiruppur, the 63-year-old leader had mild symptoms and was admitted to a private hospital at Kovilpalayam near Coimbatore for treatment on Wednesday morning, according to BJP sources. “Am in good hands. With your prayers, blessings & well wishes will be back to normal very soon. (sic),” he said in a tweet.

2.40 pm | Delhi

Delhi BJP chief tests positive for COVID-19

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi president Adesh Gupta has tested positive for COVID-19.

Mr. Gupta has previously tested negative but got tested again due to ill-health conditions over a week. As many as 17 staff staying at the party’s state headquarters on Pant Marg had tested positive on Tuesday.

Mr. Gupta, who was suffering from viral fever for a week before getting himself tested again, took to Twitter requesting everyone he had come in contact with to also get tested.

1.45 pm | Puducherry

Joint mobile teams will enforce safety norms in Pondy: Bedi

Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Wednesday said joint mobile teams comprising police, revenue and municipal officials would be constituted to ensure enforcement of COVID-19 safety norms and prevention of violations of the protocols in the union territory.

The teams would serve legal notices, leading to prosecution and impose penalties on violators during festivals and social gatherings.

In her whatsapp message, the former IPS officer said, .

“Times ahead are challenging. Festivals and ceremonies in air conditioned closed halls would be a big risk for all breathing the same air even when one wears mask.”

1.15 pm | New Delhi

5.4 crore COVID-19 samples tested; 40 lakh people under surveillance: Govt

As many as 5.4 crore samples have been tested for coronavirus and 40 lakh people are under surveillance, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai also said India is testing about one million samples a day at 1,697 laboratories across the country.

“As on September 10, a total of about 40 lakh persons have been kept under surveillance. A total of 5.4 crore samples have been tested so far,” he said in a written reply to a question.

1.00 pm

Aurobindo collaborates with CSIR for COVID-19 vaccine

Aurobindo Pharma said it will undertake clinical development and commercialisation of COVID-19 vaccines being developed by three CSIR laboratories.

Separately, it is also developing a vaccine for the virus through its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary Auro Vaccines, a project supported by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

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12.30 pm | Delhi

Cases of COVID-19, dengue co-infection rising

Fumigation in progress at a north Delhi locality to combat dengue.

Fumigation in progress at a north Delhi locality to combat dengue.   | Photo Credit: Ravi Choudhary


Delhi is registering a rise in co-infection of dengue and COVID-19 with doctors now warning that this combination could enhance the severity of both diseases.

“Most cases of COVID-19 and dengue are asymptomatic (about 80%), and in a setting of co-infection one disease might enhance the severity of the other,” Ashutosh Biswas, professor of Medicine at AIIMS-Delhi, told The Hindu.

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12.00 pm

Arunachal CM tests positive for COVID-19

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu tested positive for COVID-19 a day after meeting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

“I had undergone Covid test RT-PCR and have tested positive for Covid19. I am asymptomatic and feeling healthy. However as per SOP and safety of others, I am self-isolating myself and request everyone who came in contact with me to adhere to the SOP,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

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11.00 am

In 11 days, COVID-19 cases in India cross 50-lakh mark from 40 lakh

India’s COVID-19 tally of cases galloped past 50 lakh, just 11 days after it crossed 40 lakh, with 90,123 infections being reported in a day, while recoveries surged to 39,42,360 on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 50,20,359, while the death toll climbed to 82,066 with a record 1,290 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

India’s COVID-19 cases jumped from 10 lakh to 20 lakh in 21 days. Then it took 16 more days to race past 30 lakh, 13 days more to cross the 40-lakh mark and 11 days to go past 50 lakh.

It took 110 days for the COVID-19 cases in the country to reach one lakh while it had taken 59 days more to go past the 10-lakh post.


10.30 am

Serum Institute gets DCGI nod to resume clinical trial of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

A research scientist works inside a laboratory of India's Serum Institute, the world's largest maker of vaccines, which is working on vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pune.

A research scientist works inside a laboratory of India's Serum Institute, the world's largest maker of vaccines, which is working on vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pune.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS


Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) V.G. Somani has gave permission to Serum Institute of India (SII) to resume clinical trial of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the country while revoking its earlier order of suspending any new recruitment for phase two and three trial.

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10.00 am

Jharkhand slashes COVID-19 test rate at private labs to ₹1,500

The Jharkhand government on Tuesday slashed the maximum price of RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 to be charged by private laboratories to ₹1,500, officials said.

The state government on June 29 had capped the rate at ₹2,400.

The decision was taken in view of the fall in rates of the kits and related items required to conduct the tests, officials said.

Action will be taken against any private lab that charges more than the fixed rate, as per an order issued by the government.


9.00 am | Karnataka

Case reporting drops as doctors strike

With government doctors in Karnataka on a strike, fewer number of COVID-19 positive cases and discharges were recorded in the State on Tuesday. Many doctors across the State have decided not to update the reports till the government meets their demands.

While the doctors are treating patients and attending to other duties, they are not uploading reports related to COVID-19 and under the National Health Mission.

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8.30 am

India has been able to ‘distribute the curve’ of COVID-19 infection due to ‘very effective lockdown’: ICMR

Amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases, the government on Tuesday said India learnt from the experience of nations that suffered high mortalities and was able to “distribute the curve” of coronavirus infection due to a “very effective” lockdown and avoid the “huge peak” those countries had in terms of deaths.

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8.00 am

Insurance scheme for health workers extended for 6 months

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) gear await to collect swab samples from patients during the coronavirus screening process held at Porur in Chennai on September 15, 2020

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) gear await to collect swab samples from patients during the coronavirus screening process held at Porur in Chennai on September 15, 2020   | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ


The ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19’ has now been extended for another 180 days, said the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.

The scheme was announced on March 30 for 90 days and was extended for 90 days (up to Sept. 25).

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7.00 am | Telangana

Telangana's daily COVID bulletin finally brought up to date

Certain figures in the Telangana media bulletin, which had strangely remained constant for more than two weeks, finally appear to have been updated. However, the data of people who died of COVID-19 and due to co-morbidities remains unchanged since one-and-a-half months.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 6:45:28 PM |

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