Coronavirus India lockdown Day 180 | Karnataka CM hints at curtailing legislature session

People waiting to give samples at a mobile COVID testing centre in Vijayawada on Sunday, September 21, 2020.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has completed its second national sero-survey to gauge the prevalence of COVID-19. The first survey was conducted in May across 400 districts and about 28,000 were sampled — most of them in rural India — to gauge the spread of the infection.

The Health Minister said it would take substantive time for herd immunity to develop so as to be able to cover about 70% of the population. “Hence the focus of the government is primarily towards putting together a strategy that combines containment and hospital management,” he said.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

10.20 pm | New Delhi

Bihar polls amid COVID-19: EC to take decision in next few days to visit state, says CEC Arora

The Election Commission would take a decision in the next few days to visit Bihar where elections are likely to be held later this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said on Monday.

Addressing an international webinar on “issues, challenges and protocols for conducting elections during COVID-19: sharing country experiences”, Mr. Arora said the Commission would take a decision within the “next two to three days” on visiting Bihar.

The Commission, which includes the CEC and two fellow commissioners, usually visit poll-bound states to interact with various stakeholders like police, civic authorities and political parties ahead of announcing poll schedule.

According to a statement issued by the poll panel, Mr. Arora explained the impact of COVID-19 on the election.

He highlighted how coronavirus exigencies and social distancing measures necessitated a revisit of the EC’s existing instructions.

The maximum number of electors at a polling station was reduced from 1,500 to 1,000, and consequently, the number of polling stations jumped by 40%, from 65,000 to 100,000. These changes have huge logistics and manpower implications, he pointed out. - PTI

9.40 pm | Chandigarh

Three more COVID-19 deaths, 240 fresh cases in Chandigarh

Three more people died of COVID-19 in Chandigarh, pushing the death toll to 123 while 240 fresh cases took the infection tally to 10,298 on Monday. There are 2,761 active cases in the city.

A total of 273 patients were discharged on Monday after they recovered from the infection. A total of 7,411 people have been cured so far, as per the bulletin.

So far, 64,625 samples have been taken for testing and of them, 53,951 tested negative while reports of 178 samples were awaited, the bulletin said. - PTI

9.15 pm | Karnataka

Congress MLA in Karnataka tests positive for COVID-19

Congress MLA B K Sangamesh and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus and been admitted to a private hospital here, the legislator said on Monday.

“Me and my wife were found positive for coronavirus.

We are asymptomatic but we rushed to Bengaluru and got ourselves admitted to the Manipal Hospital here,” Mr. Sangamesh, representing Bhadravathi constituency, told PTI.

They tested positive for the virus on Sunday, he said. - PTI

9 pm | Uttarakhand

814 more people test positive for COVID-19 in Uttarakhand

As many as 814 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Uttarakhand on Monday, taking the State’s case tally to 41,777, while 10 more people died, according to official data.

Among the fresh cases, Dehradun district reported the maximum (309), followed by Nainital (111), Haridwar (110), Udham Singh Nagar (95), Almora (74), Pauri (24), Tehri (23), Uttarkashi (22), Rudraprayag (15), Champawat (13), Chamoli (nine), Bageshwar (five) and Pitgoragarh (four), a state health department bulletin said.

Meanwhile, 10 more COVID-19 patients died, taking the cumulative toll to 501, it said. - PTI

8.40 pm | Gujarat

1,430 more test COVID-19 positive in Gujarat; 1,316 recover

Gujarat’s tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,24,767 on Monday with 1,430 more persons testing positive for the infection, the State Health Department said. With the death of 17 more patients, the fatalities increased to 3,339, it said.

At the same time, 1,316 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recovered cases in the State to 1,05,091, the Department said in a release. The State’s recovery rate stood at 84.23%, it said.

As many as 61,897 tests were conducted for coronavirus in the State in a day at a rate of 952.26 tests per day per million population, the Department said. With this, the total number of samples tested in the State rose to 38,62,366.

Gujarat COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 1,24,767; new cases 1,430; deaths 3,339; discharged 1,05,091; active cases 16,337; people tested so far 38,62,366. - PTI

8.20 pm | India

Business activity may not touch pre-COVID-19 levels before March 2021: Survey

Business activity is unlikely to touch pre-COVID-19 levels before March 2021, and there is a need for the government to step in and give a “push” to the economy as it has not done enough till now, a multi-sector survey conducted by a rating agency has said on Monday.

The smaller businesses have reported more stress than the larger ones in the survey of over 600 companies conducted by CARE Ratings between August 25 and September 13.

The economy is set to contract by over 10% as per some estimates during 2020-21, which is bound to have an impact on businesses as well. The government has announced additional spends of under 2% to help the economy, which has been called as too little by some quarters.

“Majority of participants said the government has not done enough for the revival of their sector and they expect more support from the government,” the rating agency said. - PTI

8 pm | Kerala

Kerala registers 2,910 new COVID-19 cases, 18 more deaths

Kerala reported 2,910 COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking the infection count to 1,38,631 after 25,848 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.

The dip in positive cases comes after the State had detected over 4,000 cases in the last four days consecutively.

The State also reported 18 more coronavirus deaths, taking the toll to 553, Health minister K K Shailaja said in a press release.

Of the positive cases, 36 had come from abroad and 133 from other States. A total of 2,653 people were infected through contact, while the source of infection of 313 were not known.

Among those who tested positive today were 88 health workers, including 31 from the State capital.


7.40 pm | New Delhi

Government waives permit requirement for vehicles carrying oxygen amid COVID-19

The government on Monday said it has waived permit requirement for transport vehicles carrying oxygen in view of COVID-19 pandemic. The step is likely to ensure smooth movement of the vehicles, ensuring the supply of oxygen across the country, it said.

“The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has exempted the transport vehicles operators for the carriage and transportation and delivery of Oxygen Cylinders or Oxygen Tanks across the States or within a State from permit requirements till 31st March, 2021,” the Ministry said in a statement.

This has been done as oxygen is an important item required for the treatment of COVID-19, the statement said. “It had been brought to the notice of the Ministry that there are problems being faced by certain transport vehicles operators in this regard,” the statement said.

The Ministry has, thus, issued a notification for exemption of permit requirements for these vehicles as required under Section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. - PTI

7.20 pm | New Delhi

Over 400 children have recovered from COVID-19 at Delhi’s LNJP

More than 400 children have recovered from coronavirus at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, the Delhi government’s largest COVID-19 facility, since March, officials said on Monday.

Around 50 COVID-19-infected children are currently admitted to a special ward designed for them at the hospital.

“Around 415 children have successfully recovered from coronavirus. Around 10 per cent of them were severe cases,” Dr. Urmila Jhamb said.

Children suffering from other diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer and kidney issues become severely ill if they contract the coronavirus, she said, adding most children show mild symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Mothers are allowed to stay with their COVID-positive children even if they themselves are coronavirus-free, but they can engage with their child only, Dr. Jhamb said. - PTI

7.10 pm | Bengaluru

I’ve never felt so stressed, says hockey striker Mandeep on COVID recovery period

Being a professional athlete, Indian men’s hockey team striker Mandeep Singh has been through many tough situations during his career, but by his own admission the time spent while recovering from COVID-19 has been the most “stressful” one.

Mandeep is one of the six men hockey players, including skipper Manpreet Singh, who had tested positive for COVID-19 at the team’s training base here last month after they arrived for the national camp.

In fact, Mandeep was the first player to be admitted in the hospital here. Since then all the six players have recovered and started their individual training sessions.

“I think we had read and heard so much about the pandemic being a deadly disease, the first few days were stressful and anxious after testing positive for the virus.

“Although I have been in some of the most difficult match-situations as a professional hockey player, I had never felt this stressed,” Mandeep said in a Hockey India release.

“I was never taken away in an ambulance, never been seriously injured either. So, this phase was a new experience for me. After recovering, they (Hockey India) even gave us an option to return home to take a break if we felt like it but we wanted to stay back and rejoin the rest of the group,” said the forward, who scored maximum goals for India in 2019 season. - PTI

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6.53 pm | Tamil Nadu

COVID-19 count of Tamil Nadu | 5,344 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Monday, taking the overall tally to 5,47,337; another 5,492 persons were discharged today. Till date, a total of 4,91,971 persons were discharged; 60 more deaths were reported today and the total death toll stands at 8,871; active cases are: 46,495.

- Serena Josephine

6.45 pm | Jammu & Kashmir

Schools reopen with a few students amid COVID-19 scare in Jammu & Kashmir

Only a few students turned up to attend special classes in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday as schools for higher classes reopened after a gap of over six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Territory Administration said. Principal Secretary, School Education and Skill Development, Asgar Hassan Samoon said the reopening of schools was not meant for regular classes.

Anuradha Gupta, director of School Education, Jammu, told PTI  that the school management has been directed to devise a mechanism to ensure that the students make the best of the opportunity and come out with a roster to fulfil the requirement of the students.

The decision of the government to reopen the schools came under sharp criticism from Opposition parties, including the National Conference and the Congress, who questioned the rationale behind the opening of school from classes 9 to 12 amid the pandemic.

As on Sunday evening, Jammu and Kashmir had recorded 1,001 COVID-related deaths - 769 in Kashmir and 232 in Jammu regions. The Union Territory’s caseload was 63,990, of which 41,087 cases were reported in Kashmir and 22,903 in Jammu region.

"We have not opened the schools for regular classes. The partial reopening is to facilitate the students to clear their doubts in any subject in their classrooms while following all the precautionary measures to avoid COVID-19," she said. The attendance of the students is voluntary and based on the consent of their parents.

The School Education Department has worked out arrangements with the school management, which undertook fumigation and sanitisation and made available an adequate number of hand sanitisers and face masks to students.

Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances (due to COVID-19), we have introduced online and offline methods of education besides community classes in non-containment zones. The blending of offline and online mechanisms is meant to provide options to the students and safeguard their future, Ms. Gupta said, adding that the online classes would continue till the time demands.

Official reports spoke about zero to low attendance in various schools as most parents did not sign the consent form. - PTI

6.37 pm  | Madhya Pradesh

COVID-19 victim’s body nibbled by rats in hospital; probe on

The body of an 87-year-old COVID -19 victim was allegedly nibbled by rats at a private hospital in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, his family claimed, prompting the district administration to order a probe on Monday. The shocking incident came to light when a video surfaced on social media.

In the video, injury marks on the face and legs of the corpse are visible, and a distraught person is seen complaining that the body handed over to them by the private hospital had bite marks made by rats.

Indore’s COVID-19 nodal officer Amit Malakar said the elderly man, who was on oxygen support due to the severity of the infection, died in the hospital on Sunday.

“The district administration has ordered a probe into the incident,” Mr. Malakar informed. "The additional district magistrate will handle the probe," he said.

The deceased’s grandson said he was admitted to the hospital four days ago following fluctuation in oxygen levels and had tested positive for the coronavirus infection. “The hospital management handed over his body to us on Monday. We found rat bite marks on his ears and thumbs,” he claimed. - PTI

6.20 pm | Maharashtra

Head constable dies of COVID-19 in Akola

A 51-year-old police head constable died of COVID-19 in Maharashtra’s Akola district on Monday, a senior police official said.

This is the first case of a police personnel’s death due to the viral infection in the district, he said.

The victim was undergoing treatment in the ICU of a government hospital here since September 14.

He died around 3 am on Monday, Akola Superintendent of Police G Shridhar said.

People need to take care as the risk of spread of the disease is increasing, he said. - PTI

6.10 pm | Uttar Pradesh

4,703 new COVID-19 cases take U.P.’s tally to 3,58,893 lakh

The death toll due to COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh rose to 5,135 on Monday with 88 more fatalities, while 4,703 fresh cases pushed the infection tally in the State to 3,58,893, officials said.

Briefing reporters here, Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said 2,89,594 COVID-19 patients have recovered from the viral disease and have been discharged. The recovery rate of the State is 80.69%, he said.

Mr Prasad said 4,703 fresh COVID-19 cases have been reported in the State, while so far 5,135 COVID-19 patients have succumbed to the disease. The count of active COVID-19 cases in the State stands at 64,164, he said.

He said on Sunday, over 1.35 lakh samples were tested, and till now more than 86 lakh samples have been tested in the state.


6:00 pm | Chennai

Tamil Nadu’s economy to revive to pre-Covid-19 level in two months, says C Rangarajan

Tamil Nadu’s economy will rebound to the pre-COVID-19 level in two months, former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor C Rangarajan has said.

There is likely to be a contraction due to the pandemic, Mr. Rangarajan, heading a high-level committee to advise the State government on the medium-term response and measures to be taken to boost the economy post the lockdown period, said.

The committee was tasked by the Tamil Nadu government to assess the impact of coronavirus crisis on the State’s fiscal situation and the way forward to improve the position, including increasing the tax-GDP ratio, diversifying revenue sources and re-prioritising expenditure.

The panel, which submitted a 250-page report to Chief Minister K Palaniswami today, is optimistic the economy will revive in about two months’ time. - PTI

5:40 p.m. | New Delhi

Modi govt. sometimes blames god, sometimes people, but not its ‘misrule’, says Rahul

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Centre over Union Minister Harsh Vardhan’s remarks that people’s “irresponsible behaviour” has resulted in a surge in COVID-19 spread, saying the Modi government’s “blind arrogance” sometimes blames god, sometimes people, but not its own “misrule“.

Mr. Gandhi’s attack on the government came a day after Health Minister Vardhan, while replying to a special discussion on the coronavirus pandemic in Lok Sabha, said that there is a surge in the spread of COVID-19 in the country due to societal “irresponsible behaviour“.

Tagging a media report on Mr. Vardhan’s remarks, Mr. Gandhi tweeted, “The blind arrogance of the Modi government sometimes blames god, sometimes people for the plight of the country, but not its own misrule and wrong policies.”

“How many more ‘Act Of Modi’ will the country bear?” he said in the tweet in Hindi. - PTI

5:20 p.m. | New Delhi

Plea in Rajya Sabha to provide free face masks to the poor

A demand to provide free of cost face masks to poor and vulnerable sections of the society to help them combat the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic was made in Rajya Sabha today.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, CPI (M) member Binoy Viswam said using soap and wearing a mask are the best preventive measures against the COVID-19.

But, 30% of the population does not know the importance of this and disregards the need for masks either because of poverty or illiteracy, he said. - PTI

5:00 p.m. | Bengaluru

Karnataka CM hints at curtailing legislature session, LoP wants extension

Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa hinted at curtailing the eight-day long Monsoon Session of the State legislature that began on Monday, saying he will discuss with Opposition leaders about ending it soon after discussion on important necessary issues, due to the COVID pandemic.

The session is actually scheduled till September 30.

“I will sit and talk with the leaders of the Opposition, even the Parliament session is likely to be curtailed. Due to COVID reasons, about 55-60 MLA aren’t able to come and attend the proceedings,” Mr. Yediyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters, he said “I will appeal to the opposition that in such a situation let’s discuss a few important issues that are necessary and try to end as soon as possible, let’s see how they (Opposition) will cooperate.” - PTI

4:40 p.m. | Toronto

Drug used to treat coronavirus infections in cats may be effective against COVID-19: Study

A drug used to treat deadly coronavirus infections in cats could potentially be an effective treatment against SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the global coronavirus pandemic, according to a study.

The finding, published in the journal Nature Communications, paves the way for human clinical trials of the drug, a protease inhibitor called GC376.

“This drug is very likely to work in humans, so we are encouraged that it will be an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients,” said Joanne Lemieux, a professor at the University of Alberta in Canada.

However, the researchers said clinical trials will need to run their course before anyone can be sure that the drug is both safe and effective for treating COVID-19 in humans. - PTI

4:20 pm | London

COVID cases could rise exponentially, says U.K. medical advisor

Britain’s top medical adviser says the country has, in a very bad sense , turned a corner on COVID-19 infection rates, with figures suggesting there will be an exponential growth in the disease unless action is taken.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told the public today that rates are going in the wrong direction amid expectations the government is preparing to announce new measures to control the pandemic. He says we have in a very bad sense, literally turned a corner”, after weeks of increasing infection rates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson huddled with ministers over the weekend to discuss how the government will respond to the recent rise in cases, which has pushed infection rates to levels last seen in May. Later this week the government is expected to announce a slate of short-term restrictions that will act as a circuit breaker to slow the spread of the disease. - AP

4:00 p.m. | Ahmedabad

Amid COVID-19 outbreak, five-day Gujarat Assembly session begins

The five-day session of the Gujarat Assembly began today amid precautions for the coronavirus outbreak. Staffers, legislators and mediapersons who will cover proceedings have been tested for the infection, while entry for outsiders has been banned.

Four MLAs, comprising three from the Congress and one from BJP, have been detected with the infection, and so have some Assembly personnel in tests conducted over the past couple of days. Speaker Rajendra Trivedi ordered seating changes to stop any chances of the virus spreading, with one MLA occupying one bench, while several legislators have been given seats in the visitors’ galleries.

Coronavirus tests for reporters covering the House proceedings have been made free of cost by the state government. - PTI

3:50 p.m. | Kochi

Kerala startup, U.S. foundation tie up for new ventilator

A Kerala-based startup is part of a consortium that has tied up with a U.S.-based not-for-profit organisation to launch an affordable ventilator to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19.

Located in SmartCity Kochi, Sinergia Media Labs (simelabs) under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), along with Ionics3DP, Chennai, and Aruvii, Singapore, has tied up with the Project Prana Foundation of Massachusetts, USA.

The tie-up is to operationalise the individualised system for augmenting ventilator capacity which enables patient-specific therapy in several nations the worldover, a KSUM statement said here on Monday. The low-cost emergency device is capable of ventilating two subjects simultaneously. - PTI

3:30 p.m. | Bhubaneswar

Fire breaks out at COVID-19 hospital in Odisha, 127 patients evacuated

A fire broke out at a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Jagatpur town in Odisha’s Cuttack district today, fire officials said. No loss of human life has been reported so far, DG (Fire Service) Satyajit Mohanty said.

A total of 127 coronavirus patients, being treated at the hospital, were evacuated and shifted to other medical establishments, he said. The fire broke out in the afternoon at the ICU on the ground floor, Dr Samita Mohanty said.

Senior officials, including Cuttack Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cuttack Municipal Corporation Commissioner and Chief District Medical Officer have reached the spot and are coordinating the rescue and evacuation operation. - PTI

3:10 p.m. | Coimbatore

20 mobile COVID-19 test vehicles flagged off

To bring more people under COVID-19 testing network, Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani has flagged off 20 mobile testing vehicles here.

The vehicles were necessary considering the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Coimbatore district of late, and would help identify those affected so that treatment can be given at the earliest, Mr. Velumani told reporters on the sidelines of the flagging-off function at Sundakkaputhur.

The mobile units would have medical kits, qualified nurses and health workers, he said. - PTI

2.50 pm | Delhi

'30% of COVID-19 patients in Delhi hospitals from other states'

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Monday said 30 per cent of the COVID-19 patients admitted to Delhi hospitals are from other states.

He also said that non-residents of Delhi have been occupying most of the ICU beds in private hospitals.

“People coming from outside prefer private hospitals. They make up their mind in advance. These patients go directly to these four-five hospitals they have heard of... such as Max, Apollo and Fortis. That’s why ICU beds at these hospitals are full,” Mr. Jain told reporters.

2.20 pm | New Delhi

Now, govt says it’s collecting data on migrant workers from States

A week after the Labour and Employment Ministry informed the Lok Sabha that there was no data available of the number of migrant workers who died during the lockdown, the Ministry told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that it was collecting the data from States and Union Territories.

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2.00 pm | Czech Republic

Czech Republic Health Minister resigns amid virus surge

The Czech Republic’s Health Minister has resigned amid a record rise of coronavirus infections. Adam Vojtech says his move should create space for a new approach to the pandemic.

The country coped well with infections in the spring but has been facing a record surge of new confirmed cases over the past week. On Thursday, the day-to-day increase of new cases was higher than 3,000.

It is not immediately clear who will replace Vojtech, who was under pressure from the opposition to resign.

- AP

1.45 pm | Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand to have single-day Assembly session on Sept. 23, no Question Hour

Dehradun, Sep 21 (PTI) The upcoming Monsoon Session of the Uttarakhand Assembly will be limited to just a day and there will be no Question Hour, Deputy Speaker Raghunath Singh said here, attributing the decision to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the State.

As per the original schedule, the session was to be held from September 23-25.

“In view of the coronavirus crisis, the Business Advisory Committee of the State Assembly has decided to limit the session to a single day on September 23 and do away with the Question Hour,” Singh said. Only written replies to questions of public interest will be given by the government, the Deputy Speaker said.


1.30 pm | New Delhi

COVID-19 recovery rate in India crosses 80% mark

India’s recovery rate of COVID-19 cases has crossed the 80% mark with over 90,000 recoveries recorded for the third consecutive day, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

In a statement, the ministry said 93,356 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours.

“India has crossed the significant landmark of more than 80% national recovery rate. On a continuous stretch of high recoveries, India has also reported more than 90,000 recoveries for the third day in succession,” the Ministry said in the statement.

12 States and U.T.s have registered recovery rate of more than the national average and 79% of the new recovered cases are from 10 States and U.T.s.


1.15 pm | Mizoram

Mizoram allows private hospitals, labs to conduct COVID-19 tests

The Mizoram government has allowed private hospitals and laboratories to examine samples for COVID-19 to accelerate the testing process, a ruling MNF legislator said on Monday.

Only designated government hospitals were permitted to test samples for coronavirus till now.

As per the Mizoram Epidemic Disease (COVID-19) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2020, notified in the official gazette recently, private hospitals and laboratories having the necessary facilities can collect samples and test them for coronavirus, MLA and State Health and Family Welfare Board vice-chairman, Dr. Z.R. Thiamsanga, said.


1.00 pm | Tamil Nadu

Madras University students unable to log in to write exams

The first day of online exams for final year end-semester students of the University of Madras on Monday was marred by technical glitches.

Many students complained that they could not download the question paper. The students had only one hour to download the same.

A B.Com student’s relative said she had been trying to download the question paper without success. She sent the link to her relatives in a bid to access the same. Another student from a college in Chromepet, who also faced the same difficulty, said the link did not open. Later his college forwarded the question paper to him.

The University decided to offer online exams, following instructions from the State government and the University Grants Commission, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection. Students could log in from their home and take the test. Around 60,000 students will be taking exams each day for five days from Monday.

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12.45 pm | Madhya Pradesh

91 Indians return to M.P. from UAE in special flight

An Air India flight carrying 91 Indians, who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to the COVID-19 outbreak, arrived in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, early Monday morning, an official said.

As part of the central government’s Vande Bharat mission, the flight from Dubai landed at Devi Ahilyabai Holkar International Airport at 4.15 a.m., said Amit Malakar, Indore district’s nodal officer for COVID-19 prevention.

“A total of 91 passengers, including 27 from Indore and 64 from other places, came back to their home country by the special flight,” he said.

12.30 pm | UAE

CSK batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad back in training after clearing two COVID-19 tests

Chennai Super Kings batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad is back in training ahead of Tuesday’s IPL game against Rajasthan Royals after clearing the two mandatory COVID-19 tests.

The 23-year-old cricketer from Maharashtra had tested positive for COVID-19 and was in quarantine for two weeks. He missed CSK’s tournament opener against defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

“The first thing you wanna see on a Monday morning. Look who’s back! Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes #Ruturaj #WhistlePodu #Yellove,” CSK posted on its twitter handle on Monday along with a picture of the batsman.


12.15 pm | Los Angeles

Jimmy Kimmel delivers first pandemic-era monologue at Emmys 2020 to fake audience

Jimmy Kimmel returned to the hosting duties of Emmys 2020, his opening monologue for the virtual television award ceremony was all about having fun in the pandemic.

Kimmel, who has previously hosted the 64th and 68th editions in 2012 and 2016, started this year’s ceremony by welcoming the audiences at home to Pand-Emmys .

Wow, it’s great to finally see people again. Thank you for risking everything to be here. Thank me for risking everything to be here. You know what they say, ‘You can’t have a virus without a host’, Kimmel said in what looked like a usual monologue, full of laughter and reaction shots of a star-studded audience.

The host, however, soon revealed that the audience laughter and celebrity shots were from the previous ceremonies.


12.00 pm | Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Minister recovers from COVID-19, rejoins office

Himachal Pradesh Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur recovered from coronavirus and rejoined office in the Secretariat on Monday.

In a Facebook post, the 70-year-old leader said, “I have come to my office (Secretariat) after several days following my full recovery.”

The seven-time MLA from Mandi’s Dharampur assembly segment could not attend the recently concluded monsoon session of the State Assembly after he tested positive on September 3, four days ahead of the 12-day monsoon session which began on September 7.


11.45 am | Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh HC tells State, political workers to follow COVID-19 norms

The Gwalior Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has directed political workers and State government officials to abide by the COVID-19 protocol prescribed for regulating congregations.

A Division Bench of Justices Sheel Nagu and Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava on September 18 expected the protocol to be “strictly abided by” at least until the next date of hearing of a public interest litigation filed by lawyer Ashish Pratap Singh.

The court observed, law, whether statutory or in the shape of executive instructions, deserved respect and obedience, “as much from a common man as from a leader, a political functionary and even the head of State.” The Justices said they were reminded of the maxim “Be you ever so high, the Law is above you.”

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11.30 am | France

Five players ruled out of French Open qualifying

Two players in the qualifying rounds for the French Open have tested positive for the coronavirus, the French Tennis Federation said, while three others have been in close contact with a coach who also tested positive.

The FFT said on Sunday in a statement that all five players will isolate for a period of seven days, and none of them will participate in the qualifiers starting Monday for the September 27-October 11 tournament.

- AP

11.15 am | Maharashtra

MNS leaders board suburban trains to protest curbs

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leaders on Monday travelled in local trains, currently available only for essential services staff, as part of a protest to demand that the services be made available for common citizens also.

The Raj Thackeray-led party undertook the “savinay kaydebhang (civil disobedience) protest after its repeated demands to allow the general public to travel in local trains in Mumbai and suburbs.

At present, only certain sections, including the essential services staff and government employees, are allowed to travel in local trains.


11.00 am

CDC acknowledges aerosols as ‘main way’ of coronavirus spread

In a major development, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its guidelines to acknowledge that the “main way” the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads is through aerosols.

The updated guidance on September 18 says that the virus most commonly spreads through “respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes”.

The CDC elaborates saying that these “particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads”.

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10.45 am | Mizoram

Partial lockdown lifted in Aizawl

The Mizoram government has lifted the partial lockdown from the Aizawl city area, an official said on Monday.

The partial lockdown which was imposed in Aizawl city area on September 10 to contain the spread of COVID-19 was lifted on Sunday midnight, the official said.

The State government on Sunday also issued a modification to a clause in the unlock guidelines according to which three entry or exit points at Vairengte and Bairabi on the Mizoram-Assam border and Kanhmun on the state border with Tripura will be opened 24x7 for vehicles carrying commodities and passengers. Earlier, the three entry points - Vairengte, Bairabi and Kanhmun were opened for passenger carrying vehicles only on Monday, Thursday and Saturday between 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.


10.30 am | New Delhi

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi fears upsurge in child labour as pandemic shrivels economy

As the pandemic pummels the economy, pushing millions of people into poverty, families are under pressure to put their children to work to make ends meet.

“The biggest threat is that millions of children may fall back into slavery, trafficking, child labour, child marriage,” said Mr. Satyarthi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his work to combat child labour and child trafficking in India.

While rates of child labour have declined over the last few years, about 10.1 million children are still in some form of servitude in India, according to the United Nations children's agency UNICEF.

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10.15 am | New Zealand

New Zealand to begin lifting virus restrictions

All remaining virus restrictions will be lifted across much of New Zealand from late Monday with the exception of the largest city, Auckland, which will continue to have some restrictions for at least another 16 days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Monday after meeting with top lawmakers. The nation of 5 million people reimposed some restrictions last month after the Auckland outbreak, which now appears to be under control.

Under the plan, maximum gathering sizes in Auckland will be increased from 10 to 100 on Wednesday and then caps removed two weeks after that.

- AP

10.00 am | China

Mainland China reports 12 new COVID-19 cases

Mainland China reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 20, up from 10 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Monday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement all new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. It also reported 25 new asymptomatic infections, up from 21 a day earlier, though China does not classify these symptomless patients as confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in mainland China now stands at 85,291, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

- Reuters

9.45 am | New Delhi

86,961 new COVID-19 cases in India; death toll mounts to 87,882

India’s COVID-19 tally reached 54.88 lakh with 86,961 people being infected in the past 24 hours, while 43,96,399 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 80.12% on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 54,87,580, while the death toll climbed to 87,882 with the infection claiming 1,130 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate due to coronavirus has further declined to 1.6%. There are 10,03,299 active cases in the country as of now, which comprises 18.28% of the total caseload, the data stated.


9.30 am | Kerala

COVID-19 claims first health worker in Kerala

The State recorded the first death of a doctor due to COVID-19 on Sunday. The medical practitioner, aged 73 years, succumbed to the infection less than a week after he tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

The doctor from Jubilee Nagar Road in Kallattumukku here used to run a private clinic at Attakulangara. He has been attending to patients till September 12 and diagnosed with COVID-19 two days later.

As his condition deteriorated after he developed pneumonia, he was kept on ventilator support in a private hospital. The deceased had co-morbidities, including diabetes and heart diseases. He succumbed to the disease early Sunday. However, this death has not been included in the official death toll released by the Health Department on Sunday.

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9.15 am | New Delhi

India, Maldives will support each other in fight against health, economic impact of COVID-19: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India and Maldives as close friends and neighbours will continue to support each other in their fight against the health and economic impact of COVID-19.

Mr. Modi was responding to a tweet by Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in which he expressed his thanks to the Prime Minister for India’s financial assistance to his country.

“India has always risen to the occasion whenever Maldives needed a friend. My sincere thanks to PM @narendramodi , government and people of India for their neighborly spirit and generosity following the official handover of USD250 million as financial assistance today,” Mr. Solih said.

Mr. Modi replied, “Appreciate your warm sentiments, President @ibusolih! As close friends and neighbours, India and Maldives will continue to support each other in our fight against the health and economic impact of COVID-19.”


9.00 am | Karnataka

Special committee to study long-term effects of COVID-19

The Karnataka government has decided to constitute a special technical committee to study the long-term effects of COVID-19 by monitoring the health of those who have recovered from the infection after contracting the virus.

The move comes in the backdrop of an increasing number of reports of people, who were discharged after successfully battling COVID-19, returning to hospitals with various health conditions and complications.

K. Sudhakar, Medical Education and COVID-19 in charge Minister, said that the committee will consist of medical experts. In a tweet, he said that the government will evaluate patients based on whether they had mild or severe symptoms with special focus on people with comorbidities.

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8.30 am | Karnataka

Courts in Karnataka to reopen substantially in a phased manner from September 28

The High Court of Karnataka has decided to substantially reopen all courts in the taluks and districts of the State in three phases starting from September 28, and has issued a special Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the functioning of courts.

While courts in 55 taluks identified over different districts will be reopened on September 28, all the courts in 15 districts will be open from October 5. The other courts in the remaining districts will be reopened on October 12, according to the special SOP.

All these courts will list only 30 cases a day — 15 each in the forenoon and afternoon sessions — and there will be separate enclosures for the witnesses inside the court complexes to wait for their turn to enter and record their statements.

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8.00 am | Tamil Nadu

Eleven zones of Chennai city register a positive growth rate in cases

The number of city zones reporting a positive growth rate of new COVID-19 cases has increased from five to 11 in the past seven days. Compared to the negative growth rate last week, the Greater Chennai Corporation has registered a positive growth rate of 0.5% this week.

Officials said the number of cases was stable in the city, with a few pockets in some zones.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and will know the impact of the relaxations soon. We are testing 10 persons for every positive case in a neighbourhood,” an official said.

Alandur has registered the highest increase in new cases with 5.3% in the past seven days while Valasaravakkam registered a decline during the same period.

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7.30 am | Andhra Pradesh

20 write test in isolation rooms in Kurnool

The recruitment test for the ward and village secretariat staff was conducted amid COVID-19 fears by taking all precautionary measures on Sunday. Twenty candidates in Kurnool wrote the test in special isolation rooms in two sessions.

In all, 55,768 candidates applied for the test at 194 centres, but 42,586 took the test recording 76.36% attendance. The district administration made all arrangements for the test to be conducted till September 26 to fill 1,276 posts. In all, 85,910 candidates had applied.

In the morning session at Kurnool 14 candidates wrote the test in isolation rooms. While eight were COVID-19 positive, six were found having temperature in thermal screening. In Adoni Arts and Science College one patient took the test with the invigilator too attending by wearing a PPE kit. In Kurnool city in the afternoon, three patients and two having temperature took the test in isolation rooms.

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7.00 am | Tamil Nadu

HC refuses to stay conduct of Class X exams for special children

The Madras High Court on Sunday refused to stay the conduct of Class X private examinations for special children, after the State informed the court that all 1,410 candidates with special abilities and 609 scribes had tested negative for COVID-19.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha said they were not inclined to interfere, at the eleventh hour, with the examinations scheduled to be held between Monday and Friday with all safety precautions, as ordered by them early this month.

The judges took the decision following an urgent review petition moved by Balakrishnan Subramaniyan, father of a 24-year-old suffering from cerebral palsy in Tiruchi. His PIL petition was disposed of by the same Bench on September 3. The court had then directed the government authorities to ensure that all special children wanting to write the Class X examinations as private candidates, and their scribes, are subjected to COVID-19 tests at least two days before the examinations.

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