Coronavirus India lockdown Day 182 updates | September 24, 2020

Eknath Shinde  

World leaders at the United Nations General Assembly meeting have criticised the haphazard global response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Kazakhstan’s President terming it as “a critical collapse of global cooperation.” Many leaders called for any COVID-19 vaccine that is developed to be shared equally.

In India, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi became the first Union Minister to succumb to the virus. The 65-year-old leader had tested positive for COVID-19 on September 11 and was hospitalised for 15 days before his demise.

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:

9.00 pm | Uttar Pradesh

CBDT chairman tests COVID positive

Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Mr. Mody was admitted to the Yashoda Super Specialty Hospital in Ghaziabad on September 23, medical superintendent Anuj Agarwal told PTI.

His blood has also been tested, apart from oxygen saturation. Lungs specialists are monitoring his health, Mr. Agarwal said. — PTI

8.45 pm  | Assam

Tarun Gogoi in ICU after oxygen level falls in post-COVID-19 complications

Veteran Congress leader and former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was on Thursday admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a State-run hospital after his blood oxygen level drastically went down in post-COVID-19 complications, a senior doctor said.

The 85-year-old leader tested positive for the virus on August 25 and was admitted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) the next day. He tested negative recently but remained in the hospital.

GMCH Superintendent Abhijit Sarma said that Mr. Gogoi, who has “a lot of comorbid conditions”, was admitted to the ICU as he developed some problems in the lungs and his oxygen level dropped drastically.

“However, he is stable now and we are constantly monitoring his condition. He is in oxygen support at this moment,” he said.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that GMCH authorities will consult AIIMS doctors in New Delhi on Friday morning through video-conference about the condition of the three-time former Chief Minister.

The GMCH superintendent said that Tarun Gogoi’s oxygen level had dropped to 82% after breakfast this morning, but it is hovering around 92-93% after he was put on oxygen support. “He is in a talking condition now, but is very tired. We are taking all care of him,” the doctor said.

The octogenarian leader’s condition had deteriorated on August 31 with sudden fall in the oxygen saturation level. He was then administered plasma therapy. - PTI

8:30 pm | Puducherry

Agitations during COVID-19 period will be ‘detrimental’ and ‘ill-timed’: Bedi

Puducherry Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi on Thursday said disturbing recovery situation during the ongoing COVID-19 period by staging agitations would be ‘highly detrimental’ and ‘ill timed’

She made the observation through her whatsapp message to media after receiving a petition from opposition AIADMK MLA A. Anbalagan, who sought her intervention to prevent the protests Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy had announced against the Farm bills passed in Parliament, here on September 28.

Anbalagan had alleged in his petition that Narayanasamy was violating the safety protocols instead of being responsible to implement the safety norms of the Centre by announcing the agitation along with the alliance partners like DMK here, to oppose Farm Reforms bills on September 28.

Lt. Governor in her message said, “this (agitation) is a clear undermining of the joint hard work being put in to contain COVID-19 spread in Puducherry.”

She said that “once it is loosened again it shall be difficult to reverse it.”


8.15 pm | West Bengal

62 more fatalities push West Bengal’s COVID-19 toll to 4,606

West Bengal’s COVID-19 death toll jumped to 4,606 on Thursday with 62 more fatalities, while 3,196 new infections pushed the coronavirus tally to 2,37,869, a bulletin issued by the health department said.

Since Wednesday, 3,014 patients have recovered from the disease, bettering the discharge rate to 87.46 per cent.

The number of active cases stood at 25,221, it said.

In the past 24 hours, 43,432 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in the state, the bulletin added.

8.05 pm | New Delhi

Govt’s eSanjeevani OPD completes 3 lakh tele-consultations within 6 months of launch

The Ministry of Health’s eSanjeevani OPD platform has completed three lakh tele-consultations within six months of its launch, with four States — Tami Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Uttarakhand — accounting for nearly 90% of use by beneficiaries.

The eSanjeevani OPD services have enabled patient-to-doctor telemedicine in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry said.

“This has helped in containing the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring physical distancing and has simultaneously enabled provisions for non-COVID essential healthcare. The number of high tele-consultations is a testimony of its popularity among the citizens,” the Ministry said.

With 1,29,801 digital interactions, Tamil Nadu has held the largest number of tele-consultations so far. Tamil Nadu had been a pioneer in the field registering 32,035 OPD consultations by August 9 and 56,346 consultations by the 19th of the same month. The State had registered nearly one lakh consultations (97,204) by September 8.

“The platform had provided essential healthcare to the State, one of the worst affected by COVID-19, at a critical time when conventional medicine was perceived to be risky owing to the nature of the infectious disease,” the Ministry said.

Tami Nadu is followed by Uttar Pradesh (96,151 consultations), Kerala (32,921 consultations) and Uttarakhand (10,391 consultations). These four States account for 2,69,264 tele-consultations (89.75% of total consultations). With on boarding of Gujarat and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on eSanjeevani OPD and Chhattisgarh on eSanjeevani (Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres — AB-HWC), the total number of States and UTs using eSanjeevani has gone up to 26.

Around 4,600 doctors have been trained on eSanjeevaniOPD and on an average over 6,000 consultations per day are recorded in eSanjeevani’s national network. The eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations. The former is being implemented through Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWC).

It aims to implement tele-consultation in all 1.5 lakh HWCs in conjunction with identified Medical College hospitals in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. States have identified and set up dedicated ‘Hubs’ in Medical Colleges and District hospitals to provide tele-consultation services to ‘Spokes’, i.e SHCs, PHCs and HWCs.

The Health Ministry rolled out the second tele-consultation service ‘eSanjeevani OPD’ enabling patient-to-doctor telemedicine owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. “This has proved a boon in containing the spread of coronavirus infection while simultaneously enabling provisions for non-COVID essential healthcare,” the Ministry said. — PTI

7.45 pm | Maharashtra

15 new coronavirus cases in Dharavi

With 15 new cases being reported on Thursday, the coronavirus tally in Mumbai’s Dharavi area increased to 3,102, a senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said.

Dharavi, considered to be Asia’s largest slum, witnessed a double-digit growth in cases on the ninth consecutive day. But of 3,102 COVID-19 patients, 2,627 have already recovered, the official said.

Since the start of September, the number of daily new cases has gone up. As a result, active cases from the area also increased to 194 from less than 100 by August-end, he said. The civic body has stopped sharing the death toll from Dharavi since June. Spread over 2.5 square kilometres, Dharavi is home to over 6.5 lakh people. - PTI

7:30 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

COVID-19 affected woman delivers quadruplets in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, one baby on ventilator

A coronavirus positive woman delivered four babies at BRD Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district, officials said on Thursday.

“While three babies are healthy, the fourth one is on a ventilator. The mother is also healthy,” BRD Medical College Principal Ganesh Kumar said.

The 26-year-old woman, a resident of Deoria district’s Gauri Bazar, reached the medical college’s trauma centre on Tuesday night and tested positive there.

With the efficient team of doctors and paramedical staff, the woman delivered the quadruplets on Wednesday, he said.

As per the doctors, the delivery was premature and the weight of the four babies is between 980 grams to 1.5 kg. The mother is feeding three babies while one is on ventilator support.

The principal said such cases are very rare and delivery is also quite challenging.

However, the mother and three of the newborns are healthy with the samples of all four babies sent to the microbiology department for coronavirus test. - PTI

7.15 pm | Kerala

Kerala’s COVID-19 single day surge crosses 6000; tally breaches 1.50 lakh mark

Kerala’s single day COVID-19 cases soared to 6,324 on Thursday, the highest so far, as the total infection count crossed the 1.50 lakh mark.

On Wednesday, the state had reported 5376 positive cases.

As the state government increased the sample testing in the last 24 hours to 54,989, the positive cases have crossed 6,000 for the first time.

So far, 26,00,359 samples have been tested

The state’s infection tally has touched 1,53,456, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

While 3,168 recovered from the infection today, the active cases are 45,919 and so far 1,07,850 have been discharged after treatment.

The state also reported 21 deaths, which occurred since September 19, due to Covid, taking the toll to 613.

7.05 pm | Jammu and Kashmir

J&K records 1,104 coronavirus cases, 22 deaths

Jammu and Kashmir recorded 1,104 fresh coronavirus cases and 22 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total infection tally to 68,614 and death toll to 1,084, officials said on September 24.

The UT recorded 1,104 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours — with 624 in Jammu and 480 in the Kashmir valley, the officials said.

It was for the 22nd consecutive day that the number of fresh cases have crossed 1,000 in a 24-hour period.

The cumulative figure of positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir has now risen to 68,614.

Jammu district reported the highest number of 242 new cases, followed by 194 in Srinagar district, the officials said.

There are 19,451 active cases of coronavirus disease, while 48,079 patients have recovered so far, they said.

Meanwhile, 22 deaths took place in the past 24 hours with 14 in Jammu and eight in the valley, taking the death toll to 1,084, the officials said. — PTI

6.45 pm | New Delhi

SAT suspends judicial work till October 1 amid COVID-19

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has suspended judicial work till October 1 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Interim orders, if any, that are operational would remain in force till the next date of hearing, according to a notification.

“The judicial work of the tribunal shall further remain suspended till October 1, 2020,” the notification said. The directions already issued and permitted from time to time shall be continued, and all earlier orders shall be aligned with the present order and shall remain in force up to and inclusive of October 1, it said.

As per the notification dated September 18, the tribunal would function through video-conference from September 21 from 11.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. until further orders. Further, the office of the registry would function from September 21 from 11 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. until further orders with limited staff for the purpose of administrative work.

Besides, matters fixed for hearing between September 21 to October 1 would be rescheduled for December 7 to December 17.

Earlier, the tribunal had suspended judicial work till September 18 while continuing to function through video-conference. - PTI

6:30 pm | New Delhi

Second wave of COVID-19 hits its peak in Delhi, number of cases to decline in coming days: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said the second wave of coronavirus pandemic has hit its peak in the national capital with experts hinting that the cases of infection will decline in the coming days.

He said the government was “keeping its fingers crossed” and hoped that the COVID-19 cases will “gradually” come down due to the steps taken by the AAP dispensation.

Delhi has been witnessing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the last few days.

“All the experts believe that the second wave (of coronavirus), which had come in Delhi, appears to have hit its peak. Now, the cases will come down in the coming days,” Kejriwal told reporters.

The COVID-19 cases in the city were by and large under control between July 1 and August 17 and on an average, 1,100-1,200 new cases were being reported everyday, he said.

“From August 17, the cases rose slightly from around 1,100 to 1,500 and as a responsible government, we did not take any risk and immediately scaled up testing from around 20,000 to 60,000 tests per day.

“The best way to defeat coronavirus is to conduct aggressive testing to identify and isolate positive cases,” the chief minister said. - PTI

6.15 pm | New Delhi

Delhi government working out modalities to ramp up RT-PCR testing: Official

The Delhi government is working out modalities to ramp up RT-PCR testing in the national capital, officials said on Wednesday, a week after the high court had suggested increasing the capacity.

The Delhi High Court had last week 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 per cent accurate.

Even after the high court’s suggestion, the number of RT-PCR tests has not shown an increase with the figures hovering around the 10,000 mark.

The high court asked an expert committee, set by the Lieutenant Governor (LG), to convene a meeting on priority basis to consider the extent to which capacity of testing by RT-PCR should be ramped up.

The bench also noted that in the week from September 8-15, 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.

6 pm | Israel

Israel tightens second lockdown as virus cases soar

Israel on Thursday moved to further tighten its second countrywide lockdown as coronavirus cases continued to soar, ordering all nonessential businesses to close and requiring people to stay within 1,000 meters (yards) of their homes.

Prayers during the ongoing Jewish High Holidays, as well as political demonstrations, would be limited to open spaces and no more than 20 people, and participants would have to remain within the restricted distance from home.

The measures are set to go into force on Friday afternoon, as the country shuts down for the weekly Sabbath ahead of the solemn holiday of Yom Kippur on Sunday and Monday.

Even during normal times, Israel completely shuts down for Yom Kippur, with businesses and airports closed, roads empty, and even radio and television stations going silent. - AP

5.45 pm | Tamil Nadu

COVID-19 patients’ kin will be tested at doorstep: Minister

The Tamil Nadu government has taken steps to identify those with coronavirus by going door-to-door to contain the spread of the infection in the district, state Municipal Administration Minister, S P Velumani said Thursday.

For this purpose, 20 mobile testing vehicles would be used. The vehicles would have a lab technician, a nurse and a health worker, he said during a review meeting of COVID-19 situation with senior officials of various departments here.

He said the ambulances would go to houses of those who had already tested COVID-19 positive, and test their family members and others in contact.

The Minister further said those testing positive would be sent for treatment. This would help control the spread, he said. - PTI

5.30 pm | New Delhi

Sisodia’s condition stable, to undergo another COVID-19 test in couple of days

The condition of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, currently undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at a state-run facility here, is stable, and he will be administered another coronavirus test in a couple of days, officials said on Thursday.

He was admitted to the LNJP Hospital on Wednesday from being under home isolation after he had contracted the infection.

“He is still in ICU since yesterday, but his condition is stable. The minister has been put on oxygen support as per requirement, and under constant observation,” a senior doctor of the hospital said.

The Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital is a dedicated COVID-19 facility.

“The Deputy CM will be administered an RT-PCR test in a couple of days,” the doctor said. - PTI

5.15 pm | Sikkim

Sikkim CM’s son, 9 others at his residence test positive for COVID-19

Days after Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang’s wife Krishna and some other family members tested positive for COVID-19, their son and SKM MLA Aditya has been diagnosed with the disease, state health secretary Pema T Bhutia said on Thursday.

Nine more people at the chief minister’s residence were also found to have contracted the infection.

Sources said the CM and his primary contacts had been undergoing COVID-19 tests at regular intervals.

Aditya, the SKM legislator from Soreng-Chakhung constituency, had attended assembly session on September 21. - PTI

5 pm | Kerala

Congress student leader in Kerala booked for providing fake contact info during Covid-19

The Kerala police on Thursday filed a case against Congress’ state students wing chief for allegedly furnishing fake contact information to health workers while undergoing a Covid-19 test recently.

Kerala Students Union chief K M Abhijith was booked on a complaint by Pothencode Panchayat president who alleged the KSU activist provided “false name, mobile number and address” when he got tested for coronavirus after taking part in protests against state minister K T Jaleel, police said.

Jaleel was recently quizzed by the Enforcement Directorate and NIA and opposition Congress and BJP have been since demanding his resignation.

Abhijith has tested positive for the virus.

“We have registered a case under various provisions of the Epidemic Act and under Section 419 (Punishment for cheating by personation) of the Indian Penal Code,” a police official said.

The panchayat president stated in the complaint that Abhijith had mentioned his name as Abhi M K at the hospital, besides providing the address of KSU state secretary Bahul Krishna as his own. - PTI

4.45 pm | Karnataka

Congress MLA Narayan Rao dies of COVID-19 in Bengaluru

Congress MLA B Narayan Rao, who was undergoing treatment for coronavirus, died on Thursday, the hospital in Bengaluru where he was admitted said.

The 65-year-old Basavakalyan MLA from Bidar district in North Karnataka was admitted on September 1 after being diagnosed with severe COVID-19 infection, Manipal Hospital Director Dr Manish Rai said in a statement.

He passed away at 3.55 pm,it said.

Dr Rai said he was critically ill with multi-organ failure and on multiple supports including ventilator in the Intensive care unit under constant observation by an expert panel of doctors. - PTI

4.30 pm | New Delhi

Centre allows states to spend up to 50% of disaster response fund to fight COVID-19

The Centre has allowed states to spend up to 50% money from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to boost infrastructure such as quarantine facilities, testing laboratories, oxygen generation plants and purchase of ventilators and PPE kits to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told chief ministers of the seven worst affected states on Wednesday that his government has increased the states’ limit to spend the SDRF to boost infrastructure to fight the pandemic.

In a communication to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, the Union Home Ministry said that it has partially modified list of items and norms of assistance for containment measures of COVID-19, eligible from SDRF by way of special one-time dispensation with the overall capping of 50 per cent for the financial year 2020-21.

The areas where the states can spend up to 50% of the SDRF include quarantine, sample collection and screening facilities. - PTI

4.15 pm | Kerala

KSU chief booked for providing fake contact info during COVID-19 test

A case was registered on Thursday against the chief of Kerala Students Union (KSU), the students wing of the Congress, K M Abhijith, for furnishing fake contact information to the healthworkers while being subjected to COVID-19 test recently, police said.

The case was booked following a complaint filed by the Pothencode Panchayat president alleging that Abhijith provided “false name, mobile number and address” to the healthworkers, when he had gone to get tested for coronavirus after taking part in protests against state minister K T Jaleel, who was quizzed by the Enforcement Directorate and NIA recently.

Abhijith has tested positive for the virus.

“We have registereda case under various provisions of the Epidemic Act and under Section 419 (Punishment for cheating by personation) of the Indian Penal Code,” a police official said. - PTI

4 pm | India

Pandemic impact: 9 in 10 Indians cautious about spending going forward, says survey

With the record-setting coronovirus caseload creating more uncertainty about jobs and economic recovery, nine in ten people polled in the country are worried and cautious about spending going forwards, says a survey.

According to a global survey by British lender Standard Chartered Bank on Thursday, “as much as 90% of Indian respondents say the pandemic has made them more careful with their expenditure now. Globally, only 75% say so”.

Reflecting this increased caution, 76% of Indian respondents as against 62% globally feel that the economic impact of the pandemic has made them more likely to track their spending, with over 80% either using or interested in using budgeting tools or tools that block card-spend over specified limits, says the survey.

3.40 pm | Maharashtra

HC refuses to intervene in Maharashtra’s move to not open temples

The Bombay High Court refused to intervene in the Maharashtra government’s decision to not open places of worship to the public in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni said the court did not wish to interfere in the state’s decision keeping in mind the “prevailing situation” of constant rise in coronavirus cases, even in rural areas.

The observation came after Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted that worshippers could not be allowed to visit temples, or any other places of worship as yet.

“Unfortunately, we are creating new records every day (of number of positive coronavirus cases). It will not be possible right now to open places of worship considering the situation,” the AG said.

3.20 pm | Maharashtra

Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde tests COVID-19 positive

Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday said he has tested positive for coronavirus, and urged all those who came in contact with him to get themselves tested.

Shinde attended the state cabinet meeting earlier this week.

He is the 13th state minister to be infected by the disease.

3 pm | Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand eases coronavirus norms for tourists

The Uttarakhand government has eased coronavirus norms for tourists, exempting them from producing a negative test report on arrival.

In a revised set of guidelines for tourists, Chief Secretary Om Prakash said it is not mandatory for them to bring coronavirus negative report before checking into a hotel or homestay.

Moreover, the requirement of a mandatory stay of a minimum two days in a hotel or homestay will also not be required anymore, he added.

However, it will be mandatory for tourists coming to the state by any mode of transportation to register on the Smart City portal prior to their travel, the latest set of directions that came into effect on Wednesday said. - PTI

2.30 pm | Time

75% of 86,508 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours concentrated in 10 states/UTs: Health ministry

Seventy-five per cent of the 86,508 COVID-19 cases reported in a span of 24 hours in the country are concentrated in 10 states and Union territories, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Chhattisgarh, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Maharashtra continues to top this list. It has alone contributed to more than 21,000 cases, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with more than 7,000 and 6,000 coronavirus cases, respectively.

The ten states and UTs are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, the ministry said.

Also, 1,129 fatalities due to coronavirus have been registered in a day with 10 states/UTs --Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Haryana accounting for 83 per cent of such deaths, it said.

Maharashtra reported 479 deaths followed by Uttar Pradesh and Punjab with 87 and 64 deaths, respectively, the ministry said. - PTI

2 pm | Maharashtra

Manav Kaul, Anand Tiwari test postive for COVID-19 on set, Arjun Rampal quarantined

Actor Arjun Rampal on Thursday said the shooting of his upcoming feature “Nail Polish” has stopped with immediate effect after his co-stars, Manav Kaul and Anand Tiwari, tested positive for COVID-19. Rampal said he is awaiting the results of his test and is currently home quarantined.

“Bummer quarantined at home. As Manav Kaul and Anand Tiwari tested positive for COVID on sets of ‘Nail Polish’ yesterday. Production has stopped shoot immediately and everyone’s been retested.

“I am quarantined at home awaiting my results. Staying away from everyone. Get well soon boys,” the actor tweeted alongside a his picture. - PTI

1.30 pm | Tamil Nadu

Vijayakant tested positive for COVID-19, condition stable

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) founder Vijayakant tested positive for COVID-19 on September 22, MIOT International said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“He is completely stable and admitted in Miot Hospitals, Chennai. He is expected to make a full recovery and should be ready for discharge soon,” the hospital said.

Earlier a statement issued by the party said Mr. Vijaykant had mild symptoms of COVID-19. Mr. Vijaykant goes for regular check-up once in six months at Miot Hospitals and this time he was detected with mild symptoms of COVID-19, it added. The party release said he has recovered and is in good health.

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1 pm | India

Daily new recoveries surpass new cases for six days

Nearly 74% of the new COVID-19 recoveries are from 10 States and UT, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Daily new recoveries in India have surpassed the new cases of coronavirus infection for the the last six days and the country’s total COVID-19 recoveries have surged to 46.7 lakh exceeding active cases by more than 37 lakh.

With its focussed strategies and effective people-centric measures, India is reporting exponential increase in recoveries, the ministry said. - PTI

12.30 pm | Nagaland

Nagaland to withdraw steep COVID-19 cess on fuel

The Nagaland government has decided to withdraw the steep COVID-19 cess on petrol and diesel, State minister Neiba Kronu said on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 cess of ₹5 per litre on diesel and ₹6 per litre on petrol and other motor spirits was imposed on April 28, amid a crunch in the State's finances in the wake of the lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Opposition parties, tribal bodies, civil society groups and student bodies have been demanding a rollback of the cess.

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12 pm | Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra apologises

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Thursday publicly apologised for his remark a day earlier that he did not wear a mask at programmes.

“It is felt the law has been violated by my statement about wearing a mask,” Mr. Mishra, often spotted without a mask at public events, wrote on Twitter. “This was not in accordance with the sentiments of the Prime Minister. I express regret while accepting my mistake.”

Further, Mr. Mishra said he would wear a mask and would appeal to society to wear it too and follow physical distancing norms.

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11.30 am | Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson kicks off study of single-shot COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday began a 60,000-person trial of an experimental single-shot COVID-19 vaccine that, if proven effective, could simplify distribution of millions of doses compared with leading rivals requiring two doses.

The J&J vaccine also does not need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures, Dr. Barouch noted, another advantage over some rival vaccine candidates.

The company expects results of the Phase III trial by year end or early next year, and plans to manufacture as many as 1 billion doses in 2021, and more after that.

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10.30 am | India

Union Minister Suresh Angadi dies of COVID-19

Suresh Angadi in September 2019.

Suresh Angadi in September 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, on September 23. He was hospitalised there earlier this month after he contracted COVID-19.

The 65-year-old BJP leader, a four-time MP, tested positive on September 11.

“He passed away at 8 p.m. on September 23 and was under medical care at AIIMS Trauma Centre for the past 15 days,” said a senior AIIMS official. Earlier this month, the Minister made the announcement of his diagnosis on Twitter. He had said, “I have tested COVID-19 positive. I am doing fine.”

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10 am | Karnataka

30% people in Karnataka had to use ‘connections’ to get an ICU bed: Survey

Seven months into the pandemic, people in Karnataka are still struggling to get an ICU bed. With more and more patients in home isolation developing complications and turning critical, the demand for ICU beds with ventilators went up in Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, since the beginning of this month.

An online survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, found that over 30% of the 2,456 respondents in Karnataka said they had to use “connections” and “clout” to get a COVID-19 ICU bed, while only 7% of the respondents said that they got a bed through the routine process.

While 16% of the respondents had to follow up aggressively with the hospitals, 2% even used social media to draw the attention of the administration to get an ICU bed. Some of them even complained to the government.

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9.30 am | Bengaluru

Doctors report rise in ‘unusual symptoms’ among COVID-19 patients

Over the past two weeks, doctors across hospitals in Bengaluru have been seeing an increase in the number of patients with “unusual symptoms” testing positive for COVID-19. Symptoms range from diarrhoea and headache to skin rashes. This, doctors say, is different from the initial flood of cases where patients suffered from the more well-known symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and loss of taste and smell.

Doctors are hoping that the State government and local authorities create more awareness on the lesser-known symptoms. In a few cases, patients are also reporting to hospitals after having suffered a stroke.

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9 am | USA

Scientists may know about vaccine by December: Dr. Anthony Fauci

U.S.' leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that by the end of this year, government scientists should know whether they have a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19.

Dr. Fauci said that people who recover from the virus develop antibodies against it, which gives him confidence a vaccine that triggers the immune system will work.

He added that several kinds of vaccines are in final-stage testing in the US. A single-dose candidate is the most recent trial, which requires thousands of volunteers. - AP

8 am | West Bengal

West Bengal extends period of austerity measures till March 2021

The West Bengal government has decided to extend the period of austerity measures taken to meet the expenditure for tackling the coronavirus pandemic from this September to March 31 next year.

“The validity of this department memorandum specifying additional austerity measures to be followed by all state government and semi state government offices to tackle the huge unforeseen expenditure for combating Covid-19 disease in our state extended upto September 30.

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