Coronavirus India lockdown Day 184 updates | September 26, 2020

A boy getting tested at the mobile COVID-19 testing bus at station road in Khammam on Friday.   | Photo Credit: G.N. Rao

India has recorded a high of nearly 15 lakh COVID-19 tests in a day, according to a release issued by the Union Health Ministry on Friday. “With 14,92,409 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tests have touched nearly 7 crore (6,89,28,440),” the Ministry said.

The last one crore tests were conducted in merely 9 days.

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:

9.15 pm | Andhra Pradesh

AP conducts over 75,000 tests in 24 hours, reports 7,293 new COVID-19 cases

Andhra Pradesh conducted a staggering 75,990 sample tests in 24 hours that returned 7,293 fresh cases of COVID-19, pushing the states aggregate to 6,68,751.

The latest bulletin said 9,125 patients got cured and discharged from hospitals while 57 more succumbed in 24 hours ending 9 am on Saturday.

The total number of recoveries has touched 5,97,294 and the gross toll 5,663, according to the bulletin.

The number of active coronavirus cases in AP dropped further to 65,794 on Saturday.


8.30 pm | London

Thousands flout COVID-19 curbs during anti-lockdown rally in London

Thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators turned up at Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for a so-called We Do Not Consent rally to protest against restrictions imposed to check the spread of coronavirus, including the current “rule of six” which limits gatherings to a maximum of five people.

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement to warn that it would be stepping up patrols in line with the planned demonstrations, even as it reminded the public that such gatherings could be in breach of regulations designed to protect people from the virus.

It is illegal for people to gather in groups of more than six, unless they are exempt. While protest is one of those exemptions, organisers must submit a risk assessment and must comply with social distancing.

“Officers will, of course, continue to use the approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the regulations. However, if people fail to comply, and continue to put themselves at risk, officers will take enforcement action,” said Commander Ade Adelekan, who is leading the Met Police operation on Saturday.

“I know there is great frustration to these regulations, but they have been designed to keep everyone safe from what is a lethal virus. By flagrantly gathering in large numbers and ignoring social distancing, you are putting your health and the health of your loved ones at risk,” he said.

7.45 pm | Rajasthan

Rajasthan records 2,045 fresh COVID-19 cases, 14 deaths

Rajasthan reported 2,045 fresh coronavirus cases on Saturday while the State’s death toll due to the infection rose to 1,426 with 14 more fatalities, according to a Health Department bulletin.

The State’s infection tally now stood at 1,26,775.

Ajmer, Banswara, Baran, Bikaner, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Kota, Pali, Sikar, Tonk and Udaipur reported one death each, according to the bulletin.

The maximum number of fresh cases was reported from Jaipur (415), while Jodhpur and Bikaner reported 335 and 108 infections, respectively.


7.30 pm| Puducherry

Pondy MLA tests positive for COVID-19

Ruling Congress legislator and chairman of Puducherry Planning Authority T Jayamoorthy tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

An official of the Department of Health and Family Welfare told PTI that the legislator tested positive at a government hospital here.

Jayamoorthy would be shifted to a private hospital in Chennai, sources said.

Two of the Ministers of Puducherry and three legislators, including two members of the opposition parties - AINRC and AIADMK - had tested positive a few weeks ago and recovered after treatment in Chennai. - PTI

7 pm | Tamil Nadu

Ascertain reasons for spike in COVID-19 cases, reduce deaths: TN Chief Secretary to Collectors

With a spike in COVID-19 cases in at least 15 districts in Tamil Nadu causing concern, Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam on Saturday directed Collectors to ascertain the reasons for the increase in the pandemic in recent times. He directed them to also take appropriate measures to reduce the fatalities.

Tamil Nadu on Saturday reported 5,647 new cases and 85 deaths, taking the tally to 5,75,017 and toll to 9,233. The active cases remain at 46,336. Active cases have been on the decline for the past several days.

Taking serious note of the increase in the pandemic in the districts that have suddenly emerged as hot spots, Mr. Shanmugam said, “the Collectors should find out the reason behind the increase in the number of coronavirus cases and also take necessary action to reduce the number of deaths.”

Reviewing the steps being taken to contain the virus and also the treatment protocols in place, through video-conference from the Secretariat, he asked the Collectors to make sure that there are proper facilities in hospitals.

Mr. Shanmugam’s review with the Collectors of Coimbatore, Chengalpattu, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Tiruppur, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Erode, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Vellore, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Tiruvarur and Salem, comes ahead of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s meeting with bureaucrats and medical professionals slated next week to review the prevailing COVID-19 condition. - PTI

6.30 pm | Nepal

Nepal’s COVID-19 tally reaches 71,821 with 1,207 new cases

Nepal’s coronavirus cases jumped to 71,821 after 1,207 new cases were reported on Saturday while the death toll increased to 467 with eight new fatalities.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, so far, 53,013 COVID-19 patients have recovered, 1,147 of them in the past 24 hours.

The Kathmandu Valley has recorded the highest number of cases with 724 new infections in the past 24 hours.

The government lifted restrictions on long-haul transportation last week. Domestic flights, too, resumed operations after six months on Monday. - PTI

6.15 pm | Maharashtra

Fear of second coronavirus wave as people moving out: Maharashtra CM

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday expressed apprehensions of a “second wave” of coronavirus transmission as more people are moving out for work, and called for stricter compliance with norms.

Speaking at a virtual meeting with ministers and officials of Marathwada and Nashik divisions on the COVID-19 situation, the CM expressed concerns over asymptomatic patients, allowed to remain at home, stepping out without proper precautions and infecting others.

He said the focus should be on reducing the mortality rate.

Mr. Thackeray directed officials to ensure that people follow health norms like wearing masks, and that violators be fined.

Maharashtra’s COVID-19 caseload stood at 13,00,757 as on September 25 while the cumulative death toll reached 34,761, as per the state health department.

6 pm | Madhya Pradesh

HC seeks to know steps taken by MP govt. on order for hospitals

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has sought to know the steps taken by the State government on its earlier order, in which it asked all hospitals to put up display boards at their reception counters to give information about the treatment rates for COVID-19 patients.

The high court asked the government to give its reply on October 1.

A division bench of Justices Sanjay Yadav and BK Shrivastava sought the State’s reply after the latter did not mention what action it has taken to ensure compliance of the court’s earlier order, in the status report it submitted on Wednesday, amicus curiae in the case advocate Naman Nagrath said on Saturday.

The State government submitted the status report over the compliance of the court’s September 7 direction, which asked it to get the list of treatment rates for coronavirus patients displayed at the reception centres in hospitals, he said. - PTI

5.30 pm | Odisha

Man caught making “COVID-19 vaccine” in Odisha

Odisha’s drug enforcement agency and police on Friday took a man into custody on charges of trying to sell fake COVID-19 vaccine in Bargarh district.

The accused identified as Prahallad Bisi was found preparing vials with ‘COVID-19 vaccine’ stickers on them.

“We have arrested the persons in possession of vials. The vials have an unknown liquid substance. He refused to disclose the composition saying everybody will soon get to know about it,” said Sasmita Dehury, Bargarh Drugs Inspector, over phone.

Ms. Dehury said the man had not sold it in open market and there was no information of anybody being injected with it.

Read more

5 pm | New Delhi

10 States, UTs account for 75% of new COVID-19 cases: Centre

Of the 85,362 new coronavirus cases reported in India in a day, 75% are found concentrated in 10 States and Union Territories, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

It also said India has conducted a total of seven crore tests for the detection of coronavirus infection till now with the country’s testing capacity having crossed 14 lakh tests daily.

The 10 States and Union Territories from where 75% of the new cases have been reported are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Delhi, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.

Maharashtra continues to top this list by accounting for more than 17,000 cases. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh reported more than 8,000 and 7,000 cases respectively, the ministry said.

Also, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh account for 83 per cent of the 1,089 deaths due to COVID-19 registered in a day. - PTI

4.30 pm | New Delhi

Manish Sisodia’s condition improves, likely to be shifted out of ICU: Official

The condition of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is suffering from COVID-19 and dengue, has further improved, a day after he was administered convalescent plasma therapy, and he is likely to be shifted from the ICU to a normal ward, officials said.

He is currently undergoing treatment at Max hospital, Saket, where he was admitted on Thursday evening after a “falling” blood platelet count and low oxygen level.

Sources at the Max hospital also said Sisodia is fine and doing better. An official from Mr Sisodia’s office said, “His vitals are better now. His condition has improved, and he will be shifted from the ICU to a normal ward today“.

The 48-year-old AAP leader had tested positive for COVID-19 on September 14 and was under home isolation. On Wednesday, he was admitted to the LNJP Hospital for treatment. - PTI

4 pm | Himachal Pradesh

Rohru MLA tests positive for coronavirus

Himachal Pradesh’s Rohru MLA Lal Brakta has become the eighth legislator in the State to have contracted coronavirus.  The Congress MLA took to Facebook to share his health status on Saturday.

Mr Brakta said he got himself tested on Friday morning and his report came positive in the night.

So far, six BJP and two Congress MLAs have tested positive for coronavirus in the State.

Mr Brakta in his Facebook post said he had not participated in any public programme in Rohru for the past 12 days so there was no need for people of his constituency to panic. However, he requested all those who came in his contact in Shimla in the past few days to get themselves tested. - PTI

3.20 pm | New Delhi

NPPA caps the price of medical oxygen cylinders and liquid medical oxygen for six months

To ensure availability of medical oxygen in the country at a reasonable price amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the national drug pricing regulator NPPA has capped the price of medical oxygen cylinders and liquid medical oxygen for six months, the government said on Saturday.

The present situation of COVID-19 has resulted in increased demand of medical oxygen up to almost four times from 750 MT per day to around 2,800 MT per day, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said in a statement.

Read more

2.45 pm | Kolkata

Calcutta HC Chief Justice orders increase of number of functional courts

In order to increase the workload in the High Court and at the district level, the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court has ordered an increase of the number of functional courts and final hearings of matters, upon consideration of the recommendations of its COVID committee.

Four Division Benches including one headed by Chief Justice T.B.N Radhakrishnan will continue functioning as at present, apart from the four regular Single Benches, Calcutta High Court Registrar General Rai Chattopadhyay said in a notification issued on Friday.

In addition, two other Single Benches will sit three days a week to take up writ petitions and if upgraded internet connectivity is available, a further Single Bench may be added, she said, quoting the order of the Chief Justice.

Urgency applications need no longer be filed and all matters filed will be placed before the relevant Benches in chronological order, she said in the notification.


2.30 pm | Singapore

Singapore records 20 new coronavirus cases

Singapore reported 20 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, including five imported cases and a foreign work pass holder from the community area, taking the conronavirus tally to 57,685 cases, according to official data.

All imported cases have been placed on ‘stay-home notice’ (SHN) upon arrival in Singapore, the Ministry of Health said.

Of the new cases, 14 were from the dormitories of foreign workers which have emerged as major virus hotspots.


2.15 pm | New Delhi

Total COVID-19 recoveries in India reach over 48.4 lakh; recovery rate at 82.14%

The total number of recoveries from COVID-19 surged to 48,49,584 on Saturday with 93,420 patients recuperating from the disease in a day which saw more than the number of fresh cases recorded during the same period, the Union Health Ministry said.

With the recovery rate rising to 82.14%, the Ministry said India has maintained its top global ranking in total recoveries with such high successive single-day numbers.

“As India records more recoveries than new cases, the gap between recovered and active cases is continuously widening. The recoveries are more than five times the active cases of coronavirus infection,” it said.

The recovered cases exceed the active cases (9,60,969) by nearly 39 lakh.


Read more

2.00 pm | Rajasthan

Weekend lockdown begins in Jodhpur amid spike in COVID-19 cases

A weekend lockdown began in Jodhpur on Saturday to check the spread of the novel coronavirus amid a sudden spike in fresh infections and deaths.

Police and civic officials took out marches in parts of the desert city to sensitise people about the prevailing situation and request them to stay indoors.

District Magistrate Indrajeet Singh said, “We have taken this decision (to impose lockdown) considering the spurt in infections in the city. We expect people to adhere to it. If they do not understand the seriousness of the situation now, it will be too late.”

The city has reported close to 1,200 cases in the past two days, leading to a huge pressure on its healthcare infrastructure. More than 150 people have died due to COVID-19 in the city this month.

The lockdown will remain in force till Monday early morning. Essential services are exempt from the restrictions.


1.45 pm | Meghalaya

Places of worship to reopen in Meghalaya from Oct. 1: Deputy CM

The Meghalaya government has decided to reopen all places of worship from October 1, after a gap of more than six months, and issued necessary guidelines to ensure safety of one and all at the shrines, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Saturday.

He also said that the government has laid down a standard operating procedure at these religious institutions, to be strictly followed by devotees, following consultations with various stakeholders.

“No one will be allowed to enter any religious place without a face mask, and measures have to be taken to ensure people follow hand hygiene protocols and maintain physical distance,” the Mr. Tynsong said.


1.30 pm | China

China pushes emergency use of COVID vaccine despite concerns

After the first shot, he had no reaction. But Kan Chai felt woozy following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in China. "When I was driving on the road, I suddenly felt a bit dizzy, as if I was driving drunk," the popular writer and columnist recounted on a webinar earlier this month. "So I specially found a place to stop the car, rest a bit and then I felt better."

His is a rare account from the hundreds of thousands of people who have been given Chinese vaccines, before final regulatory approval for general use.

It’s an unusual move that raises ethical and safety questions, as companies and governments worldwide race to develop a vaccine that will stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chinese companies earlier drew attention for giving the vaccine to their top executives and leading researchers before human trials to test their safety and efficacy had even begun. In recent months, they have injected a far larger number under an emergency use designation approved in June, and that number appears poised to rise.

- AP

1.15 pm | Maharashtra

Wedding photagraphers struggle to make ends meet amid pandemic

The raging coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions in place since March have hit the professional photographers hard as they have been struggling to make ends meet due to lack of social events.

Fear about the virus and State’s curbs on gathering of people have snatched the livelihood of such photographers, who used to earn through events like marriages, political rallies, religious functions before the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Maharashtra’s Jalna district, over 250 such professional photographers have fallen on hard times.

“It is becoming difficult to manage the expenses of our families,” president of Jalna District Photographers’ Association, Anil Vyawahare, said. “Majority of photographers are reeling under debt and it is getting difficult for them now. Therefore, we want the government to provide relief,” he said.


1.00 pm | Australia

Victoria health chief quits in quarantine probe

The health minister in Australia’s Victoria state has resigned in the fallout from an inquiry into why security guards were used instead of police or the military at quarantine hotels. Lapses in security at the hotels were given as the major reason for a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Saturday issued a statement confirming her resignation, just a day after Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews gave evidence to the inquiry and pointed partial blame at Mikakos for her role in the bungled quarantine program.

I am disappointed that my integrity has sought to be undermined, she wrote in a one-page statement. "I have never shirked my responsibility.” She said she also plans to resign from Victoria Parliament.

- AP

12.45 pm | USA

Will not forget the virus that came from China: Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to end his country’s reliance on China once and for all if voted to power, expressing disappointment that the post-coronavirus relationship with Beijing does not mean the “same” to him as he would not forget the virus that came from there.

Addressing an election rally on Friday at Newport Virginia, a battleground State for the November 3 presidential election, Trump said that the US economy was doing great, then we got hit with this virus from China.

They should never have let it happen. We won’t forget it. We closed up, we saved millions of lives. Now we’ve opened up, opening with records, he said.

The U.S. is the worst-affected country from the virus. Over 2,00,000 Americans have lost their lives and devastated the country’s economy, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs.


12.30 pm | New Delhi

India registers 85,362 new COVID-19 infections in a day

India’s COVID-19 tally sprinted past 59 lakh on Saturday with 85,362 fresh cases being recorded in a day, while 93,420 people recuperated from the disease during the same period taking total recoveries to over 48 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The data updated at 8 a.m. on Saturday showed that the coronavirus caseload has risen to 59,03,932 with 85,362 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll mounted to 93,379 after 1,089 people succumbed to the disease in 24 hours.

Total recoveries surged to 48,49,584, pushing the country’s recovery rate to 82.14%. The COVID-19 case fatality rate was recorded at 1.58%.

There are 9,60,969 active cases in the country which comprise 16.28% of the total caseload, the data showed.


12.15 pm | France

Fernando Verdasco out of French Open for positive COVID test

Former Top 10 player Fernando Verdasco said he has been dropped from the French Open because of what he believes is a false positive result on a coronavirus test.

The 36-year-old from Spain had played in 67 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments until missing this year’s U.S. Open.

Verdasco wrote Friday on Twitter — two days before play begins at Roland Garros — that he had COVID-19 in August and did not have symptoms. He said that was followed by negative results until he tested positive this week.

Verdasco said he asked for another test, but French Open organizers refused. He said he took other, unofficial tests on his own that came up negative. It makes me sad and feeling absolutely frustrated, Verdasco wrote.

- AP

12.00 pm

Experimental study finds how coronavirus can spread while speaking

Now, there is one more study showing how important it is to wear a mask when speaking and improve ventilation to cut the risk of spreading novel coronavirus.

Based on experiments and simulations, a team of researchers led by Howard A. Stone from Princeton University has been able to show how air emitted during plosive speech sounds, when a consonant is produced by stopping the airflow using the lips followed by a sudden release of air, leads to significantly enhanced directed transport of the virus.

They found consonants such as ‘P’ and ‘B’ form vortical puffs that travel to a distance of approximately one metre. Peak velocities are seen at the emission of the sound ‘P’, with values close to 1.2 to 1.5 metres per second. When the speech contains a train of such puffs, a continuous, turbulent, jet-like flow is formed. Such jet-like flows from continuous puffs are capable of transporting exhaled air and droplets out to over two metres in just 30 seconds of conversation.

This work should inform public health guidance for risk reduction and mitigation strategies of airborne pathogen transmission,” the researchers write in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more

11.45 am | U.K.

Talc, petroleum jelly among best lubricants for people wearing PPE, study says

Scientists have found that petroleum jelly and talcum powder are most likely to provide long-lasting skin protection to those wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), an advance that may help healthcare workers prevent injury from prolonged use of masks and visors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the best lubricants to use are those that don’t absorb into the skin, creating a long-lasting layer of protection between skin and PPE.

The scientists, including those from Imperial College London in the U.K., noted that wearing PPE like face visors, goggles, and respiratory protective equipment have become an essential part of working life for frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


11.30 am | China

China opens auto show under anti-disease controls

Ford, Nissan and BMW unveiled new electric models for the Chinese market on Saturday as the Beijing auto show opened under anti-virus controls that included holding news conferences by international video link.

Automakers are looking to China, the first major economy to start recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, to drive sales growth and reverse multibillion-dollar losses.

Auto China 2020, postponed from March, is the first major trade show for any industry since the pandemic began. The ruling Communist Party’s decision to go ahead with it reflects official confidence that China, where the pandemic began in December, has the disease under control.

- AP

11.15 am | Assam

AIIMS team to check ex-CM Gogoi’s health

A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is expected to visit Assam soon to check the health of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Mr. Gogoi was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Thursday due to post-COVID-19 complications. His admission almost coincided with the discharging of another former Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, from a private hospital where he had undergone treatment for a neurological ailment.

“We had a videoconference with AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria in the morning to discuss Mr. Gogoi’s health condition. He expressed satisfaction with the line of treatment by the GMCH doctors and advised some tests,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists on Friday.

Read more


11.00 am | Kerala

Threat of COVID-19 spread looms over Vengeri market

Merchants, traders and headload workers have shifted their activities there, following the closure of the Palayam market on Wednesday due to COVID-19 outbreak. About 250 persons at the market had tested positive after an antigen test was conducted on 760 people.

COVID-19 protocol measures have not been adopted at the Vengeri market, with most people not wearing masks or maintaining physical distancing.

“What happened at Palayam is likely to be repeated at Vengeri if the health authorities fail to take precautionary measures,” said a farmer.

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10.45 am | Kerala

Quick response teams deployed in Kozhikode to enforce COVID-19 norms

Considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the district administration has deployed Quick Response Teams (QRTs) for stringent implementation of preventive measures in select areas where there is high possibility of community spread of the disease. There are 31 such QRTs operational in the district at present and they will mostly keep an eye on harbour areas and busy markets.

The QRTs comprising Revenue Department officials, police officers and Local Self-Government Department staff will be primarily responsible for carrying out thorough checking and initiating spot action against health protocol violators. Reluctance to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines will be taken up seriously by imposing fines.

The QRTs have been permitted to decide the total number of people to be admitted at a time at harbours and major markets. The support of the police will be sought to restrict the entry of people beyond the permitted limit. Incident commanders will ensure proper functioning of the newly constituted squads.

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10.30 am | Tamil Nadu

T.N. reports 5,679 new COVID-19 cases, 72 deaths

A total of 5,679 persons tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and the deaths of 72 persons were recorded in Tamil Nadu. Of the fresh cases, Chennai reported a rise in cases for the second consecutive day with 1,193 persons testing positive for the infection followed by 661 persons in Coimbatore.

The new cases took the State’s overall tally to 5,69,370. Of this, 46,386 were active cases. Another 5,626 persons were discharged following treatment on Friday. Till date, a total of 5,13,836 persons were discharged. The toll climbed to 9,148.

Of the 72 fatalities (37 in government and 35 in private hospitals), Chennai accounted for 18 deaths, while Salem reported eight deaths. Seven persons died in Vellore and six persons succumbed to the infection in Coimbatore.

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10.15 am | West Bengal

3,190 COVID-19 cases, 59 deaths in West Bengal

West Bengal on Friday recorded 3,190 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours taking the total tally in the State to 2,41,059. The State also recorded 59 deaths in the past 24 hours taking the toll to 4,665.

The number of active cases touched 25,374 and the discharge rate stands at 87.54%.

The State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari was among those who tested positive.

Of the 59 deaths, Kolkata recorded six, taking the toll in the city 1,639. North 24 Parganas accounted for 19 deaths taking fatalities in the district to 1,050. Hooghly district recorded five deaths and Howrah and South 24 Parganas recorded four deaths each.

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10.00 am | Puducherry

With 608 new COVID-19 cases, caseload in U.T. crosses 25,000

The overall COVID-19 caseload in Puducherry crossed 25,000 on Friday with the Union Territory registering 608 new cases and seven deaths.

Puducherry accounted for five deaths while Karaikal and Yanam recorded one each.

The patients, all men, were in the 45-83 age group and suffered from co-morbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney related ailments.

The case fatality rate was 1.94% and the recovery rate 77.61%.

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9.45 am | Spain

WHO warns two million virus deaths possible as Europe clamps down

The World Health Organization warned Friday that coronavirus deaths could more than double to two million if infection-fighting measures are not kept up, as Europe tightened the screws faced with mounting cases and the U.S. crossed another bleak milestone.

Global deaths had reached 985,707 according to an AFP tally around 1800 GMT Friday, from more than 32.3 million cases. The hardest-hit U.S. crossed seven million cases — more than a fifth of the global total despite accounting for only four percent of the world population.

“One million is a terrible number and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million,” the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan told reporters when asked how much higher deaths could mount.

But he added: “Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number? If we don’t take those actions... yes, we will be looking at that number and sadly much higher.”

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9.30 am | Maharashtra

Maharashtra records more recoveries than new cases

With as many as 19,592 COVID-19 patients being discharged on Friday, the number of recoveries outweighed the surge in cases in Maharashtra. The State reported 17,794 new cases, taking its total case tally beyond the 13 lakh mark to touch 13,00,757, of which 2,72,775 are active. The cumulative recoveries have risen to 9,73,214. With 416 deaths, the death toll has climbed to 34,761.

“The State’s recovery rate has risen to 76.33%, while its case fatality rate is 2.67%,” said State Surveillance Officer Dr. Pradeep Awate.

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9.15 am | Maharashtra

Plea seeks benefits under health scheme for all COVID-19 patients

The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court recently issued a notice to the State government after a plea sought benefits under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana for all COVID-19 patients and not just for those on ventilators.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Om Prakash Shete, the former head of the Chief Minister’s Medical Assistance Cell, on September 7.

It stated that the government through a GR on August 4, 2016, introduced the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, which provided free medical treatment to people below poverty the line, beneficiaries under the Annapurna scheme, orange and yellow ration card holders, farmers from 14 suicide-prone districts, students from government residential schools, senior citizens and women from shelter homes and orphanages, and journalists and their families.

The PIL sought a direction to the State to provide free medical aid to COVID-19 patients at private hospitals under the scheme.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing on September 30.

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9.00 am | Japan

Tokyo is determined to host Olympics next year, Suga tells U.N.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday Japan is determined to host the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 after the games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Games were originally scheduled for this summer, but were put off for a year in March by the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government.

“In the summer of next year, Japan is determined to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic,” Mr. Suga said in a recorded message.

“I will continue to spare no effort in order to welcome you to Games that are safe and secure,” Suga said in his debut speech to the United Nations as Japan's new leader.

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8.45 am | Assam

Pandemic takes ‘golden’ sheen off Guwahati tea auction centre

The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC), one of the world’s largest by volume traded, completed 50 years on Friday amid restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic that robbed it of its golden sheen.

Buyers and sellers, adhering to social distancing norms, marked the day digitally with a low-key programme. Pithily, it encapsulated GTAC’s journey from the “outcry” system to e-auctioning that helped Assam’s tea industry absorb the initial blows of the pandemic.

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8.30 am | Kerala

Offices told to follow COVID-19 protocol

District medical authorities have instructed heads of institutions to make sure that COVID-19 protocol is strictly followed in offices.

The instruction comes on the heels of a September 22 government order pertaining to the functioning of the Secretariat and other government offices at full strength.

Employees should take care to sanitise their hands while entering and leaving offices. Masks should cover the nose and mouth and should not be lowered when speaking, District Medical Officer (DMO) K.S. Shinu said here on Friday. Gathering in groups to have food should be avoided, he said. People who experience fever, exhaustion, headache, body ache, respiratory difficulties, diarrhoea, and loss of smell and taste should go into room quarantine.

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8.15 am | Odisha

Odisha’s COVID-19 count crosses 2 lakh mark

The number of COVID-19 cases in Odisha soared past the 2 lakh mark on Friday even as the spread of the infection showing no signs of slowing down.

The State’s COVID-19 count reached 2,01,096 cases after 4,208 persons tested positive during the past 24 hours. The number of fatalities also jumped to 767 following the death of 15 persons.

While Odisha took 169 days to breach the one lakh mark on August 30, the next one lakh cases came in just 27 days on September 25.

Odisha’s COVID-19 graph has been rising sharply as the daily spike has been consistently surpassing the 4000-mark for the past 10 days. Only six other States — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh — have registered higher daily infections.

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8.00 am | New Delhi

RTI query reveals Centre has no data on infected health workers

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query said it had no countrywide data on the number of health workers who have contracted COVID-19, recovered from it or died of it.

The query was filed by Neemuch-based RTI activist Chandrashekhar Gaur with the Directorate General of Health Services, which forwarded it to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, before it landed with the NCDC.

Disposing of the case on August 17, the NCDC said: “With reference to your RTI request received on transfer from Department of Health and Family Welfare u/s 6 (3) of the RTI Act, 2005. The desired information is not available with this office.”

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 3:47:15 AM |

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