Coronavirus India lockdown Day 187 updates | September 29, 2020

A health worker waiting for a patient during a COVID-19 camp at Dadar in Mumbai on Monday.  

India reported its smallest daily rise in coronavirus deaths since August 3 of 776, data from the Health Ministry showed on September 29, as global fatalities crossed 1 million and infections surged in several countries.

The country’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 61,45,291 with 70,589 new infections, while the death toll reached 96,318 in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The number of people who have recuperated from COVID-19 in India crossed 51 lakh, improving the national recovery rate to over 83% and outnumbering the active cases by more than 41.5 lakh, the Union Health Ministry said on September 29.

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Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, 71, tested positive for COVID-19 on September 29. His office, however, said he is asymptomatic and in good health.

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:


All party meet in Kerala decides to adhere to health protocol strictly, rules out lockdown

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, an all-party-meet in Kerala on Tuesday decided to fight the pandemic together and strictly follow the health protocol, while ruling out a lockdown to contain the virus spread.

The Left government had called an all-party-meet to discuss the situation with the State seeing a record spike in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks.

Dismissing reports that the State will go into another lockdown, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said “The all- party-meet has agreed that lockdown is not a solution.The parties have agreed to fight the pandemic together. We have decided that strict implementation of COVID-19 health protocol is a must. Gatherings should be strictly avoided and the numbers for functions like weddings, funerals, political..everything should be restricted to the prescribed limit,” Mr. Vijayan told reporters after the meeting.

When asked about the suggestion put forth by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to declare “health emergency” in the State due to rising cases, Mr. Vijyan said the situation was not as bad as to impose lockdown.

The Chief Minister also said all political parties have agreed to avoid mass gatherings for protests and other politicalevents.

“All the political parties have agreed to follow the COVID-19 health protocol. However, the BJP representative said the party will continue with the protests and strengthen it but adhering to COVID-19 protocol,” Mr. Vijayan said,adding the government was not against any sort of protests in a democracy.

He said cases have gone up in the State in September in a frightening manner and over 96% of cases are through contacts.


Strict action against COVID-19 negligence, regulations for public to be out soon: Minister

Warning of stern action against people flouting social-distancing rules in public places, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday said regulations on COVID-19 for the public will be out soon after discussions with the Chief Minister.

“Coronavirus has been on a high in the past two months in the State. Despite raising awareness on the dangers caused by the virus, the general public has been negligent without wearing masks,” Mr. Sudhakar was quoted as saying by his office in a release.

To combat this, the State government is keen on bringing in stern rules against those flouting social-distancing norms in public. A detailed directive will be out in a few days, he said.

The Minister today held a meeting with the expert committee regarding COVID-19. Stating that political and religious gatherings have been on a high post the coronavirus unlock in the State, Mr. Sudhakar said this has led to rapid spread of the virus. Hence, it has been decided to put a stop such large gatherings.

Events that have to be held in unavoidable circumstances with a maximum of only 100 people would be allowed with prior permission from the district administrations, he said. However a final decision will be taken after consulting administrations in districts that have a large number of infections.

The Minister said the government planned to organise awareness about COVID-19 programmes jointly with cinema stars, religious heads, political leaders and artists. Hailing the ‘notable role’ of the media in raising awareness about coronavirus, he said the government was mulling over organising a special workshop for mediapersons. The workshop will be organised within a week, he said.

The COVID-19 positive rate in seven of 11 districts is 12%, he said, adding that the death rate was 1.5%. Steps are being taken to reduce this to less than one per cent, he said.


Eight crore people surveyed under Maharashtra’s anti-COVID-19 campaign

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday called for effective implementation of the State government's 'My Family, My Responsibility' COVID-19 initiative under which over 8 crore rural people claimed to have been surveyed so far.

Mr. Thackeray was reviewing the campaign, launched nearly two weeks ago, which aims to survey and screen people of the State for the coronavirus as well as ailments such as Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and Influenza-like Illness (ILI).

During the meeting, additional Chief Secretary (Rural Development) Arvind Kumar said government teams surveyed more than eight crore people from rural Maharashtra and visited 24 lakh households.

An official release said Zilla Parishads have to survey 1.84 crore households, of which 13%, or 24 lakh households, have been covered.

It said the drive had so far found 6,938 COVID-19 patients, apart from 15,392 people afflicted with SARI and ILI. A total of 2,06,211 persons were found to have comorbidities, it said.

“The chief minister asked that SARI and ILI patients be traced more vigilantly and instructed senior authorities to check reports of survey squads daily,” the statement said.

Thackeray said the campaign, being undertaken in two phases spread across September and October, is not of the government alone, but also of the people, it said.

New Delhi

National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration set up: Health Secretary

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the Indian government has set up a National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, led by Niti Aayog Member (Health) Dr. V.K. Paul.

"I am the Co-chair. It has met five times, its sub-committees have also met about five times. We have calculated the funds required for staggered immunisation on a priority basis, adequate funds are available with the government," he said.

"There has been a decline of deaths from an average of 1,000 to 776 in the past 24 hours primarily due to the decrease in deaths in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh," he further informed.

New Delhi

Second wave is imminent: Health Ministry

Ahead of the festival season and winter, Niti Aayog Member (Health) Dr. V.K. Paul emphasised the need to wear masks, wash your hands, and follow physical distancing.

In the coming winter season, conditions will be favourable for the spread of such a virus, therefore it is important to take the required measures, he says.

We have got early signs of severe illnesses, as per reports from hospitals. We should be aware of the dangers while we celebrate the festivals, he adds.

We must be aware that the second wave is imminent across the world, he reminds.

New Delhi

DG ICMR Balram Bhargava, explains the key findings of second sero-survey.

ICMR first countrywide sero-survey was conducted from May 11 to June 4 in 700 villages/wards from 70 districts, conducted among adults, overall prevalence of infection was 0.73%.

Second national sero-survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence among individuals aged 10 years and above; the survey was conducted in the same 700 villages from August 17 to Sept 22.

The prevalence was 6.6%, not diffferent by age group and gender. However, in Urban slum it was 15.6%, non-slum it was 8.2% and it was 4.4% in the rural areas. Prevalence in adults was 7.1%

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Key findings are:

  • Lockdown/containment and behaviour change at population level have effectively checked the potential spread.
  • Susceptibility of a considerable section of people, yet unexposed, exists.
  • Risk in urban slums twice than that in non-slum areas and four times than the risk in rural setting.
  • One in 15 individuals of 10 years and above were estimated to be exposed
  • Sero-prevalence was not different by age group and gender.
  • Risk gradient: Urban slum > Urban non-slum areas> Rural areas, lower infection to case ratio in August compared to May reflects a substantial increasae in testing and detection across India.


New Delhi

State-wise COVID-19 data

While many states are witnessing declining trend, Kerala is seeing a surge in cases, says Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

In Maharashtra, average daily new cases are now an average of 18,110 (Sept 23-29); compared to 14,163 in August 26-Sept 1.

In Karnataka it has slightly reduced from 8,384 to 7,940. In Andhra Pradesh, it has declined from 10,437 to 7,058.

But, in Kerala a different trend is being noticed. The average daily new cases in August 26-Sept 1. It was 5,898 in Sept 23-29, showing gradual increase.

In UP, the figure was 4,568 in Sept 23-29, compared to 5,433 in August 26-Sept 1. In Tamil Nadu, the average daily new casces reduced from 6,098 in August 26-Sept 1 to 5,580 in Sept 23-29.

In case of Tamil Nadu, there is a significant decline.

In Odisha, the average daily new cases have increased from 3,151 in August 26-Sept 1 to 4,069 in Sept. 23-29; in Chhattisgarh also there is an increase from 1,350 to 2,896; in Assam there is a decline from 2,345 average daily new cases in August 26-Sept 1 to 2,044 in Sept. 23-29.

In Telangana, it has reduced from about 2,700 to 2,072.

New Delhi

Sero survey reveals sizable population still vulnerable to COVID-19: Health Ministry

In a weekly briefing on COVID-19 situation, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan says ICMR sero-prevalence reveals that considerable population still vulnerable to COVID-19.

He reiterates that India is among the lowest in the world in terms of cases per million population.  It is 4,453 compared to the world average 4,232. The figure is lower compared to countries like UK (6,407), France (7,886), Russia (7,946), South Africa (11,310), US (21,175) and Brazil (22,196).

Deaths per million population is also among the lowest in the world. It is 70 compared to the world average of 127.

In terms of new cases per million in the last seven days it is 425 compared to the world average of 260.

The tests per million population has crossed 50,000 mark, it is close to 53,000 now, he says and credits increased testing for better COVID-19 management. "It has led to early identification, isolation and hospitalisation," he says.


Mizoram remains only State without COVID-19 fatality

Mizoram remains the only State in India without any COVID-19 fatality, as the death count in the country nears the 1,00,000 mark.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga attributes the zero fatality to the “community discipline” besides the medical fraternity that has been up to the challenge despite limitations.

Microbiologists at Zoram Medical College, the State’s only COVID-19 hospital 15 km south of capital Aizawl, said the factors behind Mizoram’s ability to buck the trend merited research. But they agreed the community engagement in the State played a major role.

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New Delhi

Supreme Court orders States to supply dry rations to sex workers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered States and Union Territories to supply dry rations to sex workers identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation and district legal authorities without insisting on the production of identity documents like ration card amid the pandemic.

The Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, the country’s oldest collective of sex workers, had approached the Supreme Court for support amid the pandemic.

The collective said sex workers were entitled to live with dignity and needed access to food, shelter and social protection.

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Tamil Nadu

Covishield vaccine trials commence in Chennai

The phase two trial of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, has commenced in Chennai.

While confirming that the vaccine trials have begun in Chennai, officials of the Health Department refused to divulge any further details.

The trial that is being carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, involves two institutions in the city -- Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research. A total of 300 volunteers would be involved in the trial, a press release issued earlier by the Health Department said.


Govt. yet to take a decision on reopening schools: Karnataka Education Minister

Coronavirus India lockdown Day 187 updates | September 29, 2020

The Karnataka government on Tuesday sought to assure parents of students that it was not in a hurry to reopen schools in the state and said there was no need for them to panic.

The government said it was not mulling resumption of schools in the near future.

Addressing reporters here, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S. Suresh Kumar said, “Let there be no panic. The State government has not yet taken a call on reopening the schools. There is no thought on starting them in the near future.”

The Minister’s statement comes as reports emerged that he was seeking the opinion of other ministers and MLAs about reopening schools, shut due to the ongoing pandemic.



Central Railways to file FIR against local train commuters using fake IDs

The Central Railways has decided to file FIRs against those using fake ID cards to travel in local trains which are currently being run in Mumbai only for essential services staff, an official said on Tuesday.

Amid complaints of overcrowding in local trains, Central Railway’s (CR) chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar told PTI that they have so far caught 30 people with bogus ID cards and FIRs have been filed against two of them.

“FIRs will be registered with the Government Railway Police against those travelling on suburban locals with bogus ID cards in future as well,” Mr. Sutar said.

Railway officials said it had come to their knowledge that some people were making bogus QR-coded identity cards, and were charging Rs. 500 to Rs. 600 in some parts of the city.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, common citizens are currently not allowed to travel in suburban trains, considered as the lifeline of Mumbai.



351 Jagannath Temple servitors test positive for COVID-19

File photo of Shree Jagannath Temple.

File photo of Shree Jagannath Temple.   | Photo Credit: File photo: Biswaranjan Rout


At least 351 servitors and 53 employees of Shree Jagannath Temple here have tested positive for COVID-19, an official said.

A total of 404 persons engaged in the 12th century shrine have tested positive for the virus, said Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) administrator Ajay Jena. He said the rituals at the temple, however, were continuing as usual.

The Jagannath temple has been closed for devotees since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, a total of 9,704 COVID-19 cases have been detected in Puri district of which 1,255 cases are reported from Puri Municipality area alone. Of the 52 deaths reported in the district, nine hail from the Puri Municipality area. At least three of the nine fatalities in Puri town are servitors engaged in the temple rituals, the district health officials said.

Only two servitors had tested positive for COVID-19, when the administration had tested all the servitors engaged in the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. However, the infection struck Puri about a month after the festival, an official said, adding that the SJTA used to provide homoeopathy preventive medicines to servitors’ families to keep them safe.

Meanwhile, the State government, in an affidavit, informed the Orissa High Court that it is not possible to reopen the temple including Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri for devotees.



Manipur innovator to make mask from lotus stem

A 27-year-old innovator from Manipur’s Bishenpur district, who has previously made thread and cloth from lotus stem, is now working to make masks from the stalk of the same plant.

Tongbram Bijiyshanti, a resident of Thanga Tongbram locality in the vicinity of the State’s famous Loktak lake, told PTI that she, along with 15 women, is involved in the project and is training 20 more women.

Ms. Bijiyshanti made thread and cloth from lotus stem for her start-up programme in 2018-19. Her product was sent to a Gujarat laboratory which gave it a nod.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the innovative efforts of Ms. Bijiyshanti in his Mann ki Baat radio programme. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has also appreciated the innovative efforts.


United Nations

UN chief says pandemic toll is ‘mind-numbing’

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres   | Photo Credit: AP


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the loss of 1 million people to the coronavirus is an agonising milestone that has been made worse by the savageness of this disease.

In a statement released after the global death toll from the pandemic crossed 1 million, Mr. Guterres called it a "mind-numbing figure".

They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues, he said. "The pain has been multiplied by the savageness of this disease. Risks of infection kept families from bedsides. And the process of mourning and celebrating a life was often made impossible."

Mr. Guterres warned there is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives.

Still, he said, the pandemic could be overcome with responsible leadership, cooperation and science, as well as precautions such as social distancing and wearing face masks. He said any vaccine must be available and affordable to all.


New Delhi

Single-day COVID-19 cases in India drop below 75,000; recovery rate rises to 83.01%

Daily COVID-19 cases in India dropped below 75,000 and deaths under 1,000 were reported after nearly a month, while total recoveries crossed the 51 lakh-mark, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data updated on Tuesday.

The total coronavirus cases in the country mounted to 61,45, 291 with 70,589 new infections, while the death toll reached 96,318 after 776 people succumbed to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The total recoveries surged to 51,01,397 pushing the recovery rate to 83.01%.

There are 9,47,576 active cases in the country which comprise 15.42% of the total caseload, the data stated.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate was recorded at 1.57%.


Madhya Pradesh

Religious places reopen in Indore after six months

Religious places have reopened in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district after nearly six months, and devotees have been asked to strictly follow all guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In an order issued late Monday evening, dDstrict Collector Manish Singh asked devotees and priests to wear masks properly covering the nose and mouth and follow social distancing norms. Sanitisers and use of soap will be mandatory at all religious places in the district, the order said. Devotees will not be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of temples. People will have to maintain a distance of six feet from each other while attending feasts at religious places.

The district administration has also allowed reopening of the Sarafa night food market in the city only for takeaways, officials said.



WHO says 120 million rapid COVID-19 tests to be provided to poorer countries

The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the headquarters in Geneva. File

The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the headquarters in Geneva. File   | Photo Credit: AP


Some 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for coronavirus will be made available to low- and middle-income countries at a maximum of $5 each, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The wider availability of quick, reliable and inexpensive testing will help 133 countries to track infections and contain the spread, closing the gap with wealthy ones, it said.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the manufacturers Abbott and SD Biosensor had agreed with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “make 120 million of these new, highly portable and easy-to-use rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests available over a period of six months”.

He told a news conference in Geneva the tests were currently priced at a maximum of $5 each but were expected to become cheaper. “This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have laboratory facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out tests.”

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Data | How India fared in various COVID-19 parameters since March, compared with other countries

A country-wise comparison shows that even if India’s size of population is taken into account, the COVID-19 situation has worsened on almost all fronts. The country's position with respect to case load, death toll and testing has deteriorated.

Despite the fact that India conducts the second highest number of tests in the world, testing relative to the size of the outbreak has remained inadequate in the country. Worryingly, India’s rank in the share of people testing positive (test positivity rate) has also come down.

However, in terms of case fatality rate, India's rank has progressively improved.

Read these charts to understand how the country fared on various parameters.

New Delhi

City can do 19K RT-PCR tests a day, reveals Delhi govt. review

Labs in Delhi have a capacity to conduct around 19,500 RT-PCR tests a day to detect COVID-19, a review by the Delhi government has shown, said officials.

Till now, the Delhi government had maintained that the capacity was around 14,000 RT-PCR tests a day and that an average of 9,626 such tests were done daily in September.

The review was done after the Centre last week informed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government that Delhi has the capacity to do 27,000 RT-PCR tests daily.

“After the Centre sent a list which said that city labs can do 27,000 tests, the Delhi government reached out to the labs individually. According to data from the labs, Delhi can do around 19,500 RT-PCR tests a day, which is much less than the Centre’s figures,” a government official told The Hindu.

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Two dozen Excise officers in quarantine

Two dozen Excise officers in Palakka, Kerala, went into quarantine on Monday after three persons arrested for smuggling in spirit tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

In a raid conducted at Melarkad near Alathur on Sunday, an Excise team had arrested the three and seized 34 litres of spirit and 440 litres of toddy mixed with spirit.

In an antigen test conducted at the District Hospital here on Monday, they tested positive for the virus. Subsequently, all officers involved in the spirit seizure went into quarantine.


Maharashtra govt. gives nod to reopen restaurants in October

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday agreed in-principle to reopen restaurants in the State in the first week of October.

In an interaction with representatives of associations of restaurateurs from Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur via videoconferencing, Mr. Thackeray said all restaurants will be initially allowed to operate at 50% capacity and they will have to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP).

Mr. Thackeray said, “Strict following of the SOP once finalised, and maintaining physical distancing, sanitation and safety is the formula to reopen restaurants.” He said the government is aware of the financial troubles faced by the industry and its demands for waiving various fees.

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New Delhi

Stage set for NSD’s first play since lockdown

A view of the National School of Drama in New Delhi. File

A view of the National School of Drama in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang


With a larger-than-usual stage, spaced-out seating for a masked audience and actors armed with negative COVID-19 test results, the National School of Drama is preparing for its first production since the pandemic shut down all public spaces in March.

Three shows of ‘Pehla Satyagrahi’, a play about the life of Mahatma Gandhi written by Ravindra Tripathy, have been planned this week in commemoration of Gandhi’s birth anniversary, NSD director-in-charge and the director of the play, Suresh Sharma, said on Monday. The shows, one each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will be at 6.30 p.m. in an open-air auditorium at the NSD’s Bhagwan Das Road premises.

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