Coronavirus India lockdown Day 162 updates | September 3, 2020

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 25.88 million, death toll crosses 8,50,000.

September 03, 2020 08:40 am | Updated 10:22 pm IST

A healthcare worker tests a man for COVID-19 in Daryaganj on September 1, 2020.

A healthcare worker tests a man for COVID-19 in Daryaganj on September 1, 2020.

More than half of COVID-19 cases reported in India are in the 18-44 years age group , according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

Experts said that depression is a common finding in patients which may be because of a number of reasons including staying in isolation, anxiety related to disease and social stigma.

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

Here are the latest updates:

10.10 pm | Maharashtra

Civic bus service in Pune to restart with 25% fleet

The civic bus service in Pune has resumed after five months, albeit with 25 per cent of the fleet, a senior official said on Thursday.

The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has started its services, which were shut down in March after the outbreak of coronavirus, he said.

“We begin the bus service after five months with 25 percent of the total fleet on 190 routes in the city,” said Rajendra Jagtap, Chairman and Managing Director, PMPPML.

Another official from PMPML said that the buses which were pressed into the service were sanitised. - PTI

10.08 p.m. | Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh reports 1,672 new cases

Madhya Pradesh on Thursday recorded 1,672 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 68,586. The number of active cases stands at 14,888. As many as 30 patients died of the illness on the day, taking the State-wide death toll to 1,483.As for recoveries,1,091 patients were discharged from hospitals on the day. So far, 52,215 persons have been cured of the illness, says the State Directorate of Health Services.

- Sidharth Yadav

9.52 p.m. | New Delhi

Can’t say it is a second wave: Delhi Health Minister on recent spurt in COVID-19 cases

As Delhi reported over 2,000 COVID-19 infections for three consecutive days, Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said it cannot be termed a second wave of coronavirus as cases are not rising after touching zero.

“You cannot say it is a second wave. We could have called it a second wave if there were no positive cases for one or two months and then cases would have started coming again. The virus is still there in Delhi. You should not stress about numbers,” he told the reporters.

He said the Delhi government wants to ensure there is no positive case in the city and is therefore increasing the daily testing for COVID-19.

After a brief lull, Delhi has seen a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases over the last few days. On Thursday, Delhi recorded 2,737 COVID-19 cases, its highest single-day spike in 67 days, taking the infection tally to over 1.82 lakh, while the death toll mounted to 4,500.

This is the third successive day in which over 2,000 new cases have been reported - 2,509 cases were reported on Wednesday, 2,312 cases on Tuesday. Mr. Jain said Delhi’s case fatality ratio was 0.75% as on Wednesday, which is a good sign. The case fatality ratio is ratio of number of deaths and total number of cases.

9.45 pm | Punjab

Punjab records 73 COVID-19 deaths, starts walk-in testing

Punjab recorded 1,527 COVID-19 cases on Thursday and reported 73 more deaths taking the tally to 1,690, according to an official statement.

The number of positive cases has reached 58,515. The major chunk, 227 and 168, were reported from Jalandhar and Amritsar districts respectively. The Health department said the active cases are 15,554 and 41,271 patients have so far been cured.

Punjab has decided to allow free walk-in testing in government hospitals and mobile vans, and similar testing at a nominal manpower cost not exceeding ₹250 by private doctors and hospitals, to encourage increased testing to check the surge.

9.30 pm | New Delhi

India welcomes Bangladesh private sector participation in vaccine development

India on Thursday welcomed participation of the private sector of Bangladesh in partnering vaccine for COVID-19 with Indian pharma companies. Official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava took note of the reported agreement between the Beximco of Bangladesh and the Serum Institute assuring high priority to the medical needs of the neighbouring country.

“The issue of COVID-19 vaccine was discussed between both sides during the recent visit of the Foreign Secretary to Dhaka. As a close neighbour and strategic partner, we have assured the Bangladesh side that Bangladesh will get high priority in supply of vaccine, once ready,” Mr. Srivastava said.


9.15 p.m. | Gujarat

Gujarat’s coronavirus caseload crosses one lakh mark

Coronavirus cases in Gujarat crossed the one lakh mark on Thursday with an addition of 1,325 cases, also the highest single-day spike. The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Gujarat was recorded on March 19.

The tally touched 1,00,375 on Thursday, said a release by the State Health Department.

With 16 COVID-19 patients succumbing, the death toll due to the pandemic in the State reached 3,064, it said. Since Wednesday evening, five coronavirus patients died in Surat district, three each in Ahmedabad and Rajkot, two in Vadodara and one each in Bharuch, Bhavnagar and Gandhinagar districts.

At the same time, 1,126 persons were given discharge from hospitals in the State, taking the total of recovered patients to 81,180. Of 1,325 new cases, 272 were from Surat district alone. Ahmedabad was in the second spot with 166 new cases.

Other districts where significant number of new cases were found included Rajkot (135 cases), Vadodara (123), Jamnagar (115) and Bhavnagar (58).But the Surat district also saw 291 patients, the highest in Gujarat, recovering on Thursday, followed by 198 in Vadodara and 125 in Rajkot. The patient recovery rate is now 80.88%.

With 75,487 tests conducted in one day, the per million average has now gone up to 1,161.33 tests, the release said. Over 25.59 lakh coronavirus tests have been conducted in Gujarat so far. There are 16,131 active cases, including 89 who are on ventilator.

With 1,325 new cases, Gujarat is in the 18th spot in the country in terms of increase in patients. Gujarat’s COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 1,00,375; new cases 1,325; deaths 3,064; discharged 81,180; active cases 16,131; and people tested so far 25,59,916.

9.10 pm | Maharashtra

Profiteering mask, sanitiser manufacturers to face action: Tope

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Thursday that some mask and sanitizer manufacturers are selling their products with too high a mark-up, and will soon face action.

“The production cost of N-95 mask is ₹18 per unit, but some manufacturers are selling them for around ₹200,” the minister told reporters.

“This is too much profiteering. They will soon face legal action from the state government. They can surely make reasonable profit, but not so much,” he said.

Speaking about allegations that health infrastructure in Pune city is failing to cope with the coronavirus situation, Mr. Tope said, “I had been told that by August 31 there would be 20,879 beds without oxygen, some 4,000 beds with oxygen and 927 ICU beds. With addition of 100 ventilators, the number of ventilators in the district is now 629.” - PTI

9.00 pm | Jammu and Kashmir

J&K records more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases in a day for first time, infection tally now 39,943

Jammu and Kashmir recorded its highest single-day spike of 1,079 coronavirus cases on Thursday taking the infection tally to 39,943, while the death toll due to the disease rose to 743 with 11 fatalities, officials said.

“There were 1,079 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. This is for the first time that the number of fresh cases has crossed 1,000 in a 24-hour period,” an official said.

Among the new cases, 622 were from the Jammu region and 457 from the Kashmir valley.

This is also for the first time that the number or positive cases in Jammu region was higher than the valley.

Jammu district reported the highest number of 484 new cases, followed by 139 in Srinagar district, the officials said.


8.40 pm | India

Finance Minister asks banks to roll out loan restructuring scheme by September 15

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked banks and NBFCs to roll out loan restructuring scheme for COVID-19 related stress by September 15, and provide adequate support to the borrowers following the lifting of moratorium on repayment of debts.

The Minister urged lenders to immediately put in place a board-approved policy for resolution at the review meeting with heads of scheduled commercial banks and NBFCs through video conferencing.

During the meeting, she impressed upon the lenders that as and when the moratorium on loan repayments is lifted, borrowers must be given support and COVID-19 related distress must not impact the lenders’ assessment of their creditworthiness, an official statement said.

The six months moratorium on payment of EMIs ended on August 31.

In the three-hour meeting, the statement said, the Finance Minister asked lenders to identify eligible borrowers and reach out to them, and the quick implementation of a sustained resolution plan by lenders for the revival of every viable business. - PTI

8.30  | Mizoram

COVID-19 indirect killer of drug addicts in Mizoram

COVID-19  has not claimed any life in Mizoram so far. But the pandemic has indirectly killed many a drug abuser in the State, officials said.

According to Mizoram’s Excise and Narcotics Department, 45 drug addicts, including four women, died in the State till August. Officials suspect most of them died due to withdrawal symptoms — an unpleasant physical reaction after ceasing to take an addictive drug.


8.20 p.m. | Kerala

Kerala records 1,553 new COVID-19 cases, situation ‘not good,’ cases may go up: CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday the situation in the State was “not good”, as 1,553 new COVID-19 cases and 10 fatalities were reported taking the infection count to 79,624 and death toll to 315.

The number of active cases is 21,516.

“The situation in the state is not good.There is a slip in the number of people getting infected with the virus in the last two days.It is due to the less number of tests carried out during the Onam festival holidays,” he told reporters.

The Chief Minister said the cases may increase in wake of the active functioning of markets and other public places during the Onam holidays.

Mr. Vijayan said 30,342 samples were tested in the last 24 hours in the State, while 1950 patients recovered. - PTI

7.55 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 crosses 50 lakh

Tamil Nadu achieved a milestone in testing for coronavirus with the overall samples examined so far crossing the 50 lakh mark while 5,892 fresh cases took the infection count to 4,45,851 on Thursday.

The day also saw 92 more fatalities pushing the death toll to 7,608, the Health Department said. The active cases in the State stood at 52,070.

In line with the thrust on testing as a key measure in the battle against the pandemic, Tamil Nadu has been among the States with high number of tests.

On Thursday, a total of 82,901 samples were examined, taking the cumulative number of specimens tested to 50,47,042, a bulletin issued by the Health Department said.

Tamil Nadu does not use Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests and all the tests conducted so far are RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction based), considered the gold standard to detect COVID-19.

The number of recoveries continued to outnumber fresh infections with 6,110 people walking out of various hospitals on Thursday, taking the total number of those cured of the disease to 3,86,173.

The fresh cases in the State capital slipped below the four digit mark to 968 after several days as the total count rose to 1,38,724, the bulletin said.

7.45 pm | World

Members named to panel probing WHO’s pandemic response

An independent panel appointed by the World Health Organization to review its coordination of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic will have full access to any internal U.N. agency documents, materials and emails necessary, the panel said on Thursday as it began the probe.

The panel’s co-chairs, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, announced the 11 other members during a media briefing.

They include Dr. Joanne Liu, who was an outspoken WHO critic while leading Medecins Sans Frontieres during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Also named to the panel are: Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a renowned Chinese doctor who was the first to publicly confirm human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus; Mark Dybul, who led the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and David Miliband, a former British foreign secretary who is CEO of the International Rescue Committee. - PTI

7.30 p.m.  | New Delhi

Delhi reports 2,737 new cases

2,737 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours taking the total number of cases to 1,82,306, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government. Also, 19 more deaths have been reported, taking the total number of deaths to 4,500. Of the total cases, 1,60,114 people have recovered and there are 17,692 active cases. — Nikhil

7.20 pm | Karnataka

COVID-19 toll crosses 6,000 in Karnataka

With 104 new deaths reported on Thursday, COVID-19 toll touched the 6,054 mark in Karnataka. This is apart from 19 non-COVID deaths.

After reporting nearly 9,860 cases on Wednesday, the number of cases came down marginally on Thursday with 8,865 new cases. With this, the total number of cases toouched 3,70,206.

The State saw 7,122 discharges taking the total number of recoveries to 2,68,035.  Of the 96,098 active cases, 735  are being monitored in ICUs.

Bengaluru Urban reported 3,189 cases and 29 deaths. With this the total number of cases in Bengaluru Urban now touched 1,38,701. The death toll in Bengaluru Urban is 2,066 now.

As many as 71,124 tests including 32,403 rapid antigen tests have been conducted in the last 24 hours. -Afshan Yasmeen

7.10 pm | Goa

Meet held to streamline response time to treat COVID-19 in Goa

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Thursday chaired an emergency meeting of doctors to further streamline response time to treat COVID-19 patients at Goa Medical College and Hospital.

The GMCH has reserved four of its wards to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Taking to Twitter, Mr. Rane said, “We are working on improvising our protocols and standard operating procedures to strengthen our fight against COVID-19." - PTI

7 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

With 75 more COVID-19 fatalities in U.P., death toll reaches 3,691

The coronavirus death toll in Uttar Pradesh rose to 3,691 on Thursday with 75 more fatalities, while 5,776 fresh cases pushed the State’s infection tally to 2,47,101, officials said.

There are 57,598 active cases in the State, while 1,85,812 patients have been discharged after recovering from the infection, Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Amit Mohan Prasad told the reporters.

“The State reported 5,776 fresh cases in the past 24 hours and the COVID-19 tally in the State has risen to 2,47,101,” a health bulletin said.

Of the 75 fatalities, 13 were reported from Lucknow, five from Kanpur, four each from Ballia and Raebareli, three each from Prayagraj, Varanasi, Meerut, Jhansi and Barabanki, among others, it said.

As many as 1,36,803 COVID-19 tests were conducted in U.P. on Wednesday, taking the total number of tests done in the State to over 60 lakh, Mr. Prasad said. Of the 57,598 active cases, 29,588 are in home isolation, he added.

6.55 p.m. | India

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Tamil Nadu account for 70% of total COVID-19 deaths: Health Ministry

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Tamil Nadu account for 705 of the total COVID-19 deaths in the country, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

The Ministry further said that the five States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu account for 62% of the active cases in the country.

Addressing a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said if deaths are tracked in these States and UTs across weeks then a different picture emerges.

6.50 pm | Chennai

SPB stable, conscious but on ventilator, says hospital

Veteran playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, undergoing treatment for COVID-19, was stable and conscious but continued to be on ventilator support, the hospital treating him said.

The 74 year-old musician, “who had been admitted due to Covid-19 at MGM Healthcare continues to be on ventilator and ECMO [heart-lung assistance] support in the intensive care unit [ICU],” the hospital said in a bulletin.

“His current clinical condition is stable. He is conscious, responsive and continues to show clinical progress.

“He is being closely monitored by our multidisciplinary clinical team,” Dr. Anuradha Baskaran, assistant director-medical services, MGM Healthcare, said in the bulletin. — PTI

6.45 pm | New Delhi

Delhi hotels, restaurants, clubs can serve liquor from Sept. 9

Hotels, restaurants and clubs in the national capital have been permitted to serve liquor from September 9, Delhi government sources said on September 3.

These establishments will have to follow COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Central government, they said.

Authorities have allowed hotels, restaurants and clubs to service liquor from September 9, a Delhi government source said. — PTI

6.40 pm | New Delhi

Deepak Punia, two other wrestlers test positive for COVID-19

Three senior male wrestlers, including world championship silver-medallist Deepak Punia, have tested positive for COVID-19, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said.

Besides the Olympic-bound Punia (86 kg), the other two wrestlers who have tested positive for the virus are Navin (65kg) and Krishan (125 kg). All three are part of a national camp at the SAI Centre in Sonepat ahead of which the wrestlers are in quarantine.

“Three senior men’s wrestlers, who had reported to the National Wrestling Camp at SAI Centre in Sonepat, have tested positive for COVID -19 virus,” the nodal sports body said in a statement. - PTI

6.30 pm | Odisha

Odisha announces mandatory COVID test before production in court for remand

The Odisha government has made coronavirus test mandatory for any person to be produced before a magistrate for remand as over 500 inmates and 30 officials of different jails in the state have been detected as COVID-19 positive.

In a modification of the COVID management in the state prisons, the Home department has issued an 8-point Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be implemented by different arresting agencies like police, excise, forest and vigilance departments.

“We have already circulated the SOP to authorities of different jails across the state,” Director General (Prison) S. K .Upadhayay said.

Since the RT-PCR test is time consuming, the Home department’s SOP suggested Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) which indicates COVID status of a person within an hour, the official said. - PTI

6.10 pm | Maharashtra

NCP MP Sule demands resumption of restaurant business in Maha

NCP MP Supriya Sule on Thursday urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to allow resumption of restaurant business in the state on the condition of adherence to social distancing norms.

The State government on Monday allowed hotels and lodges to operate at 100% capacity, as part of its efforts to ease the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Ms. Sule, whose party is an ally of the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, said only parcel service is allowed at present as far as the restaurants are concerned, and noted it is not enough to bring the business back on track. - PTI

5.30 pm | New Delhi

COVID-19 patients in home isolation up by 43% in Delhi with rise in new cases

The number of COVID-19 patients in home isolation in Delhi has increased by 43% as active cases rose by 50% in a month, according to Delhi government data.

The city reported 10,596 active cases on August 1. Of them, 5,660 were in home isolation. Only 2,979 of the 13,578 hospital beds were occupied a month ago.

Whereas, government data shows, the number of patients in home isolation increased to 8,119 and active cases rose to 15,870 by September 1.

Patients under home quarantine saw a marginal increase in the first 15 days of August -- from 5,660 to 5,809 -- while the number of active cases rose by 893 to reach 11,489.

The number of patients in home isolation dropped to 5,707, while active cases reduced to 11,271 by August 20 owing to a good recovery rate.

Out of the 11,998 cases on August 25, around 6,000 patients were recovering in their home, an analysis of Delhi government’s health bulletins show.

With Delhi witnessing a marked uptick in new cases, the number of patients in home isolation crossed the 7,000 mark on August 29. It rose to 8,119 on Tuesday. - PTI

5.00 pm | Himachal Pradesh

Himachal minister tests COVID-19 positive

Himachal Pradesh Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said he has tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, four days ahead of the monsoon session of the assembly.

Mr. Singh, 70, in a Facebook post urged people who came in his contact recently to quarantine themselves and get tested for the dreaded disease.

The legislator from Mandi’s Dharampur assembly segment said he had got himself tested after observing primary symptoms. The seven-time MLA expressed hope that he would be cured soon.

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly will have a 12-day session from September 7. - PTI

4.00 pm | New Delhi

In the COVID-19 press conference, DG ICMR Balram Bhargava says: "This is a new disease, only seven-month old, we do not know how long the immunity (anti-bodies) will persist. For respiratory viruses, for instance in flu, vaccination is given every year, as the immunity does not last beyond a year. There are several examples across the world."

Health Secretary says, "Health Ministry has not issued any direction mandating that a single person travelling in a car should wear mask."

"Delhi's positive cases are increasing, but then these numbers have to be seen in the context of total population of India. We the second most populous country in the world, we are conducting on an average 9.5 lakh tests every day, which was not happening six weeks ago. Last day, we conducted 11.70  lakh tests, in which the positivity remained 7.2. The government has adopted a graded approach to unlock and to open up various economic activities. Prior to graded opening of economic activities, the government has ensured that all prerequisites are in place: testing capacity is adequate, there are clear cut guidelines on standard clinical treatment protocol, we have also ensured enhanced hospital infrastructure. All these things have firmed up and shared with States. At the end of the day, the government firmly believes that while lives are important, livelihoods are equally important."

He says, "There are States where optimal capacity of RTPCR, of late, is not being utilised. We have drawn the attention of such States."

"We maintain the data on number of patients getting recovered in home isolation."

DG ICMR says, "The second sero-survey in the whole country is under way in 70 districts, it's completed in 50 districts. The entire sero-survey results may be out in two weeks."

On the world's largest study conducted in 39 hospitals in different parts of the country to examine the efficacy of plasma therapy, conducted on 450 patients (250 administered plasma, 250 not given), Dr. Bhargava says final results are being compiled and they may be out by early next week.

The National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration has met four times and its sub-committees have met twice. It has engaged with five major domestic producers of vaccines, also engaged with the overseas manufacturers, they have also looked into financial mechanisms, adds the Health Secretary.

- Devesh K. Pandey

3.30 pm | New Delhi

Over 11 lakh tests done in the past 24 hours: Health Ministry

At the COVID-19 press conference, the Health Ministry lists the details of the tests conducted.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan says: "More than 4.5 crore tests conducted so far. Over 11 lakh tests done in the past 24 hours, the number of recovered patients is now about 29.70 lakh, the highest single day recovery was 68,584 was recorded yesterday.

There has been progressive increase in the number of recovered cases. The exact number of recovered cases are 29,70,492, the active cases are 8,15,538. The recovered cases are more than 3.6 times the current active cases. Cases per million population is 2,792 among the lowest in the world. The world average is 3,359 cases per million population. The death per million population is 49 compared to the global average of 111.

Five States account for 62% of the total active cases, they include Maharashtra (24.77%); Andhra Pradesh (12.64%); Karnataka (11.58%); Uttar Pradesh (6.92%) and Tamil Nadu (6.42%).

Decrease in daily active cases

In the past three weeks, there was an almost 13.7% decrease in daily active cases in Andhra Pradesh; in Karnataka also there is 16.1% decrease; in Maharashtra there is 6.8% decrease; in Tamil Nadu about 24% decrease is there and in UP it is 17.1% decrease in daily active cases.

These are week on week basis analyses of average daily active cases.

Five States account for 70% of total deaths in the country, Maharashtra: 37.9%; Tamil Nadu: 11.16%; Karnataka: 8.83%; Delhi: 6.65%; and Andhra Pradesh: 6.12%

In the past three weeks, there has been an increase in case fatality trajectory in Karnataka (9.6%) and Delhi (50%). There has been a sudden spike in number of active cases and deaths in Delhi.

We are actively working with the Delhi government to take fresh measures, there have been meetings at the Lieutenant-Governor level as well.

Guidelines for Unlock 4.0 guidelines issued, in which all the activities, barring a few, are permitted outside the containment zones. State/UT governments not to impose any lockdowns outside containment zones without prior consultation with the Central government.

Clinical Guidance on Diabetes Management at Covid-19 patient management facility. Guidance note on bi-directoral TB-Covid screening and screening of TB among ILI/SARI cases also given."

- Devesh K. Pandey

3.00 pm | USA

Early vaccine results show no major safety issue

Early results from an experimental coronavirus vaccine show no major safety problems and suggest that it spurs the desired immune system responses, researchers reported on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The US government has awarded Novavax, a company based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USD 1.6 billion to help develop and make the vaccine, which is given as two shots, three weeks apart. It includes a protein from the coronavirus to prompt the immune system to make antibodies to fight infection.

The study tested two dose levels in 108 healthy people and compared responses to 23 others who got placebo shots. Most of those given vaccine also received an adjuvant — a substance often included in vaccines to boost the immune system’s response and stretch a limited supply.


2.30 pm | New Delhi

India’s daily COVID-19 testing numbers one of the highest in the world: Health Ministry

Cumulative tests for detection of COVID-19 surged to 4,55,09,380 in the country with a record 11,72,179 tests being conducted in a single day on Wednesday, said the Union Health Ministry underlining that “India’s daily testing numbers are one of the highest in the world”. Higher testing numbers subsequently result in lowered positivity rate, it said.

India has witnessed an unprecedented surge in testing. Over 11.7 lakh tests were done in 24 hours,” the ministry said.

From conducting merely 10 tests per day on January 30, the daily average has crossed more than 11 lakh, the ministry adding this demonstrates an exponential increase in the daily COVID-19 testing in the country.

“Such high levels of testing on a sustained basis over a period of time in widespread areas enables early diagnosis, and in turn facilitates seamless isolation and effective hospitalisation. This eventually leads to lower mortality rate.

“Higher numbers of testing also subsequently result in lowered positivity rate,” the ministry said.

India’s COVID-19 case fatality rate due to the disease has further dropped to 1.75% as on date, while the national recovery rate has risen to 77.09%.

There are 8,15,538 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 21.16% of the total caseload, the data stated.

The surge in testing has been made possible by an equally speedy expansion in the testing lab network across the country. India has as on date 1,623 labs in the country with 1,022 labs in the government sector and 601 private labs, the ministry said.

With a record single-day spike of 83,883 infections, India’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 38,53,406, while the death toll climbed to 67,376 with 1,043 people succumbing to the disease in a day, the ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed. - PTI

2.00 pm | New Delhi

Can’t say it is a second wave: Jain on rise in COVID-19 cases in Delhi

It can’t be said that Delhi is witnessing a second wave of COVID-19, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday, a day after the national capital recorded 2,509 fresh cases -- the highest single-day spike in nearly two months.

Speaking to reporters here, he said people “should not stress about numbers".

The minister said the Delhi government is increasing the testing for COVID-19 and it wants that there should be no positive case in the city.

After a brief lull, Delhi has seen a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases over the last few days.

Wednesday’s 2,509 fresh cases pushed the city’s tally to 1,79,569, while 19 more fatalities took the toll to 4,481, according to authorities. - PTI

1.45 pm | London

Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline in vaccine human trials

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline say they are beginning human trials of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 after positive results from preclinical testing.

The drugmakers said they plan to test the vaccine on 440 adults at 11 sites in the US, with the first results expected in early December. If these tests are successful, the companies plan to begin large-scale trials later that month.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline say they plan to seek regulatory approval for the vaccine in early 2021 if data from the trials supports it.

The two companies in July announced plans to collaborate with the US government to produce up to 100 million doses of the vaccine, with the government taking an option to purchase up to 500 million more doses in the future. The British government has agreed to buy up to 60 million doses. - AP

1.10 pm | New Delhi

HC allows breath analyser test through tube process on air traffic controllers

The Delhi High Court allowed a breath analyser test through tube process for air traffic controllers (ATC) that was earlier suspended in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high court modified its March 23 interim order suspending breath analyser tests (BAT) through tube process for ATCs, saying the DGCA will be bound by the June 16 recommendations of the medical board.

Justice Navin Chawla allowed the application of DGCA seeking modification of the earlier order and to implement the medical report of Directorate General of Medical Services (DGMS).

As per the DGMS medical board’s recommendation, one machine would be used per person and not used again for the next 12 hours. - PTI

1 pm | Dubai

BCCI contingent member tests positive for COVID-19: IPL source

A member of the BCCI contingent, which is here to oversee the conduct of IPL, has tested positive for COVID-19, a league source told PTI on Thursday.

The event is scheduled to start on September 19.

“There is one positive case in the BCCI contingent. I can’t tell you whether it’s from cricket operations team or the medical team. But testing is on and everyone else is healthy and asymptomatic,” a senior IPL official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

“There is no cause for concern,” he added.

The development comes after 13 members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent, including two players, tested positive for the dreaded virus last week. They are currently undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Rest of the teams have started training after their squad members and support staff completed the on-arrival quarantine and returned negative tests.

The IPL was moved out of India this year due to a surge in COVID-19 cases there.

The tournament will be played across three cities in the UAE -- Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. It will conclude on November 10.

The BCCI is yet to unveil the full schedule of the tournament. It is learnt that the match line-up could be out by the end of this week. - PTI

12.40 pm | Puducherry

MNM Pondy unit president succumbs to COVID-19

Makkal Needhi Maiam state president and former legislator, Dr MAS Subramanian, died here of COVID-19, official sources said.

The 70-year old leader breathed his last at a private hospital here. He is survived by a daughter.

DMK President M.K. Stalin and MNM founder Kamal Haasan condoled the former MLA’s death. - PTI

12.30 pm | United Nations

Female poverty rate in South Asia projected to rise due to COVID-19: UN

The female poverty rate in South Asia will increase in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more women than men in the 25-34 age group will be poorer in the next decade, according to new data released by the UN.

The UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said that the COVID-19 pandemic will disproportionately affect women and push 47 million more women and girls into extreme poverty by 2021, reversing decades of progress to lift this demographic above the poverty line.

The report, ‘From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of COVID-19’, said that the gender poverty gap will worsen further still in South Asia.

Central and Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, home to 87% of the world’s extreme poor, will see the largest increases in extreme poverty, with an additional 54 million and 24 million people, respectively, living below the international poverty line as a result of the pandemic.

The expected rise of poverty in South Asia as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic showcases the vulnerability of women and girls living in households that have only recently been able to escape poverty, the report released on Wednesday said.

The pre-pandemic female poverty rate in South Asia was projected to be 10% in 2021 but is now expected to reach 13%.

Moreover, before the pandemic, projections for the region suggested that by 2030 only 15.8% of the world’s poor women and girls would be living in South Asia.

The revised projections now put that figure at 18.6%, the report said. - PTI

12 pm | Maharashtra

Thane COVID-19 tally crosses 1.26 lakh

The COVID-19 tally in Thane crossed 1.26 lakh on Thursday after detection of 1,487 new COVID-19 cases in the Maharashtra district, officials said.

An official said Kalyan town reported the highest number of 10 deaths in the district on Wednesday.

Kalyan also recorded the maximum number of 429 new COVID-19 cases, followed by Navi Mumbai-346, Thane city-273 and Mira Bhayander-191.

The new cases in all other civic limits and Thane rural were below 100. - PTI

11 am | Science

Children can have both COVID-19 antibodies, virus in their system simultaneously: Study

Children may still have the potential to transmit the novel coronavirus even if they have a measurable immune response, according to a new study which says the virus and antibodies can coexist in young patients.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics , used a retrospective analysis of 6,369 children tested for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and 215 patients who underwent antibody testing at the Children’s National Hospital in the U.S. between March 13 and June 21.


According to the scientists, including those from the hospital, 33 of the 215 patients had co-testing for both the virus and antibodies during their COVID-19 disease course, with nine of the 33 showing presence in their blood while also later testing positive for the virus. - PTI

10 am | India

India’s COVID-19 tally crosses 38-lakh mark with record single-day jump of 83,883 cases

India’s COVID-19 tally raced past the 38-lakh mark on Thursday with the sharpest single-day spike of 83,883 fresh cases, while the number of recoveries surged to 29,70,492, pushing the recovery rate to over 77%, Union health ministry data showed.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country mounted to 38,53,406, while the death toll climbed to 67,376 as 1,043 people succumbed to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The national COVID-19 recovery rate has risen to 77.09% and the case fatality rate due to the infection has further declined to 1.75%.

There are 8,15,538 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprise 21.16% of the total caseload, the data stated. - PTI

9 am | Movies

Actor Dwayne Johnson says he and family have recovered from COVID-19

Pro-wrestler turned Hollywood actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said in a video message posted on social media on Wednesday that he, his wife and their two young children tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks but that they all have recovered and are healthy.

Johnson, 48, said in the Instagram post that he and his spouse, Lauren, 35, and their daughters, Jasmine, 4, and Tiana, 2, caught the virus about 2-1/2 weeks ago from “very close family friends” whom he said had no idea how they had become infected. - Reuters

8 am | Gujarat

Gujarat to bring bill on salary cut of MLAs, ministers

The Gujarat government has decided to bring a bill in the upcoming session of the State assembly to cut down the salaries of MLAs and ministers by 30% for one year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to bring this bill, which will replace an ordinance, was taken in the State cabinet meeting held on Wednesday. However, the schedule of the assembly session is yet to be announced. - PTI

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