Coronavirus India lockdown Day 164 updates | September 5, 2020

A health worker clad in PPE suit collecting a swab sample from a woman to test for Covid-19, at a Primary Health Centre in Hyderabad on September 4   | Photo Credit: AFP

India became the third country with more than four million COVID-19 cases in the world on Friday, after the U.S. and Brazil with 6.253 million and 4.047 million cases respectively. The death toll in India reached 69,634, third behind the U.S.’s 1.898 lakh and Brazil’s 1.247 lakh.

Friday saw 80,938 confirmed cases and 1,080 deaths registered. This marked the third straight day when more than 80,000 infections were identified.

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 p.m.

India surpasses Brazil's case tally to become second highest in the world

India's COVID-19 case tally became the second highest in the world after surpassing Brazil's on Saturday. Cumulative cases in the country stood at 4,104,497 at 10 p.m., about 12,700 cases more than that of Brazil’s tally at that time. The case tally of U.S. - 62,10,699 - remains the highest.

The number of deaths in India stood at 70,674, compared to 1,25,502 in Brazil, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

9.15 p.m. | Punjab

Punjab CM asks ministers, MLAs to combat negative campaign against COVID testing

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday asked his ministers and several MLAs to liaise with villages to combat the negative campaign against testing for coronavirus infection.

The move came after several rumour, including those of alleged organ harvesting of COVID-19 patients, have posed a new challenge to the Punjab Health department as people in some villages are preventing medical teams from collecting samples.

The CM accused the Aam Aadmi Party of spreading the senseless fear among villagers, making them wary of getting themselves tested for coronavirus and endangering their lives.

An AAP activist was arrested for allegedly circulating an outrageous post of a dead body to mislead people into believing that organs of dead corona-positive patients were being removed by the Punjab Health Department, officials had said on Thursday.

The CM said his government would seek advice from the government of India about the web channels that had mushroomed recently and were actively involved in spreading misinformation about the pandemic. - PTI

9.00 pm  | New Delhi

Centre asks Maharashtra, Andhra, Karnataka to break chain of transmission

The Centre has asked Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission and to ensure that mortality is kept below 1%.

The States, on Saturday, have been advised to proactively ensure higher testing, effective clinical management to lower fatality, and save lives along with efficient monitoring at various levels.

“Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka account for about 46% of active cases reported nationally in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra alone accounts for 22% of all active cases reported in the last 24 hours,” said a release issued by the Ministry.

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8.45 p.m. | Punjab

Free food packets for poor families to encourage COVID-19 testing in Punjab

The Punjab government on Saturday announced distribution of free food packets to poor families who do not want to get themselves tested for coronavirus for fear of isolation impacting their meagre earnings.

The decision was taken by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to encourage COVID-19 testing amid rising number of cases and deaths due to the disease in the State, a government release said.

He said the distribution of free food packets would encourage poor families to go for early testing, which was imperative to check the spread of the pandemic and control the increasing fatality rate in Punjab. The programme will start from Patiala, one of the worst affected districts, he said.

The Chief Minister also directed other districts to make similar arrangements for poor coronavirus patients in home isolation so that they get motivated to come out for testing and do not live in fear of losing their earnings during isolation, the release said.

8.35 pm | Maharashtra

30 of family contract COVID-19 after celebrating Ganesh festival together

Thirty members of a family have tested positive for coronavirus at Kalyan in Thane district days after they celebrated the Ganesh Chaturthi festival together, a civic official said on Saturday.

Members of the family live on different floors of the same building in Joshi Baug area, the official said.

They got together for Ganesh Chaturthi last month in keeping with a 60-year-old family tradition, said Pratibha Panpatil, health officer of the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC).


8.25 pm | Kerala

Kerala records biggest single day spike of 2,655 new COVID-19 cases

Kerala on Saturday reported 2,655 new COVID-19 cases, the highest ever reported in a single day, taking the infection count in the state to 84,758, while the death toll has mounted to 337 with the addition of 11 more fatalities.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said currently, 21,800 people are under treatment in the State forCOVID-19, and 62,559 people have so far been cured of the disease.

“There are currently 1,98,120 people under observation in various districts of the state and 17,222 are in isolation wards of various hospitals across the State,” he said.

Out of the fresh cases, 2,433 are locally transmitted cases and the contact source in 220 cases was unknown.

“At least 38 of them are returnees from foreign countries and 114 from other states,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan said 61 healthcare workers were also among those infected.

“At the same time, 2,111 patients under treatment for the disease have recovered today,” Mr. Vijayan said.

Thiruvananthapuram has the highest number of infections on September 5 with 590 cases, followed by 276 from Kasaragod district and 249 in Malappuram district.

There are 244 cases from Kozhikode, 222 from Kannur, 186 in Ernakulam, 170 in Kollam, 169 from Thrissur, 148 in Pathanamthitta, 131 from Alappuzha, 119 from Kottayam, 100 in Palakkad, 31 from Idukki district and 20 from Wayanad district.

At least 40,162 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, Mr. Vijayan said.

He said 14 new places were declared as hotspots today while 22 places were exempted.

At present, there are 551 hotspots in Kerala.

Thiruvananthapuram, the capital district, has 5,044 active COVID-19 cases, followed by Ernakulam with 2,392.

Kozhikode has 1,905 cases,Malappuram 1,728, Kasaragod 1,620 and Kollam 1,599. — PTI

8.15 p.m. | Puducherry

Door to door testing of COVID-19 samples launched in Pondy

The Puducherry government on Saturday launched door to door testing of COVID-19 samples in a bid to check the spike in fresh infections in the Union Territory.

“Puducherry is witnessing an increase in number of cases of coronavirus infection. We will zero in more positive cases through door to door testing of samples.

Such a system of testing would help identify the actual number of pandemic stricken patients, particularly in areas which were reporting highest number of positive cases,” Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao said.

8.00 pm | Tamil Nadu

No death due to COVID-19 in two days this week: Revenue Minister R. B. Udayakumar

“It is encouraging that Madurai has not recorded any death due to COVID-19 for two days in the last week. We strived hard to get to a point where we could say for sure that there would be zero death on a particular day," said Revenue Minister R. B. Udayakumar.

Addressing a press meet at the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai, he said doctors, health workers and all in the district administration will continue to work hard until there are few or no positive COVID-19 cases.

“Two months ago, the stigma against Madurai city existed as the number of cases was high. Things have been different since we have tightened the reins to tackle the disease. We have a total of 60 nasal cannulas, 150 ventilator beds and several other items of technology at the GRH to treat needy patients. Now, there is enough and more supply,” he said.

He added that the GRH’s oxygen facilities were now nearly four times more than what the hospital had before the spread of the virus. “We also have enough facilities to treat patients from other districts as Madurai is the centre for the south. A majority of cases at the GRH are from nearby districts,” he added.

7.45 p.m. | New Delhi

NDMC COVID-19 Cell director, 3 others test positive for coronavirus

The director of the New Delhi Municipal Council’s COVID-19 cell and three other employees of the civic body have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to officials.

Over 150 employees of the municipal council have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, while eight deaths have been reported, as per official figures.

“Besides the director of the COVID-19 cell, three others, including an education officer, an employee each in the establishment branch and Vigilance Department have also tested positive. Contact-tracing is being done as per protocols,” a senior New Delhi Municipal Council official said.

The Palika Kendra, which houses the civic body’s office, is being disinfected regularly, the official added. - PTI

7.30 pm | Uttar Pradesh

Bareilly DM tests positive for COVID-19

Bareilly District Magistrate Nitish Kumar tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, an official said.

After the official was tested positive for the infection, the entry of outsiders to the DM camp office has been stopped.

“In the test report, it has emerged that Bareilly district magistrate has tested positive for COVID-19. The district magistrate has quarantined himself at his residence. Officials of the municipal corporation have sanitised the DM camp office and residence,” said Bareilly Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vineet Kumar Shukla.


7.15 p.m. | Maharashtra

No HC stay on Maharashtra final year undergraduate medical exams

The Bombay High Court on Saturday refused to stay examinations in physical mode of final year undergraduate medical students scheduled to begin in Maharashtra on September 8.

A division bench of Justices A A Sayed and S P Tavade was hearing a petition filed by nine undergraduate medical students of various streams of the Maharashtra University of Health Science.

The petition challenged the circular issued on August 21 by MUHC pertaining to holding of physical mode of examination for final year students.

“In our view, the petitioners have approached the court at the eleventh hour. Hence, we are not inclined to grant any interim relief of staying the examination,” the court said in its order. - PTI

7.05  | Jammu and Kashmir

J&K sees record one-day jump of 1,251 COVID-19 cases; 15 more die

Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday recorded 1,251 COVID-19 cases, its highest single-day spike in infections, pushing the tally to 42,241, while 15 fatalities in the past 24 hours raised the death toll to 770, officials said.

This is for the third time in as many days that the number of fresh cases has crossed the 1000-mark in a 24-hour period, the officials said.

Among the new cases, 739 were from the Jammu region, while 512 from the Kashmir Valley.

Jammu district reported a maximum of 520 new cases, followed by 181 in Srinagar district, the officials said.

Jammu on September 5 became the first district in the Union Territory to report over 500 COVID-19 cases in a single day.

There are 9,547 active COVID-19 cases in the UT, while 31,924 people have recovered from the infection so far, they said.

Meanwhile, 15 people infected with the coronavirus have died in Jammu and Kashmir in the past 24 hours till 5.00 pm on Saturday, the officials said.

They said while 10 of the new fatalities took place in Jammu, five were reported from the Kashmir Valley. — PTI

6.45 p.m. | West Bengal

West Bengal Clinical Regulatory Commission intervenes to reduce COVID-19 patient’s bill

The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission intervened to reduce the bill of a dead COVID-19 woman and urged the city-based private hospital which treated her to allow her family members to pay the dues in instalments, an official said on Saturday.

The Commission urged that the woman’s family be allowed to pay ₹5,000 over two years to pay the bill, he said.

Acting on a complaint lodged by a family member of the octogenarian woman of being overcharged and threatened by the authorities of the hospital where she was admitted in July for treatment, the Commission has asked it to reconsider the bill and reduce an amount of ₹1.7 lakh.

We went through the hospital bill and found that it had charged for medicines, which the family had already paid for while procuring it from the hospital pharmacy. We also found that the family is from an economically weak background but had gone to the private hospital at the suggestion of others, Justice (Retired) Ashim Kumar Banerjee said.

The woman’s family members had paid ₹2.2 lakh at the time of admission and purchased medicines for her separately. But the hospital had reportedly charged them ₹6.2 lakh.

The Commission has also registered a suo motu complaint against six private hospitals in the city on the basis of a report published in the media that they were yet to put up on display boards rate charts and treatment costs as per the advisory issued by it. The matter will be heard on September 25, an official of the Commission said.

6.30 pm | West Bengal

IIT Kharagpur imposes measures to check spread of infection after around 20 test positive for COVID-19 in campus

IIT Kharagpur authorities have directed its employees staying in the campus not to venture out, unless it is an emergency, between September 6 and 13 following detection of several COVID-19 cases in the institute.

However, faculty members will continue to conduct classes online from home, the institute said in a notification.

About 20 COVID-19 cases have been reported from the campus since August 19, an official said.


6.15 p.m. | New Delhi

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka told to focus on aggressive measures to check mortality rate, spread

The Centre on Saturday exhorted Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, accounting for about 46 per cent of active COVID-19 cases and 52% of deaths in the last 24 hours, to focus on aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and keep mortality rate below 1%.

The states have been advised to proactively ensure higher testing, effective clinical management along with efficient monitoring at various levels to lower fatality, the Union Health Ministry said.

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka account for about 46% of active cases reported nationally in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra alone accounts for 22% of all active cases reported in a day, it said.

“These three states also account for 52% of all COVID-19 deaths reported across the country in a day. Maharashtra alone accounted for 35% of all deaths registered in 24 hours,” the Ministry highlighted. - PTI

6:00 p.m. | Srinagar

Voluntary WhatsApp COVID-19 clinics help flatten the curve in Valley

Over 330 doctors from Kashmir valley turned WhatsApp groups into COVID-19 clinics and managed around 10,000 affected patients and their families by turning hundreds of valley houses into mini-hospitals, eventually helping in flattening the curve.

These online clinics were set up in the last week of July, when the Valley’s three top hospitals, the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS), the Chest Disease Hospital and the Sher-i-Kashmir Medical Institute, started running out of beds due to the unprecedented flow of critical patients, mainly complaining of bilateral pneumonia.

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5:45 p.m. | Chandigarh

Punjab CM tests negative for Covid-19, ends self-isolation

CM Amarinder Singh

CM Amarinder Singh  


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has tested negative for the coronavirus infection.

This was the third time that the Chief Minister had got himself tested for Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic. Mr. Singh also ended his week-long self-isolation after testing negative for the contagion.

The CM had gone into seven-day self-quarantine on August 28 after he came in contact with two Congress legislators, Kulbir Singh Zira and Nirmal Singh, who had tested positive after the one-day Punjab Assembly session. - PTI

5:30 p.m. | Aurangabad

Air India to resume Mumbai-Aurangabad flights from September 15

Flag carrier Air India is set to resume its services to Mumbai from Aurangabad with three flights per week, starting September 15, an official has said.

The flights between the two cities were suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline’s operations from Aurangabad airport to New Delhi and Hyderabad have already been restored earlier. The services on the route will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and will remain operational up to October 24 - PTI

5:15 p.m. | Bengaluru

Karnataka to soon reach goal of 1 lakh tests per day

K. Sudhakar

K. Sudhakar  


Karnataka will soon reach its goal of conducting one lakh COVID-19 tests per day as it has increased the number of labs and the tests done, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar has said.

“From one testing lab for COVID-19 test, we have opened 108 labs in six months. From 300 tests per day, we have increased it to 75,000. This will soon reach the goal of one lakh tests per day," Mr. Sudhakar was quoted as saying in a release by his office.

He said the State government has shown its commitment to contain the pandemic and has been successful.- PTI

5:00 p.m. | New Delhi

Suzuki group to make ‘best efforts’ to reach pre-COVID level of production, sales

Osamu Suzuki

Osamu Suzuki  


Suzuki Motor Corporation Chairman Osamu Suzuki has said the Indian market is expected to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its group companies in India will make best efforts to recover production and sales to reach pre-COVID-19 levels.

In a video message to the 60th annual session of the Auto Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), Mr. Suzuki, who has a close affinity for India, also said the group will promote Make in India and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’

He said India is also facing difficulties due to COVID-19 just like “we in Japan”, adding “I am confident that your country will surely revive and grow furthermore“. Mr. Suzuki said the Japanese market revived in July and August. - PTI

4:45 p.m. | New Delhi

80 new special trains to run from September 12, says Rail Board Chairman

Eighty new special trains will be operational from September 12, reservations for which will begin from September 10, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said. He said the trains will be notified later in the day.

“Eighty new special trains or 40 pair of trains will start operations from September 12. Reservations will begin from September 10. This will run in addition to the 230 trains already in operation,” he said.

“Wherever there is a demand for a particular train, wherever the waiting list is long, we will run a clone train ahead of the actual train, so that passengers can travel,” the Railway Board Chairman said. Mr. Yadav also said the Railways will run trains whenever there is demand from states for exams or other similar purposes. - PTI

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4:30 p.m. | New Delhi

Healthcare experts call for urgent action to address virus impact on national nutrition mission

As the country marks “Poshan maah” this month, healthcare experts have called for urgent action to address the impact of COVID-19 on the national nutrition mission, saying the pandemic might affect the health of children and pregnant women as they are the most vulnerable to undernutrition.

On one hand food security needs to be ensured, on the other hand correct nutrition feeding practices need to be promoted in the community, they said.

Sujeet Ranjan, executive director at the Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security (CFNS), said the spread of COVID-19 has impacted the health, nutrition, livelihoods and wellbeing of India’s most vulnerable populations and it will have a lasting effect on people. Even though the government has ordered State authorities to ensure provision of take-home rations at the doorstep as well as a cash allowance during the lockdown, efforts to tackle acute malnutrition can still take a hit, he said. - PTI

4:15 p.m. | New Delhi

Reopening of economy, increased testing, no mask use led to rise in cases in Delhi, say experts

Steady progress: RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 being done in New Delhi on Friday. Sushil Kumar Verma Sushil Kumar Verma

Steady progress: RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 being done in New Delhi on Friday. Sushil Kumar Verma Sushil Kumar Verma   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma


Delhi has recorded the highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases in nearly 70 days, which experts are attributing to reopening of economy, ramped-up testing, patients from outside the city coming here for treatment and violation of safety norms by many people in public.

The national capital has reported coronavirus cases in excess of 2,000 for four consecutive days since September 1. On Friday, the daily cases count stood at 2,914.

"A large section of people in Delhi have become complacent that everything is okay now, as economy has reopened and even metro services will resume next week. But, they must understand, this ease in lockdown was given for economic sustenance of the country and not for people to roam around as they were doing it before,” Director, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH), B L Sherwal said.- PTI

4:00 p.m. | Kolkata

Unfair to compare two-day Assembly session with Monsoon Session of Parliament, says Trinamool about cancelling of Question Hour

The Trinamool Congress has said it is “unjust and unfair” to compare the curtailment of Question Hour during the West Bengal Assembly’s upcoming two-day short session with that of a full-fledged Parliament session.

West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee on Friday said there would be no Question Hour during the upcoming two-day monsoon session of the West Bengal Assembly beginning from September 9 due to “paucity of time and the COVID-19 situation”.

The BJP has termed it a “double standard” of the Trinamool Congress, which had earlier called the decision not to have the Question Hour during the upcoming Parliament session a “murder of democracy”. - PTI

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3:45 p.m. | Aligarh

District court in U.P. shut after three employees test positive

The Aligarh district court was closed today after three employees tested positive for coronavirus infection, an official said.

The cases scheduled to be heard on September 5 were deferred to October 3, the official spokesperson said. The court will review the situation and decide about the future course of action on September 7.

Government offices have been the worst affected during the past one week. The Regional Transport office has been closed for the past three days after a senior RTO official was found COVID-19 positive on Tuesday. Aligarh on Friday had reported as many as 161 fresh COVID-19 cases. - PTI

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3:30 p.m. | Chennai

Over 2 lakh persons received emergency medical care during pandemic, says T.N. Health Minister

Tamil Nadu Minister for Health and Family Welfare C. Vijayabaskar

Tamil Nadu Minister for Health and Family Welfare C. Vijayabaskar   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam


Since March, a total of 2,41,615 persons have received emergency medical care in government hospitals in the State.

In a press release issued today, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said that 1,52,118 persons received treatment for injuries sustained in accidents at the accident and trauma care centres functioning under the Tamil Nadu Accident and Emergency Care Initiative (TAEI) in government hospitals and government medical college hospitals. Life saving surgeries were performed on 63,633 of these patients.

A total of 52,849 persons were treated for poisoning and self-inflicted injuries at these centres, while 19,947 persons received immediate treatment for snake bites. A total of 4,494 children underwent emergency life-saving treatment, 4,432 persons were treated for cardiac arrest and 7,775 persons for strokes, the release said.

3:15 p.m. | New Delhi

Spread of virus in rural areas a cause of concern, say experts

As COVID-19 cases surge so do worries about how to contain the spread of the disease that is spreading inexorably through India, initially in urban centres and now increasingly into the hinterland where medical infrastructure is scarce.

Though there are no exact numbers about the spread of the virus into rural areas, there is enough evidence to suggest it has reached most corners of India and there is community transmission, say experts from the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists

Just two figures could tell the story: an estimated 65% of India’s 1.3 billion population lives in rural areas. And, according to the website 'How India Lives', 714 districts in India have coronavirus cases, putting 94.76% of the population at risk.

"Increasingly, COVID-19 positive persons are being reported from small-sized towns, as well as from rural areas. Sero-surveys have revealed that the disease has spread to most parts of the country indicating community transmission of COVID-19,” they said in a statement earlier this week. - PTI


3:00 p.m. | New Delhi

Now, govt. allows ‘on demand’ COVID-19 testing

Healthcare workers in a mobile COVID-19 testing van collecting samples in Delhi.

Healthcare workers in a mobile COVID-19 testing van collecting samples in Delhi.   | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR


The Union Health Ministry has issued an updated advisory for COVID-19 testing simplifying the process and giving more flexibility to the State authorities to facilitate enhanced ease of testing.

“For the first time, along with more simplified modalities, the updated guidelines provide for ‘on demand’ testing in order to ensure higher levels of testing. These changes have been brought in on the recommendations of the National Task Force on COVID-19,’’ says a release issued by the Ministry.

“A totally new section, “Testing on Demand”, has been added in the advisory which, for all practical purposes, does away with prescription by a registered medical practitioner although the State governments have the freedom to decide on the simplified modalities,’’ says the Ministry.

As per the new addition, testing will be provided to all individuals undertaking travel to countries/Indian States mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry and also to all individuals who wish to get themselves tested.

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2:45 p.m. | Bhubaneswar

Government took care of economy, turned tragedy into opportunity, says J.P. Nadda

J.P. Nadda

J.P. Nadda  


India not only took the bold and timely step of imposing a lockdown to save the lives of 1.3 billion people from COVID-19 but also took care of the economy to turn the tragedy into an opportunity, BJP president J.P. Nadda said today.

Addressing a meeting of the party’s Odisha executive committee, Mr. Nadda said that while powerful nations were helpless in combating the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clear in his mind as he took the decisive action of imposing the lockdown in order to save the lives of the people.

Besides taking care of the health-related matters, the Modi government also addressed the economic issues through several programmes such as the ‘Garib Kalyan Yojna’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, Mr. Nadda said. - PTI

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2:30 p.m. | Hyderabad

Telangana Finance Minister Harish Rao tests positive

T. Harish Rao

T. Harish Rao  


Telangana Finance Minister T. Harish Rao has tested postive for Covid-19 and is in home isolation at his residence.

Confirming this, Mr. Rao tweeted: "On getting initial symptoms of Coronavirus, I got the test done and the report came back positive. My health is fine, I request all those who have come into contact with me in the last few days , please isolate yourself and get Covid test done.”

The Finance Minister was one among the few leaders in Telangana moving among the public during the pandemic and was instrumental in opening of several COVID-19 treatment wards in the erstwhile Medak district.

2:15 p.m. | Bengaluru

Races to resume at Bangalore Turf Club, online betting to be introduced for the first time

The Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) will soon come alive with the club being given the green signal to resume races. However, as it has to go spectator-less, BTC is planning to introduce online betting for the first time.

Senior steward at BTC Harimohan Naidu said it will take at least four to five weeks for races to resume. “We are resuming after six months. There are many things to take care of. We will be looking at fast-tracking the timeline. The committee has to meet to make decisions,” he said.

With there being no question of allowing any spectators, the BTC is turning to online betting, which they say is a first in India.

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2.00 pm | Maharashtra

District administration to increase number of beds in Latur

Considering the coronavirus spread in rural areas, the local administration in Maharashtra’s Latur district plans to increase the number of oxygen-fitted beds at treatment facilities.

Private hospitals in rural areas may also be roped in to cater to COVID-19 patients, District Collector G. Shreekant told PTI on Friday night.

"Due to limited manpower and infrastructure, private hospitals are also being considered for COVID-19 treatment in Latur. We will arrange for oxygen supply at these facilities," the Collector said.

Currently, there are 2,000 beds including those in ICUs, and the administration is planning to double the number in light of the viral spread, he said.


1.45 pm | China

China jails 2 for hiding trip to city at centre of outbreak

Two people who returned to their hometown after contracting the coronavirus in the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak in January have been sentenced to prison for failing to quarantine themselves or report the visit.

After returning from Wuhan, the pair visited supermarkets and other public places in the western city of Yibin in Sichuan province for more than a week before showing symptoms, the People’s Court of Cuping District in Yibin said Saturday on its social media account.

It said one defendant, identified only by the surname Deng, concealed the Wuhan trip when questioned by health workers.

Deng was sentenced to 11 months on charges of obstructing disease control, the court said. The other, identified by the surname Tian, was sentenced to nine months. Both sentences were postponed for 18 months.

- AP

1.30 pm | Iran

Iran begins new school year amid virus concerns

Iran on Saturday opened the new school year after nearly seven months of closure.

In a video conference, President Hassan Rouhani said the education of 15 million students is as important as the health system.

"Education will not be closed in our country even under the worst situation," he said, urging authorities to implement health measures in schools to the level of those in military garrisons.

- AP

1.15 pm | Los Angeles

Guardians of the Galaxy star Michael Rooker opens up about his COVID-19 battle

Guardians of the Galaxy star Michael Rooker revealed that he had contracted coronavirus but has now tested negative for it.

The 65-year-old took to Facebook on Friday to share the photo of his most recent COVID-19 test result, saying that he had isolated himself to an Airstream traveller after his diagnosis.

He said, though the virus "put up a pretty good fight", his body has "won the war".


1.00 pm | New Delhi

Only country not reaping lockdown strategy benefit appears to be India: Chidambaram

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram attacked the government over the rise in the number of coronavirus cases, claiming that the only country that is not reaping the benefit of the lockdown strategy appears to be India.

Chidambaram’s attack on the government came as India’s COVID-19 infection tally sprinted past 40 lakh. "I had predicted that total number of infections will reach 55 lakh by September 30. I am wrong. India will reach that number by September 20. By end September, the number may touch 65 lakh," Mr. Chidambaram said.

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12.45 pm | New Delhi

Delhi's death rate lowest in the world: Kejriwal

"Coronavirus cases have increased slightly in Delhi over the last few days. I’ve spoken to experts, some of whom say this is a second wave, some don’t think so. But let me assure you that there is no need to worry, things are under control," Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said.

He said Delhi has the lowest death rate not only in the country but the world. "From August 15 till now, we have registered a death rate of 1% which is lower than the national average of 1.7%."

The recovery rate in Delhi is 87% compared to 77% in the country.

Cases are rising because we have doubled testing. If we reduce the number of tests, the number of cases too will decrease, the CM said.

"There is no paucity of hospital beds in Delhi. There are 14,000 beds of which around 33% are occupied by our brothers and sisters from other States undergoing treatment in Delhi", Mr. Kejriwal said.

He flagged those not taking precautions while stepping outside and asked people to get tested.

- Jatin Anand

12.30 pm | New Delhi

COVID snag in bullet train project, may fail to meet 2023 deadline

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, which is scheduled to be completed by December 2023, may fail to meet its deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic that has led to delays in opening tenders and land acquisition, officials said.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) has already acquired 63% of the land for the project — about 77% land in Gujarat, 80% in Dadar & Nagar Haveli and 22% in Maharashtra. Officials said there are still issues in acquiring land in areas like Palghar in Maharashtra and Navsari in Gujarat.

Last year, the company had floated nine civil work tenders which could not be opened because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

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12.15 pm | Telangana

Telangana Finance Minister Harish Rao tests positive

Telangana Finance Minister T. Harish Rao said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and was "fine".

In a tweet, the Minister said, "On displaying initial symptoms of coronavirus, I got tested and the report came back positive. My health is fine. I request all those who have come in contact with me in the last few days, to please isolate yourself and get the Covid test done."

Harish Rao is the nephew of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekahar Rao.


12.00 pm | Puducherry

Number of patients discharged exceeds new admissions in Puducherry

COVID-19 death toll in Puducherry went up to 298 with 18 patients succumbing to the virus during last 24 hours.

The number of patients discharged exceeded new admissions in U.T. during the same period with 408 new cases reported and 433 patients leaving hospitals after treatment.

The tally as on Saturday is 298 deaths,  5,161 active cases,  a cumulative total of 16,566 cases and 11,107 patients discharged.

- Rajesh B. Nair

11.45 am | Kerala

Kerala will stick to 14-day quarantine, says Shylaja

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja has said that those coming to the State from abroad or other parts of the country should mandatorily undergo 14-day home quarantine, since the possibility of disease transmission in the State has gone up in the wake of Onam celebrations.

The State has decided to continue with the quarantine stipulation, despite the Union government relaxing the norm in August.

The Minister said on Friday that because of the easing of lockdown restrictions during Onam last week, disease spread is likely to increase in the next two weeks. The Health Department has asked the public to ensure that anyone with respiratory infection stay at home in isolation and that in the event of any further symptoms should take follow-up action after contacting DISHA helpline (1056).

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11.30 am | Tamil Nadu

NGOs collect two lakh signatures for COVID-19 direct cash assistance

A campaign urging the Central government to provide direct monthly assistance of ₹ 6,000 to families affected by COVID-19 lockdown received two lakh signatures in Erode on Friday.

Organised by three non-governmental organisations, the campaign began on August 14 across the country.

R. Karuppasamy, Convener of Campaign Against Child Labour, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, said that a survey in April revealed that 12.2 crore workers had lost their jobs and were pushed to poverty during the lockdown. The situation was leading to human trafficking, bonded labour, child labour and child marriages and hence a monthly financial assistance to those affected by the lockdown would ensure them food.

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11.15 am | USA

Trump urges coronavirus vigilance for Labour Day

President Donald Trump is urging Americans to remain vigilant about the coronavirus over the Labour Day weekend.

Mr. Trump said at a White House briefing Friday "we need everybody to be careful and to apply common sense in their interactions with one another."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said this week, that several Midwestern states that have seen jumps in coronavirus caseloads should be especially vigilant during the holiday weekend.

Past increases in cases of COVID-19 have followed the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays.

- AP

11.00 am | New Delhi

Healthcare experts call for urgent action to address COVID impact on national nutrition mission

As the country marks 'Poshan Maah' this month, healthcare experts have called for urgent action to address the impact of COVID-19 on the national nutrition mission, saying the pandemic might affect the health of children and pregnant women the hardest as they are the most vulnerable to undernutrition.

The government is celebrating the National Nutrition Month or Poshan Maah in September during which several programmes to spread awareness on the issues related to malnutrition in children, pregnant women and lactating mothers will be organised.


10.45 am | Odisha

5.15% of Bhubaneswar residents have developed antibodies: survey

Around 5.15% of the residents of Bhubaneswar have developed antibodies against COVID-19 infection, according to a serological survey.

The Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC), Bhubaneswar collected around 1,320 samples during the two-day community serological study in the Odisha capital city on August 28 and 29.


10.30 am

India takes 13 days to cross 40 lakh cases from 30 lakh

India’s COVID-19 infection tally sprinted past 40 lakh, just 13 days after it crossed 30 lakh, with a record 86,432 cases being reported in a day, while recoveries have surged to 31,07,223 on Saturday pushing the recovery rate to 77.23 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 40,23,179, while the death toll climbed to 69,561 with 1,089 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, data updated at 8 am showed.

India’s COVID-19 cases jumped from 10 lakh to 20 lakh in 21 days. It took 16 more days to race past 30 lakh and 13 days more to cross the 40-lakh mark.


10.15 am | United Nations

Inclusion is key for virus vaccine: UN Assembly president

The president of the UN General Assembly is warning that a vaccine for COVID-19 must be made available to everyone who needs it because if just one country is left out the world will still face a crisis from the coronavirus.

As the world looks to a vaccine and a post-COVID-19 world, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande also says that inclusion is key, because without inclusion the suffering of those who are already left behind, will continue — and we cannot guarantee peace in that kind of a context.

- AP

10.00 am | Tamil Nadu

As Chennai malls re-open, here is what the new shopping experience is like

What will a trip to the mall look like today, now that malls have finally been allowed to re-open under Unlock 4.0 for the first time since they were closed for operations on March 25?

At Forum Vijaya Mall in Vadapalani, visitors are required to book a time-slot prior to visiting, which can be done from its social media handle or from the website.

Velachery's Phoenix MarketCity, meanwhile, has launched an application called 'Nhance by Phoenix'. The app has features such as pre-booking entry, locating the stores inside (to reduce ambling), making quick and contactless payments, and even pre-ordering food from anywhere in the mall.

In VR Chennai, stores are allowing only one customer per 75 square feet of space, and shoppers are provided with disposable gloves on request if they want to touch and feel the products. At Express Avenue, operations to open the food courts are currently underway as staffers gradually return from their homes across the country.

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9.45 am | New Delhi

DIAL sets up COVID-19 testing facility at IGIA for international passengers

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has set up an on-site COVID-19 testing lab at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) that will declare the results of samples of incoming international passengers within 4-6 hours so that they may continue their journey, if tested negative.

DIAL has collaborated with Genestrings Diagnostic Centre, a Delhi-based laboratory, to set up the facility at the multilevel car parking of Terminal 3. Officials said that this is the first such arrangement to be made at an Indian airport and is expected to start by mid-September.

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9.30 am | Mexico

Mexico states run out of death certificates

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Mexico so hard that governments of several states ran out of death certificates. Officials said Friday the federal forms started running out about 15 to 20 days ago in at least three states - Baja California, the State of Mexico and Mexico City.

Authorities say a million new forms have been printed and are being distributed. The certificates are printed with special characteristics because falsification has been a problem in the past.

Mexico has suffered the fourth-highest level of COVID-19 deaths in the world. On Friday, the number of confirmed cases rose by 6,196 to 6,23,090, while deaths rose by 522 to 66,851. Cases in Mexico now appear to have plateaued and are no longer decreasing.

- AP

9.15 am | Puducherry

One in 20 persons exposed to virus in Puducherry: study

A COVID-19 seroprevalence study undertaken by Jipmer has found that one in every 20 persons in Puducherry showed evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 infection at the end of July.

This is the first serosurvey finding released by Jipmer on Thursday that sheds light on the prevalence of COVID-19 at the community level.

Of the 869 persons tested, 43 had antibodies against the novel coronavirus (4.9%).

The positivity rate for antibodies was higher in city (urban) populations than in rural populations (5.7% against 3.1%). It was higher among women than in men (6.3% in comparison to 3.6%).

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9.00 am | USA

Biden confirms virus test, says he'll be tested regularly

Joe Biden has said that he's been tested at least once for the COVID-19 virus and promised he will be tested regularly during his general election campaign against U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential nominee on Friday told reporters of his testing protocol during a wide-ranging news conference in which he blasted Mr. Trump for downplaying the pandemic and thus ensuring that it continued to kill Americans and ravage the economy.

For much of the summer, Mr. Biden's advisers deflected questions about whether the former Vice President was being tested himself as he anchored his campaign almost exclusively from his Delaware home, travelling sparingly as a precaution.

- AP

8.45 am | Andhra Pradesh

Restrictions to continue in 37 containment zones in Srikakulam

With the coronavirus caseload in Srikakulam district crossing the 27,000-mark on Friday, Srikakulam Collector J. Nivas appealed to public not to delay going for testing if they developed any of the known COVID symptoms.

He said that around 5,000 beds were arranged in COVID-19 hospitals and COVID Care Centres in the district to accommodate growing number of patients needing hospitalization.

As the number touched 27,110 in the district, the administration decided to continue restrictions in 37 containment zones in the city. While there are 7,471 are active cases in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram has 8,555 active cases out of the total 13,488.

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8.30 am | Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow Metro to ensure highest standards of hygiene: UPMRC

Keeping in mind the safety of commuters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) has revised its operational framework to meet the highest standards of hygiene.

"Lucknow Metro has adopted the highest level of hygiene and safety measures for the well-being of commuters and it is the safest way to travel," UPMRC MD Kumar Keshav said.

The revamped guidelines extend to every outlet and encompass check-in procedures and surveillance systems, he said, adding that Lucknow Metro will follow regular operational timings of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. when services resume on September 7.


8.15 am | Tamil Nadu

₹5,000 fine for SOP violations, ₹200 for not wearing mask

Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday promulgated the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939 (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, that made violations of COVID-19 lockdown and physical distancing norms “compoundable offences”. It also prohibits acts of violence against persons implementing these measures.

A government order issued by the Health Department soon after the ordinance was promulgated specified that a fine of ₹5,000 would be imposed on those violating the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued for salons and spas, gymnasiums, commercial establishments and other public places. Those not wearing a face mask in public places will have to pay ₹200. Those spitting in public places and violating distancing norms will have to pay ₹500 as fine. The penalty for violating quarantine norms will also be ₹500.

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8.00 am | China

BRICS should jointly deal with the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic: Chinese FM Wang Yi

BRICS countries should jointly deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, deepen cooperation and strengthen coordination so as to fulfil responsibilities for international peace and global development, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Mr. Wang made the remarks while attending the meeting of foreign ministers of BRICS on Friday via a video link.

BRICS countries should jointly deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and jointly promote multilateralism, the recovery of the world economy, and political settlement of hot-spot issues, Mr. Wang, who is also the Chinese State Councilor, said.

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7.30 am | Karnataka

Mangaluru Central sees first train in six months

Mangaluru Central Railway Station, one of the major train stations in Karnataka, received its first passenger train post-lockdown on Saturday morning.

Train No. 06515, one of the six intra-State services introduced by South Western Railway, arrived from Bengaluru at 5.55 a.m. The Mangaluru station used to handle over 30 trains a day, but did not handle any Shramik Special train during the lockdown period.

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7.00 am | New Delhi

ICMR issues advisory allowing ‘testing on demand’

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Friday issued a new advisory on COVID-19 testing strategy, allowing ‘testing on demand’ for individuals but left it to the states to modify the approach as per their discretion.

It also advised testing on demand for “all individuals undertaking travel to countries or Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry”.

It also suggested that 100% of people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests, particularly in cities where there has been widespread transmission of the infection.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:16:41 AM |

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