Coronavirus India lockdown Day 168 updates | September 9, 2020

A group of daily-wage workers seen waiting for work at Chowk Adarsh Nagar area in North Delhi area in New Delhi on September 9, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

“Our COVID-19 numbers are rising — we haven’t stabilised yet. The pandemic is still on and a large population is still vulnerable,” said NITI Aayog member (Health) V.K. Paul, at a press conference organised by the Health Ministry on Tuesday.

He said Oxford University’s vaccine candidate, called ‘Covishield’ in India, will soon go into Phase 3 trial in 17 sites across India, including Pune and Delhi.

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:

10.42 pm | New Delhi

Tests per million in Delhi crosses 1 lakh-mark

The number of COVID-19 tests per million in the national capital crossed the one-lakh mark on Wednesday, as the authorities conducted a record 54,517 tests in the last 24 hours, government data showed. According to the latest health bulletin issued by the Delhi government, the test-per-million count stood at 1,00,198.

As many as 11,101 RT-PCR, CBNAAT, True Nat and 43,416 rapid-antigen tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, it said. The national capital recorded 4,039 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day spike so far, as the tally breached the two lakh-mark, while the death toll mounted to 4,638, authorities said.

This is the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic that over 4,000 cases have been recorded in Delhi in a day. The previous highest single-day spike of 3,947 cases was recorded on June 23. Twenty fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the bulletin.

The tally of active cases rose to 23,773 from 22,377 the previous day, it said.

10.30 pm | UAE

Chahar rejoins Super Kings

Swing bowler Deepak Chahar is back with the Chennai Super Kings in the team hotel following two negative COVID tests.

CSK CEO K.S. Viswanathan said the paceman now had to undergo a cardiovascular test, to be conducted by the BCCI, apart from one more COVID test, before he can start bowling at the CSK nets.

Viswanathan believed Chahar should be able to practise with the CSK in the next two to three days and could be available for the side’s opening IPL game against champion Mumbai Indians on September 19.


10.20 pm | Punjab

108 social media accounts blocked over COVID-19 hate propaganda in Punjab

The Punjab Police on Wednesday said it has got 38 Facebook, 49 Twitter and 21 YouTube accounts and links blocked by competent authorities for spreading vicious propaganda on coronavirus.

A total of 151 accounts/links of Facebook, 100 of Twitter, four of Instagram and 37 of YouTube have been reported to the authorities concerned, with 121 FIRs registered so far at various police stations across Punjab, a government release said.

Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said the force had taken up the matter of blocking the spiteful accounts of anti-national and anti-social elements with Cyber Law Division of the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following which 108 accounts/links have been blocked so far.

Further action on the remaining accounts is awaited, he said.

The top cop said the competent authorities of the social media platforms had also been requested to provide information of the users.

10:10 p.m. | Gujarat

Gujarat BJP chief tests coronavirus positive

Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil has tested coronavirus positive, a hospital in Gandhinagar where he is undergoing treatment said on Wednesday.

“Paatil is currently admitted to Apollo Hospitals and is undergoing treatment for COVID-19. He is currently stable and being taken care of by multidisciplinary team of specialists,” the hospital said in a statement. - PTI

9.55 pm | Kerala

First dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Kerala inaugurated

The first dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Kerala, built by the Tata Group, was inaugurated in Kasaragod by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said it was an excellent example of how Public Private Partnership can be put to good use.

Built by the Tata Group using prefabricated containers in just five months at a cost of ₹60 crore, the 551 bed hospital has 36 ventilators for the patients.

The Chief Minister, who inaugurated the hospital through video conferencing, thanked the Tata Group for showing interest in the health sector of Kerala.

“The COVID hospital constructed by the Tata group, which will take care of the people during the pandemic, is an excellent example of how public-private partnership can be put to good use,” Mr. Vijayan said.

The 80,000 sq ft-hospital has been built on five acres of land at Thekkil village in Kasaragod.

The authority to decide the facilities and the appointments to the hospital is with the State government.

Meanwhile, the largest COVID First Line Treatment Centre (CFLTC) in the State, a 1,400 bed facility, was also opened on September 9 at Nattika at Thrissur.

The facility was set up at the building of Emmay Projects (India) Private Ltd., owned by M.A. Yusuff Ali of the Lulu group.

The CFLTC has all modern health facilities, including beds, e-robots, tele-medicine, e-bikes for food distribution, bio-medical waste management and bio-compost system, officials said. — PTI

9.40 pm | Maharashtra

Nashik’s COVID-19 caseload goes up by 1,419, death toll by 18

With the single-day addition of 1,419 cases of coronavirus, the tally in Maharashtra’s Nashik district rose to 47,744 on Wednesday, an official said.

Moreover, the district also recorded 18 fatalities during the day that have taken the toll in the region to 991, the official said. Of the latest fatalities, nine were reported from the Nashik Municipal Corporation limits, eight from other parts of the district and one from Malegaon, he said.

As per the official data, of the 47,744 cases reported so far, 32,893 were from Nashik city, 11,628 from other parts of the district, 2,977 from Malegaon and 246 from outside the district. So far, a total of 37,639 patients have recovered from the infection in the district, the official added.

9.30 pm | West Bengal

Bengal reports 53 new deaths, 3,107 fresh cases

The COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal rose to 3,730 on Wednesday with 53 more people succumbing to the disease, a bulletin released by the State health department said.

The tally also went up to 1,90,063 after 3,107 fresh cases of infection were registered in different parts of the State, it said.

As 2,967 more people recovered from the infection, the discharge rate in West Bengal improved to 85.76 per cent from 85.60 per cent on Tuesday.

The number of active cases now stood at 23,341, the bulletin said.

Since Tuesday, 42,642 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the State. - PTI

9.20 pm | Punjab

Record single-day spike of 2,137 COVID-19 cases take Punjab’s tally to 69,684

Punjab on Wednesday recorded its highest single-day spike of 2,137 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the state’s tally to 69,684, while the death toll due to the disease went past 2,000, according a medical bulletin.

Punjab’s previous record single-day hike of 2,110 cases was reported on Monday.

The State recorded 71 more fatalities on Wednesday, taking the toll to 2,061, the bulletin stated.

Of the 71 deaths, 13 were reported from Ludhiana, 11 from Jalandhar, eight from Patiala, six from Kapurthala, five each from Sangrur and Bathinda, and four each from Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar, it said.

Amritsar reported three deaths, Gurdaspur two, and Fazilka, Ferozepur, Mansa, Rupnagar, Pathankot and Moga one each, it added.

The fresh cases were reported from Mohali (319), Amritsar (311), Ludhiana (240), Jalandhar (210), Gurdaspur (173), Patiala (159), Bathinda (130), Hoshiarpur (94) and Sangrur (57), the bulletin said.

A total of 1,231 coronavirus patients were discharged after recovering from the disease. So far, 50,558 people have recovered, it said.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 17,065, the bulletin said.

9.15 pm | Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh government permits resumption of inter-State bus services

The Uttar Pradesh government has given its nod for resumption of inter-State bus services from the State, an official statement said.

In a statement, UPSRTC Managing Director Raj Shekhar said, “We are working on the schedule to start the bus services and will update you all soon.

The Chief Minister’s Office said in a tweet in Hindi, “In a bid to provide easy and accessible transportation to the public, U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given permission for resumption of inter-State bus services to Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.”

9.10 pm | Hyderabad

Telangana to set up task force to monitor fees for COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals

The Telangana government would appoint a task force committee to monitor the fees being charged by private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Wednesday.

He assured members that tough action would be taken against those hospitals trying to fleece patients.

“It is very atrocious, is this the time (during the pandemic) to earn money, at a time when the whole world is suffering....We will appoint a task force with a senior IAS officer and take their report,” he said in the Legislative Assembly during a short discussion on COVID-19 situation.

Rao was responding to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarkas comments over allegations that private hospitals charged exorbitant fees for COVID-19 treatment.

The state government had earlier barred some hospitals from treating COVID-19 patients on complaints over billing. - PTI

8.55 pm | New Delhi

Kejriwal directs authorities to take steps to prevent spread of COVID-19

Amid a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal directed medical superintendents and authorities to take every possible steps to prevent the spread of the virus in the city.

The Chief Minister held a review meeting with Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, senior officials and medical superintendents of Delhi government-run hospitals.

“Had a review meeting with Health Minister, Chief Secretary, senior officials and MS of govt hospitals. I have directed all MS and authorities to take all possible steps to prevent the spread of Corona and assured the hospitals of full support in this regard,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet.

According to a statement issued by the government later, the Chief Minister assured the hospitals of providing all possible help if required and directed officials to ensure that all precautionary measures such as following social distancing norms in crowded places and wearing masks are followed.

The CM asked all concerned officers to strictly enforce all SOPs issued by the Delhi government and the Centre and said there should be no complacency regarding it.

He also told the heads of the private labs in Delhi that anybody who wants to get tested should not be denied.

Mr. Kejriwal also directed the ambulance services not refuse calls from patients and said the patients should be transferred to the hospitals if needed as soon as possible.

“The tests have been increased from 20,000 to 40,000 per day. I request everyone to encourage as many people as possible to get tested without any delay. If any hospital is experiencing any issues, they can directly reach me and I will extend all possible help in this regard,” Mr. Kejriwal was quoted as saying in meeting. — PTI

8.40 pm | Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir records highest single-day spike of 1,617 COVID-19 cases

Jammu and Kashmir recorded its highest single-day spike of 1,617 new COVID-19 cases, taking the Union Territory’s infection tally to 47,542, officials said on Wednesday. “The UT recorded 1,617 fresh cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. This is the biggest single-day spike in new infections in Jammu and Kashmir,” the officials said.

It was for the seventh time in as many days that the number of new COVID-19 infections have crossed the 1,000 mark in a 24-hour period, they said.

Among the new cases, 894 were reported from the Jammu region and 723 from the Kashmir valley, the officials said.

Jammu district reported the highest number of 583 new coronavirus cases, followed by 260 in Srinagar district, they said. There are now 12,839 active COVD-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir, while 33,871 coronavirus patients have recovered from the disease so far, the officials said.

Meanwhile, 17 more coronavirus deaths were reported in Jammu and Kashmir, they said. Ten of these fatalities were reported in Jammu region and seven in the Kashmir valley, the officials said. The latest COVID-19 fatalities have pushed the death toll to 832 in the Union Territory, they said.

8.30 pm | Gujarat

Gujarat reports 1,329 new cases

Gujarat recorded 1,329 new cases and 16 deaths on Wednesday, increasing its COVID-19 tally to 1,08,295 while fatalities reached 3,152. Active cases stand at 16,328. Discharges at 88,815.  - Mahesh Langa

PTI adds: Like September 8, the number of recovered cases exceeded that of the new cases on September 9.

Surat reported the highest number of 266 cases in Gujarat on the day, while there were 171 cases in Ahmedabad, the second highest in the state.

With 154 cases, Rajkot was at the third spot, followed by Vadodara at 126, and Jamnagar at 113.

Among other districts, Bhavnagar reported 46 new cases, Junagadh 37, Gandhinagar 35, Morbi 30, Amreli and Panchmahal 29 each, Patan 25, Bharuch 24, Dahod and Mehsana 22 each, Devbhumi Dwarka 18, Mahisagar 16, Gir Somnath and Tapi 14 each, Kutch, Surendranagar and Valsad 13 each, Anand and Banaskantha 12 each, the department said.

Surat and Ahmedabad both reported four deaths, Rajkot, Gandhinagar and Vadodara two each, and Mahisagar and Surendranagar one each.

There are total 16,328 active cases in the state, of which 94 patients are on ventilator, and the condition of 16,234 is stable.

8:20 pm | Karnataka

Karnataka reports over 9,000 new cases

After recording 5,773 and 7,866 cases on two consecutive days, the Karnataka's daily cases again crossed 9,000 on Wednesday.

With 9,540 new cases on Wednesday, the total tally touched 4,21,730.

With 128 new deaths, the toll rose to 6,808. This includes 19 deaths of COVID patients due to non-COVID causes.

As many as 6,860 patients were discharged on Wednesday taking the total number of discharges to 3,15,433. Of the 99,470 active cases, as many as 776 patients are being monitored in the ICUs of various hospitals.

Bengaluru Urban reported 3,419 cases taking the total number of cases here to 1,57,044. With 41 of the 128 deaths from Bengaluru Urban alone, the total number of deaths in this district rose to 2,307.

As many as 70,322 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours taking the total number of tests to 35,31,441. Wednesday's tests included 34,364 rapid antigen tests.

- Afshan Yasmeen

8:10 pm | Manipur

Manipur’s Covid-19 tally rises to 7,362 as 160 test positive

Manipur’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 7,362, with 160 people including 25 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel testing positive for coronavirus, an official said on Wednesday.

The new cases were reported from Imphal East district, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Kangpokpi, Thoubal, Kakching, Senapati and Ukhrul district.

A 39-year-old man died at JNIMS here due to COVID-19, taking the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 40, the official said. - PTI

7.50 pm  | New Delhi

Delhi records over 4,000 new COVID-19 cases, highest single-day spike so far

The national capital recorded 4,039 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day spike so far, as the tally breached the two lakh-mark, while the death toll mounted to 4,638, authorities said.

This is the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic that over 4,000 cases have been recorded in Delhi in a day.

The previous highest single-day spike of 3,947 cases was recorded on June 23.

Twenty fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.

The tally of active cases rose to 23,733 from 22,377 the previous day, it said.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Delhi stood at 4,618 on September 8.

The bulletin on September 9 said the death toll from coronavirus infection has risen to 4,638 and the total number of cases has climbed to 2,01,174. — PTI

7.40 pm | Jharkhand

Vehicles pile up at Bengal-Jharkhand border as Dhanbad makes COVID test mandatory

A large number of vehicles piled up at the West Bengal-Jharkhand border as the Dhanbad district administration ordered that anybody entering from the neighbouring State will have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test, officials said.

Two teams of doctors and paramedical staff have been deployed at the Maithon check-post on National Highway-2 and the Barakar-Chirkunda check-post to conduct rapid antigen test of anyone who enters Jharkhand, they said.

“If anyone is found to be positive, then that person will be admitted to the Nirsa or Dhanbad Sadar Covid Care Centre,” Deputy Commissioner Umashankar Singh said after inspecting the Maithon check-post in the afternoon.

Whether travelling by car, two-wheeler or on foot, everyone is being tested, said Modassar Manuri, the in-charge of the testing drive.

Due to the mandatory testing, a long queue of vehicles was seen on the West Bengal side of the Highway. Many people, who were waiting in their vehicles for hours to get the tests done, said the decision was unnecessary.

We are going to Aurangabad in Bihar from Durgapur in West Bengal but they have stopped us for testing while we have nothing to do with Dhanbad or Jharkhand,” said Dipak Kumar Singh, who was waiting in his car.

Only pedestrians and two-wheelers are allowed through the nearby Barakar-Chirkunda check-post and people complained of hardship there as well.

7.30 pm | Mizoram

Mizoram records highest single-day spike of 69 COVID-19 cases

Mizoram on Wednesday reported its highest single-day spike of COVID-19 cases with 69 more people, including 48 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, testing positive for the disease, an official said.

The fresh infections have pushed the State’s caseload to 1,192, he said. Six Army men were also among the new patients, the official said.

The 69 COVID-19 positive cases have been reported from Aizawl district. Mizoram has not reported any fatality due to COVID-19.


7.20 pm | Madhya Pradesh

Six BJP leaders booked for holding processions amid pandemic

Three cases have been registered against six BJP leaders for allegedly violating COVID-19 guidelines by taking out processions during ‘Narmada Kalash Yatra’ at Sanver in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district, police said on Wednesday.

The processions that were taken out at different places in Sanver Assembly constituency had violated preventive orders issued by the district administration in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, deputy inspector general (DIG) of police Harinarayanachari Mishra said.

Three cases were registered on Tuesday night under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code against six BJP leaders, including district unit president Rajesh Sonkar, who had organised the processions, the official said.

According to the police, two cases were registered at Sanver police station, while another one was registered at Chandravatiganj police station and two BJP leaders have been named in each of these cases.

7.10 pm | Uttar Pradesh

66 COVID-19 deaths, 6,711 new cases in Uttar Pradesh

Sixty-six more people died of COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh, pushing the death toll to 4,112, while 6,711 fresh cases took the state’s infection tally to 2,85,041, according to an official bulletin issued here on Wednesday.

The total number of active coronavirus cases in the state now stands at 64,028, it said.

Of the new cases reported, 869 were in Lucknow, 473 in Kanpur and 459 in Prayagraj, the bulletin said.

There were 238 cases reported in Gautam Buddh Nagar, 232 in Meerut, 221 in Gorakhpur and 208 in Bareilly, it said. - PTI

6.55 pm  | Karnataka

Govt. schools survive, reopening after two-year closure

Four Kannada medium government schools in Mysuru and Kodagu districts that had been closed since last two years for want of students and were on the verge of permanent closure in view of ‘zero’ admissions are reopening this year.

For, the schools have recorded admissions for the first time after a gap of two academic years as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the education system.

Another reason attributed for attracting the children was Vidyagama, a programme launched by the Department of Public Instruction for ensuring continuous learning, especially in rural areas with schools shut since long over the pandemic scare.

Read more

6.40 pm | Kerala

Kerala reports 3,402 COVID-19 cases, the highest so far

In the highest single day spike so far in Kerala, 3,402 COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday, taking the infection count to 95,916 while the toll climbed to 384 with 12 fatalities.

The previous one day high was on September 6 when 3,082 fresh cases were detected in the State. Among those who tested positive, 46 had come from abroad, 133 from other States and 3,120 were infected through contact while the source of infection of 235 people was not known, Health Minister K. K. Shailaja said in a press release.

Eighty eight health workers were among those infected. While 70,921 have recovered from the infection so far, including 2,058 whose samples turned negative today, presently 24,549 people are undergoing treatment for the disease.

As many as 2,02,801 people are under observation in various districts - 1,83,921 in home/institutional quarantine and 18,880 in various hospitals, including 2,751 admitted today. The State has increased testing of samples and in the last 24 hours, 45,949 samples were tested, the release said.

So far 19,78,316 samples have been sent for testing.

6.30 pm | Mumbai

COVID-19: Dharavi’s case count rises by nine

Dharavi, the largest slum in Mumbai, reported nine new coronavirus positive cases on Wednesday, which took the count of patients to 2,839, a senior civic official said.

Of the total number of cases, 2,470 patients have already recovered from the infection and discharged from hospitals, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said.

The number of active cases in Dharavi climbed down to 99 on Wednesday. On Tuesday, there were 101 active cases in the slum.


6:20 p.m. | New Delhi

India trials of COVID-19 vaccine going on: Serum Institute

Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday said it is continuing with the trials of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India.

The statement came after AstraZeneca announced that late-stage studies of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Oxford University are on temporary hold as a UK participant had an adverse reaction to it.

SII has entered into a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca to produce and supply 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is doing the clinical trials of the potential vaccine in India.

Commenting on the recent reports on AstraZeneca halting the trials in the UK, SII said in a statement: “We can’t comment much on the U.K. trials, but they have been paused for further review and they hope to restart soon.”

It further said: “As far as Indian trials are concerned, it is continuing and we have faced no issues at all“.

6:10 p.m. | New Delhi

Spike in COVID cases: Delhi govt rules out another lockdown; says economy can’t be ‘shut for eternity’

Despite a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital over the last fortnight, the Delhi government has ruled out possibility of another lockdown, with Health Minister Satyendar Jain asserting that the economy “cannot be kept shut for eternity” as livelihoods of millions depend on it.

The Minister also asserted that “extreme caution and not panic” should be the response of the city, and people should exhibit greater alertness and responsibility in public places to deal with this health crisis. — PTI

5.55 pm  | New Delhi

Harsh Vardhan stresses on investment in health with special focus on rural areas

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world the importance of protecting precious health gains, and stressed on investing in health and building a robust healthcare delivery system with special focus on rural areas.

Representing India at the 73rd session of WHO South East Asia Region, he highlighted the giant strides the country made under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect the lives and livelihood of its citizens from the pandemic.

“So far the public health achievements made in the region have been laying the foundation of a bright future for our people. However, COVID-19 has turned the clock back years if not decades in the fight against infectious diseases.

“Data suggests that COVID-19 has already derailed a lot of our efforts and is taking us back to where we were 20 years ago. This is a stark reality and we need to take cognizance. On our part, we left no stones unturned to contain and mitigate the virus. I would say India has responded well to the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said at the virtual session.

The Union Health Minister was joined by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Director, WHO SEARO was also part of the event.

It is for the first time that the two-day event is being held entirely through virtual platform owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The 73rd session is being hosted by the Government of Thailand (from Bangkok). The previous session was held in New Delhi. — PTI

5.40 pm | Puducherry

10 more die of coronavirus in Puducherry, toll mounts to 347

Five women and five men succumbed to COVID-19 in Puducherry on Wednesday while 341 more people contracted the virus, pushing the tally of infections to 18,084.

A release from Health and Family Welfare Department said 341 new cases were reported at the end of testing of 2,560. Nine out of the total deaths on Wednesday occurred in Puducherry and remaining one was reported from Karaikal region.

Of the total 18,084 cases, 4,770 were active while 12,967 patients recovered and discharged so far. The total number of fatalities climbed to 347 with 10 related deaths.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy called on the aged and those with ailments such as blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory problem and cancer to be very careful and take precautionary steps so that they would not fall a prey to COVID-19.

Addressing a virtual press conference, he said the COVID-19 fatality rate in the Union Territory was increasing largely due to the aged and those having co-morbidities “being careless.”

Mr. Narayanasamy asserted that his government left no stone unturned to keep the pandemic situation at bay.

5.30 pm | Kerala

COVID-19 seen boosting ginger, turmeric exports

The U.S.’ $3-billion spices export business has found an unlikely ally in COVID-19 as the pandemic appears to have added a new sheen to the export of spices considered to boost physical immunity.

“Export of the spices like ginger, turmeric, coriander and cumin has shown a sizable increase” during April-July this year when compared to the same period last year, said D. Sathiyan, secretary of the Spices Board here on Wednesday.

The increased demand is seen in big markets like the USA and Europe, he said, as he underlined how India had emerged as the largest exporter of spices in the world, ready to meet the increased demand.

Read more

5.20 pm | Uttar Pradesh

U.P. CM calls for increasing contact tracing of COVID-19 patients in Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday called for increasing contact tracing of coronavirus patients in Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad.

According to the health department, the state reported 6,743 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, out of which, 887 cases were found in Lucknow, 431 in Kanpur Nagar, 306 cases in Allahabad, among other places.

“Contact tracing has an important role in controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection. This work should be conducted in a systematic and effective manner. In Lucknow, Prayagraj and Kanpur, contact tracing should be increased,” a statement quoted the Chief Minister as saying.

5:10 p.m. | Tripura

Tripura reports 582 new COVID-19 cases, 9 fresh fatalities

As many as 582 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Tripura on Wednesday, pushing the state’s tally to 16,739, a health official said.

Tripura’s coronavirus death toll rose to 161 as nine more people succumbed to the infection, he said.

West Tripura district, under which Agartala falls, accounted for 85 of the 161 COVID-19 deaths reported in the state so far.

The state now has 6,903 active COVID-19 cases, while 9,653 people have recovered from the disease so far and 22 patients have migrated to other states, the official said.

A total of 3,08,925 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in Tripura so far, he said. - PTI

4.50 pm | Tamil Nadu

Call for volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trial in Chennai

The Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has called for volunteers for enrolment in a trial for Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine — Covishield.

T. S. Selvavinayagam, director of public health, who is also the principal investigator, has called for volunteers for the trial — phase two/three observer — blind, randomised, controlled study to determine the safety and immunogenicity of Covishield in healthy Indian adults. The trial will be conducted at the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, DMS Complex, Teynampet.

Even with the phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine paused in the U.K., a health official said it would not have an effect on the planned trials in Chennai.

Read more

4.50 pm | Delhi

Prescription not needed for COVID-19 testing: Delhi govt order

A doctor’s prescription for COVID-19 testing would not be required in the national capital from now with the Delhi government issuing an order on Wednesday in this regard.

However, testing will be conducted in accordance with the strategy/advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and as per the orders issued by the Delhi government from time to time, it said.

Read more

4.40 pm | Himachal Pradesh

Negative COVID-19 test report, prior hotel booking must for visiting Chintpurni temple

For people visiting the famous Chintpurni temple in Himachal Pradesh’s Una district from outside the State, a negative COVID-19 test report and a prior hotel booking for two days will be mandatory.

Chintpurni temple is one of the five Shakti Peeths located in the State. The other four are Jwalamukhi, Vajreshwari and Chamunda Devi in Kangra and Naina Devi in Bilaspur district.

Issuing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for visitors to Chintpurni temple in Amb tehsil from outside the State, Una Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kumar said a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for COVID-19 would be a must.

The other mandatory requirement will be that of prior hotel booking for at least two days, he added.

Chintpurni temple along with other religious places in Himachal Pradesh is being reopened from September 10. Religious places in the State were closed for the general public on March 16 to check the spread of novel coronavirus. All the devotees will have to register themselves at Chintpurni Sadan before going to pay obeisance at the temple, the Deputy Commissioner said.

All the devotees will be medically screened and symptomatic people will not be allowed to visit the temple, he said, adding that they would be isolated and hospitalised. - PTI

4.30 pm | Telangana

Despite initial ‘lag’ Telangana ‘picks up’ in dealing with COVID-19: Governor

Though there was a “lag” initially in conducting COVID-19 tests, the Telangana government is now effectively dealing with the pandemic situation in the State, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said on Wednesday.

She also said many of her suggestions were now being implemented.

Ms. Sounadarajan, also a medical doctor, noted that she had suggested Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao to join the Centre’s “Ayushman Bharat“- National Health Protection Mission for the benefit of the people of Telangana.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 situation, not only as a governor, but also as a caring doctor, I have offered so many suggestions.

"But as the government had some restrictions, they were strictly following the ICMR guidelines... When I gave them the suggestions, they have taken up. Even though it took some time, they are following (now).

"But initially there was a little lag I should say,” she told reporters on the occasion of completion of one year in the office.

The governor said she made suggestions such as carrying out more tests and preparing more hospitals including at the district level also for the treatment of the virus.

“Now they (the government) have ramped up the tests. There are hospital presentations at the districts and mobile labs. Now we are picking up I should say,” she said.


3.45 pm | Delhi

Dedicated police team for checking COVID-19 norm violations

With road traffic returning to “near normal” in the city, the traffic police has been asked to focus on managing vehicular movement, withdrawing them from COVID-19-related tasks such as issuing fines for spitting in public places, not wearing mask and violating distancing norms. Until now, the Delhi Traffic Police was also tasked with the responsibility of issuing challans for violations of coronavirus-related regulations after they came into effect.

DCP (Headquarters) Chinmoy Biswal also issued a communication the same day, saying that the Delhi Police will deploy dedicated teams in each police station to check violations of COVID-19 norms, as coronavirus cases are rising in the city again.

He said all police stations will deploy such team in uniform at one location from 10 am to 6 pm every day.

3.20 pm | New Delhi

India’s cumulative testing crosses 5.18 crore

Over 11.54 lakh COVID-19 tests were conducted in a span of 24 hours taking India’s cumulative tests to over 5.18 crore so far, while during the same period nearly 75,000 people have recuperated from the disease taking the total number of recoveries to 33,98,844 in the country, the Centre said on Wednesday.

“India is one of the few countries that have reported very high numbers of daily testing. The daily testing capacity has already crossed 11 lakh,” it highlighted.

With 11,54,549 tests conducted for detection of COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours on Tuesday, India’s cumulative tests have reached 5,18,04,677.

3.00 pm | Haryana

Haryana Education Minister tests positive for coronavirus

Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal said on Wednesday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

He requested all those who might have come in his contact during the past few days to isolate themselves and get their tests done.

After some symptoms, I got my Covid test done and it returned positive. I request all those who might have come in my contact to isolate themselves and get their tests done, the minister tweeted.

The minister’s aide said that Kanwar Pal’s report came positive in the morning and he was currently in Chandigarh.

2.20 pm | USA

Eight children in Las Vegas, who tested positive for COVID-19 since March, diagnosed with inflammatory disease

Health officials said Tuesday that eight Las Vegas-area children under age 14 who tested positive for COVID-19 since March were also diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition linked with the coronavirus.

The Southern Nevada Health District said all the children were hospitalised and released, and the district has begun adding daily tallies of confirmed cases of the illness to its daily online coronavirus response report.

Not all children exhibit the same symptoms. The district said that while there isn’t a known cause, many children with the illness had COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who did.

Researchers say the illness can cause inflammation of multiple internal organs.


2.10 pm | New Delhi

SC seeks Centre’s reply on plea for opening places of worship

The Supreme Court sought response from the Centre on a plea seeking to open all places of worship across country which have been closed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde issued the notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the plea of Ahmedabad-based Gitarth Ganga Trust.

“We are issuing notice just to explore possibility,” said the Bench, which also comprised Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, in the proceedings held through video conferencing.

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1.50 pm | Belgium

Coronavirus hits Belgian government coalition talks

A key negotiator trying to cobble a coalition government together has tested positive for COVID-19, dampening hopes that one of Belgium’s longest political impasses could be broken soon, co-negotiator Conner Rousseau said Wednesday.

Dutch-speaking Liberal Egbert Lachaert tested positive for the virus, forcing key politicians from six other center-left and center-right parties to resort to video conferencing as they try to hammer out a government program.

Belgium currently has a minority government led by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, but attempts to form a majority coalition have been unsuccessful since the May 2019 elections.

There had been hopes that Lachaert could bring together a coalition of socialists, liberals, greens and Christian Democrats by September 17 but the positive test will make that difficult.


1.40 pm | Uttar Pradesh

Police officer among 62 people infected in Shamli

Sixty-two people, including a police officer, have been infected with COVID-19 in Shamli district of U.P. taking the total number of cases to 1,454, officials said on Wednesday.

The district in western Uttar Pradesh has 470 active cases as on Tuesday evening.


1.30 pm | New Delhi

Five States contribute 61% of total active cases

The number of people recovered from COVID-19 in India has surged to 33,98,844, further improving the recovery rate to 77.77%, while the case fatality rate has dropped to 1.69%, the Union Health Ministry said Wednesday.

It also said five States - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu - have contributed 61% of the total active cases.

A record 74,894 patients recovered from COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours, according to the Ministry’s data.


1.20 pm | New Delhi

45,288 applications received from international passengers at Delhi airport portal for quarantine exemption

Delhi airport’s online portal has received approximately 45,288 applications from international passengers since August 8 to avail exemption from seven-day institutional quarantine, said its operator DIAL on Wednesday.

The government had said last month that from August 8, if any arriving international passenger has a negative report from an RT-PCR test done 96 hours prior to the journey, he or she need not undergo institutional quarantine in India. Delhi airport had launched an online portal for this purpose.

Over 78,700 international passengers submitted their self-declaration form through the portal, the DIAL said in a press release.

It added that 77 out of over 78,700 flyers were found to be symptomatic and were escorted to the Airport Health Organisation (APHO) for “necessary assistance and support”.


1.10 pm | Himachal Pradesh

COVID-19 reaches community spread phase in Shimla: Health official

Community spread of the novel coronavirus has been witnessed in Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla, a senior health official said Wednesday.

In a statement, Shimla Chief Medical Officer Surekha Chopra said the recent data of COVID-19 cases established community spread of the virus.

The coronavirus cases are increasing day by day and neither their index cases nor travel history is being found which establishes its community spread, she added.

The COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh, with just about 70 lakh population, have reached 7,832, according to the data provided by the state health department till Tuesday.


1.00 pm | Tamil Nadu

Police constable from Tiruppur succumbs to COVID-19

A head constable attached to Anupparpalayam Police Station in Tiruppur died while undergoing treatment for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

D. Arulkumar, 53, died at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) at around 8.20 p.m on Tuesday. Police sources said on Wednesday that his is the second death among the Tiruppur City Police personnel due to COVID-19 after an Armed Reserve constable, Vasu died in Madurai on August 4.

Arulkumar tested positive for COVID-19 on September 4 at a private hospital in Coimbatore and was subsequently referred to CMCH for treatment. He is survived by his wife and two children, according to the sources.

12.45 pm | England

COVID-19 pandemic would leave global game in crisis if it disrupts 2021 season: Watmore

New ECB chairman Ian Watmore feels the COVID-19 pandemic would leave the board with “very severe cash constraints and a global game in crisis” if it continues to rage on and disrupts the next domestic season.

Watmore had begun his tenure last week, succeeding Colin Graves as England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman.

Watmore said ECB has “a guaranteed shortfall of 100m this year, and it might be as high as 180m” against a “pre-COVID whole game” income of around 475m anticipated for 2020.

He said recovering from the losses of the 2020 season will require "a mindset of 'same ambition, just less money'" but it could get much more serious if the global health crisis continues to affect the game next year as well.


12.45 pm | New Delhi

Ganguly leaves for Dubai to take stock of IPL preparations

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly left for Dubai to oversee preparations for a bio-secure IPL beginning on September 19.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will face Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of the T20 event, which has been moved to the UAE due to the rising COVID-19 cases in India.

“My first flight in 6 months to dubai for IPL...crazy life changes,” Ganguly posted on his Instagram handle with a picture in which he is wearing a mask and face shield.


12.40 pm | New Delhi

SC refuses to entertain pleas seeking deferment or cancellation of NEET exam

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a batch of pleas seeking deferment or cancellation of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) scheduled for September 13.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that authorities will take all necessary steps for conducting the NEET undergraduate exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic for admission in medical courses.

Sorry, we are not inclined to entertain, the Bench said.

The apex court had on September 4 dismissed petitions, including the one filed by Ministers of six opposition-ruled States, seeking review of its August 17 order which had paved the way for holding NEET and JEE exams.

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12.30 pm | Assam

Case filed in Assam against hospitals turning patients away

Assam’s leader of the Opposition and senior Congress MLA Debabrata Saikia has gone to court against hospitals refusing to treat patients if they do not produce COVID-19 negative report.

The Gauhati High Court has fixed October 19 as the date of hearing.

Mr. Saikia said in his petition that many hospitals in Assam had been turning critically ill patients away due to non-production of COVID-19 certificate.

“Such people also include accident-related critically injured cases, in which urgent medical care is vital and of paramount importance. Resultantly, many people succumbed to their injuries sustained during the accidents. Other vulnerable patients like pregnant women, cardiac patients, etc., are also not admitted in the hospital without the non-COVID medical certificate,” the petition said.

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12.25 pm | New Delhi

Plasma therapy not beneficial in reducing mortality, shows ICMR study

Use of convalescent plasma therapy in coronavirus-infected patients does not help in reducing mortality or progression to severe COVID-19, a multi-centric study funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed and has now appeared on medRxiv, a preprint server.

The ‘open-label parallel-arm phase II multicentre randomized controlled trial’ (PLACID Trial) was conducted across 39 public and private hospitals across India between April 22 and July 14 to find effectiveness of convalescent plasma (CP) for the treatment of COVID-19, it said.

The National Task Force for COVID-19, a committee formed by the ICMR to respond to the pandemic, has reviewed and approved this study, it said.

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12.20 pm | Karnataka

Namma Metro services resume on Green Line

Two days after resuming Namma Metro services on the Purple Line, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) started running trains on the Green Line (Yelechenahalli to Nagasandra) on Wednesday morning. As announced earlier, trains are operated in two shifts from 8 a.m. to 11a.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Resumption of services on the green line also received poor response in the morning hours.

Mr A S Shankar, Executive Director (operations) of BMRCL said, “Trains will be operated in two shifts for six hours. Total of 96 round trips will be operated during these hours. Response received is too low. We are hoping that in the coming days ridership will increase gradually.”

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12.15 pm | New Delhi

AstraZeneca Pharma shares tank over 13% on COVID-19 vaccine study roadblock

Shares of AstraZeneca Pharma on Wednesday plunged over 13% after its COVID-19 vaccine study was paused following a participant’s unexplained illness.

The stock tumbled 13.40% to Rs. 3,650 on the BSE. On the NSE, it tanked 12.31% to Rs 3,710.

As per reports, late-stage studies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate are on temporary hold while the company investigates whether a recipient’s “potentially unexplained” illness is a side effect of the shot.


12.10 pm | Greece

1,000s flee fire at migrant camp on virus lockdown in Greece

Thousands of migrants fled a camp under COVID-19 lockdown after multiple fires gutted much of the site on the Greek island of Lesbos, authorities said early Wednesday.

Some 12,500 people were living at the Moria camp and the surrounding area, where additional restrictions have been imposed over the past week after a Somali resident tested positive for the coronavirus.

"The fire spread inside and outside of the camp and has destroyed it ... There are more than 12,000 migrants being guarded by police on a highway," Stratos Kytelis, mayor of the island’s main town, Mylinene, told private Skai radio.

“It is a very difficult situation because some of those who are outside will include people who are positive (for the coronavirus).” There were no reports of injuries.

- AP

12.00 pm | Telangana

Dr. Reddy’s launches Remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment in India

Drugmaker Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has launched Gilead Sciences Remdesivir, an investigational drug used in the treatment of COVID-19, under the brand name Redyx in India.

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved Remdesivir for restricted emergency use in the treatment of COVID-19 patients hospitalised with severe symptoms.

Dr.Reddy's said the launch is part of the licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc. that grants it the right to register, manufacture and sell Remdesivir in 127 countries, including India.

Redyx is available in strength of 100 mg vial, the company said.

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11.45 am | Tamil Nadu

City Police Commissioner creates awareness on wearing masks

City Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal accompanied by senior police officials on Tuesday inspected Marina, Elliots Beach and other places to ensure public maintain COVID-19 norms.

Mr. Aggarwal, Additional Commissioners R. Dhinakaran and M. Kannan stopped the motorists who were on the roads without wearing masks and people standing in bus stops. They advised them on the necessity of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and personal hygiene and distributed awareness pamphlets to the public.

11.30 am | New Delhi

Lockdown was ‘third attack on unorganised sector’, says Rahul Gandhi

In the fourth and final part of the video series on Indian economy, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “misled the country” by saying that the fight against COVID-19 pandemic would be won in 21 days, instead in those 21 days the “backbone of the unorganised sector was broken”.

The unplanned lockdown which was imposed without prior notice was the “third attack” on the unorganised sector, he said. In the earlier parts of this series, he listed out “demonetisation” and “faulty implementation of the GST” as the other reasons that led to a collapse of the unorganised sector.

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11.15 am | Goa

South Goa district hospital to treat COVID-19 patients

The Goa health department has decided to convert the South Goa District Hospital into a facility for COVID-19 patients, state Health Minister Vishwanjit Rane said.

The hospital located in Margao town will start operating as a COVID-19 treatment facility with 250 beds from Friday, Rane said on Tuesday.

The decision has been taken in the wake of rise in number of COVID-19 cases in the coastal State.


11.00 am | New Delhi

India reports 89,706 fresh cases

With 89,706 infections being reported in a day, India’s COVID-19 tally went past 43 lakh, while 33,98,844 people have recuperated from the disease so far pushing the national recovery rate to 77.77% on Wednesday, according to data shared by the Union Health Ministry.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 43,70,128, while the death toll rose to 73,890 with 1,115 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.69%.

There are 8,97,394 active cases of COVID-19, which is 20.53% of the total caseload in the country, the data stated.


10.45 am | Vietnam

ASEAN talks tackle pandemic, sea feud amid US-China rivalry

Southeast Asia’s top diplomats are holding their annual talks by video Wednesday to discuss the immense crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and rising tensions in the South China Sea amid the escalating rivalry between Washington and Beijing.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ministerial meetings have been delayed by a month and were being held online due to continuing health risks posed by COVID-19.

- AP

10.30 am | United Nations

UN agencies supporting Indian govt-led efforts to deal with coronavirus pandemic: UN spokesperson

As the number of COVID-19 cases in India soars to over 4.2 million, several UN agencies are supporting the government-led health and socioeconomic efforts to help deal with the outbreak, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing on Tuesday.

It is supporting the government-led health and socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic , with over 4.2 million confirmed cases to date.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has assisted with contact tracing of 8 million cases, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has trained 2.2 million health workers in Infection Prevention and Control, reaching 650 million children and families with life-saving information. The UN team has also supplied personal protective equipment.

With a view to reach the most vulnerable, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) helped 100,000 migrant workers access social protection and reached 100,000 sanitation workers with safety kits and 4,000 metric tonnes of dry rations, Mr. Dujarric said.

The UN in India is also supporting the Government’s anti-stigma campaign, with over 170 million social media impressions in August alone, he added.


10.15 am | USA

U.S. revises travel advisory for Pakistan, places it at Level 3

The United States has revised its travel advisory for Pakistan, bringing it down to Level 3 category of ‘reconsider travel’ from the previous Level 4 of ‘do not travel’ category.

India, which was placed in the Level 4 category on August 6 due to the increased cases of the novel coronavirus, continues to be in the “do not travel” advisory of the State Department.

“Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to COVID-19 and terrorism,” the State Department said in its latest travel advisory on Tuesday, replacing the August 10 travel advisory that had placed Pakistan in the highest Level 4 category.


10.00 am | Singapore

More Indians in Singapore returning home due to job losses: Envoy

More and more Indian workers are returning home as Singapore businesses cut down on workforce following the severe impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, an official said.

“On an average, about 100 Indian nationals in Singapore continue to register daily with the High Commission here for flights back home, with over 11,000 having registered so far,” Indian High Commissioner P. Kumaran said on Wednesday.

Special flights have been arranged as part of the ongoing Vande Bharat Mission and, wherever necessary, more flights are added to help meet the high demand for some destinations to help Indian nationals return home as they have lost their jobs, or going back for medical treatment or family-distress situation, he said.

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9.45 am | Time

Blue, Pink lines of Delhi Metro resume services after 171-day hiatus

Delhi Metro’s Blue Line and Pink Line resumed services with curtailed operation timings on Wednesday after being closed for 171 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Trains are to operate in batches of four-hour each from 7 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. in the first stage.

On Monday, the Delhi Metro had resumed services with curtailed operation of the Yellow Line, since the closure of the urban transporter on March 22.

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9.30 am | New Delhi

As testing crosses 40,000, Delhi records 3,609 cases

With the Capital reporting a record number of COVID-19 tests, 3,609 new cases were added to its tally in the past 24 hours — taking the total number of cases to 1,97,135 on Tuesday.

This is the highest number of cases reported in the city in 77 days; but 45,797 tests were done in the past 24 hours, which is the highest since the virus outbreak.

This is the first time the number of tests has crossed the 40,000 mark in the city.

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9.15 am | United Kingdom

Social gatherings above six people to be banned in England

Tough new lockdown restrictions on social gatherings across the whole of England are to be announced on Wednesday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to control a spike in COVID-19 infections.

From September 14, groups of more than six people will be banned from meeting and fined if they fail to comply.

The number of cases in Britain has begun to rise sharply again in recent days. Although testing is more widespread and the number of people in hospital is well below the peak of the outbreak, ministers fear it is beginning to slip out of control.

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9.00 am | Maharashtra

Opening places of worship with guidelines not practical: Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that opening of religious places, even with guidelines, is not a “practical” solution and it has decided against it till the COVID-19 situation improves.

The State government on Tuesday was responding to a public interest litigation filed by a local NGO seeking direction that temples in the State be opened for worshippers.

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8.30 am | Karnataka

Document verification posing hurdles for CET candidates

The document verification process is turning out to be a difficult task for students though the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) has stated that all documents of the candidates can be uploaded online for their Common Entrance Test (CET) counselling. Students point out they still have to travel and make visits to multiple offices to obtain these documents.

Out of several documents that students have to upload online, they are required to get a counter signature by the Block Education Officer/ Deputy Director of Public Instructions for their study certificate which states that they have studied in Karnataka for a minimum of seven years. Candidates have also been asked to keep two copies of all documents attested by a gazetted officer.

One of the candidates who uploaded their documents online on Tuesday said, “We have to run from pillar to post to get the counter signature for the study certificate. Apart from going to our school or college, we also need to go to the BEO and DDPI office for the same. At these offices, we have to wait for a long time to get a signature. We do not mind doing this during other times, but during the pandemic, we are worried about our health and want to ensure that we do not venture out of home as we still have to write competitive examinations like NEET.”

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8.00 am | Tamil Nadu

About 5,000 passengers use Chennai Metro Rail services on Day 1

On the first day of reopening, Chennai Metro Rail had 5,033 passengers travelling on the stretch between Washermenpet and Chennai airport.

Services between the Chennai Central and St. Thomas Mount stations will resume on Wednesday. However, passengers cannot take a direct train from the airport and will have to switch at the Alandur Metro. With opening of the second stretch, the entire 45-km network is now functional after the lockdown.

The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) expects patronage to pick up significantly after the Chennai Central-St. Thomas Mount stretch reopens. “This is the stretch which most passengers usually take, with Thirumangalam getting the highest number of passengers. We are hopeful that footfalls will improve in a few days. Early this year, about 60,000-70,000 passengers used this route,” an official said.

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7.30 am | Telangana

Yadadri temple closed for devotees

Executive officer of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Devasthanam N Geeta on Tuesday informed that the temple will remain closed for all devotee darshans Wednesday onwards.

The decision was taken in the wake of the increasing COVID-19 cases in the temple town, she said.

However, the deity’s daily service and other rituals by priests would be conducted as usually. Tentatively, temple darshan for devotees would resume Saturday onwards, she said.

7.00 am

Oxford vaccine trial put on hold over safety concern

AstraZeneca Plc has put a hold on the late-stage trial of its highly-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine candidate after a suspected serious adverse reaction in a study participant, health news website Stat News reported on Tuesday.

It quoted an AstraZeneca spokesperson as saying in a statement that the “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.”

The study is testing a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford researchers at sites including India, the United States and the United Kingdom, where the adverse event was reported.

The nature of the safety issue and when it happened were not immediately known, although the participant is expected to recover, according to Stat News.

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