Coronavirus updates | August 31, 2021

Children and their family members, wearing face masks, shopping in Vijayawada on Monday.   | Photo Credit: V. Raju

After nearly a week of cases outweighing recoveries, Maharashtra rallied again to see a trend reversal as 4,696 patients were discharged on Monday against a comparatively low surge of 3,741 new COVID-19 cases.

The active case tally dipped to 51,834. The death toll was the lowest in a fortnight, as 52 deaths took the State’s cumulative fatalities to 1,37,209. The case fatality rate remains constant at 2.12%.

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:


Kerala reports 30,203 fresh COVID-19 cases, 115 deaths

Kerala on Tuesday reported 30,203 fresh COVID-19 cases and 115 deaths which pushed the total infection count in the state to 40,57,233 and the fatalities to 20,788.

Among the 14 districts of the state, Malappuram recorded the highest with 3,576 cases followed by Ernakulam (3,548), Kollam (3,188), Kozhikode (3,066), Thrissur (2,806), Palakkad (2,672), Thiruvananthapuram (1,980), Kottayam (1,938), Kannur (1,927), Alappuzha (1,833), Pathanamthitta (1,251), Wayanad (1,044) and Idukki (906).

Of the new cases, 116 were health workers, 147 from outside the state and 28,419 infected through contact with the source of the contact not being clear in 1,521 cases, a state government release said.



Odisha does away with weekend shutdown, eases COVID-19 restrictions

The Odisha government on Tuesday revoked weekend shutdown, which was in force in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, following improvement in the pandemic situation.

The government, however, decided to continue with restrictions on religious, cultural social and political gatherings to avoid crowding. Exhibition and trade fairs will not be allowed during September.

Night curfew has been imposed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m in all urban centres. All business establishments or private officers can now function till 10 p.m. Libraries have been allowed to function. - Satyasundar Barik

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France aims to give third COVID-19 vaccine shot to 18 million by early 2022

France aims to administer a third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to some 18 million people by early 2022, a health ministry official said on Tuesday.

Last week, France's top health advisory body (HAS) recommended a booster shot for those aged 65 and over and for those with comorbidities. - Reuters

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Tamil Nadu

No compulsion on students to attend classes physically, TN informs Court

With schools in Tamil Nadu set to reopen classes physically from September 1 for classes IX to XII, the State government has informed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that there would be no compulsion on the students to attend the classes in the physical mode. Online classes would continue, the State submitted.

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Bombay HC warns of COVID-19 resurgence

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said if the situation in Mumbai was not controlled or restricted with respect to overcrowding at public places then the city would again face a surge in cases like it did last year.

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Neutral venues for Indian domestic cricket season

Domestic cricket will played at neutral venues after five years, according to the calendar circulated by the BCCI to the State associations.

The last time the domestic matches were held at neutral venues was in 2016-17. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the forthcoming season will have six hubs hosting a group each.

However, unlike last season, the home team of each hub will play at another venue to make it a level-playing field.

According to the detailed programme, accessed by The Hindu, the Ranji Trophy, which will return after a year’s hiatus, will be played at Mumbai (Group A), Bengaluru (Group B), Kolkata (Group C), Ahmedabad (Group D), Thiruvananthapuram (Group E) and Chennai (Plate Group).

Find the entire calender here.


₹5 lakh health cover in Telangana with Aarogyasri, Ayushman merger

The merger of Telangana government’s Aarogyasri Health Scheme and Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Scheme has increased the maximum health protection to ₹5 lakh per year. Around 79 lakh families who are beneficiaries of Aarogyasri scheme are eligible for it.

The upper limit under Aarogyasri scheme was ₹2 lakh per year to each of the 79 lakh families. “After merger of the two schemes, the upper limit of health protection to all the families’ increases to ₹5 lakh per annum,” said senior officials from the State Health Department.

Until mid May-2021, only Aarogyasri health scheme was implemented in the State. Prior to May, the State government expressed reluctance over coverage of Ayushman Bharat. On May 18, it was announced that the State Health Department has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Health Authority for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) scheme in the State. There after, modalities for implementation of the two schemes was being worked out.


Karnataka orders one week institutional quarantine for visitors from Kerala

Karnataka government has made a week’s institutional quarantine mandatory for all people coming from Kerala in the wake of high COVID-19 positivity rate in the neighbouring State.

Revenue Minister R. Ashok told reporters in Bengaluru on August 30 that the mandatory institutional quarantine norm would apply to all visitors from Kerala, including students.

Also, such visitors would have to undergo a COVID-19 test after completing the one-week institutional quarantine, the Minister said.


COVID-19 mortality is rare among children, finds study

Out of the 166 persons who died of COVID-19 during the week between August 16 and 22 in Karnataka, only two were children, aged 14 and 15. No child below the age of 10 died because of COVID-19 during the period.

These were the findings of a study on mortality patterns in the southern States of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, conducted by Jeevan Raksha, a public-private initiative involving Proxima, a management firm, and the Public Health Foundation of India.

The 14-year-old girl from Bengaluru Urban who died was a diabetic, and she passed away within 24 hours of admission to hospital, while the 15-year-old boy from Haveri district died less than 48 hours after his hospitalisation, the study said.


COVID vaccination: Bengaluru Urban achieves 100% first dose coverage

Bengaluru Urban (excluding Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) has now become the first district in Karnataka to achieve 100% first dose vaccination. However, only about 28.2% of the 10,62,262 population in this district has been fully vaccinated.

According to data from the Health and Family Welfare Department, last week, the BBMP crossed a milestone by administering a total of over one crore doses. Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said the government’s target was to make Bengaluru the first city in India where the entire population is fully vaccinated. “We have directed the BBMP Commissioner and other officials to work towards achieving this target,” he said. Apart from Bengaluru Urban, Kodagu, Udupi, and BBMP have done the highest coverage in terms of first dose so far. While Kodagu has achieved 75.4%, Udupi and BBMP follow with 72.1% and 71.8% first dose coverage.

Tamil Nadu

Classrooms in Tamil Nadu get ready for September 1 reopening

Tamil Nadu: 31 August 2021: Classrooms in the Municipal Girls Higher Secondary school in Ramanathapuram were disinfected on August 31, 2021, ahead of the school reopening after remaining shut owing to the pandemic.

Tamil Nadu: 31 August 2021: Classrooms in the Municipal Girls Higher Secondary school in Ramanathapuram were disinfected on August 31, 2021, ahead of the school reopening after remaining shut owing to the pandemic.   | Photo Credit: BALACHANDAR L.


Opinion | The vaccine’s last-mile problem

COVID-19 exposed and increased the vast inequalities of our world. Now, the effort to vaccinate humanity risks creating the latest front in global inequality. Against a backdrop of vaccine nationalism, debates over intellectual property or technology transfer, fair and equal access to COVID-19 vaccines is at risk. This will cost lives, stifle economies, and push our recovery further out of reach.

In vaccination programmes with delicate delivery requirements, the last mile means make or break, writes Grete Faremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNOPS, the United Nations’ infrastructure and procurement specialists. Read the essay here.


Interview with Karnataka education Minister B.C. Nagesh

With the State government deciding to reopen classes VI to VIII from next Monday, after shutting down in view of the ongoing pandemic, Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh spoke to The Hindu on the plan ahead and measures to take to improve attendance.

Read the full interview here.


High school attendance improves, II PU sees dip

A week after high schools and PU colleges reopened for offline classes, the attendance across the State for II PU classes stood at 34%, while it was 54% for classes IX and X. While the attendance has improved in high schools compared to the first day, the attendance for II PU classes has dipped.

The attendance for PU classes has been recorded for both offline and online classes, while for high schools, the attendance has been recorded for offline classes only.

Class IX and X attendance on August 23 stood at 19.56% and 21.08% respectively, while the I PU attendance stood at 36%.

New Delhi

Containment zones plummet as cases continue to decrease

Only around 200 of the 87,500-plus containment zones created in the Capital during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic currently remain in place.

The authorities concerned are not only still keeping an eye on such areas but also ensuring COVID-appropriate behaviour in their vicinity.

The number of containment zones in the city is decreasing rapidly with some districts such as the Central and North-East districts, having seemingly become free of them per se and others on the brink of ridding themselves of the tag.

Tamil Nadu

Schools, colleges to reopen in T.N. as planned; beaches closed on Sundays

Ahead of the school reopening on September 1, 2021, teachers and school staff at Lady Wellington Government Model Higher Secondary School in Chennai undertook last-minute preparation like disinfecting premises and marking social-distancing indicators.

Ahead of the school reopening on September 1, 2021, teachers and school staff at Lady Wellington Government Model Higher Secondary School in Chennai undertook last-minute preparation like disinfecting premises and marking social-distancing indicators.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu


Schools for Classes IX-XII, colleges, and polytechnics will reopen in Tamil Nadu on September 1 as planned, while beaches will be closed on Sundays and no public display of religious festivities, including for Vinayaka Chaturthi, will be allowed, the government said on Monday.

Ahead of the reopening of schools and colleges, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin held a meeting with top officials to take stock of the COVID-19 situation.

The government also mandated that because of the situation prevailing in Kerala, college students coming from that State must be vaccinated and produce an RT-PCR test certificate.

New Delhi

Schools reopening: staggered lunch breaks, 50% occupancy

To ensure COVID-appropriate measures are followed, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has issued a Standard Operating Procedure for reopening of schools and colleges from September 1.

Schools for Classes IX-XII have been permitted to resume. The guidelines include allowing only 50% of students per classroom, thermal screening, staggered entry and exit timings, and staggered lunch breaks.

The schools are also mandated to have a quarantine facility on campus to deal with any emergencies.


Recovery rate improves to near 98%

No COVID-19 death was reported in the Union Territory as 63 cases were detected against 88 recoveries and overall recovery rate touched almost 98% on Monday.

Puducherry accounted for 52 of the new cases, which were confirmed from 3,565 tests, followed by Karaikal (5) and Mahe (6). Yanam did not report new cases for the last two days.

The test positivity rate was 1.77%, case fatality rate 1.47% and recovery rate 97.99%.

The cumulative toll was 1,812 — Puducherry (1,431), Karaikal (236), Yanam (105) and Mahe (40).


Private hospitals lift less than 10% of vaccines

Private hospitals picked up only 9.4% of the COVID vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — between May 1 and August 17, though 25% of the doses were allotted.

Of the 9.4% doses lifted, private hospitals had administered 65% by August 13. On the other hand, 90.6% of such doses reached government centres, of which they administered 97%.

The figures were ascertained from an RTI reply received from the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

In 12 States and Union Territories, including Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, the share of doses supplied to private hospitals was less than 2% of the overall supply.

Number of cases

India logs 30,941 new COVID-19 cases

With 30,941 people testing positive for coronavirus, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,27,68,880, while the active cases declined to 3,70,640, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The death toll has climbed to 4,38,560 with 350 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 a.m.

The active cases comprise 1.13 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.53 per cent, the ministry said. An increase of 5,684 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.


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