Coronavirus updates | July 31, 2021

A file photo of Hassan district administration creating an awareness message on COVID-19.   | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

With a single-day rise of 41,649 new cases, India’s COVID-19 tally climbed to 3,16,13,993 on July 31, while the death toll due to the viral disease shot up to 4,23,810 with 593 more people succumbing to it, the Union Health ministry said.

PTI reported that the number of active cases has gone up to 4,08,920, accounting for 1.29% of the total number of cases, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.37%, the data showed.

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:



Districts with over 10% COVID positivity need to consider strict curbs: Centre

Districts reporting a COVID-19 positivity rate of over 10% in the last few weeks need to consider strict restrictions to prevent or curtail people's movement and crowding, the Centre told 10 States witnessing an upsurge in infections and positivity.

Highlighting that 46 districts are showing more than 10% positivity rate while another 53 are showing positivity between five and 10%, the Centre has urged the states to ramp up their testing for detection of COVID-19.

The Health Ministry said it was forcefully underlined that any laxity at this stage will result in the deterioration of the situation in these districts. - PTI

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150 people take part in religious procession in Gujarat; 3 booked

Around 150 people participated in a religious procession in Surendranagar district of Gujarat in violation of the coronavirus norms, following which police have registered an offence against two organisers of the event and a disc jockey (DJ) operator, an official said on Saturday.

The procession was taken out in Patdi town of the district on Friday afternoon, he said. - PTI


Tokyo sees virus record at Olympics midpoint

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in Tokyo totaled 4,058 people, a daily record, city hall said Saturday, fanning worries as Japan's capital plays host to the Olympic Games.

Critics have long said the Olympics should be canceled or postponed, as tens of thousands of athletes, corporate sponsors and media gather from around the world.

Athletes are getting tested for the coronavirus every day. Twenty-one people working at the Olympics tested positive Saturday, none of them athletes. - AP


Gujarat's famous Tarnetar fair not to be held this year due to COVID-19

Gujarat's Tarnetar fair, which attracts a large number of tourists from across India and abroad, will not be held for the second year in a row this year due to the coronavirus situation, a senior official said on Saturday.

The annual fair at the Trinetreshwar Mahadev temple in Tarnetar village is held annually for three days in August-September.

"But it has been cancelled this year as well due to the prevailing pandemic situation and the Gujarat government's latest COVID-19 notification that prohibits gathering of more than 400 people in a public programme," Surendranagar district collector A.K. Aurangabadkar said. - PTI


Singapore warns to cancel permit of permanent residents, pass holders not complying with COVID-19 safety measures

Singapore on Saturday warned that it will cancel the permit or pass of permanent residents and long-term pass holders who do not comply with the new COVID-19 safety requirements.

"Permanent Residents (PRs) and long-term pass holders who fail to comply with the new requirement may have their permit or pass cancelled," Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a release.

This came with the announcement of Singapore tightening border measures for travellers from Australia and China's Jiangsu province after an increase in COVID-19 cases in those places, the Straits Times reported, citing the MOH. - PTI


Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s seroprevalence stands at 66.2%

Tamil Nadu has an overall seroprevalence -- which is the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 -- of 66.2%. Among the 38 districts, Virudhunagar had the highest seropositivity at 84%, while Erode had the lowest at 37%, according to the Directorate of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine’s phase-III cross-sectional serosurvey conducted in July.

The State’s seroprevalence was 29% during the second survey conducted in April 2021 and 31% during October-November 2020. Of the 26,610 samples tested from 888 clusters for the third round of the serosurvey, 17,624 individuals had IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

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Tamil Nadu

Chennai Corporation orders closure of shops in nine areas till August 9

The Greater Chennai Corporation has ordered the shops in nine commercial areas of the city to remain closed for 10 days.

The decision has been taken following an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The decision to close shops in congested areas was taken following a meeting of Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi and Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal with the representatives of traders. The Corporation and the police have been asked to penalise traders responsible for violation of physical distancing norms.


Lt. Governor sanctions ₹6.5 crore grant for Puducherry’s COVID-19 response

Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has sanctioned grant-in-aid to the tune of ₹6.5 crore under the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Preparedness Package to the Pondicherry State Health Society for the year 2021-22.

A press note from Raj Nivas said the aid would go towards supporting prevention and preparedness, procurement of essential medical equipment, consumables and drugs, and the strengthening of surveillance activities, including setting up of laboratories and bio-security preparedness.


Two coastal districts make up more cases than Bengaluru Urban

Increasing COVID-19 cases in the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada, overtaking Bengaluru Urban over the last few days, has been a matter of concern.

Health professionals say that it cannot be attributed entirely to the high positivity rate prevailing in the neighbouring Kerala. People failing to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, after relaxation in the lockdown guidelines, and the increasing movement of people are also contributing in the spread of the infection, they say. K.V. Rajendra, Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, also a doctor, said that the positivity rate in some of the areas in Kerala was between 13% and 14%.

Andhra Pradesh

Daily COVID infection tally gradually increasing

The State reported 22 deaths due to COVID and 2,068 new infections in the 24 hours ending Friday morning. The daily death toll was highest in the past 10 days and there was a gradual rise during the past week.

The daily infection tally was also gradually increasing by the day since five days. The death toll reached 13,354 and the cumulative tally increased to 19,64,117. The recoveries and recovery rate increased to 19,29,565 and 98.24% respectively as 2,127 patients have recovered in the past day. There were 21,198 active cases in the state.

The daily positivity rate of the 80,641 samples tested in the past day was 2.68% and the overall positivity rate of the 2.44 crore samples tested was 8.02.

Tamil Nadu

Cases rise for second consecutive day

Tamil Nadu registered an increase in fresh COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row as 1,947 people tested positive on Friday. Cases spiked in both Chennai and Coimbatore, with the daily tally crossing 200 in both cities.

Though the rise in fresh infections was smaller than the previous day’s figure — cases rose marginally by 88 — at least 10 to 12 districts recorded a rise in the daily caseload.

Cases continued to increase in Coimbatore and Chennai for the fourth day in a row. Coimbatore recorded the biggest jump, from 188 cases on Thursday to 230 on Friday. In Chennai, 215 people tested positive, as against 181 on the previous day.

Tamil Nadu

Stalin warns of action against shops taking in more customers

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on July 30 said action would be taken against commercial and other establishments that take in more customers than they are allowed to.

In a statement, he announced the extension of the COVID-19 lockdown across the State, with existing restrictions, till 6 a.m. on August 9. He also said Collectors, Police Commissioners and senior police officers could restrict the entry/exit into areas if they were crowded.

“If the relaxations earlier allowed [so that livelihoods are not affected] are not followed appropriately, they may lead to serious consequences,” he said.

New Delhi

Some respite for Delhiites as COVID-19 cases remain low

Delhi reported 63 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total cases to 14,36,207, as per a bulletin released by the Delhi government on Friday. There were three deaths and the total number of deaths stood at 25,052.

A total of 70,111 tests were done in a day and the test positivity rate (TPR) was 0.09%. Of the total cases, 14,10,575 have recovered, which leaves only 580 active cases.

Also, the number of daily COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the city increased on Thursday, as per government data. A total of 72,478 doses of vaccine were administered, compared to 57,752 on Wednesday, as per another bulletin. But still fewer people were vaccinated compared to many days this month.


Ground Zero | Lights dim for Assam’s roving theatre troupes

Bhramyoman translates into mobile theatre and ‘setting’ entails a range of activities from putting up tents to decorating the stage. A travelling theatre group of an average of 150 persons has 55-60 stage workers engaged in settings.

About one-fourth of some 4,000 stage workers and technicians employed directly by at least 30 Bhramyomans have left Assam for jobs or in search of greener pastures after the first COVID-19 wave eased by October 2020. Most of those who stayed back, primarily because of age and because they had not picked up any other skill, have been struggling to sustain their families.

Rahul Karmakar reports on how Bhramyoman groups, which are a distinct feature of the culture of the State, are on the verge of closure. Read the Ground Zero report here.

World Health Organisation

WHO urges action to suppress COVID-19 before deadlier variants emerge

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is a warning to the world to suppress the virus quickly before it mutates again into something even worse, the WHO said Friday.

The highly-transmissible variant, first detected in India, has now surfaced in 132 countries and territories, the World Health Organization said.

“Delta is a warning: it’s a warning that the virus is evolving but it is also a call to action that we need to move now before more dangerous variants emerge,” the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan told a press conference.

New Delhi

Out of nearly 2,000 people, 65% had no job in April and May, shows CPI(M) survey

The Delhi unit of CPI(M) on July 30 released a report on the impact of the second COVID wave in Delhi-NCR.

The survey showed that despite the additional ration entitlement announced by the government, 27% of the households got less than 5 kg ration per person in May this year. The survey also said out of 1,917 respondents across the Capital and Ghaziabad, 65% had no employment in April and May.

“Even the rest faced a considerable loss of employment. Around 14% of them did not find any work for more than 30 days in two months, 6% for 15-30 days in two months and 4% for 15 days in two months. Only 3% of the respondents reported that they did not face any loss of employment,” the report read.


U.S. sues Kaiser Permanente over alleged Medicare fraud

The federal government has sued Kaiser Permanente, alleging the health care giant committed Medicare fraud and pressured doctors to list incorrect diagnoses on medical records in order to receive higher reimbursements, officials said Friday.

The U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, consolidates allegations made in six whistleblower complaints.

Kaiser, based in Oakland, California, is a consortium of entities that together form one of the largest nonprofit health care plans in the U.S. with more than 12 million members and dozens of medical centers.

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Walmart, Disney announce new COVID-19 steps amid Delta surge

Walmart announced Friday it is again requiring some American employees to wear face masks, while Disney mandated non-union US employees get vaccinated.

The moves come as U.S. officials redouble efforts to encourage more vaccinations in response to the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart said it will again require employees to wear face masks at stores in areas of the United States with high rates of COVID-19 transmission. The chain, which has become something of a bellwether for safety protocols in the United States during the pandemic, said it would also post signs at stores to “strongly encourage” customers to wear masks or face coverings, the company said on its website.


Kerala breaks single-day vaccination record

The State broke its earlier record of COVID-19 vaccination on Friday, administering 5,06,397 doses, the highest number of doses to have been delivered on a single day. The State had administered 4.91 lakh doses on July 24.

On Friday, vaccines were delivered through 1,753 vaccination sites, including 1,498 government sites and 255 centres at private hospitals. Thiruvananthapuram district emerged on top, delivering 97,507 doses, followed by Thrissur, which administered 51,982 doses. Over 40,000 doses each were delivered in Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Kannur districts

Meanwhile, the State received 2.45 lakh more vaccine doses on Friday. Two lakh doses of Covishield were received at Ernakulam regional vaccine store and 45,000 doses of Covaxin in Thiruvananthapuram.


Punjab ‘excess deaths’ three times official toll

The number of “excess deaths” registered by the Civil Registration System (CRS) in Punjab ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit (from April 2020 to May 2021) was an estimated 47,571, which is 3.3 times the official reported figure of 14,450 COVID-19 deaths for the same period.

The figures were arrived at from the data on deaths registered month-wise in the CRS from January 2015 to June 2021 in Punjab and accessed by The Hindu.

Read the story here.

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