Coronavirus India lockdown Day 133 live updates | Government lifts export ban on all ventilators

A COVID-19 test in progress at Chinna Waltair in Visakhapatnam on Monday, August 03, 2020.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The World Health Organization warned Monday that there might never be a “silver bullet” for coronavirus (COVID-19), despite the rush to discover effective vaccines. The agency urged governments and citizens to focus on the basics of public health and disease control in order to suppress the pandemic.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given nod to the Serum Institute of India (SII) for conducting phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford, in the country.

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:

9.40 p.m.| India

Most of 60,000 ventilators being procured are sponsored by PM-CARES fund: Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said about 96% of the 60,000 ventilators being procured by the government are indigenous and most of them have been sponsored by the PM-CARES fund.

Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 60,000 ventilators are being procured and 18,000 have already been supplied to the States and Union Territories.

“Of the 60,000 ventilators, 50,000 are being funded by PM-CARES fund which comes to about ₹2,000 crore in monetary terms,” Mr. Bhushan said during a press briefing.

He further said all the ventilators that are being procured under PM-CARES and those by the Budgetary allocation of the Health Ministry have GPS chips embedded that can be tracked.

“The ‘Make in India’ (indigenous) ventilators have a share of more than 96% by volume and more than 90% by value,” he said.

9.30 p.m. | New Delhi

Noida varsity makes low-cost IoT-based ventilator for COVID patients

Researchers at a private university in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida on Tuesday said they have developed a prototype of an internet-based ventilator whose parts can be 3D-printed for immediate deployment at hospitals at an affordable cost.

The portable ventilator, which has been priced below ₹10,000 and specifically meant for COVID-19 patients, has been designed by a team of research scholars and scientists at the Amity University in Noida.

The USP of this ventilator is its inbuilt ‘internet-of-things’ device, innovative air humidification and compression mechanism along with ultra-flexible control features, said Dr. Balvinder Shukla, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, who also oversaw the project.

9.16 p.m.| New Delhi

Gyms, yoga institutes likely to remain shut in Delhi

Gymnasiums and yoga institutes in Delhi are unlikely to re-open from Wednesday as no new order has so far been issued by authorities to allow them in the national capital, officials said. On July 31, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued an order lifting restrictions on night curfew and since then, the DDMA has not issued other orders giving relaxations under “Unlock-3” phase.

Asked whether gymnasiums and yoga centres will be allowed in Delhi from Wednesday, a top official said, “The government has already issued status quo orders.” Another official said, “Such establishments (yoga institutes and gymnasiums) will not be allowed to re-open from Wednesday as the COVID-19 threat may loom large“.

However, in its “Unlock-3” guidelines issued on July 29, the Centre had allowed opening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums from August 5.

According to Unlock-3 guidelines, schools, colleges, metro rail service, cinema halls along with bars will continue to remain shut till August 31 and political and religious gatherings too will remain prohibited.

Last week, the Arvind Kejriwal government decided to allow hotels and weekly markets to reopen in Delhi.

However, Lt. Governor Anil Baijal overturned the decision as the COVID-19 situation continues to be “fragile” and that infection threat is still “far from over“.

8.30 p.m. | Jammu & Kashmir

J&K government declares entire Kashmir except Bandipora ‘red zone’ amid rising cases

The Jammu and Kashmir government has classified the districts into red-, orange- and green zones depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases spread in the areas and declared the entire Kashmir region, except Bandipora, as a "red zone".

The categorisation has been done to implement restrictions after August 5, when the current phase of lockdown in the Union Territory ends, according to an order issued by the chairperson of the State Executive Committee.

The order declared all districts of Kashmir, except Bandipora, and Ramban district of Jammu as red zones. Kathua, Samba, Bandipora, Reasi, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu districts are in orange zone and Doda and Kishtwar are in green zone.

The Lakhanpur containment zone on the National Highway will be a red/containment zone with a 500-metre buffer, the Order stated.

It said the classification of districts has been done after a detailed review of the COVID-19 situation with top officials, and it will be reviewed periodically.

8.10 p.m. | Karnataka

Biggest single day spike of 6,259 new cases in Karnataka

Karnataka on Tuesday reported its biggest single day spike of 6,259 COVID-19 cases and 110 fresh deaths, taking the total infection count to 1,45,830 and the toll to 2,704, the Health Department said.

The day also saw a record 6,777 patients getting discharged after recovery, outnumbering the fresh cases. Out of 6,259 fresh cases, a total of 2,035 cases were from Bengaluru Urban district.

The previous biggest single day record was on July 30 when the State added 6,128 cases. A bulletin from the Department said cumulatively 1,45,830 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the State and it included 2,704 deaths and 69,272 discharges.

Out of the 73,846 active cases, as many as 73,212 patients were stable in isolation at designated hospitals while 634 in the intensive care units.

Among the fresh deaths, Bengaluru Urban accounted for 30 followed by Dakshina Kannada (13) and Mysuru (9).

Most of the people who succumbed either had a history of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) or Influenza-like illness (ILI), the bulletin said.

Besides Bengaluru Urban, the other districts which reported higher fresh cases on Tuesday are Mysuru 662, Kalaburagi 285, Ballari 284, Belagavi 263, Dakshina Kannada 225, Davangere 191, Dharwad and Hassan 188.

7.50 p.m.| New Delhi

Pradhan tests positive of COVID-19, admitted to Medanta

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday tested positive for coronavirus and has been admitted to Medanta Hospital.

In a tweet, Mr. Pradhan said he has been admitted to hospital after testing positive of COVID-19. Mr. Pradhan, 51, had developed COVID-like symptoms on Monday and was tested on Tuesday.

“After seeing symptoms of COVID-19, I got tested. The report has come positive,” he tweeted. “On the advice of doctors, I have been admitted to hospital and I am healthy.”

Sources said Mr. Pradhan had last week met Home Minister Amit Shah, who was admitted to Medanta on Sunday after testing positive of coronavirus. His staff too had earlier tested positive and has been isolation since.

7.45 | Jammu & Kashmir

Focus on reducing mortality rate among critically ill COVID-19 patients: Union Home Secretary to Jammu and Kashmir

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Tuesday directed authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to focus on reducing the mortality rate among the critically ill COVID-19 patients in the Union Territory.

Mr. Bhalla, while reviewing the COVID-19 death audit report for Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting through video-conference, observed that most of the critical patients die within 72 hours of hospitalisation.

“He emphasised on the need to tackle the issue,” an official spokesman said after the meeting.

Mr. Bhalla chaired a high-level meeting to review the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam and other top officials of the Health and Medical Education Departments were present in the meeting.

The Home Secretary was informed that Jammu & Kashmir is performing reasonably well in mitigating COVID-19 pandemic with 53,323 tests per million population, 1,746 cases per million population, doubling rate of 27.2 days, 3.3%positivity rate, 61.3% recovery rate, and 1.8% mortality rate.

On testing capacities, the Chief Secretary said the related infrastructure has been ramped up and against the WHO recommendation of 140 tests per million population per day, the UT is now conducting 900 tests per million per day.

7.40 p.m. | Himachal Pradesh

Curfew imposed in several villages of Una

Curfew has been imposed in several villages of Himachal Pradesh’s Una district for conducting an active case finding (ACF) campaign, a senior district official said on Tuesday.

The curfew will remain in force in Dehlan, Bangarh, Jakhera, Bhatoli and Mehatpur gram panchayats from 8 p.m. on Tuesday to 7 a.m. on August 9, Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kumar said.

In his curfew order issued under Section 144 of CrPC, the DC stated that outbreak of COVID-19 was noticed in Bhatoli and Dehlan gram panchayats.

The contact-tracing revealed people of Mehatpur, Bhatoli, Jakhera, Bangarh and Dehlan gram panchayats could be potential carriers of the virus, he added. An intensive ACF campaign is required in these gram panchayats, he said.

7.28 | India

Government lifts export ban on all ventilators

The government on Tuesday lifted the export ban on all ventilators to push the outbound shipments of the product.

“All ventilators including any artificial respiratory apparatus or oxygen therapy apparatus or any other breathing appliance/device are made free for export,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

The ban was imposed on March 24 to ensure domestic availability to fight COVID-19 pandemic.

On August 1, the group of Ministers on COVID-19 has considered and agreed to the proposal of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to allow the export of made-in-India ventilators.

An official statement, issued on August 1, has said that this decision came on the heels of India continuing to maintain a progressively declining low rate of case fatality of COVID-19 patients, which means that fewer numbers of active cases are on ventilators. Additionally, there has been substantial growth in the domestic manufacturing capacity of ventilators.

Presently, there are more than 20 domestic manufacturers for ventilators.

7.20 | New Delhi

Total of 76 cops infected by COVID-19, 65 recovered in Noida

Two more Uttar Pradesh police personnel deployed in Gautam Buddh Nagar tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, with officials saying that so far 76 policemen in the district have got infected by the disease.

Sixty-five of the infected policemen have recovered, a senior official said, adding that 10 are undergoing treatment and one policeman has died.

Two policemen are among the 36 people who were found positive for COVID-19 in the district on Tuesday, according to officials.

“Total number of COVID-19 positive police personnel till date in Gautam Buddh Nagar is 76 and 65 of them have recovered, while there are 10 active cases. One policeman has died due to the infection so far,” Ankur Aggarwal, the district police’s Nodal officer for COVID-19, said.

Gautam Buddh Nagar, adjoining Delhi in western Uttar Pradesh, has so far recorded 5,544 positive cases of COVID-19, of which 902 are active. The infection has claimed 43 lives so far, according to official figures.

7.12 | Maharashtra

14-day lockdown in Hingoli, tests to be increased

Authorities in Hingoli district, some 220km from Aurangabad, on Tuesday announced 14-day lockdown with minimal exemptions from August 6.

Collector Ruchesh Jayvanshi told PTI that only milk outlets and medicine shops will remain open and the lockdown period will be used to trace ‘super spreaders’, with large-scale testing of shopkeepers and vegetable vendors.

“Currently, we are tracing 28-30 contacts per infected person,” the Collector said. As part of efforts to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, cash withdrawals from banks have been stopped for the past 10 days and teams are going to villages to deliver money to account-holders, Mr. Jayvanshi said.

7.10| Uttarakhand

AIIMS, Rishikesh begins plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh, on Tuesday began convalescent plasma therapy for coronavirus patients as per ICMR guidelines.

Giving this information, AIIMS-Rishikesh director Ravi Kant appealed to people cured of COVID-19 to donate their plasma and help save the lives of others suffering from the disease.

With the start of this therapy for the first time at any health-care facility in Uttarakhand, people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the State can play a significant role in saving the lives of infected people who do not have the antibodies to fight the disease, he said.

The first group of interested plasma donors was informed about the process of plasma donation on July 24 and three units of convalescent plasma were obtained from them on July 27, July 29 and August 1, to be used for coronavirus patients, the director added.

6.45 | Himachal Pradesh

Lab technician among 29 new COVID-19 cases in HP, tally now 2,848

Twenty-nine people, including a lab technician in Mandi’s Nerchowk Medical College, tested positive for COVID-19 in Himachal Pradesh, raising the State’s virus count to 2,848 on Tuesday, officials said. The State has seen 13 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus so far.

Of the fresh cases, 14 were reported from Bilaspur, seven from Mandi and two each from Chamba, Sirmaur, Shimla and Kullu, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R.D. Dhiman said.

In Mandi, a laboratory technician posted at Nerchwok Medical College is among the fresh cases, a district official said.

The lab is being sanitised on Tuesday and Wednesday and no test will be conducted at Nerchwok lab for two days, Senior Medical Superintendent of the college Jeevanand Chauhan said.

Besides, five men and a woman from different areas of Mandi also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the district official said. In Kullu, a 30-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent of Police Gaurav Singh said.

The Kullu SP said 16 primary contacts of the two fresh cases have been quarantined. In Shimla, a couple tested positive for COVID-19 at Jhalta village of Rohru subdivision, Rohru Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Babu Ram Sharma said.

The SDM said the couple had returned from Chandigarh on August 3 and were home quarantined.

Eleven more patients - three each in Sirmaur, Solan and Chamba, and two in Shimla - recovered from the infection, Mr. Dhiman said.

So far, 1,669 people have recovered from the infection in Himachal Pradesh while 26 patients have migrated out of the State. There are 1,138 active COVID-19 cases in the State now, he said.


6.25 p.m. | New Delhi

LNJP records ‘zero death’ from COVID-19 on two days in a week: Medical director

LNJP Hospital, the Delhi government’s biggest COVID-19 treatment facility, did not report any death due to the disease on two days in a week, signalling improvement in the pandemic situation. The 2,000-bed hospital’s medical director Suresh Kumar said on Tuesday the number of people on ventilator at the facility has come down by nearly 25%, compared to the figure a month ago. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on July 28 that LNJP Hospital had not reported any death on July 27, a feat, doctors said, recorded for the first time in the last couple of months.

“After that day, on two more days, our hospital saw no death from COVID-19.... It is definitely a good sign for all of us who are fighting this situation,” Mr. Kumar told PTI. Delhi recorded 805 fresh coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the tally in the city to over 1.38 lakh, while the death toll from the disease climbed to 4,021, authorities said. Seventeen new fatalities were recorded, according to the Delhi Health Department bulletin released on Monday. The active cases tally stood at 10,207, down from 10,356, on Sunday. The positivity rate on Monday stood at 7.9% while the recovery rate was over 89%, according to the data shared in the bulletin. Mr. Kumar said, at present 320 patients are admitted at the LNJP Hospital, out of whom 259 are confirmed cases and the rest in suspected category.

6.10 p.m. | India

COVID-19 spread reported in new areas but 82% of total cases from 10 States/UTs: Health Ministry

The coronavirus infection has spread to new areas in the country, but 82% of the total cases are still limited to 10 States and Union Territories, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. Addressing a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 50 districts account for 66% of the total caseload and the COVID-19 case fatality rate has progressively declined to 2.10%, the lowest since the first lockdown was imposed on March 25.

Giving a break-up of the mortality rate according to gender, the official said about 68% of COVID-19 deaths were reported among male patients and 32% among female patients in India. In terms of age, he said 50% of such deaths took place in the age group of 60 years and above.

“A total of 28 States and UTs are conducting more than 140 COVID-19 tests per day per million population. India is conducting 479 tests per day per million population for the detection of the disease,” Mr. Bhushan said.

He said 28 States and UTs have a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than 10%, while India’s positivity rate as on date is 8.89%.

ICMR Director General Professor Balram Bhargava said rapid antigen tests account for 25-30% of the total tests conducted so far for the detection of COVID-19.


6.05 p.m. | Australia

COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne city may result in 250,000 job losses: Victorian premier

The impact of the second lockdown across Melbourne city could result in almost 2,50,000 job losses, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has said as he announced new restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the country’s second largest state. Andrews on Monday announced shutting up thousands of businesses in the city as of Thursday under the tougher measures to enforce the stage 4 lockdown for the next six weeks period.

Under the latest restrictions in Melbourne, hairdressers, call centres and many retail businesses will have to shut down while only supermarkets, food stores, liquor shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, newsagents, post offices and outlets selling disability and maternity supplies are allowed to remain open.

He estimated that across all industries, about 5,00,000 people were already working from home and about 2,50,000 had been stood down since the pandemic began. The new restrictions are now expected to see another 2,50,000 workers stay home temporarily, he said. New rules to hardware, building and garden stores have been imposed while the construction industry will see tougher rules of reduced capacity workers on sites.

Mr. Andrews said there were plans to introduce a permit system to make it easier for essential workers to explain why they were out at night, after curfews were introduced across Melbourne from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night.

6:00 p.m. | Mumbai

Singer Jasleen Royal says she has recovered from COVID-19

Singer-composer Jasleen Royal says she has tested negative for COVID-19, weeks after contracting the virus and being quarantined at home.

Jasleen, 29, said she got herself tested for coronavirus as she was scheduled to travel from Ludhiana to Mumbai on July 17.

When the results came out positive, she followed medical guidelines and quarantined herself.


5:50 p.m. | Odisha

Odisha’s COVID-19 caseload may increase by 50,000 in August: Official

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Odisha with over 1,000 new cases being reported daily since July 21, the state’s caseload may increase by 50,000 in August, a senior official said.

However, the director of a prominent research laboratory said, considering the rising number of positive cases now, the pandemic will be stable in Odisha by the last week of August after reaching its peak.


5:40 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh cross 1 lakh-mark; death toll climbs to 1,817

The total number of coronavirus cases in Uttar Pradesh crossed the one lakh mark as the state recorded 2,948 fresh cases on Tuesday, an official statement said.

A total of 41 fatalities were recorded in the state in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll due to the disease to 1,817.


5:30 p.m. | New Delhi

0.27% of total patients across the country are on ventilators: Health Secretary

Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said according to Tuesday's data, 0.27% of the patients across the country are on ventilators. "Certain countries are witnessing fresh spate of cases, however they have not termed this as the second wave of the virus yet," he stated. 

"In India we have been very graded in our response, we have not gone in for a very sudden opening of various activities or sectors of economy. Also, strong messaging from Centre and States/UTs on safety measures have helped in tackling with the pandemic," claimed Mr. Bhushan.

— Delhi Bureau

5:15 p.m. | New Delhi

"11 companies have approached us for their rapid antigen tests, three have been validated": Director General of ICMR

Director General of ICMR Balram Bhargava said that they had been approached by 11 companies for their rapid antigen tests. "We have validated three of them. Sensitivity ranges from 55 to 85% and specificity is 100%," stated Mr. Bhargava.

He added: "There has been a lot of data regarding RTPCR tests, initially we were importing the kits and agents. About 600 domestic players have approached with their kits. About 90 for RTPCR kits have been approved, of which 30 are indigenous and are performing well. PM Care Fund is being used to procure 50,000 ventilators worth about ₹2,000 crore."

— Delhi Bureau

5:05 p.m. | New Delhi

Phase two and three trials of Oxford vaccine to begin within a week at 17 sites: Director General of ICMR

Director General of ICMR Balram Bhargava said that there is no specific drug or vaccine available yet for COVID-19. "However, we have about 141 vaccine candidates being studied the world over," he claimed.

He said: "26 drugs are in different phases of clinical trials, the need of a vaccine is urgent. But there is a dilemma, the pandemic is progressing rapidly and to develop a vaccine, it takes time."

"Presently, we have three Indian vaccines that are in different phases of testing. First one is  the Bharat Biotech vaccine, which has completed its phase one study (safety and early efficacy studies) and begun its  second phase trials. Second one is by Zydus Cadila, a DNA vaccine, which has also completed its phase one trial and has embarked on phase two at 11 sites, progressing well," added Mr. Bhargava.

He added that the third vaccine which got approval on Monday for phase two and phase three clinical trials is the Oxford vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. The trials for which are set to begin within a week at 17 sites.

"Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, we need to worry about four points: prioritisation and fair distribution; logistics of vaccine rollout; stockpiling; and training of those who would handle the vaccines," said Mr. Bhargava

— Delhi Bureau

4:55 p.m. | New Delhi

Policy of intelligent and caliberated testing being implemented: Director General of ICMR

At the same press conference, Director General of ICMR Balram Bhargava said that the authorities were following the policy of intelligent and caliberated testing, focusing on high-priority areas.

"We have also tried to set up laboratories in special economic zones and where larger international airports are located, so that our economy also progresses. The States have also been cooperating immensely in the testing. We are requesting them to reach up to 10 lakh tests per day, we are providing all the necessary help," he stated.

He added: "It is important for the States is to analyse their data and mount locally specific data-driven response."

— Delhi Bureau

4:45 p.m. | New Delhi

"Dashboard set up for tracking real-time status of ventilators": Health Secretary

Secretary to the Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan said at the press conference that two public sector units played a major role: Bharat Electronics Limited (under Defence Ministry), which is supplying 30,000 ventilators, It is technologically supported by private promoter: Scanray; second is Andhra Med-Tech Zone, a PSU of the Andhra Pradesh government, which is supplying 13,500 units.

He added: "Automobile Industry has also played a key role: Maruti Suzuki has made available its manufacturing lines for AgVA to supply 10,000 ventilators. DRDO and its labs also contributed immensely in providing local designing for manufacturing of components. The first BEL manufactured ventilator rolled out in the market on May 30. In less than two months, more than 18,000 ventilators have been supplied to States/UTs/Central government hospitals and DRDO facility. The ventilators are being installed at over 700 hospitals."

"A dashboard has been set up for tracking real-time status of ventilators, which have been dispatched, delivered and installed. Each ventilator is geo-tagged to track its location. The feedback forms are being circulated to each institution and they are being received through mails and con-calls," said Mr Bushan.

"36 whatsapp groups created, one group from each State/UT, to address issues related to the ventilators. Videos and user manuals have been made available to doctors and hospitals," he assured.

— Delhi Bureau

4:30 p.m. |New Delhi

"Ventilator manufacturing sector started from scratch after the COVID-19 outbreak": Secretary to the Health Ministry

Secretary to the Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan addressing the press, informed that the ventilator manufacturing sector in India started from scratch after the COVID-19 outbreak and now the government has permit for their exports

"After the virus broke out, the projected requirement of ventilators was worked out on the basis of number of likely patients requiring them, likely average stay of a COVID-19 patient on ventilator. The projected requirement was around 60,000 units, he claimed.

"Since then, the "Make In India"ventilators  have been made available in the market  and are competitively priced ranging from ₹1.5 lakh to ₹4 lakh per unit compared to foreign ventilators ranging from ₹10 lakh to ₹20 lakh," said Mr. Bhusan.

— Delhi Bureau

4:15 p.m. | West Bengal

6.6 lakh tests conducted in last 24 hours: Secretary to Health Ministry

At a press conference, Secretary to Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan claimed that more than 2 crore tests have been conducted so far, with 6.6 lakh of them being done in the last 24 hours.

He added: "The recovered cases are now double the active cases. Case fatality rate is the lowest since the first lockdown (2.10%)," he said. 24 States/UTs have better tests per million than the national average of 15,119. 28 States/UTs are performing more than 140 tests per day per million population, the maximum of 1,580 in Andhra Pradesh and minimum in Himachal Pradesh.National Average is 479."

According to him, 28 States/UTs have positivity of less than 10%. This includes states like Punjab (3.10%), Rajasthan (3.30%), MP (4.2%), U.P. (4.8%), Haryana (5.40%), Assam (6.10%), West Bengal (9%), Karnataka (9.8%). The country jas a total postivity rate of 8.89%

India has registered 5,86,298 active cases and 12,30,509 recoveries as the case fatality rate has gone down from 3.36% on June 17 to 2.10% on August 4

— Delhi Bureau

4:10 p.m. | Mumbai

Sun Pharma unveils COVID-19 drug FluGuard at ₹35 a tablet

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd has announced the introduction of FluGuard(Favipiravir 200 mg) at a price of ₹35 per tablet, for the treatment of mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 in India.

Glenmark’s FabiFlu is available at ₹75 a tablet as the company recently brought down the price from ₹103 a tablet during the time of introduction.

Favipiravir is the only oral anti-viral treatment approved in India for the potential treatment of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 disease.

— Special Correspondent

4:05 p.m. | Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh: Coronavirus patient escapes from Covid care centre near Shimla

A coronavirus patient, who was admitted to a dedicated COVID care centre in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla district, has escaped, police said on Tuesday. A resident of Kashmir, the COVID-19 patient was admitted to the centre in Mashobra, around 10 km from Shimla, on July 14, they said.

According to police, the patient escaped on Sunday night and reached Jammu on Monday, they said.


3:55 p.m. | New Delhi

Sero survey will take more time: Delhi Minister

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said that collection of blood samples for a serological survey being conducted in the city will take "one or two" more days than the earlier set deadline of August 5. 

"Sero survey will take one or two extra days as there were Eid and Raksha Bandhan holidays in between. Last time it took 14 days, this time it is being done in about seven days. Around 15,000 samples will be taken," Mr. Jain told the media.

— Staff Reporter

3:45 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

COVID-19: U.P. CM directs officials to arrange 50,000 additional beds in hospitals

Amid rising cases of coronavirus, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday directed officials to arrange 50,000 additional beds in hospitals.

The state’s infection tally stands at 97,362 and the death toll at 1,778, an official statement said on Monday.


3:35 p.m. | Jharkhand

Swab samples of Jarkhand CM, his family members, CMO officials collected for COVID-19 test

A team of health workers on Tuesday collected swab samples of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and his family members for COVID-19 tests, the second time in a month, after several employees at his office were found to have contracted the disease, an official said.

Other staff members at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) have also given their samples for examination, he said.


3:30 p.m. | Andhra Pradesh

Oxygen zone set up at COVID hospital

The ‘oxygen zone’ established at Sri Padmavathi Nilayam District COVID Hospital is all set to provide the much-needed breather to hospitals and quarantine centres, besides ensuring uninterrupted supply of oxygen to hospitals in and around Tirupati.

Funded by Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA), the facility is set up to help patients with breathing issues by ensuring immediate supply of oxygen.


3:20 p.m. | Kolkata

No flight operations at Kolkata airport on revised total lockdown days

Authorities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Aiprort Tuesday announced that flight operations at the airport will remain suspended on all the revised seven days of total lockdown in West Bengal this month starting from August 5.

The airport had suspended flight operations on July 25 and 29 due to total lockdown announced by the state government.


3:10 p.m. | New Delhi

Release data on registered deaths to understand mortality impact of COVID-19: researchers

More than 200 researchers, epidemiologists and public health professionals from India and abroad have urged government agencies to release data on registered deaths to understand the mortality impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

In an appeal to the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, State registrars and other agencies which maintain death records, the signatories said that vital registration systems that record births and deaths are “unrevealed health surveillance tools” that are particularly valuable in responding to epidemics.


2:55 p.m. | Karnataka

Compulsory rapid antigen testfor some categories in Udupi

Udupi Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadeesha has issued an order directing shopping malls, shops, hotels and online food delivery platforms to get their staff compulsorily tested for COVID-19 through rapid antigen test. Meanwhile, some people have termed it controversial.

In his magisterial order issued under the Disaster Management Act and COVID-19 Regulations on Saturday, Mr. Jagadeesha warned that penal action will be taken against establishments if they failed to get the test done for their staff.

Read more

— Special Correspondent

2:45 p.m. | Singapore

Singapore reports 295 new COVID-19 cases

Singapore on Tuesday reported 295 new coronavirus cases, mostly migrant workers living in dormitories, taking the country’s COVID-19 tally to 53,346.

Among the new new cases, two patients live in the community areas and seven are imported infections. The rest of the cases are foreign workers living in packed dormitories which have emerged as major virus hot-spots.


2:35 p.m. | Telangana

COVID-19: HC extends by 45 days interim bail of 2,901 under-trial prisoners

The Delhi High Court Tuesday extended the interim bail of 2,901 undertrial prisoners by 45 days to de-congest jails here in the wake of the persisting coronavirus pandemic.

Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh passed the order in view of a high-power committee’s observation that it may not be possible at this juncture to predict definite cut off date for resumption of normal functioning of the court system, and there is no certainty as to when the pandemic threat will be over cutting the need for ‘social distancing’


2:25 p.m. | Madhya Pradesh

Infants shifted from hospital after staff contracts COVID-19

At least 26 infants from the sick newborn care unit of State-run Gajra Raja Medical College (GRMC) in Gwalior were shifted to private nursing homes after some staff from paediatrics department tested COVID-19 positive, an official said on Tuesday.

The sick newborn care unit (SNCU) at GRMC’s Kamla Raja Hospital was shut after four junior doctors and a nurse from paediatrics department tested positive for coronavirus, Gwalior’s chief medical and health officer (CMHO) V.K. Gupta said.


2.15 pm | Kerala

Kerala police step up enforcement of pandemic control measures

The Kerala police fanned out across densely populated localities in the State to ensure compliance of government directive on mask wearing and physical distance maintaining.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Monday empowered the police to impose fines and, if need be, arrest persons who violated the provisions of the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020.

The enforcement drive appeared focussed on large community cluster zones in coastal localities and urban residential colonies.

In a directive to district police chiefs late Monday, State Police Chief Loknath Behera ordered strict enforcement of curfew and lockdown norms in containment zones. However, officers were directed to make allowance for home delivery of essential items.

- G. Anand

2:10 p.m. | Israel

Indian mission in Israel extends essential support to communities amid COVID-19 movement restrictions

The Indian Embassy in Israel has launched a unique initiative to reach out to the Indian communities in the country to provide essential consular services amid the restrictions on movement and gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Indian embassy staff have been travelling to various parts of the country once a week so that Indians and Israelis of Indian-origin looking for consular support do not face problems with urgently required documents.


2.00 pm | Delhi

Sacred Heart Cathedral to reopen today

Sacred Heart Cathedral — one of the oldest churches in the Capital — will reopen its doors to the general public from August 4, over four months after shutting down due to COVID-19.

Parish priest Father Lawrence P.R. said that several security measures have been put in place, including limiting the number of devotees during mass, to ensure that people coming to the church remain safe.

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1.45 pm | Karnataka

Sagar MLA Hartal Halappa tests positive

Sagar MLA and former Minister Hartal Halappa has tested positive for COVID-19. He is under treatment in a private hospital in Bengaluru.

In a post on his Facebook page, the legislator said he, his family members and personal staff underwent the COVID-19 test. His wife, driver and an assistant have also tested positive.

He appealed to all those who came in contact with him in recent days to under the COVID-19 test.

Mr. Halappa was recently appointed chairman of MSIL. He took charge as the chairman in Bengaluru on July 30. Many Ministers, legislators and Lok Sabha members had met him on the day.

- Sathish G.T.

1.30 pm | Andhra Pradesh

Tension at GD Nellore as salon operator tests positive

Tension prevailed at Gangadhara Nellore (GD Nellore) mandal headquarters on Monday after a 60-year-old man, who operates a hair salon at the local commercial complex, tested positive for COVID-19 and rushed to the Christian Medical College at Vellore in Tamil Nadu.

Revenue, medical and police officials at the mandal swung into action and turned the commercial complex into a red zone, and started disinfecting the nearby areas.

All those who had visited the salon during the last two weeks were sought to undergo test voluntarily.

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1.15 pm | Rajasthan

Impose lockdown in an area if COVID-19 cases rise: Rajasthan CM to Collectors

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot asked District Collectors on Monday to impose a lockdown in an area if the number of coronavirus cases was on the rise there.

He said Collectors may impose other restrictions, such as declaring containment zones and announcing a night curfew, according to the requirements.

Chairing a review meeting, Mr. Gehlot also directed officials to ensure compliance of the COVID-19 health protocols, adding that the situation may worsen if they were violated.


1.00 pm | West Bengal

Gyms in Kolkata set to open on Aug. 6

Many gyms in Kolkata are conducting online demo sessions to tell their patrons about the safety measures in place before opening on August 6.

The Centre has declared gyms, which remained closed since March end, can open during unlock 3.0 phase from August 5. But due to the biweekly lockdown falling on that date in West Bengal, many gyms have decided to function from August 6 while others have preferred to wait a little more.


12.45 pm | Karnataka

Mysuru District Journalists’ Association sealed after Siddaramaiah tests positive

The premises of Mysuru District Journalists’ Association in Mysuru was sealed for fumigation in the wake of former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah testing positive to COVID-19.

Mr. Siddaramaiah had participated in a meet-the-press programme organised by the association on July 30.

The Mysuru City Corporation sealed the residence of Mr. Siddaramaiah and sanitized the premises since he had stayed there overnight during his visit. Family members, relatives and the staff who had come in contact with the senior Congress leader to remain in home isolation.

- Shankar Bennur

12.15 pm | Washington

U.S. doing ‘very well’ against COVID-19, India has a ‘tremendous problem’: Trump

President Donald Trump said that as compared to big countries, America was doing “very well” in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, while India is having a “tremendous problem” battling the disease and China is witnessing a “massive flare up” in infections.

"I think we’re doing very well. I think that we have done as well as any nation. If you really look, if you take a look at what’s going on, especially now with all these flare ups and nations that they were talking about," Mr. Trump told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

"Don’t forget, we’re much bigger than - other than India and China. China is having a massive flare up right now. India has a tremendous problem. Other countries have problems," he said in response to a question.

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12.00 pm | Arunachal Pradesh

60 new COVID-19 cases in Arunachal; tally rises to 1,752

Sixty more people, including 13 security personnel and four health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arunachal Pradesh, taking the northeastern State’s caseload to 1,752, a senior health official said.

Of the 60 new cases, 14 were reported from East Siang followed by Namsai (13), Changlang (9), Lower Siang (6), five each from East Kameng and Capital Complex, three each from Papum Pare and West Siang and one each from Longding and West Kameng districts respectively, State Surveillance Officer Dr. L. Jampa said.


12.00 pm | Odisha

Six out of nine new deaths from Ganjam district

Odisha reported 1,384 new cases which took the State’s count to 37,681 on Tuesday. After recovery of 23,073 patients, active cases stood at 14,350.

Nine persons died of COVID-19 taking the total death-toll to 216. Highest six deaths were reported from Ganjam district which accounted for more than 51.85 % of State’s total.

- Satya Sundar Barik

11.45 am | Puducherry

Fatalities in Puducherry now at 57

The death of a 55-year-old woman at JIPMER raised COVID-19 fatalities to 57 in Puducherry.

The total number of COVID-19 cases crossed the 4,000 mark with 168 new admissions across the U.T.

The infection rate (positives from 812 sample tests in 24 hours) was 20.7%.

With 96 patients getting discharged in the past 24 hours, the number of active cases in Puducherry dropped below 1,000 to aggregate 989 cases. Yanam has 134 active cases,  Karaikal 59 (five new admissions) and Mahe one.

- Dinesh

11.40 am | Tripura

Tripura CM tests negative for COVID-19

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tested negative for COVID-19 even as two members of his family have contracted the disease.

He has, however, quarantined himself at his residence for the next seven days.

“Two of my family members found COVID-19 positive. Other family members found negative...” he tweeted late on August 3.

“My COVID-19 test results came negative. For next 7 days I will follow home quarantine & other guidelines. Also, I will work from home. I thank beloved people of Tripura for your wishes and prayers. The fight against COVID-19 will continue and together we shall win,” he tweeted on Tuesday morning.


11.30 am | Odisha

Elderly, differently-abled persons to receive cash at their homes in Odisha

Bank and postal employees can deliver cash to the doorsteps of elderly and differently-abled persons in Odisha after receiving phone calls from them seeking assistance in this regard, officials said.

The decision to this effect was taken by the Odisha government on Monday as elderly persons have been advised to remain indoors due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, they said.

“Postal and bank employees are allowed to move to the premises of senior citizens and differently-abled persons to deliver cash, on phone calls during working hours, with strict adherence to safety measures,” the Finance Department said in an order.


11.10 am | Delhi

States must respond promptly to senior citizens' requests: SC

The Supreme Court directs that senior citizens be paid regular pension under the different schemes, while discussing the care of the elderly during COVID-19.

The government is obliged to take care of those living alone, provide them essential goods and services, the court says.

States have to respond promptly as and when senior citizens, especially those living alone, make a request. It adds that care givers in old age homes should wear PPE and follow proper sanitation procedures.

- Krishnadas Rajagopal

11.00 am | Delhi

Active cases dip to nearly 10K in delhi

As many as 805 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,38,482, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Monday.

Of the total cases, 1,24,254 people have recovered and there are 10,207 active cases. Also, 17 more deaths were reported in a single day, taking the total to 4,021.

The total number of tests done in the past 24 hours was only 10,133, which is nearly half the average daily of around 20,000 in July.

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10.30 am | United Nations

Pandemic has created largest disruption of education in history: Guterres

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion students in all countries and continents and an additional 23.8 million children and youth could drop out or not have access to school next year due to the pandemic’s economic impact alone, the UN Secretary General’s policy brief on education said.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a video statement launching his policy brief on‘Education and COVID19’ that in mid-July, schools were closed in more than 160 countries, affecting over 1 billion students and at least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education in their critical pre-school year.


10.00 am

803 new fatalities reported in the country: Ministry

The Health Ministry said that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 5,86,298, while 12,30,509 people have recovered.

Single-day spike of 52,050 COVID-19 cases pushes India’s virus caseload to 18,55,745 and death toll rises to 38,938 with 803 new fatalities. The recovery rate has risen to 66.31%, while the fatality rate has further dropped to 2.10%, the data stated.

This is the sixth consecutive day that COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 50,000


9.30 am | Sikkim

I-Day celebrations to be subdued in Sikkim due to COVID-19

The 74th Independence Day celebrations will be subdued in Sikkim due to the COVID-19 outbreak, officials said. The State-level function will be held at Manan Bhawan in Gangtok instead of Paljor Stadium, the usual venue.

The event will be held on a smaller scale with limited invitees, but with the same zeal and enthusiasm, an official said. The programme will be live-streamed across various digital platforms.

The decision in this regard was taken during a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary S.C. Gupta on Monday, the official added.


9.00 am | West Bengal

Deaths hit a new high in Bengal, take toll to 1,731

For the first time on Monday, the number of COVID-19 deaths on a single day in West Bengal crossed the 50 mark with 53 deaths, taking the total fatalities to 1,731. As many as 2,716 cases were recorded taking the total tally in the State to 78,232, of which 21,683 were active. The discharge rate in the State stands at 70.07%.

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8.40 am | Karnataka

Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah tests positive

After Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah has tested positive for coronavirus. He was admitted to Manipal Hospitals at 11.30 p.m. on Monday for evaluation of fever.

“I have been tested positive for #Covid19 & also been admitted to the hospital on the advice of doctors as a precaution. I request all those who had come in contact with me to check out for symptoms & to quarantine themselves,” he tweeted.

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8.30 am | Punjab, Haryana

Punjab recordes 19 COVID-19 deaths, Haryana 7

Punjab recorded 677 COVID-19 cases on Monday and reported 19 more deaths taking the tally to 442, according to an official statement.

In Haryana, 654 cases surfaced taking the tally of cumulative cases to 37,173. It also reported seven deaths taking the tally to 440.

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8.00 am | Telangana

Telangana senior CPI (M) leader Sunnam Rajaiah dies of COVID-19

Former Bhadrachalam MLA, senior CPI (M) leader and Girijana Sangam leader Sunnam Rajaiah (68), reportedly died of COVID-19 in the wee hours on Tuesday.

He died while being shifted from Hyderabad to a COVID-19 Hospital in Vijayawada. He is survived by wife and two sons and two daughters.

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7.30 am | Maharashtra

All shops in Mumbai to open from August 5

All shops in Mumbai can remain open on all days, on both sides of the road, irrespective of the odd-even formula which was in place, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced on Monday.

An order issued by Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal, said all non-essential markets, market areas and shops would be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Liquor shops have been allowed over the counter sales, with strict observance of physical distancing norms in place to curb COVID-19.

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7.00 am | Karnataka

19 positive cases reported in IISc

As many as 19 people living on the Indian Institute of Science campus have tested positive for COVID-19 as of July 31. According to a press release on Monday, 12 of 15 COVID-19 positive students in hostels tested negative. Most of them were asymptomatic and treated in the COVID-19 Care Centre managed by the campus health care doctors. That apart, 34 pensioners and employees who live off-campus have also tested positive.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 11:48:32 AM |

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