Coronavirus India lockdown Day 136 updates | August 7, 2020

A health worker collecting a swab sample from a person at a local health centre for COVID-19 test in New Delhi today.

A health worker collecting a swab sample from a person at a local health centre for COVID-19 test in New Delhi today.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India crossed two million on Thursday, show data collated from various State health departments. Worldwide, the number stands at over 19 million, with the United States, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa contributing to the bulk of the recorded cases.

On the vaccine front, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that the country is likely to have a coronavirus vaccine before the November 3 election, a more optimistic forecast on timing than anything suggested by his own White House health experts.

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:

10.50 pm | India

Seven-day moving average in daily COVID-19 tests significantly improved to 5.66 lakh since July: Govt

The seven-day moving average in daily tests conducted for detection of COVID-19 in India has significantly improved from 2.69 lakh on July 14 to 5.66 lakh on August 6, the Union health ministry said, as 2.2 crore tests have been done so far.

With India’s cumulative testing rising from 1.2 crore on July 14 to 2.2 crore as on date, the COVID-19 positivity rate has seen an increase from 7.5 to 8.87 per cent during the same period, it said.

“Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as Delhi experience has amply shown, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, tracking and timely clinical management,” the ministry underlined.


10.20 pm | Assam

Another Assam MLA tests positive for COVID-19

Assam BJP MLA Mihir Kanti Shome tested positive for COVID-19, the eighth legislator to get infected by the novel coronavirus in the State.

Cachar District Health department official Suman Choudhury said that Shome tested positive and has been admitted to Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH).

The Health officials have tested the family members of the Udharbond MLA and already started contact tracing of him, Mr. Choudhury added.


9.50 pm | World

Thousands of British Airways employees face job losses

Some 4,000 British Airways workers are learning Friday whether they will be fired as the airline slashes jobs amid the drop in demand and travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trade union Unite accused the airline of forcing workers out due to naked company greed.” British Airways employees who keep their jobs face pay cuts.

This is a very bleak day for the incredible BA workforce and will go down in the history of the airline as the day that it put the interests of the boardroom ahead of its passengers and workforce,” Unite Assistant Secretary General Howard Beckett said.

- AP

9.20 pm | India

SAD MP Naresh Gujral tests positive for COVID-19 a day after he attended House panel meet

Rajya Sabha member Naresh Gujral has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a day after he had attended a parliamentary standing committee meeting along with several other MPs.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader said he was asymptomatic and fine and that he had informed the Rajya Sabha Secretariat about his infection.

The meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice was held following social distancing norms and members wore face masks during it, he said.


8.45 pm | Nagaland

Total lockdown to be lifted in Kohima, general lockdown to continue

Total lockdown will be lifted in Kohima district on Saturday but the general lockdown in Nagaland will continue till August 31, officials said on Friday.

Kohima district will therefore have the general lockdown protocol in which shops selling essential commodities will be allowed to open. Government offices will function with minimum staff on roster basis.

The total lockdown was imposed in Kohima district from July 25 to 31 and was later extended to August 7 to break the COVID-19 chain.


8.15 pm | Delhi

Dummy mobile no., hospital address can be used for testing mentally ill homeless people: ICMR to HC

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) told the Delhi High Court that a dummy phone number and the address of the lab or hospital can be used for COVID-19 testing of mentally ill homeless persons.

The ICMR came out with the solution to address the issue of mentally ill homeless persons not being tested for COVID-19 for the lack of a government issued identity card, an address proof or a mobile number as required under the testing guidelines issued by the ICMR.

Taking note of the solution proposed by the research body, a Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of a PIL moved by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking guidelines for COVID-19 testing of mentally ill homeless persons in Delhi.


7.45 pm | India

Hockey captain Manpreet, 3 other players test positive for COVID-19

The Indian men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh and three other players have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a national camp in Bengaluru, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said.

Besides Manpreet, defender Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh and drag-flicker Varun Kumar have also tested positive for the deadly virus.

“I am self quarantined on the SAI campus and I am very happy with the way SAI authorities have handled the situation...I am doing fine and hope to recover very soon,” Manpreet said in the statement issued by SAI.

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7.15 pm | Maharashtra

Flying squads will check if hospitals are overcharging: Rajesh Tope

The Maharashtra government has set up flying squads to inspect if hospitals and ambulances are taking exorbitant charges from COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

The government had repeatedly issues directives to officials to act on complaints about hospitals and ambulances charging exorbitant rates, he said.

“To check if the decisions are being implemented, flying squads have been set up. Divisional commissioners, district collectors and municipal commissioners have been told that inspection reports should be submitted in three days,” Mr. Tope added.


6.50 pm | Andhra Pradesh

A.P. conducts COVID-19 tests extensively, particularly in containment clusters, says CM

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said though the COVID-19 positivity and mortality rates in the State were below national averages, the government was carrying out the tests extensively, particularly in the containment clusters to curb the menace.

In a review meeting on COVID-19 on Friday, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy said up to 90% of the tests were being conducted in the containment areas and directed the officials to ensure that the call centres with 104 and 14410 numbers functioned effectively and the officials monitored the helpline performance regularly.

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6.30 pm | World

Hong Kong offers free testing for all residents

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the semi-autonomous Chinese city will offer free COVID-19 testing for all its 7.5 million residents beginning in two weeks.

Ms. Lam said such universal testing will help gauge the level of transmission in the community, find those who may be carrying the virus but not showing symptoms and reassure the public.

She told reporters, "Put simply, anyone in the community who wants to do a test can take the test. We won’t care if they come from high-risk groups or not."

She added that tests would be carried out in a manner to avoid lines and maintain social distancing.


6:00 p.m. | Karnataka

Siddaramaiah’s son tests positive for COVID-19

Congress MLA and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s son Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah on Friday said he has tested positive for COVID-19.

A medical doctor himself, Yathindra requested all those who had come in contact with him recently to quarantine themselves.

Yathindra, who is 40-years-old, is a first time MLA, representing Varuna assembly constituency in Mysuru district.

His father and leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah had on Tuesday tested positive for COVID and is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital here. - PTI

5:30 p.m. | J&K

J&K bypolls to be held after Covid-19 situation improves, says Chief Secretary

By-elections to all vacant posts of Panch and Sarpanch in Jammu and Kashmir will be held as soon as the coronavirus situation improves, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has said.

BVR Subrahmanyam

BVR Subrahmanyam   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad


About 12,600 posts of panch and sarpanchs, out of nearly 40,000, are currently vacant. The vacant posts are mostly in Kashmir Valley.

“We will hold bypolls to the vacant gram panchayat posts once COVID-19 goes off. Infact, we had plans to hold the bypolls by February-March. But coronavirus delayed the whole process,” the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary said. - PTI

5:00 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

Venkaiah Naidu heaps praise on farmers

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday lauded Indian farmers for producing foodgrains in higher quantity this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions.

Speaking at a function organised by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) to mark its foundation day along with a virtual consultation on ‘Science for resilient food, nutrition and livelihoods: contemporary challenges,’ Mr. Naidu said he saluted the farmers for the record production compared to previous year.

When the livelihood and economy were severely affected due to the pandemic, the farming community stood firm against all these challenges.

Highlighting the commitment of the Union government to double farmers’ income by 2022, the Vice- President said that a number of initiatives, including promotion of contract farming and National Agriculture Market (eNAM), were already being implemented.

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4:30 p.m. | Maharashtra

RBI sets up panel to suggest steps to deal with coronavirus-related stressed assets

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday set up an expert committee under veteran banker K V Kamath to suggest financial parameters for resolution of coronavirus-related stressed assets.

The committee will submit its recommendations to the RBI, which will notify them along with modifications, if any, in 30 days. It will make recommendations on the required financial parameters to be factored in into the resolution plans, with sector-specific benchmark ranges for such parameters.

The expert committee will also undertake the process validation for the resolution plans to be implemented under this framework, without going into the commercial aspects, in respect of all accounts with an aggregate exposure of Rs 1,500 crore and above at the time of invocation. - PTI

4:00 p.m. | New Delhi

Serum Institute to produce up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for India, other countries

Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday said it has entered into a new partnership with international vaccine alliance Gavi and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India as well as other low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

“The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help them increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO prequalification, doses can be produced at scale for distribution to India and LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021,” SII said in a statement.

The company has set an affordable ceiling price of $3 (around Rs. 225) per dose, it added. - PTI

3:30 p.m. | Assam

Eleven Assam Assembly employees test positive ahead of session

Eleven employees of the Assam Legislative Assembly have tested positive for COVID-19 on a single day, ahead of the scheduled commencement of a session from August 31, a senior official said on Friday.

The Assembly administration is testing all its employees with the help of the Health Department.

“We are conducting rapid antigen tests on all our employees. In three days till Thursday, 270 of our staff were tested, of which 11 tested positive for the infection on the previous day,” Assembly Principal Secretary Mrigendra Kumar Deka said. - PTI

3:00 p.m. | New Delhi

India’s COVID-19 management marked by rising recovery rate, falling fatality rate, says Centre

India’s COVID-19 management is marked by “two significant achievements” of continuously rising recovery rate among COVID-19 patients and a case fatality rate that has remained much below the global average, according to the Health Ministry.

While the recovery rate among coronavirus patients has risen to a record high of 67.98%, the fatality rate has gone down to 2.05%, it said on Friday.

“These two in tandem have enabled a higher and rising difference of more than 7.7 lakh between the number of recovered patients and active cases in India,” the Ministry said. - PTI

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2:30 p.m. | Andhra Pradesh

247 inmates infected in Rajamahendravaram Central Prison

As many as 247 inmates and 32 staff of Rajamahendravaram Central Prison (RCP) in East Godavari district tested positive for COVID-19 by Thursday during a special drive.

The first phase of medical tests was conducted for 900 inmates among a total of 1,600 through iMASQ, a mobile COVID test laboratory on August 3.

The prison authorities have stopped admission of new remand prisoners as a part of the containment strategy. The spread of the COVID is suspected to be due to admission of remand prisoners in recent weeks.

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1:55 p.m. | New Delhi

Delhi airport develops online portal for international passengers

The Delhi international airport has developed an online portal that will allow international arriving passengers to fill a mandatory self-declaration form and eligible passengers to apply for exemption from compulsory institutional quarantine for coronavirus, its operator DIAL said.

The portal will make passengers’ journey contactless as they won’t have to fill physical copies of a self declaration form and a quarantine exemption form at the time of arrival in India.

From Saturday, a total of five categories of passengers can get exemption from the mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine -- pregnant women; those who have suffered death in the family; those suffering from a serious illness; parents accompanying children below 10 years of age; those who have COVID-negative certificate from a test done 96 hours prior to the journey.

Passengers who are allowed the exemption would have to undergo 14-day home quarantine. All other international passengers arriving in India have to follow the usual process of undergoing mandatory seven-days institutional quarantine, at their own cost, followed by seven days of home quarantine. - PTI

1:30 p.m. | New Delhi

BCCI claims “in principle” govt. approval for IPL in UAE; teams begin quarantining players

An “in principle” government approval has come for the BCCI to take the IPL to the UAE this year and the eight franchises have started their preparations by initiating quarantine and COVID-19 testing protocols for their players and support staff. A BCCI source said that the permission in writing is due to come any time in the next few days.

Some franchises are arranging COVID-19 tests for their players in their respective cities before heading for departure bases (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru) for UAE.

“It’s always good if they have a PCR-Test done and land with a negative report. Then they can have two tests done 24 hours apart as the BCCI SOP mentions before we fly to the UAE,” a senior franchise official said on conditions of anonymity.

“While two tests are mandatory, most franchises will have at least four tests done before leaving India,” he added. - PTI

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1:00 p.m. | New Delhi

Delhi Cong. leaders march to CM’s residence, demand payment of pending salaries to govt. staff

Delhi Congress leaders and workers took out a ‘Nyay March’ to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in Civil Lines on Friday, demanding payment of salaries to sanitation workers, doctors, nurses, teachers of municipal corporations and employees of other government departments.

The protesters, including Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar and AICC incharge Shaktisinh Gohil, were stopped by the police at a barricade near the Chief Minister’s residence on Flagstaff Road.

Later, a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister was handed over to officials at his residence, Delhi Congress leader Parvez Alam said. - PTI

Congress workers conducting Nyay March against non payment of salary to sanitation workers, nurses and other workers near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence in New Delhi on Friday.

Congress workers conducting Nyay March against non payment of salary to sanitation workers, nurses and other workers near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence in New Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma


12.30 pm | WHO

WHO says 'vaccine nationalism' cannot beat virus

The World Health Organization has warned against “vaccine nationalism,” saying vaccine-hogging richer countries would not be safe coronavirus havens if poor nations remained exposed.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would be in wealthier nations' interests to ensure that any vaccines eventually produced to protect against the new coronavirus were shared globally.

“Vaccine nationalism is not good, it will not help us,” Tedros told the Aspen Security Forum in the United States, via video-link from the WHO's headquarters in Geneva. -AFP

12 pm | Maharashtra

Bombay HC quashes orders putting curbs on elderly film, TV artistes

The Bombay High Court quashed two government resolutions issued by the Maharashtra government that barred film and TV artistes and crew members above 65 years of age, from going to work to studios or outdoor sets during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The Bench, however, said that “all other advisories applicable for all persons above 65 years of age, will be applicable for those above 65 years of age working in the film and TV industry.” - PTI

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11.30 am | India

As COVID-19 cases mount, Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi govt. in rhyme

As novel coronavirus cases crossed the 20-lakh mark, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday took to Twitter to once again target the Narendra Modi government over its COVID-19 handling.

He retweeted his July 17 tweet, in which he had predicted 2 million cases by August 10, with a fresh comment that rhymed in Hindi.

20 lakh ka aankra paar, Gayaab hain Modi Sarkar [20-lakh figure has been crossed and the Modi government has disappeared],” tweeted Mr. Gandhi that tweaks BJP’s 2014 election campaign slogan of Abi ki baar, Modi Sarkar [This time, Modi government].

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11 am | Himachal Pradesh

Former HP CM Dhumal in home quarantine

Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal along with his staff members has quarantined himself at his house here as a precaution after the state power minister tested positive for coronavirus.

Prem Kumar Dhumal

Prem Kumar Dhumal   | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR


In a Facebook post, Mr. Dhumal stated that he has quarantined himself at his house.

He quarantined himself as a precautionary measure as he had recently attended a meeting with the State BJP chief Suresh Kashyap, who was in close contact with Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhry. Mr. Chaudhry tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. - PTI

10.40 am | U.S.

U.S. lifts global health travel advisory, urges citizens not to visit India

The U.S. has lifted the highest level of its global health travel advisory for Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic and restored the previous country-specific system without changing the status of over 50 countries, including that of India and China.

The U.S. state department issued the Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory — the highest level of travel advisory — on March 19, urging American citizens not to travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

India remains on the Level 4 of the travel advisory along with more than 50 countries, including China. The state department, in its latest travel advisory on India issued on Thursday, said: Do not travel to India due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.

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10 am | India

An update on India's COVID-19 numbers:

India sees record 62,538 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, pushing India’s total case tally to 20,27,074, according to the daily bulletin by Union health ministry.

The death toll has climbed to 41,585 with 886 new fatalities, added the Centre.

The active COVID-19 case count is 6,07,384 while 13,78,105 people have recovered so far, said the bulletin. - PTI

9.40 am | Puducherry

Karaikal Collector tests positive for COVID-19

Karaikal District Collector Arjun Sharma has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under home isolation.

Soon after the results of swab samples received on Thursday night from the Tiruvarur Government Medical College Hospital indicated the viral infection, Mr. Sharma went into home isolation.

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9.20 am | Telangana

Telangana sees record-high COVID-19 cases

Telangana recorded the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases on Thursday with 2,207 positive cases. This spikes the total number of cases to 75,257.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits continued to record the highest number of cases in the State with as many as 532 cases being reported in the past 24 hours. This was followed by the Rangareddy district with 192 cases and Warangal Urban districts with 142 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths stood at 12, and breached the 600 mark in the State on Thursday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 601.  - Syed Mohammed

9 am | Vaccine

Glenmark to launch higher strength of FabiFlu

Drug firm Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said it will launch a 400 mg version of oral antiviral drug FabiFlu for the treatment of mild and moderate COVID-19 in India.

Currently, the drug is available in 200 mg dosage. The company, however, did not disclose the price at which it will be selling the drug.

The higher strength will improve compliance for patients by effectively reducing the number of tablets required per day, Glenmark said in a statement. - PTI

8 am | Maharashtra

Maharashtra hits new high of 11,514 COVID-19 cases

Maharashtra reported its highest single-day case jump on Thursday, with 11,514 new COVID-19 cases taking its total cases to 4,79,779. As many as 316 more deaths saw the State’s death toll rise to 16,792.

This is the second time that the State has recorded more than 11,000 cases in a single day, with the previous jump of 11,147 cases being reported on July 30.

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