Coronavirus India lockdown Day 154 updates | August 25, 2020

India’s coronavirus (COVID-19) tests per million rose sharply to 26,016 as cumulative tests surged to 3.59 crore, the Health Ministry said on Monday underlining that a key component in India’s COVID-19 response has been early identification of cases by timely and aggressive testing.

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:

10.05 p.m. | Bihar

COVID-19 death toll reaches 644 in Bihar; tally rises to 1,24,826

With 17 more people succumbing to COVID-19 in Bihar, the State’s death toll rose to 644 on Tuesday, the Health Department bulletin said.

The State also witnessed 1,444 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, taking its tally to 1,24,826.

The bulletin said that 3,169 patients were cured of the disease on Tuesday, improving the State’s recovery rate to 83.74% from 80.60% on Monday.

The recovery rate has been increasing steadily since August 17, Health Department sources said adding that 1,04,531 patients have recovered from COVID-19 so far. The number of active cases is now 19,651.

The bulletin said that 75,385 samples were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, while 25.70 lakh such tests were conducted so far.

9.35 p.m.| Karnataka

Karnataka has written to neighbouring States to restart inter-State bus services: Deputy CM

The Karnataka government on Tuesday said it was prepared to restart inter-State bus services, with easing of COVID-19 restriction, and has written to neighbouring States in this regard.

However, the government said it is yet to take a call on resuming services to Maharashtra.

“Now after unlock, operations are restored to Andhra Pradesh only. Letter correspondence was made to other States for restoration of operations. But they are yet to respond,” Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi said in a statement.

Mr. Savadi, who is in-charge of the Transport Department said, from our end, we are all set to re-start bus operations to these States except Maharashtra.

Since Maharashtra is still suffering from COVID-19 high risk, we will take the decisions after this month, he added.

9.30 p.m. | Haryana

Haryana recorded 1,148 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the State’s tally to 56,608, while 10 more deaths pushed the toll to 623, the Health Department’s daily bulletin said.

Haryana has witnessed a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases over the past fortnight.

Of the latest fatalities, four were reported from Kaithal, two from Faridabad, and one each from Ambala, Karnal, Panchkula and Fatehabad, the bulletin said.

The fresh cases were reported from Faridabad (132), Gurgaon (114), Panipat (109), Karnal (80), Sirsa (70), Kurukshetra (52) and Kaithal (51), it said.

Currently, there are 9,489 active cases in the State, while 46,496 people have been discharged after recovery. The State’s recovery rate stands at 82.14%, and the rate of doubling of infections is 33 days, the bulletin stated.

9.20 p.m. | Jamaica

Jamaican official says Usain Bolt tests positive for COVID-19

Jamaica’s Minister of Health says legendary sprinter Usain Bolt has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Minister Christopher Tufton said Bolt was aware of the results and his recent contacts were being traced.

“It is now public knowledge that Mr. Bolt has tested positive. He has been formally notified, I’m told by the authorities,” Mr. Tufton told reporters on Monday evening.

Bolt said on social media on Monday that he was awaiting the result of a coronavirus test and was quarantining himself as a precaution. The 34-year-old retired sprinter who won gold in the 100 and 200 metres at the last three Olympics posted a video on social media to explain the situation.

9.20 p.m. | West Bengal

West Bengal reports 58 more COVID-19 deaths, 2,964 fresh cases

The COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal mounted to 2,909 after 58 more people succumbed to the disease on Tuesday, the Health Department said in a bulletin.

The State’s coronavirus tally also rose to 1,44,801 after 2,964 new infections were reported, it said. In the last 24 hours, 3,251 COVID-19 patients have recovered from the disease.

The number of active cases stood at 27,349, the bulletin added.

Since Monday, 37,524 samples have been tested for the contagion in West Bengal.

9.10 p.m. | Haryana

Strict coronavirus protocols in place as Haryana Assembly session begins

The monsoon session of the Haryana Assembly is set to begin on Wednesday with the authorities putting strict protocols in place in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Besides the MLAs and officials requiring a coronavirus negative certificate to gain entry into the Assembly complex, seating arrangement has also been changed to ensure social-distancing in the 90-member House.

Just before the starting of the Session, the pandemic has already cast its shadow with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Speaker Gian Chand Gupta and Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma testing positive for the virus.

BJP MLAs Lakshman Napa, Ram Kumar Kashyap and Aseem Goel also tested positive as have six Assembly staffers, Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa, who will be presiding over the House proceedings in the Speaker’s absence, told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr. Khattar is currently admitted to Gurgaon’s Medanta Hospital, where his condition is stable, an official said.

Mr. Gangwa said the duration of the session will be decided by the Business Advisory Committee of the House, which will meet on Wednesday.

The Vidhan Sabha, however, released a two-day tentative schedule. The session will begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday with obituary references.

9 p.m.|Germany

Germany warns against travel to southeast France

Germany is warning against travel to the Paris region and part of southeastern France as coronavirus infections rebound.

The warning against non-essential travel issued by the foreign ministry on Monday evening came as Germany’s national disease control centre added the Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur regions to a growing list of risk areas.

The list currently includes most of the world outside the European Union. Inside the EU, it now includes all of Spain apart from the Canary Islands, parts of Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium, and the two French regions.

Luxembourg was recently dropped from the list. People arriving in Germany from risk areas are required to undergo virus tests and self-quarantine until the results arrive.

8.50 p.m. | Andhra Pradesh

COVID-19 infection positivity rate jumps 11 per cent in Andhra Pradesh

The coronavirus infection positivity rate jumped past 11% in Andhra Pradesh as close to 10,000 fresh cases were reported, taking the overall tally to 3,71,639 on Tuesday.

The virulent spread of COVID-19 showed no signs of abating, with every district reporting new cases aplenty and adding more clusters in the state.

Government data showed that at least 935 new clusters were added in the last week across the state where prevalence of the virus has spread, contributing to about eight per cent of the fresh cases.

The data said about 58,000 new cases were in the existing containment clusters, while over 4,300 were reported outside.

About 2,100 government staff, including about 525 of the Medical and Health Department, contracted the virus in a week while 11 casualties were also registered.

In 97.2% of the cases, the source of infection has been identified.

The weekly data showed that almost all COVID-19 deaths (over 610) were being reported from within the existing containment clusters.

It also revealed that 51% of the cases were reported from rural A.P. and the balance from urban areas.

Meanwhile, the latest bulletin on Tuesday said 9,927 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported in the State from 64,351 tests. While 9,419 patients got cured and discharged from hospitals, 92 succumbed to coronavirus in 24 hours ending 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 toll in the State has now shot up to 3,460 and the total number of cured to 2,78,247, leaving 89,932 active cases, according to the bulletin.

8.45 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

Recoveries outnumber fresh COVID-19 cases, Tamil Nadu tally now reaches 3.91 lakh

Tamil Nadu on Tuesday reported 5,951 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 3,91,303 while 107 fatalities pushed the death toll to 6,721.

Recoveries eclipsed new infections today with 6,998 patients getting discharged from various hospitals and 3,32,454 people have so far got cured and active cases stood at 52,128, a Health Department bulletin said.

The deceased include two women aged 35 and 90 and in total 95 had co-morbidities. Of the 6,721 deaths, Chennai’s share was 2,623, while neighbouring districts of Chengelpet (379), Kancheepuram (216) and Tiruvallur (381) together accounted for 976 fatalities.

The State capital accounted for 1,270 new infection. In total 3,91,303 people have tested positive for the pathogen as on date.

Chennai’s daily fresh cases, which stood below the 1,200 mark till August 20, have since breached that threshold and till date it is less than 1,300.

As many as 70,221 samples were tested today and cumulatively, 43,46,861 specimens have been examined.

8.40 p.m. | Gujarat

Ahmedabad reports 157 new COVID-19 cases; 173 discharged

Ahmedabad reported 157 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the tally in the district in Gujarat to 30,519, the State Health Department said. With four more deaths, the COVID-19 fatalities rose to 1,692, it said.

As many as 173 patients were discharged, raising the number of recovered cases to 25,441, the Department said in a release.

As many as 145 new cases were reported in the city and 12 in the rural parts of the district. All the four deaths were reported from the the city, said the release.

8.30 p.m. | Odisha

Odisha slashes COVID-19 test rate at private labs to ₹1,200

The Odisha government on Tuesday slashed the maximum price of RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 to be charged by private laboratories to ₹1,200, an official said.

The State government on July 3 had capped the rate of RT-PCR tests at private laboratories at ₹2,200. The ₹1,000 reduction in rates is aimed at stepping up testing in the State, the official said.

Initially, the private laboratories were charging ₹4,000-₹4,500 per test.

The government after careful consideration has been pleased to refix the maximum price of RT-PCR COVID-19 test @ ₹1,200 (inclusive of GST and all other incidental charges), as per a notification issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department.

Four private laboratories in the State have received the Indian Council of Medical Research approval for conducting COVID-19 tests. These are Apollo Hospital, IMS & SUM Hospital, InDNA Life Sciences-KIIT and GenX Diagnostics. All these private laboratories are located in Bhubaneswar.

8.20 p.m. | Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday recorded 1,374 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 55,695. The number of active cases stands at 12,185. As many as 19 patients died of the illness on the day, taking the State-wide death toll to 1,263.As for recoveries, 1,074 patients were discharged from hospitals on the day. So far, 42,247 persons have been cured of the illness, says the State Directorate of Health Services.

Sidharth Yadav

8.02 p.m.| Gujarat

With 20 deaths and 1,096 new infections, Gujarat’s COVID-19 numbers have gone up to 2,930 fatalities and 88,942 COVID-19 cases. Active cases are 14,751 and the total discharges are 71,261.

Mahesh Langa

8 p.m. | Kerala

Ernakulam sees 163 new COVID-19 cases

As many as 163 persons tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Ernakulam on Tuesday. Fourteen persons belonged to Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Eleven persons each were from Mattancherry and Palluruthy. About 1,960 persons have been admitted to hospitals in the district after being tested positive for the virus.

Nearly 176 persons have been admitted at various hospitals and first-line treatment centres. More than 1,400 swab samples were sent for testing.

Seven persons continue to remain critically ill at the intensive care unit of the Govt. Medical College, Kalamassery.

7.50 p.m. | Telangana

Telangana records another high in COVID cases

Telangana recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases and tests in a day on Monday. A total of 2,579 swab samples tested positive for coronavirus and 52,933 tests were conducted.

Of the new cases, 295 cases were from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The rest includes 186 from Rangareddy, 161 from Khammam, 142 from Nizamabad,143 from Warangal Urban, 129 from Nalgonda, 116 from Karimnagar, 106 from Medchal Malkajgiri, 104 from Mancherial, 98 from Jagtiyal. Nine more COVID-19 patients have succumbed.

The total number of tests crossed 10 lakh. In the past four days (August 21-24) 1.72 lakh tests were conducted. The total number of 1,08,670 cases recorded till Tuesday includes 23,737 active cases, 84,163 recovered, and 770 deaths.

7.41 p.m. | Maharashtra

Special cell for kin of COVID-19 warriors in Aurangabad

Aurangabad district administration has come up with a special initiative to help employees working as COVID-19 warriors and their families, a senior official said on Tuesday. District collector Snail Chavan said the “Pratisad Kaksh” or response cell will provide necessary aid to COVID-19 warriors if they contract the infection and to their kin.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Aurangabad district reached 21,171 on Tuesday with addition of 100 patients, an official said, adding that death toll went up to 638. A total of 16,153 patients have recovered so far while the number of active cases is 4,380, he said.

7.40 p.m. | Jharkhand

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supremo Sibu Soren, who had tested positive for COVID-19, is leaving for his admission to Medanta Hospital, Gurugram, by train from Bokaro railway station on Tuesday evening. He was admitted to Medanta Hospital, Ranchi, on Monday.

–  Satyasundar Barik

7.35 p.m. | Kerala

COVID-19 tally in Kerala crosses 60,000 mark with 2,375 cases

Kerala’s COVID-19 count crossed the 60,000 mark on Tuesday as 2,375 fresh cases were reported, while 10 more fatalities took the toll to 244, Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said. Of the infected, 2,141 were through contact, including 174 whose source of infection is not known.

While 61 had come from abroad, 118 were from other States, the Minister said in a press release in Thiruvananthapuram.

The COVID-19 tally touched 61,878, while as many as 40,343 have recovered, including 1,456 who were discharged. Presently 21,232 are under treatment, she said.

Four districts reported over 100 cases: Alappuzha(170), Ernakulam (163), Palakkad (152), and Kannur (150).

The Minister said 1,83,794 people are presently under observation and 1,66,784 in homes/institutional quarantine. A total of 17,010 people are in hospitals, including 1,834 who were admitted today. In the last 24 hours, 34,344 samples have been sent for testing and so far 14,84,907 samples have been tested.

7.30 p.m.| Goa

AIIMS doctors review COVID-19 facilities at GMCH

A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi,visited Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Tuesday to review the COVID-19 treatment facility set up for critical patients.

The AIIMS team had arrived in Goa on Monday to monitor the health of Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik.

AIIMS doctors, in the presence of State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and GMCH dean Shivanand Bandekar, inspected three wards tailor-made to treat critical patients.

Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant thanked the team of doctors from AIIMS and said their guidance will help the State’s medical team to manage the pandemic.Goa has recorded 14,138 COVID-19 cases and 148 fatalities so far.

7.15 p.m. | Uttar Pradesh

72 more die of COVID-19 in U.P., toll rises to 3,059

With 72 more people succumbing to COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh, the death toll due to the disease rose to 3,059 in the State on Tuesday, while 5,124 fresh cases took the infection tally to 1,97,388.

Of the 72 deaths, 18 were reported from Kanpur, 12 from Lucknow, seven from Gorakhpur, four from Allahabad, and three each from Varanasi and Siddharth Nagar, among other districts, a health bulletin issued in Lucknow said.

Kanpur has reported the maximum deaths in the State at 385, followed by 303 in Lucknow, 150 in Varanasi, 134 in Allahabad, 128 in Meerut, 112 in Gorakhpur, and 106 each in Agra and Bareilly, according to the bulletin.

“In the past 24 hours, 5,124 fresh COVID-19 cases were found. There are a total of 49,575 active cases in the State, while 1,44,754 people have been treated and discharged,” Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters.

The recovery rate of patients in the State stands at 73.33%, he said. He added that over 1.21 lakh samples were tested on Monday, taking the total number of tests conducted so far to over 47 lakh.

In the external monitoring of contact-tracing of COVID-19 patients, Mr. Prasad said, a total of 1,04,488 contacts of 29,313 patients were traced.

7.11 p.m. | Maharashtra

Nagpur’s COVID-19 cases cross 22,000; 52 die

The COVID-19 tally in Maharashtra’s Nagpur district rose to 22,225 on Tuesday with addition of 1,071 cases, an official release said. With 52 deaths, the total toll went up to 814 in the district, it said.

A total of 1,036 patients were discharged in the day, which took the count of recoveries to 13,068. The number of active cases stands at 8,343 in the district.

7.05 p.m. | India-Russia

Russia seeks collaboration with India for manufacturing Sputnik V vaccine: Sources

The Russian government has reached out to India seeking a collaboration for manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ and conducting its phase 3 clinical trial in New Delhi, sources said.

According to government sources, the matter was discussed by the national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 in its last meeting held on August 22.

Sputnik V has been developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The vaccine has not been tested in phase 3 or larger clinical trials.

There has been scepticism in some quarters about limited data related to the efficacy of the vaccine.

6.52 p.m. |Bihar

COVID-19 update from Bihar: Total death 644; total number of positive cases 1,24,827; total number of active cases 19,651; total recovered persons 1,04,531 (83.74% recovery rate); and total sample tests done 25,70,097.

Amarnath Tewary

6.50 p.m. | Maharashtra

Phase-2 human trial of Oxford vaccine may start tomorrow

Doses of the potential coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at Oxford University arrived at the Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College in Pune for phase-2 human trials on Tuesday, an official said.

The trial may begin from Wednesday, said a top official of the institute, one of the 17 sites selected for the phase-2 human trials in the country by Serum Institute of India.

“To start with we have identified five volunteers who will undergo COVID-19 and antibodies test. Those whose reports are negative will be shortlisted for vaccination on Wednesday,” said Dr. Sanjay Lalwani, Medical Director, Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital and Research Centre.

He said the hospital has been given a target of enlisting 300 to 350 volunteers. Those chosen for receiving a dose of vaccine will be in the age group of 18 to 99 years.

6.32 p.m. | Karnataka

Mysuru Police Commissioner tests positive for COVID

Mysuru city Police Commissioner Chandragupta has tested positive for COVID-19, official sources said on Tuesday. Karnataka State Reserve Police ACP Bharat Raj too has tested positive for the infection, they said.

Both the officers are currently under home isolation and taking required treatment, officials said. Earlier this month Mysuru district Superintendent of Police C.B. Ryshyanth had tested positive.

As Mr. Chandragupta had attended a meeting along with Mr. Ryshyanth before the latter tested positive, he was under home quarantine and underwent test, despite being asymptomatic, sources added.

Meanwhile, Arsikere JD(S) MLA K.M. Shivalingegowda has also tested positive for the infection and has been hospitalised. Stating that Mr. Shivalingegowda has tested positive, JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in a tweet, wished him a speedy recovery and hoped that he returns to serve the people soon. JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda too has wished him a speedy recovery.

6.20 p.m. | India-U.S.

India-U.S. healthcare partnership crucial in battle against COVID-19: Ambassador Sandhu

The India-U.S. cooperation is proving crucial to confront the health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, including future vaccine development and distribution, New Delhi’s top envoy in the U.S. has said.

India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu, wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Monday and said: “As societies that respect innovation, India and the United States can do much to provide solutions to the novel coronavirus pandemic and to build a healthier, safer world beyond”.

As both India and the United States combat a pandemic of unprecedented scale, the two countries have drawn upon the strength of their long-standing health-care ties to help them better understand the novel coronavirus and find workable solutions, he wrote.

6.10 p.m. | Tamil Nadu

COVID-19 count of Tamil Nadu: 5,951 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, taking the total to 3,91,303; 6,998 people were discharged today and the total discharged is 3,32,454; 107 deaths were reported today and the total death toll stands at 6,721; active cases are 52,128.

Serena Josephine

6.05 p.m. | India

Decline in COVID-19 positivity rate despite increasing tests exponentially: Health Ministry

The Health Ministry on Tuesday said though testing for COVID-19 has been increased exponentially, there has been a steady decline in the positivity rate and highlighted that the number of active cases of the infection reduced by 6,423 for the first time within a span of 24 hours.

The testing for the disease has been increased from 363 tests per million per day on August 1 to more than 600 tests per million per day at present, the Ministry said.

Addressing a press briefing, Union Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on the basis of 7-day rolling average the positivity rate of COVID-19 which was 11% during the first week of August has come down to 8% now.

6 p.m. | Singapore

Singapore warns of further waves of COVID-19 until vaccine found By Gurdip Singh

Further waves of the deadly COVID-19 are possible as long as a vaccine remains out of reach, Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong warned on Tuesday, as the city-state recorded 31 new coronavirus cases, its lowest single-day figure since March.

He, however, assured that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will make sure Singapore has the resources to care for all COVID-19 patients and support all healthcare institutions involved in the fight. Singapore will also work with its international partners to share information on cases and remains “actively involved” in developing vaccines and treatments for the virus, Mr. Gan said.

5.50 pm | Haryana

Haryana Transport Minister tests positive for COVID-19

Haryana Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, a day before the Assembly’s monsoon session begins in Chandigarh.

On Monday, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Speaker Gian Chand Gupta were also found infected with the virus. Officials said the Chief Minister, admitted to Gurgaon’s Medanta hospital, is in a stable condition.

The Speaker had mandated a COVID-19 test for all MLAs, Assembly staffers and officials ahead of the session beginning August 26. – PTI

 

5.30 pm | New Delhi

CSIR conducting sero-survey in 38 labs to check presence of COVID-19 antibodies in its employees

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is conducting a survey in its 38 laboratories and institutes across India to gauge the serological prevalence among its employees and also understand how long antibodies against COVID-19 remain active, officials said.

The exercise aims to target 10,000 CSIR employees and their family members in the age group of 19-60 years, said Shantanu Sengupta, a scientist with CSIR’s Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi, which is coordinating the sero-survey.

Sengupta said the exercise has already begun and it is expected to get completed by September. The exercise, he said, will be repeated in the next six months.

All people will be monitored using Omic technology, which involves the analysis of the entire set of molecules such as proteins, lipids or metabolites in a cell, organ or organism.

“Different research talk about how long the antibodies stay in the body. Another serological survey in the next six months will help us understand this better,” Sengupta added.

IGIB director Anurag Agrawal told PTI that the CSIR through its network of constituent laboratories has the geographical diversity and scientific expertise to accelerate the generation of such knowledge.

The 38 laboratories and institutes are located in east, west, south, north, northeast and central India.

“As a first step, CSIR has started a national sero-survey amongst a cohort of its employees and their families, which will be continued in the future. Using this as a starting point, the scientists expect to be able to identify the infection trends in parts of the nation where CSIR labs are located, and to develop a better understanding of susceptibility to infections and its consequences,” Agrawal said.

Such work will greatly complement and enhance the national efforts of population based cross-sectional sero-surveys, Agrawal noted.

“Sero-surveys have been conducted in different cities but with the geographical diversity the CSIR offers, this pan-India sero-survey will give a better understanding of the antibodies present among people across the country,” Sengupta said. – PTI

5 pm | Karnataka

Dakshina Kannada district opens all borders

With the Karnataka government lifting travel restrictions for people from outside the state, Dakshina Kannada (DK) district administration has opened all its borders for passengers from Kerala.

Dakshina Kannada district deputy commissioner K.V. Rajendra said the rules prescribed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic have been revised and passengers entering Karnataka from other states need not undergo quarantine and there will be no checks at border points.

All the borders with Kasaragod district in Kerala have been opened with effect from Monday evening and there are no restrictions on people coming in from other states.

However, people from Karnataka visiting other states have to follow the rules prevailing in the respective states, he said. – PTI

4.30 pm | New Delhi

Health Secretary says: “Tele-ICU exercise was started by Health Ministry and AIIMS with the intent to train those manning ICUs across the country, while treating Covid-19 patients. July 8 it started and every Tuesday and Friday, it is conducted by AIIMS-Delhi. It is an interactive session. Till date, 14 such tele-ICUs have been held and they have covered 148 Covid-19 hospitals. For each interaction, detailed documentation is kept and shared with the States for reference purposes. There is a FAQ document under preparation by AIIMS.”

“ICMR sero-survey is in the process of being published, it should appear in about a week in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, two rounds of peer review completed,” says DG ICMR.

“A technical body of experts is gathering data to develop a guideline for addressing post-Covid complications”, added the Health Secretary.

On the vaccine (Sputnik V) developed in Russia, Health Secretary says both the countries are in communication, some information has been shared, some detailed information is awaited.

For holding exams, we have prepared an SOP which has been shared with the authorities responsible for conducting the exams and various State governments, says Health Secretary

On reports about re-infection of one case in Hong Kong, DG ICMR says: It can depend on several factors, including the patient’s immunity, was he immune compromised, it can also depend on virus, whether it has mutated a little bit, or whether it has become more virulent. Having said that, it is only one case of re-infection, which is rare.

– Devesh K. Pandey

4.20 pm | New Delhi

Cost of testing has gone down tremendously: ICMR DG

Balram Bhargava, Director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research says, “Phase-1 of the spread was confined to large/urban cities; Phase-II reached district level and Phase-III reached the field level, and accordingly the testing capacity was augmented.”

On Jan 30, it was 10 tests per day, on March 15, it was 1,000 tests per day, on May 15, 95,000 tests per day; and on August 21, it was 10 lakh tests per day.

On April 1, there were 151 testing labs, which did 4,208 tests; on May 1, there were 254 labs that conducted over 9 lakh tests; on June 1, the labs increased to 676 and they conducted over 38.37 lakh tests; on July 14, there were 1206 labs which conducted over 1.20 crore tests. By August 25, there are 1524 labs and they have so far conducted more than 3.68 crore tests.

State of the art high throughput machines installed at five sites in Patna, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Noida.

ICMR approved 139 VTM kits, of which 119 are indigenous; 104 RT-PCR kits, including 46 indigenous, approved; 112 RNA extraction kits approved and they include 62 indigenous kits; 12 ELISA kits, including 10 indigenous, approved; 12 Rapid Antibody kits, including 11 indigenous, approved; three Rapid Antigen kits, including one domestically produced, approved.

The cost of testing has gone down tremendously. In March, RTPCR extraction kit’s cost was ₹1150 with VTM and RNA extraction kit costing ₹320 each. This has come down with indigenous kits being available. At this moment, RTPCR kit is available for ₹138 and VTM and RNA extraction kit are available for ₹90 each.

– Devesh K. Pandey

4.00 pm | New Delhi

Active cases are only 22.2% of total cases: Health Ministry

The Union Health Secretary speaks at the COVID-19 press conference: More than 3.6 crore tests conducted so far, over 24 lakh patients have recovered, which is 3.4 times the active cases. The recovery rate is now more than 75%. Active cases are only 22.2% of total cases.

Enhanced testing infrastructure has led to rise in number of testing. Till today, over 3.68 crore tests have been conducted.

The positivity rate is currently 8.60%. While number of tests have increased exponentially since August 10, there is a decline in the positivity rate (cumulative percentage).

In the fist week of August, positivity percentage (on a seven-day rolling average) was 11%. This has come down to 8% today (on a seven-day rolling average).

On August 1, 363 tests per million population were conducted. On August 23, we conducted over 600 tests per million population. 75.92% of total patients have recovered. The mortality rate now stands at 1.84% (58,390).

Decline in the rate of increase of cases

The actual case load is now 7,04,348. In the past 24 hours, active cases have reduced by 6,423. There is a decline in the rate of increase of cases.

Critical cases comprise 2.70% patients requiring Oxygen support; 1.92% are in ICU and 0.29% are on ventilator support.

Mortality analysis: 69% male, 31% are female; 51% deaths in 60 years and above; 36% in 45-60 years age group; 11% in 26-44 years age group; 1% in 18-25 years age group; and 1% below 17 years of age.

– Devesh K. Pandey

4.00 pm |  Hyderabad

COVID-19 cases in Telangana may taper by September-end: Health dept official

Telangana has conducted over five lakh COVID-19 tests so far this month and the intensity of the disease is expected to taper by the end of September, a senior official of the Telangana Health department said on Tuesday.

Director of Public Health Dr. G. Srinivas Rao said though there is a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in rural Telangana, the infection rate is coming down in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area and it is expected to further reduce in the coming days.

“We have earlier said the cases would gradually come down in the GHMC area by the end of August. We also said though there would be some uptick, the cases in rural Telangana would be under control by the end of September. The trend is as expected,” he said at a press conference.

“We brought the disease under control in the GHMC area. By September end the entire state would be under control (with respect to the virus),” Dr. Srinivas added.

He said currently there were 23,737 active cases in Telangana with nearly 80 per cent recovery rate and the fatality rate stands at 0.7% against the national average of 1.8%. – PTI

3.55 pm | Punjab

Punjab minister, two MLAs test positive for COVID-19

A Punjab minister and two MLAs tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the Vidhan Sabha session on August 28.

Industries and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora on Tuesday said he contracted the infection.

I have been tested positive for COVID-19 & has quarantined myself at my Chandigarh residence. I request all those persons who came in contact with me during last few days please get tested for coronavirus infection. Otherwise, I am at present not having any physical problem, Arora wrote on his Facebook page.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wished him a speedy recovery. – PTI

3.40 pm | New Delhi

No change in Mukherjee’s health: Hospital

There was no change in the health condition of former President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday and he continues to be on ventilator support, the hospital treating him said.

Doctors attending to the 84-year-old former President said his vital parameters were stable.

Mr. Mukherjee was admitted to the Army’s Research and Referral hospital in Delhi cantonment on August 10. He had also tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of his admission. – PTI

3.20 pm | New Delhi

COVID-19 tests per million in India touch 26,685

With India having tested nearly 3.7 crore cumulative COVID-19 samples so far, the tests per million have further risen to 26,685 while the positivity rate has come down to 8.60%, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

India is focusing on the “test, track and treat” strategy to contain the spread of the infection.

As the first step towards timely identification, prompt isolation and effective treatment, higher testing also results in limiting the spread of infection, it emphasised.

The total recoveries have surged to 24.04 lakh pushing the recovery rate to 75.92%, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate has declined to 1.84% as on date.

With India’s resolve to rapidly increase the number of daily tests, the cumulative testing as on date has reached 3,68,27,520. – PTI

3.15 pm | West Bengal

Efforts on to repatriate 19 Tablighi Jamaat members to B’desh: Official

The West Bengal government along with the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata is working to repatriate 19 Tablighi Jamaat members of the neighbouring country, stuck in the state since the COVID-19 outbreak in March.

According to a senior official in the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission here, they are currently lodged at a safe house near the India-Bangladesh border.

More than 250 members of Tablighi Jamaat-Bangladesh had come to India to attend a religious congregation at Nizamuddin in New Delhi in March, he said. – PTI

3.00 pm | Andhra Pradesh

Covid-19 infected Congress leader commits suicide

Kadapa district Congress Vice-President Sirigireddy Gangi Reddy (55) committed suicide by jumping in front of a running train near Yerraguntla late on Sunday.

Mr. Reddy, along with two other family members, had tested positive for Covid-19 and was under home quarantine for some time. Finding slight difficulty in breathing, he got himself admitted to a private hospital in Proddatur.

The extreme step, which is attributed to depression, has rattled the Congress party circles. – A.D. Rangarajan

2.40 pm | New Delhi

More than 100% rise in recovery in last 25 days; recovery rate rises to 75.92%

With a record 66,550 patients recovering from COVID-19 in a day, the total recoveries have surged to 24.04 lakh pushing the recovery rate to 75.92%, while the active cases comprise only 22.24% of the total cases, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

In a testimony of the government’s policy of testing aggressively, tracking comprehensively and treating efficiently, the total number of recoveries have outpaced the active cases by more than 17 lakh.

“The steadily falling COVID-19 case fatality rates stands at 1.84% as on date. There has been more than 100% increase in the recoveries in the last 25 days,” the ministry highlighted.

“India’s recovery rate amongst the COVID-19 patients has reached 75.92%. The recovered patients are 3.41 times the active cases, as on date,” it said. – PTI

2.10 pm | United Kingdom

Oxford coronavirus vaccine data could go to regulators this year

Trial data for the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s possible coronavirus vaccine could be given to regulators this year but corners cannot be cut to speed up approval for emergency use, a scientist leading the trials said on Tuesday.

The Oxford vaccine produced an immune response in its first human trials, underlining its position as one of the leading candidates in the race to combat a virus that has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and crippled the global economy.

“It is just possible that if the cases accrue rapidly in the clinical trials, that we could have that data before regulators this year,” Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told BBC Radio of progress in larger, late-stage trials. – AP

 

2.00 pm | Odisha

Odisha demands postponement of JEE, NEET for COVID-19 pandemic 

The Odisha government has sought postponement of Joint Entrance Examination (Main) and National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) in view of prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation and opening of centres in all 30 districts when examinations are rescheduled. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday shot off a letter Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank stating that, “National Testing Agency (NTA) has scheduled to conduct the JEE (Main) and NEET, 2020 test for admissions into the technical and medical courses on September 1 to 6  and 13 respectively.”  

“More than 50,000 students from Odisha are appearing in NEET and around 40,000 in JEE (Main) this year. The NTA has, however, opened examination centres in seven towns only,” Mr. Patnaik pointed out. – Satyasundar Barik

 

1.40 pm | Bengaluru

Karnataka Congress Committee president tests positive

Karnataka Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and  was admitted to a private hospital in Bengaluru, sources in the party said.

Mr. Shivakumar had toured several parts of the state in the recent past and held press conferences highlighting the state government’s failures on various matters, including handling of the COVID-19.

A few days ago, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah discharged from the hospital after receiving treatment for COVID-19. – M. Nagesh Prabhu

 

1.00 pm | Washington

Can mosquitoes spread the coronavirus?

Can mosquitoes spread the coronavirus? No. While mosquitoes can spread some diseases, most notably malaria, experts say COVID-19 is not among them.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says it has no data to suggest the coronavirus is spread by either mosquitoes or ticks. COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through droplets people spray when they talk, cough or sneeze. And the World Health Organisation says a mosquito bite won’t give you the virus.

But why not, if mosquitoes can transmit other diseases? A recent study offers an explanation. Researchers say the virus would have to infect the mosquito and multiply inside of it in order for the mosquito to pass it on to people. That failed to happen when researchers injected three species of mosquitoes with the virus. – AP

11.40 am | Manipur

Social Welfare Minister tests positive

Nemcha Kipgen, the only woman minister in the BJP-led coalition ministry in Manipur tested COVID-19 positive, official reports said on Tuesday morning. Her samples were tested in Babina diagnostic  centre in Imphal on Monday. She is the social welfare minister.

Health department sources said that her samples will be tested once again in J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal.

Officials said that she in charge of COVID-19 monitoring in Kangpokpi and Senapati districts. Experts have started inquiry to know how she had contracted this disease.

She is the first elected representative in Manipur to contract the COVID-19. Though  the result of the second test is awaited she has started taking precautions.

Iboyaima Laithangbam

11.00 am | New Delhi

Coronavirus most prevalent among those in 5-17 age bracket: Delhi Sero survey

Minors aged between 5 and 17 are most exposed to the novel coronavirus in Delhi, according to a serological survey conducted in the city this month.

Conducted between August 1 and August 7, the survey, second in the city, showed that 29.1 percent of the population in the national capital has now developed antibodies against SARS CoV-2.

 

10.00 am | West Bengal

Mamata refutes allegations of irregularities in purchase of medical equipment

Emphasising that her government is doing all purchases in a transparent manner, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday refuted allegations of irregularities in the purchase of medical equipment related to containing the COVID-19.

“Some are raising questions on the purchase of masks. I want to ask them how much has been deposited in the takecare [PM CARES] Fund, before asking others,” Ms. Banerjee said.

 

9.30 am | Tamil Nadu

Govt. to shift focus on Salem, Coimbatore and Cuddalore

Following an increase in COVID-19 cases in Coimbatore, Salem and Cuddalore, the State government has decided to focus on these districts. The numbers in these districts were scrutinised in detail at a virtual meeting of District Collectors chaired by Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam on Monday evening.

Steps being taken by Collectors were reviewed and they were instructed on efforts needed to bring down the number of new positive cases as well as deaths.

 

9.00 am | Odisha

Virus breaches another wall, four Bondas test positive

Health officials collect swabs from a local resident at a community health centre in Bhubaneswar on August 24, 2020
 
| Photo Credit: BiswaranjanRout

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached the Bondas, a tribal community residing in the hill ranges of Malkangiri district in Odisha. Four members of the community have tested positive for COVID-19. They have been isolated from the rest of the community members.

Bondas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), live in settlements comprising small hutments in the hills of the Khairaput block. Their population is around 7,000.

8.30 am | Hyderabad

Doctors, medical staff demand ex-gratia, insurance

Various associations of healthcare professionals working in State-run hospitals have demanded ₹1 crore ex-gratia for their colleagues who died after contracting COVID-19, and insurance policy for those working under the current circumstances. The demand was raised after delay in extending help to family members of 35-year-old doctor G. Naresh Kumar who contracted the infectious disease and died on August 7.

8.00 am | Tamil Nadu

With a 24-hour long lockdown to come into force from 6 a.m. on August 25, 2020 in Puducherry,shops on Jawahar Nerhru Street and other markets are witnessing crowds. A scence on August 24, 2020 evening.

With a 24-hour long lockdown to come into force from 6 a.m. on August 25, 2020 in Puducherry,shops on Jawahar Nerhru Street and other markets are witnessing crowds. A scence on August 24, 2020 evening.  
| Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

Koyambedu market likely to reopen soon

The State government has assured traders that it will reopen the Koyambedu wholesale market complex and other markets across Tamil Nadu soon. The date of reopening of the Koyambedu complex, which was shut following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, is likely to be announced shortly.

7.00 am | New Delhi

Weekly markets open on trial basis with norms

Weekly markets in various parts of Delhi that have been shut since the beginning of the lockdown reopened on a trial basis on Monday with strict norms for maintaining social distancing, following directions of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority last week.

 

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