Coronavirus LATEST Updates: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. Some reports say he is suffering from respiratory problems.
The reported active COVID-19 cases in India stand at 6,73,166 and as many as 19,77,779 COVID-19 patients have been cured and discharged so far, the Union Health Ministry has said in its latest update.
India’s COVID-19 toll crossed 50,000 on Monday, with the country reporting 941 fatalities and 57,981 new cases in 24 hours since 8 am on Sunday.
The total caseload rose to 26,47,663 but the number of people who have recovered from the disease also went up to 19,19,842, said the Union health ministry.
The number of tests carried out for the detection of COVID-19 also crossed three crore, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data. A total of 3,00,41,400 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the country till 16 August, including 7,31,697 on Sunday, it said.
Bihar extended the lockdown till 6 September in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the state, as per a notification issued by the state government.
An MLA tested positive and a minister went into quarantine in Punjab, even as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh warned that he would not hesitate to impose stricter restrictions to arrest the spread of the infection. In Manipur, former world boxing champion L Sarita Devi and her husband Thoiba Singh tested positive but were asymptomatic. Both of them were going to a coronavirus care centre in Imphal, Thoiba said.
Toll mounts to 50,921
The countrywide toll due to COVID-19 climbed to 50,921 with 941 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours but the case fatality rate has declined to 1.92 percent, said the health ministry.
Of the 941 fresh deaths, 288 were in Maharashtra, 125 in Tamil Nadu, 116 in Karnataka, 88 in Andhra Pradesh, 56 in Uttar Pradesh, 51 in West Bengal, 41 in Punjab, 20 in Gujarat, 16 in Jharkhand, 15 in Jammu and Kashmir, 14 in Rajasthan, 11 each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, 10 each in Kerala, Odisha, Haryana and Telangana, eight in Delhi and seven each in Chhattisgarh and Assam.
A record 57,584 patients recuperated from the disease within a span of 24 hours, pushing the recovery rate to over 72 percent, said the ministry. The actual caseload of the country now stands at 6,76,900 on date and currently comprises only 25.57 percent of the total positive cases, it said. This difference between the recovered and the active cases continues to expand and now stands at 12,42,942.
Over three crore tests conducted so far
The health ministry asserted that a new landmark had been achieved as the total number of tests for detection of COVID-19 has crossed the three crore-mark in India.
In a testament to the focussed, consistent and coordinated efforts of the Centre, and the State and UT governments, India has set a new landmark of conducting three crore tests, it said in a statement.
“With 7,31,697 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, India is on its resolved drive to increase its testing capacity to 10 lakh tests daily,” the ministry said. The Tests Per Million (TPM) have seen a sharp increase to 21,769, it further said.
“While the cumulative testing rose from 1.2 crore on 14 July to three crore on 16 August, the positivity rate has seen a rise from 7.5 percent to 8.81 percent in the same period”, it said in a statement. However, the ministry said that the positivity rate will eventually fall if isolation, tracking accompanied higher testing.
“Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as the 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 said.
Testing numbers dip in Delhi
The number of coronavirus tests in Delhi in August as was lower in comparison to tests in July, reported news agency PTI. However, the government attributed the decrease to the fall in COVID-19 infections in the National Capital.
The authorities conducted over 2.58 lakh COVID-19 tests in Delhi between 1 and 15 August, whereas the figure stood at over 3.13 lakh in the same period in July. Between 16 and 31 July, over 2.96 lakh tests were conducted in Delhi.
“It is wrong to say that the number of tests in Delhi has dipped in the last few days. We are doing sufficient number of tests in Delhi. There can be fluctuations over short time periods, but overall we have been consistently doing 19,000-20,000 tests daily for months now,” an official said. The official also said that the number of tests was low on some days in August due to festivals and celebrations such as Rakshabandhan, Janmashtami and Independence Day.
The official also said that RT-PCR tests were easily available at all flu clinics, labs and in all hospitals “There has not been a single complaint about anyone being unable to get RTPCR test done. Earlier, when the cases were high more people were visiting these centers to get themselves tested. Now since the number of cases has significantly dipped in Delhi, the number of RTPCR tests has also fallen down accordingly,” the official stressed.
Delhi conducted 14,988 tests on Monday and 787 more tested positive, taking the overall count to over 1.53 lakh. The toll rose to 4,214 with 18 more fatalities, the Health Department said.
Bihar extends lockdown till 6 September
The Bihar government extended the statewide lockdown till 6 September. According to a notification issued by the Home Department, restrictions will remain in place in the district headquarters, sub-divisional headquarters, block headquarters and all municipal areas in the state. Strict measures will be enforced in the buffer and containment zones, it said.
Restrictions imposed in the state extended till 6th September: Government of Bihar. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/fib9xsgX5H
— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2020
All religious places will remain closed and no congregation will be allowed. Besides, all social and political gatherings will be barred, it said. Parks and gymnasiums will remain closed and night curfew, restricting the movement of people between 10 pm and 5 am, will be in place, it added.
Inter-state and inter-district bus services will also remain suspended though transportation of goods will be allowed without any hindrance.
The state has so far reported over one lakh cases, a ten-fold rise within a period of a month and a half.
West Bengal, Kerala see record spike in new cases
Meanwhile, other states and Union Territories (UTs) also reported fresh cases and fatalities. Uttar Pradesh reported its highest single-day spike of 69 fatalities, taking the toll to 2,515, a government bulletin said. A total of 4,186 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday took the state’s infection tally to 1,58,216, it said.
The COVID-19 case count in West Bengal rose to 1,19,578 with the highest single-day spike of 3,080 new cases on Monday, while the toll increased to 2,473 as 45 more people died, according to a bulletin issued by the Health Department. Total 2,932 people recovered from the disease during the last 24 hours, improving the discharge rate to 75.02, it added. There are 27,402 active cases in the state at present.
Kerala also witnessed its highest single-day surge of 1,725 COVID-19 cases taking the infection count to 46,140 while 13 deaths took the
toll to 169. Health minister KK Shailaja said Thiruvananthapuram reported the highest number of 461, followed by Malappuram with 306.
Twelve more deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in Haryana on Monday, as the state recorded its highest single-day spike of 887 cases taking the total infections to 48,040, according to the health department’s daily bulletin.
Not averse to tightening curbs, says Punjab CM
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said he was not averse to imposing stricter restrictions, as the state reported its highest single-day spike of 1,492 COVID-19 cases and a record 51 deaths due to the disease. The COVID-19 toll mounted to 862 and the infection count reached 32,695.
During a review meeting, the chief minister did not rule out a fresh lockdown, especially in areas witnessing a surge in cases, but made it clear that economic activities would not be allowed to suffer.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who is heading the expert group for reviving the state’s economy, also said any measures to check the spread of COVID-19 should not impact economic activities, according to a government release.
In his presentation on the COVID-19 situation, health expert KK Talwar said four districts— Ludhiana, Mohali, Jalandhar and Patiala — were witnessing the maximum surge in infections and deaths and needed stricter preventive measures to control the situation. Deaths per million in the state had gone up to 27.2, and as many as 265 patients were on oxygen and 20 on ventilator support at present, he said.
Meanwhile, Punjab MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali said that he had taken a test for COVID-19 after developing mild symptoms of the disease and his report came positive. Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal later announced he was going into self-quarantine after he came into contact with the Bathinda district police chief who has been infected with the virus.
“Our SSP from Bathinda has been tested coronavirus positive and I met him on August 15 for the Independence Day function. On medical advice and for the safety of my family and workers, I am going into self-quarantine and as such no public meetings will be held by me during this period,” Badal wrote on his Facebook page.
Boxer Sarita Devi, Odisha minister test positive
Odisha’s Rural Development and Labour Minister Susanta Singh on Monday also tested positive for COVID-19. The MLA from Bhatli Assembly constituency is the first minister in Odisha to have been infected with the virus.
I have tested positive for Corona and I am stable now. Those who have came in contact with me recently are requested to stay isolated and get tested.
— Susanta Singh (@SusantaSingh11) August 17, 2020
In Manipur, boxer L Sarita Devi tested positive for COVID-19 along with her husband Thoiba Singh but both of them are asymptomatic. The couple is based in Imphal and have a son, Tomthin, who has tested negative.
“Me and Sarita have tested positive. We are right now moving to a COVID-19 care facility. Both of us have no symptoms at all and I don’t see any reason to panic,” Thoiba told PTI over phone.
“I have no idea how this infection caught us. I think we were taking all precautions. But hopefully, it is going to be all right. We will recover soon. I am just relieved that Tomthin has tested negative,” he added.
With inputs from PTI