Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Two more CRPF personnel die of COVID-19, toll in paramilitary force now 28

20:36 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra LATEST Updates

Maharashtra records 11,119 new cases, 422 deaths

Maharashtra reports 11,119 fresh infections and 422 deaths, taking the total cases in the state to 6,15,477 and toll to 20,687. A total of 9,356 patients were  discharged today, taking the number of recoveries to 4,37,870. Active cases stand at 1,56,608, reports ANI  quoting the state public health department.

20:22 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Two more CRPF personnel succumb to COVID-19

Two more Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have died due to coronavirus infection, taking the death toll due to the pandemic in the country’s largest paramilitary force to 28, officials said on Tuesday. The personnel, in the rank of Head Constable, were on leave at their homes in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, they said. The force also reported 51 fresh COVID-19 infections and recovery of 424 personnel from the disease on Tuesday. Out of the over 6,130 cases of the disease in the force, 2,131 are active, they said.

20:03 (IST)

Coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh LATEST Updates

Himachal Pradesh reports 65 new cases

Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday reported 56 fresh COVID-19 cases, including 12 security personnel and a driver of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. They were in institutional quarantine after a security guard and a driver of Thakur had contracted the infection a few days ago. With this, the state’s COVID-19 tally has reached 4,231, while the toll is 18.

19:51 (IST)

Coronavirus in Karnataka LATEST Updates

BJP MP V Srinivas Prasad tests positive

BJP MP V Srinivas Prasad on  Tuesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19.  Prasad, a former Minister, said he was following
doctor’s instruction and there was no reason to worry. He has also requested all those who had come in contact with him during the last one week to undergo tests and go into home quarantine. Prasad represents Chamarajanagara constituency.
Meanwhile, Karantaka BJP vice president and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra, who had met Prasad earlier in the day, said he was under home quarantine.  Wishing Prasad a speedy recovery, Vijayendra in a tweet said, “as I had come into his contact, I have taken all the precautionary measures, and I’m in home quarantine. I request all those who were with me to take precautions.”

19:39 (IST)

Coronavirus in Tamil Nadu LATEST Updates

Over 50 employees as jewellery store in Coimbatore test positive

Police have registered a case  against the management of a leading jewellery store in Coimbatore under the  Epidemics Diseases Act, as 58 workers there tested coronavirus positive in the last two days. According to police, a customer was tested COVID-19 positive on Sunday last, following which nearly 90 workers there had undergone testing and the results showed 58 tested positive in the last two days. The jewellery shop was temporarily closed for
violating the Act, they said. All those infected by the virus were admitted to different hospitals and Covid Care Centre in the city. With over 50 people contracting the infection, the health department appealed to customers who had visited the shop in the last one week to undergo testing.

19:21 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Centre allows foreign journalists with valid visas to enter India

The government has allowed foreign journalists with valid visas to come to India along with family members, reports PTI. A Home Ministry notification said the decision has been taken after considering theneed for further relaxation of visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals who want to travel to India. Accordingly, in addition to the categories of foreign nationals who were already permitted to enter India, it has been decided to permit foreign nationals holding Journalist (J-1) visas and their dependents holding J-1X visas to enter India, the notification said. If they have J-1 or J-1X visas, which have been suspended, such visas shall stand restored with immediate effect to facilitate their entry into India.
It has also been decided that the existing restrictions on incoming passenger traffic into India through the immigration check posts will not apply in respect of these categories of foreign nationals, the notification said. However, in respect of quarantine and all other health and COVID-19 related matters, guidelines of the Ministry of Health shall be adhered to.

19:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal LATEST Updates

Migrant workers who recovered from COVID-19 roped in as coronavirus warriors

 Migrant workers who were diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning to West Bengal and have recovered, have now been roped in by the state government to help hundreds of those suffering from the pandemic and are undergoing treatment at different hospitals in Kolkata, a senior government official said. Forty-nine migrant workers have been inducted by the state government as members of its ‘COVID-19 Warriors Club’ to assist the coronavirus patients. They hail from Birbhum, Coochbehar, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Murshidabadand and are given a monthly  honorarioum of Rs 15,000, he said.
“The primary job of these COVID-19 warriors is to keep up the morale of the patients currently undergoing treatment in the coronavirus wards in hospitals by sharing with them their own stories of recovery. These men will also provide updates to the relatives of those being treated,” he said. Before being engaged for the work, these migrant labourers were trained for at least seven days about the safety measures while assisting a patient at the COVID-19 ward, the official said.

18:47 (IST)

Coronavirus inTamil Nadu LATEST Updates

Tamil Nadu records 5,709 new cases, 121 deaths

Tamil Nadu reports 5,709 new COVID19 cases and 121 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 3,49,654  including 6,007 deaths and 53,860 active cases, reports ANI quoting the state health department

18:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra LATEST Updates

Dharavi records just four new cases

The coronavirus case count in the slum-dominated Dharavi area of Mumbai rose to 2,676 on Tuesday with four new patients coming to light, said a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official. The area, considered to be Asia’s largest slum, recorded a single-digit rise on the 15th day in a row. It had registered a spike of only four cases on Monday too.

The Phillippines government has now decided to follow the Dharavi model to curb the spread of the infection, said reports. According to the Mumbai Mirror, the  BMC  has charged its blueprint with the Phillippines government and it will now implement the “Chase the virus” model. 

18:05 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

World nowhere near herd immunity, says WHO

The World Health Organization said the planet is nowhere near the amount of coronavirus immunity needed to induce herd immunity, where enough of the population would have antibodies to stop the spread. Herd immunity is typically achieved with vaccination and most scientists estimate at least 70 percent of the population must have antibodies to prevent an outbreak. But some experts have suggested that even if half the population had immunity, there might be a protective effect.

WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan largely dismissed that theory at a press briefing on Tuesday, saying we should not live in hope of achieving herd immunity. “As a global population, we are nowhere close to the levels of immunity required to stop this disease transmitting,” he said. “This is not a solution and not a solution we should be looking to.”Most studies conducted to date have suggested only about 10 percent to 20 percent of people have antibodies. Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to WHO’s director-general, added that any mass immunisation campaign with a COVID-19 vaccine would aim to cover far more than 50 percent of the world’s population. “We don’t want to be wrong,” he said. “You want to plan to get high coverage and not get lulled into a dangerously seductive suggestion that (the herd immunity threshold) could be low.”


17:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh LATEST Updates

UP’s toll mounts to 2,585 with 70 deaths

Uttar Pradesh reported its worst single-day spike of 70 fatalities on Tuesday, pushing the COVID-19 toll in the state to 2,585, reports PTI  quoting Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad.The number of COVID-19 cases has reached 1,62,434 with 4,218 fresh cases in 24 hours.The official further said the number of those who have been discharged from hospitals after recovery has reached 1,09,607. The state now has 50,242 cases of active infection, he said. Prasad said there are 25,008 people who have opted for home isolation while 1,719 are taking treatment in private facilities and another 283 in others.

17:35 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

EC to come up with guidelines for holding polls during COVID-19 pandemic in three days

The Election Commission (EC) has said it would come up with “broad” guidelines within three days for holding elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports PTI. An EC statement said the matter of issuing broad guidelines for elections and by-elections during “COVID-19 period” was discussed at the commission meeting on Tuesday.   The commission considered the views and suggestions given by the political parties. It also considered the suggestions and recommendations made by chief electoral officers of states and union territories.  “After considering all these, the commission directed to frame broad guidelines within three days,” it said. 
The commission also directed that on the basis of these guidelines, chief electoral officers of election-going states should also prepare a comprehensive plan for state or district concerned for COVID-19 related measures, taking into account the local conditions, while holding elections.

17:19 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

41 lakh youth lose jobs in India due to COVID-19 pandemic: ILO-ADB report

As many as 41 lakh youth in the country lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic while construction and farm sector workers account for the majority of job losses, according to a joints report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  “For India, the report estimates job loss for 4.1 million youth. Construction and agriculture have witnessed the major job losses among seven key sectors,” said the ILO-ADB report, titled ‘Tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific’, released on Tuesday. The young people’s employment prospects in Asia and the Pacific are severely challenged due to the pandemic, it added. Youth (15-24 years) will be hit harder than adults (25 and older) in the immediate crisis and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs, said the report.

17:10 (IST)

Coronavirus in Nepal LATEST Updates

Nepal records 1,016 new cases, seven deaths

As many as 1,016 new cases (205 in Kathmandu Valley) and seven more deaths were recorded in Nepal, reports ANI quoting the country’s health ministry. The toll due to the pandemic stands at 114 till date, it said.

16:50 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Case fatality rate is below two percent, says health ministry

“Recovered patients are more than 19.70 lakh, which is 2.93 times the number of active cases. The case fatality rate is below two percent,” ANI quotes Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry

16:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

No guarantee of any vaccine candidate emerging successful, says VK Paul

Niti Aayog member VK Paul cautioned that it cannot be guaranteed that any vaccine candidate entering trials will emerge successful There is no guarantee of 100 percent success. “Keep your fingers crossed and focus on the methods of test, track and treat,” he said.

16:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

States have been continuously reducing COVID-19 testing rates

When asked whether the health ministry is considering further reducing the prices for testing, secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that states have been continuously slashing testing rates as the number of imported testing kits has been falling. The rates of the testing kits are available on the governemnt’s e-marketplace and this gives states more negotiating power, he said.

16:31 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Talks on with vaccine manufacturers, says VK Paul

“Cannot comment on which vaccine will emerge successful, phase three vaccine trial will take longer to show results,” said the health ministry, when asked about progress in the development of potential COVID-19 vaccines. NITI Aayog member VK Paul said that dialogue is in process with manufacturers as regards production capacity but India has tremendous production capacity.

16:28 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Post-recovery symptoms observed in some cases, says health ministry

New dimension of the disease coming forward of fibrosis in the lungs and other post recovery symptoms. However, it doesn’t appear that there are very dangerous long term effects. This is a developing area for understanding, said the health ministry when asked about post-recovery symptoms observed in some patients.

16:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

New cases, deaths decreasing over past five days, says health ministry

Trend of decreasing number of active cases in the past five days however in the context of a pandemic, five days is too less to draw conclusions. However, this shows the results of the efforts taken by the state and central governments, said the health ministry.

There is also a downward trend in number of deaths from 1007 on 13 August , 996 on 14 Aug, 944 on 15 Aug, 941 on 16, 876 on the17 August. However, there is no need to slacken in testing and other efforts, the ministry cautioned. 

NITI Aayog member VK Paul said the positivity rate had also come down and that the developments were reasurring but the challenge was far from over.

16:17 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

One vaccine candidate set to enter phase three trial, says health ministry

Three vaccine candidates being developed in India and one vaccine set to enter phase three trial in a day or two, said the health ministry. The progress has been happening in a reassuring manner, the health ministry representative said.

15:55 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Record 57,584 recoveries in 24 hrs, says health ministry

India recorded the highest single-day recoveries of 57,584 in the last 24 hours, which is more than the number of new cases (55,079) reported during the same period, said the health ministry in a statement. With more patients recovering and being discharged, the total recoveries have crossed 19 lakh (19,77,779) and the gap between the recovered patients and the active cases has crossed 13 lakh today (13,04,613), it further stated.

Continuous increase in average daily recoveries has led to the recovery rate touching 73.18percent while the case fatality rate is down to 1,92 percent. “As a result of collaborative and focussed efforts by the Centre and State/UT governments built on effective implementation of the “TEST, TRACK, TREAT” strategy of the Union Government, 30 States/UTs are reporting lower CFR than the national average,” the ministry claimed.

15:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

India conducts nearly nine lakh COVID-19 tests in single day

With nearly nine lakh  (8,99,864) tests conducted in a single day, India has set another record in COVID-19 tests, said the health ministry. With this, the cumulative tests in the country have reached 3,09,41,264. However, the positivity has remained low i.e. 8.81percent compared to the weekly national average of. 8.84 percent, it said.

15:25 (IST)

Coronavirus in Nagaland LATEST Updates

Nagaland reports 64 new cases today

Nagaland Health Minister S Pangnyu Phom said that the government tested 577 more samples on Tuesday, of which, 65 have tested positive for the coronavirus. “Necessary contact tracing has been activated and all primary contacts under self-isolation,” he adds.

15:23 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

8 teams of researchers from India, US selected for COVID-19 research

Eight binational teams of researchers from India and the US have been selected for pursuing cutting-edge research in pathogenesis and disease management of COVID-19, according to an official statement.

The teams will pursue research in areas such as antiviral coatings, immune modulation, tracking SARS CoV-2 in wastewater, disease detection mechanisms, reverse genetics strategies and drug repurposing. 

14:17 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh LATEST Updates

UP minister tests COVID-19 positive

Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Atul Garg tests positive for Covid-19.

12:51 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Parliamentary Committee for Home to meet tomorrow

The Parliamentary Committee for Home is expected to meet tomorrow to discuss the COVID19 situation in the country. AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria will also be present in the meeting along with Health Ministry officials, reports ANI.

12:46 (IST)

Coronavirus in Telangana LATEST Updates

Telangana records eight COVID-19 deaths, 1,682 new cases

Telangana reported 1,682 fresh coronavirus cases and 8 deaths, pushing the state’s tally of positive cases to 93,937. With eight more fatalities the toll rose to 711, a state government bulletin said on Tuesday, providing data as of 8 pm on 17 August.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corpoation (GHMC), the COVID-19 hotspot in the state, continued to witness low number of infections with only 235 cases being reported.

12:38 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

India’s recovery rate rises to 73.18%; case fatality at 1.92%

A spike of 55,079 cases took India’s COVID-19 tally past 27 lakh on Tuesday just a day after it crossed the 26-lakh mark, while 19.77 lakh people have so far recuperated from the disease pushing the recovery rate to 73.18 percent, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The COVID-19 caseload stood at 27,02,742, while the death toll climbed to 51,797 with 876 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed. Case fatality rate stands at 1.92 percent.

12:26 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

No change in Pranab Mukherjee’s health condition: Hospital

There is no change in the condition of former President Pranab Mukherjee who continues to be on ventilator support, the Army’s Research and Referral hospital said on Tuesday. Doctors attending on him said his vital parameters are stable.

The 84-year-old former president was admitted to the hospital in Delhi Cantonment on 10 August. He was operated for removal of a clot in the brain and has been in a coma ever since. He also tested positive for COVID-19.

12:19 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra LATEST Updates

Maharashtra Police registers over 12,000 cases; toll at 128

The number of coronavirus cases in the Maharashtra police rises to 12,495 as 112 personnel test positive for the infection in the last 24 hours, ANI reports. Two more deaths push the police force’s toll to 128.

11:57 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

SC dismisses plea to transfer money from PM CARE Fund to national disaster relief fund

The Supreme Court rules that money from the PM CARES Fund, set up in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic by the prime minister’s office, cannot be transferred to the National Disaster Relief Fund.

11:14 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra LATEST Updates

Pune’s first seroprevalence finds 51.5% have antibodies against COVID-19

Pune’s first serosurvey has found that 51.5 percent of the 1644 respondents from five highly- affected wards in the city have seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19 infection.

A serological survey is done to detect the presence of specific antibodies, and is used to assess the prevalence of a disease in the population. Data from the Pune sero survey was released on Monday.

The survey had 1,664 respondents (all above 18 years) from the city’s five wards whose population is 3.66 lakh.

10:48 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Amit Shah admitted to AIIMS for post COVID-19 care

Home Minister Amit Shah has been admitted to AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) for post-COVID-19 care. He is comfortable and is continuing his work from hospital, according to a statement from AIIMS, Delhi, reports ANI.

He was discharged from Medanta Hospital,Gurugram on 14 August, after testing negative for COVID19. Some reports say he is suffering from respiratory problems

10:28 (IST)

Coronavirus in Punjab LATEST Updates

Punjab to impose additional restrictions in Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala from today

Punjab government has decided to impose additional restrictions in Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala from 18 August, till further orders. Movement of individuals for non-essential activities to remain prohibited between 9 pm to 5 am. Restaurants, hotels and other hospitality units to remain open till 8.30 pm.

Shops and shopping malls would remain open till 8 pm. Restaurants/hotels situated within shopping malls and liquor vends would remain open till 8.30 pm, according to the state Information and Public Relations Department.

09:44 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

India reports over 55,000 new cases; toll now at 51,797

The number of coronavirus cases in the country have risen by 55,079 to 27,02,742, the Ministry of Health says. The toll is at 51,797, after 826 more people died of the virus in the last 24 hours.

09:30 (IST)

Coronavirus in Goa LATEST Updates

Flight movement at Goa Airport increases 12 times since last month

Despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases, flight movements at the Goa airport increased almost 12 times last month as compared to April this year, according to the Airports Authority of India. It said this is a sign of normalcy returning at the Goa airport, located at the INS Hansa base in Vasco town, reports PTI. 

08:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Record 8.9 lakh tests done in past 24 hours, says Centre

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday said that a new peak of 8.97 lakh COVID19 tests done in the last 24 hours. “Even with such a high level of testing, the positivity has remained low, 8.81% compared to the weekly national average, 8.84%,” it said in a tweet.

08:05 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

30 states and UTs performed better than national average, says Centre

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday said that focused implementation of Centre-led strategies has ensured prompt identification, timely isolation, and effective clinical treatment, leading to reduced Case Fatality Rate. Thirty states and Union Territories performed better than the national average.

08:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha LATEST Updates

Odisha minister among 2,244 new cases

Odisha on Monday recorded 2,244 fresh COVID-19 cases taking the state’s tally to 62,294, while 10 more people succumbed to the disease pushing the death toll to 353, a health department official said. Rural Development and Labour Minister Susanta Singh tested positive to the COVID-19 and became the first member of Naveen Patnaik’s cabinet to contract the illness.

07:59 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Government panel meets representatives of leading domestic manufacturers

The national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 met representatives of leading domestic manufactures, including Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, on August 17 to take inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines as well as their expectations from the government, the Union Health Ministry said. The meeting was mutually beneficial and productive, the ministry said.

“It provided the national expert group with inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines being developed by indigenous manufacturers as well as their expectations from the Union government,” the statement said.

The meeting was chaired by Niti Aayog member VK Paul and co-chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

07:53 (IST)

Coronavirus in US LATEST Updates

Virus clusters erupt at US universities as semester begins

From the dorms at North Carolina to the halls of Notre Dame, officials at universities around the US scrambled on Monday to deal with new COVID-19 clusters at the start of the fall semester, some of them linked to off-campus parties and packed clubs, reports AP.

At Oklahoma State in Stillwater, where a widely circulated video over the weekend showed maskless students packed into a nightclub, officials confirmed 23 coronavirus cases at an off-campus sorority house. The university placed the students living there in isolation and prohibited them from leaving.

A cluster of COVID-19 cases in a dorm was announced Sunday by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The disclosure marked the fourth such outbreak since the semester began Aug. 10 at the state’s flagship public university campus. The three others were at a dorm, private student housing and a fraternity house

07:49 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam LATEST Updates

Assam’s COVID-19 toll climbs to 197 with eight more fatalities

Eight more COVID-19 patients died in Assam on Monday, pushing the death toll in the state to 197, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Assam’s caseload stood at 79,667 after 2,792 people tested positive since Sunday, he said.

07:47 (IST)

Coronavirus in Ladakh LATEST Updates

No Muharram congregations in Kargil this year

The authorities in Ladakh’s Kargil on Monday said no Muharram congregations and processions will be allowed in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation, reports PTI.

District Development Commissioner Baseer-ul-Haq Choudhary, however, said Imam Baras will remain open and the observance will be restricted to a single person who will recite the ‘Noha, Marsia and sermon’ which will be relayed for other people through loudspeakers.

07:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal LATEST Updates

West Bengal’s COVID-19 discharge rate improves to 75.02%

West Bengal’s COVID-19 discharge rate crossed the 75-per cent mark on Monday with the state reporting more recoveries, even as record 3,080 new cases were detected, as per an official bulletin.

The state’s COVID-19 total rose to 1,19,578 with reporting of the fresh cases. The toll increased to 2,473 as 45 more people died, the bulletin issued by the Health Department said.

07:33 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Biocon executive chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tests COVID-19 positive

Executive chairperson of Bengaluru-headquartered Biocon Ltd Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said on Monday night that she has tested positive for COVID-19.

Replying to her tweet, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, “So sorry to hear this, @KiranShaw. We need you hale & hearty soon! Be well my friend.”

As of 17 August 17 evening, cumulatively 2,33,283 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in Karnataka, which includes 4,062 deaths and 1,48,562 discharges, the health department said in its bulletin.

Bengaluru urban district tops the list of COVID-19 cases, with a total of 91,864 infections so far. Out of 6,317 fresh cases reported in the state on Monday, 2,053 cases ere from Bengaluru urban alone.

Coronavirus LATEST Updates: Two more Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have died due to coronavirus infection, taking the toll due to the pandemic in the country’s largest paramilitary force to 28.

A trend of decreasing number of active or new cases has been observed over the past five days, said the health ministry. However in the context of a pandemic, five days is too less to draw conclusions, it said.

The number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen by 55,079 to 27,02,742, the Ministry of Health says. The toll is at 51,797, after 826 more people died of the virus in the last 24 hours.

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.

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.

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

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