Coronavirus Updates: Maharashtra reports 14,492 new COVID-19 cases, 326 deaths; tally rises to 6,43,289

23:27 (IST)

Coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

UP reports 4,991 new COVID-19 cases

Uttar Pradesh registered a record 95 deaths due to COV ID-19 on Thursday, taking the total fatalities in the state to 2,733. With 4,991 fresh Covid-19 cases, the state’s tally climbed to 1,72,334, a government release issued said.

21:29 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra Latest Updates

14,492 new cases in Maharashtra today

 

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 6,43,289, which includes 4,59,124 recovered cases, 1,62,491 active cases & 21,359 deaths till date, the state health department said.

20:26 (IST)

Coronavirus in Punjab Latest Updates

Punjab govt extends weekend lockdown

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday extended weekend lockdown and daily night curfew from 7 pm to 5 am across the state.

19:43 (IST)

Coronavirus Pandemic Latest Updates

India has provided COVID-19 assistance to Bangaldesh, says MEA

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said, “India has provided COVID-19 related assistance to Bangladesh and has been organising capacity building courses for Bangladesh medical personnel following video conference of leaders of SAARC countries and creation of SAARC Emergency Response Fund for COVID-19.”

“Bangladesh has committed US$ 1.5 million to the fund. Foreign secretary informed Bangladesh PM Hasina about India’s efforts towards COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution. Both sides agreed to continue their discussions in area of vaccines and therapeutics,” he added.

19:01 (IST)

Coronavirus Pandemic Latest Updates

Emirates to fly repatriation flights to 5 Indian cities

The Emirates airlines will fly repatriation flights to Bengaluru, Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram from 30 or 31 August, The Times of India reported. 

“The special flights will be for Indian citizens in the UAE wishing to return home, and for residents of UAE currently in India to return to the UAE,” the report said.

17:49 (IST)

Coronavirus in Kerala Latest Updates

26 volunteers at Kozhikode site test COVID-19 positive

As many as 26 volunteers who reached the Air-India Express plane crash site in Kozhikode evacuated the injured passengers on 7 August, have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As far as my information from the airport sources goes, as many as 26 localpeople, involved in the rescue operations, have tested positive for the virus so far and are now under medical care,” the Malappuram District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena told PTI.

District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, Superintendent of Police U Abdul Kareem and 21 officials, including police and fire force personnel, also involved in the rescue operations, had also tested positive.

The youngsters, who all stay around the airport area, had rushed to the accident site braving the heavy rains and COVID-19 fears and taken the injured to the various hospitals, drawing praise from various quarters, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

(PTI)

17:37 (IST)

Coronavirus in Bihar Latest Updates

Bihar govt caps cost of COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals

The Bihar government on Thursday capped charges of private hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

Different rates notified as per area – Category A applicable to Patna; Category B to BhagalpurMuzaffarpur, Gaya, Purnia and Darbhanga; Category C applies to other parts of the state.

17:09 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Recovery rate nears 74%, only 0.28% of patients are on ventilator support

Recoveries among COVID-19 patients in the country surged to 20,96,664 on Thursday, pushing India’s recovery rate to 73.91 percent, while only 0.28 percent people of 6,86,395 active cases are on ventilator support, the Union health ministry said.

  Of the active cases of coronavirus infection, 1.92 percent are in ICU and 2.62 percent on oxygen support. The country’s case fatality rate has further declined to 1.90 percent, it said.

Recovery of 20,96,664 patients has been made possible because of effective implementation of the policy of testing aggressively, tracking comprehensively and treating efficiently, the ministry said in a statement.

16:27 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

9.18 lakh COVID-19 tests done in a day, cumulative tests reach 3.26 cr

With a record 9,18,470 tests been being done in a day, the cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in India have reached 3.26 crore even as the national positivity rate has fallen below 8 per cent, the Union Health Ministry said.

With constantly increasing testing numbers, there has been a commensurate fall in the positivity rate, the ministry said.

“Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as the experience from several states and UTs has amply depicted, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, effective tracking and timely clinical management,” it stated. 

India for the first time conducted a record number of more than 9 lakh COVID tests in a span of 24-hours on Wednesday and it is poised to see an exponential increase towards its resolve of testing 10 lakh samples daily.

The cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of coronavirus infection in the country has increased to 3,26,61,252.

(PTI)

15:14 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

India’s Ambassador to US urges students not to panic as COVID-19 pandemic is temporary

India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has given a pep talk to Indian students here and urged them not to panic over the “uncertainties” surrounding their academic sessions, saying the COVID-19 pandemic is temporary, reports PTI.

Speaking to over 50 Indian students in a virtual interaction, Sandhu said such unprecedented situations should instead inspire them to work harder and contribute towards a self-reliant modern, prosperous and happy India.

“The uncertainties, surrounding the academic session and adoption of novel teaching practices, by educational institutions in India as well as in the US may have seemed in-surmountable. However, do remember, the age-old saying tough times don’t last, tough people do,” Sandhu said.

15:02 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra LATEST Updates

Maharashtra Police reports 117 new cases, 2 deaths in past 24 hrs

117 more police personnel found COVID19 positive while 2 have died in the last 24 hours in Maharashtra. The total number of corona positive police personnel in Maharashtra Police has now reached 12,877, including 2,255 active cases, 10,491 recoveries & 131 deaths till date.

14:56 (IST)

Coronavirus in Odisha LATEST Updates

BJD MLA tests positive for COVID-19 in Odisha

Another ruling Biju Janata Dal MLA has tested positive for COVID-19, taking the number of lawmakers infected by the virus to eight in Odisha. Bhubaneswar (Central) MLA Ananta Narayan Jena on Thursday announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is on home quarantine.

Five BJD MLAs S R Patnaik (Khandapada), Prasant Behera (Salipur), Srikant Sahu (Polsara), Sudhansu Sekhar Parida (Remuna) and Odisha Rural Development and Labour minister Susant Singh have earlier tested positive for COVID-19.

14:51 (IST)

Coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh LATEST Updates

Himachal reports one more COVID-19 death, toll rises to 21

The COVID-19 death toll in Himachal Pradesh reached 21 on Thursday with one more fatality while 29 fresh cases pushed the infection tally to 4,441.

A 41-year-old man, who died in a Kangra hospital within minutes of being admitted there around Wednesday midnight, was found coronavirus positive on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Gurdarshan Gupta said.

Dr Gupta told PTI that the patient’s samples had been taken around midnight and the report came positive on Thursday.

14:24 (IST)

Coronavirus in Meghalaya LATEST Updates

49 security personnel among 63 new COVID-19 cases in Meghalaya

Sixty-three more people, including 49 security personnel, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya, taking the northeastern state’s tally to 1,598, a health official told PTI on Thursday.

Fifty fresh infections were reported in East Khasi Hills district, seven in West Garo Hills, five in Ri-Bhoi and one in East Garo Hills, Health Services Director Aman War said. “Forty-one Armed Forces personnel and eight BSF jawans are among the new patients,” he said.

Five more people have been cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 730, he said, adding six patients have died so far.

14:22 (IST)

Coronavirus in Pakistan LATEST Updates

Pakistan reports 513 new cases of coronavirus: Ministry

Pakistan has reported 513 new cases of coronavirus, taking the toll tally of infections in the country to 290,958, the health ministry said on Thursday.

The Ministry of National Health Services also said the death toll in the country due to coronavirus reached 6,209 after eight patients died due to the infections in the last 24 hours.

The ministry said that 272,804 people have recovered so far while 725 were in critical condition.

14:18 (IST)

Coronavirus in South African LATEST Updates

Two South Africa players test positive for COVID-19

Two players of the South African men’s cricket team have tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss a specially-arranged culture camp, the country’s cricket board said on Thursday, reports PTI.

Cricket South Africa (CSA), though, did not disclose the names of the two players, according to ‘ESPNCricinfo‘.

CSA had conducted 50 tests on players and support staff before the team’s culture camp in Skukuza from August 18 to 22. The camp, focussing on the team’s “identity, environment and performance goals”, features 32 players.

14:15 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Jal Shakti minister tests positive for COVID-19

Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat announces on Twitter that he has tested COVID19 positive. He will be admitted to the hospital. He is the sixth Union Minister to test positive for the highly contagious disease.

 “I am getting admitted to hospital based on doctors’ advice. I appeal to everyone who came in contact with me over the past few days to isolate themselves and get tested.” he said.

13:24 (IST)

Coronavirus in Maharashtra LATEST Updates

MSRTC resumes inter-district bus services after five months

Inter-district bus services of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) resumed on Thursday morning after a gap of almost five months, officials told PTI.

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday permitted the state-owned undertaking to re-start inter-district bus operations, which were stopped in March after the enforcement of lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, the first bus from Mumbai Central depot, where the MSRTC headquarters is located, left around 8.30 am for Chiplun in Ratnagiri district with six passengers boarding at the starting point, a transport corporation official said.

12:15 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi LATEST Updates

Pranab Mukherjee continues to remain on ventilation 

The respiratory parameters of Former President Pranab Mukherjee have shown slight improvement though he continues to be on ventilatory support. His vital and clinical parameters remain stable and are being closely monitored by a team of specialists, said Army Hospital (R&R), Delhi Cantt.

11:58 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India LATEST Updates

True extent of pandemic’s destruction unclear: S Jaishankar

“World faces an unprecedented challenge. None of us have seen a crisis of this proportion before. Even after several months, the true extent of its destruction remains unclear,” said S Jaishankar at 6th Roundtable of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks on Thursday.

11:57 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India LATEST Updates

Global GDP faces approx loss of 6.5 or 9.7% due to COVID-19: S Jaishankar

Speaking at the 6th roundtable of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the impact of COVID-19 has put a “cumulative loss of approx 6.5 or 9.7 percent of the global GDP”.

He further said that the contraction of the world economy is expected to be the largest since Great Depression. 

11:48 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Odisha LATEST Updates

Odisha reports 380 COVID-19 deaths, 70,020 cases

After eight more deaths were reported in Odisha in the past 24 hours, the COVID-19 toll in the state climbed to 380, said the health department on Thursday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the state was 70,020 after 2,898 more individuals tested positive for the highly contagious disease. “Of the total, there are 22,651 active cases and 46,935 recoveries,” said the health department.

11:44 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi LATEST Updates

Nearly 29% of Delhi’s population has antibodies for COVID-19: health minister

After a second serological survey was conducted between 1-7 August, it showed nearly 29 percent of Delhi population has developed antibodies for COVID-19, said health minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday. 

This is an increase of around seven percentage points compared to the previous sero-survey for which samples were collected between 27 June and 10 July.

11:25 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

India’s COVID-19 recovery rate rises to 73.9%; case fatality at 1.9%

India’s COVID-19 caseload went past 28 lakh with a record single-day spike of 69,652 infections, while the recoveries increased to 20,96,664 on Thursday pushing the recovery rate to 73.91 percent, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The total cases of coronavirus infections mounted to 28,36,925, while the death toll climbed to 53,866 with 977 new fatalities being reported in a day, the data updated at 8 am showed. Case fatality rate has declined to 1.90 per cent.

11:10 (IST)

Coronavirus in Rajasthan LATEST Updates

Rajasthan reports close to 700 new cases, takes total to 65,979 

Rajasthan’s COVID-19 case tally now stands at 65,979 with 690 new infections reported today till 10:30 hours. The total numbers of active and recovered cases in the state are 14,671 & 50,393 respectively. The toll is now at 915, according to the state Health Department.

11:05 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal LATEST Updates

Siliguri observes bi-weekly lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19

11:04 (IST)

Coronavirus in Germany LATEST Updates

Germany records highest daily infection toll since April: official

Germany has recorded 1,707 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since April, official figures showed Thursday, reports AFP.

The toll brings to 228,621 the number of infections in the country since the start of the pandemic, and reflects a trend of rising numbers of cases observed in other countries in recent weeks.

10:55 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

About 27% of students don’t have smartphones, laptop, says report

About 27 percent of students don’t have smartphones and laptops to access online classes amid the COVID-19 school shutdown, reports The Indian Express. The survey, conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), covers 18,188 students studying in CBSE-affiliated schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Navodaya Vidyalayas (NVs).

10:43 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jharkhand LATEST Updates

Jharkhand’s COVID-19 caseload rises to 26,300; death mounts to 278

Jharkhand’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 26,300 as 967 more people tested positive for the infection, while 13 fresh fatalities pushed its coronavirus death toll to 278, a health official told PTI on Thursday.

The fresh infections have pushed the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the state to 9,456, while 16,566 people have recovered from the disease so far, he said. A total of 12,282 samples have been tested for COVID- 19 in the last 24 hours, the official added

10:35 (IST)

Coronavirus in Bangladesh LATEST Updates

Bangladesh U-19 cricketer tests positive for COVID-19

A Bangladeshi under-19 cricketer, Iftekhar Hossain, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be in isolation for a week, according to a report.

A report in ‘ESPNcricinfo’ stated that Hossain returned positive during the second batch of tests at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium’s academy building on Monday.

10:33 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Half of inmates in Kadpa central jail test positive, says report

Almost half of the total inmates of the Kadapa Central Prison in Andhra Pradesh have been tested positive for Covid-19, reports The Hindu.

10:15 (IST)

Coronavirus in Jharkhand LATEST Updates

Jharkhand govt beings special rapid antigen tests to identify patients

The Jharkhand government will start a Special rapid antigen testing Drive in all districts of the state to identify coronavirus patients, says the state Directorate of Information and Public Relations.

10:09 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

India reports highest single-day spike of 70,000 cases

India reports 69,652 cases in 24 hours, taking the tally to 28,36,925. The toll increases by 977 to 53,866. There are now 6,86,395 active cases, while as many as 20,96,664 people have been discharged after undergoing treatment so far.

09:04 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

US hands over second shipment of 100 ventilators to India

The US on Wednesday handed over to India 100 ventilators, as part of President Donald Trump’s offer of assistance to New Delhi in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, reports PTI.

The ventilators are manufactured in the US and are compact, easy to deploy and provide India with flexibility in treating patients affected by the virus, the US embassy said in a statement.

09:01 (IST)

Coronavirus LATEST Updates

Global COVID-19 total rises to 2.2 crores; toll at 7.84 lakh

The global coronavirus tally rose to 2,22,62,946 while the toll crossed 7.84 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. More than 1.42 crore people have recovered from the infection so far.

08:17 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

More than 9 lakh tests done in the past 24 hours

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, more than 9 lakh COVID19 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, while the positivity rate drops to 8 percent.

08:15 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

One in four Indians may have COVID-19, says report

At least one in four people in India may have been infected with the coronavirus – a much higher number than official government figures suggest, the head of leading private laboratory told Reuters.

Dr. A. Velumani said an analysis of 270,000 antibody tests conducted by his company Thyrocare across India showed the presence of antibodies in an average of 26% of the people, indicating they had already been exposed to the coronavirus.

“This is a much higher percentage than we had expected. The presence of antibodies is uniform across all age groups, including children,” Velumani told Reuters.

08:09 (IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi LATEST Updates

DDMA approves reopening of hotels, weekly markets in Delhi on trial basis

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday gave approval for the opening of hotels and weekly markets, a move that is expected to help revive the city’s economy pandemic and months of lockdown.

The move to open gyms, however, failed to get DDMA approval, said a Delhi government statement. The decision was taken in a meeting of the DDMA which was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through video conference.

Read full report

08:04 (IST)

Coronavirus in India LATEST Updates

Three SC courts to resume physical hearing in a week’s time on pilot basis

After nearly five months of restricted functioning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court has decided to start physical hearing of cases within a week’s time, though in a limited manner.

The top court administration has informed bar body Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) that three among the bigger courtrooms will be readied within that time for physical hearing, while adhering to the prescribed distancing and other norms and as per medical advice.

Read full report here

07:58 (IST)

Coronavirus in Australia LATEST Updates

Vaccine should be mandatory says Australia PM as race heats up

Australia’s leader called Wednesday for coronavirus immunisations to be mandatory, wading into ethical and safety debates raging around the world as the race to develop a vaccine gathers pace.

Almost 30 potential vaccines are currently being tested on humans across the globe in hope of ending a pandemic that has now killed more than 775,000 people and infected nearly 22 million, according to an AFP tally.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wants all 25 million Australians to get the jab after the country secured access to a vaccine currently under development by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

07:53 (IST)

Coronavirus in US LATEST Updates

COVID-19 vaccine won’t be mandatory in US, says Fauci

Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious diseases official, said Wednesday the government wouldn’t make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public – though local jurisdictions could make it mandatory for some groups, like children, reports AFP.

“You don’t want to mandate and try and force anyone to take a vaccine. We’ve never done that,” said Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, during a video talk organized by George Washington University.

Read full report here

07:44 (IST)

Coronavirus in West Bengal LATEST Updates

West Bengal’s COVID-19 total climbs to 1,25,922 with 3,169 new cases

West Bengal’s COVID-19 tally rose to 1,25,922 on Wednesday following a single-day spike of 3,169 cases, while the death toll mounted to 2,581 with 53 more fatalities, the state health department said.

The discharge rate in the state improved to 75.97 per cent after 2,973 patients recovered from the disease since Tuesday, it said in a bulletin. The total number of recoveries stood at 95,663.

07:35 (IST)

Coronavirus in Assam LATEST Updates

Assam’s COVID count rises to 84,317; toll reaches 213

The COVID-19 death toll in Assam mounted to 213 on Wednesday after 10 people succumbed to the disease, while the state’s coronavirus caseload has gone up to 84,317 with 2,116 fresh infections, Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Of the fresh fatalities, two each were reported from Kamrup Metropolitan, Cachar and Karimganj districts while one each was registered in Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Nagaon and Hailakandi, Sarma said.

Coronavirus LATEST Updates: As many as 26 volunteers who reached the Air-India Express plane crash site in Kozhikode evacuated the injured passengers on 7 August, have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As far as my information from the airport sources goes, as many as 26 localpeople, involved in the rescue operations, have tested positive for the virus so far and are now under medical care,” the Malappuram District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena told PTI.

District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, Superintendent of Police U Abdul Kareem and 21 officials, including police and fire force personnel, also involved in the rescue operations, had also tested positive.

The youngsters, who all stay around the airport area, had rushed to the accident site braving the heavy rains and COVID-19 fears and taken the injured to the various hospitals, drawing praise from various quarters, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

With a record 9,18,470 tests been being done in a day, the cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in India have reached 3.26 crore even as the national positivity rate has fallen below 8 percent, the Union Health Ministry said.

With constantly increasing testing numbers, there has been a commensurate fall in the positivity rate, the ministry said.

“Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as the experience from several states and UTs has amply depicted, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, effective tracking and timely clinical management,” it stated.

India for the first time conducted a record number of more than 9 lakh COVID tests in a span of 24-hours on Wednesday and it is poised to see an exponential increase towards its resolve of testing 10 lakh samples daily.

The cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of coronavirus infection in the country has increased to 3,26,61,252.

This is an increase of around seven percentage points compared to the previous sero-survey for which samples were collected between 27 June and 10 July.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that the contraction of the world economy is expected to be the largest since Great Depression.

Speaking at the 6th roundtable of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks, Jaishankar said that the impact of COVID-19 has put a “cumulative loss of approx 6.5 or 9.7 percent of the global GDP”.

India reports 69,652 cases in 24 hours, taking the tally to 28,36,925. The toll increases by 977 to 53,866. There are now 6,86,395 active cases, while as many as 20,96,664 people have been discharged so far.

With a record 60,091 people recovering from the novel coronavirus in a day, the total recoveries on Wednesday crossed 20 lakh, pushing the recovery rate to 73.64 percent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate fell to 1.91 percent, the Union Health Ministry said.

The number of active cases in the country stands at 6,76,514, accounting for 24.45 percent of the caseload as the total recoveries have surged to 20,37,870, it said.

The total caseload increased to 27,67,273 as 64,531 people tested positive in 24 hours while the toll climbed to 52,889 with a spike of 1,092 deaths, the health ministry said in its morning update. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August.

India tests over 8 lakh samples for second consecutive day

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 3,17,42,782 samples have been tested till 18 August with 8,01,518 samples being tested on Tuesday.

“Focusing on the “test, track and treat” strategy, India has tested more than eight lakh samples for COVID-19 for the second consecutive day,” said the health ministry in a statement. “The Tests Per Million too have seen a sharp rise to 23,002,” the ministry said.

“It is only by aggressive testing that positive cases can be identified, their contacts tracked and isolated as well as prompt treatment can be ensured through timely medical care. The sustained level of high testing has played a key role in India’s increasing rate of recovery, widening gap between the recovered and active cases, and also progressively declining fatality rate,” the ministry said.

Dr Reddy’s launches Avigan (Favipiravir) tablets

In another development, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd announced the launch of Avigan (Favipiravir) 200 mg tablets in India.

The launch is part of the global licensing agreement with Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. Ltd. that grants the Indian drug maker the exclusive rights to manufacture, sell and distribute the tablets in India, Chief Executive Officer of Branded Markets (India and Emerging Markets), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, MV Ramana told news agency PTI.

Avigan(Favipiravir) has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

Avigan comes in a complete therapy pack of 122 tablets with a two-year shelf life. Ramana said that as of now, the company is importing the drug from Japan but will start manufacturing it in India soon.

Replying to query, he said they have already approached regulatory authorities of two or three countries including the US seeking approvals to sell the drug and seek fast track approvals from them once trials are completed. Dr Reddy’s is set to launch another COVID-19 treatment drug, Remdesivir in the first week of September, he added.

Vaccine’s emergency authorisation could be considered if govt decides: ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava told members of the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs that phase-two clinical trial of two indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidates have almost been completed and emergency authorisation of a vaccine could be considered if the Centre decides to do so.

He informed the committee that the vaccine candidates developed by Bharat Biotech, Cadila and the Serum Institute of India are at different stages of trial, an MP present in the meeting told news agency PTI.

The COVID-19 vaccine candidates coordinated by Bharat Biotech and Cadila are nearing completion of phase-two trails. The one being handled by the Serum Institute of India and developed by Oxford University will enter phase-2 (b) trials this weekend for which 1,700 patients have been identified at 17 centres across the country, the MP said.

According to MPs who attended the meeting, when asked how long people will have to live with the pandemic, Bhargava replied that normally the final trial takes about six to nine months but if the governments decides, an emergency authorisation could be considered.

Responding to queries by the panel about the saliva test cleared by the US FDA for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2, Bhargava said that taking samples from gargled water is already under consideration and further details will be available soon, said another MP who attended the meeting.

DDMA gives nod to reopening hotels, weekly markets

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) gave its approval for the opening of hotels and weekly markets but refused to allow gyms to reopen, said a Delhi government statement.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the DDMA which was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through video conference.

The proposal to open gyms was not approved in the meeting headed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal. The LG said gyms can be allowed to open in the coming days. The weekly markets will be first opened on trial basis to assess the situation on the ground.

Hotels, weekly markets and gyms were closed in the city with the announcement of the lockdown in March in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. In the last week of July, the AAP government had decided to allow hotels and gyms to reopen in the city, and start weekly markets on a trial basis for seven days with social distancing and all other COVID 19 measures in place.

However, on 31 July the Lt Governor Anil Baijal “rejected” the Delhi government’s decision, citing the fragile situation due to coronavirus pandemic in the city. The state government then sent a fresh proposal to the LG, arguing that the condition of Delhi was improving and the number of COVID-19 cases were coming down.

Delhi on Wednesday reported 1,398 fresh coronavirus infections, taking the case count in the city to over 1.56 lakh, while the toll mounted to 4,235 with nine fatalities.  The positivity rate stood at 6.7 percent while the recovery rate was over 90 percent, said a bulletin issued by the state government.

Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh report record new cases

Maharashtra saw its highest single-day spike of 13,165 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 6,28,642, while 346 fresh deaths pushed the toll to 21,033 Also, 9,011 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the count of recovered coronavirus patients to 4,46,881. There are 1,60,413 active cases in the state at present.

Arunachal Pradesh added a record 133 COVID-19 new cases to its tally, taking the total caseload to 2,875. Twenty-nine paramilitary personnel and a health worker were among those found positive on Wednesday, said State Surveillance Officer Dr L Jampa. Fifty-five more people have been cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,949, the official said. Arunachal Pradesh, which had reported its first COVID-19 case on 2 April, has 921 active cases at present. Five patients have died so far, he said.

Sikkim reported its third fatality due to the novel coronavirus infection as a 57-year-old man succumbed to the disease while under treatment. Director General (DG)-cum-secretary in the department of health, Pempa T Bhutia said that the victim, a native of Pelling was admitted to STNM hospital on 14 August for cellulitis in his right leg with multi-organ dysfunction syndrome. He tested positive in the RT-PCR test and died on Wednesday.

In Uttar Pradesh, another state minister was among the 5,156 fresh COVID-19 cases. The cumulative case count in the state rose to 1,67,510. while the toll climbed to 2,638 with 53 fatalities. Minister of State for MSME, Khadi and Village Industry, Chaudhary Udaybhan Singh, tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, the institute’s director Prof. RK Dhiman said.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Atul Garg, is presently undergoing treatment in a Ghaziabad hospital for coronavirus. Besides, two other state ministers Kamal Rani Varun and Chetan Chauhan had recently died of COVID-19

With inputs from PTI



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