Coronavirus India lockdown Day 157 live updates | With over 77,000 new cases, COVID-19 tally in India climbs to 33.8 lakh
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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 24.33 million, death toll at 826,948.

COVID-19 which was considered a viral pneumonia when it was first detected eight months ago, is now a multi-systemic disease with many extra-pulmonary manifestations, warn experts and top doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The medical experts added that involvement of other organs due to COVID-19 warrants that patients be closely followed up to check for any long lasting sequels, including reproductive health in young patients.

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:

10:20 p.m. | Chhattisgarh

1,025 new COVID-19 cases in Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh’s coronavirus case count rose to 27,013 on Friday with an addition of 1,025 new cases, a health official said.

The death toll climbed to 251 after six patients, including a minor girl, died, he added.

On the other hand, 502 patients were discharged from hospitals following recovery from the viral infection, he said.

10:05 p.m. | Jammu and Kashmir

Central health team appreciates J&K govt for its COVID-19 containment measures

A central team of experts on Friday lauded the Jammu and Kashmir government’s COVID-19 containment and mitigation measures, saying the testing strategy across the Union Territory is aggressive and robust which has helped in containing the spread of the disease.

The two-member central team comprising NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Chief S K Singh, which is on a visit to Kashmir to take stock of the overall COVID situation in the valley, called on Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Raj Bhavan here, an official spokesman said.

He said the two-member team held a detailed review of the situation emerging in the valley due to COVID pandemic with all the district teams and tertiary care hospitals.

While briefing the Lt Governor about the assessment they made on the ground, the two-member team lauded the UT government’s COVID containment and mitigation measures that are in place and suggested supplementary measures to further augment the same.

9:50 p.m. | Karnataka

8,960 fresh cases in Karnataka, 136 deaths

Karnataka on Friday registered 8,960 new cases of coronavirus and 136 related fatalities, taking the total infection count in the state to 3.18 lakh, the health department said.

The day also saw 7,464 patients getting discharged after recovery.

Out of 8,960 fresh cases reported on Friday, 2,721 were from Bengaluru urban alone.

With 136 more deaths, the toll went up to 5,368.

9:35 p.m. | West Bengal

Bengal’s COVID recovery rate crosses 80%

The recovery rate of COVID-19 patients in West Bengal reached 80.86% on Friday after 3,286 people were discharged from various hospitals of the state, a bulletin issued by the health department said.

So far, 1,24,332 people have recovered from the disease in West Bengal, it said.


9:25 p.m. | Delhi

Students take to Twitter against holding of JEE, NEET amid rising COVID cases

Many students have taken to Twitter to express their concern over holding of JEE and NEET during the COVID-19 pandemic, amid a plea by opposition leaders on Friday seeking review of the Supreme Court’s order allowing the Centre to conduct the entrance exams in September.

The hashtag ‘speakupforstudentsafety’ has been trending since Friday morning with at least 2.25 million posts on the microblogging site.

While many students in their tweets pointed out the challenges of making it to examination centres under the present circumstances, others talked about their inability to cope with the stress of having to appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), especially when coronavirus cases are on the rise.


9:10 p.m. | Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh reports 1,252 new cases

Madhya Pradesh on Friday  recorded 1,252 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 59, 433.  The number of active cases stands at 12,714. As many as 17 patients died of the illness on the day, taking the State-wide death toll to 1,323.As for recoveries, 943 patients were discharged from hospitals on the day. So far, 45,396 persons have been cured of the illness, says the State Directorate of Health Services.

Sidharth Yadav

9:00 p.m. | China

China set to fully reopen schools

China began moving into its final weekend before a full reopening of schools amid continuing measures to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus.

The country reported just nine new cases on Friday, all brought from outside. Hospitals are treating 288 people for COVID-19 and another 361 are being monitored in isolation.

China has recorded 85,013 cases since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year, with 4,634 deaths.

The roughly 25% of students still out of school are due to return to classes on Monday.


8:50 p.m. | Gujarat

Record 1,272 new coronavirus cases in Gujarat, 14 deaths

Gujarat recorded a highest single-day spike of 1,272 coronavirus cases since previous evening, taking its case tally to 92,601 on Friday, the health department said.

Fourteen patients died during this period, taking the death toll due to the pandemic to 2,978, it said.

1,050 COVID-19 patients were also discharged from hospitals during this period, taking the number of recovered cases to 74,551.

8:40 p.m. | Delhi

Vinesh Phogat tests positive for COVID-19

India’s top woman wrestler Vinesh Phogat on friday said she has tested positive for COVID-19.

Selected for this year’s Khel Ratna award, the Asian and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, had been training at her village in Sonepat with coach Om Prakash.

“Yes, I have tested positive for COVID-19 when my sample was taken in Sonepat before the dress rehearsal for the awards ceremony,” Vinesh told PTI.

The 26-year-old will skip Saturday’s virtual ceremony for the National Sports Awards distribution.

8:35 p.m. | Delhi

Delhi reports 1,808 new cases

1,808 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours taking the total number of cases to 1,69,412, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Friday.

Also, 20 more deaths have been reported, taking the total number of deaths to 4,389.

Of the total cases, 1,51,473 people have recovered and there are 13,550 active cases. 

Nikhil M. Babu

8:25 p.m. | Punjab

Congress MLA tests positive after attending Punjab Assembly session

A Congress legislator tested positive for coronavirus after attending the monsoon session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for a brief period here on Friday.

Nirmal Singh, who is an MLA from Shutrana seat, contracted the infection three days after testing negative for the disease.

He (Nirmal Singh) got himself tested on August 25 and then his report was negative. On the basis of this report, he entered the House (for attending the one-day session), Speaker Rana K. P. Singh said.

But today he felt feverish, the Speaker said while adding that the MLA then got himself tested again and tested positive for COVID-19.

8:10 p.m. | London

U.K. to allow emergency use of any effective COVID-19 vaccine

Britain is preparing to revise its laws to allow the emergency use of any effective coronavirus vaccine before it is fully licensed — but only if the shots meet required safety and quality standards.

In a statement on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government said it was adopting reinforced safeguards to allow the country’s medicines regulatory agency to grant temporary authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, provided it meets safety and quality standards.

The proposed regulations would allow coronavirus vaccines to receive an emergency approval allowing people to be immunized while the full licensing process is being finished. Typically, vaccines are only used after the licensing review has been completed, a process which can take several months.


8:00 p.m. | Chennai

Kanyakumari Congress MP H. Vasanthakumar dies of COVID-19

Congress MP and businessman H. Vasanthakumar died of COVID-19 at a private hospital in Chennai on Friday evening. He was 70.

He was working president of TNCC and represents the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency. He was earlier an MLA who was elected from Nanguneri Assembly constituency.

He started his career as a salesman and went on to found Vasanth & Co, a home appliances store, and made it a successful chain and a household name in the State.

Congress, in its Twitter page, deeply condoled his untimely demise. “A staunch Congressman, true leader of the people & beloved MP. He will be sorely missed by all members of the Congress party & his followers. Our prayers are with his family in this time of grief,” it said.

7:50 p.m. | Maharashtra

Maharashtra reports 14,361 new cases

Maharashtra reported a big surge of 14,361 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, taking the total case tally to 7,47,995 of whom 1,80,718 cases are active. 331 new deaths pushed the total death toll to 23,775. As many as 11,607 patients were discharged today to take the total recoveries till date to 5,43,170.

 Pune reported another massive surge of more than 3,500 cases to take its total case tally to 1,65,592 while 58 deaths pushed its total death toll to 3,974.

 Mumbai reported 1,217 new cases to take its total case tally to 1,42,108 of whom only 19,407 are active. 30 new fatalities saw the city’s death toll climb to 7,565. Kolhapur district reported 22 deaths while Nashik district in north Maharashtra reported 29 fatalities.

7:35 p.m. | Chennai

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam on passive physiotherapy: Hospital

Singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam is stable and undergoing passive physiotherapy, a hospital treating him for COVID-19 infection said here on Friday.

The 74-year-old playback singer continued to be on ventilator and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support in the Intensive Care Unit, it said.

“His current clinical condition is stable. He continues to be closely monitored by our multidisciplinary clinical team,” Assistant Director, Medical Services of MGM Healthcare, Dr. Anuradha Baskaran said in a statement.

7:25 p.m. | Delhi

Delhi govt. to launch aggressive contact tracing of coronavirus patients: Jain

The Delhi government will scale up COVID-19 testing through its network of 300 dispensaries and hospitals, and start aggressive contact tracing of coronavirus patients in the city, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Friday.

The Health Minister said the AAP government is committed to doubling the COVID-19 test from the present 20,000 per day to 40,000 per day within a week in the national capital.

Mr. Jain said the recent increase in number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi was due to various reasons, including patients from outside seeking treatment here, return of migrants who left Delhi during lockdown as well as increased testing.

7:10 p.m. | Jammu and Kashmir

696 new cases in J&K, tally at 35,831

Jammu and Kashmir on Friday recorded 696 new cases of coronavirus taking the total number of infected people to 35,831 even as seven deaths were reported from the union territory during the last 24 hours, officials said.

“Seven persons infected with coronavirus have died in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 24 hours till 5 pm on Friday,” the officials said.

They said all of these deaths were reported from the Kashmir valley.

The death toll in the union territory has now reached 678.

7:00 p.m. | Uttarakhand

50 SSB jawans test positive for COVID-19 in Uttarakhand

Fifty-eight people, including 50 SSB jawans, tested positive for COVID-19 in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Friday, according to a health bulletin.


6:45 p.m. | Karnataka

Karnataka BJP MLA tests positive for COVID-19

BJP MLA S Angara tested positive for COVID-19 Friday and advised home quarantine, health department sources said here.

Mr. Angara, who returned from Bengaluru, went for a test as he was having a headache and the result turned out positive, they said.

6:35 p.m. | Punjab

Daylong Punjab Assembly session held under COVID-19 shadow

The Punjab Assembly, which met under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic here on Friday, paid tributes to the soldiers killed in Ladakh’s Galwan valley, the COVID warriors and Olympian Balbir Singh Senior.

The 12th session of the 15th Punjab Assembly began at 11 a.m. with strict protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6:25 p.m. | New Delhi

Current India bowler, multiple staff members of Chennai Super Kings test positive

A current India limited-overs cricketer is among multiple members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent who have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the franchise to extend its quarantine period in Dubai ahead of the IPL.

An league source revealed that all COVID-19 positive results came during day 1, 3 and 6 of testing after the contingent’s landing in Dubai. The IPL is due to begin on September 19.

“Yes, a right-arm medium fast bowler, who has recently played for India, along with a few staff members have tested positive for COVID-19,” a senior IPL source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

6:05 p.m. | New Delhi

Will request MPs to get tested 72 hours before start of Monsoon Session, says Lok Sabha Speaker

Om Birla

MPs will be requested to get themselves tested for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before the start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Friday.

The Monsoon Session is likely to start from September 14 and conclude on October 1.

Besides MPs, all those who are expected to enter the Parliament premises, including officials from ministries, representatives from the media and staff of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, will get tested for the coronavirus before the start of the session, Mr. Birla said. – PTI

5:50 p.m. | Jammu

Pilgrimage to Harmukh Gangbal lake shrine performed in Kashmir amid COVID curbs

The annual yatra to high-altitude Harmukh Gangbal lake, which Kashmiri Pandits consider as the abode of Lord Shiva, has been performed in Central Kashmir Himalayas amid curtailment due to COVID-19.

“The yatra started from Naranag on August 24 and team members had to trek to Harmukh Gangbal lake. This year, the yatra size was also curtailed due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic”, Vice-President of Harmukh Gangbal Ganga Trust (HGGT), King C Bharati said.

The team members of the HGGT performed yagna at the Harmukh Gangbal lake, which is located around 14,500 feet above the sea level in the Harmukh mountain range. – PTI

5:40 p.m. | Chandigarh

Malls and shops to remain closed on Mondays and Tuesdays instead of weekends in Haryana

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Haryana government on Friday ordered that malls and shops in the market places of urban areas will remain closed on Mondays and Tuesdays instead of weekends as instructed earlier.

The new order, however, does not apply to shops dealing with essential goods and services.

The revised instructions come a week after the government had ordered offices and shops to remain closed on weekends throughout the State. – PTI

5:30 p.m. | Kolkata

West Bengal weighing options of holding final-year college, varsity exams before Puja, says Mamata

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. File
| Photo Credit:

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that her government was weighing the pros and cons of holding final-year college and university exams before Durga Puja in October.

She slammed the Centre over its decision to conduct JEE and NEET exams in September, and said the Union government’s “adamant approach” will add to the COVID-19 woes.

“We are not against any exam; we are just saying that a pandemic is on, and it could put lives of students at risk,” Ms. Banerjee said while addressing a virtual rally of Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP). – PTI

5:10 p.m. | Chennai

Tamil Nadu government sanctions ₹60.10 crore to Chennai Corporation to battle virus

The Tamil Nadu government has sanctioned ₹60.10 crore under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the Commissioner of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) towards procuring various goods and equipment necessary in the fight against COVID-19.

According to a government order issued by the Revenue and Disaster Mitigation Department, ₹60.10 crore was being sanctioned towards procuring PPE, masks, thermal scanners and testing, disinfection equipment, machinery and related consumables.

The Commissioner of GCC had sent a proposal to sanction a sum of ₹162.69 crore towards procurement of PPE, masks, thermal scanners and testing, disinfection equipment, transportation and food arrangements, administration, community intervention programmes, home isolation and critical electrical installations.

However, the Commissioner of Revenue Administration noted that some of the expenses incurred were not eligible to be covered under the State Disaster Response Fund.

5:00 p.m. | Bengaluru

Former Karnataka Minister H.D. Revanna tests positive for coronavirus

H.D. Revanna

Former Karnataka minister and JDS leader H.D. Revanna has tested positive for coronavirus and is admitted to a hospital here, party sources said on Friday.

Praying for his recovery, Health Minister B Sriramulu in a tweet said, “H D Revanna has tested positive for coronavirus. I pray that he recovers and gets back to serve people.”

According to JD(S) sources, four policemen in his security had earlier contracted the virus. – PTI

4:50 p.m. | Mumbai

Owners urge Maharashtra govt. to allow hotels to operate in full capacities from September 1

Ahead of the next phase of unlocking in Maharashtra, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) on Friday urged the state government to allow hotels to operate with full capacity.

“Right now, the industry’s biggest challenge is survival. One of the worst affected industries during this pandemic is the hospitality industry and we are in a dire need of the state government’s support,” said HRAWI President Gurbaxish Singh Kohli in a statement.

HRAWI also urged the government to allow sale of liquor at restaurants and also recommended that open spaces and terraces be used at the premises of these establishments. – PTI

4:40 p.m. | Lucknow

Yogi Adityanath says U.P. govt. in favour of holding NEET, JEE

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. File

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. File
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Uttar Pradesh government is in favour of holding the NEET and JEE, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said.

The statement comes following Opposition parties including the Samajwadi Party and Congress demanding that the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical colleges and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for engineering colleges be deferred due to COVID-19 pandemic.

On August 9, B. Ed examinations were held in the State in which about 5 lakh examinees took part. No problems relating to COVID infection have come to light following the examination, the Chief Minister said.

Similarly, some other examinations have also been held in the State, he added. – PTI

4:30 p.m. | Panaji

Goa to turn to containment zones for plasma donation

The Goa government plans to focus on the COVID-19 containment zones in the State and urge the recovered patients of coronavirus from these areas to donate their plasma for treatment of others.

Talking to reporters, State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that next week, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant would hold a meeting with those MLAs, in whose constituencies the containment zones fall, in order to involve them in the plasma donation drive.

“The MLAs, cutting across party lines, would be asked to encourage recovered coronavirus patients in the containment zones in their respective constituencies to come ahead and donate their plasma,” he said. – PTI

4:15 p.m. | New Delhi

Total COVID-19 tests set to cross 4 crore; over 1 crore samples tested in past two weeks

A health worker taking a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Prayagraj on Thursday, August 27.

A health worker taking a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Prayagraj on Thursday, August 27.
| Photo Credit: AP


The cumulative tests for detection of COVID-19 have reached 3,94,77,848 in the country, and more than one crore samples have been tested in the past two weeks, the Union Health Ministry said, highlighting that the Tests Per Million have increased to 28,607.

India has tested more than 9 lakh samples for the detection of COVID-19 for the second consecutive day, keeping a sharp focus on the ‘test, track and treat’ strategy of the Union Government.

India has already created a capacity of doing 10 lakh tests per day. A total of 9,01,338 samples were tested in a span of 24 hours on Thursday taking the cumulative tests to 3,94,77,848 so far. – PTI

4:00 p.m. | Mumbai

Rural demand to aid economic recovery but can’t substitute for urban demand, says report

Rural demand can contribute towards recovery in the economy but cannot be a substitute for urban demand, according to a report.

While the industrial and services sectors are still struggling to recover from the adverse impact of COVID-19, the agriculture sector could become an engine for economic recovery, India Ratings and Research said in a report.

It, however, said a large part of the rural demand, notwithstanding the encouraging sales number of motorcycles/tractors in June 2020, comes from consumer non-durables. – PTI

3:45 p.m. | New Delhi

Decision on NEET, JEE must be taken with concurrence of students, says Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi. File photo: PTI

Sonia Gandhi. File photo: PTI

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said that the decision to hold NEET and JEE should be taken with the concurrence of students, while former party chief Rahul Gandhi said the government should have a conversation with students and decide on holding the exams only after arriving at a consensus.

“If any decision is to be taken regarding your future, it is important that it is taken with your concurrence,” Ms. Gandhi said in a video message.

In another video message, that is part of the Congress’ Speak Up for Students campaign, Mr. Gandhi said the government should have a conversation with students, listen to them and decide on holding the NEET and JEE exams only after developing a consensus.

3:30 p.m. | Houston

U.S.-based BCM ties up with India’s BE for vaccine production

In the race to find a cure for the coronavirus infection, Texas-based Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) has entered into a licensing agreement with Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E Limited (BE) for the development of a safe, effective and affordable vaccine.

According to BCM, Hyderabad-headquartered BE has licenced the recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed at Baylor.

The company engaged in licence negotiations with the BCM Ventures team after initial discussions on Baylor’s technology and how it could possibly inform a vaccine to address the current global pandemic. – PTI

3:15 p.m. | New Delhi

Centre doesn’t owe States pandemic-related GST revenue shortfall, Himanta told GST Council

Himanta Biswa Sarma. File

Himanta Biswa Sarma. File
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma may not have used the precise phrase, “Act of God”, which Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did to describe the COVID-19, but he did put forward legal arguments to prove that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue shortfall due to the pandemic could not be laid at the Centre’s door, hence absolving it from having to raise loans to finance the same.

His intervention came in the midst of a heated debate at the GST Council meeting on Thursday, where Finance Ministers of Opposition-ruled States forcefully argued that it should be the Centre and not the States that should raise loans to make up for the revenue shortfalls.

He observed that the Centre was duty bound to pay the shortfall that arose out of the implementation of the GST regime, whereas shortfalls due to the pandemic were not covered under the law.

3:00 p.m. | New Delhi

Pandemic management now part of MBBS course

Medical students will now learn about pandemic management along with its social, legal and other aspects in the MBBS course with India’s apex medical education regulator introducing a new module to better prepare doctors for challenges posed by pandemics like COVID-19.

It is expected that the pandemic management module extending from foundation course to the final year undergraduate programme will help in ensuring the creation of an Indian medical graduate “who will serve humanity as doctor, leader and healer in bleak times such as occurrence of a pandemic”, the board of governors (BoG) in super-session of the Medical Council of India (MCI) said.

The move has been triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and aims to prepare doctors for challenges posed by emerging diseases. – PTI

2:45 p.m. | Mumbai

Maharashtra police records 346 fresh COVID-19 cases and two deaths

The Maharashtra police, which is ensuring a strict enforcement of the lockdown in the State, has been severely hit by the pandemic. File

The Maharashtra police, which is ensuring a strict enforcement of the lockdown in the State, has been severely hit by the pandemic. File
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As many as 346 personnel of Maharashtra police tested positive for coronavirus, while two died of the infection in the last 24 hours, an official said.

With the addition of the new cases, the State police’s COVID-19 tally has reached 14,641 and the casualties stood at 148, the official said.

A total of 2,741 police personnel are currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals, whereas 11,752 have so far recovered from the infection, he said. – PTI

2:30 p.m. | New Delhi

Six Ministers of Opposition-ruled States move SC seeking review of order on NEET, JEE

Ministers of six non-BJP States on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the conduct of the JEE Mains and the NEET-UG amid the pandemic, saying lakhs of young students should not fall prey to the Centre’s “knee-jerk” and “haphazard” plans, which will prove “worse than the disease itself”.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) had notified the JEE between September 1 to 9. The NEET is scheduled for September 13.

Ministers Moloy Ghatak of West Bengal, Rameshwar Oraon from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh’s Amarjeet Bhagat, Maharashtra’s Uday Ravindra Samant and Raghu Sharma and Balbir Singh Sidhu from Rajasthan and Punjab respectively, moved the court through lawyer Sunil Fernandes. The petition comes shortly after a meeting among Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and six Chief Ministers of non-BJP States.

2:20 p.m. | Chandigarh

Daylong Punjab Assembly session begins under COVID-19 shadow; CM pays tribute to eminent personalities

The Punjab Assembly, which met under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic in Chandigarh today, paid tributes to the soldiers killed in Ladakh’s Galwan valley, the COVID warriors and Olympian Balbir Singh Senior.

Legendary hockey player Balbir Singh Senior. File

Legendary hockey player Balbir Singh Senior. File

The 12th session of the 15th Punjab Assembly began at 11 a.m. with strict protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty MLAs in the State, including four ministers, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh led the Assembly in paying tributes to 28 eminent personalities, including freedom fighters who passed away since the last session of the House. – PTI

2:10 p.m. | New Delhi

Recoveries exceed actives cases of COVID-19 by more than 18 lakh; case fatality drops to 1.82%

The effectiveness of the Centre’s ‘test, track and treat’ approach is reflected in the progress on the COVID-19 recovery front and the reduction in fatality rate, the government said on Friday, highlighting that recoveries exceed active cases by over 18 lakh as on date.

The Union Health Ministry pointed out that in the past five months, more than three-fourth of COVID-19 cases have recovered and less than one-fourth are active now.

“Effective treatment of positive cases has resulted in a progressively dipping COVID case fatality rate, which is pegged at 1.82% as on date,” the Ministry said. The number of recoveries is nearly 3.5 times the active cases of coronavirus infection currently, it said.

With more patients recovering and being discharged from home isolation and hospitals, India’s COVID-19 recoveries is nearing 26 lakh. – PTI

1:45 p.m. | New Delhi

Government allows airlines to serve pre-packed meals in domestic flights

The government has permitted the airlines to serve pre-packed snacks, meals and beverages on domestic flights and hot meals on international flights, according to an official order.

Moreover, any passenger who refuses to wear a face mask in a flight can be put on the no-fly list by the airline, a senior official of the aviation regulator DGCA said.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, in-flight meal service was not permitted on domestic flights since their resumption on May 25. On international flights, only pre-packed cold meals and snacks were being served depending on the flight duration since May this year. – PTI

1:30 p.m. | New Delhi

Congress leaders detained while staging stir against holding of JEE, NEET

Congress party workers protesting against the central government's decision to hold JEE and NEET exams during the coronavirus pandemic, in Mumbai on August 28.

Congress party workers protesting against the central government’s decision to hold JEE and NEET exams during the coronavirus pandemic, in Mumbai on August 28.
| Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre


Delhi Congress leaders and workers, including its president Anil Kumar, were detained by police today during a protest against the holding of the JEE and NEET exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Congressmen were detained by the police near the Shastri Bhawan and taken to the Mandir Marg police station, Mr. Kumar said.

“The Centre and its Education Ministry are endangering the lives of 25 lakh students by being adamant on holding the JEE and NEET when the number of coronavirus cases is going up in the country,” he said. – PTI

1:20 p.m. | Bhubaneswar

Second round of serology survey launched in Bhubaneswar

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has launched the second round of serological survey to ascertain the immune strength of people against COVID-19 as the Odisha capital is witnessing a rise in coronavirus cases this month.

Five teams will collect 1,500 samples from various locations in the city, an official said.

“The current exercise will provide an indication of the community exposure level which was found to be very low during the first round of the serological survey,” he said. – PTI

1:00 p.m. | New Delhi

Congress launches campaign against holding of NEET, JEE

File Photo: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

The Congress has launched a campaign against the government’s decision to hold NEET and JEE exams during the coronavirus pandemic, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi urging people to speak up for the safety of students.

The Congress and various opposition parties have demanded that NEET and JEE examinations be deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and floods in parts of the country, even as the Union government has made it clear that they will be held as per schedule with due precautions.

Mr. Gandhi tweeted his appeal as part of the party’s campaign under which it is holding countrywide protests on Friday to oppose the government’s decision to hold NEET, JEE exams. – PTI

12.40 pm | India

SC refuses to entertain PIL to postpone Bihar polls, says COVID-19 cannot be ground

Stating that COVID-19 cannot be a ground for postponing the Bihar elections, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking to defer the Sssembly polls till the State is free of the novel coronavirus.

The Election Commission of India will consider everything, a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said.

The Bench, also comprising Justices R.S. Reddy and M.R. Shah, said it is a premature petition as no notification for the Assembly polls has been issued till now.

The petitioner, Avinash Thakur, had sought a direction to the Chief Election Commissioner to postpone the polls due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the ground that the Representation of the People Act provides for the deferment of polls in extraordinary situations. – PTI

12.10 pm | Delhi

Satyendar Jain alleges Delhi govt officers ‘pressurised’ to not increase COVID testing

Health Minister Satyendar Jain wrote to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, alleging that the Delhi government officers are being “pressurised” by the Home Ministry to not increase COVID-19 testing in the national capital, an allegation that was termed “baseless” by the latter.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in Delhi has been possible due to enhanced testing and other containment measures.

“The allegation raised in the letter of the Health Minister of Delhi Govt dated August 27, 2020, which is addressed to Union Home Secretary, to the effect that MHA is putting pressure on Delhi Govt officers not to increase testing in Delhi is false and baseless,” the spokesperson tweeted.

Responding to the ministry spokesperson’s tweet, Jain said, ” I hope that the officers will comply with this msg from MHA. I am sure that the officers, who were reluctant to increase testing today citing pressure from MHA, will immediately increase testing in Delhi.” – PTI

11.30 am | World

No need for alarm on COVID-19 reinfection, say scientists

The first documented instance of coronavirus reinfection came from Hong Kong this week followed quickly by Belgium and the Netherlands reporting one case each, but there is no reason for alarm yet, say scientists, calming fears that a surge might be inevitable.

As concerns mount that herd immunity may not be enough to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists in India and elsewhere said more studies are needed for a reliable inference.

Wide conclusions cannot be drawn about reinfection from individual cases, noted Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst told PTI on the three cases reported this week.  PTI

10.30 am | Hyderabad

IIT-Hyderabad start-up launches reusable N-95 equivalent mask

U Safe Healthcare, a startup promoted by the Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE) at the Indian Institute Technology, Hyderabad (IITH), virtually launched an N95 equivalent respirator mask, ‘US9’, here on Tuesday. These masks were used and tested by doctors at Gandhi, Osmania and Fever hospitals. The cost of the product is one tenth of other respirators available in the market.

Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan during the launch of a mask in Sangareddy.

Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan during the launch of a mask in Sangareddy.
| Photo Credit: Mohd Arif

The mask filtration rate is 98%, bacterial filtration rate 99.7% and it has passed the tests of breathability, splash resistance and flammability. It has a dual model of reusable and disposable replaceable filter. It was tested for leaks with thermal image analysis at IITH. The filtration for cartridges in the respirator has been certified by South India Textile Research Association (SITRA).

10 am | India

With over 77,000 new cases, COVID-19 tally in India climbs to 33.8 lakh

A record single-day spike of 77,266 COVID-19 cases pushed India’s virus tally to 33,87,500, while the recoveries surged to 25,83,948 on Friday, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The death toll climbed to 61,529 with 1,057 people succumbing to the diseases in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The recovery rate was recorded at 76.28 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.82 per cent.

There are 7,42,023 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 21.90 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. – PTI

9.30 am | Bengaluru

An average of 7.7 contacts traced for every COVID-19 patient in Bengaluru

With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise, particularly in Bengaluru, the city civic authorities are struggling with contact tracing. However, in the last one week, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has stepped up efforts and on a average as many as 7.7 contacts are traced for every person who has tested positive.

On an average, in Bengaluru, the BBMP has been able to trace more secondary contacts than primary contacts. The authorities have traced 3.4 primary contacts and 4.3 secondary contacts in the last seven days for every person testing positive. An analysis done by the BBMP COVID-19 War Room of contact traced in the last one week shows that on an average, the highest number of contacts for every COVID-19 positive case tested is in the Bommanahalli zone. As many as 14.2 people are traced as contacts for every person testing positive in that zone.

9 am | Vaccine

Bangladesh allows human trial of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese company

Bangladesh has given approval for the final stage human trial of a prospective COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Chinese company, as the country reported 45 new deaths and over 2,400 fresh infections.

The vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd was described by the country’s health minister Zahid Maleque as one of the most potential vaccine candidates in the world.

“We have given the approval for the human trial of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac in Bangladesh after examining all necessary research protocols,” Mr. Maleque told a media briefing. – PTI

8.30 am | Chennai

Koyambedu complex will resume operations next month

The Koyambedu Wholesale Market complex will be reopened next month.

The foodgrains market will be the first to open on September 18 followed by the wholesale vegetable market on September 28, while others like the fruits and flowers market and retail traders will be allowed to operate later, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

8 am | UN

UN backs testing people without symptoms

The World Health Organization said Thursday that countries should actively test people to find coronavirus cases even if they don’t show symptoms — a stance that comes after the US health agency switched its policy to say that asymptomatic contacts of infected people don’t need to be tested.

At a press briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, said when officials are investigating clusters of COVID-19, testing may need to be expanded to look for individuals who are on the more mild end of the spectrum or who may indeed be asymptomatic. – AP

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