Coronavirus Latest Updates: As we are about to enter the last week of the third phase of the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to hold another meeting with state Chief Ministers via video-conference on Monday afternoon at 3 pm. This will be his fifth meeting with CMs to discuss post-lockdown strategy. Also, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that no COVID-19 case has been reported in 10 states and Union territories in the last 24 hours and the recovery rate has increased to over 30 per cent. Meanwhile, after 50 days of suspension of its passenger operations due to COVID-19 lockdown, the Indian Railways will gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12 initially with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys).
According to health ministry data, 1,511 COVID-19 patients recovered in the last 24 hours — the highest number of recoveries recorded in one day and the country carried out 86,000 tests for COVID-19 on Saturday and India’s testing capacity now stands at 95,000 samples per day, Vardhan told reporters. “India had started from one laboratory and now there are 472 laboratories testing for COVID-19,” Vardhan added.
Meanwhile, the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in India is yet to see a downward trend. As of Sunday, the cases in the country neared 63,000-mark (62,939) with 2,109 fatalities and 19,358 recoveries. However, for the third straight day on Saturday, the number of new cases in the country was slightly lower than the previous day. Follow coronavirus LIVE updates
The Health Minister furter informed that there are 4362 corona care centres across the country where 3,46,856 patients with mild or very mild symptoms can be kept, he said. “We are moving fast on path of success in the fight against COVID-19. The doubling rate for the last three days is 12 (days). The recovery rate has crossed 30 per cent. Out of around 60,000 COVID-19 patients, about 20,000 have recovered and gone home,” Vardhan said.
“Our mortality rate is still at 3.3 per cent…. In the last 24 hours, there has been no case in 10 states and Union territories. There are four states or Union territories where there has not been a single case till now,” Vardhan added.
Here are the top developments in India:
Five more people die of coronavirus in Delhi
Delhi recorded five more deaths due to coronavirus, while 381 fresh cases of the virus were reported, the city government said on Sunday, news agency PTI reported. With the fresh cases, the virus tally in the national capital has climbed to 6,923.
Between midnight of May 8 and midnight of May 9, five fresh fatalities due to the virus were reported, taking the death toll to 73, the government said in its health bulletin. While there are 4,781 active cases of the virus in the city, 2069 patients have so far recovered from COVID-19.
INS Jalashwa, carrying 698 repatriated Indian citizens from the Maldives, arrived at Cochin Port on Sunday morning, completing the Indian Navy’s first massive evacuation exercise from foreign soil during the COVID-19 lockdown. “The first group of 698 persons evacuated from the Maldives arrived at Cochin Port today (Sunday) at 9:30 AM by ‘INS Jalashwa’ of the Indian Navy,” a Port Trust statement said.
The group comprises 595 males and 103 females. Of this, 14 are children below 10 years and 19 pregnant women. Though most passengers are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, there were repatriates of 18 other states and Union Territories also in the ship, which began its journey from Male to Kochi on Friday night.
34 more test positive for COVID-19 in Bihar, total count 629
At least 34 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Bihar, raising the total count in the state to 629, a top health department official said on Sunday. Of the 34, 11 hail from Begusarai, seven each from Saharsa and Madhepura, five, including a woman, from Rohtas, two from Darbhanga and one each from Khagaria and Araria districts, Sanjay Kumar, the principal secretary of the state health department, said.
“We are ascertaining the infection trail. These are yesterday’s results received late in the night,” Kumar said, adding that seven out of 34 patients were minors. Barring Jamui, all 37 districts in the state have reported coronavirus cases.
The number of active cases in the state currently stands at 306. Altogether, 318 people have recovered so far. Bihar has witnessed five COVID-19 fatalities — one each from Rohtas, Munger, Vaishali, East Champaran and Sitamarhi districts. All five of them had pre-existing ailments.
For the third straight day on Saturday, the number of new cases of coronavirus in the country was slightly lower than the previous day. On Thursday, 3355 new Coronavirus patients were discovered throughout the country, which was lower than the 3530 reported a day earlier. It was then followed by 3340 on Friday, and 3083 on Saturday.
Never before, since the outbreak began in the first week of March, has there been three straight days of decline in daily numbers. But there is little in it beyond this statistical coincidence, which was partly made possible by the decision of the Delhi government to reschedule its COVID bulletins and report only half-days figures on Saturday.
Delhi said it had decided to follow a 24-hour cycle from midnight to midnight for releasing its data, and would discontinue its practice of revealing information in the evening for data collected till four pm in the afternoon. On Saturday, it released only those numbers that were collected between four pm and midnight on Friday, and no information from Saturday.
There was an increase of 224 cases in Delhi during this time, which was lower than the 300 to 400 cases Delhi had been reporting till now, sometimes more, while following its earlier cycle of releasing information. Delhi now has 6542 cases.
The national capital reporting 224 fresh cases of coronavirus and no deaths Saturday. Data collated by the state health department reflects cases recorded between 4 pm and 12 am on May 8. The total number of positive cases in the city has reached 6,542, with 68 deaths.
Three more private hospitals in the city with a capacity of 50 beds each have meanwhile been authorised by the health department to admit confirmed and suspected cases of Covid-19. The hospitals added to the existing list of the hospitals are Fortis Hospital — Shalimar Bagh, Saroj Medical Institute, and Khushi hospital.
Two Delhi government hospitals — Lok Nayak and Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty hospitals with a bed capacity of 2,000 and 500 respectively — were earlier completely turned into COVID-designated hospitals.
Two people tested positive for novel coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday night, taking the total number of cases in the state to 53, including 11 active cases.
Additional chief secretary (health) RD Dhiman said that the two patients tested positive in Kangra and Hamirpur. “There are now two active cases in Hamirpur and three each in Kangra and Chamba, while Mandi, Shimla and Una districts have one patient each,” he said.
The sample of a woman living in Sirmaur district tested positive for novel coronavirus in a private laboratory on Friday, health officials said. She has been isolated and her samples are now being tested in a government-run facility.
In the Covid-19 story, there are three possibilities that lie ahead: One, communities develop immunity against the disease, two, a drug is invented to contain the disease, and three, a vaccine is made available. At the earliest, we are 12-18 months away from developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, but global efforts raise hope that we could emerge on the other side of the pandemic. There are some 100 research groups across the world racing to develop a vaccine. These projects are in various stages of development, from research to clinical trials.
So, first, what is a vaccine?
Vaccines are biological products that are introduced in the body to act against toxins released by a pathogen. It teaches the immune system to identify a disease-causing pathogen and store in memory which fightback options are the most effective. Some vaccines are live pathogens; they don’t cause any harm, but the body can recognise it and act.
Why is vaccination important?
Vaccines allow vulnerable people to obtain immunity from a disease without getting sick. When vaccines are administered, there is no longer a need to put in resources to prevent the disease. It also releases pressure on the healthcare system to treat patients who are ill.
How are vaccines developed?
Vaccines usually take years to develop. After research, it is tested on animals and then undergoes human trials — a controversial method of intentionally injecting the virus into people.
Railways to gradually restart passenger operations from May 12
After 50 days of suspension of its passenger services due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Indian Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12, initially with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys). These trains will be run as special trains from New Delhi Station connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
The decision was taken Saturday at the highest level of the government, and states were sounded out on Sunday in a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, sources said. The final touches for the crucial move were prepared Sunday evening.
Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter railway stations. It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear a face cover and undergo screening at departure. Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board.
“Railways shall start more special services on new routes, based on the available coaches after reserving 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and adequate number of coaches being reserved to enable operation of up to 300 trains everyday as “Shramik Special” for stranded migrants,” a statement from the Railways ministry said.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11, and will be available only on the IRCTC website (https://www.irctc.co.in/). Ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) will be issued, Railways said.
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