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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Coronavirus India Highlights: Mizoram reports first covid death; Delhi schools to stay shut till next order

With 43,893 new cases, infections in India are now close to 8 million. As many as 508 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,20,010.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi | Updated: October 29, 2020 9:21:55 am
Centre has announced Unlock guidelines for November. (Express Photo)

All schools in Delhi will continue to be closed till further orders in view of the COVID-19 situation, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on Wednesday. Parents are not in favour of reopening schools either, Sisodia said at an online press conference. “We keep getting feedback from parents that they are really concerned about whether it is safe to reopen schools. It is not. Wherever schools have reopened, COVID-19 cases among children have risen. So we have decided that as of now schools in the national capital will not reopen. They will continue to be closed till further orders,” Sisodia said.

With 43,893 new cases, infections in India are now close to 8 million. As many as 508 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,20,010. Of the 79,90,322 cases, 6,10,803 are active infections, while 72,59,509 patients have been discharged. Kerala is the largest contributor of cases for the fifth consecutive day

In its latest unlock guidelines for November, the government said there has been no change in the guidelines. The Ministry of Home Affairs in a statement said the Unlock 5.0 guidelines that last month allowed for reopening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity will remain in force till November 30. The order further said that lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till November 30, 2020. Earlier, the guidelines for reopening activities issued on September 30 were to be in force till October 31.

Live Blog

Coronavirus India Live Updates: Close to 8 million covid cases in India; govt issues unlock guidelines; active cases remain below 7 lakh; New Delhi battles air pollution amid pandemic. Follow latest news and updates below

00:13 (IST)29 Oct 2020
Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine could be ready by December, says Serum Institute CEO

Pune-headquartered Serum Institute of India (SII), which has an agreement with AstraZeneca to manufacture the Oxford University vaccine, said on Wednesday the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine candidate, named Covishield in India, could be ready as early as December.

In an interview with NDTV, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute, which is currently conducting late-stage trials of the candidate in India, further said the first batch of 100 million doses should be available by the second or third quarter of 2021.

“If we don’t go for an emergency license, our trials should be over by December and then we can maybe we can launch in India in January subject to the UK trial, which is on the verge of being completed,” Poonawalla said. READ MORE

20:36 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Maharashtra reports 6,738 new cases; 8,430 recover, 91 die

The number of coronavirus positive patients in Maharashtra rose to 16,60,766 with the addition of 6,738 cases on Wednesday, a state health department official said. The fatality count in the state reached 43,554 after 91 persons died due to the infection, he said.

A total of 8,430 patients were discharged during the day, which took the tally of recovered persons to 14,86,926, the official said. With this, the number of active cases in the state stands at 1,29,746. Mumbai city reported 1,354 positive cases during the day, which pushed its overall case count to 2,54,240, while its death toll rose to 10,196 with the addition of 31 latest fatalities.

The state has so far conducted 87,68,879 tests. Maharashtra’s COVID-19 tally is as follows: Positive cases: 16,60,766, new cases: 6,738, death toll: 43,554, discharged: 14,86,926, active cases: 1,29,746, people tested so far: 87,68,879.

19:48 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Union Minister Smriti Irani tests positive for Covid-19

Union Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said she has tested positive for COVID-19. She asked people who came in contact with her to get themselves tested at the earliest.

The minister informed about her test results through her social media handles. “It is rare for me to search for words while making an announcement; hence here’s me keeping it simple — I’ve tested positive for #COVID and would request those who came in contact with me to get themselves tested at the earliest,” Irani tweeted.

19:42 (IST)28 Oct 2020
SC raps Uttar Pradesh for delay in identifying sex workers for providing them rations amid pandemic

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for "delay" in identifying sex workers for providing them dry rations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and said there should not be any further delay as it is a "question of someone's survival".

The apex court, which directed all states and union territories (UTs) to implement its September 29 directions and ensure that dry rations are provided to sex workers identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and legal services authorities, told the counsel appearing for Uttar Pradesh that being a welfare state this matter does not brook delay.

"This is a matter which does not brook delay. It is a question of someone's survival," a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao told the lawyer representing Uttar Pradesh. 

18:02 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Sanofi, GSK to provide COVID-19 vaccine to global alliance

Drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to provide 200 million doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccine to the COVAX Facility, a collaboration designed to give countries around the world equal access to coronavirus vaccines.

The Sanofi-GSK vaccine candidate is in early-stage trials, with results expected in early December. The drugmakers said Wednesday that they plan to begin phase three trial by the end of the year and request regulatory approval of the vaccine in the first half of 2021.

The facility is part of COVAX, a coalition of governments, health organisations, businesses and charities working to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccine, coronavirus vaccine, COVID-19

16:04 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Hong Kong bars Air India flights for 4th time as passengers test positive for COVID-19

Hong Kong has banned Air India flights from Mumbai till November 10 after a few passengers on its flight earlier this week tested positive for COVID-19 post arrival, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

This is the fourth time that Air India flights from India have been banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the infection after arrival.

Previous bans were on the airline’s Delhi-Hong Kong flights during September 20-October 3 and August 18-August 31 and October 17-October 30. READ MORE

15:28 (IST)28 Oct 2020
DGCA extends suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till Nov 30

The suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till November 30 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday.

“However, the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” the Indian aviation regulator said in a circular.

The scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under the bilateral ‘air bubble’ arrangements with selected countries since July. READ MORE

14:35 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Mizoram reports first COVID-19 fatality

Mizoram, the only state which had not reported any COVID-19 fatality so far, registered its first coronavirus death on Wednesday as a 62-year-old man succumbed to the infection at a hospital near Aizawl, a health official said. The patient was undergoing treatment for 10 days at the state-run Zoram Medical College, its medical superintendent, Dr H C Laldina, told PTI. The man, who resided in Aizawl, was also suffering from a heart ailment, he said. Mizoram had reported its first coronavirus case on March 24 as a 52-year-old pastor, with a travel history to the Netherlands, tested positive for the infection.

14:09 (IST)28 Oct 2020
DGCA extends suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till Nov 30

The suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till November 30 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday. "However, the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the Indian aviation regulator said in a circular. The scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under the bilateral 'air bubble' arrangements with selected countries since July.

13:35 (IST)28 Oct 2020
How Covid-19 has affected finances of state governments

If the Reserve Bank of India’s study on state governments’ finances is any indication, gross fiscal deficits (GFDs) of state governments are set to double in 2020-21 as the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the financial position of states hard and the next few years are going to be challenging. Will the stress on states continue? What happened during earlier pandemics? Read our explainer to find out

12:51 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Delhi schools to remain closed till further orders: Sisodia

All schools in Delhi will continue to be closed till further orders in view of the COVID-19 situation, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on Wednesday. Parents are not in favour of reopening schools either, Sisodia said at an online press conference. "We keep getting feedback from parents that they are really concerned about whether it is safe to reopen schools. It is not. Wherever schools have reopened, COVID-19 cases among children have risen. So we have decided that as of now schools in the national capital will not reopen. They will continue to be closed till further orders," Sisodia said.

12:15 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Karnataka may get Covid vaccine by early 2021: Health Minister

Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar Tuesday claimed that the state is likely to get Covid-19 vaccines in early 2021. “There are all possibilities to get Covid-19 vaccines at the beginning of 2021 itself,” he said after a meeting in Bengaluru with officials of the Astra Zeneca company, involved in research and trial of Covid vaccines.

“The first phase trial of the vaccine developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca has been completed in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India (Pune) and has shown encouraging results. While the first trial was conducted in 56 people, the second and third phase trials will have 1600 participants,” Sudhakar added.

11:32 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Merkel wants to close all bars, restaurants to halt virus spread: Report

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to agree at a meeting with leaders of the states on Wednesday to close all restaurants and bars from Nov. 4 in a bid to curb coronavirus infections but keep schools and nurseries open, newspaper Bild reported. It cited a draft resolution as saying Merkel wanted to agree with the 16 premiers of the states to close fitness studios, casinos and cinemas along with theatres, opera houses and concert venues but allow shops to remain open if they implement hygiene measures and limit customer numbers.

The report said the federal government wanted to provide financial aid to firms affected by closures, adding that a concept for this would be presented later on Wednesday. It also said that people should only be able to go out in public with members of their own household and one other household. It said people would be punished if they did not respect that but did not give further details.

11:05 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Some COVID survivors have antibodies that attack the body, not the virus

Some survivors of COVID-19 carry worrying signs that their immune system has turned on the body, reminiscent of potentially debilitating diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, a new study has found. At some point, the body’s defense system in these patients shifted into attacking itself, rather than the virus, the study suggests. The patients are producing molecules called “autoantibodies” that target genetic material from human cells, instead of from the virus.

This misguided immune response may exacerbate severe COVID-19. It may also explain why so-called “long haulers” have lingering problems months after their initial illness has resolved and the virus is gone from their bodies.

10:33 (IST)28 Oct 2020
China reports 42 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

China has reported 42 new COVID-19 cases, including 22 from Kashgar prefecture in Xinjiang province where all the 4.74 million people underwent tests following the detection of a villager as an asymptomatic carrier, the health authorities said on Wednesday. This comes a day after the Kashgar prefecture reported 183 coronavirus cases after the completion of COVID-19 tests for all the residents in the region, according to official media reports. Of the news cases, 22 infections were reported in Kashgar's Shufu County, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday. The local health authorities said an epidemiological survey for virus tracing is still underway and the medical expert team has so far ruled out a connection between Kashgar and the epidemic in the regional capital of Urumqi in July.

A woman and a child wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus watch a water fountain at a shopping mall in Beijing (AP)
09:54 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Close to 8 million cases in India

With 43,893 new cases, infections in India are now close to 8 million. As many as 508 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,20,010. Of the 79,90,322 cases, 6,10,803 are active infections, while 72,59,509 patients have been discharged. Kerala is the largest contributor of cases for the fifth consecutive day

09:43 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Munde lauds Pawar for busy work schedule amid COVID-19 crisis

BJP national secretary and former Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde has lauded NCP chief Sharad Pawar for his stamina to manage hectic work schedules even during the COVID-19 crisis. The 79-year-old Maratha strongman's party NCP is an alliance partner in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government. Pawar recently toured parts of the state to assess the losses caused due to heavy rains and floods. Munde in a tweet on Tuesday said, "Hats off, I wonder about your hectic schedule during the Corona crisis and busy schedule." "I have been taught by my father to respect the hard working people irrespective of their political affiliations and school of thoughts," said the former minister, who is the daughter of BJP stalwart late Gopinath Munde.

04:38 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Maharashtra: Athawale, Tatkare test positive for Covid, in hospital

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale and NCP MP from Raigad, Sunil Tatkare, announced on Tuesday that they have tested positive for Covid-19. Both have been admitted to hospitals in Mumbai. Read More

04:00 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Maharashtra: After July, Covid penetration gradually increased in rural areas

Rural areas with 6.11 lakh Covid-19 cases account for 37 per cent of the infections compared to urban areas with 10.35 lakh cases, totalling 62.7 per cent of the total burden in the state. Read More

02:40 (IST)28 Oct 2020
Covid doubling rate crosses 100 days in all Mumbai wards

For the first time, the doubling rate of Covid-19 cases crossed 100 days in all the 24 administrative wards of the city on Tuesday.


While the average rate at which the number of cases was doubling in Mumbai is 139 days, all wards on Tuesday witnessed a doubling rate of more than 100 days. The growth rate – the rate at which the number of cases are increasing – has also come down to 0.5 per cent in the city. Read More

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Maharashtra Dy CM Ajit Pawar tests positive

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said he had tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, and had been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. "I have tested positive for Covid-19. My health condition is fine. As a precautionary measure I have admitted self to Breach Candy Hospital on the advice of doctors," he said in a statement.

Pawar had gone into home isolation on October 22 after he reported fatigue. However, he continued to do office work from home and attended meetings through video conferencing. His family had then said that his Covid tests had come negative.

Tamil Nadu agriculture minister critically ill, says hospital

Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister R Doraikkannu is critically ill and on life support, Chennai's Kauvery Hospital said in a statement on Monday. Doraikkannu had been admitted to the hospital October 13 and was being treated for Covid-19. The 72-year-old minister, being treated for "severe Covid-19 pneumonia and its complications, continues to be critically ill," the hospital said.

"He is on maximal life support and his response to the treatment over the next 24 hours will determine the prognosis (likely developments vis-a-vis the illness)," Executive Director of the hospital Dr Aravindan Selvaraj said.

New Delhi records 54 Covid-19 deaths, highest in over 3 months

At least 54 deaths due to the novel coronavirus were reported in the national capital Monday, the highest count in over three months. With 54 deaths, the highest in around 100 days, took the number of deaths to 6,312. The last time the city reported such a high number of deaths was on July 16 (58).

Meanwhile, the tally of cases rose to 3.59 lakh with the detection of 2,832 new infections. The number of new cases was 4,136 on Sunday, 4,116 on Saturday and 4,086 on Friday.

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