Coronavirus India Updates: India has registered 75,760 coronavirus infections and 1,023 deaths in the last 24 hours ending 8 am on Thursday. Today’s jump of cases is the highest that any country has ever recorded on a single day since the start of the outbreak. With this, the total number of cases went past 33 lakh, of which 60,472 people have succumbed to the pandemic, 7,25,991 are active cases while 25,23,771 have recovered so far, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Now, the recovery rate has risen to 76.24 per cent while the fatality rate has further declined to 1.83 per cent. The active cases comprise of 21.93 per cent of the total caseload. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said a cumulative total of 3,85,76,510 samples have been tested up to August 26 with 9,24,998 samples being tested on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, two male volunteers were given the first shot of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine, being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday. (Follow coronavirus LIVE updates here)
Also, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday, during which most of the states are likely to confront the Centre on clearances of GST compensation payments pending since April this year.
Here are the top coronavirus news from across the country:
COVID-19 tally in AP inches closer to 4 lakh mark; 10,621 more added
Andhra Pradesh on Thursday moved closer to the four-lakh mark in coronavirus cases after adding 10,621 afresh in 24 hours. The state’s COVID-19 tally now read 3.93 lakh total cases, 2.95 lakh recoveries and 3,633 deaths, leaving 94,209 active cases, according to the latest government bulletin. After 34.79 lakh sample tests, the COVID-19 positivity rate went further up to 11.30 per cent, as per government data.
Delhi Containment zones likely to increase with doubling of COVID-19 tests, further relaxations: Officials
The number of COVID-19 containment zones in Delhi, which currently stand at 716, may be increased owing to further relaxations under ‘Unlock’ and doubling of coronavirus tests, officials said on Thursday. COVID-19 tests in Delhi will be doubled to 40,000 per day within a week as there has been a marginal increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Wednesday, asserting that aggressive testing and isolation will remain his government’s strategy to fight the disease. The number of COVID-19 containment zones in Delhi has risen from 539 on August 1 to 716 on August 27.
Officials said the rise in the number of containment zones has also been congruent with the increase in cases in the national capital. Officials in some districts said the number of containment zones may rise with the number of COVID-19 tests getting doubled and further relaxations under unlock. However, testing is the way to detect and isolate the positive cases to spread the check of coronavirus, they said. A north east district official said the numbers of containment zones keep on changing frequently since the specifications have been changed.
Boeing testing ultraviolet wand that could neutralise coronavirus
Boeing said on Thursday it is testing a prototype of an ultraviolet (UV) wand that could neutralise coronavirus and other pathogens in an aircraft’s cockpit, cabin and lavatories. In a statement, the US-based aircraft manufacturer said: “Testing is ongoing to fully validate its effectiveness and safety (for operators and materials). UV light has been shown to be effective at neutralising pathogens. Testing against the COVID-19 virus is ongoing.”
The interior surfaces of an aircraft can be scanned with UV light from inches away and the areas and surfaces where the light falls get disinfected, it said Boeing said its proposed concept in development, is a mobile, hand-held UV disinfecting wand that can access compact spaces. “A single operator can treat a flight deck in less than 15 minutes with a UV wand,” it stated. In India, major airlines like SpiceJet, Air India and Vistara are using Boeing’s planes in their fleets.
UP CM directs officials to keep special vigil in 4 districts
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday directed the officials to maintain special vigil in Lucknow, Kanpur Nagar ,Gorakhpur and Shahjahanpur and further strengthen the medical facilities in the four districts in view of the COVID-19 situation. In a meeting with senior officials, the chief minister stressed the need for continuing all efforts to break the chain of the infection, for which, he said surveillance, contact-tracing and door-to-door survey also have an important role to play along with medical testing, an official release issued here said.
Adityanath expressed satisfaction over 50 lakh COVID-19 tests being conducted in the state so far. The chief minister reiterated that fogging and sanitization drive should be continued on every Saturday and Sunday which is proving helpful in not only breaking the chain of the coronavirus but also in checking communicable diseases. He directed all the district magistrates to ensure closure of markets on weekends.
RBI has not exhausted its ammunition in COVID-19 fight: Shaktikanta Das
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das Thursday said that the financial sector should return to normalcy now. “Post containment of pandemic and careful trajectory need to be followed for unwinding; the financial sector should return to normalcy. By no sense should it be assumed that the RBI will unwind the measures soon. Overall, the banking sector continues to be sound and stable.
“To say that the banks will face stress is stating the obvious; what is more important is how the banks react and respond to the challenge. Proactive raising of capital will be crucial to improve the resilience of banks and the financial sector. Once there is clarity on the coronavirus curve and other aspects, the RBI will start giving its estimates on inflation and growth. We have not exhausted our ammunition, whether on rate cuts or other policy actions. The government response to pandemic has been fiscally very responsible, prudent and very calibrated,” the RBI governor added.
The big jump on Thursday came after more than three weeks of relative stagnation during which the number of new infections remained between 60,000 and 70,000, the longest that it has spent in any such range. It was powered by the highest single-day rise in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
For most of August, India has been reporting the highest number of new cases in the world, more than even the United States and Brazil, the only two countries which have a bigger caseload than India. But unlike the United States, India had never recorded more than 70,000 cases in a single day. The United States has breached that mark on four occasions, its highest being a little more than 74,000 in July. In this month, the United States has been recording less than 50,000 cases, which has gone down to about 35,000 in the last few days.
Meanwhile, a central team is visiting Bihar to assess the situation there. Bihar had been one of the fastest growing states in the last few weeks, though there has been a minor slowdown, of late. From less than 10,000 cases at the start of July, Bihar has seen its numbers grow to more than 1.26 lakh now. The central team is said to have expressed concern at the state government’s reliance mainly on rapid antigen tests, whose results are not as reliable as the RT-PCR tests. Also, most of the positive patients in Bihar have been put in home quarantine, where monitoring and surveillance is unlikely to be as strict as in institutional quarantine.
Vaccine access strategy should have been in place, govt’s ‘unpreparedness’ alarming: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday blamed the Centre for its “unpreparedness” in making a vaccine strategy and said that a fair and inclusive COVID-19 vaccine access strategy should have been in place by now. “A fair and inclusive Covid vaccine access strategy should have been in place by now. But there are still no signs of it. GOI’s unpreparedness is alarming,” he tweeted.
Gandhi had earlier demanded that the government clearly define an inclusive and equitable vaccine access policy to ensure its affordability and fair distribution. On August 14, Gandhi had tweeted: “India will be one of the COVID-19 vaccine-producing nations. It needs a clearly-defined, inclusive & equitable vaccine access strategy ensuring availability, affordability & fair distribution. GOI must do it now.
A fair and inclusive Covid vaccine access strategy should have been in place by now.
But there are still no signs of it.
GOI’s unpreparedness is alarming. https://t.co/AUjumgGjGC
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 27, 2020
Squeezed by Covid, salaries on hold: states’ SOS to Centre
With Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns putting finances of over a dozen states under severe strain, resulting in delays in salary payments and sharp cuts in capital expenditure outlays, a meeting Thursday of the GST Council — the Centre-state governing body for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) — looks set for a showdown over delayed clearance of outstanding bills and escalating differences over compensation payments. Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Tripura are among states reporting delays in salary payments to healthcare workers. In Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, salaries have been delayed to staff of educational varsities.
During the meeting, an evolving consensus among states, including some BJP-ruled states, on the need to raise the unconditional fiscal deficit limits and clear outstanding bills is also expected to be flagged at the meeting.
Odisha CM speaks to PM Modi over phone, seeks postponement of NEET, JEE exams
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone and requested him to postpone NEET and JEE exams, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood situation in the state, news agency PTI reported.
Two days ago, Patnaik had written a letter in this regard to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. Patnaik, during his conversation with the prime minister, explained that Odisha is in the grip of a pandemic as well as flood, and students might face difficulties in appearing for the examinations, the official at the chief minister’s office told reporters
Moderna vaccine promises to be as effective among old as in young
Moderna, a US biotechnology company considered to be one of the leading contenders to develop a vaccine for novel Coronavirus, has claimed that the immune response triggered by its candidate vaccine among a small set of older patients was similar to that seen in younger people during trials.
The latest claims are based on an additional early phase trial of the vaccine on 20 people aged 56 years or above. The results hold promise of the vaccine being equally effective in protecting the older people against the Covid-19 disease as the younger adults.
Maharashtra vaccine trial: Vital signs of volunteers normal, says doctor
Vital health parameters of the two volunteers, who have been administered the first shot of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine at a medical college here as part of the phase II clinical trial, are normal, PTI quoted a senior official from the medical facility as saying on Thursday.
Two men, aged 32 and 48, were given the first shot of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine, being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday. The dose will be repeated after one month, an official said.
Here are some print copies on coronavirus which you shouldn’t miss today:
# With the Centre under fire for pushing to conduct JEE (Main) and NEET next month, Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare told The Indian Express Wednesday that postponing these entrance tests till after Diwali would wash out an entire semester and affect fresh admissions over the next few years.
# Bihar has come under the Centre’s scanner following concerns about the high number of its Covid-19 patients in home isolation and its testing being “lopsided” in favour of rapid antigen. A Central team that was sent to the state four days ago is set to return with details on these issues.
# Over 60,000 personnel from state police forces and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have till now tested positive for coronavirus disease across India and over 340 Covid-related deaths have been reported, as per data collated by the Indian Police Foundation (IPF), a multidisciplinary think-tank based in Delhi.
# Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi that 23 Punjab MLAs, including Cabinet ministers, have tested positive for coronavirus. Of the 23, at least three are Cabinet ministers.