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Coronavirus India Highlights: Mumbai reports 5,504 new cases as BMC plans to scale up testing, beds

Coronavirus India Highlights: A new double mutant variant of coronavirus has been identified in India, according to the Ministry of Health. A total of 206 cases of the double mutant variant (E484Q + L452R) have been detected in Maharashtra, the data show.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 26, 2021 9:35:32 am
COVID-19 India newsThe Covid-19 surge across India on Wednesday, with Maharashtra reporting 31,855 fresh cases — its highest single-day spike since the outbreak of the pandemic — and Delhi recording 1,254 new cases, its highest spike in over three months. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

Coronavirus India Highlights: Coronavirus cases in Mumbai continued to increase unabated as the city recorded 5,504 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths in the last 24 hours. Consequently, Mumbai’s civic body BMC has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals from the current 13,773 to 21,000 in the next 15 days besides scaling up testing.

In order to stem the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, the Rajasthan government Thursday issued an order stating that no functions related to the festivals of Holi and Shab-e-Barat will be allowed at public places in the state on March 28 and 29.

The daily count of coronavirus cases in India crossed 50,000 for the first time since November 6. On Wednesday, 53,476 new infections were detected, of which Maharashtra reported 31,855, a new peak for the state. Mumbai and Pune have both set new records for daily cases. Punjab, second-highest state with covid cases, reported 2,613 new infections. Active cases rise by more than 26,000 in a day, the highest record since the outbreak of the virus. There are total 3.95 lakh active cases in the country and 251 deaths reported on Thursday.

A new double mutant variant of coronavirus has been identified in India, according to the Ministry of Health. A total of 206 cases of the double mutant variant (E484Q + L452R) have been detected in Maharashtra, the data show. The Centre said there is no direct link of the new variant detected with the ongoing surge in the state.

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Coronavirus India Highlights: Over 50,000 reported in India, highest since November 6; Covid surge in Maharashtra a matter of grave concern, says govt; new double mutant variant identified in India; Follow latest news and developments on covid-19 in India below

06:52 (IST)26 Mar 2021
First time since November, India's daily cases surge past 50,000 in 24 hours

For the first time in the last four months, India on Thursday morning reported more than 50,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 infection in a 24-hour window.

Daily deaths continued to surge: after reporting 275 deaths on Wednesday, the country reported 251 deaths on Thursday morning. With several states reporting major surges in daily new cases, India’s total active caseload is now 3.95 lakh, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. A total of 53,476 fresh cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, the Ministry said. Read More

02:27 (IST)26 Mar 2021
As cases spike, Gurgaon’s private schools revert to online mode

Following the jump in coronavirus cases over the last two weeks, several private schools in Gurgaon that had started physical sessions for students over the last three months have decided to move back to online classes as a precautionary measure.

After recording less than 50 new cases every day for several weeks, Gurgaon, from the end of February, began to see a surge in coronavirus cases. On March 9, the district recorded its highest number of new cases in two months, with 75 people testing positive. On March 18, for the first time in almost three months, the district recorded more than 100 new cases. The number of new cases daily has remained above hundred in the week since, peaking at 256 on Thursday. Read More

00:54 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Covid cases on upswing: States impose restrictions on festivities, focus on testing & vaccination drive

India added over one lakh coronavirus infections in just two days as the second wave of the virus grew stronger in big cities and states. Considering this, the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan today placed restrictions on public gathering for the upcoming festivals in the respective states.

Mumbai, registering record virus cases daily, has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals besides ramping up testing and vaccination efforts in the city.

Here are all the Covid-19 related updates for today. Read More

23:27 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Kerala records 1,989 new Covid cases, flier detected with South African variant, journos to get jab

Kerala reported 1,989 new Covid-19 cases and 12 fatalities on Thursday. The active caseload reached 24,380 while the toll rose to 4,539.

At 301, Kozhikode reported the highest number of cases on Thursday, followed by Kannur at 205 and Thiruvananthapuram at 202. Read More

22:41 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Gujarat reports 1,961 Covid-19 cases, record rise for fourth straight day

Gujarat reported 1,961 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its highest singe-day rise since the pandemic began last year which took the tally to 2,94,130, the health department said here.

Since March 22, the state is witnessing record rise in cases every day. On Wednesday the state had recorded 1,790 new cases, the highest one-day rise till then.

As many as seven patients died on Thursday -- four in Surat, two in Mahisagar and one in Ahmedabad -- taking the Covid-19 death toll to 4,473, the department said.

With 1,405 patients getting discharged, the number of recovered cases increased to 2,80,285. Recovery rate in the state stands at 95.29 per cent.

There are now 9,372 active cases in the state with 81 patients being critical. (PTI)

22:40 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Delhi Metro intensifies drive to ensure Covid-19 norms are followed; violators to be penalised

In view of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the Delhi Metro has decided to intensify its drive to ensure commuters maintain social distancing and wear masks inside trains and on station premises, the transporter said on Thursday.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took to Twitter to inform people about it, and said over 300 commuters were issued challans on Wednesday for violating Covid-19 norms.

"To ensure our travel guidelines are being followed, Delhi Metro's Flying Squads penalised 318 commuters on 24 March 2021 for not wearing a face mask properly & following social distancing. Let us all follow the protocols & politely counsel others to do the same," it tweeted.

As part of intensified measures to contain the Covid-19 spread, entry at stations will be regulated based on social distancing on the premises, especially at major stations like Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba Road, Central Secretariat, Patel Chowk, ITO etc., during morning and evening peak hours, it said. (PTI)

22:39 (IST)25 Mar 2021
35,952 new coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, a new record

Maharashtra recorded 35,952 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began. Mumbai city also witnessed a record rise in cases during the day, health officials said.

It took the caseload in the state to 26,00,833. The state has added over one lakh cases in the last four days. With 111 fatalities reported on Thursday, death toll reached 53,795.

Mumbai city reported 5,505 new cases, its highest daily rise till now, while the nearby Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation reported 1,027 cases, its highest rise so far.

Pune city and neighbouring Pimpri Chinchwad reported 3,340 and 1,747 new cases, respectively. As many as 1,340 cases were reported in other areas of Pune district. (PTI)

21:36 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Amid Covid-19 surge, Gujarat govt bans Shab-e-Barat gatherings

The Gujarat government on Thursday banned people from gathering in mosques and other places for Shab-e-Barat that will be observed on March 28.

In a notification, the Gujarat home department said on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat, or the night of forgiveness, Muslims gather in large numbers in mosques to offer prayers in order to to seek forgiveness on behalf of the deceased and visit graves of their loved ones.

"There has been a recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases. In such a situation, cases are likely to grow due to large gatherings. It is important people do not gather in mosques and other places for Shab-e-Barat and Covid-19 guidelines issued by state and Central governments are strictly followed and social distancing maintained," said the notification.

Gujarat reported 1,961 new coronavirus positive cases on Thursday, its highest single-day spike on the fourth consecutive day since March 22, taking the state's tally to 2,94,130. (PTI)

20:45 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Rajasthan sees 715 new Covid-19 cases; no deaths reported

Rajasthan reported 715 more coronavirus cases and zero deaths on Thursday, the health department said.

The infection tally rose to 3,27,890, it said. 

Of the fresh cases, the maximum 127 were reported from Jodhpur followed by Kota (80), Jaipur (77), Udaipur (67), and Dungarpur (55) among other districts. 

There are 5,149 active cases in the state and 3,19,933 coronavirus patients have recovered so far, according to an official report. (PTI)

19:51 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Delhi reports 1515 new cases of Covid-119

Delhi recorded 1515 new cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The city also reported five new deaths related to the virus. 

The Covid positivity rate now stands at 1.69%.

19:31 (IST)25 Mar 2021
PMC scrambles to contain rising cases with new measures: 24-hr vaccination centres, 50,000 doses a day

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is aiming to scale up its vaccination drive soon and administer 50,000 doses every day to inoculate the maximum number of local residents. It also plans to start 24-hour vaccination centres in five places across the city, where the number of active Covid-19 cases is over 49,000.

“The PMC is aiming to vaccinate 20,000 local residents on Thursday. We want to take the number of people vaccinated every day to 50,000 in next few days by increasing number of vaccination centres,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agarwal.

She said that the PMC is going to carry out vaccinations 24 hours a day at five centres with immediate effect. “Those eligible for the vaccine can avail the facility at the five centres any time of the day except during the night curfew period. However, healthcare worker and frontline workers can take the vaccine any time they want to at the five centres,” said Agarwal. Read here

19:27 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Covid-19: 2,523 new cases in Karnataka, 10 deaths

Karnataka has recorded 2,523 fresh cases of coronavirus and 10 related fatalities, taking the gross to 9.78 lakh and the toll to 12,471, the Health department said on Thursday.

This is for the third consecutive day that the state has reported over 2,000 fresh cases.

Out of the fresh cases reported on Thursday, 1,623 were from Bengaluru Urban alone. The day also saw 1,192 patients getting discharged after recovery.

As of March 25 evening, cumulatively 9,78,478 Covid-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 12,471 deaths and 9,47,781 discharges, the Health department said in its bulletin.

It said, out of 18,207 active cases, 18,057 patients are in isolation at designated hospitals and are stable, while 150 are in ICU. (PTI)

19:02 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Vadodara OSD issues notice to standardise rates of Covid-19 rates
18:36 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Negative RT-PCR test reports now mandatory for all interstate travellers to Bengaluru

Beginning April 1, all interstate travellers to Bengaluru will need to furnish a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test report, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar announced on Thursday.

“With cases likely to increase further in the coming days and after observing that interstate travellers account for over 60 per cent of cases in Bengaluru, it has been decided that all such persons have to arrive with a negative RT-PCR report from April 1,” Sudhakar said. He added that the rule will be applicable to those, including permanent residents of the city, who arrive in the city from any place outside Karnataka.

The move comes a day after the Union Health Ministry identified Bengaluru Urban as the only city outside Maharashtra to be among the ten with the highest active Covid-19 caseload. According to figures released by the state government, the Karnataka capital reported 11,520 active cases, amounting to nearly 70 per cent of the state’s total caseload. Read this report by Ralph Alex Arakal

18:25 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Kumbh Mela duration curtailed to 1 month for first time

The duration of Kumbh Mela in Haridwar has been curtailed to just one month for the first time in its history in view of a recent surge in Covid-19 cases and it has been made mandatory for pilgrims to have a "negative" RT-PCR test report to attend the mega congregation.

According to a notification, the congregation on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar in Uttarakhand will take place from April 1 to 30, with three "shahi snan" (major bathing) dates on April 12, 14 and 27.

Thousands of devotes take a dip in the holy river during the mela with their number increasing manifold on the days of "shahi snan". Authorities also expect heavy turnouts on the occasions of Chaitra Pratipada on April 13 and Ram Navami on April 21.

Held once in 12 years, the congregation usually lasts around three-and-a-half months. Its last edition was held in Haridwar from January 14 to April 28 in 2010.

18:06 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Rajasthan govt cancels Holi, Shab-e-Barat festivities due to Covid scare

No functions related to the festivals of Holi and Shab-e-Barat will be allowed at public places in Rajasthan on March 28 and 29 to curb the spread of coronavirus, a government order said.

The state government issued an order on Wednesday restricting public gatherings during Holi and Shab-e-Barat in public places/parks/markets/religious places, etc. on March 28 and 29.

There will be no permission to organise public functions or gathering at public places to celebrate the festivals.

Action will be taken if there are gatherings or congregations, according to the order issued by the home department. (PTI)

17:31 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Mumbai: Expecting further rise in Covid-19 cases, BMC plans to increase bed capacity in hospitals

Anticipating the Covid-19 daily cases to reach up to 10,000, Mumbai's civic body BMC has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals from the current 13,773 to 21,000 in the next 15 days. 

The civic body has also set a target of increasing daily testing up to 60,000.  Expecting that at least 15 per cent of the total Covid-19 patients would be symptomatic, the BMC says it is in a comfortable position to handle these many cases in terms of availability of beds. 

In last one-and-half month, the city has reported 200 deaths with a mortality rate of 0.3 per cent as against 56,220 positive cases. 

"There is absolutely no cause of worry in city of Mumbai and BMC is in full control of the situation and confident of controlling the pandemic in due course of time," said I S Chahal, Municipal Commissioner, BMC, on th current status of the pandemic in city.

17:16 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Odisha logs 214 fresh Covid-19 cases, tally mounts to 3,39,460

Odisha's Covid-19 caseload mounted to 3,39,460 on Thursday after 214 people tested positive for the virus, the highest spike since January 15, a health department official said.

Khurda district, comprising state capital Bhubaneswar, recorded the highest of 33 new infections followed by Sundergarh (27), Cuttack and Bolangir with 20 cases each, he said. Malkangiri and Nayagarh have been declared coronavirus-free as no active cases exist in their jurisdiction.

The state's Covid-19 death toll remained unchanged at 1,919 as no fresh fatality has been reported since March 22. A total of 53 other Covid-19 patients have also died due to comorbidities, the official said.

Odisha now has 1,151 active cases, while as many as 3,36,337 patients have so far recovered from the disease. (PTI)

16:31 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Despite rise in COVID-19 cases, death rate remains low: Vijay Rupani

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday said although the coronavirus cases were on the rise in the state, the death rate in the fresh wave of infections is low.

Speaking to reporters, Rupani said the state government is working to bring the cases under control, but the numbers are expected to rise for another one week.

"The rate of infections is high in the entire country, including the state. However, there is no need to panic. Although the rate of infection is high, the number of deaths is less (in this wave)," the chief minister said.

The government is working with the three 'Ts' formula of testing, tracing and treatment, he said, adding that 70,000 tests were conducted on Wednesday.

"Our Sanjivani Raths, Dhanvantari Raths, 108 ambulance service and 104 fever helpline services are operating 24 hours to test and track patients. With respect to treatment, we have made arrangements, and around 70 per cent beds are vacant," Rupani said. (PTI)

15:53 (IST)25 Mar 2021
AstraZeneca confirms strong vaccine protection after US rift

AstraZeneca insists that its Covid-19 vaccine is strongly effective even after counting additional illnesses in its disputed US study, the latest in an extraordinary public rift with American officials.

In a late-night news release Wednesday, the drugmaker said it had recalculated data from that study and concluded the vaccine is 76 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, instead of the 79 per cent it had reported earlier in the week.

Just a day earlier, an independent panel that oversees the study had accused AstraZeneca of cherry-picking data to tout the protection offered by its vaccine. The panel, in a harsh letter to the company and to US health leaders, said the company had left out some Covid-19 cases that occurred in the study, a move that could erode trust in the science.

Some experts said the new data provided by AstraZeneca was "reassuring" and that the information was likely solid enough for US regulators to authorize the vaccine. (AP)

The Centre has also updated the Co-WIN platform and communicated to states that unlike earlier, when the second dose of the vaccine would be scheduled for Day 29, beneficiaries will have the discretion to choose the date of the second dose within the extended interval of 4-8 weeks.

Today marks a year of India's coronavirus lockdown. India went in for the strict lockdown when just about 525 positive cases had been detected. But the epidemic was already threatening to spread in an exponential manner. The number of cases had crossed 100 on March 15, 2020, and 1,000 on March 29.

With several states recording a resurgence of Covid-29 cases, the Union Cabinet had on Tuesday decided to further open up the vaccination, making every person above the age of 45 years eligible for a vaccine shot from April 1. The Centre has also updated the Co-WIN platform  and communicated to states that unlike earlier, when the second dose of the vaccine would be scheduled for Day 29, beneficiaries will have the discretion to choose the date of the second dose within the extended interval of 4-8 weeks.

Fresh reason for worry: 81% of Punjab samples positive for UK variant

Eighty-one per cent of the 401 samples sent by the Punjab government for genome sequencing have tested positive for the UK variant of Covid-19, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Tuesday said. The samples were sent for testing at National Centre for Disease Control.

“A total of 401 samples, collected between 1.1.2021 and 10.3.2021, were sent to NCDC for genome sequencing. The result of these samples was worrying as it showed presence of B.1.1.7 variant in 326 Covid samples,” said a government statement quoting head of the state’s Covid expert committee Dr K K Talwar.

Expressing concern, Amarinder urged the Centre to widen the vaccination net to cover those younger than 60 as the mutant strain has been found to be infecting young people more.

Record spike in Gujarat with 1,730 Covid cases, 9 MLAs positive since start of House session

GUJARAT REPORTED a record high of 1,730 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, surpassing Monday’s spike of 1,640 cases. At least nine MLAs have also tested positive for the infection since the budget session of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly began on March 1.

Congress legislators Naushad Solanki and Punja Vansh, and BJP MLAs Vijay Patel and Mohan Dodiya, who were among those attending the ongoing Budget session, have tested positive for the infection Tuesday, Speaker Rajendra Trivedi informed the House. In Vadodara, MP Ranjan Bhatt and BJP MLA from Dabhoi Shailesh Mehta had tested positive last week.

On Tuesday, the Assembly Speaker banned the entry of visitors as a precautionary measure. “A number of staff members of ministers have got infected. My first request is to the ministers not to call any visitors within the Assembly building till the House is in session. The minister can organise such meetings in their offices,” Trivedi said. The ongoing session is expected to conclude on April 1.

One year since lockdown 1.0: Share in workforce already falling, Covid-19 job losses hit women harder

For 28 years, Munni Devi walked from home to the Welspun Polybuttons Pvt Ltd factory on Gurugram’s Behrampur road where she headed the button assembly process on the shopfloor. Today, the 54-year-old does the same walk via her factory but to a different destination: a protest site at the Gurugram mini-Secretariat.

She is among the 200 employees laid off after the factory closed three months into the lockdown that marks a year tomorrow. Out of a job since last July, Munni’s family struggles to pay rent, cuts corners to buy medicine for her physically challenged grandson. Of the three working members in her household of five adults who lost their jobs since then, two are women.

Far away from her, at Euro Clothing Company’s factory in Karnataka’s Srirangapatna, Shobha S, a mother of two and the breadwinner in her family, was among the nearly 1,300 workers laid off in June. Nearly all the workers fired at this unit of Gokaldas Exports, which counted H&M as among its suppliers, were women like Shobha.

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