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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Coronavirus India August 19 updates: Kerala CM urges people to celebrate Onam at home, officials to maintain vigil at borders

In the 24 hours ending 9 am Wednesday, India reported 64,531 new cases of Covid-19 and 1,092 deaths. India's tally of 27,67,274 cases now includes 6,76,514 patients undergoing treatment, 20,37,871 patients who have recovered and 52,889 deaths.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Guwahati, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: August 20, 2020 10:36:21 am
Maharashtra: Vehicles carrying oxygen to be treated at par with ambulancesA lot of complaints over delays in delivery of oxygen have come from areas with low access. (Express file photo by Jaipal Singh)

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday urged people to celebrate the upcoming Onam festival at home. He also requested people to use “locally-available flowers” for flower carpets as supply of flowers from outside will increase chances of infected. Vijayan has also instructed officials to maintain a vigil at state borders.

In the 24 hours ending 9 am Wednesday, India reported 64,531 new cases of Covid-19 and 1,092 deaths. India’s tally of 27,67,274 cases now includes 6,76,514 patients undergoing treatment, 20,37,871 patients who have recovered and 52,889 deaths.

Coronavirus vaccine daily update

As of Wednesday, more than 22 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus in the world, while nearly 775,000 people have succumbed to the disease, according to a Reuters tally. Around 14 million people have recovered from Covid-19. Since the outbreak in China’s Wuhan last December, the infection has spread to over 210 countries and territories.

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More than 22 million people infected globally; India cases over 27 lakh; Andhra third state after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu to cross 3 lakh cases. Read latest news and updates in Tamil, Malayalam and Bangla

20:53 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Kerala CM urges people to celebrate Onam at home

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday urged people to celebrate the upcoming Onam festival at home. He also requested people to use "locally-available flowers" for flower carpets as supply of flowers from outside will increase chances of infected. Vijayan has also instructed officials to maintain a vigil at state borders.

20:44 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Who may first get Covid-19 vaccine in India, other countries

Recently, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morison said the government would offer free doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the entire 25 million population, putting into focus a rather tricky issue nations are grappling with across the world: who should get the vaccine first — and why.

Most nations, including India, are unanimous on the first recipients — frontline health workers directly interacting with Covid-19 patients. However, there is no straight answer to which population group comes next. For this purpose, several countries have set up expert committees to decide on the next tier of distribution as initially only a limited amount of vaccines will be available before mass production. Read our explainer to know more. 

20:20 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Strong immunity key for fighting COVID-19: Health Min

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Wednesday said that people with poor immunity are more vulnerable to contracting coronavirus infections and stressed on the need to boost the immune system by eating right and safe food.

Vardhan, who was speaking at the virtual launch of the 'Eat Right India Challenge' initiative by food safety regulator FSSAI, also said that a strong immune system is not only important for fighting coronavirus but also diseases like tuberculosis.

"It is rightly said that food plays an important role in building immunity. Today those people are getting more infected by COVID-19 whose immunity is not strong," he was quoted as saying by PTI.

20:10 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Why we need sero-surveys

Since December 2019, the world has been caught up in a pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A pandemic of this kind is something of a new reality for us. Insights about the disease are still trickling in. As a result, there is a lot of uncertainty about how the pandemic will progress and what needs to be done. The SARS-CoV2 virus, commonly referred to as “the corona virus”, has clearly infected large numbers of people. But it is not even clear yet exactly how many people have been infected, so far. We have been using the RTPCR tests to detect viral genetic material, or the so-called rapid antigen tests to detect viral proteins, in the nose, throat and mouth fluid to find “cases” of illness. The numbers revealed by these tests have been widely reported and discussed. But increasingly, new information based on “sero-surveys” has also been emerging. Click here to read the full coloumn.

Sero survey, India Sero survey results, SARS-CoV-2 virus, Covid Sero survey, india coronavirus news, herd immunity, covid-19 outbreak, indian express

19:10 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Ganpati Bappa goes online in COVID times

With almost the whole world functioning virtually during coronavirus times, Ganpati will give darshan on Zoom, Facebook and Google platforms during the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival which has been cut short from 10 to one and a half days at most places due to the pandemic.

The grandeur of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Maharashtra may be unparalleled, but the homecoming of Bappa in Delhi is not lacklustre either.

Every year in August devotees ‘bring’ Ganesha into their house, temple, or pandal (temporary shrine) as a guest. The idol is worshipped with elaborate rituals for 10 days along with various cultural programmes. Festival organisers spend weeks in planning the pandals, decoration, programmes and gatherings.

This year, with the festival approaching on August 22, they are busy creating social media links, arranging virtual darshans and ensuring safety and health protocols for those who will be there with the elephant-headed deity. Read the full report here. 

18:24 (IST)19 Aug 2020
After 470 cases at Poojappura prison, Kerala starts testing all inmates, staff across state

Covid-19 tests are being carried out for inmates and staff at central and district prisons across Kerala after a big cluster of the virus was detected at the Poojappura central prison.

According to jail officials, 470 inmates, which is nearly half of the Poojappura prison’s strength, and 12 staff members have tested positive for the virus earlier this week. The cluster was established after a 72-year-old inmate, who was lodged in block 7 of the prison, tested positive before undergoing treatment at the Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. He later passed away due to Covid-19 complications on Sunday. The source of infection of the prisoner is unclear. Following his death, testing using rapid antigen kits was carried out among inmates and staff at the prison whose results threw up indications of a big cluster.

The prison at Poojappura, considered the oldest correctional home in the state, was established in 1886 when the region was a part of erstwhile Travancore state. Read our full report here.

The prison at Poojappura, considered the oldest correctional home in the state, was established in 1886 when the region was a part of erstwhile Travancore state.


17:36 (IST)19 Aug 2020
US hands over second shipment of 100 ventilators to India

The United States Wednesday handed over to India 100 ventilators, as part of President Donald Trump's offer of assistance to New Delhi in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The ventilators are manufactured in the US and are compact, easy to deploy and provide India with flexibility in treating patients affected by the virus, the US embassy said in a statement.

16:25 (IST)19 Aug 2020
What is vaccine nationalism, how does it impact the fight against Covid-19

Even before the end of final stage human trials or regulatory approval, several wealthier countries like Britain, France, Germany and the US have entered into pre-purchase agreements with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, a development that has come to be known as “vaccine nationalism”. There are fears that such advance agreements will make the initial few vaccines unaffordable and inaccessible to everyone apart from the rich countries in a world of roughly 8 billion people. Click here to read our explainer.

16:23 (IST)19 Aug 2020
New Zealand reports 5 new virus cases amid record testing

New Zealand appears to be gaining control over a coronavirus outbreak in Auckland after just five new community infections were reported Wednesday amid record levels of testing and contact tracing. A sixth infection was found in a quarantined traveler who had returned from Qatar.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 500 more military personnel would be deployed to quarantine hotels as the nation looks to reduce the number of private security guards it employs and tighten its border controls.

Health authorities have still not figured out how the outbreak began after the country went 102 days without the virus spreading in the community.

15:14 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Pakistan reports 613 new COVID-19 cases

Pakistan on Wednesday reported 613 new coronavirus cases, taking the country's COVID-19 tally to 2,90,445.

Apart from the new cases, 11 people died due to coronavirus-related complications in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of National Health Services said. Now, the virus death toll stands at 6,201.

The ministry said 2,72,128 people have recovered from the virus so far. There are 12,116 active cases with 743 people in critical condition. (PTI)

13:24 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Rahul Gandhi claims two crore people have lost jobs amid pandemice, targets Centre

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has targeted the government for the loss of jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking to Twitter, he said around 2 crore people had lost their jobs in the last four months. "In the last 4 months, around 2 crore people have lost their jobs. The future of 2 crore families is in the dark. The truth about unemployment and destruction of the economy cannot be hidden from the country by peddling fake news and hatred on Facebook," he said, referring to a report by the Wall Street Journal that Facebook did not apply hate-speech rules on BJP leaders.

13:20 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Dr Reddy's Laboratories launches Covid-19 drug in India

Dr Reddy's Laboratories has launched Avigan (Favipiravir) tablets to help treat "mild to moderate Covid-19 in India". The drug has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). The company said, "The launch is part of the global licensing agreement with Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co Ltd that grants Dr Reddy's the exclusive rights to manufacture, sell and distribute Avigan (Favipiravir) 200 mg tablets in India.

M V Ramana, CEO of Branded Markets (India and Emerging Markets), said, "The need for high quality and efficacy, affordability and better disease management are key priorities for us. We believe that Avigan would provide an effective treatment option to the COVID-19 impacted patients in India."

13:12 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Delhi Metro announces steep pay cuts amid ‘extreme adverse financial’ crisis

The Delhi Metro has announced steep pay cuts for its employees on account of an "extreme adverse financial" crisis it is facing, with its services suspended for nearly five months amid the Covid-19 breakout, according to the corporation’s records. The Metro is also struggling to repay loan installment to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

"In view of the extreme adverse financial condition due to non-operation of metro services, the following orders are issued: It has been decided that the perks and allowances shall be reduced by 50 per cent with effect from the month of August 2020, till further orders," says the order issued by DMRC senior deputy general manager (HR) Sangeeta Shrivastava. Read more here

12:37 (IST)19 Aug 2020
India Coronavirus numbers: Top 10 states with maximum caseload

Maharashtra 615,477 11,119 437,877 20,687
Tamil Nadu 349,654 5,709 289,787 6,007
Andhra Pradesh 306,261 9,652 218,311 2,820
Karnataka 240,948 7,665 156,949 4,217
Uttar Pradesh 162,434 4,218 109,607 2,585
Delhi 154,741 1,374 139,447 4,226
West Bengal 122,753 3,175 92,690 2,528
Bihar 109,875 3,257 80,740 558
Telangana 95,700 1,763 73,991 719
Assam 82,201 1,126 58,294 203

12:23 (IST)19 Aug 2020
India Coronavirus news: Positivity rate begins to decline

For the first time since May, the overall positivity rate in the country has begun to decline, indicating that, out of those who are being tested, far lesser number of people are being found infected now than earlier. After rising steadily for the last three months, the positivity rate reached a peak of 9.01 per cent on August 9, after which it has begun to decline. It has come to 8.72 per cent now. Amitabh Sinha explains the numbers

11:30 (IST)19 Aug 2020
New research: T cell response in Covid-19 cases even where no antibodies found

A key component of our immune system is the T cells, which respond to a virus or a bacterium when it attacks. Once the pathogen has been dealth with, the immune system retains memore versions of these specific T cells, so that if the same pathogen attacks again, the response can be mounted once more. A new study in the journal Cell has found that mild cases of Covid-19 can trigger a robust memory T cell response, even when virus-specific antibody responses are not detected. Read more here

11:25 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Coronavirus news: 103-year-old man recovers from Covid-19 in Kerala

Purakkatt Veettil Pareed, a resident of Aluva, recovered from Covid-19 on Tuesday. He was being treated at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kochi after he tested positive 20 days ago. On Tuesday evening, he was given a warm send-off by the hospital staff. Health Minister K K Shailaja said Pareed’s recovery was a remarkable achievement for the state. “His recovery is a testimony to the dedication of the health workers of the medical college and the quality of care they had given to the patient. I appreciate all those who have been part of the team that treated Pareed,” she said. Read more here

11:09 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan goes into quarantine

Union Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Sanjeev Balyan, 63, has gone into self-quarantine after meeting Uttar Pradesh Minister Atul Garg, who tested positive for the disease. Balyan, a Lok Sabha MP from Muzaffarnagar, had lunch with Garg on Tuesday in Ghaziabad. He is now in quarantine at his residence in New Delhi, reported PTI.

10:46 (IST)19 Aug 2020
Karnataka tests 2 million samples for Covid-19

The Karnataka government has said it has conducted 20 lakh Covid-19 tests. According to data given to ICMR, the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services said these tests were conducted from March 23 to August 16. With this, Karnataka is now among the states which have conducted the maximum number of tests.

KIDWAI Bengaluru conducted the most tests (1,05,624), followed by Gulbarga GIMS (88,323), NIMHANS (81816) and National Institute of Virology (79,595), among government labs. Meanwhile, over 4.5 lakh tests were conducted in all private labs cumulatively till August 16. Neuberg Anand conducted the highest number, 69,897.

10:07 (IST)19 Aug 2020
New Delhi: Second sero survey suggests 28% in city have antibodies
People stand in queue to participate in the serosurvey in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha)

The second round of serological survey, conducted in the first week of August across the national capital, has suggested that 28.35% of the people tested have developed antibodies against the novel coronavirus, The Indian Express has learnt. During the survey, more than 15,000 samples were lifted across 11 districts in Delhi to assess the spread of the virus. The samples were processed in 18 labs authorised by the state government for the rigorous exercise.

“The labs have submitted their reports and, after compiling the data, we have found a prevalence of 28.35% of the disease among people who were tested in the second round. The highest prevalence has been reported from the central district,” said a senior official from the state health department. Read more here 

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Coronavirus India LIVE news updates:

The number of patients who have recovered from the Covid-19 infection surpassed the 20 lakh mark in India on Tuesday. The country recorded the highest single-day recoveries of 57,584 in the last 24 hours (Till 9 am, Tuesday), higher than the confirmed cases added during the same period. India also recorded highest ever number of tests in the last 24 hours – a little more than 8,99,000, the Health Ministry said, adding that daily new cases and deaths have shown a declining trend from August 13, but warned against any laxity, underlining that five days are a short span in the context of a pandemic.

Andhra Pradesh is now the third state after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu to cross the three lakh mark in the overall number of coronavirus cases. The state now has 3,06,261. It took 160 days for the state to go from one to three lakh (cases) after the first person tested positive for the contagion on March 12 but the last one lakh came in quicker pace in just 11 days.

The Election Commission (EC) Tuesday said it would come up with “broad” guidelines within three days for holding elections during the pandemic. The matter was discussed at the commission meeting, it said in a statement.

The Health Ministry in a statement said the high recovery rate is the result of successful and coordinated implementation of an effective containment strategy, aggressive and comprehensive testing coupled with standardised clinical management of critical patients.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said the atmosphere of development in the state has not suffered despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to an official release. He said the progress on some of the projects was slow due to the coronavirus lockdown but the state government did not let the work stall. 

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