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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Coronavirus India Highlights: Home Ministry directs states to not restrict supply of medical oxygen, says it’s critical to fighting virus

India's coronavirus tally crossed the 52-lakh mark today after 96,424 fresh cases were reported in the span of 24 hours, and stood at 52,14,678.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 19, 2020 9:52:51 am
COVID test in progress at a center in wanawadi. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

Coronavirus India News Live Updates:  The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday directed states to not restrict inter-state movement of medical oxygen supply as it is “critical to fighting Covid-19 virus.” “Some states trying to curb inter-state movement of oxygen supplies from manufacturing units, such curbs should be ended,” the MHA said in a statement adding that the consumption of oxygen is expected to increase as the the number of cases are rising.

Days after the Union Health Ministry permitted reopening of schools from September 21, the Delhi government on Friday announced that schools shall remain closed till October 5 for all students. “All government and private schools will remain closed for all students till October 5. However, online teaching and learning activities will continue as usual,” an official order issued by the Directorate of Education (DoE) said.

India’s coronavirus tally crossed the 52-lakh mark today after 96,424 fresh cases were reported in the span of 24 hours, and stood at 52,14,678. With 1,174 deaths, the death toll now stands at 84,372. There are 10,17,754 active cases and at least 41,12,552 people have been cured/discharged from hospitals.

Meanwhile, India’s coronavirus mortality rate at 1.64 per cent is lowest in the world and the Centre is making efforts to reduce it down to less than 1 per cent, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. While the total cases may have crossed 50 million, active cases are less than 20 per cent, he added.

The total number of coronavirus cases across the world crossed the 30 million mark to reach 30,071,368 on Friday, while the death toll rose to 944,887. As many as 20,439,652 people have recovered as of now. Of the total caseload, the United States has recorded 6,674,458 infections and 1,97,633 deaths followed by India, which has over five million cases.

Live Blog

Over 96,000 coronavirus cases, more than 1,000 deaths in 24 hours in India; overall tally above 5.2 million. Get latest updates here.

22:19 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Karnataka logs 8,626 new COVID-19 cases; total cases breach five lakh mark Bengaluru

Total number of COVID-19 infections in Karnataka breached the five lakh mark on Friday, as the state reported 8,626 new cases and 179 related fatalities, taking the death toll to 7,808, the Health department said. The day also saw the number of recoveries outnumbering new infections, with 10,949 patients getting discharged after recovery. Out of 8,626 fresh cases reported on Friday, 3,623 cases were from Bengaluru Urban alone. As of September 18 evening, cumulatively 5,02,982 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 7,808 deaths and 3,94,026 discharges, the Health department said in its bulletin.

21:10 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Home Ministry directs states to not restrict supply of medical oxygen, says it's critical to fighting virus

The MHA on Friday directed states to not restrict inter-state movement of medical oxygen supply as it is critical to fighting Covid-19 virus. "Some states trying to curb inter-state movement of oxygen supplies from manufacturing units, such curbs should be ended," the MHA said in a statement.

20:42 (IST)18 Sep 2020
COVID test in progress at a center in wanawadi

COVID test in progress at a center in wanawadi, Pune Pune city added 1,875 COVID-19 cases, which took its tally to 1,38,268, while 28 deaths pushed toll to 3,165.. Express photograph by Arul Horizon. 

 

19:13 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Coronavirus: 98 deaths, 6,584 fresh virus cases in UP; total count 3,42,788

Uttar Pradesh reported 98 fatalities due to COVID-19 on Friday, taking the death toll to 4,869, while 6,584 fresh cases pushed the infection tally to 3,42,788. The maximum 16 deaths were reported from Lucknow, followed by 13 Kanpur, seven in Gorakhpur, five in Meerut among other districts, a health bulletin issued here said. Lucknow reported the maximum 1,244 cases. Kanpur reported 407 infections, Allahabad 336, Ghaziabad 191 and Varanasi 239, it said, adding that 6,584 fresh cases were detected in the past 24 hours. Lucknow has so far recorded the highest 576 deaths in the state. Kanpur comes a close second with 569 fatalities, followed by 232 in Allahabad and 220 in Varanasi, according to the bulletin.

18:15 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Schools in Himachal from Classes 9-12 to reopen from Monday

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to reopen schools from Classes 9 to 12 from Monday, almost six months after remaining shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision in this regard was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday evening, an official spokesperson said. Educational institutions in the state were closed in March after the outbreak of the deadly virus. The Cabinet gave its nod to open educational institutions outside the containment zones in the state from September 21 as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the spokesperson said. These schools will be opened with 50 per cent teaching and non-teaching staff in attendance for students from Class 9 to Class 12, provided the students are willing to take guidance from the teachers, he said

17:31 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Follow preventive measures against COVID-19: Delhi CM to gym owners

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday appealed to gym owners and people coming for workouts at these establishments to follow preventive measures against COVID-19. Representatives of the gym associations met the chief minister and thanked him for allowing these establishments to reopen in the city. "I appeal to all gym operators of Delhi and people coming for workouts at these centres to follow safety rules. We also have to stop the spread of coronavirus and stay healthy as well," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi. According to the Chief Minister's Office, during the meeting,� the CM also assured support to the gym operators in future.

16:38 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Schools in Delhi to remain closed for all students till Oct 5, says Delhi government

All schools in the national capital will continue to remain closed till October 5 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delhi government announced on Friday. "All government and private schools will remain closed for all students till October 5. However, online teaching and learning activities will continue as usual," an official order issued by the Directorate of Education (DoE) said. School principals are authorised to call "staff as per requirement for smooth conduct of online classes or any other work", it said. Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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15:56 (IST)18 Sep 2020
UK study finds effective new COVID-19 rapid test in a box

A new small-boxed COVID-19 rapid test device, which gives results within 90 minutes, has been found to have a high level of accuracy and produced very few false negatives and no false positives in a UK study. The Lab-in-Cartridge tests can be performed in cartridges smaller than a mobile phone and do not require a laboratory.

The study, led by Imperial College London scientists and published in The Lancet Microbe' this week, involved high-speed tests on 386 National Health Service (NHS) staff and patients and were found to have over 94 per cent sensitivity and 100 per cent specificity. These results suggest the test, which can be performed at a patient's bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing, said Professor Graham Cooke, lead author of the study from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London.

15:44 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Central team rushed to Jammu to help strengthen COVID-19 containment measures

With Jammu reporting a rise in COVID-19 cases, the health ministry has decided to depute a high-level Central team to the district to assist in strengthening containment, surveillance, testing and efficient clinical management of positive cases. Jammu has so far reported 9,428 infections and has 6,115 active cases of coronavirus infection, the ministry said, adding the total cases one week ago were 6,878. Jammu has been reporting doubling time of 15.4 days, recovery rate of 33.9 per cent and case fatality rate of 1.24 per cent.

The team comprises Dr S K Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Dr Vijay Hadda, Professor, Department of Pulmonary Critical Care, AIIMS, New Delhi, the ministry said. A special team had visited the Srinagar valley recently. The two-member high-level team was led by Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Dr S K Singh, Director, NCDC was its member.  The team had reviewed the status of preparedness for COVID management with district collectors of the valley. (PTI)

14:39 (IST)18 Sep 2020
COVID-19 may lead to decline in life expectancy globally, study finds

The COVID-19 pandemic could cause a short-term decline in life expectancy in the severely affected areas of the world, unless the spread of the disease is contained, according to a study. The research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, examined the impact of COVID-19-related deaths on life expectancy for four broad world regions across multiple rates of infection and age groups. “Our study provides the first assessment of the potential impact of COVID-19 on period life expectancies according to a range of scenarios of prevalence rates over a one-year period,” said Guillaume Marois, from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, who led the study. Read more about the study here

14:30 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel tests positive

Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel on Friday tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection. Patel’s close family members said that the his Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) has returned positive following which he has undergone CT Scan and also given samples for RTPCR test, results of which are awaited. Patel, 92, has previously undergone bypass surgery and is also suffering from Prostate Cancer. The former chief minister’s son Bharat confirmed the news, and added that two of Keshubhai’s personal staff members have also tested positive.

14:22 (IST)18 Sep 2020
US pastor who told church members they didn’t need to wear masks, is in ICU with Covid

A pastor in the US state of Idaho, who was criticised for holding in-person services and expressing doubts about the efficacy of mask-wearing during his sermons, is in the ICU after contracting the coronavirus infection, CNN reported. Paul Van Noy, a senior pastor at Candlelight Church in Coeur d’Alene, has spent the last two weeks in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, ministry coordinator Eric Reade told CNN. Read more here

13:57 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Recoveries consistently higher than new cases in Andhra Pradesh

For the last two weeks, the number of recoveries in Andhra Pradesh has been consistently higher than the number of daily detections of new infections of the novel coronavirus. That has led to a gradual decrease in the number of active cases in the state, which has dropped from a high of 1.04 lakh to well below 90,000 now. Andhra Pradesh has the second-highest coronavirus caseload in the country. On Thursday, the total number of confirmed infections in the state crossed the six-lakh mark. But there are fewer detections of new cases happening now compared to two weeks earlier. For the last one week, the daily new infections have remained below 10,000. Andhra Pradesh was the only state which had been contributing more than 10,000 cases every day, apart from Maharashtra, which has been reporting more than 20,000 infections every day for two weeks now. Read the analysis here

13:51 (IST)18 Sep 2020
After 37 years, pandemic may make Chennai’s famous ‘statue man’ move on

Abdul Aziz (56), popularly known as the ‘Statue Man’, is a popular figure in Tamil Nadu. Standing stationary at the entrance of the VGP theme park, he has attracted the attention of lakhs of visitors over the past 35 years. He is one among many entertainers struggling without a regular income ever since the lockdown was imposed in March. Having started his career as early as 1985 at the VGP Universal Kingdom Theme Park in Chennai, Aziz is now thinking of quitting and looking for other sources of income.

“Owing to the lockdown, the company is closed. I am still employed there, but I am not going to work since February. When I enquired with the management, they said they are likely to reopen the park from October 1. That is not confirmed, though. The last payment I received was in March. In April, I was given half the salary, but for the last five months, there has been no payment. I am forced to sell things to survive. None of the old staff working there have been paid in this lockdown period,” he said. Read more about the statue man here

12:56 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Mandatory daily antigen test for reporters, Parliament staff

With rising cases of the novel coronavirus infection among MPs, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the Parliament complex will have to undergo mandatory antigen test on a daily basis, according to a new protocol put in place. Members of both Houses are undergoing RT-PCR test on regular intervals on a voluntary basis, news agency PTI reported quoting a senior Parliament official. Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours.

12:38 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Venkaiah Naidu asks RS members to adhere to Covid safety measures

Passing slips in examination halls is not allowed but is permitted in Rajya Sabha to communicate with other members in view of COVID-19 safety measures, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday. Before the proceedings started for Zero Hour, Naidu advised members not to go to each other's seats or come to the Table House when the House is in session for any clarification and send slips, if the issue was urgent.

"No member is expected to come to Table office when House is in session...Members are requested not to go to other member's seat and bend and whisper in their ears....Please avoid. If you have something to communicate send slips. It is not allowed in examination halls but is allowed here," Naidu said, prompting laughter in the House.

He also advised all parliamentarians not to come to the Chairman's office and added that while he enjoyed meeting people, under the present circumstances safety norms should be followed. (PTI)

12:15 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Maharashtra Minister for Energy Nitin Raut tests Covid-19 positive

Dr Nitin Raut, Maharashtra's Minister for Energy, tested positive for Covid-19. In a statement Friday, he said, "I have tested positive for Covid-19 today. I would like to request to all those who came in contact with me over the past few days to get themselves tested as a precautionary measure. Stay safe everyone and takecare."

Raut joins a list of ministers who have contracted the disease, including Housing Minister Jitendra Awadh, Public Works Department Minister Ashok Chavan, Coorperation and Marketing Minister Balasaheb Patil, Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde and Textiles Minister Aslam Sheikh.

11:23 (IST)18 Sep 2020
Dubai suspends Air India Express operations till Oct 2

Dubai suspended all Air India Express operations to its country's airports till October 2 after a passenger travelling onboard a Jaipur-Dubai flight tested positive on September 4. SA Kankazar, Air Transport & Int'l Affairs Sector, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, while announcing this, said that this was the second instance.

11:14 (IST)18 Sep 2020
2,043 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths in Telangana

Telangana recorded 2,043 fresh coronavirus cases and 11 fatalities, taking the tally of infections in the state to 1.67 lakh. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 314, followed by Rangareddy 174 and Medchal Malkajgiri 144, a government bulletin said on Friday, providing data as of 8 PM on September 17. The cumulative recovered cases stood at 1.35 lakh while 30,673 are under treatment.

10:14 (IST)18 Sep 2020
159 new cases push Arunachal's COVID-19 tally to 6,851

Arunachal Pradesh's COVID-19 tally rose to 6,851 on Friday as 159 more people, including 15 security personnel, tested positive for the infection, a senior health official said. The Capital Complex region reported the highest number of new cases at 88, followed by West Kameng (11) and Lower Subansiri (11), he said. Twelve personnel of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and one of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also contracted the disease, he said. As many as 180 more people have recovered from the disease and were discharged from hospitals on Thursday, the official said. (PTI)

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Describing it as the “most powerful public health tool” against the novel coronavirus, Robert Redfield, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, has said face masks offered much better protection against the infection than a vaccines would.

The CDC is the US equivalent of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Redfield was responding to questions from US lawmakers at a Senate sub-committee hearing.

“We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defence. I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid-19 than when I take a vaccine,” Redfield said.

While a coronavirus vaccine is likely to become available by early next year, if not towards the end of this year itself, no one knows as of now how effective these vaccines are likely to be. Prominent scientists and vaccine developers have suggested that the early vaccines might not be the most effective ones, and that we would be lucky if they provide protection to at least 75 per cent of those inoculated. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it would approve a coronavirus vaccine if was found to be safe and was at least 50 per cent effective.

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