Registering over 75,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time in a span of 24 hours, India’s virus tally sprinted past 33 lakh on Thursday, while the number of recoveries crossed the 25 lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
As many as seven non-BJP CMs have decided to move Supreme Court against Centre’s decision to conduct NEET and JEE tests. AIADMK, DMK, BJP and AAP have also urged the Centre to postpone the entrance examinations.
You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.
Here are the latest updates:
7.30 pm | Maharashtra
Five more volunteers join Oxford COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
Five more volunteers were inoculated with the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Pune district on Thursday as part of the phase II clinical trial launched in search for an antidote against the viral infection that is showing no signs of abating in the country.
Three of the volunteers were administered the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital in Pune city, a senior doctor from the medical facility said.
Two more volunteers were inoculated with the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate at the KEM Hospital and Research Centre at Vadu in Shirur tehsil, 30km from Pune, an official said.
Earlier, two volunteers, aged 32 and 48, were given a shot of the ‘Covishied vaccine, being manufactured by the city-based Serum Institute of India (SII), on Wednesday when the phase II clinical trial of the medicine began at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital.
“On Thursday afternoon, three more volunteers — two females and a male — were administered the vaccine candidate after their reports of RT-PCR test for COVID-19 and antibody test came negative,” said Dr Sunita Palkar, in-charge of the research cell at the medical college.
7.20 pm | New Delhi
Containment zones likely to increase with doubling of 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 New Delhi, 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.
On Wednesday when the national capital recorded 1,693 cases, the city’s highest single-day spike this month so far, taking the tally to over 1.65 lakh, the containment zones were increased to 716.
6.50 pm | Jammu and Kashmir
Five-day lockdown imposed in J&K’s Samba
Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba on Thursday announced a five-day lockdown in the district to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The lockdown from August 28 to September 1 midnight was ordered by Samba District Magistrate Rohit Khajuria, officials said.
Quoting an order issued by Khajuria, the officials said the step was taken in view of the spurt in COVID-19 cases.
However, the essential services like clinics, chemist shops and testing laboratories would function from 9 am to 8 pm during the lockdown days, while grocery shops, fruit and vegetables shops would be allowed to open from 7 am to 12 noon, the officials said.
6.11 pm | Jammu and Kashmir
Former J&K MLC Chuni Lal dies of COVID-19
Three people, including a former MLC, died of the coronavirus in the Jammu region, while senior BJP leader and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma on Thursday said that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
With these deaths, the coronavirus-related death toll in the region in Jammu and Kashmir now stands at 57, officials said.
Former MLC and Congress leader Chuni Lal, who tested positive for the coronavirus disease on August 24, breathed his last at the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital in Kathua in the early hours of Thursday, they said.
The 87-year-old leader was suffering from various ailments and was admitted to the hospital last week, the officials said.
5.55 pm | New Delhi
India Open, Syed Modi cancelled in BWF’s adjusted calender
The India Open Super 500 and the Syed Modi International Super 300 tournaments were on Thursday cancelled by the Badminton World Federation in its adjusted calendar to salvage a season thrown haywire by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The India Open, which was originally scheduled in March, was to be held from December 8 to 13 in New Delhi and Syed Modi was slated for November 17 to 22 in Lucknow in the previously revised calendar.
“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will implement an adjusted tournament calendar for the HSBC BWF World Tour in 2020,” the world body said in a statement.
“The TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark will remain part of the international tournament calendar and will proceed on the planned dates of 3-11 October 2020.
“All remaining HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments on the calendar will no longer take place at the dates and locations originally listed.”
The badminton season has been on hold after the All England Championship in March.
5.45 pm | Uttarakhand
Hospital in Uttarakhand closed after pharmacist tests positive
The District Hospital, Pithoragarh was closed for two days on Thursday after a pharmacist working at the facility tested positive for COVID-19.
“We have closed the hospital for two days as a precautionary measure. The pharmacist tested positive on Wednesday evening,” Chief Medical Officer, Pithoragarh, Harish Pant said.
However, the emergency ward of the hospital will remain operational with doctors attending to patients telephonically, he said.
5.40 pm | New Delhi
No need for alarm on COVID-19 reinfection, need more data for reliable inference: scientists
The first documented instance of coronavirus reinfection came from Hong Kong this week followed quickly by Belgium and the Netherlands reporting one case each, but there is no reason for alarm yet, say scientists, calming fears that a surge might be inevitable.
As concerns mount that herd immunity may not be enough to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists in India and elsewhere said more studies are needed for a reliable inference.
Wide conclusions cannot be drawn about reinfection from individual cases, noted Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst told PTI on the three cases reported this week.
“Since we do not yet know how frequent reinfections are, it is difficult to say what these findings mean for the success of a vaccination campaign,” Ranst, a clinical biologist at the academic hospital UZ Leuven in Belgium, told PTI, addressing worries that reinfection might also impact the vaccination programme.
5.00 pm | West Bengal
Will resume services when Centre gives go-ahead: Kolkata Metro
The Metro Railway in Kolkata said on Thursday that it will restart services on receiving the go-ahead from the Union Home Ministry and the Railway Ministry.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Metro Railway authorities can resume services, maintaining all COVID-related safety protocols.
“We will start the process of resuming services once we receive directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Railway Ministry,” Metro Railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.
After receiving the go-ahead, the Metro authorities will discuss the modalities of running the services in the city with the West Bengal government, she told PTI.
The Chief Minister announced a series of relaxations on Wednesday.
Regarding the resumption of Metro and local train services, she said that the Railway authorities should speak to state officials to work out the modalities.
Metro Railway, which forms an integral part of the city’s public transportation system, stopped services as the nationwide lockdown began in March to control the spread of the coronavirus.
4.40 pm | New Delhi
No. of COVID recoveries goes past 25 lakh in India: Health ministry
The number of COVID-19 recoveries has surpassed 25 lakh in the country while the case fatality rate has further declined to 1.83 per cent, the Union health ministry said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the country has reached nearly 3.9 crore, it added.
The strategic approach of the country as regards COVID-19 response and management — “test, track, treat” — emphasises the key principle of high level of testing on a sustained basis, leading to an early diagnosis, the ministry said.
A timely diagnosis furnishes opportunities to isolate or hospitalise the positive cases adequately in advance for appropriate treatment, it said, adding, “This in turn facilitates lower mortality rates and speedy recovery.”
A record 75,760 cases were added to the country’s COVID-19 tally in a day, taking it to 33,10,234. The death toll due to the disease climbed to 60,472, with 1,023 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours, health ministry data updated at 8 am showed.
4.00 pm | West Bengal
Stringent lockdown in Kolkata, violations reported in some districts
Normal life was affected in Kolkata on Thursday as a complete shutdown was enforced across West Bengal to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, while violation of the lockdown restrictions was witnessed in some districts.
All public transport, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, were closed due to the lockdown.
Flight operations in and out of the Kolkata international airport were suspended for the day, while long- distance trains were rescheduled.
Ferry services through inland waterways were also suspended.
Essential services like medicine shops and health establishments remained open as these were kept out of the purview of the complete shutdown. Petrol pumps are also allowed to remain open on the lockdown days.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutes have remained closed in the state since late March when the first phase of the nationwide lockdown started.
3.50 pm | New Delhi
Over 15 lakh people covered under specialised COVID-19 policies
Need for demand-based insurance schemes has grown post the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 15 lakh people already being covered under the recently launched specialised COVID-19 policies, Irdai Chairman Subhash C Khuntia said.
“We must understand that in difficult times, insurance companies have to come to the rescue of the policyholders. It is the changing needs of the customers that we need to assess carefully, and we have to cater to that. I am happy that all of you have collaborated in bringing out these products and we have allowed the pricing (freedom) to the insurance companies.
“More than 15 lakh lives have already being covered under these two products within a period of about a month and that shows what is the demand of the customers,” he said.
3.30 pm | Delhi
Five benches in Delhi HC to hold physical courts on rotation from Sept 1
The Delhi High Court Thursday said five of its benches will start holding physical courts on a rotation basis from September 1, and issued standard operating procedure (SOP) for it.
The high court, which has been conducting hearings through video conferencing since March 24 to contain the spread of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the remaining benches shall continue taking up matters through the virtual mode.
An office order issued by Registrar General Manoj Jain said that while considering the matter regarding resumption of physical functioning of the high court, the suspension of functioning of court has been extended till September 30.
All the pending matters listed before the high court from September 1 to 30 would be adjourned to November 3 to December 7 respectively, the order said.
3.10 pm | Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh govt allows inter-state public transport operations
The Chhattisgarh government has allowed operations of inter-state public transport, which were shut since mid March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
State Transport Commissioner Kamalpreet Singh issued an order for resumption of the inter-state bus service and movement of other public transport with India tourist permit in the state with immediate effect for people’s convenience.
As per the guidelines, buses will be permitted to stop at designated points only while during the journey, travellers as well as the bus staff will have to keep their faces covered.
2.50 pm | Haryana
Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar tests positive for COVID-19
Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar on Thursday said that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
The 63-year-old MP from Faridabad requested all those who came in contact with him recently to get themselves tested for coronavirus.
Earlier, BJP MPs from Karnal, Hisar and Kurukshetra—Sanjay Bhatia, Brijendra Singh and Nayab Singh Saini- had tested positive for coronavirus.
Eight BJP MLAs from Haryana have also tested positive for coronavirus which includes Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, State Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma and Agriculture Minister J P Dalal.
Meanwhile, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said she has home quarantined herself for a week after coming in contact with a person who later tested positive.
FAQ: Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?
A boy sells masks in Old Delhi while the city fights the pandemic. Sushil Kumar Verma SushilKumarVerma
It likely provides protection for both.
Studies on the new coronavirus and other germs show wearing a mask helps stop infected people from spreading disease to others. Evidence also suggests that masks may offer some protection for the people wearing them.
The virus spreads from droplets people spray when they cough, sneeze or talk. Surgical or cloth face masks can block most of those particles from spreading.
While some droplets may still spread out, wearing a mask could reduce the amount, providing a benefit to others. Research shows people don’t get as sick when exposed to smaller amounts of virus, said Dr Monica Gandhi, a virus expert at University of California, San Francisco. – AP
2.10 pm | New Delhi
Back to the Capital
The Anand Vihar bus terminal — where thousands of migrant workers had assembled four months back in a desperate bid to return to their home towns after a nationwide lockdown was announced — is again abuzz with labourers, but this time they are desperate to return to the city.
With the lockdown virtually shutting down the economy, labourers said they were “forced” to return to their villages in March; and are now coming back in the “hope” of finding work again.
1.40 pm | Tamil Nadu
Sirkazhi MLA tests positive for COVID-19
P.V. Bharathi, AIADMK MLA representing the Sirkazhi Assembly constituency, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
The MLA’s swab sample was tested at the Tiruvarur Government Medical College Hospital in view of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s visit to Nagapattinam on Thursday for the launch of developmental work and to take stock of the preventive measures undertaken to contain the spread of the pandemic.
After the infection was confirmed, the MLA cancelled his participation in the CM’s programme in Nagapattinam and left for Chennai for treatment.
1.30 pm | New Delhi
Pranab Mukherjee still in deep coma and ventilator support, says hospital
Former President Pranab Mukherjee continues to be in a deep coma and on ventilator support, the hospital where he is admitted said on Thursday.
According to the doctors treating 84-year-old Mr. Mukherjee, he is haemodynamically stable.
Doctors say a patient is haemodynamically stable when the blood circulation parameters — blood pressure, heart and pulse rate, are stable and normal.
1.15 pm | New Delhi
Health ministry recommends COVID tests for all tuberculosis patients
Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of a severe COVID-19 disease, the health ministry said, recommending that all newly-diagnosed tuberculosis patients or those currently on treatment should be tested for COVID-19 and vice versa. The prevalence of tuberculosis among COVID-19 patients has been found to be 0.37 to 4.47 per cent in different studies, the ministry said and highlighted that there has been an overall decline in tuberculosis notification by 26 per cent during January to June, as compared to the previous year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In its “Guidance note on Bi-directional TB-COVID screening and screening of TB among ILI/SARI cases” issued on Wednesday, the ministry said studies have shown that a history of active as well as latent tuberculosis is an important risk factor for the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“This not only results in increased susceptibility, but also rapid and severe symptom development and disease progression with poor outcomes. Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease,” the document said. – PTI
12.50 pm | Andaman and Nicobar Islands
COVID-19 reaches remote Great Andamanese tribe
Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal group ( PVTG) have tested positive for COVID-19. Great Andamnese are one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago.
” We have shifted all the five to an isolation facility in Port Blair. Of these five persons, four are male and one female. They are all cooperating with us and are not showing any serious health complications,” Avijit Roy, Nodal officer for COVID-19 and Deputy Director (Health), Directorate of Health Services, Port Blair told The Hindu on Thursday.
Health officials say the tribals would have contracted the virus from those who travelled to Port Blair and Strait Island to do odd jobs.
12.30 pm | Telangana
Elective surgeries at OGH dept. to resume this week
Elective surgeries in the Surgical Gastroenterology department of Osmania General Hospital (OGH) are set to resume after a hiatus of over a month. The non-emergency surgeries in the departments of General Surgery and Orthopaedics will resume next week.
Since the Gandhi Hospital has been converted into an exclusive COVID-19 hospital, people are dependent on OGH for the elective surgeries.
12.20 pm | Delhi
Delhi Police witnessing around 20 COVID-19 infections daily
Concerned over the rise in cases of COVID-19 in the Delhi police department, Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava has instructed the entire force to strictly implement necessary guidelines to prevent the spread of virus.
A senior police officer said that the police force is witnessing around 20 cases of COVID-19 daily. More than 2,500 policemen have tested positive till date and 15 have succumbed to the virus so far.
On Monday, Mr. Shrivastava, via videoconference, instructed all police personnel to revisit the circular and implement it completely.
In May, Mr. Shrivastava had issued a circular to all district DCPs and police heads of other units. As per the circular, all police personnel should wear masks and gloves and disinfect weapons, dragon light, computers and printers. Barracks at police stations should be sanitised on a daily basis.
The circular reads that each group should be appropriately rotated in a manner that 15-20% staffer is always on quarantine for a fixed period and available for duties any time, as per requirement.
12.10 pm | Kerala
Poor maintenance of registers at shops hits contact tracing
The practice of keeping registers at shop entrances to record details of customers for possible contact tracing seems to have lost steam, with several traders finding it difficult to ensure compliance.
With merchants trying to cash in on Onam sales, the sight of visitors entering shops without providing their names, contact numbers, and places of stay has become common in Ernakulam. A major chunk of traders had started maintaining registers after the authorities tightened vigil in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 situation. However, shop owners now cite logistical hurdles and manpower shortage as reasons for failure to ensure compliance.
“We can only hope that customers cooperate with us by entering their contact details properly in the registers. Only a few bother to do so,” said a retailer at Aluva. Traders pointed out that continued monitoring required additional manpower, which was not practical amid the festival season business. “Sales have already been hit by the pandemic crisis, and we cannot deploy people exclusively to ensure maintenance of registers,” said the manager of a bakery outlet at Edappally.
12.00 pm | Andhra Pradesh
Andhra University to start online classes from September third week
With the reopening of colleges and educational institution still shrouded in uncertainty, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Andhra University has decided to start online classes from the third week of September. The tentative date to kick-start the online delivery is scheduled for September 20.
For the first time, AU will using GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) to runs its online classes.
Once the online classes begin, AU will addressing about 14,000 students in the campus and over 25,000 in the affiliated colleges.
India’s COVID-19 cases rising quicker than U.S. and spreading beyond cities
It took 169 days for India to cross the first 1 million COVID-19 cases mark compared to Brazil (115 days) and the U.S. (98 days). But the jump from 2 million cases to 3 million occurred in just 16 days – much quicker than Brazil (23 days) and the U.S. (28). This means cases are increasing quickly though the virus remains limited to a few States. Within those States, however, cases are spreading across districts.
The table depicts the State-wise % share of India’s new cases recorded in three periods: between 0 and 1 million cases (P1), between 1 million and 2 million cases (P2) and between 2 million and 3 million cases (P3). For instance, Maharashtra recorded 28% of India’s new cases during P1 and 19% each in P2 and P3.
Table appears incomplete? Click to remove AMP mode
11.40 am | Puducherry
Puducherry COVID-19 tally breaches 12,000 mark
Puducherry recorded 10 more COVID-19 deaths to push the toll to 190 even as 511 admissions took the overall tally past the 12,000 mark on Thursday.
The tally is 190 deaths, 4,483 active cases, a cumulative total of 12,434 and 7,761 patients discharged. — Dinesh Verma
11.30 am | Tamil Nadu
Firms told to get their employees tested
Coimbatore Corporation has started asking big and small commercial, industrial establishments in the city to get their employees tested.
Following an announcement it made through a social media post on Tuesday, the sanitary supervisors and inspectors began issuing notices by hand on Wednesday. A senior officer supervising the task of issuing the notices, said each supervisor or inspector would serve the notice and get acknowledgement from the establishment concerned that it had been served.
Within a few days of receiving the notice, each establishment should have all its employees tested and that included a small establishment employing fewer than 10 people to those that employ people in hundreds.
The Corporation would send its officers or teams to each commercial establishment to check if they had had their employees tested. At the time of inspection, the establishment management should furnish the test report.
If any establishment had not taken seriously the notice by failing to ensure that all its employees were tested and reported negative, the Corporation would immediately shut it down until the establishment management showed proof of compliance.
11.20 am | Kerala
Pass system for travel to Karnataka withdrawn
Kasaragod District Collector D. Sajith Babu has withdrawn the need for obtaining passes for daily travel to Karnataka and back. The pass was introduced following an increase in the case of people with COVID-19 travelling to the neighbouring State.
The decision to withdraw it was taken at a meeting conducted through videoconferencing.
The Collector said that from now on, people would have to register themselves on the COVID-19 vigilance portal along with the negative certificate obtained after the antigen test.
11.00 am | Kerala
Now, NRIs stranded in India want to fly back
Thousands of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have been stranded in the country for nearly six months unable to join their jobs and families abroad even as India has made air bubbles with a few countries.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is flooded with inquiries about the request to fly out Indians who wanted to return to various destinations. However, normal operations will resume only when different governments ease their travel restrictions imposed on airlines, officials said.
10.45 am | Odisha
Cancel NEET, JEE: Patnaik to Modi
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning and requested him to postpone NEET and JEE in view of COVID-19 and emerging flood situation. Stating that student may face difficulties in appearing the examination, Mr. Patnaik urged him to cancel the examination.
Earlier, the Odisha CM had written to Union Education Minister in this regard. – Satyasundar Barik
10.20 am | Karnataka
Fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccine will be a challenge: Soumya Swaminathan
Scaling and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, which should be out by early 2021, fairly around the world will be a challenge, Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO), has said.
At the valedictory programme of the International Conference on Public Policy and Management, hosted by the Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore (IIMB), she said, “But India is in a good position because many companies are working on vaccine development, either on their own or in collaboration, and India is a manufacturing hub for vaccines.”
Responding to a question on how long the COVID-19 pandemic would last, Ms. Swaminathan said while the WHO had no crystal ball, it would be safe to say that eradication was not possible and development of vaccine would protect vulnerable populations.
10.00 am | Maharashtra
Maharashtra Health Minister stresses on increased contact tracing
Increased contact tracing is imperative in the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies to bring down the number of cases and fatalities, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
Mr. Tope said while the fatality rate (currently below 1.7%) in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area is under control, it is essential to increase the number of first contacts of positive cases in both civic bodies.
9.30 am | Telangana
Rally held to pay tributes to corona martyrs
Healthcare professionals working in Telangana government hospitals paid tribute to COVID-19 warriors who died after contracting the infection, by holding a candle-light rally in government healthcare facilities across Hyderabad on Wednesday evening.
Junior and senior doctors, nurses, and others gathered in large numbers to participate in the rally. They have demanded government orders to be issued announcing ₹1 crore ex-gratia for the warriors who die of COVID-19.
9.00 am | West Bengal
Flight restrictions to be eased from Sept. 1
The West Bengal government on Wednesday announced that the restriction on domestic flight arrivals from six cities to Kolkata will be eased from September 1.
The restrictions on flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai and Ahmedabad were imposed from the first week of July. The State said the curbs will continue till the end of August.
Maharashtra govt. provides relief to sectors hit by lockdown
Keeping close watch: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at a meeting with officials in Pune on Thursday.
The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday took a slew of decisions to provide relief to real estate developers, farmers, fisherfolk and transporters facing economic losses owing to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
7.00 am | Tamil Nadu
Vaccine trials at two centres in Chennai
Clinical trials of Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, will be launched at two institutions in Chennai — the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and the Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur.