India’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 72,39,389 with 63,509 infections being reported in a day, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 63 lakh, according to the Health Ministry data updated at 8 a.m. on October 13 showed.
The recovery rate stands at 87.05%. The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,10,586 with the virus claiming 730 lives in a span of 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry data.
For six days in a row the active cases of COVID-19 remained below 9 lakh. There are 8,26,876 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 11.42% of the total caseload, while the recoveries have surged to 63,01,927, the data stated.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said 70% of COVID-19 fatalities had been reported in men and the rest in women.
Across the country, the number of fatalities due to COVID-19 had been lower than 1,000 mark for 10 successive days.
Here are the latest updates:
Government to import one lakh metric tonne of medical oxygen to meet any shortage during winters
The Union Health Ministry has initiated the process of importing liquid oxygen as part of its preparedness to meet any unforeseen shortage during the winters when the country may witness an increase in COVID-19 cases leading to a rise in demand for oxygen.
HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, has floated a global tender on Wednesday on behalf of the Health Ministry for procuring one lakh metric tonne of liquid oxygen.
The oxygen is being procured for various central and state government hospitals. The entire exercise of importing and then distributing the medical oxygen is estimated to cost ₹600-700 crore, official sources said.
Para-archer Ankit hospitalised after testing positive for COVID: SAI
Para-archer Ankit was on Wednesday hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19 during a national camp at the Sports Authority of India’s Northern Regional Centre in Sonepat.
The national camp for the para-archers began with eight athletes on October 5. “To ensure proper treatment and close monitoring of his vitals, he was shifted to the Bhagwan Dass Hospital in Sonepat on Wednesday,” SAI said in a statement.
All campers had reported to the after centre submitting negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test reports. “As per the Standard Operating Procedure set up for the camp, samples of all campers were taken on October 12th for re-testing where Ankit’s report was found to be positive,” SAI said.
“He was immediately shifted to the isolation ward created above the medical centre at the SAI NRC Sonepat, before being moved to the hospital.”
As part of the Khelo India Phir Se initiative, SAI resumed sporting activities of Tokyo Olympics bound para-athletes and athletes in its National Centre of Excellence across the country, in a phased manner from October 5. – PTI
Kolkata malls focus on safety protocols to tackle increasing footfalls ahead of Durga Puja
With rising footfalls in the run-up to the Durga Puja festival, the authorities of shopping malls in the city are taking all health safety measures, including the use of ultraviolet rays to sanitise elevators and handrails, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Wednesday.
Leading shopping malls such as Acropolis, South City and Quest are currently experiencing a surge in footfalls ahead of Durga puja and expecting that number of visitors will further rise with multiplexes reopening from Thursday.
“We are careful about safety protocols since the reopening of our mall and diligently following all the guidelines. We will allow people up to 50% of our standard capacity of around 50,000,” Acropolis head K Vijayan told PTI.
“Around 25 washbasins have been installed outside the mall and no one is allowed to enter the premises without a mask,” he said.
South City mall has witnessed a 20-30% jump in footfall in recent weeks and is also concentrating on the frequent sanitisation of common touchpoints, an official said. The shopping destination in the southern part of the city recorded over 40,000 footfalls on Sunday.
Quest Mall VP Sanjiv Mehra said following the health safety protocols is their highest priority. – PTI
Maharashtra allows metro trains to run from October 15
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to allow metro trains in Mumbai to operate from October 15 in a phased manner under its mission ‘begin again’.
The government also allowed reopening of all State-run and private libraries from Thursday following COVID-19 protocols, as per the guidelines issued here.
It also allowed business-to-business exhibitions from tomorrow outside containment zones.
Local weekly bazaars, including that of animals, will also be allowed to reopen outside containment zones.
Few theatres in MP to reopen from Thursday
With the Centre allowing cinema halls to re-open, a few theatres in Madhya Pradesh are gearing up to start screening films from Thursday, but their owners say the business will take time to pick up.
Bhopal Cine Owners Associations secretary Aizazuddin told PTI on Wednesday that “except a multiplex, no other cinema hall will reopen in the state capital on October 15 because of unavailability of the audience“.
The Centre has permitted cinema halls and multiplexes to reopen with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity, which theatres owners say is not in their business interest. – PTI
COVID-19 tests in India cross 9 crore
The total number of tests for detection of COVID-19 has crossed nine-crore in India, while the cumulative positivity rate is 8.04 per cent and is on a “continuous decline”, the Union Health Ministry said.
“Twenty states and UTs have a positivity rate less than the national average. The cumulative positivity rate is 8.04 per cent and is on a continuous decline,” it highlighted.
Also, 79 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 states and UTs — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Delhi, the ministry said.
World Bank approves $12B to finance virus vaccines, care
The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to one billion people.
The $12 billion envelop is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.
The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programmes are already reaching 111 countries.
Himachal Technical Education minister tests COVID-19 positive
Himachal Pradesh Technical Education Minister Ram Lal Markanda has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the fifth minister, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, and the 12th MLA in the 68-member state Assembly to have contracted the virus.
“I have isolated myself at my official residence on doctors’ advice,” Mr. Markanda tweeted.
PVS COVID-19 hospital in need of critical care
PVS Hospital that was resuscitated by the district administration and repurposed into a treatment centre for critically ill COVID-19 patients, is now relying mostly on donations to meet daily expenses and replace a defunct CT scan facility.
While the facility has the capacity to accommodate 120 patients, only 56 beds have been made functional in the six months since it was taken over by the administration in March. A total of 49 patients, mostly category C patients identified on the basis of severity of symptoms or those patients who might quickly progress to category C, are admitted at the centre.
TTD to confine Brahmotsavams to the temple inner precincts
Adopting a pragmatic approach towards the dreaded COVID-19 which is yet to come under control, the TTD on Tuesday announced that it was confining the celebrations related to the Navaratri Brahmotsavams to the inner portals of the temple of Lord Venkateswara here.
All the vahana sevas will be observed at the Kalyanotsava Mandapam inside the temple in ‘ekantham’ (without presence of devotees).
TTD’s Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC) will telecast live all the proceedings of the nine-day festival commencing on October 16.
Avoid crowded places, says TN Health Secretary
Tamil Nadu ealth Secretary J. Radhakrishnan urged people to follow COVID-19 safety precautions when they are outdoors and avoid crowded places for Deepavali shopping. He said people must not forget the precautions because cases were on the decline across the State.
Colleges in AP set to reopen on November 2
Colleges in the State are set to reopen on November 2. The much-awaited academic calendar for 2020-21 put together by the AP State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) has been submitted to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who will review the key components on Wednesday before a formal announcement.
“For the first time, admissions to all non-professional degree programmes will be done through a centralised window in online mode this year based on the students’ Intermediate marks,” said Council Chairman K. Hemachandra Reddy.
Offer 20% reduction in fees: HC tells Kolkata schools
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed private schools in the State to offer 20% reduction of fees across the board from April 2020 till the month following the one in which the schools reopen physically.
A Division Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya, while hearing a number of writ petitions filed by parents and guardians, said there will no increase in fees during financial year 2020-21 and non-essential charges for use of facilities not availed will not be permissible.
The court also observed that for the financial year 2020-21, a maximum of five per cent excess of revenue over expenditure will be permissible. While accepting the autonomy and freedom that private unaided schools generally enjoy, the Bench observed that “it is completely unacceptable that schools have not incurred less expenditure than usual since the lockdown came to be in force from or about the end of March this year”.
3 suspected cases of coronavirus reinfection ‘described’ in India: ICMR
Three cases of suspected coronavirus reinfection — two in Mumbai and one in Ahmedabad — have been “described” in India, the country’s apex medical research body said on Tuesday.
Director General Balram Bhargava said the Indian Council of Medical Research had decided upon a cutoff of 100 days for reinfection if it occurs as, according to some studies, antibodies were also assumed to have a life of four months.
“We have got some data from the WHO, which says that there are about two dozen reinfection cases in the world at the moment,” he said. “We are looking at the ICMR database and finding out those who have had reinfection and making telephonic contact to get some data out of them.”
Facebook bans anti-vaccination ads but not antivax posts
Facebook says it will ban ads on its platform that discourage vaccinations — with an exception carved out for advocacy ads about government vaccine policies.
The company already bans ads about vaccine “hoaxes”, such as the false idea that vaccinations cause autism. The latest policy expands the ban to ads that discourage vaccines for any reason.
But Facebook also said on Tuesday that ads that advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines — including a COVID-19 vaccine — will still be allowed. These ads will still have to be approved by the company as political advertisements and include a paid for by label on who is funding them.
And unpaid posts by people or groups that discourage vaccinations will also still be allowed — the new policy only includes paid advertisements.
Since the pandemic began, the company has tightened its rules around COVID-related misinformation. For instance, it promotes articles that debunk COVID-19 misinformation, of which there are thousands, on a new information center called Get The Facts. It also bans what it deems “dangerous” misinformation about the virus and has removed posts by President Donald Trump under this policy.
Multiplexes ready for show time
As the countdown begins for theatres to resume screening films from October 15, many multiplexes are gearing up to welcome customers. However, though the Central and State governments have permitted cinema halls to resume operations with 50% seating, many single screen theatres in Bengaluru will not immediately re-open as they have adopted a ‘wait and watch’ approach.
A senior representative of PVR Cinemas said that they would resume screenings for the general public from October 16. “The schedule will be out soon. Online bookings will begin from the night of October 13. All precautionary measures for a safe and hygienic cinema experience for movie-goers are in place,” the representative said. Sources in INOX said that they would “gradually” open all screens over the next few days, and within 15 days, all the screens would be functional.
But not all standalone theatres in the city are ready to resume screening immediately.
D.R. Jairaj, chairman, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, said that the Chamber would soon call a meeting of producers, distributors and exhibitors to discuss and decide on resuming operations in single screen theatres.
Schoolchildren to be ambassadors of Break-the-Chain campaign
Schoolchildren will now become the ambassadors of the Break-the-Chain campaign that was launched in the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the recent increase in caseload, the Kerala government is turning to students to take the message of disease prevention to their families.
Organised by the General Education Department, Health Department and the Kerala Social Security Mission on the directions of the Chief Minister, the initiative will begin on Wednesday.
Training videos will be telecast on Victers channel at regular intervals. Health Minister K.K. Shylaja will address the students on the occasion.
Poster making, shooting of videos, and other creative activities will have to be undertaken at homes. This will be evaluated by school teachers. Works of 10 students have to be sent from the districts to the State level by October 30. The General Education Department will collect these and send them to the Break-the-Chain campaign committee of the KSSM.