Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: ICMR expands list of private labs from 8 to...

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: ICMR expands list of private labs from 8 to 13 for real-time RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 in Delhi


Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: ICMR expands list of private labs from 8 to 13 for real-time RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 in Delhi

Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that 1,362 new coronavirus cases were reported in the state on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 18,120.

Maharashtra jail authorities said that 72 inmates and seven staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison.

All infected inmates will be shifted to GT Hospital and St George Hospital in guarded vehicles on Friday morning while staff members will be shifted separately, the statement said.

The ITBP said that 37 personnel posted in Delhi have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The total number of infected personnel in ITBP is now at 90.

The Tamil Nadu health department on Thursday said that 580 more COVID-19 positive cases and two deaths were reported in the state on Thursday. The total number of cases in the state is at 5,409, including 37 deaths. A large number of today’s cases are linked to the Koyambedu market (Chennai).

The Border Security Force, in a statement on Thursday said that two of its personnel had succumbed to the coronavirus infection.

“Grief stricken with deaths of two BSF personnel during this pandemic. A critically ill patient died who had contracted infection of #COVID19 while visiting super speciality clinics for his treatment.

“Other borderman died on Monday, 4 May in Safdarjung hospital, where he was admitted on 3 May. From normal ward he was shifted to ICU on 4 May. After his death, prior to postmortem, COVID19 test was done and result came positive by late night of 6 May, Wednesday.

Reports on Thursday said that the Karnataka government has decided to restart the operation of special trains for stranded migrants to return to their native states, after the BS Yediyurappa government faced criticism over its refusal to allow migrants to leave the state.

The state government wrote to nodal officers of various states, asking for consent to operate trains to their states, as per the MHA guideline.

354 Indians stranded in the UAE will be brought back on Thursday, News18 reported, in accordance to the Centre’s plan to repatriate them amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The group reportedly includes 11 pregnant women and a pair of twins, and will travel in the first two flights from the UAE to Kerala “as India begins its biggest ever repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.”

Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh reported its first three cases of the novel coronavirus after almost two months since the first positive case was reported in the State, The Hindu reported.

It was the only green zone district in the State until now as declared by the Centre.

To assess the COVID-19 situation in Mumbai, Lav Agarwal, an IAS officer in the Ministry of Health and Welfare, is expected to reach the financial capital on Thursday, News18 reported.

The Central government sent a review team led by the joint secretary, including eight doctors.

Mumbai remained the worst COVID-affected city along with Pune and Thane in Maharashtra, amid rising number of confirmed cases and deaths. Apart from these, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat also some of the worst-affected cities across the country.

With 56 more people testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh in the past 24 hours, the total confirmed cases in the state climbed to 1,833 on Thursday. While, 39 COVID-19 patients have succumbed to the viral infection in the state so far.

“As many as 51 people have been discharged in the past 24 hours, the total discharged are 780 till date,” ANI quoted the state health department as saying. Therefore, the recovery rate was at 43 percent.

An undertrial and two prison guards have tested positive for COVID-19 at Mumbai Central Prison, triggering fears of a possible infection hotspot.

As many as 150 others, including over 15 staffers and senior prison officials who came in close proximity with the three, have undergone tests, with results expected on Thursday, Inspector General (Prisons) Deepak Pandey was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

With Indians stranded in the Middle East to be evacuated from Thursday, elaborate safety measures have been put in place at Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), where the first flight from Abu Dhabi is expected to land at 9.40 pm on Thursday.

Odisha on Thursday reported the “highest number of COVID-19 cases” in a day as 20 people, who recently returned from Surat, tested positive for COVID-19, an official said.

With these new cases, the total number of people afflicted with the disease has climbed to 205, he said.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has called a COVID-19 review meeting with all party members and Opposition leaders on Thursday at 2 pm, The Times of India reported.

The chief minister is likely to discuss the mitigation and exit plan for COVID-19 pandemic situation.

According to the Maharashtra Health Department, of the 34 new fatalities reported in the state on Wednesday, 26 COVID-19 patients succumbed to the infection in Mumbai alone. This takes the toll in the city to 412.

Three deaths were reported from Pune. The cumulative fatalities in the district have risen to 122.

The total number of cases of the novel coronavirus in Rajasthan climbed to 3,355 after 38 more people tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. The viral infection claimed two more lives, taking the toll in the state to 95, said the health department.

Otavio Rego Barros, spokesman for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

The 59-year-old former army general “is home following all recommended protocols” after his positive test result was confirmed on Tuesday, the president’s office says.

The Koyambedu market has been linked to more than 500 cases in several districts of Tamil Nadu state and adjacent Kerala state. Over 7,000 people with connections to the market are being traced and quarantined, says J Radhakrishnan, the leader of Chennai’s response to the coronavirus.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India climbed to 52,952 while, 1,783 patients succumbed to the infectious disease. Of the total confirmed cases, there are 35,902 active cases.

The recovery rate stood at 29 percent after 15,266 COVID-19 patients were discharged, according to the latest data released by Health Ministry.

The number of active COVID-19 cases are growing faster at 6.6 percent now, leading to a shorter doubling time of 11 days, as compared to 15 days on 2 May when the growth rate for such cases was 4.8 percent, according to the data analysis by economist Shamika Ravi, earlier part of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

The West Bengal government has identified over 92,000 cases of influenza-like illness and 870 people with severe acute respiratory illness across the state, findings that serve as “early warning signals” in the fight against COVID-19, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Mamata said the results were the outcome of her government’s extensive door-to-door surveillance over a month in April, covering over 5.5 crore households, and the exercise will continue “till the virus is defeated”.

India’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases neared the 50,000-mark on Wednesday with a large number of healthcare professionals and security personnel testing positive amid the worsening spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, authorities flagged high fatality rates in states like West Bengal, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

While the Kerala government said that no new infection was reported on Wednesday, Maharashtra reported a record single-day increase of more than 1,200 in its number of cases.

The evacuation exercise to bring back Indians stranded abroad is set to begin on Thursday, with five Air India flights scheduled to bring nationals back from Saudi Arabia.

Fuel, liquor prices increase as govts deal with damage to economy
The economic cost of the pandemic also began to hit the people with a sharp increase in fuel prices. Looking to shore up their dwindling resources, more states announced higher taxes on liquor sales, while Punjab pegged its overall revenue loss for the month of April at 88 percent due to all its tax revenues having dried up and only 1.5 percent the industry being operational.

Industry sources in various parts of the country told PTI that they were wary of opening their plants and offices due to concerns over the movement of their staff, suppliers, transporters and vendors till the nationwide lockdown, which has been been extended till 17 May, gets completely lifted.

While announcing the third phase of the lockdown, the government had provided relaxations in restrictions in a bid to get the industrial and agricultural activities restarted, but not much has changed on the ground because only a few companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, resuming their operations in a limited way.

The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India on Wednesday said it would resume operations at its Manesar plant in Haryana from 12 May.

Total cases near 50,000-mark
There are widespread fears that the virus spread may get worse with easing of the lockdown measures, as the number of cases have been rising continuously across most of the major urban centres of the country.

While the Health Ministry stopped giving an evening update of the COVID-19 tally from Wednesday, its morning update showed the deaths rising to 1,694 and the number of cases climbing to 49,391, registering an increase of 126 deaths and 2,958 cases since Tuesday morning.

It also showed more than 15,000 people having recovered, giving a recovery rate of nearly 29 percent.

However, a PTI tally of figures reported by different states and union territories till 9 pm put the total number of confirmed cases at 51,435 and the toll at 1,694.

While Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of cases and fatalities, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Punjab are among other major states affected badly by the virus.

Kerala also has reported more than 500 confirmed cases so far, but it did not report a single new case on Wednesday and the state government officials said the number of active patients is now only 30 as a big majority of COVID-19 patients have recovered.

Health minister Harsh Vardhan also expressed concern over the high fatality rate among COVID-19 patients in some districts of Maharashtra and Gujarat and asked the states to focus on early surveillance, aggressive contact tracing and early diagnosis to reduce the number of deaths in the areas.

Maharashtra reports highest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases
Maharashtra reported 1,233 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 16,758, while 34 more deaths raised the toll to 651, a health department official said. Mumbai alone has more than 10,500 cases now.

Gujarat reported 380 new cases and 28 more deaths during the day, taking its total case count to 6,625 and the number of fatalities to 396.

This included 291 new cases and 25 more deaths in Ahmedabad alone, where the civic authorities have ordered closure of all shops except those selling milk and medicines for a week.

Separately, the MHA also wrote to the West Bengal government that the COVID-19 response in the state was “characterised by a very low rate of testing and a very high rate of mortality of 13.2 percent”, which it said was by far the highest for any state.

The ministry also flagged instances of overcrowding in markets, free movement of people in large numbers without masks, bathing of people in rivers, people playing cricket and football, serious laxity in enforcing lockdown measures in containment zones, plying of rickshaws without any restriction, saying these were grave violation of lockdown instructions and social distancing norms.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government has identified over 92,000 cases of influenza-like illness and 870 people with severe acute respiratory illness across the state, findings that serve as “early warning signals” in the fight against COVID-19.

Banerjee said the results were the outcome of her government’s extensive door-to-door surveillance over the last one month, covering over 5.5 crore households, and the exercise will continue “till the virus is defeated”.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Congress slammed the state government for cancelling the special trains to transport stranded migrant workers back to their native states.

548 medical staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, says Centre
Official sources said around 548 doctors, nurses and paramedics across the country have been found to be positive for the infection so far. This includes 69 doctors in the National Capital.

However, this figure does not include field workers, ward boys, sanitation workers, security guards, lab attendants, peons, laundry and kitchen staff among others and the figures may be much higher after taking these people into account.

Also, at least 154 personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) have tested positive for coronavirus, including 85 cases that were detected on Wednesday.

These include more than 60 deployed for law and order duties in the Jamia and Chandni Mahal area of the National Capital, and six from the escort team of the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) that toured West Bengal to check COVID-19 containment measures in the state.

At least 37 infected personnel are from the Tripura frontier of the force.

In the meantime, the Delhi government ordered the release of 4,000 Tablighi members who have completed their required quarantine period in centres, PTI reported.

A huge congregation of ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area earlier in March was seen as a major hotspot for the virus spread, after which there were also several cases of Muslims getting targeted and blamed by some for the pandemic.

Thousands of the Jamaat members were subsequently traced in various parts of the country and quarantined, including around 4,000 in Delhi itself.

While nearly 900 of those being released from quarantine are from Delhi itself, the rest are from other states and would be sent back to their home states. A majority of them hail from Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Trump says US’ COVID-19 team not dismantling
One day after saying that the White House COVID-19 task force would be winding down, President Donald Trump said Wednesday it would continue indefinitely but focus more on rebooting the economy.

Trump’s reversal comes as deaths and infection rates outside of New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus, are rising even as states move to lift their lockdowns.

Trump tweeted that the special task force’s focus now would be on “SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.”

A White House official acknowledged on Wednesday that signaling that the task force was preparing to shut down had sent the wrong message and created a media maelstrom.

On Tuesday, Trump had praised the task force for doing a great job, but said “we’re now looking at a little bit of a different form, and that form is safety and opening. And we’ll… we’ll have a different group probably set up for that.”