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Nagpur Police finds missing African parrot

In an unusual police case, Bravo, a grey colour African parrot has been found by Nagpur Police after it went missing on March 3. Bravo’s owner, Vinod Mahore had filed a complaint at the Mankapur police station on the morning of March 4 as they couldn’t find their pet the whole night.  The family filed…

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In an unusual police case, Bravo, a grey colour African parrot has been found by Nagpur Police after it went missing on March 3.

Bravo’s owner, Vinod Mahore had filed a complaint at the Mankapur police station on the morning of March 4 as they couldn’t find their pet the whole night. 

The family filed a complaint after the police officials told them they can file a complaint for missing pet birds and animals.

Police circulated the photo of Bravo on social media platforms to which they got information from a boy who had seen the parrot near a particular building.

Police and the owners immediately reached that building and the parrot re-united with the owners after they called its name.

Vazeer Shaikh, the Inspector of the Mankapur Police station said, “Vinod Mahore, the owner of the grey colour African parrot had come to us to know how to file a complaint for a missing pet bird to which I said that you can file a complaint for the same.” 

Sheikh added, “We started finding the parrot near the building where it was last seen, the owner was also with us, and the parrot returned after the owner called its name. This African parrot costs between Rs 50,000-1,00,000.” 

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Locust menace: FAO asks India to remain on high alert for next four weeks, insects likely to return to Rajasthan

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New Delhi: India, which is tackling the worst locust attack in 26 years for the last three months, should remain on “high alert” during the next four weeks, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Meanwhile, the Indian government has stepped up efforts and is using latest technology and equipment like drones and Bell helicopters for control of the menace.

Rajasthan is the most affected state in the country. The other affected states are Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Bihar.

In its latest update, the FAO said that spring-bred locust swarms that migrated to Indo-Pakistan border and travelled east to northern states, are expected to return to Rajasthan with the start of monsoon in coming days.

These swarms will return to Rajasthan to join other swarms still arriving from Iran and Pakistan, which is expected to be supplemented by swarms from the Horn of Africa in about mid-July, it added.

File image of locusts in Rajasthan. AP

“Early breeding has already occurred along the Indo-Pakistan border where substantial hatching and band formation will take place in July that will cause the first-generation summer swarms to form in mid-August,” FAO said.

India and Pakistan as well as Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia should remain on “high alert during the next four weeks,” it noted.

According to the Union Agriculture Ministry, swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Dausa, and Bharatpur of Rajasthan, and Jhansi and Mahoba districts of Uttar Pradesh.

However the government is continuing the control operations to check damage to crops from locust attacks.

On 4 July, a Bell Helicopter took its first sortie in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan and completed its mission of chemical spraying in targeted areas, thereby augmenting the locust control efforts.

In the intervening night of 3-4 July, control operations were carried out at 25 places in six districts (Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nagaur, and Dausa) of Rajasthan and two places in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh by the Locust Circle Offices (LCOs), it said.

Besides this, State Agriculture Departments also carried out control operations at four places in Jhansi and Mahoba districts of Uttar Pradesh and at two places in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan against small groups and scattered population of locusts.

So far, locust control operations have been done in a total 1,35,207 hectares area in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana by the Locust Circle Offices (LCOs).

The state governments have also taken control measures in 1,13,215.5 hectares area in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Bihar.

“No significant crop losses have been reported in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan,” the ministry said.

Presently, 60 control teams with spray vehicles are deployed in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. More than 200 central government personnel are engaged in locust control operations.

Besides, five companies with 12 drones are deployed at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagaur and Phalodi in Rajasthan for effective control of locusts on tall trees and in inaccessible areas through spraying of pesticides.

India is the first country which is using drones for locust control, the ministry said.

Weekly virtual meetings on desert locust of South-West Asian countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan) is being organised by the FAO.

So far, 15 virtual meetings of the technical officers of these countries have taken place, the ministry added.


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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Kerala makes precautions compulsory for a year; no gatherings, dharnas without written permission

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18:55 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Tamil Nadu Latest Updates

Tamil Nadu reports 4,150 new cases, 60 deaths

Tamil Nadu reported 4,150 fresh COVID-19 cases and 60 deaths on Sunday, taking total cases to 1,11,151 and death toll to 1,510. Number of active cases stands at 46,860, reports ANI quoting the State Health Department

18:37 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Karnataka Latest Updates

Criminal case to be filed against hospitals turning away COVID-19 patients, says Karnataka minister

 
Criminal case will be filed against private hospitals that refuse to admit coronavirus patients, said Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar.
 
ANI

18:21 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Kerala Latest Updates

Maximum 20 persons allowed inside shops

 

Under the guidelines, the number of people in shops, commercial establishments at a time must not exceed 20. Social distancing must be maintained and masks shall be worn by all. The shop owner must provide sanitiser.

18:14 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Uttar Pradesh Latest Updates

Uttar Pradesh records 1,153 new cases, 12 deaths

 
Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest single-day jump of 1,153 coronavirus cases on Sunday, pushing the infection tally to 27,707, while the toll in the state reached 785 with 12 fresh fatalities, officials said. A total of 18,761 COVID-19 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals, Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Information) Awanish Awasthi said. There are now 8,161 active cases in the state, he added.

18:00 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Kerala Latest Updates

Spitting banned, travellers to Kerala to register on E-Jagratha platform

According to the COVID-19 regulations of the Kerala government, spitting in public places has been banned, said reports. All persons intending to travel to Kerala from India and abroad will have to register on the E-Jagratha platform.

17:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates

Air India to operate 36 flights between India and USA in July

Air India will operate 36 flights between India and USA from 11 to 19 July under the Vande Bharat Mission, said the airline.

17:48 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Kerala Latest Updates

Kerala issues COVID-19 guidelines for one year

According to reports, the Kerala government has issued fresh regulations to curb the spread of COVID-19 . The regulations that will be in place for the next year includes no mass gathering, social distancing, wearing mask in public places among others. According to the new guidelines, wearing masks is mandatory in all public places, work places and while travelling, reports News18. Only 50 people can attend weddings while a limit of 20 persons has been fixed for non-COVID funerals.

17:17 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Updates

SAIL chairman rejoins office

 
SAIL Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary has resumed office after he tested negative for COVID-19 virus, an official told PTI. Chaudhary had gone into a three-week institutional quarantine after he tested positive for coronavirus. “Our chairman has tested negative in the test conducted after his three-week quarantine. He has joined his office also. He joined some time back,” the official said. The official also informed that no fresh cases have been reported in SAIL office at Lodhi Road since mid-June.

16:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Arunachal Pradesh Latest Updates

Seven more test positive in Arunachal Pradesh

 
At least seven more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arunachal Pradesh, raising the total in the state to 259, a senior health department official said on Sunday. Of the seven, four are from Anjaw district, which was coronavirus-free until Friday, two from Tirap, and one from the state capital, the official said. All fresh cases were reported from isolation centres, where people are being placed under quarantine following their return from other states, Surveillance Officer L Jampa said. The lone coronavirus patient in Tawang district was discharged from a hospital on Saturday following his recovery, Jampa said.
 
PTI

16:41 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Bihar Latest Updates

Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar Assembly Speaker test negative

 
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary have tested negative for COVID 19, sources close to the two leaders told PTI on Sunday. Both leaders had given their samples for testing on Saturday upon learning that Bihar Legislative Council’s Acting Chairman Awadhesh Narain Singh, with whom they had interacted at a function last week, has tested positive. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was also among those who attended the ceremony. His test report, which came out late Saturday night, was also negative.

16:29 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in US Latest Updates

US dips under 50,000 new coronavirus cases

The United States has dipped under 50,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time in four days, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, but experts fear celebrations for the 4 July Independence Day weekend will act like rocket fuel for the nation’s surging outbreak. Johns Hopkins counted 45,300 new coronavirus infections in the US on Saturday after three days in which the daily count reached as high as 54,500 new cases. The lower figure on Saturday does not necessarily mean the situation in the U.S. is improving, as it could be due to reduced reporting on a national holiday.
 
The United States has the most infections and virus-related deaths in the world, with 2.8 million cases and nearly 1,30,000 dead, according to the university.
 
AP

16:13 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Jammu and Kashmir Latest Updates

Two terrorists killed in Kulgam encounter test positive, say police

Jammu and Kashmir Police said the two terrorists, who were killed in an encounter at Arreh village in Kulgam yesterday, have tested positive for coronavirus. Their samples were collected while carrying out the medico-legal formalities, reports ANI.

15:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Updates

1984 anti-Sikh riots convict, who had tested positive for COVID-19, dies

“Mahender Yadav, 1984 anti-Sikh riots convict and former MLA passed away at a hospital yesterday. He had tested positive for COVID-19. He was earlier lodged in Mandoli jail and serving a sentence of 10 years” Sandeep Goel, Delhi Director General (Prisons) told news agency ANI.

15:46 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates

Recovery rate in 21 states, UTs higher than national average, says health ministry

 
Twenty-one states and Union Territories (UTs), including Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have a COVID-19 recovery rate higher than the national average of 60.77 percent, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday as India’s case count mounted to 6.73 lakh and the death toll rose to 19,268. Collective and focused efforts for containment and management of COVID-19 by the Government of India along with the states and UTs have led to the number of recovered COVID-19 patients to rise to 4,09,082 so far, it said.
 
 
 

15:20 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates

Slow and steady rise in domestic flyers, says Hardeep Singh Puri

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday tweeted that domestic operations initially began with 30,000 flyers on 25 May. “Yesterday we crossed the 75,000 mark which indicates a slow and steady rise in the number of domestic flyers,” his tweet read.

14:58 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Andhra Pradesh Latest Updates

Andhra reports almost 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, 14 deaths today

Andhra Pradesh on Sunday recorded 998 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking total number of cases to 1,8697 out of which 1,0043 cases are active and 8,422 have recovered. The number of deaths due to the disease rises to 232, reports ANI quoting state health department officials.

14:44 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Karnataka Latest Updates

Bengaluru civic body chief apologises to family of COVID-19 victim

The Bengaluru civic body chief has apologised to the family of a deceased 65-year-old COVID-19 victim, whose body was reportedly left unattended for three hours on the roadside here while they waited for an ambulance.

BH Anil Kumar, Commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike B H personally met the family of the victim at Gavipuram on Saturday, apologised to them and said BBMP workers should have handled the situation in a better manner.

14:32 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Updates

36 BSF personnel test positive in last 24 hours

In the last 24 hours, 36 more Border Security Force (BSF) personnel tested positive for COVID19, and 33 have recovered. There are 526 active cases and 817 personnel have recovered to date, said Border Security Force.

14:30 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Tamil Nadu Latest Updates

Complete lockdown in Tamil Nadu today

A complete lockdown, without any relaxations, has been imposed across Tamil Nadu today as part of the state government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus crisis, reports PTI. Shops, including those selling vegetables and groceries have been closed in many parts of the state.

13:40 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Goa Latest Updates

Goa municipal council succumbs to COVID-19

A 72-year-old councillor of the Mormugao Municipal Council in Goa has died of the coronavirus on Sunday morning, PTI reports. Pascoal DSouza, who did not belong to any political party, had tested positive for coronavirus last month, and was admitted to ESI Hospital in Panaji.

13:18 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Maharashtra police reports over 5,205 COVID-19 cases

Four deaths and 30 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the department in the last 24 hours. The total confirmed cases in the police force have risen to 5,205, including 4,071 recoveries and 1,070 active cases.

13:09 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Updates

No scarcity of hospital beds in Delhi, says Arvind Kejriwal

“For now, there is no scarcity of hospital beds, we have over 15,000 beds out of which 5300 are occupied,” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters at the DRDO-built hospital. “There is a paucity of ICU beds. If there is any spike in Covid-19 cases, these ICU beds [in the new facility] are very critical for us.”, reports ANI

12:46 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Rajasthan Latest Updates

Rajasthan reports six new COVID-19 deaths

Rajasthan reported six COVID-19 deaths and 224 cases of coronavirus infection on Sunday, according to an official report. The fatalities were reported from Jodhpur (4), Kota (1) and Udaipur (1), taking the death toll to 453. The total number of coronavirus cases in the state has increased to 1,9756, reports PTI.

Of the total 224 fresh cases, maximum of 48 cases were reported from Pratapgarh.

12:32 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Updates

Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh visit Sardar Patel Covid-19 Hospital

12:27 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Mizoram Latest Updates

4 Assam Rifles personnel, 10 NDRF staffers among 22 new cases in Mizoram

Twenty-two more people, including four Assam Rifles personnel and 10 National Disaster Response Force personnel, have tested positive for coronavirus in Mizoram, PTI reports. The state now has 186 cases. Of the fresh cases, 14 were reported from Aizawl district and four each from Siaha and Lawngtlai.

11:58 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Odisha Latest Updates

Odisha reports 469 new cases in past 24 hours

Odisha has reported 469 new cases in the last 24 hours, ANI reports quoting the state’s health department. The number of active cases is now 3,090, and the total number is 9,070.

11:39 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Maharashtra Latest Updates

Thane civic body orders audit of COVID-19 treatment charges of hospitals

In a bid to check overcharging by private hospitals, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has ordered an audit of charges levied by hospitals treating COVID-19 patients here, a civic official said on Sunday. Four teams of auditors have been formed to audit bills of 15 hospitals here in Maharashtra, the official told PTI.

11:04 (IST)

Coronavirus in Mexico Latest Updates

Actual number may be higher, Mexico’s health minister says as cases cross 2.5 lakh

Mexico reported 523 more coronavirus deaths on Saturday, pushing its tally to 30,366, overtaking France to become the fifth-highest in the world.

The health ministry also reported 6,914 new infections and a total of 2,52,165 confirmed cases.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell reiterated that the actual number of infected was probably significantly higher. “We knew from the beginning that the cases we report here do not represent the total number of people with COVID-19 in Mexico,” he told a news conference.

10:52 (IST)

Coronavirus in US Latest Updates

Kansas newspaper’s post equates mask mandate with Holocaust

A weekly Kansas newspaper whose publisher is a county Republican Party chairman posted a cartoon on its Facebook page likening the Democratic governor’s order requiring people to wear masks in public to the roundup and murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.

The cartoon on the Anderson County Review’s Facebook page depicts Gov. Laura Kelly wearing a mask with a Jewish Star of David on it, next to a drawing of people being loaded onto train cars. Its caption is, “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car.”

The newspaper posted the cartoon on Friday, the day that Kelly’s mask order aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus took effect.

10:44 (IST)

Coronavirus in US Latest Updates

Florida, Texas post daily COVID-19 records as ‘positivity’ rates climb

Florida and Texas, two states that have emerged as the latest hot spots of the US coronavirus outbreak, both reported record daily increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday – with nearly 20,000 additional infections combined.

For a sixth straight day, Texas registered an all-time high in the number of people hospitalised with the highly contagious respiratory illness – 7,890 patients after 238 new admissions over the past 24 hours.

By comparison, New York state – the US epicenter of the outbreak months ago, reported just 844 hospitalisations on Saturday, far below the nearly 19,000 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients at the peak of its coronavirus crisis.

Reuters

10:02 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Update

India reports over 24,000 new cases, 613 deaths in past 24 hours

India on Sunday reports the highest single-day spike of 24,850 new COVID-19 cases and 613 deaths in the last 24 hours. The positive cases now stand at 6,73,165 including 2,44,814 active cases, 4,09,083 cured/discharged/migrated and 19,268 deaths, according to the latest update from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

09:59 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Update

ICMR says over 97 lakh samples tested for COVID-19 so far 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that 97,89,066 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the country till yesterday (July 4). Of these, 2,48,934 were tested yesterday.

09:45 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Odisha Latest Update

Total shutdown in Odisha’s Cuttack city till 8 June

The Odisha government on Saturday declared complete shutdown in Cuttack till July 8 amid rising COVID-19 cases. All non-essential shops will be closed and non- essential travel prohibited, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) said in a notification.

Grocery, vegetable and milk shops can remain open from 5 am to 6 pm, while strictly adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

09:31 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Update

DRDO says Sardar Patel COVID-19 hospital erected in 11 days with 1,000 bed capacity

The Defence Research and Development Organisation says it has erected the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid-19 Hospital in Delhi Cantonment within 11 days, and it will have 1,000 beds, including 250 beds in the intensive care unit, ANI reports.

09:20 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Update

Arvind Kejriwal says less people in Delhi need hospitalisation now

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday tweets that more people in Delhi are being cured of the virus at home now, and less patients need hospitalisation. He claims that there are 9,900 hospital beds now free for coronavirus patients.

09:15 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi Latest Update

Delhi LG visist Saradar Patel COVID-19 centre

Delhi LG Anil Baijal visits the 10,000 bedded Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre and Hospital at Radha Soami Beas in Chattarpur.

08:14 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Assam Latest Update

Assam govt announces relaxations for Kamrup district 

Assam government announces relaxations in guidelines in Kamrup Metropolitan district for a week between 5-12 July. Grocery shops allowed to operate between 11 am-4 pm on Monday and Wednesday, only 20 percent shops allowed to open on any day. E-commerce distribution activities allowed between 11 am-4 pm on Friday.

07:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Assam Latest Update

Assam registered 1,202 new cases on yesterday

 Assam registered 1,202 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, its highest single-day spike in the number of infections so far, taking the tally in the state to over 11,000, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Of the new cases, 777 were reported from Guwahati city alone.

07:47 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India Latest Update

Total global COVID-19 cases now at 1.1 crores; toll at 5.2 lakh

The total confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the world stand at 1.1 crores, according to the Johns Hopkins University CSSE. This figure includes COVID-19 patients who have recovered and the overall global death toll which stands at 5.2 lakh.

With over 26.1 lakh reported cases to date, the United States is the worst-affected country in the world. The US is followed by Brazil, Russia, India, and the United Kingdom.

07:41 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Mexico Latest Update

Mexico’s COVID deaths pass 30,000, reports world’s fifth highest toll

Mexico has topped 30,000 COVID-19 deaths, overtaking France as the country with the fifth-highest death toll since the coronavirus outbreak began, reports AP.

Officials reported 523 more confirmed coronavirus deaths for Saturday, bringing the nation’s total to 30,366 for the pandemic. Mexico’s total confirmed infections rose by almost 6,000 to 251,165, about on par with Spain, the eighth highest caseload

07:35 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak Latest Update

WHO discontinues its trials of anti-malaria drug HCQ

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality, reports Reuters

“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multicountry trials that the agency is leading.

Read full report here

Coronavirus LATEST Updates: The Kerala government has issued regulations to curb the spread of COVID-19. The regulations that will be in place for the next year includes no mass gathering, social distancing, wearing masks in public places among others.

Twenty-one states and Union Territories (UTs), including Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have a COVID-19 recovery rate higher than the national average of 60.77 percent, the Union Health Ministry said. Collective and focused efforts for containment and management of COVID-19 by the Government of India along with the states and UTs have led to the number of recovered COVID-19 patients to rise to 4,09,082 so far, it said.

Four deaths and 30 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the department in the last 24 hours. The total confirmed cases in the police force have risen to 5,205, including 4,071 recoveries and 1,070 active cases.

India on Sunday reports the highest single-day spike of 24,850 new COVID-19 cases and 613 deaths in the last 24 hours. The positive cases now stand at 6,73,165 including 2,44,814 active cases, 4,09,083 cured/discharged/migrated and 19,268 deaths.

The World Health Organisation has pulled the steroid drug hydroxychloroquine and HIV treatment combination lopinavir/ritonavir from their ongoing COVID-19 Solidarity trials, after they failed to reduce mortality.

India on Saturday recorded its steepest increase of 22,771 new coronavirus cases, taking the case count to 6,48,315 while the toll rose to 18,655 with 442 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data.

This is the second consecutive day when coronavirus cases have increased by more than 20,000. According to news agency PTI, the country has reported 4,57,780 COVID-19 cases from 1 June till date.

Amid the rising cases, while some states relaxed restrictions in some areas, others announced new ones.

The Tamil Nadu government announced a relaxation of restrictions in Chennai from 6 July, including allowing takeaway service at restaurants, but extended curbs for Madurai and nearby regions till 12 July.

In the neighbouring Karnataka, the state government imposed a 33-hour lockdown in Bengaluru on Saturday in bid to curb the rising number of cases. The state will also undergo its first Sunday lockdown on 5 July.

In West Bengal, the Kolkata airport announced that it will not allow any flights for two weeks from six worst-affected cities, including Mumbai and Delhi.

In the meantime, the ICMR, which has been embroiled into a controversy over fast-tracking the development of India’s first likely COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, clarified that the decision was to take to cut ‘unnecessary red tape’ and that it’s following all the globally accepted norms.

Recovery rate rises to 60.81%, says health ministry

According to the health ministry’s morning update, the number of recoveries stands at 3,94,226 with 14,335 COVID-19 patients having been cured since 8 am on Friday. The number of recovered patients exceeded the active cases by 1,58,793 as of Saturday and the recovery rate has increased to 60.81 percent, said the health ministry. There are 2,35,433 active cases of COVID-19 presently in the country, the data showed.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 95,40,132 samples have been tested up to 3 July with 2,42,383 samples being tested on Friday. “The efforts to expand the testing labs network in the country have led to their numbers increasing every day. There are as many as 1,087 labs in the country — 780 labs in the government sector and 307 private labs.

“Facilitation of widespread testing by States/UTs has spurred the number of samples tested every day,” the health ministry said.

Of the 442 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, 198 are from Maharashtra, 64 from Tamil Nadu, 59 from Delhi, 21 from Karnataka, 18 each from Gujarat and West Bengal, 14 from Uttar Pradesh, 10 from Rajasthan, eight each from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, five from Punjab, four each from Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, three from Bihar, and two each from Assam and Odisha.

Of the total 18,655 deaths reported so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest with 8,376 fatalities, followed by Delhi with 2,923 deaths, Gujarat with 1,904, Tamil Nadu with 1,385, Uttar Pradesh with 749, West Bengal with 717, Madhya Pradesh with 593, Rajasthan with 440 and Karnataka with 293.

The COVID-19 death toll mounted to 283 in Telangana, 255 in Haryana, 206 in Andhra Pradesh, 157 in Punjab, 119 in Jammu and Kashmir, 80 in Bihar, 42 in Uttarakhand, 29 in Odisha and 25 in Kerala.

Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of cases at 1,92,990, followed by Tamil Nadu at 1,02,721, Delhi at 94,695, Gujarat at 34,600, Uttar Pradesh at 25,797, West Bengal at 20,488 and Telangana at 20,462, according to the ministry data. The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 19,710 in Karnataka, 19,052 in Rajasthan, 16,934 in Andhra Pradesh, 16,003 in Haryana and 14,297 in Madhya Pradesh.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR,” the ministry said, adding that 4,999 cases are being reassigned to states.

Process to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine trial follows global norms, says ICMR

In the meantime, ICMR issued a statement saying that it is acting in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential.

Earlier in the day, experts cautioned against rushing the process for developing a COVID-19 vaccine after the ICMR stated it plans to launch one by 15 August. Political leaders too alleged that the process was being fast-tracked so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could make the announcement on Independence Day.

The ICMR, however, said that it is important to expedite the clinical trials for a promising indigenous vaccine in larger public interest.  All other vaccine candidates across the globe have been similarly fast-tracked, it said, adding that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has accorded permission to conduct Phase 1 and 2 (human) clinical trial of ‘COVAXIN’ based on in-depth scrutiny of the available data from pre-clinical studies.

The statement said that the letter by ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava to principal investigators of the clinical trial sites was meant to cut unnecessary red tape, without bypassing any necessary process, and speed up recruitment of participants.

Bhargava had on 2 July written to principal investigators of select medical institutions and hospitals to fast-track human clinical trial approvals for the vaccine candidate being developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech.

“ICMR is committed to treat the safety and interest of people of India as a topmost priority,” the statement further said.

Relaxations in Chennai from 6 July

In Tamil Nadu, which reported 4,280 fresh COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths on Saturday, Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced relaxations in the intense lockdown in Chennai from 6 July while extending curbs for Madurai and nearby regions till 12 July.

Chennai and its suburbs had been under a complete lockdown since 19 June with only essential services being allowed. From Monday, grocery shops can open between 6 am to 6 pm while take-away service at restaurants will be allowed between 6 am to 9 pm, said the chief minister.

With the exception of malls, all kinds of showrooms and other businesses including textiles and jewellery can be back in business and work from 10 am to 6 pm, he said.

In Madurai and its surrounding areas only essential services would be allowed to function while no kind of activities shall be permitted in containment zones, said the chief minister, appealing to people to co-operate in the fight against the pandemic.

In Bengaluru, which reported 1,172 of Karnataka’s 1,839 new cases, a complete lockdown has been imposed from 8 am on Saturday till 5 am on Monday, reported ANI.

The lockdown will be applicable within the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike limits and sale of essential items, including meat, will be allowed, said BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar while warning of strict action against those found outdoors unnecessarily.

Flights from six cities to Kolkata temporarily suspended

In light of the spurt in coronavirus cases across the country, no flights will operate to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad between 6 July and 19 July, the Kolkata airport said.

The temporary restriction has been issued on the request of the state government to control the spread of the contagion from the six cities with high caseload, it said.

Meanwhile, the state reported the highest single-day surge in both, COVID-19 fatalities and cases, as 19 people succumbed to the disease and 743 more tested positive for the virus, the state health department said.

The toll mounted to 736, while the state’s coronavirus tally shot up to 21,231, a bulletin released by the department said.

Maharashtra, Kerala report new cases

New cases were also reported in Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, among other states and UTs.

Kerala reported its highest single-day spike of 240 fresh cases, pushing the case count to 5,204. Of the new cases, 152 had come from abroad and 52 from other states, health minister KK Shailaja said in a press release adding that the number of COVID-19 hotspots in the state has gone up to 135.

Maharashtra reported 7,074 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, pushing the total number of cases to 2,00,064, said a state health department bulletin. The toll rose to 8,671 with 124 deaths reported in the last 48 hours and 171 added from the previous period, it stated.

Mumbai alone recorded 1,180 new cases and 68 deaths, according to the city’s civic body.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held a review meeting with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official and stressed on increasing tracing and testing of suspected coronavirus patients. The mortality rate due to the viral infections in the city also should be reduced, the chief minister said.

The Mumbai Police tweaked its two-kilometer radius diktat imposed to curb needless travel and allowed people to move around in the nearby neighbourhood. In a tweet, the police said people were “permitted to shop closer to home (5 am to 9 pm)” and asked them not to forget IDs and other documents while traveling for work.

Delhi recorded 2,505 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the city to 97,200, while the toll from the disease mounted to 3,004. Fifty-five fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours, while 26 earlier deaths have been included in the cumulative figure, the Delhi health department said in a bulletin.

Bihar CM, Deputy CM take COVID-19 test

In Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi sent their respective swab samples for COVID-19 testing as Legislative Council Acting Chairman Awadhesh Narayan Singh was found to have contracted the infection.

According to ANI, Kumar has tested negative for the virus, while results for Sushil’s samples are awaited. Sushil along with Kumar and others had shared the dais with Singh, a BJP leader, at the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected MLCs on 1 July.

With inputs from agencies


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Convict in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case dies due to COVID-19; second inmate of Delhi’s Mandoli prison to succumb to infection

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Convict in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case dies due to COVID-19; second inmate of Delhi's Mandoli prison to succumb to infection thumbnail

New Delhi: A former MLA serving jail sentence in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case died due to COVID-19 at a hospital in New Delhi, the second inmate of Mandoli prison to have succumbed to the infection, officials said on Sunday.

Mahender Yadav (70) was a former MLA from Palam constituency. He was lodged in Jail no. 14 of Mandoli prison, where he was undergoing a sentence of 10 years, and had been hospitalised on 26 June, they said.

Yadav was lodged in jail since December 2018, according to officials.

Another convict Kanwar Singh, who died last month and had tested positive for coronavirus, was also lodged in Jail no. 14.

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Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said that Yadav complained of uneasiness and some heart related problems on 26 June. He was taken to DDU hospital, from where he was referred to LNJP hospital the same day and admitted there.

Later, on his family’s request, he was allowed to be shifted under police guard to a private hospital in Dwarka on 30 June.

“We received information that Mahender Yadav expired in Akash hospital on 4 July evening,” he added.

Kanwar Singh died on 15 June in his sleep. A COVID-19 test had turned out to be positive, officials said.


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