Bihar, Manipur to vote amid COVID-19 pandemic; daily recoveries exceed fresh cases for fifth week, says Centre
Meanwhile, Karnataka joined the list of states that have banned firecrackers during Diwali in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, as experts raise concerns about pollution in the air causing risk to patients
The Union health ministry on Friday said that India's single-day COVID-19 recoveries exceeded daily new infections consecutively for the last five weeks, while active cases have been declining and comprise 6.19 percent of the country's total caseload.
Less than 50,000 new cases of the coronavirus infection have been reported in the country in a span of 24 hours, whereas the daily new recoveries have exceeded 54,000. According to data updated at 8 am on Friday, the active cases stand at 5,20,773 currently.
There is a continuous decline in average daily new cases for the last five weeks, PTI reported. From registering more than 73,000 average daily new cases in the first week of October, the average daily new cases have declined to 46,000 cases.
Around 54,157 COVID-19 patients have recovered and were discharged in a span of 24 hours as against 47,638 new infections being reported during the same period.
The total number of recoveries have surged to 77,65,966 and exceed active cases by 72,45,193, the ministry said and added that the national recovery rate has improved to 92.32 percent.
Meanwhile, Karnataka joined the list of states that have banned firecrackers during Diwali in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, as experts raise concerns about pollution in the air causing risk to patients.
Arvind Kejriwal says third wave of COVID-19 in Delhi 'will end soon'
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday expressed confidence that his government will be able to curb the third wave of COVID-19 in the National Capital. He said that like the previous two waves of infection, the third one "will end soon".
He urged Delhiites to ensure precautionary protocol like wearing masks, amid the festive season and rising air pollution.
"Till there is a vaccine for corona, consider face masks as the vaccine. These are the biggest protection against COVID-19 infection. We need to promote wearing face masks as a movement," he said.
"Delhi is currently facing the third wave. In the first phase, the highest number of COVID-19 cases were reported, and Delhiites helped to bring down the numbers. Again on 17 September, there was a second surge," he said.
"In this third wave, I'm extremely hopeful that Delhiites will continue to provide their support as always and it will come to an end soon," he said.
Citing the arrival of 32,000 Indians from virus-hit countries in March as well as people coming from different parts of the country, he noted that Delhi faced a tough situation.
"Delhi did not start at zero in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, Delhi started at thousands owing to the lack of aggressive testing of people who flew in through international flights," the chief minister said.
On the issue of air pollution, he said air quality in Delhi remains good from January till mid-October but worsens afterward due to stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Manipur, Bihar to vote tomorrow amid pandemic
Apart from the third and final phase of the Bihar Assembly election to be held on Saturday, bypolls in four Manipur Assembly seats will also be conducted.
The Election Commission said that adequate and stringent COVID-19 protocol is in place. However, according to Hindustan Times, people in five of Bihar's worst-hit districts will be among those casting their votes on Saturday.
"Of the districts going to polls in the third phase, Muzaffarpur ranks second to Patna with a total COVID-19 case count of 9,970 and 42 deaths on Friday; Purnia ranks fourth with 8,289 cases and 16 deaths; East Champaran ranks fifth (7,765 cases and 44 deaths), Madhubani ranks seventh (7,021 cases and 23 deaths); and Katihar ranks tenth with 6,589 cases and 11 deaths," the report said.
Meanwhile, authorities in Manipur said that adequate security forces have been deployed and all the COVID-19 safety protocols are in place for the smooth conduct of bypolls.
The arrangements include sanitisation of electronic voting machines, wearing of masks and other protective gear by polling personnel, and availability of thermal scanner and hand sanitiser.
The by-elections to Lilong and Wangjing-Tentha seats in Thoubal district, Saitu in Kangpokpi and Wangoi in Imphal West were necessitated after Congress MLAs from these constituencies had resigned from the Legislative Assembly and also quit the party. They had joined the BJP.
More than 1.35 lakh eligible voters will exercise their franchise in 203 polling booths and decide the fate of 11 candidates in four seats.
Voting is scheduled from 7 am to 5 pm, and the counting will take place on 10 November.
BJP Tamil Nadu chief was detained after joining 'Vel Yatra' despite ban
The BJP's Tamil Nadu unit chief L Murugan and senior leaders, including CT Ravi and scores of the saffron party workers, were on Friday detained at Tiruttani by police when they tried to embark on a statewide 'Vel Yatra', defying a ban on the event.
After their detention, BJP workers staged flash protests across Tamil Nadu condemning their detention and for not allowing the yatra.
Clad in saffron, Murugan boarded a propaganda van from Koyambedu and proceeded to Tiruttani followed by party workers in many vehicles. Emerging through the sunroof, the BJP leader held a 'vel,' a spear-like weapon and waved to the people.
On reaching Tiruttani, he offered prayers at the temple of Lord Muruga.
However, when Murugan tried to start the yatra in his custom-made van, he was detained along with BJP workers. Besides Murugan, the party's national general secretary Ravi, state leaders Pon Radhakrishnan, CP Radhakrishnan, and H Raja were among those detained at Tiruttani.
In the evening, after all of them were released by police, Murugan said the 'vel' would overcome all hurdles.
The vel yatra was originally scheduled to commence from Friday and go on till 6 December, travelling across the state. The government, however, refused permission for it "in view of the coronavirus pandemic".
According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 11,54,29,095 samples have been tested up to 5 November with 12,20,711 samples being tested on Thursday.
The 670 new fatalities include 256 from Maharashtra, 66 from Delhi, 54 from West Bengal, 44 from Chhattisgarh, 31 from Karnataka, 28 from Tamil Nadu, 27 from Uttar Pradesh and 26 from Kerala.
A total of 1,24,985 deaths reported so far in the country includes 44,804 from Maharashtra, followed by 11,312 from Karnataka, 11,272 from Tamil Nadu, 7,131 from Uttar Pradesh, 7,122 from West Bengal, 6,769 from Delhi, 6,757 from Andhra Pradesh, 4,281 from Punjab and 3,744 from Gujarat.
The Union health ministry said that 80 percent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 states and Union Territories. Maharashtra has contributed the maximum with more than 11,000 single day recoveries.
Seventy-nine percent of new cases are also from 10 states and Union Territories.
Besides, 670 case fatalities have been reported in a span of 24 hours. Of these, 10 states and union territories account for nearly 86 percent.
More than 38 percent of new fatalities reported are from Maharashtra (256 deaths). Delhi follows with 66 new deaths.
With inputs from agencies
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