Centre announces Unlock 4 guidelines as COVID-19 cases cross 34.63 lakh; 7 states account for 81% deaths
The recovery rate rose to 76.47 percent with 65,050 patients recuperating from COVID-19 in 24 hours, while the fatality rate dropped to 1.81 percent, the health ministry said
On a day coronavirus cases in India zoomed past 34.63 lakh with a single-day spike of 76,472 and several states including Maharashtra and Gujarat reported fresh highs in daily cases, the Central Government on Saturday announced Unlock 4 guidelines allowing more activities and services to resume outside containment zones.
As per the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Metro services will resume from 7 September in a graded manner, while political, social, and religious congregations of up to 100 people will be permitted from 21 September.
Open air theatres will also be allowed to open from 21 September, but swimming pools, cinema halls and entertainment parks shall remain closed under the fresh guidelines, which will be in force from 1 to 30 September.
👉 Metro services can resume from Sept 7;
👉 States & UTs may permit 50% of teaching staff to come to schools for online teaching from 21st Sept.
👉Schools, colleges & coaching institutions to remain closed.
👉Swimming pools, theatres, cinema halls to remain closed pic.twitter.com/eeyYnhsoMy
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) August 29, 2020
Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will also remain closed for students till 30 September, however, students from Classes 9 to 12 will be allowed to visit schools for guidance.
Also, lockdown shall continue to be strictly implemented in containment zones till 30 September, but state governments shall not impose localised lockdowns outside such areas without first consulting with the Central government, the MHA said.
Delhi Metro to start services from 7 September
The home ministry on Saturday allowed Metro services across the country to resume from 7 September in a graded manner, as per SOPs which will be issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) and the Ministry of Railways (MOR).
Soon after the guidelines were released, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said that the Delhi Metro will be resuming its services for the public from 7 September onwards in a calibrated manner.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he was "glad" that the metro services will resume operations in a phased manner.
I am glad that metro has been permitted to start its operations from 7 Sep in a phased manner.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 29, 2020
The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry called a meeting with all the managing directors of metro rail corporations on 1 September to finalise the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the functioning of metro trains, reported news agency PTI.
India reports over 1,000 deaths in 24 hours
The Unlock 4 guidelines came on a day when India's coronavirus case load surge to 34.63 lakh with 76,472 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, while the toll due to the disease mounted to 62,550 with 1,021 people succumbing to it in a span of 24 hours, said the health ministry in its 8 am update.
However, with the number of recoveries crossing 26 lakh, the country now has 7,52,424 active cases of the coronavirus infection, said the health ministry.
Thus, the "actual caseload of the country" is only 21.72 percent of the total cases, it said. The recovery rate rose to 76.47 percent with 65,050 patients recuperating from COVID-19 in 24 hours, while the fatality rate dropped to 1.81 percent, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, at the 20th meeting of the high-level group of ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 , Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that India's coronavirus cases and fatalities per million population are one of the lowest compared to the global averages.
"In the month since the last meeting of GoM on 31 July, we have made tremendous strides in containing the disease. As many as 26.4 lakh have already recovered. The country's case fatality rate is at its lowest at 1.81 percent and consecutively recovery rate has increased to 76.47 percent," he said.
"The global comparison depicted that India has one of the lowest cases per 10 lakh (2,424) and deaths per 10 lakh (44) compared to the global average of 3,161 and 107.2, respectively," the health ministry said.
The health minister further stated that only 0.29 percent of active cases are on ventilators, 1.93 percent in ICUs and only 2.88 percent of the patients are on oxygen support.
"A total of 1,576 labs at present have led to an upsurge in testing and the goal of 10 lakh tests per day has been fulfilled. More than nine lakh samples were tested in the last 24 hours and this has led to the cumulative number of tests crossing the four-crore mark," he added.
Eight states account for 73% caes, seven for 81% deaths: GoM
The GoM was also informed that as of Saturday, eight states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana — contribute around 73 percent of the active caseload.
Seven states — Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — account for 81 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths in the country.
Dr Vinod K Paul, chairperson of the Empowered Group-1 on Medical Emergency management plan, said that 29 vaccine candidates, including two Indian, are in clinical trials. Of them, six are in phase-three trials.
In India, Bharat Biotech's vaccine candidate, based on inactivated virus procured by the ICMR, is in the phase-two trial along with that of Zydus Cadila, which is based on viral DNA.
The Oxford vaccine candidate, 'Covieshield' being put in trial by the Serum Institute of India is already in phase-three in Maharashtra and some other states, he said.
Maharashtra, Gujarat see record spike
Meanwhile, several states and UTs registered fresh infections and fatalities due to viral infection. Maharashtra reported its biggest daily surge of 16,867 coronavirus cases, which pushed its case count to 7,64,281, the state health department said.
With 328 new fatalities, the toll reached 24,103, it said in a release. There are 1,85,131 active cases as 11,541 patients were discharged during the day, taking total recoveries to 5,54,711.
Gujarat witnessed a record surge of 1,282 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total count to 93,883, state health department said. With 13 deaths, the toll rose to 2,991, it said.
Gujarat's COVID-19 case recovery rate now stands at 80.59 percent, it said.
Chandigarh recorded 261 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest in a day, pushing the COVID-19 tally to 3,985 in the Union Territory. A health bulletin stated that a total of 2,248 people have been cured so far.
Delhi recorded 1,954 fresh COVID-19 cases, the city's highest single-day spike in August, while 15 persons died due to the disease. The cumulative case count in the city has increased to 1,71,366 and the toll has mounted to 4,404.
Kerala reported 2,397 COVID-19 cases, taking the infection count to 71,700. The toll rose to 280 with six more fatalities, informed
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The state reported the highest number of recoveries in a day with 2,225 people getting discharged from various hospitals and the cumulative of those cured rose to 48,083. The active cases stood at 23,277.
Uttarakhand BJP president tests positive
In Uttarakhand, Assembly Speaker Premchand Aggarwal quarantined as a precautionary measure himself after state BJP president Bansidhar Bhagat tested positive for COVID-19 .
Aggarwal was in touch with Bhagat till two days ago and will undergo a coronavirus test a couple of days later, his PRO Tajendra Negi told PTI.
Bhagat tested COVID-19 positive about five days after a major political event was held at his Dehradun residence on 24 August.
"I had undergone a Covid test yesterday in which the result was positive. I appeal to all the office-bearers and party workers who came in my contact in the last seven days to undergo a test (sic)," he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Haryana Power Minister Ranjeet Singh said that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus as well.
Singh, who is an Independent MLA supporting the BJP-JJP government, had got his test done just before the one-day Assembly session on Wednesday and his report returned negative. However, he developed symptoms after the session and got himself tested again.
मैंने अपना कोरोना टेस्ट फिर से करवाया है जिसकी रिपोर्ट पॉजिटिव आई है। मेरा स्वास्थ्य ठीक है परन्तु चिकित्सकों की सलाह पर होम क्वारंटाइन हो रहा हूँ। मेरा अनुरोध है कि जो भी लोग गत कुछ दिनों में मेरे संपर्क में आएं हैं, कृपया स्वयं को आइसोलेट कर अपनी जाँच करवाएं।
— Ch Ranjeet Singh (@Ch_RanjitSingh) August 29, 2020
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was admitted to AIIMS-Delhi on 18 August for post-COVID care, has recovered and is likely to be discharged in a short time, hospital authorities said on Saturday.
"Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, is admitted at AIIMS, New Delhi for post-COVID care. He has recovered and is likely to be discharged in a short time," the AIIMS said in a statement.
With inputs from PTI
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