Coronavirus LATEST Updates: Odisha government has announced 14-day complete lockdown in Ganjam, Khordha, Cuttack, Jajpur districts and Rourkela Municipal Corporation area from 9 pm of 17 to 31 July mindnight, Odisha chief secretary Asit Tripathy said.
The letter written by the Human Rights Defenders Alert to the NHRC over Varavara Rao's situation in JJ Hospital, the human rights organisation quoted his family members as saying that he was "lying like an orphan" in the transit ward.
The Human Rights Defenders Alert wrote a letter to the NHRC over the health condition of Varavara Rao in Mumbai's JJ Hospital.
The letter said that the poet-activist took time to recognize his family members and added, "The family was told by the nurses that no equipment or treatment was given in the transit ward to the patient. When his nephew tried to change his urine-soaked bed sheets, the family was thrown out by the hospital staff."
Poet-activist Varavara Rao, who is an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, tested positive for coronavirus, reports said on Thursday. On Monday, the 81-year-old had approached the Bombay High Court seeking temporary bail owing to his deteriorating medical condition and the COVID-19 pandemic but was denied.
"Rao, another activist Anand Teltumbde and eight other activists were arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, which was initially probed by the Pune police and later transferred to the National Investigation Agency in January. The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on 31 December, 2017, which, the police claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.," News18 reported.
The Meghalaya government is likely to decided to close all entry points to the state from 24 to 31 July, as the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to 354 on Thursday.
"It is hereby notified that all current operation entry point of the state located at Byrnihat, Ratacherra, Bajengdoba, Tikkrikkilla, Mirjumla and Hallidayganj shall remain closed from midnight of July 23rd to midnight of July 31st, 2020," an official order issued by the government said.
"Only movements related to emergency, medical and essential services, goods and inter-State transit vehicles will be allowed during this period," it added.
The Union civil aviation ministry on Thursday said, "Our negotiations are at an advanced stage with three countries. Air France will operate 28 flights from 18 July to 1 Aug between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris. US will be flying 18 flights between 17-31 July but this is an interim one. We have request from Germany too."
Former Maharashtra chief minister Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar has tested positive for COVID-19 in Latur district, news agency PTI has reported. The 88-year-old leader has been reportedly shifted to a hospital in Pune
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said India’s fatality rate is 2.57% and recovery rate is 63.25%. “Despite being such a largely populated nation, we can perhaps claim to have performed better than any other country,” he said.
India reports 32,695 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total to 9,68,876. The toll rises by 606 to 24,915. This is the highest daily rise in the number of infections and deaths.
India on Wednesday reported a record single-day spike of 29,429 COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of cases to 9,36,181 while toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 24,309 with 582 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry's morning update.
Lockdown restrictions of varying degrees were re-imposed in a few places including in Karnataka's Shivamogga district and in Siliguri in West Bengal. Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant announced a three-day lockdown in the state from Friday to curb the spread of the disease while stating that 'janata curfew' will be in place every night from 15 July to 10 August.
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya government said it has decided to close all entry points to the state between 24 to 31 July.
Karnataka overtake Gujarat as fourth worst-affected state
According to PTI, this is the fourth consecutive day that COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 28,000.
At present, there are 3,19,840 active COVID-19 cases in the country while the number of recoveries stands at 5,92,031, the health ministry said. Thus the recovery rate in the country is 63.42 percent, said the ministry.
Of the 582 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, 213 are from Maharashtra, 85 from Karnataka, 67 from Tamil Nadu, 43 from Andhra Pradesh, 35 from Delhi, 28 from Uttar Pradesh, 24 from West Bengal, 14 each from Bihar and Gujarat, 10 each from Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
Of the total 24,309 deaths reported so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest with 10,695 fatalities reported till date, followed by Delhi with 3,446 deaths, Gujarat with 2,069, Tamil Nadu with 2,099, Uttar Pradesh with 983, and West Bengal with 980.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases at 2,67,665 followed by Tamil Nadu at 1,47,324 and Delhi at 1,15,346. The updated data showed that Karnataka (44,077 cases) has now overtaken Gujarat (43,637, cases) as the fourth worst-affected state. Uttar Pradesh has reported 39,724 cases till date while Telangana has recorded 37,745.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR," the ministry said, adding that 1,524 cases are being reassigned to states.
Goa to impose three-day lockdown from Friday
As many states continued to report new cases, lockdown restrictions were imposed or extended in various places.
A three-day lockdown with stricter provisions will be enforced in Goa from Friday in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Wednesday. Besides, there will also be a 'janata curfew' in the state from 8 pm to 6 am every day with effect from Wednesday till 10 August, he told reporters.
Only people associated with essential services and those having medical emergencies will be allowed to move out during the curfew and lockdown, he said. Local authorities will try to arrange for home delivery of essentials, he added.
Sawant noted that people are not wearing masks and not following the social distancing guidelines. He also said that the COVID-19 cases in the state are expected to peak in next few days due to continued rains. "We are expecting a spike between 15 July and 20 July," he said.
In Karnataka's Shivamogga, the district administration decided to impose partial lockdown from 16 July until further orders.
Shivamogga Member of Parliament BY Raghavendra tweeted that the lockdown will be in place daily from 2 pm to 5 am from Thursday. Other than government offices, agriculture, medical and other necessary services, all other activities will be shut until further orders.
"Police have been instructed to take strict action against those gathering without maintaining social distancing, not wearing masks and violating guidelines," he said.
Streets remained deserted in Bengaluru as the government imposed a total lockdown in Bengaluru urban and rural districts till 5 am on 22 July. Following Bengaluru urban and rural districts, administrations in several other districts like Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada, Kalaburagi (only in urban areas), Bidar, Raichur (in Raichur city and Sindhanur) and Yadgir too have announced lockdown.
In West Bengal, the Darjeeling district task force on Wednesday declared a complete lockdown in 47 wards of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation for seven days, starting 9 am on Thursday, reported ANI quoting state tourism minister Goutam Deb. Containment zones in West Bengal are already under a lockdown, which was extended till 19 July on Tuesday.
"All the norms that have been in force since 5 pm on 9 July will continue. Residents of the containment zones are prohibited from attending government and private offices," a senior official told news agency PTI.
From Thursday, Bihar will go under a complete lockdown till 31 July. The decision was confirmed on Tuesday by deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, who said that the infection had spread rapidly as precautions were not being followed strictly in public places.
Lockdown restrictions are also in place in other places like Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad in Maharashtra and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
Meghalaya to close entry points to state
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday announced that all entry points to the state would be sealed from 24 to 31 July to "unburden health, frontline workers". During this period, only emergency, medical services, essential commodities and transit movement of vehicles from Assam will be allowed, said Sangma.
The chief minister also announced that no wedding receptions would be allowed in East Khasi Hills district and Ri Bhoi district "for the time being" but said that solemnisation of marriages in places of worship will be permitted with strict adherence to protocols.
Situation improved in Delhi, but war not yet won, says Kejriwal
Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the current COVID-19 situation in the National Capital is better than what it was in June, but the war against the disease has not been won yet.
Addressing an online media briefing, the chief minister said that according to the Centre's formula, Delhi was expected to have 2.25 lakh cases by 15 July, but at present, there are only 1.15 lakh cases.
He said had the Delhi government fought the virus alone, it would have "failed" and therefore his dispensation sought cooperation from the BJP-led Centre, NGOs, and other organisations.
"Our first principle was that this fight cannot be won alone," Kejriwal said.
The chief minister also said the AAP government will continue its preparations to deal with any spike in COVID-19 cases and warned against complacency.
Delhi reported 1,647 new cases and 41 deaths on Wednesday, taking the overall case count to 116,993 and toll to 3,487.
Andhra Pradesh reports record jump in new cases
A new record high of 2,432 fresh cases pushed Andhra Pradesh's aggregate past the 35,000 mark while 44 deaths took the overall toll in the state to 452. The latest bulletin said 805 coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours. The aggregate number of discharges now stood at 18,378, leaving 16,621 active cases in the state, the bulletin said.
Maharashtra reported 7,975 coronavirus cases and 233 deaths on Wednesday, taking the state’s tally rises to 2,75,640 and the toll to 10,928.
Karnataka reported 3,176 new cases, of which 1,975 cases are from Bengaluru, taking the total number of cases to 47,253. The toll rose to 928 as the state reported 87 deaths, said a bulletin issued by the state health department.
Parliamentary panel tells govt to promote cheaper medicines
Meanwhile, a Parliamentary panel told senior government officials to promote cheaper and easily available domestic-made medicines for COVID-19, sources told PTI. During a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, members also demanded that the maximum price of COVID-19 medicines be capped, they said.
Cutting across party lines, the committee members questioned why expensive medicines were often being recommended for COVID-19 treatment. Members named three cheaper and easily available medicines and questioned why they were not being promoted despite being equally effective.
The committee members also expressed concern over black marketing of medicines.
Zydus Cadila begins human trials of COVID-19 vaccine
In another development, drug manufacturer Zydus Cadila on Wednesday said it has started human clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D. In this phase of trials, the company will be enrolling over 1,000 subjects across multiple clinical study sites in India, it said in a regulatory filing.
Earlier this month, Zydus had received approval to start human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine contender, becoming the second Indian pharmaceutical firm to get such nod amid a global spurt in coronavirus infections.
It got approval a few days after India's first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate COVAXIN, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV), got the nod for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India.
With inputs from agencies