COVID-19 tally rises to 54.88 lakh, Centre says India 'tops global figure in recoveries; Taj Mahal reopens after six months
With 93,356 COVID-19 patients being discharged in the last 24 hours, India recorded more than 90,000 recoveries for the third consecutive day on Monday
India's COVID-19 caseload rose to 54.88 lakh on Monday with 86,961 people testing positive in the last 24 hours, the Union health ministry said.
The total number of recoveries rose to almost 44 lakh, pushing the recovery rate to 80.12 percent.
With 93,356 COVID-19 patients being discharged in the last 24 hours, India recorded more than 90,000 recoveries for the third consecutive day on Monday.
In a statement, the health ministry said that the country currently "tops the global figure" of total recoveries.
"India has crossed the significant landmark of more than 80 percent national recovery rate. On a continuous stretch of high recoveries, India has also reported more than 90,000 recoveries for the third day in succession," it added.
Twelve states and Union Territories have registered recovery rate of more than the national average, while 79 percent of the new recovered cases are from 10 states and UTs.
"The total recovered cases are close to 44 lakh (43,96,399) today. India tops the global figure of total recoveries. It accounts for more than 19 percent of the world total," the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the ministry also said that the COVID-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.6 percent.
Of the total cases (54,87,580), 10,03,299 are active cases. The active cases comprise 18.28 percent of the total caseload, the ministry data showed.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20 lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August, 40 lakh on 5 September, and it went past 50 lakh on 16 September.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 6,43,92,594 samples have been tested so far, with 7,31,534 samples being tested on Sunday.
However, The Times of India reported that in view of the surge of coronavirus cases in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to hold review meetings with chief ministers on Wednesday.
Taj Mahal reopens after six months
The iconic Taj Mahal was opened to tourists on Monday, after a gap of more than six months since it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports said that as a precautionary measure against the virus, the number of visitors being allowed access to the monument has been limited to 5,000 a day. The tourists will be allowed entry in two batches of 2,500, and tickets are being sold only online or via the app, Indian Express reported.
ANI quoted Archeological Survey of India president Sarvottam Singh as saying around 500 tourists visited the monument during the first shift on Monday. The Taj Mahal reportedly sees a footfall of 70 to 80 lakh visitors every year.
Schools in some states reopen
Schools in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, and Andhra Pradesh reopened on Monday for the first time after the lockdown was imposed in March. The state governments were given the authority to review the situation and take a decision on reopening schools as part of the Centre's 'Unlock 4' guidelines.
The states that decided to reopen schools on Monday, said the attendance of students was "voluntary" and also sought written consent from parents sending their children to school.
In Jammu and Kashmir, only a few students turned up to attend special classes on Monday as schools for higher classes reopened in the Union Territory.
Principal secretary, School Education and Skill Development, Asgar Hassan Samoon said the reopening of schools was not meant for regular classes.
"I was on a visit to Reasi district and only five to seven students were present in different schools and attending the special meetings with their teachers meant to clear their doubts," director, school education, Jammu, Anuradha Gupta told PTI.
She said the school management has been directed to devise a mechanism to ensure the students make the best of the opportunity and come out with a roster to fulfil the requirement of the students.
The decision of the government to reopen the schools came under sharp criticism from Opposition parties, including the National Conference and the Congress, who questioned the rationale behind the opening of school from classes 9 to 12 amid the pandemic.
"We have not opened the schools for regular classes. The partial reopening is to facilitate the students to clear their doubts in any subject in their classrooms while following all the precautionary measures to avoid COVID-19," Gupta said.
The school education department has worked out arrangements with the school management, which undertook fumigation and sanitisation and made available an adequate number of hand sanitisers and face masks to students.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has allowed students of classes 9 to 12 to visit their schools in areas outside containment zones on voluntary basis.
However, this permission will be subject to written consent of parents/guardians from 21 September as per Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 8 September, the state government said in a statement.
The state home department has issued detailed instructions to also permit skill or entrepreneurship training in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), short term training centres registered with the National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other ministries of the Government of India or the state governments, the release said.
Likewise, activities of National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers have also been allowed from 21 September subject to strict adherence of the said SOPs, it added.
On the other hand, states like Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, West Bengal announced schools will not reopen this week.
'30% of COVID patients from other states'
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Monday that said 30 percent of the COVID-19 patients admitted in city hospitals are from other states, and added that most of them have been occupying ICU beds at private facilities.
Amid a rise in the number of non-resident patients, the Delhi government has decided to collect data of their deaths separately, he said, adding that the National Capital has the "lowest death rate" in the country.
Based on data of the last 10 days, the death rate in Delhi stands at 0.77 percent. "Around 30 percent COVID-19 patients admitted to Delhi hospitals are from outside the city," he told reporters.
"People coming in from outside prefer private hospitals. They make up their mind in advance and directly go to these four-five hospitals they have heard of... such as Max, Apollo and Fortis. That's why ICU beds are full there," he said.
"Most of them have occupied ICU beds in private hospitals. There are 1,500 such patients admitted to Delhi hospitals," he said.
The minister, however, said there are around 1,000 ICU beds available in Delhi at present. Around 1,500 non-ICU beds and more than 500 ICU beds have been added over the last few days, he said.
"The number of vacant beds is available on Delhi Corona app... nothing is being concealed," he said.
Jain said data related to deaths of non-resident patients is now being collected separately.
State-wise COVID-19 deaths
Of the 1,130 fresh deaths, 455 were reported from Maharashtra, 101 from Karnataka, 94 from Uttar Pradesh, 61 from West Bengal, 60 from Tamil Nadu, 57 from Andhra Pradesh, 56 from Punjab, 27 from Madhya Pradesh, 37 from Delhi and 29 from Haryana.
Seventeen deaths took place in Gujarat, 16 in Kerala, 14 each in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Rajasthan, 13 each in Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh, 10 in Odisha.
Nine fatalities have been reported each in Telangana and Goa, six in Tripura, four each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, three each in Bihar and Sikkim and two each in Manipur and Jharkhand.
Of the total 87,882 deaths, Maharashtra has reported the maximum at 32,671, followed by 8,811 in Tamil Nadu, 8,023 in Karnataka, 5,359 in Andhra Pradesh, 4,982 in Delhi, 5,047 in Uttar Pradesh, 4,359 in West Bengal, 3,319 in Gujarat and 2,813 in Punjab.
So far, 1,970 people have died of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh, 1,336 in Rajasthan, 1,149 in Haryana, 1,042 in Telangana, 1,001 in Jammu and Kashmir, 864 in Bihar, 701 in Odisha, 617 in Jharkhand, 677 in Chhattisgarh, 562 in Assam, 535 in Kerala and 491 in Uttarakhand.
Puducherry has registered 462 fatalities, Goa 351, Tripura 245, Chandigarh 123, Himachal Pradesh 120, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 52, Manipur 57, Ladakh 49, Meghalaya 36, Sikkim 28, Nagaland 15, Arunachal Pradesh 13, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu two.
Week-long lockdown in Chhattisgarh from today
As Chhattisgarh's COVID-19 caseload rose by over 20,000 cases this week, authorities have announced a week-long "complete" lockdown in 10 districts effective from Monday, The Indian Express reported.
Raipur, the state's capital, has been declared a containment zone till 28 September, the report added.
"In view of the sharp rise in cases, collectors of Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Raigarh, and 6 other districts decided to impose a complete lockdown. Few districts like Janjgir-Champa have declared partial lockdowns," the report stated.
With inputs from agencies
A torrent of cases cascaded through China since the Communist Party abruptly ended its zero-Covid policy last month. But there have been signs that the surge has started to tail off, with authorities saying last week that the number of daily Covid-19 deaths had fallen by nearly 80 percent in January
France on Saturday said it had extended until February 15 Covid tests for travellers arriving from China due to the "evolving situation".
North Korea has not officially acknowledged a lockdown in Pyongyang or a re-emergence of COVID-19 after leader Kim Jong Un declared a widely disputed victory over the coronavirus in August