Delhi seeks lockdown in potential COVID hotspots, WHO praises UP's pandemic response; tally at 88.74 lakh

Delhi recorded over one lakh new coronavirus cases and around 1,200 deaths between 1 and 16 November, prompting Arvind Kejriwal to seek power from the Centre to impose lockdown in those markets which may emerge as hotspots

FP Staff November 17, 2020 20:16:37 IST
Delhi seeks lockdown in potential COVID hotspots, WHO praises UP's pandemic response; tally at 88.74 lakh

Representational image. AP

The number of new coronavirus infections reported in a day dropped below 30,000 after four months, taking India's COVID-19 caseload to 88.74 lakh, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 82,90,370 according to the Union health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 88,74,290 with 29,163 infections being reported in a day while the toll climbed to 1,30,519 with 449 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The total recoveries have surged to 82,90,370 pushing the national recovery rate to 93.42 percent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.47 percent.

The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the seventh consecutive day. There are 4,53,401 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date which comprises 5.11 percent of the total caseload, the data stated. The last time coronavirus cases dipped below 30,000 on 15 July when the country registered 29,429 cases.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August and 40 lakh on 5 September. It went past 50 lakh on 16 September, 60 lakh on 28 September, 70 lakh on 11 October and crossed 80 lakh on 29 October.

Kejriwal seeks to close markets that could become hotspots

Delhi recorded over one lakh new coronavirus cases and around 1,200 deaths between 1 and 16 November while nearly 94,000 COVID-19 patients recovered during the same period. The National Capital has witnessed a sudden spike in coronavirus cases since 28 October when the daily rise breached the 8,000-mark on 11 November.

The rise in cases prompted Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to seek power from the Centre to impose lockdown in those markets which may emerge as COVID-19 hotspots. He also ordered the withdrawal an order allowing 200 guests to attend wedding functions and sent a proposal to Lt Governor Anil Baijal to allow only 50 people to attend ceremonies.

The Union health ministry said the Centre is taking urgent actions to control the COVID-19 outbreak in Delhi by taking number of measures such as increasing overall beds including ICU beds, doubling testing to 1-1.2 lakh per day, enforcing quarantine of contacts and enforcement of containment zone SOPs.

Indicating heightened social interaction amid disease outbreak, the officials also added that effects of elections, Durga Puja, Diwali may be seen in coming weeks. “We have to keep watching new cases very carefully,” the officials said in the press briefing.

The situation in the National Capital evoked concern as cases with severe symptoms increased amid a drop in air quality. Further, private hospitals reported zero bed availability in Intensive Care Units, pushing the Delhi government to move the High Court for reserving 80 percent beds for COVID patients.

UP’s COVID response earns WHO praise

Uttar Pradesh's COVID-19 case count mounted to 5,14,270 with 1,455 fresh infections, while the toll climbed to 7,412 with 19 more fatalities, health ministry officials said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, appreciated the efforts made by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his government for the management of COVID-19 , especially in tracking high-risk contacts, an official spokesperson of the Uttar Pradesh government said, adding that more than 70,000 front-line health workers worked across the state to reach out to high-risk contacts of positive cases.

"The UP government's strategic response to COVID-19 by stepping up contact tracing efforts is exemplary and can serve as a good example for other states," Roderico Ofrin, WHO Country Representative, said in a statement.

Cases in Madhya Pradesh rose to 1,85,446 after 922 new infections were reported on Tuesday, while 10 fresh deaths pushed the toll to 3,102. A health official told PTI that 848 people were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the state's recovery count to 1,73,284.

Bharat Biotech begins phase-III vaccine trials

Bharat Biotech began phase III trials of COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, chairman and managing director of the company Krishna Ella said while participating in Indian School of Business's Deccan Dialogue. A Hyderabad-based pharma company Biological E Ltd on Monday began its Phase I-II trials.

However, Ella conceded that the prospect of distributing the vaccine to 1.3 billion people was 'worrying. "I am not happy because this is a two-dose injectable vaccine," he said adding that there will be a need for 2.6 billion doses.

At least five vaccines are under different phases of trial in India, said Dr Vinod Paul, member of Niti Aayog and the head of a panel advising the prime minister on the country’s efforts to produce and roll-out the inoculation said. "Five vaccines under trial in India currently, Phase-3 trial of AstraZeneca at advanced stages; Cadila vaccine in Phase-2 and SputnikV trial prep completed," he said.

A day earlier, US-based Moderna said its investigational vaccine candidate has proven to be 94.5 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on the interim data from a large-scale late stage trial. However, Moderna does not yet have an Indian partner to make or distribute its vaccine. India is likely to begin its mass inoculation drive from January-February next year and is banking primarily on the AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech candidates for the same, according to a Business Standard report.

'Air travel to return to normal by year end'

Addressing the 'Deccan Dialogue' organised by Indian School of Business (ISB) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that air travel will reach pre-COVID level by the end of current year or early next year. "We opened civil aviation on 25 May, a good two months and two days after we had completely locked down, with 30,000 passengers a day. Two or three days ago, just before Diwali, we carried 2,25,000 people," he said.

Pandemic casts shadow on Parliament session

The Winter Session of Parliament is unlikely to take place as infections continue to rise in Delhi, as per several media reports. The delayed Monsoon Session of Parliament had to be adjourned early, in September, after a number of MPs contracted COVID-19 , while the Budget session had also been cut short because of the pandemic.

According to India Today, there have been only three instances when the Winter Session was scrapped entirely – 1975, 1979 and 1984. According to the Constitution, there should not be a gap of more than six months between two Parliament Sessions. Since the Monsoon Session was held in September, the next session has to be called by February.

With inputs from PTI

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