India's COVID-19 tally crosses 58 lakh with 86,052 cases; EC announces Bihar poll dates, Manish Sisodia given plasma therapy
The number of new COVID-19 infections in a span of 24 hours remained below the 90,00-mark for the fifth consecutive day on Friday, the ministry said
India's COVID-19 caseload crossed 58 lakh on Friday with a single-day jump of 86,052 new cases, the Union health ministry said, adding that the recovery rate rose to 81.74 percent with over 47 lakh people having been cured so far.
The number of new COVID-19 infections in a span of 24 hours remained below the 90,00-mark for the fifth consecutive day on Friday, the ministry said. Meanwhile, the toll rose to 92,290 with 1,141 new deaths.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the country (58,18,570) includes 47,56,164 cured patients and 9,70,116 active cases.
The COVID-19 case fatality rate was recorded at 1.59 percent, and the active cases comprise 16.67 percent of the total caseload, the ministry's data stated.
According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 6,89,28,440 samples have been tested up to 24 September, with 14,92,409 samples being tested on Thursday.
SP Balasubrahmanyam succumbs to COVID-19
SP Balasubrahmanyam, the 74-year old veteran singer popularly known as 'SPB', died on Friday after two-month-long battle against the coronavirus infection.
The singer breathed his last at around 1.04 pm, his son and filmmaker SP Charan told reporters.
Balasubrahmanyam, who captivated millions of hearts by his supreme singing talent for over five decades, was admitted to the MGM Healthcare on 5 August after testing positive for COVID-19. He had been shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on 13 August after his condition deteriorated.
"As a Guinness World Record holder for recording the highest number of songs (over 40,000), to say that the singer's repertoire of work is vast would be a gross understatement," this Firstpost report noted.
Balasubrahmanyam has predominantly worked in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam languages and has also been conferred on six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his songs in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada in Hindi.
Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami said that Balasubrahmanyam will be laid to rest with "police honours"as a mark of respect.
Balasubrahmanyam, has "earned a perpetual place in the hearts of people" not only in Tamil Nadu but across the country, and that the singer "would be laid to rest" with honours from the police department, the chief minister announced in an official release.
Balasubrahmanyam's body was taken from his Nungambakkam residence in Chennai to his Thamaraipakkam farm house in neighbouring Thiruvallur district, with scores of fans and well-wishers following the hearse van decorated with flowers and a 'trishul' atop the vehicle in two-wheelers and cars, PTI reported.
The funeral is scheduled to be held on Saturday, the report added.
EC announces Bihar Assembly polls schedule
The Election Commission on Friday announced the poll schedule for Bihar Assembly elections, which will be held in three phases between 28 October and 7 November.
The Assembly polls will be conducted on 28 October, 3 and 7 November. The counting of votes will take place on 10 November, said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.
Responding to questions on the decision to hold the state election when the pandemic has not been controlled, Arora said that the decision is not a "misadventure" but a leap of faith and not a leap in the dark.
He added, "As a commission, we don't regard it as a dussahas (misadventure)… it is a very, very meticulously worked, from our side, exercise."
The term of the Bihar Assembly ends on 29 November.
Some Opposition parties had urged the EC to postpone the elections in view of the pandemic. Reacting to the announcement, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut quipped whether the pandemic was "over".
Talking to reporters, Raut said the pandemic has given rise to an "unprecedented" situation. "Is coronavirus pandemic over now? Is the situation right for elections?" he asked.
Manish Sisodia given plasma therapy, ex-Jharkhand CM tests COVID-19 positive
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is battling a double infection of COVID-19 and dengue, has been administered convalescent plasma therapy and his condition is better now, PTI quoted his office as saying on Friday.
Sisodia is undergoing treatment at Max Hospital, Saket, where he was moved on Thursday evening from the Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital due to his "falling" blood platelet count and low oxygen level. He is admitted to the ICU of the private hospital in south Delhi.
"He was administered plasma therapy and his condition is better now," the official said.
Sisodia had tested positive for COVID-19 on 14 September and was under home isolation. He was admitted to LNJP Hospital on Wednesday for treatment, and tested positive for dengue a day later.
Meanwhile, former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi said he has tested positive for coronavirus.
7% test positive in serological tests conducted on CSIR-NCL staff, family members
A sero-positive rate of 7 percent was revealed in serological tests conducted by the CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) among its staff and family members.
A serological test reveals if a person has developed antibodies to the coronavirus, a positive result indicating that he/she has already been exposed to the virus.
"Among 339 participants, 18 men and six women were found to be sero-positive, which accounts for about 7 percent of the total sample. These comprise 19 students, 3 contract staff and 2 family members," an official said.
The study was part of a project led by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.
It was part of 'Phenome India', a long-term longitudinal observational cohort study of health outcomes, the CSIR-NCL said in its release.
Harsh Vardhan says India effectively kept COVID-19 mortality at 'minimum'
More than 5 million people have been infected with coronavirus but the healthcare system of India has shown great efficiency in providing diagnostic and management facilities as well as keeping the mortality at minimum' and recovery at maximum', Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.
He was speaking at an event to mark the 65th Foundation Day of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
He said the country's continuously rising COVID-19 recovery rate and progressively falling case fatality rate have proven the "success of the containment strategy" followed by all states/UTs, the health ministry said in a statement.
"We have successfully ramped up our testing capacity which has touched nearly 15 lakh milestone today with more than 1,800 testing labs spread across the country.
"I have confidence in the scientific developments taking place in the field of treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 and soon India will achieve more success in our fight against coronavirus infection," the statement quoted Vardhan as saying.
State-wise cases and deaths
Maharashtra reported 17,794 new COVID-19 cases, 19,592 recoveries and 416 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking total positive cases to 13,00,757, including 2,72,775 active cases, 9,92,806 discharges and 34,761 deaths, the state health department said on Friday.
As many as 281 police personnel tested positive for COVID-19 and four died in the last 24 hours, taking total cases to 22,269 in the ranks of the Maharashtra Police, a statement said.
As many as 6,477 new COVID-19 and 3,481 recoveries were reported in Kerala. The number of active cases now stand at 48,982 while 1,11,331 patients have recovered so far, said the state government.
Forty-eight deaths and 7,073 fresh COVID19 cases have been reported in Andhra Pradesh in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the state rose to 6,61,458, including 67,683 active cases, 5,88,169 recoveries and 5,606 deaths, according to the state government.
Tamil Nadu reported 5,679 new COVID-19 cases, 5,626 recoveries and 72 deaths, taking total cases to 5,69,370, including 5,13,836 recoveries, 9,148 deaths and 46,386 active cases, said the state health department.
Delhi reported 3,827 new COVID-19 cases, 4,061 recoveries and 24 deaths, taking total positive cases to 2,64,450, including 2,28,436 recoveries, 30,867 active cases and 5,147 deaths.
With inputs from agencies
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
Dr Raman Gangakhedkar appealed to the citizens to take precautionary dose and to follow all the precautions, especially those who are in vulnerable group
Hong Kong's tourism sector has faced a dramatic slowdown, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic