Maharashtra ready to resume Mumbai trains, but experts advise caution; India's active COVID-19 cases fall below 9 lakh

The Gujarat govt said that no garba celebrations will be allowed this year during Navratri due to the coronavirus pandemic

FP Staff October 10, 2020 00:11:04 IST
Maharashtra ready to resume Mumbai trains, but experts advise caution; India's active COVID-19 cases fall below 9 lakh

India's COVID-19 tally went past 69 lakh with 70,496 infections being reported in a day, while active cases fell below 9 lakh after a month, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 69,06,151. The death toll climbed to 1,06,490 with 964 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The total recoveries have surged to 59,06,069 pushing the recovery rate to 85.52 percent, while there are 8,93,592 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 12.94 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

"Presently, the active cases stand at 8,93,592 and comprise merely 12.94 percent of the total positive cases of the country, demonstrating a steady falling percentage of the total cases," the ministry said.


Pandemic not near plateau in Maharashtra, warn experts; govt says can resume Mumbai local

Even as the daily spike in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has come down to 15,000 or less in the last few days, a medical expert warned on Friday that the numbers could surge again during Diwali. As the increase in cases has declined, the number of tests conducted each day too has gone down, an official pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it does not have any objection to increase the frequency of local trains in Mumbai, and said the services may be used by the general public provided they wear masks and follow social distancing norms.

As of Thursday evening, the caseload in Maharashtra was 14,93,884 and the toll 39,430. On Thursday, the daily cases in Maharashtra were 13,395, which is quite an improvement from the 24,000 cases reported in May.

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, member of the state's technical committee on COVID-19, however, said, "Many health officials including me are of the opinion that we should not expect any relief till the Diwali festival is over. Because people tend to go out more during this period, increasing the chances of exposure as well as spreading infection."

"The slight decline in daily cases in the last few days should not be interpreted as the beginning of a plateau or a peak period getting over. Forget about a second wave, the first wave would not be over till Diwali," he told PTI.

"We need at least 15 straight days of decline in COVID-19 cases to talk about a plateau (a stage before the number of new infections begins to fall)."

No Garba in Gujarat this Navratri, says government

The pomp and grandeur associated with Navratri in Gujarat will be largely missing this year as the state government on Friday banned organisation of any 'garba' event during the upcoming festival due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government said it will not allow any type of garba event in the state during Navratri, starting from 17 October, and also released a set of guidelines for the festive season, which usually sees large gatherings, a fertile ground for COVID-19 spread.

Garba is a popular folk dance of Gujarat and is performed with passion and fervour during the Navratri festival. The government, however, will allow collective prayers to Goddess Durga where number of people should not be more than 200, it said in a release.

The government also banned events such as burning of effigies of Ravana, Ramlila yatras, rallies, melas (congregations), exhibitions during the festive season (from Navratri to Diwali).

Navratri is one of the most popular festivals of Gujarat and is called the longest dance festival of the world.

Gujarat's coronavirus figures are as follows: Positive cases 1,49,194, New cases 1,243, Death toll 3,550, Discharged 1,29,441, Active cases 16,203 and people tested so far 49,10,167. Meanwhile, recovery rate has now gone up to 86.76 percent with the recovery of 1,518 COVID-19 patients in the last 24 hours.


Indo-Israel rapid COVID-19 test kit to be ready for roll out soon

A rapid COVID-19 testing technology being jointly developed by India and Israel should be ready for rollout in "a matter of days" and it will be able to give test results in less than a minute by simply requiring an individual to blow into a tube, the Israeli envoy to India has said.

Ambassador Ron Malka also said Israel would want India to become the manufacturing hub for this rapid testing kit, and the two countries will also collaborate on vaccine development for this dreaded disease with India taking a key role in production given its "very strong relative advantage in manufacturing".

He said the work on the rapid COVID-19 testing project is in a very advanced stage. "I think it is a matter of days. What I hear from those involved in the process, it should not take more than 2-3 weeks to finalise that one reliable and accurate technology or a combination of more than one from amongst the four different technologies being analysed,” Malka told PTI. 

China refutes claim coronavirus originated in Wuhan

China on Friday claimed that the novel coronavirus broke out in the various parts of the world last year but it was the only one to have reported and acted first, refuting the widely-held view that the deadly contagion originated in Wuhan before turning out to be a pandemic.

China, besides denying the US allegations that COVID-19 has emerged from a bio-lab in Wuhan, also rejected that it emanated from a wet market in the central Chinese city from bats or pangolins before infecting humans.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that "the coronavirus is a new kind of virus as more and more facts emerge as reports reveal, we all know that the epidemic broke out in various places in the world at the end of last year, while China was the first to report the outbreak, identified the pathogen and shared the genome sequence with the world."

Hua's comments came in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's allegations of a cover-up by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

UP's COVID-19 caseload mounts to over 4.3 lakh

The COVID-19 tally in Uttar Pradesh on Friday mounted to over 4.3 lakh after the state reported 3,249 fresh cases, officials said.

The state also reported 48 more deaths, pushing the toll due to the virus to 6,293, while 4,424 patients were discharged from hospitals on Friday, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said. The total number of cases in the state is 4,30,666.

The number of active cases in UP has come down to 41,287, of which 19,430 patients are in home isolation and 3,112 in private hospitals, he said. There has been a continuous fall in the number of active cases in the past 22 days, the official said.

So far, 3,83,086 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals in UP, Prasad said, adding that the recovery rate stands at 88.95 percent.

Coronavirus can survive on skin for 9 hours: Japanese study

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, may linger on human skin for nine hours, much longer than the flu viruses can, according to a study. The influenza A virus (IAV), in contrast, remained viable on human skin for nearly two hours, said the researchers including those from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan

The study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that both the viruses were rapidly inactivated on skin with a hand sanitiser. The finding underscores the importance of hand washing or using a sanitiser to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The researchers also evaluated the disinfection effectiveness on skin of 80 percent ethanol against SARS-CoV-2 and IAV. The study found that SARS-CoV-2 and IAV were inactivated more rapidly on skin surfaces than on other surfaces such as stainless steel, glass and plastic.

With inputs from PTI

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