Gujarat records highest single-day spike, Delhi reels under 3rd COVID-19 wave; daily deaths in US average over 1,300
Meanwhile, states like Maharashtra and Goa in India sought to curb the spread of infection by restricting the entry of people from other states, especially Delhi
Countries around the world scrambled to combat the spread of COVID-19, with the Canadian government announcing a new lockdown in its biggest city, Toronto, while Iran enforced new restrictions on businesses and travel.
On the home front, states like Maharashtra and Goa sought to curb the spread of infection by restricting the entry of people from other states, especially Delhi which is battling a third wave of COVID-19 infections.
While the Maharashtra government is mulling the idea of suspending train and flight operations to and from Delhi, the Goa government is set to formulate SOPs to monitor people travelling to the state from Delhi, PTI reported.
Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane said, "We don't have to take harsh steps, but we have to see what SOPs are put in place at airports (in other states). We need to see whether an additional facility is required at the airport and how people coming from Delhi can be managed."
The coastal state is preparing for the tourist season, as the Christmas and New Year festivities are just a month away.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 caseload in India rose to 90.50 lakh with 46,232 new cases reported in 24 hours, the Union health ministry said. Similarly, the number of recovered patients also rose to 84.78 lakh, which took the national recovery rate to 93.67 percent.
On the other hand, the overall toll climbed to 1,32,726 with 564 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.47 percent.
In terms of active COVID-19 cases in the country currently, the ministry said that number remained below five lakh for the eleventh consecutive day. There are 4,39,747 active cases, which comprise 4.86 percent of the total caseload, as per the data.
At the state level, Kerala and Gujarat were among the states that recorded grim milestones on Saturday. Kerala's COVID-19 toll crossed 2,000 while the state reported 5,772 new cases on Saturday. Additionally, Gujarat reported its highest single-day figure so far, with 1,515 new cases.
COVID-19 situation in India
The total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in India crossed the 13-crore mark with the last one crore done in just 10 days, while the cumulative positivity rate remained low and continues a downward trajectory, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), over 13.06 crore samples have been tested till 20 November with 10,66,022 being tested on Friday.
Meanwhile, the cumulative national COVID-19 positivity rate has declined and stood at 6.93 percent as on date while the daily positivity rate on Friday was just 4.34 percent. Higher volumes of testing eventually lead to a low positivity rate, the ministry added.
Despite the improvements in national metrics, the situation in Delhi remains alarming. Intensive care wards and the capital's main crematorium are near capacity, and health officials this week found the prevalence of infections in markets much higher than expected, AP reported.
The National Capital has witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases since 28 October, when the daily caseload breached the 5,000-mark for the first time and recorded the highest single-day spike of 8,593 cases on 11 November. The city has added an average of 6,700 cases each day in recent weeks.
According to PTI, reports said that the Delhi government directed district officials to visit COVID-19 patients under home isolation to ensure that they are following the right protocol rules. The move comes amid instances of such patients flouting norms in Delhi.
It also stated that all cases of symptomatic negatives of rapid antigen tests should be re-tested with follow-up RT-PCR tests, which are considered the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.
Meanwhile, as many as 57 civil services officer trainees testing positive for coronavirus at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, prompting authorities to close "all non-essential departments" there.
"The academy is taking every measure to break the chain of COVID-19 spread in consonance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the District Administration, Dehradun," a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry on Saturday said.
All officer trainees, who have tested positive, have been quarantined in a dedicated COVID care centre, it said. A total of 428 officer trainees are on campus, it added.
According to Central Government figures, India reported 564 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 132,726. India had hit a grim milestone Friday, passing 90 lakh infections, the second-most behind the US.
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.
The 564 new fatalities included 155 from Maharashtra, 118 from Delhi, 50 from West Bengal, 28 from Kerala, 25 from Haryana, and 20 from Uttar Pradesh.
The total 1,32,726 deaths reported so far in the country includes 46,511 from Maharashtra, 11,621 from Karnataka, 11,568 from Tamil Nadu, 8,159 from Delhi, 7,923 from West Bengal, 7,500 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,920 from Andhra Pradesh, 4,572 from Punjab and 3,837 from Gujarat.
COVID-19 situation around the world
Globally several countries announced new measures to curb the fresh spikes in cases.
In Canada, the Ontario provincial government Friday (local time) announced that Toronto and the Peel Region suburb will go into lockdown on Monday.
Health officials announced they won’t allow indoor organised events or social gatherings except for members of the same household, AP reported. Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to offer takeout and delivery. Retail will only be open for curbside pick up or delivery except for big box stores. Gyms will also be closed. Schools and child care facilities will remain open.
The stricter measures come as Ontario reports 1,418 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, including 420 in Toronto.
On Saturday, Iran shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including Tehran, as it grapples with the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the West Asia region.
Iran has recorded daily tolls of above 430 over the past five days. The Iranian Health Ministry said on Saturday that the total number of confirmed cases has risen to above 8,40,000, AP reported.
The new lockdown measures, which include shuttering most businesses, shops, malls, and restaurants, include Iran's largest cities of Mashhad, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Iranian authorities have designated nearly 160 towns and cities affected as hot spots because these urban centers have the highest daily per capita positive coronavirus test results.
On Saturday, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in a televised speech urged people to follow the measures to help “lessen the death toll.”
He added that the government plans to supply cash subsidies to Iran's 30 million poorest people for four months to help them to manage the economic fallout from the new outbreak.
Meanwhile, in South Korea, authorities hinted that they could consider imposing strict social distance restrictions as a COVID-19 resurgence was indicated with 386 new cases on Saturday. The restrictions were earlier eased in October to spur a faltering economy, AP reported.
Russia also reeled from a COVID-19 surge on Saturday, with a new daily high in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths. Its coronavirus taskforce said 24,822 new cases were recorded in one day, the fourth time in a week that a new high has been tallied.
It said a record 467 people died of COVID-19. The surge in infections is straining Russia’s vast but underfunded health care system, with many infected people reportedly forced to search for sparse hospital beds.
Overall, Russia has recorded more than 2,064,000 cases and 35,778 deaths.
Meanwhile, the US also passed a worrying milestone on Saturday, with daily deaths reaching the highest level since May. The country is now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest level since the calamitous spring in and around New York City, AP reported.
The overall US toll has reached about 2,54,000, by far the most in the world. Confirmed infections have eclipsed more than 11.8 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record Thursday — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000.
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