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NEW DELHI: India has gradually ramped-up its testing capacity for Covid-19 and conducted over 4.20 lakh tests in a day, the highest ever, the Union health ministry said on Saturday, crediting the increase in number of labs for the achievement.
India had only one lab for testing samples for the disease in January but it has now increased the number to 1,301, including private labs. Till Friday, a total of 1,58,49,068 tests for Covid-19 had been done in the country.

Here are the top developments:
1

India

  • With increased testing of samples for Covid-19, the fatality rate has significantly dropped to 2.35 per cent on Saturday and the recovery rate has surged to 63.54 per cent. “India has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world,” the health ministry said.
  • A total of 8,49,431 Covid-19 patients have recovered. The recoveries exceed the active cases by 3,93,360, the ministry informed.
  • With 48,916 fresh cases, India’s Covid-19 tally zoomed past 13 lakh on Saturday, just two days after it crossed the 12-lakh mark, while the death toll mounted to 31,358, the ministry said.
  • Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford vaccine candidate for Covid-19, has sought permission from the Drugs Controller General of India for conducting phase 2/3 human clinical trials of the potential vaccine, sources said.
  • India’s drug regulator has cancelled the rapid diagnostic kit import licenses of three firms and suspended that of 15 others saying the USFDA has removed the manufacturers from their list of coronavirus serology test kits with directions that they should not be distributed. The three firms are Cadila Healthcare, MDAAC International and N W Overseas while the 15 companies include Transasia Bio-Medicals, Cosmic Scientific, Inbios India, S D Biosensor, Accurex Biomedicals, Biohouse Solutions and Trivitron Healthcare among others.
  • Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions has scaled up its development and production of Covid-19 testing kit with the help of strategic funding by the Department of Biotechnology, an official statement said. Currently, Mylab has a manufacturing capacity of 2,00,000 RT-PCR and 50,000 RNA tests.
  • Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a first of its kind portable rapid diagnostic device to detect coronavirus at less than Rs 400 per test. According to officials, the test can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable enclosure as an alternative to specialized laboratory equipment. The same portable unit can be used for a large number of tests on mere replacement of the paper cartridge after each test.
  • A committee of seven Supreme Court judges has apprised the bar leaders of its decision to not open the apex court for physical hearings “for the time being” and would meet them again after two weeks to reconsider the issue. The apex court, since March 25, has been holding courts through video conferencing.
2

States

  • MP: Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that he has tested coronavirus positive. Chouhan, 61, shared the news on Twitter and said he is completely healthy. He was admitted to a Covid-19 designated private hospital in Bhopal.
  • Kerala: In the highest single day spike till now, Kerala reported 1,103 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the infection count to 18,098, while over 1.5 lakh persons are under observation. As many as 9,420 persons are under treatment for coronavirus.
  • West Bengal: A comprehensive town-wide lockdown will be imposed in Kalimpong Municipality for seven days, starting from 9am on July 26, to curb the spread of Covid-19, the Kalimpong district magistrate informed in a government order.
  • Punjab: Amid rising number of Covid-19 cases, the Punjab government said it is fully geared up to effectively deal with further spread of the disease with requisite bed capacity and ventilators in hospitals, and adequate arrangement of PPEs, masks, and testing kits.
  • HP: Himachal Pradesh reported 81 fresh Covid-19 cases, pushing the state’s tally to 2,036. 34 fresh cases were reported from Solan, 15 each from Sirmaur and Mandi, seven from Chamba, six from Una, three from Kangra and one from Shimla.
  • J&K: The Covid-19 recovery rate in Jammu and Kashmir increased to 53.10 per cent while the positivity rate stood at 3 per cent as against the national average of 8.3 per cent.
  • Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu breached the grim milestone of two lakh coronavirus cases with the biggest daily spike of 6,988 fresh infections, pushing the tally to 2,06,737. The death toll climbed to 3,409 with 89 fatalities.
  • Andhra: The upward spiral of coronavirus cases continued in Andhra Pradesh as another 7,813 were added in a day to take the overall tally to 88,671. The total number of Covid-19 patients discharged so far touched 43,255 and the gross toll 985.
  • Delhi: A 53-year-old Delhi Police head constable died due to Covid-19 at a city hospital. Head Constable Satya Narayan was posted at the Madhu Vihar police station.
  • UP: Uttar Pradesh reported 39 more deaths due to Covid-19 and 2,971 fresh cases, the highest single-day spike in the state. The death toll due to the disease has mounted to 1,387, while the state’s caseload has reached 63,742.
  • Karnataka: The Karnataka government announced waiver of crematorium fees for those who succumb to the Covid-19 infection in Bengaluru and said the city civic body would bear the cost.
  • Maharashtra: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated Covid Care Centers at Kalyan and Dombivli in Thane district through video link. Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said the state government was committed to providing all necessary facilities to fight the pandemic.
  • Odisha: Odisha’s Covid-19 tally crossed 24,000 as 1,320 more people tested positive for the disease, while the death toll rose to 130 with a record single-day spike of 10 fatalities. With 1,320 new cases, the total number of infections rose to 24,013.
  • Tripura: One more person succumbed to Covid-19 in Tripura, taking the northeastern state’s toll to 11, while 106 fresh infections pushed its case count to 3,778.
  • Rajasthan: Rajasthan recorded 557 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the state’s tally to 34,735, while six more fatalities pushed the toll to 608. Ajmer and Kota districts reported three deaths each.
  • Goa: Teaching and non-teaching staff of various schools and educational institutes in Goa have now been allowed to work from home, the state government has said. A circular issued by Goa education director Suresh Amonkar stated schools, education and coaching institutions in the state will remain closed until July 31.
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Arunachal Pradesh’s coronavirus tally crossed the 1,000-mark as 65 more people, including 33 security personnel, tested positive for the disease. With the fresh infections, the total number of cases rose to 1,056.
  • Puducherry: A total of 139 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths were reported from Puducherry. The UT now has a total of 2,654 Covid-19 cases, including 1,055 active cases and 1,561 recoveries.
3

World

  • The novel coronavirus has killed at least 639,981 people since emerging in China late last year. At least 15,815,830 coronavirus cases have been registered in 196 countries and territories.
  • The US is the worst-hit country with 145,546 deaths from 4,112,651 cases. At least 1,261,624 people have been declared recovered.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that he has tested negative for the new coronavirus, based on a fourth test since he said July 7 that he had the virus. “Good morning everyone,” Bolsonaro wrote on Facebook after reporting that the test was “negative”.
  • Swimming pools and gyms in England are reopening for the first time since the UK went into lockdown as public health officials extol the benefits of exercise in fighting Covid-19.
  • Nepal registered 109 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide Covid-19 tally to nearly 18,483. A 17-year-old girl died due to the coronavirus infection in Birgunj of Parsa district, on Friday, taking the death toll to 45.
  • Vietnam announced on Friday that it was banning wildlife imports and would close wildlife markets in response to renewed concerns about the threat from diseases that can jump from animals to humans, such as the virus that causes Covid-19.
  • Singapore reported 513 new coronavirus cases, all foreigners, taking the tally to nearly 50,000 in the country. The new patients include two community and six imported cases.
  • The Sri Lankan government’s efforts have been successful in completely curbing the social spread of the coronavirus and the country has not witnessed a single community case for nearly three months, head of the Covid-19 task force Lt General Shavendra Silva said.
  • Five more Victoria residents died from Covid-19 as the Australian state recorded 357 new cases in the past 24 hours. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews refused to rule out further restrictions but said Saturday the mandatory wearing of masks was the current strategy to stop the spread.

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