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NEW DELHI: Early identification of the Covid-19 infections through timely and aggressive testing has played a pivotal role in India’s strategy to fight the pandemic, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday as the cumulative testing reached 3,76,51,512.
Following the Centre-led policy of ‘test-track-treat’, collaborative efforts of the state and UT governments have led to India consistently ramping up its testing infrastructure to touch a capacity of 10 lakh tests/day, the ministry said.
Here are the top developments:
India

  • The total number of Covid-19 recoveries in India has surged to 24,67,758 and exceeds the active cases of the infection by 3.5 times as on date, pushing the coronavirus recovery rate to over 76 per cent, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.
  • The record high recoveries have ensured that the number of active cases of Covid-19, which is the “actual caseload” of the country, comprises only 21.87 percent of the total cases, it highlighted
  • India’s novel coronavirus tally rose to 32.34 lakh with 67,151 more people testing positive for the infection in a day, while the death toll from the disease climbed to 59,449 with 1,059 new fatalities being reported in a span of 24 hours, the data showed.
  • Soon, a simple finger-prick diagnostic test to detect Covid-19 antibodies in blood samples, will be widely available at nursing homes, hospitals and private laboratories. The Indian Council of Medical Research has approved Delhi-based Oscar Medicare’s indigenous point-of-care rapid test kits, which is perhaps the only firm to have received funding from the department of biotechnology.
  • Russia and India have initiated talks over Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V. While Russia has given some initial information to health ministry seeking a collaboration, more detailed information is awaited, the government said. The Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which has developed the vaccine, is engaged in discussions with the Indian embassy in Moscow on the vaccine.
  • The Phase II human clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate, being manufactured by the city-based Serum Institute of India, began at a medical college and hospital in Pune on Wednesday. Two male volunteers were administered the vaccine at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital, a senior office-bearer of the hospital said.
  • Amid the scramble to produce a vaccine against the deadly Covid-19, Tamil Nadu’s Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and Sri Ramachandra Hospital, here, will join the Oxford University in conducting human clinical trials of ‘Covishield’ on nearly 300 health volunteers aged 18 and above. This will be part of the multi-centric clinical trial in India, according to state health minister Dr C Vijaya Bhaskar.
  • N95 masks may be the most effective at reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a study by researchers, including those from the Indian Space Research Organisation, which suggests that any mask is better than no mask at preventing Covid-19.

States

  • Punjab: Chief minister Amarinder Singh said twenty-three ministers and MLAs were coronavirus positive two days before the Vidhan Sabha session on August 28. The chief minister, however, did not disclose how many of Punjab MLAs and ministers have recovered so far.
  • West Bengal: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced a series of relaxations by allowing to resume flights operations from six Covid hotspot states, but extended the closure of educational institutes till September 20. Announcing complete Lockdown across West Bengal on September 7, 11 and 12, Banerjee said Metro Railway can resume services by observing social distancing and other precautionary norms.
  • Kerala: Kerala added 2,476 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest ever single day surge, taking the total infection count to 64,354. The state recorded 13 deaths as the toll mounted to 257. At least 40,352 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.
  • Delhi: Reduced fear of Covid-19 among the public coupled with festivities and heavy rains led to lesser number of people coming for tests, experts said in view of fluctuating figures in daily coronavirus tests in Delhi in August. Their comments come after Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal warned against complacency and urged people to get themselves tested if they observe coronavirus symptoms.
  • J&K: Over 700 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Jammu and Kashmir during the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 34,480 while the death toll reached 657 with 19 more fatalities. Fifteen deaths were reported from Kashmir and four from the Jammu region.

  • Odisha: With home isolation cases rising and crossing the 1800-mark, the role of counsellors is providing to be crucial. The counselling provided by clinical psychologists and psycho-therapists is helping Covid positive patients beat stress while in home treatment.
  • Andhra Pradesh: A Congress leader, who tested positive for Covid-19, allegedly committed suicide in Kadapa district. He went missing from a private hospital, where he was undergoing treatment, on Sunday. His body was found on Tuesday. The police have identified the Congress leader as Sirigireddy Gangi Reddy.
  • Gujarat: A 64-year-old Covid-19 patient allegedly committed suicide while under home isolation in Varaccha area of Gujarat’s Surat city, police said. The sexagenarian hanged himself from a hook of a swing in the room he was isolated in at his apartment in a housing society.
  • Karnataka: The Karnataka government has decided to give the green signal for start of regular classes in degree colleges from October 1, deputy CM Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said. He, however, added that the department of higher education would await guidelines from the central government on reopening of the colleges which have remained shut since March.
  • Meghalaya: Twenty-one more persons tested positive for Covid-19 in Meghalaya, taking the state’s coronavirus tally to 2,022. Eight patients have succumbed to the infection so far.
  • Chhattisgarh: At least 26 persons have died so far in quarantine centres set up in light of the Covid-19 pandemic in Chhattisgarh, due to various reasons including suicide, the state assembly was informed on Wednesday.
  • UP: Uttar Pradesh reported 82 Covid-19 fatalities, taking the death toll due to the disease to 3,141 in the state, while the highest single-day spike of 5,898 new cases took its caseload past the two lakh-mark to 2,03,020.
  • Maharashtra: In a worrying trend, coronavirus infections are steadily moving towards rural areas of Maharashtra, reflected in rise in number of fresh cases as well as deaths from these regions, said a senior health department official. In initial months of the pandemic, most Covid-19 cases were being reported from big cities, large urban and semi- urban centres, but this is slowly changing now.
  • Tripura: Tripura’s Covid-19 caseload rose to 9,542 as 329 more people tested positive for the infection, while four fresh fatalities pushed its coronavirus death toll to 83. The fresh infections have taken the number of active cases in the state to 2,866.
  • Mizoram: The Covid-19 tally in Mizoram rose to 967 as 14 more people tested positive for the infection. The number of active cases in the state stands at 503 while 464 people have already recovered.
  • Rajasthan: Rajasthan reported six more Covid-19 fatalities, taking the death toll in the state to 986 as 610 new cases of the infection pushed the overall tally to 73,935. Of the total number of cases reported in the state, 14,607 are currently active.
  • Telangana: Telangana posted 3,018 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest single day spurt so far, pushing the state’s total infection count to 1.11 lakh. With 10 more fatalities the toll rose to 780.
  • HP: As many as 52 new cases were reported in Himachal Pradesh, taking the total number of cases in the state to 5206. Currently, there are 1352 active cases, while 3771 people have recovered from the virus in the state.
  • Goa: Goa’s Covid-19 tally mounted by 497 cases to 15,027. With 8 fatalities in the day, the toll went up to 165. A total of 287 patients were discharged in the day, taking the count of recoveries to 11,511.

World

  • Distributing Covid-19 vaccine around the world fairly without letting the rich countries corner the limited doses is going to be a big challenge, the World Health Organisation’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said. On vaccine development for the novel coronavirus, she said: “By early 2021, we should have some good news.”
  • The novel coronavirus has killed at least 820,180 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December. At least 23,950,580 cases have been registered. Of these, at least 15,340,900 are now considered recovered.
  • The United States is the worst-hit country with 178,524 deaths from 5,779,395 cases. At least 2,053,699 people have been declared recovered.
  • Germany will end mandatory coronavirus tests for travelers returning from high-risk areas abroad and again focus its testing strategy on people with symptoms or possible exposure to Covid-19 patients, the country’s health minister said.
  • Gaza health officials have reported the first death from Covid-19 since authorities detected community transmission of the coronavirus earlier this week. The ministry said nine new local cases were detected, raising the total to 15.
  • Nepal recorded 885 new coronavirus cases, taking the country’s Covid-19 caseload to 34,418, health ministry said. 385 corona patients were discharged after recovery from various isolation centers.
  • Pakistan registered 482 new coronavirus cases, taking the national tally to 294,193, the health ministry said. 12 patients died of the disease in the last 24 hours. With this, the total number of fatalities have reached 6,267.
  • Australia recorded 156 fresh Covid-19 cases and 24 new deaths, the highest single-day increase in the death toll, health officials said. The country’s second most populous state of Victoria recorded 149 new coronavirus cases and all the latest fatalities, 21 of those linked to aged care outbreaks, taking the state’s death toll to 462, and the national death toll to 549.
  • Singapore saw an increase in the daily count of Covid-19 cases, recording 60 new cases, a day after the city-state reported its lowest single-day figure at 31 since March. With 60 new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday, the national tally reached to 56,495.
  • Ukraine banned foreigners from entering the country for one month after health officials registered a record increase in coronavirus infections. The ex-Soviet country of 42 million people reported a record daily increase in new infections on Saturday with 2,328 positive tests.

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