India’s coronavirus fight is people driven and gets great strength from its COVID warriors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as he urged people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. He made the appeal to people to follow social distancing norms and expressed confidence that the fight against the pandemic will be won.
Here are the latest updates:
COVID-19 testing camps set up for staff of Aurangabad hotels
The civic body in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad city has set up testing camps to detect coronavirus infection among staff of hotels, bars and restaurants in the city. RT-PCR tests will be conducted at the camps, which will continue for the next three days, said Dr. Neeta Padalkar, health officer of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.
The State government has allowed hotels and restaurants to operate with limited capacity. The civic body has arranged for testing camps at hotels and has also been conducting tests at its designated centres, she said.
“RT-PCR testing kits are available in ample number. It is also more accurate and can even detect asymptomatic cases,” the official said. – PTI
South-East Asia Region
WHO South-East Asia urges member countries to plan for effective roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination
As COVID-19 continues to spread in most countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region, the World Health Organization has called for stronger collective efforts to curtail the virus transmission, urging the countries to plan for efficient roll out of vaccines as soon as they are available.
“Like the rest of the world, the region continues to be at risk. To stop the spread of COVID-19 virus, we need to do it all — continued strong leadership, robust public health measures, clear communication and an engaged, empowered and enabled population,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region.
In a communication to member countries, the regional director said the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine has gathered momentum. In anticipation of development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, countries should be prepared with an efficient and coordinated strategy and plan for roll-out of vaccination, she said. Vaccine availability is likely to be limited initially, hence will be important to clearly identify goals of national vaccination strategy, Ms. Singh added. – PTI
Jammu and Kashmir
Second phase of Gulmarg cable car to reopen from October 10
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday decided to reopen the second phase of the Gulmarg cable car between Kongdoori and Apharwat for commercial operation from October 10.
“The second phase of Gulmarg Gondola shall be operational only on weekends – Saturdays and Sundays – for the time being, while the operation of Gondola for the first phase, that is Gulmarg to Kongdoori, will continue to remain functional on daily basis,” an official spokesman said in Srinagar.
He said all necessary preventive protocols and SOPs regarding COVID-19 like social-distancing, sanitisation of cabins before and after boarding and deboarding of passengers, wearing of masks and temperature checking are being strictly adhered to. – PTI
Yogi inaugurates U.P.’s biggest oxygen plant to aid medical supplies
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday inaugurated a new state-of-the-art cryogenic oxygen plant, the biggest in the State, which will help with supplies in hospitals.
The ultra-high purity air separation plant with a capacity of 150 tonnes per days (TPD) in Ghaziabad’s Modinagar will produce liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen and liquid argon for various industrial needs, according to INOX Air Products (INOX AP), which has commissioned the plant.
Mr. Adityanath, who inaugurated the plant virtually from his office in Lucknow, said the facility will help the State fight the coronavirus better. On this day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Jan Andolan’ for COVID-19, I am happy to inaugurate a 150 TPD capacity Liquid Oxygen Plant in Uttar Pradesh which will help us to fight Corona better, he tweeted. In another tweet he described the plant as the biggest in the State.
He said it will now be a thing of the past when the State was struggling for the availability of oxygen, adding that after the installation of High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC), the demand for oxygen has gone up in the COVID-19 hospitals. – PTI
President urges citizens to stand united to defeat COVID-19 through collective determination, discipline
President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday urged citizens to stand united to defeat coronavirus through collective determination and discipline. He also asked them to wear masks, wash hands and practise social-distancing norms.
“The nation stands united to defeat COVID-19 through collective determination and discipline. I urge fellow citizens to #Unite2FightCorona! Let us all – Wear a mask, Wash hands, Practice social distancing. Together we will fight, we will win!,” Mr. Kovind tweeted.
The Union government on Thursday launched a public awareness drive as part of its fight against COVID-19. – PTI
Arunachal CM discusses COVID-19 strategy with Health Department
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday urged the Health Department to make best use of the available manpower and ensure optimal utilisation of funds to fight against COVID-19.
Addressing officials of the Department to discuss a strategy for containing the spread of COVID-19, the Chief Minister said that health of people is the top priority of the government and all manpower and resources would be mobilised accordingly, an official communique said.
Assuring the Department of the State governments “all possible support”, Mr. Khandu said, a constant vigil should be maintained so that there is no compromise with health service delivery. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Health Minister Alo Libang. – PTI
U.K. government mulling fresh restrictions amid virus spike
The British government is mulling fresh restrictions on everyday life in England amid mounting fears that hospitals in some parts of the country may soon be overwhelmed by growing numbers of patients laid low by the coronavirus.
With the number of people needing to go to the hospital with virus-related conditions rising, and in some areas in the north of England alarmingly so, the pressure on the government to do more is mounting.
We are currently considering what steps we should take, obviously taking the advice of our scientific and medical advisers, and a decision will be made shortly, British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC on Thursday.
In some parts of the country, the number of cases are rising very fast and we are taking that very seriously, he added.
Amit Shah appeals to everyone to follow PM’s public movement against COVID-19
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on October 8 appealed to everyone to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public movement against COVID-19 and said a global pandemic can be fought only when all the countrymen come together.
Mr. Shah also said there are only three mantras to protect ourselves from the coronavirus — wearing a mask, practising two meters of social distancing and washing hands frequently — as suggested by the Prime Minister.
“A global pandemic like COVID-19 can be fought only when all the countrymen come together. Let us all unite to fight against it by joining this mass movement started by PM Modi and play an important role in making India COVID-19 free by making everyone aware of this pandemic,” he said in tweets in Hindi.
Appealing everyone to follow the three principles, the Home Minister said these steps will “not only keep yourself safe but also to keep your family, friends and colleagues safe from COVID-19“. — PTI
Govt to map out cold chain storage facilities for COVID-19 vaccine delivery
the government has begun a massive exercise to map out cold chain storage facilities to ensure the vaccine is delivered quickly across the country.
A national expert group is talking to public and private sector entities in the pharmaceutical sector, food processing industry and agro businesses as well as food delivery start-ups such as Swiggy and Zomato to identify cold storages or fridges at the taluka level that can stock and distribute the vaccine, sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said.
A draft scheme for the vaccine distribution is likely to be released around the middle of next week, they said. – PTI
Gujarat govt allows pvt labs to conduct rapid antibody tests
In a respite to citizens, the Gujarat government on Thursday granted permission to private laboratories to conduct rapid antibody tests for detecting coronavirus infection.
Till now, designated private laboratories were allowed to conduct only RTPCR tests, which are more accurate.
Laboratories are authorised to charge Rs 450 and Rs 500 respectively for ELISA and CLIA test kits, and if samples are collected from homes or hospitals, then the charges would be Rs 550 and Rs 600 respectively, the release said. – PTI
Odisha govt asks collectors to consider possibility of opening up of places of worship
The Odisha government on Thursday asked district collectors to consider the possibility of opening up of places of worship of all religious faiths where compliance to COVID-19 guidelines is feasible.
Chief Secretary A K Tripathy asked the district collectors to consider the possibility of opening up places of worship for the public and submit and report to the government in the next 10-days.
“Dist collectors asked to consider possibility of opening up places of worship for public of all religious faiths where compliance to extant Covid guidelines is feasible and report to Govt. They may prefer graded opening in the interest of containing the [email protected]_Odisha,” the chief secretary tweeted. – PTI
India positivity rate at 8.19%
Thirty-five states and Union territories in the country are performing more than 140 COVID-19 tests per day per million population, while 22 states and UTs have COVID-19 positivity rate less than the national average, the health ministry said on Thursday. The cumulative positivity rate stands at 8.19 per cent, it said.
The national average of COVID-19 tests per day per million population is 865, the ministry said, asserting that the country has demonstrated an exponential increase in the COVID-19 testing infrastructure since January 2020.
“As evidence has revealed, higher number of testing on a sustained basis has aided in bringing down the positivity rate. The sharp decline in national cumulative positivity rate has demonstrated that the rate of spread of infection is being contained,” the ministry underlined. – PTI
Puri sounds positive on domestic air travel
Indian aviation could see passenger traffic reaching pre-COVID 19 levels as soon as the end of 2020, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said in an optimistic note for the industry, which had expected normalcy to return only by the second half of 2021.
“Between Diwali and end of the year we will not only reach pre-COVID-19 levels of 3,00,00 [passengers a day]”, but into the first quarter of the next year, we will also surpass pre-COVID-19 levels”, he said at a press briefing. – Jagriti Chandra
Passenger vehicle retail sales grow for the first time since March
Cars at an automobile plant at Manesar, Delhi NCR.
Total vehicle retail sales in the country continued to decline year-on-year in September 2020, even as passenger vehicle registrations turned positive for the first time since March growing at 9.81% during the month, as per data from the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations.
Total vehicle registrations fell to 13.44 lakh units in September 2020, down 10.24% from about 14.98 lakh units in the year-ago month. However, month-on-month, the registrations saw double-digit growth of 11.45%, raising hopes of “high growth period” in the months of October and November due to the upcoming navratri, Durga puja and Diwali festivals. – Yuthika Bhargava
No more posters outside people under home quarantine in Delhi
The Delhi government has decided to end the system of putting up posters outside houses of people under home quarantine with their names and other details and has directed district officials to remove all such posters, according to officials.
“District officials have been directed not to put up posters anymore and also remove the ones which are currently there,” a Delhi government official told The Hindu.
When asked why the government has decided to end the system, the official said, “Due to stigma connected with the disease and posters outside their houses, people are not coming forward to get tested for the virus, even when they have symptoms. They then go to hospitals only when they become severe and it leads to complications. By not putting up posters, we are trying to encourage more people to get tested for the virus and bring them into the government’s monitoring system.”
The Delhi government is yet to officially confirm the development. – Nikhil M. Babu
Schools reopen for higher classes in Puducherry
Schools in Puducherry and Karaikkal reopened on Thursday for the first time in the academic year for students studying in classes 10 and 12.
“There will be no regular classes. Students who wish to get their doubts clarified by their teachers will be coming to school with the consent of their parents. The teachers have been asked to make sure that there are not more than 10 students in each class,” said Alli, Chief Educational Officer of Karaikal District.
Jharkhand allows 50 people at a time at places of worship
The Jharkhand government has said a maximum of 50 people can enter a place of worship at a time and devotees must wear masks and maintain social distancing.
The state government allowed religious institutions to reopen after more than six months on Thursday.
No fair or religious procession will be organised and only those devotees with masks will be allowed to enter the places of worship. The priests or clerics will have to wear masks and devotees should not hug each other or touch the idols, sacred texts or bells.
People will have to bring mats from their homes and they cannot sit together to sing or speak. Priests cannot give ’prasad’ to devotees or sprinkle water on them. – PTI
Officers of Under Secretary rank and above to attend office on all working days
All officers of the rank of Under Secretary and above will be attending offices on all working days, the Personnel Ministry said on Wednesday in its latest guidelines for central government employees.
Earlier, the officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above were asked to attend the offices on all working days as the Centre gradually restarted activities put on halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For government servants below the level of Under Secretary, at least 50% attendance is to be ensured, it said. – PTI
40 devotees allowed in relegious places of worship
Entry to places of worship in Kerala will be limited to 20 persons at a time.
A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday also decided to allow 40 worshippers at a time in Hindu places of worship during special pujas and functions. Also, 40 faithful will be allowed in mosques during Friday prayers and in churches during the Sunday mass. The number will be fixed based on the space available and the COVID-19 protocols.
As many as 250 devotees a day will be allowed at the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala during the monthly puja for the Malayalam month of Thulam, a communication from the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Delhi cinema halls to open from October 15
Cinema halls and weekly markets will be allowed to reopen in the Capital according to the latest unlock guidelines issued by the Centre, said an order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday.
The order, dated October 6, and released in the name of Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, stated that theatres can open from October 15 with 50% capacity while all weekly markets can open with immediate effect.
The relaxations do not apply to containment zones.
Patient turns 80 in hospital
A silver lining: Krishnan celebrating his birthday in the ward, even as other patients and hospital staff cheer for hi
When Krishnan arrived at the Government COVID-19 Hospital, Guindy, he was in a critical condition, requiring oxygen support, and spent the next few days in the intensive care unit (ICU). On the path of recovery now, he turned 80 on Wednesday and celebrated his birthday with patients and doctors at the hospital.
DGCA issues detailed refund guidelines after SC verdict
Aviation regulator DGCA issued detailed guidelines on Wednesday regarding a refund of the ticket price for the flights cancelled amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
the DGCA categorised passengers in three categories — those who booked tickets between March 25 and May 24 for travelling within the same period, those who booked tickets prior to March 25 but the travel period was till May 24, those who booked tickets anytime but for a journey post May 24.
The regulator said the passengers belonging to the first category must be given a full refund by the airline concerned for the tickets cancelled. For those in the second category, refund will be initiated in 15 days or a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected will be provided. The passenger can redeem this credit shell within March 31, 2021.
Those belonging to the third category will be given a refund in accordance with the existing DGCA rules. – PTI
Get great strength from COVID warriors: PM Modi
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had on Wednesday said the Prime Minister will launch a ‘jan andolan’ campaign for COVID appropriate behaviour on Thursday with a tweet in view of the upcoming festivals, winter season and opening up of the economy.
“India’s COVID-19 fight is people driven and gets great strength from our COVID warriors,” Mr. Modi said.
He said collective efforts have helped save many lives.
“We have to continue the momentum and protect our citizens from the virus,” the PM tweeted using the hashtag ‘Unite2FightCorona’
“Let us #Unite2FightCorona! Let us always remember: Wear a mask. Wash hands. Follow social distancing. Practice ‘Do Gaj Ki Doori.’ Together, we will succeed. Together, we will win against COVID-19,” he said in another tweet. —PTI
With herbal garden and library, Siddha COVID-19 care centre in Tirupathur strives to keep patients engaged
From music, to herbal gardening and a library to provide food for thought, the Siddha COVID-19 Care Centre in Tirupathur has made several arrangements to ensure that patients are fully occupied during their stay at their premises.
The Tirupathur Siddha COVID-19 Care Centre was started at the hostel of a government polytechnic college in Natrampalli two months ago, and has 60 beds in 26 rooms . To date, more than 480 patients have been treated and around 430 have tested negative and been discharged.
“During their time in the centre, we wanted to keep the patients engaged and not think about the infection. We already have a television and 24-hour-music, but we wanted something to keep them occupied and at the same time, educate them,” said V. Vikram Kumar, government Siddha doctor who is the coordinator for the Siddha COVID-19 care centre.
Use ‘social vaccine’ of masks, hygiene: Health Minister
Ten States/UTs account for 78% of the new confirmed COVID-19 cases in India in the past 24 hours, with Maharashtra continuing to lead the tally and contributing more than 12,000 cases, followed by Karnataka with nearly 10,000 cases, said a press release issued by the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.
Also read: Coronavirus, October 7 updates
It added that 986 deaths have been reported across the country in the past 24 hours, with 10 States/UTs accounting for 83% of the deaths. “Maharashtra reported more than 37% of deaths with 370 deaths, followed by Karnataka with 91 deaths,” it said.
Active cases in Chamarajanagar shot up by 215% in September
Chamarajnagar, which managed to remain COVID-19 free for over three months after the pandemic broke out in Karnataka, has been ranked sixth among 253 districts in 12 mega States witnessing the shortest doubling period of active COVID-19 cases.
Active cases grew from 110 on July 18 to 290 on August 1 and then to 446 on August 15. Subsequently, the active cases in the district touched 360 on September 12 which further increased to 1,134 on October 3. The growth rate here is 215%.
‘Prepare for winter surge of 15K cases a day’
A report prepared by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and submitted to the Delhi government earlier this week states that Delhi should prepare for a surge of 15,000 positive cases per day during the winter months. As many as 2,324 healthcare workers in the city have been infected by COVID-19 and 75 of them have died, says the yet-to-be-made-public ‘Revised Strategy for control of COVID-19 version 3.0’. It also suggests the death figure may be “under-reported”.