Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said a complete lockdown could be imposed in the state again as over 1,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported for the first time on Wednesday.

Coronavirus LATEST Updates: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said a complete lockdown could be imposed in the state again as over 1,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported for the first time on Wednesday.

“We had previously implemented a complete lockdown in the state. We are aware of such viewpoints (complete lockdown).Although it has not been decided yet, I think we will have to consider it,” he said.

The Manipur government will impose a “complete” lockdown in the state for 14 days, starting from 2 pm on Thursday, ANI reported.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday said he was going into self-quarantine after a deputy secretary in his office tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, PTI reported.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday imposed a six-day lockdown across the Kashmir Valley, “except for Bandipore district, to stem the spread of COVID-19”, The Indian Express reported.

“The lockdown, which comes into effect on Wednesday evening, will be reviewed after six days, they said. There were 502 fresh cases in the Valley on Wednesday. The number of cases in Jammu and Kashmir has risen to 15,258, according to Union Health Ministry figures,” the report said.

The Delhi government has decided to conduct sero-surveillance every month, said Satyendar Jain on Wednesday, adding it will be done from first day of the month till 5th of every month.

“Preparations on to start the exercise from next month. The survey conducted by NCDC and Delhi government revealed 23.48 percent COVID-19 infection,” said Jain.

At least 205 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Pune district in single day. The COVID-19 toll has climbed to 1,442.

India registers 37,724 new cases, taking its total count to 11,92,915. The toll increases by 648 to 28,732.

Bihar BJP MLC Sunil Kumar Singh died of the coronavirus at AIIMS on Tuesday, an official said. Singh was 66. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, and wife. He is the first lawmaker in the state to die of COVID-19.

India recorded 37,148 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing its tally to 11,55,191 , while the total number of recoveries increased to 7,24,577, according to the Union health ministry’s data issued at 8 am on Tuesday.

The toll due to the disease rose to 28,084 with 587 fatalities reported in a day, the data showed.

Of the total cases, based on the health ministry’s figures, Maharashtra, the worst-affected state by the pandemic, alone accounts for nearly 27.5 percent, followed by Tamil Nadu (15 percent) and Delhi (10.7 percent) cases. These three states together account for more than half of India’s total case load.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra’s COVID-19 tally rose to 3,27,031 with the addition of 8,369 new cases, while 246 more patients succumbed, taking the fatality count in the state to 12,276, health department said.

Whereas in Tamil Nadu, 4,965 people tested positive on Friday, taking the infection count past the 1.80 lakh. Tamil Nadu on  crossed 20 lakh in samples screened so far.

The state recorded 75 fresh COVID-19 deaths, including that of a 56-day old boy, during the day, taking the toll to 2,626, a health department bulletin said. The state has 51,344 active cases out of the total 1,80,643.

Delhi recorded 1,349 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the caseload in the city to over 1.25 lakh, while the death toll mounted to 3,690 after 27 fatalities were recorded, authorities said.

The number of active cases stood at 15,288, marginally up from 15,166 on Monday.

Amid the rising cases, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) on Tuesday decided to cancel this year’s pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.

India’s COVID-19 fatality rate, however, has dropped significantly to 2.43 percent from 3.36 percent on 17 June, the Centre said on Tuesday, asserting the country has handled the pandemic “relatively well”.

There are 4,02,529 active cases of the coronavirus infection currently in the country, while 7,24,577 people have recovered till now. Thus, 62.72 per cent people have recovered so far, the ministry said.

In the meantime, the National Green Tribunal Tuesday said that segregation of COVID-19 waste from others is a must to avoid further contamination adversely affecting public health.

Nearly a quarter Delhiites affected with COVID-19, finds sero survey

Amid the rising cases, the results of a  sero-prevalence survey in Delhi showed that 23.48 percent people in the National Capital had developed antibodies for COVID-19 with experts stating that the National Capital is still far from herd immunity against the coronavirus.

The survey results also show that remaining 77 percent are still vulnerable and the containment measures need to continue with the same rigour, National Centre for Disease Control director Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, told a press briefing.

Delhi has a population of nearly 2 crore. Eight out of Delhi’s 11 districts have more than 20 percent of sero prevalence, Singh said.

A senior Delhi government official said the government  will consult with public health experts and epidemiologists to determine if the future course of Delhi’s strategy against COVID-19 should change in light of these survey results or not.

The sero survey was conducted from 27 June to 10 July, during which a total of 21,387 samples were tested by the NCDC in collaboration with the Delhi government.

Cases from states

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Gujarat crossed the 50,000 on Tuesday with a highest one-day spike of 1,026, around 300 of them from Surat district, the health department said.

The coronavirus death toll rose to 1,229 in Uttar Pradesh after the state reported 37 fatalities, a statement issued by the state government said on Tuesday. With as many as 2,128 fresh COVID-19 cases, the state’s infection tally reached 53,288.

Kerala on Tuesday reported 720 fresh cases of COVID-19, taking the number of infected people in the state to 13,994, while 1,62,444 people are under observation in the state.

Of the new cases, 528 were infected from their contacts, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The state of Madhya Pradesh recorded 785 new COVID-19 caseson Tuesday, taking the state-wide infection count to 24,095, while 18 more patients succumbed to the disease, health department officials said.

With 18 more people succumbing to the viral infection on Tuesday, the death toll went up to 756, they said.

Of them, four fatalities each were reported from Bhopal and Indore, while one each patient died in Morena, Jabalpur, Sagar, Ratlam, Dhar, Barwani, Datia, Hoshangabad, Jhabua and Guna, the officials said.

Among the new cases, the highest 149 cases were reported from Bhopal, followed by 72 in Raisen, 70 in Indore, 62 in Morena and 49 in Gwalior, they said.

Jammu and Kashmir saw 608 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, raising the tally in the Union Territory to 15,258 as nine fresh fatalities pushed the death toll to 263, officials said.

“Nine persons, who were COVID-19 positive, have died over the past 24 hours in Jammu and Kashmir,” they said, adding all the nine deaths took place in the Kashmir Valley.

In Goa, COVID-19 cases crossed the 4,000 with the state now having 4,027 positive cases as on Tuesday with 174 new detections, the state Health department said.

The COVID-19 tally in Manipur crossed the 2,000-mark, with the detection of 90 new cases on Tuesday, a Health department bulletin said.

The coronavirus death toll in Himachal Pradesh increased to 11 after a 75-year-old woman died in Mandi on Tuesday as 33 fresh cases surfaced, taking the state’s infection tally to 1,665.

Chhattisgarh’s COVID-19 count rose to 5,731 on Tuesday with the addition of 133 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, while the death toll climbed to 29, as the sample of an elderly woman who died earlier tested positive, a health official said.

Mumbai, neighbouring districts report 2,627 new cases; 107 die

Mumbai’s COVID-19 tally rose to 1,03,262 on Tuesday with the addition of 995 new cases, while the toll increased to 5,814 after 62 more patients succumbed to the infection, the city civic body said.

In enighbouring Thane district, an addition of 1,323 cases took COVID-19 count to 70,513, while the toll swelled by 40 during the day to touch 1,967, an official said.

Kalyan led the list of new cases with 268 people testing positive, followed by 254 in Navi Mumbai, he said.

“Thane and Kalyan now have over 16,000 cases each while Navi Mumbai is fast approaching the 12,000 mark. Of the 70,513 cases, 33.28 percent is active,” he added.

Among those who died was a 52-year-old constable from Hill Line police station under Thane commissionerate, he said.

Neighbouring Palghar added 309 cases during the day to take its count to 12,382 while five deaths increased the toll to 223.

India doing relatively well, says Centre

Amid the rising cases, Rajesh Bhushan, officer on special duty in the Union health ministry, told a press conference in Delhi, that 30 states and Union Territories have COVID-19 positivity rate lower than that of the national average which stands at 8.07 percent.

Health workers screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms in Mumbai. AP

According to PTI, stating that some states are doing more than 140 tests per million, Bhushan, said that the number of tests per million have to be brought down to  a level of 140 tests per day per million, so that the “rate of positivity reduces and comes down to 10 percent first and then continue the testing process so that the rate of positivity further reduces to 5 percent or lower”.

The health ministry official also said that the COVID-19 deaths per million population in India stand at 20.4 per million which is amongst lowest in the world, Bhushan said.

“There are several countries where the deaths per million is 21 times or 33 times higher than in India. The global average stands at 77 deaths per million population,” he said.

“So far, the nation has managed COVID-19 relatively well,” Bhushan said.

He also shared a chart showing that the COVID-19 case fatality rate has declined from 3.36 percent on 17 June to 2.43 percent now.

Punjab’s first plasma bank opens at Patiala

Punjab on Tuesday got its first plasma bank at Patiala’s Rajindra Hospital where those who have recovered from the novel coronavirus can donate their blood plasma to help treat COVID-19 patients.

State’s Medical Education and Research Minister OP Soni inaugurated the facility through video conference and said it will play a vital role in the fight against the pandemic.

Multiple trials of plasma therapy have been successfully conducted in the state that paved the way for the establishment of the plasma bank, he said.

Karnataka won’t extend lockdown, to regulate supply of Remdesivir

Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa also said that it will not be extending lockdown in Benglauru and other areas of the state, saying that “lockdown” is not the solution to control COVID-19 and stressed on social distancing and wearing of masks.

“We had been successful at the beginning in controlling the COVID, but in recent days especially in Bengaluru the COVID cases have increased…..I want to tell the people of the state that for the control of the virus, lockdown was not the solution. The solution is wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” Yediyurappa said.

In the meanwhile, amid reports of black marketing and haording of Remdesivir, a drug used in the treatment of coronavirus infected patients, Karnataka’s COVID-19 task force on Tuesday decided that the state government will regulate its supply to private hospitals.

“Remdesivir which is currently available in the government hospitals will be supplied to private hospitals through the government. This will help curb black marketing of this drug,” Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar’s office said in a release.

The government has also fixed the rate for COVID-19 tests in private labs at Rs 2,000 for government referred cases and 3,000 for self-reporting cases.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal govt said Tuesday that there will be a complete lockdown in the state on 23, 25 and 29 July to fight the spread of COVID-19.

US accuses Chinese hackers in targeting of COVID-19 research

Days after authorities in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom accused a hacking group with links to Russian intelligence with trying to target research on the disease, the US Justice Department on Tuesday accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

The indictment, says the hackers in recent months had researched vulnerabilities in the computer networks of companies publicly known for their work in developing vaccines and treatments, AP reported.

However, there was no immediate indication that the hackers had successfully obtained any COVID-19 research, despite efforts to snoop on the companies.

With inputs from agencies

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