By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: August 3, 2020 10:12:44 pm

The number of testing crossed the two-crore mark, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) announced.

Coronavirus India Updates: India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 18-lakh mark on Monday. With 52,972 fresh cases reported in 24 hours, the total figure surged to 18,03,695 with the death toll at 38,135. The number of recoveries also increased to over 11.86 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The number of testing crossed the two-crore mark, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) announced. A cumulative total of 2,02,02,858 samples have been tested up to August 2 with 3,81,027 samples being tested on Sunday, the ICMR said.

West Bengal government on Monday revised the dates for the statewide lockdown. The complete shutdown will now be observed on August 5, 8, 20, 21, 27, 28, and 31. Meanwhile, the state BJP took a swipe at the Bengal government for “deliberately selecting” August 5 for Covid-19 lockdown when the ‘bhoomi pujan’ (groundbreaking rituals) in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram temple is scheduled. It demanded the TMC ministry to shift the date as it did for the Eid festival, news agency PTI reported.

India’s apex drug regulatory body has granted approvals to Serum Institute of India to conduct late-stage human trials for the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate in India. The development comes after an expert committee on Friday recommended that SII be allowed to conduct these trials after it studied a revised proposal submitted by the Pune-headquartered firm.

A look at the other top developments here:

The UK government on Monday said that its new manufacturing pact with the Mumbai-based global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Wockhardt will guarantee the supply of millions more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is ready.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed it has entered into an 18-month agreement with the company to carry out the crucial “fill and finish” stage of the manufacturing process, which involves dispensing the manufactured vaccine substance into vials ready for it to be distributed.

Described as an essential part of the vaccines supply chain, the deal means Wockhardt will provide these services for the UK government and producers of vaccines being developed around the world in large quantities. “Ensuring the UK has the capability to research, develop and manufacture a safe and effective vaccine is critical in our fight against coronavirus,” said UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

A day after Manipur Speaker Y. Khemchand Singh claimed that community transmission of Covid-19 has started in Manipur, state Chief Minister N Biren Singh Monday that there is no such thing happening.

“Though evidence of local transmission has been detected there is no community transmission in the state yet,’ Singh told reporters.

Singh said that awareness among the people is very much needed to contain further spread of the disease. He also issued an appeal asking people to come out openly for early treatment instead of concealing their Covid-19 status.

Ahmedabad’s COVID-19 case count nears 27,000-mark

The number of COVID-19 cases in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat mounted by 151 to 26,969 on Monday, state health department said. Death toll went up to 1,609 with six patients succumbing to the infection in the day, it said. A total of 109 patients were discharged in the day, including 100 in Ahmedabad city and 9 in rural areas, taking the total count to 21,801 in the district.

How Ayodhya is preparing for Ram temple bhoomi poojan amid Covid protocols

Preparations for the Ram mandir bhoomi poojan in Ayodhya, scheduled for August 5, are on in full swing, with the city being painted in yellow – the colour of knowledge and auspiciousness.

The prayers and the ceremony are to start Tuesday morning with the worship of Lord Hanuman’s mark in Ayodhya, as he is believed to preside over the city. The programme was scheduled for Sunday but was postponed due to the weekend lockdowns in Uttar Pradesh amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Continuous Akhand Ramayan recitation in all local temples and a Deepotsava by lighting oil lamps in houses, temples and the Saryu River on the night of August 4 and 5 have been announced.

An invitation to the programme, written in red and black over a yellow background, has already been mailed to the guests, asking them to be present at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya by Tuesday 4 pm for the historical bhoomi poojan. The event on Wednesday is to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sources close to the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, which is the organiser of the event, said that the list of more than 260 invitees has been trimmed to 175, to ensure social distancing. Click here to read the full report.

West Bengal govt changes lockdown dates

West Bengal government on Monday revised the dates for the statewide lockdown. The complete shutodown will now be observed on August 5, 8, 20, 21, 27, 28 and 31.

Meanwhile, the state BJP took a swipe at the Bengal government for “deliberately selecting” August 5 for Covid-19 lockdown when the ‘bhoomi pujan’ (groundbreaking rituals) in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram temple is scheduled. It demanded the TMC ministry to shift the date like it did for the Eid festival, news agency PTI reported.

What’s the idea behind new guidelines to contain COVID-19 in gymnasiums and yoga institutes
Gyms are preparing for reopening in Kolkata. (Express photo: Partha Paul)

As per the Unlock-3 guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs has removed restrictions on the movement of individuals during the night and has allowed yoga institutions and gymnasiums to open from August 5. On August 3, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released its guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19 in gymnasiums and yoga institutes.

What are the generic preventive measures?

While yoga institutes and gymnasiums have been allowed, they will remain closed in containment zones. The generic preventive measures will be applicable here too. So, persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised not to use gyms in closed spaces. Yoga institutes and gymnasiums are expected to advise members accordingly.

For those using these facilities or working in them, a new set of guidelines have been released. To know more, read our explainer.

How effective are social distancing measures in curbing spread of Covid-19?

Social distancing is among the key precautionary measures to protect against and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. In a study published in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, researchers have tried to quantify the efficacy of social distancing measures by analysing the spread of Covid-19 in 134 nations which have varying policies on social distancing. The study was published on July 30. Read our explainer to find out what the study says.

Shops in Mumbai to open on all days, BMC issues order

As part of the Maharashtra government’s “Mission Begin again,” the BMC on Monday in an order said that shops in Mumbai can now remain open on all days on both sides of the road. It also said that malls will also be open for the public from August 05 from 9 am to 7 pm.

A subdued Raksha Bandhan in Delhi amid COVID-19 pandemic
This year, Rakhi is being celebrated on August 3.

The Raksha Bandhan festivities in the national capital were little subdued this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, with siblings having to rely on technology to wish each other.

“Travelling was not an option this year but it’s the bond that matters the most. I ordered rakhi and sweets for my brother and he sent me gifts. We had a video call with all cousins too,” said Sweety Gaur, a city resident.

Neetu Bhatia was a bit upset as she would have celebrated Rakhi with her cousin after a long time this year, but the pandemic did not let it happen.  “Some differences had cropped up between us over the last few years and we had not celebrated the festival since then. But over the last year, we resolved our differences and I had planned to surprise him by visiting him this time.

“But I could not meet him. I sent him Rakhi and sweets and wished him over phone. Hopefully we will celebrate the festival together next year,” she said.

Search on for patients who gave false information in Lucknow

About 2,300 people, who tested positive for COVID-19 in Lucknow, had given false information pertaining to their names, mobile numbers and addresses, news agency PTI reported on Monday.

While 1,171 people out of those who gave false information have been tracked, a hunt is on for the others.

A senior health official said, “2,290 people who had undergone COVID-19 tests at various private and government laboratories between July 23 and July 31 had given false names, mobile numbers and addresses. This came to the fore when our department could not contact them. We have informed the police about it.”

These people are not only from Lucknow but other cities also who were tested in the state capital, he said.

Ravi Shankar Prasad self isolates; met Amit Shah on Saturday

IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has gone into self isolation, as he had met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday evening, a source told news agency PTI. Prasad does not have any symptoms and the self-isolation is purely based on existing protocol, the source added.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, is “clinically stable” and under observation at Manipal Hospital in Old Airport Road, Bengaluru, doctors said on Monday.

While his daughter, BS Aruna Devi, has also tested positive for the virus, his son Vijayendra went into quarantine for seven days today. In a tweet, he said that his father is asymptomatic and stable in the hospital.

Idols of “Corona warriors” to say “Thank You” made by sculptor Satish Taru in Pune.
Karnataka CM may have to remain in hospital for 8 to 10 days: Medical Education Minister

All those who met the Karnataka Chief Minister in the last three-four days will have to be quarantined, Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K said on Monday, PTI reported. He added that those who came in contact with Yediyurappa in the past week are being traced.

The crowd at India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday.

Sudhakar, a medical doctor himself, said Yediyurappa has “very mild cough and his chest is clear.” “I think eight to ten days,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency when asked how long the Chief Minister would have to remain in hospital.

Sudhakar said he is also getting himself tested as a few of his office staff had tested positive. “All those who met the Chief Minister in the last 3-4 days…ideally they should be quarantined till they receive their results/report. Those who came in contact with him in the couple of programmes will have to isolate themselves and subject themselves for testing,” the Minister said.

Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga Karti Chidambaram Monday tested positive for coronavirus. While making the announcement on Twitter, Karti, the son of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, said he was in home quarantine with mild symptoms, and urged his recent contacts to follow medical protocol.

“I have just tested positive for #Covid. My symptoms are mild and as per medical advice I am under home quarantine. I would urge all those who have recently been in contact with me to follow medical protocol,” the Congress leader posted on the micro-blogging site.

To minimise the spread of the infection, several pharmacy shops have begun using a plastic sheet to keep customers at bay.

Due to the novel coronavirus, veteran BJP leader Uma Bharti Monday said she would not attend the ground breaking ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5. Instead, Bharti said she would be on the banks of the Saryu river and visit the site and offer prayers to ‘Ram Lalla’ after the event concludes.

Her announcement, made on Twitter, came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah and a couple of Uttar Pradesh BJP leaders tested positive for the disease. Bharti said she was worried about those attending the ceremony, “especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

“Ever since I heard that Home Minister Amit Shah and some UP leaders have tested positive for Covid-19, I’ve been worried for those who will be attending the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ram Temple. I’ve been especially worried for Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Bharti tweeted.

A bridegroom wears a mask as he walks with his friends at Narpatgiri Chouk in Pune.
Mizoram to treat infected security personnel, civilian patients at separate Covid hospitals

The Mizoram government has decided to treat infected security personnel and civilian patients at separate Covid hospitals in the state, an official said on Monday.

The decision in this regard was taken during an emergency meeting chaired by Health Minister Dr R Lalthangliana on Sunday in the wake of a spike in Covid-19 cases among security personnel posted in the northeastern state, the official told PTI.

Officials observed it was not “medically healthy” to treat infected security personnel and civilian patients at the same hospital, he said.

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