The COVID-19case fatality rate has declined to 1.74 per cent in the country. There are 8,31,124 active coronavirus cases in the country, which account for 21.11 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 and the 30-lakh mark on August 23. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 4,66,79,145 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the country as on September 3, including 11,69,765 on Thursday.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has warned of the formation of “Onam Clusters” of coronavirus in the state because of increased contact among people during these festive days. “The next two weeks are crucial as we may see Onam clusters being formed in the state due to increased outdoor public activity and travel during the festival time. We can expect a hike in Covid cases,” Vijayan said. Kerala has a total of 79,625 COVID 19 cases, with 315 deaths. The active cases currently in the state is 21,516.

The government on Thursday, meanwhile, defended its decision to open up various economic activities amid rising COVID-19 cases, saying it firmly believes that “while lives are important, livelihoods are equally important”.

India had posted a record single-day spike of 83,883 infections on Thursday. The government said it has adopted a graded approach under ‘Unlock’ and to open up various economic activities, secretary in the health ministry, Rajesh Bhushan, told a press conference. So far, the Centre has announced four phases of ‘Unlock’ since June 8 to resume commercial activities.

Asked why the government is opening up different economic activities when there is a spike in daily positive cases, he said, “There is no doubt about it. But then these numbers have to be seen in the context of the total population of India. We are the second most populous country in the world.”

The Union home ministry on August 29 had issued ‘Unlock 4’ guidelines under which metro trains will be allowed to resume services from September 7 in a graded manner, while political, social and religious congregations of up to 100 people will be permitted from September 21.

However, schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed for students till September 30, with some relaxations for students of classes 9 to 12. The home ministry had also said that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside COVID-19 containment zones without prior consultation with the central government.

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