Coronavirus Updates: Maharashtra reports 14,492 new COVID-19 cases, 326 deaths; tally rises to 6,43,289

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: As many as 26 volunteers who reached the Air-India Express plane crash site in Kozhikode evacuated the injured passengers on 7 August, have tested positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus LATEST Updates: As many as 26 volunteers who reached the Air-India Express plane crash site in Kozhikode evacuated the injured passengers on 7 August, have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As far as my information from the airport sources goes, as many as 26 localpeople, involved in the rescue operations, have tested positive for the virus so far and are now under medical care,” the Malappuram District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena told PTI.

District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, Superintendent of Police U Abdul Kareem and 21 officials, including police and fire force personnel, also involved in the rescue operations, had also tested positive.

The youngsters, who all stay around the airport area, had rushed to the accident site braving the heavy rains and COVID-19 fears and taken the injured to the various hospitals, drawing praise from various quarters, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

With a record 9,18,470 tests been being done in a day, the cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in India have reached 3.26 crore even as the national positivity rate has fallen below 8 percent, the Union Health Ministry said.

With constantly increasing testing numbers, there has been a commensurate fall in the positivity rate, the ministry said.

“Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as the experience from several states and UTs has amply depicted, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, effective tracking and timely clinical management,” it stated.

India for the first time conducted a record number of more than 9 lakh COVID tests in a span of 24-hours on Wednesday and it is poised to see an exponential increase towards its resolve of testing 10 lakh samples daily.

The cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of coronavirus infection in the country has increased to 3,26,61,252.

This is an increase of around seven percentage points compared to the previous sero-survey for which samples were collected between 27 June and 10 July.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that the contraction of the world economy is expected to be the largest since Great Depression.

Speaking at the 6th roundtable of ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks, Jaishankar said that the impact of COVID-19 has put a “cumulative loss of approx 6.5 or 9.7 percent of the global GDP”.

India reports 69,652 cases in 24 hours, taking the tally to 28,36,925. The toll increases by 977 to 53,866. There are now 6,86,395 active cases, while as many as 20,96,664 people have been discharged so far.

With a record 60,091 people recovering from the novel coronavirus in a day, the total recoveries on Wednesday crossed 20 lakh, pushing the recovery rate to 73.64 percent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate fell to 1.91 percent, the Union Health Ministry said.

The number of active cases in the country stands at 6,76,514, accounting for 24.45 percent of the caseload as the total recoveries have surged to 20,37,870, it said.

The total caseload increased to 27,67,273 as 64,531 people tested positive in 24 hours while the toll climbed to 52,889 with a spike of 1,092 deaths, the health ministry said in its morning update. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August.

India tests over 8 lakh samples for second consecutive day

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 3,17,42,782 samples have been tested till 18 August with 8,01,518 samples being tested on Tuesday.

“Focusing on the “test, track and treat” strategy, India has tested more than eight lakh samples for COVID-19 for the second consecutive day,” said the health ministry in a statement. “The Tests Per Million too have seen a sharp rise to 23,002,” the ministry said.

“It is only by aggressive testing that positive cases can be identified, their contacts tracked and isolated as well as prompt treatment can be ensured through timely medical care. The sustained level of high testing has played a key role in India’s increasing rate of recovery, widening gap between the recovered and active cases, and also progressively declining fatality rate,” the ministry said.

Dr Reddy’s launches Avigan (Favipiravir) tablets

In another development, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd announced the launch of Avigan (Favipiravir) 200 mg tablets in India.

The launch is part of the global licensing agreement with Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. Ltd. that grants the Indian drug maker the exclusive rights to manufacture, sell and distribute the tablets in India, Chief Executive Officer of Branded Markets (India and Emerging Markets), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, MV Ramana told news agency PTI.

Avigan(Favipiravir) has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

Avigan comes in a complete therapy pack of 122 tablets with a two-year shelf life. Ramana said that as of now, the company is importing the drug from Japan but will start manufacturing it in India soon.

Replying to query, he said they have already approached regulatory authorities of two or three countries including the US seeking approvals to sell the drug and seek fast track approvals from them once trials are completed. Dr Reddy’s is set to launch another COVID-19 treatment drug, Remdesivir in the first week of September, he added.

Vaccine’s emergency authorisation could be considered if govt decides: ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava told members of the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs that phase-two clinical trial of two indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidates have almost been completed and emergency authorisation of a vaccine could be considered if the Centre decides to do so.

He informed the committee that the vaccine candidates developed by Bharat Biotech, Cadila and the Serum Institute of India are at different stages of trial, an MP present in the meeting told news agency PTI.

The COVID-19 vaccine candidates coordinated by Bharat Biotech and Cadila are nearing completion of phase-two trails. The one being handled by the Serum Institute of India and developed by Oxford University will enter phase-2 (b) trials this weekend for which 1,700 patients have been identified at 17 centres across the country, the MP said.

According to MPs who attended the meeting, when asked how long people will have to live with the pandemic, Bhargava replied that normally the final trial takes about six to nine months but if the governments decides, an emergency authorisation could be considered.

Responding to queries by the panel about the saliva test cleared by the US FDA for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2, Bhargava said that taking samples from gargled water is already under consideration and further details will be available soon, said another MP who attended the meeting.

DDMA gives nod to reopening hotels, weekly markets

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) gave its approval for the opening of hotels and weekly markets but refused to allow gyms to reopen, said a Delhi government statement.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the DDMA which was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through video conference.

The proposal to open gyms was not approved in the meeting headed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal. The LG said gyms can be allowed to open in the coming days. The weekly markets will be first opened on trial basis to assess the situation on the ground.

Hotels, weekly markets and gyms were closed in the city with the announcement of the lockdown in March in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. In the last week of July, the AAP government had decided to allow hotels and gyms to reopen in the city, and start weekly markets on a trial basis for seven days with social distancing and all other COVID 19 measures in place.

However, on 31 July the Lt Governor Anil Baijal “rejected” the Delhi government’s decision, citing the fragile situation due to coronavirus pandemic in the city. The state government then sent a fresh proposal to the LG, arguing that the condition of Delhi was improving and the number of COVID-19 cases were coming down.

Delhi on Wednesday reported 1,398 fresh coronavirus infections, taking the case count in the city to over 1.56 lakh, while the toll mounted to 4,235 with nine fatalities.  The positivity rate stood at 6.7 percent while the recovery rate was over 90 percent, said a bulletin issued by the state government.

Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh report record new cases

Maharashtra saw its highest single-day spike of 13,165 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 6,28,642, while 346 fresh deaths pushed the toll to 21,033 Also, 9,011 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the count of recovered coronavirus patients to 4,46,881. There are 1,60,413 active cases in the state at present.

Arunachal Pradesh added a record 133 COVID-19 new cases to its tally, taking the total caseload to 2,875. Twenty-nine paramilitary personnel and a health worker were among those found positive on Wednesday, said State Surveillance Officer Dr L Jampa. Fifty-five more people have been cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,949, the official said. Arunachal Pradesh, which had reported its first COVID-19 case on 2 April, has 921 active cases at present. Five patients have died so far, he said.

Sikkim reported its third fatality due to the novel coronavirus infection as a 57-year-old man succumbed to the disease while under treatment. Director General (DG)-cum-secretary in the department of health, Pempa T Bhutia said that the victim, a native of Pelling was admitted to STNM hospital on 14 August for cellulitis in his right leg with multi-organ dysfunction syndrome. He tested positive in the RT-PCR test and died on Wednesday.

In Uttar Pradesh, another state minister was among the 5,156 fresh COVID-19 cases. The cumulative case count in the state rose to 1,67,510. while the toll climbed to 2,638 with 53 fatalities. Minister of State for MSME, Khadi and Village Industry, Chaudhary Udaybhan Singh, tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, the institute’s director Prof. RK Dhiman said.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Atul Garg, is presently undergoing treatment in a Ghaziabad hospital for coronavirus. Besides, two other state ministers Kamal Rani Varun and Chetan Chauhan had recently died of COVID-19

With inputs from PTI

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