The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. P.K. Mishra on Saturday chaired a high-level review meeting to comprehensively review the COVID-19 preparedness and response, noted a release issued by the Health Ministry.
Also read: Experts moot combining vaccine trial phases to speed up rollout in India
“The meeting focused on evidence based learning on management of cases across the Districts and States and also discussed the stage of vaccine development and vaccine distribution plan,” noted the release.
Also read: The Hindu Explains | Why is Phase-3 of COVID-19 vaccine trial complicated?
You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.
Here are the latest updates:
1.45 pm | New Delhi
Stress, self-injuries and suicide: India battles mental health crisis as COVID tally spikes
Hemmed inside their homes for months on end as a pandemic raged outside, millions of people are emerging timorously into a world that has drastically changed — an uneasy adjustment process resulting in a spectrum of mental health issues ranging from depression to that final step, suicide. The dread of contracting the disease combined with the realisation that the incidence of COVID-19 spiralled instead of being contained in the lockdown and that the days of suspending life as they knew it could extend indefinitely has been profoundly disturbing for many.
Add to this new normal, ill-health, joblessness, financial crises and the everyday stresses that people anyway had to deal with and the COVID-19 tunnel stretches dark and seemingly endless with no light at the end of it.
This prolonged uncertainty has led people to feel a lot more anxious. So people who were on a mild anxiety spectrum earlier have moved to moderate and severe anxiety. When anxiety gets severe, the kinds of behaviour of self harm increase, said Arvinder Singh, psychologist, psychotherapist and director of the Ashoka Centre for Well-Being in New Delhi.
As India’s COVID-19 tally crossed 47.5 lakh with 94,372 new cases reported on Sunday, Singh’s concerns find echo across the country.
The worries are rooted in reports of more people inflicting injuries on themselves, several ending their lives and many complaining of depression and severe anxiety.
In Gujarat, for instance, the 108 emergency ambulance service received about 800 cases of “self injuries” and 90 cases of suicide in April, May, June and July, officials said. The numbers began to spike soon after the nationwide lockdown, which came into effect on March 25. – PTI
1.30 pm | New Delhi
Delhi govt. directs 33 private hospitals to reserve 80% of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Sunday the city government has instructed 33 big private hospitals in the national capital to reserve 80% of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, amid a shortage of such beds at some facilities.
Delhi has been witnessing a surge in novel coronavirus cases from the last week of August. Delhi recorded its biggest single-day jump of 4,321 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the city’s tally to over 2.14 lakh, authorities said. It was for the fourth day in a row that over 4,000 fresh cases were recorded in Delhi.
“Yesterday, we instructed 33 private hospitals to reserve 80 per cent of their ICU beds for coronavirus patients. This has been done since issues were being faced with regards to ICU beds in some private hospitals. I also held a video conference over this and an order has been issued in this regard,” he said.
Mr. Jain said there are sufficient number of ICU beds in state-run and Centre-run hospitals, and also said there are sufficient number of other beds in hospitals.
“We have also instructed hospitals to increase bed strength by 30% for coronavirus patients, in case they want to. More than 50% beds are available in hospitals. Out of the total 14,372 beds available for COVID-19 patients, 7,938 are vacant, according to live status on Delhi Corona app,” he added. – PTI
1.15 pm | New Delhi
58% of recovered cases coming from five states
A total of 37,02,595 people have recuperated from COVID-19 in the country so far, with 58% of the recovered cases being reported from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, the Centre said on Sunday.
The same five states account for 60% of total 9,73,175 active cases in the country.
The national recovery rate now stands at 77.88%.
While Maharashtra has reported 17.2% recovered cases, Tamil Nadu has 13.1%, Andhra Pradesh 12.2%, Karnataka 7.9% and Uttar Pradesh 7.8%, the Union Health Ministry said.
Maharashtra continues to lead with more than 13,000 recoveries while Andhra Pradesh has contributed more than 10,000 to the single-day recoveries, it said.
A total of 78,399 recoveries have been registered in a span of 24 hours in the country, according to the Health Ministry’s data updated at 8 a.m.
Of the 94,372 new infections that have been reported in 24 hours, Maharashtra alone has contributed to more than 22,000 cases followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with more than 9,000 cases each, the Ministry highlighted.
“Nearly 57% of the new cases are reported from five states. These are also contributing 58% of the new recovered cases,” the Ministry underlined. – PTI
1 pm | Chhattisgarh
COVID-19 disrupts Maoists’ supply chain in Chhattisgarh: Police
Maoists are facing a crisis, specially disruption of supplies, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and also suffered “huge causalities” during an encounter with security forces in Sukma district in March, an official said citing Naxal documents seized by Chhattisgarh Police.
Cashing-in on the situation, security forces have stepped up anti-Naxal operations in strongholds of ultras in the state’s Bastar division, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI on Sunday.
These documents, including some letters written by cadres, were recovered by a joint team of security forces following an exchange of fire with Naxals in a forest near Entapad village of Sukma on September 8, he said.
The gunfight lasted for about half-an-hour after which Naxals escaped into the dense forest leaving behind their bags, documents and other camping material, he said.
“An analysis of the recovered documents has revealed that Maoists have been experiencing tremendous hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic following the lockdown imposed in March this year,” the official said. – PTI
12.45 pm | West Bengal
Crisis-hit tourism industry pins hope on festive season
The tourism sector, crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, hopes to see some businesses in the upcoming Durga puja and Diwali seasons with queries from interested travellers coming in, officials of the industry bodies said on Sunday.
In the domestic and short-haul segments, people are showing interest, Travel Agents’ Federation of India (TAFI) eastern region head Anil Punjabi said.
“There is interest and queries are coming in about destinations and safety measures, but these are yet to be translated into bookings,” he said, adding that people have changed their priorities amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“There will be businesses in the Durga Puja and Diwali seasons with interest growing among people, though it is likely to be much less than what it used to be in the previous years,” Mr. Punjabi said.
With people starting to learn to live with the pandemic, at least some of them are likely to start travelling with requisite safety measures, he said.
The TAFI eastern region head said the tour operators are providing people with all kind of information regarding tourists’ destinations and the safety of the places.
A lot depends on how the COVID-19 situation emerges in the next few days as people would not want any cancellation. – PTI
12.30 pm | Rajasthan
COVID-19 claims lives of seven more people in Rajasthan
Rajasthan recorded seven deaths and 731 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, according to a health department bulletin.
While the number of positive cases in the state has increased to 1,01436, the total number of fatalities climbed to 1,228.
Bikaner reported two fresh deaths, Dungarpur (1), Jaipur (2), Jhalawar (1) and Udaipur (1). – PTI
12.15 pm | Odisha
Odisha’s COVID-19 tally crosses 1.5-lakh mark, death toll mounts to 626
The COVID-19 tally in Odisha rose to 1,50,807 with 3,913 more people testing positive for the disease on Sunday, while 10 fresh fatalities pushed the state’s death toll to 626, a health department official said.
The new cases were reported from all the 30 districts of the state, he said.
Of the fresh cases, 2,348 were reported from various quarantine centres, and 1,565 were detected during contact tracing, the official said.
Three new deaths were registered in Khurda district, two in Cuttack and one each in Balasore, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj and Subarnapur.
Ganjam accounted for 215 of the 626 fatalities in the state, followed by Khurda (92).
Fifty-three COVID-19 patients have died in the coastal state due to comorbidities, the official said. – PTI
12.00 pm | West Bengal
Kolkata Metro resumes services with NEET special trains
The wheels of Kolkata Metro started rolling again with passengers on Sunday after nearly six months with special services for NEET examinees and their guardians.
Regular passenger services will commence on Monday with social distancing measures and other safety protocols in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Metro official said.
NEET aspirants, many accompanied by their guardians, queued up in front of metro stations to reach their examination centres well before 10 am when the first trains started from both ends of the North-South line — Noapara and Kavi Subhash.
The examinees and their guardians were allowed inside the stations upon showing the admit cards to police personnel posted at the entry gates.
The candidates and their guardians went through thermal checking and sanitised their hands before buying paper tickets at the counters.
The special services will continue till 7 p.m. at intervals of 15 minutes, officials said.
Regular passenger services on the North-South and the East-West lines will commence on Monday.
Officials said that 110 trains will be operated on the North-South line every day, except Sundays when the services will be shut for sanitisation of rakes and stations.
The East-West Metro will also recommence services from September 14 between Sector V and Yuva Bharati Krirangan stations with 36 trains in each direction, they said.
11.45 am | Tripura
Social, political events responsible for surge in COVID-19 cases in Agartala: study
Social events and political rallies have led to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Tripura capital after the lockdown was withdrawn on August 5, a study conducted by the state government said.
The survey, carried out by the administration of West Tripura district of which Agartala is a part, showed that the COVID-19 tally started rising from August 17.
“The lockdown was lifted on August 5. We found that the COVID-19 caseload was increasing from August 17, and a sharp growth was noticed from August 26.
“Many social functions, including 3,000 weddings and some pujas, and political rallies took place in the district after the lockdown restrictions were withdrawn,” West Tripura District Magistrate Sailesh Kumar Yadav said on Saturday.
People became relaxed and they did not follow the health safety norms, he said.
“This is the only reason behind the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the district, mainly in Agartala,” Yadav said.
“We are conducting 400-700 tests every day in these places. We have detected three hotspot areas in Agartala,” he said.
Delays in visiting hospitals are among the reasons for increased deaths, he added.
11.00 am | Madhya Pradesh
Centre has agreed to supply 50 tonne oxygen every day to Madhya Pradesh, says CM
The Centre had agreed to supply 50 tonne of oxygen a day to Madhya Pradesh on its request, said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The State has been facing a shortage of medical oxygen even as COVID-19 cases surge.
“Today on my request, the government of India has agreed to supply 50 tonne oxygen a day after which our availability has increased to 180 tonne a day,” Mr. Chouhan tweeted on Saturday, while thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the assistance.
10.20 am | Assam
No data on post-COVID deaths, survey needed to find out details: Minister
Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said the state does not have any data on “post-COVID deaths” and coronavirus patients dying with comorbidities.
“The post-COVID deaths are more (than the official figure of COVID-19 fatalities). I do not know that because some people died at home and some at private hospitals after they recovered from COVID-19 and were discharged,” he said.
The state government does not have the data of post- COVID deaths and a survey will have to be conducted to find that out, he said.
“After this entire pandemic is over, we will have a data refining (exercise). At present, we are going ahead as per ICMR guidelines,” the minister said.
He also expressed anguish over an increase in Assam’s caseload because of a gradual withdrawal from following COVID-19 precautions like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Sarma also warned people that if they throng pandals during the upcoming Durga Puja festival, the condition of Assam will drastically worsen in terms of COVID-19 cases.
He expressed displeasure over the permissions given by the Deputy Commissioners of the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts for the campaign meetings of the Bodoland Territorial Council elections.
“I have seen pictures where people are not wearing masks and there is no social distancing. I am sorry to say that immature political leadership, whether BJP or Congress,… (is responsible for this),” Sarma said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah re-admitted to AIIMS
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was re-admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, on Saturday night almost two weeks after he was discharged from there. He was earlier admitted to the AIIMS for post COVID-19-care.
Power Ministers of Meghalaya, Manipur test positive
The Power Ministers of Meghalaya and Manipur, namely James K. Sangma and T. Bishwajit, tested COVID-19 positive on Saturday.
Manipur Power Minister T. Bishwajit, his two daughters and one security guard were found to be COVID-19 positive. The Minister and his daughters are in home quarantine.
8.30 am | Tamil Nadu
Nearly 800 doctors to be recruited for COVID-19 work
Steps are being taken to recruit nearly 800 doctors through the Medical Services Recruitment Board (MRB) to augment human resources at government hospitals in the State, according to officials of the Health Department.
8.00 am | Mumbai
11 hospitals pay ₹32 lakh for overcharging patients
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has cracked down on 11 private hospitals in the city for allegedly overcharging patients, and made them pay ₹32 lakh by reducing bills and issuing refunds.
7.00 am | Tamil Nadu
In Pudukottai, if you don’t wear a mask, you get tested
Health officials and police personnel in Pudukottai district have started intercepting people not wearing masks and subjecting them to COVID-19 tests. Officials say the initiative is meant to raise awareness on the importance of wearing masks.