Coronavirus LIVE: Local restrictions only in containment zones, says Centre

Photo: Shutterstock
Coronavirus update: Senior Congress leader Ahmad Patel died from Covid-related complications this morning. Meanwhile, India reported 44,376 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its tally to 9,222,216. The country's death toll mounted to 134,743. The seventh-most-affected country by active cases, third by fatality, and second by total cases, India has added 309,309 cases in the past 7 days.

At 1,789,800, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 876,425, Andhra Pradesh 863,843, Tamil Nadu 773,176 and Kerala 571,872. Delhi recorded 6,224 fresh Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours and a positivity rate of 10.14 per cent, while 109 more fatalities pushed the city's death toll to 8,621. Schools in the national capital were unlikely to reopen until a vaccine was available, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said yesterday.

World coronavirus update: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 60,077,383. While 41,510,093 have recovered, 1,413,713 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 12,949,200 cases, and 265,853 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 9,222,216 cases, Brazil (6,121,449), France (2,153,815), Russia (2,138,828).

Stay tuned for the latest coronavirus-related news.

LIVE UPDATES

Covid vaccine development in fast track mode, first immunisation by early-Jan: Biden

There's been significant record-breaking progress made recently in developing a vaccine & several of these vaccines look extraordinarily effective. It happens to be on track for the first immunisation to begin by late December-early January, said US President-elect Joe Biden. He added that US government will need to put in place a distribution plan to get the entire country immunised as soon as possible, which we will do, but it's going to take time.

Pak PM rules out closing down businesses amid surge in Covid-19 cases

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday ruled out closing down businesses and urged the public to follow health guidelines as the country grappled with the second wave of the coronavirus with the national tally of infections reaching 382,892. Khan told media in Lahore that he was concerned about the situation after the daily COVID-19 death toll crossed 50 while being as low as below the single digit just two weeks ago. He said that despite the rising cases, his government would not shut down factories and businesses.


"We cannot render the daily wage worker unemployed, he said, adding that people should follow the guidelines. I strongly urge all factory, shop and shopping mall owners to strictly enforce safety protocols. And the easiest thing to do is just to wear a mask, he said. He said that Pakistan was successful in defeating the virus during the first wave and asked people to show the same willingness to follow safety measures. In reply to a question, he said that the opposition should stop holding public rallies as his government would not allow any such activity because it would spread the infection.

Bihar logs 763 fresh Covid cases

Bihar's COVID-19 tally rose to 2,32,459 after 763 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, while four fresh fatalities took the death toll to 1,237, a health department bulletin said on Wednesday. It said that 350 patients recovered from the disease taking the total number of cured people to 2,25,797. The state now has 5,425 active cases.


The four new deaths were registered in Patna, Bhagalpur, Rohtas and Jamui districts, the bulletin said. It said that 763 fresh positive cases included 292 in Patna. Altogether 1,31,743 samples were tested for coronavirus since Tuesday, taking the total number of tests to 1.40 crore.

Goa makes screening of air, rail passengers mandatory amid Covid

In a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Goa government on Wednesday made it mandatory for the passengers arriving at the state's airport and railway stations to undergo thermal screening. The government issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to this effect on Wednesday.


The order said that in view of the spread of COVID-19 due to the rising cases in other states and the likely risk to the public health and safety, the State Executive Committee has adopted the SOPs for persons travelling to Goa by air and trains with effect from November 25. "All the passengers arriving at the airport and railway stations in Goa will be subjected to compulsory thermal screening," the SOPs read.

Assam's Covid-19 toll mounts to 978 with two more fatalities

Assam reported two more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, raising the toll to 978, even as 182 fresh cases took the tally to to 2,12,021, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma said. The two deaths reported during the day include an 85- year old man of Dibrugarh and a 74-year old man from Barpeta. "Sad to share the demise of two #COVID patient today... Condolences to the bereaved families," he tweeted.


The new infections include 64 from Kamrup Metropolitan district, and were detected out of 24,426 sample tests, with a positivity rate of 0.75 per cent, Sarma said. The total number of tests conducted in the state so far is 52,09,399. A total of 117 patients were discharged during the day, with the total number of recoveries increasing to 2,07,763.

Himachal reports 837 new Covid-19 cases, 99 recoveries

Robust Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing, delivery ecosystem initiated to meet demand: Vardhan

The government has initiated a robust COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet the demand, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday. Vardhan, who is also the health and family welfare minister, said that as the world races to develop the vaccine for COVID-19, India is looking to be self-reliant in both its development and mass production. Addressing a virtual Global R&D Summit 2020, organised by FICCI, jointly with the Department of Science and Technology, Vardhan said, "Called as the pharmacy of the world, India has the largest capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines.


"We have now initiated to look at a robust vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet our demands in the coming days. That is one area where your (industry) inputs will help us in not only addressing a topical issue but also creating best practices for the future." Research and innovation, he said, are the way of life. The current pandemic has further reinforced the belief in innovation and R&D to accelerate products and services that not only are helping in disease management but in turn to make the nation resilient and self-reliant, Vardhan said.

Jharkhand reports 237 new Covid-19 cases

Haryana reports 2,197 new Covid-19 case

Bengal's Covid-19 toll rises to 8,172 with 51 more fatalities

The COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal climbed to 8,172 after 51 more patients succumbed to the disease on Wednesday, a bulletin released by the state health department said. The coronavirus tally mounted to 4,66,991 with 3,528 fresh cases, it said. The discharge rate improved to 92.95 per cent after 3,605 recoveries were registered since Tuesday.


West Bengal now has 24,752 active cases. In the past 24 hours, 44,631 samples have been tested, it added.

87 more test Covid-19 positive in Chandigarh

Chandigarh on Wednesday reported 87 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the infection tally to 16,925, according to a medical bulletin. The death of a 57-year-old coronavirus positive man pushed the related toll to 266, the bulletin said. Chandigarh has 1,127 active COVID-19 cases, as of now, according to the bulletin.


Seventy-seven more patients were discharged after they recovered from the infection, taking the number of recoveries to 15,532. A total of 1,35,876 samples have been taken for COVID-19 testing and 1,18,166 of them came out negative while reports of 120 are awaited, according to the bulletin.

Pandemic LIVE: US weekly jobless claims rise as Covid-19 infections surge

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits increased further last week, suggesting that an explosion in new COVID-19 infections and business restrictions were boosting layoffs and undermining the labor market recovery. Other data on Wednesday showed business spending on capital remained solid at the start of the fourth quarter, though momentum has cooled from the prior months. The economy is shifting into slower gear as the boost from more than $3 trillion in government coronavirus relief ends.
 
Another rescue package is expected only after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20. President Donald Trump is heavily focused on contesting his electoral loss to Biden.
 
"There is a two-tier recovery from the pandemic recession where the top of society continues to spend as normal while the bottom-half of the country sits in long lines at food banks with the opportunities for employment few and far between," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

5,246 new coronavirus cases, 5,361 recoveries, and 99 deaths in last 24 hours in Delhi

Haryana reports 42 coronavirus deaths, 2,197 new cases

Haryana on Wednesday recorded 42 more coronavirus-related deaths, its highest single-day fatality count so far, pushing the toll to 2,291 while 2,197 fresh cases took the state's infection tally to 2,24,489. The new fatalities include six each from Faridabad and Panipat and five each from Rohtak and Bhiwani while three people each died in Gurugram, Hisar and Fatehabad, according to the state health department's daily bulletin.
 
Earlier on November 24, Haryana had reported 33 deaths linked to the virus.
 
Haryana has witnessed a surge in cases and fatalities over the past several days, especially in districts falling in the National Capital Region. Among the districts which reported a big spike in cases included Gurugram (661), Faridabad (485), Hisar (147) and Sonipat (100). The state has 20,948 active cases of the novel coronavirus and a recovery rate of 89.65 per cent.

Coronavirus positivity rate in Kerala continues to be below 10%

The Covid-19 test positivity rate in Kerala continues to hover below 10 per cent, indicating things are looking better, as 6,491 people tested positive on Wednesday from 66,042 samples tested in the past 24 hours. In a statement issued here, state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja also said that on Wednesday, 5,770 people turned negative, taking the total cured to 5,11,008 while the state has 65,106 active cases.
 
Wednesday also saw 26 Covid fatalities, taking the death toll to 2,121. Across the state, there were 3,14,676 people under observation at various places, including 16,060 people at hospitals. There were 546 hot spots in the state.

Maharashtra reports 6,159 new coronavirus cases, 65 deaths

Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 6,159 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the count of infections to 17,95,959. With 65 more people succumbing to the viral infection, the cumulative toll in the state mounted to 46,748. A total of 4,844 patients were discharged after treatment during the day, taking the tally of recovered people to 16,63,723, a health department official said.
 
The state is now left with 84,464 active cases. Mumbai reported 1,144 new COVID-19 cases, taking its caseload to 2,78,598. With 17 fatalities, the total toll in the city rose to 10,725. The state has so far conducted 1,04,56,962 tests.

Late hospital admissions, rising pollution behind surge in Covid-19 deaths in Delhi: Experts

Late hospital admissions leading to COVID-19 cases turning critical, shortage of ICU beds, unfavourable weather and rising pollution are among the factors experts attribute to the spike in COVID-19 deaths in Delhi. The national capital's COVID-19 fatality rate has increased to 1.89 per cent as against a national average of 1.46 per cent. The city has been reporting the highest number of coronavirus cases and fatalities for the last few days.
 
Going by the epidemiological trend, the severity of the disease is more in this phase of the pandemic compared to the last one and several factors, including weather and pollution, are contributing to it, a health ministry official said.
 
Dr Samiran Panda, the head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases (ECD) Division at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said not following home isolation guidelines, late reporting to hospital despite deterioration in symptoms are some of the factors playing a major role in patients landing up at hospitals in severe conditions.

Gujarat reports highest 1,540 coronavirus cases in a day; 14 die

Gujarat on Wednesday reported its highest single-day spike of 1,540 COVID-19 cases, taking the count of infections to 2,01,949. This is the second time in the last four days that the number of daily cases crossed the 1,500-mark. With 14 more persons succumbing to the infection, the cumulative toll in the state went up to 3,906, it said.
 
At the same time, 1,283 patients were discharged from hospitals after treatment, taking the tally of recoveries to 1,83,756, the department said.
 
The state has ramped up COVID-19 testing for early detection of cases. A total of 91,459 tests were conducted in a single day, raising the total samples tested so far to 74,80,789.

3,285 new coronavirus cases in Rajasthan, 18 more die

Rajasthan recorded 18 more fatalities due to the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 2,218, while 3,285 fresh cases brought the infection tally to 2,53,767, according to a health department bulletin. The number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 26,320 in the state. According to the bulletin, so far 2,25,229 people have been discharged after recovering from the infection.
 
The death toll from the pandemic stands at 421 in Jaipur, followed by 225 in Jodhpur, 173 in Ajmer, 159 in Bikaner, 129 in Kota, 102 in Bharatpur, 86 in Udaipur and 84 in Pali.
 
Of the fresh COVID-19 cases, 615 were recorded in Jaipur, 370 in Jodhpur, 296 in Alwar, 270 in Kota, 245 in Ajmer, 185 in Bhilwara, 147 in Sriganganagar, 140 in Udaipur, 115 in Nagaur, 99 in Bharatpur, besides cases reported in other districts of the state.

Sunday Covid-19 lockdown to return in Dehradun from this week

Uttarakhand's Dehradun district will be locked down on Sundays from this week to contain the spread of COVID-19.
 
Dehradun District Magistrate Ashish Shrivastava issued an order on Wednesday seeking strict compliance of the lockdown on Sundays for carrying out sanitisation drives in busy market areas. Only shops selling essentials like medicines, fruits, vegetables, milk, petrol pumps and LPG agencies will be allowed to open.
 
Weekend lockdown had been temporarily suspended in the district due to the festive season. COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Uttarakhand with Dehradun district reporting the maximum number of infections in the state for several weeks.

Uttar Pradesh records 29 more coronavirus deaths, 2,318 new cases

With 2,318 fresh COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, the infection tally in the state rose to 5,33,355 on Wednesday, while 29 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 7,644, a health department bulletin said. There are 24,876 active cases in the state, of which 11,718 are in home isolation, Additional Chief Secretary Health Amit Mohan Prasad said.
 
Altogether 5,00,835 people have recovered from the infection so far and discharged from hospitals, the bulletin said. A total of 325 fresh cases were reported from Lucknow followed by 242 from Meerut, 223 from Gautam Budhnagar and 179 from Ghaziabad, among others.

Five deaths were reported from the state capital, two each from Kanpur Nagar, Varanasi, Meerut, Sultanpur, Farrukhabad and Banda, among others. On Tuesday, over 1.78 lakh COVID-19 tests were done in the state, which is the highest in a day so far, Prasad said, adding that over 1.84 crore tests have been conducted in UP till now.

Kerala records 6,491 fresh coronavirus cases; death toll touches 2,121

Kerala on Wednesday registered 6,491 fresh COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths, taking the total caseload to 5,78,132and the toll to 2,121. A total of 5,770 people recovered from the viral infection, state Health Minister K K Shylaja said. With this the total number of cured in the state has risen to 5,11,008. The state has 65,106 active cases as of Wednesday.
 
"Kerala has tested 66,042 samples in the last 24 hours and the test positivity rate is 9.83 per cent. The state has tested 60,18,925 samples so far," she said.
 
Northern district of Kozhikode reported the highest number of cases on Wednesday at 781, followed by Ernakulam (566) and Malappuram (628) cases.

Centre asks states to take steps to reopen medical colleges from or before Dec 1

The Union Health Ministry Wednesday asked state governments to initiate steps for reopening of medical colleges from December 1 or before it, but with strict adherence to all COVID-19 related guidelines. Educational institutions in the country have been closed since March in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In a letter to the chief secretaries and the administrators of all states and Union Territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also suggested making non-COVID beds available in sufficient numbers in affiliated medical college-hospitals to facilitate undergraduate training.
 
The Health Ministry has obtained concurrence from the Ministry of Home Affairs for re-opening of medical colleges, the letter mentioned. Accordingly, the states and UTs may take necessary steps to open the medical colleges on or before December 1, 2020, the health secretary said in his letter dated November 25.

MHA guidelines: Local restrictions like night curfew allowed; Prior consultation with Centre needed for any lockdown outside containment zones

States and union territories can impose local restrictions like night curfew to check the spread of COVID-19, but they will have to consult the Centre before imposing any lockdown outside the containment zones, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Wednesday. While issuing guidelines for "Surveillance, Containment and Caution" for December, the MHA said the main focus of the directive is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19 that are visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country.
 
The guidelines said that keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in a few states and UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic there is a need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy. The containment strategy should be focussed on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines and SOPs issued by the MHA and Ministry of Health, they said.
 
"States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew. "However, state and UT governments shall not impose any local lockdown (state/ district/ sub-division/City level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the central government," the guidelines said.
 
The guidelines will be effective from December 1 to December 31.

Pakistan's Covid-19 tally crosses 3.8 mn mark with 3k new cases

Pakistan recorded the highest single-day spike of 3,009 coronavirus cases in over four months, taking the cumulative tally to 382,892. According to the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), the SARS-CoV-2 virus claimed 59 lives across the country in the past 24 hours taking the death toll to 7,803, Geo TV reported on Wednesday.
 
The number of active cases has jumped to 41,115 while 1,867 patients are under critical care. The positivity rate remains stagnant for the third consecutive day at over 7 per cent.
 
With the COVID-19 pandemic progressively getting worse in Pakistan, the government has placed fresh restrictions across the country to prevent the spread of the virus during its second wave.

Bangladesh to get 68 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from Gavi by 2021

Bangladesh is expected to get 68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, under the global arrangement called Covax facility within 2021.
 
The Daily Star citing the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Wednesday reported the cost for each shot of vaccine from Gavi arrangement has been estimated between USD 1.62 to USD 2.
 
"Those, who will submit the National Vaccine Deployment Plan first, will receive the vaccine supply first," Dr Shamsul Haque Mridha, Director of Expanded Programme for Immunization (EPI), said in a press conference at the health directorate.
 
 

Coronavirus LIVE: There is need to maintain caution, says MHA

Over 88% Indians know at least one Covid-19 infected person: Survey

With over nine million coronavirus cases in India, 88 per cent citizens now have one or more contacts in their social network who have had the viral disease, a survey revealed on Wednesday. India's caseload went past 92 lakh with 44,376 new cases reported in a day, while the number of recoveries surged to 86.42 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
 
To understand the extent of spread bottoms up, LocalCircles conducted a survey which received more than 9,000 responses from citizens across 208 districts of India. Of this, 66 per cent respondents were men while 34 per cent respondents were women. It received 58 per cent responses from tier 1, 23 per cent from tier 2, and 18 per cent were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
 
The survey asked, "How has Covid-19 impacted your social network (family, extended family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, business associates, etc.), including yourself in the last 8 months?" responses from 9,171 citizens were received.

District authorities setting up micro-containment zones as Covid-19 cases surge in Delhi

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital, some district authorities have been setting up micro-containment zones where two or more infections have been reported for better management of the pandemic, officials said on Wednesday. Normally, an area is marked containment zone where three or more COVID-19 cases are detected. But it is a dynamic exercise, conducted by district authorities on a need-based manner, they said.
 
The Delhi Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulation, 2020, authorises district magistrates to seal off a geographical area, banning entry and exit of the population from the containment zone and to take any measures directed by the health department to prevent the spread of the disease.
 
According to a senior Delhi government official, micro-containment zones have been formed in the southwest and northwest districts, while other districts were also using a flexible approach to ensure restricting virus transmission in the best possible way. The southwest district magistrate had on Sunday issued an order for setting up of micro-containment zones in view of "large scale outbreak" of the novel coronavirus in the district.

First EU citizens may be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Dec-end

First European Union citizens could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of the next month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday.
 
The pandemic situation remains serious, "with nearly 3,000 deaths a day," von der Leyen admitted. Relaxing restrictions "too much and too fast" could lead to a third wave after Christmas, the European Commission president warned, calling on the EU to "learn from the summer."
 
"But there is also good news. The European Commission has by now secured contracts on vaccines with six pharmaceutical companies. The first European citizens might already be vaccinated before the end of December. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel ... Vaccines are important, but what counts is vaccination," von der Leyen told the European parliament.

Night curfew in Punjab from Dec 1: CM Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said a night curfew will be imposed in the state from December 1 to fight coronavirus. The chief minister in a statement said the night curfew will remain in force from 10 pm and 5 am, amid apprehension of a second wave of coronavirus in the state.
 
Announcing a series of fresh restrictions, the CM also ordered doubling of fine for not wearing masks or following social distancing norms from December 1.
 
The fine for not wearing masks and not following social distancing norms has been hiked from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. The curbs, which will be reviewed on December 15, also restrict operation timings for all hotels, restaurants and marriage palaces till 9.30 pm.

BioNTech, Fosun start Phase II trial of Covid-19 vaccine in China

BioNTech and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical said on Wednesday they would launch a Phase II clinical trial of BioNTech's experimental COVID-19 vaccine in China.
 
The vaccine, known as BNT162b2, will be tested on volunteers at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention to assess safety and immunogenicity, eyeing future approval in China, the two companies said in a statement.
 
BioNTech is also working with U.S. pharma giant Pfizer on the vaccine and the partners said last week they were hoping to win approval in the United States and Europe this year after trial results showed the compound had a 95% efficacy rate and caused no serious side effects.
 

Kejriwal asks experts to audit Covid-19 death cases, suggest measures to reduce fatalities in Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday requested experts to audit COVID-19 death cases and suggest measures to reduce fatalities in the national capital, amid a spurt in the infections in the city. The chief minister made the request at a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), which is chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal.
 
"At the meeting, the chief minister asked experts to audit death cases and suggest measures which could reduce deaths in the national capital," a source said.
 
This comes against the backdrop of Delhi's three BJP-led municipal corporations alleging inconsistencies in the official death count vis-a-vis the number of deaths projected by funerals at the crematoria and burial grounds here.
 
According to Delhi government data, the total number of COVID-19 deaths as on November 23 was 8,512, while the civic bodies claimed to have carried out 10,318 funerals. On Tuesday, the national capital recorded over 100 COVID-19 deaths for the fifth consecutive day, and the death rate stood at 1.89 per cent.

Consistent fall in cumulative Covid-19 positivity rate as testing increases

With the total number of tests conducted for the detection of COVID-19 nearing 13.5 crore in the country, the health ministry on Wednesday said comprehensive and widespread testing on a sustained basis has resulted in bringing down the positivity rate. The progressive decline in the national cumulative COVID-19 positivity rate has demonstrated that the rate of spread of the infection is being effectively contained in the country, the ministry underlined.
 
The cumulative positivity rate has been steadily falling and has touched 6.84 per cent as on date while the daily positivity rate stands at 3.83 per cent, it said.
 
The country has demonstrated a consistent strengthening of its COVID-19 testing infrastructure since January, resulting in an exponential increase in the testing numbers, the ministry said. With 11,59,032 tests conducted for the detection of the coronavirus infection in a span of 24 hours, the total number of such tests is nearing 13.5 crore (13,48,41,307).

Coronavirus LIVE: Aurangabad records 146 new coronavirus cases

The detection of 146 fresh cases of COVID-19 has raised the count of infections in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district to 42,646. With the addition of the latest cases on Tuesday, the district now has 802 patients undergoing treatment, the official said.
 
At least 110 persons were discharged from various hospitals and one died of the infection on Tuesday. The district has so far recorded 40,707 recoveries and 1,137 deaths.

Delhi Covid hospitals get 1,300 ICU beds, 2,000 normal ones in two weeks

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, as many as 2,000 normal and 1,300 ICU beds have been added in hospitals of Delhi in the past two weeks for COVID-19 patients, an official said on Wednesday.
 
The official said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been monitoring the situation, and added that all efforts are being made by the Delhi government to bring down the mortality rate. The death rate stood at 1.89 per cent on Tuesday.

Pakistan records the highest single-day spike of 3,009 Covid-19 cases in over four month

Pakistan on Wednesday recorded the highest single-day spike of 3,009 Covid-19 cases in over four months, bringing the total number to 382,892.
 
Geo News citing National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported 59 COVID-19 deaths across the country in the past 24 hours. The country's overall death toll has now hit 7,803.
 
The number of active cases has jumped to 41,115 while 1,867 patients are under critical care.

Coronavirus survives on surfaces within thin films: IIT B study

The Covid-19 virus survives on surfaces by clinging to thin liquid films, according to a study by researchers at IIT-Bombay which provides insights into how the novel coronavirus sustains for hours or days on solid surfaces under ambient conditions.
 
The study, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, attributes the long survival time of the novel coronavirus on a surface to the slow evaporation of a thin nanometre liquid film remaining after the evaporation of the bulk droplet.
 
The ability to predict the survival of the novel coronavirus on different surfaces can help prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, the researchers said.

Covid test mandatory at Uttarakhand airport for people coming from Delhi

Passengers traveling from Delhi to Jollygrant Airport in Dehradun have to mandatory undergo a Covid-19 test at the airport, as per an order issued by the Uttarakhand government.
 
The development has come at a time when Covid-19 infections in Delhi have been on a rise. With the help of the Jollygrant Airport Association, a health department team has been deployed at the airport for testing passengers coming from Delhi, the State government said.
 
With this announcement, Uttrakhand has joined states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, which have mandated the COVID-19 test for people arriving from Delhi.
 
While Delhi recorded 38,501 active cases, Uttarakhand has 4,638 active cases.

Covid-19 case tally goes past 8,000 in Ladakh; four more fatalities push death toll to 105

Four more Covid-related fatalities pushed the death toll due to the disease to 105 in Ladakh, while the virus caseload crossed the 8,000-mark in the Union Territory after 83 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours, officials said on Wednesday.
 
Meanwhile, a civil society-sponsored weeklong lockdown in Leh entered the third day with all shops and business establishments except pharmacies remaining closed and transport off the roads.
 
All the four new Covid-related deaths were reported from Leh, taking the death toll due to the disease in the district to 64, the officials said.
 
Kargil district accounts for the remaining 41 Covid-related deaths in the Union Territory.

Coronavirus pandemic could be stopped if at least 70% public wore face masks consistently: Study

The COVID-19 pandemic could be stopped if at least 70 per cent of the public wore face masks consistently, according to a review of studies which suggests that the type of material used and the duration of mask use play key roles in their effectiveness.
 
The research, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, assessed studies on face masks and reviewed epidemiological reports on whether they reduce the number of people an infected person spreads the pathogen to -- the reproduction number of the virus.
 
"The highly efficacious facemask, such as surgical masks with an estimated efficacy of around 70 per cent, could lead to the eradication of the pandemic if at least 70 per cent of the residents use such masks in public consistently," the scientists, including Sanjay Kumar from the National University of Singapore, wrote in the study.
 
"Even less efficient cloth masks could also slow the spread if worn consistently," Kumar added.
 
According to the scientists, one key aspect of face mask function involves the size of fluid droplets expelled from the nose and mouth when a person talks, sings, sneezes, coughs, or even simply breathes.

Coronavirus DATA STORY: India sees biggest single-day jump in active cases since Sep 28

India on Tuesday conducted 1,159,032 coronavirus tests, taking the total count of tests conducted so far in the country to 134,841,307. The test positivity rate recorded was 3.8%. Read on...

Coronavirus LIVE: Five states with highest 24-hour net addition to deaths

Delhi (109)
West Bengal (49)
Haryana (33)
Uttar Pradesh (33)
Maharashtra (30)

Corona cases in India latest update: India has added 309,309 cases in the past 7 days

The seventh-most-affected country by active cases, third by fatality, and second by total cases, India has added 309,309 cases in the past 7 days.

Delhi coronavirus update: A meeting of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is scheduled for 12 noon today

A meeting of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)  is scheduled for 12 noon today, via video conference; Covid-19 situation, vaccine delivery and administration, implementation of Covid-19 management strategy following MHA meeting with Delhi on the agenda for the meeting

EXPLAINER: China's claims of coronavirus on frozen foods

China has stirred controversy with claims it has detected the coronavirus on packages of imported frozen food.
 
Frozen shrimp imported from an Ecuadorian company was banned for one week on Tuesday in a continuing series of such temporary bans.
 
While experts say the virus can survive for a time on cardboard and plastic containers, it remains unclear how serious a risk that poses. Like so many issues surrounding the pandemic, the matter has swiftly become politicised.
 
China has rejected complaints from the US and others, saying it is putting people's lives first. Experts say they generally don't consider the presence of the virus on packaging to be a significant health risk.
 
A look at the issue and some of the conclusions so far:
 
CHINA'S CRACKDOWN
 
Packaging first became a major issue with outbreaks in China linked to wholesale food markets, including one in June on the outskirts of Beijing. That prompted the removal of smoked salmon from supermarket shelves and has snowballed into multiple cases nationwide involving chicken, beef and seafood from nearly two dozen countries. At some supermarkets, imported meat now comes with a sticker declaring it to be virus-free.
 
Infections among freight handlers have also placed suspicion on packaging. Person-to-person transmission hasn't been ruled out, however, and China has yet to release evidence that packaging was indeed the route of infection.
 
OVERSEAS COMPLAINTS
 
Trading partners, including the US, New Zealand, Canada and the EU, say they're unclear on China's methodology and have seen no solid evidence that their products carried the virus. The US has questioned whether China's crackdown is scientifically based and suggested the bans may amount to an unfair trade barrier.
 
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called the US accusations totally groundless and unreasonable.
 
China's measures are necessary following the spirit of putting people's lives first and protecting people's health, he said last week.

India thanks Bahrain for taking 'special care' of Indian diaspora during coronavirus crisis

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has thanked Bahrain for taking "special care" of the Indian diaspora in this Gulf kingdom during the coronavirus crisis.
 
On a two-day visit to Bahrain from November 24 to 25, Jaishankar held talks on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.
 
He also conveyed condolences on behalf of the government and people of India to the Bahraini leadership on the sad demise of Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on November 11.
 
"Started Bahrain visit with a warm meeting with FM Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani. Conveyed sincere condolences on the passing away of former PM HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa," Jaishankar tweeted late Tuesday night.
 
"Discussed our historical ties and cooperation in diverse sectors. Exchanged views on regional and international issues. Thanked Bahrain for taking special care of the Indian community during COVID times," he said.

Jharkhand coronavirus update: 233 new Covid-19 cases, 2 fresh fatalities

Jharkhand's Covid-19 tally rose to 1,07,921 on Wednesday as 233 more people tested positive for the infection, a health official said.
 
Two more patients succumbed to the infection, pushing the state's coronavirus death toll to 955, he said.
 
Bokaro and Ranchi districts reported one fresh fatality each, the official said.
 
Ranchi district reported the highest number of new cases at 93, followed by East Singhbhum (28) and Ramgarh (27), he said. Read on...

Andaman and Nicobar Islands coronavirus update: 11 cases push Covid tally of to 4,667

The Covid-19 tally of Andaman and Nicobar Islands rose to 4,667 on Wednesday as 11 more people tested positive for the infection, a health official said.
 
Seven new patients have travel history, while four infections were detected during contact tracing, he said.
 
Eleven more people have been cured of the disease, the official said. Read on...

Mizoram coronavirus update: 35 new cases push Mizoram's Covid-19 tally to 3,745

Mizoram's Covid-19 tally rose to 3,745 on Wednesday as 35 more people, including 12 security personnel, tested positive for the infection, a health official said.
 
Lawngtlai district reported the highest number of new cases at 16, followed by Serchhip (10) and Aizawl (nine), he said.
 
Twenty new cases were detected during rapid antigen tests, 10 during TrueNat and five during RT-PCR tests, the official said.

Telangana coronavirus updates: 993 fresh coronavirus cases recorded in the state

Telangana posted 993 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the total infection count to over 2.66 lakh while four fatalities pushed the toll to 1,441.
 
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 161, followed by Medchal Malkajgiri 93 and Bhadradri Kothagudem 67 , a government bulletin said on Wednesday providing details as of 8 pm on November 24.

Maharashtra: Coronavirus tests being done on passengers arriving from Delhi, Goa, Rajasthan & Gujarat

"Passengers who've COVID negative certificates are allowed to go while rest are checked for symptoms & tested accordingly," says BMC doctor.

Coronavirus India update: Summary of MoHFW data (November 25)

Active cases: 444,746 (Net reduction: 6,079)
Deaths: 134,699 (Net addition: 481)
Cured: 8,642,771 (Net addition: 37,816)
Total cases: 9,222,216 (Net addition: 44,376)

Known for his sharp mind, Ahmed Patel's role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered, says PM Modi

124,000 beds added to 1,426 hospitals in Kerala: CM Vijayan to PM Modi

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a total of 1.24 lakh new beds were added to 1,426 hospitals in the state.
 
Participating in a virtual meeting held by Modi with chief ministers of states witnessing a spike in the COVID-19 cases, Vijayan informed him about the steps taken by Kerala in containing the COVID-19.
 
"We have been able to reduce the pressure on hospitals with the widespread opening of covid Firstline Treatment Centers (FLTCs). In addition to the existing hospital beds, 1.24 lakh new beds have been set up in 1,426 institutions. The government has set up extensive facilities for testing. There are currently 2,113 labs for testing in both the government and private sectors. 58.09 lakh tests have already been conducted. About 30 per cent of these are RT-PCR tests," Vijayan said. Read on....

Ahmed Patel: The troubleshooter's departure leaves the Congress poorer

Ahmed Patel, Treasurer of the Indian National Congress, MP, a close aide to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, died today at 71. He leaves behind a void that no one can fill. This may sound like a cliché. But there are few in the party today who are capable of being a bridge over troubled waters that Patel proved to be, time and again. Read on..
 

More policy space can be created only when inflation eases, says MPC member

The Reserve Bank of India has cut interest rates by “a great deal” and more policy space can be created only when inflation eases, its executive director and rate-panel member Mridul Saggar said.
 
Inflation is being driven by supply-side problems and is likely to stay elevated for a while, he said at the Emerging Markets Central Banking Summit organized virtually by the Washington-based Institute of International Finance. Although food prices -- which contribute significantly to India’s inflation basket -- are expected to correct significantly by December, he said it isn’t easy to bring prices down under pandemic conditions. Read on...

Global coronavirus update: France's Coronavirus deaths pass 50,000

France's coronavirus death toll rose past 50,000 on Tuesday after another 458 patients died in hospitals in the past day, according to figures shared by the public health agency.
 
The country recorded 9,155 new infections in the past 24 hours, in what is a marked decrease from over 45,000 cases reported exactly a week ago.
 
Overall, more than 2.1 million people in France have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began. Further 12,174 people were hospitalized in the past 7 days, with 1,833 in intensive care.

Did festival demand revive Indian economy's animal spirits in October?

India’s economy showed more signs of a recovery taking hold in October, increasing the likelihood it will exit a pandemic-induced recession in the final quarter of this year.
 
Demand during the festival season helped boost three of the eight high-frequency indicators tracked by Bloomberg News last month, while three were unchanged and two deteriorated. That kept the needle on a dial measuring so-called ‘Animal Spirits’ steady at 5 -- a level arrived at by using the three-month weighted average to smooth out volatility in the single-month readings. Read on...

Lockdown or no lockdown, telemedicine is here to stay, say doctors

As Cyclone Nivar is likely to make its landfall between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Wednesday, Chennai and other coastal districts of Tamil Nadu are experiencing heavy to very heavy rainfall. Normal life was distrurbed due to power cuts, waterlogging while public transport was affected. Meanwhile, water level at Chembarambakkam lake, which caused floods in Chennai in 2015 is close to its full capacity.
 
The system which was 700 km off Chennai, is barreling towards Tamil Nadu and is likely to hit the coast. Read on...

Ahmed Patel was a pillar of the Congress party, says Rahul Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi’s condolence message on the demise of Ahmed Patel

Pompeo hits out at CCP again for failing to alert the world about COVID

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo once again hit out at Beijing, more specifically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for failing poorly to alert the world about the COVID-19.
 
The Secretary of State said that it even silenced brave Chinese citizens who tried to disseminate any information about the virus that originated from Wuhan.
 
"I want to start with a topic that's on everyone's mind: the battle against the pandemic from Wuhan. Many people in America, in Kuwait, and around the world are suffering because the Chinese Communist Party failed to properly alert the world that it had a public health disaster on its hands. It silenced brave Chinese citizens," Pompeo said.
 
Pompeo added it's wonderful that the United States and Kuwait have been able to work together on "our preparedness to make sure we are ready to tackle public health challenges alongside each other."

Saddened by the passing away of Ahmed Patel, says Smriti Irani

How a presentation by former Trai chief spurred vaccine talks within govt

India had just begun to unlock in phases when the first brainstorming meeting on the Covid-19 vaccine was held at the Prime Minister’s Office. It was July end. The country had witnessed a little over 35,000 Covid-related deaths and around 1.6 million cases. A vaccine was still a remote possibility.
 
According to people in the know, the meeting was called as R S Sharma, then chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), wanted to make a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on what the government’s vaccine strategy should be, without which India would be in a mess. Read on...

For smooth supply of COVID vaccine, Centre directs NIB to assist Central Drugs Laboratory

Keeping in view that the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is not affected and it remains available to the public, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday directed the National Institute of Biologicals (NIB), Noida, to perform the function of Central Drugs Laboratory as an additional facility for testing the COVID-19 vaccine.
 
"In the exercise of the powers conferred by sections 6 and 26B, read with section 33P, of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and rule 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, the central government, hereby directs that the National Institute of Biologicals, Noida, in addition to its existing functions, shall perform the function of Central Drugs Laboratory... in respect of the COVID-19 vaccine," the latest gazette notification issued by the Union Health Ministry said.

Envoys from 100 nations to visit Pune amid Covid vaccine production

Ambassadors and envoys from 100 countries will visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd here on December 4 amid the coronavirus outbreak and race for vaccines to combat the infection, a senior official said on Tuesday.
 
Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said there was a possibility that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would also visit Pune, adding "if the visit happens, it would be at Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biophramaceuticals". Read on...

Global availability of Covid vaccine for public only by mid-2021: Moody's

While recent news about the high effectiveness of two coronavirus vaccines is a promising sign in the effort to combat the pandemic, a vaccine for Covid-19 will not be widely distributed before mid-2021, Moodys Investors Service said on Tuesday.
 
"However, these developments do not change the assumption underpinning our economic forecasts that widespread, global availability of the vaccine to the general public is only likely by around mid-2021," Moody's said in a report.
 
It added that the recent positive news about the effectiveness of vaccines under development will do little to ease the immediate concern that the current rise in coronavirus cases across the US and Europe will dampen sentiments and economic momentum in these regions this quarter and the next.
 
"Our baseline economic forecasts balance the downside risks of increasing infections and new lockdowns in the next two months, against the potential for widespread vaccinations over the next 12 months. If lockdowns are more severe than we expect, the negative effect on GDP could be offset if a coronavirus vaccine is available quicker and uptake is wider than we had expected," it added.

Evidence builds that an early mutation made the pandemic harder to stop

As the coronavirus swept across the world, it picked up random alterations to its genetic sequence. Like meaningless typos in a script, most of those mutations made no difference in how the virus behaved.
 
But one mutation near the beginning of the pandemic did make a difference, multiple new findings suggest, helping the virus spread more easily from person to person and making the pandemic harder to stop. Read on...

Gold drops to 4-month low on Covid vaccine hope, signs of economic recovery

Gold fell to a four-month low as growing optimism over a coronavirus vaccine and signs of a increasing momentum in US economic growth stifled demand for the metal as a haven.
 
Bullion extended last week’s loss after AstraZeneca said its vaccine prevented most people from developing Covid-19, marking an­other promising development in the quest to end the pandemic US business activity powered ahead in November at the fastest pace since March 2015, IHS Markit figures Monday showed. The dollar erased losses after the report. Read on...

Dow cracks 30,000, a psychological boost during Covid-19 pandemic

The Dow Jones Industrial Average clocked its fastest 10,000 point run up to cross 30,000 for the first time on Tuesday, giving the stock market a psychological boost at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has damaged the economy and left millions unemployed.
 
Investor sentiment has been lifted by encouraging news about coming coronavirus vaccines and improving prospects for a smooth White House transition. But the milestone is less significant to professional investors. Read on...

Coronavirus vaccine hopes fuelling high Asia equity valuations; future returns doubtful

Asia’s spectacular stock rally this month, fueled by hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough, has lifted valuations to the highest in more than a decade.
 
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index is trading at about 16 times estimated profits for the next 12 months, a level unseen since the years surrounding the global financial crisis. Read on...

UN still in discussion on Russian offer of free coronavirus vaccines for its staff

Months after Russian President Vladimir Putin made an offer to provide free Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines to all the United Nations staff worldwide, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday said they are still holding discussions and looking at the relevant data.
 
While addressing the UN General Assembly in September, Russian President Putin had offered free Sputnik V vaccines to all the United Nations staff worldwide.
 
"We continue to be in discussions and looking at that," Dujarric told reporters when asked about the offer.

Congress veteran Ahmed Patel dies at 71 after multiple-organ failure

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passed away at a hospital in New Delhi in the early hours of Wednesday.The announcement of his demise was made by his son Faisal Patel.
 
In a statement on Twitter, his son Faisal Patel said that Ahmed Patel passed away at 3.30 am on November 25. "After testing positive for Covid-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures," he said. Read on...

Safe or unsafe? The best and worst places to be in the Covid-19 era

As Covid-19 has spread around the world, it’s challenged preconceptions about which places would best tackle the worst public health crisis in a generation.
 
Advanced economies such as the US and UK, ranked by various pre-2020 measures as being the most prepared for a pandemic, have been repeatedly overwhelmed by infections and face a return to costly lockdowns. Meanwhile, other countries — even developing nations — have defied expectations, some all but eliminating the pathogen within their borders. Read on...

Coronavirus in US: Child Covid-19 cases in US approach 1.2 million

Nearly 1.2 million children in the US have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the latest data of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.
 
A total of 1,44,145 new child Covid-19 cases were reported the past week from November 12 to 19, a 28 per cent increase in child Covid-19 cases in the country, according to the AAP.
 
The number of new child Covid-19 cases is by far the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began, the Xinhua news agency reported.
 
Children now account for more than 11 per cent of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the US.
 
The overall rate was 1,573 cases per 1,00,000 children in the population, according to the AAP report.

Plasma from recovered patients shows little benefit in those hospitalized with coronavirus: study

 Using blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat patients with severe pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus showed little benefit, according to data released on Tuesday from a clinical trial in Argentina.
 
The therapy know as convalescent plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not significantly improve patients’ health status or reduce their risk of dying from the disease any better than a placebo, the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found.
 
Despite limited evidence of its efficacy, convalescent plasma, which U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as a “historic breakthrough,” has been frequently given to patients in the United States.

Ahmed Patel had tested positive for coronavirus on October 1

He was then admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon for further treatment.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away, tweets his son Faisal Patel


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel