India’s COVID-19 tally crosses 90 lakh as cases surge post festivities; Gujarat, MP impose night curfews in hotspot districts

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A ‘weekend curfew’ — lasting 57-hour from 9 pm on Friday to 6 am on Monday — has been imposed in Ahmedabad city while the Gujarat government has announced a night curfew in Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara

The Gujarat government on Friday announced a night curfew in Rajkot, Vadodara, and Surat, a day after it imposed a “complete curfew” in Ahmedabad to stem the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state. Meanwhile, the containment zones in Delhi rose to 4,550 on Friday with the National Capital battling the third wave of infections.

Additionally, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a night curfew late on Friday evening in Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Vidisha, and Ratlam districts between 10 pm to 6 am, starting from 21 November.  However, people engaged in essential services and factory workers are exempted from the curfew, the chief minister said.

Meanwhile, reports listed the city of Pune in Maharashtra as a hotspot with its COVID-19 tally rising to 3.44 lakh, the third-highest among cities in India, after Delhi and Bengaluru. In state capital Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation shelved its plans to open schools following a heightened post-festivity spike of cases.

As states scrambled to curb the spread of COVID-19 after the festive season and the onset of winter, the Union health ministry said that India’s COVID-19 caseload surpassed the 90-lakh mark on Friday with 45,882 new cases.

India’s coronavirus cases have been rising over the last few days after daily cases dropped below 30,000 on 17 November after over four months.

Meanwhile, the recoveries surged to 84.28 lakh, pushing the national recovery rate to 93.6 percent.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 90,04,365 and the toll climbed to 1,32,162 with COVID-19 claiming 584 lives in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The ministry added that the COVID-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.46 percent.

There are 4,43,794 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 4.92 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

In the state of Himachal Pradesh, a 52-year-old man was the lone resident to test negative for COVID-19 in a village of 42 in Lahaul-Spiti district, PTI reported.

The Thorang village in Lahaul-Spiti district is the latest hotspot to have come to light in the sparsely-populated tribal district; earlier in October, 39 residents of Rangrik village of Spiti Valley had tested positive for the infection.

Experts attributed the increase to three reasons — a recent religious function in Lahaul, extreme winter, and the arrival of many tourists in the district after the opening of the Atal Tunnel in Rohtang.

Gujarat imposes night curfew in 3 cities as Ahmedabad weekend curfew begins

On Friday, the Gujarat government announced a night curfew, that is, from 9 pm to 7 am in Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also told reporters that the government has ruled out the possibility of a complete lockdown in the state’s commercial hub, Ahmedabad city, which has seen a surge in cases.

As many as 327 persons tested positive for coronavirus in Ahmedabad district on Friday, taking the tally of infections to 46,595, an official from the state health department said. Of the latest cases, Ahmedabad city alone accounted for 305 infections, while 22 were detected in the rural parts of the district, the official said.

Rupani said a “weekend curfew” —  lasting 57-hour from 9 pm on Friday to 6 am on Monday — has been imposed from Friday night only in Ahmedabad city “as a precautionary measure”.

“There is no question of imposing a lockdown in Gujarat at present. We have decided to implement a weekend curfew, on Saturday and Sunday, in Ahmedabad city only,” he said.

Moreover, police have been instructed to take strict action against those found roaming without face masks and violating social distancing norms, Rupani told reporters.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Friday said 600-odd city buses operated by it will not ply during the curfew period.

From Monday, a night curfew will come into force in the city from 9 pm to 6 am daily till further orders, said an AMC release. Ahmedabad city has been witnessing a steady rise in coronavirus cases since the beginning of this month.

From around 140 daily cases a few months ago, the city is now witnessing over 200 COVID-19 single-day infections.

Delhi govt says ‘gradual’ reduction in new cases shows decreasing spread

While the containment zones in Delhi rose, Health Minister Satyendar Jain was quoted by PTI as saying that the “gradual reduction” in the number of new COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate, is a “clear indicator” that the spread of the virus is decreasing in the National Capital.

The minister announced that government rates would apply for the normal, non-ICU beds reserved in private hospitals by the Delhi government for COVID-19 patients.

“The positivity rate was 15.26 percent on 7 November. It is less than 11 percent now. The maximum number of cases (8,593) were reported on 10 November,” Jain said.

“The positivity rate has come down and the number of cases is also reducing gradually. It is a clear indicator that the spread of the virus is decreasing in Delhi,” he told reporters.

Jain said 2,644 normal beds and 260 ICU beds “extra” will be made available for COVID-19 patients in private hospitals after the government issued directions in this regard on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 6,608 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day taking the infection tally on Friday to over 5.17 lakh, while 118 more fatalities during the same period pushed the death toll to 8,159, authorities said. The National Capital had reported 7,456 coronavirus cases on Thursday and the positivity rate was at 12.09 percent.

PTI also reported that a door-to-door survey is being carried out in the National Capital amid the surge in cases. The survey aims to identify and test symptomatic people in containment and densely-packed areas of the city.

The survey, which began on Friday, will be completed within five days and will cover over 57 lakh people in containment zones, dense areas, and identified clusters of virus transmission, officials said.

District officials said all the containment zones and super spreader areas are being covered through teams including teachers, municipal corporation staff, Asha workers, and civil defence volunteers.

Pune emerges as hotspot; BMC shelves plan to open schools

Reports on Friday listed Pune in Maharashtra as a COVID-19 hotspot as it has reported 3.44 lakh cases so far, which is the third-highest among cities in India, after Delhi and Bengaluru.

“The city has also recorded over 8,000 coronavirus -related deaths, the maximum after Mumbai and Delhi. Pune district till Wednesday afternoon has reported a total of 3.32 lakh cases, of which 9,174 were active cases. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is bracing for the second wave of coronavirus infections and has even warned that the number of active cases may cross 19,500,” A report by The Indian Express said.

In Mumbai, the BMC’s decided to shelve its plan to open schools from 23 November as Mumbai witnesses an upward trend in COVID-19 cases. However, schools in other cities of Maharashtra can reopen as per schedule taking into account local conditions and the prevailing pandemic situation, PTI reported.

Schools in Maharashtra, which are shut since March due to the coronavirus outbreak, were set to reopen for Classes 9 to 12 from 23 November, post Diwali-holidays.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the city. Some schools were used as testing and quarantine facilities amid the pandemic. To prevent further spread of the infection, we have decided to keep schools closed till 31 December,” Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said.

After recording 409 new coronavirus cases on 16 November, the lowest daily count since April, the city registered 541, 871 and 924 fresh infections on 17, 18, 19 November, respectively.

State-wise details

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 12,95,91,786 samples have been tested up to 20 November with 10,83,397 samples being tested on Thursday.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August and 40 lakh on 5 September. It went past 50 lakh on 16 September, 60 lakh on 28 September, 70 lakh on 11 October, and crossed 80 lakh on 29 October.

The 584 new fatalities include 154 from Maharashtra, 98 from Delhi, 53 from West Bengal, 39 from Uttar Pradesh, 26 each from Kerala, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka, 20 from Haryana, 19 from Tamil Nadu and 15 from Punjab.

A total of 1,32,162 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 46,356 from Maharashtra followed by 11,604 from Karnataka, 11,550 from Tamil Nadu, 8,041 from Delhi, 7,873 from West Bengal, 7,480 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,910 from Andhra Pradesh, 4,556 from Punjab and 3,830 from Gujarat.

With inputs from agencies

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