PM to launch COVID-19 appropriate behaviour campaign, Delhi cinemas to reopen 15 Oct; India’s tally crosses 67.5 lakh

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PM to launch COVID-19 appropriate behaviour campaign, Delhi cinemas to reopen 15 Oct; India's tally crosses 67.5 lakh
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Total cases rose to 67,57,131 with 72,049 new cases recorded in the 24 hours, while the recovery rate climbed to 85.02 percent with 57,44,693 people having recuperated from the infection so far.

As India’s coronavirus tally sprinted past 67.57 lakh with over 72,000 new cases reported in 24 hours, the Centre on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday launch a ‘jan andolan’ campaign to encourage and promote  COVID appropriate behaviour in view of the upcoming festivals, winter season and opening up of the economy.

As per the latest figures announced by the state government, Kerala on Wednesday logged over 10,000 fresh cases for the first time, pushing the total number of infections in the state to 2,51,405.

In Delhi, the Arvind Kejriwal government announced further easing of curbs, allowing cinema halls, theatres to open with limited capacity and restarting of weekly markets.

Union minister Pralhad Joshi tests positive

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi on Wednesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and was under home quarantine.

 Joshi, an MP from Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency, is the latest among prominent politicians from Karnataka who have tested positive for COVID. The list includes Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, several ministers in the state Cabinet and a number of legislators.

The state has also lost a few public representatives such as Belagavi BJP MP and former Union minister of state for railways Suresh Angadi, BJP Rajya Sabha member Ashok Gasti and Basavakalyan Congress MLA B Narayan Rao to the coronavirus.

10 states/UTs  account for 78% new cases

India’s coronavirus caseload rose to 67,57,131 with 72,049 new cases recorded in the 24 hours between 8 am on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the recovery rate climbed to 85.02 percent with 57,44,693 people having recuperated from the infection so far.

It took 110 days for the COVID-19 cases in the country to reach one lakh while it had taken 59 days more to go past the 10-lakh post. The total COVID-19 cases jumped from 10 lakh to 20 lakh in 21 days. Then it took 16 more days to race past 30 lakh, 13 days more to cross 40 lakh, 11 days to go past 50 lakh and 12 days to cross 60 lakh.

The ministry said 75 percent of the new recoveries were reported from 10 states: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Delhi.

“Maharashtra is topping the list with nearly 17,000 recoveries while Karnataka contributed more than 10,000 to the single-day recoveries,” it said.

The ministry also said 10 states and UTs account for 78 percent of the fresh cases. “Maharashtra continues to lead this tally. It has contributed more than 12,000 followed by Karnataka with nearly 10,000 cases,” it said.

According to the Union health ministry’s data, the countrywide toll on Wednesday mounted to 1,04,555 with the novel coronavirus claiming 986 and the case fatality rate stood at 1.55 percent.

As per the data updated at 8 am, there are 9,07,883 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 13.44 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, at the digital inauguration of a Super Speciality Block (SSB) in Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa, said that continuously rising recovery rate and progressively falling active cases had proven the success of the Centre-led containment strategy.

“We have successfully ramped up our testing capacity which has crossed more than 8 crore milestone in terms of total tests,” a statement quoted him as saying.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 8,22,71,654 samples have been tested up to 6 October,  of which 11,99,857 samples were tested on Tuesday.

“I have confidence in the scientific developments taking place in the field of treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 and soon India will achieve more success in our fight against COVID-19,” he asserted.

The health minister also reiterated the importance of wearing masks and face covers while in public, following hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and maintaining physical distancing.

Modi to launch ‘jan andolan

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a release said that the prime minister, by way of a tweet on Thursday will launch a low-cost high-intensity campaign to encourage people’s participation in following COVID appropriate behaviour. “Wear mask, follow physical distancing, maintain hand hygiene” will be the key message of the campaign, the release stated.

The campaign will focus on awareness-raising through all media such as television, hoardings, wall paintings, audio messages, pamphlets and brochures, and mobile vans. Local and national influencers will be involved to drive home the message, as festivals and winter season are approaching and the economy is also being ‘unlocked’.

The coronavirus-induced countrywide lockdown was first announced from 25 March and it was extended in phases till 31 May. The Unlock process in the country began on 1 June with the graded reopening of commercial, social, religious and other activities.

Cinemas to reopen in Delhi from 15 Oct

In keeping with Centre’s latest Unlock guidelines, the Delhi government announced that it will allow cinemas, theatres in areas outside containment zones to reopen with 50 percent capacity from 15 October.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) also allowed all weekly markets to function with immediate effect. Until now, only two such markets were being allowed in every municipal zone every day.

However, no decision has been taken yet on reopening of swimming pools, colleges and coaching institutes and the DDMA will hold another meeting next week to discuss the resumption of the remaining activities allowed under the Unlock-5 guidelines.

The toll in the National Capital on Wednesday mounted to 5,616 with 35 fresh fatalities while 2,871 new cases took the tally to 2,98,107.

Kerala logs over 10,000 new cases

Meanwhile, Kerala registered its highest single-day spike of 10,606, including 98 health workers, taking the total infection count to 2,51,405. The toll climbed to 906 with 22 more fatalities, the state government said.

Four districts reported over 1,000 cases each — Kozhikode (1,576), Malappuram (1,350), Ernakulam (1,201) and Thiruvananthapuram (1,182) while five other districts logged more than 500 cases each.

Kerala power minister MM Mani too tested positive for the virus on Wednesday — the fourth in Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Cabinet to have caught the pathogen. The 75-year-old leader has been admitted to the government medical college hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, reported news agency PTI.

West Bengal’s too saw its highest daily surge with 3,455 more testing positive, while 58 more succumbed to COVID-19. The state’s total mounted to 2,80,504, while the toll rose to 5,376, the health department said in a bulletin.

Maharashtra reported 14,578 new infections and 355 fatalities, pushing the cumulative case count to 14,80,489 and toll to 39,072.

No free testing in Meghalaya from 16 Oct

Union minister Jitendra Singh lauded the northeastern (NE) states for better management of the coronavirus pandemic, stating that five out of eight states in the region had remained COVID-19-free during the lockdown period.

Singh said that positive cases began to appear in these states only after the movement of people allowed.

The minister also said sufficient supply of oxygen had been made available well in advance to all peripheral territories, including northeastern states and the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

However, a division bench of the Tripura High Court warned that people of the state should not be under any false impression that there is “dramatic improvement” in the COVID-19 situation and life can get back to normal.

“This would be a serious mistake with serious consequences,” the bench, comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Subhashish Talapatra, said, adding that the positivity rate in Tripura has been quite high.

The Meghalaya government meanwhile announced that COVID-19 tests will be charged for from 16 October.

“Testing, be it RT-PCR, CBNAAT, Truenat or Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), will be done on payment basis from 16 October. BPL families or beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and high-risk contacts are totally exempted,” deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong told PTI.

The Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19 will be mandatory for all persons, including visitors, for an amount of Rs 500. Rs 3,200 has been set as the capping charge for Truenat, CBNAAT and RT-PCR testing, but people under the BPL category and those carrying certificates of having undergone the tests in the last 72 hours will be exempted.

According to the news agency, the move comes on the backdrop of ICMR withdrawing subsidy on testing kits.

The state government has initiated the process for identifying hotels and guest houses where people who are currently in institutional quarantine and are willing to pay can be lodged. Plans are also underway to charge for meals at COVID care centres, Tynsong said.

With inputs from PTI

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