The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Thursday that “more dangerous” variants of COVID-19 could tear across the world as global infections soared to half a million daily, largely driven by the virulent Delta strain.
An AFP tally of official sources found that after an initial dip, cases have been rising again worldwide since the end of June, topping 540,000 on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.
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:
Schools in Haryana reopen for Classes 9 to 12
Schools in Haryana reopened after almost three months only for Classes 9 to 12 on Friday amid strict COVID-19 protocols, with many students saying online education, although necessitated by the pandemic, is not a substitute to classroom teaching.
The students also expressed happiness at being able to return to school after a gap of nearly three months. Educational institutes in the state were closed for physical teaching in April when COVID-19 cases were on a rise.
The Haryana government said students will be allowed to rejoin physical classes only with written permissions from parents. – PTI
Our COVID decline has slowed down and this is a warning sign: V.K. Paul
In a press briefing on the pandemic situation, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said Prime Minister held a COVID review meeting with 6 States — Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha today.
We have to take on COVID together as any lax can cost us heavily, Mr. Agarwal added.
“ICMR study on vaccine effectiveness in high risk group (police personnel ) and role in preventing death done in TN showed that 2 doses of vaccine were successful in preventing 95 per cent deaths due to COVID, ” said NITI Aayog Member Dr. V.K. Paul.
“Our population is still vulnerable, virus is still around. We have to be alert. Our COVID decline has slowed down and this is a warning sign,” said Dr. Paul on third wave of COVID-19.
Covid pandemic exposed chinks in political system: Chidambaram
Former Union Finance minister P. Chidambram on Friday said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed gaping loopholes in the political system, charging that in a corroded diminished democracy, rulers find diverse ways to evade responsibility.
He said the pandemic may be contained by universal vaccination or the disease may be cured by discovery of medicines but the question is “Did Indian democracy rise to the challenge of the pandemic and protect the lives, livelihood and well-being of its people, especially the poor and children”.
Take part in a seminar on “Global Pandemic and Challenges Before the Democracy” in the Rajasthan Assembly, the Rajya Sabha MP said every political system boasts that it is the best suited to address the needs of people.
“What the pandemic has done is to expose the gaping loopholes in the boasts. In a true parliamentary democracy system, the prime minister is responsible every day to the Parliament and to the people. However, in a corroded diminished democracy, the rulers will find diverse ways to evade accountability,” he said. – PTI
Rise in cases in Kerala, Maharashtra cause of grave worry: PM
The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Kerala and Maharashtra was a cause of grave worry, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday while interacting with the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala.
Mr. Modi pointed out that in the last week ,80 per cent cases as well as 84 per cent COVID-19 deaths came from the States present in the meeting. He cautioned that similar trends were seen in January-February before the second wave.
“The States where cases are rising, we have to take proactive measures to prevent the possibility of a third wave,’’ he said.
Majority of clinical cases of COVID-19 breakthrough infection due to Delta variant: Study
The Delta variant of SARS-COV-2 was behind majority of clinical cases of breakthrough infection of COVID-19 but only 9.8 per cent cases required hospitalisation and fatality was observed in only 0.4 per cent cases, according to a new ICMR study.
Breakthrough infection is if one gets infected even after immunisation.
The study, the largest and first nation-wide study of post-vaccination breakthrough infections from India, said its analysis shows that the vaccination does provide reduction in hospital admission and mortality.
“Therefore, enhancing the vaccination drive and immunising the populations quickly would be the most important strategy to prevent further deadly waves of the COVID-19 and would reduce the burden on the health care system,” the study said.
Two new SARS-CoV-2 variants Delta AY.1 and AY.2 were also identified in these study samples. – PTI
Assam withdraws exemption of COVID testing for vaccinated people
The Assam government has withdrawn its earlier order exempting mandatory COVID-19 testing for air and train passengers who have received both doses of the vaccine, an official order said.
The decision to withdraw the exemption was taken after cases of persons testing positive for COVID-19 even after having taken both doses of the vaccine were detected in the state.
The notification issued on Thursday by the Health and Family Welfare department said the earlier order of June 25, 2021, stands withdrawn with immediate effect.
The earlier order had exempted those travellers who had taken both doses of COVID-19 vaccine from mandatory testing for infection at airports and railway stations. – PTI
Maharashtra CM urges PM to frame national policy to stop gatherings
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to formulate a national policy to stop people from crowding at one place for social, political and religious purposes, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Mr. Thackeray made this suggestion in a virtual meeting held by the PM, during which he took stock of the coronavirus situation.
“Even as the government is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the crowding at public places is a huge challenge. The Centre should conceptualise a national level policy to prevent public crowding happening in the name of social, political and religious gatherings,” the chief minister said.
He apprised the PM of the steps being taken in Maharashtra to fight the second wave of the pandemic and added that planning to counter the possible third wave was going on, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said. – PTI
Over 41.10 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses provided to states, UTs: Centre
Over 41.10 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have so far been provided to states and union territories, and more than 2.51 crore jabs are available with them and private hospitals, the Union health ministry said on Friday.
In a statement, the ministry said 52,90,640 more doses are in the process of being supplied.
“More than 41.10 crore (41,10,38,530) vaccine doses have been provided to states/UTs (union territories) so far, through all sources, and a further 52,90,640 doses are in the pipeline,” it said.
Of this, the total consumption, including wastage, is 38,58,75,958 doses, according to data available at 8 am, the ministry said.
It said that 2,51,62,572 Covid vaccine doses — balance and unutilised — are still available with states and UTs, and private hospitals.
The new phase of the universalisation of COVID-19 vaccination programme started on June 21 and under it, the central government made inoculation free of cost for all adults. Vaccines were earlier free for people above 45 years of age. – PTI
Maharashtra gives RT-PCR test report exemption to certain travellers
Maharashtra gives RT-PCR test report exemption to travellers having 15-day gap from second COVID-19 dose
The Maharashtra government has exempted those people who have got both the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from carrying a negative RT-PCR test report for entering the state, although there has to be a gap of at least 15 days between the second dose and the date of arrival.
An order to this effect was issued late night on Thursday by state chief secretary Sitaram Kunte.
This exemption is applicable to domestic as well as international travellers, it added.
Despite the exemption order in place, all passengers irrespective of the status of vaccination must follow COVID-appropriate behaviour all the time, the order said. – PTI
India records 38,949 fresh Covid cases
India recorded 38,949 new COVID-19 cases, which took the infection tally to 3,10,26,829, while the death toll reached 4,12,531 with 542 more fatalities, according to Union health ministry data updated on Friday.
The active cases have declined to 4,30,422 and comprise 1.39% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.28%, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.
It said that a decrease of 1,619 has been recorded in the number of active cases in a span of 24 hours. – PTI
Maharashtra’s active COVID-19 case tally sees an uptick
Maharashtra again saw a marginal case rise on Thursday, reporting a spike of 8,010 new COVID-19 cases as opposed to just 7,391 recoveries, as the active case tally, which had dipped in the past few days, rose incrementally to 1,07,205.
The death toll remained comparatively low, with a total of 170 deaths pushing the State’s cumulative fatalities to 1,26,560, with the case fatality rate standing at 2.04%. The fatalities were chiefly concentrated in western Maharashtra, with Kolhapur, Pune and Satara reporting the maximum fatalities and cases.
U.S. Surgeon General says he lost 10 family members to COVID-19
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, an Indian American, said he lost as many as 10 family members both here and in India to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Murthy, who is occupying the position for the second time, said this at a White House briefing making a strong case for people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
“On a personal note, it’s painful for me to know that nearly every death we are seeing now from COVID-19 could have been prevented. I say that as someone who has lost 10 family members to COVID-19 and who wishes each and every day that they had had the opportunity to get vaccinated,” Dr. Murthy said.