Rapid antigen tests (RAT) now made up 25%-30% of the tests that were being conducted in India, Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director-General, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
According to the latest testing figures, the ICMR said it had tested nearly 6.6 lakh samples in a single day and, overall, India had tested over 20 million samples.
Here are the latest updates:
6.15 p.m. | West Bengal
KMC keeps ashes of COVID victims, family can collect from crematorium
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation on Wednesday said that ashes of persons who died of COVID-19 are respectfully kept in designated crematoriums and family members of the deceased can collect the same anytime.
According to protocol, family members of COVID-19 victims cannot attend the cremation and thus they are not able to collect the ashes at that time, said Atin Ghosh, a member of the KMC Board of Administrators.
“The authorities follow all the rituals while cremating a body in the presence of a priest. The ashes are preserved in urns. Family members of the diseased can collect the urn any day after cremation, even after 14 days of their quarantine period,” Mr. Ghosh told PTI.
The KMC has two designated places where bodies of COVID-19 patients are consigned to flames. One is Nimtala crematorium in north Kolkata while the other one is Dhapa crematorium in the eastern part of the city.
Family members can collect the ashes from the place where the body of the patient was cremated, said Ghosh, a former KMC Deputy Mayor.
While collecting the urn, a family member needs to furnish the death certificate and his or her own identity proof, he said.
5.36 p.m. | Odisha
25 COVID-19 warriors died in Odisha so far: Official
As many as 25 corona warriors have died in Odisha while performing COVID-19 related duty, a senior official said on Wednesday. The frontline warriors who have succumbed to the viral infection were deployed in dedicated hospitals, COVID care centres, temporary medical camps and COVID care homes, he said.
The 25 deaths account for 11.11% of the State’s coronavirus death toll which stands at 225, the official said.
Asking people to observe silent prayer in memory of the COVID-19 warriors, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “These people had been working for more than 150 days, without any rest, since the outbreak of the pandemic in the State.”
The State had registered its first COVID-19 positive case on March 15 and the first fatality on April 6.
“While saving us, 25 of them (frontline workers) have laid down their lives,” Additional Chief Secretary-cum- Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Jena said in his twitter post.
Most of them hailed from Ganjam district, the State’s coronavirus hotspot district, which has so far reported 117 fatalities and a caseload of 11,812, sources said.
The deceased COVID-19 warriors included health workers, police personnel, anganwadi and ASHA workers, teachers and panchayati raj institution functionaries.
5.30 p.m. | Karnataka
First-of-its-kind mobile COVID-19 lab dedicated to public
Touted as a first-of-its-kind in the nation, a mobile COVID-19 lab was inaugurated on Wednesday by the Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar.
The lab, approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) can do 9,000 RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests per month, an official press release said. “This is a unique lab having all safety features and capable of producing 100% accurate results within four hours,” Dr. Sudhakar was quoted as saying in the press release.
The Indian Institute of Science had developed the lab and handed it over to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences.
The mobile lab can also be used for molecular diagnostic-testing and can be deployed in coronavirus hot spots quickly, the release said adding, apart from COVID-19, the lab can be utilised for testing H1N1, HCV, TB, HPV and HIV among others.
5.20 pm | Maharashtra
Recovered Maha minister donates plasma
Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad, who recovered from COVID-19 infection nearly three months ago, on Wednesday donated his plasma for treatment of other patients.
Mr. Awhad donated his plasma at a collection centre in Thane city.
“I chose this day to make the donation as it is my birthday,” he said.
NCP’s Thane city chief and former MP Anand Paranjpe, who had also recovered from the infection, donated his plasma at the same centre.
3.05 pm | Karnataka
Siddaramaiah stable, says hospital
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is undergoing treatment for coronavirus, is now stable and has no fever, the hospital where he is admitted said on Wednesday.
“Presently he has no fever and his vital parameters are stable,” Manipal Hospitals said in a statement.
3.00 pm | Tamil Nadu
Private gyms to open in TN
Tamil Nadu government allowed private gyms (stand alone only) to open for customers below 50 years of age from August 10. A Standard Operation Procedure would be issued in this regard, TN Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said.
– reports Dennis S. Jesudasan.
2.45 pm | Tamil Nadu
Singer SP Balasubrahmanyam tests positive for COVID-19
Veteran singer-actor SP Balasubrahmanyam on Wednesday said he has been admitted to a hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.
The 74-year-old singer, who has worked across Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam film industries, shared the news in a video message on Facebook.
Balasubrahmanyam said he was feeling chest congestion, cold and “on and off” fever since two-three days, following which he got himself tested for COVID-19.
“They said it is a very mild case of coronavirus positive. They said you can stay at home and self quarantine and asked me to take some medications.
“But I didn’t want to do that with all my family members being very concerned for me. So, I got admitted to a hospital, my friends are here and taking good care of me,” the veteran singer said.
He also asked his well-wishers to not panic about his health and assured them that he was doing fine.
2.30 pm | Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Governor continues to be asymptomatic
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, was had tested positive for COVID-19, continued to be asymptomatic and active, Kauvery Hospital said on Wednesday.
A medical bulletin issued by the hospital said that Mr. Purohit “continues to be asymptomatic, active and doing well.” The Governor was being continuously monitored by its medical team, it said.
2.00 pm | Maharashtra
“₹42 lakh loss as some Shramik Specials ran empty”
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it incurred a loss of around ₹42 lakh as most of the Shramik Special trains arranged in the last month to ferry stranded migrant workers to their native states amid the COVID-19 pandemic went empty.
1.15 pm | Tamil Nadu
Residents of village in Villupuram district refuse to allow burial of COVID-19 victim
An ambulance carrying the body of a 52-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19 was denied entry into Meledayalam village near Gingee on Tuesday at midnight, for over eight hours, after a protest by local residents amid fear of the spread of the infection.
11.45 am | West Bengal
Normal life hit across Bengal due to complete lockdown
Normal life was affected across West Bengal as a total lockdown was imposed in the state on Wednesday in the wake of a spurt in COVID-19 cases.
It is part of the twice-a-week lockdown imposed in the state since July 23 to break the chain of the infection.
Wednesday is the fourth lockdown day in a fortnight.
Security has been tightened to enforce the lockdown and to avert untoward incidents in the wake of the groundbreaking ceremony of Ram temple in Ayodhya during the day, a police official said.
Politically volatile West Bengal is likely to witness a showdown between the police and activists of saffron outfits as the latter have planned to perform rituals at temples and their offices to mark the Ayodhya event amid the lockdown.
Police personnel were seen patrolling major traffic intersections in Kolkata.
Public transport was off the roads and government and private offices, banks and commercial establishments, barring those engaged in essential services, were shut due to the lockdown.
Flight services in and out of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport were suspended for the day and long-distance trains were rescheduled.
Medicine stores, health establishments and petrol pumps have been kept out of the lockdown’s purview.
11.20 am |Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was discharged from a private hospital in Bhopal on Wednesday morning after being treated there for COVID-19 for 12 days. Doctors have advised him to isolate himself at home and monitor his health for seven days. “Corona spreads only through negligence,” said Mr. Chouhan after his discharge.
– reports Sidharth Yadav.
UP minister Brajesh Pathak tests positive
Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Brajesh Pathak on Wednesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19, and asked people who came in contact with him recently to get themselves tested as per norms.
“After symptoms of coronavirus, I got tested on advice of doctors. I tested positive for COVID-19. Those who came in contact with me in past few days are requested to follow government guidelines and quarantine themselves and get themselves tested,” Law minister Pathak said in a tweet.
UP minister Kamal Rani Varun succumbed to the novel coronavirus on Sunday
COVID vaccine likely by mid-’21: WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan
Stating that a realistic timeline to start receiving first million doses of COVID vaccine is mid-2021, World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan cautioned that it might take longer “as we did not understand the virus completely”.
Extended lockdown helped save nearly 78,000 lives, Health Ministry tells House committee
The Union Health Ministry informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health that the nationwide lockdown from March 25 to May 31 helped save anything between 37,000 to 78,000 lives on Tuesday.
This was the first meeting of the standing committee on health chaired by Samajwadi Party MP Ramgopal Yadav since Parliament abruptly shut on March 23. The claim comes on a day that India has for the first time added the highest number of fresh cases globally on Sunday.
9.00 am | Andhra Pradesh
Kakinada GGH turns into COVID critical care facility
The Government General Hospital in Kakinada of East Godavari district has been converted into an 1,800-bedded critical care hospital exclusively for COVID-19 patients.
The State Government has recently designated the GGH as a COVID critical care hospital, as the nearest State COVID Hospital in Visakhapatnam was unable to accommodate COVID-19 patients from East Godavari district.
8.30 am | New Delhi
COVID-19 tests fall by 50% in city
With the number of daily COVID-19 tests falling by 50%, the new cases stayed below the 1,000 mark in Delhi for the third consecutive day on Tuesday. A total of 674 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours and the total tally now stands at 1,39,156, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government.
8.00 am | Tamil Nadu
‘Intense testing helped curb cases’
Intense testing and fever camps have helped bring the number of COVID-19 cases down in recent days in Tamil Nadu, including in Chennai and Madurai districts, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said on Tuesday.
Addressing the media, he said that with no vaccine ready yet, awareness of the disease and adherence to the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research might help to check the spread of the noval coronavirus.
7.30 am | New Delhi
Kejriwal thanks South Korean ambassador for praising Delhi Model of managing COVID-19
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday thanked the South Korean ambassador for his words of appreciation for the Delhi model of COVID-19 management, said an official statement. Mr. Kejriwal said he is happy that the Delhi Model is being recognized across the globe and that all nations need to join hands to fight and defeat COVID-19.
7.00 am | Andhra Pradesh
Plasma donors will get ₹5,000 incentive: Nellore Collector
With hospitals being pushed to the brink with the massive case load, the Nellore district administration announced a cash incentive for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma.
“We have started using plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients in the district. I appeal to those who have recovered from the virus to voluntarily come forward and donate blood plasma. An incentive of ₹5,000 will be given to each donor,” Nellore Collector K.V.N. Chakradhar Babu said.