India's mortality rate has fallen to 1.99 per cent, the health ministry said this evening. Last month the mortality rates was 2.7 per cent and was at an even higher 2.83 per cent on June 11. Over 45,000 deaths have been linked to the COVID-19 virus so far, with 871 of those being reported in the past 24 hours. Maharashtra accounts for more than 18,000 of all Covid deaths in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a virtual meeting with Chief Ministers of 10 states to review the coronavirus situation. Looking to encourage each of them in the fight to contain and eliminate the virus, the Prime Minister said: "A view has emerged that if we defeat coronavirus in 10 states, the nation will also win".
PM Modi urged these 10 states to follow a new "mantra" - to ensure that all those come in contact with a Covid-positive individual are traced and tested within 72 hours. The meeting with the country in "Unlock3" - the third phase of re-opening of economic and commercial activity. As with the third phase, the two earlier "Unlock" period saw a spike in Covid cases nationwide.
The five states that saw the most cases over 24 hours - Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh - attended. Also present were Bengal, Telangana, Gujarat, Bihar and Punjab. Karnataka was represented by its Deputy Chief Minister because Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has just returned home after receiving treatment for COVID-19.
India reported over 60,000 fresh infections every day between August 7 and August 10. On Sunday the country reported its biggest single-day jump so far - 64,399 cases were detected. On July 10, exactly a month ago, the country had reported only 26,506 new cases.
According to data from the WHO (World Health Organisation), between August 4 and August 10 India, which is third in terms of caseloads, recorded more new cases per day than either the United States, the current epicentre of the pandemic, or Brazil, the second worst affected country. As of Tuesday the US has nearly 51 lakh confirmed cases while Brazil has 30.58 lakh confirmed cases.
It has taken India less than 200 days to cross the 22-lakh mark in Covid cases. Over 4.12 lakh new cases have been recorded in the past week alone. Several top political leaders are among those to have tested positive in the past weeks, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the chief ministers of Karnataka (BS Yediyurappa) and Madhya Pradesh (Shivraj Singh Chouhan).
Worldwide the number of Covid cases has crossed two crore, of which over 7.35 lakh are deaths and 70.67 lakh are active cases. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sought to reveal the humanity behind the numbers, saying: "Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering. (but) there are green shoots of hope. It's never too late to turn the outbreak around".
Russia has said it has developed the first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against the novel coronavirus. Making the announcement, President Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters had received the vaccine. Moscow has dubbed the vaccine "Sputnik V" after the iconic Soviet satellite.
Russian authorities said 20 countries have already pre-ordered a billion doses of the vaccine. Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which finances the vaccine project, said Phase 3 trials would start on Wednesday and industrial production was expected from September.
With input from AFP