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As COVID-19 cases rise past the 48 lakh mark, an 18-day monsoon session of the parliament has started with unprecedented precautions against the coronavirus, including staggered sittings of both houses and social distancing between MPs.
At least seven union ministers have contracted the disease and two dozen lawmakers are recovering from it. An MP and several MLAS have died. Around 200 of the 785 MPs are above the age of 65 years, the population vulnerable to coronavirus.
Centre has urged Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Telangana - states hardest hit by the pandemic - Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to ensure adequate oxygen availability in all healthcare facilities and unrestricted intra- and inter-state movement of oxygen cylinders because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Parallelly, Punjab sought help from neighbouring states and local manufacturers to plug the supply of liquid oxygen across hospitals amid a surge in coronavirus cases and fatality rate in the last three weeks. Punjab's coronavirus fatality rate is 2.96 per cent, the highest in the country.
Uttar Pradesh, which is among the top 5 states hardest hit by the pandemic, has become the first state to conduct 75 lakh COVID-19 tests. The state reported 6,205 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to 3.12 lakh.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that the number of COVID-19 testing has to be taken to 1 crore before September 30. "We are preparing to test 2 lakh COVID-19 samples per day," state additional chief secretary home Awanish K Awasthi said.
National capital Delhi recorded 4,235 fresh coronavirus infections in last 24 hours taking the city's tally to over 2.18 lakh, government data showed. The spike comes as the capital resumed metro services just days ago and reopened bars on a trial basis.
Gymnasiums and yoga institutes in Delhi will reopen from today with Centre-issued all coronavirus protocols, including masks and social distancing apart from sanitizing hands, the state government has announced.
A coronavirus vaccine could be ready by the first quarter of 2021, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said, adding that he would volunteer for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if people have a "trust deficit" on the drug. He said frontline health workers, senior citizens and those with comorbidities should be given the vaccine first whenever it becomes available.
The World Health Organisation has reported a record-breaking number of coronavirus cases worldwide, with at least 3,07,930 cases confirmed in just one day; 9.17 lakh people have died of COVID-19 till now.