The Union Home Ministry on Saturday issued the Unlock 4 guidelines under which metro trains will be allowed to resume services in a graded manner. Political, social and religious congregations of up to 100 people will also be permitted from September 21, the government order said.
However, schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed for students till September 30, with some relaxations for students of classes 9 to 12.
In a significant directive, the Home Ministry said that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the central government.
India's COVID-19 tally crossed 34-lakh mark with a spike of 76,472 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Union Health Ministry this morning.
An additional 1,021 new deaths brought the overall death count to 62,550.
The number of new cases in India on Thursday was the highest in the world, crossing that of the United States.
Though the country is recording around 1,000 deaths a day from the coronavirus, roughly the same as the US and Brazil, India is far better than these countries when we consider the number of deaths per million people.
Here are the Highlights Coronavirus Pandemic:
Onam is a festival of hope and will be celebrated in Kerala following all COVID-19 protocols, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday.
Addressing the media, the Chief Minister said, "Onam festival is taking place this time when the state is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Onam is a festival that gives hope for the future. We should all celebrate Onam following all COVID-19 protocols. All public gatherings and public celebrations should be avoided."
He added that considering the rush in shops in connection with the Onam festival, all shops have been asked to start ''Break-the-Chain'' counters where hand sanitizer should be provided. Police have been directed to strictly enforce crowd control measures.
Mr Vijayan also updated the media about the status of COVID-19 situation in the state and said 2,397 new COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths reported in Kerala on Saturday.
Unlock 4 rules, however, do not say anything about the quarantine policy which state governments have been altering in keeping with their Covid caseload.
International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by the Home Ministry, also remains suspended for now.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that 2,397 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths due to the viral infection were reported in Kerala in the last 24 hours.
"Of the new cases, 2,137 people were infected through contact and the source of 197 cases was not traceable," the Chief Minister said.
He said 2,225 patients under treatment for the disease have recovered today, taking the total number of recoveries from COVID-19 infection in the state to 48,083.
"In the state currently 23,277 patients are undergoing treatment for COVID-19 in hospitals, a total of 1,95,927 people are under observation across Kerala, 1,76,822 are under home or institutional quarantine and 19,105 are in hospitals," Mr Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister said COVID-19 related death toll in the state has now reached 280.
West Bengal on Saturday reported that 3,312 patients recovered from COVID-19, outnumbering new cases that stood at 3,012, according to an official bulletin.
So far, 1,27,644 people have recovered in the state, taking the discharge rate to 81.42 per cent, the bulletin issued by the Health Department said.
The state's tally of COVID-19 cases was at 1,56,766, it said.
The count rose to 3,126 after 53 people died in the last 24 hours, the bulletin said.
There are 25,996 active cases in the state at present, it said.
Since Friday, 43,232 samples have been tested in the state for COVID-19.
Delhi has reported 1,954 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Delhi Government on Saturday.
With this, the total number of positive cases in the national capital surged to 1,71,366. There are 14,040 active cases, 1,52,922 recoveries and 4,404 deaths, stated the bulletin issued by Delhi Health Department.
The bulletin further stated that as many as 6,597 RTPCR/CBNAAT/TrueNat tests and 15,407 Rapid antigen tests were conducted today.
So far, 15,48,659 tests have been conducted and the Tests Per Million (TPM) stands at 81,508, added the Health Department.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday asked state government officials to increase the number of COVID tests from 1,48,000 to 1,50,000 daily.
At the meeting, the chief minister also asked officials to have regular communications with COVID-19 patients in home isolation.
"The COVID-19 tests in the state must be increased to 1,50,000 from 1,48,000 daily," he said.
Asking officials to meet regularly, he added, "All the District Magistrates and Chief Medical Officers should meet regularly in the COVID-19 Hospital in the morning and in the Integrated Command and Control Centre in the evening."
"Officials must have regular communication with COVID-19 patients living in home isolation. Their health information must be obtained," Yogi Adityanath added.
Among the other instructions issued by the CM, he asked officials to make sure that farmers do not face any problems in getting compost.
The COVID-19 count in Ahmedabad district rose to 31,177 on Saturday with addition of 164 new cases, Gujarat health department said.
With three persons succumbing to the viral infection, the count went up to 1,724, it said.
A total of 160 patients were discharged in the day, taking the number of recoveries to 26,070 in the district, the department said in its release.
Of the total 164 new infections, Ahmedabad city reported 143 cases while rural areas added 21 patients to its tally.
All the 3 deaths were reported from the city, it said.
As per the COVID-19 bulletin released by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, the city's recovery rate stood at 84.5 per cent with 24,728 patients discharged so far.
At 2,883, active cases accounted for 9.8 per cent of the total cases, it said.
With the detection of 547 fresh infections on Saturday, Goa's COVID-19 caseload rose to 16,553, an official from the health department said.
At least 433 patients were discharged after recovering from the deadly infection, taking the number of recoveries to 12,729, the official said.
Apart from this, three patients, including two senior citizens, succumbed to the infection on Saturday, he said.
The latest casualties have taken the toll to 178 in the coastal state, he added.
Goa's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 16,553, new cases 547, deaths 178, discharged 12,729, active cases 3,646, samples tested till date 1,95,084.
The Centre on Saturday advised union territories to ramp-up efforts to contain the COVID-19 spread by sticking to the rules for prevention of the disease as well as following standard operating procedures (SOPs) in its treatment, a government statement said.
The directions were issued on Saturday during a review meeting, where Home Affairs and Health secretaries Ajay Bhalla and Rajesh Bhushan took stock of the measures undertaken by the union territories to contain the coronavirus spread, it said.
The meeting was attended by Union Territories of Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, through video conferencing in which senior central government officers were also present.
"The Union home secretary as well as secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, asked senior officers of all the UTs to ensure that the administrative officers, medical professionals, para-medical staff and other people associated with containing the spread of COVID-19 and management of the COVID-19 situation work in close tandem," the statement said.
Maharashtra on Saturday reported a single-day highest spike of 16,867 coronavirus cases which pushed its case tally to 7,64,281, the state health department said.
With 328 new fatalities, the death count due to the pandemic reached 24,103, it said in a release.
The earlier highest one-day increase in number of patients was 14,888 on August 26.
There are 1,85,131 active cases. 11,541 patients were discharged during the day, taking total recoveries to 5,54,711.
In state capital Mumbai, 1,432 new cases and 31 deaths were reported. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the city rose to 1,43,389 and death count to 7,596.
New guidelines of "unlock" were released today by the government which will ease more restrictions, including metro trains which will be allowed to restart in a phased manner from September 7. Schools and other educational institutions will remain shut as the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing down in the country." itemprop="description
In the fourth phase of unlocking amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Centre has announced new steps to ease restrictions and allowed open-air theatres to start operating from September 21.
However, cinema halls will continue to remain shut to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19.
The decision was announced after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines today for opening up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones.
The fourth phase of unlocking will come into effect from September 1 in which the process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further. The new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and union territories, and extensive consultations held with related central ministries and departments, the MHA said.
Metro train services can resume in a phased manner from September 7 and social and other functions will be allowed with a limit of 100 people, the central government said on Saturday as it announced new steps to ease COVID-19 restrictions as part of the fourth phase of unlocking." itemprop="description
With Coronavirus cases increasing in the national capital, authorities have formed enforcement teams in each district of Delhi to ensure strict implementation of COVID-19 guidelines.
The move comes days after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that stringent enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines would be ensured and had said everyone should wear a face mask and maintain social distancing at public places.
Each enforcement team will have an executive magistrate, and revenue and police personnel, said an official, adding that awareness teams have also been formed to encourage people to follow anti-coronavirus measures.
An official in the Central Delhi district said that nine dedicated enforcement teams have been constituted in the district with three teams in each sub-division under the supervision of their respective sub-divisional magistrates.
Tamil Nadu reported over 6,000 fresh coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing the overall tally beyond 4.15 lakh as the number of deaths stood at 7,137, including 87 new fatalities.
The state reported new infections in excess of 6,000 after quite some time, as it logged in excess of only 5,000 daily cases for the past many days.
As many as 6,352 cases, including those who had returned from domestic and foreign destinations, pushed the total number of infections so far in Tamil Nadu to 4,15,590.
A government bulletin said 6,045 people were discharged after recovery today, with the total number of those cured of the dreaded virus being 3,55,727.
Subsequently, there were 52,726 active cases, it said.
As many as 44,99,670 people have undergone RT-PCR tests so far, including 78,973 today.
Chennai continued to top the districts in both daily cases, at 1,285 on Saturday, as well as the cumulative numbers, which was 1,33,173.
Himachal Pradesh on Saturday recorded 93 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 5,731, while the death toll from the disease climbed to 33 with one more fatality.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state now stands at 1,500, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R D Dhiman said.
A 56-year-old woman of Bhawarna village in Palampur tehsil of Kangra district succumbed to the infection at Tanda Medical College, Kangra chief medical officer Dr Gurdarshan Gupta said.
She was also suffering from cancer and was undergoing treatment in Punjab. The woman in critical condition was admitted at the intensive care unit (ICU) in Tanda Medical College where she tested positive for COVID-19.
Mandi, Kangra and Solan each account for seven of the total COVID-19 deaths in the state, followed by Hamirpur and Chamba (four each), Shimla (two), and Una and Sirmaur (one each).
Of the 93 fresh cases, 34 were reported from Sirmaur, 19 from Una, 14 from Kangra, 12 from Hamirpur, six from Shimla, three each from Chamba and Bilaspur and two from Mandi, Mr Dhiman said.
Bharat Biotech's vaccine candidate based on inactivated virus procured by ICMR and Zydus Cadila's candidate based on viral DNA are two Indian COVID-19 vaccines in second phase trial, Niti Aayog member Dr Vinod K Paul said on Saturday.
Taking part in the 20th meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 in New Delhi, which was chaired by the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, he said 29 candidates, including two Indian vaccine candidates, are in clinical trials and six are in third phase trials.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday claimed that Coronavirus cases in the coastal state were on the rise since Ganesh Chaturthi and this was because people violated safety norms during the festival.
There has been a spike in cases, as people did not wear masks or follow social distancing norms during the festivities, Mr Sawant said.
"We have noticed that the number of COVID-19 cases have increased after Ganesh Chaturthi. Daily count was hovering around 150 cases per day before the festival, but now there has been a rise," Mr Sawant said.
Urging people to practise social distancing, the chief minister said he took precautionary measures during his daily work routine.
Expressing satisfaction at the coordinated efforts of the Centre, states and union territories to contain the spread of COVID-19, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that the country's Case Fatality Rate is at its lowest 1.81 per cent.
While chairing the 20th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 in the national capital, Mr Vardhan said, "In the month since the last meeting of GoM on July 31, we have made tremendous strides in containing the disease. As many as 26.4 lakh have already recovered. The country's Case Fatality Rate is at its lowest 1.81 per cent and consecutively Recovery Rate has increased to 76.47 per cent."
He informed the GOM that with creation of sufficient health facilities, the health infrastructure in the country has been amply strengthened. Also, only 0.29 per cent of cases are on ventilators, 1.93 per cent in ICU and only 2.88 per cent of cases are on oxygen.
For every million population, India's coronavirus cases and fatalities are one of the lowest compared to the global averages, the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was informed on Saturday.
At its 20th meeting held in Delhi on Saturday, the GoM on COVID-19 was briefed on the current status of the coronavirus outbreak in India, the health ministry said.
The meeting was informed that as of Saturday, eight states -- Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana -- contribute around 73 per cent of the active caseload.
Seven states -- Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- account for 81 per cent of total deaths due to coronavirus infection.
Crossing another milestone, India has conducted over 4 crore COVID-19 tests since January this year, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday.
"With focussed, consistent and coordinated efforts led by the Centre and implemented by the State/UT governments, India has set a new landmark of testing 4,04,06,609 people. India has come a long way from conducting just one test from the lab in Pune in January 2020 to crossing 4 crore tests milestone," the press statement from the Ministry read.
Notably, the single-day tests have also seen an upsurge. "Already having achieved the testing capacity of 10 lakh tests per day, 9,28,761 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah who had been admitted to Delhi's premier All India Institutes of Medical Sciences or AIIMS for "post-covid care" has recovered and will be released soon, the hospital said in a statement on Saturday." itemprop="description
Tamil Nadu has achieved a recovery rate of 85.45 per cent with 3,49,682 people having been cured of coronavirus, the "highest" in the country, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said on Saturday.
The state's mortality rate was a "very low" 1.7 per cent, he said.
In his video-conference meeting with District Collectors on Saturday to review the lockdown being enforced to contain the spread of coronavirus, Palaniswami said his government had so far spent Rs 7,162 crore towards controlling the pandemic, treatment and relief measures.
"I wish to point out that Tamil Nadu has the highest recovery rate of 85.45 per cent (3,49,682 cured) in the country and the death rate is a very low 1.7 per cent," he said.
As of Friday, Tamil Nadu's overall tally of coronavirus cases stood at 4.09 lakh. So far 7,050 related deaths have been recorded.
It claimed this was Asia's "first known lung transplant" on a COVID-19 positive patient and the second in the hospital since the lockdown began.
The transplant was performed on August 27 and post the transplant, the patient is doing fine in the Transplant ICU at MGM Healthcare, the hospital said in a statement.
At least 443 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Tripura on Saturday, raising the state's tally to 10,879, a health department official said.
The death count rose to 94 with five more persons succumbing to the infection, he said. All the fresh fatalities were reported from West Tripura district, the official said.
A total of 198 people were discharged from Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC) on Wednesday, taking the number of recoveries to 7,037, he said.
Tripura currently has 3,729 active COVID-19 cases. Nineteen patients have migrated to other states. West Tripura district accounted for 51 of the 94 fatalities reported in the state so far, the official said.
Odisha recorded 3,252 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total coronavirus count in the state to 97,920, informed the state health department.
It further stated that at present there are 29,571 active cases of the infection in Odisha.
So far, 470 people have lost their lives after contracting COVID-19 while 67,826 patients have recovered from the disease in the state.
As many as 595 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths were reported in Rajasthan today, said the State Health Department on Saturday.
With this, the total number of cases stands at 77,965 including 14,697 active cases and 1,025 deaths.
India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 34 lakh-mark as the country registered a single-day spike of 76,472 new cases, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Saturday.
The cumulative count due to the virus reached 62,550 with 1,021 new deaths in the last 24 hours.
J&K: 35 'Made in India' ventilators provided to District Hospital Udhampur, under PM-CARES fund for help in treatment of #COVID19 patients. Hospital's Superintendent says "Govt provided ventilator support to all district hospitals, on a short notice. We will install them shortly" pic.twitter.com/AA6XNEBHr5- ANI (@ANI) August 29, 2020