Latest News Highlights: India's COVID-19 tally stands at 1,11,24,527. (File)
India today reported 12,286 fresh coronavirus cases and the tally has climbed to 1,11,24,527, while the number of recoveries has surged to 1,07,98,921, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
The death count due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,57,248 in the country with 91 more fatalities reported in a 24-hour period, the ministry's data showed.
Meanwhile, Judges of the Supreme Court will get COVID-19 vaccine shots from today. Those eligible for the vaccine in the drive starting today also includes the families of the judges and retired judges. The Supreme Court registry has arranged a vaccination facility at the court complex.
The judges and their families have an option of getting the jabs at the Supreme Court complex or any hospital listed by the government.
The cost of vaccination will be as per the centre's guidelines, the Supreme Court registry said. Private hospitals can charge up to Rs 250 per shot.
The Health Ministry said the judges will not have an option to choose which vaccine they want to take - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, or Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and made by the Serum Institute of India.
Here are the Latest News Highlights:
Texas Governor Lifts Mask Mandate, Opening State "100 Percent"
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday lifted a state mask mandate and said he was authorizing businesses restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic to open "100 percent."
"For nearly half a year, most businesses have been open either 75 percent or 50 percent and during that time, too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities," Abbott said.
"Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills," the Republican governor said in a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
"This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent," he said to cheers and applause from his audience.
Mumbai Reports Two COVID-19 Deaths, Lowest In Last 10 Months
Mumbai reported only two COVID-19 fatalities, the lowest in the last 10 months, on Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
It took the death count due to the pandemic in India's financial capital to 11,476, while the caseload increased to 3,27,619 with849 new infections being reported.
The city had reported over 1,000 cases a day last week.
A BMC official said the number of fatalities on Tuesday was the lowest since April last year. The daily death count has declined since the start of this year, ranging
between three to 11.
On Monday, the city had recorded 855 new cases and four fatalities.
Delhi High Court Issues Covid Guidelines For Physical Court Hearings
The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued certain guidelines to be followed upon resumption of physical court hearings from March 15, including that visitors and advocates shall maintain social distancing as per government norms.
A circular issued by the administrative branch of the high court said entry of litigants will be regulated as it was during the pre-COVID-19 pandemic period and facilitation counter/ pass counter will also function in the normal manner.
"All the visitors including lawyers shall maintain social distancing as per norms/ protocol issued by the government of India/ Delhi government and or this court," it said.
Over 10,000 Senior Citizens Get Covid Vaccination In Delhi
Over 10,000 senior citizens in Delhi received their first shots of the coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, almost double the number of people above 60 years who got the jab on the inaugural day of the vaccination drive's second phase, officials said.
The Health Department recorded a marginal increase for those under the age bracket of 45-59 as 1,442 people got vaccinated against 1,009 on the previous day.
During the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, which begun across the country from Monday, shots are being administered to the priority group of persons aged 60 years and above and those aged 45-59 with specified co-morbidities.
Centre Urges States To Ensure Adequate Allocation Of Covid Vaccines To Hospitals
The Centre has urged the states and Union territories to ensure adequate allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to all hospitals, government as well as private, for the entire duration for which vaccination sessions have been planned.
At a meeting held on Tuesday, the Centre reiterated that there is no shortage of the vaccines and hence, adequate vaccine doses should be allocated to the COVID vaccination centres (CVCs). The states and Union territories should not store, reserve, conserve or create a buffer stock of the vaccines, the health ministry said in a statement.
"The central government has adequate stock and will provide the required vaccine doses to the states and UTs," it said.
India's Overall Case Positivity Rate Suggests Covid Close To Being Under Control: Health Ministry
India's present overall COVID-19 case positivity rate of 5.11 per cent suggests the pandemic is close to being under control, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
Addressing a weekly press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said though certain states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, are seeing a surge in number of COVID-19 active cases, "the fact remains that recovered cases are still more than 97 per cent and India's total active cases are less than 2 per cent (1.51 per cent)".
Mr Bhushan said that central teams have been deputed to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
"We are monitoring Haryana also," he said.
Give Free COVID-19 Vaccine To Elderly Lawyers: Madhya Pradesh Bar Council
The Bar Council in Madhya Pradesh has demanded that lawyers above the age of 60 be given the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost.
The demand was made in a letter written to Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said Hitoshi Jai Hardia, co chairman of the Bar Council, in a statement issued on Tuesday.
He said hearings in courts are being held physically now and elderly lawyers need to be protected from the infection, for which they must be vaccinated soon.
Mr Hardia said some one lakh lawyers are registered with the state Bar Council, of which 20,000 of are above the age of 60, and, therefore, vaccination camps must be held at the district and tehsil levels.
India Delivers "Made In India" COVID-19 Vaccines To Angola
A consignment of Indian-made vaccines has been delivered to Angola on Tuesday under the ''Vaccine Maitri'' initiative, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
"Landed in Luanda. Made in India vaccines delivered to Angola today. #VaccineMaitri," Mr Jaishankar tweeted.
Angola has reported 20,854 COVID-19 cases and 508 deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Earlier, Mr Jaishankar had said that India has been "very much" at the forefront of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and is providing vaccines to the world under ''Vaccine Maitri'' initiatives.
More than 25 nations across the world have already received Made-in-India vaccines and 49 more countries will be supplied in the coming days, ranging from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands, he had said.
Meghalaya Governor Felicitates NCC Cadets Who Participated In Republic Day Parade In Delhi
Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday felicitated NCC cadets who participated in the Republic Day Parade in the national capital this year, officials said.
Among the 22 NCC cadets who participated in the parade from the northeastern states, four were from Meghalaya, they said.
"All four cadets, two of whom are girls, from the state were felicitated by the governor at Raj Bhavan today," Defence spokeperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said.
NCC NER directorate ADG Maj Gen Ananta Bhuyan also attended the event.
India's Next Phase Of Covid Likely To Be Localised Outbreaks: Experts
Experts say that the relatively low hospitalisation and fatality rates in India suggest the coronavirus pandemic is approaching its next phase - largely manageable local outbreaks.
Although a handful of states are reporting a spurt in infections, for a country of 1.35 billion people with limited health facilities and where the practice of wearing masks and social distancing is falling off, the positive trend, if it holds, will be a respite.
Delhi Records Zero Covid Deaths, 217 New Cases Today
Delhi recorded no new COVID-19 fatality on Tuesday, even as 217 new cases pushed the city's infection tally to 6,39,681, and the positivity rate fell from 0.44 per cent to 0.33 per cent, the health department said.
The new cases came out of 66,624 tests for COVID-19 conducted on Monday, as per data shared by the department.
78 more people have recovered from the disease in the national capital, it showed.
Delhi had recorded 175 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The death count due to the disease in the city stands at 10,911.
Uproar In UP Assembly Over Fuel Price Rise, Samajwadi Party Stages Walk Out
The issue of rising fuel prices rocked the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, with Samajwadi Party MLAs staging a walkout over the matter.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Ram Govind Chaudhary said the prices of LPG cylinders have increased significantly and the people are also getting less subsidy.
He said in 10 months' time, the price of an LPG cylinder in Ballia has increased by over Rs 240.
In an apparent reference to the UP Assembly polls next year, Mr Chaudhary said, "If the government does not wake up now, then there will be a silent revolution in 2022."
"The prices of petrol and diesel are increasing almost everyday. This is impacting the farmers and the common man," he said.
Congress Forms Screening Committee For West Bengal Assembly Polls
The Congress on Tuesday constituted the party's screening committee for the eight-phased West Bengal Assembly polls starting March 27 with Delhi leader JP Aggarwal as its chairman.
The other members of the committee are Mahesh Joshi and Naseem Khan. The panel also has some ex-officio members, including the state Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and the AICC in-charge for West Bengal.
"Congress president has constituted the screening committee for the forthcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal with immediate effect, with JP Aggarwal as its chairman," an official statement from the party said.
The ex-officio members include AICC in-charge for West Bengal Jitin Prasad, state PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and CLP leader Abdul Mannan, besides the AICC secretaries in-charge for West Bengal.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Gets Covid Vaccine Shot
Union minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad was administered the first dose of coronavirus vaccine in Patna on Tuesday for which he paid Rs 250.
He said all the Union ministers have decided to voluntarily pay the price fixed for the vaccine.
"I also got myself administered the made in India vaccine -- Covaxin -- at AIIMS Patna," Mr Prasad tweeted.
"Though the coronavirus vaccine is free in Bihar, I paid Rs 250 to the hospital as price for the shot," he said.
Prithviraj Chavan Questions Covid Vaccine Rates At Private Hospitals
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday questioned the central government's decision to charge for COVID-19 vaccine in phase-II that began on March 1.
In phase-II, people over the age of 60 and over the age of 45 with co-morbidity can get inoculated at the designated centres by paying Rs 250.
Mr Chavan said that in phase-I, the union government had procured 1.65 crore doses of vaccine at a cost of Rs 210 per dose.
"According to the budget speech delivered by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on February 1, 2021, Rs 35,000 crore has been earmarked for the vaccination drive. In this amount, at the cost of Rs 210 per dose more than 1.5 billion doses can be procured which can inoculate 75 crore population twice covering almost the entire adult population of India. If budgetary provisions are made then, why charge common people?" Mr Chavan asked.
Over 1.48 Crore Doses Of Covid Vaccine Administered Till 1 PM Today: Health Ministry
Delhi Police Close Ghazipur Border Hours After Opening It
The Delhi Police on Tuesday afternoon closed the Ghazipur border again, hours after it reopened a portion of NH-9 for traffic movement, officials said.
The stretch was closed since January 26 when violence broke out during the farmers' tractor parade in the national capital on Republic Day.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- demanding a repeal of the three farm laws enacted by the centre in September last year.
Youth Congress Workers Stage Protest Outside Petroleum Ministry Against Fuel Price Hike
Youth Congress workers on Tuesday staged a protest outside the petroleum ministry in New Delhi over rising prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.
Hundreds of Indian Youth Congress activists assembled outside the petroleum ministry office with placards in their hands and raised slogans against the central government. The police, meanwhile, arrested a few of the protesters to control the situation.
Karnataka Minister BC Patil takes his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at his residence in Hirekerur, Haveri.
Kerala Health Minister receives first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Tuesday received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the government medical college hospital
here as the second phase of the vaccination drive progressed in the State.
The 64-year-old minister later appealed to everyone to take part in the government programme.
Besides KK Shailaja, her cabinet colleague E Chandrasekharan also received the jab from the same hospital.
Earlier, Minister of Ports and Museums, Kadannappally Ramachandran (76) got the shot from a hospital in his home district, Kannur.
Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa takes his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Government Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital in Shivamogga.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has a meal at the residence of a local tea garden worker, in Tezpur.
One death, 163 new COVID-19 cases in Telangana
Telangana recorded 163 new coronavirus cases, pushing the total caseload to 2.99 lakh, while the toll rose to 1,635 with one more fatality.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number ofcaseswith 27, followed by Medchal Malkajgiri and Rangareddy districts with 13 and 12 respectively, a state government bulletin said on Tuesday providing details as of 8 PM on March 1.
The cumulative recovered cases stood at 2,95,544, while 1,907 were under treatment.
The bulletin said 40,181 samples were tested on March 1. Cumulatively, the number of samples tested was 87,61,207.
The samples tested per million population was 2,35,389, it said.
The recovery rate in the state was 98.81 per cent, while it was 97.1 per cent in the country, it said.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad receives the first dose of COVID19 vaccine at AIIMS Patna.
Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan receives COVID-19 vaccine shot
Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan and First Lady Suprava Harichandan on Tuesday got the COVID-19 vaccine administered as the process for inoculating those above 60 years of age began in the state.
The First Citizen and the First Lady drove to the Government General Hospital in Vijayawada and got inoculated.
"All eligible (persons) should get vaccinated. Covid-19 has to be rooted out not only of the state but also the country," the Governor said on the occasion.
He recalled that coronavirus shook the entire world for over a year now.
"The vaccination was simple. I didn't feel like I was injected. I am feeling well," Mr Harichandan said.
Mizoram reports three new COVID-19 cases, tally at 4,426
Three people, including a two-year-old, tested positive for COVID-19 in Mizoram, pushing the tally to 4,426, an official said on Tuesday.
All three patients have recently returned from other states, he said.
Mizoram now has 20 active cases, while 4,396 people have recovered from the disease.
The death toll in the state remained at 10, the official said.
It has so far tested 2,33,303 samples, including 1,010 on Monday.
Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam President Kamal Haasan receives the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Chennai.
Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi receives the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine at Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.
National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah takes his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science in Srinagar.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan and his wife take first dose of COVID vaccine at Delhi Heart and Lung Institute.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP, K Keshava Rao takes his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Hyderabad.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra plucks tea leaves with other workers at Sadhuru tea garden, Biswanath.
Strong BJP Start In Early Leads As Votes Counted For Gujarat Local Polls
The ruling BJP posted early gains in the Gujarat municipal elections, leading in most of the 81 municipalities that voted on Sunday and establishing a wide gap with closest rival Congress in district panchayats and taluka panchayats. The party hopes to continue its good run in local body polls held over the last few weeks in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, ahead of elections due next year. Read more
Arunachal Pradesh reports first COVID-19 case after two days, tally rises to 16,837
Arunachal Pradesh reported a fresh case of COVID-19 after remaining coronavirus-free for two consecutive days, a senior health official said on Tuesday.
The northeastern state's tally rose to 16,837, while 16,780 patients have recovered from the disease, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Lobsang Jampa said.
A total of 56 people have so far died due to the contagion.
Arunachal Pradesh's recovery rate and positivity rate stand at 99.66 per cent and 0.005 per cent, respectively, the official said.
Altogether, 4,06,182 samples have been tested, including 378 on Monday, SSO Jampa said.
Various trade unions and Owners' associations in the transport sector have called a 12-hour long statewide motor strike, in protest against the rise in fuel prices. Visuals from Kochi where private buses are not plying and some KSRTC buses are plying with few passengers.
2,286 fresh COVID-19 cases in India, 20% lower than yesterday; over 1.11 crore total cases, 1,57,248 deaths
Devotees bow their heads in prayer outside Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple, on Ganesh Angarki Chaturthi. The Temple Trust has imposed some restrictions in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases here - darshan allowed only on pre-issued QR codes, no offline darshan today.
MoS MHA G Kishan Reddy takes his first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine, at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad.
The second phase of nationwide vaccination to inoculate people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with comorbidities, began yesterday.
Chinese cyber attack: US Congressman urges Biden admin to stand by India
A top American lawmaker on Monday urged the Biden administration to stand by India in view of the Chinese cyber attack on India's power grid system as reported by a US-based company that monitors such malicious activities by the state actors.
"The US must stand by our strategic partner and condemn China's dangerous cyber-attack on India's grid, which forced hospitals to go on generators in the midst of a pandemic," Congressman Frank Pallone said in a tweet on Monday.
"We cannot allow China to dominate the region through force and intimidation," tweeted Pallone, a day after Recorded Future, a Massachusetts-based company which studies the use of the internet by state actors, said Chinese government-linked group of hackers targeted India's critical power grid system through malware, amidst the tense border tension between the two nations.
The State Department said it is aware of these reports. "For specifics, we refer you to the company that conducted the study. More broadly, however, the State Department works with partners around the world to respond to shared threats in cyberspace," a State Department spokesperson told PTI.
Biden admin ''undecided'' on ending Trump-era H-1B visa ban
The Biden administration on Monday indicated it is still undecided on ending the Trump-era ban on issuing of new H-1B visas, with the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asserting that its top priority is the acute needs of individuals fleeing persecution.
In January, the then President Donald Trump had extended the ban on issuing of new H-1B visas till March 31 arguing that the country is having a very high unemployment rate and the US cannot afford to have more foreign workers.
"His successor President Joe Biden has revoked dozens of the executive orders of Trump including several of those related to immigration like the lifting the Muslim visa ban or those related to Green Card, the one that imposed ban on issuing H-1B has still not been lifted. It will expire on March 31, if Biden does not issue a fresh proclamation.
"What is the status of the review of the Trump era visa bans for H1B visas and has the White House decided to lift those bans before they expire at the end of the month?" Mayorkas was asked at a White House news conference.
Trumps Vaccinated Against Covid Before Leaving White House: Advisor
Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, were vaccinated against the coronavirus in January before leaving the White House, an advisor to the former president said on Monday.
"President Trump and the first lady were vaccinated at the White House in January," the advisor said without providing any further details.
Joe Biden, who took over as president on January 20, was vaccinated publicly against the coronavirus on December 21 but the Trumps' vaccinations had not been revealed previously.
Trump, in a speech on Sunday, his first since leaving the White House, said everyone should get vaccinated against Covid-19, which has left more than 500,000 people dead in the United States.
29 Lakh Registered On Day 1 Of Public Rollout Of Vaccines: Harsh Vardhan
Over 29 lakh people had registered - online or via the Aarogya Setu app - by 8.30 pm on Monday, the first day of the public rollout of the coronavirus vaccines, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan told NDTV. Dr Vardhan even suggested that the actual number could be as much as a crore, because each individual who registered could add up to four others.
"I had checked the data before speaking with you... till 8.30 pm over 29 lakh people have registered on the platform. And, you see, if one person registers, s/he has the facility of registering for four family members," Dr Vardhan told NDTV.