India registered 26,727 fresh cases of COVID-19, and 277 deaths in the last 24 hours. The number of new cases is 13.6% higher than yesterday’s recordings, according to the Union Health Ministry. The top five contributing states are Kerala (15,914 cases), Maharashtra (3,063 cases), Tamil Nadu (1,612 cases), Mizoram (1,170 cases), and Andhra Pradesh (1,010 cases). Kerala alone was responsible for 59.54% of the newly recorded cases. India’s recovery rate now stands at 97.86%. However, vaccination rates have been steady across the country, with 64,40,451 doses being administered in the last 24 hours.
The BBMP zone of Dasarahalli in Bengaluru city now has a cluster of COVID-19 infections. The area had previously not reported a single case for over two months. 7 cases were also reported from the nearby Peenya Industrial area. “When compared to other zones, Dasarahalli is spread out over a large area and its industrial areas are not crowded as many employees are not coming to the workplace. Factories are operating as per a rota and workers follow social distancing norms and mask usage protocols,” said a senior health officer. With clusters popping up in many areas in the outskirts of Bangalore, factory workers have been put on high alert.
On Wednesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has announced that schools in Mumbai will be set to reopen for in-person classes from October 4th. “We are reopening schools for classes 8 to 12 in Mumbai with effect from October 4. We will make a decision for the rest of the classes in November. All Covid-19 SOPs issued by the government will be implemented,” BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal said. The safety of students has been taken into account by allowing parents to give consent for their children to attend physical classes. Though rural areas of Maharashtra have resumed offline schooling, major cities like Mumbai and Pune have kept their classrooms shut since the second wave.
The Central Government issued an official advisory on Tuesday urging states to brace themselves for the upcoming festive season. Large-scale gatherings at fairs, festivals, and other religious functions could cause a flare-up of COVID-19 infections. “State governments, Union territories administrations concerned, which have high positivity in their districts, should take proactive containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and contain the spread of transmission” said the letter addressed to chief secretaries.
On Tuesday, the Centre extended its suspension of international scheduled commercial flights till October 31st, 2021 to curb the spread of COVID-19. In the latest circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated that cargo flights, those approved by the regulator to operate, and certain scheduled flights approved case-wise would be exempted. The ban has been in place since March 23rd 2020, but allows flights to and from 25 countries that have an air bubble agreement with India. The United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the Maldives, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Qatar and Bhutan are a few examples. Despite the ban, India has allowed some select flights to operate in order to repatriate stranded citizens.
India registered 26,041 new cases of COVID-19 today, 8.1% lower than yesterday (Sunday). The COVID-19 death tally in the last 24 hours stands at 276 deaths. Recovery rates have been steady, with today’s number being a promising 97.78%. Currently, there are 2,99,620 active cases, 3,856 cases less than what was recorded on Sunday. The five biggest contributors were Kerala (15,951 cases), Maharashtra (3,206 cases), Tamil Nadu (1,694 cases), Andhra Pradesh (1,184 cases), and Karnataka (775 cases). Kerala alone was responsible for 61.25% of newly recorded cases. However, vaccination rates have been optimistic with 38,18,362 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being administered in the last 24 hours.
91 year-old Margaret Keenan was the first person outside of clinical trials to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She returned to University Hospital in Coventry on Friday to receive a booster vaccination. Her third dose was administered by May Pearson, the same woman who gave Keenan her first dose 10 months earlier. The former jewellery shop assistant and grandmother-of-four told sources that she was delighted to receiver her booster dose before winter, and encouraged people across the globe to follow suit. “The world watched in December as Maggie Keenan became the first in the world to get a COVID vaccine and since then, more than 40 million others across the country [England] have joined her,” said head of the NHS Amanda Pritchard.
The Karnataka State Government has rejected applications for compensation from the families of healthcare workers who fell victim to COVID-19. 14 doctors lost their lives treating COVID-19 patients, and could receive up to Rs. 50 lakh in compensation. However, the Government claimed that the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna is meant only for workers of Government hospitals, a move condemned by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Former president of the IMA Dr. Madhusudan Kariganoor revealed that in early 2020, the Karnataka Government had instructed private clinics to stay open. “The doctors were infected while treating patients in OPDs in their clinics and nursing homes. To now differentiate based on their service in government and private facilities is ridiculous.”
Experts across the country seem to agree that India may well be entering the final stage of the coronavirus pandemic, as infection rates have become more and more manageable. Virologists and epidemiologists are optimistic about India’s ability to handle future flare-ups without overloading healthcare infrastructure. However, this does not eliminate the possibility of variants of the virus wreaking havoc. “The unknown variables here are the appearance of a new variant and the duration of protective efficacy of currently available vaccines. Continued surveillance is important,” said World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan.