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Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: During the lockdown, I interacted through video conference with labourers in different districts after they returned to Bihar. I felt that they don’t want to go to other states for work, said Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during the launch of ‘Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan’ on Saturday.

More than 20 lakh people came to Bihar via trains and we made arrangements for them in quarantine centres in every district, said Kumar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a massive rural public works scheme, the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, on Saturday to create jobs for millions of migrant workers who returned home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Modi will launch the scheme worth Rs 50,000 crore through video conference in presence of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

The total number of COVID-19 recoveries in India was more than the active cases on Saturday. After 2,13,831 patients were cured of the viral infection, the COVID-19 recovery rate across the nation climbed to 54.13 percent.

While, there are 1,68,269 active cases in the country of the total 3.95 lakh cases.

India registered 14,516 new COVID-19 infections for the first in a single day, taking the total confirmed cases over 3.9 lakh on Saturday, according to the latest data of the health ministry.

With 375 more deaths in the past 24 hours, the COVID-19 toll across the nation jumped to 12,948.

One more policeman died of COVID-19 in Mumbai on Friday, taking the number of casualties in Mumbai Police to 31. A total of 2,349 police personnel have contracted the disease so far in the city, ANI quoted Mumbai Police PRO, Pranay Ashok, as saying.

No COVID-19 patient must be allowed to undergo home isolation before mandatory five-day institutional quarantine, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said in an order, prompting a sharp response from the Delhi government, which has been grappling with an acute shortage of hospital beds.

Blaming lack of “physical contact to monitor patients” during home isolation for the spurt of coronavirus cases in the National Capital, Baijal directed the authorities to conduct physical surveillance of those in self-quarantine.

“Delhi is reviewed regularly in the Ministry of Home Affairs and it was observed that ‘home isolation’ without physical contact to monitor the patients may be a reason for increase in spread of increase in COVID-19 infections in Delhi,” Baijal said in a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and top officials of the Delhi government.

The number of coronavirus cases in India rose by 13,586 pushing the nationwide tally to 3,80,532, while the toll rose to 12,573 with 336 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry data.

On the other hand, the number of recoveries reached 2,04,710, while there are a total of 1,63,248 active cases, according to the updated official figure at 8 am. “Thus, around 53.79 percent patients have recovered so far,” an official was quoted as saying by PTI.

India is the fourth worst-hit nation by the pandemic after the US, Brazil and Russia. According to the Johns Hopkins University, which has been compiling COVID-19 data from all over the world, India is at the eighth position in terms of the death toll.

According to health ministry’s data, of the 336 new deaths reported till Friday morning, 100 were in Maharashtra, 65 in Delhi, 49 in Tamil Nadu, 31 in Gujarat, 30 in Uttar Pradesh, 12 each in Karnataka and West Bengal, 10 in Rajasthan, six in Jammu and Kashmir, five in Punjab, four each in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, three in Telangana, two in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Assam, Jharkhand and Kerala.

 Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Bihar labourers dont want to go to other states for work, Nitish Kumar tells PM important to create job opportunities

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ANI

Of the total 12,573 deaths, Maharashtra accounted for the highest 5,751 fatalities followed by Delhi with 1,969 deaths, Gujarat with 1,591, Tamil Nadu with 625, West Bengal with 518, Madhya Pradesh with 486, Uttar Pradesh with 465, Rajasthan with 323 and Telangana with 195 deaths.

The COVID-19 death toll reached 134 in Haryana, 114 in Karnataka, 92 in Andhra Pradesh, 83 in Punjab, 71 in Jammu and Kashmir, 44 in Bihar, 26 in Uttarakhand, 21 in Kerala and 11 in Odisha. Jharkhand has registered 11 deaths, Chhattisgarh 10, Assam 9, Himachal Pradesh 8, Puducherry 7, Chandigarh 6 while Meghalaya, Tripura and Ladakh have reported 1 fatality each, according to the Health Ministry.

More than 70 percent deaths took place due to comorbidities, the ministry said.

India has witnessed a surge of 1,89,997 infections from 1 to 19 June with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh among the top five states that have seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

Maharashtra has reported maximum number of cases at 1,20,504 followed by Tamil Nadu at 52,334, Delhi at 49,979, Gujarat at 25,601, Uttar Pradesh at 15,181, Rajasthan at 13,857 and West Bengal at 12,735, according to the Health Ministry’s data.

The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 11,426 in Madhya Pradesh, 9,218 in Haryana, 7,944 in Karnataka, 7,518 in Andhra Pradesh and 7,025 in Bihar.

It has risen to 6,027 in Telangana, 5,555 in Jammu and Kashmir, 4,777 in Assam and 4,512 in Odisha. Punjab has reported 3,615 novel coronavirus cases so far, while Kerala has 2,794 cases.

A total of 2,102 people have been infected by the virus in Uttarakhand, 1,946 in Chhattisgarh, 1,920 in Jharkhand, 1,155 in Tripura, 705 in Goa, 687 in Ladakh, 606 in Manipur and 595 in Himachal Pradesh.

Chandigarh has registered 374 COVID-19 cases, Puducherry has 271 cases, Nagaland has 193, Mizoram has 130, Arunachal Pradesh has 103, Sikkim has 70,

Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu together have reported 58 COVID-19 cases.

Meghalaya and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have registered 44 infections each so far.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR,” the ministry said, adding 8,927 cases are being reassigned to states.

State-wise distribution is subject to further verification and reconciliation, it added.

Delhi health minister’s condition deteriorates

Additionally, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain was admitted to the ICU after being diagnosed with pneumonia. He had tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday along with AAP MLA Atishi and two senior functionaries in the Delhi government.

An official statement was quoted by News18 as saying that Jain “has been put on oxygen support after his lung infection worsened”.

“Jain has been shifted to Saket’s Max Hospital, where he will be administered plasma therapy for COVID-19,” the report added.

MHA caps cost of isolation beds in Delhi pvt hospitals

Meanwhile, a high-powered committee set up by Home Minister Amit Shah recommended fixing the cost of an COVID-19 isolation bed in private hospitals in Delhi in the range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 and an ICU bed with ventilator at Rs 15,000-Rs 18,000 per day, the Home Ministry said on Friday.

The committee, under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog member VK Paul, was constituted on Sunday to ensure the availability of 60 percent beds by private hospitals at lower rates and fix the rate of coronavirus testing and treatment.

“The committee has recommended Rs 8,000-10,000, Rs 13,000-15,000 and Rs 15,000-18,000 including PPE costs for isolation bed, ICUs without and with ventilator, respectively, to all hospitals as compared to the current charges of Rs 24,000-25,000, 34,000-43,000 and 44,000-54,000 (excluding PPE cost),” the spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs tweeted.

The spokesperson said the committee was set up by Shah to provide relief to the common man in the national capital and to fix rates charged by private hospitals in Delhi for isolation beds, ICUs without ventilator support and ICUs with ventilator support.

The Delhi government has also capped the rate of COVID-19 RT-PCR test at Rs 2,400 with the city witnessing an alarming spurt in coronavirus cases.

SC asks Centre to fix uniform testing rate in all states

The Supreme Court Friday took note of the differences in COVID-19 testing charges in various states and asked the Centre to decide on the issue, and said all states should set up panel of experts to inspect hospitals to ensure proper care of the patients.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah, which would pass the order later, observed during the hearing that there should be uniformity in COVID-19 testing charge in all states.

It indicated, however, that the court will not venture into the fixation of the charges which will be taken care of by the Centre.

It said the court may also consider passing an order for installation of CCTVs in hospitals to ensure monitoring of patient care.

Additionally, the apex court also directed the Centre to ensure that migrant workers wanting to return to their home states before the deadline of 24 June. The court reiterated that those travelling should not be asked to pay any part of the fare.

DGCI approves restricted use of antiviral drug Favipiravir

In the meantime, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on Friday  approved restricted use of antiviral drug Favipiravir for COVID-19 treatment.

According to News18, the DCGI’s directions for the use of Favipiravir stipulate that it “can be used only in case of emergency and family consent will be mandatory. Course duration is 14 days and conditions of the first 1,000 patients will be monitored”.

Glenmark will conduct phase 3 clinical trials of Favipiravir with 150 patients, the report added.

WHO says COVID-19 vaccine likely by year-end

The World Health Organisation’s chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, on Thursday said that the agency is optimistic and hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccines could be available before the end of this year.

Addressing a press briefing from Geneva on the latest coronavirus drug trial findings, the top WHO scientist also said that clinical trials have now definitively shown that anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine does not have an impact on preventing deaths from COVID-19.

“I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic, but vaccine development is a complex undertaking and comes with a lot of uncertainty. The good thing is we have many different vaccine candidates and platforms,” she said, adding that WHO’s focus is also on accelerating and scaling up a potential vaccine.

“If we are lucky, there will be one or two successful candidates before the end of this year,” she said. There are about 10 candidates which are in human testing phase and at least three of them are entering the new promising phase-three stage which proves a vaccine’s efficacy.

Global scenario on COVID-19

Globally, the pandemic is waxing and waning in many places, with numbers of cases soaring in Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico (besides India) but appearing to be under control or contained in Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand.

On Friday, Britain, which has Europe’s highest pandemic toll with more than 42,000 virus-related deaths and over 300,000 confirmed cases, lowered its coronavirus threat level one notch Friday, becoming the latest country to claim it’s getting a national outbreak under control.

Meanwhile, Germany reported the country’s highest daily increase in virus cases in a month after managing to contain its outbreak better than comparable large European nations. The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control center, listed 770 new confirmed cases, taking the country’s total to 188,534.

Japan released an app Friday, using technology developed by Apple and Google, to help trace people who may have been exposed to the virus. Officials say data will only be recorded and stored in individual users’ phones and deleted after 14 days to protect their privacy.

Singaporeans were able to wine and dine at restaurants, work out at the gym and socialise with up to five people at a time as of Friday, after the city-state removed most of its pandemic lockdown restrictions.

China declared a fresh outbreak in Beijing under control after confirming 25 new cases among some 360,000 people tested. That was up by just four from a day earlier.

In South Korea, outbreaks have inspired second-guessing on whether officials were too quick to ease social distancing guidelines in April after a first wave of infections waned. Officials reported 49 cases of COVID-19 on Friday as the virus continues to spread in the densely populated capital area of Seoul, where half of its 51 million people live. About 30 to 50 new cases have been confirmed per day since late May.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 85 lakh people worldwide and killed more than 4,54,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual number is thought to be much higher because many cases are asymptomatic or go untested.

In the United States, which has reported the most confirmed cases at nearly 22 lakh, states have pushed ahead with emerging from full or partial pandemic shutdowns despite surges in new cases in many places, including Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and California.

Aid group Doctors without Borders said Friday that at least 10 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at one of the world’s largest refugee camps, the sprawling Dadaab complex in Kenya.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 20, 2020 11:47:00 IST

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