Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The West Bengal government is mulling a 14-day total lockdown in North 24 Parganas on account of rise in fresh Covid-19 cases. The plan for a fresh lockdown comes in the wake of a proposal from the North 24 Parganas district administration for a fresh containment plan. Bidhannagar, Barasat, Basirhat, Barrackpore and Bongaon municipal areas are likely to come under the lockdown in the district. The proposal is to close markets and shut down public transport in the district, and allow only standalone shops to remain open.
India's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 20,000 today and case numbers surged as the south Asian nation pushed ahead with relaxations to its almost two-month lockdown amid grim economic forecasts. The rate of both new virus infections and deaths are rising at the fastest pace in three months, as officials lift a vast lockdown of India's 1.3 billion people that has left tens of thousands without work and shuttered businesses. The country reported 467 new deaths on Tuesday, taking the toll to 20,160. It also recorded 22,252 new infections, increasing the total to 719,665. India on Monday overtook Russia as the third most affected country globally, behind the United States and Brazil.
But its death rate per 10,000 people is still a low 0.15, compared with 3.97 in the United States and 6.65 in the United Kingdom, according to a Reuters tally. Health officials fear the number of deaths, which usually lag behind the detection of new infections, could rise significantly in coming weeks. India's death toll is currently the world's seventh highest, behind the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain. Over the first week of July, India reported an average of 450 deaths each day, compared with 250 in the first week of June, and 101 in the first week of May. Officials on Monday withdrew a planned reopening of the Taj Mahal, citing the risk of new coronavirus infections spreading in the northern city of Agra from visitors flocking to see the 17th century monument to love.
Meanwhile, Karnataka minister JC Madhuswamy has said Covid-19 is spreading at the community level, with the situation “going out of hand”. "Medical condition of eight infected with coronavirus admitted in Tumkur COVID Hospital is critical. There is no guarantee of their lives as per the information. We somewhere feel we are worried that coronavirus is spreading at the community level," Madhuswamy, Tumakuru district-in-charge minister, said, even though Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Deputy CM Ashwath Narayan and Medical Education Minister Dr Sudhakar have denied community transmission in the state earlier.
Addressing reporters, Madhuswamy said: "We have reached a point where it is difficult for the district authorities to restrain it, even though we are trying to restrain it. Somewhere the situation is going out of hand.” According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 23,474 coronavirus cases in Karnataka, including 13,255 and 372 deaths. While Karnataka grapples with the onslaught of the virus, Haridwar has sealed its borders following a ban on the annual 'Kanwar Yatra' of devotees of Lord Shiva in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Every year during the month of Sawan, lakhs of Lord Shiva devotees visit Haridwar to fetch holy water from the Ganges.
To check the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government has barred religious gatherings. In view of the ban, borders of Haridwar district were sealed at Narson, Bhagwanpur, Chidiyapur and Saptrishi checkposts on Monday, official sources here said. Only people having written permission from their respective district magistrate are being allowed to enter Haridwar in their vehicles, they said. Hundreds of vehicles bound for Haridwar were returned from the border as they did not have the required permission, the sources said. Security around Har ki Pauri has also been stepped up. The administration is questioning devotees who are coming on motorcycles. Four such people who had come from Delhi were quarantined here for 14 days to send a strong message, the sources said.