Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Health Ministry Official Lav Agarwal, Face of India's Covid Briefings, Tests Positive

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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health, today said he has tested positive for the coronavirus and has initiated home isolation as per guidelines. Agarwal was the face of India's coronavirus fight immediately after the first lockdown in March, addressing the press during the government press conferences.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today said the Centre will take "a reasonable decision" on the coronavirus vaccine announced by Russia earlier this week "only after seriously considering every aspect". Russia had earlier said that India was among the 20 nations that had shown interest in procuring the vaccine, which has been named 'Sputnik V'.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and eight ministers, including Health Minister KK Shailaja, will quarantine themselves after they visited the site of the Air India Express plane crash in Karipur airport in Kozhikode. The move comes after 22 officials, including the Malappuram District Collector and District Police Chief, tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea by six former bureaucrats seeking a commission of inquiry into alleged lapses by government in handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SC said it "can't embark on a fishing inquiry like this".

India has recorded 64,553 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total case count to above 24.6 lakh. With over 1,000 fatalities reported on Thursday, the country's death toll surged to 48,144. India is the third most affected country by number of infections and has the fourth highest death toll.

The five most affected Indian states by total tally of cases are Maharashtra (560,126), Tamil Nadu (314,520), Andhra Pradesh (264,000), Karnataka (196,494), and Delhi (1,49,460). The government says that the increased infections should be looked at in respect to increased testing, as over 8.3 lakh samples were collected in a day.

The chief medical officer of Lucknow, RP Singh, meanwhile issues hospital rates for per day of admission in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The administration has capped rates at Rs 10,000 for isolation beds, including supportive care and oxygen, Rs 15,000 for ICU without need for ventilator care and Rs 18,000 for ICU with ventilator care.

India's caseload of coronavirus cases neared the 24-lakh mark with the country reporting its biggest single-day spike in the new Covid-19 cases. India on August 13 reported its highest single-day tally of confirmed cases with the health ministry recording an addition of 66,999 new cases to India's Covid-19 tally, taking the country's total cases tally to over 23.96 lakh. These cases were reported on Wednesday.