COVID-19 pandemic showing declining trend, says Centre; Unlock 5 guidelines extended till 30 Nov

FP Staff
·6-min read

The number of coronavirus cases reported in India in a span of 24 hours dropped below 40,000 after over three months, while the new fatalities registered during the same period remained under 500 for the second consecutive day, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The health ministry said that India reported 10 lakh recoveries in a span of 13 days, taking the country's recovery rate to 90.62 percent. India's coronavirus count rose to 79,46,429 as it reported 36,470 new cases in a day.

The country's toll rose by 488 to 1,19,502. India's active cases stood at 6,25,857, while the number of recoveries reached 72,01,070.

Meanwhile, Union minister Ramdas Athawale tested positive for COVID-19. He has been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai.

The Centre on Tuesday also announced that the current guidelines allowing various activities like opening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity will continue to be applicable till 30 November in areas outside the containment zones.

Earlier, the guidelines for reopening activities issued on 30 September were to be in force till 31 October.

Pandemic showing a declining trend, says Centre

The COVID-19 pandemic in India is showing a declining trend, except for two to three states, the government said on Tuesday, noting that it is "particularly noteworthy" vis-Ã -vis some countries in the northern hemisphere where a severe increase in the intensity of the virus' spread is being seen.

The situation related to the pandemic in the world is particularly concerning and it has been seen that countries of much greater economic capability and per capita income, and having a good health system can succumb to a huge second peak, chairperson of the National Task Force on COVID-19, VK Paul, told a press conference.

"This must be a lesson for all of us," Paul, who is also the NITI Aayog member for health, said.

"We are very fortunate that our trend is in the opposite direction. We are fortunate that today we are showing a decline of the (COVID-19) pandemic, except in two or three states. This decline is particularly noteworthy because in other countries of the northern hemisphere there is a severe increase in the intensity of pandemic," he said.

The pandemic, largely in the northern hemisphere, has struck again in several countries. The third peak has come in the US, Paul said, adding that "becoming a bit lax.. slowing down surveillance, containment strategies also must be playing a role".

Kerala, Bengal, Delhi proceeding towards 3rd peak

As per Centre, three states: Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi, are proceeding towards a third peak. "This is a matter of concern and there can be no complacency in following COVID-19 "appropriate behaviour" in the coming times as more challenges will emerge, Paul said.

More festivals are coming and "where ever we have faltered in the last few days, it will show in 10 to 12 days", he said.

Secretary in the health ministry, Rajesh Bhushan, said that it has been observed that states and union territories like Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi have reported a rise in cases during the festival season.

"It is mandatory for all of us to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in the festival season," he said.

Bhushan also said that 49.4 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours were reported from five states and union territories, which are Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi.

Fifty-eight percent new COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours were reported from Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, he said.

Unlock 5 guidelines to remain in force till 30 Nov

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order today to extend this period till 30 November, an MHA spokesperson said told PTI.

The guidelines said that international travel, except those permitted by the Centre, would remain shut while state and UT governments were given the flexibility to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions in a graded manner.

The decision is be taken in consultation with the respective school and institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to certain conditions, according to the guidelines.

The activities permitted in areas outside the containment zones were cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity, Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions, swimming pools used for training of sportspersons, entertainment parks and similar places.

Ramdas Athawale tests COVID-19 positive

Union minister Ramdas Athawale, whose 'go corona, go' chant went viral on Tuesday tested coronavirus positive, an official said.

The Republican Party of India (A) leader has been admitted to a private hospital in south Mumbai, he said.

In February, a video of Athawale, along with a Chinese diplomat and Buddhist monks chanting "Go corona, go corona" at a prayer meeting went viral on social media.

The video was reportedly shot at the Gateway of India here on 20 February during a prayer session to stop the spread of coronavirus in China.

Athawale (60) is a member of the Rajya Sabha and minister of state for social justice in the Narendra Modi-led ministry.

The minister is also a diabetic, an aide said. Athawale on Monday attended an event in Mumbai to induct actress Payal Ghosh into the Republican Party of India (A).

Protective antibodies fall 'quite rapidly' after infection: Study

The hope for long-term immunity from COVID-19 was thrown into doubt on Tuesday as a large UK study concluded that protective antibodies in people fall "quite rapidly" after a coronavirus infection.

Imperial College London's research, which tested more than 3,65,000 people in England, found that antibody response to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 wanes over time, which indicates that any level of immunity could last only a few months.

"Seasonal coronaviruses that circulate every winter and cause common colds can re-infect people after six to 12 months," said professor Wendy Barclay, a virologist who was one of the researchers on the study. "We suspect that the way the body reacts to infection with this new coronavirus is similar to that," she said.

Antibodies are a key part of the body's immune defences and stop viruses from getting inside the body's cells. The Imperial College London team found the number of people testing positive with a finger-prick test for antibodies has fallen by 26 percent between June and September.

"Our study shows that over time there is a reduction in the proportion of people testing positive for antibodies," said professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial College London.

State-wise deaths

The 488 new fatalities reported on Tuesday include 84 from Maharashtra, 59 from West Bengal, 54 from Delhi, 43 from Chhattisgarh, 42 from Karnataka and 32 from Tamil Nadu.

The total 1,19,502 deaths reported so far in the country include 43,348 from Maharashtra followed by 10,956 from Tamil Nadu, 10,947 from Karnataka, 6,904 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,606 from Andhra Pradesh, 6,546 from West Bengal, 6,312 from Delhi, 4,125 from Punjab and 3,690 from Gujarat.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 percent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

With inputs from PTI

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