India's tally of COVID-19 cases rose by 60,963 on Wednesday, and the recovery rate rose to 70.38 percent with the highest single-day number of recoveries recorded, the Union health ministry said.
The total count of coronavirus cases stands at 23,29,639. Of these, 6,43,948 are active cases, and 16,39,600 patients have been cured/discharged/migrated. 56,110 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours.
A total of 834 patients succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative toll to 46,091. The COVID-19 case fatality rate (CFR) stands at 1.98 percent, the ministry said.
The record number of recoveries "are the result of the successful implementation of effective containment strategy, aggressive and comprehensive testing coupled with standardised clinical management of the critical patients based on holistic standard of care approach", the ministry said.
The coordinated efforts of the Centre, state governments and UT governments have resulted in continuously increasing average daily recoveries, it said.
"In the first week of July, the daily average recovered cases were at 15,000 which jumped to more than 50,000 in the first week of August," the health ministry said.
"With more patients recovering and being discharged from hospitals and home isolation (in case of mild and moderate cases), the total recoveries have crossed the 16 lakh-mark and recovery rate has reached another high of 70.38 percent," it added.
There are 6,43,948 active cases of coronavirus which is "actual caseload" of COVID-19 in the country and currently comprise 27.64 percent of the total positive cases.
The health ministry added that "the testing lab network in the country is being continuously strengthened". Currently, it consists of 1,421 labs, with 944 labs in the government sector and 477 private labs.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 7,33,439 samples were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday. This is the highest single-day figure so far.
AYUSH minister tests COVID-19 positive
Union AYUSH minister Shripad Y Naik said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and advised all those who have come in contact with him in the last few days to get tested and take required precautions.
In a tweet, Naik said the test showed he was asymptomatic and that he has opted for home isolation. He also said that his vitals were normal.
"I underwent Covid-19 test today and it has turned out asymptomatically positive. My vitals are within normal limits and I have opted for home isolation. Those who have come in contact with me in last few days are advised to get tested and take required precautions," the minister said in a tweet.
Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Dr Raman Singh's wife Veena Singh also tested positive for COVID-19. Taking to Twitter, Singh said "that he along with his family are going to be self-islolated. He has also requested those who came in their contact in last few days to get themselves tested as a precautionary measure," News18 reported.
Pranab Mukherjee is "haemodynamically stable", says son
Former president Pranab Mukherjee, who is on ventilator support after surgery to remove a clot in his brain condition is now "haemodynamically stable", his son Abhijit Mukherjee said on Wednesday. The 84-year-old has also tested positive for coronavirus.
"With All Your Prayers, my father is haemodynamically stable now. I request everyone to continue with your prayers & good wishes for his speedy recovery. Thank You," tweeted Abhijit.
In a subsequent tweet he said: "Thank You for your good wishes."
On Monday, the former president tweeted, "On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for COVID-19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19."
Bengal govt changes August lockdown schedule for 5th time
The West Bengal government on Wednesday pared down the number of state-wide complete lockdown by one day, making it the fifth change to the shutdown schedule this month.
The lockdown on 28 August (Friday) has been done away with, keeping in mind the interest of banking and business operations, a state government order said.
The decision drew the ire of the opposition parties, which alleged that it was taken to facilitate a function marking the foundation day programme of Trinamool Chatra Parishad, the student wing of the ruling TMC. TMC denied the charge as "completely baseless".
According to the state government order signed by chief secretary Rajiva Sinha, the decision to withdraw the complete lockdown on 28 August was taken after several communications were received citing difficulties to conduct business and banking operations because of two days' lockdown on Thursday (27 August) and Friday (28 August) in the last week of the month followed by another the following Monday (31 August).
Complete lockdowns were slated to be held on the three dates as per the earlier decision of the government.
State-wise cases and deaths
Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected state from the infection with 5,48,313 cases, which include 1,47,513 active cases and 13,408 recoveries.
The state recorded 12,712 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday while the death toll stands at 18,650, said the state health department.
Meanwhile, nine new cases were reported in Mumbai's Dharavi area, the BMC said.
The second worst-affected state, Tamil Nadu, reported 5,871 new COVID-19 cases and 119 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 3,14,520. This includes 52,929 active cases, 2,56,313 patients discharged and 5,278 deaths, said the state health department.
Delhi reported 1,113 new COVID-19 cases, 1,021 recovered/discharged/migrated cases and 14 deaths on Wednesday. The total cases are now 1,48,504, including 1,33,405 recovered/discharged/migrated, 10,946 active cases and 4153 deaths, said the Delhi government.
Andhra Pradesh reported 9,597 new COVID-19 positive cases, 6,676 recoveries and 93 deaths on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases to 2,54,146, including 90,425 active cases, 1,61,425 recovered and 2,296 deaths, as per the state health department's bulletin.
Meanwhile, Karnataka reported 7,883 new COVID-19 cases, 7,034 recoveries and 113 deaths today, taking the total number of cases to 1,96,494, including 80,343 active cases, 1,12,633 recovered cases and 3,510 deaths till date. A total of 2,802 cases were reported in Bengaluru today, said the state health department.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that 1,212 more COVID-19 cases and five deaths were reported in the state. Of these new cases, 1,068 contracted the infection through local transmission, he said.
Rajasthan on Wednesday reported 595 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths till 10.30 am, the state health department said.
"595 new COVID19 positive cases and 10 deaths have been reported in Rajasthan till 10.30 am today. The total number of cases now at 55,482 including 14,103 active cases, 37,917 discharged cases and 821 deaths," it said.
Jammu and Kashmir reported 482 new COVID-19 cases (106 in Jammu & 376 in Kashmir), 544 recoveries and eight deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 26,413 till date, including 7,392 active cases, 18,523 recovered cases and 498 deaths, stated the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
New Zealand records 4 new cases after 102 days
New Zealand recorded four new cases of coronavirus after reporting no community transmission for 102 days. The Washington Post quoted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as saying that Auckland will move to impose new restrictions from Wednesday afternoon through midnight Friday as officials assess the threat and asked residents to stay home and take precautions.
With the surfacing of new cases, the government has asked the citizens to wear masks while accessing essential services. The other citizens have been asked to wear face-covering in areas where social distancing is hard to practise.
The first new confirmed case is a person in their 50s who has no history of international travel, The Washington Post reported. After all members of the family were tested, three more were confirmed COVID-19 positive.
Following the confirmation of fresh cases, Ardern was quoted as saying at a press conference, "Act as if you have COVID, and as if the people around you have COVID."
With inputs from agencies