The number of COVID-19 cases reported in India in a span of 24 hours dropped below 40,000 for the seventh time this month, taking the infection tally to 94.31 lakh, while the recoveries surged to 88,47,600, according to the Union health ministry's data updated on Monday.
The total coronavirus cases mounted to 94,31,691 with 38,772 new infections, while the toll climbed to 1,37,139 after 443 more fatalities were reported, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 88,47,600, pushing the national recovery rate to 93.81 percent. The COVID-19 case fatality rate declined further to 1.45 percent.
Meanwhile, the US-based pharma company Moderna Inc said it will apply for the US and European emergency authorisation of its COVID-19 vaccine on Monday based on full results from a late-stage study showing its vaccine was 94.1 percent effective with no serious safety concerns.
The drug company also reported a 100 percent success rate in preventing severe COVID-19 cases. The filing sets Moderna's product up to be the second vaccine likely to receive US emergency use authorisation this year after Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine candidate, which is 95 percent effective.
Gap between recoveries and active cases steadily increasing
A total of 45,333 new COVID-19 recoveries has been registered across the country in a span of 24 hours as against 38,772 new infections reported during the same period, leading to a net reduction of 6,561 cases from the active caseload, the Union health ministry said on Monday.
The total recoveries have surged to 88,47,600.
"The gap between COVID-19 recoveries and active cases, that is steadily increasing, presently stands at 84,00,648 i.e 19.8 times the active cases," the ministry said.
The contraction of India's active COVID-19 caseload to 4,46,952 comprises just 4.74 percent of the total coronavirus infections reported so far in the country.
"The difference in new recoveries outnumbering new cases of COVID-19 has also improved the national recovery rate to 93.81 percent as on date," the ministry said, adding that India's coronavirus case fatality rate has further dipped to 1.45 percent.
India is one of the countries with the lowest deaths per million population globally (99.4 at present), the ministry said.
Moderna to file today for US, EU clearance for emergency use
Moderna Inc said it would ask US and European regulators on Monday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection " ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens.
Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the US and Europe.
US hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 1,60,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths. Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide.
Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the US in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.
Antibodies found in 75% of sero survey in Mumbai's Cuffe Parade
In a recent sero survey of the slum population in Mumbai's Cuffe Parade area, 605 out of a total of 806 survey participants " an astonishing 75 percent " tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
Carried out between 5 and 10 October, the sero survey reveals one of the highest rates reported in the country so far. The sero prevalence study was organised by Eyebetes foundation and BJP Corporator Harshita Narvekar.
In earlier sero survey figures reported by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), an average of around 54 percent of residents (in August) and 45 percent of residents (in October) were seropositive (had COVID-19 antibodies.)
The report found that less than 1 percent (eight of the 806 participants) of those surveyed reported having been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past. This could either be because 99 percent of them had an asymptomatic infection or that they weren't willing to share information about an earlier COVID-19 infection.
The statement from the Eyebetes foundation doesn't rule out the possibility that many people were unwilling to give information about the past infection, or all of them had an asymptomatic infection.
PM to chair all-party meet on 4 Dec
The government has called an all-party meeting to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic situation on 4 December that will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources told PTI on Monday.
Floor leaders of all parties from both Houses of Parliament have been called for the meeting, which will be held virtually on Friday at 10.30 am, sources told PTI. The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry is coordinating the meeting and has reached out to floor leaders of all parties, they said.
This will be the second all-party meeting called by the government to discuss the COVID-19 situation since the outbreak of the pandemic.
BMC to impose Rs 200 fine
To encourage COVID-19 -appropriate behaviour among residents of Mumbai, the city civic body has decided to provide ''free'' masks to those found without face cover in public and also collect a fine of Rs 200 from them.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in a release on Sunday said from April till 28 November, it took action against 4.85 lakh citizens for not wearing masks in public places and collected over Rs 10.7 crore as fine from them.
The BMC said when an offender, after being fined, goes ahead without a face mask, the objective of implementing the COVID-19 prevention protocol remains unfulfilled.
"Therefore, in order to fulfill the objective, the citizen concerned will be provided a free mask and charged a penalty of Rs 200," it said.
The relevant penalty receipt will also mention the free mask, it said.
Cap price of RT-PCR COVID-19 test: Delhi CM
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said he has issued directives to reduce the price of the RT-PCR test in the National Capital, saying it will help those going to private labs for COVID-19 tests.
Currently, people have to spend Rs 2,400 for the RT-PCR test at private labs.
"I have directed that the rates of RT PCR tests be reduced in Delhi. Whereas tests are being conducted free of cost in govt establishments, however, this will help those who get their tests done in private labs," Kejriwal tweeted.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain in reply to the chief minister's tweet said orders for this will be issued immediately.
Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Rajasthan government has decided to impose lockdown in containment zones till December 31 and increase night curfew from 11 to 13 districts of the state.
The government issued guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution for the period of 1 to 31 December.
Lockdown in COVID-19 containment zones in Rajasthan
Taking into account the prevailing COVID-19 scenario in the state, it has been decided to force lockdown in containment zones till 31 December, according to the order issued on Sunday night.
Effective demarcation of containment zones is key to break the chain of transmission controlling the virus.
The zones will be demarcated by collectors following guidelines issued by the Government of India. Only essential services will be allowed in these areas and intensive house-to-house surveillance is conducted, Principal Secretary, Home, Abhay Kumar, said in the guidelines.
The state government has increased the number of districts from 8 to 13, where the night curfew will be imposed from 8 pm to 6 am.
Kota, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur, Ajmer, Alwar, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Pali, Tonk, Sikara, and Ganganagar are the districts where the night curfew has been imposed.
However, it will not be applicable to factories with the production of continuous nature and having night shift, IT companies, chemist shops, marriage etc.
The 443 new fatalities reported on Monday include 85 from Maharashtra, 68 from Delhi, 54 from West Bengal, 27 from Kerala, 26 from Haryana, and 24 from Uttar Pradesh.
Total 1,37,139 deaths reported so far in the country include 47,071 from Maharashtra followed by 11,765 from Karnataka, 11,703 from Tamil Nadu, 9,066 from Delhi, 8,376 from West Bengal, 7,742 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,988 from Andhra Pradesh, 4,780 from Punjab, 3,969 from Gujarat and 3,250 from Madhya Pradesh.
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