Even as the Union health ministry announced that India is among the "countries with the lowest COVID-19 fatality rates", a serological surveillance conducted in Mumbai showed that over half the people in the city's slums are likely to have been infected by the virus.
The survey results, which included 6,936 samples in three wards of the municipal coporation and included both slum and non-slum areas, showed sero-prevalence of 57 percent in slum areas and 16 percent in non-slum areas.
Of them, asymptomatic infections are likely to be a high proportion of all infections, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) said in a press release. 'Sero-prevalence' is defined as the "overall occurrence of a disease or condition within a defined population at one time, as measured by blood tests)," Aids Info said.
The MCGM added that the higher prevalence in slums could be possibly due to population density and shared common facilities (toilets, water points etc), whereas, lower prevalence in non-slums could be due to better social distancing and access to better hygiene.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 tally in Maharashtra inched closer to 4 lakh (3,91,440 as on Tuesday) with with addition of 7,717 new cases while the toll rose to 14,165 with 282 (121 fatalities in Mumbai region) new deaths, health minister Rajesh Tope said.
Maharashtra's Tuesday figures were lower than the recent highs which saw the state reporting over 10,000 cases last Tuesday.
Stating the Tuesday's figures as a "major relief", Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray, however, warned people not to let their guards down. "Caution: Don't let the guard down! Don't let your mask down! Only get numbers down," he added.
India case fatality rate at 2.25%
Amidst this, India reported 47,000 new cases of coronavirus across the country in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 14,83,157 while the toll, according to figures released by Union health ministry, rose to 33,425 with 654 new deaths.
Out of the total cases, there are 4,96,988 active cases, while the number of patients cured/discharged and migrated stands at 9,52,744. The recovery rate among COVID-19 patients has increased to 64.23 percent.
The ministry added that more than five lakh COVID-19 tests were conducted in a single day for two consecutive days. On 26 July, India tested a total of 5,15,000 samples and on 27 July, a total of 5,28,000 samples were tested.
The total number of COVID-19 samples tested up to 27 July is 1,73,34,885, including 5,28,082 samples tested on Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.
The health ministry also said that the COVID-19 Case Fatality Rate (CFR) declined to 2.25 percent, and that "India now is among countries with the lowest fatality rates". The CFR reduced from around 3.33 percent in mid-June to 2.25 percent on Tuesday.
Figures in other states
As many as 3,490 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department. The COVID-19 active cases in the state stand at 27,934. So far, 44,520 discharges and 1,497 deaths have been reported in the state.
Tamil Nadu reported 6,972 new COVID-19 cases and 88 deaths on Tuesday, the state government said. The total number of cases stands at 2,27,688 including 57,073 active cases, 1,66,956 discharges and 3,659 deaths.
As many as 5,536 new COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths were reported in Karnataka on Tuesday, according to the state health department. With these new cases of coronavirus, the total number of positive cases in the state stands at 1,07,001 including 64,434 active cases, 40,504 discharges and 2,055 deaths.
Delhi on Tuesday witnessed 1,056 new COVID-19 cases taking the total number of cases in the national capital to 1,32,275, said Delhi government in a bulletin. According to the bulletin, 28 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported today, taking the death toll to 3,881 deaths.
As many as 1,135 patients were recovered/discharged/migrated taking the total number of such patients to 1,17,507 recovered/discharged. The active cases dropped to 10,887 on Tuesday as compared to 10,994 on Monday.
Bengal govt extends partial lockdown till 31 Aug
On Tuesday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the lockdown in the containment zones of the state will continue till 31 August as also the biweekly restrictions in place to check the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Addressing a press conference, Banerjee said schools and colleges will remain closed till 31 August and a decision on their reopening will be taken in September.
"The lockdown in containment zones will continue till 31 August. The biweekly total lockdown across the state will also remain in place till the end of next month," Banerjee said. Total lockdown will be imposed on 2, 5, 8, 9, 16, 17, 23, 24, and 31 August, she said.
"The biweekly lockdown will be implemented mostly on Saturdays and Sundays. But since festivals like Eid as also Independence Day are happening on Saturdays, lockdown will be enforced on some other day," she added.
However, later on Tuesday, the state government withdrew the lockdown on 2 and 9 August due to "festivals and important community occasions".
No deaths in Delhi's LNJP reported on 27 July, says Kejriwal
LNJP Hospital, the Delhi government's biggest COVID-19 treatment facility, did not report any death due to coronavirus on Monday, for the first time in a couple of months, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.
The 2,000-bed hospital's medical director attributed the feat to "extensive ICU care, plasma bank facility, top heathcare facilities and dedication of doctors and other heathcare workers".
Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal announced, "No death in our biggest COVID hospital LNJP yesterday."
At least one death due to COVID-19 was recorded daily in the past couple of months, but "yesterday no fatality happened at LNJP", Medical Director Suresh Kumar said.
Till Tuesday evening about 389 of the hospital's 2,000 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients, of whom 88 were in ICU and two on ventilators, he said.
Delhi recorded 1,056 fresh coronavirus infections on Tuesday, taking the tally to over 1.32 lakh, while the death toll from the disease climbed to 3,881, authorities said.
Two accused in Thoothukudi custodial deaths case test COVID-19 positive
Head constable Murugan and constable Muthuraj, two accused in the Thoothukudi custodial deaths case tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, Madurai Central Prison sources were quoted by ANI as saying.
"The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers probing the case also tested positive on Friday, along with another accused Sub-Inspector Pauldurain,'' Prison Deputy Inspector General Palani informed.
Last month, P Jeyraraj (55) and his son J Benicks (31), were allegedly tortured in the police station, leading to their deaths.
Five policemen have been arrested in the case and have been transferred to the Madurai Central Jail from Thoothukudi. A district police court had earlier ordered a 15-day remand for three police officials in the case.
With inputs from agencies