Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Delhi Metro resumes operation of Blue, Pink lines with curtailed timings after 171-day hiatus


08:55 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi LATEST Updates

Blue and pink lines of Delhi Metro resume services after 171-day COVID hiatus

Delhi Metro's Blue Line and Pink Line resumed services with curtailed operation timings on Wednesday after being closed for 171 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Trains are to operate in batches of four-hour each from 7-11 am in the morning and 4-8 pm in the evening in the first.

"The Blue and Pink lines resumed services today. Slowly and steadily, Delhi Metro will be back to take you places! #MetroBackOnTrack," the DMRC tweeted.

08:41 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in India LATEST Updates

More than 5.18 cr COVID-19 samples tested: ICMR

Over 5.18 crore COVID-19 samples have been tested till now, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), adding that 11,54,549 samples were tested on Tuesday alone.

08:38 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Assam LATEST Updates

Assam registers 1.30 lakh COVID-19 cases, 378 deaths

As many as 2,579 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Assam on Tuesday, taking the total number of positive cases to 1,30,823 in the state. The total number of cases includes 99,073 recoveries, 378 deaths, and 31,369 active cases, said State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

08:28 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Delhi LATEST Updates

Visuals from Rajiv Chowk metro station

As part of stage-I of resuming metro services, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) restarts operations on its Blue Line on Wednesday, ANI reported.

08:25 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Telangana LATEST Updates

Telangana reports 1.47 lakh COVID-19 cases

With nearly 2,500 new COVID-19 infections in Telangana, the overall count in the state climbed to 1,47,642 on Wednesday. Of the total, there are 31,654 active cases.

"2,479 fresh COVID-19 cases, 2,485 recoveries and 10 deaths reported in Telangana on 8 September," said the state health department.

07:58 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak in Russia LATEST Updates

Russia vaccine 'passes early trial test'

Early tests of a Russian coronavirus vaccine showed encouraging results when details were published Friday, but experts said the trials were too small to prove safety and effectiveness.

Russia announced in August that its vaccine, named "Sputnik V" after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957, had already received approval. 

This raised concerns among Western scientists over a lack of safety data, with some warning that moving too quickly on a vaccine could be dangerous. 

Russia denounced criticism as an attempt to undermine Moscow's research and a Russian investor claimed vindication when Britain's prestigious Lancet published research that showed patients in early tests developed antibodies with "no serious adverse events."


07:44 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates

AstraZeneca pauses COVID-19 vaccine trial after participant develops unexplained illness

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had "voluntarily paused" a randomized clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine in what it called a routine action after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.

The company, which is developing the drug alongside the University of Oxford, is a frontrunner in the global race for a Covid-19 vaccine. 

"As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," a spokesperson said.

"This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials."

Coronavirus LATEST Updates: Delhi Metro’s Blue Line and Pink Line resumed services with curtailed operation timings on Wednesday after being closed for 171 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had “voluntarily paused” a randomized clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine in what it called a routine action after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.

India’s daily coronavirus cases on Tuesday saw a slight dip with 75,809 cases reported in 24 hours as against the 90,802 recorded on Monday, but the toll due to COVID-19 surged to 72,775 with a record 1,113 patients succumbing to the virus.

Amid rising cases, the Central Government underlined increasing reports from state governments about people becoming lax in taking precautions against COVID-19, and how it is hampering the efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

The number of recoveries on Tuesday surged to 33,23,950 pushing the recovery rate to 77.65 percent, according to the health ministry data.

The data showed that there are 8,83,697 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprise 20.65 percent of the total caseload of 42,80,422.

During a media briefing, the Centre claimed that India’s COVID-19 cases per million population (now at 3,102), is among the lowest in the world.

Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul also urged people to get themselves tested, stating that the government had facilitated extensive testing and also allowed testing on demand.

Paul, who also chairs the national expert group on COVID-19 vaccine administration, said that the government was considering Russia’s request for conducting phase-3 clinical trial and manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik V’  in India.

The health ministry also released guidelines for the partial re-opening of schools on a voluntary basis, stipulating disinfection of the premises and stressing on ensuring proper distance between students and teachers,

In Delhi, the high court, expressing concern over the sharp rise in cases in the National Capital, said that doctor’s prescription will no longer be mandatory for those who want to get themselves tested for COVID-19.

Health minister Satyendra Jain, in an interview with news agency PTI, however, said that there was no reason to panic and that the spike in cases will “plateau” after 10-15 days.

Five states account for 70% deaths, 62% active cases: Health ministry

In a briefing on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that India’s COVID-19 fatality rate is among the lowest globally and currently stands at 1.7o percent.

“The COVID-19 deaths per million population in India is 53 as compared to the world average of 115 deaths per million. This is also among the lowest in the world,” he said.

Giving a state-wise break up of India’s coronavirus cases and deaths, Bhushan said that five states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh account for approximately 70 percent of total COVID-19 deaths in the country.

“A total of 28 states and UTs have COVID-19 case fatality rate lower than the national average of 1.70 percent,” the official noted.

He added that the five states also account for 62 percent of total active COVID-19 cases in the country. “While 14 states and UTs have less than 5,000 active COVID-19 cases, Lakshadweep has no active cases,” Bhushan said.

Responding to a question, the health secretary said that six persons from a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands had tested positive for the coronavirus but all have recovered now.  In the Nicobarese tribe which is not a PVTG, there are still 15 active cases, the official informed.

Jammu and Kashmir reports record spike

Meanwhile, states and Union Territories continued reporting more cases and deaths due to the infection. Jammu and Kashmir witnessed its biggest single-day spike of 1,355 COVID-19 cases, pushing the Union Territory’s infection count to 45,925. Among the new cases, 785 were from the Jammu region and 570 were from the Kashmir Valley. The toll in the UT rose to 815 with 14 more dying of the disease.

Maharashtra recorded 20,131 new COVID-19 cases, taking its caseload to 9,43,772, while the toll increased to 27,407 with 380 persons succumbing to the disease.

For the fifth day in a row, Andhra Pradesh, the second worst-affected state in the country by the virus, saw more number of coronavirus patients getting discharged than the addition of new cases. On Tuesday, 11,691 COVID-19 patients got discharged from hospitals in the state while 10,601 fresh cases took the overall count to 5,17,094.

In Tamil Nadu, the toll crossed 8,000 with 87 more fatalities, while 5,684 fresh cases pushed the cumulative case count to to 4,74,940. The toll now stands at 8,012. Recoveries outnumbered new infections for the third successive day with 6,599 people getting discharged, taking the total number of people who have recovered from the disease to 4,16,71, said the state health department.

Delhi also saw a spike of 3,609 fresh coronavirus cases with over 45,000 COVID-19 tests being conducted in 24 hours. According to the latest health bulletin issued by the state government, the total cases crossed 1.97 lakh while the toll mounted to 4,618, with 19 more fatalities.

No prescription needed for testing in Delhi

The Delhi High Court noted that there was a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases from 31 August in the National capital and said that the figures were rather alarming.

To prevent any delays given the situation, the court said that those who want to voluntarily get themselves tested need not obtain a prescription from a doctor. The person concerned will only be required to fill an ICMR form and attach Aadhaar card with Delhi address as proof, the bench of justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad said.

The bench also asked private laboratories to allot 2,000 RT-PCR tests per day for those who want to undergo the test. The bench directed the Delhi government to ramp up the mobile facilities from two to four and said that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) should display advertisements about the nearby COVID-19 testing camps at prominent spots near the entry and exit area of the stations.

While the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro resumed services with restricted timings from Monday as part of the fourth phase of ‘unlocking’ activities, the Blue and Pink Line are set to start operations on Wednesday.

Cases will plateau soon, says Delhi health minister

Meanwhile Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain sought to allay fears over the rapid spread of the infection, saying  that “the current situation is far better than in June” when the city witnessed a big wave of infections.

He also attributed the rise in cases to an increase in testing.

In an interview to PTI,  Jain said,”One of the main reasons why we are seeing such a rise in the number of fresh cases is because we are going aggressive as far as testing is concerned. We have been conducting tests in markets, crowded places, Mohalla Clinics, hospitals, and many other places.

“The scale of testing per day has been almost quadrupled than what was in June,” Jain said, claiming that Delhi is doing more tests per million people than any other state.

“There is a spike in the number of cases, but the fact is that we have also increased the scale of testing as we don’t want to leave even a single person who has been infected untraced, including asymptomatic ones. This spike will come down in the next 10-15 days, and cases will sort of plateau and stabilise by then,” Jain asserted.

When asked about the most effective strategy of the government, Jain said, “home isolation was our biggest strategy, and it proved to be a game-changer. We are on the right course, and we will continue to pursue that strategy for effective COVID-19 management.”

Centre issues SOPs for partial re-opening of schools

Even as state governments and UTs released their daily figures on COVID-19, the health ministry issued SOPs for the partial re-opening of schools from 21 September. Under the Unlock-4 guidelines, schools outside containment zones have been allowed to partially reopen for students from Classes 9 to 12 who want to take guidance from their teachers.

Disallowing sharing of notebooks, pens/pencils,water bottles, etc, among students, prohibition of assemblies and sports, encouraging online learning, entry of asymptomatic persons are some of the health ministry’s guidelines

However, written consent of the students’ parents or guardians will be required and the teacher-student interactions must be organised in a staggered manner, the guidelines stated.

According to the ‘SOP for partial reopening of Schools for students of Classes 9 to 12 on a voluntary basis’, the seating arrangement has to be made to ensure a distance of six feet between chairs, desks, etc, and the faculty will ensure that they themselves and students wear masks throughout the teaching/guidance activities.

Sanitiser dispensers and thermal screening provisions should be made at the entrance and frequently touched surfaces must be regularly disinfected with one percent sodium hypochlorite, the guidelines stated.

Schools that were used as COVID-19 quarantine centres should be properly sanitised and deep-cleaned before partial functioning is resumed, the document stated.

The guidelines also called for ensuring regular counselling for students and teachers reporting mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It is advisable that teachers, school counsellors and school health workers should work in unison to ensure emotional safety of the students

With inputs from PTI

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