In the eight months since the first case of coronavirus infection was detected on January 30, September alone recorded 26,21,418 infections, accounting for 41.53% of the over 63 lakh COVID-19 cases reported in the country so far.

The past month also saw 33,390 deaths due to the disease, which is around 33.84% of the total 98,678 deaths recorded so far.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:


Table of Contents

IIT Delhi startups launch COVID-19 protection lotion, antiviral T-shirts

Two startups incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here have together launched antiviral T-shirts and a COVID-19 protection lotion at affordable prices, according to officials.

The products, which are part of an antiviral kit, were unveiled by institute Director V Ramgopal Rao on Friday. The two startups are—E-TEX and Clensta.

The kit consists of a novel Clensta protection lotion, hand sanitiser, E-TEX Kawach Antiviral T-Shirt and Kawach Mask.

The products have been backed by experts from Chemical and Textile department of IIT, Delhi


Maharashtra approves Rs 634 cr for medicine purchases

The Maharashtra government has given administrative approval to purchase medicines and equipment worth Rs 633.92 crore for COVID-19 treatment, an official said on Friday.

The approval was given through a health department order issued on Thursday, the official said.

He added that the revenue of the state had declined due to the outbreak and lockdown, and those in charge of procuring the medicines and equipment with this amount must adhere to technical specifications laid down by experts.

The money should be used to buy Remdesivir medicine, RT-PCR and antigen testing kits, oxygen apparatus etc, he added.


Kerala reports highest single day spike of 9,258 new COVID-19 cases, imposes prohibitory orders

Kerala on Friday recorded 9,258 positive cases and 4,092 recoveries, the highest single day spike and recoveries respectively, as the government decided to prohibit assembly of more than five people to control the spread of the virus.

The infection count touched 2,12,499 today while the death toll rose to 791 with 20 new fatalities. In the last 24 hours, 63,175 samples have been tested and so far 30,49,791 samples have been sent for testing.

Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta had on Thursday stated that section 144 CrPC would be imposed from Saturday as gatherings pose an impending danger of a super spread of the infection.

Revenue minister E. Chandrasekharan said each district collector will take a decision with regard to the prohibitory order depending on the situation in their respective districts.



Uttarakhand CM flags off mobile COVID testing lab

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat flagged off a mobile COVID-19 testing lab for Haridwar from his official residence on Friday.

‘MITR labs’, the country’s only ICMR-approved mobile lab is capable of conducting 200 tests per day, an official release here said.

Built inside a car, it will carry out both rapid antigen and Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests, the release said.

State BJP president Basidhar Bhagat, MLA Harbans Kapoor and Secretary (Health) Amit Negi were present at the launch.


Coronavirus spread is slow in Telangana, says study

The ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) which has carried out the second round of sero-epidemiological survey to monitor the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population in three districts of Telangana has come to the conclusion that the spread of virus is occurring at a ‘slow pace’.

This could be because of “appropriate measures taken, however, a large number of people are ‘still susceptible to the COVID-19 infection’, hence, the appropriate protection measures like ‘wearing of mask, personal hygiene and social distancing’ should be continued,” it said.

The second round of SARS Cov-2 sero-prevalence study had revealed that there were 83 positive (SARS Cov 2 IgG antibodies), out of 454 people tested in Jangaon (18.2%) as against 0.5% in the first round carried out during May 2020. In Nalgonda, 47 were positive (11.1%) out of 422 people tested, as against only 0.25% in the first round. Similarly in Kamareddy district 30 (6.9%) were positive out of 433 people tested as against 0.25% in the first round indicating the slow pace.



Maharashtra, Karnataka, U.P. continue to lead in COVID-19 deaths

1,095 COVID-19 deaths have been registered in the country in the past 24 hours, with 83.37% of them being reported from 10 States and U.T.s. The highest 36% of deaths was reported from Maharashtra (394) deaths, followed by Karnataka (130), Uttar Pradesh (80), Tamil Nadu (66), West Bengal (59), Punjab (45), Andhra Pradesh (41), Delhi (40), and Kerala and Chhattisgarh (29 each), according to a release issued by the Union Health Ministry on Friday.

The Ministry added that 78.07% of the new cases in the last 24 hours in the country are concentrated in ten States/UTs, with Maharashtra contributing more than 16,000 new cases. Karnataka has contributed around 10,000 cases and Kerala follows with more than 8,000.



Home isolation cases in Delhi up on October 1 after gradual fall in September end

After showing a gradual decline in the last week of September, the number of COVID-19 patients under home quarantine in Delhi has risen in October, according to official data.

The number of COVID-19 patients under home isolation was 19,213 on September 21 and 18,464 the next day.

The figure fell further to 17,834 on September 23, when the number of containment zones stood at 1,987.

The cases under home isolation, however, showed a rising trend on September 24 (17,995) and September 25 (18,096).

From September 26-30, the cases of home isolation fell gradually for five consecutive days until October 1, when the count rose to 15,899 and containment zones stood at 2,616.

The number of home isolation cases and the containment zones during September 26-28 in that order were: 17,600 (2231); 17,291 (2380); 16679 (2465); 16049 (2505); and 15657 (2570), according to official data. – PTI


TN govt ‘essential service staff’ can ride in suburban trains from October 5

The Southern Railway on Friday said the Tamil Nadu government employees authorised as essential services staff would be allowed to board its “Workmen Specials” running on Chennai’s suburban routes from October 5.

Southern Railway is presently operating the specials for its own workmen.

The services would be out of bounds for the general public.

“In response to the request of the government of Tamil Nadu, it is decided to permit essential services staff authorised by the state government to travel in limited number of suburban trains run as Workmen Specials by Chennai Division of the Southern Railway with effect from October 5,” an official release said.

Details of train services would be displayed at the stations.

The release further said a nodal officer of the state government would authorise and issue specific travel permission to essential services staff to travel in the Workmen Specials.

“The specific travel permission shall have details such as name, designation and department/office among others.

“This travel permission in original will be accepted by the Railways only when presented along with the photo ID Card of the person issued by his/her office,” it said.

Tickets would be issued only to the said persons and not the general public, it added.

Standard health protocols such as thermal screening of passengers would be followed while they should wear masks and follow social distancing at all times, it said.


Reliance develops RT-PCR kit that can give COVID-19 results in two hours

Reliance Life Sciences has developed an RT-PCR kit that promises diagnosis of COVID-19 infection in about 2 hours, company sources said. At present, COVID-19 RT-PCR test, which is a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, takes up to 24 hours to give a diagnosis.

The sources said computational biologists at Reliance Life Sciences, a subsidiary of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries Ltd, analysed more than 100 genomes of SARS-CoV-2 sequenced in India and designed unique RT-PCR primers for developing quantitative-Real Time PCR (RT-PCR) kit for COVID-19 detection. RT-PCR kit is so far considered as Gold standard.

The kit, developed by scientists at Reliance Life Sciences, is named R-Green Kit (SARS COV2-real-time PCR) and has been technically validated by ICMR for satisfactory performance, the sources said.

ICMR’s validation process does not approve/disapprove the kit design as well as it does not certify user-friendliness.



Karnataka to triple COVID-19 testing; Labs to be set up in PPP model

Keen to scale up testing infrastructure for COVID-19, the Karnataka government has decided to establish RT-PCR labs in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model and the tender process for it would be taken up soon, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said on Friday.

Following the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, measures were being taken to increase the testing by three times, he said.

To support this further, tender will be floated soon by the Health and Medical Education departments to set up labs for carrying out RT-PCR tests, Mr. Sudhakar was quoted as saying by his office in a release.

The State has achieved a new milestone by conducting 50 lakhs COVID-19 tests so far and the government was aiming to increase the number of daily tests from the present around one lakh to to 1.5 lakhs, he added.

The Minister on Thursday inaugurated the new Covid testing lab by Eurofins Clinical Genetics India (ECGI) in Whitefield, and it was expected to conduct up to 5,000 tests per day.

He said 144 labs have been inaugurated in the state in the last six months.

Despite creating awareness about the spread of coronavirus, the positive cases were increasing in the State, and hence, the government has taken strict action by hiking the penalty to Rs 1,000 for not wearing masks at public places, he said.

Though positive cases were high in the State, the death rate is under control, at 1.52 per cent, he said.


India’s active COVID-19 caseload remains below 10 lakh

For the eleventh successive day, India’s active COVID-19 cases remained less than 10 lakh, while the country continued to maintain its global position of having the maximum number of recovered patients, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

“The last 10 lakh recoveries were added in just 12 days. With this, India continues to maintain its global position of being the country with maximum number of recovered COVID patients in the world,” the ministry said.


BJP leader who threatened to hug Mamata if he contracted COVID-19 tests positive for infection

BJP leader Anupam Hazra, who had threatened to hug West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee if he got infected with COVID-19, has tested positive for the disease.

Mr. Hazra has recently been appointed as a national secretary of BJP.

After his controversial statement, the Trinamool Congress had lodged a police complaint against Hazra for maligning a public figure, who is a woman, thus violating the Constitution.


Cinema halls in Uttarakhand to open from Oct 15

Uttarakhand government has issued the guidelines for ‘Unlock 5’ deciding to permit opening of cinema halls and theatres with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity in areas outside the containment zones with effect from October 15.

Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitiser will be mandatory.

A decision in respect to re-opening of schools in a graded manner after October 15 shall be taken by the state’s education department.


Second sero survey indicates drop in infections in Mumbai slums

The presence of COVID-19 antibodies in samples from slums in the city was found to have decreased by 12% in the second sero survey, the Mumbai civic body has said.

It indicates that the infection spread in slums in the city may have come down, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in a release here on Thursday night.

Presence of anti-bodies in the blood indicates that the person has been exposed to an infection — in this case coronavirus. The latest survey disclosed that “sero-prevalence” of COVID-19 infection in slums is 45%, compared to 57% in the first sero-survey in the city (in July), the release said.

The sero-prevalence in buildings was around 18% against 16% in the first survey, it added.


Kerala imposes Section 144 to curb coronavirus spread

The Kerala government has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting the assembly of more than five people to control the surge in coronavirus cases in the State. A late-night order issued on Thursday by Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta said gatherings pose the danger of a super spread of the infection. The order shall come into force from 9 a.m. on October 3 and will remain in effect till October 31.

“Strict restrictions shall be imposed in containment zones and in specific areas where the spread of the disease is apprehended. Existing relaxations for categories like weddings, funerals etc shall be continued and the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) concerned shall issue proceedings, considering the ground situation in their districts,” it said.

Kerala’s COVID-19 tally crossed two lakh on Thursday as the State reported 8,135 fresh cases, while the death toll climbed to 771 with 29 more fatalities.



Jharkhand allows places of worship to open, curbs on Durga Puja celebrations

The Jharkhand government on Thursday allowed places of worship to open outside the containment zones in the state from October 8, while announcing that Durga Puja will be permitted this year only at homes, temples and small pandals without public participation.

According to a notification issued by Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh, the relaxations in opening the places of worship were announced in the wake of the upcoming festive season.

However, no other relaxations were announced in the Unlock-5 notification, which will remain in force till October 31.



Odisha allows political meetings in by-poll bound assembly segments

The Odisha government on Thursday said political meetings and gatherings will be allowed in a regulated manner in two assembly segments – Balasore and Tirtol – where by-polls will be held even as it ordered that educational institutions and places of worship remain closed till October 31.

This was part of Odisha governments Unlock-5 guidelines issued by the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) office here.

It said the lockdown will remain enforced within the containment zones. “No authority shall impose any local lockdown at district, sub-division, city or below level outside the containment zones without permission of the Central government,” it said.



U.P. government issues Unlock 5 guidelines

The Uttar Pradesh government issued guidelines for ‘Unlock 5’ on Thursday, allowing schools and other educational institutions outside COVID-19 containment zones to reopen gradually after October 15.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said district administrations will assess the coronavirus situation in their respective jurisdictions and decide in consultation with the management of schools and other educational institutions when to reopen. He, however, said online education would encouraged.

Mr. Awasthi said permission for use of swimming pools for training by sportspersons would be given from October 15 as per the guidelines issued by the Union Sports Ministry. Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside containment zones would also be allowed to reopen from October 15 with 50 per cent seating capacity, he said.



Karnataka Textile Minister Srimant Patil tests positive

Karnataka Textile Minister Srimant Patil has tested positive for COVID- 19.

He announced this on his social media handles on Friday. He said he was not symptomatic and was quarantining at home. He asked persons who came in contact with him in the last few days to undergo tests and remain under quarantine.

Rishikesh Bahadur Desai


Plea for probe into Centre’s COVID-19 preparedness dismissed

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by several former bureaucrats to set up an Inquiry Commission to look into the government’s COVID-19 preparedness.

A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Ajay Rastogi said the court was not inclined to hear their plea alleging “gross mismanagement” on the part of the Centre in its preparations for the pandemic.

The petition was filed by six former bureaucrats, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan.


U.S. President Trump tests positive for COVID-19

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday confirmed that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus. “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!,” the President wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump had earlier announced that he will begin the quarantine process after his close aide Hope Hicks was tested positive for the virus.

A White House doctor told AP  that Mr. Trump will continue carrying out duties ‘without disruption’ after contracting coronavirus.

The diagnosis marks a major blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them even as cases continue to rise with less than four months before Election Day. And it stands as the most serious known public health scare encountered by any sitting American president in recent history.

Mr. Trump had consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, even after White House staff and allies were exposed and sickened.


Punjab withdraws night curfew, Sunday lockdown

With COVID-19 cases and deaths falling, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced a slew of relaxations, including lifting of the night curfew and withdrawal of the lockdown on Sundays.

The number of people taking part at weddings and funerals has been increased to 100 in line with the Union government’s guidelines under ‘Unlock 5.0’. The limit of three passengers in a car has been eased and buses can take in passengers at 50% of their capacity on condition that the windows be kept open.

Captain Amarinder Singh has directed Director-General of Police Dinkar Gupta to ensure strict adherence to the protocol and take immediate action against those violating the mandatory use of face masks. He insisted that there be no laxity in view of the ongoing paddy procurement operations and the coming festival season.


Fight against COVID-19 clearest example of U.S.-India partnership, says U.S. official

India and the U.S. are equipped to address a range of challenges for the benefit of the world and the clearest example of this can be seen in the partnership between the two countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior State Department official has said.

India has been an important partner for the U.S. since the early days of the pandemic when countries were desperate for factual information about the virus and searching for personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, a senior State Department official told reporters during a conference in Washington.

Together, the United States and India are equipped to address a range of challenges for the benefit of our countries, the Indo-Pacific region, and the world. Perhaps the clearest example of how the U.S.-India partnership has benefited the world is in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the official said.


Most gig workers lost income during pandemic: survey

Almost 90% of gig workers in India have lost income during the pandemic, according to a survey by Flourish Ventures, a global fintech venture capital fund.

The survey, conducted among 770 ride-sharing drivers, delivery workers and house cleaners in August, found incomes had collapsed since the lockdown with almost nine out of ten gig workers earning less than ₹15,000 a month in August compared with more than ₹25,000 a month before the pandemic.

Government aidThe firm said government aid had alleviated some hardship as of those surveyed, 42% received food or financial aid from the government as part of COVID-19 relief measures.


Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra if redressal system exists for COVID-19 patients

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government on Thursday if there existed a grievance redressal mechanism in the State for citizens to complain if they are overcharged for COVID-19 treatment at private hospitals and nursing homes.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation seeking that the State fix a maximum rate that private hospitals and nursing homes can charge for PPE kits.

In the previous hearing, the State had told the court that while it had fixed a charge limit for beds and ancillary items including PPE kits for 80% of beds, private hospitals and nursing homes were permitted to charge their own rates for the remaining 20% for treatment of both COVID and non COVID patients.

The State government had said at the time that it could not take over private hospitals completely.