Coronavirus news highlights: The European Commission said on Thursday it had sealed a supply deal with Johnson & Johnson for the supply of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for up to 400 million people. This is the third advance purchase contract signed by the EU with makers of COVID-19 vaccines after deals with AstraZeneca and Sanofi.
With that it's a wrap to the LIVE updates on the coronavirus pandemic for today. Do join us tomorrow for the top developments on the COVID-19 situation from India and around the world. Until then stay safe and good night.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: 102 new COVID-19 cases in Chandigarh; 4 more die
Four more COVID-19 fatalities in Chandigarh took the death toll to 186, while 102 fresh cases pushed the infection count to 12,922 in the union territory on Thursday, according to a medical bulletin. There are 1,392 active cases in the city as of now, it said. According to the bulletin, a total of 154 patients were discharged after they recovered from infection, taking the total number of recoveries in the union territory to 11,344. The bulletin said 84,167 samples have been taken for testing so far and of them, 70,726 have tested negative while reports of 119 samples were awaited.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: 195 new coronavirus cases in Ahmedabad, three deaths
Ahmedabad recorded 195 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the tally of cases in the district to 38,380, the Gujarat health department said on Thursday evening. Three patients succumbed to the viral infection in the city taking the death toll in the district to 1,854. The death toll in Ahmedabad accounts for more than half the toll in Gujarat which is 3,541. In a week's period, the district has added 1,340 coronavirus cases and reported 23 deaths. 242 patients undergoing treatment at different hospitals in the district were given discharge in the last 24 hours. The tally of recovered patients in the district thus went up to 32,921. Of 195 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, 169 were from Ahmedabad city while 26 cases were from other parts of the district.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: 17.22 lakh Indians have returned from abroad under 'Vande Bharat' mission, says MEA
As many as 17.22 lakh Indians have returned from abroad after the government launched the ''Vande Bharat'' evacuation mission on May 7 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that under the phase seven of the mission, operational since October 1, 873 international flights have been scheduled from 25 countries to be operated during the course of October 2020. These include flights from among the 14 countries with which India has a bilateral 'air bubble' arrangement in place, he said at an online media briefing. The air bubble arrangement has been working satisfactorily adding to the capacity, he added. Srivastava said as on October 7, 17.22 lakh Indians have been repatriated through different modes of the Vande Bharat Mission. The flights in phase seven include Air India and Air India Express flights, private and foreign carriers, chartered flights, naval ships and land border crossings, he said.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Mumbai reports 2,823 new COVID-19 cases, 2,933 recoveries
Mumbai's COVID-19 tally rose to 2,22,761 with the addition of 2,823 new cases - second highest one-day count - while 48 fresh deaths took the toll to 9,293 on Thursday, the city civic body said. The financial capital recorded over 2,800 cases for the second consecutive day on Thursday, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The civic body said 2,823 new patients tested positive in Mumbai, taking its tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,22,761, while the toll rose to 9,293 with 48 fresh fatalities. Mumbai had recorded the highest-ever daily count of 2,848 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The BMC said the number of recovered COVID-19 patients increased to 1,86,675 with 2,933 more people getting discharged from hospitals. According to the civic body, at present Mumbai has a recovery rate of 83 per cent and thecity has 24,789 active cases.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: AP sees more recoveries than new COVID-19 cases
Andhra Pradesh added another 5,292 coronavirus cases to its tally, taking it to 7.39 lakh on Thursday. It also saw another 6,102 patients recovering from the infection, making it a total of 6.84 lakh so far. The latest bulletin said 42 COVID-19 patients died in 24 hours ending 9 am on Thursday, taking the overall toll to 6,128. Anantapuramu district's coronavirus aggregate touched exactly 60,000 after it reported 362 fresh cases. For the first time in more than two months, East Godavari reported just 652 fresh cases in 24 hours while Chittoor had the highest 784. West Godavari with 612 and Prakasam with 591 were the other districts that added more number of Covid-19 cases in a day. The state so far completed 63.5 lakh sample tests, turning out an overall infection positivity rate of 11.65. Prakasam district reported six fresh fatalities, Chittoor and East Godavari five each.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Hospital in Udupi completes 50 deliveries of COVID-19 positive women
In a significant achievement, Dr TMA Pai hospital at Udupi has successfully conducted deliveries of 50 pregnant women suffering from COVID-19 between May and October. The hospitals department of obstetrics and gynaecology conducted 50 deliveries from May 27 to October 3 with the 50th delivery taking place on October 3, a hospital release said on Thursday. With the recent studies showing the risk of coronavirus infections in new-born babies, the hospital took stringent measures to ensure that the mother and baby are healthy and are COVID-free. Since the time COVID-19 spread started, the hospital has helped deliver 50 perfectly healthy babies without any complications. According to Dr Shashikala K Bhat, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital, all the deliveries were eventful. The new-born babies were looked after by the department of paediatrics.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Maharashtra reports 13,395 COVID-19 cases, 15,575 recoveries
Maharashtra reported 13,395 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 14,93,884 on Thursday, while the toll rose to 39,430 after 58 more patients succumbed to the infection, said a state health department official. A total of 15,575 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the tally of recovered people to 12,12,016, he said. With this, the state now has 2,41,986 active cases, the official said. Mumbai city reported 2,823 positive cases during the day, which pushed its overall count to 2,22,784, while its toll rose to 9,296 with the death of 48 more patients, he said. Pune city added 808 COVID-19 cases, raising its tally to 1,62,904, while 27 deaths took the toll to 3,689. The state has so far conducted 74,04,231 tests.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Paris hospitals move into emergency mode amid rise in COVID-19 patients
Hospitals in the Paris region moved into emergency mode on Thursday, cancelling staff holidays and postponing non-essential operations, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs). Health authorities on Wednesday reported a record 24-hour rise in new COVID-19 infections, with almost 19,000 additional cases reported as the number of people in ICUs nationwide stood at around 1,400, levels last seen in late May. "Given the pressure on emergency room beds and regular hospital beds, I have asked medical institutions in the region to activate their emergency plan to mobilise all resources and anticipate the coming days," Paris region health director Aurelien Rousseau said on his Twitter feed.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: COVID-19 pandemic has had major impact on psychosocial wellbeing of people, says government
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on psychosocial wellbeing of people, the government said on Thursday and stressed on promoting community sensitisation, family counselling and support, and teachers' counselling to tackle complex mental health issues. Addressing a virtual International Conference on Mental Health: Looking Beyond COVID-19', Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Shakuntala D Gamlin, highlighted the need for addressing increasing incidence of mental health issues. "The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on psychosocial wellbeing and is likely to add the disease burden across the globe," she said. "There is a need to promote community sensitization, family counselling and support, teachers' counselling, awareness at all levels and develop appropriate policy and programme intervention to tackle the complex issues of mental health rehabilitation," Gamlin said.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Shutting down schools increases COVID-19 deaths, says UK study
Shutting down schools during the coronavirus pandemic could result in more overall deaths in the long term than keeping them open, according to a new analysis released on Thursday of the data that informed the UK government's decision on lockdown back in March. The study, led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, also revealed that social distancing is a more effective tool at reducing deaths when only employed by people over 70, compared with being used for the general population. In the short term, closing schools contributed to reducing the severity of the first wave, to the extent that (emergency) Nightingale hospitals were not needed, but the decision has left us more vulnerable to subsequent waves of infection, said Professor Graeme Ackland, the lead author from Edinburgh University's School of Physics and Astronomy. Mitigating a COVID-19 epidemic requires very different strategies for different age groups and a different strategy from an influenza epidemic, with more focus on shielding elderly and vulnerable people, he said.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: President Ram Nath Kovind urges citizens to stand united to defeat COVID-19
President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday urged citizens to stand united to defeat coronavirus through collective determination and discipline. He also asked them to wear masks, wash hands and practice social distancing. "The nation stands united to defeat COVID-19 through collective determination and discipline. I urge fellow citizens to #Unite2FightCorona! Let us all - Wear a mask, Wash hands, Practice social distancing. Together we will fight, we will win," Kovind tweeted. The Union government on Thursday launched a public awareness drive as part of its fight against COVID-19.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Tourism going to be next growth driver for India, says FAITH
The tourism sector is going to be the next growth driver for India but to achieve that, it needs to survive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and revive, the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) said on Thursday. Currently, each vertical of the tourism industry is under deep stress, it added. "Our first goal is to move India into the top-20 ranks in global tourism competitiveness in 5 years post COVID-19 and then make our place in the top-10 in five years after that," FAITH Chairman Nakul Anand said. Indian tourism is estimated to contribute 9-10 per cent to India's gross domestic product (GDP) on a direct and indirect basis, he added while addressing the virtual conference on theIndia Tourism Vision Day.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Delhi's COVID-19 case tally goes past 3 lakh; death toll climbs to 5,653
With 2,726 fresh cases, Delhi's COVID-19 tally crossed the three-lakh mark on Thursday, while the death toll due to the disease mounted to 5,653 with 37 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours. According to a health bulletin issued by the Delhi government, 53,322 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. The case tally stands at 3,00,833 in the national capital, including 2,72,948 patients who have either been discharged, or have migrated or recovered. The number of active cases is 22,232, of which 12,890 are in home isolation. The number of COVID-19 containment zones in the city is currently 2,734, the bulletin said.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Sri Lanka expands curfew, closes gov't offices
Authorities in Sri Lanka have closed key government offices and further expanded a curfew in an attempt to contain a surging coronavirus outbreak. The foreign ministry closed its consular affairs office for the week and suspended all services to prevent the public from congregating. It said Thursday it would only accept queries and documentation assistance related to deaths of Sri Lankans overseas, strictly by appointment. Other departments providing services related to revenue, immigration, pensions, vehicle license and registrations also closed for the week, and a state-sponsored exhibition was canceled.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Trump refusing to do a virtual debate with Biden
US President Donald Trump, who contracted coronavirus, said he will not participate in next week's presidential debate if it's held virtually. Trump said in a Fox Business interview that the arrangement is not acceptable to us. And he's accusing moderators of trying to protect his Democratic rival Joe Biden. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates had announced moments earlier that the second debate between Trump and Biden will take place virtually because of the president's diagnosis of COVID-19. The commission cited a need to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate and said the candidates would participate from separate remote locations while the participants and moderator remain in Miami
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Nepal reports record 4,364 COVID-19 cases in single day
Nepal on Thursday recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases in a single day with 4,364 people testing positive for COVID-19, taking the nationwide tally to 98,617. The country also reported 12 new deaths on Thursday, pushing the number of fatalities to 590, the health ministry said. Among the new cases, 2,540 have been reported from within Kathmandu valley alone, according to a health ministry official. The total number of active cases in the country as of Thursday stands at 26,684. The ministry spokesperson said that 2,675 patients, who earlier detected COVID-19 positive, have been discharged after their recovery in the last 24-hours. So far, 71,343 people have been discharged from the health facilities following their recovery, the ministry said.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Mumbai's Dharavi reports 8 new COVID-19 cases
Mumbai's slum locality Dharavi reported eight new COVID-19 cases, the lowest daily count in nearly two weeks, taking its tally to 3,300 on Thursday, the city civic body said. According to a senior BMC official, 2,820 COVID-19 patients from Dharavi have already recovered and discharged from hospitals. The densely populated slum-dominated area has only 187 active COVID-19 patients at present, the official said. According to BMC data, the area has reported single digit COVID-19 cases after a gap of 12 days. On September 25, seven COVID-19 cases were detected from Dharavi, which is spread across 2.5 square kilometres and has a population of more than 6.5 lakh.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Centre allows political gatherings in Bihar, bypoll constituencies with conditions
In view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Centre on Thursday permitted with certain conditions political gatherings in poll-bound Bihar and also in those constituencies where bypolls are to be held with the maximum number of people in a close space or a hall capped at 200 while in an open space, it will depend on the area. The order issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla is a slight modification of the reopening guidelines issued on September 30 where the political gatherings were allowed from October 15. The political gatherings can be held only outside the containment zones.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Spain brings military discipline to COVID-19 contact tracing
Various European countries have used their armies for logistical support in tackling COVID-19, but hard-hit Spain is now bringing military discipline to a process that health experts say is key in stemming the spread of the pandemic: contact tracing. At five army bases in Madrid, 150 volunteer soldiers spend their days calling people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, mapping recent social interactions, and asking those potentially infected to stay at home. "We try to impress upon them the idea that their help is vital to bringing an end to the chaos we are living through this year as soon as possible," Lt. Hector Sanchez said at the Goloso military base on the outskirts of Madrid, where he is in charge of 30 tracers. "We can't check whether people are doing their bit and isolating. We want to think so, but obviously we can't control people," he said.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: With Trump positive for COVID-19, next presidential debate to be virtual, commission says
The second presidential debate next week will be a virtual affair, the commission that oversees the debates said on Thursday, in the wake of President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis. The debate will remain a town hall-style conversation, the Commission on Presidential Debates said. Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will appear from remote locations, while voters and the moderator will ask them questions from the original debate site in Miami. The news came a day after the sole vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Biden's running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, who clashed repeatedly over the Trump administration's response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans. Biden and Harris will travel together to the battleground state of Arizona on Thursday, while Pence will also visit the Southwestern state after starting his day in Nevada. Trump, who revealed a week ago that he had tested positive for coronavirus, remains sidelined from the campaign trail.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Airlines may soon be permitted to operate 75% of pre-COVID domestic flights
Airlines may be permitted to operate maximum 75 per cent of their pre-COVID scheduled domestic flights if the passenger numbers continue to remain healthy during the next 7-10 days, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday. The government on September 2 had said Indian airlines can operate up to 60 per cent of their pre-COVID services within the country. On June 26, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had allowed the airlines to operate a maximum of 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. The ministry had restarted domestic passenger services from May 25, after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. However, the airlines were allowed to operate not more than 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights at that time. "Our internal thinking is that we will watch it for another week or 10 days....If the figures (of passengers travelling) continue to be healthy, we would open domestic civil aviation to 75 per cent of the pre-COVID levels," Puri said at a press conference on Thursday.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Study says potential COVID-19 vaccines not affected by recent mutations
Vaccines currently being developed for COVID-19 should not be affected by recent mutations in the novel coronavirus, according to researchers, including one of Indian origin, who said the finding is good news for the hundreds of vaccine candidates around the world. The researchers, including those from the University of York in the UK, noted that most vaccines under development worldwide have been modelled on the original 'D-strain' of the virus, which were more common amongst sequences published early in the pandemic. Since then, the virus has evolved to the globally dominant 'G-strain', which now accounts for about 85 per cent of published SARS-CoV-2 genomes, they said. There had been fears the G-strain, within the main protein on the surface of the virus, would negatively impact on vaccines under development.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Poland amends 2020 budget to include COVID-caused deficit
Polands lawmakers have amended this years budget bill to include a deficit equal to $29 billion resulting from the national lockdown and the cost of financially supporting companies hit by anti-COVID-19 measures. The lower house of parliament voted late Wednesday 232-218 with one abstention to approve the amended 2020 state budget with a deficit of up to 109.3 billion zlotys. Before the pandemic, Polands government was planning a balanced budget for the first time in more than 30 years of democracy. But the unexpected economic slowdown and spending for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with generous social policies, upended those plans, leading to one of the highest deficits in decades. The amended budget bill allows for up to 508 billion zlotys ($133 billion) of spending, or 72.7 billion zlotys more than planned before the pandemic. It foresees income of 398.7 billion zlotys ($104 billion), or 36.7 billion zlotys less than planned earlier. In the bill, the economy is expected to contract 4.6% this year but the government said last month that economic data suggests the drop will be closer to 3.5%. Before the pandemic, Poland's economy was expected to grow 3.7%.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: EU secures Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for 400 million people
The European Commission said on Thursday it had sealed a supply deal with Johnson & Johnson for the supply of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for up to 400 million people. This is the third advance purchase contract signed by the EU with makers of COVID-19 vaccines after deals with AstraZeneca and Sanofi. Under the terms of the deal, the 27 European Union states will be able to order up to 400 million courses of the potential vaccine after it is authorised as safe and effective by the EU medicine regulator. "The contract allows member states to purchase vaccines for 200 million people. They will also have the possibility to purchase vaccines for an additional 200 million people," the EU commission said in a statement.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: 2 die of COVID-19 in Ladakh, 82 new cases reported
Two people died of coronavirus in Kargil in Ladakh, taking the death toll in the Union Territory to 63, a bulletin said on Thursday. Ladakh reported 82 new cases, taking the cumulative figure to 4,802, the bulletin released by the Directorate of Health Services said. With 47 more patients cured of the disease, the number of discharged persons rose to 3,511, it said. The number of active cases in the region stands at 1,228 -- 953 in Leh district and 275 in Kargil district, the bulletin said. It said of 82 people tested positive for COVID-19 -- 74 in Leh and eight in Kargil district during -- the past 24 hours. The bulletin said 25 patients were discharged in Kargil and 22 in Leh on Wednesday after their successful treatment.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Govt to map out cold chain storage facilities for COVID-19 vaccine delivery
With the likelihood of a vaccine against coronavirus being available within months, the government has begun a massive exercise to map out cold chain storage facilities to ensure the vaccine is delivered quickly across the country. A national expert group is talking to public and private sector entities in the pharmaceutical sector, food processing industry and agro businesses as well as food delivery start-ups such as Swiggy and Zomato to identify cold storages or fridges at the taluka level that can stock and distribute the vaccine, sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said. A draft scheme for the vaccine distribution is likely to be released around the middle of next week, they said. At least one domestic and three foreign vaccines are likely to be available to India in the coming months. Most of the vaccine candidates will require a cold supply chain, with temperatures that can go well below zero degree Celsius, down to -80 degrees Celsius, though most need to be kept at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Symptoms poor marker for COVID-19 infections, UK study finds
Nearly 86 percent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 during lockdown did not have any of the known coronavirus symptoms such as cough, fever and loss of taste or smell, a new UK study revealed on Thursday. The University College London (UCL) authors behind the analysis, published in Clinical Epidemiology', conclude that a more widespread testing programme is therefore needed to catch silent transmission. The fact that so many people who tested positive were asymptomatic on the day of a positive test result calls for a change to future testing strategies. More widespread testing will help to capture silent' transmission and potentially prevent future outbreaks, said Professor Irene Petersen, from UCL Epidemiology & Health Care.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: 35 states/UTs conducting more than 140 COVID-19 tests/day/million population; positivity rate at 8.19%, says govt
Thirty-five states and Union territories in the country are performing more than 140 COVID-19 tests per day per million population, while 22 states and UTs have COVID-19 positivity rate less than the national average, the health ministry said on Thursday. The cumulative positivity rate stands at 8.19 percent, it said. The national average of COVID-19 tests per day per million population is 865, the ministry said, asserting that the country has demonstrated an exponential increase in the COVID-19 testing infrastructure since January 2020. "As evidence has revealed, higher number of testing on a sustained basis has aided in bringing down the positivity rate. The sharp decline in national cumulative positivity rate has demonstrated that the rate of spread of infection is being contained," the ministry underlined.
Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Singapore reports nine COVID-19 cases
Singapore reported nine COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including five imported infections, taking the national tally to 57,849. The four local infections came from migrant worker dormitories here, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). There were no new cases in the community for a second day, the ministry said. The five imported cases have been placed on stay-home notices when they arrived in Singapore. One of the six imported cases reported on Wednesday is a 35-year-old Indian national on a short-term pass as a spouse of a Singaporean and came from the United Kingdom. The other five infections came from Mynamar, France and the Philippines. They have been placed on 14-day stay home notice. Thirty-nine coronavirus cases are still in hospital with one being in critical condition in the intensive care unit while 150 others are recuperating at community facilities for mild symptoms, the ministry said. With 12 cases discharged from hospital on Wednesday, 57,624 people have recovered from the disease.