OCTOBER 25, 2020
Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das on Sunday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic.
“I have tested COVID-19 positive. Asymptomatic. Feeling very much alright. Have alerted those who came in contact in recent days. Will continue to work from isolation. Work in RBI will go on normally. I am in touch with all Dy. Govs and other officers through VC and telephone,” Das tweeted on Sunday evening.
Currently, the RBI has its full strength of four deputy governors: BP Kanungo, MK Jain, MD Patra and M Rajeshwar Rao.
As per PTI, Das was quite active during the lockdown period and post ‘Unlock’ period to keep the economy and financial market stable. He used both “conventional and unconventional” monetary policy tools to support economic recovery hit by COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, the Union health ministry said that India hit another milestone with the national recovery rate rising to 90 percent.
The ministry added that 62,077 COVID-19 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries to 70,78,123 in the country. The single-day figure of recoveries outnumbered the new cases on Sunday by 11,948.
According to the 8 am update, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 78,64,811 with 50,129 new cases were reported in 24 hours. Additionally, the toll rose to 1,18,534 with 578 fresh casualties.
Centre says 6,68,154 active COVID-19 cases
Lauding the “achievement” of recording a high number of recoveries, the health ministry said that the tally of active cases remained below seven lakhs for the third successive day on Sunday. “The total recoveries exceed active cases by64,09,969 as on date,” it said.
There are “merely” 6,68,154 active COVID-19 cases in the country as on date, which accounts for 8.50 percent of the total caseload, the statement added.
The health ministry also said that less than 1,000 deaths have been continuously reported for the last week. The figure is below the 1,100-mark since 2 October.
Seventy-five percent of the new recoveries were reported in 10 states and Union territories — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Maharashtra leads the tally with more than 10,000 single-day recoveries.
Also, 79 percent of the 50,129 fresh COVID-19 cases were reported from 10 states and Union territories. Kerala continued to report a very high number of fresh cases with more than 8,000, followed by Maharashtra with over 6,000, the ministry said.
Besides, 578 COVID-19 fatalities were reported in a span of 24 hours. Of these, nearly 80 percent were concentrated in 10 states and Union territories, Maharashtra accounting for the highest of 137.
The ministry also said that the total number of laboratories in the country has crossed 2,000. Starting from one laboratory in Pune, the number now stands at 2,003 — 1,126 government-owned and 877 private.
Mizoram to shut schools
The Mizoram government on Sunday decided to shut all schools that were reopened for students of classes 10 and 12 due to the rising number of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and also because some pupils have tested positive for the infection, education minister Lalchhandama Ralte said.
The schools, were reopened for the students of the two classes on 16 October, will remain closed from Monday as the state will observe a “COVID-19 no tolerance fortnight”, he said.
If the pandemic situation improves and the chain of local transmission is broken during the drive, the schools and hostels are likely to reopen on 9 November, the minister said. Registrations for next year’s board examinations are under process and online classes will continue, PTI reported.
Mizoram has reported 2,389 coronavirus cases till Saturday, of which 195 are active.
Tamil Nadu offices to begin 5-day week from January
All government offices in Tamil Nadu will revert to a five-day work week with effect from 1 January, 2021, the state government said on Saturday.
A government order dated 15 May, 2020, had ordered all its offices to function with 50 percent strength for six days a week in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Subsequently, they were allowed to function with full strength from 1 September.
“The present six-day work week including Saturday be modified and reverted to five-day work week with 100 per cent strength… with effect from January 1, 2021,” Chief Secretary K Shanmugam said in an order.
‘Fadnavis will now realise seriousness of COVID-19 situation’
A day after former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tested positive for COVID-19, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Shiv Sena leaders “had been telling him to take care”.
Raut’s remarks came on the heels of criticism from the BJP against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for not venturing out of his house during the pandemic.
Raut added that Thackeray has given directives to ensure that Fadnavis, who is Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, gets the best treatment.
Fadnavis on Saturday said he had tested positive for coronavirus. The BJP leader was admitted to a government-run hospital in Mumbai and his condition was stable, PTI quoted sources as saying.
After returning to Mumbai on Friday evening, Fadnavis got himself tested as some of the BJP leaders who had travelled with him during the Bihar poll campaign tested positive for coronavirus, the source said.
Fadnavis also toured the flood-affected areas of western Maharashtra and Marathwada from 19 to 21 October.
“We were telling Devendra Fadnavis to take care. He will now realise that the situation outside is serious. The Opposition was targeting the chief minister for not moving out,” Raut said, when asked if Thackeray’s annual Dusshera address on Sunday evening would target the BJP.
He said Fadnavis has set a good example by getting admitted to a government hospital, and Thackeray has given directives to ensure he gets the best treatment.
Europe, US watch case totals grow, debate new restrictions
Confirmed coronavirus infections continued to soar Saturday in many parts of the US and Europe. In some cases, so did anger over the restrictions governments put in place to try to stem the tide, AP reported on Sunday.
Oklahoma, Illinois, New Mexico and Michigan were among states announcing new record highs in daily confirmed cases on Saturday, a day after a nationwide daily record of more than 83,000 reported infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The virus has claimed about 2,40,000 lives. The total US caseload reported on Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on 16 July.
Many rural communities are bearing the brunt, the AP report said.
Meanwhile, in Europe, German authorities reported a record one-day total of new coronavirus cases this weekend, while leaders in Spain and Italy debated how to control the resurgent virus amid public pushback to curfews despite a global death toll topping 1.1 million people.
In Italy, officials huddled with regional authorities on Saturday to determine what new restrictions could be imposed as confirmed cases surpassed half a million. Premier Giuseppe Conte has said he doesn’t want to put Italy under severe lockdown again, as he did at the pandemic’s start.
In past days, several governors ordered overnight curfews in their regions to stop people from congregating at night outside bars and other venues.
One such curfew fuelled anger in Naples, triggering a violent clash by protesters with police. Italian media said protesters hurled rocks, pieces of broken ceramic tiles and smoke bombs at police while they battled back with tear gas.
Elsewhere in Europe, police in Warsaw, Poland, used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters angry over new virus restrictions, and anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square.
According to figures released by Italy’s health ministry, the country’s one-day caseload of new confirmed infections crept closer to 20,000 on Saturday, a slightly bigger daily increase than Friday. The nation’s confirmed toll, which is the second-highest in Europe after Britain’s, rose to 37,210 after 151 more deaths.
In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez planned to meet with his Cabinet on Sunday in Madrid to prepare a new state of emergency, a strategy used twice since the start of the pandemic.
The first in March ordered strict home confinement across the nation, closed stores, and recruited private industry for the national public health fight. The second went into effect two weeks ago, focused on transit limits in the Madrid area.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged citizens again to reduce their number of social contacts as the nation recorded a new daily high for infections.
The 14,714 cases reported on Saturday includes cases from both Friday and Thursday because of a three-hour data outage at the country’s disease control agency Thursday. Forty-nine more people died, bringing the overall death toll past 10,000.
The chancellor said in her weekly podcast if we all obey (to social distancing) we will all together survive this enormous challenge posed by the virus.
Other European countries have tightened restrictions hoping to cope with their own rising case counts.