India’s coronavirus count on Wednesday rose to 56.46 lakh after the Union health ministry reported a rise of 83,347 new cases in 24 hours. The toll breached the 90,000-mark, with 1,085 more deaths. More than 45 lakh people have recovered from the virus in India. The recovery rate reached 81.3%, while the death rate stood at 1.6%.
Minister of State for Railways and Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party MP Suresh Angadi, who had tested positive for the coronavirus on September 11, died on Wednesday. He was 65. Angadi was undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He is the first Union minister and fourth MP to have died of coronavirus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a virtual meeting with chief ministers of seven states and Union Territories that have the highest number of coronavirus cases in India. Modi announced that states can use 50% of the State Disaster Relief Fund to rein in the pandemic. The earlier limit was 35%. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab attended the meeting. Modi also asked states to assess the efficacy of local lockdowns of one to two days in controlling the infection spread and if it is preventing economic activities.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament came to an end on Wednesday owing to the rising number of coronavirus cases in India. Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine die (with no appointed date for resumption), seven days ahead of schedule.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who tested positive for coronavirus on September 14, was admitted to the city’s Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Hospital after complaints of fever and breathing difficulties.
Vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech has signed an licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, United States to manufacture single-dose intranasal vaccine for the coronavirus. Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except the United States, Japan and Europe.
The King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai began the phase two and three trials of the Oxford Covishield vaccine. The medical facility will conduct the trials on 100 volunteers, the hospital’s Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh said.
Saudi Arabia suspended travel to and from India, Brazil and Argentina due to the coronavirus. Brazil, with over 45 lakh cases and more than 1.38 lakh deaths, is the world’s third-worst affected country after India and the United States. Argentina, on the other hand, has reported more than 6.5 lakh cases and 13,952 deaths so far.
The Centre said that India’s testing rate is 875 tests per million population per day, as of September 19. “This is more than six times the WHO recommendation of 140 tests per day per million population,” the government told Parliament.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 3.12 crore people and killed 9,63,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of worldwide recoveries is more than 2.1 crore.