The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 779 and the number of cases climbed to 24,942 in the country on Saturday, registering an increase of 56 deaths and 1,490 cases since Friday evening, according to the Union health ministry.
The 56 deaths were the maximum reported in the country in a span of 24 hours, the ministry said.
The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 18,953, while 5,209 people have been cured and discharged, it added.
A PTI tally of the figures reported by various states showed 26,076 COVID-19 cases in the country and 823 deaths due to the disease, as of 9.20 pm.
Mumbai reported 602 new cases, crossing the 5,000-mark.
1. Shops allowed to open with conditions, malls to remain closed
2. Panic buying ahead of intense lockdown in 5 cities of Tamil Nadu
Five cities in Tamil Nadu are going into intense lockdown from Sunday morning. NDTV reports panic buying of essential goods was witnessed in major cities of the state on Saturday morning.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami assured people vegetable and grocery shops in the state would remain open till 3 pm, two hours more than the usual time.
3. Entire Delhi not a hotspot, says health minister
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday said there are 92 coronavirus hotspots in the national capital but the entire city is not a hotspot.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier this week said the lockdown will continue as usual in the national capital and no relaxation of prohibitions will be allowed before a review meeting of experts on April 27.
The health minister also said the rate at which coronavirus cases are doubling in Delhi has now slowed down to 13 days, from lesser number of days earlier. See full list here.
4. UP will not allow public gatherings till June 30, CM says
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officers to ensure no public gathering are allowed till June 30 across the state, his office said. Further decision will be taken depending on the situation, Indian Express reported.
5. Journalist among 15 new patients in Karnataka
A journalist is among 15 new coronavirus cases reported in Karnataka, taking the total number of infections to 489, the state government said on Saturday.
“Fifteen new positive cases have been reported from last evening till this noon...Till date 489 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed. This includes 18 deaths and 153 discharges,” the department said in its mid-day situation update.
Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, who is also leading the governments efforts against COVID-19 in Bengaluru and is in charge of the state war room, in a tweet confirmed that one journalist from Bengaluru had tested positive.
6. FDA warns against side effects of hydroxychloroquine
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety communication regarding the known side effects of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump for treating coronavirus patients.
The side effects include serious and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problems.
The FDA in a Drug Safety Communication said that hydroxychloroquine has been given Emergency Use Authorisation for the treatment of patients who have tested positive with coronavirus.
These risks, FDA said are already in the drug labels for their approved uses and may be mitigated when health care professionals closely screen and supervise these patients such as in a hospital setting or a clinical trial.
“We understand that health care professionals are looking for every possible treatment option for their patients and we want to ensure we’re providing them with the appropriate information needed for them to make the best medical decisions,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn.
“While clinical trials are ongoing to determine the safety and effectiveness of these drugs for COVID-19, there are known side effects of these medications that should be considered,” he said.
7. Bengal audit team says 57 coronavirus patients died, but only 18 from the disease
A West Bengal government panel set up to ascertain the exact number of COVID-19 deaths in the state, has, after auditing 57 suspected COVID-19 deaths, certified that only 18 of them were caused “directly by the disease”, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said on Friday.
The 39 other deaths were caused by severe co-morbidity conditions, he said referring to the audit committee report.
Three novel coronavirus patients have died in West Bengal in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 18 in the state, Sinha said.
The central team visiting Kolkata to assess the COVID-19 situation wrote to the West Bengal government on Friday seeking a detailed report on the functioning of the coronavirus death audit committee and a meeting with its members, and expressed displeasure at the arrangements in hospitals and quarantine centres.
In a letter to Sinha, the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) led by senior bureaucrat Apurba Chandra, sought to know the system of approving the declaration of the death of COVID-19 patients by a committee of doctors, which was set up by the state government.
There have been allegations from various quarters that the state government is hiding coronavirus cases and deaths.
“The principal health secretary on April 23 gave some reasons for the establishment of the committee of doctors and also mentioned that if a COVID patient dies in a road accident, he cannot be said to have died of COVID,” Chandra said in his letter to Sinha.
“The IMCT did not find the reason convincing as there is no comparison between a road death and a death in a hospital due to disease,” he said.
8. More than 70,000 stranded people permitted to move within Assam
More than 70,000 people, stranded in different districts of Assam due the lockdown, have been allowed to move within the state either by ASTC buses or personal vehicles to their homes or workplace during the next three days, starting Saturday.
The call centre has received 41,651 calls from people in different districts who want to take buses to reach their home and the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) is making arrangements for their travel which will be free of cost, Health Minister Himanta Biswa said at a press conference on Friday.
Individual bus tickets with travel details were to be sent by Friday night to those who will travel on Saturday, the minister had said. The others will receive their tickets a day before their travel, he said.
9. Meghalaya relaxes some lockdown rules
The Meghalaya government on Thursday issued a notification allowing opening of shops and services dealing in essential items and resumption of functioning of several self-employed persons and industrial units from Friday, though the lockdown will continue to be imposed.
Meghalaya Chief Secretary MS Rao issued a notification saying shops, courier services, e-commerce platforms dealing in essential services and common service centres are permitted to open in the state with effect from Friday.
However, the state capital and Mylliem block of East Khasi Hills district are exempted from this relaxation.
Services provided by self-employed persons such as electrician, plumbers, motor mechanics, and carpenters and shops for repair of trucks on highways, hardware stores selling construction materials including transportation of the same and electrical shops are also allowed to operate, Rao said in a notification.