Coronavirus India summary: cases, deaths and news - 22 July
Coronavirus live India: latest news - 22 July
India coronavirus latest: 03:30 IST on Thursday 23 July (00:00 CEST)
According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 15,023,398 cases have been detected worldwide, with 618,061 deaths and 8,529,492 people recovered.
In India, there have been 1,193,078 confirmed cases and 28,732 deaths, with 753,050 people recovered from the virus.
Coronavirus spot fires have emerged in a number of cities
India's early nationwide lockdown provided states with some much-needed time to prepare for the pandemic.
But since such restrictions have been lifted, hospitals in major cities have been overwhelmed by a surging number of cases, exposing a lack of preparedness.
The worst-hit city has long been Mumbai, but coronavirus spot fires have emerged in other major hubs — including Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai.
How 3D printing could help India deal with Covid-19
Doctors forced to wear garbage bags to protect themselves from deadly organisms. Tens of millions of testing swabs.
Could the new tech be part of the solution?
Decline in flu cases around the world could be positive sign
For the past two months, as winter descended on Chile, infectious-disease specialist Claudia Cortés worked tirelessly to keep a wave of critically ill Covid-19 patients alive in the hospital where she works.
At the same time, she worried about what would happen when the usual wave of influenza patients arrived.
Read on with the WSJ
Almost a quarter of Delhi may have had coronavirus, finds study
Almost a quarter of Delhi’s 28 million residents may have developed coronavirus antibodies, making it one of the worst-affected capital cities in the world, according to research.
A random sample of 20,000 residents by India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) found 23.4% had antibodies to the virus. It appears that the majority were asymptomatic.
The coronavirus crisis hit Delhi hard last month, pushing the city’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse, and many died after hospitals ran out of beds and ventilators. Yet the rate of exposure found in the NCDC study is far higher than the city’s officially reported 123,747 cases, suggesting the spread of coronavirus in India may be far greater than the official statistics show.
'PM Modi, please make men share housework!'
A lot has been made on social media from the request via change.org to PM Modi from the petition's author, Subarna Ghosh, who was fed up of cooking and cleaning and doing laundry while trying to work from home.
She wants the prime minister "to address the issue in his next speech" and to "encourage all Indian men to do an equal share of housework".
Global Covid-19 cases hit 15 million
The number of confirmed Covid-19 infections worldwide surpassed 15 million on Wednesday evening with the figure at 15,008,046 according to the data collected by Johns Hopkins University at 19:00 hours CEST.
The United States, Brazil, and India remain the top three countries most affected by the pandemic. Earlier, the US confirmed 68,524 new cases of the coronavirus, while India registered 37,724. Brazil saw a rise of 41,008 in daily infections in the past 24 hours, marking a significant increase to the 20,257 reported the day before.
A total of 617,832 people around the world died from Covid-19 so far, while 8,509,938 have recovered from the virus.
Tracking the evolution of case numbers in the worst-hit countries
The animated chart below shows how case numbers have progressed in the world's worst-affected countries since mid-April:
Delhi Airport: new restrictions international arrivals
Delhi Airport has announced new guidelines for passengers arriving from international destinations. They will need to undergo a quarantine lasting 14 days.
"Let me get creative": UK designer makes face mask for turban-wearing Sikhs
Sunnie Delilah from Birmingham in the UK has designed a mask for turban-wearing Sikhs after watching her father-in-law, Darshan Singh Garcha, struggle to put on a regular face covering.
"For men who wear turbans, you can't really put elastics over the ears because your ears are covered," Delilah explained. "And if you've got a long beard, your mask only covers a portion of your face."
Singh Garcha said: "I was struggling with the mask that was provided to me by the workplace due to my turban, because when you put it on, I have to hold it with a string on top of the turban."
"I was like: I'm sure I can come up with something, let me get creative," Delilah adds. The mask she created has longer strings, and a pouch-like covering for Singh Garcha's beard.
A research team in Spain has published a study that finds some coronavirus sufferers with a skin rash also have enanthems, or mouth lesions.
A ragpicker works under a mural of frontline health care workers painted on a garbage dump in New Delhi. Almost a quarter of people in New Delhi have had the coronavirus, according to a study that cast serious doubt on the official numbers both in the megacity and across India. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)
India cancels historic Hindu pilgrimage as coronavirus cases mount
(Reuters) India has cancelled a historic Hindu pilgrimage to a holy cave high in the snow-capped mountains of contested Kashmir for the first time, as cases of the novel coronavirus continued to rise on Wednesday.
There were 37,724 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, according to federal health data released on Wednesday. India has reported almost 1.2 million cases overall, behind only the United States and Brazil.
Organisers of the Amarnath Yatra, where saffron-clad Hindu ascetics walk 46 km (28 miles) to the cave across glaciers and waterlogged trails, said a "very sharp" spike in coronavirus cases had forced the cancellation.
A healthcare worker wearing a protective gear takes a swab from a woman for a rapid antigen test, amidst the coronavirus outbreak, at a roadside testing centre in Ahmedabad. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
Latest India figures
India reported a total of 37,724 coronavirus cases and 648 deaths over the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday morning. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, the total number of cases in the country stood at 1,193,078 as of 11.30 IST, with 28,732 fatalities.
Quarantine in Delhi
Quarantine at your own cost, and also two screenings before getting into quarantine (one from airport staff, one from government officials). There are exemptions, but they are limited.
Having experienced phenomenal growth during the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom, an online conferencing app which provides virtual meeting rooms for friends, families and businesses, will expand its existent Mumbai office, to almost triple its size, an official statement said.
"India is a strategically important country for Zoom and we expect to see continued growth and investment here. We are proud to provide our services for free to over 2,300 educational institutions in India during the COVID-19 pandemic, and look forward to continuing to work with the people and government of India hand-in-hand," Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom said.
“We plan to hire key employees for the technology center over the next few years, pulling from India’s highly-educated engineering talent pool. This facility will play a critical role in Zoom’s continued growth,” he added.
Piyush Goyal: India handled coronavirus "much better" than world expected
Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal said India had done "much better" than people expected in the face of the pandemic.
""India has been able to actually face the pandemic much better than other parts of the world had thought India would be able to. There are a lot of concerns that used to be on how India will handle this given the large population the population, and lack of adequate facilities, but on one call of the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi], the entire nation went into lockdown."
Make men share the housework!
The phrase is all over the internet right now after a Change.org petition was set up... As the petition says: "Does the handle of a jhadu (broom) come printed with the words: 'to be operated by women only'?"
Nearly a quarter of people in Delhi have had the disease
Most were asymptomatic. This is far, far higher than the recent study in Spain which found 5% in the general population and just over 10% in Madrid, which was the centre of the biggest outbreak.
Analyst not entirely convinced by Oxford vaccine data
Ronny Gal, an analyst at investment house Bernstein, is less than impressed by the data from the Oxford vaccine trial, saying "in the competitive context they fail to impress." By that he means when compared to some of the other vaccines in the race, including mRNA vaccines, such as the one developed by Moderna.
The level of immune response is what Gal appears to be taking issue with, saying that the immunised patients had lower responses than convalescent patients (i.e. patients who have actually had Covid-19), while mRNA vaccines appear to have better responses.
Overall though, we'll have to wait till the next set of data. “Efficacy data will be out by September, these results suggest some efficacy is likely – let’s see how much (and for how long),” he concludes.
Coronavirus cases surge among factory workers in post-lockdown India
A long, but vital, read from Reuters:
When Bajirao Thengde voiced his fears about going to work after dozens of colleagues fell sick with coronavirus, his boss at a motorbike factory in western India said he should "learn to live with the virus".
As India's coronavirus cases exceeded one million last week, unions say similar spikes in infections in reopened factories are putting workers at risk - accusing companies of skimping on health and safety as they rush to get business back on track.
It was only after several workers died and district authorities ordered a seven-day lockdown that Thengde's plant in Maharashtra state finally closed on July 10, weeks after calls for it to shut when the first cases appeared.
"We were demanding that the factory be temporarily closed but work carried on," said Thengde, a union leader who has worked for more than 30 years for Bajaj Auto Ltd - India's biggest motorbike exporter.
"The cases kept increasing despite us wearing masks, maintaining distance using foot pedals to access water taps and eating lunch by ourselves. And then there were the deaths."
Of the plant's roughly 8,000 staff, 250 have tested positive for the virus, but with their pay dependent on showing up for shifts, Thengde said workers had little choice but to go to the factory.
Bajaj Auto could not be reached to comment, but Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said in a recent TV interview that the "factory was the safest place to be", saying employees were catching the virus in the community and bringing it to work.
Masks and social distancing
India has issued health and safety guidelines for manufacturing facilities as part of a gradual exit from a weeks-long lockdown that has left millions jobless and short of food.
According to most estimates, the Indian economy will register a record contraction of over 4.5% in the current fiscal year that started on April 1 due to the pandemic. [Note, we quoted Nomura below saying 6.1%]
Manufacturers are implementing measures such as temperature checks, mandatory wearing of masks, smaller shift groups and social distancing, industrial associations said.
State officials have also stepped up contact-tracing programmes around industrial hubs where cases have been reported, setting up special teams to work with factories on compliance and training workers on the new mandatory safeguards.
"We are very concerned about workers falling ill," said Pankaj Kumar, president of the Indian Industries Association, which represents small and medium-sized businesses.
Labour advocates, however, say the measures put in place do not go far enough, calling for more routine inspections, guaranteed living wages, as well as housing and transportation for workers during the pandemic.
"Workers are still not central to the unlocking of industries," said Hemalata, who goes by one name and is the president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
"While some industries may follow protocols, who will ensure that smaller and medium-sized factories have safety measures in place? What is the point of opening up if workers returning to work are falling ill?"
'Cat and mouse game'
Sharanjit Singh was among tens of thousands of migrant workers who wanted to return home when India imposed its first lockdown in March to contain the pandemic.
Singh, who comes from Punjab state in northern India, was talked out of walking home by his family and has since returned to his job at a reopened steel plant in Ballari in southern Karnataka state.
"Then I heard of workers falling sick and was worried," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
"I really wanted to go back (home) then, but the company had not cleared my dues. I cannot leave without my final payment and now because of worker shortage, that is unlikely soon."
More than 100 workers at the Jindal steel plant where Singh works have tested positive for coronavirus since June, with at least 10,000 quarantined after contact tracing, according to local media reports.
Frederick Castro, a spokesman for JSW Group, said prompt action had been taken to control the spread of infection among employees once their patient zero - a worker whose mother had tested positive - was identified.
"We're taking care of every employee who is testing positive and have also extended outreach to the community," he said.
But workers remain anxious as many states reimpose lockdown measures to stem the upswing in cases.
"I don't want to fall sick," Singh said, expressing a fear shared by many workers who are also desperate to start earning again.
"It's like a cat and mouse game for workers," said Gopinath Parakuni of charity Cividep, which campaigns on workers' rights.
"Workers need the wages but we have great concerns about what is happening on shop floors in factories. There is not much optimism that the industry will look at the workers well-being. They have not demonstrated that through the pandemic."
Authorities, meanwhile, say regulatory requirements to protect workers must be balanced with the need to allow industry to recover lost ground following the strict nationwide lockdown.
"A fine balance has to be maintained because economic activities cannot be stopped," said Maheshwar Rao, principal secretary of the Karnataka state labour department.
"Safety guidelines have been issued and we are asking industry associations to ensure they are followed. We don't want to have a heavy hand on regulation."
While Thengde and Singh are back in their jobs, both are keeping track of their sick co-workers' condition.
"I worry for them as much as I worry for myself," Thengde said. "At the end of the day, we all face the same risks and so do our families."
GDP predicted to contract by 6.1% this fiscal year
Nomura, a broker, said economic activity across India remains weak and predicted a 6.1% contraction in India's GDP.
Number of recoveries see new daily record
Yesterday saw a record number of recoveries, with 24,491 in 24 hours. The total now stands at 724,578.
There were 578 new deaths, with total deaths at 28,084. The death rate has fallen to 2.5%
Coronavirus live news: India
Hello and welcome to our coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic as it affects India, including breaking news, stats and figures.
India has now seen over 1.15 million cases of the new disease, and over 28,000 people have lost their lives to the pandemic.