Coronavirus India news summary: Friday 31 July
Coronavirus live India: latest news - 31 July
India Covid-19 update: 02:30 IST on Saturday 1 August (23:00 CEST Friday 31 July)
According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 17,406,644 cases have been detected worldwide, with 675,545 deaths and 10,205,359 people recovered.
In India, there have been 1,638,827 confirmed cases and 35,745 deaths, with 1,057,085 people recovered from the virus.
India recorded its single-day highest number of coronavirus cases on Friday with 57,000 new Covid-19 cases reported. There have been nearly 20,000 fatilities in July, the highest monthly number since the pandemic began.
10 die in India drinking hand sanitizer during alcohol ban
(Reuters) Ten men died in a southern Indian state on Friday after consuming alcohol-derived sanitizer, as local liquor shops were closed due to a coronavirus-related lockdown, police said.
The deaths in the town of Kurichedu, in Andhra Pradesh, came as India reported another record surge in daily Covid-19 cases, taking the total to 1.64 million.
"Some people who are heavily addicted to alcohol had been consuming hand sanitizers for the high," Siddharth Kaushal, the top police official in the district where Kurichedu is located, told Reuters. "Alcohol is not available because of the lockdown, but hand sanitizers are easily available."
A man with a protective face mask walks in front of a mural celebrating the country's health workers in New Delhi. India reported another record surge in daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the total to 1.64 million, as the government further eases virus curbs in a bid to resuscitate the economy, while also trying to increase testing.
The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation has announced the suspension of international flights until the end of August except via "transport bubbles."
WHO reports another record daily increase in cases
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Friday, with the total rising by 292,527.
The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. The four countries have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks.
The previous WHO record for new cases was 284,196 on 24 July.
Deaths rose by 6,812 on Friday, and have averaged 5,200 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.
Impact of Covid-19 "will be felt for decades", says WHO chief
The global coronavirus pandemic is the sort of disaster whose effects will last far into the future, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
"The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come," Tedros told a meeting of the WHO's emergency committee, according to remarks released by the agency.
Although knowledge about the new virus has advanced, many questions remained unanswered and populations remain vulnerable, Tedros added.
"Early results from serology (antibody) studies are painting a consistent picture: most of the world’s people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks," he said.
"Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths."
A PVR Cinemas employee wearing a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit sanitises a cinema hall as part of preparations for a possible reopening amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in New Delhi on July 31, 2020.
(Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP)
India surpasses Italy in nations with the highest Covid-19 death toll
India has become the country with the fifth-highest Covid-19 fatality toll after replacing Italy.
Muslims perform Eid prayers with social distancing, masks
Muslims across Asia, taking precautions against the novel coronavirus such as wearing face masks and temperature checks, performed prayers on Friday to mark the festival of Eid al-Adha in mosques with reduced capacity as well as on the streets.
In India, where Eid will be celebrated mostly from Saturday, several states have eased coronavirus restrictions to allow worshippers to gather in mosques in limited numbers.
"Only small groups of worshippers will be allowed into mosques," said Shafique Qasim, a senior cleric at the Nakhoda mosque in the eastern city of Kolkata, adding that no prayers would be held on the streets.
Ritual sacrifices would be performed in enclosed areas, away from public view, and the remains carefully collected and disposed, he said.
MyGovIndia tweets directives
The National Directives for Covid-19 Management under Unlock India 3.0...
Coronavirus-positive woman gives birth in Pune
A 29-year-old COVID19 positive woman gave birth to two girls at Pune Municipal Corporation-run Sonavane Hospital, today...
Latest figures from Delhi
Delhi has registered 1,195 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24-hour period, bringing its tally to 1,35,598. The death toll is now at 3,693..
India's Covid-19 recovery rate at 64.54% as number of recovered surpasses 1m
"In the last 24 hours, we have crossed the 1-million mark of patients who have recovered from Covid-19. Today we have 10, 57,805 who people have now recovered. The total number of cases across the country now stands at 16,38,870 cases," said Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
"Two-third of the cases have recovered and have gone home. The fatality rate is also coming down and today it stands at 2.18 per cent. The recovery rate has improved to 64.54 per cent. The doubling rate is right now standing at 21 days."
In pictures: Medical staff of the Tata Memorial Centre cancer hospital walk past a temporary facility to screen patients for COVID-19 coronavirus and run outpatient department check-ups, in Mumbai on July 30, 2020. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)
Israel's rapid test tech arrives in India
The final testing of four rapid testing technologies developed by Isreal are underway in India. If the tests prove successful, they could be used at airports, malls or other premises and would help India in Unlock 3.0, India Today repots.
Lockdown extension in Tamil Nadu
The Tamil Nadu government has issued an extension of the lockdown in the state until August 31...
Telangana surpasses 62,000 case mark
Telangana has announced 1,986 new Covid positive cases, taking its total to 62,703. The death toll rose by 14 to reach 519. Case fatality rate stands at 0.82% as against the national average of 2.2%.
India's coronavirus cases rise by a daily record of 55,078
India reported another record surge in daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the total to 1.64 million, as the government further eases virus curbs in a bid to resuscitate the economy, while also trying to increase testing. Infections jumped by 55,078 in the past 24 hours, while the death toll rose by 779 to 35,747, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on its website.
The ministry also said it aimed to raise the country's capacity to 1 million coronavirus tests per day in the medium term, from a record 600,000 on Friday. The federal government this week announced the reopening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums, and removed restrictions on the movement of people and goods. (reporting by Reuters)
The Indian Health Ministry doesn't consider so-called "herd immunity" an option that can help such a populous country eliminate the spread of Covid-19.
WHO issues plea to young people
After evidence emerged that the latest spikes in coronavirus cases worldwide are being driven by young people refusing to follow social distancing norms, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a plea to take the issue seriously.
"We call on young people to take precautionary measures: #handhygiene, physical distance, wear a mask, stay home if you’re feeling unwell, avoid crowded places & mass gatherings, to protect yourselves & others from #COVID19. Play it safe & help end this pandemic," Dr Ghebreyesus said in a video address.
A nurse at the Tata Memorial Centre cancer hospital walks inside a temporary facility to screen patients for Covid-19 coronavirus and run outpatient department check-ups, in Mumbai. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced that schools and colleges in West Bengal will remain closed until the end of August with the government considering re-openings on 5 September.
Daily infections surpass 50,000 for first time in India
India on Thursday reported more than 50,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time, driven by a surge in infections in rural areas at a time when the government is further easing curbs on movement and commerce.
There were 52,123 new cases in the previous 24 hours, according to federal health data, taking the total number of infections to almost 1.6 million.
Some 775 people died of coronavirus-related conditions over the same period, raising total deaths now just under 35,000 - low compared to the total number of cases, but showing little sign of slowing.
While major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai have seen their cases ease, infections in rural areas are continuing to rise sharply, alarming experts who fear weak healthcare systems there will be unable to cope.
India has the third highest number of infections globally, behind the United States and Brazil. It has nearly 20 times the number of cases as China, which has a similar-sized population and where the virus was first recorded late last year.
Separately, New Delhi announced the third phase of easing restrictions that had been aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. An evening curfew will be lifted from 1 August, and gyms will be allowed to open, but schools, cinemas, and bars will remain closed.
The restrictions, which included an almost total shutdown of the country for nearly three months, have hurt small businesses in what is still predominantly a low-income country.
Consumer demand is showing little sign of picking up ahead of India's festival season, where it usually rises significantly.
"A tightrope walk between lives and livelihoods in India"
The BBC’s India business correspondent Nikhil Inamdar has told BBC World there is a "sense of dilemma" in the country as lockdown restrictions are eased further despite coronavirus case numbers continuing to rise.
On Wednesday, the Indian government announced measures such as the lifting of night curfews and the reopening of gyms from 1 August. 24 hours later, the nation's health ministry reported more than 50,000 new infections for the first time.
"There’s a sense of dilemma at this point in time, because we’ve seen sharp spikes in cases, [with] almost 50,000 people testing positive every day," Inamdar said, "and yet on the other hand the government cannot afford to keep the economy shut down, [given] the kind of devastating impact it’s having on business.
"We saw that play out yesterday in corporate earnings, when Maruti Suzuki and Indigo, the country's largest airline and largest vehicle maker, reported dismal numbers - Maruti in fact reporting its first consolidated quarterly loss in 17 years, saying sales were down almost 80%, and Indigo saying its revenue had plunged by 92% during the lockdown.
"So this gives you a sense of why the government really is keen to open up. It's now […] a tightrope walk between lives and livelihoods in India."
Rajasthan registers record spike
The northern state recorded its highest single-day spike of 1,156 new cases on Thursday, local officials confirmed.
Across India cases are on the rise with the country as a whole registering 50,000 new cases over a 24-hour period Wednesday to Thursday, the first time a single daily tally has surpassed that number.
India rules out "herd immunity"
The Health Ministry has said so-called "herd immunity" is not an option for a nation of India’s size and that following social norms and awaiting a vaccine is the only option to beat the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
"In a country the size of [and with] a population like India, herd immunity can’t be a strategic choice or option," the ministry said.
Welcome to our live blog
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus in India. We launch our live blog this Friday morning, 31 July, as India's case numbers rise above 1.58 million.
We'll be bringing you the latest news and reaction from across the Indian states over the course of the day, as well as keeping you up to the date with latest figures.