Coronavirus News Highlights: TN govt eases more curbs — bus, Metro Rail services to resume in Chennai; Haryana extends lockdown till June 28

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Updated: June 21, 2021 12:05:15 am

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths in India Highlights, Coronavirus Statics India Highlights, Covid-19 Vaccination in India, Delta Variant Coronavirus Latest Update June 20 updates: India logs below 1 lakh new Covid-19 cases for 13 days in a row; Recovery rate improves to 96.27%; Telangana unlocks completely; Delhi govt eases Covid restrictions further, allows outdoor Yoga activities; parks, gardens, and golf clubs to be reopened from Monday; Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till June 28; Uttarakhand govt further relaxes Covid rules

Coronavirus India Live Update, Covid Cases and Deaths India, Covid lockdown, Covid unlocksIndia has been reporting below 1 lakh new Covid-19 cases for the past 13 days in row.

Coronavirus Cases in India News Highlights: As the overall Covid-19 cases in India declined consistently for over a few weeks, several states are now unlocking and easing restrictions, the latest being Telangana that announced the complete reopening of the state starting Sunday, with all educational institutes set to open from July 1. The decision was taken after the state cabinet examined reports by the Medical and Health department and found that the number of positive cases has come down drastically and the situation is now under control in the state.

Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have also relaxed Covid-19 curbs from June 21. In Uttar Pradesh from Monday (June 21), the night curfew hours will be from 9 pm to 7 am and shops, malls, and restaurants can be opened till 9 pm on weekdays. Saturday and Sunday will be weekly holidays. At Karnataka shops, hotels, clubs to operate till 5 pm

Meanwhile, AIIMS Chief Randeep Guleria told the Indian Express that the next three months are crucial for India as the unlifting of restrictions can lead to a rise in cases. Red flagging the emergence of cases in the UK with the Delta variant, he said the timeline of the third wave will depend on two factors transmissibility and Covid-appropriate behavior.

India reports 58,419 new Covid cases, 1,576 deaths in the last 24 hours, the lowest in 81 days, taking the total number of Covid-19 cases to 2,98,81,965, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Sunday. The number of active cases in the country also declined below 8 lakh to 7,29,243; The death toll climbed to 3,86,713 with 1,576 fresh fatalities, the lowest in 63 days. Recoveries continue to outpace daily new cases for the 38th days in a row. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,87,66,009, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.29 percent, according to Health Ministry data. The Centre has urged the states to ensure test-track-treat and vaccination the “extremely important” five-fold strategy of Covid-appropriate behaviour to prevent the spread of the disease.

As India looking to reopen, here are the latest updates from India and around the globe on Coronavirus:

Live Blog

Highlights

    22:29 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Punjab reports 549 new COVID cases, 23 deaths in past 24 hours 

    Punjab reports 549 new COVID cases, 1,173 patient discharges, and 23 deaths in the past 24 hours 

    Active cases: 7,421Total discharges: 5,69,056Death toll: 15,826 (ANI)

    22:17 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Tamil Nadu clocks 7,817 new COVID-19 cases, 182 deaths

    Continuing the declining trend, Tamil Nadu logged 7,817 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including three returnees from other states, pushing the caseload to 24.22 lakh, while 182 deaths took the toll to 31,197.

    As many as 17,043 people were discharged, taking the tally to 23,21,928, leaving 69,372 active infections, a healthdepartment bulletin said.

    Tamil Nadu recorded its highest daily infection count of 36,184 on May 21 and since then has been reporting a declinein cases. On June 17, it fell below the 10,000 mark. (PTI) 

    22:05 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: 13,45,004 people vaccinated in a single day across Andhra Pradesh 

    A total of 13,45,004 people were vaccinated at 4,589 vaccination centres in a single day across the state: Health Department, Andhra Pradesh (ANI)

    21:48 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Haryana reports 201 new COVID cases, 30 deaths today

    Haryana reports 201 new COVID cases, 357 recoveries and 30 deaths today.

    Active cases: 2,491Total recoveries: 7,55,681Death toll: 9,246 (ANI) 

    21:37 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Maharashtra sees 9,361 COVID-19 cases, 190 deaths, 9,101 recoveries

    Maharashtra on Sunday reported 9,361 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 190 fatalities, taking the tally to 59,72,781 and the toll to 1,17,961 while 9,101 patients recovered, the state Health department said.           The overall count of recoveries in Maharashtra now stands at 57,19,457 while the number of active cases is 1,32 241. The case recovery rate in the state now stands at 95.76 per cent while the fatality rate is 1.97 per cent, it said.         On Sunday, 15 cities, including Nagpur, didn't report even a single COVID-19 fatality.  Similarly no death due to coronavirus was reported from 12 districts in the state.        Mumbai city reported 747 new cases and 19 deaths, which raised its caseload to 7,20,013 and the toll to 15,298, the department said in a release. (PTI) 

    21:22 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Telangana reports 1,006 new COVID cases, 11 deaths today

    Telangana reports 1,006 new COVID cases, 1,798 recoveries and 11 deaths today.

    Active cases: 17,765Total recoveries: 5,91,870Death toll: 3,567 (ANI)

    20:56 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Congress hits out at Union govt over refusal to pay ex-gratia to COVID-19 victims 

    Hitting out at Union government for telling Supreme Court that it cannot pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to COVID-19 victims, Congress alleges Centre has lost all sense of balance and responsibility towards people (PTI) 

    20:43 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Himachal Pradesh records 128 new cases, 3 more deaths

    Three more people died of COVID-19 in Himachal Pradesh, taking the death toll to 3,426, while 128 new cases pushed the infection count to 2,00,410, an official said on Sunday.

    The three fatalities were reported from Kangra district. 

    According to the state health department, the active cases have now dipped to 2,771.

    The total recoveries so far have reached 1,94,249 with 399 people recuperating from the infection in the last 24 hours, the official said. (PTI) 

    20:33 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Tamil Nadu lockdown update: Bus, Metro Rail services to resume in Chennai; TN govt eases more curbs

    The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced more relaxations in lockdown norms for 27 districts and bus services are all set to resume in four districts including Chennai from Monday, after a gap of 42 days.

    Dispensing with the e-registration requirement in Chennai and three other nearby districts, the government said people could travel in autorickshaws and taxis without such prior approval.

    Metro Rail services here would resume with 50 per cent occupancy and similarly intra and inter district bus (non-airconditioned) services also shall become operational in four districts including Chennai with 50 per cent seat occupancy, the government said in an official release. | Read More

    20:23 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Alipurduar DM and health officials trekked over 10-km to vaccinate villagers 

    West Bengal: Alipurduar DM Surendra Kumar Meena (in red & white T-shirt) along with health officials trekked more than 10-km through forests & hilly areas to reach a remote village, Adma for vaccinating villagers against COVID-19, yesterday. (ANI)  

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    20:05 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Goa reports 207 new COVID-19 cases, 406 recoveries and 6 deaths 

    Goa reports 207 new COVID-19 cases, 406 recoveries and 6 deaths 

    Active cases: 3,268Total recoveries: 1,58,178Death toll: 2,990

    Recovery rate: 96.19% (ANI)

    19:55 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Lockdown extended in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district till July 5 

    Karnataka: Lockdown extended in Dakshina Kannada district till July 5, with some relaxation.

    Essential commodities shops are permitted to open from 7 am to 1 pm in the district. (ANI)

    19:42 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Manipur reports 527 new COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths

    Manipur reports 527 new COVID-19 cases, 444 recoveries and 8 deaths.

    Active cases: 9,613Total recoveries: 53,405Death toll: 1,047 (ANI)

    19:20 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Karnataka reports 4,517 new cases, 120 deaths 

    COVID-19 | Karnataka reports 4,517 new cases, 8456 discharges and 120 deaths.

    Active cases: 1,26,813Total recoveries: 26,45,735Death toll: 33,883 (ANI)

    19:10 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: More than 3.06 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses still available with states and UTs, says Union Health Ministry

    More than 3.06 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses still available with states and union territories and over 24.53 lakh doses will be received by them in next three days: Union Health Ministry (PTI) 

    18:57 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: 10,42,233 vaccines administered to citizens across Andhra Pradesh 

    Andhra Pradesh: A total of 10,42,233 vaccines were administered to citizens across the state till 3:30 pm on Sunday, says Chief Minister's Office (ANI)

    18:49 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Andhra Pradesh reports 5,646 new COVID-19 cases, 50 deaths

    Andhra Pradesh reports 5,646 new COVID-19 cases, 7,772 recoveries and 50 deaths.

    Active cases: 63,068Total recoveries: 17,75,176Death toll: 12,319 (ANI)

    18:41 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Andhra Pradesh reports 5,646 new COVID-19 cases, 50 deaths

    Andhra Pradesh reports 5,646 new COVID-19 cases, 7,772 recoveries and 50 deaths.

    Active cases: 63,068Total recoveries: 17,75,176Death toll: 12,319 (ANI)

    18:26 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Wedding ceremony stopped at temple in Karnataka's Mangaluru for violating COVID norms

    Karnataka | Mangaluru Municipal Corporation team led by Assistant Commissioner Madan Mohan stops wedding ceremony at Mahathobara Shree Mangaladevi temple for violating COVID norms.

    "Temple admin gave permission to 4 weddings today. We'll file case after detailed enquiry," he says (ANI) 

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    18:13 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Kerala reports 11,647 new COVID-19 cases, 112 deaths

    Kerala reports 11,647 new #COVID19 cases, 12,459 recoveries and 112 deaths.

    Active cases: 1,05,936Total recoveries: 26,90,958Death toll: 12,060 (ANI)

    17:55 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Pakistan receives 1.55 million doses of China-made COVID vaccine

    Pakistan received 1.55 million doses of a China-made coronavirus vaccine on Sunday, as the immunisation drive picks up pace in the country. The National Command and Control Centre, Pakistan (NCOC) said the SinoVac was purchased by Pakistan and consignments were delivered in a plane of the Pakistan International Airlines to Islamabad and Karachi. "China, as a time-tested friend of Pakistan, has taken special measures to ensure the uninterrupted supply of vaccine to Pakistan," the NCOC said. The NCOC said another consignment of 2 million to 3 million doses would be delivered from China in the coming week. Minister for Planning and NCOC chief, Asad Umar, tweeted that more than 2.3 million doses were administered in the last week at a rate of 332,877 shots per day. (PTI)

    17:54 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Jharkhand reports 135 new COVID-19 cases, 2 fresh fatalities

    Jharkhand's COVID-19 tally rose to 3,44,405 on Sunday as 135 more people tested positive for the infection, while two fresh fatalities pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 5,099, a health bulletin said. East Singhbhum district registered the highest number of new cases at 28, followed by Hazaribag (15) and Ranchi (10). The fresh fatalities were reported in Hazaribag and Jamtara districts. The number of active cases dipped to 1,639, while 3,37,667 people have been cured of the disease so far, including 305 in the last 24 hours. (PTI)

    17:48 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Andhra reports 5,646 new Covid-19 cases, 50 deaths

    Andhra Pradesh reports 5,646 new #COVID19 cases, 7,772 recoveries and 50 deaths.

    Active cases: 63,068Total recoveries: 17,75,176Death toll: 12,319 (ANI)

    17:42 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: KSRTC to operate 3,000 buses starting Monday as Karnataka relaxes Covid restrictions

    The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Sunday said it planned tooperate about 3,000 buses initially from June 21, with the government relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and permitting bus operations with riders. "The Government of Karnataka has issued orders relaxing the Covid-19 restrictions imposed in the state, except in Mysuru District and has permitted bus operations with 50 per cent seating capacity," KSRTC said in a statement. The Corporation said it will commence local and inter-district long route bus operations with effect from June 21, based on traffic density and need, except in Mysuru district, and initially it is planned to operate about 3,000 buses. On inter-state operations, a decision will be taken in the coming days, keeping in view guidelines of the respective states, KSRTC said and requested passengers to compulsorily follow COVID-19 guidelines while travelling in the corporation buses. (PTI)

    17:40 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Nepal reports 2,442 new COVID-19 cases; tally reaches 621,056

    Nepal reported 2,442 new cases of coronavirus, taking the nationwide tally to 621,056, while the death toll rose to 8,675 with 34 more fatalities, heath officials said on Sunday. Of the new infections, 548 were recorded in Kathmandu Valley, the officials said. A total of 42 districts have over 500 active COVID-19 cases. The number is higher in people aged between 20 to 60 years, they said. With 556,798 patients recovering from the disease so far, there are currently 55,532 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. As many as 3,456 patients have recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours, the officials said. (PTI) 

    17:14 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Vietnam receives 500,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses donation from China

    Vietnam has received a shipment of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the country is ramping up inoculations to battle against a more widespread outbreak. The Southeast Asian nation approved China's Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use against COVID-19 in early June. The vaccines will be used for three groups: Chinese citizens in Vietnam, Vietnamese who have plan to work or study in China and people who live near the borders with China, the health ministry said in a statement. Vietnam's domestic inoculation programme, which started in March, has so far relied heavily on around 4 million shots ofAstraZeneca's vaccine. Nearly 2.4 million people in Vietnam have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 115,315 have been fully vaccinated, according to official data. (Reuters)

    16:54 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: China says 1 billion vaccine doses administered

    China has announced that more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the country. The National Health Commission did not say Sunday how many people had been vaccinated. As elsewhere, most of the vaccines in China are given in two doses. The pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the country of 1.4 billion people after a slow start. The total number of doses given doubled from 500 million in less than a month, according to government tallies. China has approved seven domestically developed vaccines and recently approved two of them for children as young as three years old. Regulators haven't approved any non-Chinese vaccines so far, although they appear to be moving toward doing so for the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. (AP) 

    16:50 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Odisha to step up vaccination drive; govt sets daily target of 3 lakh from June 21

    Setting a target of three lakh COVID-19 vaccinations per day, the Odisha government on Sunday asked district authorities to make requisite arrangements. The health department, in a letter to district and municipal corporation authorities, asked them to ramp up the inoculation drive from Monday. Every district, too, has also been given an inoculation target, which, if achieved, will help the state cover three lakh beneficiaries on a particular day. "You are requested to plan accordingly to achieve the daily target fixed for your district from June 21," additional chief secretary, health department, PK Mohapatra, told officials concerned in the letter. Noting that the state has administered over 96.77 lakh doses since January 16, of which over 17 lakh have received both the doses, Mohapatra said the state aims to vaccinate 3.09 crore people above the age of 18 years in the shortest possible time. (PTI)

    16:50 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Odisha to step up vaccination drive; govt sets daily target of 3 lakh from June 21

    Setting a target of three lakh COVID-19 vaccinations per day, the Odisha government on Sunday asked district authorities to make requisite arrangements. The health department, in a letter to district and municipal corporation authorities, asked them to ramp up the inoculation drive from Monday. Every district, too, has also been given an inoculation target, which, if achieved, will help the state cover three lakh beneficiaries on a particular day. "You are requested to plan accordingly to achieve the daily target fixed for your district from June 21," additional chief secretary, health department, PK Mohapatra, told officials concerned in the letter. Noting that the state has administered over 96.77 lakh doses since January 16, of which over 17 lakh have received both the doses, Mohapatra said the state aims to vaccinate 3.09 crore people above the age of 18 years in the shortest possible time. (PTI)

    16:48 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Purusottampur block in Odisha's Ganjam district is now COVID-19 free

    Purusottampur is the first block in Ganjam district to become coronavirus-free as the migrant-prone block did not have any active case as of now, an official said. During the second wave, 183 people in Purushottampur block have been infected with the virus since March 1, Block Development Officer (BDO) Bijay Behera said. The block has 96 villages in 26 panchayats and a notified area council. The highest active case in the block was recorded on May 11 with 21 cases. The numbers of infections have started to decline since then, Behera said. Of the 22 blocks in the district, Purushottampur is the first block in the second wave of the pandemic that became the coronavirus-free as there was no active case in the entire block on Saturday, Ganjam District Collector Vijay Kulange said. Around 35,000 out of the 1.40 lakh population in the block had undergone coronavirus tests in the first and second wave, sources said. (PTI)

    16:46 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Weekend curfew in all but 8 districts in J&K

    Weekend curfew from Friday 8pm till Monday 7am will remain in force in J&K except for 8 districts-Shopian, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur. Daily night curfew will remain in effect from 8pm till 7 am across UT: Jammu & Kashmir Administration (ANI)

    16:39 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Haryana govt extends Covid restrictions for another week till June 28; modifies guidelines

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    16:37 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi reports 124 new Covid-19 cases, positivity rate declines to 0.17%

    Delhi reports 124 new COVID cases (positivity rate - 0.17%), 398 discharges, and 7 deaths in the past 24 hours 

    Active cases: 2,091Total discharges: 14,05,287Death toll: 24,914 (ANI)

    16:37 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi reports 124 new Covid-19 cases, positivity rate declines to 0.17%

    Delhi reports 124 new COVID cases (positivity rate - 0.17%), 398 discharges, and 7 deaths in the past 24 hours 

    Active cases: 2,091Total discharges: 14,05,287Death toll: 24,914 (ANI)

    16:20 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Odisha rolls out scheme for kids who lost one or both parents in Covid

    With several children having been orphaned since last year, after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday launched a scheme to provide financial aid to all kids who have lost one or both their parents, no matter what the cause. The beneficiaries of the 'Ashirbad' scheme -- applicable from April, 2020 -- have been divided into three categories -- those who have been orphaned, ones who have to move to welfare homes for want of a caretaker, and children who have lost their earning parent, a statement issued by the chief minister's office said. Under the scheme, the government will be doling out Rs 2,500 per month for every kid who has been orphaned due to loss of one or both the parents. The amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of guardians or caretakers of the beneficiaries till they attain the age of 18 years. If such children have to shift to childcare institutions in the absence of a caretaker, an additional amount of Rs 1,000 will be allotted for them every month. (PTI)

    16:16 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    As coronavirus leads to rise in insurance claims, this LIC agent travels Delhi-NCR on bike… and boats

    out life insurance and many specialised policies have also been launched by different life insurance companies for COVID-19. This is in stark contrast to before the pandemic, when people used to usually ignore life insurance. Not only has there been an increase in the people purchasing the policy, but the high number of deaths due to the coronavirus is also leading to more claims being filed. Amid this, the insurance agents have had to put in much longer hours travelling to the homes of people. According to a report in The Indian Express, 53-year-old LIC agent Binda Rawat has been travelling across Delhi-NCR for the past decade and a half due to his work. But now, an increase in the number of people availing and claiming insurance has led to him putting in longer hours at work, and travelling for 100 kms on his motorcycle on most days. Sometimes, he is also required to travel via boat. READ FULL STORY

    15:54 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Jab for students, those going abroad, Olympics-bound sportspersons from June 22 in Karnataka

    Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan on Sunday said vaccination for students, those going abroad for studies or work, and sportspersons bound for Tokyo Olympics would start here from June 22 at the city's central college premises. East zone Health Officer has been identified as the competent authority within the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits and the second dose of the vaccine for the above groups would be given to those who have completed 28 days after receiving the first dose, Narayan said. The competent authority is entrusted to verify the documents of those who come to get the jab, and also examine the information received from the beneficiaries in the self-declaration certificate form, Annexure-4, and issue the validation letters, the Deputy Chief Minister was quoted as saying by his office in a release. The validation certificate needs to be uploaded onto the CoWin portal to get vaccinated. (PTI)

    15:38 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Finances under severe strain, can't pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to COVID-19 victims: Centre to SC

    The Centre has told the Supreme Court that ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh cannot be paid to the families of those who have died of COVID-19 as it is beyond fiscal affordability and the finances of central and state governments are under severe strain. In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the Centre submitted that it has by ways of "Minimum Standard Relief", under section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, taken several steps providing for substantial and speedy measures by way of increase in health, infrastructure, ensuring food safety to every citizen. "The prayer of the petitioner for payment of ex-gratia to all deceased persons due to COVID-19 is beyond the fiscal affordability of the state governments. Already the finances of state governments and the central government are under severe strain due to the reduction in tax revenues and increase in health expenses on account of the pandemic.  "Thus, utilisation of scarce resources for giving ex-gratia may have unfortunate consequences of affecting the pandemic response and health expenditure in other aspects and hence cause more damage than good. It is an unfortunate but important fact that the resources of the governments have limits and any additional burden through ex-gratia will reduce the funds available for other health and welfare schemes," the affidavit filed by the Centre said. (PTI)

    15:37 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Pune cops book organizers for COVID-19 norm violations

    An offence was registered for alleged COVID-19 norm violations on Sunday after NCP workers gathered a day earlier in Pune for the inauguration of a new party office, police said. The inauguration event took place in the presence of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other party leaders, an official said. "While the organizers sought police permission claiming 100 to 150 people would attend, the actual crowd numbered close to 500, most of whom did not wear masks or maintain social distancing. We have booked NCP city unit president Prashant Jagtap and others under IPC, Disaster Management Act and other provisions," a Shivajinagar police station official said. Jagtap on Sunday apologised and said the plan was to keep the event simple but party workers continued coming in and the crowd swelled. (PTI)

    15:36 (IST)20 Jun 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Scale up health infra, speed up vaccination to prevent another Covid surge: WHO to nations

    The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday called upon countries in its south-east Asia region to scale up public health infrastructure, rigorously implement social measures and make efforts to accelerate vaccination to prevent another COVID-19 surge. This week, Maldives and Myanmar confirmed the transmission of coronavirus variants of concern. Earlier, variants of concern have been confirmed in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste, the global health body said. The coronavirus variants of concern along with the opening of economies and societies contributed to the recent surge in cases globally. "We need to continuously strengthen our efforts to test, trace and isolate. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and proper wearing of masks need to be stringently implemented. "These measures should be in full force and for longer periods in areas reporting more transmissible variants of concerns," said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia. Even as countries scale up vaccination against COVID-19, they need to implement public health and social measures in a tailored and agile manner, she said. (PTI)

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