Coronavirus Lockdown 2021 Highlights: Maha records highest daily count of 35,952 COVID cases, K’taka bans Holi celebrations in public

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Updated: March 26, 2021 10:41:13 am

Covid-19 Lockdown in India, Lockdown in Beed, Maharashtra Highlights: Karnataka issues fresh guidelines for public events; Indore, Bhopal shut down malls, clubs, public pools

coronavirus, coronavirus testThe epidemiological case definition for SARS-CoV-2 reinfection was developed from literature review of data on viral kinetics. (Representational image: Reuters)

2021 Coronavirus Cases in India Highlights: It was the year 2000. The humans were gearing up for the turn of the century (yes, it’s settled, 21st century began in the year 2001) and the mutants were adorning the big screens around the globe. Remember the X-Men? How these mutants with superpowers became our heroes (Hello Wolverine!). Cut to 2021. We are living in the world of the pandemic with masks and sanitisers and terrified of the mutants. Every time the scientific community tells us about new mutant variants of the novel coronavirus, the crippling anxiety fogs our brains. So, it is understandable that many among us are actively looking for quick explainers on the ‘double mutant variant’ of the coronavirus in India.

Also Read: Covid-19 Live Updates (March 26, 2021)

The news comes at a time when the second wave of the coronavirus is rearing its ugly head again in India. Maharashtra is leading the pan-India numbers with over 31,000 cases detected on Wednesday. Delhi also recorded more than 1,000 cases for the second day in a row.

So, what exactly is the double mutant variant and should we be worried? Cutting the clutter and all the jargons here’s a simple answer to this – any virus is a living organism that changes with time (much like us humans). The more the virus spreads, the more chances it has to change or mutate with time. Mutation can alter the virus in three ways – the rate of infection, the severity of the infection and the way in which it bypasses the immune system of the host (in this case, we are talking about us humans).

Also Read: 88% of all COVID-19 deaths in India in age group of 45 years and above, says govt

Now, coming to the double mutant variant present in India. With other variants of the virus also being reported, the focus now is to find out how deep the penetration of the ‘double mutant variant’ is. Also, it’s too early to link it to the fresh surge of Covid cases. As the name suggests, this variant has double mutations i.e. mutation of spike protein and mutation of Ace 2 receptors. This would make it easier for this variant to bypass the natural immune system and infect people quickly and more severely.

As more and more states across India ban the public celebration of Holi and other religious festivals, health experts are looking for factors that will define the trends of the upcoming months. Keep yourself abreast with all the latest on the coronavirus in India and around the globe:

Live Blog

Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Lockdown in Beed, Maharashtra Live Updates, Corona Cases in Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Bengaluru, Karnataka Live

Highlights

    22:30 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: UN-backed vaccine delivery program warns of supply delays

    The UN-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines worldwide has announced supply delays for up to 90 million doses from an Indian manufacturer, in a major setback for the ambitious rollout aimed to help low- and middle-income countries fight the pandemic. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said Thursday that the delays come as India is facing a surge of coronavirus infections that will increase domestic demands on the Serum Institute of India, a pivotal vaccine maker behind the COVAX program. The move will affect up to 40 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccines being manufactured by the Serum Institute that were to be delivered for COVAX this month, as well as 50 million expected next month. Gavi said it has notified recipient countries. (AP)

    22:25 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Nashik sees 2,994 cases, 12 deaths, 2,331 recoveries

    The COVID-19 tally of Nashik rose by 2,994 to reach 1,59,893 on Thursday, while 12 deaths took the toll to 2,274, an official said. The day also saw 2,331 people recovering, taking the count of such cases to 1,38,646, he added. With 11,087 samples being examined on Thursday, the number of tests in Nashik district went up to 6,68,283, the official said. (PTI)

    22:22 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Coronavirus claims four more lives in UP

    Covid-19 claimed four more lives raising the death toll due to infection in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday to 8,773. The state also reported 836 new cases of coronavirus infection, raising the caseload to 6,10,273, a state government medical bulletin said. Of the four deaths, one each was witnessed by the state capital Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad and Sultanpur, it said. Of the 836 new cases, Lucknow reported 237. In the past 24 hours, 165 Covid-19 patients recovered from the disease, taking the number of cured patients to 5,96,451. (PTI)

    21:46 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Amid surge in coronavirus cases, Gujarat govt bans Shab-e-Barat gatherings

    The Gujarat government on Thursday banned people from gathering in mosques and other places for Shab-e-Barat that will be observed on March 28. In a notification, the Gujarat home department said on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat, or the night of forgiveness, Muslims gather in large numbers in mosques to offer prayers in order to to seek forgiveness on behalf of the deceased and visit graves of their loved ones. "There has been a recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases. In such a situation, cases are likely to grow due to large gatherings. It is important people do not gather in mosques and other places for Shab-e-Barat and COVID-19 guidelines issued by state and Central governments are strictly followed and social distancing maintained," said the notification. (PTI)

    21:40 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Colleges in Puducherry to hold classes online from Friday following surge in new COVID-19 cases

    Government-run and privately managed colleges in Puducherry have been directed to hold classes only online from Friday following the rise in number of coronavirus cases in the Union Territory. The classes would be held six days a week (Monday to Saturday). A release from the office of Lt Governor on Thursday said Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan had approved of the Universities' proposal to hold classes only online. (PTI)

    21:39 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    1,053 COVID cases in Haryana, highest in over 3 months

    Haryana recorded 1,053 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest single-day spike in more than three months, the Health Department said. Seven more people succumbed to the pathogen, taking the toll to 3,117. There are 7,229 active cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while the recovery rate rose to 96.35 per cent, according to a bulletin. The 1,053 new infections include 256 in Gurgaon, 101 in Karnal and 116 in Panchkula, taking the tally to 2,83,622, the bulletin said. The state had reported 1,065 infections on December 11. (PTI)

    21:23 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Union minister Pokhriyal, UNESCO director discuss NEP, India's response to COVID pandemic

    Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' and UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay on Thursday discussed broad areas of mutual importance, including the new NEP and India's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the education sector. In the virtual meeting, Azoulay appreciated the response of the Indian government in mitigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring continuity of education during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing education to students through different mediums of television, radio, online. (PTI)

    21:18 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    With no COVID-19 patients, immunized Gibraltar drops curfew

    With its hospital free of COVID-19 patients and only one new coronavirus infection reported in a full week, the tiny British overseas territory of Gibraltar is allowing itself some prudent celebration. The territory of 33,000, located in the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, is ending a night-time curfew imposed three months ago to contain a surge of infections. Masks will also no longer be mandatory in all outdoor areas starting at midnight Saturday, the government announced. (AP)

    21:06 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Gujarat reports 1,961 COVID-19 cases, record rise for fourth straight day

    Gujarat reported 1,961 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its highest singe-day rise since the pandemic began last year which took the tally to 2,94,130, the health department said here. Since March 22, the state is witnessing record rise in cases every day. On Wednesday the state had recorded 1,790 new cases, the highest one-day rise till then. As many as seven patients died on Thursday -- four in Surat, two in Mahisagar and one in Ahmedabad -- taking the COVID-19 death toll to 4,473, the department said. (PTI)

    20:51 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Maharashtra records highest daily count of 35,952 coronavirus cases

    Maharashtra recorded 35,952 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began. Mumbai city also witnessed a record rise in cases during the day, health officials said. It took the caseload in the state to 26,00,833. The state has added over one lakh cases in the last four days. With 111 fatalities reported on Thursday, death toll reached 53,795. Mumbai city reported 5,505 new cases, its highest daily rise till now, while the nearby Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation reported 1,027 cases, its highest rise so far. (PTI)

    20:42 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Rajasthan sees 715 new COVID-19 cases, no deaths reported

    Rajasthan reported 715 more coronavirus cases and zero deaths on Thursday, the health department said. The infection tally rose to 3,27,890, it said. Of the fresh cases, the maximum 127 were reported from Jodhpur followed by Kota (80), Jaipur (77), Udaipur (67), and Dungarpur (55) among other districts. There are 5,149 active cases in the state and 3,19,933 coronavirus patients have recovered so far, according to an official report. (PTI)

    20:31 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Public celebrations and gatherings disallowed during Ugadi, Holi in Karnataka

    The Karnataka government on Thursday issued an order not allowing public celebrations, gatherings or congregations during the coming festivals like Ugadi, Holi, Shab-e-Barat and Good Friday following a spike in COVID-19 cases. In an order, Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar, who is also the State Disaster Management Authority's State Executive Committee Chairperson has directed authorities concerned to ensure that public gatherings and congregations during the upcoming religious festivals not be allowed in public places, including parks, markets and religious places. (PTI)

    20:21 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Nadda visits COVID vaccination centre at AIIMS, interacts with those getting vaccinated

    BJP president J P Nadda on Thursday visited the COVID-19 vaccination centre at AIIMS here and interacted with senior citizens and others receiving the jab. Nadda's visit came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told BJP MPs in a parliamentary party meeting to visit vaccination centres in their constituency to take stock of the process and encourage more inoculation. Talking to reporters during his visit to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Nadda said India under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi effectively managed the COVID-19 pandemic. (PTI)

    20:20 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Actor-model Milind Soman tests positive for COVID-19

    Actor-model Milind Soman on Thursday said he has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine. The 55-year-old actor shared his health update on Twitter. "Tested positive. #Quarantine," Soman wrote. The actor was last seen on the ALTBalaji and ZEE5 series "Paurashpur", which started streaming in December. Earlier in the day, actor R Madhavan also said he has tested positive for COVID-19, adding he was "recovering well". (PTI)

    20:10 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Andhra Pradesh logs 758 fresh COVID-19 cases, four deaths

    In a continued surge, Andhra Pradesh reported 758 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Thursday, the highest in four months after the 1,031 on November 26. The state's caseload now moved up to 8,95,879 from 1.48 crore tests with an overall positivity rate of 6.02 per cent. While the 1,031 cases in November came from 67,269 tests, the 758 turned out from 35,196 tests, indicating a higher positivity rate. (PTI)

    19:49 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: 10 lakh vaccinated in Mumbai, COVID-19 tests, beds to be scaled up

    The Mumbai civic body on Thursday said it had completed administering 10 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and the aim now was to increase the target to one lakh per day. A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official also said the civic body had conducted 40,400 COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, and the number of reports that returned positive was 5,458, a positivity rate of 13.5 per cent, of which 83 per cent were asymptomatic cases. The number of deaths from the infection on Tuesday stood at 10, he added. (PTI)

    19:35 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Delhi reports 1,515 new COVID-19 cases

    Delhi reports 1,515 new COVID-19 cases, 903 recoveries, and 5 deaths in the last 24 hours.

    Total cases: 6,52,742 Total recoveries: 6,36,267 Active cases: 5,497 Death toll: 10,978. (ANI)

    19:30 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Lockdown failed to curb pandemic, vaccination only way to fight second wave: Report

    With the nation under the grip of the second wave of COVID-19 infections since last month, a report on Thursday called for faster vaccination as a more effective way to beat it and not lockdowns as was done last year. Lockdown is ineffective and mass vaccination is the only hope as localised lockdowns have not resulted in controlling the spread of infection. Therefore, increasing the speed of vaccination is the only way to win the battle against the pandemic, SBI's Group Chief Economic Advisor Soumya Kanti Ghosh said in the report. (PTI)

    19:27 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: African expert warns of ''vaccine war'' over access to jabs

    The head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against a 'vaccine war' among nations amid renewed fears vaccine shipments to the continent face delays. John Nkengasong said in a briefing Thursday that he "truly feels helpless that this situation is going to significantly impact our ability to fight this virus," referring to reports that the Serum Institute of India is suspending major exports of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in order to meet rising demand at home. (AP)

    19:15 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Kerala records 1,989 new COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths

    Kerala recorded 1,989 fresh COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths on Thursday, taking the caseload to 11,12,246 and the toll to 4,539. As many as 1,865 peoplegot cured today, pushing the total recoveriesto 10,82,668 while the active cases stood at 24,380, Health minister K K Shailaja said in a press release. In the last 24 hours ending 2 pm today, 51,027 samples were tested and the test positivity rate was 3.9 per cent. According to the release, 1,28,61,734 samples have been sent for testing so far. (PTI)

    18:46 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Telangana reports 493 new Coronavirus cases

    Telangana continued to witness a rise in new COVID-19 daily cases as the number neared the 500-mark as 493 new infections were reported taking the cumulative tally to 3,04,791, the state government said on Thursday. (PTI)

    18:31 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: India added over one lakh coronavirus infections in just two days

    India added over one lakh coronavirus infections in just two days with 53,476 new cases in a span of 24 ursho, the highest single day rise so far this year, pushing the nationwide COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,17,87,534, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. (PTI)

    18:25 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat taken to AIIMS Delhi from Dehradun

    Uttarakhand: Former CM and Congress leader Harish Rawat taken to AIIMS, Delhi from Dehradun by the state government's air ambulance. Yesterday, Rawat said he was diagnosed with COVID-19. (ANI)

    17:53 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    2523 cases in Karnataka today

    Karnataka today reported 2523 new #COVID19 cases, 1192 discharges and 10 deaths.

    Total cases 9,78,478Total recoveries 9,47,781Death toll 12,471

    Active cases 18,207 (ANI)

    17:30 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai resolves to take up testing to 60,000/day

    Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has resolved to take up testing to more than 60,000 per day in coming weeks. "We have completed 10 lakh vaccinations today and have resolved to increase vaccinations to 1 lakh per day in Mumbai." says Municipal Corporation Commissioner Iqbal Chahal. 

    Chahal further said that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has decided to gear up the total availability of DCHC/DCH COVID beds in Mumbai from 13,773 (out of which 5,140 are vacant) to 21,000 COVID beds in the next 15 days. (ANI)

    16:31 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Income loss top concern for rural communities post COVID-19 lockdown, says study

    Loss of income and livelihood are among the top concerns for rural communities struggling to cope with the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, according to a new study conducted across 10 states. The study conducted by the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) and IIMPACT, an NGO, is based on a survey conducted in over 4800 household in over 900 villages in Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand. - PTI 

    16:28 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: UK, EU work towards 'win-win' solution for vaccine supply row

    The UK and European Union (EU) have issued a conciliatory joint statement, pledging to find a "win-win” solution to a row over the supply of COVID-19 vaccines. The EU has been struggling to meet its member-countries requirements and has piled pressure on British-Swedish biopharma giant AstraZeneca to increase the supplies of the Oxford University vaccines and even indicated possible export blocks. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been conducting one on one calls with his European counterparts and said cooperation was ‘even more important’. - PTI

    16:18 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Kumbh duration curtailed to 1 month for first time; pilgrims must show 'negative' COVID test report

    The duration of Kumbh Mela in Haridwar has been curtailed to just one month for the first time in its history in view of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases and it has been made mandatory for pilgrims to have a "negative" RT-PCR test report to attend the mega congregation. According to a notification, the congregation on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar in Uttarakhand will take place from April 1 to 30, with three "shahi snan" (major bathing) dates on April 12, 14 and 27. - PTI

    16:16 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Despite rise in COVID-19 cases, death rate remains low: Gujarat CM Rupani

    Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday said although the coronavirus cases were on the rise in the state, the death rate in the fresh wave of infections is low. Speaking to reporters, Rupani said the state government is working to bring the cases under control, but the numbers are expected to rise for another one week. "The rate of infections is high in the entire country, including the state. However, there is no need to panic. Although the rate of infection is high, the number of deaths is less (in this wave)," the chief minister said. The government is working with the three 'Ts' formula of testing, tracing and treatment, he said, adding that 70,000 tests were conducted on Wednesday. - PTI

    16:15 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: White House to spend USD 10 billion to bolster vaccine effort

    The White House announced Thursday that it is dedicating another USD 10 billion to try to drive up vaccination rates in low-income, minority and rural enclaves throughout the country. The effort, which is funded through the USD 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed earlier this month, will include USD 6 billion in funding for community health centers to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and other preventive health care for populations at higher risk for the virus. President Joe Biden's administration, which will start distributing the money in April to nearly 1,400 centers across the country, said health centers can also use the funding to modify and improve infrastructure and add mobile units. - AP

    16:14 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Head of South Africa's coronavirus committee steps down

    The chairman of South Africa's Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 (MAC), Professor Salim Abdool Karim, stepped down on Thursday, the health ministry said, following a meeting of the body to mark the first anniversary of its formation. Professor Marian Jacobs, previously co-chair of the advisory body, will take up the role temporarily, the ministry said. South Africa has been the hardest hit nation on the continent by COVID-19, with the highest number of confirmed cases at over 1.5 million, with more than 50,000 related deaths. The rollout of vaccines has been slow, with only 207,000 people, mainly frontline health workers, inoculated so far. The government plans to vaccinate 40 million people, or two-thirds of the population, to achieve some level of herd immunity. "Karim had expressed his desire to return to the important work he was doing, particularly in HIV research and innovation, before his appointment as Chair of the MAC," the ministry said. After pausing the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, South Africa started inoculating healthcare workers with Johnson & Johnson shots in a research study. - Reuters

    15:54 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: CNOOC's profit plunges 59% in 2020 as coronavirus hits fuel demand

    China's national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd reported a 59% plunge in 2020 profit, hitting the lowest since 2017, as the coronavirus pandemic whacked energy prices and hammered fuel consumption.The listed branch of China National Offshore Oil Corp reported a net profit of 24.96 billion yuan ($3.82 billion), down from 61.05 billion yuan in 2019, while revenue was 155.37 billion yuan, according to a company statement filed to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday. - Reuters

    15:45 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Bengaluru visitors must carry negative RT-PCR report

    There are travel restrictions in a way, whoever comes to Bengaluru from other states will have to bring in RT-PCR negative certificates otherwise we will test them here: Dr K Sudhakar, Karnataka Health Minister on Bengaluru 200 people can attend events in closed spaces; maximum of 500 in events in open areas. There are some large religious & political gatherings for which I've sought time with state election commissioner today. I'll request him to minimise this & issue circular: Karnataka Health Minister - ANI

    15:44 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Random testing kiosks set up at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal

    With the nationwide surge in cases, District Disaster Management Authority, Shahdara sets up random testing kiosks for COVID19 at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in Delhi. - ANI

    15:39 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Fewer number of senior citizens vaccinated in these states

    Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have vaccinated less percentage of their elderly population and must increase their pace of inoculation, the SBI report said.

    15:38 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: In SBI Report, a lesson from 'Great Pandemic flu'

    Talking about the efficacy of the lockdowns, the report said that we need to look back at the time of the Great Pandemic Flu. '...closure of schools, churches, and theatres can significantly reduce influenza transmission, but that viral spread will only be renewed upon relaxation of such measures,' the SBI report said. 

    14:36 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: SBI report forecasts 100-day period for second wave

    The SBI has released its Special Research Report on the current trends of coronavirus cases in India. It says that India will see the second wave of coronavirus for at least 100 days. This would mean that the peak will come sometime in April. The report has also slammed the lockdowns as ineffective. The report says that mass vaccination is the only solution.

    13:58 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Actor R Madhavan tests positive for coronavirus

    Actor R Madhavan tests positive for coronavirus. He took to Twitter to make the announcement.

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    13:37 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 India Lockdown Live News: Surge in daily cases in six states across India

    Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat are reporting a surge in daily coronavirus cases, accounting for 80.63 per cent of the new COVID-19 infections, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. The three states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab also account for 74.32 per cent the of total active cases in the country which has increased to 3.95 lakh and comprises 3.35 per cent of the total infections. A total of 53,476 new cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours, the highest single-day rise so far this year. Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 31,855 (59.57 per cent). It is followed by Punjab with 2,613 while Kerala reported 2,456 new cases, the ministry said. Ten states including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, it highlighted. - PTI

    13:32 (IST)25 Mar 2021
    Covid-19 Lockdown Live News: Hungary flags delay in reopening of schools as COVID-19 cases surge

    Hungary's planned reopening of schools and kindergartens on April 7 now appears "optimistic", Zoltan Maruzsa, a state secretary in charge of education, said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday. Hungary's hospitals are under "extraordinary" pressure from rising coronavirus infections, its surgeon general said on Wednesday, as the country became a hotspot in the third wave of a pandemic that has hit Central Europe especially hard. "We can rule out that the entire school year will be spent in remote learning. However, it takes some degree of optimism to take the April 7 reopening for granted," Maruzsa told the Magyar Nemzet newspaper. "For now it looks more likely that a return to classroom teaching can take a while longer, but we also need to see the developments of the next few days to assess that," he said. Hungary leads the European Union for vaccine imports and per capita vaccination rates, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. - Reuters

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