Around 7% of India’s adult population may have been exposed to the coronavirus till the last fortnight of August, according to the second national sero-survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
This is roughly a 10-fold jump in numbers from the first sero-survey conducted by the Council across 70 districts in 21 States that sought to estimate the likely number of infected until early May.
Here are the latest updates:
Post-COVID-19 counselling centres to come up in Pune
Stating that the case surge across Pune division was showing signs of stabilising since the past week, divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao on Tuesday said post-COVID-19 centres would be opened to counsel discharged patients suffering from COVID-19 sequelae.
Mr. Rao said the administration in the next two-three days would be opening post-COVID-19 management counselling facilities at jumbo facilities in the city, as well as in other facilities like the Naidu hospital and the Baner mini-jumbo COVID-19 centre.
“As of now, more than 2.30 lakh patients have been discharged. Around 10-12% of them are reported to have been experiencing psychological problems, are in need of physiotherapy, or are suffering from fibrosis, neuro-muscular problems or the side effects of medicines. Hence, to look after them, we will be constituting a team of doctors to counsel them,” he said, adding that recovered patients would also be provided with a toll free number if they couldn’t make it to the centres.
Women, children and adolescents are most vulnerable, says Harsh Vardhan
The maximum impact of COVID-19 has been felt by women, children and adolescents, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday.
Participating in a programme on maternal, newborn and child health via a video link, Mr. Vardhan said his Ministry issued guidance to States to ensure that women, children and adolescents continue to get all the healthcare services, according to an official statement.
“We are in a constant dialogue to ensure that these services are made available to women, children and adolescents and remain in focus despite the health systems being under severe strain due to COVID epidemic,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
“From instilling a behavioral change to help more women deliver in hospitals to entitlement for absolutely free services, we have come a long way now in providing quality care throughout pregnancy and childbirth with interventions like LaQshya and midwifery care,” Dr. Vardhan said.
ESIC guidelines for workplaces cites mandatory use of Aarogya Setu
Guidelines to keep workplaces safe from COVID-19 released by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on Tuesday include advice to companies to make the use of the Aarogya Setu app mandatory, ban cigarette breaks, and mention repeated violations of social distancing and hygiene norms by employees in their annual appraisal.
The guidelines, in the form of booklets in English and Hindi, were released by Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, and Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
The Health Minister “urged industries and establishments to adhere to the safety guidelines issued and to make necessary modifications/changes at workplaces and process accordingly to maintain continuity in business activities with keeping workforce safe”, a Labour Ministry statement said.
Lockdown restrictions extended by a month
The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday extended the COVID-19 lockdown across the State till October 31, but offered a few relaxations. Last month, it had extended the curbs till September 30.
In a statement, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said restaurants and tea shops would remain open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Takeaway services would be permitted till 10 p.m. Essentially, this means an extension in operational timings by an hour each for dine-in and parcel services. He also announced that shootings for cinema could be carried out with 100 persons on set, but spectators were not to be allowed.
“The State government announced major relaxations during September and, at the same time, the spread of the infection has decreased at the State level. Steps are being taken to further decrease the [case] mortality rate,” Mr. Palaniswami said.