Health workers collect swab samples at a Covid-19 testing centre in New Delhi on Monday. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Coronavirus India Live Updates: India, on Monday, reported 96,982 fresh coronavirus cases and 446 related deaths. Of these, 47,288 cases were reported in Maharashtra. While cases in Chhattisgarh scaled a new high of 7,302, and the count in Karnataka crossed the 5,000-mark. The country’s active case tally now stands at 7,88,223. While 164 people died in Maharashtra, 72 deceased in Punjab. The country’s cumulative count climbed up to 1,26,86,049, while the death toll stands at 1,65,547. Over 43 lakh people were also inoculated on Monday, pushing the vaccination count up to 8,31,10,926.

This comes a day after Maharashtra imposed full lockdown on weekends and fresh restrictions to last through April, but just two days before, it kept silent about any such plans during the high-level review meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary on Friday.

Senior government officials told The Indian Express that the silence was probably explained by the fact that unlike in the initial phase, the Centre had made it clear to Maharashtra almost two weeks back that weekend lockdowns have limited impact on containing and suppressing the chain of transmission.

While Maharashtra has already imposed a limited lockdown, on Monday night, a proposal to bring back night curfew in Delhi was sent to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by top officials of the city’s administration.

Live Blog

Coronavirus India Live Updates: India records over 96,000 new cases; Maharashtra lockdown and curfew restrictions come into effect; Pune and Mumbai worst-hit cities in Maharashtra. Follow latest news and updates below A Covid-19 testing camp at Anand Vihar interstate bus terminal in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Dr Guleria: ‘Need strategies on what to do despite people not following Covid norms’

As India grapples with a second wave of Covid-19 cases, Dr Randeep Guleria has been central to the country’s disease response. As head of clinical research group of the national Covid-19 task force, he is instrumental in framing treatment policies. In an Idea Exchange with The Indian Express, the AIIMS chief says vaccination will open up but “gradually”, advises caution over theories regarding re-infection, addresses the “Bihar paradox” when polls did not see a surge, and says approvals for vaccination in children must be fast-tracked.

“I think the numbers are worrying… Firstly, this wave is much steeper than what we have seen in the past. It has taken much less time to cross the 80,000 cases per day mark this time. Secondly, the degree of fear or panic that was there when we had crossed the 80,000-mark last time does not seem to exist today. There is no Covid-appropriate behaviour. Despite the numbers crossing the 80,000-mark, people are planning holidays, hotels are full at all hill stations. So that is worrying. We don’t have data which suggests that we have a good degree of immunity. A majority of our population is susceptible and we are also seeing new variants of the virus now, which we know can be more infectious. They can also develop ‘immune escape’, which may allow some degree of reinfections.”

An Expert Explains: Lessons and challenges after a year with the coronavirus

Family and friends often call to know which of the two Covid-19 vaccines available in India is better. My advice to take whichever is easily available is met with apprehensions about adverse effects of vaccines. This is symptomatic of the past year, a year full of half-truths, false claims and often outright lies that became more viral than the virus itself. While it has been a remarkable year for science and the value it brought to society, there is little understanding of the scientific method, which relies on data and evidence.

As India approaches one year of its lockdown, I review the year gone by and attempt some cautious crystal gazing into what lies ahead.

© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd