India records nearly 87,000 new coronavirus cases

More than 60 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five of 28 Indian states. (AFP)
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Updated 21 September 2020

India records nearly 87,000 new coronavirus cases

  • India’s total deaths in the pandemic now stand at 87,882
  • The government has continued to relax virus restrictions in order to help the economy

NEW DELHI: India has recorded nearly 87,000 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with another 1,130 deaths.
With the Health Ministry announcement Monday, India now has more than 5.4 million reported cases since the pandemic began and within weeks is expected to surpass the United States, currently the country with the most reported cases.
India’s total deaths in the pandemic now stand at 87,882.
More than 60 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five of 28 Indian states: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Despite the steady increase in cases, the government has continued to relax virus restrictions in order to help an economy that contracted 24 percent in the second quarter.
On Monday, the Taj Mahal will reopen after a six-month closure. There will be some restrictions such as compulsory mask-wearing, thermal screening of visitors and physical distancing at the monument.


UK’s Sunak to unveil more job support as COVID cases mount

Updated 4 min 31 sec ago

UK’s Sunak to unveil more job support as COVID cases mount

  • Firms that are required to close entirely will be able to furlough staff on two thirds of their pay
  • British government borrowing is on course to reach its highest since World War Two this financial year

LONDON: British finance minister Rishi Sunak looks set to unveil more support for businesses and workers hit by rising COVID cases later on Thursday, when he updates parliament on the outlook for the economy.
Sunak is due to address parliament around 1030 GMT, in a hastily arranged briefing at a time when there has been growing political anger that economic support is falling away while coronavirus restrictions tighten for many firms.
“Hopefully this afternoon we’ll see the chancellor tack a little bit, trim the sails, to make sure we’re getting the right balance to support the economy properly,” Malthouse told the BBC, adding that lawmakers had received lots of complaints.
Britain has suffered Europe’s highest death toll from coronavirus, as well as the severest economic hit of any major advanced economy. Cases are now climbing again rapidly, with a record 26,688 new cases reported on Wednesday.
However, the country’s main furlough scheme — which supported 9 million jobs at its peak, and is still heavily used in the hospitality industry — will end on Oct. 31.
Firms that are required to close entirely will be able to furlough staff on two thirds of their pay — less than the previous 80 percent — but others get much less support.
Unlike short-time working schemes elsewhere in Europe, from next month businesses which bring staff back part-time must pay staff for some of the hours they do not work, in order for workers to be eligible for a government top-up payment.
“Making the Job Support Scheme work better for firms by reducing employer contributions ... would be a significant — and very welcome — change,” the Resolution Foundation think tank said.
Many lockdown measures in Britain do not require businesses to close outright but significantly restrict trade, for example by barring pubs and restaurants from serving groups of people who do not live in the same household, or opening after 10 p.m.
Thursday’s statement was announced late on Wednesday, after the government canceled a planned review of public spending over the next three years, and looks set to be the third time in under a month that Sunak has adjusted job support plans.
Sunak said on Wednesday that supporting jobs remained the government’s priority, but he would need to take steps to ensure the public finances remained sustainable once economic recovery was under way.
British government borrowing is on course to reach its highest since World War Two this financial year.