Updated: April 21, 2021 9:42:28 pm
India detected 2.95 lakh cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest daily increase recorded in the pandemic so far. The country also counted 2,023 deaths on the same day, another record. India’s Covid-19 tally of 1,56,16,130 cases includes 21,57,538 active cases, 1,32,76,039 recoveries and 1,82,553 deaths.
Here’s the top Covid-19 news in India on April 21:
At least 22 patients died at the government-run Dr Zakir Husain hospital in Maharashtra’s Nashik district after oxygen supply was affected due to a leakage in the main storage tank. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident and also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kins of the deceased.
A cork in the oxygen tank had malfunctioned which led to a reduction in pressure in the oxygen pipeline that goes straight into Covid wards.
District officials said when the cork malfunctioned, oxygen started leaking in huge quantities from the tank and spread through the compound creating a white cloud of gas. Technicians and fire brigade were immediately called to repair the tank. “By that time a lot of oxygen was wasted. The hospital tried to divert cylinders towards patients but ICU patients on high flow oxygen could not be saved,” a district official said.
The Delhi High Court Wednesday said the responsibility to supply medical oxygen to all the hospitals falls squarely on the shoulders of the Centre and directed it to supply the oxygen by “whatever means”.
The division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli asked the Centre to protect the fundamental right of citizens who are seriously ill due to Covid-19 and require medical oxygen. If necessary, the court said, the Centre should divert the entire production of oxygen from industries, particularly steel and petroleum industries.
“The demand for oxygen run by Max as well as all other hospitals dealing with Covid-19 patients has gone up manifolds. The supply of oxygen from the established sources is not able to meet the said demand,” said the court.
Amid rising Covid-19 cases and shortage of medicinal oxygen in several states, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij has accused the Delhi government of stealing oxygen from a tanker that was on its way to Faridabad hospitals on Tuesday. To avoid any more such alleged incidents, Vij has issued instructions that all oxygen tankers will now be escorted by state police force.
In his tweets and a video message released Wednesday, Vij said, “I came to know that the tanker was stopped by certain people in Delhi yesterday, while it was on its way to Faridabad for distributing oxygen to certain hospitals. If the governments forcibly start stealing oxygen like this, it will lead to chaos. It is highly condemnable”.
Serum Institute of India’s Covishield will be available to state governments at Rs 400 a dose and private hospitals at Rs 600 a dose, the Pune headquartered company said Wednesday.
The announcement comes two days after the central government decided to open up vaccinations against Covid-19 to those above the age of 18 years.
As per the government’s latest decision, around 50 percent of the doses produced by vaccine makers will be provided “in the open market” at a pre-declared price. State governments, private hospitals and private industry members can purchase these doses for vaccinations of those between the ages of 18 and 45 years.
Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, which is made by Bharat Biotech, has been found to effectively neutralise the double mutant variant of SARS-COV2, B.1.617, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said. Dr Samiran Panda, chief of epidemiology and communicable diseases division of ICMR, said Covaxin was found to effectively neutralise the double mutant strain, apart from other variants of concern.
Serum Institute of India Wednesday said it would sell Covishield at Rs 400/dose to state governments and Rs 600/dose to private hospitals. It is currently selling its vaccine at Rs 150/dose to the central government.
The Pune-headquartered company also said it would allocate 50 per cent of its capacities to the Centre’s vaccination programme, while the remaining 50 per cent would be for states and private hospitals. The statement came days after the Centre decided to allow anyone above the age of 18 to get vaccinated from May 1.
Hours after several Covid-19 hospitals in Delhi flagged a shortage of oxygen, many of them received fresh supply late Tuesday night. The Delhi government had on Tuesday requested the Centre to immediately provide oxygen to the hospitals as many of them were left with only 8-10 hours of supply.
Sri Ganga, Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) and Lok Nayak hospitals were few who had issued an SOS on Tuesday, saying they had only hours of oxygen supply left.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands seal tourist spots, impose night curfew
Tourist spots and cinema halls in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will remain closed for a month from April 22, the administration said Wednesday. Night curfew has been extended, and will now be imposed from 9 pm to 5 am from tonight. The new directions come amid a spike in Covid-19 cases on the islands; several tourists have been detected with the infection. At least 45 people tested positive on the islands on Tuesday, taking the tally to 5,466.
Members of the Great Andamanese tribe, employed in the administration in Port Blair, have been allowed to return to their hometowns after they test negative for Covid-19, reported PTI.
Air India stops flights between India and UK till April 30
Air India has released a statement saying its flights between India and the UK have been cancelled from April 24 to 30 in view of the recent restrictions by the UK. Once restrictions are lifted, flights will resume from Delhi and Mumbai as planned, the airline company said.
“Passengers who were to travel between India and the UK, may kindly note that in view of recent restrictions announced by UK, flts from/to UK stand cancelled from 24th to 30th April ’21. Further updates regarding rescheduling, refunds & waivers will be informed shortly. Post uplift of restrictions, flights schedule from Delhi & Mumbai to UK are being planned. Information regarding this will also be updated on our Website and Social Media Channels,” Air India said.
Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has announced a complete lockdown in the Union Territory from April 23 night to April 26 morning. The lockdown is imposed apart from the night curfew the UT has been following since yesterday. Restaurants, food courts, and tea shops have been permitted to operate till 8 pm with 50 per cent capacity and take away is allowed till 10 pm.
Mumbai: 38 women lodged in Byculla jail test Covid-19 positive
At least 38 women lodged in Byculla women’s jail in Mumbai have tested positive for Covid-19. Officials said the women were Wednesday moved to a nearby school, which has been set up as a temporary jail. Maharashtra prisons have seen a surge in coronavirus cases since April with active cases seen in at least 25 jails so far.
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