Updated: April 26, 2021 2:38:50 pm
As India continues to grapple with an aggressive Covid second wave, the country once again recorded its highest single-day spike with over 3.52 lakh cases in the last 24 hours. The death toll increased to over 1.95 lakh with 2,812 new fatalities. Active cases crossed the 28 lakh mark, while over 1.43 crore people recovered after testing positive. Till now, the country has vaccinated over 14.19 crore people.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced free vaccinations for everyone above the age of 18 in the national capital when the drive begins on May 1. Kejriwal said a grant for the purchase of 1.34 crore vaccines was approved and that a detailed plan to carry out the drive on a large scale is being finalised. Delhi became the latest to announce free vaccinations. Gujarat, Odisha and Rajasthan made their announcements on Sunday. Other states include Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, at an all party meeting convened by Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami, a resolution was passed to allow the reopening of the Sterlite copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi to manufacture oxygen for a period of four months. This comes after Sterlite Copper plant, owned by the Vedanta group of companies, sought approvals from Tamil Nadu government and the Centre to operate its oxygen plants to meet the rising demand for Covid-19 patients across the country.
Hospitals in Delhi continued to face problems in getting timely oxygen supply and oxygen cylinders as the city enters the seventh day of the oxygen crisis. On Monday morning, Sir Ganga Ram hospital said that the hospital is having trouble in getting oxygen cylinders- a temporary technique used by the institutes in case of emergencies.
“We have 104 oxygen cylinders which are used for transferring extremely sick Covid patients from Covid emergency to ICU and from wards to ICU in case of emergency which is happening very frequently currently with many sick patients being admitted. All 104 cylinders have been sent three days back to three different locations for emergency refill. For the last three days our staff and transport has been camping there. But to no avail. Currently the hospital is on beg and borrow mode and it is an extremely crisis situation. The hospital has arranged two cylinders which are also going to finish quickly,” a source from the hospital said.
In a tweet, Pichai announced that Google will be providing Rs 135 crore in funding to the non-profit Give India and UNESCO to aid India’s fight against the deadly infection. In addition, Pichai will be donating Rs 5 crore over and above Google’s contribution to relief efforts, a company spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he was “heartbroken” by the situation in India and promised that his company would support Covid relief efforts. “I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I’m grateful the U.S. government is mobilizing to help. Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices,” Nadella tweeted earlier today.
Five days before vaccinations are scheduled to be opened up to everyone of age 18 and older, four Opposition ruled states on Sunday said they would not be able to begin the drive on May 1 because they did not have enough vaccines.
Congress-ruled Rajasthan said it had been told by the Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures Covishield, that it would not be able to supply doses before May 15.
With Covid-19 cases surging and medical oxygen in short supply, the Centre on Sunday announced in-principle approval for 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen generation plants, to be set up in identified government hospitals in district headquarters across the country using PM-CARES funds.
Separately, the Home Ministry issued an order directing states to use all available liquid oxygen for medical purposes only.
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