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Coronavirus Highlights: Efforts on to increase beds, make oxygen available to all those who need it: PM Narendra Modi

Earlier, during a meeting via video conference, Modi asked vaccine manufacturers to scale up production capacity to vaccinate all citizens in the shortest possible time.

By: Express Web Desk | Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune |
Updated: April 22, 2021 9:15:57 am
Narendra ModiPM Narendra Modi addresses the nation (ANI photo)

Addressing the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Centre, state governments and the private sector are working together to make oxygen available to all those who need it. Efforts are on to increase the number of beds for Covid patients in hospitals, he added.

LIVE UPDATES | Coronavirus in India: Latest news and updates on April 22

“I understand your pain. Express my sympathies to those who lost their loved ones to Covid-19,” he said, further adding, “I also urge the states to consider lockdowns to be the last option and focus more on creating micro-containment zones.”

Earlier, during a meeting via video conference, Modi asked vaccine manufacturers to scale up production capacity to vaccinate all citizens in the shortest possible time.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said all ministers have requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to impose a complete lockdown in the state from 8 pm tomorrow. “We have made our request. Now it is up to the CM to take the final call,” Tope was quoted as saying by ANI. Curfew-like restrictions on the movement of people in the state were already imposed on April 14 and would be in effect till May 1.

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Addressing the nation, PM Modi on Tuesday said states should consider lockdowns to be the last option and focus more on creating micro-containment zones.

00:03 (IST)21 Apr 2021
Delhi govt forms committee for aiding migrant workers amid lockdown

The Delhi government on Tuesday proposed to give a financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to each of registered construction workers and formed a committee for aiding migrant workers, after a large number of them started leaving the city for home following the announcement of a week-long lockdown to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases.     

A large number of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and other states have thronged bus terminals and railway stations fearing that the six-day lockdown announced on Monday by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may get extended.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), in an order, stated that the vision of the Delhi government is to ensure welfare of daily wagers and migrant workers staying in the national capital by providing them shelter, food, water, sanitation, medical facilities. (PTI)

23:50 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Nothing but empty talk: Cong on PM's address to nation on COVID situation

The Congress lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday after he addressed the nation on the coronavirus situation and advised states against clamping lockdown, and said he has chosen to relinquish his responsibilities and put the onus of saving India on NGOs, children and the youth.
The Congress said the prime minister has left the people to fend for.themselves in fighting the pandemic and described his address to the nation as "nothing but empty talk".
"PM Modi's address to the nation was again today nothing but empty talk," Congress senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said in a statement.
He said the nation is going through an unprecedented and deadly crisis and it is taking days to first get the tests conducted and there are no beds in hospitals, and those hospitalized are not able to get life saving drugs or something as basic as oxygen. (PTI)

23:46 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Delhi registers its highest COVID figures of 277 deaths, over 28k cases

A record 28,395 coronavirus cases and 277 deaths marked the aggravation of the pandemic situation in Delhi on Tuesday as the positivity rate shot up to 32.82 per cent -- meaning every third sample came out positive -- amid a "serious oxygen crisis" unfolding in the city.
The city also faced acute shortage of ICU beds as the Delhi government warned that there will be an outrage if sufficient quantity of medical oxygen does not reach health facilities by Wednesday morning. It said oxygen is available only for the next 8-12 hours in most hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
Only 30 ICU beds for COVID patients were available in hospitals across Delhi at 10 pm, according to government data.
The national capital has reported 1,100 deaths due to the deadly virus in the last six days. (PTI)

23:07 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Tata to import 24 cryogenic containers via special charter flights amid oxygen shortage

Tata companies, in its resolve to fight the pandemic, is importing 24 cryogenic containers via special charter flights to supplement the critical supply of liquid medical oxygen to various states.

In an Instagram post, the firm said, 'Given the oxygen crisis, we are putting in all our efforts to support India’s healthcare infrastructure'.

22:51 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Delhi health minister flags oxygen shortage at GTB Hospital, seeks help

Hours after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal raised serious concerns over the acute shortage of medical oxygen across several Covid hospitals in Delhi, state health minister Satyendar Jain also tweeted informing about the same to the Union Minister Piyush Goyal.

In the tweet addressed to Goyal, the health minister said there was an acute shortage of oxygen at GTB Hospital adding that it may not last beyond four hours when over  500 corona patients are on oxygen at the hospital.

22:43 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Delhi Police chief asks senior cops to check migrant exodus amid lockdown

To prevent an exodus during the lockdown, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava has directed all 15 DCPs and SHOs to stop movement of migrants and drop them back home if they are found outside during the lockdown without authorisation.

The direction came a day after hundreds of migrant workers gathered at the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal to board buses and head to their states.

“A video conference was called by the police chief with all DCPs, ACPs and SHOs to discuss safety measures taken for Covid and how to implement the lockdown tactfully,” a senior police officer said. Read More

22:41 (IST)20 Apr 2021
‘Provide vaccines free of cost’: Kerala CM writes to PM Modi

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the new policy on vaccine distribution and provide the required quantity of vaccines free of cost to the state governments.

Referring to the policy that the manufacturers would have to make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments and in open market, Vijayan said states have been asked to get vaccines from the manufactures at a price. “The state governments are already facing additional financial commitments due to the pandemic. The additional burden of purchasing vaccines will place considerable strain on state finances,’’ he said. Read More

22:26 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Karnataka announces night curfew from tomorrow 9 pm till May 4

A night curfew has been announced in Karnataka from 9 pm on 21 April till 6 am of May 4. All shops, shopping malls (except those offering essential services) will close at 9 pm on Wednesday. All educational institutions, gyms and spas will remain closed during the period. Swimming pools will be opened for sports persons for training purposes only.

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21:27 (IST)20 Apr 2021
India gasping for oxygen due to Centre's 'incompetency': Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says India is gasping for oxygen due to Centre's 'incompetency and complacency'. (PTI)

21:06 (IST)20 Apr 2021
States should consider lockdowns to be their last option, focus more on creating micro-containment zones: PM Modi

PM Modi says, “India with two 'made in India' vaccines started the world's largest vaccination programme. Till now, more than 12 crore vaccine doses have been administered. From 1st May, those above the age of 18 years can be vaccinated.”

He adds, “I request state governments to urge the workers to stay where they are. This trust given by the states to the workers will help them, and that they will be vaccinated in the city where they are. I also urge the states to consider lockdowns only as the last option and focus creating on micro-containment zones.” (ANI)

21:02 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Centre, state govts working to make oxygen available to all those who need it: PM Modi

PM Modi says, "The demand for oxygen has increased in many parts of the country. The Centre, state government, private sector are trying to make oxygen available to all those who are in need of it. Many steps are being taken in this direction."

He adds, "Work is on to increase the number of beds in hospitals. In some cities, large COVID-19 dedicated hospitals are being built." (ANI)

20:49 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Express my sympathies to families who lost loved ones to Covid: PM Modi

We are facing the second wave of COVID-19 now, says PM Modi. "I understand the pain you are going through and express my sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones due to Covid," he adds.

20:44 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Maharashtra records more than 62,000 new Covid cases

Maharashtra recorded 62,097 new Covid cases, 54,224 recoveries and 519 deaths on Tuesday. (ANI)

20:12 (IST)20 Apr 2021
PM Modi to address nation on Covid situation at 8.45 pm

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the Covid situation at 8.45 pm. Earlier, during a meeting via video conference, Modi asked vaccine manufacturers to scale up production capacity to vaccinate all citizens in the shortest possible time.

19:57 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Most hospitals in Delhi have oxygen left for 8-12 hours: Manish Sisodia

In most hospitals in Delhi, oxygen is available for the next 8 to 12 hours only, says Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. He adds, "We have been demanding for one week to increase the oxygen supply quota to Delhi, which the central government has to do." (ANI)

19:41 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Lack of logistics to transport oxygen has led to shortage: Priyanka Gandhi

Senior Congress leader that despite the fact that India produces 7,500 MT of oxygen daily, there is a shortage now due to “lack of logistics to transport” it.

19:37 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Karnataka Governor chairs all-party meeting to discuss Covid situation in state

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala today chaired an all-party meeting via video conferencing, to take stock of the Covid situation in the state. (ANI)

19:34 (IST)20 Apr 2021
Young kin of Devendra Fadnavis takes Covid-19 vaccine, triggers row

A young relative of Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis shared a photo of him getting Covid-19 prevention vaccine, triggering a controversy as he does not fulfil the age criteria to receive the shot.

As the photo of Tanmay Fadnavis, who appears to be in his 20s, went viral on social media on Monday, Devendra Fadnavis’s office here issued a statement on Tuesday, saying it was “completely improper” if the age criteria has been violated and added that all should follow rules. (PTI) Read more

19:11 (IST)20 Apr 2021
With over 19,000 new cases, Kerala records highest single-day peak

Kerala on Tuesday recorded its highest single-day peak, with 19,577 more people testing positive. (PTI)

18:58 (IST)20 Apr 2021
PM Narendra Modi holds meeting with leading vaccine manufacturers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a meeting via video conference with leading vaccine manufacturers.

Coronavirus India Live Updates: Covid-19 testing at Civil Hospital in Ludhiana on Sunday. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday criticised the Centre over the wastage of Covid-19 vaccines and said since the pandemic does not discriminate between people, everyone needs to be vaccinated. Calling it a result of “bad planning”, the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said, “You should have foreseen the situation. It is no rocket science.”

India reported 2,59,170 new Covid-19 cases and 1,761 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. The total cases in the country now stand at 1,53,21,089. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Tuesday put on hold the Allahabad High Court order for a weeklong lockdown until April 26 in five Uttar Pradesh districts, Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur districts, which are reporting a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases.

On the travel front, United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India. In its advisory, the CDC stated that there is “very high level of covid-19” in India. Britain has also added India to its COVID-19 travel "red list", which bans all travel from the country and makes a 10-day hotel quarantine mandatory for UK residents returning to the country.

On Monday, the government announced that every person above the age of 18 years will be eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from May 1. The announcement, one of four significant shifts in the government’s vaccination policy, came at the end of a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the backdrop of a relentless surge in coronavirus cases. Apart from this, vaccine manufacturers will be incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players. Vaccine manufacturers will be empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state government and in the open market at a pre-declared price.

The Union Health Ministry Monday said Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan are among the 10 states that account for 78.58 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases reported in a day. The other states in the list of 10 are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Also, within hours of Delhi announcing a weeklong lockdown to tackle the second Covid surge, and despite an appeal from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a familiar scene from last year played out at the national capital’s bus terminals and railway stations — hundreds of migrant workers lining up to leave for home.

The decision of opening vaccinations for all adults came a day after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Modi on Monday, recommending that states be allowed greater flexibility in vaccine administration, to define categories of frontline workers for vaccination even if they were younger than 45 years, the current cut-off age.

Second, states have been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from manufactures. So far, the Centre has procured all supplies and distributed doses to states to vaccinate priority groups. Third, 50 per cent of the vaccine supply will now be made available directly in the open market and to state governments for the vaccination programme.

Private hospitals will have to procure supplies of vaccines exclusively from the 50 per cent basket, and at prices determined by the manufacturers. “Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to State Governments and in open market, before May 1,” the Centre said.

Also, the 50-50 division of supplies between the Government of India and “other than Government of India” channels would be applicable “uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country”.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said a lockdown has been imposed in the city from 10 pm tonight to 6 am next Monday (April 26). The chief minister said the city is facing the fourth wave of Covid-19 and that harsh measures will have to be taken to prevent a collapse of the health system. "Essential services, food services, medical services will continue. Weddings can be held with a gathering of only 50 people, passes will be issued separately for it. A detailed order will be issued shortly," Kejriwal said.

Key virus strain found in October but its gene study stalled; a new variety appears

Also, the Indian-origin double mutant strain of the coronavirus, B.1.167, that many experts say could be behind the rapid climb of the second Covid wave, was first detected way back in October 5 last year through genome sequencing of a virus sample.

Because both the mutations, E484Q and L425R, were located in the virus’s critical spike protein — that binds it to the receptor cells in the body. Its destructive potential should have raised immediate red flags and led to widespread gene surveillance to look for its prevalence and spread.

Vaccine makers had sought funding help, market access opens up revenue source

The Finance Ministry has relaxed rules to make “advance payment” to Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers in order to speed up vaccine procurement processes.

The change in rules would effectively enable the Health Ministry to make advance payments of Rs 3,000 crore to Serum Institute of India (SII) and Rs 1,500 crore to Bharat Biotech for procuring vaccines.

In Mumbai, 90% cases of Covid in non-slums, high rises or buildings

High rises and other buildings continue to report bulk of the Covid-19 cases in India’s business capital Mumbai, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Mumbai has about 87,000 active cases, of which over 90 per cent are concentrated in high rise buildings while slums account for just 10 per cent.

Latest data compiled by BMC shows that non-slum areas comprising mainly high rises and standalone buildings, have 79,032 active cases. Slums, on the other hand, have only 8,411 out of total 87,443 active cases, as on April 16.

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First published on: 19-04-2021 at 09:35:49 am
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