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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Coronavirus India Highlights: Congress presses for national lockdown to stem Covid spread

Tamil Nadu joins a list of states that have imposed complete lockdowns due to the second wave of the virus.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: May 9, 2021 9:03:43 am
Health workers check patients receiving treatment inside a banquet hall converted into a Covid-19 isolation center in New Delhi on Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

Coronavirus India Highlights: The Congress on Saturday accused the Centre of abject failure in protecting the lives of people and urged it to follow the suggestions of experts by declaring a national lockdown in the wake of rising cases of the novel coronavirus infection. In a tweet, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “not utilising the vaccination budget” and imposing GST on Covid-19 vaccines.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved an anti-Covid oral drug developed by DRDO in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories for emergency use, the Union Defence Ministry Saturday said. Clinical trial showed that the drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients, reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.

The Supreme Court on Saturday constituted a National Task Force (NTF) to assess and recommend the need and distribution of oxygen to the states and Union Territories.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur, MP CM Shivraj Chouhan and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin on the coronavirus situation in their states.  Modi has been interacting with chief ministers over telephone for the last couple of days to take stock of the pandemic situation in their states.

India recorded over 4 lakh new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Saturday, taking the country’s total caseload to over 2.18 crore. Out of these, over 37 lakh cases are currently active while over 1.79 crore people have recovered. With 4,187 new deaths, the toll now stands at over 2.38 lakh. At least 14 states are reporting cases in five figures. Maharashtra reported about 54,000 cases, Karnataka had nearly 49,000, while Kerala had over 38,000. 

Live Blog

Follow this space for the latest updates on India's Covid-19 second wave.

22:00 (IST)08 May 2021
More cases of 'concerning' Indian variant found in UK

Seven cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been found in the UK's Bedfordshire county, hours after health officials here elevated the subtype from under investigation to a Variant of Concern (VOC) amidst a rise in the number of cases in the country and evidence of community transmission.

The variant, known as VOC-21APR-02, was identified after genetic sequencing was carried out on positive COVID-19 tests, Bedford Borough Council said late on Friday.

The Council said it was working with Public Health England (PHE) to investigate the cases. Vicky Head, the Council's director of public health, said there was "insufficient evidence" about whether the variant caused more severe illness. (PTI)

21:55 (IST)08 May 2021
Mamata says COVID crisis result of central ministers doing no work in last 6 months;hits out at EC

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday hit out at the centre for pushing the country to "threshold of COVID destruction" as the union ministers didn't do any work in the last six months except for visiting Bengal daily to capture power.

She reiterated that BJP was unable to accept the mandate of the people and inciting violence after completion of elections in Bengal.

Attacking Election Commission, the TMC supremo alleged that had the poll panel not "directly" helped the saffron party, they could not have won even 30 seats in the just-concluded assembly elections. (PTI)

21:39 (IST)08 May 2021
Kerala reports 41,971 cases; pathogen strain more virulent, says CM

With Kerala's positive cases touching nearly 42,000 on Saturday and over four lakh people undergoing treatment for the virus, the Kerala government decided to form ward level committees in each panchayat to ensure proper COVID-19 treatment activities. 

The state was facing more challenges in the present second wave, as the pathogen strain was more virulent and was spreading fast, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters here.

He said the role played by local governments in controlling and preventing the first wave of the Covid outbreak was unparalleled. "During this second phase also, they have an important proactive role to play by being at the forefront of Covid prevention," he said. (PTI)

20:34 (IST)08 May 2021
Punjab records over 9000 new Covid cases

In the last 24 hours, Punjab has recorded over 9,100 fresh Covid-19 cases and 171 deaths.

20:30 (IST)08 May 2021
Andhra Pradesh logs 20,065 new COVID-19 cases, 96 deaths

Andhra Pradesh reported 20,065 fresh cases of Covid-19, 19,272 recoveries and 96 deaths in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Saturday.

Saturday's toll was the highest after the 97 during the first wave on August 22 last year.

The latest health bulletin said the gross coronavirus positives touched 12,65,439 from 1.72 crore tests.

The total recoveries increased to 10,69,432 and toll to 8,615. The state now has 1,87,392 active cases, it said. (PTI)

20:30 (IST)08 May 2021
Tamil Nadu logs biggest single day spike of COVID-19 cases, deaths

Tamil Nadu reported its biggest single day spike of COVID-19 cases and fatalities on Saturday, with 27,397 infections and 241 deaths, taking the tally to 13.51 lakh and the toll to 15,412. The state touched the new high just a day after logging a record 26,465 cases and 197 deaths.

A medical bulletin said 23,110 people were discharged today, taking the tally to 11,96,549, leaving 1,39,401 active cases.

Chennai accounted for most number of new infections at 6,846, totaling 3,83,644 till date, and also fatalities, which now stands at 5,153. (PTI)

19:31 (IST)08 May 2021
NHAI exempts tankers carrying oxygen from toll fee on highways

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Saturday announced that tankers and containers carrying liquid medical oxygen (LMO) will be exempted from user fee at toll plazas on national highways across the country. In view of the current unprecedented demand for the medical oxygen due to the COVID-19 surge, containers carrying LMO will be considered at par with other emergency vehicles like ambulances for a period of two months or till further orders, NHAI said in a statement.

18:53 (IST)08 May 2021
EU agrees potential 1.8 billion-dose purchase of Pfizer jab

The European Union cemented its support for Pfizer-BioNTech and its novel COVID-19 vaccine technology Saturday by agreeing to a massive contract extension for a potential 1.8 billion doses through 2023.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that her office "has just approved a contract for a guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options)." (AP)

18:44 (IST)08 May 2021
Over 100 medical staff members at Rishikesh AIIMS test positive for COVID

Over 100 medical staff members at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences here tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 110 doctors and nursing staff here tested positive for the infection, AIIMS PRO Harish Thapliyal said, adding that they were all vaccinated.

Being in direct contact with COVID patients daily may have been the reason behind such a large number of them testing positive for the infection, he said.

Chief Medical Superintendent of dedicated COVID hospital here, Vijayesh Bhardwaj, was also found infected with the infection. (PTI)

18:18 (IST)08 May 2021
IIM Ahmedabad Alumni Association launches campaign to raise funds to buy oxygen concentrators

The IIM Ahmedabad Alumni Association, Hyderabad Chapter, has launched a campaign to raise funds to purchase oxygen concentrators. The Chapter has joined hands with volunteers from IIMs/IITs/NITs/ entrepreneurs based out of Hyderabad to improve the Oxygen infrastructure in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

"The Chapter intends to raise funds and effectively deploy them to reach the poor and weaker sections of the society. To increase donation efficiency, we have already tied up with 'State Covid Command and Control Centre (Oxygen Cell) – Government of Andhra Pradesh' for possible collaboration and 'Mission Oxygen' for procurement and deployment of hospital grade Oxygen concentrators and in talks with various other organization for partnering to fight against Covid19 pandemic," said a statement. 

To enable this, the Chapter has opened a fund-raiser on Milaap page. "We request your help, support and contribution towards this noble cause. Every rupee you donate will go towards supporting the hospitals and patients in need," the statement said. The Chapter has been known for successfully executing many philanthropic activities over the past 20 years.

Reported by Sreenivas Janyala

18:03 (IST)08 May 2021
Not paying attention to medical system behind COVID infection spread to villages: Akhilesh

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday hit out at the UP government, saying had it paid attention to the medical system in the state, the coronavirus infection would not have spread to villages and resulted in a huge number of deaths.

In a statement, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also accused the government of diverting its entire machinery to hide the number of deaths caused by the pandemic. "The BJP is committing the sin of telling lies. It has spent all its time in shattering the work done by the previous Samajwadi Party government," he said.

"Had the state government paid attention towards the medical system in time, the infection would not have spread to villages and there would not have been such a large number of deaths," the statement said. (PTI)

17:10 (IST)08 May 2021
Supreme Court sets up 12-member task force for allocation of oxygen to states, UTs

The Supreme Court has set up a 12-member National Task Force for the scientific allocation of oxygen to the states and UTs.

16:38 (IST)08 May 2021
Positive Covid test report not mandatory for admission to health facility: Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry has said positive Covid-19 test report not mandatory for admission to a health facility. (PTI)

16:22 (IST)08 May 2021
First case of Indian variant of COVID-19 detected in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka on Saturday detected its first case of the Indian variant of coronavirus, also known as B.1.617, in a person who recently returned from India and was in a quarantine centre here.

The Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenapura here in a report released on Saturday said the infected person had returned from India and was found at a quarantine center for returnees in Colombo.

The sample was among several other samples obtained for testing until April 30, the Colombo Gazette reported. (PTI)

16:12 (IST)08 May 2021
Shipment of ventilators, Remdesivir arrives from Canada

A shipment of 50 ventilators and 25,000 vials of Remdesivir arrives at Delhi airport from Canada.

15:31 (IST)08 May 2021
Centre approves anti-Covid drug developed by DRDO for emergency use

The Centre has approved an anti-Covid drug developed by DRDO for emergency use, the Union Defence Ministry Saturday said. The drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), has been developed in collaboration with Dr Reddy's Laboratories.

14:31 (IST)08 May 2021
PM Modi talks to Shivraj Chouhan on Madhya Pradesh's covid situation

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him to take note of the state's covid situation. On the call, Chouhan discussed the declining positivity rate and rising recovery rate in the state.

14:23 (IST)08 May 2021
PM Modi talks to Jai Ram Thakur on Himachal's covid situation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inquired about the status of coronavirus in Himachal, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said. “We made the Prime Minister aware of all the work being done by the State Government including oxygen for the convenience of covid patients, capacity of beds in hospitals, vaccination campaign,” Thakur wrote on Twitter. 

13:48 (IST)08 May 2021
PM Modi talks to MK Stalin on Tamil Nadu's covid situation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday spoke to Tamil Nadu Cheif Minister M K Stalin on the coronavirus situation in the state. M K Stalin on Saturday announced a complete lockdown across the state to curb the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown will be in force from 4 am on May 10 till 4 am on May 24. 

Modi has been interacting with chief ministers over telephone for the last couple of days to take stock of the pandemic situation in their states.

13:36 (IST)08 May 2021
Tamil Nadu lockdown guidelines & rules explained: Here’s what’s allowed, what’s not

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday announced a complete lockdown across the state to curb the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown will be in force from 4 am on May 10 till 4 am on May 24.

In view of the full lockdown, shops and other entities will be open this weekend (May 8 and 9) from 6 am to 9 pm. The government had previously announced a curfew on Sundays, which has been relaxed on May 9 in view of the impending lockdown.

E-registration is mandatory for travellers entering Tamil Nadu from other states and countries by flights, trains or by road.

Read complete guidelines here 

The Indian Army mobilises two Field Hospitals from northeast to Patna to assist the Bihar government in fighting rising Covid-19 cases. (Twitter/@adgpi)

Urging the Centre to provide more vaccines to Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the national capital has only 5-6 days of vaccinations left as around “1 lakh people” are getting vaccinated daily. Kejriwal also said that the capital can finish its vaccination drive within 3 months if Centre provides it with 80-85 lakh doses each month. 

Big rise in cremations cast doubt on Amritsar’s official count

Amritsar district has recorded 283 Covid-19 deaths in the month of April, if the Punjab Health Department is to be believed.

While this official figure includes both rural and urban areas of the district, the two main crematoriums in Amritsar city have seen an alarming rise in cremations in April which points to a much higher death rate.

Those incharge of affairs at Shivpuri cremation ground near Durgiana Temple and cremation ground Shahidan near Gurudwara Baba Deep Singh in the city say that the total cremations have been over 1,000 in April.

District Muzaffarnagar: Here, nurses are doctors, ward boys are nurses, families are ward boys

At 10.45 in the morning, next to the gate with an iron grill, an ambulance is parked with its door open. Inside, the Covid patient is lying on his back, an oxygen mask on his face. Next to him is his wife, her hand clasping his. For five minutes, there is silence, then shouts outside. “Where will we take him?” asks a family member angrily. “What can we do if there is no space,” a nurse responds. She turns to the patient’s wife: “Just don’t let him fall asleep.”

It’s a replay of familiar scenes outside Covid isolation wards across the country since early April when the second wave started wreaking havoc. But then, this is the district hospital of Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, a state which has the fourth highest active caseload in the country with over 2.6 lakh cases.

UP has recorded more than 7.82 lakh infections since April 1, which is 55 per cent of the state’s entire caseload. And, nearly 40 per cent of its death toll of 14,151 has been recorded after April 1, with high caseloads in smaller towns like Gorakhpur, Bareilly, Moradabad and Meerut.

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