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Coronavirus India Highlights: PM Modi lines up multiple meetings on Covid situation tomorrow

Coronavirus (Covid-19) India Lockdown News Highlights: India reported over 3 lakh cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, the highest daily increase in infections the country has recorded in the pandemic so far. There were 2,104 deaths counted on the same day, another record for India.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: April 23, 2021 9:27:21 am
Earlier in the day, the PM had held a high-level meeting on oxygen supply and availability across India and called for using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. (File Photo: PTI)

Coronavirus India Highlights: Amid an unprecedented Covid situation in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a series of meetings today, including one with chief ministers of states with high burden of coronavirus cases. As per official sources, he will review the Covid-19-related situation in an internal meeting at 9 am followed by the meeting with the CMs an hour later via video conference. At 12:30 pm, he is set to hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country. Earlier in the day, the PM had held a high-level meeting on oxygen supply and availability across India and called for using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities.

The UAE, on the other hand, has banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday amid the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country as India registered over 3 lakh cases on Thursday, the highest-ever single-day count recorded in any nation since the start of the pandemic. Passengers who have transited through India in the last 14 days are also not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE, the Gulf News reported.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Centre to ensure that allocation order and the MHA order allowing free movement of medical oxygen be implemented immediately, and its non-compliance would invite criminal action, it said. Pulling up the Centre, its said though the government had passed allocation order, it “did not seem to implement it seriously”. “As it stands, we all know this country is being run by God,” said Delhi HC.

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Coronavirus India Highlights: India reports 3,14,835 new cases, 2104 deaths; UAE bans travel from India; Delhi HC slams Centre over oxygen shortage in national capital; new restrictions in Maharashtra; polling underway in Bengal; Oxygen tanker leak kills 24 in Nashik. Follow the latest news and developments, on Covid-19 second wave in India, below

21:59 (IST)22 Apr 2021
State govts free to procure COVID-19 vaccine from manufacturers: Centre

State governments are free to procure anti-coronavirus vaccine doses from vaccine manufacturers as per the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.  
       
The ministry said this while refuting some some media reports that suggested the Serum Institute of India (SII) has contracted all its production till May 25, 2021 to the Centre, and therefore, till that date the state governments will not be able to procure vaccine from SII.
     
"These media reports are based on incorrect facts and are without any basis," the ministry said.
     
In order to expand and liberalise the countrywide vaccination drive, the Union Government on April 19 announced the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy which would come into effect from May 1. (PTI)

21:39 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Work towards enhancing COVID beds in Delhi: HC to Centre, AAP govt

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre and AAP government to look into the requirement of COVID beds in the national capital and work towards enhancing the same in hospitals run by them. The high court also asked the Delhi government to explore the possibility of getting public sector undertakings (PSUs) to set up makeshift beds as was being done by some other states to enhance the availability of beds for citizens of the national capital.
    
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said the number of beds have to be increased in proportion to the increase in COVID-19 cases from what it was last year at its peak.
    
It also asked the Delhi government to consider roping in smaller hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients who do not require tertiary level of care. The court asked both the Centre and Delhi government to file status reports on steps taken by them to enhance the number of beds for COVID-19 patients in the national capital and listed the matter for hearing on April 26. (PTI)

21:36 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Karnataka to purchase 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine at Rs 400 crore

The Karnataka government on Thursday decided to purchase 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine at a cost of Rs 400 crore.
    
"The Chief Minister has approved the purchase  of 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine at a cost of Rs 400 crores, in the first phase. This will be used for vaccination of persons between 18 to 44 years," his office said in a statement.
      
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is the manufacturer of Covishield vaccine. (PTI)

21:32 (IST)22 Apr 2021
COVID care centre with 500 beds to be reopened in Delhi amid surge in cases

A COVID care centre equipped with 500 oxygen beds will be restarted in Delhi amid a surge in coronavirus cases, and border guarding force ITBP has been again entrusted to run it, officials said on Thursday.
    
An order issued by the Union Home Ministry said the Delhi government has "sought assistance to re-operationalise" the Sardar Patel COVID care centre (SPCCC) with 500 oxygen beds, that was first created last year at the Radha Soami Beas campus located in south Delhi's Chhattarpur area.
    
"Keeping in view the above request, it has been decided to provide adequate number of medical officers and para-medical staff to man 500 oxygenated beds at SPCCC."
    
"ITBP is designated as a nodal force for operation of the SPCCC...ITBP may draw the required medical manpower (doctors and paramedics), if needed, from other central armed police forces (CAPFs) also," the order said. (PTI)

21:29 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Israel issues travel warning for India and six other countries amid COVID surge

Israel issued a travel advisory on Thursday warning Israelis, including those who have recovered from or been vaccinated against COVID-19, to refrain from travelling to India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey because of high COVID morbidity rates in the seven countries.
      
The statement from the Israeli health ministry also noted the presence of alarming COVID variants in the seven countries, and recommended that the public avoid all travel outside of Israel if possible, the Haaretz newspaper reported.
    
The Health Ministry's Director-General Chezy Levy said that unvaccinated foreign workers and students from India must quarantine in state-run quarantine hotels, it said.

Meanwhile, Israel said last week it will start allowing the limited entry of vaccinated tourist groups as of May 23. The return of foreigner tourists after Israel had closed its borders at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020 would boost the country's economy, which contracted 2.5 per cent in 2020, and battered tourism sector. (PTI)

21:26 (IST)22 Apr 2021
PM Modi to hold multiple meetings on COVID situation tomorrow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a series of meetings on Friday, including one with chief ministers of states with high burden of COVID-19 cases.
    
Official sources said he will review the COVID-19-related situation in an internal meeting at 9 am followed by the meeting with chief ministers an hour later via video conference. At 12:30 pm, he will hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country, they added.
    
The prime minister had earlier called off his visit to West Bengal for poll campaign on Friday due to the meetings here to review the COVID-19 situation. He will instead address the West Bengal voters virtually.
    
With the COVID cases rising at a rapid pace in the country, Modi has been chairing regular meetings to review the situation. He had also addressed the nation on Tuesday. (PTI)

20:51 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Punjab reports 5,456 Covid cases, highest ever one-day count

In a first since the pandemic started last year, Punjab’s daily case count crossed 5,000-mark as the state reported 5,456 Covid cases in 24 hours. 

20:32 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Goa to procure Covid-19 vaccines directly from manufacturer

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday informed that his government will be placing an order initially for 5 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines directly from the manufacturer. 

Altogether 15 lakh plus doses, he said, will be procured at a cost of over Rs 60 crores and the vaccines will be administered free of cost to people between the age group of 18-45.  

20:25 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Kerala in talks with manufacturers for direct purchase of Covid-19 vaccines

The Kerala government has initiated steps to directly purchase Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers. A high-level committee headed by the chief secretary has been constituted for talks with the manufacturers, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday.

After the daily review of the Covid-19 situation in the state, the Chief Minister told the media that Kerala is not waiting for a final decision of the Union Government regarding the distribution of the vaccine (free of cost). Read More

20:22 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Centre allows ICMR to conduct feasibility study of Covid vaccine delivery using drones

Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.

The permission exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders.

20:16 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Kerala reports 26,995 Covid cases, highest-ever one-day count

Kerala on Thursday reported the highest-ever single-day figure with 26,995 new Covid-19 cases. With 1.56 lakh active cases, the test positivity rate stands at 19.97 per cent.

20:15 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Kerala reports highest-ever one-day count of 26,995 Covid cases

Kerala on Thursday reported the highest-ever single-day figure of 26,995 new Covid-19 cases. With 1.56 lakh active cases, the test positivity rate stands at 19.97 per cent.

20:08 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Punjab announces free Covid vaccine for all

Punjab government on Thursday announced that it will provide Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all, including those between the age of 18 and 45, at government hospitals across the state.

20:05 (IST)22 Apr 2021
UAE bans travel from India from Sunday amid worsening COVID situation

The UAE has banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country, according to media reports here on Thursday. The travel ban will come into effect from 11.59 pm on Saturday, April 24, and is subject to review after 10 days, the Gulf News reported.

Passengers who have transited through India in the last 14 days are also not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE, the report said. However, departure flights will continue to operate, it added. UAE citizens, diplomatic passport holders and official delegations are exempted from the above conditions, it said.
    
According to Khaleej Times, people are barred from booking flights from the UAE to Indian destinations after April 24 on the Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia websites. (PTI)

19:28 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Covid vaccines to be given free of cost in Bengal: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday announced that her government will give Covid vaccines free of cost to every person of the state.

Speaking at a rally in Tapan, South Dinajpur, she said from May 5, all eligible people in Bengal can avail the vaccines free of cost. Read More

18:49 (IST)22 Apr 2021
PM Modi's Covid review meeting schedule for tomorrow

Tomorrow at 9 am, PM Modi will review the Covid-19 related situation in an internal meeting.

At 10 am, he will interact with CMs of high burden states on the Covid-19 situation.

At 12.30 pm, he will hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country via video conference.

18:36 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Court directs nodal officer to address concerns of Balaji Action Medical Institute gasping for oxygen

Sri Balaji Action Medical institute tells court it is running out of oxygen. Delhi government tells court that nodal officer Udit Raj should he contacted. Court directs nodal officer to address concerns of the hospital. Saroj Hospital tells court that it would try and assist the hospital by providing oxygen cylinders.

18:18 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Hope that central govt will work to enhance beds in hospitals run by them Delhi HC

"We hope and expect that central government shall look into requirement of COVID-19 beds and work to enhance the beds in central government hospitals," Delhi High Court says.

18:12 (IST)22 Apr 2021
We would like to how many more beds are being added: Court to Centre

"We would like to how many more beds are being added," Court tells Centre, adding that the HC will keep the pressure on on central government.

18:09 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Delhi contests the number given by Centre, says 2,900 is the figure of hospital beds

Delhi contests the number given by Centre, says the number includes isolation beds and not all are hospital beds. "2,900 is the figure of hospital beds. We need at least 7K beds," Delhi government tells court. "Hospital beds today are only meant for Covid-19. You're keeping 80 percent beds for other purposes when people are scared even to come out of their homes. Who wants to go to hospitals?" says Delhi government.

At a Covid-19 isolation centre at CWG in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

PM Narendra Modi on second wave of Covid-19: Need to do our best to avert lockdown

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation on Tuesday night, said the second wave of Covid-19 has swept the country like a "toofan" (storm), and called on citizens not to lose heart in this adversity. He requested states to use lockdown as a last resort, and focus only on micro-containment zones.

PM Modi's address was delivered as more states announced restrictions to contain the spread of the disease. On Tuesday, Telangana imposed night curfew till May 1 while Karnataka announced a weekend curfew and lockdown at night. A lockdown ordered by the Allahabad High Court in five cities of Uttar Pradesh was, meanwhile, put on hold by the Supreme Court.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the situation today was different from the first time around — there are vaccines, more medical insight into the virus and better infrastructure. He said that along with saving lives, the government’s effort is to save economic activity and ensure that there is only a minimum impact on the livelihood of people.

“Aaj ki sthiti mein hamein desh ko lockdown se bachana hai. Main raajyon se bhi anurodh karunga ki vah lockdown ko antim vikalp ke roop mein hi istemaal karen. Lockdown se bachane ki bharpur koshish karni hai. Micro-containment zone par hi dhyan kendrit karna hai,” he said. (“In today’s circumstances, we have to save the country from a lockdown. I would also request the states to use lockdown only as the last resort. We have to do our best to avoid a lockdown. We have to focus on only micro-containment zones only”.)

Work on war footing to provide oxygen, beds: Rajnath Singh to DPSUs, DRDO

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the armed forces and other defence ministry officials to work closely in assisting the state governments in the fight against the pandemic and gave emergency powers of procurement to meet critical needs. He urged defence public sector undertakings, DRDO and Ordnance Factory Board to work on a war footing to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to state governments at the earliest.

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