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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Coronavirus HIGHLIGHTS: No let up in Covid surge as Maharashtra, Delhi & UP see highest daily spike

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 12 crore as part of the world's largest vaccination drive, the Health Ministry said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 22, 2021 9:15:49 am
Baikunthdham cremation ground where Covid-19 patients are being cremated in Lucknow on Friday. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastava)

Maharashtra and New Delhi on Sunday reported the highest single day spike in Covid cases yet again, by recording 68,631 and 25,462 infections respectively while Uttar Pradesh added 30,596 cases –– highest till date –– to its tally which has now become 8,51,620. The state also registered the highest fatality count in a day with 129 patients succumbing to the infection today.

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

Drawing attention to the worsening Covid-19 situation of national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for beds and oxygen cylinders for patients. Kejriwal requested Modi that 7,000 out of 10,000 beds in Delhi’s Central government hospitals be reserved for Covid patients.

In order to meet the oxygen demand across the country, the Railways will run ‘Oxygen Express’ to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders to different places, the national transporter said Sunday. Empty tankers will start their journey from Kalamboli and Boisar railway stations in and near Mumbai on Monday to load liquid medical oxygen at Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro, officials said.

The Union Health Ministry Sunday said that the daily positivity rate of Covid-19 in India has doubled from 8 per cent to 16.69 per cent in last 12 days.

On the vaccination front, the Health Ministry said India took only 92 days to reach the mark of 12-crore vaccinations, the fastest country to do so. It is followed by the US which took 97 days and China which took 108 days. The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 12 crore as part of the world’s largest vaccination drive, it said. Cumulatively, 12,26,22,590 vaccine doses have been administered through 18,15,325 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am.

India reported 2,61,500 new Covid-19 cases and 1,501 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. The total cases in the country now stand at 1,47,88,109. There are now 18,01,316 active cases while 1,28,09,643 people have recovered from the disease. The overall death toll has reached 1,77,150. As many as 12,26,22,590 people have been vaccinated so far.

Live Blog

India records 2.61 lakh new Covid-19 cases, 1,501 deaths in last 24 hours; Alarming rise in cases, infection rate faster than recoveries, says Centre; Maharashtra scrambles to draw oxygen. Follow this space for the latest updates.

09:08 (IST)19 Apr 2021
'Patient should use as much oxygen as they need': Piyush Goyal

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Sunday said, "The patient should use as much oxygen as they need. In many places there is news that oxygen is being given even when it is not needed."

20:56 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Maharashtra records record number of cases at 68,631

Maharashtra reports 68,631 COVID-19 cases –– highest one-day case count till date. A total of 503 deaths push toll to 60,473, said the  state health department. 

19:22 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Bihar imposes night curfew from 9 PM to 5 am

Bihar has decided to impose night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am and extended closure of schools/colleges/coaching centres till May 15. 

19:19 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Tamil Nadu announces night curfew, postpones Class 12 public exam

Tamil Nadu government has announced night curfew from April 20, between 10 pm and 4 am. It also called for 'Sunday lockdown', postponed Class 12 public exam, and banned visit to beaches, zoos, all tourist destinations like Nilgiris and Kodaikanal. 

19:13 (IST)18 Apr 2021
'Oxygen now an emergency in Delhi': Kejriwal raises alarm

Amid scute shortage of oxygen in Delhi, CM Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that Delhi's quota of oxygen has been diverted to other states. "Delhi facing acute shortage of oxygen. In view of sharply increasing cases, Del needs much more than normal supply. Rather than increasing supply, our normal supply has been sharply reduced and Delhi’s quota has been diverted to other states," he tweeted.

18:35 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Railways to run 'Oxygen Express' to meet high demand amid surge in COVID-19 cases

In order to meet the oxygen demand across the country, the Railways will run 'Oxygen Express' to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders to different places, the national transporter said Sunday. Empty tankers will start their journey from Kalamboli and Boisar railway stations in and near Mumbai on Monday to load liquid medical oxygen at Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro, officials said.

17:58 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Delhi: Connaught Place wears a deserted look

Delhi's Connaught Place wears a deserted look since Saturday as the national capital observes weekend curfew.

17:53 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Rise in COVID-19 cases: Kerala Health Minister underlines need for stringent measures

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Sunday underlined the need for more stringent action in Bengaluru in view of rising coronavirus cases leading to speculations about lockdown in the coming days. "There is a need for more stringent measures in Bengaluru. This is my clear opinion and the same will be communicated to the Chief Minister for discussion," Sudhakar told reporters in Bengaluru after meeting Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who is undergoing treatment in a private hospital for COVID-19. To a question if he discussed imposing lockdown in Bengaluru with the Chief Minister, Sudhakar said, "I have discussed with him regarding it. Tomorrow after the all-party meeting, the Chief Minister may support stringent measures." The Minister's statement came ahead of the all-party meeting on Monday. --PTI

17:33 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Mamata writes to PM Modi, seeks permission to purchase Covid vaccines directly with state funds

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again seeking the Centre’s permission to “purchase vaccination doses directly with state funds and launch a massive free vaccination campaign in the state covering the entire population”.

“You may recall that I had written to you on February 24, 2021 to allow the state to purchase vaccination doses directly with state funds and launch a massive free vaccination campaign in the state covering the entire population,” she wrote. Read more

15:53 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Delhi govt requests rlys to deploy COVID-care coaches at two station

The Delhi government has urged the railways to arrange up to 5,000 beds by deploying COVID-care coaches at the Shakur Basti and the Anand Vihar stations in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the national capital. Over 25,000 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Delhi and the positivity rate has increased to nearly 30 per cent in the last 24 hours, according to data shared by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He also said that less than 100 ICU beds are vacant in Delhi hospitals, and the situation is worsening every moment. In a letter to Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev said there has been a tremendous increase in COVID-19 cases in the national capital in the recent past, resulting in high number of serious cases requiring treatment in hospitals. --PTI

15:52 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, wife test COVID-19 positive

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his wife Asha Hooda tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. The 73-year-old Congress leader and his wife are in Delhi and they will get themselves admitted to a hospital in Gurgaon as a precautionary measure, party MLA B B Batra told PTI. "Hooda had mild fever on Saturday. Later, he and his wife got themselves tested for COVID-19 and their report was positive," he said. When contacted, Hooda told PTI over phone that he had fever but was feeling okay. He said that his and wife's COVID-19 test reports have come positive. --PTI

15:51 (IST)18 Apr 2021
PM Modi reviews COVID situation in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, and stressed the need for vaccination of everyone over 45 years of age. He asked the local administration to help people with full sensitivity and asserted that the cooperation of society as well as the government is necessary to curb the pandemic. According to a statement, Modi emphasised on implementing 'tracking, tracing and testing', saying this has to be fully followed to check the virus' spread in the same manner the first wave was curbed. Speaking to local officials and people's representatives, the prime minister asked the administration to ensure that preventive measures like social distancing and the use of masks are practised. "The prime minister underlined the importance of the vaccination exercise and asked the administration to raise awareness among everyone over 45 years about it," the statement said. --PTI

15:50 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Govt to double remdesivir production to 3 lakh vials per day in 15 days: Mandaviya

The government plans to double the production of antiviral drug remdesivir to around 3 lakh vials per day over the next 15 days, to make it available readily for the treatment of COVID-19. Minister of State of Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya tweeted that the process has already started to enhance the production of remdesivir in the country. "We are trying to increase production of remdesivir injection and also that its price comes down. Currently, we are producing 1.5 lakh vials per day. In the next fifteen days, it will be doubled to 3 lakh vials per day," he said on Twitter. The government has also given permission to 20 plants to produce the antiviral drug, he added. Already, remdesivir is being rolled out of 20 plants in the country, Mandaviya said. "In the next few days, we are trying to maximise the remdesivir production. The drug companies have also reduced retail prices of the medicine and patients will benefit from it," he added. --PTI

15:13 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Manmohan Singh writes to PM, flags vaccine shortage in Congress-ruled states

Former PM Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to PM Modi flagging serious Covid situations in Congress-ruled states. Flagging  vaccine shortage, he asked the PM to ensure the following

1. Ramp up vaccine production

2. Emergency apporval of all vaccine candidates

3. All equipment, medicines, instrument and support infrastructure needed to fight Covid are completely exempted from GST

4. With possibility of lockdown round the corner, start the scheme of guaranteed monthly income so that Rs 6,000 is transferred to all eligible people so that it can help reduce the financial hardship during economic shutdown

5. Safe transportation and accomodation of migrants

15:00 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Kejriwal writes to PM Modi seeking help for beds, oxygen for patients in Delhi

Drawing attention to the worsening Covid-19 situation of national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for beds and oxygen cylinders for patients. Kejriwal requested Modi that 7,000 out of 10,000 beds in Delhi’s Central government hospitals be reserved for Covid patients.

14:30 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Maharashtra home minister warns of action against Covid-19 curbs violation

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Sunday warned of action against those violating the restrictions imposed by the state government to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The tough new measures, which exclude essential services, came into force on Wednesday night and will remain in force till 7 am on May 1. Section 144 of CrPC, prohibiting assembly of five or more people at one spot, will remain in force during the period.

"In order to curb the rising number of COVID-19 infections, curfew order and restrictions should be effectively followed. Action will be taken against those who violate orders," Walse Patil tweeted. (PTI)

14:23 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Bruck Pharma, Mumbai police and Fadnavis in late night fracas

Mumbai police summoned a director of Bruck Pharma, a Daman-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company that manufactures Remdesivir for questioning about a huge quantity of the drug stored in Mumbai.

The person, who the police did not identify, was let go from the Vile Parle police station where he was questioned for about 45 minutes.

The police said the Remdesivir stockpile was going to be illegally flown out abroad by air cargo, though export of of the drug has been banned by the government.

But it appears that the stock had been arranged by the BJP for distribution in Maharashtra. On learning that company director was being questioned, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and another top BJP leader Praveen Darekar rushed to the police station.

14:23 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Bruck Pharma, Mumbai police and Fadnavis in late night fracas

Mumbai police summoned a director of Bruck Pharma, a Daman-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company that manufactures Remdesivir for questioning about a huge quantity of the drug stored in Mumbai.

The person, who the police did not identify, was let go from the Vile Parle police station where he was questioned for about 45 minutes.

The police said the Remdesivir stockpile was going to be illegally flown out abroad by air cargo, though export of of the drug has been banned by the government.

But it appears that the stock had been arranged by the BJP for distribution in Maharashtra. On learning that company director was being questioned, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and another top BJP leader Praveen Darekar rushed to the police station.

14:12 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Thank you for sparing time for COVID amidst urgent war to conquer Bengal: Chidambaram’s dig at Modi

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanking him for sparing “a little time” amidst the “urgent war to conquer West Bengal”, to review the coronavirus situation in the country.

He also criticised the prime minister for his “Didi-O-Didi” remark, asking if this is the manner in which the prime minister should refer to a chief minister.

“Thank you Prime Minister for sparing a little time for Covid amidst the urgent war to conquer WEST BENGAL and annexe it to the BJP’s empire,” Chidambaram said on Twitter.

His remarks came after Modi chaired a COVID-19 review meeting with government officials on Saturday, amid a big surge in infection cases in the country, with over 2 lakh cases being reported everyday for the past four days.

14:07 (IST)18 Apr 2021
Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, wife test positive for Covid-19

Haryana's Leader of Opposition and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his wife Asha Hooda have tested positive for Covid-19. Both are likely to be admitted in Medanta, Gurgaon. 

Their son Deepender Hooda had tested positive last year and recovered. 

Mass Covid-19 testing in progress at Vikas Bhavan in Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala.

Amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a national health emergency. The former Union minister also called on the Election Commission to declare a moratorium on election rallies in view of the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday suspended all his remaining public rallies in West Bengal in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, and urged other political leaders to think about the consequences of holding large rallies in the current circumstances.

Underlining the “alarming rise in daily number of active cases" and “a sharp growth of 10.2% in the number of deaths”, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Saturday said “the widening gap between daily new cases and daily new recoveries reflects that the infection is spreading at a much faster rate than recoveries with consistently growing active cases”.

At a meeting to review the availability of oxygen, ventilators, manpower, medicines and hospital beds in 11 states/UT reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases, Harsh Vardhan said: “India is currently reporting the sharpest growth rate of 7.6% in new Covid cases, which is 1.3 times higher than case growth rate of 5.5% reported in June 2020.” He said the Centre is rushing 6,303 additional ventilators to six states of concern: 1121 ventilators to Maharashtra, 1700 to Uttar Pradesh, 1500 to Jharkhand, 1600 to Gujarat, 152 to Madhya Pradesh, and 230 to Chhattisgarh.

Maharashtra recorded its highest-ever single-day spike with 67,123 cases on Saturday. Delhi and Kerala too registered their biggest one-day count with 24,000 and 13,835 infections respectively. With 120 deaths, Uttar Pradesh reported its largest one-day toll.

After 11 states and Union Territories raised the demand for oxygen cylinders, ventilators, vaccine doses and Remdesivir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a review meeting with government officials to take a stock of the Covid situation and vaccine availability in the country. The states and UTs including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, raised the demands during a high-level meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. "Many of them raised the issue of dovetailing the medical oxygen supply lines and capping of prices of essential drugs like Remdesivir which has been sold in the black market at exorbitant prices. Double mutant strain in Maharashtra was a key point of concern. The Delhi government requested for additional beds in central government hospitals as was done in 2020 to help tide over the emergent health crisis," the ministry said in a statement after the meeting.

 

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