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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Coronavirus India Highlights: Bengal records highest single-day deaths; daily recoveries outstrip fresh cases in UP

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the central government to showcase why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of judicial orders by not supplying 700 MTs of oxygen to Delhi

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 5, 2021 9:11:28 am
A Covid patient waits in an ambulance to be admitted to LNJP hospital, outside LNJP Hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

West Bengal Tuesday registered its highest single-day deaths of 107 Covid patients, taking the toll to 11,744, PTI reported. In Uttar Pradesh, 352 new Covid-related fatalities were recorded but the one-day recoveries outstripped new cases by over 12,500. The state reported 25,858 new cases and 38,683 recoveries, the data showed.

Coronavirus in India: Read Live Updates on May 5

Observing that the Centre was quibbling about “little things” when people are dying in Delhi, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the central government to showcase why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of judicial orders by not supplying 700 MTs of oxygen to Delhi. The court said Delhi was not receiving even the 590 MTs of allocated oxygen and that the national capital was facing a grim reality every day of people not able to secure oxygen beds and ICU beds.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced free ration for all ration cardholders for a period of 2 months. In Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a complete Covid-19 lockdown till May 15 in the state. 

India recorded over 3.57 lakh new covid-19 cases in the 24 hours ending 8 am Tuesday, taking the total infections past the 2 crore mark. With this, the country reported a decline in daily spike for the third consecutive day. Over 34 lakh cases are currently active, the lowest rise in active cases in a month, while over 1.66 crore people have recovered after testing positive. With 3,449 deaths, the toll is now over 2.22 lakh.

In another development, drug major Pfizer has said that it is in talks with the government to seek an “expedited approval pathway” for its Covid-19 vaccine, adding that while the application to register its vaccine “was submitted months ago”, it has not been done yet.

Live Blog
23:51 (IST)04 May 2021
Manipur sees more Covid restrictions, complete ban on vehicular movement in Imphal

Manipur on Tuesday imposed a complete ban on movement of vehicles, except for activities relating to essential services, in Greater Imphal and areas under Imphal Municipal Council (IMC).

The development comes in the wake of a surge of Covid cases and deaths in the state. On Tuesday, Manipur reported 433 Covid cases, the biggest spike for the current year, and two deaths. Read more

22:30 (IST)04 May 2021
Maharashtra reports 51,880 new COVID-19 cases, 891 deaths

Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 51,880 new coronavirus infections which took the state's case tally to 48,22,902, while 891 fatalities pushed the death toll to 71,742, the health department said. Out of 891 deaths, 397 occurred in the last 48 hours while the rest had taken place earlier but were reported on Tuesday, officials said. PTI

22:07 (IST)04 May 2021
Do away with RT-PCR test for inter-state travel for healthy individuals to reduce load on labs: ICMR         

The need for RT-PCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories, recommended an ICMR advisory for COVID-19 testing during the second wave of the pandemic.
       
The advisory stated that RT-PCR test must not be repeated in any individual who has tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR and that testing is not required for COVID-19 recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge in accordance with the discharge policy of the Ministry of Health.

The advisory was issued in view of laboratories facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to extraordinary case load and staff getting infected with COVID-19. PTI

21:24 (IST)04 May 2021
UP breaches 350-mark for one-day Covid deaths, but daily recoveries outstrip fresh cases

Uttar Pradesh Tuesday breached the 350-mark for daily Covid-19 deaths as 352 patients succumbed to the viral disease, but one-day recoveries outstripped new cases by over 12,500, according to official figures. 

The state reported 25,858 new cases and 38,683 recoveries, the data showed. 

The latest additions take the state's overall coronavirus numbers to 13,798 fatalities, 13,68,183 infections and 2,72,568 active cases, the data showed.

The total number of patients discharged from hospitals in the state stands at 10,81,817. (PTI)

20:49 (IST)04 May 2021
J&K: Covid curfew extended in four districts for one week

The Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday extended the Covid-19 induced curfew in four districts, including Jammu and Srinagar, till Monday next week.

Pointing out that the decision has been taken in view of the trend in Covid positive cases, the positivity rate and the cases per million, an official statement here said that it was earlier ending in Jammu, Srinagar, Baramulla and Budgam on Thursday 7 am.

Apart from this, it improved Corona curfew in Samba district also from Wednesday 7 pm till May 10 morning.

On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 4650 new cases of COVID-19 including 1463 in Jammu division and 3187 in Kashmir. There were 37 Covid-related deaths also in the UT including 25 in Jammu division.

20:32 (IST)04 May 2021
Foreign aid allocated to states, UTs for Covid management

The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said that aid received from other countries has been distributed in different states to help deal with the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

Based on the criteria and principles laid out by the ministry, depending on each state's requirement, 24 different categories of items numbering nearly 40 lakhs were distributed to 38 institutions in different states, the ministry said in a statement.

Major categories of equipment include BiPAP machines; oxygen (concentrators, cylinders, PSA Oxygen plants and pulse oximeters); drugs (Favipiravir and Remdesivir); and PPE (coveralls, N-95 masks and gowns).

Since grant in aid is limited in quantity, it has to be optimally utilized by allocating it to high burden states [states with higher number of active cases], where the requirement for such equipment/medicines is more, according to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for allocations.

Spreading such aid thinly each time over a large number of states may not bring forth the desired results, the ministry said, adding it will also lead to small packages travelling large distances, high turnaround times and possible wastage of resources.

The requirement of the high burden states in the context of number of persons admitted in hospitals and prior distribution done by the central government resources would also be considered. (PTI)

19:43 (IST)04 May 2021
4,200 Delhi police personnel test positive and 25 die in last 55 days

As many as 4,245 police personnel have tested positive and 25 have died due to Covid in the last 55 days -- since March 11. In total, 73,902 police personnel have received the first dose of the vaccine, and 63,510 have received both doses. At 441, the maximum number of cases have been reported from the Police Control Room (PCR) unit, while 343 cases have been reported from the security unit and 242 from the traffic unit, The Indian Express has learned. 

An officer told The Indian Express that in the one year until March 10, around 7,724 police personnel had tested positive and 34 had died. “In the Cowin app, a total of 80,276 police personnel have registered themselves,” a senior Special CP-rank officer said.

The PCR unit has the maximum number of police personnel -- around 8,000 -- who are first responders to any distress calls. While giving a break-up of the security unit, where 343 cases have been reported, the officer said around 145 cases were reported from personnel posted at the L-G's house, CM’s house, Vidhan Sabha, and PSOs posted with protected persons. From the Prime Minister’s security wing, 65 cases have been reported. Report by Mahender Singh Manral

19:36 (IST)04 May 2021
AIIMS nurse skips grandmother’s funeral for Covid duty: ‘Who else will take care of patients?’

The last time AIIMS nursing officer Rakhi John spoke to her grandmother -- or amma, as she called her, because she was almost like a mother to her -- was a day before she was admitted to an ICU in Thiruvananthapuram.

As John looked after the health of Covid patients admitted at AIIMS, her 78-year-old grandmother also battled with the virus until her death on Sunday.

“I was in so much pain that day… She had raised me as her own child, took care of my education and everything else after my mother died from leukaemia when I was just a year old. She was my amma… but this disease is such that patients who wish to see their loved ones for one last time, and families wanting to say a final goodbye, are not able to do so,” said John (34).

She decided that her presence was needed more for patients she was looking after than her grandmother’s funeral in Kerala, even during which, owing to Covid protocols requiring bodies to be sealed in a bag, she could not have seen her face one final time. Read this report by Shivam Patel

18:53 (IST)04 May 2021
Kerala logs 37,190 fresh COVID-19 cases, 57 deaths

Kerala on Tuesday logged 37,190 fresh COVID-19 cases, while 26,148 people were cured of the infection, taking the caseload to 17,01,979 and recoveries to 13.39 lakh, the state government said. The toll mountedto 5,507 with 57 more deaths.

With cases rising steeply, the government's earlier announcement of severe lockdown like restrictions from today till May 9 have come into force.

All central and state government offices, PSUs and private offices should function only with 25 per cent staff strength. The rest of the employees can work from home, a state government release said.

As many as 3,56,872 people are presently undergoing treatment for the infection, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters here. (PTI)

18:52 (IST)04 May 2021
Mumbai hospital carries out deliveries of 1,001 coronavirus-infected mothers amid pandemic

Even as COVID-19 deaths continue to dominate the headlines, a civic-run hospital in south Mumbai has successfully delivered babies of 1,001 COVID-19 patients amid the pandemic, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said on Tuesday.

As per a release issued by the civic body, B Y L Nair Hospital achieved this milestone due to the efforts of three departments namely obstetrics, neonatal and paediatrics and anaesthesiology.

Doctors, nurses, ward boys and other staffers from the three departments worked tirelessly for hours, wearing uncomfortable PPE kits to carry out deliveries of infected mothers, it said, adding that the departments of obstetrics, neonatal and paediatrics has around 75 staffers each.

"The COVID-19 infection is not congenital. Even if the mother is infected with coronavirus, the baby does not get the infection. However, it can be transmitted through contact with the mother after birth," said Dr Sushma Malik of Nair Hospital. (PTI)

17:53 (IST)04 May 2021
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays 'song of comfort' for India

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays a 'song of comfort' to acknowledge India's fight against the Covid-19.

17:35 (IST)04 May 2021
Delhi HC issues showcause notice to Centre over non-compliance of SC order on supply of oxygen

Taking a strict view of the ongoing Covid crisis in the capital, the Delhi High Court Tuesday issued a showcause notice to the Centre over non-compliance of orders passed by it and the Supreme Court for ensuring sufficient supply of medical oxygen to the national capital. 

'It pains us that aspect of supply of oxygen for treatment of Covid-19 patients in Delhi should be viewed from the way it has been done by Central government. We are facing the grim reality every day of people not able to secure oxygen beds, even ICU beds. Situation has come to this hospitals have had to reduce beds offered by them because they are not able to service due to shortage of oxygen. On one hand there is need to augment capacity to deal with cases, on other hand existing infrastructure in crumbling. We therefore direct central government to showcase why contempt should not be initiated for non-compliance of orders passed by us and Supreme Court on April 30,' the court said.

16:55 (IST)04 May 2021
Samsung pledges $5 mn to India's Covid fight

Tech giant Samsung has pledged $5 million (Rs 37 Crores) as its contribution to India’s fight against the second wave Covid-19 by providing donations to central and state governments and boosting the healthcare sector with essential medical equipment for hospitals.

In a media release, the company said it will donate $3 mn to the Centre as well as to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

"In addition, to help the healthcare system that has been stretched over the last few weeks, Samsung will provide USD 2 million worth of medical supplies, including 100 Oxygen Concentrators, 3,000 Oxygen Cylinders and one million LDS syringes. These will be offered to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu," the statement read.

16:30 (IST)04 May 2021
After testing positive for Covid, lions in Hyderabad zoo recovering

Eight Asiatic lions in Hyderabad zoo, which tested positive for Covid-19, have responded well to the treatment and recovering, the Centre said in a release.

The lions were tested for Covid after their saliva samples were examined by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Rakesh Mishra, advisor of the premier research institute said on Tuesday.

"Preventive measures are already in place for all zoo staff and the zoo has been closed to visitors to avoid minimal external contact," a government release said.

15:57 (IST)04 May 2021
Education Ministry postpones JEE-Mains exam

The Joint Entrance Test for the IIT, scheduled this month, has been postponed considering the ongoing Covid-19 situation, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said.

15:05 (IST)04 May 2021
We will stop work: Air India’s pilot association asks management to vaccinate flying crew

The Air India’s pilot association released a statement Tuesday asking the management to vaccinate all flying crew above 18 years of age on priority. The pilot's body also warned of stopping work if their demand is not met.

14:30 (IST)04 May 2021
It’s not just India, new virus waves hit developing nations

Fierce new Covid-19 waves are enveloping other developing countries across the world, placing severe strain on their health-care systems and prompting appeals for help.

Nations ranging from Laos to Thailand in Southeast Asia, and those bordering India such as Bhutan and Nepal, have been reporting significant surges in infections in the past few weeks. The increase is mainly because of more contagious virus variants, though complacency and lack of resources to contain the spread have also been cited as reasons.

13:55 (IST)04 May 2021
IAF brings oxygen cylinders, other equipment from UK

Nearly 35 tonnes of equipment, including 450 empty oxygen cylinders donated by the UK and airlifted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Britain arrived here early on Tuesday.

According to the Indian Red Cross Society, UK donated 5,000 cylinders to India through it to meet the emergency requirement for empty oxygen cylinders during the second wave of coronavirus in the country.

Of these, 900 cylinders were meant for Tamil Nadu. The equipment were brought from Brize Norton, by one of two IAF C-17 Globemaster aircraft that earlier left for the UK on May 2 from its Jamnagar air base in Gujarat to bring the supplies, a Defence release said. (PTI)

13:39 (IST)04 May 2021
Instead of spending Rs 13,000 cr on PM's new house, Centre's focus should be Covid relief: Priyanka Gandhi

Claiming that Centre’s resources are being diverted for the “construction of a new house for the prime minister,” Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday criticised the government for not putting all its resources in saving the lives of people at a time when the country is struggling with shortage of oxygen, vaccines and hospital beds amid a deadly covid wave.

In a tweet this morning, Gandhi wrote: “When the people of the country are struggling with shortage of oxygen, vaccines, hospital beds, medicines, then it would be better if the government put all the resources in the work of saving the lives of the people, instead of constructing a new house of 13,000 crores.”

13:30 (IST)04 May 2021
Delhi University suspends online classes till May 16

Delhi University (DU) Tuesday said it was suspending online classes in all colleges and departments till May 16 due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the capital. The decision has come after demands for suspension of classes have been raised by hundreds of first year students from various colleges.

In a notice Tuesday, Registrar Vikas Gupta said, “In view of sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, the online teaching shall remain suspended till May 16, 2021 in the Departments and Colleges of the University. This is issued with the approval of the Competent Authority.” (With Aranya Shankar)

The last rites of Covid-19 victims being performed in Lucknow. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastava)

Meanwhile, Delhi has sought the help of the Army to set up, operationalise and run Covid-19 health facilities with oxygenated non-ICU and ICU beds, as the Capital is fighting against an increase in the number of fresh infections, daily deaths, while people are running from pillar to post in search of oxygen and other medical essentials.

On the other hand, as many as 24 patients, including 23 suffering from Covid-19, died in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar due to alleged oxygen shortage in the district hospital, officials said. Family members of the victims also staged a demonstration at the hospital and alleged there was a shorten of oxygen and raised slogans.

Also, the Indian Premier League match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday has been postponed after two Indian players in the KKR team — spinner Varun Chakravarthy and medium pacer Sandeep Warrier — tested positive for Covid-19. India, in the last 24 hours, recorded 3,68,147 new Covid-19 cases, taking the cumulative tally to 1,99,25,604. As many as 3,417 new coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded, taking the nationwide death toll to 218,959.

In Bhopal, official Covid toll in April is 109, but over 2,500 at pyres, graves

In April, the official Covid death toll in Bhopal district was 109. Records accessed by The Indian Express from the three crematoriums and one kabristan designated for Covid deaths in the district show that besides the 109, 2,567 bodies were laid to rest under the Covid protocol from April 1-30.

Records show that the four facilities together also managed 1,273 other, non-Covid, deaths during this period. In contrast, records maintained by these facilities show they laid to rest an estimated 500 bodies in pre-Covid April 2019.

This matches the pattern playing out in parts of the country where the official death toll captures only a slice of the havoc caused by the pandemic — the Covid protocol is used for confirmed or suspected cases.

Dose shortage to go on till July, says Adar Poonawala

As India fights the second wave of Covid-19 and a crippling shortage of vaccines, Serum Institute of India (SII) chief executive Adar Poonawalla has said the shortage of vaccine would continue through July.

According to a ‘Financial Times’ report, Poonawalla has said that production of vaccines is expected to increase in July from about 60 – 70 million doses a month to about 100million.

The shortage comes at a time when India has opened vaccination for all adults from May 1.

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