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Monday, April 19, 2021

Coronavirus HIGHLIGHTS: Delhi govt bans political, sports gatherings; metro, buses to operate at 50%

Coronavirus HIGHLIGHTS: India reported 794 deaths on Thursday, the highest fatalities in a day since October 18, 2020.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: April 11, 2021 9:11:29 am
People walk past a wall graffiti in New Delhi showcasing doctors fighting against Covid-19. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

In a new daily high, India detected 1,45,384 cases of the novel coronavirus in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Saturday. The country’s Covid-19 caseload, which currently stands at 1,32,05,926, includes 10,46,631 active cases, 1,19,90,859 recoveries, and 1,68,436 deaths. India reported 794 deaths on Friday, the highest fatalities in a day since October 18, 2020. Union Health Ministry said the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has exceeded 9.80 crore.

Meanwhile, with coronavirus cases rising rapidly in the national capital, the Delhi government Saturday announced stricter curbs, allowing Delhi Metro and DTC buses to operate only at 50 per cent capacity and limiting the number of guests at weedings at 50, PTI reported.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was admitted to a private hospital in Nagpur on Friday.

The news was tweeted by the RSS. “Mohanji Bhagwat tested positive for Covid today (Friday) afternoon. He has general symptoms of corona and he has been admitted to the Kingsway Hospital in Nagpur for general checkup and as precaution,” the tweet read. Bhagwat, 70, has already taken the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan has flagged vaccine shortage and asked for ‘immediate’ supply of doses from the Centre. Stating that the vaccines will run out of stock in the state in two days, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting for another 30 lakh doses. In a letter to PM Modi after a virtual meeting with him on Thursday, Gehlot said the state has, till April 7, administered 86,89,770 doses. “The present stock of vaccine in Rajasthan will finish in next two days. Therefore, it is requested that at least another 30 lakh doses of vaccine be provided to us immediately so that the momentum that we have built up can be maintained and maximum eligible beneficiaries can be vaccinated at the earliest,” he wrote.

Live Blog

Coronavirus India Live Updates: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot flags shortage of vaccine; Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Narendra Modi on universal vaccination; Railways says no plan to curtail, stop train services; and more. Follow latest news and updates below

22:49 (IST)10 Apr 2021
As COVID cases surge, Delhi govt bans political, sports gatherings; metro, buses to operate at 50%

With coronavirus cases rising rapidly in the national capital, the Delhi government Saturday announced stricter curbs, allowing 
Delhi Metro and DTC buses to operate only at 50 per cent capacity and limiting the number of guests at weedings at 50, officials said. 

The city government also prohibited all social, political, sports, entertainment, cultural and religious gatherings in view of the rise in COVID-19 cases.    

Negative RT-PCR report will be required for travellers arriving in the national capital from Maharashtra by air, the DDMA said, adding those without a report will have to undergo 14-day quarantine.    

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority said restaurants, bars can operate at 50 per cent occupancy. 

Delhi Metro, DTC and cluster buses will run at 50 per cent occupancy in view of the rising coronavirus cases, it said. 

It said colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed in Delhi. 

Not more than 20 people are allowed in funeral gatherings and upto 50 in weddings, it said. 

Swimming pools will also remain closed except for training of sportspersons participating in national and international events.

20:52 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray hints at lockdown; meeting with task force tomorrow

In view of the alarming rise in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Saturday hinted at the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state, some ministers and a senior BJP leader who attended an all-party meeting said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said he would hold a meeting on Monday to work out a financial package for the sections of people whose livelihood bear the impact, while his colleague Ashok Chavan stated the “nature, scope and duration of the lockdown will be finalised soon”. “Though no formal decision on a lockdown has been taken at the all-party meeting, the chief minister appears to be in favour of a strict lockdown,” news agency PTI quoted state BJP president Chandrakant Patil as saying while speaking to the media after the virtual meeting, in which the states’s COVID-19 situation was discussed for over two hours.

State minister Nawab Malik said the chief minister will hold meet with the state’s COVID-19 task force on Sunday before taking a decision. Read more

20:14 (IST)10 Apr 2021
People losing patience with Covid lockdowns but can’t give up at this stage: Ajit Pawar

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar Friday said that although he understands that the citizens are losing their patience with the lockdowns, giving up the fight against Covid-19 was not an option at this stage. He stressed that the government needs support from the citizens to break the chain of transmission.

Pawar attended the weekly Covid-19 review meeting at Pune’s Council Hall on Saturday along with Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. Pawar thanked the residents of Pune for following the ‘Weekend Lockdown’ rules. Read more

20:12 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Maharashtra: Congress' Chavan accuses Centre of bias in COVID-19 help

Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday accused the Centre of "discrimination on the basis of politics" in the distribution of critical medical equipment such as PPE kits, N95 masks and ventilators to various states. In a statement issued here, the former chief minister said information from the Centre itself confirmed this politically biased distribution, adding that Maharashtra, despite having the highest COVID-19 caseload, was facing step-motherly treatment. The Centre's reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha on February 12 on distribution of medical equipments revealed a shocking picture, Chavan said. "Gujarat got 9,623 numbers of N95 masks per thousand COVID-19 patients as compared to Maharashtra, which got 1,560 masks per thousand patients. Even UP got 3,916 N95 masks, more than twice that of Maharashtra. In PPE kits, Gujarat got 4,951 kits per thousand, and UP got 2,446 kits while Maharashtra got just 223 kits," he said quoting the Centre's reply in the Lok Sabha. --PTI

20:05 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Karnataka reports 6,955 new COVID-19 cases

Karnataka reports 6,955 new Covid-19 cases including 4,384 cases in Bengaluru Urban, 3,350 discharges and 36 deaths.

19:29 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Thackeray, Fadnavis in meeting on Covid situation in Maharashtra

"Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is holding a meeting with Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of the Opposition and his cabinet colleagues via video conferencing, over COVID situation the state," said Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office.

18:48 (IST)10 Apr 2021
India has finalised air bubble pact with Sri Lanka: Aviation Ministry

India has established a bilateral air bubble arrangement with Sri Lanka for operation of special international passenger flights between the two countries, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Saturday. With this, India now has such pacts with 28 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, the UAE, the UK and the USA. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international passenger flights can be operated by their airlines into each other's territories under restrictive conditions. --PTI

18:44 (IST)10 Apr 2021
At 10%, Covid positivity rate highest in Delhi’s central, southwest districts

The Covid positivity rate in the capital’s central and southwest districts, home to several densely packed neighbourhoods, has touched 10 per cent, leading to a surge in active cases — 61 per cent of active cases are in containment zones notified by authorities.

The overall positivity rate, which is the number of positive cases against total tests, stands at 4.6 per cent. The graph has, however, risen considerably over the last few days, with the daily positivity rate reaching 8.10 per cent on April 8.

A district-wise breakup of the numbers shows that central has the highest positivity rate at 10.84 per cent, followed by southwest at 10.64 per cent. Northwest and southeast districts have a positivity rate of 9.15 per cent and 9 per cent respectively. –– Sourav Roy Barman's report from Delhi

17:48 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Mutants, sluggish vaccine drive, carelessness: Add them and you get Covid surge, say top scientists

Why are India's COVID-19 cases flaring up so sharply? There are no clear answers but top scientists say the complex interplay of mutant strains, a hugely susceptible population made more vulnerable by elections and other public events and the lowering of guard are primarily to blame. India's COVID tally climbed to 1,32,05,926 (1.32 crore, 13.2 million) with a record spike of  1,45,384, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday, in what many say is a second wave that is surging more powerfully than the first. And just like there were no answers to why there was a slide earlier this year, there is no clarity on why the numbers are rising so sharply. --PTI

16:48 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Punjab has 3 days' vaccine left: Capt Amarinder Singh

Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh also flagged vaccine shortage and the fact that Punjab has only 3 days' vaccine left. He candidly pointed out that the Central government has given no assurance of numbers and supply.

16:46 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Chhattisgarh has 3 days' vaccine left: CM Bhupesh Baghel

In the meeting on Covid preparedness in Congress-ruled states, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel pointed out steps taken to fight COVID-19 and said that the state has only 3 days' vaccine left, unless Central government ramps up supply.

16:40 (IST)10 Apr 2021
'Mahabharat' actor Satish Kaul dies of COVID-19-related complications

Veteran Punjabi actor Satish Kaul, who featured in several Hindi films and shows including "Mahabharat", died on Saturday due to COVID-19 related complications. He was 74. According to Kaul's sister Satya Devi, the actor, popular for playing the role of Lord Indra in BR Chopra's "Mahabharat'', was admitted to a city hospital after he developed fever six days ago. "He died today morning due to COVID-19 at the hospital. He had fever and wasn't keeping well. We admitted him to the hospital on Thursday and got him tested, where it turned out that he was COVID-19 positive," Satya Devi told PTI. ––PTI

16:32 (IST)10 Apr 2021
MP's active COVID-19 case count may reach 1 lakh by April end: Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state might reach one lakh by the end of this month given the spike in infection count. He made the statement while speaking to reporters here. "The way there is a spike in coronavirus infection cases, the number of active cases in Madhya Pradesh may reach one lakh by the end of this month. We will try to stop this in the middle as we have started adopting some measures, including lockdown," he said. –– PTI

16:29 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Cong candidate for Odisha bypoll tests positive for COVID-19

Congress candidate for by- election to Odisha's Pipili assembly segment, Ajit Mangaraj, said on Saturday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Taking to Facebook, Mangaraj, after announcing that he is undergoing treatment for the viral disease, appealed to party activists to stay united and not pay heed to any rumour. –– PTI

16:20 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Virus attacks poorest and disadvantaged the hardest, points out Rahul Gandhi

In the Congress meeting to discuss the current coronavirus situation, Rahul Gandhi Saturday expressed deep concern over the second wave of COVID-19 hitting the country and asked for a concerted approach. He asked the government to look at new mutations, which are the source of 2nd wave. He also called for joining hands and energies, instead of complacency and premature victories.Rahul Gandhi points towards a direct connection between COVID-19 spread and nutrition and livelihood. He pointed out that the virus attacks the poorest and disadvantaged the hardest while reiterating the demand for ‘Basic Income Support’ by the Central government.

16:09 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Madhya Pradesh: Oxygen demand in Indore has gone up to 60%

"Oxygen demand in Indore has gone up to 60%. We have created a committee that will audit oxygen availability in hospitals. We have extended the lockdown in Indore from Monday to Friday," said Shankar Lalwani, Indore MP. "A 24X7 covid control room will provide virus-related information to public. We are working on increasing number of normal & ICU beds in hospitals. Today, a team of doctors will release a protocol on hospital admissions," he added. --ANI

15:31 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Lockdown not an option in Delhi, will announce some more restrictions to check Covid spread: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday ruled out the possibility of another round of stringent lockdown to combat the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the city, announcing that some sector-specific restrictions are in the offing.

Speaking to reporters after reviewing facilities at the LNJP Hospital here, Kejriwal said authorities are working to reinstate the level of arrangements that were put in place in November, when Delhi had battled the third wave of the virus, with daily case count peaking at 8,593 cases on November 10.

“We are currently in a comfortable position with reference to beds and ventilators. We will ensure that the people of Delhi stay safe. Lockdown is not an option, however, we will be putting some restrictions in place to contain the spread of the virus. We will release the restrictions in the coming few days. COVID centres are being rebuilt and some have already started functioning,” Kejriwal said. –– Sourav Roy Barman reports from Delhi

13:58 (IST)10 Apr 2021
UP minister Anand Swaroop Shukla tests positive

Uttar Pradesh minister Anand Swaroop Shukla has tested positive for Covid-19. The minister of state for parliamentary affairs said he got himself tested for the disease on Thursday after noticing some symptoms. The test report came out as positive on Friday, Shukla added. (PTI)

13:56 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Punjab left with just 5 days of Covid-19 vaccine stock: Amarinder Singh

Punjab's Covid-19 vaccine stock will last another five days, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Saturday as he urged the Centre to share the schedule of supply of the vaccines. The state has been inoculating 85,000-90,000 beneficiaries in a day, and at this rate, Punjab's current stock of 5.7 lakh vaccine doses will run out in five days, he said.

Pinning hopes on fresh batches of vaccines from the Centre, Singh stressed that if Punjab was able to meet its target of administering two lakh shots a day, then its current supplies will last only three days. In an official statement here, he said he wrote to the prime minister and the Union health minister to give confirmed supply schedules for the next quarter.

Despite being a slow-starter in vaccination, Punjab has inoculated more than 16 lakh people, at an average of around 85,000-90,000 per day, the Punjab chief minister said at a meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the party-ruled states. The meeting was attended by chief ministers of Congress-ruled states, as well as senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi. (PTI)

13:22 (IST)10 Apr 2021
Jharkhand reports 1,925 new Covid-19 cases, 17 fresh fatalities

Jharkhand's Covid-19 tally soared to 1,34,715 on Saturday as 1,925 more people tested positive for the infection, while 17 fresh fatalities pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 1,175, a health bulletin said.

Ranchi district reported the highest number of new cases at 754, followed by East Singhbhum (256) and Dhanbad (94), it said. Ranchi reported the highest number of coronavirus fatalities at eight, followed by three in East Singhbhum, two in Dhanbad and one each in Gumla, Chatra, Palamu and Sahibganj districts. (PTI)

coronavirus, coronavirus news, india covid 19 news, lockdown news, covid 19 lockdown news, coronavirus lockdown news, lockdown in india, coronavirus india, coronavirus india news, delhi night curfew, up night curfew, delhi night curfew news Surgical masks are made at a production unit in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Gandhi's plea comes amid a standoff between some states and the Centre regarding vaccine doses. After some states alleged bias in distribution, the Centre hit back accusing them of "politicisation" and "spreading lies". The spread of the disease, however, has been politics-agnostic. There are several indicators on which BJP-ruled states are performing as bad, if not worse, than states ruled by opposition parties.

Meanwhile, India is on alert following reports of AstraZeneca's vaccine being linked to rare blood clots. The country's top committee for post-immunisation adverse reactions is widening its review of data related to side effects following vaccination with Covishield and Covaxin to understand whether there are similar red flags.

In another development, Johnson & Johnson has communicated to India's drug regulator that it will soon begin clinical trials in the country. J&J is the only manufacturer with a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus in India Live News Updates: PM Modi speaks to CMs amid second wave of Covid-19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the online interaction with chief ministers of states and Union Territories on Thursday, said aggressive testing and micro-containment should be the focus as vaccination was a long-term strategy. "What we have done is that we jumped to vaccination (as a strategy) and have forgotten testing. As the vaccines are being produced, they will be delivered…earlier, we won the fight without the vaccine. We won the fight when we didn’t even know if there would be vaccines. Today, we don’t need to create a panic in the public,” the Prime Minister said.

“From Day 1, I am seeing politics. I don’t open my mouth. I believe we have to serve the citizens. We have been given the responsibility. Those who are doing politics will do it. I will not comment. However, all of us should come forward to change the situation. We have to follow ‘dawai bhi-kadai bhi’ (cure and caution)… We have to focus on testing… Vaccination is a long-term and continuous process,” Modi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reiterated the vaccination strategy based on prioritisation of vulnerable populations. "In a single day, we have achieved vaccinating 40 lakh persons…The most resourceful countries also have set criteria for vaccination. We are not different from them. We are working towards achieving maximum manufacturing capacity. We have discussed vaccine development, vaccine stock, and wastage. You know about the quantity of vaccines that is manufactured; these factories are not established overnight. Whatever is available to us, we have to prioritise,” he said.

He stressed that doses are being supplied while keeping all states in mind. “To keep all the stock in one particular state is not the right thinking. We have to keep the entire country in mind and manage it. Also, an important aspect of Covid-19 management is vaccine wastage…it is my request to states to attempt 100 percent coverage of everyone above the age 45 years in the high focus districts,” he said.

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