Updated: April 10, 2021 10:05:08 pm
With a record 1,45,384 fresh cases, India’s Covid-19 tally has climbed to 1,32,05,926, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The number of active cases has breached the 10-lakh mark again after around six-and-a-half months, while the death toll due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,68,436 with 794 more fatalities, the highest since October 18 last year, the ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed.
Registering a steady increase for the 31st day in a row, the number of active coronavirus cases in the country has gone up to 10,46,631, accounting for 7.93 per cent of its total caseload, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 90.80 per cent.
The 794 fresh fatalities include 301 from Maharashtra, 91 from Chhattisgarh, 56 from Punjab, 46 from Karnataka, 42 from Gujarat, 39 from Delhi, 36 from Uttar Pradesh, 32 from Rajasthan, 23 each from Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, 22 from Kerala, 17 from Jharkhand and 11 each from Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.
There are no clear answers about what is contributing to this Covid surge across the country but top scientists said 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.
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 state’s Covid 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.
On the first day of the weekend lockdown imposed across Maharashtra in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, streets wore a deserted look in many parts of Mumbai and Pune on Saturday. Police set up barricades at places like Link Road near Ghatkopar bus depot. There were people lining up only in front of wine shops in certain places.
Two senior government ministers had on Friday spoken of the possibility of an extended lockdown in view of the stretched healthcare system in the state.
Health Minister Rajesh Tope said Maharashtra seemed headed towards a lockdown; Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the time for such a step was already here.
“I am not in favour of a total lockdown but the state seems to be heading in that direction. If cases continue to rise and we exhaust our beds we will have no option but to implement a lockdown,” Tope said.
3-month production dip behind Remdesivir supply chain issues
Manufacturers of Remdesivir said a lull in demand from December to February led to low or zero production of the anti-viral drug for three months, which subsequently affected its supply chain. The manufacturers said they did not anticipate such a sudden surge, and that it would take at least 10 days to overcome the shortage.
Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have reported a shortage of Remdesivir as Covid-19 cases surge. India has been reporting over a lakh fresh cases for the past couple of days. The number of active infections has reached close to 10 lakh, half of which are in Maharashtra that requires 40,000-50,000 vials of Remdesivir, up from 30,000 vials per day during first the “peak” last year.
Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, relatives of Covid-19 patients gheraoed the chemists at Poona Hospital Medical Store after they failed to procure the Remdesivir injections despite procuring tokens in advance. For the last four days, there has been a shortage of the Remdesivir in the city which is seeing the highest ever coronavirus infections for last few days and record number of hospitalizations.
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.
Punjab Saturday pressed the alarm bell with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh saying the Covid-19 vaccine stock will last another five days at the current rate of inoculation and only three days if health authorities were able to meet the target of administering two lakh shots a day.
Urging the Centre to share the schedule of supply of the vaccines, Amarinder said the state has been inoculating 85,000-90,000 beneficiaries a day, and at this rate, Punjab’s current stock of 5.7 lakh vaccine doses will run out in five days. Pinning hopes on fresh batches of vaccines from the Centre, he 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.
Attending a virtual meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the party-ruled states, Amarinder said he has already written to the prime minister and the Union health minister to give confirmed supply schedules for the next quarter.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday held a meeting with the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to review their efforts to fight Covid-19, including the availability of vaccines and access to medicines and ventilators.
During the virtual meeting, the Congress president told chief minister to focus on testing, tracking and vaccination.
“Covid is surging and as the principal opposition party, it’s our responsibility to raise issues and push the government to move away from PR tactics and act in the interest of the people. Therefore, there must be transparency. Governments must reveal the actual numbers of infections and deaths across states, whether Congress-ruled or otherwise.”
Gandhi also said vaccines should be provided to Indians first and then the government should think about exporting them to other countries.
‘Mahabharat’ actor Satish Kaul dies of Covid-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.
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.
India fastest nation to administer 100 million doses of Covid vaccine: Health Ministry
With the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossing 10 crore, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that India is the fastest nation to administer 100 million doses in 85 days.
The US took 89 days to administer 10 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine, while China took 102 days to cross the same number, it said.
In terms of the number of daily doses administered globally, India continues to remain at the top with an average of 38,93,288 doses administered per day, the ministry said.
The US had administered 92.09 million doses in 85 days, while China and the UK administered 61.42 million doses and 21.32 million doses, respectively, in 85 days, it said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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