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Daily Briefing: ‘Alarming rise in cases,’ says Centre; China refuses to leave Hot Springs, Gogra

From the latest on the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, to the story of the 'Mahanadi Girl'; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
April 18, 2021 8:43:44 am
Daily Briefing: Amid Covid second wave, govt rethink on offline CBSE Board exam; 102 test positive at KumbhA look at the top news today, April 18, 2021.

Good morning,

The Second Wave 

The gap between daily new Covid cases and recoveries continues to widen in the country, with the growth rate higher than the 5.5 per cent reported in the first wave of the pandemic. The severity of the situation in six states of concern can be gauged by the number of additional ventilators being rushed by the Centre. 

And fearing a spurt in cases, multiple states have announced restrictions including compulsory Covid tests and quarantine for those returning from the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. And the last shahi snan on April 27 is likely to be “symbolic” with a majority of the 13 akhadas expected to send only two sadhus each following an appeal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

And on the campaign trail in West Bengal, Union Minister Amit Shah said it is not right to link the Covid surge with elections. “Is there an election in Maharashtra? It has 60,000 cases while here (in Bengal) it is 4,000,” he said. He also said the current situation doesn’t warrant a “lockdown in a hurry.”

However, a sitting TMC MLA became the third poll contestant to succumb to Covid in West Bengal, as the state turned out in large numbers to cast votes for the fifth phase of polling. In booth after booth, there was barely any compliance of wearing masks or social distancing. Even temperature checks were absent. 

In a late night development, a director of a pharma manufacturing company was questioned by Mumbai police over a huge quantity of Remdesivir. The police alleged that the stockpile was going to be illegally flown out abroad, but the Maharashtra BJP claimed that the stock had been arranged by it for public distribution.

Only in the Express

 In the last round of military discussions over the border standoff along the Line of Actual Control, China refused to pull back its troops from Hot Springs and Gogra Post which, along with Depsang Plains, remain the friction points between the two sides. China said India “should be happy with what has been achieved”.

From the Front Page 

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad is expected to walk out of jail after getting bail in the last of the four cases related to the fodder scam. Lalu spent most of his sentence at a hospital in Ranchi and was moved to AIIMS, Delhi in January. His son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav asked party workers to avoid any celebrations and said Lalu would continue to stay at AIIMS because of health reasons.

Must Read 

The debilitating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has sent alarm bells ringing, laying bare the inadequacy of India’s frail healthcare infrastructure. Stories of despair are surfacing across the country. In Maharashtra, a fear of oxygen shortage looms over private and government Covid hospitals. In UP, over Covid patients line up outside hospitals in search of beds, but to no avail. With a record surge in Coronavirus-induced deaths, Chhattisgarh, too, has been reeling under the second wave of the pandemic.

Once Ahmedabad’s go-to hospital, the nearly 90-year-old Sheth Vadilal Sarabhai (VS) Hospital now stands crumbling, without means to take in trauma or emergency patients. But with Gujarat battling a massive surge in coronavirus cases, VS Hospital will soon return to relevance. The state government has decided to designate it as a “base hospital” for a dedicated 900-bed Covid-19 hospital set to come up at the Gujarat University Convention Centre.

Five years ago, when Soni Yadav slipped and fell into the Mahanadi and later washed ashore in a small village called Kusmel, 80 km away from her home in Chhattisgarh, the residents of the village took her in and nursed her back to health. Little did she know, the incident would lead her right into the arms of a new family of 1,500 people. This week, all the residents of Kusmel came together to solemnise the wedding of their daughter, the ‘Mahanadi girl’

ICYMI

Hours after a Delhi court granted bail to Deep Sidhu, who was imprisoned in connection with the violence at Red Fort on Republic Day, the Punjabi actor-activist was arrested by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch once again. 

The world’s Covid death toll has crossed yet another grim milestone — the 3 million-mark. 

Prince Philip, who died April 9 at the age of 99, was laid to rest in the Royal Vault at Windsor Castle after a funeral service steeped in military and royal tradition — but also pared down and infused with his own personality.

Four Covid patients died of suffocation and another due to burn injuries when a fire broke out on the third floor of a private hospital in Raipur

And Finally 

Over the years, especially since liberalisation in 1991, the humble denim trouser or “jeans”, have become a marker for style, comfort, independence, class, freedom and choice for many women in India. But they also have a history of spooking political leaders, khap panchayats, government offices, colleges and religious institutions, who often see jeans as a symbol of indecency.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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