Maharashtra recorded the maximum casualties of 258 on Monday. Chhattisgarh followed with 107 new deaths while Uttar Pradesh and Delhi registered 72 new casualties each.
From 63% of India’s cases between March 15 and 21, Maharashtra’s share reduced to just 42% between April 5 and 11. In the same period, Chhattisgarh’s share increased from 3% to 8%, and U.P.’s share increased from 1% to 7%. Share of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka remained stable in the range of 3% to 5%. Kerala’s share has been decreasing consistently since February. Between February 15 and 21, Kerala’s share in India’s cases was 34%. However, between April 5 and 11, the State’s share reduced to 3%.
Here are the latest updates:
Centre fast tracks Emergency Approvals for foreign vaccines
The Union Government has fast tracked Emergency Approvals for foreign produced COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted EUA in other countries to expand the basket of vaccines for domestic use and hasten the pace and coverage of vaccination, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
Russia’s Sputnik V is among the first foreign produced vaccine to get restricted emergency use approval. – Bindu Shajan Perappadan
FIR lodged against 3 Opposition MLAs, others in Bihar for violating COVID-19 protocol
An FIR has been lodged against three Opposition Bihar legislators and hundreds of others in Rohtas district for violation of COVID-19 guidelines during a public function conducted on April 11.
Among the three MLAs, Anita Devi from Nokha and Vijay Kumar Mandal from Dinara Assembly constituencies are from the Rashtriya Janata Dal while Arun Kumar Singh is the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) party MLA from Karakat Assembly seat.
The FIR (No. 56/2021) was lodged at Nasariganj police station in Rohtas district by Circle Officer Shyam Sunder Rai after a video went viral on social media in which the MLAs along with others were seen allegedly violating guidelines of COVID-19 at a cultural programme organised at Baradih village.
Cancel CBSE exams, appeals Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Highlights from the CM Arvind Kejriwal’s press conference on the COVID-19 situation in the national capital:
“I appeal to the Central government to cancel CBSE exams due to start on May 4 as the examination centres can become hotspots for six lakh students will be sitting for the examination in Delhi.
“Other options like conducting the examinations online or passing students on the basis of internal assessments should be explored.
“This fourth wave in the capital is more prevalent among the youth, and in the past 24-hours there have been about 13,500 cases in the capital. I know you have to step out of the house to earn a living, but I appeal to you to leave your home only when it’s absolutely necessary. I also appeal to the youth that when you do step out, do so only after wearing a mask and following COVID-19 protocols.
“There is very little stock of plasma in the Capital. If you are eligible to donate plasma please do so. Over the past few months there have been fewer cases so there are fewer eligible donors.
“Planned surgeries need to be delayed at hospitals. Hospital management needs to be kept strong to fight this wave. Doctors should advise patients who are admitted in hospital to seek treatment at home if their symptoms are under control and can be shifted home or to hotels/banquet halls near hospitals that have been turned into COVID-19 wards.
“I request the patients not to fight these decisions. You will continue to receive the best care, but if someone needs a bed in hospital more urgently a patient may be asked to shift out and vacate the bed.” – Jaideep Deo Bhanj
Ten States account for over 80% of new cases
Ten States — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Kerala — have shown a rise in the COVID-19 daily cases accounting for 80.80% of the new infections reported in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on April 13.
India’s daily new cases continue to rise. A total of 1,61,736 new cases were registered in a span of 24 hours.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 51,751. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 13,604 while Chhattisgarh reported 13,576 new cases.
‘Court’ actor Vira Sathidar passes away
Actor-activist Vira Sathidar, best known for featuring in the National Award-winning film Court, died on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, due to COVID-19 related complications, filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane confirmed.
The actor, who was in his early sixties, was admitted to a city hospital after he contracted the coronavirus. According to Mr. Tamhane, who directed him in the acclaimed 2014 Court, the actor was put on ventilator and breathed his last around 3 a.m.
“It’s true. He passed away at around 3 a.m. in the hospital. He had COVID-19 and was on ventilator. It’s an extremely unfortunate news. It is yet to sink in,” Tamhane said.
Tourists will not be ‘harassed’ for COVID-19 test report at Himachal Pradesh border: CM
Tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh will not be “harassed” for a coronavirus negative test report at the State’s borders, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on April 13.
Days after the State government made it mandatory for people coming from seven worst-affected States to show a COVID-19 negative test report on entering the State, Mr. Thakur said they have put in place a mechanism for monitoring tourists on their arrival at the place of their stay.
“We have taken care of our tourism industry to ensure it does not suffer this session as the coronavirus pandemic affected it last year. So, in the SOP released for the industry, we have put in place a mechanism to monitor it accordingly. Tourists and other visitors will not be harassed for corona reports at the State’s borders because it causes a lot of inconvenience and difficulty to them,” he told reporters here.
Trollers taunt police over COVID advice
Trollers have not taken kindly to the Kozhikode district police’s new series of advice on its Facebook page on how to ward off COVID-19 threat and stay safe. They are not digressive or inflammatory, though.
“Where were you at the time of elections..?” now dominates the list of satirical queries that the trollers raised.
Though the biting comments are often countered with witty replies, the policemen behind the awareness social media posters are grappling with the situation to prove their point with justifications, arguments, and claims.
The cops post matching memes to fend off the virtual teasing.
“To be frank, the corona virus was on leave during election time. It may go on leave again on May 2,” said one of the active trollers who posted his satiric notes on the Kozhikode City Police page. Another critic claims that the police have been showing a subservient attitude in enforcing the COVID protocol for politicians. He also feels that the fine for protocol violation is only an annoyance for the public.
Half of semi-wholesale shops in Koyambedu allowed to work
As a precautionary measure to control the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid crowding, the Koyambedu Market Management Committee has introduced a system wherein about 50% of the semi-wholesale and retail shops will be allowed to function on a rotational basis.
Half the 1,800 vegetable and fruit retail outlets in the market have been allowed to operate on alternate days on an odd-even basis as per their shop number. Officials of the management committee said this was being implemented as a temporary solution to reduce the impact of the new COVID-19 restrictions on traders and also to prevent crowding. However, discussions are on to implement permanent measures.
Announcements about the new arrangements and COVID-19 precautions are being made constantly in the market. Semi-wholesalers said they sourced 30% less produce from neighbouring districts as only half the shops would operate.
City public transport operates at 50% capacity
Following orders of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the public transport on Monday operated with a 50% capacity in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Capital.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials said that protocols which were enforced in September last year, following the resumption of metro services post-lockdown, continued to be in place.
“As per the SOP implemented since resumption of services, the DMRC is already following the alternate-seat concept and standing with social distancing which comes to less than 50% going by the carrying capacity of coaches. Apart from that, Regular announcements, self regulation and flying sqauds are all ways to educate and alert commuters for their safety,” a DMRC official said.
In a bid to restrict overcrowding inside stations, the DMRC had recently, also started closing entry gates to stations, for brief periods of time, which saw a high footfall.
Remdesivir will not be sold through retail shops: Pawar
Maharashtra Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday said Remdesivir vials will not be sold through retail shops, but provided directly to hospitals through distributors to prevent black marketing and hoarding.
“Once provided directly to hospitals, only needy patients will have access to it. District Collectors will control the distribution,” said Mr. Pawar at a meeting organised to take stock of the COVID-19 situation in the State in the wake of rising cases and deaths.
Mr. Pawar also said that 30% of funds from the District Planning and Development Council (DPDC) can now be used to implement measures to fight COVID-19. Divisional Commissioners will get additional rights to spend funds for facilities in acquired private hospitals.
Apartment associations get proactive on testing, vaccination
As the number of COVID-19 cases witnesses a steady rise, apartment associations have been proactively taking measures to tackle the second wave, including organising testing and vaccination camps in their premises.
The Bangalore Apartments’ Federation, an umbrella organisation of 932 associations in the city, has been working with private hospitals and the BBMP to organise testing camps and vaccination session sites. Vikram Rai from BAF said the campaign for testing and vaccination camps started a week ago.
“For testing camps, we are coordinating with the BBMP. We have mapped private hospitals and are pairing them with various apartments. While close to 100 associations have requested vaccination camps, as many as 52 have requested testing camps. This is important for not just early detection, but also the right kind of intervention,” he said.
Citizens allege shortage of COVID-19 testing kits in PHCs
With the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, the State government has decided to ramp up testing. But a few citizens who went to get tested at Primary Health Centres [PHCs] in Bengaluru alleged that the centres had run out of testing kits.
A 34-year-old man, who went to get tested in Rajarajeshwarinagar zone, said, “I developed fever and wanted to get tested for COVID-19 so that I do not spread the infection to others in my house. I went to three PHCs in our zone. The first two said they had no testing kit. I got a test done in the third centre and the result was positive. I could have avoided the trouble of running around and coming in contact with other people if I could have given my swab for testing at the first PHC,” he said.
However, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials ruled out any shortage and said that they have stock of over 2 lakh testing kits. Rajendra Cholan P., Special Commissioner (Health), BBMP said that they have been conducting 67,000 tests every day over the last two weeks and denied any shortage.
India records 1,61,736 infections, 879 deaths
A total of 1,61,736 new coronavirus infections have been reported in a day pushing India’s tally of cases to 1,36,89,453, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate dropped further to 89.51%, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Monday.
The death toll increased to 1,71,058 with 879 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.
Registering a steady increase for the 34th day in a row, the number of active cases rose to 12,64,698, or 9.24% of the total infections.
India gets 3rd COVID-19 vaccine as DGCI approves Russian-made Sputnik-V for emergency use
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the restricted emergency use of the Sputnik-V vaccine late Monday night. With this, India now has three vaccines against COVID-19, including Covishield — the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India — and Bharat Boitech’s Covaxin
According to a release issued by Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), India is the most populated country to register the Russian vaccine.
“Total population of 60 countries where Sputnik-V is approved for use is 3 billion people or about 40% of the global population,” it added.
The vaccine has been registered in India under the emergency use authorisation procedure based on results of clinical trials in Russia as well as positive data of additional Phase III local clinical trials in India conducted in partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, it added.
Hospitals to face action for fleecing COVID patients
The Anantapur administration has authorised only eight hospitals in the district for the treatment of the coronavirus patients and all of them offer treatment under the Aarogyasri scheme, Collector Gandham Chandrudu said on Monday.
“If any hospital is found fleecing patients in the name of the COVID-19 treatment without taking the required permission, action will be taken against them. We have readied 1,003 beds for the patients in view of the spurt in the cases,” the Collector said.
The facilities which have been accorded permission for COVID-19 treatment include District Hospital at Hindupur (70 beds); Government General Hospital in Anantapur (165); Area Hospital at Kadiri (50); Area Hospital at Guntakal (60); Super Speciality Hospital in Anantapur (300); Government Cancer Hospital (266); KIMS Saveera Hospital (10) and RDT Hospital at Bathalapalli (82 beds).
U.K. reopens after three months of lockdown
Crowds queued up outside shops, pubs started selling pints at midnight and hairdressers welcomed desperate customers on Monday as England started to reopen its economy after three months of lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the reopening was a “major step” towards freedom but urged people to behave responsibly as the virus was still a threat.
Mr. Johnson, whose unruly hair style has become a trademark look, was one of thousands who flocked to hairdressers and barbers to have a hair cut on Monday, having waited since early January when the latest lockdown was introduced.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses have been closed since January when England entered a third lockdown to stem surging infections driven by the “Kent” variant of the virus.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and Agencies)