A day after intense drama over oxygen shortage in several private and government hospitals in Delhi for COVID-19 patients, the Centre raised the national capital’s oxygen quota from 378 metric tonnes to 480 metric tonnes.
The Centre announced that it will supply 480 metric tonnes of oxygen to Delhi, which will come from Odisha, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, the city government said in a statement.
Meanwhile, with more than 3.14 lakh cases, India has recorded world’s highest single-day spike on April 21, 2021
You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.
Here are the latest updates:
Centre has allocated just 26,000 Remdesivir vials for Maharashtra instead of 50,000,’ says Health Minister
In yet another chapter to the Centre-State blame game over the supply of Remdesivir and oxygen, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the State, the worst-hit in the country, had been allocated barely 26,000 injections of Remdesivir by the Centre as against its requirement of 50,000 vials daily.
Speaking in Mumbai, Mr. Tope said he would write to the Centre to increase the allocation of Remdesivir to Maharashtra.
“The State government’s daily requirement is 50,000 Remdesivir injections, but the Centre’s allocation for the next ten days is just 26,000 injections per day. I appeal to the Centre to allot more injections to Maharashtra as the situation here is grave. I will be writing to the Union Health Ministry in this regard,” he said.
The Centre on Wednesday had detailed an allocation of 2.69 lakh vials for Maharashtra till the end of this month. This translates into less than 30,000 vials per day.
Exams of Class 10 exams cancelled, Class 12 suspended in Chhatisgarh
The Chhattisgarh Board of Secondary Education (CGBSE) cancelled its Class 10 examinations this year in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the State and safety of students, authorities said.
The board also suspended its Class 12 examinations scheduled to commence from May 3, and a fresh time-table will be released once the COVID-19 situation improves, they said.
BJP MLA slams Serum Institute of India over vaccine pricing, calls its CEO Adar Poonawalla ‘dacoit’
Upset over coronavirus vaccine pricing by the Serum Institute of India (SII), a BJP MLA has compared its CEO Adar Poonawalla with a “dacoit” and asked the government to “acquire” the company under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Gorakhpur MLA Radha Mohan Das Agrawal made the remarks after SII on Wednesday announced a price of Rs 600 per dose for Covishield supplies to private hospitals and Rs 400 per dose to State Governments.
PM holds high-level meeting on oxygen supply
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a high-level meeting on oxygen supply and availability across India. Officials have briefed him on efforts undertaken to improve oxygen supply. The Prime Minister has called for increasing production and speed of distribution.
He also called for using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities.
“Ensure oxygen supply to states in smooth, unhindered manner… Fix responsibility with local administration in cases of obstruction,” he told officials.
Mr. Modi also asked the States to come down heavily on hoarding of oxygen.
Centre prohibits oxygen for industrial use
The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued order under Disaster Management Act to prohibit supply of Oxygen for industrial purposes. The order said inter-State movement of Oxygen vehicles cannot be stopped.
Oxygen suppliers cannot be restricted to supply Oxygen only in the State where the plant is located.
District Magistrates/ Senior Superintendent of Police/deputy commissioner of police will be personally made liable if instructions are not implemented. – Vijaita Singh
Haryana orders closure of all shops by 6 p.m., bans non-essential gatherings
Having witnessed a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days, the Haryana government on Thursday announced several restrictions to control the spread, including closure of shops by 6 p.m. and a ban on all non-essential gatherings.
The restrictions will come into effect from Friday, state Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said. – PTI
Pfizer in vaccine supply talks with India
Pfizer is in discussions with India and committed to make its COVID-19 vaccine available for deployment in the country, the U.S. drugmaker said on Thursday.
The company said it had offered India a not-for-profit price for its vaccine for the government’s immunisation programme. – Reuters
Australia to cut flights from India to contain virus risk
Australia will reduce the number of its citizens able to return from India and other red-zone countries to contain the risk of more virulent strains of COVID-19 spreading, the government said on Thursday as it announced changes in its vaccination program.
The restrictions will result in a 30% reduction in direct flights from India to Sydney and chartered flights that land in the Northern Territory.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking to reporters after a meeting of the National Cabinet, said that he would announce in the next 24 hours when the new restrictions would come into place.
“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is raging. And Australia has been successful throughout this pandemic … to have very effective border arrangements,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. “There will continue to be the opportunity for those to return from places like India but in very controlled circumstances.” – Reuters
Vaccine policy discriminatory: Sonia Gandhi to PM
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the new COVID-19 vaccine policy, terming it as arbitrary and discriminatory and urged him to intervene immediately to reverse it.
In a letter to to the Prime Minister, the Congress chief alleged that the new vaccine policy implies that the central government has abdicated its responsibility of providing free vaccine to all Indians between 18 and 45 years of age.
“It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the Government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges,” she said in her letter.
SC wants national plan on COVID-19 situation, including on oxygen supply
As the country grapples with the current wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the prevailing grim situation and said it wanted a “national plan” on issues, including supply of oxygen and essential drugs for treatment of patients infected with the virus.
A Bench headed by Chief S.A. Bobde said it would also consider the issue pertaining to method and manner of COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
500 doctors, health workers of Bihar’s 2 leading hospitals infected
More than 500 doctors and health workers of the two leading hospitals in Patna — AIIMS and Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) — have been infected with coronavirus during the ongoing second wave, sources said.
Altogether, 384 employees of AIIMS Patna, including doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, have been infected during the second wave so far, its Medical Superintendent C.M. Singh said.
Karnataka asks Centre for 1,500 tonnes of oxygen, one lakh vials of Remdesivir
Karnataka has asked the Centre to supply 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen and one lakh vials of Remdesivir in view of the growing COVID cases in the State.
“We have estimated that in the next one month, we may require 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen. In this regard, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has written to Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal,” State Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar told reporters here on Thursday.
Mr. Sudhakar said that he has written to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan as well for supply of oxygen.
Making efforts to airlift oxygen from Odisha: Arvind Kejriwal
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday appealed to his counterparts in other States to come together to confront and defeat COVID-19 instead of allowing borders to divide their response to the pandemic.
Addressing a digital briefing, the Delhi Chief Minister also pledged to provide resources such as oxygen, essential medicines and medical personnel, including doctors, to other States as and when these were in a position of being shared.
“I want to thank the Centre and the Delhi High Court for helping us with this issue. I, Delhi’s ministers and officers have not slept for several nights and were in constant touch with the Centre over the issue of oxygen supply which has helped us,” he said.
“But the increased supply will take some time and we are mulling airlifting oxygen from Odisha. In the meantime, I am personally ensuring that every truck with oxygen reaches its destination. Like I had promised, these six days are being utilised to ramp up our medical infrastructure as much as possible round the clock,” he also said.
In Delhi, over 1,000 last rites performed in 3 days
Over a thousand residents, 1,057 to be precise, were laid to rest after losing their battle to COVID-19 in the last three days, according to official data maintained by the Capital’s three civic bodies.
A daily average of around 352 deaths, compiled data from the three municipal corporations released by the BJP posited, was recorded between April 18 and April 20 at 21 crematoria and burial grounds located in the nine municipal zones in the city.
Sitaram Yechury’s son Ashish passes away due to COVID-19
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s eldest son Ashish Yechury passed away due to COVID-19 infection early on Thursday morning.
He was 35-year-old. He had been in ICU since April 12 after the infection spread to his lungs.
“It is with great sadness that I have to inform that I lost my elder son, Ashish Yechury, to COVID-19 this morning. I want to thank all those who gave us hope and who treated him — doctors, nurses, frontline health workers, sanitation workers and innumerable others who stood by us,” Mr. Yechury tweeted, making the announcement.
Britain’s Heathrow Airport refuses to allow extra flights from India
Britain’s Heathrow Airport has refused to allow extra flights from India before it is added on Friday to the UK’s COVID-19 travel “red list”, which imposes a ban on entry to the country for all except British or Irish residents.
The request for extra flights from airlines was turned down because of concerns about queues at passport control, the BBC reported on Thursday.
Four carriers had requested to operate an additional eight flights from India as travellers seek to fly before the new rule comes into effect. Currently, 30 flights a week are operating between the UK and India.