Coronavirus LATEST Updates: "Saturday and Sunday will see restrictions similar to lockdown. Only essential services and emergency travel to be allowed. There is a cap of 75 people indoor and 150 outdoor for marriages and a maximum of 50 people for funeral services," Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Union Minister of State Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said that the Centre has approved new manufacturing sites for the remdesivir drug, used in treatment of COVID-19 patients. Hospitals in several states have been facing a shortage of the drug, in addition to other medical resources like oxygen.
"Very soon, 3 lakh vial/day will be produced . Monitoring is being done on daily basis. We would not leave any stone unturned to supply remdesivir," he said.
Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, a surgeon with the Medanta Hospital, the Reliance Foundation Hospital, and the Moolchand Healthcare Hospital, on Friday criticised the "oxygen politics" for creating a shortage of the crucial resource being used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals across the country, including in the National Capital, have been facing a severe shortage of medical oxygen and are tweeting SOS messages to the Centre to replenish their oxygen stocks before they run out. Several hospitals have moved the Delhi High Court over Thursday and Friday seeking urgent supply of oxygen for their COVID-19 patients.
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that there has been no firm response from the Centre to the demand for uniform pricing of coronavirus vaccines. He also said that the Serum Institute of India has informed that it can provide Covishield vaccine to the state only after 24 May as the Centre has booked all the production till that date.
Tope was speaking to reporters after participating in a virtual meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the states worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
"All the major states have demanded 'one nation-one rate' for vaccine, but received no firm response from the Centre," he said. "We have examples of Israel or the UK where vaccination was carried out at a large scale. If the rates are reduced, we could buy more vaccines. If the demand is not met, the state will take responsibility of people under the poverty line only while others as well as corporates will have to take the vaccine on their own," said the health minister.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister's office released a statement saying a night curfew will be imposed from 24 April, and will be in force everyday from 10 pm to 5 am, reports said.
The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to provide the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost to all above the age of 18, the Chief Minister's Office said in a statement on Friday.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday called the new vaccination policy, which opened vaccination for people above the age of 18 and asked the state governments to procure the vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, "unfair".
He demanded that the Centre must assist the state governments in funding the massive inoculation drive set to begin from 1 May.
Five coronavirus patients undergoing treatment in the ICU of a private hospital in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur city died allegedly after the stock of medical oxygen at the facility got over, a police official said on Friday. The incident took place during the intervening night of Thursday and Friday at Galaxy Hospital, PTI quoted City Superintendent of Police (Kotwali area) Dipak Mishra as saying.
"Five COVID-19 patients died in the ICU of the hospital after the stock of the medical oxygen got over according to the family members of the deceased," he said.
The police personnel, who were patrolling the area reached the hospital at night on receiving a message about the outcry of family members outside the facility. "They complained that their loved ones died due to the lack of oxygen supply as the stock got exhausted," the CSP said.
The hospital was waiting for the supply of 10 oxygen cylinders late at night on Thursday, but the vehicle transporting them broke down.
After review meetings on the availability of medical oxygen in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the Centre is "working to reduce the travel time and turnaround time" of medical oxygen tankers, The Times of India reported.
"For this, Railways has started Oxygen Express. Empty oxygen tankers are also being transported by the Air Force to reduce one way travel time," the report added.
During the meeting, Modi also all the states to "work together and coordinate" to provide medicines and oxygen to each other.
With two more hospitals in the National Capital, Bram Healthcare and Batra Hospital, moving the Delhi High Court over the shortage of medical oxygen to treat their COVID-19 patients, the list of hospitals in the National Capital seeking relief from the court grew on Friday.
The petition will be heard by Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli.
Earlier in the morning ANI quoted the Director-Medical of the hospital as saying that '25 sickest patients died in past 24 hours at the hospital. Oxygen will last another two hours. Need Oxygen to be airlifted urgently.'
Laying the importance of a national COVID-19 plan, Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged the Central government to give direction to chief ministers on ensuring smooth movement of oxygen tankers.
The decision of the top court to take cognisance of the issue even as high courts have issued various directions to combat the mismanagement of the pandemic was heavily criticised by senior lawyers.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 67,013. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 34,254 fresh infections, while Kerala reported 26,995 new cases, the heath ministry said.
The number of people who have recuperated from the novel coronavirus surged to 1,36, 48,159 on Friday, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.15 percent, the health ministry stated.
Registering a steady increase, the active cases increased to 24,28,616 on Friday comprising 14.93 percent of the total infections. The national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 83.92 percent.
With the death of 2,263 more COVID-19 patients in the past 24 hours, the toll in the country crossed 1.86 lakh on Friday, said the Union health ministry.
Earlier on Thursday, the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had said their oxygen stock could last till 10 am on Friday. "Many more patients with high flow need got admitted to the hospital. Almost 40 patients are extra," the official said.
The incident comes as Maharashtra battles the second wave of coronavirus and witnesses an unprecedented surge in infections. Over 67,000 new infections wee reported on Thursday.
The total number of vaccinations against COVID-19 has crossed 13.5 crore in the country with more than 30 lakh vaccine doses administered on Thursday till 8 pm, the health ministry said.
The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stood at 13,53,46,729, according to a provisional report compiled at 8 pm.
The beneficiaries include 92,41,384 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose, 59,03,368 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 1,17,27,708 frontline workers (FLWs) who have received the first dose and 60,73,622 FLWs who have taken the second dose.
Besides, 4,55,10,426 and 18,91,160 beneficiaries in the 45-60 age group have taken the first and the second dose respectively, while 4,85,01,906 and 64,97,155 people aged above 60 have been administered the first and the second dose.
A total of 30,16,085 vaccine doses were given on Thursday (till 8 pm), the 97th day of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.
The beneficiaries included 18,33,828 who were vaccinated for the first dose and 11,82,257 who received the second dose, the ministry said, adding that the final report for the day would be compiled by late night.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on 16 January with HCWs getting inoculated. The vaccination of FLWs started from 2 February.
The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination commenced from 1 March for those above 60 years of age and people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
The vaccination of all citizens aged above 45 started from 1 April.
On Monday, the government decided to expand the vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 years of age to be vaccinated from 1 May.