Coronavirus India News and LATEST Updates: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has lost 108 personnel to COVID-19, the highest among the central forces that function under the command of the Union home ministry, according to data updated on Monday
Meanwhile, Mumbai recorded a steep drop in new coronavirus cases at 1,794, the lowest single-day count in nearly two months, while 74 patients succumbed to the infection as per BMC data
A Covid-19 variant spreading in India, the B.1.617, appears to be more contagious and has been classified as being "of concern", the World Health Organization said Monday, reports AFP
Telangana Cabinet would meet on Tuesday to discuss the COVID-19 situation and take a call on whether to impose lockdown in the state or not. Though there was no desired outcome in some of the states even after the imposition of lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Cabinet would discuss various issues that would be impacted by lockdown, an official press release said on Monday.
AAP leader Atishi on Monday said the Delhi government will have to close vaccination centres where Covaxin is being administered to beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group after Tuesday evening if its stocks are not replenished.
Delhi's Covaxin stock for this category will last till Tuesday evening, she said, adding that Covishield doses for this age group can last up to four days. "On Monday morning, Delhi had 2.74 lakh vaccine doses for people in the 18-plus category," she said, releasing the city's Vaccination Bulletin'.
"After Tuesday evening, the Delhi government will have to start closing down the vaccination centres where Covaxin is being administered (to the 18-44 age group). We will also have to shut down Covishield inoculation centres after four days," she said.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday claimed the BJP government at the Centre has allowed only 3.5 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine for the National Capital in May even though the AAP dispensation had placed orders for 1.34 crore doses with manufacturers.
The Congress Working Committer called the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic "a grave calamity and direct consequence of the Modi government’s indifference, insensitivity and incompetence", said reports.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to convene a special session of the Parliament over the COVID-19 crisis.
The Kerala High court told the private hospitals not to engage in profiteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Private Hospitals, we pray that to join the citizens as a team. You can make your profits later, after 2-3 months. Please do not engage in profiteering now," the high court said.
The Delhi High Court Monday asked the Centre and Delhi government to do something without waiting for orders from court to prevent black marketing and hoarding of medicines and medical equipment, like oxygen concentrators.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a PIL seeking directions to them to declare medicines and medical equipment meant for COVID treatment as essential commodities under the Essential Commodities Act. It said if something has to be done, "do it without waiting for orders from the court".
The Madhya Pradesh government will set up 360 ICU beds for children in hospitals across the state as part of its preparations for the third wave of COVID-19, state medical education minister Vishwas Kailash Sarang said on Monday. Health experts recently warned of a third wave of the coronavirus infection in the country, which could also affect children.
The vaccination strategy for COVID-19 has been formulated by the Centre in a "just, equitable, non-discriminatory" manner and any "overzealous" judicial intervention may result in unforeseen consequences, the government has told the Supreme Court.
In an affidavit filed by the Centre in response to the points raised by the top court, it said as vaccination of the entire country is not possible in one stretch due to the very suddenness of the pandemic, limited availability of vaccine doses and the vulnerability are the prime considerations.
Activist Natasha Narwal was granted interim bail from the Delhi High Court to perform the last rites of her father Mahavir Narwal, a senior CPM member who dies during treatment for COVID-19.
India reported 3,66,161 new COVID-19 cases in a period of 24 hours, as per data updated at 8 am on Monday, taking the total active cases to 37,45,237. A total of 3,754 deaths in the same period, taking the toll so far to 2,46,116.
The Mumbai civic body denied allegations of suppressing the COVID-19 death and infection figures and said it was recording the number of fatalities as per protocols laid down by the WHO and ICMR. The BMC said it was committed towards "mission zero", which aims to bring the COVID-19 situation under control step-by-step.
As India logged over 4 lakh cases for the fourth consecutive day, Sunday saw authorities in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Bhopal extending lockdowns till 17 May.
In the National Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the lockdown would be 'even stricter'.
Kejriwal, warning that laxity at this moment would squander the gains achieved so far in the current wave of the pandemic, announced the extension of the ongoing lockdown and added that metro train services will be halted during the period.
The Delhi government had been forced to impose a lockdown amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases on 20 April. Although, the cases have come down and positivity rate has reduced from the high of 35 percent on April 26 to around 23 percent now, strictness is needed, he said.
In Uttar Pradesh, authorities extended the statewide coronavirus lockdown ending on Monday by a week, a senior official said. The "corona curfew" was earlier scheduled to end at 7 am tomorrow. In a statement, Additional Chief Secretary (Information), Navneet Sehgal said the "corona curfew" imposed in the state has been extended till the morning of 17 May 17.
"The corona curfew imposed in the state is giving positive results, and it is helping in breaking the chain of COVID infection. The number of active COVID-19 cases is registering a decline. In this scenario, it has been decided to extend the corona curfew till 7 am on 17 May," the government said in a statement.
Essential work such as vaccination, industrial activity and medical-related work are allowed. Instructions have also been issued to declare holidays in all government and private educational institutes and coaching institutes in the state till 20 May. Online classes will also remain suspended during this period. Uttar Pradesh on Saturday registered 298 deaths due to COVID-19 while 26,847 more people tested positive for the infection, pushing the state''s virus tally to 14,80,315. So far, the infection has claimed 15,170 lives in the state.
The Haryana government on Sunday announced extending the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the state by a week till 17 May.
Making the announcement on Twitter, Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said, "Mahamari Alert / Surkshit Haryana announced from 10 May to 17 May. Stringent measures will be taken to contain spread of Corona in Haryana. Detailed order to be issued soon."
Vij later told PTI that the restrictions which are currently in force will continue till 17 May. Last week, the state government had imposed a lockdown in the state from 3 to May 10 (5 am).
In the past few weeks, Haryana has registered a surge in COVID-19 infections as well as fatalities. Haryana on Sunday reported 151 COVID-19-related deaths taking the cumulative toll to 5,605 and another big surge of 13,548 infections pushed the total case count to 6,15,897.
During the lockdown period, the government has urged the residents to stay indoors. Several categories of people, including those tasked with law and order, emergencies and municipal service duties and government machinery engaged in COVID-19-related duties, will be exempted from the lockdown.
Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Puducherry will also have a two-week shutdown starting Monday, while in Karnataka stringent lockdown-like restrictions will come into effect till 24 May. On Saturday, Kerala came under a nine-day complete lockdown.
In the North East, Mizoram government has imposed a seven-day complete lockdown from Monday and Sikkim has lockdown-like restrictions till 16 May.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration also extended till 17 May the curfew imposed across the Union Territory to curb the spread of coronavirus. The curfew was earlier scheduled to end tomorrow. The curfew will be strict except for a few essential services, the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) said.
Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday recorded 4,788 fresh coronavirus cases taking the tally of infected persons to 2,11,742 while the toll in the Union Territory rose to 2,672 with a record 60 fatalities in 24 hours.
In the Madhya Pradesh capital of Bhopal, the district administration extended the COVID-19 induced curfew in till 17 May, an official said. The curfew was supposed to be lifted at 6 am tomorrow.
Enforced on 12 April given the rise in coronavirus positive cases, the curfew was later extended subsequently after every one week till 10 May. "The corona curfew is extended in the areas under the Bhopal Municipal Corporation and Berasia town till 6 am on May 17 as per the order issued by district collector Avinash Lavaniyam," the official said.
He said essential services and emergency travel are exempted from the purview of the restrictions on the movement of people. As of Saturday, Bhopal's COVID-19 caseload stood at 1,02,776 while the toll stood at 788, as per the state health department.
State-wise COVID-19 count
India logged 4,03,738 fresh COVID cases and 4,092 deaths over the past 24 hours with Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi among 10 states that account for 71.75 percent of the new COVID-19 cases, the Union health ministry said on Sunday. The other states in the list of 10 are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Haryana.
Maharashtra reported daily new cases at 56,578. It is followed by Karnataka with 47,563 while Kerala reported 41,971 new cases India's total active caseload has reached 37,36,648 and now comprises 16.76 percent of the country's total infections.
Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Haryana, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh cumulatively account for 82.94 percent of India''s total active cases, the ministry stated.
Ten states account for 74.93 percent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (864). Karnataka follows with 482 daily deaths. The ministry also said the daily positivity rate in India stands at 21.64 percent and there is a net increase of 13,202 cases in the total active caseload.
A total of 17.8 lakh beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group have been vaccinated in the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the ministry further said.
'Actively monitor COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers'
Kejriwal on Sunday urged the Centre to "actively monitor and supervise" private COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers in the country and ensure adequate availability of the vaccine doses to states and Union territories. The Central Government should make available to the states/UTs the requisite number of vaccine doses to enable vaccination of all its citizens, he said.
"The Centre should actively monitor and supervise the manufacture of vaccines by the private parties so that supplies in adequate quantity are made to all state governments, and this crucial aspect is not left to the discretion of the private manufacturers,” Kejriwal said in a letter to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan. The Delhi chief minister also said that a uniform price should be fixed for the vaccines for supplies made to governments (whether central or states) and private hospitals.
Kejriwal has reiterated on several occasions that his government can vaccinate everyone in the National Capital within three months if the Centre ensures supply of adequate doses of vaccine to it. He has claimed Delhi needs 3 crore doses, out of which, only around 40 lakh doses have been received by it so far.
This, as Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia attacked the Centre over the export of coronavirus vaccines, saying a large number of lives could have been saved in India if the doses were given to people in the country first.
"It's a heinous crime committed by the Central Government to sell vaccines to other countries only for its image management at a time when people were dying in our own country," he said in an online briefing.
Sisodia made the statement hours after the health ministry, amid reports of vaccine shortages across India over the weekend, said more than 72 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and Union territories, while over 46 lakh doses will be received by them within the next three days.
Mallikarjun Kharge writes to Modi
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately convene an all-party meeting to collectively forge a holistic blueprint to tackle the COVID pandemic. In a letter to the prime minister, he alleged that the Union government seems to have abdicated its duties towards the people and the situation requires a collective and consensual effort.
He also sent his set of six suggestions to tackle the crisis due to the pandemic and said the Prime Minister's Office alone cannot handle it. "I request you to convene an all party meeting to collectively forge a holistic blueprint to tackle the pandemic. This would be a good opportunity for us to meaningfully reflect on, and implement the recommendations of experts and activists, whose advice has unfortunately been ignored so far," he told the prime minister.
Kharge said he is writing to convey his deep concern and a sense of anguish regarding the unprecedented crisis the nation faces. Calling for free inoculation, he said, Parliament had allocated Rs 35,000 crores in the union budget to ensure free vaccines for all. Despite this, the Union government allowed private companies to set exorbitant and differential prices for vaccines and outsourced the procurement of vaccines to already stretched state governments.
"This will adversely impact millions of Indians. Sir, corporate profit cannot triumph saving lives. I, therefore, urge you to not relinquish the State's moral duty in immunising citizens. This is completely doable because India has a history of successful, large-scale immunisation programmes," he said. It is heartbreaking to witness millions of ordinary Indians scrambling to access basic healthcare, oxygen, medicines, ventilators, hospital beds and even crematoriums and cemeteries, he said, adding that ordinary Indians are selling their land, jewellery and expending their savings to ensure treatment for their loved ones.
Crematoriums and cemeteries are choked, while parks are being repurposed as cremation grounds, he said. Many state governments, opposition parties, doctors/nurses/allied healthcare organisations, civil society and citizen groups have taken up the mantle and are working collectively on the frontlines in this extraordinary national battle against COVID-19, he added. The leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha also called for free immunisation drive for all citizens and urged him to utilise the Rs 35,000 crore earmarked by Parliament for this purpose.
Kharge said India boasts of some of the world's best scientists, doctors, nurses, allied healtheare staff and has a vast network of community health workers and undoubtedly has the bandwidth and the resources to effectively combat the pandemic. "However, to do so, the Union government must leverage our collective strengths by governing consensually and inclusively. It is impossible to tackle a crisis of this magnitude through the Prime Minister's Office alone," he said.
The Opposition leader said most nations planned in advance, prioritised their people and put in place contingencies for the anticipated second and third waves of the pandemic. "Experts have warned us that although the situation is dire, it can become far worse if leadership is not immediately exercised. So, for the well-being of our people and in the national interest, I urge you to consider the suggestions outlined in this letter sensitively and urgently," Kharge said.
Vaccination for 18-44 age in Bengaluru from tomorrow
COVID-19 vaccines for people in the 18-44 age group in Bengaluru, which has almost half the number of cases and deaths in Karnataka, would be available from 10 May at all major hospitals and medical colleges, health minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Sunday.
"Starting Monday, COVID-19 vaccination will be provided for citizens aged between 18 and 44 years at KC General Hospital, Jayanagar General Hospital, Sir C V Raman General Hospital, Government Medical Colleges, ESI Hospitals and NIMHANS in Bengaluru," the minister said in a statement.
In other districts, the vaccine shots will initially be provided at district hospitals, government medical colleges and all taluk hospitals. The number of vaccination centres would be increased as and when more vaccines are available, the minister added.
AMU V-C writes to ICMR chief
Alarmed by deaths in recent days among AMU teachers, Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor wrote to the ICMR, urging it to study if a particular coronavirus variant is circulating around the university campus. In a letter to the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the VC said 16 serving and 18 retired teachers besides other employees of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have succumbed to the infection in the past 18 days.
There is a possibility that "a particular variant may be circulating in areas around the AMU campus and surrounding localities, which has led to these deaths", he said, stressing the need for the study to control the spread of the virus. He further said the microbiology laboratory at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College here is sending samples to the Institute of Genomic and Integrated Biology laboratory, New Delhi, for the genome sequencing.
Meanwhile, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Principal Shahid Ali Siddiqui told mediapersons that 25 doctors at the hospital there tested positive for the infection in the past fortnight. Currently, only three doctors are under treatment as others have recovered from the infection, he said. The head of the Medicine Department at the college, Professor Shadaab Khan, had died from COVID-19 two days ago. The college principal said the hospital is battling a shortage of medical oxygen and totally dependent on its three liquid oxygen plants.
Since the past 12 days, the hospital has not received a single oxygen cylinder from outside despite continuous efforts, he said.
With inputs from PTI