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Coronavirus News Updates: US NSA Jake Sullivan speaks to NSA Ajit Doval regarding raw material supply

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India reported 3.46 lakh new COVID-19 cases, the world's highest 24-hour surge in cases for the third straight day. Active cases increased by over 1 lakh for the eighth straight day.

Coronavirus News Updates: US NSA Jake Sullivan speaks to NSA Ajit Doval regarding raw material supply
India reported 3,49,691 new COVID-19 cases, 2,767 deaths and 2,17,113 discharges in the last 24 hours, as per Union Health Ministry.
Total cases: 1,69,60,172
Total recoveries: 1,40,85,110
Death toll: 1,92,311
Active cases: 26,82,751

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US NSA Jake Sullivan speaks to NSA Ajit Doval on raw material supply
The US NSA Jake Sullivan has reportedly spoken to India's National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval regarding the raw materials required to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing. The US has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required by India to manufacture Covishield, said sources. It has been agreed that the raw material will be immediately made available to India and that the US is also looking at ways to provide oxygen generation equipment.
Existing infrastructure may not be able to cope with this kind of surge, says Health Ministry
The Health Ministry has said that on account of a very high number of daily new COVID cases being reported for the past few days, Union Government has expressed the urgent need for States to consider strict COVID management and control measures in surge areas. The release further says that there is a need to bring the situation under control to contain the spread of infection in areas reporting higher cases and surge.
Sri Lanka bans all state, private functions
The Sri Lankan government on Sunday banned all state and private public functions in the next two weeks, citing rising number of coronavirus cases in the country."All state festivals planned for the next two weeks have been halted. The government has decided to ban all private sector functions, meetings and parties under quarantine regulations," a statement from the President's Media Office read. (PTI)
Karnataka reports biggest single day spike
Karnataka has reported the biggest single day spike of 34,804 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total caseload to 13.39 lakh, while 143 related fatalities pushed the toll to 14,426, the Health department said on Sunday.
Mumbai COVID-19 Update (6:00 pm)
Daily tests up: 40.2k Vs 39.5k
New cases down: 5,542 Vs 5,888
Positivity rate down: 13.75% Vs 14.87%
Discharged (24 hrs): 8,478
Total deaths down: 64 Vs 71 yesterday
Overall recovery rate: 86%
Doubling rate down: 58 Vs 54 days yesterday
Tears, prayers, police, JCB: How Saroj Hospital saved over 100 lives
At the Saroj Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi, distraught staff broke down and started praying anxiously as the lives of over 100 patients hung by a thread with oxygen supply rapidly depleting. The nurses, paramedics and others at the private hospital had spent hours running around in search of supplies and making frantic calls to the government and police, but to no avail.And then hope arose as an oxygen tanker finally reached the hospital. But then arose another problem.
The tanker could not enter the area where the hospital's oxygen tank is. The problem: its larger-than-normal size. The solution: an excavator, which broke down a portion of a ramp to allow the tanker to drive through. (PTI)
Ten states account for over 74 percent of new COVID-19 cases
Ten states account for74.53 percent of the new COVID-19 cases registered in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan make up nearly three quarters of new cases in the country.
COVID-19: Railways deploys COVID care coaches in Delhi, Maharashtra and UP
The Railways Ministry is re-mobilising its initiative of COVID Care isolation Coaches, devised during the initial wave of COVID-19 with add-on conveniences, a statement said on Sunday.
In Delhi, 50 coaches (with 800 beds) are deployed at Shakurbasti station (four patients are currently admitted), while 25 coaches (with 400 beds) have been made available at the Anand Vihar Terminal. In Maharashtra's Nandurbar, 21 coaches (with 378 beds) are positioned and currently 55 patients are admitted at this facility. Twenty coaches have been positioned in Bhopal station and an equal number in Jabalpur, while 50 coaches have been readied for deployment in Punjab. (IANS)
Steel makers supply 1.43 lakh MT medical oxygen since Sep 20: Official data
Steelmakers have supplied about 1.43 metric tonne (MT) liquid medical oxygen to various parts of the country for the treatment of coronavirus patients. From September 2020 to April 22, 2021, the total LMO supplied by the steel was 1,43,876.283 MT, as per data provided by the Steel Ministry.
Private steel companies supplying oxygen are Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AMNS India), JSW Steel, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Vedanta ESL, while state-owned firms are Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL).
Saudi Arabia to ship 80 metric tonnes of oxygen to India
Saudi Arabia is shipping 80 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen to India as the country is running low on supplies due to an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases. "Embassy of India is proud to partner with Adani group and M/s Linde in shipping much-needed 80MT liquid oxygen to India. Our heartfelt thanks to the Ministry of Health Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for all their help, support, and cooperation, the Indian mission in Riyadh tweeted. (PTI)
Sero-positivity 'lower' in smokers & vegetarians, says CSIR survey
Smokers and vegetarians were found to have lower sero-positivity, while those with blood group 'O' may be less susceptible to coronavirus, according to a survey by an top research body. The pan-India serosurvey, conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), suggested that despite COVID-19 being a respiratory disease, smoking might be acting as the first line of defence due to its role in increasing the mucous production.
 
It indicated that vegetarian food rich in fiber might have a role to play in providing immunity against COVID-19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties by modification of gut microbiota. The survey also found that those with blood group 'O' may be less susceptible to infection, while 'B' and 'AB' were at a higher risk. (PTI)
Germany preparing 'urgent support' for India: Angela Merkel
 Germany was preparing to provide emergency aid for India amid surge in coronavirus infections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today. "To the people of India I want to express my sympathy on the terrible suffering that Covid-19 has again brought over your communities," Merkel said in a message shared on Twitter by her spokesman.
Italy imposes travel ban from India over COVID variant
Italy has joined other countries by imposing restrictions on travel from India to avert the spread of a COVID-19 variant as the nation struggles with a surge in infections.
Bharat Biotech seeks DCGI's nod to extend shelf life of Covaxin
Bharat Biotech has written to India's drug regulator seeking extension of the shelf-life of its indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from six to 24 months, sources said on Sunday. Covaxin, along with Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India, are the two vaccines so far being used in India's current COVID-19 vaccination drive. Russian vaccine Sputnik-V has also been approved for emergency use in India.
Night curfew in four HP districts from April 27
Keeping in view a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases, the Himachal Pradesh government imposed a night curfew in its four districts from April 27 to May 10. According to an official statement, the decision was taken in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
TN CM urges PM to halt diversion of oxygen to AP, Telangana
Eighty metric tonnes of liquid oxygen has been diverted to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and this should be halted in view of the increase in oxygen demand, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Oxygen allotment for Tamil Nadu under the national plan is 'inadequate' and 'wrong' and the diversion of oxygen could lead to a 'major crisis,' he said. The medical oxygen requirement is on the rise due to high level of oxygen dependant active COVID-19 cases and there is hence a need to ensure adequate oxygen availability in Tamil Nadu, he said. The state government is taking all efforts to reduce the positive cases but considering the current trends, TN would require 450 MTs (Metric Tonnes) shortly.
Registration on CoWIN must for those between 18 and 45 years to get vaccine shot
Getting registered on the CoWIN web portal and taking an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine jab would be mandatory for those aged between 18 and 45 years as walk-ins will not be allowed initially, official sources said on Sunday. Those above45 years can still avail the facility of on-site registration to get vaccinated, they said.
Govt asks major ports to waive all charges for ships carrying oxygen and related equipment
The government on Sunday said it has directed all major ports to waive all charges for ships carrying oxygen and related equipment amid a massive surge in COVID-19 infections across the country. In a statement,the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said it has directed all major ports to accord the highest priority in the berthing sequence to the vessels carrying consignments of Medical Grade Oxygen,Oxygen Tanks, Oxygen Bottles, Portable Oxygen Generators and Oxygen Concentrators.
Maharashtra Government to vaccinate all its citizens free of cost: State Minister Nawab Malik
Puducherry adds 1,008 new cases
The union territory logged 1,008 fresh cases in the last 24 hours pushing the overall tally to 53,279, a senior health department official said. As per the official eleven succumbed to the virus during the last 24 hours taking the death toll to 748.
India fastest in the world to administer over 14 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses: Govt
India has become the fastest country in the world to administer over 14 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses, done in just 99 days, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday. Eight states -- Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala -- account for 58.83 per cent of the total doses given so far in the country, it said.
Lockdown in Delhi extended till May 3
"We had imposed a 6-day lockdown in Delhi. The lockdown is being extended to next Monday till 5 am, said Arvind Kejriwal. He said that Delhi government has started a portal that will be updated every two hours by oxygen manufacturers, suppliers and hospitals for better management of oxygen supply.
 

 
Second COVID-19 wave has shaken the nation, says PM Modi in 'Mann ki Baat'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the 76th episode of his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat’. He said that after successfully tackling the first wave, India's morale was high but the second wave of COVID-19 has shaken the nation. "I'm speaking to you at a time when COVID-19 is testing our patience & capacity to bear the pain. Many of our loved ones left us untimely. After successfully tackling 1st wave, the nation's morale was high, it was confident but this storm (2nd wave) has shaken the nation," he said. The Prime Minister urged the citizens to only see information on COVID-19 through reliable sources. Read here.
 
India reports over 3.49 lakh new COVID-19 cases, 2,767 deaths in single day
India has reported a record single-day rise of 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections, taking the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,69,60,172, while active cases surpassed the 26-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. There were a record 2,767 daily new fatalities, increasing the death toll to 1,92,311, the data updated at 8 am showed. The active cases have increased to 26,82,751 comprising 15.82 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 83.05 percent. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease increased to 1,40,85,110, while the case fatality rate has fallen to 1.13 percent, as per the data. Read more.
 
COVID-19 surge: Restrictions in place across Kashmir Valley
Strict restrictions on the movement of people were imposed across Kashmir as part of the administration's 34-hour 'corona curfew' amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, officials said on Sunday. The restrictions that came into force on 8 PM on Saturday will remain till 6 AM on Monday in all the ten districts of the valley, the officials said. They said security forces put barricades on roads at many places in the city here as well as in other district headquarters of the valley to prevent the movement of the people. However, essential and emergency services were being allowed to move, they added. Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut across the valley, the officials said, adding, people were cooperating with the administration.
 
India on Sunday reported 3,49,691 new COVID-19 cases, 2,767 deaths and 2,17,113 discharges in the last 24 hours, as per Union Health Ministry
 
Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital receives 5 MT oxygen, highest in 3 days
After an all-night scramble for an oxygen refill, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here received five metric tonnes of the life-saving gas in the early hours of Sunday, according to officials. The hospital had raised an alarm at 10:30 pm on Saturday, saying its oxygen stock would last only an hour. There were 130 patients in the ICU, including 30 on invasive ventilation, when the SOS was sent.
Around 12:20 am it received a tanker, with the help of local AAP MLA Raghav Chadha, which supplied one metric tonne of oxygen. "It should last two hours," a hospital spokesperson said around 12:45 pm.
Pakistan offers COVID-19 relief support to India
As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, Bi PAP, digital X ray machines, PPEs and related items.
The concerned authorities of Pakistan and India can work out modalities for quick delivery of the relief items. They can also explore possible ways of further cooperation to mitigate the challenges posed by the pandemic.
US offers support to India
Our hearts go out to Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID outbreak. We're working closely with our partners in the Indian govt, and we'll rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India & India's healthcare heroes: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
CJI swings in action, meets senior judges to take stock of of COVID-19 situation
Chief Justice of India Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana Saturday swung into action after taking oath as head of the judiciary and held a consultation with six senior judges of the Supreme Court to review functioning in view of the present COVID-19 situation. The 48th CJI, after being administered oath by President Ram Nath Kovind in a brief function, went to the Supreme Court premises on a Saturday, a court holiday, and held a meeting to discuss the apex court's functioning in view of the resurgence of the pandemic, sources told PTI. Besides the CJI, justices R F Nariman, U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and L Nageswara Rao took part in the meeting. The seven senior judges would meet again, they said.
 
Maharashtra to float global tender for vaccines, Remdesivir
The Maharashtra government will float a global tender for COVID19 vaccines and Remdesivir injections, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Saturday. As the Union government has allowed vaccination of people in the age group of 18 to 45, the state will start inoculation drive for this category from May 1, he said.
 
Kerala logs over 26K cases; 'Volcano like situation in state,' says CM
As Kerala's COVID-19 graph continued its surge with over 26,000 fresh cases on Saturday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the situation was grim, and likened it to a volcano that can erupt at any moment. "We are sitting on a volcano which can explode any moment. People should understand the situation and take adequate precaution to protect themselves," Vijayan told reporters.
 
Nepal's former royal couple admitted to hospital for COVID-19 treatment
Nepal's former King Gyanendra Shah and Queen Komal Shah on Saturday have been admitted to a hospital here for treatment of coronavirus, days after they were tested positive for the viral infection on their return from India after participating in the Maha Kumbh at Haridwar. The 73yearold former King and 70yearold former Queen were diagnosed with the disease on April 20.
 
Oxygen Express: 10 containers carrying 150 tonnes of oxygen supplied in last 24 hours
The railways has carried a total of 10 containers carrying nearly 150 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen to different states in the last 24 hours, the national transporter said on Saturday. The Oxygen Express' trains with Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tankers arrived in Nashik and Lucknow for supply to Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, respectively on Saturday.
 
Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital reduces COVID beds amid oxygen crisis, 2nd Delhi govt facility to do so
The Delhi government-run Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital on Saturday reduced the number of COVID beds from 986 to 700 amid a deepening crisis over the scarcity of oxygen vital to save critically ill coronavirus patients. This is the second government hospital in Delhi to have reduced the number of COVID beds, as health facilities across the national capital struggle for a continuous oxygen supply.
 
COVID-19 surge: Palghar to get three oxygen generation plants
Amid a rise in the demand of liquid medical oxygen due to the surge in coronavirus cases, Palghar district in Maharashtra will get three-generation plants to tide over the problem, a senior official said on Saturday. Collector Manik Gursal said the oxygen generation plants, each with a capacity to fill 125 jumbo 10kg cylinders daily, will be set up in Jawhar, Palghar and Dahanu.
 
Sonia asks Rae Bareli DM to utilise her remaining MPLADS funds for welfare of COVID-hit people
Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked the Rae Bareli district magistrate (DM) on Saturday to utilise the remaining amount of her MPLADS funds for the welfare of the COVIDhit people of her parliamentary constituency. She said as informed by officials, an amount of more than Rs 1.17 crore is pending in her MPLADS (Member of Parliaments Local Area Development Scheme) fund.
 
U'khand records highest COVID cases, fatalities in a day
A record single day rise of 5,084 fresh coronavirus cases and 81 fatalities in Uttarakhand pushed the infection tally to 1,47,433 and the death toll to 2,102, the state COVID control room here said. These are the highest fatalities and cases reported in Uttarakhand in a day ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in the state last year.
 
Four cryogenic tanks for transportation of oxygen brought from Singapore
The Indian Air Force on Saturday brought four cryogenic tanks, to be used for transporting oxygen, from Singapore as the country scrambles to meet the spike in demand for medical oxygen amid a surge in COVID19 infections. The containers were airlifted from Singapore by the C17 heavy-lift aircraft of the IAF.
 
J&K to provide COVID-19 vaccine free of cost: L-G office
Jammu and Kashmir will provide the COVID19 vaccine free of cost to people in the 1845 age group, the office of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Saturday. "It has been decided that COVID19 vaccination for people in the age group 1845 years will be cost free in the UT. The cost of the vaccine will be fully borne by the government of J&K. The health department will constitute a panel to work out the logistics," the LG's office said in a tweet.
 
Maharashtra Cong demands free COVID-19 vaccination for all
The Maharashtra Congress on Saturday demanded that all people above the age of 18 be vaccinated against COVID19 free of cost by the Union government. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole told reporters here that he had submitted a letter with the demand to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao.
 
Maha govt to float global tender for COVID-19 vaccine: Ajit Pawar
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday announced that the state government will float a global tender for the COVID19 vaccine and remdesivir injections. Pawar was speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with senior officials to review the COVID19 situation in Pune.
 
Tamil Nadu to shut cinemas, places of worship, bars from April 26
Cinemas, places of worship, malls, bars and salons must be shut effective April 26, the Tamil Nadu government announced on Saturday reintroducing more curbs following surging COVID19 cases. People from abroad and other states shall be allowed entry to Tamil Nadu only if they have registered in the portal http://eregister.tnega.org and information on registration should be produced to authorities on arrival.
 
Goa CM rules out lockdown, says health infra can tackle surge
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday said his government would not impose a lockdown in the state as it would adversely affect the economy. The state has adequate medical infrastructure to treat the rising number of COVID19 patients, the chief minister added.
 
Ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply, free COVID-19 vaccination for all: Yechury writes to PM Modi
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding uninterrupted oxygen supply and a free and universal COVID19 vaccination programme, days after he lost his son to the disease. He also recommended the cancellation of Central Vista project and release of money collected under PMCARES fund for the supply of oxygen and COVID19 vaccine.
 
CII, Karnataka govt to form task force against COVID-19
The Karnataka government and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Saturday decided to form a task force to jointly fight against COVID19. The task force would have representatives from the CII and the State Health Department.
 
J-K records 2,030 fresh COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths
Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday recorded 2,030 fresh COVID19 cases that took the union territory's total tally to 1,58,374 while 15 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,126, officials said. Of the fresh cases, 1,194 were reported from the Kashmir division and 834 were from the Jammu division of the union territory, they said.
 
Train with 3 tankers of medical oxygen arrives in UP
An Oxygen Express train carrying three tankers of liquid medical oxygen arrived in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday morning via a green corridor as the state battled a surge in COVID19 cases. The train arrived from Bokaro in Jharkhand. In view of the high demand for oxygen in the country following a record spike in coronavirus cases, the Railways has decided to run Oxygen Express trains to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country. Tankers are being transported on flat wagons by trains for a quick supply of medical oxygen.
 
Rajasthan adds 15,355 COVID-19 cases, 74 deaths
The total number of COVID19 cases in Rajasthan surged to 4,98,628 on Saturday as 15,355 more people tested positive for the contagious disease, according to an official report. Seventy four more fatalities pushed the death toll to 3,527, the report stated.
Mithun, Dilip Ghosh violated COVID-19 protocols, complaint filed: TMC leader
The TMC claimed on Saturday that BJP leaders Dilip Ghosh and actor Mithun Chakraborty have violated COVID19 protocols by organising public meetings that were attended by more than 500 people, and said a complaint has been filed with the EC in the matter. Senior TMC leader Saugata Roy told reporters here that Ghosh, the state BJP president, and Chakraborty, an actor turned politician, held public meetings at Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda districts respectively, with little or no regard for directions given by the EC amid the COVID19 surge.
WB polls: EC says enforcement of COVID-appropriate behaviour 'less than adequate', asks SDMA to step up action
The Election Commission on Saturday noted with concern that the enforcement of COVIDappropriate behaviour under the Disaster Management Act during campaigning in West Bengal has been "less than adequate". It also said that the body tasked with the enforcement of COVID19 guidelines needs to step up its assigned duty.
Telangana to administer free COVID-19 vaccine to all: CM
The Telangana government will administer the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost to the entire population in the state irrespective of their age, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced on Saturday. Rao said it would cost more than Rs 2,500 crore to vaccinate everyone, and taking into consideration the importance of the lives of people, this amount is worth spending.
Biological E gets nod for Phase III trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Biological E. Limited (BE) on Saturday announced that it has successfully completed Phase I/II clinical trials of its COVID19 subunit vaccine candidate in India and received the approval to start the Phase III clinical trial from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) Subject Expert Committee (SEC). BE started the Phase I/II clinical trials of its COVID19 Vaccine candidate in the second week of November 2020, the vaccine maker said in a press release.
Kerala's active cases nearing the 2-lakh mark, 26,685 fresh COVID-19 infections reported
Kerala's active cases soared to 1.98 lakh on Saturday as the state reported 26,685 fresh COVID19 infections, 73 of them health workers, pushing the caseload to 13,77,186. the state government said. The toll mounted to 5,080 with 25 more fatalities.
Umpire Thakur dies due to COVID-related complications
Former international umpire Suresh Kumar Thakur has died due to COVID19related complications, Hockey India said on Saturday. He was 51 and passed away on Friday in Mohali. Thakur had officiated in several international tournaments including the Four Nation Tournament in Hamburg (Germany) and the Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. He also officiated in the Hockey India League in 2013 and 2014.
Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel tests positive for COVID-19
Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Saturday informed that he has tested positive for coronavirus infection. Patel, 64, who also holds the health portfolio, was admitted to the U N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre here after testing positive.
COVID-19 norms violated during horse race; cases filed
Kerala police on Saturday registered a case against over 200 people in connection with a horse race held near here for violating the COVID19 health protocols. Police said they have registered three cases one against the organisers, another against around 20 jockeys and the third against around 200 unidentified people who had gathered around a temple at Thathamangalam, a village on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
Maharashtra: IAF ferries empty oxygen containers to Jamnagar for refill
The Indian Air Force on Saturday airlifted two empty oxygen containers from Pune to filling stations in Jamnagar and two more containers will be flown there during the day, a defence release said. The containers will return to Maharashtra by road or train once they are loaded with medical oxygen which is in high demand due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Plant a tree: Maharashtra doctor's special prescription to patients
In view of the shortage of medical oxygen being faced at present, a doctor in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra has started urging his patients to plant a sapling each his special prescription to them in addition to medicines. Dr Komal Kasar, who runs Sanjeevani Hospital in Ahmednagar, has been following this practice for the last one month.
Teachers' body condemns JNU over not opening COVID management centres on campus
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) on Saturday condemned the "noncooperative" attitude of the JNU administration in starting a COVID care facility on the campus. In a statement, signed by JNUTA president Milap C Sharma and secretary Moushumi Basu, asked the university authorities to not stand on "rigidities" and be flexible to demands that are being made by residents.
Iran bans flights from India and Pakistan
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency is reporting the country's civil aviation agency has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan because of the dramatic surge in coronavirus cases in the two nations. IRNA says the decision was made by Iran's Health Ministry and it takes effect Saturday at midnight.

Medical facilities of DPSUs, OFB to treat civilian COVID-19 patients: Rajnath after review meet

All health facilities of defence public sector undertakings and Ordnance Factory Board have been allowed to provide health services to civilians infected with the coronavirus, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday. Singh also said that the armed forces and the defence ministry will leave no stone unturned in providing all possible assistance to the civil administrations in dealing with the pandemic.

MP: Long queues outside BHEL to get oxygen cylinders refilled
Amid acute shortage of medical oxygen due to a surge in coronavirus cases, vehicles and individuals are queuing up outside the BHEL's plant here to get the empty cylinders refilled with the lifesaving gas. Due to the rising demand, the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited's Bhopal unit has been functioning round the clock to provide oxygen to citizens, an official said.
 
Tamil Nadu sets up 24 x 7 call centre to ensure oxygen supply to hospitals
A 24 x 7 call centre has been set up to resolve 'any issues' faced by hospitals related to supply of medical oxygen and health facilities may call 104 for assistance, the Tamil Nadu government said on Saturday. The demand for medical oxygen from hospitals and nursing homes is expected to rise as the number of COVID19 cases was increasing and oxygen manufacturing industries in the State have been instructed to 'explore methods' to increase production, the government said.
 
JK Congress asks workers to help needy amid spike in COVID-19 infections
Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir on Saturday asked party workers to help the needy and health authorities amid a spike in COVID19 infections. He expressed concern over the surge in COVID19 cases and alleged that because of the failure of the central government, people are dying due to lack of oxygen and medicines in hospitals.
 
Left with no option, hospitals in Delhi forced to use back up stock amid severe oxygen crisis
Amid deepening crisis over the scarcity of oxygen, several hospitals in the national capital have been left with no option but to use their back up stock, with some like Saroj Super Speciality Hospital advising relatives to shift their patients to another facility. While Fortis Hospital (Shalimar Bagh), presently running on its back up oxygen supply, urged the prime minister, Delhi chief minister and other ministers for "immediate assistance", Saroj Super Speciality, having not received oxygen refill for the past 44 hours, is now advising its patients to shift to other hospitals.
 
Serum Institute defends COVID vaccine pricing, says initial rates based on advance funding
Serum Institute of India, which makes the most used COVID-19 vaccine in the country, on Saturday defended pricing Covishield vaccine at 1.5 times the initial rate, saying the earlier price was based on advance funding and now it has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots. Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures AstraZeneca's vaccine Covishield at its Pune facility, earlier this week announced a price of Rs 600 per dose and at Rs 400 for state governments and any new contract by the central government.
 
Manmohan Singh recuperating well from COVID-19
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh is recuperating well from COVID19 infection at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, a Congress leader said on Saturday. "Singh is stable and is progressing well. He has had no episodes of fever," Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
 

Amit Shah inaugurates PSA oxygen plant in Gandhinagar

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday inaugurated a 280litre per minute capacity PSA oxygen plant at a COVID19designated hospital at Kolavada in Gujarat's Gandhinagar Speaking on the occasion, the Union home minister said 11 more such plants will be set up in Gujarat under the Prime Minister's Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation (PM CARES) Fund. Shah inaugurated the pressure swing absorption (PSA) oxygen plant at a COVID19 centre set up at an Ayurvedic hospital at Kolavada, which falls under his Parliamentary constituency of Gandhinagar.

COVID-19: SC should've intervened during poll rallies, Kumbh
The Shiv Sena on Saturday said the COVID19 situation in the county wouldn't have worsened had the Supreme Court taken timely cognisance of election rallies in West Bengal and the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. The party's remarks come after the apex court's order asking the Centre for a national plan on oxygen supply and vaccination amid the pandemic.
 
Ganga Ram Hospital asks govt to consider reducing patient intake amid oxygen crisis
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Saturday asked the government to consider reducing patient intake amid a deepening oxygen crisis in Delhi. The hospital had on Friday reported the death of 25 of its "sickest" patients as the administration grappled with depleting oxygen supplies.
 
PM's inept handling of COVID-19 caused second wave: Ex-CM
Former Chief Minister of Puducherry and senior Congress leader V Narayanasamy on Saturday charged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with inept handling of the COVID19 situation. The alleged ineptness has led to the second wave of the virus, said Narayanasamy.
 
IAF airlifts medical equipment to Ladakh to augment COVID-19 testing capacity
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday airlifted to Ladakh medical equipment weighing 1,700 kg, including biosafety cabinets and centrifuges, which will help augment COVID19 testing facilities in the union territory, officials said. The Council of Scientific and Industrial ResearchIndian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIRIIIM) in Jammu provided the equipment.
 
2 COVID-19 patients die as oxygen valve gets turned off
Two COVID19 patients died after an oxygen supply valve was allegedly turned off by an unidentified person at the civil hospital in Beed district of Maharashtra, their relatives claimed on Saturday. The incident took place on Friday night in the hospital's ward number 7, they said.
 
Be cautious about conspiracies by destructive, anti-Bharat forces amid COVID crisis: RSS
The RSS on Saturday appealed to the people to be cautious about conspiracies by "destructive and anti-Bharat" forces, claiming they can take advantage of the adverse circumstances posed by the COVID19 second wave to "create an atmosphere of negativity and mistrust". Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale asked the outfit's workers, social and religious institutions to come forward to resolve current challenges.
Former CM H D Kumaraswamy recovers from COVID-19, returns home
Former chief minister of Karnataka H D Kumaraswamy on Saturday said he has recovered from coronavirus and has returned home. "Due to your love, affection and prayers, I came home from the hospital today, recovering from a corona infection.
 
Karnataka to set up makeshift hospitals to tide over COVID demand
Amid explosion of COVID19 cases in Karnataka, the state government has decided to set up makeshift hospitals with ICU and ventilator here and elsewhere in a fortnight and ordered the private facilities to reserve 80 per cent of the beds for coronavirus patients. Addressing reporters here on Saturday, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, "Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa took an important decision on Friday to set up 2,000bed makeshift ICU with ventilators within the campus of the tertiary care hospitals in Bengaluru." Besides, makeshift hospitals with modular ICU with a capacity of about 250 beds will be established in Mysuru, Hubballi, Bidar, Belagavi and Shivamogga.
 
Vaccination drive for people above 18 years in Tripura likely to be delayed: Official
The COVID-19 vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18 to 44 years in Tripura is likely to be delayed as the vaccine manufacturer has not yet assured supply of doses on time, a senior health department official said on Saturday. National Health Mission (NHM) Director Dr Siddharth Shiv Jaiswal said that the state government is fully prepared to start the vaccination programme scheduled on May 1 but the vaccine manufacturer is yet to confirm the dates for supply of the doses.
Govt must be held morally, politically accountable: Anand Sharma on COVID-19 deaths
Noting that accountability of government is integral to democracy, Congress leader Anand Sharma on Saturday said the Narendra Modi dispensation must be held morally and politically accountable for the death of COVID19 patients due to shortage of oxygen and critical medicines. He said the government must answer why it did not put an exigency plan in place before the onset of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
India to get Russia's Sputnik V COVID vaccine by end-April
Sources privy to the developments told CNBC-TV18 that India will start receiving Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine by end of April, 2021.
 
Basic customs duty, health cess to be waived off on oxygen & oxygen related equipment
The Narendra Modi government on Saturday has decided to grant full exemption from basic customs duty and health cess on import of the following items related to oxygen and oxygen related equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect:
  • Medical grade oxygen.
  • Oxygen concentrator along with flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubing.
  • Vacuum Pressure Swing Absorption (VPSA) and Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plants, Cryogenic Oxygen Air Separation Units (ASUs) producing liquid/ gaseous oxygen.
  • Oxygen Cannister.
  • Oxygen Filling Systems.
  • Oxygen Storage tanks, Oxygen cylinders including cryogenic cylinders and tanks.
  • Oxygen Generators.
  • ISO Containers for Shipping oxygen.
  • Cryogenic road transport tanks for oxygen.
  • Parts of the above to be used for the manufacture of equipment for production, transportation, distribution or storage of oxygen.
  • Any other device from which oxygen can be generated.
  • Ventilators (capable of functioning as high-flow devices) with nasal canula; compressors including all accessories and tubing; humidifiers and Viral filters.
  • High flow nasal canula device with all attachments.
  • Helmets for use with non-invasive ventilation.
  • Non-invasive ventilation oronasal masks for ICU ventilators.
  • Non-invasive ventilation nasal masks for ICU ventilators.
  •  
    Also, the government has decided to exempt basic customs duty on import of COVID vaccines with immediate effect for a period of three months.

    EC top brass reviews enforcement of COVID guidelines during campaigning in Bengal

    Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Saturday reviewed enforcement of COVID guidelines during campaigning in West Bengal where two remaining phases of assembly elections are to take place next week. A poll panel spokesperson said the EC top brass reviewed the enforcement of COVID guidelines with West Bengal chief secretary, police chief, health secretary and Kolkata police commissioner.

    Sachin Tendulkar recovers from COVID-19, to donate plasma
    Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday said he has recovered from COVID19 and will donate plasma when he is eligible. Tendulkar, celebrating his 48th birthday on Saturday, tested positive for the virus on March 27 and had to be briefly hospitalised here as a precautionary measure. "I would like to give a message, which the doctors have told me to give. Last year, I had inaugurated a plasma donation centre and their message, if plasma is given at the right time, patients can recover faster," Tendulkar said in a video posted on his twitter handle.
     
    Delhi HC asks Centre about preparedness to deal with COVID-19 second wave peak, terms it 'Tsunami'
    The Delhi High Court on Saturday asked the Centre about the preparedness to deal with the expected COVID19 second wave peak in midMay, terming the massive rise in cases as a Tsunami', and warned it will "hang" any person who tries to obstruct oxygen supplies to hospitals here. Talking tough, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, said this during a special hearing on a holiday on the issue of mounting oxygen crisis in various hospitals in Delhi.
     
    Special corridor facilitated for oxygen tanker to reach Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in eastern Delhi
    The Delhi Police on Saturday created a green corridor and helped Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in the eastern part of the national capital to get an oxygen tanker, officials said. According to police, a message and call was received from the government's appointed nodal officer for the hospital for police assistance of the transportation of oxygen tanker from Inox Plant, Modinagar in Ghaziabad.
    The details of the tanker and driver were shared. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) immediately contacted DIG Police, Ghaziabad and SP Rural Ghaziabad and started the coordination for swift transportation with police escort, a senior police officer said. Later, a team was dispatched from GTB Enclave police station which met the UP Police team midway and took over the responsibility, they said. They escorted the tanker through the shortest possible route and finally reached the hospital within an hour around 11 am, the officer added.

    Sources to CNBC-TV18
    • Empowered Group of Officials is closely looking at procuring oxygen tankers and oxygen concentrators from abroad.
    • Empowered Group looking at the possibility of importing oxygen concentrators and containers from Germany, Singapore, UAE, Russia, UK, US and EU countries.
    • Centre is procuring concentrators and tankers both commercially and is accepting donations as well.
    • Several associations, NGOs and NRIs have also offered to help with oxygen supplies.
    • Indian missions abroad closely involved in procuring essential medical equipment.
    • PSUs and private companies also involved in augmenting India's pandemic response.
    •  
      AFMS deploys additional health professionals at SVP COVID hospital in Delhi
      The Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has deployed additional health professionals, including doctors and paramedical staff, at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) COVID hospital in Delhi to combat the current surge in COVID19 cases, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday. "As against 294 doctors and health workers in 2020, 378 have been mobilised in 2021 (by AFMS)," the ministry's statement noted.
       
      Odisha towns under weekend shutdown as COVID cases breach 4- lakh-mark
      Odisha on Saturday reported 6,647 new COVID19 cases, following which the state's tally breached the 4lakhmark, officials said. Eight more people died in the state of COVID19, taking the toll to 1,981, they said.

      20 patients die in Jaipur Golden Hospital as Delhi's desperate oxygen hunt continues
      Twenty people died at Delhi's Jaipur Golden Hospital, their lives ebbing away as the hospital waited for oxygen to be replenished, officials said on Saturday, day five of a deepening crisis over the scarcity of oxygen vital to save critically ill Covid patients. Every few hours, as it has been for the last days, hospitals across the national capital and its suburbs sent out desperate messages of help on social media and other platforms, flagging their dwindling stocks of oxygen.
       
      4 cryogenic tanks for transporting oxygen being airlifted from Singapore, says MHA
      Amid the grim COVID19 situation in the country, four cryogenic tanks, to be used for the transportation of oxygen, is being airlifted from Singapore on Saturday. A Home Ministry official said the four empty tanks are being brought to India by a heavy lift transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
       
      Rajnath reviews defence ministry's efforts to deal with pandemic crisis
      Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday reviewed efforts by various wings of the ministry in contributing to India's battle against a fastspreading second wave of coronavirus. Singh carried out the review at a virtual meeting attended by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy among others.
       
      Weekend curfew: Normal life hit in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi dists
      Normal life was disrupted in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts as the weekend curfew in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases came into force from Saturday. Shops selling essential items were allowed to open from 6 am till 10 am when people flocked to make urgent purchases.
       
      10 states account for 74.15% of new COVID-19 cases: Health Ministry
      Ten states, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, reported 74.15 per cent of the new COVID19 cases reported in a day, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. It also said 12 states are displaying an upward trajectory in daily cases. These are Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal.
       
      Jagannath Temple in Puri to remain closed for devotees till May 15
      The Jagannath Temple in Puri will remain closed for devotees till May 15 in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.
       
      Kuwait suspends all commercial flights from India amid COVID-19 surge
      Kuwait on Saturday suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India until further notice due to the worsening COVID19 situation in the country. The move came after instructions from health authorities.
       
      COVID challenge bigger than last year, stop it from hitting villages: PM Modi
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the COVID19 challenge before the country now is bigger than the last year and called for making efforts to ensure that the infectious disease is stopped from hitting villages "by all means". Addressing a ceremony on Panchayati Raj Diwas during which Modi launched the distribution of eproperty cards under the 'SWAMITVA scheme, he said the pandemic was prevented from affecting rural areas last year and exuded confidence that the success can be replicated as local leadership now have experience as well as knowledge. Chief ministers of eight states joined the event, held virtually, while a large number of local body representatives also connected to the ceremony.
       
      Six patients die at Amritsar hospital due to 'oxygen shortage'
      Six patients died at a private hospital here on Saturday due to the shortage of oxygen, hospital authorities said. Five of the six patients were infected with COVID19, they said.
       
      New and more potent strain of coronavirus detected in Sri Lanka: immunologist
      A new coronavirus strain that is airborne and more potent than all those found previously in Sri Lanka has been discovered in the island nation, according to a top immunologist here. The variant, which is highly transmissible, can remain airborne for nearly an hour and is spreading fast, Neelika Malavige, the head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University said.
       
      Death of patients in hospital: Rahul Gandhi urges Delhi govt to help families of deceased
      Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday condoled the death of critically ill patients at a hospital here amid a serious oxygen crisis and appealed to the Delhi government to provide all possible assistance to the families of the deceased. Twenty critically ill patients died overnight at Jaipur Golden Hospital in Delhi amid a serious oxygen crisis, officials said.
       
      21-yr-old Indian man in Singapore tests positive for COVID-19 despite both doses of vaccine
      A 21-year-old Indian national, who had received both doses of the COVID19 vaccine, is among the 36 new coronavirus cases reported in Singapore in the last 24 hours, according to a media report on Saturday. The Indian did not have any symptoms and was detected when he was tested on April 19 as part of the Health Ministry's routine testing of foreign workers, the TODAY newspaper reported.
       
      Kerala govt docs call for COVID-19 war room in medical colleges
      A section of doctors have urged the Kerala government to set up a 'COVID19 war room' in staterun medical colleges to coordinate the treatment arrangements for the pandemic and implement special disability insurance for medical staff suffering from permanant health issues due to the viral infection. As the country was facing the second wave of the disease, the Kerala Government Medical Teachers' Association (KGMCTA) has submitted a set of expert suggestions to the authorities to consider for immediate implementation.
       
      COVID advisory panel recommends more stringent restrictions in Karnataka
      With Bengaluru recording 1.5 lakh active coronavirus cases, the highest for any city in the country, the Karnataka Task Advisory Committee on COVID 19 has asked the state government to impose stringent restrictions, including lockdown for 14 days to break the chain. The members of the panel have also recommended to the government to increase the number of beds to tide over the crisis.
       
      Qureshi extends support to Indian people affected by COVID-19 surge
      Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday expressed support to the people of India in the wake of a massive surge in COVID19 cases in the country and extended his sympathies to the affected families. Qureshi said the COVID19 crisis is yet another reminder that humanitarian issues require responses beyond political consideration.
       
      Fortis Hospital running out of oxygen
      Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh is running out of oxygen and is maintaining current patients on back-up system which will last for another 2-3 hours. We had timely escalated this impending situation to all authorities and are waiting for promised supplies since early morning. At the moment, we are out of options and suspending new admissions & ER services till situation improves. We are trying to manage admitted patients to the best of our abilities.
       
      Mumbai vaccination centres (April 24)
      Total centres: 132
      Only 18 percent of total vaccination centres fully operational with sufficient vaccine stock.
      47 percent (62 Of 132) of vaccination centres non-functional today.
      35 percent (47 Of 132) of total vaccination centres have limited stock.
       
      ITC to airfreight oxygen cryogenic containers to help ease crisis
      To serve the national priority of easing the bottleneck of transporting medical oxygen, and to support the Government’s efforts, ITC Limited has tied up with Linde India Ltd. to airfreight 24 cryogenic ISO containers of 20 tonne each from Asian countries for use by them to transport medical oxygen across the country. In addition, ITC is airlifting large numbers of oxygen concentrators for distribution. Its paperboards unit in Bhadrachalam has commenced supply of oxygen to neighbouring areas.
       
      Venkaiah Naidu lauds COVID warriors at local level on National Panchayati Raj Day
      Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday lauded COVID warriors at the local level for working selflessly during the coronavirus pandemic. He said in a vast country like India, Panchayati Raj institutions are best placed to reach out to the needy and the poor in times of crisis like the present one.
       
      Jadavpur University to remain close till May 3
      Jadavpur University authorities on Saturday announced that the institution will remain closed till May 3 due to sudden spike of COVID19 cases in West Bengal. JU Registrar Snehamanju Basu told.
       
      Raigad records 1,487 new COVID-19 cases; 32 casualties
      Maharashtra's Raigad district has recorded 1,487 fresh cases of COVID19 and 32 more fatalities, an official said on Saturday. With the latest cases and casualties recorded on Friday, the tally of infections reached 97,613, while the toll rose to 2,060, the official said.
       
      Delhi High Court: Will hang anyone blocking oxygen supply
      The Delhi High Court said on Saturday that if any official at the central, state or local administration was obstructing in the picking up or supply of oxygen, then it would "hang" that person. The observation by a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli came during the hearing of a plea by Maharaja Agrasen Hospital over shortage of oxygen for seriously ill COVID patients. The court told the Delhi government to give it one instance of who was obstructing the oxygen supply and said "we will hang that man". "We will not spare anyone," the bench added. The court told the Delhi government to inform the Centre also about such officials of the local administration so that it could take action against them. The high court also asked the Centre when the 480 metric tonne (MT) of oxygen per day allocated for Delhi would see the light of the day.
      "You (Centre) had assured us (on April 21) that 480 MT per day will reach Delhi. Tell us when will it come? The 480 MT per day is still to see the light of the day," the court said. The query came after the Delhi government said it was getting only 380 MT oxygen per day over the past few days and it received only around 300 MT on Friday.
      Govt extends deadline for making payment under Vivad Se Vishwas scheme till June 30
      The government on Saturday extended the deadline for making payment under the direct tax dispute resolution scheme Vivad Se Vishwas by two months till June 30 due to a severe COVID pandemic. Also, it has extended the due date for issuance of notice for reopening of assessment by tax officers where income has escaped assessment and sending intimation of processing of Equalisation Levy till June 30. "It has also been decided that time for payment of amount payable under the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020, without an additional amount, shall be further extended to 30th June 2021," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement.
      Need to ensure COVID-19 doesn't impact villages: PM
      Addressing a programme on Panchayati Raj Day, PM Narendra Modi said we need to ensure that the pandemic doesn't impact villages. Villages need to ensure COVID-appropriate behaviour is enforced at all times. He added saying challenges this time are more than the previous year. People in villages need to get both the doses of vaccines, he added. Under the PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana, the government has extended free ration for poor for May and June as well. 80 crore people will benefit from this scheme, PM said, while we will spend Rs 24,000 crore on free ration for people.
      Djokovic hopes COVID-19 vaccine will not become compulsory for players
      Novak Djokovic said he hopes it will not become mandatory for players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to compete on the ATP circuit and that their freedom of choice should be supported. The ATP earlier this month issued new guidelines saying players who have been vaccinated would not be considered a close contact of anybody testing positive. The governing body of men's tennis also drew up an exemption list for players who have been vaccinated.
      20 isolation railway coaches set up in Bhopal
      In a bid to address the bed crunch in hospitals amid rising COVID-19 cases, the West Central Railways has deployed 20 isolation coaches at Bhopal station, which will become operational from Sunday. "In Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, 20 Covid Care Coaches have been arranged by the Indian Railways, which will have 320 beds. These coaches will start functioning fully from April 25," Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal informed in a tweet on Saturday morning. An official of Bhopal division of West Central Railways said these coaches have been deployed at platform number-6 of Bhopal railway station. These are only isolation coaches and oxygen support system is not installed in them, officials said.
      COVID-19: Hospitals in Delhi gasp for oxygen amid staggered supply
      A number of hospitals in the national capital grappled with oxygen scarcity on Saturday amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has stretched the city's healthcare infrastructure to the limits. Twenty critically ill patients died overnight at Jaipur Golden Hospital in Delhi amid a serious oxygen crisis, officials said. "The oxygen pressure has dipped as we are running out of stock," Dr D K Baluja, the medical director of Jaipur Golden Hospital, told PTI. He said the hospital has over 200 patients and they had only half an hour of oxygen was left at 10:45 am. Batra Hospital in Tughlakabad Institutional Area received emergency oxygen supply from the Delhi government moments after it exhausted its stock, officials said. Executive Director of the hospital, Sudhanshu Bankata, said the facility exhausted its oxygen stock around 9 am. "Just now, we received an emergency supply from the Delhi government. It will last other one-and-a-half hours. Our supplier has not been responding to calls," he said. There are around 350 patients admitted to the hospital, of which 265 are COVID-19 positive and 30 are in the ICU.
      COVID-19 surge: Lockdown-like curbs in force in Kerala
      The 48-hour lockdown-like curbs imposed by the Kerala government following the unprecedented COVID-19 surge came into force in the state with only essential services and emergency activities being allowed and a holiday declared for government offices and PSUs. Police carried out intense vehicle check across the state since early this morning to ensure that nobody ventured out on roads and public places unnecessarily. In all major thoroughfares, police personnel could be seen stopping both two-wheelers and cars and verifying the identity cards and mandatory self-declaration to know their purpose of the travel. According to police sources, those travelling for needy and genuine purpose would not be stopped.
      Bombay HC directs Maha Government to ensure Remdesivir is available to patients

      Maharashtra sugar mills step in to produce oxygen as the state faces acute shortage
      The sugar mills in Maharashtra have come forward to produce oxygen in their plants amid the acute shortage of medical oxygen in hospitals across the states. Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar earlier this week had appealed to all sugar factories in the state to use their machinery and equipment to produce oxygen. Read more
      Request L-G, CM to supply oxygen to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital urgently: Delhi BJP prez
      Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta on Saturday requested Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to supply oxygen to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, saying the situation was bad there and the patients were in a very critical state. Grappling with depleting oxygen levels, the hospital had got a tanker on Friday night to meet its requirements for the life saving-gas for its patients. More than 500 COVID-19 patients are admitted in the hospital, of which an estimated 140 require high-flow oxygen, according to the hospital officials.
      If anyone obstructs oxygen supply, we will hang him: HC
      The Delhi High Court said on Saturday that if any official at the central, state or local administration was obstructing in the picking up or supply of oxygen, then "we will hang that man". The observation by a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli came during a hearing of a plea by Maharaja Agrasen Hospital over shortage of oxygen for seriously ill COVID patients. The court told the Delhi government to give it one instance of who was obstructing the oxygen supply and said "we will hang that man". "We will not spare anyone," the bench added.
      20 patients die due to oxygen shortage in Delhi's Jaipur Golden Hospital
      Twenty critically ill patients died overnight at Jaipur Golden Hospital in Delhi amid a serious oxygen crisis, officials said on Saturday. "The oxygen pressure has dipped as we are running out of stock," Dr D K Baluja, the medical director of Jaipur Golden Hospital, told PTI. He said the hospital has over 200 patients and they had only half an hour of oxygen was left at 10:45 am. It received the last refill of oxygen around midnight, after hours of delay. "Nobody has promised anything. Everybody is saying we will do our best," the medical director said when asked if the hospital received any help from the government. Dr Baluja said the hospital has over 200 patients and 80 per cent of them are on oxygen support. Around 35 patients are in the ICU, he said.
      Oxygen tankers reach Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
      Tankers carrying 1.5 tons of oxygen reaches Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi at 11:30 am on Saturday. But the hospital fears that it may last only for 2 hours. A hospital spokesperson told our sources that until the tankers arrived, the hospital was running at half the normal pressure. Again the drill starts for more oxygen as this may last for only 1.5-2 hours, they said.
      Less than two hours of oxygen supply left at Maxwell Hospital, Gurugram

      BMC to set up 16 oxygen plants in 12 civic hospitals in Mumbai
      BMC will set up 16 oxygen plants in 12 civic hospitals of Mumbai to tackle the oxygen shortage in the city. The plants will produce 43 metric tonnes of oxygen. According to sources, the oxygen plants will generate oxygen by taking it from the air.
      Delhi's Batra Hospital receives emergency oxygen supply minutes after exhausting stock
      Batra Hospital in the national capital's Tughlakabad Institutional Area received emergency oxygen supply from the Delhi government moments after it exhausted its stock, officials said on Saturday. The city has been grappling with the shortage in oxygen supply amid a huge surge in coronavirus cases.

      Maharashtra: 2 prisoners escape from COVID centre, 4 cops suspended

      Four policemen were placed under suspension after two prisoners admitted in a COVID care centre escaped on Friday in Bhiwandi in Thane district, per a PTI report. The two escaped at around 4:30 am from a washroom situated on the 15th floor of a complex being used as a COVID care centre, the official said. Read more
      Customs to expedite clearance for COVID-19 related import consignments: Piyush Goyal
      In another step towards fighting COVID-19, Customs will expedite clearances for import consignments relating to the pandemic to ensure critical equipment and medicine can reach on time.
      GOI procures Covishield, Covaxin for Rs 150 per dose

      India sees world’s highest 24-hour surge in cases for 3rd day
      -> India records 3.46 lakh COVID-19 cases, world's highest 24-hour surge in cases for the third straight day
      -> India's active cases increase by over 1 lakh for the eighth straight day, it's up 1.24 lakhs
      -> At the same time, India's recoveries increase by 2.19 lakhs and deaths see a record rise of 2.624
      -> Positivity rate rises to 19.77 percent from yesterday's 19.12 percent
      -> The recovery rate went down below 84 percent for the second day, it’s At 83.49% vs. the previous day’s 83.92 percent
      -> India has vaccinated over 13.83 crore people to date, with over 29 lakh people vaccinated in the last 24 hours
      -> Single-day testing remains above 17 lakhs; it’s 17.53 lakh today, highest-ever
      -> Total cases rise to 1.66 crores, active cases at 25.52 lakhs, and recoveries at 1.38 crore, and deaths 1.89 lakhs
      US CDC votes in favour of J&J vaccine

      Nisha Biswal, President, US-India Business Council says:
      India’s current wave requires immediate support from the United States and the international community. India has always stepped up to support others in need and now the time has come for us to help India.
      Kuwait suspends commercial flights from India
      Kuwait's directorate general of civil aviation said early on Saturday in a tweet that it had suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India, effective April 24 and until further notice. All passengers arriving from India either directly or via another country will be banned from entering unless they have spent at least 14 days out of India, the statement said. Kuwaiti citizens, their first degree relatives and their domestic workers will be allowed to enter. Cargo is unaffected.
      America reacts to India's COVID-19 situation

      Reliance to roll out vaccination programme for employees, eligible family members from 1 May
      Reliance Industries will roll out its own vaccination programme, R-Suraksha, across locations to inoculate all its employees and eligible family members above the age of 18 years from 1 May, the company said on Friday. Read more
      Pressure mounts on Biden admin to ship AstraZeneca vaccine to India
      The Biden administration has come under intense pressure from various quarters, including the powerful US Chambers of Commerce, lawmakers and eminent Indian-Americans, to ship AstraZeneca and other COVID-19 vaccines along with several life-saving medical supplies to India, which is witnessing a deadly surge in coronavirus cases. Read more
      White House Chief Medical Officer Anthony Fauci on India's COVID-19 situation
      Indian is going through a terrible situation right now and needs to get their people vaccinated because that’s the only way we’re going to turn that around. They’ve had the largest number of cases that has ever been reported by any country. New variants have arisen in India and the US has not yet fully characterized the variants and the relationship between the ability of the vaccines to protect. The CDC is helping India out by consulting with them.
      Oxygen Express train with 30,000 litres of liquid medical oxygen arrives in UP
      An Oxygen Express train carrying around 30,000 litres of liquid medical oxygen arrived here on Saturday morning as Uttar Pradesh is battling a sudden surge in coronavirus cases, an official said. The special train carrying two truckloads of medical oxygen arrived in the state capital at 6.30 am from Bokaro, Jharkhand.
      AIIMS postpones entrance exam for INI-CET for PG courses for July 2021 session
      UK PM Boris Johnson offers to support India
      British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered to support India in its fight against coronavirus as the country continued to grapple with a second wave. He said the UK is looking at what it can do to help India. Britain could help India with ventilators, therapeutics, dexamethasone and some other medicines.
      Mumbai Police has discontinued color-coded stickers for vehicles
      Mumbai Police has discontinued categorising private vehicles using colour-coded stickers after a week of restricting the movement of vehicles in the city. The Police had earlier mandated citizens to categorise their vehicles using green, red, and yellow stickers to allow movement.

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