AS COVID NUMBERS SEE A SURGE, INDIA PUTS VACCINATION DRIVE IN FAST LANE - The Daily Guardian
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AS COVID NUMBERS SEE A SURGE, INDIA PUTS VACCINATION DRIVE IN FAST LANE

Sabyasachi Roy Choudhury

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Corona

With the country witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, the government has put the vaccination drive in the fast lane.

India administered 1.4 million vaccine doses in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed on Friday, the highest in a day since the campaign began on 16 January. The country still has to nearly double its current rate of vaccination to meet its target of covering 300 million people by August. India has so far given 18 million doses to about 15 million people.

The vaccination pace increased this week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off an expansion of the drive to include the elderly and those aged 45-59 suffering from medical conditions. The government has also roped in many private hospitals, allowing them to run vaccinations throughout the day and assuring there is no shortage of shots in the world’s biggest vaccine-making country. Unlike earlier when health and frontline workers had to get their shots in assigned vaccination centres, people are now free to choose their site.

What also gave the exercise an impetus was PM Modi himself opting for the jab. The Prime Minister on Monday opted for Bharat Biotech’s government-backed vaccine Covaxin.

Amid all this, India reported 16,838 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday and the tally has climbed to 1,11,73,761 while the number of recoveries has surged to 1,08,39,894 on Friday. The death count due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,57,548 in the country with 113 more fatalities reported in the last 24 hours.

Delhi reported 312 new coronavirus cases and three deaths, taking the total number of cases to 6,40,494 and the death toll to 10,918. The total tally of recoveries is 6,27,797, meanwhile, the national capital has 1,779 active cases. 

Maharashtra recorded over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total infection count to 2,198,399. With 53 new deaths, the toll reached 52,393. Over 6,400 discharges have been recorded during the same period.

Rajasthan recorded 195 fresh coronavirus cases, raising its tally to 3,21,123 while the death count reached 2,789 with one more fatality. A total of 1,584 patients are under treatment while 3,16,750 have recovered from the infection.

Kerala logged 2,776 fresh coronavirus cases including 10 health workers and 16 related deaths, taking the caseload to 10,72,785 and the death count to 4,271. As many as 3,638 people were cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries to 10,24,309. A total of 66,103 samples were examined on Friday, taking the overall number to 1,17,79,163. The test positivity rate stood at 4.20%.

Odisha’s Covid-19 tally mounted to 3,37,620 as 91 more people tested positive for the infection. Of the fresh cases, 53 were reported from quarantine centres and 38 were detected during contact tracing. The death count remained at 1,917 as no new fatality has been reported since Wednesday.

Puducherry logged 30 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall tally to 39,824 on Friday. No fresh fatality was reported from any of the four regions – Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam. As many as 20 patients were discharged after treatment.

Telangana recorded 166 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the total positives to over 2.99 lakh while two deaths pushed the tally to 1,639. The total number of cases stood at 2,99,572 while with 149 patients are being cured, the total recoveries are at 2,95,970. The state has 1,963 active cases and 40,443 samples were tested on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu on Friday saw its daily new infections crossing the 500-mark once again, the last being in early February, with 543 people testing positive for the virus, pushing the tally to 8,53,992. Five more deaths took the toll to 12,513. Recoveries, however, eclipsed new cases with 562 patients being discharged taking the cumulative number to 8,37,525, leaving 3,954 active cases.

With agency inputs

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SURAT TEACHERS ORDERED TO REGISTER COVID DEAD BODIES

Abhijit Bhatt

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Surat Corporation has gone too far in handing over the responsibility of Covid-19 management to its employees. Teachers have been assigned Covid-19 work. They are given the task of registering the bodies coming for the funeral. Teachers, along with SMC (Surat Municipal Corporation) employees, will also be on duty in three shifts of eight hours each. It’s teachers responsibility to ensure that there is no disruption in the registration of the bodies coming to the crematorium.

During the pandemic, all SMC employees were assigned different tasks, in which the teachers were asked to be outside the homes of the infected Covid patients.

There were orders to go with Dhanvanri Rath to carry out survey work, and distribute food grains, which were performed by the teachers as part of their duty amid such a difficult situation in the city.

At that time, the teachers who were assigned to the operation of the cemetery have been put in a dilemma.

A teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “The process of registering a body in a cemetery is not appropriate for us.. We made a presentation for our Teachers’ Union last night on this matter. We were given a message about this operation through social media. The Union has informed our appointees to cancel this order. Union officials have also vowed to inform the Municipal Commissioner and the State government about handing over the work to teachers.”

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UTTARAKHAND CM RAWAT CONFIDENT TO CONDUCT HARIDWAR KUMBH MELA SAFELY

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Friday said that the state government is determined to conduct Haridwar Kumbh Mela safely.

He inaugurated the Command and Control Room and Adarsh Barrack of the Police Surveillance System built for the Kumbh Mela, at the CCR Tower in Haridwar.

On this occasion, the Chief Minister said that the state government is fully committed to the modernization of the police.

He said, “Our government is determined to conduct Haridwar Kumbh Mela safely. 310 CCTV cameras have been installed in the area. Command and Control Room of Police Surveillance System has been set up at CCR Tower, Haridwar.”

(With ANI inputs)

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CELEBRATIONS IN JAMMU AFTER THE RELEASE OF COBRA COMMANDO BY NAXALS

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As soon as the news of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas’ release reached Jammu, there were celebrations not only in his village but in other adjacent villages as well. Earlier his wife Meenu had appealed to the government that her husband should be rescued from the Naxals and the Congress leaders of the Jammu region visited the family and made her talk to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister who assured all help and action.

People in the villages adjacent to his hometown were glued to television sets and expressed their joy when he stepped out of an ambulance as shown by different media channels.

Meenu Manhas exclaimed, “This is the happiest moment in our lives. Hope never died though we were anguished for his safe return. I am thankful to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and also to the Central government as everyone stood by us.”

Earlier, the relatives of Manhas and villagers protested and blocked the traffic for hours, appealing to the government to intervene and save him from the captivity of Naxals. He was posted in Chhattisgarh and was captured alive by the Naxals in a fierce gun battle in which dozens of his colleagues were killed while over 15 Naxals were also killed.

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DELHI SCHOOLS TO REMAIN SHUT FOR ALL CLASSES AMID COVID SURGE: KEJRIWAL

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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Friday announced that all schools will be shut given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the national capital.

“Due to increasing cases of COVID-19, all schools, government and private, in Delhi are being closed for all classes till further orders,” the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted. Schools have been shut ever since the pandemic broke out last year but for those from Classes 9 to 12 had resumed their classes. The board examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 are slated for May-June.

Several other states and Union territories have also closed down schools and colleges to curb the surging infections.

Delhi on Thursday reported 7,437 fresh cases and 24 related deaths over the last 24 hours. As per the daily health bulletin, the total positive cases in the city now stand at 6,98,005, including 23,181 active cases and 6,63,667 recoveries. So far, 11,157 lives have been claimed by the infectious virus.

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Covid chaos in Gujarat, waiting list in hospitals, cemeteries & crematoria

Abhijit Bhatt

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The state of Covid-19 spread in Ahmedabad seems frightening. The scenario in various cemeteries and crematoria of the city is bad with people waiting for hours for the burial and cremation of the dead bodies.

A total of eight bodies were brought to a cemetery in Vadaj cemetery in the city for burial around the same time. There is also a two-hour wait for the funeral at Thaltej. Both chimneys are currently in operation at the city’s Vadaj crematorium, where relatives of the deceased have been seen waiting.

There are no vacant beds in hospitals because of the surge in Covid-19 cases. As the number of patients keeps on increasing, the beds are getting filled. In some hospitals there is no stock of injections and while at other hospitals videos of missing oxygen are emerging. Extremely heart-rending videos surfaced on Friday at the Vadaj Cemetery in Ahmedabad, where eight bodies were being prepared for burial while many others were waiting in the cemetery. Similar is the case with Thaltej cemetery in Ahmedabad.

As a result of the worsening situation due to Covid-19 in Gujarat, relatives have to wait in hospitals for as long as 12 hours to get the body of the deceased in cities like Rajkot and Surat. Not only that, even after getting the dead body, they have to wait for 8 to 10 hours for cremation. Worse, the rising death toll at Rajkot Civil Hospital is waiting not only for cremation but also for ambulances to take the dead bodies to the cemetery.

In the Nagarwada area of Vadodara, a 65-year-old man died of Covid-19 and his body had to be taken in a handcart as the ambulance was not available to take him to the crematorium.

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ALL-PARTY MEET TO DISCUSS LOCKDOWN IN MAHARASHTRA

State reports 58,993 Covid cases and 301 deaths in 24 hours.

Preeti Sompura

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In view of the alarming spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called an all-party meeting on 10 April. The government will take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the state.

The meeting will be attended by prominent leaders of the three parties involved in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, leaders of BJP, MNS, API, SP, and others.

On Friday, State Disaster Management Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that he has proposed a complete lockdown in the state, during a virtual meeting earlier in the day, given the continued spike in Covid-19 cases and upcoming festivals. While speaking to India Today, the Minister said that it was crucial to close all shops and establishments to break the chain of the pandemic.

“Every day we are witnessing 50,000 to 60,000 cases. We have 5.31 lakh active cases today. If the upsurge continues like this, we will have over 10 lakh active cases soon,” the Disaster Management Minister said to India Today. “If we have to break the chain, it’s not possible keeping half the shops and establishments open. In the virtual conference that took place today, I have suggested a strict lockdown of three weeks to break the chain,” the Minister said.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar said the decision to organise the all-party meeting was taken this afternoon.

“This decision was taken during the meeting held today to decide the postponement of MPSC exams scheduled for Sunday,” he said.

When asked about the weekend lockdown that comes into force from Friday night, Darekar said the state government should decide on financially supporting small businesses.

Maharashtra Chief Minister will brief all parties regarding the covid situation. Maharashtra is planning a complete three weeks lockdown.

Maharashtra on Friday reported 58,993 coronavirus cases and 301 deaths in 24 hours amid a second wave of infections. Pune, with 10,084 Covid cases, was the worst-affected district today, followed by Mumbai with 9,200 single-day infections.

After the new additions, the total of active cases has reached 5,34,603. The state had reported 56,286 cases and 376 deaths on Thursday.

With Agency Inputs

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