HOSPITALS OVERBURDENED AS COVID WAVE TURNS INTO TSUNAMI - The Daily Guardian
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HOSPITALS OVERBURDENED AS COVID WAVE TURNS INTO TSUNAMI

India reports over 3 lakh new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row; US study predicts daily Covid deaths in the country could surpass 5,000 by mid-May.

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India recorded its highest single-day spike ever with 332,730 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. This was the second day in a row that India crossed the 3-lakh mark. The country’s overnight infection total was higher than numbers recorded anywhere in the world since the pandemic began in 2020.

The situation continues to look bleak as a study by the University of Washington has warned that daily Covid-19 deaths in India could peak at over 5,000 by mid-May this year. The study, titled ‘COVID-19 projections’, was conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the university and published on 15 April. For the purpose of this study, IHME experts assessed the current rate of infections and deaths in India and predicted that India’s daily tally of Covid deaths will rise to 5,600 on 10 May 2021. With an additional 329,000 deaths projected between 12 April and 1 August, the death toll could go up to 665,000 by the end of July, according to the researchers’ estimates.

However, the study has also projected that universal mask coverage by the end of the third week of April can bring down fatalities by 70,000. It also showed optimism about the nationwide vaccination drive, projecting that around 85,600 lives would be saved due to the vaccine rollout. The total number of vaccine doses administered in the country stands presently at 13,54,78,420.

For now, the situation continues to be grim as people scramble for beds, life-saving oxygen supplies and drugs in hospitals across India on Friday. Visuals of patients dying outside hospitals and mass cremations also indicate the ferocity of the second wave of Covid-19 in India.

At Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Delhi, critical Covid patients gasping for air were seen arriving in ambulances and auto rickshaws on Friday. A man among those waiting for hours on trolleys outside died before being admitted. “The staff are doing their best but there is not enough oxygen. If you are not in a serious condition please don’t come. It isn’t safe,” Tushar Maurya, son of a Covid patient at the hospital, told Reuters.

On Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went on live television to plead for medical oxygen supplies in a virtual meeting with Modi, warning that many people would die. “All of the country’s oxygen plants should immediately be taken over by the government through the Army,” he said.

PM Modi has said that the government is making a “continuous effort” to increase oxygen supplies, including steps to divert industrial oxygen.

The cumulative count of Covid cases in India now stands at 1,62,63,695. According to the official data issued by the Union Health Ministry, the country recorded 2,263 new deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to at least 1,86,920. There are 24,28,616 active Covid-19 cases in the country now.

Maharashtra reported 773 deaths—the highest ever in a day—and 66,836 new cases of Covid-19. Out of the new numbers, Mumbai accounted for 7,221 new cases and 72 fatalities and Pune district for 9,810 cases and 137 fatalities. Active cases in the state, which is one of the worst-hit by Covid in India, are 6,91,851, while the total cases rose to 41,61,676. The death toll increased to 63,252, while total recoveries stood at 34,04,792.

Delhi reported 24,331 new cases, 348 deaths and 23,572 recoveries on Friday. The total cases in the national capital stand at 980,679, with 92,029 active cases, 13,541 total deaths and 875,109 total recoveries.

Chhattisgarh reported 17,397 new cases, 219 deaths and 14,284 recoveries on the same day. Active cases in the state stand at 123,479, while the total cases so far are 622,965. The death toll stands at 6,893 and total recoveries at 492,593.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said that 28,447 positive Covid cases, 5,663 recoveries and 27 deaths were reported in Kerala during the day. As many as 130,617 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. There are 178,983 active cases and 11,66,135 people have recovered so far in the state, he informed. “The next two days (Saturday and Sunday) will see restrictions similar to lockdown. Only essential services and emergency travel to be allowed. There is a cap of 75 people indoor & 150 outdoor for marriages and a maximum of 50 people for funeral services,” he stated.

Karnataka recorded 26,962 new cases and 190 fatalities. The state’s case tally is at 12,74,959 and active cases at 2,14,311.

Tamil Nadu reported 13,776 new cases, 8078 recoveries and 78 deaths.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh reported 11,766 new Covid-19 cases, 4,441 recoveries, and 38 deaths on Friday. The Andhra Pradesh government also decided to impose night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am.

West Bengal, in the middle of its Assembly polls, reported 12,876 new Covid-19 cases, 59 deaths and 6,878 discharges. The total cases in the state are now 713,780, with 74,737 of them still active.

Rajasthan reported 15,398 fresh Covid-19 cases, 5,197 recoveries, and 64 deaths.

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CONGRESS’ PERFORMANCE IN ASSEMBLY POLLS VERY DISAPPOINTING: SONIA GANDHI

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Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday termed her party’s performance in the recently-concluded assembly polls as “very disappointing” and said the party “must learn appropriate lesson” from the setback in the spirit of humility and honesty. Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting, Gandhi said Congress Working Committee will meet shortly to review the results. She also termed the party’s performance as “unexpected”.

“Most unfortunately, our own performance in all the states was very disappointing and if I may say, unexpectedly so. The CWC is meeting shortly to review the results but it goes without saying that we as a party collective must draw the appropriate lessons from this setback in a spirit of humility and honesty,” she said.

Gandhi also congratulated Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and DMK chief MK Stalin for their “handsome victories”.

Congress suffered defeats in Assam and West Bengal and could not open its account in West Bengal where it had won over 40 seats in 2016 polls. The Congress could win only two seats in Puducherry where it was in power about two months back. Only in Tamil Nadu, the party gave a credible performance as part of the DMK-led alliance which swept to power, defeating the AIADMK-led alliance.

The Congress-led Mahajot was the main challenger to the ruling BJP-led NDA in Assam and Congress-led UDF to the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala. While NDA returned to power in Assam, the LDF returned to power in Kerala.

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WB moves SC seeking direction to disband current vaccination policy

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The Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government on Friday moved to the Supreme Court seeking direction to disband the current Covid-19 vaccination policy and bring in uniform vaccination policy by doing away with the differential pricing mechanism. Disband the “Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of Covid-19 Vaccination” policy and adopt and implement a uniform policy of procuring 100 percent doses of Covid-19 which can be equitably distributed to the States and Union Territories for free de-centralized distribution,” the plea said.

Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting free Covid vaccination for all citizens. “I firmly believe that this battle against Covid will be won with coordinated and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in augmenting infrastructure and an earnest drive for universal vaccination free of cost. I am looking forward to your kind cooperation in this regard. With regards,” stated Mamata in the letter to the Prime Minister.

She had also slammed the PM for not receiving any reply from him over her letter regarding the free Covid-19 vaccination for all citizens. “I have not got any reply till now from PM Modi over the issue of free vaccination. He must be busy,” Mamata said. The third phase of the vaccination drive commenced on May 1 making everyone above the age of 18 eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The Covid vaccine manufacturing companies are empowered to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price. The Covid-19 situation in India continues to deteriorate amid the second wave of coronavirus infections.

With a total of 4,14,188 new Covid-19 cases being recorded in the last 24 hours, India again reported its highest single-day spike on the second consecutive day. With this, the cumulative count of cases in the country reached 2,14,91,598, informed Union Health Ministry.

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Ministry requests states, UTs to prioritise beneficiaries of 2nd dose of vaccine

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The Union Health Ministry on Friday requested all the states and Union Territories to prioritise the beneficiaries of the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. “From the side of the Union Health Ministry, we requested all the states/ UTs to prioritise the beneficiaries of the second dose and ensure the timely completion of the recommended vaccination schedule,” Additional Secretary (Health) Arti Ahuja said during a media briefing.

The Ministry also urged that the states / UTs to use the vaccines received by them through the ‘Government of India channel’ in 70:30 ratio for the second dose and the first dose respectively. “Secondly, utilise the supplies of the vaccines through the Government of India channel in the 70:30 ratio for the second dose and the first dose respectively and do a regular review of the coverage of the vaccination drive,” said Ahuja.

The Ministry also said that so far, a total of 16.50 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered across all categories.

“Among the Healthcare workers, so far, 0.95 crore doses have been administered for the first dose and 0.64 crore doses have been given as the second dose. Similarly, for the frontline workers, 1.38 crore doses for the first dose and 0.75 crore doses for the second dose have been given,” the Additional Secretary (Health) said.

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Virat and Anushka start a Covid fundraiser, donate Rs 2 crore

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As India battles with the Covid-19 pandemic, several Bollywood celebrities and cricketers have come forward and shown their support by raising funds or providing oxygen concentrators and food essentials.

After Sachin Tendulkar, Pat Cummins, the Indian Cricket Team Skipper Virat Kohli and his actress wife Anushka Sharma are raising funds for providing help during the Covid pandemic.

Virat and Anushka have started a fundraiser for Covid-19 relief work in India and have requested their fans to donate to the fund. The couple has donated Rs 2 crore.

Virat and Anushka took to their respective social media handles and posted about the fundraiser for the people of India. Anushka said, “India is going through an extremely difficult time and the second wave of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic has pushed our country to a state of crisis. It is time for all of us to come together and do our bit for our fellow countrymen who are in serious need of support. Virat and I have been hugely pained looking at the inexplicable suffering that people are going through and we hope that this fund will aid in our fight against the virus that we are all helplessly witnessing. We are praying for everyone’s safety. We hope that you join us in our prayers to save as many lives as possible because we are all in this together. #InThisTogether”

Virat said, “We are going through an unprecedented time in the history of our country and our nation needs all of us to unite and save as many people as possible. Anushka and I have been shocked to see human suffering since last year. We have been working towards helping as many people as possible all through the pandemic and now, India wants our support more than ever. We are starting this fundraiser with the confidence that we will be able to raise substantial funds to aid those in dire need. We are confident that people will come forward to support fellow countrymen in crisis. We are in this together and we shall overcome this. #InThisTogether” The couple has collaborated with Ketto for raising funds.

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WHO APPROVES CHINESE VACCINE FOR EMERGENCY USE

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GENEVA: The World Health Organization approved the emergency use of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, Sinopharm, on Friday. It’s the first Chinese vaccine to receive WHO’s approval, although it is already being used in several poor countries. There is not much data about how effective Sinopharm is, however, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference that the Chinese vaccine had received WHO’s validation of “safety, efficacy and quality”.

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SC REFUSES TO INTERFERE IN CENTRAL VISTA PROJECT

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday urged the Delhi High Court to consider the PIL filed seeking a stay on the construction work of the Central Vista project in the national capital and asked the High Court to issue orders related to the matter. An apex court bench comprising Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari on Friday heard the petition for the Special Leave Petition filed by the petitioner. The SC heard the plea and has requested the Delhi HC to consider it and pass orders stating that the matter involves extreme urgency.

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