How Maharashtra govt plans to curb record Covid-19 spike - The Daily Guardian
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How Maharashtra govt plans to curb record Covid-19 spike

Due to a rapid increase in the number of Covid-positive patients in the state, there might soon be a shortage of beds and other health facilities.

Preeti Sompura



MUMBAI: Mumbai reported its highest-ever spike in a day in the number of Covid-19 cases on Sunday with 6,923 infections in the last 24 hours taking the tally to 3,98,674, the city civic body said. The city recorded eight deaths taking the overall count to 11,649, it said. As for the state, it recorded over 40,000 new cases on Sunday.

Due to a rapid increase in the number of Covid-positive patients in the state, there might soon be a shortage of beds and other health facilities. At a task force meeting, it was suggested that very strict restrictions like lockdown should be imposed immediately. In this important meeting on Saturday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, doctors of the task force and senior officials in the administration discussed the need to impose a complete lockdown in the next few days if the restrictions and rules are not strictly followed.

The Chief Minister gave a clear instruction that entry of visitors to the Mantralaya as well as government and semi-government offices should be restricted. Private offices and establishments should prepare for lockdown if they do not comply with the 50% staff limit. At the beginning of the meeting, Principal Secretary of the Health Department Dr Pradip Vyas pointed out that due to the rapidly growing infection in the state, all important health facilities, especially beds, ventilators, and oxygen, would soon be under severe pressure and would not be available to the general public.

The doctors of the task force pointed out that the increase in deaths could be due to the increase in infection, especially due to delay in hospitalisation not undergoing testing in time and disobeying the rules while in home isolation. In September last year, there were 24,619 Covid-positive patients in a single day. Yesterday, on 27 March, there were 35,726 Covid-positive patients in one day and this number will increase to 40,000 in the next 24 hours, said the health department.

Uddhav Thackeray clearly instructed that on one hand, we are trying our best to ensure that the economy will continue even in the Covid situation but many still do not take this seriously. Attendance rules are still not being followed by private offices. Wedding ceremonies are being arranged by breaking the rules, and even in the markets, safe distance is not being maintained and masks are not worn properly. Ultimately, it is our priority to protect people’s health. He directed the Chief Secretary to plan the supply of foodgrains, medicines, essential services, and medical facilities on the understanding that the rules would have to be strictly adhered to or lockdown would be imposed

“Last year, we gradually increased all the health facilities and created field hospitals but in the current situation it seems these facilities are not enough,” he said. The Chief Minister directed that adequate ventilators should be available and production of oxygen should be reserved 80% for medical and 20% for other purposes. He also directed to ensure that the 80:20 formula is implemented in hospital beds and patients are not inconvenienced. Saying e-ICU can be easily used on a large scale, the Chief Minister directed the health department to take immediate steps in this regard.

  People fear more that if their test is positive, they will be taken to any isolation centre and not get proper facility there. We should see that they do not fear, said the Chief Minister. He also directed that if there are no facilities in the rural areas, arrangements should be made to get facilities in the nearest town or area. The Chief Minister also directed not to concentrate only on Mumbai and Pune but to see that there is no shortage of isolation facilities and health facilities in all the parts of the state.

  Tope also expressed the need to speed up the search for patients and their contacts in rural areas. He said it is a challenge to provide health facilities, especially in small towns, and all steps would be taken to focus on e-ICU. He said that vaccination in Maharashtra is good in the country and if the cold chain available in rural areas is used to increase vaccination at sub-centres, it will increase the vaccination. It is a matter of concern that Covid-positive people are arriving late at hospitals. Tope said that even in the age group of 10 to 18 years, there is a high incidence of Covid infection and the death rate among the youth may also increase in future.

Kunte said that the pace of vaccination in Maharashtra is satisfactory. He said that Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told about the improvement over the past few days and suggested to speed up vaccination in areas where the cases of infection were more. Appropriate instructions are being given to the administration so that there is no confusion and there is coordination as lockdown is decided and the balance will be maintained so that the economic cycle is not affected. 

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Manmohan Singh writes letter to PM with 5-point Covid advice



Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a two-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, highlighting five suggestions for tackling the second and more severe Covid-19 wave in India.

In the letter, Dr Singh emphasised on the vaccination programme and urged PM Modi to focus on the percentage of the population vaccinated and allow states more flexibility to plan vaccination rollouts.

His first suggestion was to publicise Covid vaccine orders placed for the next six months. “The government should publicise what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months. If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply,” said the ex-PM.

After this, he suggested that PM Modi’s government indicate how the expected supply would be distributed across the states based on “a transparent formula”. “The central government could retain 10 per cent for distribution based on emergency needs, but other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their roll out,” he said.

The third piece of advice was to give states more flexibility in aspects like defining frontline workers and deciding who is to be vaccinated, even if they are under 45 years of age. “For example, states may want to designate school teachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45,” wrote Dr Singh in the letter.

He then advised the PM to proactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities rapidly by providing them with funds and other concessions. “I believe this is the time to invoke the compulsory licensing provisions in the law, so that a number of companies are able to produce the vaccines under a licence. This, I recall, had happened earlier in the case of medicines to deal with the HIV/AIDS disease,” he said, also supporting his point with the example of Israel, which has invoked compulsory licensing.

Finally, in light of limited supply of domestic vaccines, Dr Singh suggested that any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as the European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials. Those who would opt for such vaccines should be disclosed of this fact. He assured that experts believe such a relaxation is justified in case of an emergency.

“I am certain that with the right policy design, we can do much better and very quickly,” he added.

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PM Modi takes stock of pandemic situation in Varanasi



Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reviewed Covid-19 situation in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi through video conferencing and directed the officials to provide all possible assistance to the public.

During the discussion, PM Modi once again reiterated the need for “do gaz doori, mask hai zaroori” (two yards distance, and mask is necessary). He also asked the administration to make all people above 45 years of age aware of the vaccination campaign.

PM Modi thanked all the doctors and medical staff of the country and said that even in this hour of crisis, they are doing their duty sincerely. He asserted that we have to learn from last year’s experiences and move forward cautiously.

The Prime Minister said that the expansion and modernization of medical infrastructure in Varanasi in the last 5-6 years has helped in fighting Covid-19. Simultaneously, the availability of beds, ICU and oxygen in Varanasi is being augmented. The Prime Minister focused on the need to increase efforts at all levels in view of the stress due to the increased number of patients. He said that the Varanasi administration should step up the pace of work in all the fields in the same way it has rapidly set up the ‘Kashi Covid Response Centre’, according to the PMO.

PM Modi also emphasised on “Test, Track and Treat” and said that like the first wave, the same strategy has to be adopted to win over viruses. “He also emphasised on providing contract tracing and test reports of infected persons at the earliest. He also directed the administration to discharge all responsibilities towards the patients and their families living in home isolation in a sensitive manner,” PMO said. PM Modi praised the voluntary organisations of Varanasi for working closely with the government and said they should be further encouraged.

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Lockdowns, curfews should not affect vaccination drive: Centre to states, UTs

India becomes fastest country to administer 12 crore coronavirus vaccinations.



The Union Health Ministry has written to states/UTs to ensure that movement restriction imposed by them for curbing Covid-19 spread does not adversely impact the vaccination exercise, by restricting access of beneficiaries to the vaccination centres.

In the letter to states/UTs, the ministry said it is being advised that the vaccination services should not be affected by coronavirus curfews, lockdowns and the movement of beneficiaries to and from Covid-19 Vaccination Centres (CNCs) should not be restricted during such interventions. “Similarly those CVCs which have been identified as dedicated Covid-19 hospitals should continue providing uninterrupted Covid-19 vaccination services,” the order said. The ministry also said that vaccination services should be provided in a separate building/block in these hospitals that are distinctly separated from the building block where management of Covid-19 patients is being done.

“This will ensure that beneficiaries of vaccination are not inadvertently exposed to Covid-19 these hospitals,” read the letter.

India reported its highest-ever single-day spike of Covid-19 cases with over 2.61 lakh new cases and 1,501 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry on Sunday. The active number of cases in the country stands at 18,01,316.

In the meantime, India took only 92 days to administer 12 crore Covid-19 vaccinations, the fastest country to do so across the world, reported the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

The United States is at the second position as it managed to reach the 12 crore mark in 97 days, followed by China, which took 108 days to reach the same target. As per a provisional report put together till 7am on Sunday, India has administered 12,26,22,590 vaccine doses.

These include 91,28,146 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the 1st dose and 57,08,223 HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 1,12,33,415 frontline workers (FLWs) (1stdose), 55,10,238 FLWs (2nddose), 4,55,94,522 1st dose beneficiaries and 38,91,294 2nd dose beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 4,04,74,993 (1st dose) and 10,81,759 (2nd dose) beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 years.

In India, states including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have alone managed to give more than 1 crore doses each to their population. Gujarat completed 1 crore vaccinations on the 16 April, while the other three states achieved it on 14 April.

In a press statement, PIB revealed that “eight states account for 59.5% of the total doses given so far in the country”.

It also states that in the last 24 hours, 26 lakh people were vaccinated.

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Corona situation ‘serious’, Delhi’s oxygen quota diverted to other states: CM Kejriwal



Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi on Sunday reported an upsurge of 25,462 fresh coronavirus cases, besides 161 fatalities, in 24 hours, making it the highest single-day tally for the national capital since the beginning of the pandemic.

As cases rose exponentially across the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday informed that Delhi is facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen and other important life-saving resources like Remdesivir and tocilizumab are rapidly depleting.

Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal also claimed that instead of increasing the oxygen supply, Delhi’s quota is being diverted to other states. “Delhi facing acute shortage of oxygen. In view of sharply increasing cases, Delhi needs much more than the normal supply. Rather than increasing supply, our normal supply has been sharply reduced and Delhi’s quota has been diverted to other states. OXYGEN HAS BECOME AN EMERGENCY IN DELHI,” he said in a tweet.

In a news briefing, Kejriwal said, “The bigger worry is that in the last 24 hours, the positivity rate has increased to around 30% from 24% … The cases are rising very rapidly. The beds are filling fast,” Kejriwal told a news briefing.

In another statement, Kejriwal said that he has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask for more support. “Delhi’s situation of Covid-19 has become very serious. There is a grave shortage of Covid beds and oxygen supply. We are doing everything we can at our level. Your help would be needed,” Kejriwal stated.

In his appeal, Kejriwal also requested for the reservation of at least 7,000 hospital beds out of Central Government’s 10,000 beds for Covid-infected patients. “Delhi has around 10,000 beds in Central Government hospitals. Out of these, only 1,800 have been reserved for Covid-19 patients. Taking note of the seriousness of this situation, it is my request to you, to reserve at least 7,000 beds for Covid-infected patients,” wrote the CM, adding, “Delhi is also facing a grave shortage of oxygen. Provide us oxygen on an urgent basis.”

“I had informed Dr Harsh Vardhan yesterday (Union Health and Family Welfare Minister), and Amit Shah (Union Home Minister) today morning, about the same…Till now, we have received a lot of support from the Central Government during this pandemic. I hope that you surely would help us on the aforementioned subjects,” he added.

Kejriwal along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also visited a school in Rouse Avenue that has been converted into a Covid centre. After the visit, the Chief Minister said that 1,500 more oxygen beds will become functional between Monday and the day after in three places in Delhi. “Visited Commonwealth Games Village, Yamuna sports complex, and Government school at Rouse Avenue. 1500 oxygen beds will become functional between tomorrow and the day after in these three places,” he said in another tweet.

Sisodia also visited Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) upcoming Covid hospital near the Delhi airport and said that the new centre will add 250 ICU beds for the city’s patients. “Visited DRDO’s upcoming Covid Hospital near the airport. Salute to DRDO for creating this facility within 5 days’ time. With this centre, 250 ICU beds with ventilators will be added for critically ill patients from tomorrow. Another 250 beds would be operational in the next 4-5 days,” Sisodia said after his visit. In a tweet, Kejriwal also thanked the DRDO for its help and requested to increase the capacity to 1,000 beds.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain also informed citizens through Twitter that to tackle the Covid situation in Delhi, the government has added 1,979 normal oxygen-supported Covid beds, 219 ICU beds with ventilator, and 696 ICU beds without ventilator in hospitals.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police filed an FIR against Mata Chanan Devi Hospital in Janakpuri for displaying wrong information about the availability of Covid beds on the Delhi government’s website. The police said a team was formed to verify the complaints received against the hospital.

Delhi CM Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal will hold a meeting with senior government officers on Monday over the situation in the national capital.

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Indian Railways to run ‘Oxygen Express’ for rapid transport of liquid oxygen across the country; daily coronavirus cases in India surpass 2.61 lakh in record high.



As India reported yet another record single-day spike in Covid-19 cases, the Centre prohibited the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes to meet the current shortage in medical oxygen in the country.

On Sunday, in a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote, “In view of the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases and resultant rapid demand for medical oxygen, particularly in high-burden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the central government-constituted Empowered Group-II has reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives.”

The decision will come into effect from 22 April and will be applicable for all except nine specified industries.

Oxygen is a critical component in the treatment of Covid-affected patients and many states and UTs are falling short of adequate supplies due to the unprecedented rise in cases. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday also said the national capital is facing an “acute shortage” of oxygen for Covid-19 patients and alleged that the quota of the city has been diverted to other states.

Amid the hike in demand, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade conveyed that it has already reached about “60 percent of the total daily oxygen production”, and is expected to rise further.

To ensure supply of oxygen in bulk rapidly, the Railways will also run “Oxygen Express” over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country. A Green Corridor is being created for the fast movement of these trains. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments had earlier approached the Railways Ministry to explore whether liquid medical oxygen tankers could be moved by the rail network.

The industries which have been exempted are ampoules and vials, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refineries, steel plants, nuclear energy facilities, oxygen cylinder manufacturers, wastewater treatment plants, food and water purification, and process Industries that require the uninterrupted operation of furnaces, and others as approved by the respective authority.

The Central government on Saturday also issued an emergency order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oxygen cylinders across state borders. This was the third such order in 24 hours, and is supposed to enable manufacturers and suppliers to supply medical oxygen to hospitals anywhere in the country.

The decision came as India recorded a new high in daily cases with at least 2,61,500 new cases and more than 1,500 deaths in 24 hours, as per data released by the Union Health Ministry on Sunday.

The country’s death toll now stands at 1,77,150 and the total number of cases has gone up to 1,47,88,109. The active number of cases in the country stands at 18,01,316.

This is the fourth day India has registered a spike of over two lakh Covid-19 cases. On Saturday, India had seen a surge of 2.34 lakh fresh Covid-19 cases.

Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi continue to contribute the highest load in the total Covid-19 caseload in India. All the states have been registering a record number of cases, every day.

The top five states that have registered maximum cases in the past 24 hours are Maharashtra (67,123 cases), Uttar Pradesh (27,334 cases), Delhi (24,375 cases), Karnataka (17,489 cases) and Chhattisgarh (16,083 cases). About 58.28 per cent of the new cases are reported from these five states, with Maharashtra alone responsible for 25.67 per cent of the new cases.

West Bengal, which is witnessing assembly election, has registered its highest single-day spike of 7,713 coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 6,51,508. The death toll rose to 10,540 after 34 Covid-19 fatalities were registered in the state.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a meeting with the health ministers of 11 states and UTs that the death rate has grown to 10.2 percent.

“India is currently reporting the sharpest growth rate of 7.6 percent in new Covid cases, which is 1.3 times higher than case growth rate of 5.5 percent reported in June 2020. This is leading to an alarming rise in the daily number of active cases, which currently stand at 16,79,000. There is also a sharp growth of 10.2 percent in the number of deaths,” he said on Saturday.

In the 24-hour period, 1,38,423 people also recovered from the disease, taking total recoveries to 1,28,09,643.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 15,66,394 samples were tested on Saturday. As many as 26,65,38,416 samples have been tested across the country till April 17.

Several cities across the country, especially Mumbai and Delhi, have ordered weekend lockdowns, night curfews and lockdown-like restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Uttar Pradesh has also imposed strict lockdown on Sundays which will remain in force till May 15.

Meanwhile, India has administered 12,26,22,590 doses of the Covid vaccines till date, including 26,84,956 in the past 24 hours.

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The individual consciousness can never live independently of other energies. Do we have experience of any energy being independent? In the current material circumstances of consciousness, as soon as the current situation terminates the consciousness, particles must associate themselves immediately with another energy, either, according to the Vedas, as energies made of the same conscious constituents or be embedded within substances that are of an entirely different nature to itself. So, consciousness must find another shelter. Even when the consciousness particles are seen to transform themselves within consciousness energies, it is not a guarantee of a permanent home because within consciousness energies there are places where the consciousness particles can be seen taking a long rest from activities, bearing in mind that consciousness is always active, apart from the state of deep sleep.

Our Vaishnava acharyas have compared the state of motionlessness in the consciousness energies, known as the Brahmajyoti, with a kind of deep sleep; one could say peace and harmony. But the teachers of Vedic knowledge bring to the attention of the reader that the inherent need of consciousness to exchange with another consciousness and engage in activities eventually leads consciousness out of this deep sleep of harmony. And because of a lack of knowledge of the activities of the origins of consciousness, the consciousness particles find themselves back in the atmosphere of an ethereal, and eventually a devolved, quantum and classical plane in order to exhibit activities.

It is a scientific fact that energies are never destroyed, but transform themselves. It is also a fact that the energy source for this earth is the sun, and the Vedas indicate the sun is a devolved or transformed energy from the light of the Brahmajyoti. And the Brahmajyoti is a transformed energy from the natural effulgence of the body of divinity, who is described in the Vedas as the original cause of all causes. The sun transforms its energies through photosynthesis and heats the atmosphere and causes air movements. The moon’s energies are confirmed in the Vedas, as the moonbeams strike the planet, giving it flavour. This is not understood by modern science.

Srila Prabhupada makes the following statements:

Prabhupada: It is better. [break]…the influence of the moon planet, the vegetation grows. Do they accept, the modern botanists, influence of moon planet?

Parivrajakacarya: All the farmers, they…

Prabhupada: They do believe?

Parivrajakacarya: They believe that. They plant certain seeds according to the moon.

Prabhupada: Just see.

Pradyumna: Even in the West, they only plant certain things on the waxing moon, not on the waning moon. On Sukla-Paksa.

Prabhupada: And the moon is vacant. By the influence of the moon, other vegetation is growing, and it cannot grow itself.

Hari-sauri: They admit that the moon rays have some kind of potency. They know that.

Prabhupada: No, it is stated in the Bhagavatam.

Consciousness energies are transformed, in the sense that their circumstances transform and bring them into new environments as different combinations of matter and ethereal energies. This transition happens on account of the consciousness association with matter and an ethereal plane, or in some cases a superior plane beyond the ethereal plane. But in the case of the former, the ethereal plane connects to the quantum plane of many possibilities, that eventually devolve into the classical four-dimensional space we inhabit which includes time, as former reactions to classical, quantum and ethereal connections play out for a given period of time.

Devotee (3): Srila Prabhupada, is the subtle bodies in the subtle world, are they made up of subtle atoms?

Prabhupada: Subtle body means subtle atoms. So, if we are in subtle body, whatever there is in the subtle body, everything is there.

The permanent shelter for consciousness, the Vedas indicate, is a world of quality and variety, with beauty and love and attraction, where consciousness expands in a form that is fit for a particular display of loving exchange. The ultimate transformation and sharing of experiences, which the Vedas call rasa, is of both the consciousness of the supreme consciousness and His other parts and parcels. This exchange takes place primarily between the origins of form and beauty, divinity Himself. He is a Personality who displays a full, unlimited and ever-increasing form and personality, which forever draws His parts, who now display the beauty of love toward Him in their respective forms, in ever increasing service and qualities.

Nothing is static here, the highest of all planes, where any of the consciousness particles can reside. The immaculate senses and beauty of divinity captivates the transcendental senses of His fully transcendentally formed parts, which take up residence, along with those who have never left His association, under the guidance of the personification of Divinities’ pleasure potency and Her expansions, or under the guidance and care of others who exhibit fully the five types of loving exchanges with divinity.

How it is possible for a tiny particle to reside with the supreme consciousness is explained by the founder and acharya of ISKCON Inc., A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

“So, in the animal life it is not possible to change one’s nature, which is given by the material energy, prakrti. Prakrteh kriyamanani [Bg. 3.27]. Karanam guna-sango ‘sya… Karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-janma-yonisu [Bg. 13.22]. Why? All living entities are part and parcel of God. Therefore, originally, the characteristic of a living entity is as good as God. Simply it is a question of quantity. Quality is the same. Mamaivamso jiva-bhutah [Bg. 15.7]. For example, if you take a drop of seawater, the quality, the chemical composition, is the same, but the quantity is different. It is a drop, and the sea is the vast ocean. Similarly, we are exactly of the same quality as Krishna.”

Our acharyas also indicate that in Krishna’s personal abode, His sweetness increases and His Majesty diminishes, thus enabling full, loving exchanges between the origins of consciousness and all His parts. This indeed is another inconceivable aspect of the Inconceivable Lord and Master of Consciousness.

Gauranga Sundar Das is Iskcon Inc Communication Director and SM IT Head.

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