In the last 24 hours, India reported more than 96,982 new Covid-19 cases, informed the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. Amid the surge in cases, demands have been made for opening the Covid-19 vaccinations for all age groups. However, the Union Health Ministry also stated on Tuesday that the aim of the vaccination drive is to administer the vaccines to those who need it and not to those who want it.
“Many people ask why we shouldn’t open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives—to prevent deaths and protect the healthcare system. The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a press conference.
This statement from the government comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to relax age restrictions on Covid vaccination.
While emphasising the fat that the next four weeks are “crucial” for India’s battle with the infection, the government is emphasising that people continue to follow Covid guidelines strictly, while the authorities speed up the strategy of ‘testing-tracing-treatment’, to curb the sudden surge in cases.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday pointed out lapses which are the reason behind the current spike in Covid cases, while reassuring that everything is still under control.
At a video conference with 11 state health ministers, the Union Health Minister highlighted, “All activities have been resumed. A casual approach emerged in society. Carelessness is a big factor,” while also noting, “It has come to our notice that the sudden increase in cases is largely or maybe event-driven, including grand weddings, local body election, farmers’ protest, etc.”
“It is a matter of concern for us… After one year of experience, we have gained knowledge but with time there are some lapses. I believe everything is still under control. If we implement our strategy properly which we followed earlier, then the number of new cases will drop,” he added.
“Despite the increasing cases, the fatality rate is at 1.30 percent in the country. Our recovery rate is 92.38 percent,” Vardhan informed.
However, he said that, with a positivity rate of 20 percent and growth rate of 8 percent, the worst-affected state right now is Chhattisgarh. “There has been a tenfold rise in cases. In Punjab, 80 percent of the UK variant cases have been found, which was confirmed by genome sequencing,” he said.
Punjab reported 2,924 fresh cases and 62 deaths on Tuesday, taking its active cases to 25,913. The state’s total tally stood at 2,57,057 with 7,216 people succumbing to the virus so far.
Maharashtra capital Mumbai also set a benchmark with 10,030 new coronavirus-positive cases and 31 deaths being recorded by Tuesday evening.
Karnataka reported 6,150 new cases in the past 24 hours, marking the state’s highest single-day spike in 2021. Bengaluru alone contributed 4,266 new cases. The state also reported 39 fatalities, taking its death toll to 12,696, while Bengaluru reported 26 deaths due to Covid-19.
On election day in Tamil Nadu, the state logged 3,645 fresh infections, pushing the caseload to 9,07,124, while the death toll rose to 12,804 with 15 more fatalities, as per its health department. According to the bulletin, recoveries mounted to 8,68,722 with 1,809 patients being discharged, leaving 25,598 active infections. Chennai accounted for most of the new infections with 1,303 cases, taking the aggregate to 2,56,359.
In Andhra Pradesh too, the upward spiral of Covid-19 cases continued as 1,941 new infections were recorded on Tuesday, which is the highest in close to five months, taking the gross to 9,10,943. The number of active cases in the state also shot past the 11,000-mark to reach 11,809, the highest count after November 28, 2020. A state health department bulletin also said that 835 patients had recovered, while seven more succumbed to the infection in the state in the 24-hour period ending on 9 am on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Rajasthan reported 2,236 new Covid-19 cases and 13 fatalities, taking the state’s case tally to 3,43,990 and death toll to 2,854. Five deaths were reported from Jodhpur, two each from Kota and Jhalawar, and one fatality each in Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Rajsamand and Udaipur, according to an official report.
With all these additional cases, the total number of Covid-19 cases in India has reached 1,26,86,049. With 446 new deaths, the total number of Covid-related deaths in the country has gone up to 1,65,547. There are 7,88,223 active cases across the nation right now. However, 50,143 people were also discharged after recovery on Monday, taking the nation’s recovery tally to 1,17,32,279.
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YOGI ADITYANATH TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.“I got tested for Covid-19 after showing some symptoms. The report is positive and I am in self-isolation and following all medical instructions. I am doing my work virtually. All the functions of the state government are running normally. Whoever came in my contact, please get their Covid test done,” Adityanath tweeted in Hindi.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on Tuesday went into self-isolation after coming into contact with some officials who tested positive for Covid-19. Uttar Pradesh reported 18,021 new Covid-19 cases and 85 deaths on Tuesday. ANI
AS DELHI SEES 17K CASES, HEALTH MINISTER SAYS ENOUGH HOSPITAL BEDS FOR PATIENTS
As Delhi registered more than 17,000 fresh Covid-19 cases—another record high in the national capital—and almost double the 9,925 cases in Mumbai, Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said that there are enough hospital beds available for coronavirus patients.
Speaking to the media, Jain said, “Currently we have 13,000 beds and there is no shortage of ventilators. Patients from Delhi and other states are being admitted.” Elaborating on the arrangements that have been made, the Health Minister said the Central government has provided 1,100 beds and talks are going on to add more hospital beds.
He said that 286 out of 5,525 Covid Care Centres are occupied in Delhi. To set up more centres, banquets halls and hotels will be included soon, he added. The Health Minister said that there is no slowdown in Covid cases, the numbers of coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing and appealed to people to stay home. “The numbers of hospital beds (for availability) is being revised twice a day on the Delhi Corona App,” he said adding that people should visit hospitals only after going through the app.
NO COMPARISON BETWEEN MARKAZ AND KUMBH: UTTARAKHAND CM
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Tuesday said that there is no comparison between Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi and Kumbh in Haridwar as the former was held in a closed space while the latter is being held in a vast open area.
Briefing the mediapersons, Rawat said, “There is no comparison between Markaz and Kumbh. Markaz was in a closed hall. All the people slept in a single hall with close contacts. They shared blankets. On the contrary, there are 16 ghats in Kumbh. Not just Haridwar, Kumbh is spread from Rishikesh to Nilkanth. Devotees take bath in different ghats at different times.”
“The Akhadas also reach the ghats at different time slots. The peshwai of the Akhadas visit in a time-bound manner. Markaz was in a closed building but Kumbh is in a vast open area. Most importantly, Kumbh is at the bank of the River Ganga. Maa Ganga’s blessings are there in the flow. So, there should be no corona,” added the CM.
Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi is the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, a society of Sunni Islamic missionary movement. It caught national attention in March last year after the havoc Covid-19 infections caused among the people gathered in the building.
GUJARAT STARTS NATION’S FIRST DRIVE-THROUGH RT-PCR TESTS
Drive-through RT-PCR tests have been started at the GMDC ground in Ahmedabad for the first time in the country from Wednesday, under a joint venture between the municipal corporation and Neuberg Supratech Laboratory. Sample collection was started in the morning to reduce the line of people wanting to get tested.
Those who come in car for the test first scan the QR code provided by the laboratory in their mobile phone. After mobile phone scanning and registering of all information, the car goes to a collection center inside. The suspect’s sample is taken by a person wearing a PPE kit without getting out of the car. From 8 a.m., about 50 vehicles arrived for the test. People returned with samples in just 5 minutes. About 10 collection centres have been set up by Neuberg Supratech Laboratory. In addition, walking test centers have also been set up, where people can get tested.
According to the director, Neuberg Supratech Laboratory, Dr Sandeep Shah, there were lines of people in the laboratory, so Dr Rajiv Gupta has arranged for drive-through RT-PCR tests to reduce the lines, for which an entire collection center has been set up with Sufalam software along with Neuberg Supratech Laboratory.
TMC says EC acting on BJP’s instructions
Lists alleged instances of EC inaction against Modi-Shah.
Raising questions over the functioning of the Election Commission during the ongoing West Bengal polls, a delegation of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Wednesday met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and submitted a memorandum, listing several instances of “inaction” against BJP’s “violators” and “over action” against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The delegation was led by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, who especially flew to Delhi to register the party’s grievances before the poll panel. Kalyan Banerjee, Dr Santanu Sen and Pratima Mandal were also part of the visiting TMC delegation.
“Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are seeking votes in the name of caste and religion. The Election Commission has not taken any action against the duo. We have now come here to formally file complaint and ask for action against them,” said Banerjee while briefing reporters outside the EC headquarters.
The memorandum submitted by the TMC leaders to the EC was divided into three parts, in which “illegality by EC” was highlighted in an orderly manner. The first part was inaction of the EC, wherein references to various “divisive speeches” made by PM Modi and Home Minister Shah were mentioned and the TMC emphasised how action was not taken against them despite their speeches being fit cases of poll code violations.
The second part spoke of “mild action” taken against mid-level BJP leaders, who flouted EC norms and that too after much hue and cry by the TMC.
The third part spoke of strong action by the EC against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who, according to the TMC, only appealed to female voters to lodge protests against those who hinder them from casting votes.
“It is apparent that the EC is acting in a partisan manner, absolutely in favour of the BJP or on its instructions, that is pre announced by the BJP,” said the memorandum. Since the onset of elections in West Bengal, the TMC has been accusing the BJP of misusing central agencies such as ED, CBI, EC and paramilitary forces.
RAJASTHAN ORDERS 6 PM TO 6 AM CURFEW STARTING FRIDAY
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government on Wednesday night announced a 12-hour daily curfew—from 6 pm to 6 am—starting Friday, across all cities, as part of a series of measures to combat a worrying spike in Covid cases. The curfew will be in effect till the end of the month.
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