1. India on Friday reported 2,17,353 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 1,42,91,917. The country is hit by a massive second wave of infections and this is the highest figure recorded so far since the pandemic began in January 2020. The country’s toll rose to 1,74,308 with 1,185 deaths, the highest since September 19.
  2. The Centre said it will double the production capacity of indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine by May or June, and then will increase it nearly six to seven fold by August. This would mean the the production of vaccines will be increased from the current one crore doses per month in April, to about six to seven crore doses per month in August, the Ministry of Science and Technology said. “It’s expected to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by September 2021,” it added.
  3. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of new Covid-19 cases per week has nearly doubled globally over the past two months, approaching the highest rate seen so far during the pandemic, reported Reuters.
  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the availability of medical oxygen in the country amid the surge in coronavirus cases. Officials at the meeting informed Modi about the steps being taken to import medical grade oxygen and also the production capacity in the country. The prime minister suggested increasing oxygen production as per the capacity of each manufacturing plant and also asked the officials to ensure unhindered movement of oxygen tankers. across the country.
  5. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa tested positive for the coronavirus and was moved to the Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru. Yediyurappa had contracted the infection last year too.
  6. Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla urged United States President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on export of raw materials needed to make vaccines so that production could be ramped up.
  7. Uttar Pradesh announced a Sunday lockdown amid the surge in coronavirus cases. Essential services are exempted from the restrictions. Those who don’t wear a mask will be fined Rs 1,000.
  8. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the central government’s strategy to fight the pandemic consisted of imposing a “Tughlaqi lockdown, ringing bells and singing praises to the Lord”. His reference was to Delhi Sultanate ruler Muhammad bin Tughlaq, whose decisions were said to be arbitrary.
  9. The Centre allowed Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Haffkine Biopharma Corporation to manufacture Covaxin. The decision was taken following Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s request to the Centre to allow the transfer of technology for the vaccine from Bharat Biotech to Haffkine.
  10. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 13.88 crore people and killed 29,84,237 since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 7.81 crore people have recovered from the infection.