The Centre on Monday announced that the third phase of India’s coronavirus vaccination programme will begin from May 1. Everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to receive shots in this phase.
The central government has also directed all the states and Union Territories to follow a “zero tolerance” approach against hoarders of all essential commodities to ensure supply chains remained undisrupted. Several states have announced partial lockdowns, while Delhi on Monday announced a complete lockdown till 5 am on April 26.
Meanwhile, the high courts of Delhi, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh pulled up the state governments amid the intensifying Covid-19 situation.
India on Monday reported 2,73,810 new coronavirus cases, another highest single-day rise since pandemic broke out in January 2020, taking the country’s tally to 1,50,61,919. With 1,619 deaths, the toll jumped to 1,78,769. The country has now recorded over 2 lakh infections for five consecutive days.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.11 crore people and killed over 30.17 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 8.06 crore people have recovered from the infection.
Here are the day’s updates:
11.08 pm: West Bengal records 8,426 new coronavirus cases today, reports ANI.
11.05 pm: Delhi records 23,686 new coronavirus cases and 240 more deaths today, reports ANI.
11.03 pm: Kerala imposes curfew between 9am to 5 pm daily from April 20. Essential services will not be closed during this period.
10.30 pm: The Centre directs all the states and Union Territories to follow a “zero tolerance” approach against hoarders of all essential commodities in order to ensure the supplies are maintained amid the lockdowns and other restrictions being imposed in several states, reports the Hindustan Times.
10.27 pm: Three government medical personnel, including two doctors, and their driver were injured after their car was attacked by a group of people when they had gone to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh to give medicines to a Covid-19 patient, reports PTI. Ballia District Magistrate Aditi Singh says the administration might take action under the stringent National Security Act against the accused.
10.25 pm: Congress leader Ashok Chavan says the BJP-led Centre should make the National Investigation Agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to go after black-marketeers and hoarders of medicines used for coronavirus treatment in place of “using them to target political opponents”, reports PTI.
“When you can use them to target your political opponents, why not utilise them [central agencies] sensibly against black-marketeers and hoarders who are today creating all these problems in the country?” he says.
10.23 pm: Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences Director SK Sarin cautions people to not consume medicines in the name of immunity boosters against coronavirus as they could damage one’s liver, reports the Hindustan Times.
“People are consuming many medicines assuming them to be immunity boosters,” he says. “Some might be good but those with no scientific evidence, Ayurvedic, Homeopathic or anything else, could harm the liver.”
10.19 pm: Nineteen coronavirus patients from Rajasthan, who were recuperating at a hospital in Uttarakhand after visiting the Kumbh Mela, have fled from there, The Times of India reports.
10.13 pm: The Madhya High Court directs the state government to ensure the supply of life-saving drugs within an hour from the requisition made by doctors treating Covid-19 patients, reports PTI.
The High Court also says the government can regulate the supply of remdesivir injections and other drugs, but the “process must be hassle-free and that the supply of the drug should be time-bound”.
10.12 pm: Haryana registers 6,842 new coronavirus cases today.
10.11 pm: The Gautam Buddh Nagar administration extends night curfew in the district till April 30, reports ANI.
10.09 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes Congress leader Manmohan Singh a speedy recovery. Singh tested positive for the coronavirus earlier today.
10.07 pm: Punjab government closes all bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, swimming pools, coaching centres and sports complexes in the state to contain the spread of Covid-19, reports ANI. The new restrictions will come into effect from tomorrow 8 pm.
8.33 pm: India has been added to Britain’s “red list” of countries due to concerns over a new Covid variant, reports BBC, citing United Kingdom’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock. This bans all arrivals from India apart from British or Irish citizens, who have to pay to stay in a UK government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days on their return.
8.03 pm: The Centre will not procure imported coronavirus vaccines as part of its drive to vaccinate those above 18. These vaccines will be available at private centres or will be procured by the states, reports The New Indian Express.
7.58 pm: The Delhi government announces that schools will be closed from April 20 for summer vacations, because of the rising number of Covid cases. School holidays will continue till June 9, reports ANI.
7.54 pm: Tamil Nadu has 10,941 new cases of the virus today, reports ANI.
7.50 pm: Rajasthan has a record high of 11,967 new cases over the last 24 hours, reports the Hindustan Times.
7.47 pm: Maharashtra records 58,924 new coronavirus cases and 351 deaths in the last day, reports ANI. Of this, Mumbai has 7,381 cases.
7.40 pm: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao tests positive for the coronavirus, reports ANI. He has mild symptoms and is under isolation, ANI quotes the Chief Secretary as saying.
7.34 pm: The Punjab government urges the Centre to send immediate supplies of coronavirus vaccines, and give approval to two new oxygen plants in the state, reports PTI.
7.32 pm: Rajasthan registers 11,967 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day rise in infections since the pandemic broke out last year, reports PTI. With this, the state’s tally of cases rises to 4,26,584. The toll climbs to 3,204 with 53 more deaths recorded in 24 hours.
7.28 pm: Congress leader P Chidambaram criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi for addressing poll rallies in West Bengal. “Why is PM addressing 4 rallies in one day ignoring his responsibilities as PM?” he writes on Twitter. “We all know what BJP’s rallies are. Glitzy, multi-crore extravaganzas that are used to abuse the opposition parties.”
7.15 pm: The Centre announces that the third phase of India’s coronavirus vaccination programme will begin from May 1. Everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to receive shots in this phase. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
7.08 pm: The Uttar Pradesh government refuses to comply with the Allahabad High Court’s directions to impose a lockdown in the cities of Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, reports NDTV.
7.06 pm: Andhra Pradesh registers 5,963 new Covid-19 cases and 27 deaths, the highest toll in a day since October 20, reports PTI. With this, the state’s tally of infections rises to 9.68 lakh, while the number of deaths climb to 7,437.
7.02 pm: Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava appeals to residents of the city to follow the lockdown restrictions imposed in the Capital from 10 pm tonight, reports ANI. He also requests migrant workers not to leave the city. “We will ensure they are looked after,” he adds.
7.01 pm: Thirty inmates from Kalyan Adharwadi Jail in Maharashtra test positive for the coronavirus, reports ANI. All of them have been shifted to Thane Civil Hospital for treatment.
6.59 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a meeting with executives of the leading pharmaceutical companies of India.
6.50 pm: Music composer Shravan Kumar Rathod, who had recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, has been hospitalised and is in a critical condition, IANS reports. Rathod is a part of the popular composer duo Nadeem-Shravan.
6.45 pm: The Telangana High Court gives the state government a two-day ultimatum to decide on a lockdown, NDTV reports. The court warns that it will issue orders if the state government does not come to a decision, and sought a full report on the coronavirus situation in Telangana.
6.42 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tests positive for the coronavirus, the Hindustan Times reports.
6.40 pm: The Indian government has agreed to sanction supply credit to the Serum Institute of India and the Bharat Biotech to boost their capacity to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines, News 18 reports. The Finance Ministry has cleared a credit of Rs 3,000 crore for Serum Institute and Rs 1,500 crore for Bharat Biotech.
5.45 pm: The Allahabad High Court has ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to not allow social functions and gatherings, close hotels, restaurants and even the small eating points till April 26 as cases continue to rise at an alarming speed in the state.
5.40 pm: The Allahabad High Court says Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath is in isolation and only VIPs are getting medical treatment in the state, reports Bar and Bench.
“We find from the scenario that emerges from the government hospitals that admission of patients to ICUs are largely being done on the recommendation of VIPs,” the court says. “Even supply of life saving anti viral drug namely remdesivir is being provided only on the recommendation of VIPs.”
5.35 pm: The Allahabad High Court orders the state government to impose lockdown in the cities of Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj and Gorakhpur till April 26 to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Essential medical and health services will be allowed to function during this period.
According to NDTV, the lockdown will be imposed from Monday night.
5.07 pm: Chennai Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal says Police will install 200 checkpoints to monitor vehicles and the movement of people during the lockdown, reports ANI. A full lockdown is imposed in the state on Sundays.
5.03 pm: The Delhi High Court asks Centre to examine the availability of oxygen so that it can be diverted to areas where it is most required, reports ANI. The Centre says it will an affidavit. The hearing has been adjourned till Tuesday.
5.01 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik says his party Biju Janata Dal has decided not to hold public rallies or campaign meetings for the Pipili bypolls, reports ANI. He urges other political parties and the Election Commission to reconsider both the duration and the method of campaigning.
4.53 pm: The Delhi High Court expresses concern on the rise of Covid-19 cases, reports ANI. “It is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse,” it says.
The High Court also directs the Delhi government to provide food to daily labourers at their worksite and to utilise the service of mid-day meal contractors.
4.51 pm: The Punjab government says Mohali will be under a lockdown on Ram Navami on Wednesday to prevent mass gatherings in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Tribune.
4.47 pm: Delhi government’s Drugs Control Department sets up a control room to counter the shortage of Covid-19 management drugs in the national Capital, reports ANI.
4.45 pm: The Delhi High Court orders Oxygen firm Inox to not divert oxygen supplies to other states after the Arvind Kejriwal government moves the court on the matter, reports NDTV.
4.43 pm: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has told the Madhya Pradesh government that services at Army hospitals in the state will be made available to civilians in view of the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reports, citing the chief minister’s office.
4.36 pm: Former Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik tests positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports, citing his office. Naik is under home quarantine and his health is improving steadily, his office says in a statement.
4.32 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says that the state government has formed a task force to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and also increased the number of beds, reports PTI. She urges people not to panic as the state government was taking “all possible measure” to check the spread of the infection. She adds that night curfew may not be a solution in the state.
4.28 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla says public representatives need to create awareness among people to follow all coronavirus-related protocols, reports ANI. “We need to send the message that observance of precautions is the biggest weapon in the fight against this pandemic,” he says.
4.27 pm: Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court directs the Maharashtra government to supply 10,000 injections of antiviral drug remdisivir to Nagpur city by 8 pm on Monday, reports ANI.
4.24 pm: A plea has been filed in Delhi High Court seeking direction to release prisoners on interim bail or parole to decongest jails in view of the rising coronavirus cases in the national Capital, reports PTI. Petitioner RK Gossain, who is an advocate, says in the plea that following physical distancing norms is the most crucial factor but jails in Delhi are already overcrowded. Adhering to physical distancing norms is impossible, he adds.
4.19 pm: A team of three government medical staff, including two doctors, and their driver sustained injuries after they were allegedly attacked by villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district, PTI reports, citing the police.
The incident took place at Paswan Chowk village on Sunday. The medical team’s vehicle was surrounded by around 60 villagers and attacked, according to the complaint. The police said one person has been arrested in connection with the case.
4.16 pm: A 47-year-old district court judge dies due to coronavirus at a government hospital in Delhi, reports PTI. Judge Kovai Venugopal was admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital on Sunday and was being treated in the intensive care unit ward, say unidentified court officials.
4.08 pm: Delhi Metro trains will run from 8 am to 10 am in the morning and 5 pm to 7 pm in the evening with a frequency of 30 minutes during the six-day lockdown, ANI reports.
For rest of the hours of the day, metro train services will be available with a frequency of an hour. “Services during this period can be availed only by the exempted category of people on the production of the valid identity cards,” the Delhi Metro adds.
3.55 pm: Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma accuses the Centre of discriminating among states while providing oxygen, PTI reports. He claims Rajasthan was given 124 metric tonnes, while Gujarat got 1,200 metric tonnes.
3.50 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa calls a virtual meeting on April 20 with Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council leaders to discuss the coronavirus crisis, ANI reports.
3.44 pm: Several hospitals in Bengaluru are facing shortages of medical oxygen, The Indian Express reports. Dr Prasanna HM, the president of Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Associations, tells the newspaper that he had to depend on the black market for oxygen supply.
3.41 pm: AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says remdesivir should only be given to patients who are hospitalised, ANI reports. “It’s important to understand that the drug isn’t a magic bullet and it isn’t a drug that decreases mortality,” he adds. “We may use it as we don’t have an anti-viral drug. It’s of no use if given early to asymptomatic individuals or ones with mild symptoms. Also of no use, if given late.”
3.31 pm: The count of active cases in Bengaluru as April 18 is of 97,897, The Times of India reports. Overall, Karnataka has more than 1 lakh active cases.
3.24 pm: Migrant workers in Delhi return to their native places after the announcement of the six-day lockdown, ANI reports.
2.21 pm: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancels his India trip due to the wave of coronavirus cases, reports the Hindustan Times.
According to a statement from both countries’ governments, Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will “speak later this month” regarding future bilateral plans and “remain in regular contact”.
1.19 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan responds to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the country’s vaccination process. In his letter, Vardhan attacks Congress leaders for “spreading falsehoods regarding the efficacy of these vaccines”.
“A learned man of your [Singh] stature could do well to surround himself with better advisors,” Vardhan says. “All suggestions given by you have been implemented a week prior to your letter.”
1.14 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi accuses Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis of hoarding remdesivir injections. She says Fadnavis committed a “crime against humanity”, tweeting a video of the former Maharashtra chief minister arguing with police officials.
Fadnavis had intervened on Saturday after Mumbai Police questioned the director of Bruck Pharma, for allegedly trying to export remdesivir, deslpite a ban.
1.05 pm: Summer vacation in schools in West Bengal to start from April 20 in view of rise in cases of coronavirus, PTI reports, quoting state education minister.
12.35 pm: Essential services will continue to function during the six-day lockdown in Delhi. Food and medicine shops will be allowed to operate, while 50 guests will be allowed at weddings. The chief minister says a detailed order will be issued shortly.
12.33 pm: “I hope that we wouldn’t have to extend this lockdown,” says Kejriwal. He tells the migrant workers that the government will take care of them. “Main hoon na [I am there for you],” the chief minister tells the migrants.
12.32 pm: Kejriwal says the six-day lockdown is being put in place to make arrangements for oxygen, medicines and hospital beds as coronavirus cases continue to rise at an alarming speed.
“I appeal to migrant labourers not to leave the city due to such a short lockdown, but both the lieutenant governor and I agreed that there is no other option,” he says. “Both of us agreed that the health system cannot take more.”
12.26 pm: The chief minister announces that the government has decided to impose a lockdown in Delhi from 10 pm tonight to Monday 5 am.
12.25 pm: Kejriwal says Delhi’s health system has reached its limits, but has not yet collapsed.
12.25 pm: Arvind Kejriwal says he has never hidden the death figures. “The number of ICU beds and ventilators – we put everything before you in a transparent manner,” he says. “I always say Delhi is a family. And when tragedy strikes, the entire family fights.”
12.22 pm: The chief minister says around 23,500 new coronavirus cases have been recorded in Delhi over the last 24 hours.
12.20 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is addressing a press conference about the coronavirus situation.
12.05 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says he has asked for a special session of the Parliament for an “open discussion on the situation of all states”, reports ANI.
11.59 am: Migrant workers seen walking towards their native places on National Highway 27 in Kanpur in fear of another lockdown, reports ANI.
11.54 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says she has taken inputs from industry leaders and that the Centre would continue to work with state governments to save lives and livelihood.
11.01 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting on the coronavirus situation in the country at 11.30 am, reports ANI.
10.27 am: Schools in Argentina’s Capital Buenos Aires will open from Monday after a court overruled a federal order requiring classes go online for two weeks amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the city, reports Reuters.
10.21 am: Residents of Israel step out without masks for the first time, reports AFP. With more than half the population being vaccinated, Israel’s health ministry on Thursday announced that masks will no longer be required.
10.14 am: Jharkhand government seeks permission from the Centre to import 50,000 vials of antiviral drug remdesivir from a Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals company, reports News18. In a letter to Union minister DV Sadanand Gowda, Chief Minister Hemant Soren says there is an acute shortage of the drug in the state.
10.12 am: People seen flouting Covid-19 norms in the Chaura Bazar area of Ludhiana, Punjab.
10.10 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research says 26,78,94,549 samples were tested for the coronavirus on Sunday. Of these, 13,56,133 samples were tested on April 18.
10.08 am: Delhi government deputes officers at oxygen filling plants, medical oxygen cylinders and liquid medical oxygen suppliers to oversee the entire procurement process by the filler agency, reports ANI.
10.05 am: Delhi government directs all drug inspectors to personally monitor the whole procurement process of antiviral drug remdesivir starting from placement of the order to its receipt by the distributor from the company depot, reports ANI.
9.44 am: India reports 2,73,810 new coronavirus cases, as the tally rises to 1,50,61,919, sccording to government data. With 1,619 deaths, the toll jumps to 1,78,769. The count of active cases stands at 19,29,329.
9.39 am: Sensex plunges over 1,300 points in morning trade as rise in coronavirus cases hit market sentiments.
9.24 am: Hong Kong has stopped all flights from India, Philippines and Pakistan from Tuesday to May 3 due to the surge in coronavirus cases, PTI reports. This came after 47 passengers on a Delhi-Hong Kong Vistara flight tested positive for Covid on arrival on April 4.
8.59 am: Janata Dal (United) MLA and former minister of Bihar, Mewalal Choudhary, dies of Covid-19 at a hospital in Patna, reports ANI.
8.54 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to meet Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Monday morning, reports News18. Following the meeting, Kejriwal may extend the weekend lockdown imposed in the national Capital to other days as well.
8.50 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will not hold any more election campagain rallies in Kolkata, says Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien. Banerjee’s rallies in other districts will be restricted to 30 minutes.
A look at developments from Sunday:
- India reported 2,61,500 new coronavirus cases, yet another highest single-day rise in cases. The country’s tally rose to 1,47,88,109 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. With 1,501 deaths, the toll jumped to 1,77,150. Several states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal on Sunday reported their highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases.
- Congress leader and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making five suggestions on the country’s vaccination programme, which he said was pertinent to tackle to coronavirus crisis.
- Indian Railways will run special trains to supply oxygen to states and Union Territories that are facing an acute shortage of oxygen supply. The Centre also said that the production of medical-grade oxygen will be doubled.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah said it was “not right” to link the surge in coronavirus cases in India to elections. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, cancelled all his election rallies in West Bengal