The Karnataka government on Tuesday imposed a night curfew in the state till May 4 amid a surge in coronavirus cases. The restrictions will come into effect from Wednesday 9 pm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of a countrywide lockdown. He urged states to impose a lockdown only as a “last resort”.
India on Tuesday morning recorded 2,59,170 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020 to 1,53,21,089. With 1,761 deaths, the toll rose to 1,80,530. The country has recorded over 2 lakh infections for the sixth consecutive day.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.18 crore people and killed over 30.27 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 8.11 crore people have recovered from the infection.
Read today’s top updates here
11.02 pm: The Centre makes import of remdesivir duty free, reports ANI.
10.26 pm: Delhi records 28,395 coronavirus cases today, the highest since the pandemic broke out in January last year, taking the city’s tally of infections to 9,05,541. The toll goes up by 277 to 12,638.
9.49 pm: Karnataka announces night curfew from 9 pm on Wednesday to 6 am on May 4, reports ANI.
9.39 pm: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs is making all efforts to make oxygen available to hospitals in Delhi and will try to ensure that there is no shortage, reported PTI, citing officials.
9.28 pm: Chandigarh announces a complete lockdown in the Union Territory on Wednesday and prohibits “non-essential movement”, reports ANI. “A weekend lockdown will be imposed from 8 pm on April 23 till 5 am on April 26.”
9.27 pm: Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital Chairperson Dr Rana tells ANI that due to a high number of cases, the requirement of oxygen in the hospital has gone up by three times. “There is an acute shortage of oxygen in our hospital, we need minimum of 5,000 cubic metres of oxygen tonight to keep patients alive,” he adds.
9.24 pm: Maharashtra records 62,097 new Covid-19 cases, 54,224 recoveries, and 519 more deaths, reports ANI. The Covid-19 case tally reaches 39,60,359 and toll stands at 61,343.
9.04 pm: “I request state governments to urge the workers to stay where they are,” Modi says. “This trust given by the states to the workers will help them, and that they will be vaccinated in the city where they are.”
9.03 pm: The prime minister asks people to follow all Covid protocols.
9.02 pm: “We need to save the country from lockdowns,” Modi adds. “I urge states to avoid lockdown and impose it only as a last resort.”
8.59 pm: The prime minister appeals to the youth to form small committees to raise awareness in their community. He says if this measure is successful then containment zones and lockdowns need not be implemented. “The youth should make sure that no one in their homes should step out unless absolutely necessary,” he says.
8.59 pm: “India with two indigenous vaccines started the world’s largest vaccination program,” Modi says. “Till now, more than 12 crore vaccine doses have been administered. From May 1, those above the age of 18 years can be vaccinated.”
8.57 pm: “India had no knowledge about the steps to tackle Covid-19 last year...now the country has a large number of PPE kits....testing is also being increased on a large-scale,” Modi says.
8.55 pm: “We’re fighting a second war against Covid-19, oxygen production is being ramped up,” says Modi.
8.53 pm: “The demand for oxygen has increased in many parts of the country,” the prime minister says. “The Centre, state government, private sector are trying to make oxygen available to all those who are in need of it. Steps are being taken in this direction.”
8.50 pm: “Work is on to increase the number of beds in hospitals,” Modi says. “In some cities, large Covid-19 dedicated hospitals are being built.”
8.47 pm: “The challenge before us is big but we have to overcome it with preparation,” Modi says. “We are facing the second wave of Covid-19 now. I understand the pain you are going through and express my sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones due to the disease.”
8.45 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his address to the nation.
8.16 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held a meeting with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, and urged them to exponentially ramp up the production capacity. “The government ensured that all the vaccine manufacturers not only get all possible help and logistic support, but also the process of vaccine approval is speedy and scientific,” the prime minister has said.
8.11 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi asks why the Centre did not make arrangements when the second Covid-19 wave was “inevitable”. “India produces 7,500 metric tonnes of oxygen per day, we are one of the biggest producers in the world. Oxygen shortage is due to lack of logistics to transport it. [The] government has failed us. There was time. It is still not too late.”
8.08 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the Covid-19 situation at 8:45 pm.
6.57 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to Portugal for the India-European Union summit due to the worsening coronavirus situation, reports PTI. The meeting will be held virtually on May 8, says the Ministry of External Affairs.
6.55 pm: Nepal’s former King Gyanendra Shah and former Queen Komal Shah have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city, The Himalayan Times reported.
Lakhs of devotees are participating in the Kumbh Mela every day, despite the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India.
6.52 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will announce his decision on whether to impose a lockdown on Wednesday after 8 pm, reports ANI.
6.50 pm: Kerala records highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases with 19,577 infections, reports PTI. This takes the total caseload to 12.72 lakh since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020. The toll jumps to 4,978 with 28 deaths.
6.45 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says ministers have requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to announce a complete lockdown in the state from Wednesday 8 pm, reports ANI.
“This was the request of all ministers to the chief minister, now it is his decision,” he says.
6.37 pm: Max Hospital and Sri Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi say that their oxygen supplies will last for just a few hours, reports NDTV. Ganga Ram has said the supplies will run for around eight hours, while Max hospital says it will last six to 12 hours only.
6.35 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flags oxygen shortages in the national Capital.
“Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi,” he tweets. “I again urge Centre to urgently provide oxygen to Delhi. Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen.”
4.57 pm: Delhi High Court raises questions on the Centre’s decision to ban the use of oxygen for industrial purposes from April 22, reports ANI. The High Court asks why the Centre did not impose the banned from Tuesday. “Every life is very important and valuable,” it adds.
4.49 pm: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani says there is no need to impose a lockdown in the state as there are other restrictions such as night curfew in place in 20 cities, reports ANI. He says that educational institutions, malls, theatres, gyms and recreation parks closed.
“By April 30, we will add 10,000 more beds,” he says. “We have also increased the number of oxygen beds which has led to higher consumption of medical oxygen.”
4.46 pm: Only 54.41% healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, have been vaccinated against the coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir, The Hindu reports, citing official data. A total of 49,408 doctors and paramedic staff were vaccinated till Monday out of 1.22 lakh healthcare workers registered.
4.42 pm: Assam government issues new coronavirus guidelines, which will remain in effect till April 30, reports ANI. The order says that all market places except pharmacies, shops in malls, weekly markets to close by 6 pm. It says that not more than 20 citizens will be allowed at funerals, adding that tea gardens and industrial units may function with stricter guidelines.
3.55 pm: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram says the country is gratified that the suggestions made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding coronavirus vaccination was accepted by the Union government.
“Two suggestions remain: ONE, there is an immediate need to provide funds to the manufacturers of the two India-made vaccines to ramp up production,” he says in a series of tweets.
Chidambaram also says there is an urgent need to invoke the provision of compulsory licensing of the India-made vaccines. “That is the only way to use the enormous vaccine manufacturing capacity in India,” he adds.
3.51 pm: Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, along with Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, chairs a high-level meeting to review the coronavirus situation, and its management and response strategy with chief secretaries of all the Union Territories of India, reports ANI.
Bhalla tells the Union Territories to maintain constant vigilance regarding the evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. He asks them to strictly follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and stresses on stricter enforcement of movement restrictions and prohibitions on large gatherings, among other curbs.
3.48 pm: Delhi High Court expresses concern over wastage of vaccines and says: “we are wasting precious time,” reports ANI.
On Covid-19 testing, the High Court suggests the Centre to do it on a first come first served basis. Sample taken first should be processed first and reported first, it adds.
3.44 pm: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal appeals to the migrant labourers in the national Capital to not leave the city in panic. “I assure you that the government will take care of all your needs during this corona[virus] situation,” he tweets. “All necessary arrangements are being made.”
3.38 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that its vaccine policy to allow inoculation of all above 18 years appears to be “hollow” and “without substance”.
3.35 pm: Jharkhand government imposes lockdown in the state from Thursday till April 29, reports ANI. Essential services will be exempted from the lockdown. Religious places will be allowed to remain open but devotees will not be permitted to gather. Mining, agricultural and construction activities are permitted.
3.31 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir says he supports the lockdown imposed in Delhi but asks Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal if he made any preparations to handle the coronavirus pandemic since last year, reports ANI. Gambhir alleges that the chief minister gives lectures, does not take questions and lies. “Is there any hospital in Delhi where beds are available?” he asks.
3.19 pm: Rahul Gandhi says he has tested positive for the coronavirus. “All those who’ve been in contact with me recently, please follow all safety protocols and stay safe,” he tweets.
3.00 pm: Grocery stores, vegetable shops and dairies in Maharashtra will only be open from 7 am to 11 am, the Maharashtra government says. Home delivery from these shops will only be allowed till 8 pm.
2.22 pm: Sunita Kejriwal, the wife of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, tests positive for the coronavirus, reports India Today. Arvind Kejriwal has quarantined himself.
2.16 pm: Union minister Jitendra Singh tests positive for the coronavirus. “Please get yourself screened if you were in my contact recently and take care,” he tweets.
2.11 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy says that the party has submitted a memorandum to the State Election Commission in regards with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s appeal to the poll panel to club together the remaining phases of West Bengal Assembly polls, reports ANI.
2.07 pm: Additional Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Home Department Awanish K Awasthi says a weekend lockdown will be imposed on Saturdays and Sundays, reports ANI. Awasthi says the lockdown will come into effect at 8 pm on Friday and continue till 7 am on Monday. He adds that the night curfew will remain imposed in all districts.
2.03 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party national president JP Nadda hold a review for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rallies, reports ANI. The BJP has decided the Modi and Union ministers will only hold small public meetings with not more than 500 people in West Bengal.
2.02 pm: Union minister Rajnath Singh chairs a review meeting on the Ministry of Defence’s preparation and response to the coronavirus pandemic, reports ANI.
2.01 pm: A consignment of antiviral drug remdesivir reaches Indore from Karnataka for distribution across cities in Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI.
1.55 pm: Healthcare company Johnson & Johnson says it has sought an approval from India’s drug regulator to conduct a bridging clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the country, reports PTI. The United States Food and Drug Administration had approved the company’s single-dose vaccine in February for emergency use.
1.04 pm: The Supreme Court then appoints senior advocate PS Narasimha as amicus curiae in the case, reports Live Law.
1.03 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says he has no problem with the order as the matter was that the Allahabad High Court has taken suo moto cognisance.
1.01 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, says the state government can report to the Supreme Court about the measures it has taken. However, the court asks why should it entertain the case. “Then we will have litigation all over the country on imposing lockdowns,” Chief Justice SA Bobde says. “Other states will be like you are down for Allahabad, why not other states.”
12.49 pm: Supreme Court puts an interim stay on Allahabad High Court’s order imposing a lockdown in five Uttar Pradesh cities, reports Live Law. The court asks the state government to report to the High Court about the steps it has taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus immediately and the measures it will take in the future within one week.
12.46 pm: Supreme Court takes up Uttar Pradesh government’s plea regarding the Allahabad High Court lockdown order, reports Live Law.
12.37 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says that as labourers are migrating to their native places again, it is the responsibility of the central government to deposit money into their bank accounts. “But will the government, which blames the public for spreading the coronavirus, take such a helpful step?” he asks.
12.36 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a virtual meeting with manufacturers of the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, reports News18.
12.33 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says the bed count in the national Capital has gone up by three times in 2.5 weeks, reports ANI. Sisodia says that 2,700 more beds will be arranged in the next few days.
12.31 pm: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will chair a meeting on the coronavirus situation at 1 pm, reports ANI. The meeting will be attended by the three service chiefs, chief of defence staff, all secretaries, Defence Research and Development Organisation chairperson and director general of the Armed Forces Medical College.
12.30 pm: Telangana government announces night curfew in the state from 9 pm to 5 am, reports ANI. The order will come into effect immediately and remain in place till May 1.
12.26 pm: Delhi High Court asks the Centre to inform it about the matter of diverting oxygen supply from industries to coronavirus patients, reports PTI. The High Court asks why industries cannot wait for oxygen supply as patients need it more. It adds that doctors at Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital are forced to reduce oxygen given to Covid-19 patients due to insufficient supply.
12.23 pm: Eastern Railway says it has so far cancelled 56 local trains in the Sealdah section in West Bengal after around 90 drivers and guards tested positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI. Eastern Railway spokesperson Eklabya Chakraborty tells PTI that the decision was taken top ensure mail and express train services are not affected.
12.18 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says he followed up on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s health condition with the medical team attending to him at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences. “His [Singh’s] condition is stable,” Vardhan tweets. “Best possible care is being provided to him. We all pray for his quick recovery.” Singh has tested positive for the coronavirus.
12.01 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appeals to residents to stay at their homes as a 6-day lockdown begins in the national Capital. “This decision [lockdown] has been taken in view of your health and safety,” tweets Kejriwal. “Please cooperate with the government in this, stay at your home, avoid infection.”
11.59 am: Visuals from Connaught Place in Delhi on the first day of the lockdown.
11.58 am: Chief Justice of India-led bench of the Supreme Court will hear the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea challenging the Allahabad High Court lockdown order today, reports ANI.
11.50 am: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says there are 18,923 beds in Delhi of which 16,461 beds are occupied and 2,462 beds are vacant, reports ANI. He adds that the Covid-19 facility in Radha Soami Satsang Beas will reopen
11.37 am: The Uttar Pradesh government moves Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court order to impose lockdown in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, reports ANI. The government has challenged the order on the ground that the High Court did not have the domain to issue such kind of directions.
11.32 am: Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar says that Bengaluru has emerged as an epicentre of coronavirus cases in the state and there was a need to work on a war footing, reports PTI. He adds that a discussion will be held on Bengaluru and seven other districts, which have been designated as sensitive zones in view of the alarming rise in coronavirus cases.
11.29 am: BKC vaccination centre in Mumbai runs out of Covishield vaccines, reports ANI. “We had 350-400 Covishield doses, we’ve administered it,” says Rajesh Dere, Dean of BKC jumbo vaccination centre. “We’re awaiting more doses. Around 2,000 Covaxin doses are available for second dose, that is being administered.”
Dere says that they have received news about getting more doses by evening. “If that happens, we will begin vaccination tomorrow,” he adds. “We realised last night about the shortage of Covishield doses.”
11.18 am: Uttar Pradesh minister Sidharth N Singh says that following the lockdown in Delhi, ripple effects were seen on its borders with Ghaziabad and Noida as migrant workers were left to fend for themselves, reports ANI. He says UP Chief Minister Adityanath facilitated buses to help about 70,000-1 lakh workers reach their native places.
10.37 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research says 26,94,14,035 samples have been tested across the country for the coronavirus up till Monday, including 15,19,486 samples tested on April 19.
10.34 am: Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij says pilgrims returning from the Haridwar Kumbh mela and the farmers protesting at the state borders with Delhi will be tested for coronavirus, reports PTI. He adds the state is not imposing any lockdown.
10.31 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ruled out any possibility of a lockdown or night curfew in the state but announced that all schools will be shut for two months, reports The Indian Express. Meanwhile, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that there was “no scientific evidence that indicates a lockdown will definitely break the chain [of transmission]”.
10.29 am: The Uttar Pradesh government claims there is no scarcity of antiviral drug remdesivir injections in the state, reports The Indian Express. It adds that 25,000 vials of the antiviral drug would reach the state by Tuesday evening.
10.27 am: Mumbai has about 87,000 active coronavirus cases, of which over 90% are concentrated in high rise buildings while slums account for just 10%, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, reports The Indian Express.
10.24 am: A night curfew will be imposed in Kerala for two weeks, starting Tuesday, reports Mint. The curfew will come into effect at 9 pm and remain in effect till 5 am. Essential services, goods transportation and public transportation are exempted from the curfew.
10.21 am: The Central Railway said that the first “oxygen express” carrying seven empty tankers left from near Mumbai on Monday for Visakhapatnam, where they will be loaded with liquid oxygen for transportation to Maharashtra, reports PTI.
10.19 am: A senior member of the Technical Advisory Committee in Karnataka said the state government was warned about the second coronavirus wave, reports the Hindustan Times. “We missed the timing and the quantum is higher than expected,” said Dr Girighara Babu, an epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India and member of the committee. “Governments had all the time to review and prepare.”
10.15 am: Indian Certificate of Secondary Education cancels board exams for Class 10 in view of the “worsening situation” of the coronavirus pandemic, days after making the exam optional, reports NDTV.
10.13 am: The Kerala government and temple authorities agree to allow the celebration of Thrissur Pooram, the largest festival of the state at Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur, on April 23, reports the Hindustan Times. However, the celebration will take place with tight restrictions and without any spectators.
10.09 am: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar defends the decision to export vaccines and urges the domestic industrial sector to innovate so that they can meet the challenges of the second coronavirus wave, reports The Hindu. Jaishankar says “irresponsible people” are likely to criticise the exports.
10.08 am: The Centre has announced guidelines for its employees, including staggered office hours and 50% attendance of officers of the level of under secretary and below, in view of a surge in coronavirus cases, reports PTI.
9.36 am: India records 2,59,170 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020 to 1,53,21,089. With 1,761 deaths, the toll rises to 1,80,530. The country has recorded over 2 lakh infections for the sixth consecutive day.
India’s count of active cases stands at 20,31,977, while the number of recoveries recorded since the beginning of the outbreak reaches 1,31,08,582.
8.41 am: District authority in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore says no permission will be given for weddings till April 30, ANI reports.
“People are requested to postpone their weddings and stay home till April 30,” says Indore DM Manish Singh. “This will help us reduce numbers as hospitals’ capacity is full now.”
8.38 am: Migrant workers leave national Capital Delhi after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal imposed a six-day curfew in the city, starting from Monday night, reports ANI.
8.35 am: The United States has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India, citing “very high level of Covid-19” in the country, ANI reports.
“Amid a surge in Covid cases [in India], travellers should avoid all travel to India,” the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a statement. “Even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting & spreading variants and should avoid all travel to India. If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel.”
A look at developments from Monday:
- India 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 Union government announced that everyone above 18 years of age can be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the third phase of India’s inoculation programme, starting from May 1.
- The Allahabad High Court imposed a lockdown in five Uttar Pradesh cities of Lucknow, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Kanpur and Gorakhpur till April 26, but the state government refused to follow the order.
- The United Kingdom added India to its travel “red-list” amid concerns about a new variant of the coronavirus.