Maharashtra on Wednesday announced stricter restrictions, including 15% attendance in government and private offices and a cap of 25 guests at weddings. The new curbs will come into effect from 8 pm on April 22 to 7 am on May 1.
Bharat Biotech said that its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin showed overall clinical efficacy of 78% and 100% against severe cases in phase three interim analysis.
Meanwhile, France imposed a 10-day quarantine for travellers from India to prevent the spread of a coronavirus variant, a French government spokesperson said.
India on Wednesday reported 2.95 lakh new cases and 2,023 deaths in the last 24 hours. This is an unprecedented figure since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country now has 1,56,16,130 cases and the toll rose to 1,82,553.
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.
Here are the day’s updates
11.08 pm: Delhi reports 24,638 new Covid-19 cases, 24,600 recoveries and 249 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the Capital rise to 9,30,179, including 8,31,928 recoveries and 85,364 active cases. The toll goes up by 249 to 12,887.
10.24 pm: Maharashtra announces stricter restrictions, including 15% attendance in government and private offices and a cap of 25 guests at weddings. The new curbs will come into effect from 8 pm on April 22 to 7 am on May 1.
9.45 pm: Punjab reports 4,970 new Covid-19 cases, 69 deaths and 2,727 recoveries in the last 24 hours. The total Covid-19 cases stand at 3,14,269 and toll at 8,114, reports ANI.
8.28 pm: Kerala will provide free vaccines to those above 18, says Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, reports ANI.
8.14 pm: Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin shows overall clinical efficacy of 78% and 100% against severe Covid-19 cases in phase three interim analysis.
8.07 pm: Tamil Nadu records 11,861 new coronavirus cases, pushing the state’s tally of infections to 10,25,059, reports PTI. The toll jumps to 13,258 with 53 new deaths registered in 24 hours.
8.06 pm: West Bengal Congress unit chief Adhir Chowdhury tests positive for the coronavirus.
8.02 pm: Uttar Pradesh registers 33,214 new cases and 187 deaths, both the highest single-day rise since the beginning of the pandemic, PTI reports. With this, the state’s tally of infections rises to 9,42,511, and the toll goes up to 10,346.
8.01 pm: The Election Commission tells the Trinamool Congress that its suggestion to club the remaining three phases of West Bengal assembly polls was not implementable, reports PTI.
In a letter to the Trinamool Congress, the poll panel cites election laws and various steps it has taken to ensure safety of voters in view of the coronavirus pandemic as it rules out any change in the poll schedule.
7.59 pm: The Bihar election commission postpones the process of issuing notification for the panchayat polls in view of the coronavirus situation, reports PTI. “Further decision will be taken upon reviewing the situation after 15 days,” the poll panel says.
7.54 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says he has tested positive for the coronavirus. His sister and 85-year-old mother too have contracted the infection, he says.
7.52 pm: The toll from the Nashik oxygen leakage rises to 24, reports ANI, quoting Mayor Satish Kulkarni. The coronavirus patients died after oxygen supply was affected due to a leakage in the main storage tank at Zakir Hussain Hospital.
7.50 pm: Gujarat registers 12,553 new coronavirus cases and 125 deaths, pushing the state’s tally of infections to 4,40,731, and the toll to 5,740, reports ANI.
7.49 pm: Tripura government imposes night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am in Agartala Municipal Corporation area from tomorrow, reports PTI.
7.45 pm: The Centre for the first time releases data on the number of persons who got infected with Covid-19 after receiving vaccines. The health ministry calls such cases “breakthrough infections”.
“Two to four per 10,000 breakthrough infections of Covid-19 have occurred after vaccinations,” Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava says during the briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country. “This is a very small number...not at all worrisome and vaccinations should continue.”
7.41 pm: Authorities in Goa impose a night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am to tackle the rising coronavirus cases, reports the Hindustan Times. Essential services will be exempted from the restrictions.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant also announces that all casinos, bars and cinema halls in the state will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity only. “Exams for standards 10th and 12th postponed but municipal elections will go ahead as planned,” he adds.
As announced by the Goa State Election Commission, on March 30, five municipalities will go to polls on April 23, with counting of votes to take place on April 26.
7.38 pm: Karnataka records 23,588 new coronavirus cases in its highest single-day rise since the pandemic broke out last year, reports NDTV. The toll rises to 13,762 after 116 new deaths were reported in 24 hours.
7.37 pm: Mumbai records 7,684 new coronavirus cases and 62 deaths today.
7.35 pm: Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine will be sold at $10 (around Rs 750) a dose in India, NDTV reports, quoting Dr Reddy’s Labs, which will manufacture the shot in India. Thousands of doses will be available in the country by May to June through imports, says GV Prasad, managing director of Dr Reddy’s.
7.26 pm: The Centre increases Delhi’s quota of oxygen supply to treat coronavirus patients as the city faces unprecedented shortages, says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
6.01 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says that the state government has arranged for 1,550 metric tons of oxygen as 15% of currently active Covid-19 cases may need oxygen, reports The Times of India.
“As per today’s demand we have sufficient Remdisiver, the only challenge is that of distribution. So I would appeal to doctors to use oxygen and Remdisiver properly,” he says.
5.58 pm: At least 129 persons were jailed for a few hours for allegedly roaming around in public places in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, to inculcate Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, The Hindu reports, citing an official.
5.53 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says that there is another matter of transportation of oxygen, reports ANI. Sisodia says that he received a report that a local administration officer in Faridabad, Haryana, stopped a truck transporting oxygen, which delayed the supply.
“Yesterday also, we faced a similar transportation issue,” he adds. “We had to call a senior Cabinet minister, only after he helped that oxygen transport to Delhi was started.”
5.51 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia requests the Centre to increase Delhi’s quota of oxygen supply as nearly 18,000 patients are currently admitted to hospitals in the national Capital, reports ANI. “I’ve visited many hospitals [and[ people from UP [Uttar Pradesh], Haryana etc are also getting treatment here,” he adds.
5.48 pm: Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan says 4.03% Covid-19 cases were reported in the first wave in children below 10 years, while 2.97% cases were registered in the second wave.
“In the age group 10-20 years, 8.07% Covid-19 cases were reported in the first wave, while 8.50% cases were registered in the second wave,” Bhushan says. “In the age group 20-30 years, 20.41% cases were reported in the first wave, while 19.35% cases were registered in the second wave.”
In citizens aged 30 and above, 67.5% Covid-19 cases were reported in the first wave, while 69.18% infections registered in second wave, he adds.
5.47 pm: The health ministry releases comparative data, showing that the severity, virulence and demography of the victims in the first and the second wave of coronavirus are about the same, reports PTI.
5.42 pm: The Tamil Nadu government says that it would take up with the Centre the matter of diversion of about 45 metric tons of medical oxygen from a plant to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, reports PTI. The government, however, says that it has adequate stocks of oxygen.
5.39 pm: All India Institute Of Medical Sciences chief Dr Randeep Guleria says the coronavirus vaccine prevents one from getting the disease in a severe form of illness, reports ANI. “It may not prevent you from getting the infection,” he says. “Important to understand that even after the vaccine we may have a positive report, it is why important to wear a mask even after [getting the] vaccine.”
5.36 pm: The health ministry says that the Centre is producing 7,500 metric tons of oxygen in the country per day and 6,600 metric tons is being allocated to states for medical purposes, reports PTI.
5.33 pm: The health ministry says that more than 21,000 tested positive for the coronavirus after taking the first dose of either Covishield or Covaxin, while over 5,500 tested positive after the second dose, reports PTI.
5.30 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Nashik oxygen leak incident in which 22 people died is “heart-wrenching”. “Anguished by the loss of lives due to it,” he says. “Condolences to the bereaved families in this sad hour.”
5.27 pm: An official of St Stephen’s Hospital in Delhi tells ANI that oxygen supplier Linde India has stopped the supply, reports ANI. The official seeks help, citing only a supply of two hours left and 300 Covid-19 patients.
5.16 pm: France imposes a 10-day quarantine for travellers from India, reports AFP.
5.09 pm: Five hours of oxygen left at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, reports ANI. Fifty-eight Covid-19 patients are admitted to the hospital, including 10 in the intensive care unit.
5.03 pm: The health ministry says that 146 districts have reported a Covid-19 positivity rate of more than 15%, while 274 districts reported positivity between 5% and 15%, according to PTI.
5.01 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says that people above 18 years of age in the state will be vaccinated for free.
3.56 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah expresses grief on the death of the 22 persons in the Nashik oxygen leak.
3.53 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel says the state government will bear expenses of vaccinating all above 18 years, reports ANI. “We will take all possible steps to protect our citizens’ lives,” he says. “Request central government to ensure availability of adequate number of vaccines.”
3.52 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath directs officials to conduct raids on people involved in black-marketing of medicines such as remdesivir and book the offenders under the National Security Act, reports PTI.
3.50 pm: Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh criticises the Centre on different prices of Covishield vaccine, saying the Centre getting it at Rs 150 per dose and states at Rs 400 is not cooperative federalism. “We demand One Nation, One Price for Centre & State governments,” he tweets.
3.47 pm: Former India cricket captain MS Dhoni’s parents have been admitted to a hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, reports the Hindustan Times.
3.45 pm: Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh dies while he was in isolation at his residence after testing positive for coronavirus, reports The Telegraph, citing his family.
3.42 pm: Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal tests positive for coronavirus. “I am taking medication & treatment as per the advice of my doctors,” he tweets. “Request all those who have come in my contact recently to be observant, and get themselves tested.”
3.22 pm: The toll in the oxygen tanker leak incident has risen to 22, reports ANI, citing Nashik district magistrate.
3.19 pm: A man was arrested for his alleged involvement in black marketing of antiviral drug remdesivir amid a shortage of the medicine, reports PTI. The Noida Police seize 105 vials of the antiviral drug from the accused, Rachit Ghai.
3.15 pm: The Uttarakhand High Court asks the state government if there is any standard operating procedure for the char dham yatra, scheduled to begin from May 14, reports The Times of India. The High Court observes that the pilgrimage “cannot be allowed to turn into another Kumbh”.
3.05 pm: Odisha Education Minister Samir Ranjan Das says that the state board has cancelled Class 10 exams in view of the surge in coronavirus cases, reports ANI. The results will be prepared on objective criteria.
3.02 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis demands inquiry into the death of 11 people who died after an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in Nashik, reports ANI. “I demand that the other patients be helped & shifted if needed,” he adds.
2.56 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis hits back at the Congress for suggestions to the Centre to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, reports ANI. Fadnavis says that it seems the Congress family and the party wants to create an atmosphere of negativity. He asks Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi if she discussed her suggestions with Maharashtra, where the Sonia Gandhi-led party is part of the ruling coalition.
“What is the condition there [in Maharashtra]?” he asks. “38-40% of total deaths [due to Covid-19] are in Maharashtra. 35-40% of total cases & 35-37% of active cases are in Maharashtra.”
2.42 pm: Preliminary reports say 11 people have died after an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra, ANI reports. “We’re trying to get a detailed report. We’ve ordered an enquiry as well,” says state FDA Minister Rajendra Shingane.
2.35 pm: “Due to the valves leakage of the tanker in Nashik, there was massive Oxygen leakage,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says, according to ANI. “There must definitely have been an impact on the hospital it was going to but I’m yet to gather more information. We’ll issue a press note after gathering more information.”
2.30 pm: An oxygen tanker leaks outside the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra, ANI reports.
2.02 pm: Serum Institute of India’s Covishield accounts for more than 90% of the vaccine doses administered in the country so far, PTI reports, citing government data.
1.55 pm: The government adds that Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan account for 76.32% of the new cases recorded in the last day.
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala make up for 60.86% of India’s total active Cases.
1.53 pm: The total number of vaccine doses administered in India since the beginning of the inoculation drive in January crosses 13 crore, the Centre says.
1.49 pm: Haryana announces summer vacation in schools till May 31 amid the sharp increase in coronavirus cases, PTI reports.
1.44 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says arrangements have been made for 1,550 metric tonnes of oxygen, ANI reports. “We are also expecting the oxygen which the government of India will import,” he adds. “We are anticipating that 15% of currently active cases may need oxygen.”
1.39 pm: Haryana minister Anil Vij alleges the state is being forced to give its oxygen to Delhi, ANI reports. “First, we’ll complete our needs, then give to others,” he adds. “Yesterday [Tuesday], one of our oxygen tankers was looted by [the] Delhi government that was going to Faridabad. From now, I’ve ordered police protection for all tankers.”
1.25 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi compares the government’s new vaccine strategy to demonetisation. “The people will stand in lines, suffer loss of money, health and life,” he adds. “And in the end only a few industrialists will benefit.”
1.20 pm: The Goa government rules out imposing a lockdown, but says it prefers other stringent restrictions to control the infections, PTI reports
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is scheduled to address officials from the Department of Disaster Management at 5 pm on Wednesday.
1.17 pm: Telangana registers 6,542 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking its overall count since the beginning of the pandemic in January last year to 3,67,901. The state’s toll rises by 20 to 1,876.
1.00 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel allocates Rs 1 crore for procuring oxygen cylinders in Raipur, ANI reports.
12.59 pm: The government says that under the liberalised vaccine policy, the system where private Covid-19 vaccination centres receive doses from government and can charge up to Rs 250 per dose will end. The centres will procure doses directly from vaccine manufacturers.
12.50 pm: The Serum Institute of India announces that states will get the Covishield at Rs 400 a dose, while private hospitals will get it at Rs 600.
12.48 pm: A study by the Indian Council of Medical research shows that Covaxin neutralises several variants of the coronavirus, including the double mutant.
12.42 pm: Singapore announces that travellers from India will have to quarantine at home for seven days, in addition to the mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine, CNA reports.
10.55 am: Delhi’s biggest coronavirus facility, the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan Hospital, received 10 tonnes of oxygen supplies last night, reports NDTV.
Meanwhile, Sri Ganga Ram Hospital received 14,000 cubic metres of oxygen in two separate late night/early morning consignments, says chairperson DS Rana. This will last for a day or two, he adds.
Multiple hospitals had warned on Tuesday that they would start running out of medical oxygen by Wednesday.
10.50 am: The Uttarakhand government has ordered closure of markets in urban areas, excluding shops dealing in essential commodities, from 2 pm, reports PTI. The night curfew timing for all 13 districts has been revised to 9 pm to 7 am.
10.47 am: Amid the rising coronavirus cases in the country, the government has waived customs duty on remdesivir, its raw materials and other components used to make the antiviral drug. The move will reduce cost of the injection.
10.45 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal will hold a meeting at 11 am today to discuss the worsening coronavirus situation in the national Capital, reports ANI.
Delhi on Tuesday reported 28,395 coronavirus cases in biggest ever single-day day rise in cases.
10.42 am: India’s leading two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp says operations will be stopped at all its manufacturing facilities for four days, in a staggered manner, from April 22 and May 1 due to a rise in coronavirus cases, reports The Indian Express.
10.15 am: State officials have told Scroll.in that the policy of deregulating prices of vaccines would add a “heavy burden” on the finances of the states already reeling under the stress of the pandemic. They also added that the policy could lead to delay in the vaccination process itself as it is not clear whether supply of vaccines could match the demand.
10 am: India reports 2,95,041 new coronavirus cases and 2,023 deaths in a day. This is an unprecedented figure since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country now has 1,56,16,130 cases and the toll rises to 1,82,553. As many 1,32,76,039 people have recovered from the infection so far.
9.38 am: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says the next three weeks are crucial to contain the coronavirus surge in India.
9.30 am: BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya says reports showing bodies of those coronavirus patients piling up is spreading panic among people, according to PTI. He urges media to report on positive stories about those helping the pandemic-affected people.
“If you look at history, a pandemic comes once every 100 years,” he says. “In such a situation, the media should show how doctors and paramedical staff are working continuously.”
9.25 am: Around 500 doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other staff in Bihar have contracted the coronavirus over the last two weeks, reports The Indian Express. The High Court has directed that a two-member team, including the director of All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, be formed and asked it to submit a report on the working conditions and health status of doctors and other staffers.
9.20 am: The US State Department says it is tracking the course of the coronavirus pandemic in India very closely, reports PTI. The second wave of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc across India as the rise in daily cases has been exponential.
9.15 am: The Maharashtra government says it will import vaccines from other countries and money will be diverted from all the departments to carry out an extensive inoculation drive, one similar to the United Kingdom, reports PTI.
In the third phase of the immunisation programme, vaccine manufacturers will have to supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to the Centre. They will be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market, the Centre said.
The Centre had also liberalised and deregulated vaccine prices, which means the cost of getting inoculated will vary in each state. Unless the states subsidise the shots, the doses are also likely to get very expensive.
9.12 am: After multiple hospitals in Delhi flagged that their oxygen stock will last only for few hours, fresh tankers arrived late on Tuesday to avert a major crisis in the national Capital, reports NDTV.
Around 10.20 pm, Health Minister Satyendar Jain, tagging Union Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet, warned that oxygen supply in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, the second largest Delhi government hospital, may not last beyond 2 am on Wednesday. The hospital, he said, has 500 patients on oxygen support.
9.09 am: The Gujarat High Court pulls up the state government on availability of hospital beds for the coronavirus patients, reports The Hindu.
“Complaints are coming, maybe you are also receiving [complaints] that patients are not being admitted because there is no vacancy in hospitals,” a bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia ask the state government counsel. “Beds are not available. The figures shared by you suggest that even designated hospitals have vacant beds. If that is true then why are people running around, finding sources and recommendations for getting hospitals beds and treatment?”
9 am: The US State Department says it is focused on expanding global vaccination, manufacturing, and delivery as it will be critical to ending the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI.
Last week, Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, had requested US President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on the export of raw materials to boost production. The Serum Institute is the world’s largest maker of vaccines and a key supplier of the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative to give shots to some of the world’s poorest countries.
“It is not only in our interest to ensure that the American people are vaccinated, the other point I would make is that the rest of the world also has an interest in seeing to it that the American people are vaccinated and that the virus is brought under control here,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price tells reporters at a news conference.
A look at developments from Tuesday:
- India 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.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi ruled out the possibility of a countrywide lockdown even as India reels under an unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that states should impose a lockdown only as a “last resort”.
- Delhi recorded 28,395 coronavirus cases – the highest figure since the pandemic broke out in January last year – taking the city’s tally of infections to 9,05,541.
- Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state Cabinet has requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to enforce a strict lockdown to manage the rising coronavirus cases as the pandemic spins out of control in the state.
- Uttar Pradesh announced that it will provide free coronavirus vaccines to all adults above 18 from May 1. The Assam government also said the vaccination of those between 18 to 45 years of age will be free.
- The Congress said the Centre’s decision to liberalise vaccine sales and deregulate prices will make vaccines in India more expensive, and will end up excluding economically weaker sections of the population from voluntarily coming forward to take the shot.