Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 895 deaths – highest one-day rise. The state logged over 66,000 new infections. The state tally rose to 44,100,85 and toll to 66,179. Of these, Mumbai alone reported 4,014 new cases and 59 fatalities.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Aam Aadmi Party government for setting up a separate five-star hotel in the Capital as a Covid-19 facility for judges. The bench called the order “wrong” and said: “Its unthinkable that we as an institution will want any preferential treatment.” Later, the Delhi government issued directions to withdraw the order.
India registered 3,23,144 new coronavirus cases in a day, taking the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020, to 1,76,36,307. While the single-day infection count is slightly less than Monday’s count, India registered more than 3 lakh cases for the sixth day in a row. With 2,771 deaths, the toll went up to 1,97,894.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.7 crore people and killed over 31.16 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 8.51 crore people have recovered from the infection.
The national helpline number is 011-23978046, and the toll-free number is 1075.
Here are the top updates of the day:
10.43 pm: The US Centers for Disease Control says fully-vaccinated citizens do not need to wear mask outside except in crowd, reports AFP.
10.41 pm: The Delhi government issues directions to withdraw the order to convert 100 rooms of Ashoka Hotel for setting up of a Covid Health facility for justices and other judicial officers of the Delhi High Court and their families, reports ANI.
10.25 pm: State-wise new cases tally
Punjab: 5,932 fresh infections, 100 deaths
Assam: 3,132 new cases, 18 deaths
10.11 pm: Maharashtra registers 66,358 new infections, 895 deaths and 67,752 recoveries, reports ANI. The state tally rises to 44,100,85 and toll to 66,179. Of these, Mumbai alone reports 4,014 new cases, 59 fatalities and 8,240 recoveries.
10.10 pm: Karnataka records 31,830 new Covid-19 cases, 180 deaths and 10,793 discharges, reports ANI. The state tally rises to 14,00,775 and toll to 14,807.
10.08 pm: The Delhi High Court orders the AAP government to file a report on the number of deaths of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and nursing homes amid a shortage of oxygen, reports PTI.
10.06 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructs government officials to work closely with states to start oxygen plants at the earliest, reports PTI. Modi has reviewed the availability of medical infrastructure, and directed officials to ensure a rapid upgrade of the healthcare infrastructure.
10.03 pm: “I am worried about the Covid-19 situation in India, a country which did so much to ensure vaccines for all in vulnerable countries,” President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly Voklan Bozkir tweets. “It is time for the world to extend aid and support to India. No one’s safe until we are all safe.”
9.56 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says the state has witnessed a 255% increase in Covid-19 active cases in the last two weeks as it reported 32,819 new infections – the highest ever single day rise, reports PTI.
9.51 pm: Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claims the state “did not have Covid-19” infections till April 6, which is the last day of three-phase state Assembly poll, reports PTI.
9.45 pm: A curfew will come into effect from tonight till May 3 in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city, reports News18, citing an order from District Magistrate C Ravishankar. The curbs come on the day a 60-year-old devotee, attending the last day of “shahi snan [royal bath]” at the Kumbh Mela, has reportedly succumbed to Covid-19.
9.44 pm: West Bengal reports 16,403 new Covid-19 cases – the highest-single rise so far, pushing the state tally to 7,76,345, reports PTI. The toll rises to 11,082 with 73 more deaths.
6.48 pm: India expects to get the biggest share of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses that the United States will share globally, reports Reuters.
6.10 pm: The High Court says the Delhi government cannot create an exclusive facility for judges, reports Live Law. “The order is wrong,” says the court. “Its unthinkable that we as an institution will want any preferential treatment.”
6.06 pm: “Can we as an institution say that create a special facility for us,” the High Court asks the Delhi government counsel. “Will this not be blatantly discriminatory that people can’t get treatment and there is a facility in five star hotel for us?”
6.05 pm: The Delhi High Court says it made no request for creating 100-bed facility at Hotel Ashok for its judges as reported by the media, according to Live Law.
“You don’t have oxygen, and you are talking about having 100 beds facility for us,” says Justice Rekha. “It is unfortunate.”
5.03 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra writes to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath alleging low testing for Covid-19, a shortage of oxygen beds and a sluggish vaccination drive in the state.
“Across the world, the fight against coronavirus is resting on four pillars: testing, treatment, tracking and vaccination,” she tweeted in Hindi. “In Uttar Pradesh, the testing numbers are low. It is negligible in rural areas. The rate of vaccination is slow. I have given some suggestions to the chief minister. I hope he will take cognisance.”
4.58 pm: Delhi High Court directs Directorate General of Civil Aviation to set up a medical committee to examine whether breath analyser tests of pilots and cabin crew need to be conducted even amid the pandemic, or blood tests would suffice as an alternative, reports PTI.
4.45 pm: Delhi High Court says the Aam Aadmi Party government has failed to curb black marketing of oxygen cylinders and medicines.
“This is a mess that you have been unable to resolve,” says the court. “You have power, take action against those engaging in black marketing of oxygen cylinders and medicines.”
Court also orders Delhi government to take over an oxygen refiller Seth Air saying it has shown no believable response for not supplying oxygen to hospitals, and is indulged in black marketing of cylinders in all likelihood.
3.58 pm: Forty-five people, including 42 students, have tested positive for coronavirus at a residential school in Tangori in Punjab’s Mohali district, reports ANI. Mohali district collector says the infected patients have been moved into to isolation and other students sent home. The district collector adds that a first information report has been registered against the director of the school.
3.56 pm: The Kerala High Court disposes of pleas seeking lockdown on May 2, the day when votes for the Assembly polls will be counted, reports ANI. The High Court says that the arrangements made by the Election Commission and the state government are sufficient, adding that there is no need for a lockdown. The High Court also directs that the orders issued by the poll panel and the and state government should be strictly followed.
3.52 pm: The Delhi High Court suggests the Aam Aadmi Party government to get information from all hospitals and pharmacies on the supply of remdesivir and other drugs, reports ANI. The High Court also suggests the Delhi government to appoint accounting officers for the task.
3.50 pm: Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat says it is time for the armed forces to support the civil administration in creating Covid-19 mitigation facilities in a time-bound manner, reports ANI.
3.48 pm: In another tweet, Yashwant Sinha says that India had received help from abroad even earlier but then the country did not falsely brag “about our prowess” before the citizens. “Our present leadership only believes in misrepresentation of facts,” he alleges.
3.44 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Yashwant Sinha says India has turned from “vishwa guru” [world guru] to “vishwa beggar”. “From vaccine givers we have sunk to begging for medical help,” he tweets.
3.40 pm: The Union home ministry says a consignment of containers for the transportation of medical oxygen has arrived in India from Thailand while some more empty tankers will be airlifted from Singapore, reports PTI.
3.35 pm: Ireland announces sending 700 oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies to India, which is facing an acute shortage of medicines and oxygen, reports PTI. Various countries, including France and the United Kingdom, have offered assistance to India.
3.13 pm: The Assam government imposes night curfew across the state from 8 pm to 5 am with immediate effect in a bid to control the surge in coronavirus cases, reports PTI. The curfew will remain in effect till May 1.
1.53 pm: Madras High Court suggests a lockdown in the state and in neighbouring Union Territory Puducherry on May 1 and 2 in view of counting of votes in the Assembly elections, reports the Hindustan Times. The counting for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Assemblies, along with three more states will be held on May 2.
1.48 pm: Gujarat imposes night curfew in nine more cities of Himmatnagar, Navsari, Veraval, Valsad, Porbandar, Botad, Viramgam, Chhotaudepur and Palanpur, from April 28, reports PTI.
A total of 29 cities in the state are now under the restrictions which remain effective between 8 pm and 6 am.
1.47 pm: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says cricketers competing in the Indian Premier League will have to make their “own arrangements” to return home after his country banned all flights from India till May 15, reports PTI.
1.42 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says his government will import 18 oxygen tankers from Bangkok and 21 from France to meet shortages in the national Capital.
1.14 pm: After days of scrambling for oxygen, hospitals in Delhi say that they are comparatively in a better situation today, reports PTI.
Dr D K Baluja, medical director of Jaipur Golden Hospital says the hospital has enough supply to last the day. “We are in a very comfortable situation today,” he adds. “The daily requirement of oxygen is 3.6 metric tonnes and we have about six tonnes available which will last for the entire day.”
Sudhanshu Bankata, executive director of Batra Hospital tells PTI they have reopened admissions. “Thankfully, at present, there’s no crisis relating to oxygen supply,” he says. “Our stock can last up to six to seven hours.”
1.11 pm: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav accuses the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh of lying that there is no oxygen shortage in the state.
“Never before has there been so much insult to the truth,” he writes on Twitter.
1.08 pm: Samir Ghosh, an Independent candidate from Malda district of West Bengal, dies of Covid-19, reports The Hindustan Times. He is the fourth candidate in the state to have died of the disease during the Assembly elections.
1.06 pm: Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook says his company will support relief efforts in India amid a worsening Covid-19 situation.
“Amid a devastating rise of COVID cases in India, our thoughts are with the medical workers, our Apple family, and everyone there who is fighting through this awful stage of the pandemic,” he writes on Twitter. “Apple will be donating to support and relief efforts on the ground.”
1.03 pm: Former MP Karuna Shukla dies of Covid-19. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel mourns his death.
1 pm: A 90-year-old Covid patient in Punjab sings his heart out after his oxygen mask is removed.
12.56 pm: In Gujarat, several government and civic hospitals dedicated for Covid-19 care are admitting patients only if they are brought in a 108 ambulance. Those arriving by autos, private vehicles or other private ambulances are being asked to come in the state-run ambulance service to access triage and treatment.
This rule has had fatal consequences for some Covid-19 patients.
Read more here:
12.54 pm: Over the last few weeks, several High Courts in the country have taken up petitions, sometimes of their own accord, relating to the government’s inadequate response to the second wave of the pandemic. Of particular note are proceedings in the Bombay and Delhi High Courts, which intervened to ensure the supply of oxygen to hospitals and availability of antiviral drugs for Covid-19 patients.
12.51 pm: The Centre has declared the Central Vista project an “essential service”, government correspondence accessed by Scroll.in shows. Work on the avenue redevelopment continues even as the rest of Delhi shuts down amid the lockdown imposed in the city to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Read more here:
12.48 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta saus the Centre was trying to “iron out” differences between states, reports Live Law. “The situation is being dealt with on a war footing, on an hourly basis,” he adds. “It is not about A party or B party or one state or another.”
12.42 pm: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, tells the Supreme Court that the government is treating the crisis “at the highest executive level, reports ANI. He says Prime Minister Narendra Modi is personally dealing with the matter.
12.38 pm: Justice DY Chandrachud says the objective of these proceedings is “not to supplant the High Courts or to take over from High Courts what they are doing”, reports Live Law.
“But, there is a need for Supreme Court to intervene on certain national issues,” he says. “At a time of national crisis, the Supreme Court cannot be a mute spectator.”
12.37 pm: The Supreme Court resumes hearing the suo motu case on shortages of oxygen and other problems related to the management of Covid-19 outbreak in India, reports Live Law.
12.31 pm: Madhya Pradesh announces an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh for the families of police personnel who die in the line of duty amid the pandemic, reports ANI. The families will also get Rs 1 lakh from the Central Welfare Fund of Police, says Home Minister Narottam Mishra.
12.28 pm: Authorities in Madhya Pradesh reopen an oxygen plant that had been shut for three years to meet the state’s demand, reports ANI.
12.26 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says that 1,200 intensive care unit beds will be added to the city by May 10.
12.25 pm: Gujarat imposes curfew in the cities of Himmatnagar, Palanpur, Navsari, Valsad, Porbandar, Botad, Viramgam, Chhota Udaipur and Veraval-Somnath, from 8 pm to 6 am, reports ANI. This is in addition to the restrictions already in place in 20 cities of the state.
12.23 pm: Vedanta submits before the Supreme Court that it will supply oxygen free of cost to people in need, reports ANI.
12.22 pm: “The plant shall be operated and only to produce oxygen and for no other purpose,” says Justice DY Chandrachud.
12.16 pm: The Supreme Court allows the reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper unit plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, to produce oxygen amid a dire shortage of the gas in several parts of the country, reports NDTV. “This is a national calamity,” the court says.
12.08 pm: India will receive a first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid on May 1, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, tells Reuters. The official, however, does not say how many vaccines would be in the first batch or where they would be made.
12.04 pm: Bhutan will supply 40 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen daily to India, reports The Bhutanese.
10.46 am: Australia announces temporary ban on direct passenger flights from India till May 15, AFP reports, quoting the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
10.06 am: An special train carrying tankers of medical oxygen leaves from Bokaro in Jharkhand for Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI.
10.04 am: Australia is set to consider a proposal to bar flights from India to prevent more coronavirus variants from entering the country following a surge in cases in India, reports Reuters.
10.03 am: Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca says that the legal action initiated by the European Union taken against the company over shortfalls in its delivery of Covid vaccines is “without merit”, reports AFP.
10.02 am: The European Union says that it has initiated legal action against pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca over coronavirus vaccine delivery shortfalls that has affected its efforts to kickstart inoculations across the bloc, reports AFP.
10.01 am: United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai holds a virtual meeting with AstraZeneca and Pfizer to discuss increasing vaccine production and a proposed waiver to certain provisions of the World Trade Organization’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights for the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI.
9.58 am: The Kerala government announces coronavirus-related curbs, including indefinitely shutting down malls, cinema halls, sports complexes, gyms, swimming pools and bars, reports ANI. All social, political, cultural and religious gatherings will also remain banned
9.51 am: Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij says the state government will provide coronavirus vaccine doses to citizens above the age of 18 for free. Vij also says the government has placed an order for 40 lakh Covishield doses and 26 lakh of Cavoaxin shots.
9.46 am: A middle-aged couple from Uttar Pradesh had to travel 850 km to West Bengal and get admitted to a private hospital in Chinsurah after six hospitals in their home state turned them away, citing shortage of oxygen, reports The Telegraph.
“They hired an ambulance at a cost of Rs 60,000 and arrived here on Friday evening, after travelling nearly 24 hours,” says Ravi Shankar, the brother of infected woman, Rekha.
9.38 am: India reports 3,23,144 new coronavirus cases in a day. While the single-day infection tally is slightly less than Monday’s count, India registered more than 3 lakh cases for the sixth day in a row. With 2,771 deaths, the toll goes up to 1,97,894.
9.36 am: Gangster Rajendra Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan tests positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI. He has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Services in New Delhi.
9.34 am: Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says there is a surplus supply of oxygen in the state as various others say they have an acute shortage of the gas, reports NDTV.
9.30 am: The Ministry of Civil Aviation says the limit imposed on airfares and on the number of domestic flights allowed to operate in India will extend till May 31, reports PTI.
The airlines are currently permitted to operate not more than 80% of their pre-Covid domestic flights. Further, they are allowed to charge domestic airfares only within lower and upper limits, which were set by the ministry in May last year.
9.29 am: Himachal Pradesh makes it mandatory for people wanting to the state to register online from Tuesday midnight, reports PTI. This will be applicable till May 10, says a government order.
9.27 am: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says that the United Kingdom and South African variants of the coronavirus are present in the state, reports the Hindustan Times.
9.25 am: Five coronavirus patients die at a private hospital in Haryana’s Hisar district, reports the Hindustan Times. The relatives allege that the deaths happened because of a shortage of medical oxygen at the facility.
9.24 am: A special train carrying oxygen reaches Delhi from Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh, says Union minister Piyush Goyal.
9.17 am: Maharashtra and Assam are unlikely to begin vaccination of the 18-44 age group against the coronavirus from May 1, when India starts its third phase of immunisation, reports The Indian Express, citing government officials. They say that it is due to constraints in vaccine availibility.
Five other states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab and Kerala – have already said they would postpone this next phase of the vaccination for the same reason.
9.14 am: The response of the Narendra Modi government in managing the coronavirus crisis has been a complete disaster, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi tells The Indian Express. In an interview, Gandhi alleges the focus of the government has been Assembly elections instead of handling the surge in cases.
“Even now, their decisions are arbitrary and partisan,” she says. “Their duplicity is inexcusable.”
9.07 am: American biopharmaceutical company Gilead announces steps to expand the availability of antiviral drug remdesivir in India, reports PTI. The company says that it will provide its voluntary licensing partners technical assistance, support for addition of new local manufacturing facilities and donation of active pharmaceutical ingredient to rapidly increase the production of remdesivir.
8.20 am: A shipment of medical supplies from the United Kingdom reaches India.
8.15 am: A couple in MP’s Ratlam get married wearing PPE kits as the man tested positive for Covid-19, ANI reports.
8.10 am: The police in Madhya Pradesh’s Mansaur make Covid protocol violators do exercises as form of a punishment.
8.05 am: France will send India eight high-capacity oxygen generators, liquid oxygen for 2,000 patients for five days, 28 ventilators and equipment for ICUs as part of a solidarity mission to support Indians.
8 am: Delhi logged a record high toll again on Monday, reports ANI. It has reported over 300 daily deaths for five days in a row. On Monday, it reports 20,201 new coronavirus cases and 380 deaths.
7.50 am: The Delhi government issues an order to convert 100 rooms of Ashoka Hotel to set up a Covid facility for Delhi High Court judges, judicial officers and their families.
7.40 am: WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says it is pleasing to see small declines in cases and deaths in several regions. “But many countries are still experiencing intense Covid-19 transmission, and the situation in India is beyond heartbreaking,” he says.
“WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies,” Tedros says, according to AFP.
7.30 am: Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.7 crore people and killed over 31.16 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 8.51 crore people have recovered from the infection.
Here’s a look at the top updates from Monday
- India on Monday reported a record-breaking 3,52,991 new cases in a day, taking the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 1,73,13,163. This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the fifth consecutive day when the country has set such a grim global record. For the first time, 2,812 deaths were registered. The toll is now 1,95,123.
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria urged hospitals to use oxygen judiciously amid an acute shortage in the country. The Ministry of Home Affairs claimed that India has enough stock of medical oxygen but the main challenge was its transportation. The Centre, meanwhile, told the Delhi High Court that states cannot procure oxygen and it has to be done on a national level only.
- Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul said the time has come to wear masks even at home.
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced daily restrictions on movement in the state from 6 pm to 5 am. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced a two-week lockdown in the state from 9 pm on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Kerala government has decided not to impose a complete lockdown but existing curbs on weekends and at night will continue.
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that his government will provide free coronavirus vaccines to everyone above 18 from May 1, when India’s third phase of inoculation begins. Karnataka also announced free vaccination.
- The Madras High Court said the Election Commission should be booked on charges of murder for allowing rallies to continue in poll-bound states, despite an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases in India. “Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?” the court said. “Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably.”
- All retired armed forces medical personnel or those who took early retirement in the last two years will be recalled to work in Covid-19 facilities near their current residences, the Centre said.
- Maharashtra on Monday reported 48,700 new Covid-19 cases – a significant dip since the previous day. However, fewer tests were reportedly done in 24 hours that may have led to the fall in numbers.