10.31 pm: Chhattisgarh reports 15,563 Covid-19 positive cases, 219 deaths, today, reports ANI. The state tally rises to 6,97,902.

10.28 pm: Haryana registers 12,444 new Covid-19 cases, 95 deaths and 7,618 recoveries, reports ANI. The state tally climbs to 4,60,198.

10.27 pm: Khalsa Aid offers 125 oxygen concentrators to Covid-19 patients for free, reports ANI.

10.26 pm: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has extended all interim orders till June 30, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise, reports PTI.

10.24 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has chaired a meeting to strategise for increasing oxygen beds and strengthening home isolation system in the city after a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths, reports PTI.

10.22 pm: The third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive for those between 18 and 44 is likely to begin at a “moderate” pace in Delhi, with preference to beneficiaries with comorbidities, reports PTI, citing an unidentified official.

10.22 pm: The Madhya Pradesh government has extended the “corona curfew” in the state till May 7 to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission, reports PTI.

10.21 pm: Sitting BJP MLA from Bareilly’s Nawabganj constituency Kesar Singh Gangwar has succumbed to Covid-19, reports PTI.

9.07 pm: Maharashtra reports 985 deaths and 63,309 new cases.

9.06 pm: Goa reports 3,101 new infections, 24 deaths and 839 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

9.05 pm: Gujarat’s tally rises to 5,38,845 with 14,120 new cases. The state registers 174 deaths and 8,595 recoveries.

9.04 pm: Punjab registers 6,472 new coronavirus cases, 142 deaths and 5,272 recoveries.

9.03 pm: Forty private vaccination centers in Mumbai will be closed on Thursday due to supply shortage, says Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation. The remaining 33 private vaccination centers will also be limited for the second dose only.

9.02 pm: Mumbai logs 4,966 fresh infections and 78 deaths.

9.01 pm: Bihar registers 13,374 new cases.

8.59 pm: Bihar announces fresh curbs. Shops will have to shut by 4 pm while night curfew will be in place from 6 pm to 6 am.

8.56 pm: Himachal Pradesh logs highest single-day surge of 2,539 fresh infections and 33 deaths.

8.55 pm: West Bengal reports record 17,207 new cases and 77 deaths. With this, the state’s tally is now 7,93,552 and toll stands at 11,159.

8.54 pm: Sri Lanka begins administering the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine India’s Serum Institute assures it of more consignments soon, reports PTI.

7.44 pm: Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, will get Y category security cover on an all India basis, says the Centre, according to ANI.

6.55 pm: The Delhi High Court asks the Arvind Kejriwal government to place before it a report on number of RT-PCR tests conducted in last seven days, reports PTI. It also seeks reasons for reduction in tests.

6.52 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the coronavirus crisis.

“I thanked Putin for Russia’s help and support in India’s fight against the pandemic,” Modi says in a tweet. “Our cooperation on Sputnik-V vaccine will assist humanity in battling the pandemic.”

6.50 pm: The Delhi High Court appoints senior advocate Raj Shekhar Rao as amicus curiae to assist it in cases related to oxygen crisis and other matters related to the management of coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI.

6.47 pm: The Trinamool Congress hits out out at the Narendra Modi government and the Election Commission for holding the eight-phase elections in West Bengal amid the second wave of the pandemic, reports PTI.

“The Centre and the EC have the blood of Covid-19 patients on their hands as they refused to consider the serious threat to the health of the people and stuck to their agenda,” TMC MP Sougata Roy tells reporters in Kolkata. “The EC has also been censured by Madras High Court.”

6.45 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticises the government for high vaccine prices, saying the system has once again failed Indian citizens.

“People’s money was given to vaccine companies to develop Covid vaccines,” he tweets. “Now, GOI [Government of India] will make the same people pay the highest price in the world for these vaccines.”

6.42 pm: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal says the Mumbai civic body will set up 227 new coronavirus vaccination centres, one in each electoral ward across the city, for inoculation of citizens above 18 years of age, reports PTI.

6.36 pm: Britain’s Prince Charles urges people to help India as it copes with a “horrific” second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With support from the Indian diaspora, the British Asian Trust has launched an emergency appeal for India to channel this desire to do something about this terrible situation and help save lives,” he says in a statement. “Many members of the diaspora, and others including businesses, trusts and foundations, have already come together behind this appeal. I do hope that even more of us might be able to provide support to help those in India in their time of need.”

5.53 pm: Serum Institute reduces price of Covishield vaccine for states to Rs 300 per dose, from the earlier quoted price of Rs 400, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla says in a tweet.

5.38 pm: Centre sanctions procurement of one lakh portable oxygen concentrators from the PM-Cares Fund, prime minister’s office says in a release. Five hundred new Pressure Swing Adsorption oxygen plants have also been sanctioned.

5.10 pm: National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma tells ANI: “The advice to people is that you log in [for vaccine registration] and get an appointment only when you see vacancies available.

5.07 pm: The military hospital in Jharkhand’s Namkum has opened a 50-bed Covid care facility for civilian patients, reports ANI.

5.05 pm: Haryana will get its first “Oxygen Express” train over the next few days with five tankers leaving Faridabad to load the gas from Rourkela in Odisha, the Railways says, according to PTI.

5 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sanctioned the procurement of 1 Lakh Portable Oxygen Concentrators from the PM Cares Fund, says his office.

4.59 pm: All government offices, apart from those involved in essential services, will remain shut till May 1, reports ANI.

4.51 pm: Maharashtra minister Rajesh Tope says the state has all the infrastructure to conduct vaccinations but we do not have vaccines in adequate quantity, reports ANI. “The chief minister is talking to different vaccine manufacturers,” he adds. “There will be separate centres for vaccination of those between 18-44 years of age.”

4.48 pm: Europe may achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 within the next four months, the head of German pharmaceutical company BioNTech says, reports The Washington Post.

4.43 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader MK Stalin says that no preventive, precautionary steps to tackle Covid-19 was taken by the central or Tamil Nadu government in the interval between the two waves of the pandemic, reports PTI.

4.39 pm: The Railways has delivered 202 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to Uttar Pradesh, 174 metric tonnes to Maharashtra, 70 to Delhi and 64 to Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI. The first “Oxygen express” train departed from Mumbai to Vizag on April 19.

4.34 pm: A few more reactions from social media users:

4.32 pm: A social media user, purportedly from Rajasthan, says they were unable to book an appointment.

4.19 pm: The Aarogya Setu app has also crashed for some users.

Credit: Scroll Staff

4.15 pm: Social media users share screenshots of the CoWin app crashing.

4.13 pm: CoWin portal crashes as vaccine registrations open for those between 18 and 45 years, reports The Times of India.

3.42 pm: Embassy of South Korea says it will its government will urgent medical supplies to India in view of the coronavirus crisis, reports ANI. The embassy says consultations are underway with regard to the specific medical items in need, such as oxygen concentrators.

“The Korean government will continue to closely cooperate with India, our special strategic partner, in its fight against Covid-19,” it adds.

3.40 pm: E-commerce company PayTM will provide 100 oxygen concentrators to Madhya Pradesh in next 2-3 days, says the chief minister’s office.

3.36 pm: Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria debriefs Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the efforts undertaken by the Indian Air Force to help in the coronavirus situation, reports ANI, citing the PM’s office.

The Air Chief Marshal tells Modi that air force is deploying big as well as medium-sized aircraft to cover all terrains. He also informs the prime minister about a dedicated Covid-19 air support cell set up to ensure faster coordination with different ministries and agencies to conduct coronavirus related operations.

3.33 pm: The Maharashtra Cabinet approves a proposal to give free coronavirus vaccine shots to all citizens of the state aged between 18-44 years, reports ANI, citing the chief minister’s office.

3.30 pm: Odisha Police say medical oxygen has been dispatched to eight states, reports ANI. The police say they have sent 479 metric tonnes of oxygen to Telangana, 811 metric tonnes to Andhra Pradesh, 36 metric tonnes to Tamil Nadu, 187 metric tonnes to Haryana, 112 metric tonnes to Maharashtra, 251 metric tonnes to Madhya Pradesh, 78 metric tonnes to Chhattisgarh and 156 metric tonnes to Uttar Pradesh.

3.29 pm: Actor Jimmy Shergil, director Eeshwar Nivas and 35 others have been booked for violating a coronavirus curfew while shooting for a web series in Ludhiana, Punjab, reports ANI.

3.25 pm: The Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, part of the Aligarh Muslim University, says it has only a few hours of oxygen supply left, reports PTI. Officials say that there are 273 oxygen-dependent patients, including those suffering from Covid-19. They add that the hospital has not received oxygen cylinders for the past four days and its own plant was running out of the life-saving gas.

3.08 pm: The Election Commission makes negative RT-PCR/RAT report or complete coronavirus vaccination report mandatory for candidates to be allowed inside vote counting centres on May 2, reports the Hindustan Times.

2.20 pm: The health ministry adds that 10 states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra – account for 67.26% of the cumulative coronavirus vaccine doses given so far in the country.

2.15 pm: The health ministry says 10 states account for 78.53% of the new deaths reported in the day. Five states and Union Territories did not report any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the ministry says. These are Daman and Diu & Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Source: Press Information Bureau

2.14 pm: The Supreme Court directed that journalist Siddique Kappan be shifted from Mathura Jail to a government hospital in Delhi for medical treatment. Kappan, who tested positive for the coronavirus, has been in prison since October for trying to report on the Hathras gangrape case.

Read here:

Covid: Journalist Siddique Kappan to be shifted to hospital in Delhi for treatment, directs SC

2.11 pm: The health ministry says that 10 states – Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan – has reported 73.59% of India’s new cases registered on Wednesday.

1.09 pm: A special train carrying six oxygen tankers from Bokaro in Jharkhand arrives at Mandideep railway station in Bhopal, reports ANI.

1.06 pm: Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer’s experimental oral drug to treat coronavirus at the first sign of illness could be available by the end of the year, its CEO Albert Bourla tells CNBC.

1.01 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at the Centre for working on the Central Vista project during the coronavirus pandemic. He says that the project is not essential but a central government with a vision is essential.

Also read:

As Covid-19 devastates Delhi, Central Vista project declared an essential service, work continues

12.59 pm: Puducherry records 1,258 new Covid-19 cases, 632 recoveries and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports ANI.

12.53 pm: The Centre says that fertiliser companies will supply 50 metric tonnes of medical oxygen per day for coronavirus patients, reports ANI. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers says that Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative, a multi-state fertilizers company, is setting up an oxygen plant in Gujarat that will produce 33,000 cubic meters of oxygen per day.

“GSFC [Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals] made small modifications in their plants and started supplying liquid oxygen,” the ministry says. “It has also started supply of liquid oxygen for medical purpose after starting of air separation unit. GSFS and GNFC [Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers & Chemicals] has already started the process to enhance their oxygen production capacities.”

It adds that other fertiliser companies will set up medical plants in hospitals across the country through Corporate social responsibility funding.

12.48 pm: A doctor at the Kamla Nehru Hospital’s inoculation centre in Pune says there are no shots of Covishield, a Covid-19 vaccine, left in the medical facility, reports ANI. “We have stock of Covaxin for the second dose,” says Dr Rajashree Patil. “We have no idea when we get the next stock of Covishield.”

12.42 pm: The quick intervention of staff saved the lives of 14 patients, who were on oxygen support, in the Parbhani district hospital in Maharashtra as the pipeline supplying the life-saving gas developed a leak, reports PTI, citing officials. The leak happened after a tree branch fell on it.

Deputy Collector Sanjay Kundetkar said the hospital staff, after detecing the leak, shifted the patients on jumbo oxygen cylinders. He said the oxygen supple was interrupted only for 2-3 minutes.

11.47 am: A 110-bed facility Covid-19 facility is being set up at an indoor stadium in Srinagar, reports ANI.

11.34 am: Delhi Police arrest two persons for allegedly selling oxygen cylinders in the black market, reports ANI. The police seize four oxygen cylinders and one large commercial oxygen cylinder from their possession.

11.31 am: Former Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad dies due to coronavirus-related complications, reports The Indian Express.

11.16 am: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces contributing $10 million (nearly Rs 60 crore) to Indian Red Cross through its Canadian branch for helping with ambulance services, purchasing personal protective equipment kits and other needs. “We stand ready to donate extra medical supplies, too,” he tweets.

10.10 am: India on Wednesday registered a record 3,60,960 new coronavirus cases in a day, taking the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 1,79,97,267. This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the seventh consecutive day when the country has recorded more than 3 lakh cases.

India registered a slight dip on Tuesday, but the number of infections have now hit an all-time high.

For the first time, 3,292 deaths were registered. The toll is now 2,01,187, while there are 29,78,709 active cases and 1,48,17,371 people have recovered. India’s mortality rate stood at 1.12% and recovery at 82.54%.

9.31 am: The registrations for the third phase of vaccination will begin at 4 pm today, ANI reports.

Everyone above 18 years of age can get vaccinated from May 1, but they must register themselves on the government’s Co-WIN portal, the Aarogya Setu app or the Umang app. The government has advised against walking in to the vaccination centres without an appointment.

9 am: Registrations for the third phase of vaccination, which will begin on May 1, is scheduled to open today.

Everyone above 18 years of age can get vaccinated from May 1, but they must register themselves on the government’s Co-WIN portal or the Aarogya Setu app. The government has advised against walking in to the vaccination centres without an appointment.

Several states have announced free vaccinations for those above 18, though many have also flagged concerns regarding pricing and shortage of the shots.

8.55 am: Night curfew in Puducherry between 10 pm and 5 am will go on till April 30, reports ANI.

8.52 am: The Mumbai civic body says the BKC jumbo vaccination centre in Mumbai has run out of vaccines and will not be open on Wednesday, ANI reports.

8.50 am: The World Health Organization has said that the Indian variant of the coronavirus has been found in at least 17 countries, AFP reports.

The B.1.617 variant, first found in India, was detected in more than 1,200 sequences, the WHO says. “Most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore,” it adds.

8.45 am: The US Centers for Disease Control says fully-vaccinated citizens do not need to wear mask outside except in crowd, reports AFP.

8.40 am: Delhi on Tuesday reported 24,149 new Covid infections and 381 deaths, PTI reports. This is the highest daily toll in the national Capital since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Delhi’s total tally of infections is now 98,264, while the toll is 15,009. The positivity rate in the city has reached 32.72%.

Delhi is facing an acute shortage of oxygen as the coronavirus cases in the national Capital as well as the country have increased at an alarming rate amid the second wave of the pandemic. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday that his government will import 21 oxygen plants from France and 18 cryogenic tankers from Thailand.

8.30 am: Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.8 crore people and killed over 31.31 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 8.59 crore people have recovered from the infection.

Here are the top updates from Tuesday:

  • India on Tuesday 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 was 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.
  • Mumbai civic body Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said registered residents between 18 and 45 will be vaccinated only at the city’s private hospitals to prevent crowding at the centres. However, beneficiaries over 45 will continue to be vaccinated at municipal and government centres.
  • Maharashtra registered 66,358 new infections, 895 deaths and 67,752 recoveries in 24 hours, pushing tally to 44,100,85 and toll to 66,179. Of these, Mumbai alone reported 4,014 new cases and 59 fatalities.
  • The Centre has pulled up the Delhi government for its alleged poor efforts to resolve logistical problems in procuring oxygen. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla blamed the Delhi government for failing to arrange tankers for the transportation of the life-saving gas.
  • Meanwhile, the Delhi HC rebuked the AAP government for setting up a separate five-star hotel in the Capital as a Covid-19 facility for judges. The Delhi government revoked the order.
  • The Supreme Court said that its suo motu intervention into the management of the coronavirus pandemic was not meant to supplant ongoing cases in various High Courts in the country. The court, however, added that it cannot be a “mute spectator” at the time of a national crisis.
  • The Election Commission banned all victory processions by political parties on May 2, when the results of Assembly elections in the four states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry will be announced.
  • The Supreme Court allowed Vedanta to operate its oxygen production plant at its Sterlite Copper premises in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi. The court held that the decision was necessary as the prevailing coronavirus situation was a “natural calamity”.
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government will import 21 oxygen plants from France and 18 cryogenic tankers from Thailand. Delhi is facing an acute shortage of oxygen as the coronavirus cases in the national Capital as well as the country have increased at an alarming rate amid the second wave of the pandemic.
  • Dr Navjot Dahiya, the national vice president of the Indian Medical Association, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “super spreader” of the coronavirus for holding political rallies in poll-bound states and allowing Kumbh Mela to take place amid the second wave of the pandemic.