The National Highways Authority of India on Saturday exempted tankers and containers carrying liquid medical oxygen across highways from user fee at toll plazas.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court constituted a 12-member national task force for streamlining the allocation of oxygen across India.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation on Saturday said that India’s drug regulator has given permission for emergency use for the therapeutic application of drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose, also called 2-DG, as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe Covid-19 patients.
India on Saturday recorded 4,01,078 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,18,92,676 since the pandemic broke out. This is the fourth time after May 1, when the case count rose by more than 4 lakh. The toll climbed by 4,187 deaths to 2,38,270.
The coronavirus has now infected 15.64 crore people across the world and killed over 32.65 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 9.26 crore people have recovered from the infection.
The national helpline number is 011-23978046, and the toll-free number is 1075.
9.02 pm: Here are the daily coronavirus figures of a few states.
8.45 pm: Eight people have died so far due to black fungus in Maharashtra, reports PTI. There are 200 such cases in the state. “They survived Covid-19 infection but the fungal infection attacked their weak immune system which proved fatal,” Dr Tatyarao Lahane, who heads the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, told PTI.
8.43 pm: Aviation company Boeing will set up a 250-oxygenated bed hospital in Kalaburagi in Karnataka to tide over the Covid-19 crisis, state Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani says, reports News18.
8.40 pm: Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava holds a virtual meeting to review the action taken against hoarding of Covid-19 medicines, injections and oxygen cylinders besides the effective enforcement of the lockdown to curb the spread of the infection, reports News18.
8.36 pm: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says that 17 European Union members states have supported worth over 100 million Euros (approximately Rs 891 crore) of supply that has been either been brought to India and is being brought in the next days, reports ANI.
“It was for us a very historical moment to make sure that EU stands firmly at the side of India in this challenging time and assure PM [Narendra] Modi of our solidarity and support with all that’s needed at moment, from oxygen generators to medicines and ventilators,” she adds.
7.36 pm: A total of 110 medical staff members at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh test positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI.
7.34 pm: The European Union agrees to extend a contract for a potential 1.8 billion, or 180 crore, coronavirus vaccine doses through 2023 with pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, reports AP.
7.32 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan gives an account of districts that have not registered any new coronavirus cases, reports The Hindu. “180 districts have showed no fresh cases in the last seven days, 18 districts in 14 days, 54 districts in 21 days and 32 districts were bereft of any fresh cases in the last 28 days,” he says.
7.30 pm: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways exempts tankers and containers carrying liquid medical oxygen across National Highways from user fee at toll plazas, reports ANI.
7.26 pm: Here are the daily coronavirus figures of a few states.
7.22 pm: The Indian Medical Association says that it is astonished to see the “extreme lethargy and inappropriate actions” to combat the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the association said that it was requesting the Centre to impose a countrywide lockdown to allow the health infrastructure to replenish its material and manpower but the government has not listened to the appeal.
7.18 pm: The Supreme Court passes orders for decongesting prisions by releasing inmates who were granted bail or parole last year in view of the pandemic, reports PTI. The decision came in view of an “unprecedented surge” in coronavirus cases in the country.
7.15 pm: The Gujrat government requests the Centre to raise the allocation of oxygen to the state to 1,400 metric tonnes from the current 975 metric tonnes, reports PTI. The government said that it was unable to operationalise 11,500 additional beds for COVID-19 patients.
5.30 pm: The Uttarakhand government announces summer vacations in all government, non-government, private and day boarding schools till June 30 in view of rising coronavirus cases, reports ANI.
5.28 pm: Delhi reports 17,364 new coronavirus cases, pushing the infection tally in the national Capital to 13,10,231, reports ANI. The toll climbs by 332 to 19,071. The daily positivity rate stands at 23.34%.
5.25 pm: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat instructs officials to make necessary arrangements to boost the coronavirus vaccination process, as soon as vaccines arrive in state for the 18-45 year age group, reports ANI, quoting the chief minister’s office. It says that the first batch will reach Uttarakhand later in the day.
5.24 pm: Mumbai Dabbawalas distributes food outside King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, reports ANI.
5.16 pm: The list of members of task force formed to streamline oxygen allocation across the country.
5.11 pm: The Supreme Court constitutes a 12-member national task force for allocation medical oxygen and essential drugs across states and Union Territories, reports India Today. The court says that the rationale for constituting a task force at the national level is to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised knowledge.
The court says the task force would be at liberty to draw upon the human resources of the Union government for consultation and information. It can also formulate its modalities and procedure for working.
5.08 pm: Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi thanks Canada for a shipment of 50 ventilators and 25,000 vials of anti-viral drug remdesivir.
5.05 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the usage of the coronavirus vaccine budget. Tagging a report that claims that only Rs 4,744 crore from the Rs 35,000 crore vaccine budget has been utilised, Gandhi says that the human life is “undervalued” and that Modi’s ego is “overinflated”.
3.30 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says that national Capital needs 700 metric tonnes of oxygen to run hospitals and 976 metric tonnes if the capacity of the hospitals are to be increased, reports ANI. “On May 5, we received 730 MT oxygen for the first time but on May 6 we got 577 MT oxygen & 487 MT of oxygen yesterday [Friday],” Sisodia adds. “I urge the central government to maintain at least 700 MT of oxygen supply to Delhi till the situation demands.”
3.27 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson says an aircraft carrying 1,900 oxygen cannulas and 396 oxygen cylinders from Austria and 500 oxygen cylinders from Czech Republic has arrived in India. “Grateful to both our EU [European Union] partners for this generous support,” says the spokesperson.
3.24 pm: Union health ministry revises national policy for admission of Covid-19 patients to medical facilities, reports ANI. The requirement of a positive test is not mandatory for admission to a Covid-19 health facility, the ministry says.
It says that a suspect case of the coronavirus shall be admitted to the suspect ward of medical facilities. “No patient will be refused services on any count,” the ministry adds. “This includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city.”
3.22 pm: The ministry adds that the drug comes in powder form in a sachet, which can be taken orally by dissolving it in water. “It accumulates in the virus infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production,” the defence ministry says. “Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique.”
3.18 pm: The Ministry of Defence says that the 2-DG drug has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation lab Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. In a press release, the ministry says that clinical trials have shown that the drug helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.
“Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid patients,” it adds. “The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from Covid-19.”
3.01 pm: The Defence Research and Development Organisation says that India’s drug regulator has given permission for emergency use for the therapeutic application of drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose, also called 2-DG, as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. This means that the drug can be used together with the primary treatment used for treating severe coronavirus patients. “Being a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, it can be easily produced & made available in plenty,” it says.
1.52 pm: Authorities in Gujarat request the Centre to increase the allocation of medical oxygen of the state from the current 975 metric tonnes to 1,400 metric tonnes, latest by May 12, reports PTI.
“The Government of India has not increased the allocation of [medical oxygen to] Gujarat beyond 975 MT, which is creating tremendous distress to the patients seeking hospitalisation and oxygen therapy, resulting in denial of medical treatment to needy despite availability of beds and qualified personnel in hospitals,” Gujarat Chief Secretary Anil Mukim says in a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
Mukim adds that because of the shortages, the state is unable to operationalise 11,500 additional beds for Covid patients.
1.50 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleges that the coronavirus crisis in the country reached an alarming level because the Centre “did not do any work” in the last six months as the Union ministers and BJP leaders were visiting Bengal daily to “capture” it, reports PTI.
1.47 pm: The Supreme Court orders the release of prisoners who were granted bail or were on parole last year in a bid to decongest jails amid the worsening coronavirus situation, reports PTI.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant says that all the prisoners who were released on bail in March last year by the high-powered committees of states and Union Territories, set up following the Supreme court’s order, be granted the same relief.
“Further we direct that, those inmates who were granted parole, pursuant to our earlier orders, should be again granted parole for a period of 90 days in order to tide over the pandemic,” the bench says.
1.09 pm: Mizoram Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia tests positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI.
1.07 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray writes to the Centre, seeking permission to develop a separate app for carrying out covid vaccination in the state, reports ANI.
1.05 pm: Authorities in Imphal West district of Manipur impose a curfew till May 17.
1.02 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says that 180 districts in India have not recorded any new Covid cases in the last seven days, reports ANI.
1 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about the coronavirus situation in the state, reports ANI.
12.30 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appeals to the Centre to provide more vaccine doses, as people from other states like Uttar Pradesh, ie, from Noida and Ghaziabad, are also going to the Capital to get inoculated, reports PTI.
“We need 80-85 lakh vaccine doses each month for 3 months to inoculate all in Delhi,” he says. Kejriwal adds that vaccination is vital to ward off a third wave of the virus, and that “people are worried about a third wave”.
He also urges the Centre to make vaccines for children as the state is “worried about their well-being”.
11.50 am: Actor Kangana Ranaut tests positive for Covid. She announces it on Instagram, calling the infection a “small time flu which got too much press” and is “now psyching few people”.
9.58 am: Telangana recorded 5,559 new Covid cases and 41 deaths yesterday, reports ANI.
9.56 am: A complete lockdown has been imposed in Pune, Maharashtra, in view of the rising coronavirus cases.
9.54 am: The Delhi Police transfer the case related to the seizure of oxygen concentrators from the city’s popular eatery, Khan Chacha, to its Crime Branch, reports ANI.
9.54 am: New Zealand’s wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert tests positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI. The cricketer represented Kolkata Knight Riders in the postponed 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
9.50 am: Thailand says it wants to secure more vaccines and give as many first doses as possible, as the country battles a surge of the pandemic, reports AP. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says Thailand, with an adult population of about six crore, needs at least 12 crore vaccine doses, with everyone getting two shots. He adds that foreign workers also needed to be taken into account.
9.48 am: The tally of coronavirus cases in Andaman and Nicobar Islands rises to 6,311 as 56 more people test positive, reports PTI. The toll remains unchanged at 72.
9.37 am: The Tamil Nadu government imposes a complete lockdown in the state for two weeks from May 10, reports NDTV.
The order came a day after the state recorded its biggest single-day rise of over 26,000 Covid infections. Chief Minister MK Stalin says that the lockdown is being enforced due to “unavoidable reasons”.
9.35 am: India records 4,01,078 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,18,92,676 since the pandemic broke out last year. This is the fourth time after May 1, when the count rose by more than 4 lakh. The toll climbs by 4,187 deaths to 2,38,270.
Here are the top updates from Friday
- The West Bengal government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a uniform vaccination policy by removing the differential pricing mechanism in the current phase of the coronavirus inoculation drive.
- Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced a complete lockdown from 6 am on Monday, May 10, to 6 am on May 24. The chief minister said that the earlier Janata Curfew has not been successful as coronavirus cases are surging in the state.
- The Delhi Police seized over 450 oxygen concentrators during raids at multiple locations across the Capital. The crackdown on illegal hoarding came amid an acute shortage of the medical equipment, which is crucial for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
- The Supreme Court warned that it will be compelled to take action against the Centre if authorities do not provide 700 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to Delhi every day, to help the city meet its demands to treat Covid-19 patients. The Supreme Court also refused to intervene with the Karnataka High Court judgement directing the Centre to increase the daily medical oxygen allocation for the state from 965 metric tonnes to 1,200.
- The Union government’s Principal Scientific Advisor Professor K Vijay Raghavan said the third wave of Covid-19 may not happen if “we take strong measures”. This came two days after he cautioned that a third wave of the pandemic was inevitable.
- The Congress appealed to the Centre to listen to suggestions from the states to curb India’s Covid-19 crisis. In a meeting of all Congres MPs, party’s interim President Sonia Gandhi also accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre of leading the country in a way that everyone was bearing the weight of the Centre’s “indifference and incompetence”. Meanwhile, party MP Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioning him against the possibility of more mutated strains of the coronavirus originating in India.
- The Ministry of Finance said that though the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has posed a downside risk to economic activity in the first quarter of the financial year 2021-’22, the devastating surge in infections will have a “mutated economic impact” as compared to the first wave.