1. The Indian Medical Association said that it was astonished to see the “extreme lethargy and inappropriate actions” to combat the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The association said that it had urged 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.
  2. India on Saturday recorded 4,187 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest ever since the pandemic broke out last year, as a fierce second wave continued to overwhelm the country’s hospitals. With this, the toll rose to 2,38,270. The country recorded 4,01,078 new cases in 24 hours, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,18,92,676. This is the fourth time since May 1 when the count rose by more than 4 lakh.
  3. The Drugs Controller General of India has given approval for emergency use to an oral drug for the treatment of moderate to severe coronavirus patients. The Ministry of Defence said on Saturday that the drug developed from the molecule 2-deoxy-D-glucose, also called 2-DG, has been permitted to be used as an adjunct therapy.
  4. The Supreme Court on Saturday constituted a 12-member national task force to streamline oxygen allocation and to ensure that essential drugs and medicines are available to medical facilities. The tasks force is also given the responsibility to formulate a methodology for allocating oxygen to the states and Union Territories on a scientific, rational and equitable basis.
  5. The Supreme Court also passed orders for decongesting prisons by releasing inmates who were granted bail or parole last year in view of the pandemic, reported PTI. The decision came in view of an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
  6. The Centre has instructed states to first vaccinate those who are yet to receive their second dose of the Covid vaccine before beginning to inoculate the 18–44 age group. The new directives came amid crippling shortages of vaccines that has slowed down the inoculation drive in the country. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday appealed to the Centre to provide it 2.6 crore more vaccine doses to inoculate the city’s entire population over the next three months.
  7. The Union health ministry on Saturday said that a positive coronavirus report will no longer be needed for hospitals to admit Covid-19 patients. A patient suspected of having contracted the infection shall be admitted to the suspect ward of a Covid-19 care center, dedicated Covid-19 health centre or dedicated Covid-19 hospital, the ministry said.
  8. The Gujarat government requested the Centre to raise the allocation of oxygen to the state to 1,400 metric tonnes from the current 975 metric tonnes, reported PTI. The government said that it was unable to operationalise 11,500 additional beds for COVID-19 patients.
  9. The World Health Organization on Friday approved Chinese vaccine Sinopharm for emergency use in coronavirus patients. This is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get the global health body’s backing.
  10. Globally, the coronavirus has infected 15.7 crore people across the world and killed over 32.72 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 9.31 crore people have recovered from the infection.