Tamil Nadu on Wednesday registered a record 30,355 new coronavirus cases in the biggest single-day spike so far. The state’s caseload now stands at 14,68,864. With 293 more deaths in the last 24 hours, the toll is now 16,471. Meanwhile, Karnataka logged 39,998 new cases and 517 fatalities.
Twelve opposition leaders on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a free mass vaccination campaign and suspending of the Central Vista project. The signatories to the joint letter included Sonia Gandhi, HD Deve Gowda, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin and Sitaram Yechury.
The Union health ministry said the World Health Organization has not associated the term “Indian variant” with B.1.617. In a tweet, the WHO also said that it does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported.
India on Wednesday registered 3,48,421 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 2,33,40,938 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. With 4,205 deaths, the toll climbed to 2,54,197. This is the highest single-day rise in toll so far since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Globally, the coronavirus has now infected 15.97 crore people and killed over 33.20 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 9.58 crore people have recovered from the infection.
The national helpline number is 011-23978046, and the toll-free number is 1075.
Read today’s top updates here
10.55 pm: Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has floated a global expression of interest or an EoI for procurement of one crore doses of vaccines, reports PTI.
“The interested parties will have to submit their expression of interest before 1 pm on May 18 and they will be opened on the same day at 3 pm,” says an official.
10.52 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a meeting to review the supplies of oxygen and medicines in the country. “It was discussed that the supply of oxygen is now more than three times the supply during the peak of first wave,” according to an official release.
10.50 pm: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announces that all crematorium employees in the state will be considered as frontline workers, reports ANI. “The government will give them all the benefits with effect from April 1,” he adds. “The government will also provide an assistance of Rs 25 lakh to their families in case of death of the employee.”
10.49 pm: Karnataka says it will not vaccinate adults in the 18 to 45 age group until further orders, reports ANI.
10.47 pm: Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh says his teams are working on “innovative solutions” to ramp up oxygen supplies, reports ANI.
10.47 pm: The second and third shipments of emergency assistance arrives from Japan.
10.01 pm: Karnataka records 39,998 new cases, 517 deaths.
9.42 pm: Madhya Pradesh logs 8,970 fresh infections and 84 deaths.
9.27 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 18,125 new cases and 329 deaths.
9.26 pm: Jharkhand extends lockdown-like restrictions with stricter provisions, including 7-day quarantine for people visiting state, till May 27, reports PTI.
9.22 pm: Haryana logs 12,490 new cases, 14,264 recoveries and 165 deaths.
9.17 pm: Tamil Nadu registers record 30,355 new cases in biggest single-day surge so far. The state logs 293 more deaths in the last 24 hours.
7.24 pm: Twelve opposition leaders write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a free mass vaccination campaign and suspending the Central Vista project, reports PTI. The signatories to the joint letter include Sonia Gandhi, HD Deve Gowda, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin and Sitaram Yechury.
7.18 pm: Maharashtra records 46,781 new Covid-19 cases, 58,805 recoveries and 816 deaths in 24 hours, reports ANI, citing a state health department bulletin. The total number of cases stood at 52,26,710, including 5,46,129 active cases, and 78,007 fatalities and 46,00,196 recoveries.
6.35 pm: The Delhi High Court says it is “high time” that maximum retail price of oxygen concentrators is fixed to immediately stop hoarding and black marketing, reports PTI. The lawyer representing the Centre says the matter is under consideration. The court also issues contempt notices to all the persons named in the FIRs lodged after May 2 in connection with hoarding and black marketing of medicines and equipment required for treating coronavirus patients.
6.31 pm: The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court says coronavirus patients dying due to lack of oxygen is a gross violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, reports Bar and Bench. It asks states and other authorities to make all efforts to ensure the life-saving gas is available.
6.30 pm: At the World Economic Forum’s Global Trade Outlook Session, Union minister Piyush Goyal calls on all nations to facilitate the export of Covid-19 related items and share vaccines liberally.
“He said that under the circumstances, speed is of the essence, as this will allow all to meet the objective of equitable, timely and affordable access for all to vaccines, therapeutics and other goods required to deal with COVID-19 pandemic,” a note from his office reads. “He said that India had provided 67 million doses of Covid vaccine earlier, believing in the motto of Vasudhev Katumbakam [the world is one family].”
6.21 pm: Over 1.28 lakh doses of vaccine administered in Delhi on May 11, says AAP MLA Atishi.
6.18 pm: Assam imposes stricter restrictions in urban and adjoining areas, reports The Indian Express. The new curbs include a curfew from 2 pm to 5 am and closure of all educational institutions and offices for the next 15 days from Thursday.
6.17 pm: Maharashtra Cabinet minister Aslam Shaikh asks Centre to relax its protocols for buying vaccines.
6.15 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urges PM Narendra Modi to “speedily import vaccines” from global manufacturers.
6.14 pm: Kerala logs 43,529 new cases, 95 deaths and 34,600 recoveries.
6.10 pm: Delhi will not be able to vaccinate people in the 18-44 age group with Covaxin from Thursday as it has run out of stocks, reports NDTV.
5.43 pm: The Bombay High Court asks the Maharashtra government to inform it about the measures taken to check the spread of Covid-19 among children, reports PTI.
5.41 pm: Over 400 people, comprised of unemployed doctors, nursing students and laboratory technicians have signed up to help the Mizoram government in tackling the pandemic, a health department official says, according to PTI.
5.40 pm: Jharkhand Director General of Police Neeraj Sinha tells PTI: “As many as 7,343 of our policemen out of an over 59,000-strong police force has been afflicted with the virus in the line of duty.”
5.38 pm: The Telangana Police perform the funeral of a poor man, identified as 38-year-old Yamsani Sampath of Sirsaid village in Karimnagar district, who died of Covid-19, reports PTI.
5.37 pm: Bangladesh receives 5,00,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine as a gift to continue its inoculations that were stopped due to a shortage of supplies from India, reports PTI.
5.35 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to “speedily import vaccines” from global makers, reports ANI. She asks the prime minister to “encourage world and national players to open up franchise operations”.
5.28 pm: The Centre says that so far, the Railways has delivered nearly 6,260 metric tonnes of oxygen in more than 396 tankers to various states across the country, amid shortages of the life-saving gas to treat coronavirus patients.
5.25 pm: The central government says it has received 9,284 oxygen concentrators, 7,033 oxygen cylinders, 19 oxygen generation plants, 5,933 ventilators, 3.44 lakh remdesivir vials from other countries as international aid between April 27 to May 11.
5.22 pm: The Centre says that the PM CARES Fund has accorded sanction for procurement of 1,50,000 units of “Oxycare” system developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation at a cost of Rs 322.5 crore.
This machine, which regulates the oxygen being administered to patients based on the sensed SpO2 levels, is used by soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas. It can be also effectively used to treat Covid patients, the government says.
5.19 pm: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal urges countries to share Covid vaccines liberally with those who are in dire need of it, stating that “global solidarity is the need of the hour”. The minister was speaking at the World Economic Forum’s Global Trade Outlook Session.
5.15 pm: The Centre says it will ramp up the production of the drug, Amphotericin B, which is being used in patients suffering from mucormycosis fungal infection, a post Covid complication.
The health ministry says that after reviewing the stock position with the manufacturers and importers, and the demand pattern for the drug, the government has allocated supplies for all the states and Union Territories, which will be available from May 10 till the end of this month.
5.13 pm: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav expresses his disbelief at a video of some men in Gujarat covering their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope it will boost their immunity against, or help them recover from the coronavirus.
“Should we laugh or cry,” Yadav writes.
5.07 pm: Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud tests positive for coronavirus, reports Bar and Bench.
4.48 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a meeting via video conferencing with health ministers of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana.
4.46 pm: The Centre approves procurement of 1.5 lakh units of DRDO’s “Oxycare system”, according to PTI. Oxycare is an oxygen supply system based on SpO2 (oxygen saturation) level.
4.43 pm: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut says the death of Covid-19 patients due to lack of oxygen is a serious matter, reports PTI. “All chief ministers need to be in constant touch with each other,” he adds. “Let’s help each other to defeat the pandemic. Don’t hide COVID-19 facts in the states. Death of patients due to non-availability of oxygen in different parts of the country is a serious matter. There was a shortage of oxygen in Maharashtra also, but the state government handled the situation well.”
4.39 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party says more than 84% of the vaccine doses sent abroad are part of the commercial and licensing liabilities of the two Indian manufacturers, reports PTI. Addressing a press conference, party spokesperson Sambit Patra accuses the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party of spreading misinformation on India’s vaccination programme.
4.38 pm: Delhi reports 13,287 new cases, 300 deaths in the last 24 hours.
4.35 pm: The production capacity of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine will be doubled by May-June, says the Ministry of Science and Technology. It is expected to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by September 2021.
3.15 pm: Indian naval ship Tarkash brings two containers with 20 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen each from Qatar to Mumbai.
3.03 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announces Rs 25 lakh as compensation each for the families of 43 doctors who have died fighting the coronavirus crisis, The Hindu reports.
The government also announces more incentives for medical professionals. For April, May and June, doctors will receive Rs 30,000, nurses Rs 20,000 and other workers Rs 15,000, according to ANI.
3.00 pm: Indian Council of Medical Research chief Balram Bhargava says districts reporting a high number of coronavirus cases should stay under a lockdown for another six to eight weeks, Reuters reports.
2.52 pm: Virologist Shahid Jameel says the second wave of the coronavirus in India seems to have flattened but will not end before July, PTI reports.
“The curve may have flattened but the other side of the peak is not going to be an easy climb down,” he says. “It is possibly going to be a more prolonged long-drawn-out process running possibly till July. That means, even if the curve starts to decline, we will continue to have to deal with a large number of infections every day.”
2.23 pm: The Union health ministry says that media reports calling the B.1.617 coronavirus variant as “Indian variant” is “without any basis and unfounded”. The ministry clarifies that the WHO has not associated the term “Indian variant” with the B.1.617 variant.
Meanwhile, the WHO said that it does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported. “We refer to them by their scientific names and request all to do the same for consistency,” the global health body tweeted.
2.14 pm: Madhya Pradesh’s government doctors will consult their counterparts in the United States on how to tackle cases of mucormycosis fungal infection, commonly known as “black fungus”, seen among Covid-19 patients, state Medical Education Minister Vishwash Kailash Sarang tells PTI.
2.12 pm: The Assam government has ordered a shutdown of all offices, religious places and weekly markets for 15 days in urban and semi-urban areas, reports PTI. A ban on movement of residents has also been put in place from 2 pm to 5 am amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
12.45 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says over 100 vaccination centres administering Covaxin shots had to be shut due to shortages of vaccine, reports ANI.
12.25 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says Bharat Biotech told them on Tuesday that it cannot provide Covaxin doses to the national Capital as they are making dispatches according to directives of concerned government officers, reports ANI.
“We had demanded 1.34 crore doses of vaccines, 67 lakhs each of Covaxin and Covishield, says Sisodia. “Those manufacturing Covaxin have told us clearly they cannot give us more doses. Obvious that these are central government officials.”
12.13 pm: Poll strategist Prashant Kishor says that the Centre’s attempt to push “falsehood” and “propaganda” in the name of spreading positivity is “disgusting”. “For being positive we don’t have to become blind propagandist of the government,” he adds.
12.08 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hits out at the Centre for pushing for “positive thinking” amid the coronavirus crisis. “The false assurance of ‘positive thinking’ is a joke on those families and health workers who have lost their loved ones and are suffering a crisis of oxygen, hospitals and medicines,” Gandhi tweets. “Burying one’s head in the sand is not positive – it is a betrayal of our citizens.”
12.06 pm: Coronavirus vaccination drive halted at some centres of Nagpur due to the shortage of vaccines, reports ANI.
12.02 pm: Chhattisgarh administration imposes complete lockdown in Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi district from midnight on Wednesday till midnight May 15 in view of rise in Covid-19 cases, reports ANI.
11.59 am: Puducherry registers 2,007 new coronavirus cases, 1,247 recoveries and 27 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports ANI.
11.56 am: Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole says that the Supreme Court should not only form a task force for Covid-19 management but also a parallel national government as the Narendra Modi-led government has failed to protect the country from the pandemic, reports ANI. He says there is a provision in the Constitution to do this.
11.54 am: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin appeals to the public, charity institutions and corporates to contribute to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund to help the state government in fighting the coronavirus pandemic effectively, reports The Hindu.
11.52 am: The Centre says that close to 90% of India is witnessing a high positivity rate as 640 districts out of the 734 are above the national threshold level of 5%, reports NDTV. “New states like Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland are seeing a high positivity rate and we need to take corrective measures to break this chain of transmission,” Health Ministry spokesperson Lav Agrawal says.
11.47 am: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says there could be over 2,000 mucormycosis, or black fungus, patients in the state, reports PTI. He adds that the number could increase.
11.44 am: Congress says party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will head a 13-member task force to coordinate Covid-19 relief, reports The Hindu. Other members of the task force include party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Jairam Ramesh, Mukul Wasnik, Ambika Soni, KC Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala.
11.40 am: America’s State Department spokesperson Ned Price says that his country is working closely with India on its continued and emerging needs during the unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI.
“While the assistance from the US government has been worth USD 100 million [over Rs 734 crore] , the private sector has donated an additional USD 400 million [more than Rs 8,320 crore], totalling half a billion dollars [approximately Rs 3,671 crore]to India.
11.37 am: United States top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci says India made an “incorrect assumption” that it was done with the coronavirus pandemic and opened up prematurely that has left the country in such “dire straits”, reports PTI. Fauci made the statement before the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee during a hearing on the Covid-19 response.
10.12 am: Pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s announces it has entered into a royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Eli Lilly and Company for the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug baricitinib, in India.
The drug has received restricted emergency use approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization for use in combination with remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients on oxygen support and ventilation.
9.41 am: India registers 3,48,421 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 2,33,40,938 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. With 4,205 deaths, the toll climbed to 2,54,197. There are 37,04,099 active cases and 1,93,82,642 patients have recovered so far.
8.38 am: Nearly 90% of India is witnessing a high positivity rate of coronavirus cases, as 640 of the 734 districts have shown rates above the 5% national threshold level, reports NDTV, quoting the health ministry.
8.35 am: World Health Organisation says the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, first found in India has been detected in 44 countries, reports AFP.
8.33 am: The Allahabad High Court says the Election Commission, higher courts and the government failed to gauge the consequences of permitting Assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory and the Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh, reports The Hindu.
8.31 am: Police in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol arrests a nurse and two lab technicians of a medical college for alleged black marketing of remdesivir injections, reports ANI.
8.28 am: Fifty-six prisoners in Karnal Jail in Haryana have tested positive for coronavirus in last few days, ANI reports quoting a civil surgeon.
“After prisoners tested positive, we made isolation zone in jail,” he says. “As it is a matter of concern, all precautionary measures being taken to tackle situation.”
8.25 am: Flights carrying medical aid reaches Delhi from Netherlands, South Korea and Switzerland, reports ANI.
8.22 am: “Oxygen Express” reaches Pune from Odisha’s Angul town, tweets Railway Minister Piyush Goyal
8.17 am: Here are the top updates from Tuesday:
- India on Tuesday recorded 3,29,942 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,29,92,517 since the pandemic broke out in the country in January 2020. The toll climbed by 3,876 to 2,49,992.
- The governments of Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Tuesday said they will issue global tenders for procurement of Covid vaccines as the domestic supply fails to keep up with the rising demand amid the fierce second wave of the pandemic.
- Twenty-six coronavirus patients died at the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital between 2 am and 6 am, said Health Minister Vishwajit Rane. But the cause of death was not clear.
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to allow more companies to produce coronavirus vaccines to address the shortage of doses amid the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India.
- Rapid Antigen Tests will now be allowed at all government and private health facilities to accelerate testing, the Union health ministry said.