The Kerala government on Friday extended till May 23 the lockdown imposed in the state to arrest the spread of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the coronavirus is spreading fast in rural India and urged villagers to take necessary precautions, including wearing mask. He also urged states to take action against black-marketing of medicines and essential supplies.
India on Friday registered 3,43,144 new coronavirus cases, pushing the tally in the country to 2,40,46,809 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The toll climbed by 4,000 to 2,62,317. There are 37,04,893 active cases and 2,00,79,599 patients have recovered from the infection.
Globally, the coronavirus has now infected 16.08 crore people and killed over 33.40 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The national helpline number is 011-23978046, and the toll-free number is 1075.
Read today’s top updates here
10.53 pm: The Uttar Pradesh government constitutes a three-member team to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Allahabad High Court Judge Justice VK Shrivastava from Covid-19, reports ANI.
10.52 pm: Punjab has 8,068 new cases and 180 deaths today.
9.05 pm: A private hospital in Manipur says suspends admission of both, Covid and non-Covid patients, after running out of oxygen. Raj Medicity, located in Imphal, says it will only provide casualty and emergency services for the time being.
9.03 pm: West Bengal registers its biggest single-day rise of 20,846 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 10,94,802, reports PTI. The toll rose to 12,993 after 136 deaths were recorded in 24 hours.
8.56 pm: Kerala government invoked Essentials Articles Control Act to cap the prices of equipments used to treat Covid patients.
8.55 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan says the state has placed an order of 5.29 crore vaccines for people above the age of 18.
8.54 pm: Madhya Pradesh cancels Board exams for Class 10 and postpones it for Class 12, reports ANI.
8.47 pm: Tamil Nadu imposes more stringent restrictions under the lockdown. As per new order, grocery shops, vegetable shops, fish and meat shops will be allowed to be open only between 6 am and 10 am, reports ANI. All tea shops and roadside shops selling vegetables, flowers and fruits, will be closed.
8.46 pm: Uttarakhand registers 5,775 new cases and 116 deaths, taking the state’s tally to 2,77,585, and the toll to 4,426.
8.41 pm: Tamil Nadu records 31,892 new coronavirus cases and 288 deaths in 24 hours. With this, the state’s tally of infections rises to 15,31,377, while the toll goes up to 17,056.
8.39 pm: Maharashtra registers 39,923 new cases and 695 deaths today, reports ANI. With this, the state’s tally of infections rises to 53,09,215, while the toll goes up to 79,552.
7.20 pm: Rajasthan records 14,289 coronavirus cases and 155 deaths in 24 hours, taking the infection tally to 8,35,814, reports PTI. The toll rises to 6,472.
7.16 pm: Senior Indian Police Services officer Mohammed Jawed Akhtar, who headed the directorate general of fire services, civil defence and home guard under the home ministry, dies of Covid-19, reports PTI. He was 59.
7.14 pm: Karnataka logs 41,779 new cases and 373 deaths in 24 hours, reports ANI. The total number of infections in the state is now 21,30,267, while the toll stands at 21,085.
7.12 pm: Delhi’s tally of coronavirus cases rises to 13,80,981 after 8,506 new infections were reported in 24 hours. The toll rises by 289 to 20,907, while the positivity rate comes down to 12.40%.
7.10 pm: Mumbai registers 1,657 new coronavirus cases and 62 deaths today. With this, the city’s tally of infections rises to 6,85,705 and the toll jumps to 14,138.
7.08 pm: Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan say the authorities are taking steps to increase the number of beds for Covid patients in Karaikal district of the Union Territory, reports PTI.
7.06 pm: The Kerala High Court instructs the Centre to give a time frame within which vaccines can be supplied to the state, reports The Hindustan Times.
“If you delay the whole thing, new mutations will come up and people will die,” a bench of Justices Raja Vijayaraghavan and M R Anitha observes. “Give a timeline, so we will get a picture.”
7.01 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says that a “triple lockdown” will be imposed in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram, where the test positivity rate is high, reports ANI.
The “triple lockdown” strategy essentially means that authorities will focus on three different levels to minimise the impact of the community spread of Covid-19 in the districts, reports The Indian Express.
The first lock is a general containment strategy to prevent the movement of the people all over the area. Except for one road for entry/exit, all other roads and bylanes leading to the area are shut down using barricades and police officers posted for security. Public transport is suspended. Private transport is allowed only for essential purposes.
The second lock is on the specific geographical areas called clusters where primary and secondary contacts of the infected persons are staying in quarantine. All such areas will see intensified police presence.
The third lock will focus on the households of the infected persons and well as those of their primary and secondary contacts, according to the newspaper.
6.51 pm: Kerala extends the lockdown imposed in the state till May 23. The state recorded 34,694 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, while 93 deaths took the toll to 6,243.
6.48 pm: Uttar Pradesh registers 15,747 new coronavirus cases and 312 deaths today, reports ANI.
5.27 pm: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar says the state government has set a target of producing 3,000 metric tonnes of oxygen every day to make sure there are no shortages, reports PTI.
5.26 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announces that his government will provide free treatment to all mediapersons with or without accreditation, and their family members, if test positive for Covid-19, reports PTI.
5.25 pm: The Indian armed forces have roped in Battlefield Nursing Assistants to aid in the fight against the second wave of Covid-19 and have recommended that a similar method can be adopted by states and hospitals, reports PTI, citing senior officials.
5.24 pm: A Jodhpur-based social organisation has funded two oxygen plants that cost Rs 55 lakh for coronavirus patients, reports PTI.
5.22 pm: Tamil Nadu receives the first “oxygen express” carrying about 80 metric tonnes of the life-saving gas for Covid-19 patients through a train from West Bengal early on Friday, officials tell PTI.
5.19 pm: Nepal allows “special flights” to evacuate foreigners, including 2,000 Indians, stranded in the country after the country suspended international travel, reports The Times of India.
5.15 pm: As the states of Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Goa announces plans to distribute anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a preventative measure against Covid-19, experts say there is not much data to support its use, reports PTI. The drug may be recommended only in certain mild to moderate cases.
5.09 pm: Singapore is planning to reimpose lockdown-like restrictions, with a ban on eating at restaurants and limiting gatherings to two people amid a rising number of Covid-19 infections, reports Bloomberg.
4.12 pm: Gurugram administration conducts a trial run of a drive-through vaccination at the DLF City Centre Mall on MG Road, reports ANI. The trial run is for the second dose recipients of the vaccine in 45 and above age group.
4.08 pm: A woman accompanying her husband in an ambulance from Andhta Pradesh requests authorities at the border to let them cross into Telangana, reports ANI. Ambulances from Andhra Pradesh are being stopped at the border if the coronavirus patient has not received permission to enter from any Telangana hospital.
3.59 pm: Government records from May 6 show that a huge number of Covid-19 relief material donated by foreign countries were in transit or yet to be allocated, some as far as back as April 30, according to The Reporters’ Collective.
3.08 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says the purchase of vaccines should be centralised and distribution decentralised. “GOI’s [Government of India’s] vaccine policy is compounding the problem. “India cannot afford this.”
Several states are grappling with acute shortage of vaccine doses.
2.55 pm: “Is delivering oxygen in a difficult time a crime?” Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala says while reacting to the development. “Is it a crime in this country now to deliver medicines to a patient? Is it a crime to arrange beds and ventilators?”
Surjewala accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of sending the police to question Srinivas. “Can there be a more disgusting act than this?” he adds. “Is it a sin that the Congress and Youth Congress are delivering the help that the Modi government isn’t? Arrest us, but you won’t be able to stop us from helping those in need.”
2.50 pm: The Delhi Police question Youth Congress leader BV Srinivas about coronavirus relief material, NDTV reports. Srinivas says he is not scared and won’t stop his relief efforts.
1.20 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal credits the drop in cases to the residents of the city and their “disciplined” following of coronavirus-related norms.
1.18 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says that there is a drop in bed occupancy in the national capital. He, however, says that intensive care unit beds are still almost full.
Kejriwal says that 1,200 new ICU beds are ready and will be operational in 1-2 days.
1.16 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says about 8,500 new coronavirus cases were reported in Delhi in the last 24 hours. In a video, Kejriwal says that the daily positivity rate has also dropped to 12%.
1.01 pm: Drug firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories says that coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, is priced at Rs 948 with 5% Goods and Services Tax per dose, reports ANI. The total amounts to around Rs 995.50. The firm adds that the price of the vaccine can drop when local supply begins.
12.57 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says the Delhi government can only procure Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V through global tenders, reports ANI. “If there is a need for a global tender then it should be done by the central government,” he adds.
12.55 pm: Drug firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories says the soft launch of coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V has commenced and that the first dose of the vaccine was administered in Hyderabad, reports PTI. “Further consignments of imported doses are expected over the upcoming months,” it says. “Subsequently, supply of the Sputnik V vaccine will commence from Indian manufacturing partners.”
12.52 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urges states to take action against black-marketing of medicines and essential supplies, reports PTI. Modi says the country is facing an invisible enemy and fighting it on a war footing mode.
He adds that about 18 crore vaccine doses have so far been administered in the country and that both the Centre and the states were making efforts to inoculate all citizens.
12.42 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that the coronavirus is spreading fast in rural India and urges villagers to take necessary precautions, including wearing mask, reports PTI. He made the statement when releasing the eighth installment of financial benefit under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.
11.52 am: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says that Covaxin stocks have almost ended in the national capital and there are only 2-3 days of Covishield vaccines left for inoculating the 18-44 age group, reports ANI.
On the coronavirus infection in Delhi, Jain says that there has been a decline in trends since April 24. “Yesterday [Thursday] we reported 10,489 positive cases and the positivity rate was 14.24%,” he adds. “The highest positivity rate was 36% in Delhi so now it is less than half of it.”
11.46 am: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says her brother and party leader Rahul Gandhi, tested negative for the coronavirus a few days ago. Gandhi said on April 20 that he has tested positive for the infection.
11.44 am: Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat says that coronavirus is a living organism that has a right to live, reports PTI.
“Seen from a philosophical angle, coronavirus is also a living organism,” he told a news channel. “It has the right to live like the rest of us. But we [humans] think ourselves to be the most intelligent and are out to eliminate it. So it is constantly mutating itself.”
He, however, adds that people need to outpace the infection to stay safe.
11.40 am: The Karnataka government asks Centre to supply 25,000 doses of Amphotericin B, an antifungal medication, for treating mucormycosis, which also known as the black fungus, reports PTI. Karnataka Health Minister claims that Amphotericin B is the only cure for mucormycosis.
11.37 am: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot asks the Union health ministry to investigate the purchase of defective ventilators made available through the PM-CARES Fund. “The Centre had made 1,900 ventilators available to the state from the PM Cares Fund,” he says in a statement. “It was responsible for the installation and maintenance of these ventilators. According to doctors, many of these ventilators have technical shortcomings due to which using them can prove to be dangerous for patients.”
11.34 am: Odisha registers 12,390 new coronavirus cases, 8,665 recoveries and 22 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports ANI. With this, the infection tally climbs to 5,88,687 and the toll increases to 2,273.
11.29 am: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that another flight carrying medical supplies and equipment for India has left Sydney, reports ANI. He says that the flight has 1056 ventilators, 60 oxygen concentrators and essential supplies.
“At midnight tonight [Friday], the temporary pause on flights from India to Australia ends and facilitated commercial flights by the Australian Government will resume as promised, with a strict pre-flight testing regime to keep Australians safe,” he adds.
Morrison adds that passengers will have to produce both a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test result and a negative rapid antigen test result prior to departure.
11.24 am: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the civic body in Greater Bangalore metropolitan area, says that it was allocating 40,000 coronavirus vaccine doses per day to 198 wards, meaning 200 shots for every ward, reports ANI. Gaurav Gupta, the civic body’s chief, says the decision is taken on the availability of vaccines. “Priority is being given to people aged 45 years and above for second jab since a limited quantity of vaccines is available,” Gupta adds.
9.44 am: So far, 17,92,98,584 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered. On Thursday alone, 20,27,162 doses were given.
9.31 am: India registers 3,43,144 new coronavirus cases, pushing the tally in the country to 2,40,46,809 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The toll climbs by 4,000 to 2,62,317. There are 37,04,893 active cases and 2,00,79,599 patients have recovered from the infection.
8.51 am: United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most places, both outdoors and indoors.
8.48 am: United States’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci says it would be “difficult” to resume travel from India as it has “very high level” of coronavirus infection at the moment.
8.45 am: Extending duration between first and second doses of vaccine a reasonable approach when there is shortage of vaccine, says top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, reports ANI.
“[It is] unlikely that long delay would have negative effect on vaccine efficacy, says Fauci. “[I] would not refer it as cover-up.”
8.42 am: India receives medical aid from South Korea, Kazakhstan, the European Union and Qatar.
8.41 am: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar says few villages of farmer leaders protesting against the new agriculture laws have emerged as hostpots for coronavirus infetions, reports ANI.
8.39 am: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking immediate enhancement of the state’s daily oxygen supply to 450 metric tonnes, reports ANI.
7.57 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday:
- India on Thursday registered 3,62,727 new coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally to 2,37,03,665 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The country’s toll rose to 2,58,317 as it reported 4,120 deaths.
- The Union health ministry on Thursday said Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V will be available in Indian markets from next week. NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul said that over 200 crore vaccine shots are likely to be available in India by December.
- The gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine can be increased to 12-16 weeks, the Centre said on Thursday. Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech got approval for clinical trials of Covaxin on children aged 2-18.
- Maharashtra extended the restrictions enforced to control the spread of the coronavirus till June 1.