Coronavirus updates | May 16, 2021

Cremation of COVID-19 victims at Nigambodh Ghat cremation ground, in New Delhi on May 15, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Karnataka has moved ahead of Maharashtra with 41,664 infections. Maharashtra reported 34,848 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu (33,658). However, Maharashtra recorded the most casualties (960), followed by Karnataka (349) and Delhi (337).

Only around 11.6 lakh daily vaccine doses were administered in the country in the 24 hours ending 7 a.m. on Saturday, over 9.25 lakh doses lower than what was recorded in the previous 24 hours. It was also over 9.35 lakh doses lower than that recorded one week ago.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:


Kerala issues guidelines for vaccination of people in 18-44 years age group

With the vaccination for prioritised groups amongst those in the 18-44 years group beginning in Kerala on Monday, the Government has issued guidelines regarding the same.

As the vaccines procured by the State are only in limited quantities, vaccination in this age group can only be taken up in phases, the Government has said.

The Government has already released a list of co-morbidities for determining the eligibility of those in the 18-44 years for COVID-19 vaccination. - C. Maya

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Tamil Nadu

Hospitals will have to send representatives to collect Remdesivir, TN changes drug supply protocol

The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday revised the protocol for the supply of Remdesivir directing hospitals treating patients with the medicine to procure it by sending their own representatives and doing away with the current system of patients’ relatives queuing up at designated sites to get the drug. The new system will come into effect from May 18.

The manner in which the medicine was distributed leafing to chaos and long wait for the relatives of patients was changed following a meeting between Chief Minister M.K. Stalin with Health and Family Welfare minister M. Subramanian and health secretary J. Radhakrishnan.

The government will set up a dedicated website for the purpose where hospitals treating patients on oxygen support with the drug will have to upload the patient’s details and the required quantity of Remdesivir. - T.K. Rohit

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New Delhi

Lockdown in Delhi extended by another week

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said lockdown in Delhi was extended by another week till 5 a.m on May 24.

"We have seen a reduction in number of new cases and good recovery. We are extending the lockdown so that we do not lose any of the gains we have made," Mr. Kejriwal said. - Jatin Anand

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First Oxygen Express arrives in Kerala

The first Oxygen Express arrived in Kochi in the early hours of Sunday with 140 tonnes of the gas in seven container tankers.

The consignment arrived from the Tata Steel plant in Odisha. The tanker was received at the terminal station by officials of the Revenue department and the Railways.

The gas will now be despatched by road to its designated supply centres. The Union government has promised another consignment of oxygen via Oxygen Express.


Manipur doctor dies due to COVID-19

One Manipur doctor who was serving as a senior resident in the surgery department of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), Imphal, died on Saturday night due to COVID-19, officials said.

Officials said that the doctor, hailing from Senapati district, had been undergoing treatment for the infection for the last five days in the COVID-19 ward of the same medical college. He was on oxygen support.

He is the first doctor to die of COVID-19 infection in the medical college.

Official reports say that some other doctors and nurses in the JNIMS had contracted the infection and reportedly underwent treatment.

New Delhi

Adoption issues to the fore as COVID-19 throws up many orphans

The second wave of COVID-19 has left many children extremely vulnerable, particularly those who have been orphaned. Childline 1098 has recorded 51 calls between May 1 to May 12 for children whose both parents succumbed to COVID-19 , but the actual number is likely to be much higher as there are several other helplines and many cases go unreported.

Earlier this month, alarm bells started ringing among child rights activist after messages on social media and WhatsApp groups began circulating containing adoption appeals for children who had recently been orphaned due to the COVID-19. Within days, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani took to Twitter to flag such adoption requests as illegal and urged people to prevent trafficking in the garb of adoption and report all such cases to 1098 or police or a Child Welfare Committee (CWC). On May 6, the Ministry asked Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to add a column in hospital admission forms asking patients to specify in whose custody their children can be left in case of any eventuality.

Only a district CWC can decide the future of children found orphaned in such circumstances.

New Delhi

Cong. leader Rajeev Satav dies of complications related to COVID-19

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Satav passed away on May 16 following post-COVID-19 complications at a hospital in Pune where he was admitted on April 23.

Mr. Satav was nominated to Rajya Sabha in March last year. The 47-year-old MP is survived by wife and two children.

Often identified among Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s supporters, he was a permanent invitee of the Congress Working Committee.

He was also former Lok Sabha MP from Hingoli constituency in Maharashtra. In September last year, he was among the eight MPs who were suspended by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu over alleged unruly protests by the Opposition members against the passing of the three controversial farm laws. Along with others, he spent the night on Parliamentary premises carrying on with their protest.

West Bengal

West Bengal govt. to vaccinate volunteers, journalists, vegetable sellers, hawkers on priority basis

Vegetable sellers, hawkers and taxi and auto drivers as well as rickshaw pullers will be administered vaccines by West Bengal government on a priority basis. It has also decided to roll out vaccines for sex workers, transgenders, journalists and COVID-19 volunteers. The move to vaccinate people “forcibly exposed to public mingling” has been lauded by different sections of society.

“It has been decided that, as per availability of vaccines, which in insufficient, the scarce vaccine available at the disposal of the government of West Bengal may be divided into two streams as detailed below, in terms of decision taken in the State executive committee of the State Disaster Management Authority on 15.5.2021,” a document made public by the State government said. The notification states that two streams include, general for people at large: to be taken care by the Health Department Hospitals and the other groups which are super spreaders public-facing/ forcibly exposed to public mingling: groups that are endangered and potential spreaders.

The second category includes hawkers, retail sellers of vegetables grocery sellers, sex workers and transgender, transport workers including taxi and auto drivers and rickshaw pullers, lawyers, law clerks and court staff. The list also includes COVID-19 volunteers, inmates of social and correctional homes, dealers of essential services and residue section of governmental and para- governmental employees.


Former Saurashtra cricketer, BCCI match referee Rajendrasinh Jadeja dead

Former Saurashtra pacer and BCCI match referee Rajendrasinh Jadeja has died due to COVID-19, the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) said on Sunday. Jadeja was 66.

"Everyone at SCA are deeply saddened on the untimely demise of Rajendrasinh Jadeja, one of the most remarkable yesteryear cricketers of Saurashtra. He left for heavenly abode today early morning fighting a hard battle against COVID-19," the SCA said in a statement.

Rajendrasinh was one of the finest right-arm medium pacers and a remarkable all-rounder.


Surrender, get treated for COVID-19, Odisha police tell Maoists

Taking a cue from their Chhattisgarh counterparts, the Odisha police have appealed to the left wing extremists to lay down their arms and get themselves treated for COVID-19.

DGP Abhay, who on Saturday reviewed the situation at Malkangiri, an LWE-affected district, reiterated his earlier appeal that the CPI (Maoist) cadres should leave the path of violence and join the mainstream for peaceful development of the area.

“Since we share border with Chhattisgarh, some extremists slip into our district occasionally. As per our intelligence inputs, the locals are not allowing them to enter their villages. Under the circumstances, they should immediately surrender. We will facilitate their admission in hospitals if they are found infected with COVID-19,” said Rishikesh Dnyandeo Khilari, Malkangiri SP.


Hospitals on edge over oxygen supply

While trains carrying precious life-saving cargo are arriving in Karnataka, hospitals continue to struggle to meet the demand for oxygen. Over the past few days, the civic body has been fielding SOS calls from several hospitals in the city desperate for oxygen.

Late Friday night, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) sent six tonnes of oxygen to St. John’s Hospital, which had over the past 10 days been stretched for oxygen supply. On Thursday, the hospital had 1,085 patients, but less than a day’s stock of oxygen. “We were desperate for oxygen supply on Friday night,” said a source.

BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that several hospitals have been sending out SOS messages on oxygen shortage. “We identified the issue in this case [St. John’s Hospital] and sorted it out by sending an oxygen tanker,” he said. According to Mr. Gupta, many other hospitals in the city are not in a position to store oxygen for more than four days.


Pandemic hits construction of new Secretariat

The pandemic has had its impact on the ongoing construction of the new integrated secretariat complex in Telangana.

A section of the labour force engaged in the construction works contracted COVID-19 and was quarantined while another chunk of workers left the work place amid fears of surge in the number of cases in the second wave which was felt since March this year. As against 1,000 workers engaged in the works on a daily basis, less than 200 are working at present, thus slowing down the entire construction process.

“Works have been slowed down since the onset of the second wave of COVID-19. Even those engaged now are working under fear of contracting the virus,” a senior official said adding steps were taken to administer the first dose of the vaccine to those engaged in the works.


Now drug for ‘black fungus’ is in short supply

While Karnataka is witnessing an increasing number of mucormycosis (black fungus) cases as a post-COVID-19 complication, there are complaints that medicines needed to treat the problem are hard to come by.

While Bengaluru has seen close to 75 cases of black fungus over the last fortnight in various hospitals, six have emerged in Mysuru’s government hospital and one suspected case in Belagavi.

The most commonly prescribed medicine for mucormycosis, Liposomal Amphotericin B, is in short supply in Karnataka.


36 girls at Tripura govt. orphanage test positive

Thirty-six girls at a government-run orphanage in Tripura’s capital Agartala tested positive for coronavirus amid the current surge of COVID-19 cases. The incident has forced the State government to consider stricter measures to break the infection chain.

“A 14-day long unbroken curfew within limits of the Agartala Municipal Corporation from the morning of May 17 (Monday) is being discussed at the highest level of the government. Senior Minister Ratan Lal Nath would announce the fresh new measures tomorrow afternoon,” a health department official told The Hindu on Saturday night.

The children at the State Children Home for Girls were tested as part of the ongoing Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) being conducted in all municipal wards.

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