Maharashtra on April 13 reported 60,212 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the tally to 35,19,208 while 281 fatalities pushed the toll to 58,526, the State Health Department said.
In view of the alarming rise in cases, the State government has announced a 15-day Statewide curfew from 8 p.m. on April 14.
Mumbai witnessed panic buying in the evening ahead of the the announcement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Here are the latest updates:
Maharashtra imposes 15-day curfew from April 14
The Maharashtra government has announced a 15-day long Statewide curfew from April 14 amid the spike in coronavirus cases in the State.
The curfew, which excludes essential services, will come into effect from 8 p.m. on April 14, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in his address via social media to people of the State.
Section 144 (prohibitory orders) of the Criminal Procedure Code will be in force till the "lockdown-like" restrictions are in place, Mr. Thackeray said.
He refrained from terming the new curbs as a lockdown.
There is a shortage of medical oxygen and beds and the demand for Remdesivir has increased in Maharashtra, he said, adding the Centre should help supply oxygen for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.
"The war against coronavirus has begun once again," he said. There is a severe strain on Maharashtra's health infrastructure due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, he added.
The State government will provide 3 kg wheat and 2 kg rice free for the next one month to every poor and needy person, Mr. Thackeray said.
Sputnik-V made available in India after adequate testing: NITI Aayog
V.K. Paul, member (health) NITI Aayog is speaking now. "Sputnik-V has been made available in India now. This was done after proper following testing protocol. This is an opportunity that has to be used," he says.
Mr. Paul states: "National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommend and Centre has approved that for COVID-19 vaccines, which have been developed and are being manufactured in foreign countries and which have been granted emergency approval for restricted use by USFDA, EMA, UK MHRA, PMDA Japan or which are listed in WHO (emergency use listing) may be granted emergency use approval in India."
"First 100 beneficiaries of such foreign vaccines shall be assessed for seven days for safety outcomes before it is rolled out for further immunization programme within the country," he adds.
"Remdesivir is an investigational drug with specified use. This shouldn’t be used in home setting. This is not an over the counter drug. Mask is the only way forward. COVID appropriate behaviour is a must. This is need to stop the growing COVID-19 surge. The situation is very serious now," stresses Mr. Paul.
"Pre-Post COVID-19, we must work at having a robust immune system — use haldi and milk, chyawanprash and indulge in Yoga. These help," he claims.
- Bindu Shajan Perappadan
COVID-19 cases on the rise, daily deaths witnessing upward trend: Health Ministry
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan says: "There are currently 12, 64,698 active COVID cases, 1,71,058 deaths and 1,22,53,697 have been cured. The trend is going upwards in terms of new COVID -19 cases. We have crossed the surge last year. Daily deaths are also seeing an upward trend. Centre says that states can now also use the mobile testing labs."
"Testing, tracking, treating, vaccinating and following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is the way forward. Till date, a total of 10,85,33,085 vaccine doses have been administered. 40,04,521 doses have been administered in the last 24 hours," he adds.H
According to him, vaccine dosse received by States is 13,10,90,370. Balance with he States is 1,67,20,693. Total consumption plus waste is 11,43,69,677. "Kerala has zero waste. Whereas many States have 8% waste. The figures are till 13 April, 11 a.m.," he claims.
- Bindu Shajan Perappadan
U.S. recommends ‘pause’ for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over clot reports
The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.
In a joint statement on April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S.
Centre fast tracks Emergency Approvals for foreign vaccines
The Union Government has fast tracked Emergency Approvals for foreign produced COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted EUA in other countries to expand the basket of vaccines for domestic use and hasten the pace and coverage of vaccination, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
Russia's Sputnik V is among the first foreign produced vaccine to get restricted emergency use approval. - Bindu Shajan Perappadan
U.K. variant more transmissible, but does not increase COVID-19 severity: Lancet
The novel coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. is not associated with more severe illness and death, but appears to lead to higher viral load which makes it more transmissible, suggests an observational study.
The study of patients in London hospitals is consistent with emerging evidence that this lineage is more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain.
Labour Minister tests positive for COVID-19
Union Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Tuesday said he had tested positive for COVID-19.
In a tweet, Mr. Gangwar said his COVID-19 test had come back positive. He said he had no symptoms and asked those who had been in contact with him recently to get tested as well.
U.K. expands COVID-19 vaccine programme to all above 45 years of age
The National Health Service (NHS) in England on Tuesday expanded the COVID-19 vaccination programme to the next cohort on its age-based priority list to all above 45 years of age, after it announced that the target to cover over-50s had been met ahead of the April 15 deadline.
The government had set a target to offer a COVID-19 jab to all above 50 years, the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers – about 32 million people – by this Thursday.
Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober resigns, saying he’s overworked
Austria’s Health Minister announced his resignation on April 13, saying that he couldn’t continue in the gruelling job of helping lead the country’s coronavirus response because of persistent personal health problems caused by overwork.
Rudolf Anschober, 60, had been Health Minister since January last year, when his Green party became the junior partner in a governing coalition under conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
SC directs States to apprise it of migrant children, their condition
The Supreme Court Tuesday directed all states to inform it about the number of migrant children and their condition on a plea seeking directions for the protection of their fundamental rights amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also asked all the states impleaded as parties in the case to file replies in the matter.
DCGI nod paves way for Sputnik V vaccine import: Dr. Reddy’s
The emergency use authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for Sputnik V paves the way for import and use of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine in the inoculation programme in the country.
Though on the cards, the timing of EUA assumes significance in the context of reports that stocks of the two approved vaccines are fast running out in many locations across India, amid more people turning eligible and evincing interest in getting the jab. Several State governments had in recent days also appealed to the Centre to replenish the vaccine supplies.
Kerala Speaker shifted to ICU
Speaker K. Sreeramakrishnan, who had tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday, was moved to the ICU in Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College hospital on Tuesday after he developed pneumonia. He was under home quarantine earlier.
While Mr. Sreeramakrishnan is not on supplemental oxygen in the ICU, his general condition remains stable and satisfactory, hospital sources said.
Over 1 lakh vaccinated in Puducherry
Encouraged by the public participation at the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination camps, especially the ‘Tika Utsav’, the Puducherry health department has mooted extending the mass vaccination campaign by a few more days.
Over one lakh people have been vaccinated so far in the Union Territory, which has a population of over 14 lakh.
FIR lodged against 3 Opposition MLAs, others in Bihar for violating COVID-19 protocol
An FIR has been lodged against three Opposition Bihar legislators and hundreds of others in Rohtas district for violation of COVID-19 guidelines during a public function conducted on April 11.
Among the three MLAs, Anita Devi from Nokha and Vijay Kumar Mandal from Dinara Assembly constituencies are from the Rashtriya Janata Dal while Arun Kumar Singh is the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) party MLA from Karakat Assembly seat.
The FIR (No. 56/2021) was lodged at Nasariganj police station in Rohtas district by Circle Officer Shyam Sunder Rai after a video went viral on social media in which the MLAs along with others were seen allegedly violating guidelines of COVID-19 at a cultural programme organised at Baradih village.
Cancel CBSE exams, appeals Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Highlights from the CM Arvind Kejriwal's press conference on the COVID-19 situation in the national capital:
“I appeal to the Central government to cancel CBSE exams due to start on May 4 as the examination centres can become hotspots for six lakh students will be sitting for the examination in Delhi.
“Other options like conducting the examinations online or passing students on the basis of internal assessments should be explored.
“This fourth wave in the capital is more prevalent among the youth, and in the past 24-hours there have been about 13,500 cases in the capital. I know you have to step out of the house to earn a living, but I appeal to you to leave your home only when it’s absolutely necessary. I also appeal to the youth that when you do step out, do so only after wearing a mask and following COVID-19 protocols.
“There is very little stock of plasma in the Capital. If you are eligible to donate plasma please do so. Over the past few months there have been fewer cases so there are fewer eligible donors.
“Planned surgeries need to be delayed at hospitals. Hospital management needs to be kept strong to fight this wave. Doctors should advise patients who are admitted in hospital to seek treatment at home if their symptoms are under control and can be shifted home or to hotels/banquet halls near hospitals that have been turned into COVID-19 wards.
“I request the patients not to fight these decisions. You will continue to receive the best care, but if someone needs a bed in hospital more urgently a patient may be asked to shift out and vacate the bed." - Jaideep Deo Bhanj
Ten States account for over 80% of new cases
Ten States — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Kerala — have shown a rise in the COVID-19 daily cases accounting for 80.80% of the new infections reported in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on April 13.
India’s daily new cases continue to rise. A total of 1,61,736 new cases were registered in a span of 24 hours.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 51,751. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 13,604 while Chhattisgarh reported 13,576 new cases.
'Court' actor Vira Sathidar passes away
Actor-activist Vira Sathidar, best known for featuring in the National Award-winning film Court , died on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, due to COVID-19 related complications, filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane confirmed.
The actor, who was in his early sixties, was admitted to a city hospital after he contracted the coronavirus. According to Mr. Tamhane, who directed him in the acclaimed 2014 Court, the actor was put on ventilator and breathed his last around 3 a.m.
Tourists will not be ‘harassed’ for COVID-19 test report at Himachal Pradesh border: CM
Tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh will not be “harassed” for a coronavirus negative test report at the State’s borders, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on April 13.
Days after the State government made it mandatory for people coming from seven worst-affected States to show a COVID-19 negative test report on entering the State, Mr. Thakur said they have put in place a mechanism for monitoring tourists on their arrival at the place of their stay.
“We have taken care of our tourism industry to ensure it does not suffer this session as the coronavirus pandemic affected it last year. So, in the SOP released for the industry, we have put in place a mechanism to monitor it accordingly. Tourists and other visitors will not be harassed for corona reports at the State’s borders because it causes a lot of inconvenience and difficulty to them,” he told reporters here.
Trollers taunt police over COVID advice
Trollers have not taken kindly to the Kozhikode district police’s new series of advice on its Facebook page on how to ward off COVID-19 threat and stay safe. They are not digressive or inflammatory, though.
“Where were you at the time of elections..?” now dominates the list of satirical queries that the trollers raised.
Half of semi-wholesale shops in Koyambedu allowed to work
As a precautionary measure to control the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid crowding, the Koyambedu Market Management Committee has introduced a system wherein about 50% of the semi-wholesale and retail shops will be allowed to function on a rotational basis.
Half the 1,800 vegetable and fruit retail outlets in the market have been allowed to operate on alternate days on an odd-even basis as per their shop number. Officials of the management committee said this was being implemented as a temporary solution to reduce the impact of the new COVID-19 restrictions on traders and also to prevent crowding. However, discussions are on to implement permanent measures.
City public transport operates at 50% capacity
Following orders of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the public transport on Monday operated with a 50% capacity in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Capital.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials said that protocols which were enforced in September last year, following the resumption of metro services post-lockdown, continued to be in place.
Remdesivir will not be sold through retail shops: Pawar
Maharashtra Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday said Remdesivir vials will not be sold through retail shops , but provided directly to hospitals through distributors to prevent black marketing and hoarding.
“Once provided directly to hospitals, only needy patients will have access to it. District Collectors will control the distribution,” said Mr. Pawar at a meeting organised to take stock of the COVID-19 situation in the State in the wake of rising cases and deaths.
Apartment associations get proactive on testing, vaccination
As the number of COVID-19 cases witnesses a steady rise, apartment associations have been proactively taking measures to tackle the second wave, including organising testing and vaccination camps in their premises.
The Bangalore Apartments’ Federation, an umbrella organisation of 932 associations in the city, has been working with private hospitals and the BBMP to organise testing camps and vaccination session sites. Vikram Rai from BAF said the campaign for testing and vaccination camps started a week ago.
Citizens allege shortage of COVID-19 testing kits in PHCs
With the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, the State government has decided to ramp up testing. But a few citizens who went to get tested at Primary Health Centres [PHCs] in Bengaluru alleged that the centres had run out of testing kits .
A 34-year-old man, who went to get tested in Rajarajeshwarinagar zone, said, “I developed fever and wanted to get tested for COVID-19 so that I do not spread the infection to others in my house. I went to three PHCs in our zone. The first two said they had no testing kit. I got a test done in the third centre and the result was positive. I could have avoided the trouble of running around and coming in contact with other people if I could have given my swab for testing at the first PHC,” he said.
India records 1,61,736 infections, 879 deaths
A total of 1,61,736 new coronavirus infections have been reported in a day pushing India's tally of cases to 1,36,89,453, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate dropped further to 89.51%, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Monday.
The death toll increased to 1,71,058 with 879 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed.
Registering a steady increase for the 34th day in a row, the number of active cases rose to 12,64,698, or 9.24% of the total infections.
India gets 3rd COVID-19 vaccine as DGCI approves Russian-made Sputnik-V for emergency use
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the restricted emergency use of the Sputnik-V vaccine late Monday night. With this, India now has three vaccines against COVID-19, including Covishield — the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India — and Bharat Boitech’s Covaxin
According to a release issued by Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), India is the most populated country to register the Russian vaccine.
“Total population of 60 countries where Sputnik-V is approved for use is 3 billion people or about 40% of the global population,” it added.
The vaccine has been registered in India under the emergency use authorisation procedure based on results of clinical trials in Russia as well as positive data of additional Phase III local clinical trials in India conducted in partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, it added.
Hospitals to face action for fleecing COVID patients
The Anantapur administration has authorised only eight hospitals in the district for the treatment of the coronavirus patients and all of them offer treatment under the Aarogyasri scheme, Collector Gandham Chandrudu said on Monday.
“If any hospital is found fleecing patients in the name of the COVID-19 treatment without taking the required permission, action will be taken against them. We have readied 1,003 beds for the patients in view of the spurt in the cases,” the Collector said.
The facilities which have been accorded permission for COVID-19 treatment include District Hospital at Hindupur (70 beds); Government General Hospital in Anantapur (165); Area Hospital at Kadiri (50); Area Hospital at Guntakal (60); Super Speciality Hospital in Anantapur (300); Government Cancer Hospital (266); KIMS Saveera Hospital (10) and RDT Hospital at Bathalapalli (82 beds).
U.K. reopens after three months of lockdown
Crowds queued up outside shops, pubs started selling pints at midnight and hairdressers welcomed desperate customers on Monday as England started to reopen its economy after three months of lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the reopening was a “major step” towards freedom but urged people to behave responsibly as the virus was still a threat.
Mr. Johnson, whose unruly hair style has become a trademark look, was one of thousands who flocked to hairdressers and barbers to have a hair cut on Monday, having waited since early January when the latest lockdown was introduced.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses have been closed since January when England entered a third lockdown to stem surging infections driven by the “Kent” variant of the virus.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and Agencies)