Coronavirus updates | April 23, 2021

The UAE, the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand restrict travellers from India.

Updated - April 23, 2021 10:26 pm IST

Published - April 23, 2021 10:21 am IST

People wait in queues to get their registration done for Covid vaccine in Guwahati on Friday, 23 April 2021

People wait in queues to get their registration done for Covid vaccine in Guwahati on Friday, 23 April 2021

Following the surge in COVID-19 cases, the UAE has become the latest of many countries to restrict travellers from India. The country announced that it will suspend the travel of passengers from India for a period of 10 days from April 25.

UAE's move comes after similar moves from the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

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:


Andhra Pradesh

Night curfew in A.P. from Saturday

Night curfew will be clamped across Andhra Pradesh from Saturday in a bid to curb the virulent spread of coronavirus.

"The night curfew will be in force daily from 10 pm to 5 am. Only essential and emergency services, like medical and health, milk supply, will be allowed," Deputy Chief Minister (Health) AKK Srinivas (Nani) told reporters after a high- level COVID review meeting, chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

"We had an extensive discussion with the Chief Minister on the steps to check the spread of coronavirus as the cases are peaking again.

Night curfew was one option, along with intensive vaccination," Mr Nani said.

The Deputy CM said the government has also decided to provide COVID vaccines free of cost to all above the age of 18 years.



Maharashtra reintroduces e-pass system for emergency travel

With strict restrictions for containing the COVID-19 pandemic coming into force in Maharashtra, the police on Friday reintroduced the e-pass system for inter-State and inter-district travel in "extreme emergency" situations.

Fresh restrictions on travel, attendance in offices and weddings came into force on Thursday night. The State, which is facing an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, was already under several restrictions since April 14.



Punjab CM calls for Centre-State parity in vaccination from May 1

Describing the new vaccination policy for the 18 years and above age group as unfair to the States, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday sought Centre-State parity in vaccination from May 1, while calling for urgent steps to ensure adequate oxygen supply.

While his government had adopted all measures to minimise the demand for oxygen given its necessity in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients, the Centre must ensure compliance on allocation by liquid oxygen manufacturers in other States, Mr. Singh said. “This is not happening at present. Punjab’s supplies come from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and there are reports of supplies being ‘hijacked’,” he said at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual conference to discuss the COVID-19 crisis with Chief Ministers of the worst-hit States.

On the vaccination front, the Chief Minister said that at the rates declared by one manufacturer, the cost to the Punjab government would be over ₹1,000 crore. He sought Central government funding for vaccination, with permission to fit the cost to funds available with the State Disaster Response Force in the interim.




Free vaccination for people in 18-45 age group

People in the 18-45 age group will be inoculated against COVID-19 for free in Uttarakhand.

Making the announcement on Friday, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat said the exercise will begin in the first week of May.

A population of around 50 lakh will be covered under the drive, which will cost an estimated Rs 400 crore to the state exchequer, Mr Rawat told reporters.

The State government will bear the entire costs, he said.

Mr Rawat also said 345 new doctors, who were recently recruited through the state public service commission in Uttarakhand, will be deployed up to the Community Health Centre and Primary Health Centre level, besides being put on COVID duty.

On the steps being taken to deal with the surge in COVID cases in the State, he said all government and private hospitals such as the AIIMS, Rishikesh and the Mahant Indiresh hospital here have been asked to reserve 75 per cent beds for COVID patients.



Pakistan charity offers help with COVID crisis

Pakistan-based charity group, the Abdul Sattar Edhi Foundation has offered help to India counter the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faisal Edhi, Managing Trustee of the organisation, has extended 50 ambulances and emergency staff to deal with the pandemic that has hit India “exceptionally”.

“Our organisation understands the gravity of the situation, and we wish to lend you our full support, without any inconvenience to you, which is why we will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India. Importantly, we are not requesting any other assistance from you, as we are providing the fuel, food and other necessary amenities that our team will require. Our team consists of emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff,” said Mr. Edhi in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The ambulance service of the Edhi Foundation was started by the late Abdul Sattar Edhi, considered the ‘Mother Teresa of Pakistan’. Edhi was born in Gujarat but left for Karachi during Partition. Over more than six decades, he has provided Pakistan with an exceptional private charity initiative in the form of his team which works across the country, including in areas facing conflict such as the Northwest and Balochistan.



Make vaccines affordable, accessible through Jan Aushadi scheme: IMA

The India Medical Association (IMA) has demanded that the COVID-19 vaccine in the open market be routed through the Jan Aushadhi scheme to make it affordable for people, while requesting the Centre to ensure that the vaccine is given free to all people above the age of 18 in its facilities.

In a statement, the IMA said the cost involved for the mass universal vaccination for those above the age of 18 will be much lower than the economic gains achieved by bending the curve of COVID-19 pandemic.



Delhi, AP have sought Oxygen Express: Railway Board Chairman

After two 'oxygen express', which are on their way to Maharashtra and UP, other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi have approached us for movement of oxygen using railways, said Railway Board CEO and Chairman Suneet Sharma.

We are ready and are coordinating with the State government and there should be movement soon, he added.

The 'Oxygen Express' carrying medical oxygen for Uttar Pradesh will reach Lucknow on April 24. Delhi's oxygen demand is likely to be met by Rourkela, while that of Andhra Pradesh by Angul, Odisha. Each tanker of 'Oxygen Express' carries 16 tonnes of oxygen. - Yuthika Bhargava


Railways, Air Force being deployed to reduce transportation time for oxygen tankers: PM

Amid several states flagging scarcity of medical oxygen in the COVID-19 fight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Railways and Air Force are being deployed to reduce the transportation time for oxygen tankers and all state government need to work together to meet requirements of life-saving gas and medicines.

Chairing a high-level meeting on the COVID-19 situation with chief ministers of 11 states and Union Territories which have reported the maximum number of cases recently, Mr. Modi called for working together to fight the pandemic with collective power.

He said the biggest basis of India's success during the first wave of the pandemic was our united efforts and united strategy and reiterated that we will have to address this challenge in the same way.

He assured the Centre's full support to all the states and in this fight. - PTI


Oxygen tanker headed from Panipat to Sirsa goes missing, police files FIR

A tanker carrying liquid oxygen, which was travelling from Panipat to Sirsa in Haryana, has gone missing after which police have registered a case and launched investigations.

Panipat police said on Friday a case has been lodged on the complaint of district drug controller.

After being filled with liquid oxygen from Panipat plant on Wednesday, the truck had left for Sirsa, but it did not reach the destination, Station House Officer (SHO), Matlauda, Panipat, Manjeet Singh said.

"We are investigating the matter," he said. - PTI

New Delhi

Air India cancels flights to Canada

Air India announced its decision to cancel all flights to Toronto and Vancouver today, after Canada banned flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.

“Flights to Vancouver stand cancelled from April 25 to May 21 and to Toronto from April 24 to May 22,” the airline said on Twitter.

In the past one week, several countries have imposed restrictions on travellers from India including the U.K., U.S., Hong Kong, Singapore and UAE. Canada’s ban, however, doesn’t apply to cargo flights to ensure continued shipment of vaccines, personal protective equipment and other essential goods.

- Jagriti Chandra


Big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage in hospitals: Kejriwal at PM's COVID meet

Raising alarm that a "big tragedy" may happen due to oxygen shortage in hospitals during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the Centre should take over all oxygen plants through the Army.

In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the COVID-19 situation, Kejriwal requested him to direct Chief mMinisters of all States to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to the national capital.

"People in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi," he said during the meeting.

The Chief Minister also objected to different rates being charged from state governments and the Centre for the COVID-19 vaccine, and said "one nation, one rate" policy should be followed.

More updates on Delhi's COVID-19 situation here.


U.S. defends restrictions on export of COVID-19 vaccine raw materials amid India's request to lift ban

Defending U.S.’ restrictions on the export of key raw materials for the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine that threatens to slow India’s vaccination drive, a senior State Department official has said the Biden administration’s first obligation is to take care of the requirements of the American people.

When asked when the Biden administration would decide on India’s request to lift a ban on the export of vaccine raw materials, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “...the United States first and foremost is engaged in an ambitious and effective and, so far, successful effort to vaccinate the American people.”

“That campaign is well underway, and we’re doing that for a couple of reasons. Number one, we have a special responsibility to the American people. Number two, the American people, this country has been hit harder than any other country around the world – more than 550,000 deaths, tens of millions of infections in this country alone,” he said on Thursday.



Hospitals in Pune asked to conduct safety audit of oxygen supply system

In the wake of the  oxygen-leak tragedy in Nashik  that claimed at least 24 lives, the authorities in Pune have asked all government, civic-run and private hospitals in the district to conduct a third-party safety audit of the oxygen supply system located in their premises.

Pune District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh issued an order to this effect on April 22.

“All government, civic-run and private hospitals should carry out a third-party safety audit of the oxygen supply system to ensure that the plant, oxygen supply mechanism, and other technical things are safe and in good position,” the order said. The hospitals must confirm to the civic bodies and the district administration their oxygen supply system is safe and secure through a letter.


Indonesia to restrict foreign travellers coming from India

Indonesia will stop issuing visas for foreigners who have been in India in the past 14 days to prevent the spread of different coronavirus strains, its Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on April 23.

Indonesians arriving from India will be allowed to enter, however, but must follow stricter health protocols and quarantine, the Minister said. The measures are effective from April 25.

- Reuters


PM Modi holds meeting with CMs of 10 states over COVID situation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Friday with chief ministers of 10 states with the most number of COVID-19 cases.

The meeting via video conferencing comes amid a huge surge in coronavirus cases, which have now clocked a daily total of over 3 lakh in the country.

Chief ministers of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi are among those who attended the meeting.

Modi will hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country via video conference amid concerns expressed by some states that their supply of the life-saving gas is running short with a number of hospitals sending out SOS.


U.K variant accounts for 50% of genome sequence, says NCDC

The U.K. variant of coronavirus is now present in 50% of genome sequences, NCDC director Sujeet Singh said on Friday. This is up from 28% that was observed in March.

There is also increasing presence of the Indian variant, B.1.617, in Delhi, Mr. Singh added.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is a Centreal government body.


France stands with you, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said that the country stands "ready to provide support" to India, which is facing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

"I want to send a message of solidarity to the Indian people, facing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. France is with you in this struggle, which spares no-one. We stand ready to provide our support," French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said on Twitter, attributing the remarks to Mr. Macron.


Health Ministry releases document advising proning for self care for COVID-19 patients

The Union Health Ministry has advised 'proning for self care' for coronavirus patients, stating that it is extremely beneficial for such patients with compromised breathing comfort, especially during home isolation.

The ministry, in a document, said proning is the process of turning a patient with precise, safe motions, from their back onto their abdomen so that the individual is lying face down.

"Proning is a medically accepted position to improve breathing comfort and oxygenation. It is extremely beneficial in COVID-19 patients with compromised breathing comfort, especially during home isolation," the document stated.

Listing the importance of prone lying, the ministry said prone positioning improves ventilation, keeps alveolar units open and breathing easy. - PTI


J&J vaccine expected to be imported to India by July, says media report

Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be imported to India for "fill and finish" by June or July, financial daily Mint reported on Friday, citing ANI .

Fill and finish is the final step in the manufacturing process of putting the vaccine into vials or syringes, sealing them and packaging them up for shipping.

Pharmaceutical company Biological E Ltd told Reuters in February it was looking to contract-manufacture roughly 600 million doses of Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine annually. - Reuters


Americans advised to avoid all travels to India

The U.S. has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Maldives due to the  sudden surge in COVID-19 cases  in the region.

In a  series of travel advisories  on Thursday, the authorities also urged Americans to reconsider travel to China and Nepal; exercise increased caution while travelling to Sri Lanka and exercise normal travel precaution to Bhutan, which has been given Level 1, the safest level for travelling overseas.


Workers at crematoriums demand a break

Workers at electric crematoria, who have been taking care of the dead without any break have threatened to stop working unless conditions improve. They submitted a petition to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday seeking his intervention.

“Staff have been working round-the-clock and are exhausted. Amidst this, people accuse them of corruption, which is making the situation worse,” said A. Suresh, State general secretary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Dalitha Sangharsha Samithi who submitted the petition.


0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.