Coronavirus updates | April 26, 2021

V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog. File  

The Centre has directed all manufacturers to provide liquid oxygen only for medical purposes and said 551 oxygen generation plants will be set up, as India saw a record 3,52,991 new coronavirus infections and 2,812 fatalities on Monday. This comes amid a crippling shortage of medical amenities in the high-caseload States including Delhi where the lockdown was extended till May 3.

The United States, which came under fierce criticism for being slow in coming to the aid of its natural ally, finally stepped up on Monday. U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris assured India and its people of providing all assistance, including urgently sending necessary medical life-saving supplies and equipment, to help the country combat the deadly coronavirus crisis.

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:


Peaks in 6 major states a matter of concern: Health Ministry

The peaks in at least 6 major states, with high number of cases,  are bigger than their previous peaks in first wave. This is a matter of concern, says, Joint secretary of the Union Health Ministry, Lav Agrawal.

87% of healthcare workers nationally have got and 79% of Frontline workers have got at least 1 dose, he said, adding, 36% of those above 60 have also got the 1st dose.

Don't be anxious. Don't panic. Because of fear some are occupying beds and oxygen resources, when it's not required. These should be used only if prescribed and we must follow guidelines and established clinical protocol norms, Mr. Agrawal said.

Our oxygen production facilities are largely in the east and central India. So transportation to the whole country quickly is a challenge. 9,103 tons of oxygen has been produced while our normal capacity is 7,259. We have gradually increased to these levels, says the Health Ministry official.

There is unnecessary panic in everyone and this is causing more harm than good. This is causing hoarding of drugs and misuse of valuable medical resources, says AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria.

An oxygen level of 94-95 doesn't need an oxygen concentrator. Before pandemic, we've managed patients with these machines at 88-90. If it's below 94, consult with your doctor, Dr. Guleria said.

For hospitals, it's important to prevent leakage, he said, adding that the benefits of remdesivir aren't well established.

Please remember, in this disease 85% will have mild disease. The data from here and globally shows most have recovered from supportive treatment with no hospitalisation, The AIIMS Director said.

Paracetamol, hcq, ivermectin can be taken. If congestion lasts over 5 days budenoside can be taken. These are mentioned in our guidelines for early stages, says VK Paul,  NITI Ayog.

Given the scale of the pandemic, it would be advisable to wear masks at home. We used to recommend this when going out, but this would not be a bad practice, Dr. Paul said.

Stay with your family,  please don't go out unnecessarily,  within the family please wear mask and please don't invite people home, he said.

- Jacob Koshy


Pat Cummins donates USD 50,000 to India's fight against COVID-19 pandemic

Kolkata Knight Riders' Australian pacer Pat Cummins on Monday announced a USD 50,000 donation towards PM CARES Fund for oxygen supplies in India's COVID-19 ravaged hospitals and backed the IPL to continue, saying he has been "advised" that the Indian government views it "as few hours of joy" in a difficult time.

In a statement on his official Twitter handle, he made the announcement and urged other top players to do the same as the country battles a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more


Oxygen cylinders with armed forces will be released for hospitals: Chief of Defence Staff briefs PM Modi

Oxygen cylinders available with armed forces in various establishments will be released for hospitals, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as they reviewed the preparations and operations being undertaken by the armed forces to deal with the COVID situation.

“The CDS briefed the PM that all medical personnel from armed forces who have retired or taken pre-mature retirement in the last 2 years are being recalled to work in COVID facilities within proximity of their present place of residence.

Read more


Moderna vaccine being reviewed for emergency listing: WHO

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is being reviewed on April 26 by technical experts for possible WHO emergency use listing, a World Health Organization spokesperson told Reuters.

“Moderna is being reviewed at the TAG (technical advisory group) meeting today,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said in reply to a query. A decision on the U.S. drugmaker’s vaccine was expected in one to four days, he said.


Ganga Ram Hospital waiting for 3 days to refill oxygen cylinders

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi has been waiting for three days to refill its oxygen cylinders, which are used while transporting critically ill COVID patients, and is currently on beg and borrow mode, sources said on Monday, April 26,2021.

They said the hospital has, however, received 10 tonnes of liquid oxygen around 11.40 am. In the morning, the hospital said it has 4,000 cubic metres of oxygen left which would last for eight hours.

The hospital has 104 oxygen cylinders which are used while moving extremely sick COVID patients in case of emergency which is happening quite frequently now, an official said.

"All the cylinders were sent three days ago to different locations for emergency refill. For the last three days our staff is camping there but to no avail," he said.

The official added the elite hospital is on "beg and borrow" mode.

"The hospital has arranged two cylinders which are also going to empty quickly," a source said, adding it is getting extremely difficult and risky to shift patients.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital requires a minimum of 11,000 cubic meter liquid oxygen daily and has a consumption of 10,000 cubic meter per day.


Rahul Gandhi demands free COVID vaccine for all

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said all citizens should get COVID vaccines for free and the country should not be made a "victim of the BJP's system".

"Enough of discussion. All citizens of the country should get vaccine for free. Don't make India a victim of the BJP's system," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

Mr. Gandhi and the Congress have been asking for free vaccination of all. The party has also criticised the government's vaccination policy and the handling of the COVID situation in the country.

Read more


Conversations from COVID-19 hospitals in Delhi...

Our Delhi correspondent Nikhil Babu reports from Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre in the city.

Rashid Anwar, a bystander for a COVID-19 patient, said that he has been waiting for over 2.5 hours outside the hospital, even though he had booked a doctor's appointment in advance.

"We have been waiting for more than two and a half hours here. We had booked through a doctor here. But nothing is happening here now. His condition is bad and oxygen won't last for more than half an hour," Mr. Anwar says, pointing to the patient gasping for air.

Harshlatha Sharma, who had accompanied her COVID-19 positive husband to the hospital, said that no one is picking up the photo to help.

"Sir, please help. No one is picking up the phone. No one is helping. He'll die here," Ms.  Sharma said.

The patient was breathing heavily and quivering outside the COVID Care Centre.

"We went to multiple hospitals before coming here. There are no beds anywhere," his 16-year-old son said. He was rushed inside after several requests by his family.

Meanwhile, a message from a loudspeaker outside the Centre says that there are no ICU beds in the Centre.

"Admission is only through DSO. Walk-in patients are not allowed at this centre. Talk to your District Surveillance Officer. If the officer doesn't attend your call, please message your details to him. Admission is only through DSO's recommendations. There is no ICU beds here," says the message.


Delhi to provide free vaccine for everyone over 18 years, says CM Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that the the Delhi government has decided that all citizens over 18 years of age will be vaccinated free of cost.

"We are making a plan to this effect. We have placed orders for 1.34 lakh vaccine doses today," said Mr. Kejriwal, adding that vaccination has emerged as a significant solution as far as COVID has concerned.

"I’m of the opinion that there should be one price for all governments for the vaccine. This is a time which is not appropriate for making profit but to help save humanity. The rest of our lives remain for the making of profit. I appeal to vaccine manufacturers and will also appeal to the Centre as far as vaccination pricing is concerned," he said.

I will appeal to the Centre government to cap the price of vaccines at ₹150, Mr. Kejriwal added.


Delhi's Holy Family Hospital denies entry to media

The Holy Family Hospital on Monday denied entry to media personnel within the hospital premises. 

Security personnel present at the main gate said that while there was no “rule” citing the same, “instructions” had been given to not permit those from the press without “prior appointment.” 

Senior security personnel present also reasserted that entry would not be permitted - even to speak to attendants of patients who were waiting on the lawns outside the emergency wing. 


Rajashan govt sets up new online portal to show number of beds available at hospitals

The Rajasthan government has started a live online status of beds that are available in government and private hospitals treating coronavirus infection patients across the State. Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the online portal has been started for showing live status of such beds in government and private hospitals.

The details can be accessed via


Netherlands to ban flights from India from Monday

The Netherlands will prohibit passenger flights from India from Monday at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) until May 1 due to fears over a new variant of COVID-19, the ministry of transport said.

The ban, announced on Sunday, does not include cargo flights or planes carrying medical personnel. - Reuters

Andhra Pradesh

Two patients die in Vizianagaram govt hospital due to disruption in oxygen supply

A disruption in oxygen supply caused the death of at least two Covid-19 patients at Maharaja Government Hospital here in the early hours of Monday.

Hospital superintendent Gowri Sankar confirmed two deaths and said that other patients in critical condition were shifted to a private hospital. Those who are stable are being treated with extra care.

Around 290 patients are under treatment in the Maharaja Government Hospital. - K. Srinivasa Rao

Andhra Pradesh

AP Govt. caps CT/HRCT scan rate at Rs. 3,000

Allowing admission of patients to COVID hospitals based on Computed Tomography or High Resolution Computed Tomography (CT/HRCT) scans irrespective of RtPCR test result, the State government has capped the price of the scan at Rs. 3,000 at private diagnostic and imaging centres and hospitals. This price cap includes consumables like PPE kits, mask and spreadsheets.

Also, the government asked all the imaging centres that are providing services for patients suspected to be infected by COVID-19 to register at


Rajashan govt sets up new online portal to show number of beds available at hospitals

The Rajasthan government has started a live online status of beds that are available in government and private hospitals treating coronavirus infection patients across the State. Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the online portal has been started for showing live status of such beds in government and private hospitals.

The details can be accessed via


Navy ferries medical supplies to Lakshadweep

Lifesavers: Navy ships transport oxygen cylinders to Lakshadweep on Sunday.

Lifesavers: Navy ships transport oxygen cylinders to Lakshadweep on Sunday.  


Indian Navy ships under Southern Naval Command (SNC) are supplying oxygen cylinders and other essential medical supplies to Kavaratti. Kochi-based vessel INS Sharda ferried the supplies which consisted of 35 oxygen cylinders, Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) kits, PPE kits, and masks.

The disembarkation of stores was coordinated by personnel from INS Dweeprakshak at Kavaratti. The ship then disembarked oxygen cylinders and medical supplies at Minicoy.

The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing in the Union Territory (UT) of Lakshadweep too, with 165 new cases being reported on Sunday. The UT has so far reported 1,178 cases and one death, said a doctor in the isles.

Read more

Caseload update

India logs record 3,52,991 new cases, 2,812 fatalities

With 3,52,991 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, the highest so far, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,73,13,163 while active cases have crossed the 28-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The death toll increased to 1,95,123 with a record 2,812 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m showed.

Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 28,13,658 comprising 16.25% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 82.62%.  

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,43,04,382. The case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.13%, the data stated. - PTI


Just in: Four patients died when fire broke out late night in a COVID-19 hospital in Surat

Uttar Pradesh

Relatives brave long queues to refill oxygen in Lucknow

It was after standing in a queue for almost eight hours through the day that Prashant Trivedi, an associate professor of Sociology, managed to refill an oxygen cylinder at a gas agency in Bakshi ka Talab on the outskirts of the Uttar Pradesh capital. Mr. Trivedi was appalled by the big crowd gathered at the refilling station with little regard for physical distancing. He fears that refilling stations, where kin of patients are turning up in large numbers and standing in queues for several hours, could serve as hotspots in further spreading COVID-19.

“These are people who have family members who are positive, admitted in hospitals or in isolation. I myself wondered if I was taking a risk by going there to get a cylinder refilled for my mother,” said Mr. Trivedi.

Read more

(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)-1

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