Coronavirus live updates | May 14, 2021

Citizens stand in a queue as they wait to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, at ESIS Hospital in Navi Mumbai, on May 13, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union government has accepted the recommendation for extension of the gap between the first and second doses of the Covishield vaccine to between 12 and 16 weeks. The present gap is six to eight weeks.

In a statement on Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said the decision was based on “available real-life evidence, particularly from the U.K.”. The COVID-19 working group, chaired by N.K. Arora, recommended increasing the interval to 12-16 weeks while suggesting no change in the interval of Covaxin doses.

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:


Recoveries outnumber daily COVID-19 cases

India's daily COVID-19 recoveries have outnumbered the daily new cases, taking the total recoveries to over two crore, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

This is the third time in the last four days that recoveries have outnumbered daily cases.

India's cumulative recoveries have surpassed 2 crore (2,00,79,599) with 3,44,776 patients recuperating in a day.  "It outnumbers India's daily new COVID cases for the third time in the last four days," the ministry said, adding ten states account for 71.16 per cent of the new recoveries.

New Delhi

No decision yet on pending class 12 board exams, says CBSE

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said on Friday that it has not taken any decision yet on class 12 board exams even as a section of students and parents have been demanding cancellation of exams in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

"It is clarified that no such decision (cancellation of exams) has been taken regarding class 12 board examination, as being speculated. Any decision taken in this matter will be officially communicated to the public," a senior CBSE official said.

West Bengal

Bengal keeps vigil for corpses in Ganga

The West Bengal government has stepped up vigil in the areas where the Ganga enters the State, after reports of corpses of suspected COVID-19 patients found floating in the river in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Senior government officials on Thursday spoke to their counterparts in the Bihar administration and urged them that corpses should not come downstream. The Ganga enters West Bengal in Malda district, particularly in from areas in the Manikchak police station limits.

Officials of the district police and the forest department have been patrolling the river in the regions over the past few days. Boats and speed boats have been kept ready.


Cases have declined but battle is yet to be won, says Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said both the number of daily COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate in the Capital had declined but the city’s battle against the coronavirus was yet to be won.

“The city has recorded 8,500 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. This is the first time in many days that cases below 10,000 have been recorded; on April 20, as many as 28,000 cases had emerged. The positivity rate has also reduced to around 12%; on April 22 this had reached around 36%; this means that less people are falling ill in the city now,” Mr. Kejriwal told a digital briefing.

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Sputnik V to cost Rs.995.40 a dose in India

Sputnik V joined India’s immunisation programme against COVID-19 when the first dose of the Russian vaccine was administered in Hyderabad on Friday.

The maximum retail price of the imported vaccine is Rs.995.40 per dose.

“As part of a limited pilot, the soft launch of the vaccine has commenced and the first dose was administered in Hyderabad on May 14,” said Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, the marketing partner in India for the vaccine of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).  

It follows the imported doses of Sputnik V that arrived in the country on May 1 receiving regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, on May 13.   

 “The imported doses of the vaccine are presently priced at an MRP of Rs.948 + 5% GST per dose, with the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins,” a statement from Dr.Reddy’s said.  

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Bharat Biotech’s Suchitra Ella says Covaxin lots dispatched to various States

Bharat Biotech on May 14 said it has dispatched COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to various States, including Gujarat, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha.

The Hyderabad-based vaccine major, which has come under fire from the Delhi government over supply-related issues, said it has also dispatched the vaccine to Kerala and Uttarakhand.

“Covaxin goes to Gandhinagar, Guwahati, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru & Bhuvneshwar. thank all our employees @ BHarat bio who worked thru the holy month of Ramzan...” Bharat Biotech Co-Founder and Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella said in a tweet.

In a late night tweet on May 13, Ms. Ella said the much-in-demand vaccine was supplied to Kerala and Uttarakhand.

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New Delhi

Irfan, four other athletes test positive

Olympics-bound race walker K.T. Irfan is among five elite track-and-field athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Sports Authority of India’s Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru.

The tests were conducted last Friday and those who returned positive have been kept under quarantine.

“At least five elite athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 when tests were conducted on Friday. They have been kept isolated from others,” a source at the SAI Centre told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The source said another male race walker also tested positive, but his name could not be confirmed. “Four male players and 1 female player and 4 support staff tested positive for COVID-19,” the SAI source stated.

New Delhi

CJI hails judiciary, court staff for braving the pandemic

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, in a rare emotional message, paid tribute to the judiciary and court staff across the country for braving the “terrible psychological and mental strain” of the pandemic in the line of duty.

Chief Justice Ramana said some judges and judicial officers have paid with their lives and others with their health.

“Thirty-four judicial officers and three Honourable Judges of the High Court have lost their life battling this pandemic… My heart goes out to the families and the loved ones of those whose life has been cut short by this pandemic,” the Chief Justice said.

The CJI said 2768 judicial officers and 106 High Court judges had tested positive. The apex court, he said, was yet to receive data from two major High Courts.


IOC supports measures to make the Games happen despite public opposition

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday said it supported Japanese measures to counter COVID-19 and was confident the Tokyo Olympics would be a “historic” event, despite wide public opposition.

With less than three months to go before the Games begin on July 23, Japan is battling a surge in coronavirus infections.

A majority of its population wants the Olympics cancelled or postponed for a second time, according to several polls, with about 70% of the 10,500 athletes — about 7,800 — already qualified for the Games.

“We are now very much in an implementation phase with 78 days to go and fully concentrated on delivering the Games,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told an online news conference.

Jammu and Kashmir

Sombre Eid amidst pandemic in J&K

J&K celebrated a subdued Eid on Thursday, with no major congregational prayers held at any major shrine or mosque, amid a strict 'Corona curfew'.

Indian and Pakistan armies exchanged sweets across the Line of Control (LoC).

Security forces sealed all major mosques and shrines, including the Jamia Masjid and the Hazratbal shrine, since morning and the movement of people was restricted to those associated with essential services.

J&K is witnessing a strict lockdown in the wake of growing cases of coronavirus this month and increasing number of deaths.

West Bengal

Panel to monitor use of medical oxygen at patient level in Bengal

West Bengal on Thursday registered 20,839 cases of COVID-19 infections and 129 deaths. The number of samples tested in the past 24 hours for the first time exceeded 70,000 (70,473). The number of active cases has increased to 1,28,684. Kolkata and North 24 Parganas have recorded the highest number of infections and deaths. Kolkata registered the highest number of deaths in the past 24 hours — 44.

The Health Department has issued a number of advisories including setting up a monitoring committee on supply, delivery and use of medical oxygen at the patient level. While the authorities have said there is no dearth of oxygen, these advisories are for its judicious use. Also, to prioritise hospital beds for patients with serious conditions, the government has also come up with community-level isolation units. The department has called for priority collection of RT-PCR testing samples to report clinically unstable patients for medical intervention.


U.S. allows fully vaccinated people to forgo masks indoors

In the biggest indication that the United States is fast returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks.

The recommendation holds true for both indoors and outdoors, the CDC said.

Following the announcement on Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared before reporters at the Rose Garden of the White House without wearing masks.

"I think it's a great milestone. A great day. It's been made possible by the extraordinary success we've had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly," Biden said.


Jharkhand to start free COVID-19 vaccination for 18-44 age group from today

Armed with 6.48 lakh vaccine doses, Jharkhand on Thursday said it was all geared up to kickstart free vaccination campaign for the 18-44 age group from Friday.

Facing vaccine shortage, the state could not launch the drive on scheduled May 1 and Chief Minister Hemant Soren had announced to begin free inoculation on May 14.

"From 14 May 2021, the state government is going to start the free vaccination drive for people falling under 18 - 44 years of age....As of now 4,14,340 doses of Covaxin and 2,34,400 doses of Covishield are available in the state, which was provided by the central government to Jharkhand for the drive," a state government official said.


Tamil Nadu

First Oxygen Express train reaches Tamil Nadu

The first Oxygen Express train to Tamil Nadu arrived at the Tondiarpet container depot on early on May 14, 2021.

The first Oxygen Express train to Tamil Nadu arrived at the Tondiarpet container depot on early on May 14, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Jothi Ramalingam B.


The first ‘Oxygen Express’ train to Tamil Nadu carrying four containers of 80 metric tonnes medical oxygen departed from Durgapur, West Bengal, on the night of May 12 and arrived at the Tondiarpet container depot in Chennai early on May 14.

The Indian Railways has started this initiative of running Oxygen Express on a mission mode to meet the requirement of LMO for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in different parts of the country.

The railways has already delivered nearly 5,735 metric tonnes of LMO in more than 375 tankers to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.

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