Coronavirus updates | May 7, 2021

A health worker collects nasal swab samples from a man for a COVID -19 test at a mobile lab at Palakkad. File   | Photo Credit: MUSTAFAH K.K.

India continues to record the most number of daily COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the world. The country accounts for one in every two infections and one in four deaths recorded worldwide every day.

The average cases in India are six times that of Brazil, which records the second most infections globally — over 58,400 cases. India also records 1.5 times more average deaths than Brazil, which records the second most deaths globally — over 2,300 deaths.

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:

 

Strong precautionary steps may prevent third COVID wave, says  Principal Scientific Advisor

Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) Prof. K. VijayaRaghavan says,  “if we take strong precautionary steps we may not have a third COVID wave. Location/time/ intensity of infection is more important.”

"Virus can be stopped by following precautionary measures. Infections rise when the virus has the opportunity to infect humans."

V.K. Paul says patients have to be given steroids rationally.

"Fever, Headache, Body ache, Sore throat,  Breathlessness—- are all symptoms of COVID unless tested otherwise. Isolate immediately."

"Keeping hydrated is vital, prone position, keep temperature under control, multi-vitamin tablets — is important. Remdesivir at home is a big no. Taking oxygen at home should be under doctor's guidance."

"Secondary infections, thrombosis/stroke and adverse effect on lungs — are all matter of concern post COVID."

"Sputnik light — data will be examined and on merit regulatory process will follow. It is promising. J&J vaccine is also a single dose vaccination which can hasten the vaccination cover. But all clearance will be based scientific merit," adds Dr.Paul.

 

More than one lakh active cases in 12 States: Health Ministry

"More than one lakh active cases in 12 States. 50,000 to one lakh active cases in 7 States," says the Health Ministry in a press briefing.

"Less than 50,000 active cases in 17 states. Goa has positivity rate of 48.5% which is the highest."

"Maharashtra, UP, Delhi, Rajasthan are among the areas showing continued plateauing/decrease in daily new cases. Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, AP, Haryana, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha —-  States where daily new cases are rising."

"Vaccine cover for people between 18-44 ( total doses given — 11.81 lakh). Overall 16.50 crores doses administered so far."

Health Ministry has asked States to prioritise due beneficiaries of the 2nd vaccine dose and ensure that it is completed as scheduled.

"Use supplies of vaccines through central govt channel in 70:30 ratio for 2nd and 1st dose. Review and formulate strategy for such prioritisation."

 

PM Modi speaks to Manipur, Sikkim, Tripura CMs on COVID situation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to the chief ministers of Manipur, Sikkim and Tripura on the COVID-19 situation in their states. The prime minister's interaction with chief ministers is part of his exercise to deal with the pandemic situation.

Karnataka

Govt. caps CT scan price

With CT scan being widely used by doctors to detect COVID-19 infection, Karnataka on Friday capped the price of such scan and digital X-ray in private hospitals and labs at ₹1,500 and ₹250 respectively.

“We have received complaints that some hospitals and labs are exploiting people by charging high prices. To check this, the government has capped the prices of CT scan and X-ray at private hospitals and labs,” said Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar.

He said strict action will be taken against hospitals and labs which violate rules and charge high prices. Government hospitals are providing the facility free of cost. People should utilise it, the Minister added.

 

CoWIN platform to introduce four-digit security code to minimise errors

In order to minimise errors and inconvenience caused to citizens registering for COVID vaccination, the CoWIN system will introduce a new feature — a four-digit security code — in its app from May 8, the Health Ministry has said.

“It has been noticed in some instances that citizens who booked their appointment for COVID vaccination through the CoWIN portal did not actually go for vaccination on the scheduled date but received a notification through SMS that a vaccine dose has been administered to them. Upon examination, it has been found to occur largely on account of the vaccinator wrongly marking the citizen as vaccinated, an instance of a data entry error by the vaccinator,” noted the Ministry.

The added feature now is to minimise these errors. The Ministry said that after verification if the beneficiary has been found as eligible, before administering the vaccine dose, the verifier/vaccinator will ask her the four-digit code and then enter it in the CoWIN system to correctly record the vaccination status.

Tamil Nadu

Free treatment at private hospitals

On the first day of assuming charge as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin has ordered the extension of the insurance cover for availing of treatment for novel coronavirus in private hospitals too, for beneficiaries of the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

Read more

Delhi

SC asks Centre to keep supplying 700 MT LMO to Delhi till further orders

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to keep supplying 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to Delhi for treating COVID-19 patients on a daily basis till further orders.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took note of the submission of the Delhi government on deficient supply of LMO to the national capital and warned that it will pass orders against officials concerned if 700 MT of LMO is not supplied daily. - PTI

Delhi

COVID situation going from bad to worse; PM, health min refuse to own responsibility: Chidambaram

Asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic situation is going from bad to worse, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are refusing to own responsibility and are making a "mockery of democratic principles".

His remarks came after the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday showed a record 4,14,188 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day in India, raising the country’s tally to 2,14,91,598. The active cases have crossed the 36-lakh mark. - PTI

Delhi

 

Sonia Gandhi says Covid battle transcends political differences, demands all-party meet

New Delhi, May 7 (PTI) Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday accused the Modi government of having failed the people of the country in handling the pandemic and demanded that an all-party meeting be convened immediately on the COVID-19 situation.

The battle against the pandemic transcends political differences and everyone has to fight it together as a nation, she said at a virtual meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

She also demanded that a meeting of the the standing committees must be convened to ensure collective action and accountability to combat the pandemic better. - PTI

Haryana

Haryana minister Vij wants all oxygen plants under military control for safety, smooth functioning

Amid a rise in oxygen demand owing to spiralling COVID-19 cases, Haryana's Home and Health Minister Anil Vij on Friday said control and management of all oxygen generation plants should be handed over to military or paramilitary forces for their safety and smooth functioning.

Later, according a statement, Vij said if an oxygen plant stops functioning due to any reason it can cost lives. - PTI

Odisha

Odisha records highest single-day spike, cases breach 12,000 mark

Odisha on May 7 recorded a steep rise in daily COVID-19 cases with 12,238 persons testing positive for coronavirus – a jump of 16.31% in new cases in a day. 

This is the first time since the onset of the pandemic that Odisha has crossed the 12,000 mark. On May 6, 10,521 persons were recorded infected. Alarmingly, the test positivity rate has jumped to 24.09% after the State tested 50,799 persons in past 24 hours. 

Cumulatively, total cases in the State increased to 5,12,400 following the jump on May 7. As a matter of concern, total active cases also swelled to 86,950. 

New Delhi

Centre to retain GST on oxygen concentrators

The Central government should review its resistance to exempting the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on oxygen concentrators imported for personal use, the Delhi High Court observed on Thursday after the Finance Ministry conveyed its inability to accept the Court’s order issued on Wednesday.

Late on Thursday, the Delhi High Court appointed senior Counsel Arvind Datar as amicus curiae to assist the court in a case where the Government has not complied with its May 5 order to exempt oxygen concentrator imports for personal use, from 12% GST. The petitioner in the case, a senior citizen whose nephew has shipped him a concentrator, had invoked Article 21 of the Constitution to question the tax on an item needed to ensure the right to life.

A High Court Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh also critiqued the Centre’s PR exercise amidst the pandemic, and mooted that it was time to be more humane, while mentioning that even President Joe Biden had dropped the U.S. administration’s resistance to intellectual property waivers for COVID-19 vaccines after “good sense prevailed”.

New Delhi

Number of SOS calls falls from 48 to 16 in a day

The number of SOS calls received from hospitals in New Delhi on Wednesday was 16 against the 48 calls received the previous day, AAP MLA Raghav Chadha said while releasing the oxygen bulletin. He said that the number of calls had come down as the city was delivered adequate oxygen by the Central government for the number of patients currently in need of oxygen.

“In these 16 hospitals from we received calls, there were 2,777 beds, which means there were 2,777 patients on oxygen-support beds. We facilitated this on time and made sure the shortage of oxygen was overcome,” Mr. Chadha said.

He added that 730 MT of oxygen led to a significant reduction in SOS calls from hospitals but pointed out that out of the 730 MT of oxygen, around 250 MT did not come from regular sources. “It came from an ad-hoc arrangement. I appeal to the Central government to turn this into a permanent one,” Mr. Chadha said.

Andhra Pradesh

Veteran Telugu playback singer G. Anand succumbs to COVID-19

Veteran playback singer G. Anand succumbed to COVID-19 on Thursday evening. Infected with the virus a few days ago, his oxygen saturation fell to 55 and a timely ventilator could not be provided, which lead to his death.

He debuted with Amerika Ammayi in 1976 with the song Oka venuvu vinipinchenu anuraaga geethika, a G.K. Venkatesh’ composition, that went on to become a huge hit. His later songs like Dikkulu choodaku ramayya..Vittala vittala.. too were well received.

Born in Srikakulam district of AP, 67-year-old Anand started his career in Chennai and made a name in the Telugu film industry after the death of Ghantasala. Anand had sung and released several devotional albums thus expanding his repertoire.

Uttar Pradesh

COVID-19 deaths double in U.P. over three weeks

While major districts like Lucknow, Varanasi, Prayagraj and Kanpur continue to be the worst-affected by the pandemic, recorded deaths due to COVID-19 doubled or tripled in 15 districts in Uttar Pradesh, including in many smaller and relatively rural centres, over the past three weeks.

In another three dozen-odd districts, the death toll also increased substantially over the same period. U.P. has 75 districts.

From April 15 to May 5, the death count doubled or tripled in Hathras, Kasganj, Mahoba, Chitrakoot, Bhadohi, Hamirpur, Baghpat, Amethi, Auraiya, Jalaun, Banda, Ghaziabad, Sonbhadra, Chandauli and Gautam Buddha Nagar, as per the official data of the State health department.

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