Coronavirus updates | April 16, 2021

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Twitter on Friday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. File.  

India continues to lead the world in terms of average daily cases detected. The nation now accounts for one in every four cases reported globally every day. As of April 14, India recorded over two times the average daily cases detected in the United States.

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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:

New Delhi

Surjewala, Digvijaya test positive

Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and Digvjaya Singh have tested positive for Covid19.

"I have tested positive for COVID-19 today morning. Anyone who has come in contact with me in the last 5 days, please self isolate and take necessary precautions," Mr. Surjewala said on Twitter.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, who is in Delhi, also announced this morning that he has turned Covid positive and urged all those who came in contact with him to take necessary precautions.

New Delhi

Prakash Javadekar tests positive for COVID 19

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Twitter on Friday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

 "I have tested #COVID positive today. All those who have come in contact with me in the last 2-3 days may please get themselves tested," Mr. Javadekar tweeted.

  He joins long list of cabinet ministers and senior politicians to have COVID. Recently the Union Labor Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar too and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too are in quarantine with COVID-19 infection.

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New Delhi

India remains badly placed to tackle COVID spread, says Fitch Solutions

Despite several healthcare reforms, India remains badly placed to tackle the third wave of COVID-19 infections sweeping the nation, Fitch Solutions on Friday said, adding the unprecedented crisis has highlighted the need to increase investment in the healthcare sector.

States such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Chennai, Punjab and Karnataka bearing the maximum load of the pandemic are already falling short of health infrastructure and equipment, ranging from oxygen to ventilators, it said.

With 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 population and 8.0 physicians per 10,000, the country's healthcare sector is not equipped for such a crisis.

The low level of public spending on health is both a cause and an exacerbating factor accounting for the poor quality, limited reach and insufficient public provisioning of healthcare, it said.

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15-day-old infant dies at Surat hospital

A 15-day-old baby girl, who was born to a COVID-19 patient, succumbed to the infection at a hospital in Gujarat's Surat city, an official said.

The infant was born with the infection on April 1, as her mother had also contracted the disease, said Dinesh Navadiya, the trustee of Diamond Hospital said.

While the child's mother was shifted to another hospital, the newborn was under intensive treatment and was also administered remdesivir injection when her condition started deteriorating, he said.

The baby, who was on ventilator support, breathed her last on Thursday night, Mr. Navadiya said.

New Delhi

Those appearing for exams this weekend in Delhi will not require curfew e-passes, says DDMA

People appearing for examinations this weekend in Delhi will not require curfew e-passes, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said in an order.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday had announced a curfew this weekend and the closure of malls, gymnasiums and auditoriums till April 30 as part of sweeping restrictions to break the chain of the COVID-19 infection in the city.

The DDMA directed that "any person/student shall be allowed for movement during the curfew to appear in examination on production of valid admit card".

"The examination staff deployed for exam duties shall also be allowed to travel on production of valid identity card," the order read.


Telugu star and Jana Sena party chief Pawan Kalyan tests positive

Telugu film star and Jana Sena Party chief K Pawan Kalyan has tested positive for coronavirus but is now stable, his political secretary P Hariprasad said.

"Kalyan is being monitored closely by his personal doctor as well as a team of experts from Apollo Hospitals. There is some flum in his lungs and he is suffering from small bouts of fever. But he is stable," Mr. Hariprasad said in a statement.

Kalyan remained in self-isolation at his farm house outside Hyderabad after returning from the by-election campaign in Tirupati on April 3.

Initial test turned out a negative result for Covid- 19 but he continued to suffer from slight fever and body pain.

"A second test revealed the Covid-19 infection," Mr. Hariprasad said.

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Haffkine Bio-Pharma targets 22.8 crore Covaxin vials a year

After receiving permission to make Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, Mumbai-based Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical on Friday said it would take at least a year for the company to start actual production.

A top official said the state-run company is targeting to produce 22.8 crore vials of the vaccine per year.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Dr Sandeep Rathod, managing director, Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, said, “Our target is to produce around 22.8 crore vaccine vials but it will take one year for us to start production.” Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and the ICMR have developed Covaxin, one of the two vaccines being used in the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.

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PM Modi calls for increasing production of medical grade oxygen

Mr. Modi took a detailed review of current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in coming 15 days across 12 high-burden states, officials said.

He briefed about production capacity of medical oxygen to meet rising demand. He suggested increasing oxygen production as per the capacity of each plant.

He asked officials during review to ensure seamless, free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout country.

Officials during the review meeting, briefed PM about efforts being made to import medical grade oxygen. - PTI

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Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa tests COVID-19 positive for the second time

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Friday tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second time he has contracted the infection and he is undergoing treatment at Manipal Hospital.

Mr Yediyurappa took to Twitter to state, “Upon having mild fever, today I got tested for COVID-19 and my report has come out positive. Although I am doing fine, I am being hospitalised based on the advice of doctors. I request all those who have come in my contact recently to be observant and exercise self-quarantine.” - Tanu Kulkarni

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Embarrassment for BMC as Jaslok Hospital says it will treat non-COVID patients as well

The Mumbai civic body's plan to convert the Jaslok Hospital here into a dedicated facility for coronavirus patients seems to have hit a roadblock with the hospital saying that it would continue to treat other critically ill non-COVID patients as well.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had on Wednesday issued a circular, in which it had said that the Jaslok Hospital will no longer admit non-COVID-19 patients and added that instructions to this effect had been issued to the hospital's management. It had taken this decision in view of the spike in infection cases in the city.

However, the hospital issued a statement late night on Thursday, saying that it has increased the number of beds for coronavirus patients, but it would continue to treat other critically-ill patients also. - PTI

Uttar Pradesh

Lockdown in all UP districts on Sunday

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced a lockdown across the state on Sunday.

To enforce wearing of masks, the state government has doubled the fine to Rs 1000 for those caught without masks for the first time and 10 times the fine amount for those caught again.

"There will be a weekly closure in all rural and urban areas of the state on Sunday.Only sanitation, sanitisation and emergency services will operate during this period. Necessary awareness works should also be done in this regard," an official statement said here quoting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. - Omar Rashid

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Uttar Pradesh

UP CM orders setting up of 1,000-bed makeshift COVID hospital in Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday ordered the establishment of a 1,000-bed makeshift COVID hospital here to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The state had on Thursday reported 104 deaths and 22,439 fresh cases, pushing the fatality count to 9,480 and the total infection number to 7,66,360.

The Chief Minister made the direction for setting up the hospital during a review meeting with divisional commissioners, district magistrates, chief medical officers and his Team-11 (a core team of 11 officers).

"A 1,000-bed COVID hospital should be established in Lucknow. The venue of the Defence Expo may be a good place for this," said a government spokesperson, quoting the Chief Minister. - PTI

Chhattisgarh/Uttar Pradesh

Centre to review COVID-19 situation in UP, Chhattisgarh

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Friday, April 16, 2021, will review the COVID-19 situation in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in separate meetings, officials said.

This comes a day after the two top officials of the central government reviewed the coronavirus situation in Madhya Pradesh.

The Union Home Secretary and the sScretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will review the COVID-19 situation in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in separate meetings, a home ministry official said.

Uttar Pradesh had on Thursday reported 104 COVID-19 deaths and 22,439 fresh cases, pushing the fatality count to 9,480 and the total infection number to 7,66,360.

Chhattisgarh saw its highest single-day spike of 15,256 coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising its tally to 5,01,500. With 135 deaths due to the viral infection recorded during the day, the statewide toll mounted to 5,442.

Chhattisgarh has been witnessing over 10,000 daily cases since the past nine days.


Surjewala, Digvijaya Singh, Harsimrat Badal test positive

Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Friday, April 16, 2021, tested positive for coronavirus.

In a tweet, the Congress general secretary said, “I have tested +ve for #COVID19 today morning.” “Anyone who has come in contact with me in the last 5 days, please self isolate & take necessary precautions,” 53-year-old Surjewala, who is a former Haryana minister, said.

Ms. Badal, a former Union minister, said that she has tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms.

“I have quarantined myself at home and am taking all the necessary precautions. I would request all those who came in contact with me to isolate and get themselves tested at the earliest,” the 54-year-old SAD MP from Punjab’s Bathinda said.

Ms. Badal's husband and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had also recently tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh too tested coronavirus positive. “My COVID-19 test report is positive. I have presently quarantined myself at my Delhi residence. Those who came in my contact should isolate themselves and keep a watch on their health by taking all precautions,” the Rajya Sabha member said in a tweet


India reports over two lakh cases for second consecutive day

India added a record 2,17,353 new coronavirus infections in a day taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,42,91,917, while active cases surpassed the 15-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday, April 16, 2021

This is the second consecutive day that the country has reported over two lakh cases.

The death toll increased to 1,74,308 with 1,185 new fatalities, the highest since September 19, 2020, the data updated at 8 am showed.

Registering a steady increase for the 37th day in a row, the active cases have increased to 15,69,743, comprising 10.98 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate dropped to 87.80 per cent.

The active caseload was at its lowest at 1,35,926 on February 12 and it was at its highest at 10,17,754 on September 18, 2020.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,25,47,866, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.22 per cent, the data stated.


Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha passes away

Former CBI director Ranjit Sinha died here on Friday morning in what is believed to be a COVID-19 related death, senior officials said. He was 68.

It is understood that he was confirmed positive for coronavirus on Thursday night, the officials said.

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Uttar Pradeh

NSA to be lodged against 3 for selling Remdesivir at higher rates in U.P.

Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur have said they will slap the National Security Act (NSA) against three persons who were arrested on charges of allegedly smuggling and selling Remdesivir, an injectable drug used in the treatment of COVID-19, at rates higher than in the market. Also read: Centre bans export of Remdesivir

The arrests come two days after the State government urgently procured 25,000 vials of Remdesivir from Gujarat due to the rise in number of cases and demand for the drug.

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Migrant workers vulnerable again, say activists

With State governments announcing lockdowns and curfews in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, migrant workers could once again be staring at loss of wages and lack of social protections, labour union leaders and activists said on Thursday. A year after lakhs of workers made their way back to their home States after the nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020, their condition has not changed much, they said.

Also read | Migrant workers face debt, job loss and separation from families

“Workers in the informal sector think that if there is a lockdown again, they could be stranded and so have started returning to their villages. After the lockdown last year, many of these workers could not get back their jobs as the contractors who hired them did not want to take the responsibility of paying them lockdown wages,” said All-India Trade Union Congress general secretary Amarjeet Kaur.

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Mumbai-based Haffkine gets Centre’s nod to produce Covaxin Haffkine Biopharma Corporation, Mumbai, has received permission from the Union government to manufacture Covaxin, an anti-coronavirus vaccine of Bharat Biotech, on technology transfer basis.Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this late on Thursday evening.

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Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is over for Niranjani Akhada

Niranjani Akhada, one of the 13 akhadas of seers participating in the Haridwar Kumbh, on Thursda, April 15, 1021, decided to opt out of the event because of the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the state.

"The main Shahi Snan held on the occasion of Mesh Sankranti on April 14 is over. Many in our akhada are showing Covid-19 symptoms. So, for us the Kumbh Mela is over," Niranjani Akhada secretary Ravindra Puri said.

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Bihar struggles to cope with rising cases

With the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, the Bihar government is apparently struggling to provide medical facilities to patients. Hospitals are having to cope with shortage of oxygen cylinders as well.

The State government has urged the Defence Ministry to depute Army doctors at the dedicated COVID-19 hospital at Bihta, near Patna. “I’ve sent a letter to the Defence Secretary urging him to depute at least 50 doctors so that all 500 beds at the dedicated hospital can be utilised. It will ease the load in Patna-based hospitals,” said Pratyaya Amrit, Principal Secretary in the State Health Department.

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Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu pushes for vaccination of differently abled, athletes, traders

Tamil Nadu is pushing for the vaccination of the differently abled persons, athletes, shopkeepers and persons who have undergone organ transplantation, regardless of their age, said Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan.

“It is important to give priority to differently abled persons, athletes and shopkeepers as well as persons who have undergone organ transplant without any age limitation. We have requested the Centre to allow us to vaccinate such persons. It is the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), of which Tamil Nadu was a member, that will decide depending on the vaccine availability. We are definitely pushing for it,” he said, in reply to a question on demands from differently abled associations for vaccination.

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(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)

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