Around 15 countries including the US, Russia, France and the United Kingdom are rushing critical emergency use equipment to enable India counter the COVID-19’s deadly second wave. A compilation from the Ministry of External Affairs showed that countries are sending hundreds of oxygen concentrators, respirators and large quantities of liquid oxygen to help ease the difficult situation facing India.
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:
Goof-up in Arunchal Pradesh COVID-19-positive list
Health officials in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang Valley have ordered a re-test on 11 people who found themselves on the COVID-19-positive list despite testing negative, local dailies in the State reported.
District Medical Officer R. Tatan attributed the faux pas to a clerical error and said officials with the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project have been asked to conduct a re-test on the 11. The error was made on April 26.
Singapore C-130 aircraft to deliver critical supplies to India
To speed up delivery of emergency supplies to India, Singapore has deployed two of its Air Force transport aircraft to transport oxygen cylinders and other critical supplies which will arrive in India later on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
“Last year, India helped the world and Singapore by exporting essential medicines and supplies. Now we stand with India as you fight COVID. Singapore Minister Maliki Osman flagged off two of RSAF’s C-130s, arriving in India today with 256 oxygen cylinders to support last mile oxygen delivery,” Singapore High Commission in India said on twitter on Wednesday morning.
Vaccine registrations for 18-44 age group to begin today at 4 pm
Registrations for vaccine appointments for those aged above 18 will begin at 4 p.m. on April 28, a Health Ministry spokesperson has confirmed to The Hindu.
A notification from MyGov.in, the Centre’s official data repository, also confirmed the 4 p.m. slot, adding, “Appointments at State government centres & private centres depending on how many vaccination centres are ready on 1st May for vaccination of 18 plus”.
PIL on vaccine prices
PIL seeks sale of vaccines at ₹150
A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the different rates for COVID-19 vaccines for the Centre and state governments and requesting direction to the Serum Institute of India (SSI) and Bharat Biotech to sell their vaccines at a uniform rate of ₹150 per dose.
The PIL, filed on April 24 by advocate Fayzan Khan and three law students, said the vaccine is presumed to be an essential commodity and hence its management and distribution cannot be left in the hands of private companies.
“These pharma giants are milking the fear psychosis of the increased death rates due to COVID-19,” it said.
Under the third phase of the national vaccination drive commencing next month, the vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the central government and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market, the government had said.
“In a situation where the entire country is gripped with the COVID-19 pandemic, price control by the government is a must and such kind of loot and blackmail should not be permitted,” it said.
The PIL also questioned the propriety of (the Centre) in asking state governments to compete in the open market for vaccines.
“Both the state as well as the Central government have the constitutional obligation to protect the health of a citizen and there cannot be any discrimination. Asking state governments to compete in the open market for vaccine procurement with the Centre and private hospitals is not correct,” the plea said.
South Korea to send medical items to help India
South Korea on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, said it will provide India with oxygen concentrators, COVID-19 diagnostic kits and other aid items to help the South Asian nation with the world’s worst surge in coronavirus infections.
Health official, Yoon Taeho said on Wednesday that the government will also allow irregular flights to bring back South Korean nationals from India. He says those returning will undergo virus tests three times and be placed under a quarantine.
Mr. Yoon didn’t elaborate on the amount of aid items South Korea will send to India. The country’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the amount of material it was considering sending to India would be “considerable.” Earlier Wednesday, South Korea reported 775 new virus cases, taking the country’s total to 120,673, with 1,821 deaths.
Odisha records 38% jump in cases
Odisha on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, recorded a massive 38.08% jump in COVID-19 cases with 8,386 persons found to be infected with coronavirus.
It is for the first that the State has breached 8000-mark causing a significant worry for the government. The State reported an increase of 2,313 cases – highest ever single day growth — over 6,073 cases reported on Tuesday.
Khordha, of which capital city of Bhubaneswar is a part, is the worst affected district reporting 1840 cases alone. Khordha is followed by Sundargarh with 933 cases and Jharsuguda 433 cases respectively.
Ensure speedy vaccination in Maharashtra: Sonia
Even as the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government double thinks on free vaccination in Maharashtra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday directed senior party leader and State Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat to ensure speedy completion of vaccination in the State.Mr. Thorat has already said the party’s stand was to ensure free vaccination in the State.
A worrying signal from the Secretariat
An increase in COVID-19 cases among the employees of the Secretariat has become a cause for concern. A section of them wonders why the government has not deployed the staff in rotation as it did during the first wave last year.
“Last year, when there was a spurt in the cases, the government decided to allow only 50% of the staff to go to offices. This year, a huge number of cases are reported every other day, but the government is yet to decide [on the rotation],” said G. Venkatesan, former secretary of Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association.
Doctors divided over use but scramble for Remdesivir continues
The scramble for Remdesivir, the anti-viral drug used in COVID-19 management, is increasing by the day even as doctors are divided on its use. While a few doctors are of the opinion that not all require this drug, many say it hastens recovery and helps bring down the viral load if given early.
With demand exceeding supply, families of patients admitted in private hospitals are under great distress. While the government is supplying the drug to patients admitted under government quota, many hospitals are asking the families of others to procure it on their own.
Rajasthan apprises Centre of shortage of medical oxygen, essential medicines
Amid the spiralling number of COVID-19 positive cases, a Group of Ministers (GoM) from Rajasthan visited New Delhi on Tuesday to apprise the Centre of the shortage of medical oxygen and essential medicines, which was posing a difficulty in the treatment of serious patients. The State recorded the highest single-day rise in the death toll with 121 persons succumbing to the infection.
‘Delhi to import oxygen tankers from abroad’
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the Delhi government would, with the help of the Centre, import 21 ready-to-use oxygen plants from France and 18 oxygen tankers from Bangkok, to ensure a steady supply of oxygen in hospitals across the Capital.
He thanked the Centre for allotting five additional oxygen tankers to Delhi and said that within the next month, the Delhi government will install 44 oxygen plants out of which eight plants will be installed by the Central government.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)