Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing Chief Ministers online on Thursday, April 8, 2021, pointed out that during the last year when the pandemic first hit, the country was facing challenges of not having either enough testing labs, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, ventillators and oxygen. Intensive testing, testing 100% in well-defined micro containment zones, tracing at least 30 contacts of every positive case and ensuring that all eligible people were vaccinated was the strategy required, Mr. Modi said.
“Now, at least we have the experience and access to these resources when we take on this second wave,” he said.
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Wear mask if you want to avoid lockdown: Naveen Patnaik
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday asked people to compulsorily wear mask for next 14 days if they wanted to avoid a lockdown in wake of second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
In an address to people, Mr. Patnaik said, “we have to wear mask for next 14 days. If we adhere to wearing mask strictly for 14 days, it will become a habit of entire life. We have to pledge that we sport mask properly and not hang it in the neck. We will cover nose and mouth with mask completely. We won’t venture out without mask.”
Emphasising on role of women in making wearing of masks a habit, the Chief Minister said, “mothers should ensure that their children wear mask when they go out. If mothers remain on the alert, COVID-19 cannot enter any home. Government is guarding outside, mother should protect homes.”
Mr. Patnaik said lockdown was not right approach to tackle COVID-19 pandemic. “In the first wave of COVID-19, we were forced to take strict steps including frequent lockdown and shutdown. While general public faced huge inconvenience, the local businesses hampered. Now, many States have started imposing lockdown and shutdown in wake of rapid spread of COVID-19 infection. If we wear mask, we can avoid lockdown and shutdown,” he said.
— Satyasundar Barik
Jammu and Kashmir
Omar Abdullah tests positive for coronavirus, isolating himself at home
National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah Friday said he has tested positive for COVID-19.
“For a year I did my best to dodge this damn virus but it’s finally caught up with me. I tested positive for #COVIDー19 this afternoon. I’m completely asymptotic. Based on medical advice I’m self-isolating at home & monitoring my parameters like oxygen saturation levels etc,” he said in a tweet. His father Farooq Abdullah had tested positive for coronavirus last week and is now recuperating from the infection. – PTI
COVID vaccine stock to finish in two days, provide at least 30 lakh doses: Gehlot to PM
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the stock of coronavirus vaccine in the state will finish in next two days and urged him to immediately provide at least 30 lakh doses. In a letter to the PM after a video conference with him on Thursday, Gehlot said the state has administered 86,89,770 doses till 7 April.
“The present stock of vaccine in Rajasthan will finish in next two days. Therefore, it is requested that at least another 30 lakh doses of vaccine be provided to us immediately so that the momentum that we have built up can be maintained and maximum eligible beneficiaries can be vaccinated at the earliest,” he said. – PTI
11-day ‘yagna’ against COVID-19 begins at Ujjain temple
An 11-day ‘yagna’ (ritual fire) against coronavirus began at the famous Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh on Friday morning.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
“Seventy-seven Hindu priests took part in the yagna,” temple’s assistant administrator and public relations officer R.K. Tiwari told PTI over phone.
Sahara’s Subrata Roy tests positive for COVID-19
Sahara group Chairman Subrata Roy Sahara has tested positive for coronavirus.
Amidst the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Mr. Roy has appealed to everyone that the priority should be to “stay safe and take care of people around us”, according to a release.
As per the release, Mr. Roy, who is the Managing Worker and Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, has tested positive for coronavirus.
No fresh COVID-19 case reported in 149 districts in last seven days: Vardhan
No fresh COVID-19 case has been reported in 149 districts in a week, while eight have not registered any new infection in a fortnight, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday even as daily cases hit a record high of 1.31 lakh.
Chairing the 24th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 through a video link, he said more than 9.43 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country till Friday morning.
More than three crore vaccine jabs have been administered to senior citizens, the health minister said. – PTI
No plan to stop or curtail train services, no. will be increased on demand: railways board chairman
The railways on Friday said there is no plan to curtail or stop train services and assured passengers that trains will be provided on demand amidst reports of migrant workers rushing to their hometowns, reminiscent of the days following the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma assured the passengers that there is no dearth of trains and the railways is ready to put them into service on a short notice.
“There is no plan to curtail or stop train services. We will run as many services as required. There is no cause for alarm. We can run trains immediately on demand if there is any rush. This rush is normal during the summer season and we have already announced trains to clear the rush,” he said at a press briefing. – PTI
Three women given rabies vaccine instead of COVID-19 jab in U.P.
In a bizarre incident, three elderly women were recently administered rabies vaccine when they went to get COVID-19 jab in Kandhla area of Shamli in western Uttar Pradesh.
According to local sources, the incident came to light when one of the women felt side-effects such as dizziness and nausea after being inoculated. When she approached a private doctor, she showed him the slip handed over to her at the community health centre. It mentioned she was given rabies vaccine. – Anuj Kumar
Film federation lays new guidelines for shooting
The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has formed a “monitoring team” to ensure that all COVID-19 shooting guidelines -—including safety precautions on set, avoiding filming of crowd sequences — are strictly followed amid the surge in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra.
According to a statement from the FWICE on Friday, Aprl 9, 2021. the office-bearers had a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and assured him that the industry will be “responsible” in following the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure).
“FWICE in coordination with experts has laid down guidelines which all people involved in pre-production, shooting and post-production work will have to adhere to. These guidelines as of now will be applicable till April 30,” the statement read.
The film and TV industry has been badly hit due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the state and particularly the capital city.
Several on-ground productions like “Ram Setu”, “Gangubai Kathiawadi” and Dharma Productions-backed “Mr Lele” halted shoots after their leading actors, including Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar tested positive for coronavirus.
Apart from the actors, as many as 45 members of Kumar’s “Ram Setu” have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to the new guidelines, shooting of crowd sequences and songs with dancers in large numbers will not be allowed.
“Wearing of masks and continuous sanitization are compulsory on the sets, in production offices, and in post-production studios.
“An FWICE monitoring team has been constituted to visit sets and post-production studios regularly to check that all guidelines are being followed. Any individual or production unit flouting the rules or creating any kind of hindrance in the adherence of the guidelines will face disciplinary action,” the statement read.
Is it right to export vaccines, asks Rahul Gandhi
A board announcing the temporary suspension of vaccination programme displayed in front of a vaccine centre, in south Mumbai on Friday, April 9, 2021. | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday, April 9, 2021, questioned the export of COVID-19 vaccines, and asked if it is right to do so and put the lives of countrymen in danger.
He said vaccine shortage is a very serious problem during Corona times and is not a celebration.
Mr. Gandhi also called upon the central government to help states without any bias and help provide them with more vaccines.
“Shortage of vaccine in view of the rise in Corona cases is a very serious problem and not a celebration,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
“Is it right to export the vaccine and put our countrymen at risk. The central government should help all states without any bias. We all have to fight this pandemic together and defeat it,” he added.
Some states have been demanding more vaccines and the Congress is seeking the vaccine for all.
The Centre, however, has accused some states of doing politics on the issue of vaccines
India records highest daily spike of over 1.31 lakh COVID-19 cases
India registered a record single-day spike of 1,31,968 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, pushing its infection tally to 1,30,60,542, while the death toll increased to 1,67,642 with 780 more fatalities in a day, highest since October 18, the Union Health Ministry data showed.
Registering a steady increase for the 30th day in a row, the number of active COVID-19 cases increased to 9,79,608, which is 7.5% of the total infections, according to the data updated at 8 a.m.
The recovery rate in the country has further dropped to 91.22%, it added.
The active COVID-19 caseload in the country was recorded at its lowest of 1,35,926 on February 12, comprising 1.25% of the total infections.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,19,13,292, while the case fatality rate has dropped to 1.28%, the data stated. – PTI
37 doctors test positive for COVID-19 despite taking vaccines
Thirty-seven doctors of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, a private hospital in the city, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 to 12 days, despite most of them taking two shots of the vaccine, said hospital officials.
According to experts, COVID-19 vaccine prevents severe illness and not getting an infection.
“All of them have mild symptoms and five of them are admitted at the hospital, while others are under home isolation. All of them are stable,” the official said.
When asked about the doctors testing positive, despite taking the vaccine, the official said, “All of them had taken at least one dose of the vaccine and most of them had taken both the shots. Due to this, they only have mild symptoms, and they are not severe or admitted in ICUs. People should not panic about the vaccine.” – Nikhil Babu
Rajiv Gandhi Hospital suspends non-COVID-19 services amid surge in cases
All non-COVID-19 services have been suspended at Delhi government-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) till further orders, said Namrata Makkar, Deputy Medical Superintendent of the hospital.
The decision was taken due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city and a gradual increase of COVID-19 patients admitted at RGSSH, a hospital official said.
“We don’t have enough manpower to manage both COVID and non-COVID patients. Currently, there are about 170 COVID patients admitted at the hospital,” the official said.
Delhi has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases and 7,437 new cases were reported in 24 hours — the highest in more than four months, according to a health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Thursday.
The last time more cases were reported was on November 19, when 7,546 cases were reported in a day.
Australia restricts AstraZeneca shot, doubles Pfizer order
Australia has doubled its order of the Pfizer Inc COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, April 9, 2021, as the country raced to overhaul its inoculation plan over concerns about the risks of blood clots with the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine.
Until late Thursday, Australia based its vaccination programme largely on AstraZeneca shot, with an order for 50 million doses – enough for the required two shots for its entire 25 million population – to be made domestically by biopharma CSL Ltd.
But Australia has now joined a host of countries in restricting use of the vaccine due to clotting concerns. Local health authorities have changed their recommendation to say the country’s nearly 12 million people aged under 50 should take the Pfizer product instead.
As a result Australia has doubled an earlier Pfizer order to 40 million shots, enough for four-fifths of the population, which would be delivered by the end of the year, Morrison said. The policy change to Pfizer effectively ending plans to have the entire population vaccinated by the end of October.
“It is not a prohibition on the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra after a national cabinet meeting to discuss the virus response. For those who are over 50, there is a strong encouragement to be taking this AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Health Secretary Brendan Murphy called the policy change “highly precautionary” given the low rates of possible adverse effects associated with the AstraZeneca shot. “I’ve had it, I’d have it again, I’d recommend it to any member of my family,” Murphy said.
More than a dozen countries have at one time suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but most have resumed, with some, including France, the Netherlands and Germany, recommending a minimum age.
Man caught with 12 Remdesivir injections in Mumbai
A 22-year-man was caught with a dozen 12 vials of Remdesivir, a key medicine in treatment of coronavirus, here, police said on Friday. With Maharashtra witnessing a spurt in COVID-19 cases, Remdesivir injections are in high demand in the state.
Fatalities after vaccine
180 deaths following vaccination reported in India
According to a presentation made to the National AEFI Committee during a meeting held on March 31, there have been 617 severe and serious (including deaths) adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). As on March 29, a total of 180 deaths (29.2%) have been reported following vaccination across the country. Complete documentation is available only for 236 (38.3%) cases.
With no stock, all vaccination centres in Navi Mumbai to remain shut today
Twenty-five out of the 84 COVID-19 vaccination centres in Raigad district and 37 out of the 41 such centres within the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) limits were shut on Thursday, owing to the lack of stock of vaccine doses.
Only 3,780 doses were available for Thursday’s vaccination. “For Friday, the remaining stock would be meagre with hardly 10-50 doses available at each centre, which is capable of administering the jab to 100 people. The turnout of beneficiaries is good but unfortunately the supply has gone low. There is a chance of more centres being shut on Friday,” Raigad Collector Nidhi Choudhary said.
South Korea orders closure of nightclubs, karaoke bars
South Korea will reimpose a ban on nightclubs, karaoke bars and other nightly entertainment facilities, authorities said on Friday, April 9, 2021, after the number of new coronavirus cases surged, fanning fears over a potential fourth wave of outbreaks.
New Indian variant
Indian ‘double mutant’ strain named B.1.617
The ‘double mutant’ virus that scientists had flagged last month as having a bearing on the spread of the pandemic in India, has a formal scientific classification: B.1.617. Other than a place on the coronavirus’s evolutionary history, it also brings focus on the role the variant may be playing in the pandemic, which is now seeing nearly 100,000 fresh infections daily and a conflict between the Centre and some States on the availability of vaccines.
The variant is common in India — how much in every state though is unclear — and has a couple of defining mutations, E484Q and L425R, that enable them to become more infectious as well as evade antibodies. Though these mutations have individually been found in several other coronavirus variants, the presence of both these mutations together have been first found in some coronavirus genomes from India.
SII refunds South Africa for undelivered COVID-19 vaccines
The Serum Institute of India has fully refunded South Africa for the 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, which were not delivered to the country after it decided not to use the vaccine because it was not effective against a new variant of the virus.
A million doses from the institute, which had already been delivered, have been sold on to other countries in the African Union.
“Treasury has confirmed that the Serum Institute of India has fully refunded us for the remaining 500,000 doses that had not been delivered to South Africa and the money is already in our bank account,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said at a televised media briefing on Thursday.
(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)