16:07 (IST)

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COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 19.8%, says Centre

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday stated that the Centre’s containment efforts “are working”.

“Overall positivity rate in India, which stood at 21.9 percent last week has now fallen to 19.8 percent. Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have reported a major drop in case positivity,” the ministry said.

16:00 (IST)

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Chhattisgarh govt issues new curbs:

Stand-alone shops including those selling groceries,essentials, vegetables and fruits can function till 5 pm. “Shops located in established markets can operate, but with an odd-even system, under which they will be allowed to open on alternate days. Collectors and superintendents of police can decide modalities after consulting local traders’ associations,” an official said.

All shops and establishments shall remain shut after 5pm on working days, he said. On Sundays, only petrol pumps, hospitals, medical establishments, medicine shops, PDS shops will be allowed to function. Home delivery of essential commodities will be permitted, he said.

Vegetable markets, wedding venues, cinema halls,malls, clubs, swimming pools, supermarkets, showrooms, gyms,religious places, coaching classes, schools, colleges, parks,liquor stores and roadside establishments will remain shut,the official said. Tourist spots will remain shut and public gatherings will be prohibited, he said, adding that exams maybe permitted as per the state government orders and home delivery of liquor will be allowed for online orders.

15:51 (IST)

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Chhattisgarh govt extends lockdown till 31 May

The Chhattisgarh government has asked authorities in all the 28 districts to extend the COVID-19 lockdown till 31 May, even as it granted more relaxations in economic activities, PTI reported.

The lockdown, currently in force in all districts of the state, was set to end in most regions at 15 May midnight.

“The lockdown will not be lifted in the state. Only certain relaxations will be granted, depending on the COVID-19 situation and risks in each of the districts,” the official from the public relations department said. The restrictions and relaxations will be applicable till 31 May.

The state government had on 4 May asked all the districts to extend the lockdown, which was imposed in early April, till 16 May, while giving some relaxations  As per the new guidelines, all government and private construction activities will be allowed and they can be carried out in compliance with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) and labour safety measures, he said.

15:41 (IST)

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Secondary infections are causing more mortality, says Randeep Guleria

AIIMS director Randeep Guleria on Saturday urged hospital administration to follow infection-control protocol.

“As COVID-19 cases are increasing, it’s of paramount importance that we follow protocols of infection-control practices at hospitals. It is been seen that secondary infections — fungal and bacterial — are causing more mortality,” he said.

15:25 (IST)

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Delhi govt announces Rs 1,051 cr for municipal corporations to pay salaries

The Delhi government on Saturday announced a fund of Rs 1,051 crore for the three municipal corporations here to pay salaries of healthcare workers and other employees amid the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in an online briefing, said despite constrained circumstances due to the lockdown, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken this decision as those people who are helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic should get their salaries. Doctors and other employees of the civic bodies are not getting their salaries due to “mismanagement and corruption in MCD (municipal corporations of Delhi)”, the Aam Aadmi Party leader alleged.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation are all BJP-led civic bodies.

15:02 (IST)

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Vaccination centres in Bengal start implementing 12-16 week interval between two Covishield doses 

With the Covid Vaccination Centres (CVC) in West Bengal implementing the minimum gap of 12 weeks or 84 days between the first and second dose of Covishield vaccine from Saturday a large number of people who had come to the CVCs had to return home.

Earlier the interval between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine was six to eight weeks.

14:44 (IST)

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Over 50 of 141 residents in Uttarakhand village test COVID-19 positive 

Fifty-one out of the 141 people living in a village in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Saturday.

The village has been declared a containment zone and villagers have been put in home isolation, they said.

Residents of Kurkhyal village in Pauri’s Ekeshwar block had been showing symptoms of COVID-19 like fever for some time. A health department team from the primary health centre at Pathisain took samples of villagers for testing on 11 May, said Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Satpuli, Sandip Kumar.

The reports were received on Friday. Fifty-one out of the total 141 villagers were found infected with the coronavirus, he said.

14:08 (IST)

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Mamata Banerjee’s younger brother succumbs to COVID-19

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s younger brother Ashim Banerjee passed away at the Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Kolkata on Saturday due to COVID-19, ANI quoted Dr Alok Roy, Chairman of the hospital.

Ashim Banerjee was undergoing treatment at Medica Hospital in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, the state on Friday registered its highest single-day spike of 20,846 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 10,94,802, the health department said in its bulletin.

13:37 (IST)

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Bodies found floating in Ganga river: NHRC sends notices to UP, Bihar govts

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, after receiving complaints about several bodies found floating in the Ganga river in the two states, over the week.

The bodies are suspected to be of COVID-19 victims.

“It (NHRC) has issued notices to the chief secretaries of both the states and the secretary, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, today calling for action taken report within four weeks,” its statement noted.

India has been badly hit by the second wave of Covid as cremation grounds and burial grounds across the country have been overburdened.

The NHRC’s statement said, “The practice of disposal of dead bodies in our sacred river Ganga is clearly in violation of guidelines of the National Mission for Clean Ganga project of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.”

13:32 (IST)

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Market places to remain open from 7 am to 10 am in Bengal

There is now an unprecedented situation in Bengal where the scarcity of oxygen and other medicines is increasing. To control this situation, we are imposing strict conditions on the movement of transport and other sectors for two weeks, said Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay on Saturday.

The state government did not officially call the restrictions a lockdown, but, nearly all services, including the education sector, and private and public offices, will be closed.

All shops will be closed, except food related and essential services. Shops selling vegetables, groceries, milk and meat can be open from 7 am to 10 am.

13:07 (IST)

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All public transport to remain suspended in Bengal till 30 May

Local trains, metro services, inter state bus/train services, inland waterways to remain suspended during the lockdown in West Bengal till 30 May, said the state chief secretary on Saturday.

Intra-state goods trucks movement is restricted except for essential supplies.

All outdoor activities will be halted from 9 pm to 5 am. Banks will remain open from 10 am to 2 pm.

12:59 (IST)

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West Bengal announces statewide lockdown till 30 May

The West Bengal government on Saturday announced a complete lockdown across the state  from Sunday 6 am till 6 pm on 30 May.

West Bengal chief secretary announced that all government and private offices will remain shut except essential and emergency services starting Sunday.

12:41 (IST)

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Delhi to set up banks with 200 oxygen concentrators in every district: Kejriwal

From today, every district in Delhi will have a bank with 200 oxygen concentrators. It has been seen that COVID-19 patients often need to get admitted to ICUs when they’re not given medical oxygen when needed. We have set up these banks to fulfill their needs, Arvind Kejriwal said in a televised briefing. 

“If any patient – in home isolation – needs medical oxygen, our teams will reach at their doorstep within two hours,” the chief minister said.

12:31 (IST)

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Delhi announces oxygen concentrator banks for those under home isolation

Oxygen concentrator banks are being set up in each Delhi district for those under home isolation. They can be delivered to the patient’s home in two hours, said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday. 

12:23 (IST)

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India’s COVID-19 toll: Local news media uncovers scale of crisis, challenges official data

 

When the pandemic’s second wave swept India in mid-April, Deepak Patel, an aviation reporter for the Press Trust of India in New Delhi, noticed something odd. Whenever he perused the local papers from his home state of Gujarat—Divya Bhaskar, Gujarat Samachar, and Sandesh—reports about COVID-19 cases, and the obituaries that filled the pages, didn’t match the government statistics on cases and deaths.

Patel began tallying the numbers and posting his findings on Twitter each day. On 26 April, he pointed out that in Sandesh’s Rajkot edition (different cities have their own editions), seven out of eighteen pages contained only obituaries—a total of 287 deaths—while official figures recorded just 26. On 6 May, Patel tweeted a picture of Sandesh’s front page, with the translation: “17,822 bodies were cremated or buried as per COVID-19 protocol in 7 major cities of Gujarat in last 1 month…But Gujarat govt’s data says only 1,745 people died of Covid in these 7 cities in last 1 month: Sandesh.”

Read full article here…

12:17 (IST)

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Delhi reports 6,500 COVID-19 cases in a day, positivity rate drops to 11%: Kejriwal

At least 6,500 COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in past 24 hours. The positivity rate in the National Capital has further gone down to 11 percent. 1,000 ICU beds have been set up within 15 days, said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday.

Delhi recorded 8,500 daily cases on Friday, the first time the figure has dipped below 10,000 since 10 April, Kejriwal said. The city’s positivity rate had also dipped to 12 percent.

Around 3,000 beds have cleared up in the past 10 days, he said, indicating that the second wave was easing in the city.

12:07 (IST)

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Maharashtra reports 695 of 3,890 new COVID-19 deaths

Of the 3,890 new COVID-19 deaths reported on Saturday, Maharashtra reported the highest number of fatalities with 695 patients succumbing to the infection.

This was followed by Karnataka with 373 deaths, 311 in Uttar Pradesh, 289 in Delhi, 288 in Tamil Nadu, 181 in Uttarakhand, 180 in Punjab, 172 in Chhattisgarh, 164 in Haryana, 155 in Rajasthan, 136 in West Bengal and 104 in Gujarat.

So far, 2,66,207 deaths have been reported in the country.

11:51 (IST)

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India registers over 3 lakh daily cases for nearly three weeks

India has been logging over three lakh coronavirus cases every day for nearly three weeks, raising global concerns on the alarming surge. The COVID-19 tally rose to 2.43 crore on Saturday with 3.26 lakh cases recorded in past 24 hours, according to the health ministry data.

11:46 (IST)

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PM holds high-level meet on COVID-19 situation, vaccination

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a high-level meeting to review the country’s coronavirus situation and the vaccination drive. The meeting began at around 11 am.

Amid criticism by Opposition leaders over handling of the second wave of COVID-19, which has overwhelmed hospitals across the country, Modi on Friday said: “The pandemic, the worst in 100 years, is testing the world at every step. There is an invisible enemy before us.”

11:10 (IST)

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Health minister to review COVID-19 situation in 4 states, including UP, at 3 pm

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan Saturday said he will conduct a video conference with Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to review the current COVID-19 situation and progress of vaccination drive at 3 pm.

11:05 (IST)

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Second Oxygen Express with 120 MT reaches Bengaluru

The second Oxygen Express to Karnataka with 120 MT liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from Kalinganagar in Odisha’s Jajpur district reached Bengaluru on Saturday morning.

The third such train to the state with 120 MT LMO from Tatanagar in Jharkhand will reach on Saturday evening, the South Western Railway said.

10:44 (IST)

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What are vaccine passports? 

As more and more people get vaccinated, some governments are relying on “vaccine passports” as a way of reopening society. These passports are essentially certificates that show the holder has been immunised against COVID-19, which restaurants, pubs, bars, sports venues and others can use to grant them entry.

Israel currently operates a “green pass” system, which allows vaccinated people access to theatres, concert halls, indoor restaurants and bars. The UK government had to roll back plans to trial vaccine passports after some of the venues involved experienced significant backlash against the proposals.

10:36 (IST)

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Watch: Nurse communicating with COVID-19 patient in sign language

A nurse in Chhattisgarh learned sign language to communicate with a COVID-19 patient. Doctors, nurses and medical staff have been a comforting presence for many patients, as the virus forces them to isolate themselves away from family.

Here is one such nurse, Swati Bhimgaj, as per reports, at a hospital in Chattisgarh, who can be seen speaking with a mute patient.

10:21 (IST)

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India’s active caseload over 36.73 lakh

The active COVID-19 caseload in India reached 36,73,802 on Saturday, comprising 15.07 percent of the total infections reported so far, said the Union health ministry. India Saturday reported 3,26,098 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the overall count over 2.43 crore. 

10:07 (IST)

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Bengal records 20,846 new cases in highest single-day spike

 

West Bengal on Friday registered its highest single-day spike of 20,846 new COVID-19 cases, taking the overall count to 10,94,802, the health department said in its bulletin.

The toll rose to 12,993 after 136 more people, including five eminent doctors, succumbed to the infection, the bulletin said.

Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy and his wife Krishna are among those who contracted the disease. Roy, who is the saffron party’s vice president, is currently undergoing home isolation, sources in the health department said.

Read more here…

09:43 (IST)

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At least 3,890 new COVID-19 deaths in India

With the death of 3,890 more COVID-19 patients in the past 24 hours, the total number of fatalities in the country climbed to 2,66,207, said the Union health ministry on Saturday. This takes the national fatality rate to 1.09 percent.

09:42 (IST)

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India adds 3.26 lakh new cases

India registered 3,26,098 fresh coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, taking the overall count over 2.43 crore on Saturday, said the Union health ministry.

09:36 (IST)

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Over 31.30 cr COVID-19 samples tested so far: ICMR

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as many as 31,30,17,193 COVID-19 samples have been tested till 14 May, including 16,93,093 samples being tested on Friday alone.

Coronavirus Latest News LIVE Updates: The Chhattisgarh government has asked authorities in all the 28 districts to extend the COVID-19 lockdown till 31 May, even as it granted more relaxations in economic activities, PTI reported.

The lockdown, currently in force in all districts of the state, was set to end in most regions at 15 May midnight.

“The lockdown will not be lifted in the state. Only certain relaxations will be granted, depending on the COVID-19 situation and risks in each of the districts,” the official from the public relations department said. The restrictions and relaxations will be applicable till 31 May.

The state government had on 4 May asked all the districts to extend the lockdown, which was imposed in early April, till 16 May, while giving some relaxations As per the new guidelines, all government and private construction activities will be allowed and they can be carried out in compliance with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) and labour safety measures, he said.

In its statement, the NHRC said that ‘it seems the public authorities have failed to take efforts in educating the masses and checking the immersion of half-burnt or unburnt bodies into the Ganga’.

Local trains, metro services, inter state bus/train services, inland waterways to remain shut. Intra-state goods trucks movement is restricted except for essential supplies.

If any patient – in home isolation – needs medical oxygen, our teams will reach at their doorstep within two hours, said Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday.

Delhi recorded 8,500 daily cases on Friday, the first time the figure has dipped below 10,000 since 10 April. The city’s positivity rate had also dipped to 12 percent.

Amid criticism by Opposition leaders over handling of the second wave of COVID-19, which has overwhelmed hospitals across the country, Modi on Friday said: “The pandemic, the worst in 100 years, is testing the world at every step. There is an invisible enemy before us.”

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 18,04,29,261 said the health ministry.

With the death of 3,890 more COVID-19 patients, the total number of fatalities climbed to 2,66,207, said the health ministry on Saturday. This takes the national fatality rate to 1.09 percent.

The active COVID-19 caseload in India reached 36,73,802 on Saturday, comprising 15.07 percent of the total infections reported so far. India Saturday reported 3,26,098 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the overall count over 2.43 crore.

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 18 crore, the Union health ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said 3,25,071 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years received their first dose of COVID vaccine on Thursday and cumulatively 42,55,362 across 32 states and union territories since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive.

The total of 18,04,29,261 include 96,27,199 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose and 66,21,675 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 1,43,63,754 frontline workers (FLWs) who have received the first dose, 81,48,757 FLWs who have taken the second dose, and 42,55,362 individuals in the 18-44 years age group who have received the first dose.

Besides, 5,67,99,389 and 87,50,224 beneficiaries aged over 45 to 60 years old have been administered the first and second dose, respectively, while 5,43,15,317 and 1,75,47,584 beneficiaries above 60 years have taken the first and second dose.

As on day-119 of the vaccination drive (14 May), total 10,79,759 vaccine doses were given.

A total of 6,16,781 beneficiaries were vaccinated for the first dose and 4,62,978 beneficiaries received the second dose of vaccine according to the provisional report till 8 pm, the ministry said, adding that the final reports would be completed for the day by late night.

The vaccination exercise as a tool to protect the most vulnerable population groups in the country from COVID-19 continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, it said.

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