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Coronavirus updates | April 27, 2021

The ‘Oxygen Express’ train carrying around 70 tonnes of the life-saving gas reaches Delhi Cantt, early Tuesday, April 27, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Active cases in the ongoing second COVID-19 wave in India may peak at 38-48 lakh between May 14-18 and daily new infections could hit a high of 4.4 lakh from May 4-8, according to a mathematical model by IIT scientists, who have revised their projections upwards.

The scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and Hyderabad applied the Susceptible, Undetected, Tested (positive), and Removed Approach' (SUTRA) model to predict that active cases would go up further by over 10 lakh by mid-May.

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:

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New Delhi

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ICMR FAQ | Medications to control cholesterol should be continued

People with hypertension, diabetes or heart diseases are at no greater risk of getting the infection than anyone else, it says. Medications to control cholesterol (statins) should be continued.

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Tamil Nadu

Isha Foundation offers premises of its schools in TN as Covid care centres

The Isha Foundation on Tuesday offered the premises of Isha Vidhya schools run by it in eight districts in Tamil Nadu for use as COVID care centers.

The schools are in Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Nagercoil, Thoothukudi, Villupuram, Cuddalore and Dharmapuri districts.

"We are offering premises of #IshaVidhya schools to Tamil Nadu government as #COVID care centers with a bed capacity of 990.

I appeal to the community to unite in strengthening the hands of the administration to overcome this challenge," Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation,tweeted.

The foundation had contributed Rs 11.54 crore to Ishas community outreach efforts in villages around the Yoga Center in Thondamuthur on the outskirts of the city.

The funds were raised through online auction of three of Jaggi Vasudev's paintings, a Foundation release said.

Isha also supported the local administration with medical infrastructure and supplies, including distribution of face shields, sanitizers and PPE kits to frontline workers and equipping local primary care centers with necessary infrastructure, it said.

- PTI

Assam

Night curfew in Assam till May 1

The Assam government on Tuesday imposed night curfew across the State -- from 8 pm to 5 am - with immediate effect, as part of its efforts to control the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The State disaster management authority, in its order, said the curfew will be in place till May 1.

The state government has also ordered all market places and shops to down shutters by 6 pm, and face mask has been made mandatory for everyone, including a person driving alone in a car.

It, however, exempted people involved in providing emergency services at medical establishments, police forces, prisons, fire brigade, district administrations, and public transport and other offices.

Judicial officers and staff of courts, all passengers with valid tickets, journalists and people out to get their vaccine doses have also been kept out of the curfew's ambit.

"There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement/transportation of essential/non-essential goods. No separate permission/e-pass will be required," the order stated.

Those associated with banks, insurance offices, internet services, fuel depots, cold storage and security services have also not been exempted, the order added.

Meanwhile, Education Department Commissioner and Secretary Preetom Saikia, in a notification, has asked district administrations to shut down all educational institutes and hostels for a fortnight if the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in areas under their jurisdiction crosses 300 in a span of 10 days.

- PTI

New Delhi

Air India’s Sydney flight returns empty after crew tests positive for COVID-19

An Air India flight on April 27 was forced to depart from Sydney without passengers after one of the crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

“All crew members rostered to operate the flight underwent an RT-PCR test before departure from Delhi. They were permitted to operate the flight only after a negative test report. On arriving at Sydney, crew members had to undergo the test again and one member tested positive, who is under quarantine in Sydney,” an airline source said.

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New Delhi

SC says it can’t be mute spectator in national crisis

Terming the massive resurgence of COVID-19 cases a “national crisis”, the Supreme Court on April 27 said it cannot remain a mute spectator and made clear that its suo motu proceeding on devising national policy for COVID-19 management is not meant to supplant high court cases.

A Bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said high courts are in a better position to monitor the pandemic situation within their territorial boundaries.

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CII task force

CII sets up task force on oxygen supply chains

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Tuesday said it had formed a task force on ‘oxygen supply chain’ to work with the Central and State governments to augment supply amid severe shortage of medical oxygen as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The task force would work towards domestic capacity enhancement and imports; logistical issues between States, including transportation, non-availability of cylinders and policy-level interventions, the industry body said in a statement.

“With unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases and acute shortage of medical oxygen pushing the hospitals in the country to the edge, India Inc has come forward to lend a helping hand to strengthen the fight against the pandemic,” it added.

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New Delhi

Delhi to procure tankers to transport oxygen with help from Centre, says Kejriwal

The Delhi government would procure tankers from Thailand to transport oxygen supplies as well as ready-to-use oxygen plants from France with help from the Central government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said here on Tuesday.

Addressing a digital briefing, he also said that the city would have 44 oxygen plants till the end of May and the situation regarding supply in the Capital was relatively better compared to last week.

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New Delhi

Supreme Court allows Vedanta to produce oxygen at Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Vedanta to operate its oxygen production unit at its Sterlite Copper premises in Thoothukudi as an extraordinary measure to tide over the national shortage of oxygen amid the second wave of COVID-19.

“The nation must stand together in this moment,” a Special Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud noted.

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National

Govt imports 20 cryogenic tankers, allocates them to States

The Centre has imported 20 cryogenic tankers of 10 MT and 20 MT capacity and allocated them to states to address the shortage of oxygen tankers in the country as it deals with spiralling cases of COVID-19.

As mapping of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from manufacturing plants to different states is a dynamic process and transportation of medical oxygen through cryogenic tankers is becoming a bottleneck in making available LMO from the eastern part of the country to other parts, 20 cryogenic ISO containers of capacity 20 MT and 10 MT have been imported to augment the transportation of oxygen, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in consultation with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under the overall guidance of the Empowered Group-II have mapped the allocation of these containers to suppliers in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi, the Mnistry said in the statement.

Maharashtra

Bodies of 22 COVID-19 victims stuffed in one ambulance in Maharashtra

The bodies of 22 COVID-19 victims were stuffed in one ambulance while being taken to a crematorium at Beed in Maharashtra, with the district administration citing lack of medical transport vehicles as the reason for it.

The incident took place on Sunday when the bodies, kept in the mortuary of the Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Government Medical College at Ambajogai in Beed, were being transported for the last rites.

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USA

CEOs of 40 U.S. companies create global task force to help India fight COVID-19

In a show of solidarity, the CEOs of about 40 top American companies have come together to create a first-of-its-kind country-specific global task force to mobilise resources and coordinate efforts to help India fight the battle against COVID-19.

A collective initiative of the U.S.-India Business Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S.-India Strategic and Partnership Forum and Business Roundtable, the task force during its meeting in Washington on April 26 committed to get 20,000 oxygen concentrators to India in the next few weeks, Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen told PTI.

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Sputnik V

Sputnik V by May-end?

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, which has received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, said it expects the first lot of stock from Russian Direct Investment Fund by May-end.

In September 2020, Dr. Reddys and RDIF entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of SputnikV, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the rights for distribution of the first 100 million doses in India.

Later, it was enhanced to 125 million.

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Delhi

Delhi hospitals say situation better, reopen admissions

After days of scrambling for oxygen, hospitals in Delhi on Tuesday said they are in a comparatively better situation in terms of supply and have reopened admissions.

Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the national capital, medical facilities across the city and its suburbs put out desperate pleas for help on social media and other platforms last week, flagging their dwindling stock of oxygen.

Dr D K Baluja, medical director of Jaipur Golden Hospital said the hospital has enough supply to last the day.

"We are in a very comfortable situation today. The daily requirement of oxygen is 3.6 metric tonnes and we have about six tonnes available which will last for the entire day. It is quite a comfortable situation." The hospital also thanked the Delhi government and the Indian Railways for supplying oxygen to it.

"We thank @JSPLCorporate @Indianrailway18 for the O2 supplied overnight. We also thank the Delhi government @CMODelhi for the emergency O2 top-up through INOX that we received last night. Together we will overcome this crisis," it said in a tweet

Telangana

Over 10,000 COVID-19 cases in Telangana

More than 10000 COVID-19 cases were recorded in Telangana on a single day with 50 more fatalities being reported on Monday, April 26, 2021. About 10,122 people tested positive for coronavirus and 52 COVID-19 patients have died. These are the highest numbers recorded in a day. Till Monday, the maximum cases in the State was 8,126 recorded on April 24. ?

The cases are not heavily concentrated in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Though the highest of 1,440 cases came from GHMC, the cases are spread out in other districts — 751 in Medchal Malkajgiri, 653 in Waranagal Urban, 621 in Rangareddy, 498 in Nizamabad, 469 in Nalgonda, 417 in Mahbubnagar, 303 in Suryapet.?

The State has crosses 4 lakh cases and 2000 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday. Between March 2, 2020 and April 26, 2021, a total of 1,26,66,312 samples were put to test and 4,11,905 were detected with coronavirus. Of the total, ,40,590 have recovered, 69,221 are active cases, and 2,094 have died.

Emergency cases

Navy trains non-medical personnel for emergency cases

In view of surge in COVID-19 cases, the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is training its non medical personnel to work as force multipliers in times of emergencies.

"Indian Navy starts training of non-medical personnel as Battle Field Nursing Assistant (BFNA) at INS Venduruthy under #SNC consequent to the resurgence in Covid19 pandemic", a Defence spokesman said in a tweet on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

He said currently 80 Indian Navy personnel are being trained every week to augment the BFNA team, so as to be battle ready to assist the civil society in its fight against COVID-19. They are trained in primary nursing, he said.

Australia

Australia bans passenger flights from India until May 15

Australia on Tuesday announced a temporary ban on direct passenger flights from India, as the South Asian nation grapples with a massive surge in coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the suspension would remain in place until at least May 15 due to "clearly present" risks of travel from India, leaving thousands of Australians — including high-profile cricketers — stranded. -

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National

No victory processions after counting, says EC

Election Commission has banned all? victory processions on or after counting on May 2.

EC officials had said on April 26 that the Commission would issue instructions for counting day soon, after being pulled up by the Madras High Court for failing to stop COVID protocol violations during the campaign.

National

3,23,144 cases in single day

With?3,23,144?people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day India's? total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to?1,76,36,307,?while the national recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 per cent,?according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

The??death toll increased to?1,97,894 with 2,771 daily new fatalities,?the?data updated at 8 am showed.

Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to?28,82,204 comprising 16.34?per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 per cent. ? The?number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,45,56,209 while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.12 per cent, the data stated.

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Delhi

Oxygen Express with 70 tonnes of oxygen reaches Delhi

The first Oxygen Express train for Delhi carrying around 70 tonnes of the life-saving gas reached the national capital early Tuesday, April 27, 2021 morning, officials said.

This oxygen will now be disbursed by the Delhi government to various hospitals, they said.

"#OxygenExpress has reached Delhi from Raigarh, Chhattisgarh with Oxygen for patients in the capital. Indian Railways is leaving no stone unturned in our collective fight against COVID-19, & ensuring sufficient availability of life-saving resources across the country," tweeted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Ganga Ram Hospital gets 2 tonnes

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here received two tonnes of liquid medical oxygen on Tuesday morning, an official from the hospital said.

The official asserted that they are in a “better situation” as compared to "the last few days" when the hospital in central Delhi faced a crisis due to severe shortage of the life-saving gas.

The hospital said it has 6000 cubic metres of oxygen in storage tanks which may last for 10 hours.

"We received two tonnes of liquid medical oxygen at 6 am on April 27. Yesterday, we had received a tanker carrying 10 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen. We are in a better situation as compared to the last few days and we hope this continues," said the official.

USA

Indian government did not request vaccines from the U.S.

The Biden administration has said that the government of India did not request it for ready-to-use vaccines, as pressure has been mounting on the U.S. to give out vaccines to countries such as India, which is in the throes of a massive COVID-19 outbreak. A senior administration official told The Hindu, during a briefing call with reporters, that no specific request for vaccines was made by the Modi government.

U.S. lawmakers and other influential voices have been calling for the U.S. to donate its spare vaccines to countries like India, particularly some of the tens of millions of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Indian-origin CEOs’ gesture

Tech giants pitch in to fight second wave

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has announced ?135 crore funding support for India’s current pandemic battle, stating that he was ‘devastated to see the worsening COVID crisis’ in the country, while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has also extended help. Promising to support India in the crisis using “its voice, resources and technology to aid relief efforts”, Mr. Nadella thanked the U.S. government for agreeing to help.

The statements from two big tech CEOs of Indian-origin, came after Sun Microsystems’ co-founder Vinod Khosla on Saturday promising to help with planeloads of oxygen, and e-commerce major Amazon which is donating oxygen concentrators and other equipment to several hospitals.

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Oxygen

Oxygen, medical supplies likely from 15 countries

India expects to receive supplies from about 15 countries including Australia, China, Germany, Russia, UAE, UK and the United States in the next few days, to help tide over the current crisis for oxygen at hospitals and pharmaceuticals needed to treat coronavirus cases. On Monday, an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft transported six cryogenic oxygen containers from Dubai, and is expected to airlift six more on Tuesday for the Adani group. A German company is expected to ship 24 more containers later this week.

Also read: Coronavirus | Saudi Arabia to ship 80 metric tonnes of oxygen to India to meet growing demand

The Australian government said it hopes to send oxygen supplies, non-invasive ventilators, pharmaceuticals and PPE kits as well, and a decision on further aid will be made at a meeting on Tuesday.

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Vaccines to States

Centre may put onus on States to import COVID-19 vaccines

The Centre has decided to leave the import of COVID-19 vaccines to State authorities and companies, two government officials told Reuters, a decision that may slow the acquisitions of shots as a second wave of the pandemic rips through the country.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government would instead aim to support domestic vaccine-makers by guaranteeing purchases from them, they said. The government this month paid Indian producers in advance, for the first time, for vaccine doses.

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Delhi

Ashoka Hotel to be used as COVID Health Centre

Following a request from the Delhi High Court, the city government has ordered that 100 rooms of the Ashoka Hotel here be used for setting up a COVID Health Centre facility for High Court judges, other judicial officers and their families.

The Primus Hospital will run the facility. The hotel staff will be provided with protective gear and given basic training. As per the April 25 order, all the services including rooms, housekeeping, disinfection and food for the patients will be provided by the hotel.

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(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)

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