Coronavirus LIVE Updates: There were 3,523 fatalities, bringing the death count to 2,11,853.
India recorded on Saturday over 400,000 new Covid cases in 24 hours for the first time, the first country to do so in the pandemic, official data showed.
According to the health ministry, 401,993 new infections were registered taking the total caseload to 1,91,64,969. There were 3,523 fatalities, bringing the death count to 2,11,853.
Authorities lowered their guard in the early part of the year after infections fell below 10,000 per day, lifting restrictions on most activity.
Mass religious gatherings such as the Kumbh Mela, attracting millions of Hindu pilgrims, and political rallies were allowed to continue even when cases numbers began rising sharply in late March.
Meanwhile, the United States will restrict travel from India starting next week, due to rampant spread of Covid-19 in the country, the White House said Friday.
"On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration will restrict travel from India," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
She cited "extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India" and said the policy will come into effect from May 4.
Here are the Latest News Live Updates:
Monitor oxygen refilling centres round the clock: Delhi government to district magistrates
The Delhi government has directed all district magistrates to monitor medical oxygen refilling centres round the clock to ensure its supply to genuine patients and hospitals amid a severe shortage of the life saving gas in the city.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in its order on April 28, asked the district magistrates to ensure that medical oxygen is sold strictly following licence conditions to authorised users.
"Regarding the requirements of hospitals, ambulances etc, the medical oxygen retailing: refilling units will mandatorily check ID card of the person receiving the oxygen, authorisation letter from the institution for which the oxygen is being sought and record the type and number of cylinders refilled," it said.
Uttar Pradesh begins COVID vaccination for 18-44 age group in 7 districts
The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday started the first phase of vaccination for the 18-44 age group in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active COVID-19 cases, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launching the programme from Avantibai Hospital.
A Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson said Yogi Adityanath had sent his state aircraft to Hyderabad to get the batch of vaccines for the inoculation programme for people in the 18-plus category.
The districts where the vaccination started on Saturday are Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.
Yogi Adityanath said vaccination has started in seven districts with most active cases using a new software. As many as 85 centres have been set up in these districts for free of cost vaccination for the youth.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asks military officials to monitor progress of initiatives taken to help fight pandemic
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday asked top military and Defence Ministry officials to closely monitor the progress of various initiatives they have embarked upon to support the civilian administration in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Singh held a meeting with the officials on Saturday through video conferencing to review their efforts in supporting the civilian administration in its combat against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement by the Defence Ministry noted.
Mr Singh was briefed by the officials that approximately 600 additional doctors are being mobilised through special measures such as calling to duty those who had retired in the last few years, it said.
"The Indian Navy has deployed 200 battlefield nursing assistants to assist in various hospitals. The National Cadet Corps has deployed 300 cadets and staff at various locations in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Haryana," the statement added.
3 oxygen containers airlifted from Singapore to West Bengal's Panagarh
The Indian Air Force (IAF) airlifted three empty oxygen containers from Singapore to the Panagarh airbase in West Bengal on Saturday, according to an official statement.
"Today, the IAF has employed an IL -76 transport aircraft to carry three empty cryogenic oxygen containers from Singapore for Panagarh," the statement read.
The IAF also conducted multiple flights within India to transport oxygen containers from one place to another. It said its C-17s airlifted two empty cryogenic oxygen containers from Jodhpur to Jamnagar, two from Bhopal to Ranchi, two from Gwalior to Ranchi, two from Chandigarh to Ranchi, two from Vijayawada Bhubaneswar and two from Hindon to Ranchi.
"The airlift of 9 empty cryogenic oxygen containers from Hyderabad to Bhubaneswar and 4 from Hindon & Lucknow to Ranchi is in progress," it added.
COVID-19 advisories issued in Assam for hospitality units, factories, banks
The state disaster management authority in Assam issued multiple advisories on Saturday for observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour in hospitality units, factories, banks, insurance offices and other institutions providing essential services.
The advisories are aimed at streamlining and standardising the operating procedures to enable smooth functioning of all services, a statement issued by the statutory body said.
Authorities in all financial institutions have been asked to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are strictly followed at offices, ATMs and any other public interface where people might gather.
Owners of hotels and hospitality units, according to one of the advisories, will have to look after safety of guests, while encouraging them to make payments online, opt for room-service and download the Aarogya Setu app, which helps monitor an individuals health condition.
West Bengal's single-day Covid death count crosses 100-mark
West Bengal on Saturday reported the highest one-day COVID-19 deaths with 103 people dead due to the infection, the health department said in a bulletin.
The state's coronavirus death count is 11,447 now. The tally also rose to 8,45,878 as a record single-day spike of 17,512 cases was registered.
The state reported 14,374 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured people to 7,17,772, the bulletin said. The discharge rate slipped to 84.86 per cent. The number of active cases climbed to 1,16,659.
Mizoram announces lockdown in Aizawl and other district headquarters town from May 3
The Mizoram government on Saturday announced an eight-day lockdown in Aizawl and other district headquarters town from May 3 following the surge in COVID-19 cases.
The order issued said that in view of the continued surge of COVID-19 cases, the Mizoram State Disaster Management Authority has decided to impose stricter measures, in the form of "lockdown", for curtailing people's movement and activities, except essential services, to flatten the curve of the disease transmission and for efficient testing, tracking and treatment of COVID-19 positive patients and to scale up immunization.
The lockdown would come into force at 4 am on Monday (May 3) and would remain in force till 4 am of May 11.
COVID-19 inoculation drive for above 18 people fails to take off in Jharkhand
The third phase of COVID-19 inoculation for the people in the 18-44 years age bracket could not start in Jharkhand on Saturday due to unavailability of vaccines, an official said.
The programme has been postponed indefinitely and the state government will announce the launch of the drive as soon as vaccines are available, Additional Chief Secretary, Health Department, Arun Singh, told PTI.
For the age group of 18-44 years, the Jharkhand government has placed orders for 25 lakh doses each from Bharat Biotech that manufactures Covaxin and the Serum Institute which makes Covishield, but the state is yet to get any vaccine from them, Mr Singh said.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, wife recover from COVID-19, discharged from hospital
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his wife Asha Hooda were on Saturday discharged from hospital after they recovered from coronavirus.
Mr Hooda and his wife were tested positive for the infection on April 18 and were undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Gurgaon.
Mr Hooda thanked Haryana residents, well-wishers, doctors, nursing and para-medical staff as well as the hospital management for their support and best wishes.
Over 11,000 persons in 18-44 category vaccinated in Maha on first day
As many as 11,492 people in the 18-44 years age group were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Maharashtra on Saturday, the state public health department said.
Vaccination for those above 18 began on Saturday after the Union government last month decided to open the drive for wider population. Vaccination for those above 45 was already underway.
Inoculation drive for the new category was carried out in 26 districts of the state and it will begin in all 36 districts from Sunday, said an official release.
People should not visit vaccination centres without registering themselves through Co-WIN app or portal first, the government has said.
Kerala logs over 35,000 COVID-19 cases
Kerala recorded 35,636 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, including 81 health workers, pushing the total caseload to15.69 lakh as the count climbed to 5,356 with 48 deaths.
As many as 15,493 people were discharged. Cumulatively 15,69,620 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 5,356 deaths and 12,77,294 discharges.
There are 3,23,828 active cases at present, with 52,836 undergoing treatment in Ernakulam, 46,427 in Kozhikode and 36,650in Malappuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told
COVID-19: Rajasthan orders 2,700 oxygen concentrators
Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Rajasthan government has ordered 2,700 oxygen concentrators to ensure uninterrupted and smooth supply of medical oxygen, state Health Minister Raghu Sharma said on Saturday.
The minister said earlier 2,550 oxygen regulators were ordered, out of which 50 were supplied and 600 would be given in the next three days.
He said an order is also being issued for 3,000 more oxygen concentrators.
Mr Sharma said the state government has allocated more than one lakh remedesvir injections to hospitals in the state -- 63,000 injections were given to government hospitals and over 39,000 to private medical facilities -- in the last 15 days.
Delhi's Batra Hospital Says Doctor Among Those Dead After It Ran Out Of Oxygen
Several people, including one doctor, died at Delhi's Batra Hospital on Saturday afternoon after the facility ran out of medical oxygen - for the second time in the space of a week - at 12.45 pm.
Hospital officials told the Delhi High Court - holding a 11th straight day of hearings into the oxygen crisis in the national capital - that re-supply tankers only reached the hospital at around 1.30 pm, meaning that around 230 critically ill patients were without oxygen for around 80 minutes.
"We ran out of oxygen at 12.45 pm. Supply came at 1.30. We were out of oxygen for 1 hour and 20 mins," the hospital told the court.
Over 16 Crore Covid Vaccine Doses Given To States For Free: Health Ministry
The Centre has so far provided over 16.37 crore Covid vaccine doses to States and Union Territories free of cost and another 17 lakh doses will be received by them in the next 3 days, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
As the younger population of the nation becomes eligible for vaccination against coronavirus today with the start of the third phase of inoculation drive, the ministry said that more than 79 lakh vaccine doses are still available with the states and union territories to be administered to their population.
As many as 16,37,62,300 Covid vaccine doses have been provided to states and union territories (UTs) free of cost as per data available till 8am on Saturday, the ministry said.
Over 79 Lakh Covid Vaccine Doses Available With States: Centre
More than 79 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses are available with the states and Union territories and over 17 lakh doses will be supplied to them in the next three days, the Union health ministry said on Saturday.
The Centre has so far provided nearly 16.37 crore vaccine doses to states/UTs free of cost. Of this, the total consumption, including wastages, is 15,58,48,782 doses, according to official data available till 8 am on Saturday.
"More than 79,13,518 COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered. Furthermore, more than 17,31,110 vaccine doses will be received in addition by the states/UTs within the next 3 days," the ministry said.
Supreme Court Allows UP Panchayat Polls Counting Tomorrow With Covid Safeguards
"Heavens Won't Fall If Deferred": Supreme Court On UP Panchayat Polls Counting
The Supreme Court today asked the state election commission in Uttar Pradesh if it can delay the counting for rural polls, which is to be held tomorrow. Senior officials should make sure that Covid protocol is followed at all the counting centres, the court insisted today.
Citing the frightening Covid spike in the state, the top court this morning asked the poll commission: "Despite the situation, you need to go ahead? Can you have it after two weeks so that the medical facilities can be improved?"
"You want to proceed despite all odds? Heavens will not fall if counting is deferred by three weeks," the top court said in a sharp remark.
Beneficiaries Aged 18-44 Years To Be Inoculated Only After Receiving Message From Vaccination Centre: Mumbai Mayor
As India began its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age bracket on Saturday morning, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that vaccine will be given to people between 18 to 44 years of age in the city only after they have registered and received a message from the vaccination centre to get themselves vaccinated.
"People who have registered on CoWIN app and received a message can go to vaccination centres. Do not go to centres until and unless you receive a message. If you have registered but have not received a message, do not go to the centre," Ms Pednekar told the media personnel.
"Priority will be given to people between 45 to 60 years of age coming in for their second dose. Vaccines will be given to people between 18 to 44 years of age only after they have registered and received a message. Vaccine centres will function as and when we receive vaccines," the mayor said.
Mayawati Urges All Political Parties To Make Vaccination Drive For 18-Plus Successful
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday urged all political parties to come forward to make the COVID-19 vaccination programme for people above 18 years, which is starting from today, successful.
"All the political parties and governments should come forward mutually to rise above politics and selfishness with full loyalty and honesty to make the vaccination program starting from today (May 1) in which people aged above 18-year will be eligible for taking the shot of the COVID-19 vaccine," the BSP Supremo tweeted.
Serum Institute Plans To Begin Vaccine Production Outside India: Report
The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is planning to start vaccine production in other countries as it struggles to meet supply commitments, its chief executive officer told The Times.
"There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying by the newspaper in an interview published on Friday.
Mr Poonawalla said last week that the Serum Institute would be able to raise its monthly output to 100 million doses by July, later than a previous timeline of end-May. Several states in India have run out of vaccines against COVID-19.
UN Children's Agency Sends 3,000 Oxygen Concentrators To India Amid Covid Spike
The UN children's agency has sent critical life-saving supplies, including 3,000 oxygen concentrators, diagnostic tests and other equipment to help India combat a "devastating new wave" of COVID-19.
The UNICEF also said it is continuing to support the Indian government in the acceleration of its national vaccine rollout to equitably reach all population groups.
During the daily press briefing on Friday, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the UN chief, referred to the tweet by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he and the UN family stand in solidarity with the people of the country as they face a horrific COVID-19 outbreak and the UN stands ready to step up its support to the country.
Kerala Mulls Complete Lockdown In Districts With High Positivity Rate
As the COVID-19 cases in the state continue to rise, Kerala Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan on Friday said a complete lockdown may be imposed in the districts with a higher positivity rate from May 4.
"The surge in the Covid cases shows that the situation in the state is going worse. In this context, the interventions have been strengthened at all levels. Apart from the restrictions announced earlier, a full lockdown may have to be imposed in some districts where the Test Positivity Rate is exceeding 50 per cent. We will be going for more stringent restrictions from May 4," Mr Vijayan said on Friday.
The Chief Minister said that during the lockdown only essential services will be functional.
18 Covid Patients Dead In Fire At Gujarat Hospital: Report
At least 18 coronavirus patients died after a fire broke out at a hospital in Gujarat's Bharuch in the early hours on Saturday.
Gut-wrenching visuals of the tragedy showed remains of some patients on stretchers and beds.
There were around 50 other patients at the four- storeyed Welfare Hospital when the fire broke out in the COVID-19 ward at 1 am. They were rescued by locals and firefighters, an official said.
Australia Bans Arrivals From India, Says Offenders Will Face Jail, Fines
Australian residents and citizens who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return home will be banned from entering Australia as of Monday and those who disobey will face fines and jail, government officials said.
The emergency determination, made late on Friday, is part of strict measures to stop travellers to Australia from the world's second most populous nation as it contends with a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The restrictions come into effect from May 3 and breaching the ban risks civil penalties and up to five years imprisonment, Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement.
"Our hearts go out to the people of India - and our Indian-Australian community. The friends and family of those in Australia are in extreme risk. Tragically, many are contracting COVID-19 and many, sadly, are dying every day," Hunt said.
The Australian government will reconsider the restrictions on May 15, he said.
Maharashtra Added As Many Covid Cases In April As In 196 Days
The over 17.46 lakh COVID-19 cases Maharashtra added in April this year was equal to the tally it had racked up in 196 days, giving an indication of the intensity of the second wave that has hit the state.
Maharashtra added 17,46,309 cases between April 1 and 30, taking the tally from 28,56,163 cases on April 1 to 46,02,472 on April 30, state government data revealed.
The caseload was 10,97,856 on September 16 last year, and it took 196 days for the tally to reach 28,56,163 as on April 1, it showed.
The month of April also saw 13,915 COVID-19 deaths, taking the count to 68,813, up from 54,898 as on April 1, as per the state government's data.
It took 167 days to witness 14,039 deaths before April, as the count was 40,859 on October 15 last year, which rose to 54,898 as on April 1.
However, the state has also increased the number of tests to detect the infection, with April seeing 1,99,75,341 samples being examined, the data revealed.
The number of people discharged in April stood at 14,35,608, as the number of people who recovered shot up from 24,33,368 on April 1 to 38,68,976 on the last day of the month.
Assam Extends Night Curfew Till May 7 Amid Covid Surge
The Assam government on Friday extended the night curfew till May 7, following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.
The restrictions on movement of individuals from 8 pm to 5 am were to end on Saturday.
All shops and market places will close by 6 pm, though pharmacies, hospitals, animal care centres and veterinary clinics may operate without restrictions, being providers of essential services, according to an official order by Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah.
Services like electricity, water and sanitation and public transport are also exempt from the purview of the night curfew, it said.
Officials and persons entrusted with election-related work are exempted, too, on production of a valid identity card.
Regarding containment zones, the order said district magistrates shall take the call.
Assam on Friday reported 26 COVID-19 deaths and 3,197 fresh cases.