Covid Updates: Supreme Court asked Centre not to reduce oxygen supply to Delhi from 700MT
The Supreme Court Thursday said the country needs to be prepared for the third wave of COVID-19 which experts say could be more harmful, especially for children, and emphasised upon the need to create buffer stock of oxygen.
It asked the Centre not to reduce oxygen supply to Delhi from 700MT till further orders and ensure that rationalisation exercise is completed while taking into account the pan-India perspective.
The top court said that people in Delhi are dying despite efforts being made to treat COVID-19 patients and there is also no denying that many have lost their lives due to shortage of oxygen supply.
It made clear to the Centre and Delhi government that it will not allow the top court of the country to be a ground of recrimination between the two as both indulged in a blame game on the issue of allocation and supply of oxygen.
Meanwhile, up to 3,980 people died of Covid in India the past 24 hours, the highest in a day so far, pushing total fatalities to 2,30,168. The country also set a new grim record in its daily Covid numbers with 4.12 lakh infections.
Here are the highlights on coronavirus (COVID-19) cases:
Andhra Pradesh Sends Oxygen SOS To Centre
The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday sent an SOS to the Centre seeking enhanced supply of medical oxygen as the demand is expected to touch 1,000 tonnes by May 15, officials said.
While the central government has now allotted 480 tonnes of medical oxygen to the state from various sources, the maximum consumption per day touched 550 tonnes (including government and private hospitals).
The state currently has a storage capacity of 515 tonnes.
There are about 25,000 Covid-19 patients on oxygen and ventilator support in hospitals across the state now.
14-Day Institutional Quarantine Must For Those Arriving In Delhi From Andhra, Telangana
People arriving in the national capital from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through any mode of transport will have to undergo 14 days of mandatory institutional quarantine, said an order issued by the Delhi government on Thursday.
However, those who have been administered both doses of any COVID vaccine or carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey, will be required to be home quarantined for seven days, it said.
People who have received the two doses will have to present the vaccination certificate, it said.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) stated in the order that a virulent variant of COVID-19 is reported to have been found recently in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Over 89 Lakh COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Still Available With States: Centre
More than 89 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs and over 28 lakh vaccine doses will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
The Centre has so far provided more than 17.15 crore (17,15,42,410) vaccine doses to states and UTs free of cost. Of this, the total consumption including wastages is 16,26,10,905 doses, as per the official data made available at 8 am.
"More than 89 lakh COVID vaccine doses (89,31,505) are still available with the states and UTs to be administered. States with negative balance are showing more consumption (including wastage) than vaccine supplied as they have not reconciled the vaccine they have supplied to the armed forces," the ministry said.
Maharashtra Reports Over 62,000 New Covid Cases, 853 Deaths
Maharashtra on Thursday reported 62,194 new COVID-19 cases, taking its cumulative tally to 49,42,736, while 853 more deaths pushed the count to 73,515, an official from the state health department said.
Compared to Wednesday, Maharashtras COVID-19 caseload increased by 4,554 in the last 24 hours, but the fatality count dropped by 67.
Out of the 853 deaths, 331 occurred in the last 48 hours, 247 in the past one week and the remaining 275 in period before last week, but were added to the count now as part of data reconciliation exercise, the official said.
Fresh recoveries were slightly more than the new infections.
He said 63,842 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, raising the number of recovered cases to 42,27,940.
Tamil Nadu Logs 24,898 New Cases, 195 Deaths
Tamil Nadu recorded 24,898 new COVID-19 cases in the single biggest day spike so far on Thursday, pushing the caseload to 12,97,500, while a record 195 deaths in the last 24 hours took the count to 14,974.
According to a medical bulletin, 21,546 people were discharged today, taking the tally to 11,51,058, leaving 1,31,468 active infections.
Covid Patient Goes To Karnataka Assembly For Protest, Finally Gets Bed
A coronavirus patient's family in Bengaluru had to sit on a protest outside the Karnataka assembly before they managed to get a hospital bed in yet another sign of the crisis unfolding in several parts of the country overwhelmed by the surge in COVID-19 infections.
Not able to find treatment in any hospital, the ambulance carrying the patient, a woman, and her daughter was taken to the Vidhan Soudha building in search of a bed.
Stopped by the police, her relatives launched a protest in front of the building. Later, Youth Congress leader Nalapad also reached the spot and joined their protest.
Russia Approves Single-Dose Sputnik Light Covid Vaccine For Use
Health officials in Russia approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the developers of the shot said Thursday.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which helped finance the vaccine, said in a statement that Sputnik Light "demonstrated 79.4 percent efficacy" compared to 91.6 percent for the two-shot Sputnik V.
The results, it said, were drawn from "data taken from 28 days after the injection was administered as part of Russia's mass vaccination program between 5 December 2020 and 15 April 2021".
700 Tonnes "Dena Hi Padega": Supreme Court To Centre On Oxygen For Delhi
The national capital must get at least 700 tonnes of oxygen everyday, as requested by the Delhi government to meet the needs of the city's COVID-19 patients, the Supreme Court told the centre today.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the city has been getting roughly half the quantity of oxygen it has been officially allocated, while neighbouring BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been prioritised.
Mr Kejriwal sought 700 tonnes of oxygen a day for Delhi, where Covid deaths continue to rise and hospitals keep sending out SOS for medical oxygen every few hours.
"You will have to give 700 tonnes to Delhi (700 tonnes dena hi padega)," the Supreme Court said.
"If nothing is to be hidden, let it come before the nation how allocation and distribution is done transparently by the centre," the Supreme Court said. "The centre continues to be in contempt for not supplying 700 tonnes of oxygen to Delhi," it said.
COVID-19 India Updates: 353 Deaths, 26,780 New Cases In Uttar Pradesh
The death count from COVID-19 rose to 14,501 in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday with 353 more fatalities, while 26,780 new cases pushed the infection tally to 14,25,919, an official said.
Additional Chief Secretary Amit Mohan Prasad also said 28,902 people have recovered from the infection in the past 24 hours.
"There are currently 2,59,844 active cases in the state and the number of those who have recovered stands at 11,51,571," Mr Prasad told reporters in Lucknow.
Mr Prasad said since April 30, when there were 3,10,783 active COVID-19 cases, the number of such cases have come down by over 51,000 as recoveries have increased.
PM Says Keep Vaccine Pace Up In Covid Review Amid Shortage Complaints
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed concern about the flagging pace of vaccinations as he held a meeting to review the public health response to the coronavirus crisis marked by shortages of the jabs as well as essentials like hospital beds and oxygen that have led to thousands of deaths.
"PM was briefed that around 31 per cent of eligible population over the age of 45 has been given at least one dose. PM spoke about the need to sensitise states that the speed of vaccination doesn't come down. Citizens should be facilitated for vaccination despite lockdowns and healthcare workers involved in vaccination must not be diverted for other duties," a note from his office said.
Assure 'No Deaths' If Delhi Gets 700 Tonnes Oxygen Daily: Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that his administration "won't let anyone die" of oxygen shortage if it got the earmarked 700 tonnes of supply every day from the central government amid the unprecedented coronavirus crisis that has killed thousands in the capital.
"If we get an adequate supply of oxygen - 700 tonnes - we will be able to set up 9,000-9,500 beds in Delhi. We will be able to create oxygen beds. I assure you that we will not let anyone die to a shortage of oxygen in Delhi," Mr Kejriwal said at a news briefing.
The Supreme Court hearing on oxygen allocation to Delhi concludes, orders to come later.
Centre Challenges Karnataka High Court Order On Supply Of Liquid Medical Oxygen To State
The Centre today challenged the Karnataka High Court order to increase the supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen to the state from 965 metric tonnes to 1200 metric tonnes.
Delhi Government Calls For Oxygen Audit, Says There Is "Systemic Failure"
Calling for an audit of the oxygen allocation and distribution, the Delhi government's lawyer said there is a "systemic failure, but not against political leadership or officers."
"Centre given mandate twice by the people of this country. We are very much concerned," he said.
Meanwhile, amicus curiae Jaideep Gupta told the Supreme Court that the daily allocation of oxygen for Delhi should remain as 700 metric tonnes till a new formula for computing oxygen allocations is evolved.
Centre's Assurance Of 700 Metric Tonnes Of Oxygen Not Met: Delhi Government
The Delhi government today told the Supreme Court that the Centre's assurance that 700 metric tonnes of oxygen will be supplied per day as per court order has not been met.
"People of Delhi are dying and the Centre cannot dilute Supreme Court's orders," Delhi Government's lawyer Rahul Mehra said.
Delhi government also pointed out that, states are given more oxygen than demanded by them. "Delhi has been legitimately asking but not given," Mr Mehra said.
"Citizens in Delhi lost their lives because of less allocation of oxygen," he further said.
UK Covid Variant Dominates North India: National Centre For Disease Control
The UK strain of coronavirus is currently dominating parts of north India while double mutant could be found mostly in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat, Sujeet Singh, Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said.
He, however, added that the B1.1.7 lineage of SARS CoV-2 (UK variant) is declining in proportion across the country in the last month and a half.
Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, Mr Singh said the UK strain is dominating parts of north India including Punjab (482 samples) and Delhi (516), followed by Telangana (192), Maharashtra (83) and Karnataka (82).
He said 10 top government laboratories and institutions have been sequencing the genomes of coronavirus since December. A total of 18,053 samples have been sequenced so far, he added.
Centre Has No Plan On How To Supply 700 Metric Tonnes Of Oxygen: Delhi Government
Delhi Government's lawyer Rahul Mehra submitted before the Supreme Court that the Delhi government had received 555 metric tonnes of oxygen, not 730 metric tonnes as claimed by the Centre.
"The Supreme Court directed yesterday to submit plan on how the Centre will submit 700 MT. Centre did not specify how it is going to supply 700 MT in this more than one hour hearing," Mr Mehra said.
"What they have done is that they are trying to wriggle out of 700," he added.
Further, the Delhi government said the demand for oxygen gone up five times and it does not have control over tankers.
"We don't have magic wand. It takes time to distribute," it said.
1.5 Lakh Doctors Waiting For NEET Exam, Tap Them: Supreme Court To Centre
Urging the Centre to deploy doctors who have completed their internships to deal with the covid spike, the Supreme Court said they can bolster infrastructure and deal with the possibility of third wave.
"1.5 lakh doctors who have finished medical course, but waiting for NEET exam. How do you tap them? 2.5 lakh nurses trained are sitting at home today. They will be crucial for third wave," it said.
The top court also suggested that additional marks can be given in NEET exams as an incentive to doctors who volunteer for Covid duty.
"We Need A Plan For Covid Third Wave": Supreme Court Tells Centre
The Supreme Court rapped the Centre over the handling of the oxygen crisis in the national capital and said, "It's not just about allocating oxygen to states, we also need a plan for logistics."
The top court said the third Covid wave is around the corner and that it's time we start preparing for it.
"Third wave comes how will you deal with it?...Scientists saying children will affected and they can go into hospitals and have to accompanied by mother or father," the Supreme Court said, adding that a plan in a scientific and consolidated way is needed.
Your Formula For Oxygen Supply To Delhi Is A Gross Underestimate: Supreme Court To Centre
The Supreme Court told the Centre that its formula for oxygen allocation is a gross underestimate for Delhi and that it requires a complete revamp.
"Centre formula for oxygen allocation on the basis of beds requires complete revamp. The formula does not take into account transportation, ambulance and Covid care facility," the top court said.
Constitutional Authorities, Stop Complaints On Media Reports: Supreme Court
Constitutional authorities can do better than to complain and ask for fetters on the media, the Supreme Court said today on the Election Commission's petition complaining about media reports on the Madras High Court telling the poll body it should be booked for murder for not stopping political rallies amid Covid.
The Supreme Court said the remarks made by the Madras High Court were "harsh and the metaphor improper" and judicial restraint was necessary.
However, the High Court was faced with rising Covid cases and the task of protecting the lives and liberty of people, the court said.
Delhi Hospitals Have Significant Stock Of Oxygen: Centre To Supreme Court
The Supreme Court began hearing the matter regarding the supply of oxygen by the Centre to various hospitals in Delhi today.
Centre told the top court that a survey conducted revealed that Delhi hospitals have significant stock of oxygen.
"280 MT oxygen coming today by oxygen express train," the Centre said, adding that the supply of more oxygen to Delhi will states other states of their share.
"700 MT requirement by Delhi is not correct," the Centre said.
With 10,521 New Cases, Odisha Sees Rise In COVID-19 Infections
Odisha registered 10,521 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the state health department said on Thursday morning.
The state also recorded 16 COVID-related deaths while 6,176 COVID-infected patients recovered from the infection over the last 24 hours.
According to the official health bulletin, the state has 81,585 active COVID-19 cases.
The state conducted 1,03,674,18 tests so far and 41,640,3 people have recovered from the disease so far.
Of the fresh cases, 5,945 were detected among people in quarantine, and 4576 were local contacts, the bulletin further said.
Ladakh Reports 251 New COVID-19 Cases
With 251 new COVID-19 cases reported in Ladakh, the total caseload in the union territory has reached 14,811, the Department of Information and Public Relations informed on Thursday.
Of the 14,811 COVID-19 cases in the union territory, 12,252 are from Leh and 2,559 from Kargil.
Out of the total fresh cases, 182 cases were reported from Leh and 69 from Kargil.
The total number of active cases has reached 1,494, including 1,264 in Leh district and 230 in Kargil district, the officials said.
Uttarakhand Allots Rs 100 Crore For Covid Vaccination Of Beneficiaries Aged 18-44
Rs 100 crore have been allotted from the Uttarakhand's Chief Minister's relief fund for COVID-19 vaccination for citizens between18-44 years in the state, Additional Secretary to the state government Arunendra Singh Chauhan informed.
Mr Chauhan wrote a letter to the new Director-General of Medical Health and Family Welfare and informed about the allotted fund for the vaccination.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary Manisha Panwar and Health Secretary Amit Negi held a press conference on Wednesday and informed about the efforts being made by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection in Uttarakhand.
Mizoram Reports 172 New Covid Cases In 24 Hours
Mizoram reported 172 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases is now 1,642.
DRDO Starts Construction Of 500-Bed Covid Hospital In J&K's Budgam
Amid an acute shortage of ICU beds due to the rise in coronavirus infections in the Kashmir valley, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has started the construction of a 500-bed COVID-19 hospital in the Budgam district to ramp up medical infrastructure, reported news agency ANI.
For this joint initiative, the Union Territory administration handed over the land, which was already identified for a hospital, to the DRDO for construction of a temporary COVID-19 hospital.
This hospital will have 500 oxygen beds and is likely to be completed in about 35 days, Ravinder Kumar, Additional Chief Engineer, DRDO said.
"There will be 125 fully-equipped ICU beds for Covid patients, including a 50-double room accommodation facility for doctors and paramedics staff," he added.
The hospital will cover both Budgam and Srinagar and will become a lifeline for many COVID-19 patients in need of ICU facilities.
Train Coaches Converted To Covid Isolation Wards Stationed In Ahmedabad
As coronavirus cases continue to rise and put an increasing amount of pressure on healthcare infrastructures, the Indian Railways and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) have converted 19 coaches into isolation wards, an official said on Wednesday, reported news agency ANI.
The wards have been set up at Sabarmati and Chandlodiya railway stations and are equipped with oxygen cylinders.
Manipur To Vaccinate Journalists On Priority As Frontline Workers
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday declared all accredited working journalist as frontline workers and said the state government will now vaccinate them against COVID-19 on priority, reported news agency ANI.
"We recognise the effort of our journalists to disseminate news and risk they are exposed to, is no less than other frontline workers. In recognition of all accredited working journalist as frontline warriors, state govt will now vaccinate all the journalists on priority," the chief minister tweeted.
Andhra Police Holds Covid Awareness Rally Amid Partial Lockdown In State
As part of the partial curfew imposed in Andhra Pradesh, the Srikakulam district police on Wednesday held a COVID-19 awareness rally with 10 vehicles in all major junctions of the town, reported news agency ANI.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Mahendra supervised the rally while SP Amit Bardar monitored the rally through drone cameras.
"The public should be careful of the corona infection. People must wear masks at all times and must maintain social distance. Shopping is allowed from 6 am to 12 noon only," Mr Bardar told the media.