Coronavirus LIVE: Kerala sees nearly 40,000 cases; 42,582 in Maharashtra

Coronavirus live updates: India recorded 362,727 fresh Covid-19 infections on Thursday, taking the caseload tally to 23,703,665, according to MoHFW. Deaths from the virus surged by 4,120 to hit 258,317 in total. Meanwhile, Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka have decided to suspend the vaccination for people between 18-44 years age group, which had started symbolically on May 1, till further orders amid acute shortage of vaccines. Most states are yet to start the vaccination drive for 18+ group. Health minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday urged states to understand the limited availability of vaccines and not create unrealistic and impractical expectations while ensuring judicious use of doses to minimise wastage.

“The government is making all efforts to ramp up vaccine production in the country. Vaccines are scientifically distributed among you and we both know how much you have and what is in the pipeline. Please understand the seriousness of this issue,” Vardhan said.

Maharashtra reported 46,781 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and 920 deaths, followed by Karnataka (39,998), Kerala (43,529), Uttar Pradesh (18,125), Tamil Nadu (30,355), Andhra Pradesh (21,452), West Bengal (20,377), Delhi (13,287) in the past 24 hours.

The six most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (5,226,710), Karnataka (2,053,191), Kerala (1,980,000), Uttar Pradesh (1,545,212), Tamil Nadu (14,68,864), Delhi (1,323,567), and Andhra Pradesh (1,344,386).

World coronavirus update: Coronavirus cases rise unabated across the globe with 161,076,560 infected by the deadly contagion. While 139,846,739 have recovered, 3,344,743 have died so far. The US remains the worst-hit country with 33,585,943, followed by India, Brazil, France and Turkey. However, in the past seven days, India has added the highest number of fresh cases at 2,682,192, followed by the Brazil (424,236) and US (274,987).


India's public spending on healthcare lowest in BRICS nations; tech can improve access: DEA Secy

India's public expenditure on health is the lowest among the BRICS nations, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Ajay Seth said stressing that technology can play a great role in improving access to healthcare.
BRICS is the grouping of five major emerging countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — which together represent about 42 per cent of the population, 23 per cent of GDP, 30 per cent of the territory, and 18 per cent of the global trade.
While making an opening remark at a virtual seminar jointly organised by the finance ministry and the New Development Bank (NDB) on the topic 'Social Infrastructure Financing and use of Digital Technologies', Seth on Thursday noted that this pandemic has caused a setback in the journey of sustainable development goals.
Observing that resources are always limited, he said, "Question then arises is whether the focus is on access or focus is on quality... there is a wide variation in life expectancy and the public expenditure that happens on health as well as on education." With regard to education, he said, three BRICS countries spend 4-4.5 per cent of GDP, while two countries -- Brazil and South Africa -- spend about 6 per cent of their GDP.
"Health again, India's public expenditure is the least among the BRICS countries. Here again a more nuanced approach to financing as well as the best way of delivery will have to be adopted," he said adding that technology can help in easing the delivery.
Telemedicine, diagnostic interpretation are a big area where access problems can be mitigated to a large extent by using technology, he said.
Technology should be such that it does not lead to further digital divide but where the poor should have access first, he said.

Covid-19: Around 82.4% elderly dealing with health anxiety issues, claims study

Around 82.4 per cent elderly are dealing with health anxiety issues due to rising Covid-19 cases and fatalities around them, a new study has claimed.
The study has compiled data of interactions with more than 5,000 elderly over the past month.
India added 3,62,727 new coronavirus infections in a day taking the Covid-19 tally of cases to 2,37,03,665, while the death toll rose to 2,58,317 with 4,120 daily fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
The active cases have increased to 37,10,525 comprising 15.65 per cent of the total infections.
The study by Agewell Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has also found that around 70.2 per cent elderly were found suffering from sleeplessness, insomnia or nightmares due to poor quality of sleep.

Peak will come, virus can again emerge: Govt

As the country battles the second wave of Covid-19, the government Thursday said the virus may emerge again and so preparations have to be made at the national level in collaboration with states, infrastructure needs to be ramped up while curbs and appropriate behaviour must be followed.
Dismissing allegations that the government was unaware of the intensity of the second wave, NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul said, "We kept warning again and again from this platform that the second wave of Covid-19 will come.
"It was said that the sero-positivity is 20 per cent, 80 per cent of the population is still vulnerable and that virus has not gone anywhere and other countries were also witnessing a resurge." At a press conference, Paul said, "The prime minister had conveyed the country about the emerging second wave on March 17 without creating panic and had said that we have to fight it." "Was such a peak expected," he said, "well, no modelling can predict the size of a peak as the unexpected behaviour virus is well known."

"So peak will come, the virus can again emerge, we know. So preparations have to be made at country level in collaboration with states, infrastructure has to be ramped up, containment measures have to be implemented and Covid appropriate behaviour has to be followed.
"We had not created panic... other countries have faced multiple peaks after all it's a pandemic," he said.
He said it is the nature of the disease that it will ultimately go to villages.

When will Covid-19 vaccines be widely available globally?

When will Covid-19 vaccines be widely available globally? Experts say it could be 2023 or later before the shots are widely available in some countries.
The United States, Israel and the United Kingdom are among the nations where about half or more of the population has gotten at least one shot. In some countries, including South Africa, Pakistan and Venezuela, less than 1 per cent of people have been vaccinated. In nearly a dozen countries mostly in Africa there have been no jabs at all.
The differences reflect a mix of factors including purchasing power, domestic production capacity, access to raw materials and global intellectual property laws.
The US has supported waiving intellectual property protection for the vaccines. But it's not clear whether there will be global agreement on the issue and, if so, whether that would help speed up production. (AP)

Coronavirus LIVE: Maharashtra reports 42,582 new cases

Maharashtra reports 42,582 new coronavirus cases, 54,535 recoveries and 850 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department

Suspend protests, it's spreading Covid to villages: Khattar to farmers

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday urged farmers to suspend their stir against farm laws amid the grim Covid-19 situation, claiming that their movements to and from dharna sites were spreading the infection in villages.
Khattar said farmers may resume their agitation later if they wish, but they must stop it as of now.
If they wish to restart these dharnas once the situation is under control, they are free to do so, Khattar told a news conference digitally. (PTI)

Class 10 exams postponed in Karnataka due second coronavirus wave: minister

Class 10 exams postponed in Karnataka due second coronavirus wave: minister S Suresh Kumar

Himachal sees 63 Covid-19 deaths; active cases cross 40,000-mark

The Covid-19 death toll in Himachal Pradesh rose to 2,118 on Thursday with 63 more fatalities, while 4,937 new cases pushed the tally to 1,50,673, a senior official said.
According to data updated till 7 pm, the number of active cases in the state stands at 40,008.
The total recoveries in the state have risen to 1,08,503 with 3,817 more people recovering, the official said. (PTI)

Coronavirus LIVE: Manipur BJP chief passes away. He was under treatment for Covid

Coronavirus LIVE: Madhya Pradesh records 8,419 new cases

Madhya Pradesh records 8,419 new coronavirus cases, 74 deaths and 10,157 recoveries in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department

Coronavirus LIVE: Karnataka reports 35,297 new cases

Karnataka reports 35,297 new coronavirus cases, 34,057 recoveries and 344 fatalities, according to the state health department

Coronavirus LIVE: Rajasthan reports 15,867 new cases

Rajasthan reports 15,867 new coronavirus cases, 159 deaths and 12,929 recoveries, according to the state health department

Coronavirus LIVE: Mumbai reports 1,946 new cases

Coronavirus LIVE: HC asks Centre who will get a jab when there's not enough vaccine

Delhi HC criticises Centre's 'irritating' dialer message asking people to get vaccinated; asks who will get the jab when there's not enough vaccine

Coronavirus LIVE: Uttarakhand reports 7,127 new cases

Uttarakhand reports 7,127 new coronavirus cases, 5,748 recoveries and 122 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department

Covaxin stock will last three days for 45-plus age group in Delhi, says AAP MLA

For 45-plus age group in Delhi, Covaxin stock will last three days, Covishield just two days, says AAP MLA Atishi.

Coronavirus LIVE: Kerala reports 39,955 new cases

Kerala reports 39,955 new coronavirus cases, 33,733 recoveries and 97 deaths today; active cases at 438,913, according to the department

Coronavirus LIVE: Andhra Pradesh reports 22,399 new cases

Andhra Pradesh reports 22,399 new coronavirus cases, 89 deaths and 18,638 recoveries today, according to the state health department

Covid-19: Sweden working closely with partners in India, says envoy

Sweden Thursday said it is working closely with partners in India to get an understanding of what is required on the ground, saying the second wave of Covid-19 has hit hard and it is a humanitarian crisis and requires to be treated that way.
Team Sweden, which comprises the Swedish government, Swedish industry, businesses and agencies, has joined forces to help India fight the current devastating surge of the coronavirus, Sweden's Ambassador to India Klas Molin said.
"The second wave of Covid has hit hard and close to home, sparing no one. It is a humanitarian crisis and requires to be treated that way. (PTI)

Centre says it is proactively working to enhance the availability of vaccines

Centre says it is consistently and proactively working to secure and enhance the availability of Covid vaccines. Liberal enabling environment created by government for enhanced vaccine supply in the country. Read full release here

Coronavirus LIVE: Harsh Vardhan reviews situation with health ministers of various states

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today held a meeting via video conferencing with health ministers of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Delhi on the coronavirus situation. (ANI)

Coronavirus LIVE: Scientists opine a person should get vaccinated 6 months after recovery, says V K Paul

Coronavirus LIVE: Punjab govt to join Covax facility for global sourcing of vaccines

Coronavirus LIVE: Govt invites other companies to make Covaxin

Coronavirus LIVE: Puducherry reports 1,942 new cases

Puducherry reports 1,942 new coronavirus cases, 912 recoveries and 24 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department

PM Modi to interact with DMs of 100 high Covid-19 caseload districts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with district magistrates of 100 districts with high caseloads of Covid-19 infections in two meetings on May 18 and 20, government sources said on Thursday.
While DMs of 46 districts from nine states will be part of the first meeting, those from 54 districts from 10 states will attend the second meeting, they said, adding that respective chief ministers will be present in these interactions.
This will be the first such interaction that the prime minister will have with top district-level administrative officers on the Covid-19 situation. (PTI)

Coronavirus LIVE: Any vaccine approved by US FDA can come to India, says govt

Any vaccine that is approved by US FDA, WHO can come to India. Import license will be granted within 1-2 days. No import license is pending, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: Over 2 billion vaccine doses will be made in India from Aug-Sep, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: Over 2 billion vaccine doses will be made in India from Aug-Sep, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: Sputnik vaccine may be available in India by next week, says govt

Sputnik vaccine has arrived in India and we're hopeful that it'll be available in the market by next week, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: Gap for Covishield doses extended to 12-16 weeks, says govt

Gap between two doses of Covishield Vaccine extended from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks based on recommendation of Covid Working Group. Read full govt release here

Coronavirus LIVE: Centre says it procured 350 million vaccine doses so far

Coronavirus LIVE: Centre says it procured 350 million vaccine doses so far

Coronavirus LIVE: SC directs govts in NCR region to provide free food to migrants

Coronavirus LIVE: 170 million vaccine doses have been administered till now, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: 170 million vaccine doses have been administered till now, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: 187 districts have shown a continued decline in cases since last 2 weeks, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: 187 districts have shown a continued decline in cases since last 2 weeks, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: India's positivity rate declined in last 3 days, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: India's positivity rate declined in last 3 days, says govt

Coronavirus LIVE: Priyanka Gandhi demands judicial probe into bodies floating in Ganga

Coronavirus LIVE: EC defers MLC elections in Andhra and Telangana

Maharashtra: Expert team reviews fatality rate in Kolhapur

In light of the rise in Covid-19 case fatality rate (CFR) in Kolhapur, a team of senior doctors and experts from the divisional task force have rushed to the district in western Maharashtra to assess the situation, an official said on Thursday.
In the last one week, the district has also witnessed a surge in the number of daily cases and the average Covid-19 CFR for the district is also above 3.4 per cent, the official said.
"A divisional task force, comprising state advisor for Covid-19 Dr Subhash Salunkhe, Dr Arti Kinikar and Dr Dilip Kadam, has been sent to Kolhapur to assess the reasons for the high CFR," said Saurabh Rao, divisional commissioner, Pune division. (PTI)

Coronavirus LIVE: Delhi's positivity rate drops to 14%

Coronavirus LIVE: More than 3.48 million vaccines administered to 18-44 age group

Coronavirus LIVE: TN CM urges PM to reduce GST on vaccines, other related drugs

Chennai: Actor Rajinikanth takes his second dose of vaccine

Goa gets 32,000 vaccine doses for 18-44 age group

The Goa government will soon start Covid-19 vaccination for people in the age group of 18 to 44, as the first lot of vaccines arrived in the state on Thursday, a senior health department official said.
Speaking to PTI, director of Health Services Dr Jose D'Sa said a first lot of 32,000 vaccine doses from Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) had arrived in the state during the day. (PTI)

Coronavirus LIVE: 14 doctors in UP resign alleging harassment by administration officers

Coronavirus LIVE: UP sees 17,775 new cases

Coronavirus LIVE: Lockdown in Bihar extended till May 25, says CM

Coronavirus LIVE: Chhattisgarh govt holds construction of major projects

Ten states account for over 72 per cent of new cases

Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are among 10 states that account for 72.42 per cent of the 3,62,727 new cases in the country in a span of 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan are the other states in the list of 10.
Maharashtra reported the highest daily new cases at 46,781. It is followed by Kerala with 43,529 while Karnataka reported 39,998 new cases. (PTI)

Coronavirus LIVE: Govt reschedules Civil Services Prelims exam 2021

Due to the prevailing conditions caused by the Novel Corona Virus (Covid-19), the Union Public Service Commission has deferred the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2021, which was scheduled to be held on 27th June, 2021. Now, this Examination will be held on 10th October, 2021. Read full release here

Coronavirus LIVE: Madhya Pradesh govt announces free education for kids orphaned due to coronavirus

Coronavirus LIVE: Madhya Pradesh govt announces free education for kids orphaned due to coronavirus. (ANI)

Coronavirus LIVE: ICMR national task force to meet tomorrow

Supreme Court says it pass will directions on community kitchens, migrant workers

The Supreme Court says it is inclined to pass directions to the national capital region (NCR) states to have community kitchens and to facilitate transportation of migrant workers who are willing to return home amid the pandemic. The apex court observed that authorities must ensure that migrant workers returning home are not charged exorbitant fare by private bus operators and the Centre may consider involving the Railways to facilitate their transportation, PTI reported.

Maharashtra extends curbs till June 1

Maharashtra is extending its lockdown-like restrictions till June 1, news agency PTI reports quoting officials

Bharat Biotech to test Covaxin on 2 to 18 age group: Report

India’s drug regulator on Thursday allowed Bharat Biotech to conduct clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccines, Covaxin, on children aged 2 to 18. The Hyderabad-based said it will conduct the trials on 525 healthy volunteers, the Hindustan Times reported.

Increase gap between two Covishield shots to 12-16 weeks: panel

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks, PTI reported quoting sources on Thursday.

Modi missing along with vaccines, oxygen, medicines: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader writes on Twittter, alleges government has failed country during the pandemic.


Patients dying of Covid-19 must get state compensation: court plea

A petition has asked the Delhi High Court to direct the central and the city governments to frame guidelines for providing monetary compensation to the families of the patients who died due to a lack of oxygen supply during the pandemic and also to those who succumbed to the viral disease. Governments ought to formulate a compensation scheme, said the petition filed by lawyer Purav Middha, according to PTI.

Haryana to issue global tenders for vaccines

Haryana will issue global tenders to get Covid-19 vaccines for inoculating all adults, Health Minister Anil Vij said on Thursday. Haryana had 1,07,058 active Covid-19 cases as on May 12.

World accepts much-maligned China's Covid-19 vaccine

China’s Sinovac has shipped some 380 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, more than AstraZeneca Plc and second only to Pfizer Inc. worldwide. But unlike those companies -- and even Russia’s Sputnik shot -- it still hasn’t published any data in an academic journal, the gold standard experts use to assess a vaccine. Read the story here.

India's Covid-19 recovery rate improves 83%

India's recovery rate has improved to 83.26 per cent, said the health ministry on Thursday. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,97,34,823 while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.09 per cent.

Covid-19 mars Indonesia's Eid celebrations for second year

People in Indonesia celebrated Eid al-Fitr in a subdued mood for a second year Thursday as the Covid-19 pandemic again forced mosque closings and family separations on the holiday marking the end of Islam''s holiest month of Ramzan. Worshippers wearing masks joined communal prayers in the streets of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, reported the Associated Press. The world's most populous Muslim-majority nation allowed mosque prayers in low-risk areas.

WHO's recognition of Sputnik V vaccine underway: UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the process of recognition by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V was underway, and the UN would welcome its completion.
"We would very much welcome the Sputnik [V] vaccine being recognized by the WHO. And I know that the process, the dialogue is taking place. I am very grateful for the fact that the Russian Federation has made available the Sputnik [V] vaccine to UN staff. And we believe that the Sputnik [V vaccine] is one of the key elements in being able to address this challenge," Guterres said.

American India Foundation raises $25 mn for Covid-19 assistance to India

An Indian-American non-profit body has raised $25 million for Covid-19 assistance to India as the country battles a severe outbreak of the viral disease, its functionaries said.
"So far, we have ordered and have commitments for 5,500 oxygen concentrators, 2,300 hospital beds, 25 oxygen plants, and 30,000 non-electric ventilators," Nishant Pandey, CEO of the American India Foundation (AIF), told PTI on Wednesday.
AIF, which was founded in the aftermath of the Gujarat earthquake at the initiative of the then US President Bill Clinton and the then Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has raised $25 million so far, making it the highest amount raised by an Indian-American non-profit body. Read on...

With vaccine shortage hitting the state, Karnataka suspends vaccine for 18-44 yrs group

The Karnataka government on Wednesday decided to import vaccines, as a shortage of dosages hit the state and the demand went up substantially with an alarming rise in COVID cases. The state government also decided to suspend the vaccination for people between 18-44 years age group, which had started symbolically on May 1, till further orders.
"Today the state government has decided that the vaccine procured directly by the state for vaccination of persons between 18 and 44 years will be utilised for vaccination of beneficiaries who are due for second dose," a notification issued by the government said.
"We have to purchase vaccines for people between the age group of 18-44 years. We have already paid money to the two vaccine manufacturers in the country for three crore doses. Out of three crore doses, we have received seven lakh," Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar told reporters.

Coronavirus testing update: Total number of samples tested up to May 12 is 309,448,585

57 US Congressmen urge Joe Biden to bolster Covid-19 assistance to India

Fifty-seven US Congressmen have written to President Joe Biden, urging him to bolster America's Covid-19 assistance to India.
The sharp increase in cases has overwhelmed India's healthcare system. We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists, the lawmakers said in a letter to Biden on Wednesday.
We are extremely concerned with regards to India's deadly Covid-19 second wave. India is now the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. Today marked India's deadliest day, with 4,205 deaths reported, carrying the total number of confirmed deaths to more than 250,000, said the letter initiated by Congressman Brad Sherman, the Democratic Chair of the Congressional India Caucus. Read on...

US-approved vaccines effective against B1617 Indian Covid variant: Official

Covid-19 vaccines approved by the United States like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have effectiveness against the B1617 variant of the virus that is predominant in India, which is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of the pandemic, a top American health official said.
The observation is based on the latest data about the variant and the three major vaccines approved by the United States, said Dr Francis Collins, Director of National Institute of Science. Read on...

India must start its road to economic recovery with aggressive spending

At the beginning of 2021, when S&P Global Ratings forecast Indian gross domestic product growth at 11% for the coming financial year, the number looked eminently achievable. Last month, the Goods and Services Tax--a good barometer of economy activity--hit 1.41 trillion rupees ($19.1 billion), its highest ever monthly collection. Indeed, it’s been higher than the benchmark Rs. 1 trillion for seven consecutive months and higher than the same month for the last year for eight consecutive months. Read on...

People getting vaccine from 'unauthorised' centre in Assam; probe ordered

The Cachar district authorities of Assam on Wednesday ordered an investigation after a media report claimed that people were inoculated against COVID-19 by a section of the health department employees in an unauthorised vaccination centre here.
The report also claimed that names of those who got the vaccine there have not been registered on the government's Co-WIN platform. An estimated 80 people were allegedly vaccinated at the centre on Wednesday without maintaining any record. Read on...

Oxygen shortage in India sparks demand for $1,000 concentrator machines

Raphael Koch, a retailer of medical devices in the small Swiss town of Wil, has been busy for the past two weeks fielding a flurry of phone calls. Most are from Indians or India-based companies looking for oxygen concentrators, with some even wanting as many as 500 at once.
But Koch’s Oxymed store barely has any stock left of the little known machines that separate the critical gas from air and assist patients with low blood-oxygen levels. And he isn’t expecting fresh supplies from manufacturers at least until mid-June. Read on...

Delhi records 13,287 fresh Covid-19 cases

Delhi records 13,287 fresh Covid-19 cases (positivity rate - 17.03%), 14,071 recoveries, and 300 in the last 24 hours 
Active cases: 82,725
Total recoveries: 12,58,951
Death toll: 20,310

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