Coronavirus Lockdown 2021 in India Highlights: It’s official! India is witnessing the second wave of coronavirus. Days after health experts and some officials spoke about it, on Wednesday, the confirmation of the second wave came from the highest office of the Modi government with the Prime Minister himself stating it. During an important, critical virtual meet with all Chief Ministers, PM Modi said that it was necessary to stop the ‘emerging second wave’ of the coronavirus. From ramping up the vaccination to increasing the RT-PCR testing (instead of antigen testing), PM Modi told the states to do whatever necessary to halt this viral surge.
PM Modi also said that the states should focus on smaller towns as these places remain under the radar and can lead to an ‘outbreak-like situation.’ The meeting was not attended by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel. While Didi reportedly conveyed that she was skipping the meet due to some pre-scheduled appointments. No message was released by Baghel administration. Interestingly, Didi di raise the issue of ‘free corona vaccine’ at a poll rally in Bengal. It coincided with the PM’s Covid meet.
So big question is – will the total lockdown return? That only time will tell. PM Modi has clearly stated that there is no need to panic the citizens and mask discipline should come from within. However, he has asked the states to take whatever steps necessary.
Maharashtra‘s State Surveillance Office Dr Pradip Awate told the Indian Express on March 16 that it is in fact true that the entire nation is experiencing the second wave.
Maharashtra is has reported over 15,000 cases on a daily basis in March. State capital Mumbai is already in the danger zone with over 1,000 new infections being recorded on daily basis. Pune has also seen the surge. Nagpur became the first city to impose a total lockdown in 2021. The fact remains that while opening up of the economic activities may have helped the businesses in covering up the losses of 2020, the ground reality is that lack of mask discipline and zero social distancing have put people in the dangerous zone of high infection groups. Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been backed by the WHO as safe. With global powers jostling for their share of corona vaccine stockpile, here’s our live blog with all the freshest, official developments on corona lockdowns, curfews and other related news.
The Gujarat government on Wednesday said that as part of the measures to control the spread of coronavirus, it has decided to increase the number of daily testing and vaccination besides putting special focus on contact tracing and increasing the number of micro containment areas wherever necessary. This was decided at a core committee meeting held to review the pandemic situation in the state on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Chief MinisterVijay Rupani. It was held hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted a video conference meeting with the chief ministers on the issue. (PTI)
Gujarat: In wake of the increasing number of COVID19 cases, Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) and Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit System buses operation to remain suspended from tomorrow until further orders, reports ANI
Maharashtra: As many as 4,745 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths reported in the last 24 hours in Pune district.
Total positive cases: 4,48,567
Total recoveries: 4,12,320
Active cases: 26,961
Total deaths: 9,455
Journalists, staff engaged in maintenance of essential services like electricity & water supply, airports, railways and seaports, and sebayats (priests) of Lord Jagannath Temple and Lingaraj Temple to be included for COVID-19 vaccination in Odisha.
Punjab reports 2,039 new COVID-19 cases, 1,274 discharges and 35 deaths in the last 24 hours
Total cases: 2,03,049
Total discharges: 1,83,557
Active cases: 1,33,20
Death toll: 6,172 pic.twitter.com/KqBMkHIlMW
Gujarat reports 1,122 new COVID19 cases, 775 recoveries and 3 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Total cases 2,81,173
Total recoveries 2,71,433
Total active cases 5,310
Karnataka reported 1,275 new COVID-19 cases, 479 recoveries, and 4 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Total cases: 9,63,614; Total recoveries: 9,40,968; Active cases: 10,220; Death toll: 12,407 (ANI)
The Palestinian Authority said Wednesday it will receive around 60,000 coronavirus vaccine doses over the next 48 hours, the first shipment provided by a World Health Organization partnership aimed at helping poor countries. That’s only enough doses to vaccinate 31,000 people out of a population of nearly 5 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. Israel, which has faced criticism for not sharing more of its supplies with the Palestinians, has already vaccinated 5 million people, more than half of its population, and has largely reopened its economy. Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Kamal al-Shakhra said authorities would receive 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccines will be kept in storage until the WHO reviews recent safety concerns. (AP)
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday sought approval for starting more vaccination centres to expedite inoculation in the state and demanded that Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute be allowed to produce the COVID-19 vaccine. According to an official statement, Thackeray raised the demand during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction via video conferencing with chief ministers of some states amid the surge in COVID-19 cases. The PM promptly said institutes in all states which can produce the vaccine will be encouraged, according to the statement. (PTI)
Delhi reports 536 new COVID-19, 319 recoveries, and 3 deaths in the last 24 hours
Total cases: 6,45,025
Total recoveries: 6,31,375
Death toll: 10,948
Active cases: 2,702 pic.twitter.com/IPqldYucmb
The surge in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra in the past few days is not the “ripple in the first wave” but a “mighty scary second wave”, a top health official said on Wednesday. Speaking during a discussion on news channel NDTV 24×7, civic-run KEM Hospital’s Dean Hemant Deshmukh said the case numbers were now getting scary. “Of late, we realise that this (surge) is not a ripple in the first wave, but a mighty scary second wave itself, which is starting,” Deshmukh told the television channel. Deshmukh said the mortality rate was less this time, and it may be because the virulence is low. (PTI)
Pakistan on Wednesday received half a million doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by China. The second consignment of the Sinopharm vaccine was received by Pakistan health officials at the Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan, was present to receive the batch of the vaccines. “China has always supported Pakistan during difficult times,” Sultan said, extending his gratitude to the Chinese government. The vaccines will be shifted to the warehouse of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) and administered to the frontline health workers and people above the age of 60 years across the country. Earlier, China donated 500,000 doses of Sinopharm on February 1, enabling Pakistan to launch vaccination drive a day later. (PTI)
Maharashtra: Nagpur District reported 3,370 new Covid-19 cases, 1,216 recoveries, and 16 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per Civil Surgeon.
Total cases: 1,78,756; Total recoveries: 1,53,133; Active cases: 21,118; Death toll: 4,505 (ANI)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday indicated that the best safety endorsement he can think of for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is to confirm that he would be receiving the jab as he now qualifies under an expanded vaccination drive. As the National Health Service (NHS) marked the 100th day of its vaccination programme by expanding it to all over-50s, the 56-year-old UK PM used the timing to reiterate the safety message after some countries suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs amid some concerns. “It’s Oxford/AstraZeneca I will be having,” said Johnson, during his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons. The UK PM has previously said the vaccines are “safe and work extremely well”. (PTI)
A top World Health Organisation expert on vaccines says people should feel reassured that even if health authorities turn up a link between blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine, such cases are “very rare”. Dr Kate O’Brien, who heads WHO’s department of immunisations and vaccines, said the UN health agency and the European Medicines Agency are trying to investigate the possibility of a link between blood clots and the AstraZeneca shots. The potential side effect has prompted some countries — mostly in Europe — to temporarily suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. A WHO committee on vaccines is looking into the issue. “I think the reassurance to the public is that regardless of whether or not the committee ultimately assesses that there may be an association between these events and the vaccine, that in any event, these are very rare events,” O’Brien said during a Wednesday news conference. (AP)
The PM held a meeting with all CMs today on the COVID19 situation. Bihar government is alert, we will soon hold a meeting with all districts. It has been decided to take the number of daily tests to 70,000 again: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (ANI)
The Union government on Wednesday said that 70 districts in 16 states have seen an increase of 150 per cent in Covid-19 cases in the last 15 days. During a press briefing, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, the contribution of active cases as well as the case fatality rate is less than 2 per cent. He said, it is significant as some states have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.
As many as 30 students and a teacher from an ashram school have tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, an official from the health department said on Wednesday. The cases came to light after a couple of students displayed symptoms of the viral infection earlier this week, the official from the taluka medical office said. Of the 193 students from Nandore Government Ashram School, 30 tested positive for the infection on Tuesday, he said, adding that one of the teachers from the facility has also contracted the infection. (PTI)
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga suggested on Wednesday that he planned to let state of emergency curbs imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus expire on schedule on Sunday. The situation regarding hospital bed availability in the capital region has improved, Suga said.”The figures have moved in the direction of lifting (the emergency measures),” he told reporters. “I will make a final decision towards ending the curbs after listening to the views of experts,” he added. The government declared a state of emergency around New Year’s as Japan’s third and deadliest wave of COVID-19 cases took its toll. (Reuters)
Tamil Nadu reports 945 fresh COVID-19 cases, 576 discharges, and 8 deaths
Total cases: 8,62,374
Active cases: 5,811
Death toll: 12,564 pic.twitter.com/NPUrcb7HRw
2,098 new COVID-19 cases, 2815 recoveries, and 13 deaths have been reported in Kerala today. Number of active cases now at 25,394; so far 10,66,259 patients have recovered from the disease. (ANI)
US President Joe Biden is suggesting that some Americans who are unwilling to get vaccinated for the coronavirus are unpatriotic. Speaking to ABC News in an interview that aired Wednesday, Biden said he had hoped to get politics out of the nationwide vaccination campaign, and that he’s been surprised by some who are refusing to get shots. Biden said: “I just don’t understand this sort of macho thing about I’m not going to get the vaccine, I have a right as an American, my freedom to not do it.’” The president added: Why don’t you be a patriot, protect other people? (AP)
With summer looming and tourism-reliant countries anxiously waiting for the return of a steady influx of tourism income amid the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union’s executive body presented a proposal Wednesday that would allow European citizens and residents “vaccinated or not” to travel freely across the 27-nation region by the summer. The plan, which will be discussed next week during a summit of EU leaders, foresees the creation of vaccine certificates aimed at facilitating travel from one member state to the other. The topic has been discussed for weeks and proved to be divisive. The travel industry and southern European countries dependent on tourism like Greece and Spain have been pushing for the quick introduction of the measure, which could help avoid quarantines and testing requirements. (AP)
Coronavirus Lockdown 2021 Live News: Key points from PM’s meet with CMs on Covid
* PM asks CMs to increase the number of vaccination centers and scale-up RT-PCR tests
* Calls for avoiding vaccine doses wastage
* Stresses micro containment zones and ‘Test, Track and Treat’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock joined a chorus of UK ministerial and expert voices to reiterate the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines against COVID-19, even as the National Health Service (NHS) marked the 100th day of its vaccination programme by expanding it to all over-50s. Around 13 countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, have sought clarifications around some reports of blood clotting and as a temporary measure suspended the use of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and being produced by AstraZeneca and also the Serum Institute of India as part of a global tie-up. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK and European medicine regulators have said the jabs are safe and that there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and blood clots. (PTI)
Presenting a contrarian perspective on COVID-19 vaccination, a Lok Sabha MP on Wednesday asked the government not to waste Rs 35,000 crore on the inoculation drive and instead use the money in improving the health infrastructure in the country. Participating in a discussion on demands for grants of the Health Ministry, YSRCP member Sanjeev Kumar Singari argued that vaccination is a waste of money as universal vaccination is neither possible nor warranted. “Now the government is proposing to spend Rs 35,000 on COVID-19 vaccination, this is a waste of money in my view. COVID-19 vaccine saves us only for 6-9 months after that Rs 35,000 crore will be evaporated,” Singari said. He also noted that crises like COVID-19 occur once in 100 years, so the government should not give much importance to the coronavirus pandemic. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has provided Rs 35,000 crore towards COVID-19 vaccination in 2021-22 fiscal. (PTI)
The Palestinian Authority says it will receive 62,000 coronavirus vaccine doses through a World Health Organization partnership designed to help poor countries. Health Ministry spokesman Kamal al-Shakhra said authorities would receive 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday and Thursday. He said the AstraZeneca vaccine will be kept in storage until the World Health Organization addresses recent safety concerns. The supplies are the Palestinian Authority’s first doses from the WHO’s COVAX initiative. They would be enough to vaccinate 31,000 people out of a population of nearly 5 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. (AP)
Expressing concern over a rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for “quick and decisive” steps to check the emerging “second peak” of coronavirus, and stressed the need to seriously follow the “test, track and treat” approach. In a virtual interaction with state chief ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi also asserted that vaccine is an effective weapon against the diseases and asked states to establish more vaccination centres, be it government-run or private. (PTI)
Three new COVID19 cases, 59 recoveries and 1 death reported in Goa in the last 24 hours
Total cases: 56,173
Total active cases: 805
Total recovered cases: 54,556
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovenia raised concerns over COVID-19 vaccine distribution in a call with the head of the European Council on Wednesday, a European Union official said.European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, discussed the matter with leaders from the six countries on Wednesday. The bloc’s 27 EU ambassadors will address this later in the day, the official said. “Leaders shared their concerns with (Michel) on possible gaps in the vaccine distribution between member states following the fact that one company has not respected its commitment,” the official said, under condition of anonymity. (Reuters)
We would like to get vaccines for our population. But I understand the supply is restricted. A request has been placed. The population is 5 million, with 2 doses for each person, it would become 10 million doses: Ambassador of Costa Rica to India, Claudio Ansorena (ANI)
We’re requesting India to supply us a good quantity of doses of vaccine. We’ve been requesting COVAXIN, launched by the Indian lab. We’re talking about at least 1.2 hundred million doses: Ambassador of Paraguay to India, Fleming Raul Duarte (ANI)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told Rajya Sabha Wednesday that India’s reputation as “pharmacy of the world” stands reinforced the way it reached out to nations in the midst of a global crisis and supplied vaccines to 72 nations. READ MORE
The Maharashtra government wants to administer COVID-19 vaccines to three lakh people on a daily basis, which is why it has demanded 20 lakh doses for each week from the Centre, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday. He said this in response to Union minister Prakash Javadekar’s reported tweet that 56 per cent of the vaccine doses sent to Maharashtra till March 12 were still unused. ‘With all due respect to Javadekar, I have already informed the Union health ministry about the state’s plan to inoculate three lakh people on a daily basis. At present, the state has a stock that will last only for the next 10 days,’ Tope said. In the last couple of days, over two lakh people were inoculated in Maharashtra on a daily basis to increase the coverage. (PTI)
There are reports on AstraZeneca’s vaccine relationship with thrombotic events in people who received vaccine. 10 countries have paused the AstraZeneca vaccine program. The European medical agency says, it’s a precautionary measure and there’s no data, assessment being done, said Dr. VK Paul Member-Health, Niti Aayog as reported by ANI. “India’s group that looks at adverse effects is aware of the issue and are tracking the information available. I assure you that we have no signal of concern in this regard (AstraZeneca vaccine), he added.
Travelling via flights? Then make sure you are following all protocols for COVID-19 transmission prevention and this includes wearing a mask throughout the journey. Failure in doing so will result in passengers being deboarded from flights. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to take action against “unruly passengers” who despite multiple warnings fail to wear a mask. According to a report by PTI, DGCA has already informed Delhi High Court regarding the same and said that those who fail to comply with guidelines will have to be deboarded from the planes. READ MORE
Prime Minister expressed disappointment on vaccine wastage. It is a precious commodity: Dr. VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog (ANI)
The World Health Organization reported there was a 10 per cent rise in new coronavirus cases globally last week, driven by surges in the Americas and Europe. WHO said in its weekly update on the status of the global outbreak published on Wednesday,the worldwide number of new COVID-19 cases peaked in early January at nearly 5 million cases, but then dropped to about 2.5 million cases per week in mid-February. The U.N. health agency noted that last week was the third consecutive week there was a global rise in new cases, after weeks of declining infections. (AP)
India’s overall percentage of COVID19 vaccine wastage is 6.5%. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recorded 17.6% and 11.6 % of vaccine wastage respectively. We have told the States that vaccine wastage needs to be drastically reduced: Health Ministry (ANI)
In the wake of a rise in COVID-19 cases, the Surat Municipal Corporation on Wednesday issued a notification making seven-day home quarantine mandatory for people travelling to the city from outside Gujarat. The notification, issued under provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, said if a person shows any symptom of the viral infection while in quarantine, he should immediately get tested. “People coming to Surat city from outside Gujarat will have to undergo mandatory seven-day home quarantine and remain in isolation to prevent others at home from getting infected,” the notification said. (PTI)
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