India COVID-19 Latest News: PM Narendra Modi chairs Cabinet meet over COVID-19, urges ministers to stay in touch with people

Mumbai vaccination stops amid record India COVID rise

India on Friday posted yet another record daily rise in coronavirus cases as hospitals across the country ran out of beds and oxygen.

A United States military plane brought the first emergency supplies as part of a huge international aid operation to help the country battle its devastating surge.

Medical experts believe actual COVID-19 numbers in the world’s second-most populous nation may be five to 10 times greater than the official tally.

India has added about 7.7 million cases to its total caseload since the end of February, when its second wave picked up steam, according to a Reuters tally.

In contrast, it took India nearly six months to add the previous 7.7 million cases.

The country is in deep crisis, with hospitals and morgues overwhelmed, medicines and oxygen in short supply and strict curbs on movement in its biggest cities.

India is the world's biggest producer of vaccines but does not have enough stockpiles to keep up with the second deadly COVID-19 wave, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government planning to vaccinate all adults starting May 1.

Only about 9 per cent of India's 1.4 billion people have received a vaccine dose since January.

Several states have said they will be unable to immunise people aged 18 to 45 immediately.

Qatar Airways to ship medical aid to India free of charge

Qatar Airways said it will ship medical aid and equipment to India free of charge from global suppliers to support international efforts to tackle the second COVID-19 surge in the country.

The airline intends to transport 300 tonnes of aid from across its global network to Doha where it will be flown in a three-flight cargo aircraft convoy directly to destinations in India where it is most desperately needed.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO said: “The State of Qatar has a long and special relationship with India, and we have watched with great sorrow as COVID-19 has once again caused a significant challenge to the country,” reported by Aljazeera.

COVID-19 vaccination for people above 18 years deferred in several States

India COVID-19 Latest News: PM Narendra Modi chairs Cabinet meet over COVID-19, urges ministers to stay in touch with people

The phase three of inoculation drive covering all adults is scheduled to begin on May 1, according to The Hindu.

Several States including Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have deferred the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive, which is scheduled to be rolled out for all adults from May 1. Punjab, Gujarat, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh too have flagged shortage of vaccine.

Delhi Chief Minister on Friday said all citizens would be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the next three months, but appealed to citizens against queuing up outside vaccination centres in the Capital from Saturday.

“Our intent is to ensure that all the citizens of Delhi are vaccinated against COVID in the next 3 months. We are yet to receive vaccine shots to be administered and are in touch with the company manufacturing it; we should start receiving it over two to three days,” Mr. Kejriwal said during a digital briefing. “My appeal to the people is to not start queuing up outside vaccination centres so that social distancing and law and order issues don’t arise,” he added.

Covid dubbed ‘once-in-a-century’ crisis in India

Terming the pandemic a ‘once-in-a-century’ crisis, the Union Council of Minister on Friday said Covid-19 has thrown a big challenge to the world. The Council said this in a statement after a meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the current Covid situation in India. In the meeting the PM urged the Union ministers to stay in touch with people of their regions, help them and keep getting their feedback.

As India continues to grapple with surge in Covid-19 cases and the resultant oxygen shortage at hospitals, the Centre on Friday said the second wave of Covid-19 is five times the peak in first wave in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, 4.5 times in Chhattisgarh and 3.3 times in Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said that the national capital has not yet received covid-19 vaccinations and that his government is in constant touch with companies for the same. This comes a day before India is set to open vaccinations for all adults. “We’ve requested both companies to make available to us 67 lakh doses each in the next 3 months. Delhi govt is ready to make payments for it. People of Delhi will be given free vaccines, kejriwal said at a Covid-19 presser.

In a “strong message” to all states and DGP of states, the Supreme Court said that any clampdown on information in which citizens are communicating their grievances will be treated as a contempt of court. “We want to make it very clear that if citizens communicate their grievances on social media and the internet then it cannot be said to be wrong information,” Justice Chandrachud said during a hearing today.

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