By SM .01 May, 2021
NEW DELHI: India"s coronavirus cases hit a grim global record with 4,01,993 fresh infections in the last 24 hours. 3,523 deaths were reported. The third phase of the world"s largest vaccination drive has started today even as several states flag shortage.
India recorded over 4 lakh cases for the first time after reporting 3 lakh daily infection for nine straight days. The country - hit by a deadly second wave - logged 1 lakh cases in a day for the first time about three weeks ago.
The unrelenting second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is becoming worse by the day with India reporting more and more deaths and cases. As of Friday, India is reporting over two deaths and close to 270 fresh cases per minute on average, data from the union ministry of health suggests. Further, over four cases are reported each second, the data says.
The Supreme Court on Friday warned action against states for a clampdown on information or citizens sharing grievances on social media. "If citizens communicate their grievances on social media, we do not want clampdown on the information. We will treat this as contempt if any citizen is harassed if they want bed or oxygen," Justice DY Chandrachud said during a hearing.
The third phase of vaccination for those in the age group of 18-44 years started today even as several states - Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh - have said they"re running low on stocks. The government, however, has countered them saying 1 crore doses are still available with the states.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a meeting with the council of ministers. "Discussed the various steps being undertaken including coordination with the states, augmenting medical capacities and boosting oxygen availability," the Prime Minister said after the meeting.
The United States and Australia have restricted travel from India amid the Covid surge. Australia has even warned of a five-year jail term for those defying the new rule.
The government on Friday granted emergency financial powers to the armed forces to augment their efforts in the battle against COVID-19. These new powers will help them operate facilities, procure equipment and resources, and perform any required urgent tasks.
India"s coronavirus cases may peak next week between May 3 and 5, according to a mathematical model of a team of scientists advising the government, news agency Reuters reported. "Our belief is that by next week, the daily new cases nationwide would have peaked," M Vidyasagar, head of a government-appointed group of scientists modeling the trajectory of infections, told Reuters.
Several nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, have pledged sustained support to India as hospitals in the country scramble for resources. The country received the first batch of Covid supplies from the US on Friday.
Bengal announced a partial lockdown on Friday after critics attributed the surge in cases to election rallies. The state voted in a record eight-phased polls to elect the next government. Results will be out tomorrow.
Many experts have attributed the spike in cases to the mega Kumbh Mela that ended Friday. Over 70 lakh people took part in the religious festival, government data has shown.