India ends March with highest Covid-19 deaths in 2021

New Delhi

India on Wednesday recorded the highest single-day fatalities of 354 in 2021, pushing the country’s total Covid-19 death toll due to 1,62,468. The country had recorded 355 deaths on December 17 last year and 312 on March 28. Maharashtra accounted for 139 deaths in 24 hours, followed by 64 in Punjab.

The daily infections are, however, declining as 53,480 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours as against 56,211 cases on the previous day. India’s Covid-19 tally has reached 1,21,49,335, though 1,14,34,301 have recovered, giving the recovery rate of 94.11%. Record 41,280 persons recovered in 24 hours, the highest recovery in March. As many as 6.31 crore persons have been vaccinated so far, 19.41 lakh of them in the past 24 hours.

The active caseload rose to 5,52,566, though the daily active cases dropped to 11,846 against 35,498 on Monday and 18,912 on Tuesday.

India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16, last year. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 24,36,72,940 samples had been tested till March 30 with 10,22,915 being tested in 24 hours on Wednesday.

2nd Covid surge in UP declared pandemic

Lucknow: Amid growing Cov­id cases in UP, the Yogi govt has declared the second surge as pandemic and enforced provi­sions of the Epidemic Act across the state with immediate effect till June end. Additional chief secretary, Health Amit Mohan Prasad said the decision was taken after the review of the alarming situation in the state. He admitted cases were going up daily and the virus has hit the state again in a pandemic form. The ACS Health said the Epide­mic Act, enforced earlier till March 31, has been extended till June-end or till the situation is brought und­er control. “In public interest, the state govt may cancel holi­days of doctors, health workers and other govt, private staff to deal with coronavirus.”

India ends March with highest Covid-19 deaths in 2021

Ex-PM Deve Gowda, wife +ve

Bengaluru: Former PM and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda, and his wife Chennamma, Wednesday tested positive on a day when Karnataka witnessed a huge spike in Covid cases. Gowda, 87, tweeted: “My wife Chennamma and I have tested positive for Covid. We are self-isolating along with other family members. I request all those who came in contact with us over the last few days to get themselves tested. I request party workers and well-wishers not to panic.” Deve Gowda is presently an MP in the Rajya Sabha representing Karnataka.

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said he was in touch with the doctors treating the former PM. Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa tweeted: “I hope both former PM HD Deve Gowda and his wife recover from the infection. I hope they recover soon and return to their work as usual.”

Meanwhile, the state witnessed a huge jump in new cases. From 2,975 cases on Tuesday, the number reached 4,225 on Wednesday. Bengaluru Urban topped the list with 2,928 cases and 18 Covid deaths. The state’s active case burden rose 4-fold in just 1 month.

States told to cut wastage as vaccination begins for over 45

As India prepares to open up its Covid-19 vaccination drive to people above 45 from April 1, the Centre on Wednesday asked states/UTs to identify low vaccine-coverage pockets, particularly in districts reporting a surge in new infections, and take corrective action. National Health Authority CEO and Empowered Group on Covid Vaccination chairperson Dr RS Sharma and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting with health secretaries, mission directors of NHM and immuni­sation officers of all states and UTs during the day, a statement said. The status and pace of the inocula­tion drive across the country were reviewed at the meeting held through video-conferencing, as were the preparations for April 2021, when vaccination wo­uld be extended to cover everybody above the age of 45, the ministry said. The Centre advised the states/UTs to maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1% (current National Wastage Percentage being 6%).

Kiosks, mandatory RT-PCR tests: U’khand set for Kumbh

The major Hindu pilgrimage festival Kumbh-Mela, which attracts lakhs of people to sacred river bank sites in Haridwar and Allahabad is set to begin on Thursday, with the concerned administrations gearing up to ensure all Covid-preventive measures are put in place. Coronavirus tests, testing kiosks and restrictions on entering Uttarkhand have also been implemented.

DCGI extends shelf life of Covishield from 6 to 9 months

India’s drug regulator DCGI has extended the shelf life of Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, from 6-9 months from its manufacturing date. In a letter to SII, DCGI’s VG Somani said Serum is permitted to apply the vaccine’s shelf life of 9 months to unlabelled vials available on hand. Shelf life is the length of time for which an item remains fit for use.

1 day Covid vaccination off for UP govt/pvt sector employees

To speed up the vaccination, the Yogi govt in UP has allowed a 1-day vaccination off to all govt/private sector employees to take Covid-19 vaccine, which has opened for all above 45 years of age from Wednesday. The CM has also directed chief secy RK Tewari to ensure the private sector follows the provision for the leave for vaccination to its all employees. Meanwhile, the govt extended closure of all govt/private primary schools up to Class VIII till April 4 as a precautionary measures. Primary schools were earlier closed from March 24 to 31 following the second second wave. Regular classes were to begin from Thursday. The govt issued directions to health dept for conducting random RT PCR tests in all residential schools on priority.

Virus Tidbits

-- Visitors from Nepal to be subjected to rapid antigen tests in Uttarakhand

-- Amid resurgence, TTD reduces darshan tokens

-- Devotees gather in huge number to play 'Kapda Fad' Holi in Mathura

-- J&K records this year’s biggest spike. Is tourism to blame for the Covid surge?

-- Tourist from Maharashtra dies in Srinagar

-- Rajasthan govt increases night curfew timings by 1 hour in eight districts

-- Random test of flyers from states where there has been a surge in cases recently

-- 200 positive in Goa, amid fears of surge

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