The governments of West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu appealed to the Centre for an increased allocation of medical oxygen as cases rise
States like Karnataka, Goa, Telangana, and Chandigarh imposed fresh restrictions to curb the exponential second wave of COVID-19 on a day India reported a record 4,14,188 new cases in 24 hours. The total tally of cases in the country climbed to 2,14,91,598.
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa announced a “complete lockdown” across the state from 10 May to 6 am on 24 May, saying the corona curfew imposed earlier failed to yield results.
“Not even a single person will be allowed (outside) after 10 am in the lockdown, I have suggested police officers to take stringent action. We have decided this after looking at the death toll and increasing number of cases,” he said, according to a report in Times Now.
Meanwhile, the governments of West Bengal and Maharashtra appealed to the Centre for an increased allocation of medical oxygen. Hospitals around the country, including Delhi, have been grappling with a severe shortage of oxygen which is a crucial part of COVID-19 treatment.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding 550 MT of oxygen per day for the state.
“Consumption of medical oxygen is increasing rapidly due to increase in COVID-19 positive cases. It has gone up to 470 MT per day in the last 24 hours and expected to increase to 550 MT in the next seven to eight days,” she wrote.
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that the state needs a total of 1,700 MT of oxygen in a day, and appealed to the Centre to provide the required amount.
Additionally, the Supreme Court rejected the Centre’s appeal against a Karnataka High Court order directing it to supply 1,200 MT of oxygen per day to the state.
In a bid to bolster the country’s resources to combat the second wave, Indian naval ships brought in critical items, including oxygen generators and cylinders, from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Singapore to help fight the second wave of COVID-19 , the Defence Ministry said on Friday.
In Friday’s press briefing on the COVID-19 situation in India, additional secretary Arti Ahuja said the COVID-19 case positivity is more than 15 percent in more than 24 states and UTs including Goa, West Bengal, Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, while it is between 5 to 15 percent in nine states.
In Goa, case positivity is 48.5 percent, Haryana (36.1), West Bengal (33.1), whereas it’s 29.9 percent each in Karnataka, Delhi, and Rajasthan and 27.9 percent each in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. In Maharashtra, the positivity rate is at 23.5 percent, the health ministry said.
Twelve states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Haryana, and Bihar — have over one lakh active COVID-19 cases each at present, while the count is between 50,000 and one lakh in seven states.
Ahuja added that Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand are among the states and UTs showing “gradual plateauing” in daily new COVID-19 cases.
However, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, Assam, and Odisha are among those showing an upward trend in daily new cases of the infection, and remain a cause of concern, she said.
Karnataka announces complete lockdown; 15-day curfew in Goa
All cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes, stadiums, playgrounds, swimming pools, parks, entertainment parks, clubs, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls, and similar places shall remain closed in Karnataka during the 15-day lockdown, The Times of India reported.
Schools, colleges, educational/coaching institutions will also remain closed in the state. Only scheduled flights and trains will operate during the lockdown, and the tickets “shall serve as the passes for movement of people by personal vehicles/taxis/cab aggregators/autorickshaws to board flight and trains,” the report added.
There was already a curfew in place in the state from 27 April, which was to end on 12 May.
“The second wave of COVID-19 is creating havoc across the state as the Corona curfew imposed in the state has not yielded the expected result in reducing the infection and death rate,” Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said, adding, “Therefore, the government has decided to impose a stringent measure to check the spread of the disease and death.”
Karnataka reported 48,781 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
The Goa government also announced a 15-day curfew in the state from 9 May, and said that carrying a negative COVID-19 test report or a vaccination certificate has been made mandatory for visitors from other states.
During the curfew period, grocery shops can remain open from 9 am to 1 pm while there will be no restrictions on pharmacies and other medical facilities, said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
The decision to impose curfew had to be taken as people are disobeying existing restrictions, he told reporters. “Hardly 25 percent of people have to actually move out of the house. But we have seen people unnecessarily loitering outside,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Telangana government on Friday extended the night curfew across the state for seven more days till 15 May, and the Chandigarh administration decided to impose another weekend lockdown to check the coronavirus spread.
MK Stalin flags ‘severe crisis’ of oxygen shortage in a letter to Modi
Flagging the “severe crisis” over the availability of medical oxygen in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister MK Stalin urged Modi to intervene and ensure the state gets supplies, and for the Centre to make available containers and trains to transport oxygen to the state.
Indicating that the death of 13 people at a government hospital near Chennai this week was possibly due to oxygen shortage, he said the availability of the gas is “very very critical”.
In his first official communication to Modi after taking over as chief minister, Stalin said, “While the state is taking a number of steps to control the (COVID-19) pandemic, I would like to draw your urgent attention to the severe crisis with regards to the availability of medical oxygen in Tamil Nadu.”
While Tamil Nadu’s daily consumption of medical oxygen was around 440 MT, it was likely to increase to 840 MT in the next two weeks, he said in the letter to Modi.
No use of making waiting list for beds: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court on Friday said there was no use of making a waiting list for hospital beds on the Delhi government’s website as a person goes to the hospital in an emergency and “nobody is going to wait in these COVID-19 pandemic days”.
The high court also suggested that patients from lower strata could be given basic medicines like paracetamol along with steamers and thermometers as immediate COVID help.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said it will be a counter-productive thing to have a waiting list for hospital beds while rejecting a submission by an advocate that the waiting list should be updated on the bed portal of the government.
“If someone needs an oxygen bed, it is only in an emergency, let’s be very clear about it. Nobody goes to a hospital unless there is an emergency… It is not that if you register today, your number will come in the evening. It is a redundant exercise… Nobody is going to keep waiting in these times,” the bench said.
However, the bench added there can be a waitlist for vaccination.
The bench, which heard the matter relating to various COVID-19 issues for several hours, opined that if the Delhi government was providing oximeter to COVID positive person, as claimed by its counsel, it could also consider giving basic medicines along with a steamer and thermometer to the patient which could be returned later.
COVID-19 caseload details
With a record 4,14,188 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India’s tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,14,91,598, while the active cases crossed 36 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.
The toll has increased to 2,34,083 with 3,915 fatalities being reported in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 36,45,164 comprising 16.96 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 81.95 percent.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,76,12,351, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.09 percent, the data stated.
The 3,915 new fatalities include 853 from Maharashtra, 350 from Uttar Pradesh, 335 from Delhi, 328 from Karnataka, 212 from Chhattisgarh, 195 from Tamil Nadu, 177 from Haryana, 161 from Rajasthan, 154 from Punjab, 151 from Uttarakhand, 133 from Jharkhand, 123 from Gujarat and 117 from West Bengal.
A total of 2,34,083 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 73,515 from Maharashtra, 18,398 from Delhi, 17,212 from Karnataka, 14,974 from Tamil Nadu, 14,501 from Uttar Pradesh, 11,964 from West Bengal, 9,979 from Punjab, and 9,950 from Chhattisgarh.
With inputs from PTI