A record single-day rise of 2,61,500 coronavirus infections has taken India’s total tally of Covid-19 cases to 1,47,88,109, while active cases have surpassed the 18-lakh mark, according to Union health ministry data updated on Sunday. The death toll increased to 1,77,150 with a record 1,501 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
As the daily coronavirus positivity rate in the country in the last 12 days has doubled to 16.69%, many states have raised an alarm over shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies, even as they ramped up measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, and sought the Centre’s support in assorted ways. Ten states — Maharashtra, UP, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan — reported 78.56% of the new infections.
Over 25,000 people have tested Covid-19 positive in the last 24 hours in Delhi and less than 100 ICU beds remain available in hospitals, CM Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday. The Delhi government directed all nursing homes and private hospitals providing Covid-related treatment in the national capital to reserve at least 80% of their ICU & ward bed capacity for Covid patients.
Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday seeking help for beds and oxygen for coronavirus patients.
Kejriwal also requested the prime minister for reserving at least 7000 central government hospital beds out of the 10,000 in Delhi for Covid patients, and immediate supply of oxygen.
“The Covid situation has become very serious in Delhi. There is huge shortage of beds and oxygen. I request that at least 7,000 out of 10,000 beds in Central government hospitals in Delhi be reserved for Covid patients and oxygen be immediately provided in Delhi,” he wrote.
Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar on Sunday underlined the need for more stringent action in Bengaluru in view of rising coronavirus cases leading to speculations about lockdown in the coming days.
Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel on Sunday admitted that the present requirement of beds and other healthcare facilities in the wake of the spike in coronavirus cases is more than the state administration’s capacity. Patel, who handles health portfolio, said though the state government is adding more facilities and beds at regular intervals to accomodate more patients, it fell short of demand.
“Over 9,000 new coronavirus cases are emerging in Gujarat everyday. Though we are adding new facilities and beds at regular intervals, it falls short against the demand as the inflow of coronavirus patients is much higher,” Patel told reporters at civil hospital campus.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Covid-19 crisis, stressing that ramping up vaccination was the key to battling the pandemic.
In a letter to the prime minister, the veteran Congress leader said one must not look at absolute numbers but the total percentage of population vaccinated. “The key to our fight against Covid-19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated, and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated,” he said in his letter.
Noting that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, Singh said he is certain that with the right policy design, “we can do much better and very quickly”.
The health ministry said a total of 1,77,150 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 59,970 from Maharashtra, 13,270 from Karnataka, 13,071 from Tamil Nadu, 11,960 from Delhi, 10,540 from West Bengal, 9,703 from Uttar Pradesh, 7,834 from Punjab and 7,388 from Andhra Pradesh.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70% of the deaths occurred due to co-morbidities.
Meanwhile, engineering entrance exam JEE-Mains scheduled to be held from April 27-30 has been postponed in view of the Covid-19 situation, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced on Sunday.