A health worker collects swab sample of visitors to test for Covid-19 at the Gateway of India in Mumbai on Friday. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)
The Goa administration on Saturday imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in North and South Goa districts, to prohibit public gatherings ahead of Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr festivals to control the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government banned all types of social gatherings in the state, including religious and political, effective from Mar 27 onwards. Malls, restaurants and gardens will remain shut in the state from 8 pm to 7 am from March 27, a government statement said. However, home delivery of food in night has been exempted. “Gatherings of more than five people will not be allowed from 8 pm to 7 am effective from midnight on 27th March. Violation will attract penalty of Rs 1,000 per person on offenders,” the statement said.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan Saturday chaired a high-level meeting with 12 states and union territories reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases. States/UTs have been advised to focus on stringent containment and public health measures in 46 high burden districts. The states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab and Bihar.
States and UTs laid out a five-fold strategy for effective containment including increasing testing exponentially, effective isolation and contact tracing, re-invigoration of public and private healthcare resources, ensuring Covid appropriate behaviour and targeted approach to vaccination in districts reporting large numbers.
Maharashtra govt bans social gathering from March 27; Health Secretary holds high-level meet with 12 states/UTs reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases; 62,258 new cases reported on Friday; no lockdown in Pune. Follow the latest updates on Covid-19 here.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry Saturday said six states — Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh — continue to report a high surge in daily Covid-19 cases and account for 79.57 per cent of the new infections reported in a span of 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday said clinical trials of Covovax have begun in India and the company hopes to launch it by September this year. In August 2020, American vaccine company Novavax, Inc had announced a licence agreement with SII for the development and commercialisation of NVX-CoV2373, its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, in low and middle-income countries and India.
A total of 62,258 new cases of coronavirus infections were detected in India on Friday, out of which 36,902, or 60 per cent, came from Maharashtra. Mumbai reported a record high of 5,964 new cases in the last 24 hours. Punjab and Gujarat have also reported their highest numbers till now. There are more than 4.52 lakh active cases at present, with more than 62 per cent of them in Maharashtra. A total of 291 deaths were reported on Friday, which included 117 in Maharashtra and 59 in Punjab.
Top United Nations officials, including the UN peacekeeping chief, have expressed gratitude to India for its gift of 2,00,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses for peacekeepers, saying the donation will enable the Blue Helmets to continue their life-saving work in a safe manner. The 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, announced as a gift by India for UN peacekeepers, left Mumbai in the early hours of Saturday and will arrive at Copenhagen, Denmark. They will then be distributed to all UN peacekeeping missions.
Maharashtra has said it would impose a night curfew from 28th March as the Covid cases are showing a steady rise in the state. The order also directs malls to remain shut from 8 pm to 7 am in the state. The Disaster management and rehabilitation department will be issuing a separate order in this regard, said the Chief Minister’s office.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the recent surge in the country’s coronavirus cases is being closely monitored and strict enforcement of COVID protocols will be implemented to curb the pandemic. Earlier in the day, he had said the government is planning to include more population under the vaccination drive. Everyone above 45 years was made eligible for vaccination yesterday.
India added over one lakh coronavirus infections in just two days as the second wave of the virus grew stronger in big cities and states. Considering this, the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan today placed restrictions on public gathering for the upcoming festivals in the respective states.
Mumbai, registering record virus cases daily, has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals besides ramping up testing and vaccination efforts in the city.
For the first time in the last four months, India on Thursday morning reported more than 50,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 infection in a 24-hour window.
Daily deaths continued to surge: after reporting 275 deaths on Wednesday, the country reported 251 deaths on Thursday morning.
With several states reporting major surges in daily new cases, India’s total active caseload is now 3.95 lakh, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. A total of 53,476 fresh cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, the Ministry said.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is aiming to scale up its vaccination drive soon and administer 50,000 doses every day to inoculate the maximum number of local residents. It also plans to start 24-hour vaccination centres in five places across the city, where the number of active Covid-19 cases is over 49,000.
“The PMC is aiming to vaccinate 20,000 local residents on Thursday. We want to take the number of people vaccinated every day to 50,000 in next few days by increasing number of vaccination centres,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agarwal.
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