Over 392,000 fresh cases reported
India reported 392,488 fresh coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the cumulative caseload to 19.5 million, according to central health ministry data. The country saw 3,689 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 215,542. The active caseload is at 3.3 million, while the total recoveries have surged to 15.9 million. As many as 156 million shots have been administered since the nationwide inoculation programme kicked off on January 16. Of these, 1.8 million were given on Saturday. Read more here
TMC got most EC notices for violation of Covid protocols in Bengal polls
In the bitterly fought West Bengal polls which ended on April 29, the Election Commission sent the most notices for violation of Covid-19 protocols to Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC), a report in the Hindustan Times said, citing officials familiar with the matter.
As many as 178 notices were issued to political parties in total, of which 67 were sent to the TMC, followed by 59 to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Notices were also issued to the Indian National Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the Rashtriya Secular Majlis Party, the report said.
Key members of Covid-19 task force push for national lockdown
Some members of the Covid-19 task force—an expert body that advises the Modi government—are pushing for a national lockdown, a report in The Indian Express said. Members of the task force include experts from top health institutions, including AIIMS and ICMR. The discussions and views of these experts are of significance since the chairperson of the task force, V K Paul, reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The task force has met several times during the recent surge in Covid cases.
Pollution control body asks 30 industries to alter nitrogen plants to produce medical oxygen
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified 30 industries that will alter their nitrogen plants to produce medical oxygen to aid India's fight against Covid-19, a report in the Hindustan Times said. Some of these plants can be moved to nearby hospitals and the ones that cannot be moved can produce oxygen on-site, according to CPCB. The central government had directed the CPCB to identify industries with spare nitrogen plants and explore the possibility of converting nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. The CPCB has a database of all industrial units in the country, the report said.
Need 'aggressive lockdowns' to beat second wave: AIIMS chief
AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria believes "aggressive lockdowns— like the nationwide lockdown that was imposed last year—in areas where positivity rates are over 10 per cent are necessary to contain the second wave of Covid-19, a report in NDTV said. Guleria said night curfews and weekend lockdowns—such as those enforced by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and other states—were proving to be ineffectual.