02 May 2021
A) 12 patients, including a doctor, die as Delhi’s Batra Hospital runs out of oxygen.
Twelve patients at Delhi’s Batra Hospital, including a senior doctor, died on Saturday and at least two other hospitals reported precipitous drops in their oxygen stocks. With the death of the 12 patients in the south Delhi hospital which announced at 12.30 p.m. that it had run out of oxygen the number of hospital patients who have lost their lives in the deepening crisis in the last eight days has gone up to 57. Batra first reported the deaths of eight, and revised the toll to 12 by evening. They are trying to resuscitate five other critical patients, Dr. S C L Gupta, medical director of Batra hospital, told PTI earlier in the day. Six of the patients who died were admitted to the ICU, he said. Among those who died due to the lack of oxygen were Dr R K Himthani, head of the gastroenterology department who had been admitted to the hospital for the last 15-20 days. He said the government had sent out SOS messages about oxygen shortage on Saturday. The hospital had informed authorities about lack of oxygen in the morning when only 2,500 litres were left. Then, at around 12.30 pm, hospital authorities claimed they had run out of oxygen. The tanker arrived at 1.35 pm. Dr. Bankata had said at 12:15 pm that the oxygen situation was extremely critical and the hospital is not being able to support ventilated patients . Around 1 pm, he said in a video statement, We have just run out of oxygen. Currently we are surviving on some oxygen cylinders, but that will also run out over the next 10 minutes. The hospital has a total of 307 Covid-19 patients, the doctor said.
B) Supply 490 MT oxygen to Delhi today or face contempt: HC to Centre.
The Delhi High Court on Saturday warned the Central government of initiating contempt proceedings against its officers for their failure to fulfill the 490 metric tonnes of oxgen allocated for Delhi even for a single day. A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli said, Pertinently, the allocation to Delhi, which was earlier of 480 MT (since April 20, 2021), and now is of 490 MT has not been fulfilled even for a single day. In case, this order is not implemented, the concerned officers of the Central Government viz. Piyush Goyal and Sunita Dawra shall remain present during the hearing on May 3, the high court ordered. Looking to the situation, we make it clear that we may even consider initiating Contempt Proceedings in case of non-compliance, the high court cautioned. The High Court gave the direction after taking a serious view of a statement made by Dr. S. Bankata, Executive Director of Batra Hospital that there was a delay in supply of Oxygen due to which oxygen supply was interrupted for about an hour and a half, which has led to loss of 12 lives, including a doctor of the hospital. Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, informed the court at 03:05 p.m. that he has received an SOS message from Bidhuri, who is the officer tasked with the job of ensuring supply to hospitals in Delhi, that Delhi’s reserves are exhausted. Mehra said there was no supply or minimal supply from the plants of Linde and Air Liquide on Saturday. He expressed serious concerns as to how the Capital would tide over the shortage on Saturday, as a lot of hospitals and nursing homes have run out of medical Oxygen, or would do so in the coming few hours. During the hearing, the high court also remarked that Delhi is not an industrial State, and does not have availability of cryogenic tankers of its own which could be requisitioned under the Disaster Management Act like other States have done.
C) 18 dead in fire at Covid-19 hospital in Gujarat.
Sixteen Covid-19 patients and two nurses died in a tragic fire in the ICU ward of Welfare Hospital in Bharuch. This is the second fire incident in which multiple casualties were reported from Gujarat. Earlier this week, five persons had died when a fire broke out in an ICU ward of a private Covid-19 hospital in Surat. There were around 50 other patients at the four- storeyed Welfare Hospital when the fire broke out in the COVID-19 ward at 1 a.m. In the Bharuch hospital, the fire occurred in an ICU ward and quickly spread to the entire floor of a four storey building where more than 50 COVID-19 patients were undergoing the treatment. A total of 18 persons died in the fire including 16 patients and two nurses, a statement issued by the district police stated. The deceased included eleven female and seven male.
D) More than 700 teachers died of Covid-19 during U.P. panchayat polls: Priyanka Gandhi.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday alleged that over 700 teachers have died of Covid-19 because of their involvement in the conduct of panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh amid a catastrophic onslaught of the second wave. She said it is nothing less than a crime against humanity and charged the State Election Commission (SEC) with playing along. The party in-charge of U.P. claimed that a pregnant woman was among the victims. The State government’s actions amounted to ‘terrorising’ the people and hiding the truth from them, she said. The polling for the four-phase elections ended on Thursday with a turnout of 75% in the final phase. These elections have been conducted in almost 60,000 gram sabhas of U.P. without any thought of the catastrophic onslaught of the second wave. Meetings were conducted, campaigning continued, and the spread of Covid-19 in U.P.’s villages is now unstoppable. People are dying in numbers far, far above the deceitful official figures, Vadra said in a series of tweets. People were dying in their homes across rural U.P., and these deaths are not being counted as pandemic-related because people aren’t being tested, she claimed.
E) Supreme Court refuses to defer counting process of U.P. panchayat elections.
The Supreme Court on Saturday refused to intervene in an appeal to defer the counting process in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections on May 2 after the State and Election Commission gave assurances that Covid-19 protocols would be adhered to. Appearing before a Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Hrishikesh Roy in a special sitting, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, for the State, said essential measures (protocol) for safety and security of everyone concerned in the counting centres, including the recent notifications on April 29 and April 30 on COVID, would be complied with. Bhati said strict curfew would be imposed in areas notified by the authorities, in particular, in and around the counting centres. The curfew would continue till the declaration of results. That will ensure that only the candidates and their authorised representatives would be able to visit/enter the counting centres and gathering of general public is avoided, the order noted. The court also recorded that the undertaking given by the State Election Commission that the CCTV recording would be done at the counting centres and preserved.
F) Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of reported coronavirus cases from India stood at 1,93,03,178 with the death toll at 2,12,966. Some private hospital chains commenced the Covid-19 immunisation drive for the 18-44 age group at limited centres in the country on May 1, officials said. Apollo Hospitals sources said the drive commenced at its centres in Hyderabad and Kolkata, but not in Delhi. They said that they are waiting for the vaccines to arrive and that the immunisation in Delhi is likely to begin either by Monday or Tuesday. Max Healthcare announced the drive will begin at select hospitals in the network in the NCR of Delhi . The drive is yet to begin at Fortis Healthcare since it is waiting for the vaccine doses to arrive, sources said, adding it will start later in the day. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that the lockdown in the Capital would be extended by one more week. This means restrictions will be in place till May 10. This will be the second extension of the lockdown in the city to contain the pandemic and, effectively, mean that restrictions remain in force continuously for three weeks. India on Saturday received the first consignment of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). The CBIC in a tweet said that Hyderabad customs expedited the clearance of the vaccine imported from Russia. The government last month allowed emergency use of imported vaccines to curb the spread of coronavirus infection and waived customs duty on their imports.
A) U.S. to restrict travel from India starting May 4.
In view of the very high numbers of Covid-19 cases and multiple strains of the virus in India, the United States will restrict travel of non-citizens from the country, starting on Tuesday, Eastern U.S. time. President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on Friday afternoon prohibiting the entry of non-citizens (the administration has done away with the term ‘alien’) who have been physically present in India for 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the U.S. There is a long list of exemptions and the order will be reviewed every 30 days. H-1B and L holders and their dependants are not automatically exempt from the restrictions. The entry restrictions do not apply to lawful permanent residents (LPRs or green card holders); non-citizens married to Americans or green card holders; non-citizen parents or legal guardians of minors (under 21) who are U.S. citizens or green card holders; siblings of unmarried citizens or LPRs, provided they are both under 21 and unmarried and other categories of travellers. Those travelling on immigrant visas are also exempt from the restrictions, a State Department spokesperson confirmed. All routine visa appointments at the U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are cancelled until May 15 and at the consulate in Mumbai until May 28 due to Covid-19, a State Department spokesperson said.
B) Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan agree to a ceasefire after deadly clashes.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on Saturday claimed another breakthrough in their bid to end the worst clashes at their shared border in memory as several thousand Kyrgyz demonstrators rallied against what they called an invasion attempt by their Central Asian neighbour. Clashes between communities over land and water along the long-contested border are regular occurrences, with border guards often getting involved. However, this week’s violence was by far the most serious during the Central Asian pair’s 30 years of independence. Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry said that its death toll from the shooting that began between the two militaries on Thursday had reached 34, with a hundred injured. The two Presidents spoke by telephone Monday in a bid to preserve the ceasefire that was agreed on Thursday but which broke down on both Friday and Saturday. That prefaced a meeting of delegations headed by the countries’ respective national security committee chiefs, in which the pair agreed to create working groups to help enforce the ceasefire, Kyrgyzstan’s national security committee said. Russia said it hoped the countries would strictly follow the commitments made during bilateral talks.