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Coronavirus India Live Updates: Keep Kumbh ‘symbolic,’ Modi urges seers as India records 2.3 lakh new cases, 1,300 deaths in 1 day

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Coronavirus in India Live Updates, Covid-19 Lockdown India LiveCoronavirus in India Live Updates, Covid-19 Lockdown India LiveAn Akhada chief has died due to Covid and number of seers have tested positive for the viral infection. (PTI Photo)

New Coronavirus Cases in India Live News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took to Twitter to urge the Hindu seer community gathered for the Kumbh Mela 2021 to keep the religious event as ‘symbolic’ due to the deadly second wave of the coronavirus. The appeal came as India registered a record high of 2,34,692 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths has also gone up with 1,341 people losing their lives in one day. With the cases rising, almost half of India is in some kind of restrictions and tough curbs imposed by the state administrations.

Also Read: Delhi sees record daily rise of 19,486 COVID-19 cases, Andhra govt says it has no stock of vaccine

As the nation fights out with the invisible enemy, here are the latest updates from all states and around the globe:

Brazil asked women to delay getting pregnant until the worst of the pandemic passes, saying the virus variant that is devastating the South American country appears to affect expectant mothers more than earlier versions of the coronavirus. The recommendation comes as Brazil continues to be one of the global epicenters of the pandemic, with more Brazilians dying of the virus each day than anywhere else in the world. Hospitals are buckling under the strain and stocks of drugs needed for intubating severely ill patients are running perilously low, with Brazil turning to international partners for help with emergency supplies. – Reuters

Argentines around capital Buenos Aires are rebelling against tightened pandemic restrictions, brought back in this week as daily COVID-19 cases surged to record highs. The country’s daily per capita cases have risen even above hard-hit neighbor Brazil. The new measures kicked in on Friday. Set to run to the end of the month, there is an effective curfew after 8pm, indoor activities are banned in public spaces, and schools are closed. But many restaurants, gyms and bars appear to be defying government orders. In the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Almagro, bar owner Marcelo, 63, said he did not intend to abide by the new regulations that only allow outdoor seating, saying he needed to protect the business he had run for 18 years. – Reuters

Mainland China reported 15 new COVID-19 cases on April 16, up from 11 cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Saturday. The National Health Commission, in a statement, said one of the new cases was a local infection reported in southwestern Yunnan province, which discovered a new cluster in late March in a city on the border with Myanmar. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 19 from 31 cases a day earlier. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 90,483, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,636. – Reuters

Former Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra has been banned from holding public office for 10 years in a unanimous vote by the country’s congress after he allegedly jumped the queue to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vizcarra was found guilty of influence peddling, collusion and making false declarations in relation to Peru’s VIP Vaccines scandal which saw scores of ministers and public officials receive Sinopharm vaccines before they were publicly available in the country. Congress approved his temporary banning from public office by 86 votes in favour and zero against. It also disqualified the former Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti from holding public office for eight years; and former Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete for a year. – Reuters

Guatemala will restrict entry to visitors who have recently been to Brazil, the United Kingdom and South Africa in an effort to control a jump in coronavirus cases, President Alejandro Giammattei said. The measure will go into effect on Saturday and last through April 30, applying to tourists who have been to those countries within the prior two weeks, Giammattei said in a public address. He noted that Guatemala had registered 5,813 new COVID-19 infections in the last five days, bringing the total in the Central American country to 210,667 confirmed cases. – Reuters

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 23,804 to 3,123,077, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 219 to 79,847, the tally showed. – Reuters

Australia will continue its review of coronavirus vaccines after a 48-year-old woman’s death was likely linked to the inoculation, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Saturday. On Friday, Australia reported its first fatality from blood clots in a recipient of AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 shot. It was the third case of the rare blood clots appearing in people who have been administered the vaccine in the country. “The government will ask ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) to ensure continuous review of all of the vaccines in terms of their safety and their efficacy,” Hunt said at a televised briefing. – Reuters

Thailand reported 1,547 new coronavirus cases and two additional deaths on Saturday, amid a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.The new cases took the total number of confirmed infections to 40,585, with 99 fatalities. – Reuters

Former Karnataka CM and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy tests positive for COVID19. He took to Twitter to inform about the same.

The Tripura government has announced suspension of physical attendance of students in all schools, colleges and universities from April 17 due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The state administration a week ago had suspended classroom teaching of standard 1 and 2 in all schools across the state for an indefinite period for the same reason. Schools reopened for students in Tripura in various phases since December 8 after they were closed in the wake of the pandemic in March last year. – PTI

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope has said that there was no communication from the Centre or genome sequencing laboratories about the prevalence of the double mutant of the COVID-19 virus. The minister said he was “100 per cent sure” about double mutation in the state. “However, we have received no communication from the Centre or the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is responsible for genome sequencing of COVID-19. As we do not know about new guidelines, we can not contain the spread of the virus. The Centre should guide us about the new virus and its behaviour. We have sent several letters but we are still waiting for a response,” the minister said. – PTI

German vaccine-maker IDT Biologika has said that it plans to bottle this year some 10 million doses of the coronavirus shot developed by AstraZeneca. IDT Biologika and AstraZeneca previously announced they would expand production capacity for the British-Swedish company’s vaccine at a plant in the German town of Dessau by the end of 2022. The new agreement was made possible because a third manufacturer, Merz Pharma, relinquished the production capacity it had reserved with IDT for the second quarter. IDT produces vaccines for several pharmaceutical companies. In March, the company announced that for three months it would make the single-dose COVID-19 shot developed by Johnson & Johnson. – AP

The Maharashtra State COVID task force chairperson Dr Sanjay Oak has suggested that non-essential surgeries be postponed to save medical oxygen. He said the decision on this, however, would have to be taken at a local level as factors such as the patient’s condition and medical urgency are paramount. Amid a spike in cases, there is a reported shortage of medical oxygen in some parts of the state. – PTI

Last rites of 108 people who died of coronavirus in Bhopal were performed on Thursday, a figure vastly different from the Madhya Pradesh government’s claim on COVID-19 fatalities that day, according to records maintained by crematoriums and graveyards in the state capital and officials working there. The government had claimed that only eight people had died of the infection in Bhopal district in the last 24 hours (on Thursday). According to the records with two crematoriums and a graveyard, last rites of 156 people were performed on Thursday in the state capital. Of them 108 were coronavirus-infected, the documents showed. – PTI

The US is setting up a USD 1.7 billion national network to identify and track worrisome coronavirus mutations whose spread could trigger another pandemic wave, the Biden administration announced Friday. White House officials unveiled a strategy that features three components: a major funding boost for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments to ramp up coronavirus gene-mapping; the creation of six ‘centers of excellence’ partnerships with universities to conduct research and develop technologies for gene-based surveillance of pathogens, and building a data system to better share and analyze information on emerging disease threats, so knowledge can be turned into action. – PTI

Over 5,500 people were fined for not wearing face masks in public places in Noida and Greater Noida on Friday, even as Gautam Buddh Nagar Police Commissioner Alok Singh hit the ground to ensure compliance of COVID-19 protocols, officials said. As many as 5,525 people were penalised till 10 pm and Rs 6.21 lakh collected from them in fines, a police spokesperson said. “Of these people, 18 were issued penalties of Rs 1,000 as per new rules,” the official said. Also, owners of 1,719 vehicles were issued challans across Gautam Buddh Nagar district for flouting traffic rules and COVID-19 protocols, the policeman said, adding that nine vehicles were impounded. – PTI

The head of Italy’s national health institute distanced himself Friday from a scandal over a spiked World Health Organization report into Italy’s coronavirus response, saying he had no means to interfere with the U.N. agency and had never censored even inconvenient information from the public. Dr Silvio Brusaferro was drawn into the scandal after a leaked document from Bergamo prosecutors last week revealed transcripts of WhatsApp chats between Brusaferro and a WHO official, Dr. Ranieri Guerra, who is under investigation for having allegedly made false claims to prosecutors about the report. The report, published in May last year as a guide to help countries prepare for COVID-19, sparked a nerve because it revealed that the Italian government hadn’t updated its pandemic preparedness plan since 2006. – AP

With the addition of 5,039 coronavirus cases, the infection count in Thane district of Maharashtra mounted to 4,06,093, an official said on Saturday. These new cases were reported on Friday, he said. As 39 patients succumbed to the infection during the day, the death toll in the district rose to 6,864. Thane district’s COVID-19 mortality rate is 1.69 per cent now, he added. So far, 3,42,069 patients have recuperated, which took the recovery rate to 84.23 per cent. There are 57,160 active cases of coronavirus in the district at present, the official said. – PTI

Popular Tamil actor Vivekh, who was put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support at a hospital here after he suffered a cardiac arrest, passed away on Saturday. The 59-year-old comedian died in the early hours, SIMS Hospital vice president Dr Raju Sivasamy said in a statement. Vivekh was admitted to the hospital on Friday and a cent per cent “blockage” in a heart vessel was detected and he was put on ECMO support since his condition turned critical. The actor was administered the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. Authorities had said the cardiac arrest he suffered was not due to the vaccination. – PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday will hold a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation as the national capital has been witnessing an exponential rise in coronavirus cases. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also nodal minister for COVID-19 management, and Health Minister Satyendar Jain will also attend the meeting. “To monitor the current situation of Corona in Delhi on a day-to-day basis, Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal will convene a review meeting on COVID management along with the nodal minister, health minister and officials at 1 PM today,” the chief minister’s office tweeted. Weekend curfew is currently underway in the national capital to arrest the spread of coronavirus. – PTI

COVID-19 cases in Telangana continue to rise with 4,446 fresh infections, the highest ever in a single day, pushing the gross to over 3.46 lakh, while the toll rose to 1809 with 12 more fatalities. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 598, followed by Medchal Malkajgiri (435) and Rangareddy (326), a government bulletin said on Saturday providing details as of 8 PM on April 16. The total number of cases stood at 3,46,331 while 1414 patients were cured taking the total recoveries to 3,11,008. – PTI

The Railways has formulated a policy for the transportation of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic tankers after a plea by the government of Maharashtra, one of the worst affected states by the coronavirus, to combat the pandemic. The policy, made public late Friday night, said the cryogenic tankers will be transported as a paid-for roll-on-roll (Ro-Ro) service to various destinations across states. The circular said Maharashtra’s health secretary had requested for the transport of medical oxygen in cryogenic containers. – PTI

Fashion designer Manish Malhotra and actor Sumeet Vyas have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently under home quarantine. Malhotra took to Instagram on late Friday evening and wrote he was following all safety protocols listed by his doctors. “I have tested positive for COVID 19. I have immediately isolated myself and will be under home quarantine. I am following all safety protocols under the advice of my doctors. Please stay safe & take care,” the 54-year-old designer wrote. Vyas, 37, also shared his diagnosis on Instagram and informed his fans that he had “mild” COVID symptoms. “I am taking all the necessary precautions, taking medication prescribed by my doctors and putting myself under home quarantine. “Although I have very mild to negligible symptoms, but I’d request anyone who’s come in contact with me in the last few days to get themselves tested,” the actor wrote. – PTI

record single-day rise of 2,34,692 cases and 1,341 fatalities have pushed India’s COVID-19 tally to 1,45,26,609 and the death toll due to the viral disease to 1,75,649, the health ministry said on Saturday. The number of active coronavirus cases in the country has surpassed the 16-lakh mark, the ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase for the 38th day in a row, the tally of active COVID-19 cases has climbed to 16,79,740 in the country, accounting for 11.56 per cent of its total caseload, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 87.23 per cent. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease has gone up to 1,26,71,220, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.21 per cent, the data stated. – PTI

It is interesting to see PM Modi directly conversing with Juna Akhada Mahamandelshwar Swami Avdheshanand. Juna Akkhada is the most prominent and powerful sect among the 13 Akhadas. On Friday, amid uproar within the seer community, Nirajani Akhada had announced that it was exiting the Kumbh early. It should be noted that even as the Juna Akhada head has asked his followers to adhere to Covid norms, there has been no word on shortening the Kumbh Mela. The next Shahi Snan is scheduled for April 27. So it is up to Juna Akhada to now decide the future of the Kumbh Mela 2021. 

Hello and welcome to FE Online’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. In a surprise move, PM Modi in a very public appeal asked the Hindu seers gathered for the Kumbh Mela to keep it symbolic. He also tagged Juna Akhada mahamandelshwar. The akhada chief also responded with a positive message and asked those attending the Kumbh of not to come for the ‘snan’ in large numbers. There has been a very vocal criticism by people on organising the Kumbh as the second wave of the coronavirus batters India.

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