Coronavirus News Updates: Will send expert teams to develop oxygen concentrators, says Israel's ambassador to India

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Coronavirus Latest News LIVE Updates: Israel Ambassador to India Ron Malka on Sunday said, "We are sending teams of experts to India. For example, we're going to send a team for rapid testing, and a team to develop very easy producing oxygen concentrators. India has remarkable manufacturing capabilities."

"We'll never forget the remarkable assistance we got from India at the beginning of this pandemic. India and Israel share strong values of friendship. We're sharing practices, expertise, IPs whatever we can this is a life-saving time."

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, urging the Centre to direct vaccine manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to increase monthly supplies to Delhi to 60 lakh doses during May to July.

As the National Capital enters into an extended period of lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Sunday said its services on all lines will remain suspended from Monday till 5 am on 17 May. The DMRC statement came after the city government extended the ongoing lockdown for another week.

According to the DMRC statement, in the wake of the extension of curfew in Delhi for the containment of Covid-19, the Delhi Metro services on all its lines shall also remain suspended for passenger or essential services from Monday till 17 March.

The daily positivity rate in the country currently stands at 21.64 percent and there is a net increase of 13,202 cases in the total active caseload, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The Jammu and Kashmir Administration on Sunday extended till May 17 the curfew imposed across the Union Territory to curb the spread of coronavirus. The curfew was earlier scheduled to end on Monday.

The curfew will be strict except for a few essential services, the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) said.

Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday recorded 4,788 fresh coronavirus cases taking the tally of infected persons to 2,11,742 while the death toll in the union territory rose to 2,672 with a record 60 fatalities in 24 hours.

"Corona Curfew imposed in all 20 districts of J-K till 7 am on Monday, 10/5/21 is extended further by 7 days till 7 am on Monday, 17/5/21. The curfew will be strict except for a few essential services," DIPR-J&K said in a tweet.

Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, offering six suggestions to help combat the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, said reports. According to reports, Kharge, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, called on the Centre to convene an all-party meeting to "collectively forge a holistic blueprint to tackle the pandemic".

More than 72 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and Union Territories, while over 46 lakh (46,61,960) doses will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The Ministry of Defence said it has issued an order to Directorate General Armed Forces Medical Services (DG AFMS) for recruitment of Ex-Army Medical Corps (AMC)/Short Service Commission (SSC) medical officers.

Under the 'Tour of Duty' scheme, 400 ex-AMC/SSC medical officers, released between 2017 and 2021, are expected to be recruited on contract basis for a maximum period of 11 months, the ministry said in a release.

COVID-19 vaccines for people in the 18-44 age group in Bengaluru, which has almost half the number of cases and deaths in Karnataka, would be available from 10 May at all major hospitals and medical colleges, said Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar.

In other districts, the vaccine shots will initially be provided at district hospitals, government medical colleges and all taluk hospitals.

Over 20 lakh (20,23,532) vaccination doses were administered on 8 May, says the Union health ministry. A cumulative total of 16,94,39,663 doses have been administered so far, the ministry stated.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announces that lockdown in Delhi is extended by a week and will be in force till 5 am next Monday (17 May).

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging that the Centre waive GST and customs duty and other such duties and taxes on oxygen concentrators, cylinders, COVID-related drugs.

India recorded 4,03,738 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day, which pushed the tally to 2,22,96,414, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Sunday. The toll climbed to 2,42,362 with 4,092 daily deaths, the data updated at 8 am showed.

No fresh COVID-19 cases have been detected in 180 districts in the country in the last seven days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.

In his virtual address at the 25th meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) to discuss the pandemic situation, the minister said that as on date, 1.34 percent of COVID-19 patients were in ICU, 0.39 percent on ventilator support and 3.70 percent on oxygen support.

Vardhan, who chaired the meeting through video conference, said, "180 districts have showed no fresh cases in the last seven days, 18 districts in 14 days, 54 districts in 21 days and 32 districts were bereft of any fresh cases in the last 28 days."

He said that across the country, the number of patients in ICU beds so far is 4,88,861 while 1,70,841 patients were on ventilators and 9,02,291 patients were on oxygen support.

The meeting was attended by Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Chemical and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare, and Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were also present in the meeting.

Harsh Vardhan informed the GoM that the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 16.73 crore on Saturday which includes nearly 23 lakh doses given on Friday.

"A total of 17,49,57,770 doses have been delivered to the states, out of which 16,65,49,583 doses have been consumed and 84,08,187 doses are still available with the states. A total of 53,25,000 doses are on the pipeline and will be supplied to the states soon," he said.

Reiterating the importance of full protection through two COVID vaccine doses, he urged all citizens to get the second dose saying it boosts the immunity against COVID-19 manifold.

He requested the states to set aside 70 percent of the vaccines received through the Central government channel for the administration of the second dose.

On the tests being conducted in India, the minister noted that the country has reached a testing capacity of 25,00,000 tests per day. He informed that a total of 30,60,18,044 tests have been conducted so far in India, which includes 18,08,344 tests in the last 24 hours. He said the country is presently served by 2,514 labs.

Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) highlighted the COVID trajectory of India and underscored the need and importance of significantly ramping up testing and hospital infrastructure in Tier-II/III cities in view of the surge in cases that has seen a shift to these regions/areas too.

States of Maharashtra (1.27 percent), Karnataka (3.05 percent), Kerala (2.35), Uttar Pradesh (2.44), Tamil Nadu (1.86), Delhi (1.92), Andhra Pradesh (1.90), West Bengal (2.19), Chhattisgarh (2.06), Rajasthan (2.99), Gujarat (2.40), Madhya Pradesh (2.24 percent) were highlighted because of their high seven-day growth rate in cases, according to an official statement from the ministry.

The districts/metropolis of Bengaluru (Urban), Ganjam, Pune, Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Ernakulam, Lucknow, Kozhikode (Calicut), Thane, Nashik, Malappuram, Thrissur, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandrapur, Kolkata, Palakkad are the top 20 contributors of active cases in the country, the ministry said.

"Emphasis on timely provision of clinical care in high transmission areas to reduce morbidity and mortality, advance preparedness in anticipation of a rise in cases, increase in testing using RAT and tracing of those who might have contracted the infection, emphasis on clinic-epidemiological linkage of genomic surveillance with transmission dynamics, clinical severity and age profile of new cases were highlighted as important steps ahead in the meeting," it said.

Dr VK Paul, as chairman, gave a detailed report on the work of the Empowered Group-1 and highlighted the various efforts made towards ramping up hospital infrastructure for effective clinical management of hospitalized patients.

The ministry said that urgent steps to halt transmission by intensified containment through community-led effort and restrictions, improvement of messaging breadth and reach to curb panic and free flow of misinformation, promotion of home care in Covid and demystification of treatment to reduce load on hospitals, rational use of Remdesivir, oxygen and other drugs, the augmentation of railway coaches as isolation beds, enhanced focus on rural COVID care were presented at the meeting.

The progress on epidemiological evidence, new technical advisories for dynamic guidance and handholding of states/UTs etc., through various stakeholders was also enumerated, it said.

Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (Chair, EG-2) presented the current scenario of liquid medical oxygen production, allocation and supply.

Aramane stated that the production of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) has been maximised to meet the present demand of COVID-19 patients. The domestic production has increased to more than 9400 MT/day, the ministry quoted him as saying.

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