India reported more than 2 lakhs (2,00,739) new Covid cases during the last 24 hours – the highest single day spike so far. 1,038 deaths were recorded on Wednesday across India. This too, is the highest single day death toll since October 2 last year. The situation has now become alarming.
The daily case count has doubled in the last 10 days, from more than 1 lakh on April 4 to more than 2 lakh today. It took 21 days for the United States to reach the 2-lakh milestone, but the surge in India has been faster. There are 14 lakh 71 thousand 877 active Covid cases across India as of today, and the total death toll has now reached 1 lakh 73 thousand 123, according to Health Ministry figures.
There are nine states which have reported the highest one-day spikes on Wednesday. They include Uttar Pradesh (20,510), Delhi (17,282), Karnataka (11,265), Madhya Pradesh (9,720), Gujarat (7,410), Rajasthan (6,200), Haryana (5,398), West Bengal (5,892) and Bihar (4,786). All these states have been witnessing major spikes in the last ten days. The worst hit state, Maharashtra, logged 58,952 fresh cases and 278 deaths on Wednesday. Chhattisgarh reported 120 deaths, while Delhi reported 104 deaths.
This is a warning signal to all of us which we can ignore only at our own peril. We will have to fight this unprecedented tragedy unitedly. Due to severe shortage of beds in Delhi hospitals, several hotels, malls and banquet halls are being turned into Covid treatment centres. There are no ICU beds left vacant in almost all top government and private hospitals.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced weekend curfew from Friday night 10 pm till 6 am on Monday morning. The Delhi government has announced 15 hotels as ‘extended Covid hospitals’. This will add nearly 3,000 beds for Covid patients, for which they will have to pay Rs 5,000 per bed in 5-star hotels and Rs 4,000 per bed in 4-star or 3-star hotels. These include Hotel Crowne Plaza, ITC Welcome, Radisson Blu and Surya. Several banquet halls, one school and Yamuna Sports Complex will be converted into temporary Covid hospitals. 14 private hospitals have been asked to keep nearly 80 per cent of their beds for Covid patients.
While Maharashtra enforced 16-day-long curfew till May 1 due to the pandemic, traders in the UP capital of Lucknow have decided to keep all markets closed for the next three days. At the Supreme Court, the entire staff of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud have been tested Covid positive. UP chief minister Yogi Adtyanath has directed that the UP Secondary Education Board exams be postponed in view of the pandemic. Already, the Centre has cancelled CBSE Class 10 exams and postponed Class 12 exams till June. Other state governments are also following this trend in view of the surge in pandemic.
In the holy city of Haridwar, lakhs of people continued to take dip in the river Ganga, even as many top sadhus in the ashrams and akharas have been tested positive.
Meanwhile, the nationwide Covid vaccination drive continues. Nearly 33 lakh doses were administered on Wednesday taking the total number to 11.44 crores. Remdesivir vial stocks are being airlifted from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, and from there they are being distributed to Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain, Rewa, Gwalior, Sagar and Ratlam. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath gave his state plane which transported 20,000 Remdesivir vials from Ahmedabad to Lucknow on Wednesday. To augment distribution of oxygen to pandemic hit states, an empowered group at the Centre is finalizing plans to distribute oxygen on a large scale to states suffering from acute shortage.
Thousands of migrant workers continued to wait outside railway stations in Mumbai, desperate to return to their home states. There were long queues of thousands of people outside shops and departmental stores in Mumbai, before the 16-day-long curfew was imposed. Mortuaries in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are packed with bodies of Covid-19 patients, awaiting cremation. There are long queues of bodies awaiting final rites at the crematoriums in Mumbai, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
I will like to repeat here again. Patience and self-regulation is the need of the hour. Let us not panic. Please try to stay inside your homes and do not venture out unless it is essential. Always wear masks and practise social distancing. Let us break this virus chain at the earliest and bring back normalcy. We are all facing a huge challenge and we have to face this unitedly. Stay home, stay safe.
Aaj Ki Baat: Monday to Friday, 9 PM
India’s Number One and the most followed Super Prime Time News Show ‘Aaj Ki Baat – Rajat Sharma Ke Saath was launched just before the 2014 General Elections. Since its inception, the show is redefining India’s super-prime time and is numerically far ahead of its contemporaries.