More than 4,000 people died of Covid in India for the second straight day.
New Delhi: India recorded 4,03,738 fresh Covid cases and 4,092 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the overall case count to 2.22 crore. The country saw over 4 lakh daily infections for fifth time in a week and over 4,000 deaths for second straight day.Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:
After distress messages on social media caught the world's attention over the last few weeks, the Supreme Court has formed a 12-member National Task Force to assess availability and distribution of medical oxygen. "We expect leading experts in the country shall associate with the Task Force, as members and resource persons," the court said in its final order.
As India fights a deadly second wave, an anti-Covid drug - developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) - has been cleared for emergency use by the drug regulator DCGI. Clinical trial results showed ta molecule present in the drug helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.
The government on Saturday said it has revised the national policy for admission of Covid patients as it told the hospitals that "no patient will be refused on any count". A coronavirus test report is no longer needed for hospitalisation. Hospitals can't also refuse patients from another city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dialled up Chief Ministers of four states - Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur - to discuss Covid situation with them. Maharashtra has the country's highest overall caseload.
World Health Organization's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, in an interview with news agency AFP, has said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in last October, was clearly a contributing factor to the frightening Covid surge.
India lost two hockey stars on Saturday. Two members of the country's last Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team in Moscow 1980, Ravindra Pal Singh and Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, died from coronavirus.
A large number of states have announced lockdowns as opposition leaders urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce nationwide curbs. On Saturday, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry announced curbs. Kerala, Bihar, abd Karnataka are among many other states that have already enforced strict restrictions to check the spread of the virus.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday that over 9 lakh patients are oxygen support, news agency PTI reported. Shortage of medical oxygen has been one of the top challenges that India is fighting amid fight against second Covid wave.
A hospital in Gujarat's Ahmedabad has reported a rise in the number of patients with a fungal infection - mucormycosis, or black fungus, which can be fatal for transplant recipients. Similar cases have been reported from Maharashtra and Delhi.
Amid a raging global debate over vaccine patent waivers, Pope Francis on Saturday insisted on allowing "universal access to the vaccine" for the virus. The Argentinian pontiff also called for the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights and condemned what he termed the "virus of individualism" that "makes us indifferent to the suffering of others", news agency AFP reported.
(With inputs from PTI, AFP)