A health worker taking nasal swab of a person for Covid-19 test in New Delhi on Thursday. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)
India added over one lakh coronavirus infections in just two days as the second wave of the virus grew stronger in big cities and states. Considering this, the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan today placed restrictions on public gathering for the upcoming festivals in the respective states.
Mumbai, registering record virus cases daily, has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals besides ramping up testing and vaccination efforts in the city.
Here are all the Covid-19 related updates for today.
Mumbai reports 5,504 new cases as BMC plans to scale up testing, beds
Coronavirus cases in Mumbai continued to increase unabated as the city recorded 5,504 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths in the last 24 hours. Consequently, Mumbai’s civic body BMC has planned to increase the bed capacity in hospitals from the current 13,773 to 21,000 in the next 15 days besides scaling up testing.
The BMC also said it had completed administering 10 lakh doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and the aim now was to increase the target to one lakh per day.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra recorded 35,952 new coronavirus infections today, which is the highest single-day rise since the pandemic began. The state’s case load stands at 26,00,833 now with total fatalities reaching 53,795. The state has added over one lakh cases in the last four days.
Kumbh duration curtailed to 1 month for first time
In a first, the duration of Kumbh Mela in Haridwar will be limited to the month of April owing to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. The Uttarakhand government has made it mandatory for pilgrims to have a “negative” RT-PCR test report to attend the mega congregation.
Issuing an order, the state government has said that a “negative” RT-PCR test report, not older than 72 hours before arrival, has been made mandatory for the devotees arriving for Kumbh.
According to a notification, the congregation on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar in Uttarakhand will take place from April 1 to 30, with three “shahi snan” (major bathing) dates on April 12, 14 and 27.
Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan place ban on public gathering for festivals
The Gujarat government today banned people from gathering in mosques and other places for Shab-e-Barat that will be observed on March 28. The government has already banned public gathering on Holi in the state.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that although the coronavirus cases were on the rise in the state, the death rate in the fresh wave of infections is low. His statement comes even as Gujarat reported 1,961 new coronavirus positive cases on Thursday, its highest single-day spike on the fourth consecutive day since March 22, taking the state’s tally to 2,94,130.
Besides Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka have also issued orders for limiting gathering during festivals of Holi and Shab-e-Barat.
Karnataka makes RT-PCR negative report mandatory for passengers arriving in Bengaluru other states
Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar today said passengers arriving from other states to Bengaluru must have a negative RT-PCR report.
“Nearly 1,400 cases have been reported in Bengaluru (on Wednesday), which is the highest in the last 4 months. There is a spike in cases everyday. It is increasingly found in passengers arriving in the city from other states,” Sudhakar said.
As of now, the restriction was only for Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh. But now going forward, it is applicable to all states,” Sudhakar said.
The minister said it has been decided to hand-stamp infected persons residing in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits.
The latest decision comes as Karnataka has recorded 2,523 fresh Covid-19 cases of and 10 related fatalities on Thursday, taking the gross to 9.78 lakh and the toll to 12,471. This is for the third consecutive day that the state has reported over 2,000 fresh cases.
Students of a college in Lucknow celebrate Holi at campus on Thursday. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastava)
Delhi Metro intensifies drive to ensure Covid-19 norms are followed
The Delhi Metro has decided to intensify its drive to ensure commuters maintain social distancing and wear masks inside trains and on station premises.
“To ensure our travel guidelines are being followed, Delhi Metro’s Flying Squads penalised 318 commuters on 24 March 2021 for not wearing a face mask properly & following social distancing. Let us all follow the protocols & politely counsel others to do the same,” the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said in a tweet.
As part of intensified measures to contain the Covid-19 spread, entry at stations will be regulated based on social distancing on the premises, especially at major stations like Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba Road, Central Secretariat, Patel Chowk, ITO etc., during morning and evening peak hours, it said.
Kerala records 1,989 new Covid-19 cases
Kerala recorded 1,989 fresh Covid-19 cases and 12 more deaths on Thursday, taking the caseload to 11,12,246 and the toll to 4,539.
As many as 1,865 people got cured today, pushing the total recoveries to 10,82,668 while the active cases stood at 24,380, Health minister K K Shailaja said in a press release.
As many as 1,27,105 people are under observation in various districts, including 3,746 in hospitals.