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Last Updated : May 7 2021 6:17AM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviews COVID-19 situation in the country            Indian army establishes COVID management cell to coordinate assistance to civil authority            Civil Aviation Ministry issues guidelines to ensure timely vaccination of aviation community            Madhya Pradesh govt extends Janta Curfew till 15th May to check rising cases of COVID-19            More than 16.25 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country so far           

Text Bulletins Details


Evening News

2030 HRS
18.04.2021

THE HEADLINES::

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modistresses on Test,Track and Treat strategy to be adopted to win over Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Centre asks States and Union Territories toensure that movement restriction imposed by them does not adversely impact theVaccination exercise.

  • Night Curfew imposed in Tamil Nadu and Biharin view of surge in Corona cases.

  • Railways says, it can setup three lakhisolation beds across the country on States' demand; All set to run OxygenExpress train to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen and Oxygen Cylinders acrosskey Corridors.

  • 162 Pressure Swing AdsorptionOxygen plants sanctioned for installation in public health facilities in allStates.

  • Production of Anti-Viral drug Remdesivir tobe doubled to nearly 3 lakh vials per day in next 15 days, says Government.

  • Nation registers over 2 lakh 61thousand new cases in the last 24 hours.'

  • More than 12 crore 26 lakh COVIDvaccine doses administered in the country so far.

  • Election Commission bans BJP leader SayantanBasu and TMC leader Sujata Mondal from campaigning for 24 hours in West Bengal.

  • JEE Main Entrance Exam for 2021postponed till further orders.

  • In World youth Boxing championships, five Indian boxers advance to quarterfinalsin men and women category in Kielce, Poland.

  • And in IPL Cricket: RoyalChallengers Bangalore beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 38 runs in Chennai; Anothermatch underway between Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings in Mumbai.

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As the number of Covid cases is on the riseagain, we appeal to our listeners not to lower their guard, take allprecautions and all those above 45 years to get vaccinated without anyhesitation.

 

          Staysafe and protected by following these three simple steps:

 

·        Weara face mask.

·        MaintainDo Gaz Ki Doori for social distancing.

·        Focuson hand and face hygiene.

And now, the news in detail:

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasizedon Test, Track and Treat strategy to be adopted to win over the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Reviewing the status of Covid-19 in his parliamentaryconstituency Varanasi through video conferencing, Mr Modi stressed on contracttracing of infected persons and providing test reports at the earliest.

 

During the meeting, Mr Modi asked forinformation about testing, beds, medicines, vaccine and the manpower engaged inVaranasi for prevention of corona and proper treatment of corona infectedpatients. He directed the officials to provide all possible assistance to thepublic at the earliest.

 

During the discussion, the Prime Ministeremphasized that Do Gaz ki doori, Mask hai Zaroori has to be followed byeveryone. He also emphasized on the importance of vaccination campaign and saidthat the administration should make aware about it to everyone above 45 yearsof age. He also asked the administration to provide all possible assistance tothe people of Varanasi with full sensitivity.

 

The Prime Minister said that as therepresentative of Varanasi, he is constantly taking feedback from the generalpublic. He said that the expansion and modernization of medical infrastructurein Varanasi in the last 5 to 6 years has helped in fighting Corona. Mr Modisaid, the availability of beds, ICUs and oxygen is being increased in Varanasi.In view of the pressure with the increased number of patients, he also gavespecial emphasis on the need to increase efforts at all levels. He said thatjust like the Varanasi administration rapidly set up the Kashi Covid ResponseCenter, the same speed should be in every task.

 

The Prime Minister expressed his gratitudeto all the doctors and medical staff of the country and said that even in thetime of this crisis, they are following their duty faithfully.

 

The Prime Minister also praised the NGOs ofVaranasi who worked with the government. He stressed the need for greatervigilance and caution in view of the situation.

 

Public representatives and officials ofVaranasi region informed the Prime Minister about the preparations made in thearea for protection from Covid-19 and the treatment. Mr Modi was informed aboutthe control room set up for contact tracing, command and control center forhome isolation, dedicated phone line ambulance, telemedicine arrangement fromcontrol room and deployment of additional rapid response team in urban area.

 

During this video conferencing, Ministers ofState Neelkanth Tiwari, Ravindra Jaiswal, MLA Surendra Narayan Singh, MLCsAshok Dhawan and Laxman Acharya, MLC and Covid in-charge of Varanasi A K Sharma,Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agarwal, Commissioner of Police A. SatishGanesh, District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, Municipal Commissioner GaurangRathi, Chief Medical Officer Dr. N. P. Singh and Director I. M. S. BanarasHindu University Prof. BR Mittal were present.

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The Centre has written to States and UnionTerritories to ensure that movement restriction imposed by them for COVID19control does not adversely impact the Vaccination exercise. AdditionalSecretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Manohar Agnani haswritten a letter to Additional Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary andSecretary of all the States and Union Territories. They have been advised thatCOVID-19 vaccination services should not be affected by COVID-19 curfews andlockdowns and the movement of beneficiaries to and from COVID-19 VaccinationCentres.

 

Dr Agnani said, COVID-19 Vaccination Centreswhich have been identified as Dedicated COVID-19 Hospitals should continueproviding uninterrupted COVID-19 vaccination services. He said, Vaccinationservices should be provided in a separate building or block in these hospitalsthat is distinctly separated from the building where management of COVID-19patients is being done. This will ensure that beneficiaries of vaccination arenot inadvertently exposed to COVID-19 at these hospitals.

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India's vaccination drive against COVID-19crossed another milestone with the administration of over 12 crore 26 lakhdoses within 92 days of the World's largest vaccination programme. The HealthMinistry has informed that in the last 24 hours more than 26 lakh 84 thousanddoses of COVID vaccine has been administered in the country.

 

Our correspondent reports that after PrimeMinister's clarion call for maximum and best utilisation of health resources inthe country, the number of total Covid Vaccination Centres have increasedsignificantly. The number of vaccination centres in the country increased toover 60 thousand from nearly 45 thousand.

 

The nation commenced the largest vaccinationdrive in the world on 16th January this year with vaccination of healthcareworkers first. Widening the scope of Vaccination, from 1st of this month, underthe current phase everyone above the age of 45 is being vaccinated. HealthMinistry has informed that so far more than 10 crore 63 lakh people havereceived the first dose of the vaccine whereas nearly 1 crore 61 lakh have beenfully vaccinated with both the required doses.

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The nation registered highest surge in COVIDcases with 2 lakh 61 thousand 500 new cases. The number of total active casesin the country further swelled up to nearly 12.18 per cent of the totalreported cases.

 

Ten States- Maharashtra, Karnataka,Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat& Kerala continue to be the major hotspots of the pandemic. Nearly 80 percent of the new cases are reported from these 10 states.

 

In the last 24 hours, one thousand fivehundred and one COVID related death was reported in the country, taking thecumulative toll to 1 lakh 77 thousand 150.

 

Currently over 18 lakh people are reportedto be suffering from the viral pandemic and are either hospitalised or underhome isolation.

 

With a special focus on the 5-pointprinciple of 'Test, Track, Treat, Isolate & Vaccinate', the number ofcumulative COVID-19 testing has surpassed the figure of 26 crore 65 lakh. Inthe past 24 hours, more than 15 lakh 66 thousand samples were tested forCOVID-19 in the country.      

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In the backdrop of soaring new Covid cases,the Tamil Nadu Government has announced several new restrictions that come intoeffect from coming Tuesday. They include night curfew from 10 pm to 4 am everyday. Road travel including public transport within and inter-state movementwill be halted during the night curfew. Full lockdown is imposed on allSundays. Exemption is given only for emergency and essential services likeambulances and travel for medical purposes and transport of LPG cylinders, milkand newspapers. More from our Chennai correspondent:

 

"The Plus-Two State syllabus Board examinations have been put offuntil further orders. Dine-in facility in hotels and restaurants on Sundays arebarred, though parcel services are allowed during limited hours in the morning,noon and evening. Food parcel delivery services through e-commerce arepermitted. Media is given exemption from public movement restrictions. Famoushill resort towns, beaches, archeological centres, museums and beaches aredeclared out of bounds for tourists. IT firms have been asked to permit aminimum of fifty percent of their staff to work from home. All retail outletsand tea stalls have been asked to curtail the number of customers by half at atime and they are allowed to function only till 9 pm. College classes andexaminations will only be through on-line mode. Meanwhile, the new Covid casesin Tamil Nadu have exceeded 10,700, the highest ever since the outbreak of thepandemic. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."

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Kerala imposed new COVID restrictions as theState recorded its highest single-day surge today with 18,257 new infectioncases. Our Thiruvananthapuram correspondent reports that RT- PCR test has beenmade compulsory for people coming to Kerala from other States.


"RT- PCR testmade compulsory for people coming to Kerala from other States. The test need tobe done 48 hours prior to the travel and is mandatory even if the person isvaccinated. 14 days of room isolation is compulsory for those who had not takenthe RTPCR test. Everyone travelling to Kerala from other parts of the countryand from abroad need to register in the Covid Jagratha portal. Meanwhile onaccount of worsening covid scenario in the State, all the university exams scheduledto be held from tomorrow is postponed and the authorities had informed that thenew dates will be announced later. The entire State is presently under strictCovid restrictions. Over one lakh 8000 samples were tested in the last 24hours. The test positivity rate is 16.77. Meanwhile twenty five more death wasconfirmed due to Covid today, taking the death toll to 4,929. There arepresently 93,686 active Covid cases in Kerala. Mayusha for AIR News fromThiruvananthapuram."

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar todayannounced to impose night curfew across the state from 9 night to 5 morning with immediate effect till May 15 inview of rising COVID-19 cases. Mr Kumar said essential services have been exemptedfrom it. He said this decision has been taken at crisis management groupmeeting. Schools, Colleges and Educational institutions have also been closedtill May 15. Examination of schools and colleges have been suspended. Shopswill be closed from 6 in the evening. An order has been issued to closereligious places. Shops, Malls, Gym, Hall and parks have been closed. Marrigeceremony with one hundred persons have been allowed. Twenty five people  will be allowed in funeral procession.Government and private offices will be opened till 5 in the evening throughoutthe state.

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In Maharashtra as the Covid-19 cases are onthe rise, the medical and health care sector in the state is undergoingtremendous pressure. The demand for beds has also increased manifold in Mumbaicity. At this crucial juncture, the Brihanmumbai municipal corporation (BMC)has decided to use additional beds at private hospitals, for COVID-19 patients.Our Mumbai Correspondent reports, currently 80 per cent of beds in privatehospitals are reserved for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.


"According to the Mumbai civic body officials, in the coming days, thedemand for beds, especially with oxygen, ICU, and ventilator support may beincreased as cases are rising unprecedentedly. Considering this, the AssistantMunicipal Commissioners have been directed to keep a track of the beds in theirrespective wards. Also, as per the needs, they can also start the process oftaking beds from private hospitals. Earlier, the civic body had decided toconvert Jaslok hospital into a fully COVID-19 facility. However, it said that175 beds will be used for coronavirus patients, while rest will be used totreat critical ailments. Meanwhile, BMC has directed all the dean and medicalsuperintendent of its major hospitals and jumbo Covid centres to curtail allthe routine clinical works until the positive Covid cases in the city does notreduce substantially. Moreover, the BMC has also directed them to avoidunnecessary transfers of patients to major hospitals and have cancelled allleaves of the hospital staff which include childcare or long leave. Nivedita,Air News, Mumbai."

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The Railways is geared up to run OxygenExpress train to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen and Oxygen Cylinders acrossthe key Corridors. The availability of oxygen is a key element in the treatmentof certain medical conditions in the Covid infection. The Railway Ministrysaid, green corridor is being created for fast movement of this train. MadhyaPradesh and Maharashtra governments had approached the Railways Ministry fortransportation of Oxygen Cylinders. More in this report:


"The RailwayMinistry said, a meeting was held between Railway Board officials, StateTransport Commissioners and representatives of industry yesterday on the issuesrelated to transportation of Liquid Medical Oxygen. During the meeting, it wasdecided that the tankers will be organized by Transport Commissioner,Maharashtra. These empty tankers will be moved from Kalamboli and Boisar,Railway stations in Mumbai, and sent to Vizag station in Andhra Pradesh,Jamshedpur and Bokaro in Jharkhand and Rourkela in Odisha for loading of liquidmedical oxygen tankers. Railway Ministry said, a movement plan has been madefor dispatching ten empty tankers tomorrow. Rail Minister Piyush Goyal has saidthat Railways is leaving no stone unturned in the battle against COVID-19. Hesaid, the railway will run Oxygen express trains using green corridors to getOxygen in bulk and rapidly to patients. Anita Anand, AIR News."

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The Railways can setup three lakh isolationbeds across the country on States' demand. In a tweet, Railway MinisterPiyush  Goyal said that 50 COVID-19isolation coaches with 800 beds are ready at Shakur Basti Station and 25coaches will be available at Anand Vihar Station in Delhi.

 

Earlier, Northern Railway, General ManagerAshutosh Gangal has said that 463 COVID isolation coaches across its networkare available on demand from the States. Talking to media, he said that theRailways has already written letters to Chief Secretaries of States where thesecoaches can be deployed. He said, any state can approach the Railways. He said,these coaches are primarily meant for isolation and also for very mild cases ifrequired. Mr. Gangal said, these coaches are not meant for serious cases. Hesaid, each isolation coach has two cylinders and if more are needed, the stategovernment has to arrange it. He also informed that the Railways will notcharge anything from states for COVID isolation coaches as Union HealthMinistry guidelines have no provision for levying fee.

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Health Ministry has said that 162 PressureSwing Adsorption, PSA oxygen plants have been sanctioned by Government of Indiafor installation in public health facilities in all States and these willaugment medical oxygen capacity by over 154 Metric Tonnes.

 

In a tweet today, the Ministry said, out of162 PSA plants sanctioned by the Centre, 33 have already been installed, fivein Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three each in Chandigarh, Gujaratand Uttarakhand, two each in Bihar, Karnataka and Telengana and one each inAndhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry,Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

 

The Health Ministry said, States haveappreciated installation of PSA Oxygen plants in their public healthfacilities. It said, in addition to 162 plants already sanctioned, they haverequested Government of India for more than 100 such additional plants whichare also being sanctioned.

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Production of Anti-Viral drug Remdesivirwill be doubled to nearly 3 lakh vials per day in the next 15 days. Informingabout the decision, Minister of State for Chemical & Fertilizer MansukhMandaviya said that the Centre is committed to ensure affordable availabilityof the drug. Remdesivir has shown to have effective results in better recoveryof critically ill and hospitalised COVID patients. He said currently 20manufacturing plants are engaged in the country in manufacturing the anti-viraldrug.

 

Mr Mandaviya, added that another 20manufacturing sites have already been granted government's approval and theywould soon add to the existing production capacity of 1 lakh 50 thousand vialsper day. The Minister asserted that due to centre's active intervention, themajor pharma companies have significantly reduced prices of their Remdesivirbrands.

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Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh haswritten a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with Coronapandemic. In his letter Dr Singh has said that the key to our fight againstCOVID19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. He said one must not look atabsolute numbers but the total percentage of population vaccinated. Dr Singhsaid, at this moment of public health emergency, the Central Government mustproactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilitiesby providing funds and other concessions.

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Amid surge in COVID cases in the NationalCapital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has requested Central governmentto reserve 7 thousand beds in Delhi Hospitals managed by the Centre.

 

In a letter written to Prime MinisterNarendra Modi today, Mr. Kejriwal said that the due to increase in number ofCOVID patients the requirement of hospital beds and medical oxygen has alsosubstantially increased in the Capital City. He requested the centre to reserve7 thousand out of total 10 thousand beds in Delhi's central health carefacilities for covid patients. Mr. Kejriwal also sought the centre's assistanceto fulfill requirement of medical oxygen at the health care facilities. TheChief Minister thanked the Centre for its incessant and timely assistance tothe local administration in order to put up a brave fight against the coronapandemic.

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A senior officer of the Indian InformationService Narendra Kaushal passed away following COVID-19 infection. He wasadmitted to Rishikesh AIIMS hospital. Narendra Kaushal served in differentdepartments of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting including All IndiaRadio, Doordarshan, PIB, ROB and RNI in senior positions. 

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The National Testing Agency has postponedthe April session exams of the Joint Entrance Examination, JEE Main for theyear 2021. In a media release shared by Union Education Minister RameshPokhriyal Nishank, the NTA has informed that the decision to postpone the examhas been taken in view of the present situation of COVID-19.

 

The JEE (Main) April Session was scheduledto be held on 27th, 28th and 30th of this month. The revised dates for theexamination will be announced later with prior notice of at least 15 daysbefore the examinations.

 

JEE (Main), one of the most sought afterexaminations for engineering aspirants in the country is scheduled to beconducted in four sessions this year. Two of these sessions have already beencompleted in February and March.

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The election campaign in West Bengal for thesixth phase in 43 assembly constituencies spread over four districts hasreached a peak. Union Home minister Amit Shah addressed a public rally in PurbaBardhaman district. He charged that the illegal immigrants are taking away thebenefits meant for the Indian citizens in West Bengal. The Union Home ministeralso held a roadshow in Nadia district today. He claimed that if BJP is broughtto power, insurgency will be eliminated. TMC leader and Chief Minister MamataBanerjee addressed a public meeting at Barrackpore and Khardaha in North 24Parganas today. She took on the Central Government and charged that the Modi governmenthas failed in controlling the Covid pandemic.

 

More from our Correspondent in Kolkata:-


"As the summerheat tries to match electoral campaign generated heat, the political partieshit the campaign trail in the sixth phase with unwavering grit anddetermination. The defender and the challengers are equally trying to score apoint over others, engaging the voters through speeches, road shows and blocklevel meetings. Two principal challengers in this contest namely the TMC andBJP are communicating with the voters about their strengths and about theweaknesses of the others. TMC is speaking about the 10 years of its rule inWest Bengal and that it being the regional party. BJP is talking about theproblems of insurgency in the state and how the people of Bengal are deprivedof the Central Government schemes. The mood of the voters can be gauged only onMay 2nd. Sudhindra, AIR News, Kolkata."

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The Election Commission has imposed a ban of24 hours on the BJP leader Sayantan Basu and TMC leader Sujata Mondal duringwhich they will not be allowed to campaign during the ongoing Assembly Polls inWest Bengal. The ban period will come into effect from 7PM today to 7 PMtomorrow. The ban was imposed as the Commission found their remarks inviolation of Model Code of Conduct, MCC.

 

Warning Mr Basu, the Commission stronglyadvised him to desist from using such statement while making public utterancesduring the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force.

 

The Election Commission said, it is ofconsidered view that Ms. Sujata Mondal has violated Model Code of Conductthrough her remarks which could cause tension between different castes therebyadversely affecting the election process.

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has cancelledall his public rallies in West Bengal in view of the prevailing Covidsituation. Making the announcement to suspend his Bengal rallies through atweet message today, Mr. Gandhi also advised all political leaders to thinkdeeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the currentcircumstances.

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In World youthBoxing championships, five Indian boxers advanced to the quarterfinals in menand women category after scoring comfortable victories in their last-16 stagebouts in Kielce, Poland. Among the women, Gitika made to the last eightyesterday.

 

From the men’scontingent, Asian silver-medallist Ankit Narwal, Bishwamitra Chongtham,Sachin  and Vishal Gupta stood just a winaway from ensuring a medal for the country. India has fielded a 20-membercontingent - 10 men and as many women - in the competition, which features 414boxers from 52 countries.

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In IPL cricket, Virat Kohli led RoyalChallengers Bangalore defeated Eoin Morgan led Kolkata Knight Riders by 38 runsat MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai this evening. Chasing a massive target of205 runs, KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could not build awinning partnership. For KKR, Andre Russell, 31, and Eoin Morgan, 29, were thetop scorer. The RCB lost Virat Kohli in the second over of the match but GlennMaxwell, 78, and AB de Villiers, 76, hit fifties as their blitzkrieg propelledthe RCB to a massive total of 204 runs.

 

Meanwhile, in the second match of the day,put in to bat first, KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings, PBKS, were 159 for 3 in 16.3overs against Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals, DC, a short while ago atWankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

 

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GOOD NIGHT

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