India covid
A man scatters leaves and flower petals on the grave of 65-year-old Arnold Samuel Christian, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), after his burial at a cemetery in Ahmedabad, India, May 3, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

India's total COVID-19 caseload neared 20 million on Monday as hospitals continued to scramble for oxygen supplies while much-needed foreign assistance poured in.

Health ministry data on Monday showed that India had added around 370,000 new infections in the previous 24 hours as well as 3,400 deaths.

India's coronavirus cases may peak between May 3-5, according to a mathematical model from a team of scientists advising the government, a few days earlier than a previous estimate as the virus has spread faster than expected.

India due to receive 220 million serum shots

Serum Institute of India Ltd., the world's largest vaccine maker, will deliver 220 million doses to India’s federal and state governments over the next few months, which can cover 8% of the country's population. The central government will receive 110 million doses of Covishield while the state governments and hospitals will receive the rest, the Pune-based manufacturer said in a statement on Twitter Monday, without specifying a definite delivery date.

Pfizer in talks with India over expedited approval for COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer is in discussions with the Indian government seeking an "expedited approval pathway" for its COVID-19 vaccine, its CEO Albert Bourla said on LinkedIn on Monday, announcing a donation of medicines worth more than $70 million. "Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago," he said. "We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country." 

india covid disinfect
A man dressed as a clown disinfects the door of a house in a slum area, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Mumbai, India, May 3, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Karnataka orders probe after 23 die due to shortage of oxygen

The Karnataka government has ordered a probe into the death of 23 COVID-19 patients due to interruption in the supply of medical oxygen at the Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) on Monday.

"The deaths were reported after there was a fall in oxygen supply between midnight and 2am. At least 144 patients were being treated at the hospital when the tragedy struck," a senior official at CIMS said.

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Andhra Pradesh to impose partial curfew for 14 days

A partial curfew has been imposed in Andhra Pradesh for 14 days starting May 5, the Chief Minister's Office said on Monday.

As per the orders issued by the CMO, shops in the state will remain open daily from 6 am to 12 pm and only essential services will be permitted. Section 144 will also be in place between the above-mentioned timings, it said. A night curfew is already in place in the state from 10 pm to 5 am to contain the spread of the disease.

PM takes key decisions to boost availability of medical personnel

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a number of measures, including postponing the NEET-PG for at least four months to make a large number of qualified doctors available for pandemic duty and pressing into service medical interns. The PMO said in a statement on Monday that the services of final year MBBS students can also be utilised for providing services like tele-consultation and monitoring of mild COVID-19 cases after orientation under the faculty's supervision. Medical interns will work under the supervision of their faculty.

india oxygen covid
A worker prepares to transfer medical oxygen from a truck at a COVID-19 Care Centre set up at the Sarojini Naidu Medical College (SNMC) in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Monday, May 3, 2021. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Not in favour of total lockdown: Punjab CM

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has warned people against laxity in adherence to curbs imposed in the state, and said if the situation did not improve, he would be forced to consider a total lockdown.

The Chief Minister said he had so far refrained from ordering a sweeping lockdown in the state because it would hurt the poor the most and would lead to exodus of migrant labourers, plunging industries into chaos again.

However, if the people do not stringently comply with the restrictions in place, harsher steps might have to be taken, he added.

Italy delivers oxygen production plant to India

Italy, a member of the European Union, has delivered an oxygen production plant and 20 ventilators to India. Several countries like Romania, Ireland, Germany, France and Belgium have already sent in the supplies and the flight from Italy carrying oxygen-related equipment arrived on Monday.

Delhi Airport sets up dedicated facility for imported relief material

The Delhi airport has set up a dedicated logistic facility - Jeevoday - to ensure swift distribution of imported relief materials. The airport has set up a 3,500 square metre dedicated logistic facility for interim storage and distribution of COVID-19 relief materials.

As per the statement, in a span of just five days - April 28 to May 2, the Delhi airport has handled around 25 COVID-19 relief flights totaling around 300 tonnes of cargo.

Remdesivir black marketing racket busted

Haryana Police on Monday arrested the 'kingpin' of a racket engaged in black-marketing of Remdesivir drug from Panipat district. The drug is in high demand for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

- with inputs from agencies