Coronavirus live updates | Karnataka CM hints at tougher curbs

India’s COVID-19 deaths increased by 161 to 158,607 over the last 24 hours, a notable spike considering an average of about a 100 daily deaths since February.

India reported its biggest daily rise this year of 25,320 COVID-19 cases on Sunday. This is the fourth day that cases have consistently risen over 20,000 infections. Until March, only twice had cases crossed 20,000 in January.

So far India has reported 11.36 million cases of which 2,07,703 cases are active infections.

The rise in infections were led by the Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh who accounted for 87.73% of new cases. Maharashtra accounted for the highest number of cases at 15,602.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

As cases surge, Congress asks government to prepare a strategy

With the number of COVID-19 infections crossing the 25,000-mark in the past 24 hours, the Congress on Sunday questioned the pace of vaccination and asked the government to prepare a strategy to complete the drive within 12 months.

At a press conference at the party headquarters, general secretary Shaktisinh Gohil said experts have been talking about another wave of COVID-19 hitting India soon.

Of the over 135 crore people, Mr. Gohil said only 1.5% have got vaccines including those who have got just the first dose.

“By this rate 70% people will get vaccinated in 12.6 years. For 100% vaccination, it will take 18 years. We have vaccines, enough of it is there. Why is the government not giving it?” he asked and accused the government of being busy in elections and not caring for the people.

Rising cases in Maharashtra have become a cause for concern for Karnataka districts sharing border

Constantly rising cases of COVID-19 in Maharashtra, which reported over 15,000 new cases and accounted for over 60% of active cases in the country, has posed a serious threat of the rapid spread of the infection in Bidar, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Belagavi districts that share the border with this State.

After a long lull, these districts have started seeing a steep rise in cases in the last 10 days. Kalaburagi, for instance, has constantly been reporting double-digit positive cases since the first day of March. It reported 37 new cases on Wednesday and 35 new cases on Saturday taking the number of active cases in the district to 277.

In a bid to check the spread of the virus, the administrations in the border districts have tightened the containment measures including setting up of check-posts at Karnataka – Maharashtra border to ensure that only those who had COVID-19 negative reports could enter the State.

All FLTCs in Ernakulam to be closed down soon

The temporary arrangements made in Kochi to treat COVID-19 patients are coming to an end, with first-line treatment centres (FLTCs) gradually shutting down. The COVID Care Centre at PVS Hospital is likely to be closed down by the end of the month.

FLTCs have been a strain on resources, particularly staff, according to health officials. Some FLTCs have been running only with a handful of patients, and health care workers had to be posted at the centres even for a small number of patients, they said.

Only four FLTCs are at present functioning where 24 people are being observed. They will be shut in about a week, and those who may require monitoring at FLTCs will be shifted to Community Health Centres (CHCs) where facilities are available for COVID patients. Some centres that were functioning out of educational institutions, like the one in Aluva, closed in December.

75% of active COVID cases in A.P. reported from five districts

Andhra Pradesh reported two more COVID-19 deaths and 298 new infections in the 24 hours ending Sunday morning, the highest single-day tally in the past two months.

Nearly 75% (1,039 cases) of the total active cases in the State were reported from five districts including Chittoor (479), Krishna (192), East Godavari (164), Guntur (102) and Visakhapatnam (102). All other districts have less than 100 active cases and Vizianagaram has 17 active cases, the lowest among the districts.

With the new numbers, the cumulative tally increased to 8,91,861 and the toll reached 7,184. Nellore and Visakhapatnam districts reported one death each. The number of active cases increased to 1,400 from 1,268 on Saturday with 164 recoveries in the past day.

Ireland halts AstraZeneca shots

Ireland on Sunday became the latest country to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over concerns about patients developing post-jab blood clots, as nations across the world sought to step up their COVID-19 immunisation drives.

Several countries including Denmark, Norway and Bulgaria last week paused the rollout of vaccines from the Anglo/Swedish pharma giant over fears of blood clots.

The World Health Organization has said no causal link had been established between the vaccine and blood clotting. The manufacturer and Europe’s medicines watchdog have also insisted that the vaccine is safe.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said “an analysis of our safety data that covers reported cases from more than 17 million doses of vaccine administered has shown no evidence of an increased risk” in blood clot conditions.

Karnataka CM hints at tougher curbs

In the light of rising COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has convened a high-level meeting here on Monday.

The cases in the State has been on the rise in the last fortnight with the detection of many clusters.

Besides, neighbouring Maharashtra and Kerala are also reporting higher cases, which has raised fears of a second wave in the State due to limited restriction on inter-State movement.

Mr. Yediyurappa on Sunday also appealed to the public to adhere to COVID-19 protocols and cooperate with the government to contain the spread. “If the public wishes not to face tough measures such as lockdown or curfew, it should cooperate with the government,” he warned.

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