Amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a national health emergency. The former Union minister also called on the Election Commission to declare a moratorium on election rallies in view of the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday suspended all his remaining public rallies in West Bengal in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, and urged other political leaders to think about the consequences of holding large rallies in the current circumstances.
Underlining the “alarming rise in daily number of active cases” and “a sharp growth of 10.2% in the number of deaths”, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Saturday said “the widening gap between daily new cases and daily new recoveries reflects that the infection is spreading at a much faster rate than recoveries with consistently growing active cases”.
At a meeting to review the availability of oxygen, ventilators, manpower, medicines and hospital beds in 11 states/UT reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases, Harsh Vardhan said: “India is currently reporting the sharpest growth rate of 7.6% in new Covid cases, which is 1.3 times higher than case growth rate of 5.5% reported in June 2020.” He said the Centre is rushing 6,303 additional ventilators to six states of concern: 1121 ventilators to Maharashtra, 1700 to Uttar Pradesh, 1500 to Jharkhand, 1600 to Gujarat, 152 to Madhya Pradesh, and 230 to Chhattisgarh.
Maharashtra recorded its highest-ever single-day spike with 67,123 cases on Saturday. Delhi and Kerala too registered their biggest one-day count with 24,000 and 13,835 infections respectively. With 120 deaths, Uttar Pradesh reported its largest one-day toll.
After 11 states and Union Territories raised the demand for oxygen cylinders, ventilators, vaccine doses and Remdesivir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a review meeting with government officials to take a stock of the Covid situation and vaccine availability in the country. The states and UTs including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, raised the demands during a high-level meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. “Many of them raised the issue of dovetailing the medical oxygen supply lines and capping of prices of essential drugs like Remdesivir which has been sold in the black market at exorbitant prices. Double mutant strain in Maharashtra was a key point of concern. The Delhi government requested for additional beds in central government hospitals as was done in 2020 to help tide over the emergent health crisis,” the ministry said in a statement after the meeting.