Daily Briefing: Many states say they can’t open vaccination on May 1; Exit polls show dead heat in Bengal, LDF in Kerala

With just a day to go for opening up the vaccination drive for those in the 18-45 age bracket, one state after another is coming out to announce it won’t be able to start.

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Big Story 

With merely a day to go before the nationwide vaccination drive opens up for all adults in the 18-45 age bracket, one state after another is coming out to announce that it doesn’t have enough vaccine stocks to start. Most states are prioritising administering the second shot on people over 45 years who are eligible to receive the jab. 

Meanwhile, grappling with an acute shortage of oxygen, the Delhi government submitted data before the Delhi High Court alleging that while the oxygen provided to the National Capital by the Centre was well short of target, some states were getting more than what they asked for. 

Amidst a sharp rise in Bihar’s Covid numbers, official figures show that in many predominantly rural districts, the number of active cases is almost 9-10 times of what it was in the first wave’s peak in September last year.

Only in the Express 

“These deaths come to me in my dreams.” For the medical officers saddled with the job of making that dreaded call to the families of Covid patients who have died, there is no escaping tragedy. Inside a makeshift command room of the Covid Jumbo Centre in Mumbai’s Dahisar, they arrange video calls for patients, console family members who come for one final glimpse of their dead relatives, and arrange ambulances to take the bodies. 

From the Front Page 

Exit polls showed a dead heat race in West Bengal, with many pollsters giving TMC an edge, while some gave the BJP an advantage. In Kerala, almost all polls indicated a win for the ruling CPI(M)-led Left. Meanwhile, most polls predicted a landslide victory for the DMK-Congress-Left alliance in Tamil Nadu, with some predicting a complete rout of the ruling AIADMK.

Must Read 

Over the last eight days, about 4,000 Covid patients have visited a gurdwara in Ghaziabad’s Indirapuram where a 24×7 ‘oxygen langar’ has been set up by non-profit Khalsa Help International.  About 25 beds line the gurdwara premises, where patients can rest and stabilise their oxygen levels. For those who are not able to enter the premises, volunteers carry oxygen cylinders to their cars.

Despite being located in one of the country’s worst-affected states, the residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Sukrit village in Sonbhadra district are not worried about the pandemic or its fatal impact. Villagers claim no case has been reported here and largely ignore Covid protocols. But some have blamed a complete lack of testing for the village’s low coronavirus caseload. 

Hundreds of migrant workers thronged Goa’s Vasco railway station on Thursday, in a bizarre rerun of scenes witnessed last year when the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the country. Fearing another lockdown amid the menacing second surge, more than 700 workers boarded a Patna-bound train that departed at 7 PM from South Goa. 

And Finally 

Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar donated Rs one crore to procure oxygen concentrators for COVID-19 patients in the country as it battles a severe second wave of the global pandemic.

Delhi Confidential: After Singapore sent several oxygen containers to help India in its time of need, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to his Singaporean counterpart “about reinforcing capacities to fight against the second surge”. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at India’s decision to accept foreign aid, discrepancies in Covid deaths reported in Delhi, and new guidelines on treating Covid-19. 

Until tomorrow

Rahel Philipose

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