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India reports another record daily rise in virus infections

PM appeals for symbolic ‘Kumbh Mela’ to strengthen fight against virus; despite a year to prepare, govt caught off guard, says Sonia; Delhi CM urges citizens to follow weekend curfew


India reported a record daily increase of 234,692 COVID-19 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Saturday.

It was the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days.

Total cases reached nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States which has reported more than 32 million infections.

India’s deaths from COVID-19 rose by 1,341 to reach a total of 175,649, the data showed.

With reports of huge number of Covid positive cases from ‘Kumbh Mela’ area in Haridwar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday appealed to observe the “symbolic” event to strengthen the fight against the deadly virus.

The Prime Minister’s appeal comes as the annual event has sparked nationwide concern amid an alarming second wave of the pandemic as tens of thousands of devotees have gathered along the banks of the Ganga in Utarakhand’s Haridwar.

Taking to Twiter, the Prime Minister said that he spoke to top seer Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha president Swami Avdheshana­nd Giri Ji

Maharaj over the phone and made an appeal about the event.

“I spoke to Acharya Mahamandal­eshwar Swami Awadheshan­and Giri on the phone on Saturday morning and got details about the health of all saints. I have prayed that two royal baths have taken place and that the Kumbh should be kept symbolic due to the crisis in corona. This will give the fight strength from this crisis,” the Prime Minister said.

Modi thanked all the seers for giving all kinds of support to the administra­tion.

Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said that the pandemic is a national challenge that should be kept above party politics but ater a year the government is caught off guard.

Sonia Gandhi was speaking during the Congress Working Commitee ( CWC) meeting that was called virtually to discuss the issue of the pandemic.

In her opening remarks she said, “The Indian National Congress has always believed that fighting the Covid-19 pandemic is a national challenge that should be kept above party politics. We have extended our hands of co-operation right from February-march, 2020.

“We cannot, however, lose sight of the fact that the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the country with fury. Despite a year to prepare, we have, regretably, been caught off guard again,” she added.

She said that the families are being torn apart, lives and livelihood­s have been lost and entire life savings depleted on healthcare. It is deeply concerning to read news reports of acute shortages of medical equipment and hospital beds.

Reports from across the country speak of the scarcity of Covid-19 vaccine as also of important life-saving drugs including Remdesivir in different parts of the country.

Sonia Gandhi extended profound sense of grief and sorrow to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones over the past one year to the pandemic.

“Their pain and anguish is our pain and anguish. Let me also reiterate our deepest sense of gratitude to and support for the frontline health workers and the medical fraternity who have been rendering phenomenal service in the face of the severest of pressures and risks. “We salute their sense of duty and dedication.” She mentioned that recently, she had detailed discussion with the Chief Ministers of the states ruled by the Congress as also Ministers, where Congress is in alliance government, to take stock of the emergent situation from them.

“The gross unprepared­ness and avoidable adhocism on part of the Modi Government in foreseeing, evaluating and managing the crisis,” she added.

Hours ater the weekend curfew began in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday appealed to the citizens to follow the guidelines imposed by the state government to win the war against Covid-19.

The weekend lockdown came into force from 10 pm on Friday. This is for the first time this year the national capital will witness strict prohibitio­n on weekend and is likely to be extended if cases continue to rise.

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A health worker takes a swab sample to test for virus in Prayagraj on Saturday.
Associated Press ↑ A health worker takes a swab sample to test for virus in Prayagraj on Saturday.

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