New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With India reporting a continous surge in COVID-19 cases over the past few days, leaders 13 opposition parties have urged the Centre to launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country and ensure that an uninterrupted flow of oxygen is provided to all hospitals and health facilities.

India has been hit by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to an unprecedented spike in daily cases. As per the information available at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India has over 34 lakh active cases while more than 2.18 lakh have succumbed to the infection.

Here are the highlights of the day:

16:52 pm: 1,500 PSA oxygen generation plants are being developed. To increase availability of oxygen we're working on converting nitrogen plants into oxygen plants. We've identified 14 industries with PSA nitrogen plants, 37 plants have also been identified, says Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.

16:40 pm: We're planning to use gaseous oxygen for medical purposes. Industrial units that make oxygen which is suitable for medical purpose and are near cities, we're planning to make temporary COVID care centers with oxygenated beds around them, says Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.

16:36 pm: Some states are showing increasing trends in COVID cases, these states should take required precautionary measures. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, Karnataka Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya are among those states, says Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.

16:30 pm: We're seeing a positive approach in recoveries too. On May 2, the recovery rate was at 78 per cent and on May 3 it climbed up to almost 82 per cent. These are early gains on which we have to work on regularly, says Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.

16:23 pm: Some states including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh are showing early signs of plateauing or decrease in daily new cases, says Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.

16:17 pm: The overall cumulative fatality of the country is around 1.10 per cent, says Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.

15:40 pm: In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Government has issued notifications exempting Basic Customs Duty and/or Health cess on imports of a number of COVID-19 related relief materials, for a limited period, says Ministry of Finance

15:12 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi authorises keys decisions to boost availability of medical personnel to fight COVID-19. NEET-PG Exam to be postponed for at least 4 months, says Prime Minister's Office.

14:40 pm: PM Modi had a phone call today with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The two leaders exchanged views on prevailing COVID-19 situation in India and EU, including India’s ongoing efforts to contain second wave of COVID-19.

14:16 pm: Just In: A partial curfew will remain imposed in Andhra Pradesh for 14 days starting May 5, said Chief Minister's Office.

13:37 pm: Delhi HC issues notice to Delhi Government on a PIL seeking direction to cap the price of High-Resolution Computerised Tomography (HRCT) scan and test which is nowadays massively recommended to people having symptoms of COVID-19.

13:30 pm: SBI has allocated Rs 71 crores to undertake various support initiatives to help India combat second wave of COVID-19. Bank has dedicated Rs 30 crores to setup 1000-bedded makeshift hospitals, 250 bed ICU facilities and 1000-bedded isolation facilities in some worst-hit states, says State Bank of India.

12:58 pm: Also Read -- IPL 2021: KKR-RCB today's match to be postponed as 2 players test COVID positive, uncertainty looms over next games

12:45 pm: Delhi High Court dismisses a PIL seeking direction to restrain news channels from spreading negativity, sense of insecurity towards life and to frame guidelines.

"Informing public about the numbers of deaths due to COVID-19 is not negative news," it says.

11:54 am: Just In: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will chair a meeting of government officers regarding home isolation today. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and the chief secretary will be present, reports ANI.

11:52 am: Vaccination has started at 76 schools of Delhi Government today. With this, vaccination has begun at 301 centres for 18-45 age group. Our target is to make 10 centres at a school. We'll continue to expand number of centers as we receive more vaccines, says Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

We received 4.5 lakh vaccine doses on May 1. We're in touch with vaccine manufacturers. We have given appointments to 45,150 people for vaccination today. People are very eager for taking the vaccines. We hope for 100 per cent turnout, he added.

11:30 am: Also Read -- Uttar Pradesh COVID Restrictions: 'Corona curfew' extended till May 6 amid spike in cases | Updates

10:50 am: Just In: Supreme Court begins hearing Election Commission's plea challenging Madras HC order wherein it criticised the poll panel for failure to maintain COVID-19 protocols during poll campaigns and said it 'should be put up on murder charges' for being 'most irresponsible institution'.

10:15 am: Telangana reports 5,695 new COVID-19 cases, 6,206 recoveries and 49 deaths, says state Health Department.

Active cases: 80,135

Total discharges: 3,73,933

Death toll: 2,417

9:43 am: India reports 3,68,147 new COVID-19 cases, 3,00,732 discharges and 3,417 deaths in the last 24 hours, sayd Union Health Ministry.

Total cases: 1,99,25,604

Total recoveries: 16,29,3003

Death toll: 2,18,959

Active cases: 34,13,642

Total vaccination: 15,71,98,207

9:09 am: Also Read -- Delhi sees record 407 deaths in a day with over 20,000 COVID cases, Maharashtra sees 56,647 fresh infections

8:20 am: Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to formulate within two weeks a national policy on admissions to hospitals in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 and said no patient shall be denied hospitalisation or essential drugs in any state for lack of local residential proof.

8:15 am: Leaders of 13 opposition parties in a joint statement asked the central government to launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country in view of the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma