April 23 coronavirus news

By Sophie Jeong, Aditi Sangal and Kara Fox, Nicholas Pearce and Philip Wang

Updated 0702 GMT (1502 HKT) April 26, 2021
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6:57 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

Two Indian hospitals receive emergency supplies of oxygen -- but it will only last two hours

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

After writing on Twitter that it had less than an hour's worth of oxygen left for its Covid-19 patients on Friday morning, Max Healthcare, a prominent Indian hospital group, said two of its hospitals in the capital received emergency supplies, but that they would only last two hours.

Public and health officials in New Delhi have been raising the alarm about the acute shortage of oxygen supplies at hospitals, despite the increased allocation of those supplies amid the devastating second wave of the pandemic.

Max Healthcare is one of the medical groups that successfully petitioned the Delhi High Court to divert oxygen supplies to hospitals on Wednesday. The central government has since placed a temporary ban on the use of oxygen for industrial activities and diverted the supplies for medical care. 

Sunil Saggar, CEO of the Shanti Mukand hospital in New Delhi, told local media that six private hospitals in Delhi ran out of oxygen on Thursday, including the Shanti Mukand.

We are a hospital -- we are supposed to give life. If we cannot give oxygen...if the patient comes to the hospital, the patient will die," Saggar said.

A Thursday press statement from the prime minister’s office said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Thursday to review oxygen supplies, noting that the demands of 20 Indian states had been met.

The statement added that the government was able to allocate 6,822 metric tons of oxygen, when only 6,785 metric tons had been requested.

The government had been warned of the country’s oxygen shortages back in November when consumption quickly increased during the first phase of the pandemic. 

A parliamentary committee highlighted that oxygen use for medical purposes had increased from 1000 metric tons a day to 3000 metric tons during the pandemic’s previous peak.

Industrial use of oxygen counted for 6000 metric tons before the pandemic, according to the committee's report.

6:57 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

Images of New Delhi’s mass cremation sites illustrate the brutality of India’s second wave

As India's second deadly wave continues to surge, crematorium grounds in Delhi have been overwhelmed -- with families turning to makeshift mass cremation sites.

The scenes underscore the severity of India's second wave, acutely felt in the capital.

In total, Delhi has recorded a total of 956,348 cases of coronavirus and 13,193 deaths, according to the city's health authority.

On Thursday, Delhi recorded 306 new Covid-19 deaths, according to the Delhi Health Department's evening bulletin. 

With a shortage of hospital and ICU beds, oxygen supply and testing, India’s healthcare system is buckling. Cities across the country are reporting far larger numbers of cremations and burials under coronavirus protocols than official Covid-19 death tolls, according to crematorium and cemetery workers, media and a Reuters review of government data.

A mass cremation of victims who died from coronavirus is seen at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, on April 22.
A mass cremation of victims who died from coronavirus is seen at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, on April 22. Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
A man performs the last rites for his wife who died of Covid-19 during a mass cremation at a crematorium in New Delhi, India on April 20.
A man performs the last rites for his wife who died of Covid-19 during a mass cremation at a crematorium in New Delhi, India on April 20. Anindito Mukherjee/Getty Images
A body waiting for cremation is seen among funeral pyres of Covid-19 victims at a ground that has been converted into a mass crematorium in New Delhi, on April 21.
A body waiting for cremation is seen among funeral pyres of Covid-19 victims at a ground that has been converted into a mass crematorium in New Delhi, on April 21. AP

Nationwide, 332,730 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Friday, bringing the total to more than 16 million cases, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health.

6:56 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

India's second wave is devastating communities and hospitals across the country. Here's the latest.

Relatives of a patient who died of Covid-19 mourn outside a hospital in Ahmedabad, India, on April 17.
Relatives of a patient who died of Covid-19 mourn outside a hospital in Ahmedabad, India, on April 17. Ajit Solanki/AP

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India has devastated lives and completely overwhelmed hospitals and medical resources.

A new global record: India reported 332,730 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest number of daily cases globally for the second day in a row. This brings India's total to more than 16 million cases, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health. The country has added over 1 million cases in four days.

India also reported its highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began, with 2,263 deaths Friday. 

Shortage of oxygen: At least six private hospitals in the Indian capital New Delhi ran out of oxygen Thursday, according to the city's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. He added that supplies had not reached New Delhi, even after the central government allocated 480 metric tonnes of oxygen for the capital.

Workers prepare to fill oxygen cylinders for hospital treatment of Covid-19 patients, on the outskirts of Jabalpur, India, on April 18.
Workers prepare to fill oxygen cylinders for hospital treatment of Covid-19 patients, on the outskirts of Jabalpur, India, on April 18. Uma Shankar Mishra/AFP/Getty Images

Health care infrastructure strained: As of Friday morning, there were only 25 ICU beds available in the capital, a Delhi government dashboard showed. The Delhi High Court also revoked a government order on Thursday that required Covid-19 testing labs to provide results in less than 36 hours. The court noted that labs are "refusing and turning away people" due to this and stated that "there is no reason to now require generation of reports positively within 36 hours, particularly when the pandemic is four times larger than what it was last year." 

A black market for medicines has emerged: With Covid-19 cases soaring in India, demand has spiked for Remdesivir. But as hospitals face shortages, black market traders are charging up to 10 times the recommended retail price for for the antiviral drug, despite no clarity on its effectiveness in treating the virus.

Vaccinations are carried out at an indoor stadium in Guwahati, India, on April 22.
Vaccinations are carried out at an indoor stadium in Guwahati, India, on April 22. Biju Boro/AFP/Getty Images

Vaccinations: India has administered 135 millions doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Thursday, according to Indian health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Currently, India is only vaccinating its health care workers, front line workers and people aged 45 and above. Starting May 1, it will open up vaccination to everyone 18 and older, which will be its biggest cohort. It is indicated that either this age group will have to get vaccines from state government or buy them from private providers.

6:56 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

Six New Delhi hospitals run out of oxygen as supplies failed to reach Indian capital

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A public notice hangs outside Shanti Mukund Hospital on April 22 in New Delhi, India.
A public notice hangs outside Shanti Mukund Hospital on April 22 in New Delhi, India. Amal KS/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

At least six private hospitals in the Indian capital New Delhi ran out of oxygen Thursday, the city's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said in a letter to the union health minister on Thursday.

Even after the central government allocated 480 metric tonnes of oxygen for the capital on Wednesday, Delhi's advocate informed the Delhi high court on Thursday that the supplies had still not reached the capital. 

"Police and senior officials of administration in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are taking oxygen tankers intended for other states into their custody due to which the oxygen allocated by the central government is unable to reach Delhi," Sisodia said in a letter to union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday. 

On Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order asking states to not restrict the movement of medical oxygen and the high court also asked for a special corridor to be created for the movement of oxygen, adding that non-compliance with the orders for allocation of oxygen would result in a "grave loss of life."

Delhi recorded 306 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, according to the Delhi Health Department's evening bulletin. Delhi has recorded a total of 956,348 cases of coronavirus and 13,193 deaths according to the Delhi Health Department on Thursday evening.

6:56 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

India tops global daily record for new Covid-19 cases second day in a row

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A health worker prepares a Covid-19 test sample at a testing centre in Srinagar, India on April 21.
A health worker prepares a Covid-19 test sample at a testing centre in Srinagar, India on April 21. Muzamil Mattoo/NurPhoto/Getty Images

India has reported the highest number of daily coronavirus cases globally for the second day in a row, as the country grapples with a worsening crisis.

On Friday, 332,730 new cases were recorded, bringing India's total to more than 16 million cases, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health. The country has added over 1 million cases in four days.

India also reported its highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began, with 2,263 deaths Friday.

In the capital New Delhi, at least six private hospitals ran out of oxygen Thursday, Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said in a letter to union health ministers.

Even after the central government allocated 480 metric tons of oxygen for Delhi Wednesday, Delhi's advocate informed the city's high court Thursday that the supplies had still not reached the capital.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order asking states not to restrict the movement of medical oxygen. The high court also asked for a special corridor to be created for the movement of oxygen.

As of Friday morning, there were only 25 available ICU beds in the capital, a Delhi government dashboard showed.

Later today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be chairing high-level meetings to review the Covid-19 situation in the country.

6:56 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

CDC vaccine advisers to hear about new blood clot cases linked with J&J coronavirus vaccine

From CNN Health's Maggie Fox

Janssen Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines that aren't being given out are seen on April 15 in Los Angeles, CA.
Janssen Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines that aren't being given out are seen on April 15 in Los Angeles, CA. Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss how to move forward with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen coronavirus vaccine.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to meet from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Friday and to vote on updated recommendations for use of the vaccine and whether it is likely to be linked to a rare blood clotting syndrome called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

TTS is characterized by a rare type of blood clot in the brain -- and possibly other large blood clots -- along with a low number of blood clotting cells called platelets. Some blood specialists have said they believe it's caused by an unusual immune reaction that targets platelets, causing them to glob together into clots.

ACIP will hear about any additional cases reported since their last meeting earlier in the month. The cases of six women who suffered TTS, including one who died, prompted CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration to recommend a pause in rolling out the vaccine.

Read the full story here:

2:19 a.m. ET, April 23, 2021

South Korea approves first domestic self-testing Covid-19 kits

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

Courtesy Humasis
Courtesy Humasis

South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety granted conditional approval for two locally developed Covid-19 self-testing kits Friday, according to a press release.

The testing kits produced by SD Biosensor and Humasis are already used in European countries including Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Users should be able to get a result within 15 minutes of testing, but the sensitivity level for the at-home kits is lower than the more widely used PCR-based testing.

The sensitivity rates of the newly approved testing kits are 90% and 89.4% for SD Biosensor and Humasis respectively, according to the Ministry statement.

The two companies will need to provide additional clinical trial test results within three months.

South Korea recorded 797 new coronavirus cases from Thursday, raising the national total of confirmed cases to 117,458, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

As of midnight Friday, more than 2 million people have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine and 79,151 people were fully vaccinated, KDCA said.