HIGHLIGHTS AT 5 PM

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New Delhi, Apr 18 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 5 pm: Nation: LD MANMOHAN-PM-VIRUS Manmohan Singh writes to PM on COVID crisis; stresses vaccination key to battling pandemic New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the COVID-19 crisis, stressing that ramping up vaccination was the key to battling the pandemic, and mooted steps to boost supply including invoking compulsory licensing provisions as in case of HIV/AIDS drugs.

DEL39 CPI(M)-VIRUS-MODI-RALLY Modi demonstrating his role as party campaigner, not India’s PM: CPI(M) on BJP rallies in Bengal New Delhi: The CPI(M) on Sunday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for continuing to campaign in the West Bengal assembly polls despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, alleging that he is demonstrating his role as a “partisan party campaigner” and not that of the country’s PM.

DEL35 PM-VARANASI PM Modi reviews COVID situation in Varanasi New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, and stressed the need for vaccination of everyone over 45 years of age.

DEL36 RAIL-LD VIRUS-DELHI GOVT Delhi govt requests rlys to deploy COVID-care coaches at two station New Delhi: The Delhi government has urged the railways to arrange up to 5,000 beds by deploying COVID-care coaches at the Shakur Basti and the Anand Vihar stations in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the national capital.

DEL30 DL-VIRUS-LD KEJRIWAL Less than 100 ICU beds vacant in Delhi hospitals, situation worsening every moment: CM Kejriwal New Delhi: Over 25,000 people have tested COVID-19 positive in the last 24 hours in Delhi and less than 100 ICU beds remain available in hospitals, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, delivering more bad news in an unprecedented public health crisis sweeping not just the capital but the entire nation.

DEL22 VIRUS-POSITIVITY RATE COVID positivity rate doubles to 16.69% in 12 days: Govt New Delhi: The daily coronavirus positivity rate in India in the last 12 days has doubled to 16.69 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate has increased to 13.54 per cent in the past one month, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

DEL21 CHIDAMBARAM-MODI Thank you for sparing time for COVID amidst urgent war to conquer Bengal: Chidambaram’s dig at Modi New Delhi, Apr 18 (PTI) Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanking him for sparing 'a little time' amidst the 'urgent war to conquer West Bengal', to review the coronavirus situation in the country.

DEL44 RAHUL-LD CANCEL RALLIES COVID-19 surge: Rahul Gandhi announces cancellation of poll rallies in West Bengal New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday cancelled all his public rallies in poll-bound West Bengal following a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.

BOM14 CG-HOSPITAL FIRE-LD PROBE 5 die in Chhattisgarh COVID-19 hospital fire; probe ordered Raipur: Authorities have ordered an investigation after five coronavirus patients died in a fire at the COVID-19 ward of a private hospital in Chhattisgarh's capital city Raipur, police said on Sunday.

REMDESIVIR-3RD LD POLICE Police grill pharma director over Remdesivir stock; BJP fumes Mumbai: Mumbai police questioned a pharma company director following information that thousands of vials of the Remdesivir drug critical in coronavirus treatment were to be flown out of the country, an official said on Sunday.

CAL6 WB-POLL-MAMATA BJP leaders from outside campaigning in Bengal responsible for spike in COVID-19 cases: Mamata Tehatta (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said BJP leaders 'from Delhi' who are bringing 'outsiders' for campaigning, without COVID-19 tests, are responsible for the spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

CAL3 WB-POLL-SHAH Mamata demoralised as BJP much ahead of TMC after five phases of polls: Shah Purbasthali (WB): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday asserted that the BJP will bag more than 122 of the 180 seats that went to polls in West Bengal in five phases.

Legal: LGD3 DL-HC-HATHRAS PHOTO Wrong photo of Hathras rape victim on social media: Plea in HC for information on uploader New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought responses of the Centre and social media platforms Facebook, Google and Twitter on a plea seeking complete details of those who uploaded a wrong photo of the Hathras rape victim.

LGD4 SC-DRUGS Persons dealing in narcotic drugs instruments in causing death to vulnerable victims: SC New Delhi: Persons dealing in narcotic drugs are instruments in causing death to innocent vulnerable victims and merely because an accused is a poor man and sole bread earner cannot be a mitigating factor to give him lesser punishment, the Supreme Court said.

Foreign: FES13 VIRUS-PAK Pakistan reports highest single-day coronavirus spike in 2021 with over 6,000 cases Islamabad, Apr 18 (PTI) Pakistan on Sunday reported its highest single-day coronavirus spike this year with over 6,000 new cases and about 149 deaths, as the country struggled to speed up its vaccination programme. By Sajjad Hussain. PTI AQS AQS