KOCHI l FRIDAY l JUNE 26, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION TN AMONG FIVE STATES TO GET FIRST BATCH OF REMDESIVIR Hyderabad-based pharma has made available 20,000 vials of the drug that hastens recovery in moderate Covid-19 cases PRICE FIXED AT K5,400 FOR 100 MG COMING SOON TO VIJAYAWADA, KOCHI Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Telangana—all hard hit by the pandemic— are the other states to receive the drug named ‘Covifor’, priced at H5,400 for a vial of 100 mg. The suggested dose is 200 mg on the first day of a sixday course, followed by 100 mg per day for the next five days. In total, the cost of a course will work up to H37,800 per patient ■ ■ ■ In India, remdesivir has been tried previously as part of a WHO solidarity trial to assess its effectiveness against Covid-19 In a clinical trial in the US, patients who received the drug recovered, on an average, 31% faster than those who did not Vijayawada, Kochi, Bhubaneshwar, too will receive the drug soon 1 lakh VIALS OF THE DRUG ARE TO BE MADE IN THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Cases may spike in Aug; state to test 15,000 daily D I L E E P V K U M A R @ T’Puram Students wait for SSLC exam papers at a Bengaluru school | P MEGHANA SASTRY CBSE X exams out; XII made optional IIT-B classes online for this semester New Delhi : The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has decided to conduct only online classes for the upcoming semester in light of the Covid19 pandemic. “After a long deliberation, we’ve decided that the next semester will be run purely in the online mode so that there is no compromise on the safety of the students. The pandemic has made us rethink the way we impart education,” IIT Bombay director Subhasis Choudhuri said in a statement. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it has decided to cancel the remaining board exams for classes X and XII, scheduled to begin on July 1, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that while Class X boards have been cancelled, Class XII students will get an opt-out option. Those opting out will be assessed on the basis of performance in their last three exams. The Indian Certificate Secondary Education (ICSE), too, told the court it will cancel the remaining boards for its classes X and XII exams. On CBSE’s submission to hold the remaining Class XII papers when the situation improves, the bench said: “The situation can vary from state to state. Will this decision be taken by the Centre or the state?” The bench wanted more clarity on optional exams, publication of results and when the new academic year would start. It sought the CBSE’s draft notification by 10.30am on Friday for its perusal. Brands do soul searching in age of Black Lives Matter S E S A S E N @ New Delhi MOUNTING global outrage over brands pushing products promoting skin colour-based discrimination has prodded some of India’s biggest brands to hastily rebrand or take down their offerings. On Thursday, the country’s largest consumer goods company HUL announced that it would rebrand its `2,000-crore fairness cream brand Fair & Lovely and stop using the word ‘Fair’ in the brand name. HUL’s is just the latest in a series of rollbacks by some of India’s most popular brands— including matrimonial site Shaadi.com and Johnson & Johnson. The latter — which sells Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness — said last week it would no longer sell products advertised as darkspot reducers. In the global market, oral care major Colgate has already said it would review a top-selling Chinese brand called Darlie, whose name translates to ‘black person toothpaste’. Food and beverage major PepsiCo will rebrand its 130-year-old syrup called Aunt Jemima in the US market, while Nestlé too plans to rename a number of its international confectionery labels. The global FMCG giant plans to go through its 25,000 products to eliminate marketing that contains racial stereotypes. AMID growing concerns and the projection of a spike in Covid patients in August, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday announced the state will ramp up daily tests to 15,000, a two-fold increase, from July. He asked people to be more responsible to prevent a further spread of the virus. With a large number of expatriates expected to arrive in the coming days, the CM announced a multi-level strategy to treat the rising number of Covid patients. “The strategy, involving Plan A, B & C, has been prepared to ensure the best possible treatment for these pa- EXPRESS READ No regular trains till August 12 New Delhi: All regular mail, express and passenger services as well as suburban trains which had been cancelled till June 30 due to the pandemic will now remain cancelled till August 12. All special trains — 15 pairs running on the Rajdhani routes since May 12 and 100 pairs of mail/express trains operating since June 1 — will continue. Mentally-ill mom kills boy Palakkad: A 36-year-old mentally challenged mother of two from Vadasseripuram in Allanallur on Thursday stabbed her elder child to death. Seven-year-old Mohammed Irfan suffered wounds on the back and behind the neck in the incident which occurred around 5am. P5 Lightning in UP, Bihar kills 100 Patna: Thunderstorms and lightning have wrought havoc in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over the past two days, claiming more than 100 lives, leaving many injured and causing widespread damage. P8 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS Sought `2L, got `50L. Girl’s appeal crowdfunds mom’s liver transplant The appeal made by 22-yearold Varsha — a final year degree IN a heartwarming gesture student — had gone viral on soamid the coronavirus gloom, an cial media on Wednesday. The emotional appeal made online response was immediate. In the , by a daughter beseeching finan- matter of a day assistance floodcial help for her mothed her mother’s bank acer’s liver transplant count. Having arrived opened a flood of assisin Kochi with her ailing tance. Thanks to the domother around ten days nations which poured in back with just `10,000 in f r o m a l l q u a r t e r s, hand, Varsha was numb 46-year-old Kannur nawith shock when doctive Radha underwent a tors told her that a liver lifesaving surgery at the Radha & Varsha transplant, costing `3 Amrita Institute of Medlakh, was required urical Sciences (AIMS) in Kochi gently to save her mother’s life. on Thursday Where `2 lakh was . With no father, siblings or sought, compassionate souls in family to turn to, the desperate Kerala collectively donated over youngster ran from pillar to `50 lakh. And the daughter do- post to put together `1 lakh. nated a part of her liver to save With no other option in front of her mother. her, an anguished Varsha apA N U J A S U S A N V A R G H E S E @ Kochi proached Sajan Kechery, a Thrissur-based social activist who helped her prepare the online appeal. “I’m all alone and we have no one to help in our family I came . here with just `10,000, and the doctors say it requires `3 lakh for her liver transplant. I’ve put together `1 lakh, but I’ve no means to gather the rest,” says Varsha in the video. Radha was referred to AIMS from a hospital in Kannur. “She was suffering from hepatitis and the condition of her liver worsened. She has been in coma for the past three days and surgery was the only solution. The surgeries of both mother and daughter went well,” said Dr S Sudhindran, head of transplant sur● More on P4 gery at AIMS. Antibody test at airports Pinarayi Vijayan says govt setting up second-line Covid hospitals Antibody test to be done at all airports in the state Health Minister K K Shailaja says community transmission can happen any moment in the state tients,” the CM said in his evening presser. According to Plan A, 29 Covid hospitals and 29 Covid Firstline Treatment Centres have been established in all 14 districts. The facilities at private hospitals will also be used, if required. Currently, 2,937 hospitals have been set up with 8,537 beds, 872 ICU beds and 482 ventilators. If the number of patients increases, more beds in select hospitals will be used for Covid treatment. In addition, a second tier of Covid hospitals is being prepared. “The gover nment’s approach is to provide all possible facilities. People are being taken to hospitals in government ambulances for testing, quarantine and treatment,” Pinarayi said. On the influx of people from abroad, he said a total of 111 chartered flights and 43 flights under the Vande Bharat mission were scheduled between June 25 and June 30. “We expect 40-50 flights per day from Friday. There are more flights to Kochi and Kozhikode. Taking this into account, extensive arrangements are being made at every airport,” he said. Antibody kits for Covid tests have been delivered and special booths set up for the purpose, he said, while urging overseas returnees to be more responsible even if tests at the airport turn Covid negative. Only 7 per cent of the virus spread has happened through overseas returnees, indicating that 93 per cent of the Covid positive persons from abroad have followed the quarantine norms, he said. KERALA CASE DIARY 123 cases reported on Thursday 1,763 are under treatment 1,941 State reports 100+ cases for the seventh consecutive day 3,726 cases confirmed so far 22 DEATHS recovered MEA accuses China of disregarding pacts, amassing troops since May Raps it for attempting to change status quo, shifting position on the Galwan Valley manders to work out a mutual plan,” a senior Army officer ACCUSING China of amass- said. ing troops and armaments India’s firm stand on the along the Line of Actual Con- Galwan Valley and transgrestrol (LAC) since early May re- sions by the Chinese are being , sulting in the June 15 clash seen as an attempt to drive and heightened tension, India home the message that was deon Thursday said the Chinese livered at the Corps Comconduct this year has been in mander-level talks on June 22 complete disregard to all mu- that the rules of engagement tually agreed nor ms and were no longer the same. pacts. The Indian side, sources “While there have been oc- said, had made it clear at the casional departures meeting that its troops ‘Onus on in the past, the conon the ground had been Delhi’ duct of Chinese forcgiven a free hand to es this year has been deal with situations as Chinese in complete disrethey deemed fit, which Ambassador gard of all mutually has been interpreted as Sun Weidong agreed norms,” Exa freedom to use arms put the onus ternal Affairs Minisif necessary . on India to try spokesperson An- ease the border “India’s statement is urag Srivastava said. a continuation of its tension. “We India a g a i n hope the Indian position conveyed to charged China with side meets the the Chinese on the trying to alter the staJune 22 Corps ComChinese side tus quo even as New halfway, avoids mander-level meeting. Delhi dismissed Bei- taking actions Except initial intellijing’s claims of sovgence failure in checkthat may ereignty over the Gal- complicate the ing the Chinese deployw a n Va l l e y a s ment and ingress, India border “unjustified and un- situation and has demonstrated that tenable” and said takes concrete it will not let the Chithis was a shift from nese strategy of two actions to its earlier position. step forward, one step maintain “The deployment stability in the back succeed. I hope of a large body of border areas,” the statement ematroops and changes nates from the ground he said in behaviour has also realities rather than been aggravated by unjusti- from a strong anti-China wave fied and untenable claims. The that has engulfed the country ,” recent shift in the Chinese po- said B R Deepak, Sinologist sition on the Galwan Valley is and chairperson of the Centre one example,” Srivastava said. for Chinese and South Asian India’s strong statement studies at JNU. came as the Indian Army A former diplomat echoed maintained that disengage- him. “Though ground reports ment on the ground was yet to suggest that de-escalation has begin. “The local command- not begun, India wants to ers-level meeting has not tak- show the Chinese that it will en place yet, so details have not be bogged down. Also, it is not been worked out. It will a befitting reply to the claims take some time for division made by the Chinese over the commanders, sector com- Galwan Valley area,” he said. P7 manders and battalion com- P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi FIEO awaits govt response “We have been given to understand that customs is physically examining all imports from China, which is delaying clearance, adding to the cost of imports,” FIEO president S K Saraf wrote ‘Will hurt to Commerce India more’ Secretary Anup Wadhawan. China’s exports to He is India constitute waiting 2.8% of their for the overall exports. But govt’s response India’s exports to China is 5.4% of and hopes to its total exports, so the blockade get it today will hurt India more, says FIEO China blocks Indian shipments in tit-for-tat A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi WITH the spike in bilateral border tensions spilling over to trade, shipments of Indian origin are being held up in Hong Kong and China in retaliation to India blocking China-origin shipments at domestic ports. S K Saraf, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), revealed the tit-for-tat action by Beijing after reports of Indian customs holding back Chinese consignments. This is causing delays in consignment clearance. The FIEO has taken up the matter with the ministry of commerce and industry “We . have been given to understand that customs is physically examining all imports from China, which is delaying clearance, adding to the cost of imports,” Saraf said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan. He said some exporters have reported retaliatory blocking by Hong Kong and Chinese customs. Earlier, after consignments of Apple’s iPhone from China were held at various Indian ports, the USIndia Strategic Partnership Forum wrote the government sharing its concern. It said the Director General of Foreign Trade and customs have abruptly halted clearance of consignments from China, which will send a chilling message to foreign investors. They were also concerned that the decision to subject shipments from China to 100% manual examination will delay the supply chain and damage expensive components and critical imports from China, escalating cost and time for the already stressed CONTINUED ON: P10 industry . ERAVIKULAM NATIONAL PARK Record Nilgiri tahr births, courtesy lockdown M A N O J V I S W A N AT H A N @ Kochi THE Eravikulam National Park has reported a record number of Nilgiri tahr births this year, thanks to the decline in human interference in forest areas due to the Covid-induced lockdown. As many as 723 Nilgiri tahrs were counted during a survey conducted by the Forest Department in April, of which 155 were newborns. In 2019, the numbers stood at 526 and 91. “It’s a healthy sign. Every year we engage volunteers for NILGIRI TAHR POPULATION Year Population New births 2020 723 155 2019 526 91 2018 643 75 2017 573 87 the survey but this year, due to Covid, we deployed our guards and watchers for the five-day survey held from April 20 to 24,” Eravikulam Range Officer Job J Neriamparambil said. The Eravikulam National Park, with an area of 97 sqkm, is the natural habitat of Nilgiri tahrs. But they roam the grasslands of Marayur and Mangulam. So the survey was extended to 105 sqkm this year. The rutting season of Nilgiri tahr occurs during the monsoon from June to August while the birth season is from Janu- ary to March. The gestation period is 179 days. “The 19% birth rate indicates a healthy population. However, the mortality rate of the juveniles is very high at 44-52%,” said wildlife expert Dr James Zachariah. “Apart from predators, the juveniles face threat from eagles and even diseases. However, the birthrate points at a stable population. As the mating season has begun and there is no human interference this time, we can expect a steady rise in population next year as well, “ he said.
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