CHENNAI SATURDAY JULY 04, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION JEE, NEET EXAMS PUSHED TO SEPTEMBER AMID COVID-19 Friday’s decision by the Centre comes amid growing pressure from students and parents to postpone the exams SEP 1-6 DATES FOR JEE MAIN, NEET ON 13TH CLASSES NOT LIKELY TO START UNTIL NOV According to the revised schedule, JEE Main exams will be held between September 1 and 6, while JEE Advanced on September 27. September 13 is the new date for NEET, the common medical entrance exam. Normally held in April-May, these exams were first pushed to July, and have now been rescheduled again as the Covid-19 situation has not improved ■ ■ The decision was taken after a panel constituted by the HRD ministry recommended that the exams be posponed as many test centres are located inside containment zones As a result, first-year classes for engineering and medical students are not expected to start at least until mid-November 25 lakh STUDENTS HAVE REGISTERED TO APPEAR FOR THESE EXAMS 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 MODI PUTS CHINA ON NOTICE Says the era of expansionism is over and the age of development has begun; praises troops for showing their ‘fire and fury’; foreign secretary briefs five countries on the LAC situation M AYA N K S I N G H & P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledging the greetings of soldiers at a forward location in Ladakh’s Nimu on Friday Modernisation of armed forces a priority: Modi Japan throws its weight behind India Miffed China says don’t complicate matters Speaking to soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said modernisation of the armed forces is a priority. “India manufactures modern weapons today. We are bringing modern technology from around the world,” he said Japan on Friday extended support to India over its border stand-off with China. “Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” said Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Suzuki on Friday Reacting to Modi’s visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said India and China are in touch via military and diplomatic channels and “neither side should make any move that may complicate the border situation” SENDING out a strong signal to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the days of expansionism were over and that India’s commitment to peace should not be interpreted by any country as a sign of weakness. “The era of expansionism has come to an end. This is the era of development. History has proved that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back,” he said while addressing troops during a surprise visit to Nimu in Ladakh. Paying tribute to the courage and devotion of Indian soldiers, Modi said “the enemies of India have seen the fire and fury of our forces.” The world had taken note of India’s strength and the exemplary bravery of the armed forces, the Prime Minister said. Although he did not mention China even once in his address, it was clear he was referring to India’s northern neighbour. Reacting to Modi’s speech, the Chinese embassy here said it was wrong to view China as expansionist and to fabricate its disputes with its neighbours. “China has demarcated boundary with 12 of its 14 neighbouring countries through peaceful negotiations, turning land borders into bonds of friendly cooperation. It’s groundless to view China as ‘expansionist’, exaggerate and fabricate its disputes with neighbours,” tweeted Ji Rong, the Chinese Embassy spokesperson. ICMR pushes the vaccine envelope, gets singed S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi AIMING to expedite human trials of India’s first Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by Bharat Biotech, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) wrote to 12 hospitals across 10 states selected for the task, but its stern tone and tight timeline led to an uproar. The ICMR sought to set the clock for the launch of the vaccine for public use by August 15, which was surprising since its human trial hasn’t even begun. Jumping the gun by assuming success doesn’t befit a research organisation of such repute, experts opined. The letter written on July 2 by ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava directed enrollment of volunteers for trials in five State sports facilities to remain shut S R I N I D H I P R @Chennai THE wait for athletes to get back to training has become longer. Three days after the state government announced that sports complexes and stadia are permitted to open without spectators, the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) said it has not got permission to reopen facilities till July 31 across the state. These facilities had opened temporarily before the June 19 lockdown. The Covid-19 tally is rising in the state, with Chennai alone witnessing more than 62,000 cases. SDAT wants to tread with caution before reopening. “We have received orders not to reopen till July 31,” said a top official. “We don’t want to risk anything. If the lockdown is lifted in August, we will reopen the complexes and stadia.” Standard operating procedures submitted by SDAT last month has been approved by govt. Worried about the impact of a prolonged time away from sports on players, V Baskaran, president of Chennai Hockey Association, felt the government can reopen stadia for training at least. “National and international players may find it easier to get back to rhythm a f t e r a h i a t u s, ” o p i n e d Baskaran. “Juniors will find it difficult if there is no practice for three to four months.” days flat — by July 7. Also, some of the chosen hospitals (see box) are small set ups with no established track record of major research. “I don’t know how is it possible to launch a vaccine in little over a month which has not even entered Phase 1 and 2 trials,” said Anant Bhan, a specialist in global health and bioethics. “Also, I think that many sites chosen for the project won’t even have ethics committees approved by the drug regulator and have no prior experience of carrying out a clinical trial for vaccines.” For faster trials, nearly 1,300 patients will be enrolled in AIIMS, Delhi alone, sources said, though early human trials are usually done with much smaller numbers. The fiat to testing centres This is one of the top priority projects being monitored at the topmost level of the government, says ICMR It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by AUGUST 15 after completion of all clinical trials However, final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project You are strictly advised to fast track all approvals to initiate clinical trial and ensure that the subject enrollment is initiated no later than July 7. Noncompliance will be viewed very seriously THE CHOSEN 12 AIIMS, Delhi AIIMS, Patna King George Hospital, Vizag Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad SRM Medical College and Hospital, Kattankulathur, TN Jeevan Rekha Hospital, Belagavi PGIMS, Rohtak Gillurkar Multispecialty Hospital, Nagpur Rana Hospital, Gorakhpur Prakhar Hospital, Kanpur Institute of Medical Sciences & SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar Redkar Hospital, Goa Eight policemen killed in late-night encounter with UP criminal gang N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow EIGHT policemen, including a deputy superintendent of police and three sub-inspectors, were killed in a post-midnight encounter with a criminal gang in Kanpur’s Bikru village. Police had planned to arrest history-sheeter Vikas Dubey, who had about 60 criminal cases lodged against him. Acting on a tip-off, a small team of six led by station house officer Mahesh Chandra Yadav first went to the village around 1.30 pm. Since Dubey and his gang snatched their arms, Yadav sent an SOS to Billahuar circle officer Devendra Kumar Mishra, who rushed in along with about 50 personnel after forming three teams. As they ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar inspects the scene of Thursday night’s encounter in UP’s Kanpur district | PTI began pressing in, the gangsters opened fire from rooftops, killing eight on the spot. “When the criminals opened fire, two teams came to the front while the third one was a backup,” said a senior police official. Mishra alighted from his vehi- cle and started approaching Dubey’s hideout, but had to enter a house to take cover from the hail of gunfire. However, the gangsters pinned him down, dragged him out and shot him in his head, leaving him in a pool of blood. Sources claimed around 100 rounds of bullets were fired at the police party . The criminals then seized weapons from the slain policemen and fled. Fresh forces were later sent in and the police launched combing operations, led by Kanpur Inspector General Mohit Agarwal. This led to a second encounter in which Prem Prakash and Atul—two of Dubey’s closest aides—were killed, inside a forest area near Kashiram Niwada village, P7 about 6 km from Bikru. Bharat Biotech received permission for Phase 1 and 2 trials in humans after pre-clinical trials on three animals were encouraging, though its results have not been published yet. As for the August 15 target, experts feared it could dent ICMR’s reputation of conducting, promoting and monitoring high quality medical research. “Science is about pursuit of truth and researchers cannot be forced to produce biased evidence in order to please their political masters but that is exactly what this diktat is asking them to do,” said one of the country’s most well known virologists, Dr T Jacob John, who has been associated with Christian Medical College, Vellore for long. CONTINUED ON: P7 EXPRESS READ India stops power gear imports from China New Delhi: India has decided to shut the door on power equipment imports from countries like China, which feature in its Prior Reference Category list. According to Power Minister R K Singh, India imported `71,000 crore worth of power sector equipment in 2018-19, of which China alone contributed `21,000 crore | P10 Bangladesh halts Indian consignments New Delhi: Indian consignments worth $1 billion are stuck at the Indo-Bangladesh border after Dhaka stopped trucks carrying goods to India, according to sources. The move is in retaliation to India’s restricting certain consignments from Bangladesh as part of containing Covid-19 spread | P10 The PM’s visit came on a day when India also reached out diplomatically to the US, Germany, France, Russia and Japan. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla briefed the countries on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). “Had a good talk with FS Shringla. Appreciated his briefing on the situation along LAC, including GOI’s policy to pursue peaceful resolution. Japan also hopes for peaceful resolution through dialogues. Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” Japanese envoy to India Satoshi Suzuki tweeted. During his interaction with the troops, the Prime Minister spoke at length about how the virtues of peace, friendship and courage have been a part of India’s culture. India has always given a befitting reply to anyone who has tried to disturb peace, he noted. “India is stronger today be it , in naval might, air power, space power or the strength of our army Modernisation of weap. ons and upgradation of infrastructure has enhanced our defence capabilities multifold,” Modi said, adding that India’s spending on border infrastructure has been enhanced almost three times. The Prime Minister also visited the military hospital in Leh and interacted with soldiers who were injured during the border clash with China on June 15. Modi was accompanied by Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Gen M M Naravane. P7 1,00,000 AND COUNTING... EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai WITH over 4,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 being reported on Friday, Tamil Nadu crossed the 1 lakh-mark. The State’s tally currently stands at 1,02,721. Chennai recorded 2,082 cases and 33 deaths on Friday said a bulletin issued , by the Directorate of Public Health. While Chennai’s adjoining districts also recorded a spike in fresh cases – Chengalpattu (330), Tiruvallur (172), and Kancheepuram (121) – the other significant spike came from Madurai (287), Theni (126), and Tiruvannamalai (151). Of the 64 deaths reported on Friday, six people did not have comorbidities. Meanwhile, Dr Sugumar (53), chief medical officer at Maduranthakam Government Hospital, succumbed to Covid-19 at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Friday. He was the first government doctor to contract the virus in TN. According to a health official, the doctor tested positive on June 19, and had initially sought treatment at a private hospital. “He was shifted to RGGGH on June 30 after his condition deteriorated. He had diabetes and high blood pressure,” the official added. He said the doctor was on duty till June 17, before he developed symptoms. It is FRESH CASES DISCHARGED ‘Bury the doctor with full State honours’ Federation of Government Doctors’ Association requested the government to bury the doctor with State honours. Govt doctors also requested the State to ensure safety of those at the forefront, and expressed concern over many of them contracting the virus. suspected that he might have come in contact with a patient who came for some other treatment there, as the hospital did not handle Covid patients. Condoling the death of Dr. Sugumaran, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said, “Relief assistance will be given to the bereaved family as per the announcement already made by the government. Besides, government employment will be given to one of the family members. I have also directed the Health Department to extend all possible help to the doctor’s family .” Opposition leader MK Stalin also condoled the doctor’s death. In a Facebook post, he urged that proper PPE and safety kits be provided to P2 frontline workers. DEATHS TOLL 4,329 2,357 64 1,385 TWIST IN TALE After 23 days, cops solve the mystery of missing Covid man; chase on S A H AYA N O V I N S T O N L O B O @ Chennai AFTER almost a month, officials have solved a major mystery and found clues about an elderly man who has been missing since June 11. The man, who had no phone on him, was picked up by officials after testing positive for Covid, and sent to a government facility How. ever, the family had not been able to track him after that, leading to panic and worry . Adikesavan, a resident of Alandur, tested positive on June 11. He was taken by a sanitary inspector working with the city corporation to a screening centre in Ekkattuthangal. From there, he was sent to a government hospital. As Adikesavan did not have a mobile phone on him, his son Manivannan kept contacting the inspector to check on his father’s whereabouts. T he sanitary inspector checked and let Manivannan know that his father was safe at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital. The family, however, was not convinced. After a great deal of effort, Manivannan got hold of the phone num- ber of another patient in the same hospital. He sent across his father’s photos to that number and asked the patient to check on him. Only then did he realise that the man in the hospital was not his father – it was some other Adikesavan. Hell broke loose after that. The family started to panic, and so did the hospital. On June 15, Manivannan ap- proached KMC and realised there were no records of his father being admitted there. A total of 23 days had passed, and the family had no clue where Adikesavan was. “We would set out every day in search of him. From one area to another, we visited many care centres. We waited for hours to look through the records for my father’s name. A week back we filed a man missing complaint with the Kilpauk police station. The cops have also been looking for him,” says Manivannan. Manivannan has chronic back pain, and has been advised by his doctor not to ride bikes. But that didn’t stop him from zipping across the city in search of his father. CCTV visuals reveal the story: P2
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