WARANGAL WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 10, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 CITY EDITION W.H.O. PROBE INTO ORIGINS OF CORONAVIRUS A DUD Leak of virus from the Wuhan lab unlikely, claims team, inconclusive on the origin and human transmission; aligns itself with China’s line TRANSMISSION FROM INTERMEDIARY SPECIES WHO’s foreign expert Ben Embarek feels human transmission happened through an intermediary species, but identifying the actual host would require a detailed probe. Comprising experts from 10 countries, the mission landed in China on Jan 14 after being earlier stonewalled by Beijing, which had provoked the WHO’s China-friendly chief to issue a rare public rebuke 2.3 mn STRICT CHINESE MONITORING ■ The run-up to the probe was marked by the US and China trading charges. China relented to host the team amid increasing global pressure, but kept the probe’s progress under strict monitoring ■ Incidentally, the Wuhan whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang’s first death anniversary was commemorated earlier this week DEATHS CAUSED ACROSS THE GLOBE BY THE VIRUS SINCE DECEMBER 2019 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 RACE AGAINST TIME (Clockwise from left) An aerial view of the Tapovan barrage two days after the flash floods; rescuers try to reach the tunnel from another end; and a recovered body | SHEKHAR YADAV RESCUE EFFORT Over 100 personnel from ITBP, SDRF and NDRF part of the rescue team. In all, over 800 personnel are on the site. 700 personnel are on standby Two excavator/JCB machines have excavated over 6,700 tonnes of slush from the tunnel. They have reached 130 m into the 30 ft high, 25 ft wide tunnel. But muck removal is taking time, reducing the cleared part to 90 m ‘Main instigator’ of Red Fort riots Deep Sidhu arrested EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A special team of the Delhi Police nabbed Punjabi film actor-activist Deep Sidhu from his hideout in Haryana’s Karnal on Monday night. Sidhu carried a reward of `1 lakh after being named one of the main conspirators in the Red Fort violence during the tractor rally on Republic Day . A team of the southwestern range of Special Cell led by DCP Sanjeev Yadav made the ar rest around 10.30 pm in Karnal, where he had been hiding for the past 15 days. However, he kept releasing provocative videos to instigate Punjab and Haryana youth, police said. Sidhu was produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate at the Tis Hazari Court on Tuesday and was remanded for seven days. Crime branch officials claimed that the ac- tor had instigated the mob to break the barricades with tractors and deviate from the police-approved route. DCP Special Cell Yadav said Sidhu had been changing his location to evade arrest. “We have evidence on how he instigated and provoked the youngsters on January 25 and 26,” he said. Five-six teams of the Special Cell had conducted multiple raids in Punjab and Haryana to nab Sidhu. A team was also sent to Jharkhand and Bihar. Sources claimed Sidhu’s friends had refused him accommodation and help. He had been wearing the same pair of dress for last five days. Sidhu managed to get in touch with an associate, who offered him a vehicle in Karnal. Sources said that Sidhu was in touch with a Califor nia-based woman friend, who helped him upload the provocative videos through Facebook. EXPRESS READ SC stays arrest of Tharoor, six journalists New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists in criminal cases pending against them over their tweets on the death of a Sikh man during a tractor rally on January 26 in New Delhi that turned violent | P8 Rescuers trying to reach 37 workers trapped deep within the tunnel; 32 bodies found so far at various places V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun WITH the toll in the Uttarakhand disaster climbing to 32, rescue workers raced against time on Tuesday to save the 37 workers trapped deep inside the Tapovan tunnel since Sunday’s flash floods that choked it with loads of slush. The 37 are part of the 174 others who are still missing. Officials from the Army Medical Corps (AMC) said the trapped workers are not just without food and water, night time temperature within the tunnel could go down to as low as 20C. “They don’t have food, water and additional amenities to shield themselves from the cold. Time indeed is running out for them,” an AMC official agreed.” But officials associated with the project said workers have enough clothing to give them some protection from the freezing temperature. Rakesh Dimri, an NTPC official said, “The workers have warm clothes, boots, helmet with headlight, a torch, a rope, a knife and other items. I hope they will be rescued.” The key to survival is the availablity of air vents, said medical experts. Dr Vipul Kandwal, a medical practitioner in Dehradun, said, “If they are not drowned, air passage would act as a lifesaver. The problem with sludge is it blocks almost everything.” Dr Adarsh Singh concurred. “Time is not on their side, as a human can survive without food or water or both for a week or so under such conditions.” However, they do not rule out the possibility of a miracle. “We have witnessed miracles and I am certain that our forces will save all those men. Whole nation’s prayers and wishes are with them,” said Dr Singh. Meanwhile, officials have deployed heli-bound Laser and Electromagnetic Pulse Imager to look for air pockets in the 1.9 km long tunnel network at the hydropower project site. Manjunath P C, commandant of Indian Reserve Battalion said, “This will act as a multiplier in our efforts to save the trapped workers.” Meanwhile, six bodies were found at different locations on Tuesday includ, ing Raini village, Tapovan, Nandprayag, Karnpyarag and Haridwar, taking the total body count to 32. From within the tunnel, nine dismembered body parts were found. Also five vehicles that were swept into the tunnel have been recovered. They include a Scorpio and a JCB. Naval divers have been deployed to search for bodies at various locations, including in the vicinity of the Tapovan project as more than 100 workers were at the site when tragedy struck. Aparna Kumar, deputy-inspector general, ITBP Dehradun sector , said, “No stone has been left unturned to save those men. We have reached beyond 100 metres into the 180-metre stretch of the tunnel where the men are trapped.” DISRUPTIVE POLITICS RAJANNA RAJYAM DRAFT IN HAND, SHARMILA ENTERS TS VV BALAKRISHNA @ Hyderabad AP Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s sister YS Sharmila, who announced her intentions to restore Rajanna Rajyam, appears set on changing the patterns in the political kaleidoscope in Telangana. Sharmila, who made a sudden political entry in Telangana on Tuesday, held her first meeting with the leaders of erstwhile Nalgonda district and elicited their opinion on the way forward for reaching her goal. For the record, the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s daughter said that she was holding meetings only to get a grasp of “ground realities” and felt satisfied that the response was quite encouraging. “Those whom I met today were very enthusiastic. It is possible to restore Rajanna Rajyam in Telangana,” she said. Sharmila, however, said that she would announce her future plans only after holding discussions with followers of all districts. During the meeting, Sharmila is quoted as having said to her followers: “You are the ones with ground-level knowledge. You know things better. Please provide feedback.” During a brief interaction with mediapersons later, Sharmila asked whether YS Rajas- Proud to be Hindustani Muslim, says Azad after PM’s teary farewell speech E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AN emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi bade a tearful farewell to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose close to three-decade career as an MP ends on February 15. Azad signed off with a poignant speech that drew parallel between the lives of Muslims in India and Pakistan, and said he prided himself in being a Hindustani Muslim. Asserting that India was untainted by the evil practices prevalent in countries like Pakistan, Azad said, “If any Muslim in the world should be proud, it should be the Hindustani Muslims. I am among those who have never been to Pakistan, but when I read about the evils that exist in Pakistani society I think Hindustani Muslims should be proud.” , Meanwhile, in a speech interspersed by many breaks to soothe his choked voice, Modi called Azad his true friend. “His work will inspire generations of MPs to come. Posts come, high offices come, power comes, but one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azadji how to handle these,” teary-eyed Modi said. Recalling the 2007 terror attack in Kashmir, where a grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying Gujrat pilgrims, Modi said, “Nabiji was constantly following up. He sounded concerned like those stuck there were his own family Nabiji . was the first person to call me. During that call, he could not stop crying,” Modi said, adding that he would always expect Azad to share his inputs with him. State SSC Board releases Class X exam schedule E N S @ Hyderabad Y S Sharmila, daughter of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, waves to her supporters in Hyderabad on Tuesday | S SENBAGAPANDIYAN ekhara Reddy’s schemes like Aarogyasri, houses for the poor and fee reimbursement for students were being implemented in the State. “Are people getting Aaro g yasri benefits,” she asked. Asked about her brother’s approval for her political plans, Sharmila said: “Jagan Mohan Reddy is doing his job in AP He . is my elder brother and I hope he blesses me. I will do my work in Telangana.” The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi leadership, meanwhile, maintained a cryptic silence on the development. The TRS supporters, who were critical of Sharmila in the morning, removed all their social media posts CONTINUED ON P5 by evening. THE Board of Secondary Education (BSE) of Telangana released the timetable for Class X board exams on Tuesday . According to the schedule, the SSC Academic Course Board exams will commence on May 17 with the first language paper and conclude on May 22 with social studies paper. The exams will continue for OSSC and vocational candidates till May 26. The datesheet and timetable are also applicable to regular and private candidates who have failed to clear the exams once. The duration of the exams, which start at 9.30 am, has been increased from two hours and 45 minutes to three hours and 15 minutes. Students will be given only the last half-an-hour to answer the objective question papers. Besides, there will only be six question papers. DATE SUBJECT May 17 1st language May 18 2nd language May 19 English May 20 Mathematics May 21 General science (Biology, Physics) May 22 Social studies Additional papers for OSSC & vocational candidates May 24 Main language paper - 1 (Sanskrit, Arabic) May 25 Main language paper - 2 (Sanskrit, Arabic) May 26 SSC vocational course theory SERO-SURVEILLANCE One-fourth of Telangana population contracted Covid-19 by Dec last year EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad ONE out of every four persons in Telangana contracted Covid-19 by the end of December last year, revealed the third round of sero-surveillance conducted by the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition in three districts of Jangaon, Nalgonda and Kamareddy . The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) officials collected blood samples of people from the three districts and tested them for the antibodies that are released when one gets infected by Covid-19. It was found that 24 per cent of all blood samples collected from these districts tested positive for the antibodies, meaning that around one-fourth of the population in these districts was already infected by the virus. The surveillance was done as part of the national sero-survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The ICMR adopted a strategy to conduct repeat cross-sectional sero-studies in the same geographic locations so that the infection transmission trends could be documented and studied. In the first round of the sero-survey conducted in May, 2020 in the said three districts, the percentage of people infected by Covid-19 was 0.33 per cent, whereas in the second round of sero-survey done in August last year, the prevalence was 12.5 per cent. According to a press release issued by the NIN on Tuesday, while the sero-prevalence at the national level went up 3.1 times during August-December 2020, in Telangana this went up by two times. The State’s sero-prevalence (24.1 per cent) as of December, 2020 was almost similar to the national avera g e, which was 24 per cent. “This shows the effectiveness of robust containment measures implemented in the State and they include quarantine, contact tracing and testing strategies,” said Dr Hemalatha R, Director of ICMR-NIN. Dr A Laxmaiah of the NIN and ICMR Nodal Officer said that good compliance by the public in adopting Covid-19 protocols before the survey ensured that infection transmission remained slow and steady in Telangana. However, the NIN warned that since almost 75 per cent of rural population is still susceptible to Covid-19, all measures like wearing masks, hand sanitisation and physical distancing must be continued.
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