China withheld data from probe team, says WHO chief vijayawada l wednesday l march 31, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION A day after the WHO-China final report on the origin of Covid rejected the Wuhan lab leak theory, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tore into it, aying the international probe team did not get access to raw data in China Tedros did not want to smoke out the lab leak angle, as he called for further investigation on all hypotheses, with additional missions back to China “I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough,” Tedros said. “Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.” 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 ■ ■ He also spoke about the withholding data. “In my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data.” Govt attributes over-reliance on debt to Covid-19, TDP misrule E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The State government on Tuesday said the outbreak of Covid-19 and the last minute sops announced and implemented by the previous TDP regime had resulted in increased borrowings. The government, however, said though it had to borrow heavily , unlike the previous regime, it did not borrow recklessly . Presenting the details of borrowings and the factors that led to the State to borrow more, the government said 2020-21 is an ‘extraordinary year’ during which the entire world has been subjected to pain and stress of unprecedented proportions. “The global outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic necessitated governments to impose lockdown to contain the spread of the infection. This has resulted in an economic upheaval. The pandemic has taken a very heavy toll, both in terms of loss of life and economic burden,’’ the government said in a statement. To enable the economy regain its lost momentum as well as to protect people from the deadly virus, the government had to incur heavy expenditure despite the steep fall in revenue. “Consequently, there was an over-reli- Situation is becoming worse, vaccinate 45+ soon: Centre half of them were from Maharashtra. “We are facing an inThe Centre on Tuesday warned creasingly severe and intensive that the Covid-19 situation in In- situation in some districts but dia is getting from the whole country is Top 10 districts bad to worse and potentially at risk. with active cases asked districts with All efforts to contain high caseloads to en- Pune 59,475 the virus and save sure 100% vaccina- Mumbai 46,248 lives should be taktion of all above 45 en,” said V K Paul, Nagpur 45,322 member, health at years of age within Thane 35,264 N i t i A ayo g a n d the next two weeks. 26,553 chairman of the naThe warning came Nashik as the country re- Aurangabad 21,282 tional Covid-19 task corded over 4 lakh Bengaluru Urban 16,259 force. new cases over the “Trends show the 15,171 virus is still very acpast one week, regis- Nanded 8,032 tive and enter our tering nearly 58,000 Delhi daily cases on an av- Ahmednagar 7,952 defences, just when erage and a growth we think we can conrate of nearly 7% active cases. trol it, it sparks back,” he said. On Sunday, over 68,000 new The Covid vaccination wincases were reported — the most dow for all above 45 years of age in a day since October and about will open from Thursday . S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi Debt burden Centre state March 31, 2019 `84,68,085 cr March 31, 2019 `2,59,087 cr March 31, 2021 `1,12,50,391 cr March 31, 2021 `3,48,998 cr Debt growth 32.86% 34.70% Covid has taken a very heavy toll, both in terms of loss of life and economic burden, says government ance on debt,” the statement said, adding that the Centre was forced to make a borrowing of `18,48,655 crore this fiscal, which is the highest in the country’s history . As a consequence of lockdown, the Real GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent during the first quarter of the financial year compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Andhra Pradesh faced many more disabilities with unjust bifurcation, non-fulfilment of the commitments made to the State, misgovernance and policy paralysis during 2014-19. As a result, the State’s borrowings dur- ing the five year period of the TDP regime reached alarming levels, it stated. The previous TDP government hurriedly introduced welfare schemes and disbursed the benefit amount to people just days before the Assembly elections in 2019 and spent `6,000 crore during the first 10 days of April 2019. Making a comparison between the debts raised by the Centre and the AP government during 2014-19, the statement said the Centre’s debt had increased by 49.92 per cent whereas the State debt had gone up by a whopping P4 132.31 per cent. Darshan for only 45K a day TTD to reduce Darshan tokens to 15,000 from 22,000 from tomorrow E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Tirumala With the spike in Covid-19 cases across the country the Tirumala , Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has decided to reduce the issuance of free Darshan (Sarva Darshan) tokens. The TTD is also reviewing its earlier decision to revive Arjitha Sevas from April 14 in view of the surge in Covid cases. It also issued a set of new Covid guidelines for pilgrims. “We have decided to reduce the issuance of Sarva Darshan tokens to 15,000 per day from the present 22,000 and this will be implemented from April 1,” TTD Additional Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy told mediapersons on Tuesday . For April, 25,000 darshan slots of `300 ticket have already been People throng a Sanjeevini bus in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday for Covid-19 test | G Satyanarayana Andhra Pradesh Covid-19 tally crosses 9 lakh-mark new cases total recoveries 993 8,86,978 new recoveries new samples 480 30,851 booked. After reviewing the situation, the slots will either be cancelled or postponed, he said. “We reviewed the situation and decided to allow only 45,000 devotees per day to have Darshan from April 1,” he said. Of the 69 new infections reported in Tirupati on Tuesday 10 , TTD employees tested positive. Further, he said devotees should wear face mask compulsorily at Vaikuntam Queue Complex, Srivari temple, Anna Prasadam Bhavan, Kalyana Katta and other places. In the temple, the TTD had decided to resume the practices it followed earlier, including maintenance of physical distance, promoting Covid awareness and other precautionary measures, to keep coronavirus at bay P4 . BIG CHANGE IN AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS FROM APRIL 1 3 1 New RBI rules require banks to send a notification to the customer 24 hours before the transaction is slated. The amount will be debited only after the customer gives his nod 2 Auto-debit payments for utility bills and subscription-based services will come to a halt 3 Standing instructions on credit or debit cards will get deactivated WHAT WILL BE AFFECTED Mobile and utility bill payments, subscription for online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar etc WHAT WILL NOT BE AFFECTED Standing instructions on bank accounts for recurring payments such as EMIs, payments or mutual funds etc will continue as usual WHY THE NEW RULES To safeguard customers from data leaks, hacking of confidential data and payment frauds `5,000 For auto-debit payments above this amount, banks must send OTP to customer express read VVL files PIL in HC against VSP privatisation Visakhapatnam: VV Lakshmi Narayana, former CBI JD, filed a PIL in the AP High Court on Tuesday challenging the Centre’s decision to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. He stated that the decision was unconstitutional and violation of the Articles 12, 14, 19, 21, 300-A and 226 of the Constitution.
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