STATES CRACK THE WHIP DELHI Is witnessing the fourth wave of Covid-19 infection Fourth wave seems less serious than previous ones as there are fewer deaths and Govt not planning hospitalisations, a lockdown as says CM Arvind of now Kejriwal MAHARAShTRA 47,827 cases across state, 9,086 in Pune on Friday l Eateries, bars and restaurants in Pune district bhubaneswar l saturday l april 03, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION ordered to be shut for seven days from Saturday l Will order complete lockdown across state if situation doesn't improve in 2 days, says CM Uddhav Thackeray l Children and youngsters constitute 47% of new cases KARNATAKA School hostels, gyms, club houses and pools shut 2nd wave fast-n-furious, 10 states fighting infection explosion SU M I SU K AN YA DUTTA @ New Delhi At least 10 states are fighting the fresh Covid-19 wave, according to government data. The second wave, which started in February in a handful of states led by Maharasthra, has now spread to more states. Till last month, it was Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat that were riding the second wave of the pandemic. But now, four more states — Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana — are showing alar ming growth rates in active cases. Worryingly, the seven-day moving average of the test positivity rate, which is 6.3% nationally is seen rising in some , states including West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. Over the past 24 hours, the country has recorded 81,466 new cases taking the cumula- tive active cases to 6,14, 696 — the highest since October. In the past 21 days, cases have zoomed from 18,377 (March 10) to 81,466 (April 1). In the first wave, which peaked in September last year, daily cases had jumped from 18,000 to 80,000 plus in 65 days. Trends suggest India may soon surpass the peak of 93,277 cases recorded on September 17. Not just infections, Covid deaths are also rising. For more than a week now, the daily death count has been above 200. On April 1, this number touched a whopping 469. Experts say the second wave could be more intense than the first one. The oft-cited reason for the infection explosion is the relaxed, careless behaviour by public and lax health administration. However, the role of mutant virus in driving the transmission is also under investigation. According to Union health ministry data, eight states -Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kar nataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh -- have shown a steep rise in cases. As much as 81.25% of the new cases are P8 from these eight states. 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 Odisha blames veterans’ T20 as virus surges in C’garh border areas Govt says surveillance along border routes connecting Chhattisgarh has been intensified E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Even as the Covid re-curve continues to grow steeper in the State with areas bordering Chhattisgarh becoming hotspots and fuelling the second wave, the State government on Friday appeared to attribute the situation to the Road Safety World Series T-20 championship that was held in Raipur recently . Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra said western Odisha has become the major contributor to the rising caseload. The cricket matches, which were played by veteran stars like Sachin Tendulkar and Pathan brothers, could be one of the reasons behind the rise as large number of people from the bordering districts went and watched the torunament that was played from March 5 to 21 at Raipur, he said. The Minister said surveillance along border routes connecting Chhattisgarh has been intensified. All vehicles coming to Odisha from Chhattisgarh via border routes in Nuapada are being thoroughly checked and thermal screening of commuters conducted to ensure compliance of Covid crackdown BMC caps wedding gathering at 100, seals shopping mart Bhubaneswar:Amid blatant violations of Covid-19 safety norms and rising infection count, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation on Friday sealed a commercial establishment and issued fresh restrictions for social gatherings to be enforced from April 6. Enforcement unit of the civic body raided the Unit II Market Building complex and sealed Vishal Mega Mart for not adhering to the Covid safety protocols | P2 DAILY STATS 1,921 Deaths 461 3,41,772 New cases Total cases 2,368 3,37,430 Active cases Recovered norms. Meanwhile, Jharsuguda administration announced closure of village haats for three weeks while State reported 461 new cases, the highest daily number in the last four months. Five western Odisha districts - Nuapada, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Kalahandi and Jharsuguda - contributed around 50 per cent of the new cases apart from Khurda and Cuttack, where cluster outbreaks in educational ins t i t u t i o n s h ave emerged as a big challenge. Of the fresh cases reported from 24 districts, maximum 86 infections were detected in Nuapada, followed by 69 in Khurda, 62 in Sundargarh, 36 in Kalahandi, 32 in Bargarh, 27 in Angul, 22 in Cuttack, 16 each in Balasore and Sambalpur and 13 in Jharsuguda. The test positivity rate rose to 1.5 per cent pushing the active cases to 2,368. The State has conducted 30,716 tests during the last 24 hours. With this the tally soared to 3,41,772 of which 3,37,212 have recovered and 1,921 succumbed. Jharsuguda Collector Saroj Kumar Samal said there will be no weekly haat in the district for the next three weeks. “Daily markets at different locations dealing in vegetables and non-vegetarian food items will be dispersed over multiple locations,” he said and urged people to co-operate in furthering the fight against resurgence of Covid-19. The rapid spike in new cases has prompted the State Government to step up measures and ramp up health infrastructure. Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra directed collectors, municipal commissioners and CDMOs to keep required numbers of beds with oxygen facilities in DHH and MCH ready for immediate use of patients besides the isolation beds in ICU, HDU, dialysis and labour room. “Taking note of the rapid surge of Covid cases, private hospitals have also been asked to be prepared for immediate use at short notice. Adequate stock of medicine like Favipiravir and Remdesivir will be maintained at district level to meet the demand. Districts have been advised to increase vaccination in high burden areas on a war footing,” he added. Taking note of the rapid surge of Covid cases, private hospitals have been asked to be prepared for immediate use at short notice. Districts have been advised to increase vaccination in high burden areas on a war footing PK Mohapatra, Addl Chief Secretary Health Odisha surpasses vaccine target as over 2.5 lakh people take jabs E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar AMID the surge in Covid-19 cases, Odisha government conducted a record 2.5 lakh vaccinations on Friday surpassing the target of 2 lakh inoculations. Health department sources said of the total 2,52,080 people who were administered the vaccines, maximum 1,70,069 people aged 45 and above got the jab at 1,411 vaccination centres across the State. As many as 1,69,344 persons above 45 years received the first dose on the second day. The vaccination window for the age group was opened on April 1. Other inoculated beneficiaries included 78,307 senior citizens, 1,298 healthcare workers and 2,406 frontline workers. Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra said though the target was to vaccinate at least 2 lakh people, the number crossed 2.5 lakh as many people directly arrived at vaccination centres for onsite registration and inoculation. “It is a good sign that people are coming forward. We are ready with the infrastructure and once the required vaccine doses are available, we can plan for three lakh vaccinations a day in the coming days. We have urged the Centre for more doses so that we can plan the sessions for 15 days in advance,” he said. Of around 40 lakh doses of both Covishield and Covaxin received so far, the State has a stock of 11.5 lakh doses which will cater to the needs for four days. As many as 28,66,255 doses have been used and the State has a vaccine wastage of around 0.2 per cent. The State, which has a target of 1.2 crore vaccinations, ranked 12th in ter ms of number of doses used so far. Maharashtra topped the list with over 65 lakh doses. Bihar is above Odisha with over 30 lakh doses. “We have asked the districts where Covid cases are on the surge to complete vaccination of people with comorbidities within two weeks. Others have also been directed to increase the number of centres so that more people can be inoculated. We have planned to cover the targeted population by early May Mohapatra added. ,” ride for a cause A superbike rally taken out in Bhubaneswar by Zain Foundation to mark the World Autism Awareness Day on Friday | Express EC suspends five, orders booth repoll P r a s a n ta M a z u m d a r @ Guwahati The Election Commission on Friday suspended five polling personnel, including a presiding officer, and ordered repoll at a polling booth in Assam after a polling team, travelling with polled EVMs in a car registered in the name of a BJP MLA’s wife, was held hostage and allegedly attacked. A sub inspector of police tasked with escorting the polling party was also suspended for leaving them stranded and not ensur- ing their safe arrival at their destination. With the incident triggering a flutter, the EC explained it was raining heavily and the polling party of No 149 Indira MV School of Ratabari seat was returning with escorts when the vehicle broke down and got detached from the convoy While an alternative vehi. cle was being arranged, the polling party boarded a ‘passing vehicle’ without checking its ownership. When the car slowed down in the traffic at express read Promote reading habit among youngsters:VP Kanaishil in Karimganj around 10 pm, it was surrounded by about 50 people who started pelting stones. The mob abused the officials and did not allow the car to pass, the EC said. The mob said the vehicle belonged to sitting MLA of Patharkandi and BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul, and alleged the EVMs were being taken to be tampered with. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra lit into it, saying the EC needs to start acting decisively on these complaints. Don’t let BJP flex money muscle: Mamata Cuttack: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu called for inculcating reading habit among children from a young age to strengthen their foundational literacy. Educationists, parents and teachers should bestow special attention on promoting reading habit among children, he said | P2 51 die as train ploughs into a truck in Taiwan Countering BJP’s claim of winning over 200 seats out of 294 in West Bengal Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday urged voters in north Bengal to secure a big victory for TMC in order to prevent the saffron camp from indulging in horse trading once results are out | P7 Hualien: At least 51 people were killed in Taiwan on Friday when a train carrying 480 people collided with a vehicle on the tracks and then derailed inside a tunnel, in the island’s worst railway accident in decades. Officials said the devastating collision was caused by a railway maintenance truck that slipped down an embankment | P9 urban heat island Denuded Bhubaneswar turning into a boiling cauldron Adding to the heat 2,000 to 3,000 dwelling units constructed every year in and around the City, CREDAI sources Vehicles have outnumbered Bhubaneswar’s population. City has more than 1.4 million registered vehicles against a population of 1 million by 2019 Number of registered vehicles increasing at a rate of 3-5 per cent annually Gvernment lacks concrete record of this trend which is a major obstacle in formulation and implemention of environmently sustainable projects JK Panigrahi, Secretary of Odisha Environment Society Sudarsan Maharana @ Bhubaneswar On Wednesday mercury soared , past 44 degree Celsius in Bhubaneswar. Moreover, the Capital city has experienced its hottest March since it came into being in 1948. Climate scientists blame it all on the urban heat island effect wrought on by what they term as “mindless and unplanned city development and expansion destroying not only the core characteristics of the Capital city but also denuding its green cover.” From Dr Otto Konigsberger’s design for 40,000 people in what was to be the administrative capital of the State, Bhubaneswar is now home to over a million. However, it is in the last two decades that the City’s urban space has witnessed a drastic change. Fast conversion of agricultural land making way for housing and other infrastructure, more buildings, asphalt-topped road have led to exposure of more surface area to heat. With green cover vanishing and very little of natural wetlands left, Bhubaneswar appears to be bearing the brunt of ‘urban heat island effect’, say researchers. A study by School of Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences in Indian Institute of Technology , Bhubaneswar (IIT-BBS) reveals that area under urbanisation in the City during 2003-2017 in- creased by 77.05 per cent and the highest urbanisation of 71 per cent was recorded during 2003–2008. The report “Rapid urbanisation and associated impacts on land surface temperature changes over Bhubaneswar Urban District” jointly authored by Anasuya Barik, Debadatta Swain and Velu Vinoj points out that urbanisation increase saw loss of other canopy types, vegetation and fallow land simultaneously. Between 2000 and 2014, at least 89 per cent urbanisation was recorded at the cost 83 per cent loss of dense vegetation. The urbanisation took a heavy toll on cropland that helps absorb heat and prevent radiation. A staggering 82.64 per cent crop land was converted into urban land during this period. In 2003, the fallow and agricultural land, as per the report, was about 52.3 per cent in the study area which dropped to 19.3 per cent in 2017. Waterbodies coverage declined from 2.9 per cent to 0.9 per cent during the same phase. All this impacted land surface temperature (LST) of the city which is witnessing a gradual surge every five years. As the urban area expanded dur- ing 2003-2017 period, there was an eight percent increase in mean summer LST in the airport area which was used a reference point for the study . What is interesting is that despite a decline in urbanisation pace subsequent to the 20032008 period, land surface temperature has been on the rise. The 2013–2017 span saw a 12 per cent expansion of urban area but LST saw a rise of 9.84 per cent. “This indicates that although rate of urbanisation in the study area has shown a decreasing trend in the later years, its impacts show a pronounced CONTINUED ON: P5 hike.
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