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 ■ ■ HYDERABAD SUNDAY APRIL 18, 2021 `12.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION 50% OF MAHA COVID SAMPLES SHOWING DOUBLE MUTATIONS HEALTH MINISTRY YET TO GIVE A CLEAR PICTURE The B.1.617 variant has also been found in samples from eight states but the proportion is much smaller than Maharashtra’s. Data from other countries suggest that E484Q can escape antibody neutralisation, while L452R is known to increase infectivity. The Health ministry, however, says there is no epidemiological link yet between the mutants and the second wave Genome sequencing showed presence of variants B.1.617-E484Q and L452R in nearly half of the samples, pointing to their role in the spike LOCALLY DOMINANT VARIANTS FOUND ■ ■ ■ Signals of locally dominant mutations driving outbreaks — N440 in Kerala and B.1.618 in West Bengal — have also been noted Maharashtra added 63,729 cases to its tally amid a crippling shortage of oxygen and hospital beds; 398 deaths were reported Karnataka, too, reeling under plasma, bed and drug shortage 16,79, 740 ACTIVE CASES IN INDIA; RECOVERY RATE HAS FALLEN TO 87.23% CAPITAL CRISIS ON OXYGEN SUPPLY Delhi and Mumbai running out of medical oxygen; situation ‘very serious’, says Kejriwal NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 16 APRIL 17 2,33,351 1,23,354 1,341 2,40,423 1,25,751 1,303 SOUTHERN COMFORT ANDHRA PRADESH BEDS: 11,194 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage TELANGANA BEDS: 26,823 (available) Patients with oxygen bag masks being taken to another hospital to make space for critical Covid patients, at Govt Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad on Saturday | PTI PA R V E Z S U LTA N @ New Delhi AS Covid-19 cases in Delhi saw an alarming spike of 24,000 within a single-day span — a jump of 4,500 from the previous day — Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the situation “very serious and worrisome” and said the city was facing s h o r t a g e o f ox yg e n a n d Remdesivir. The CM, however, added that he had spoken to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan to ensure adequate supply of oxygen and reserve more beds in central government hospitals, including in intensive care units (ICUs), for Covid patients. “Supplies of oxygen and Remdesivir are running short. Because cases are increasing rapidly we are facing shortage , of oxygen, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab (another drug) though a few days ago our assessment was that there is enough stock. Today, I had a meeting with senior officials and the scarcity of these three articles was noticed,” said Kejriwal while addressing a digital press briefing. BENGAL POLLS 78% voting, stray violence in 5th phase E N S @ Kolkata THE fifth-phase of Bengal Assembly polls on Saturday witnessed sporadic incidents of violence but the voter turnout robust at 78.36% as of 5pm. The final polling figure is likely to be declared by the Election Commission on Sunday . A TMC supporter was injured when a BJP supporter allegedly opened fire in Shantipur Assembly constituency in Nadia district. In Chakdaha Assembly constituency an independent can, didate was seen walking with an improvised firearm in front of policemen. He finally dropped the weapon alleging that a TMC worker hurled the firearm at him and he was walking towards the cops to hand it over to them. In Bidhannagar constituency where , TMC’s Sujit Bose and BJP’s Sabsyachi Dutta are contesting, a pitched battle between the supporters of the two groups broke out. Both the groups scuffled and pelted P8 stones at each other. N’SAGAR BYPOLL SEES 88% TURNOUT Polling for the byelection to Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency passed off peacefully, with the voter turnout surpassing what the segment had recorded in 2014 and 2018 | P2 Stating that the central government has always helped Delhi in its fight against the pandemic, the Delhi CM said he is hopeful that this time too, the Centre would come to its aid. “I spoke with Harsh Vardhanji and requested for more beds in the central governmentrun hospitals and adequate supply of oxygen, Remdesivir, and Tocilizumab. The Central government has 10,000 beds and I have requested that 50% of them should be reserved for Covid patients. Private hospitals are facing more shortage of oxygen,” said Kerjiwal. He said the health infrastructure has its limitations and that beds, including those in ICUs, are running out fast. However, the government is making efforts to arrange more beds, particularly with oxygen facilities. He said the government is making arrangements for 1,300 beds in Yamuna Sports Complex and Commonwealth Games Village at Akshardham. At Radha Soami Satsang Beas campus, initially 2,500 beds will be available and 2,500 more will be added subsequently he added. , ● Oxygen consumption has doubled to 2.4 MT per day ● Plan to stop industrial use of oxygen ● Hospitals told to rationalise oxygen use only for critical cases TAMIL NADU BEDS: 69,000 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage ● Tamil Nadu has an oxygen capacity of 1,167 kilo litres and close to 90% of it is available KERALA BEDS: 7,745 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage KARNATAKA BEDS: 23,176 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage ODISHA BEDS: 5,000 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage ● Stocking up oxygen 10 times the current availability of 231 MT Maharashtra mulls importing oxygen for hospitals via sea route S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai MAHARASHTRA is contemplating sea-route import of oxygen to keep enough supplies for Covid-19 patients. The state’s daily production of oxygen is 1,200 metric tonnes (MT). However, the demand has surged to 1,278 MT daily . “Many hospitals in the state have stopped admitting Covid patients because they do not have enough oxygen to provide to the patients. CM Uddhav Thackeray in his letter to PM Modi has said if positive cases continue to increase, then by April-end, Maharashtra would need 2,000 MT of oxygen,” said a health official. Sources ruled out supplies by air of a large quantity of oxygen. “We are weighing seaway options for which we’d need help from the central government. We need to act quickly before the situation gets out of hand in hospitals,” said a senior government official. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the Centre has suggested bringing the supplies from faraway places where steel plants are located. Bringing the supplies by road will take a long time, besides the quantity of oxygen would not be up to the desired level. “Therefore, we request the Centre to allow us to bring oxygen by railways. The Centre should also provide us adequate stocks of vaccines so that we can vaccinate at least eight lakh people daily. We have good health infrastructure, but what we need is the central support,” Tope added. The state government has already approached the Centre with a slew of demands, including the increased availability of oxygen cylinders and P7 Remdesivir. Pharmas slash Remdesivir prices in the country New Delhi: Following an appeal by the Centre to the Remdesivir manufacturers not to charge more than `3,500 per vial in India, drug makers on Saturday slashed the price of the injection that has emerged as a key experimental therapy for moderate to severe Covid-19. It will now cost `899-3,490 per 100 ml vial @ Hyderabad DIRECTOR of Public Health of Telangana Dr G Srinivasa Rao urged citizens to go into a ‘selflockdown’ in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the State, while stressing that the government would not impose any lockdown. Stating that lockdowns would adversely affect people’s economic conditions, he said that restrictions must be imposed by individuals at their own discretion. Dr Rao said, “Several cases are being reported due to gathering of people in pubs, bars and other public spaces. Covid-19 protocol is violated even in remote villages. The government has decided not to impose any lockdown because it will impact people’s livelihoods. But we expect citizens to be under a selfimposed lockdown, and avoid non-essential gatherings.” Citing an example of how the number of infected persons can rapidly increase due to gatherings, he said, “At a village near the Maharashtra border, around 20 individuals from that State and 30 from Telangana had gathered for a celebration. Five of them tested positive at first. But within 12 days, nearly 500 people were infected.” Speaking on the State’s capacity to fight Covid-19, Dr Rao said, “The government will increase bed strength in the State from the existing 32,000 to 53,000 beds. Every hospital in the State with 10 or more beds will be used for Covid-19 treatment.” EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi HOURS after prevailing upon the largest seer group to conclude Kumbh gathering at Haridwar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening took stock of the Covid-19 situation. In a video conference, the prime minister discussed the roadmap for scaling up the availability of vaccines and ventilators with senior officials of various Union ministries, which were directed to increase the bed count through a slew of temporary hospitals and isolation centres. The meeting came on a day the country recorded its highest single-day spike so far (2,40,423 ). “The PM spoke about the need to utilising the full potential of India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet the rising demand of various medicines. He was briefed on the actions taken to address the shortage of Remdesivir, whose production has been increased AS Maharashtra grapples with an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases, hospitals located hundreds of kilometres away in Hyderabad are serving as treatment centres for many from the State, and the final destination for an unfortunate few. One such patient was a 47-year-old doctor from Nanded in Maharashtra, who was cremated on Friday without his closest family by his side. His funeral was performed at a crematorium near ESI Hospital at Erragadda, nearly 300 kilometres away from his home. The doctor succumbed to Covid-19 We had recently treated a patient from another State, whose family could not reach the city in time upon his death. They consented the GHMC to perform his final rites Dr Raja Rao, superintendent, Gandhi Hospital after a 15-day battle with the disease. Dr P Anil Kashinath was treating Covid-19 patients before the infection got him in the last week of March. His brother-in-law Sachin Phulari was with him in Hyderabad for the 15 days he was treated here. APRIL 15 APRIL 16 3,840 9 1,198 30,494 4,446 12 1,414 33,514 REGULAR BEDS Government Private 4,217 9,124 available out of available out of 4,887 11,130 OXYGEN BEDS Government Private 4,990 4,108 available out of available out of 6,814 7,805 ICU BEDS Government Private 1,472 3,012 available out of available out of 1,926 5,657 to reach 74.10 lakh vials/month for May against the JanuaryFebruary figure of 27-29 lakh vials a month,” the PMO said. Urging caution, the Prime Minister directed officials to ensure that the use of Remdesivir and other medicines was consistent with the approved guidelines. Later, the prime minister ordered speeding up works on plants to address the shortage of medical grade oxygen. “The officials said that one lakh cylinders are being pro- cured and they will be supplied to states soon. A supply mapping plan for 12 high-burden states till April 30 has also been undertaken,” added the PMO. Earlier, heeding to Modi’s appeal for a symbolic Kumbh at Hardwar in the wake of mounting public concer n, Juna Akhara – the largest among the 13-seer group – announced formal conclusion of the gathering on its part. The decision came after the prime minister spoke to the head of the Juna Akhara, Swami Awdheshanand, on Saturday morning. Two N’bad municipal workers ask people to mask up, attacked Nizamabad: Two workers of the Nizamabad Municipal Corporation (NMC) were attacked by two persons on Saturday, after the former asked everyone to wear masks while they were collecting garbage from households at Gouthamnagar. One of the persons who attacked them even damaged the phone of one of the staffers for recording the incident on his phone. The two persons have been booked WITH THIS ISSUE DRIVING THE POINT HOME A retired BHEL official puts up a banner in front of his residence at Musheerabad in Hyderabad, urging people not to come into the apartment, just as he shouldn’t be let inside their homes | S SENBAGAPANDIYAN | P4 Maha doctor laid to rest a long way from home D O N I TA J O S E @ Hyderabad New cases New deaths New recoveries Active cases Amid surge, PM directs beefing up health infra Telangana DPH calls for self-imposed lockdown EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE TELANGANA Speaking to Express, Phulari said, “We were forced to bring him to Hyderabad on realising he would not get the requisite care in Nanded. He was admitted to Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabad. Almost 90 per cent of his lungs were affected.” “He had treated five to six Covid-19 patients before he got infected. Things are a lot worse in Nanded now. People should avoid non-essential outings,” said Phulari, who was standing in the midst of 10 other bodies being cremated at the ground on Saturday. He said that Dr Kashinath’s family had spent nearly `50,000 to transport him to Hyderabad, and another 10 lakh for treatment. Phulari said, “It was a tough call for us to cremate him here, without his wife and children getting to see him one last time. But considering the high cost of transporting his body back and the risk of infection spread, we had to take this decision.” Officials from Gandhi Hospital said that they have routinely been treating patients from other States, who were later cremated by the GHMC without the presence of their families. MAKING WAVES PLUS 12 PAGES Cops do their bit, but seized Remdesivir rots away in TS P I N T O D E E PA K @ Hyderabad TELANGANA police, who have been cracking down on gangs selling the precious Remdesivir drug in the black market, are finding themselves in a piquant situation, because of lack of proper storage facilities for the seized drugs. Last year, when Covid-19 cases in the State surged and demand for Remdesivir shot up, black marketing gangs went on a spree selling them as high as `40,000 per vial. The police cracked down on the gangs and arrested several people, seizing Remdesivir drug vials from them. “Due to increased vigil on these gangs, black marketing of Remdesivir came down but the drugs seized from such gangs went to waste, without being sent to needy people,” said a senior police official in Hyderabad. The seized drugs would be produced in court and stay in its custody till further orders. As the drug needs to be stored at specific temperature and consumed within a limited time period, the seized Remdesivir went to waste. CONTINUED ON P4
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