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 ■ ■ vijayawada l sunday l april 18, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l 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 16,79, 740 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 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 x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ 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 5 pm. The final polling figure is likely to be declared by the Election Commission on Sunday . According to the Election Commission, 81.73% votes were cast in Jalpaiguri district, followed by Purba Bardhaman (81.72%), Nadia (81.57%), North 24 Parganas (74.83%), Darjeeling (74.31%) and Kalimpong (69.56%). 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 P8 hand it over to them. W I T H T H I S I SS U E Making Waves PLUS 12 PAGES 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 AP count rises to 7.2K from 1.9K in 11 days E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh reported yet another steep spike of 7,224 Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours ending Saturday 9 am taking the overall tally past 9.55 lakh. This is the highest daily Covid count since September 26, 2020. The State witnessed a jump of more than 1,000 cases, compared to Friday and the positivity rate increased to 6.11 per cent from 6.08 per cent the previous day. A total of 1,56,42,070 samples have been tested in the State so far. The daily count is increasing at an alarming rate. On April 6, 1,941 new cases were reported, which was the highest since November 10, 2020. In just 11 days, the daily count crossed the 7,000-mark. With the spike in Covid cases, the Guntur Municipal Corporation has announced closure of all the parks, walking tracks, swimming pools, open gyms and NTR and BR Stadiums in the city till further notice. Notices have been issued to shopkeepers in PVK Naidu Market to open their outlets only from 6 to 10 am and from 4 to 6 pm from Monday . In West Godavari district, fines have been imposed for spitting in public and not wearing a mask. The permission given to Vijayawada Trade Fair has been cancelled. The Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged traders not to open shops on Sunday. The traders have been asked to open their shops only till 6 pm P4 from Monday to Friday . AP Covid Tracker Andhra Pradesh received six lakh doses of Covid vaccine from the Centre on Saturday 9,55,455 9,07,598 Total cases Total recoveries 7,388 40,469 Covid toll STATE WIDE Fresh cases Samples tested Deaths Recoveries Active cases April 16 April 17 6,096 7,224 35,962 35,907 20 2,194 15 2,332 Dial 104 for info on Covid services 1,56,42,070 1902 16,589 11,194 Total samples tested to lodge complaints 6.11% Positivity rate 1,996 Available ventilators 108 Total beds in 126 hospitals 46,566 Available beds @7 pm Available Remdesivir stock No. of hospitals under health department to treat Covid cases Amid surge, PM directs beefing up health infra E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ 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 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 procured and they will be supplied to states soon. A supply mapping plan for 12 highburden 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. Maharashtra mulls importing oxygen for hosps via sea route to overcome shortage 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 ton (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 option 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 . a 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 cylP7 inders and 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 Jagan writes to Naveen to solve Neradi Barrage issue E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has written a letter to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik requesting the latter’s cooperation in the construction of Neradi Barrage on River Vamsadhara. Jagan also sought the Odisha Chief Minister’s appointment to discuss the issue and arrive at an amicable solution as the barrage will benefit both the States. In the letter dated April 16, Jagan pointed out that the Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal (VWDT) pronounced its final order in September 2017, explicitly allowing Andhra Pradesh to take up the con- struction of the barrage and its ancillary structures. He noted that the tribunal had also given permission to construct the head sluice on the left side of the barrage to serve the needs of Odisha as well. “The State of Odisha has filed a clarification before the tribunal and a special leave petition in the Supreme Court wherein it has raised some issues mostly pertaining to the function of supervisory committee. These issues can be amicably resolved between both the State governments before commencement of the operation of Neradi Barrage. I, therefore, request your kind cooperation in construction of Neradi Barrage by offering Adhering to Covid-19 protocol, women line up at a polling station in Tirupati on Saturday to cast their vote in the Lok Sabha byelection I Madhav K Tirupati bypoll turnout declines to 62% from 78.99% in 2019 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Tirupati TDP alleges bogus voting the acceptance of Odisha State for publication of decision of VWDT dated September 13, 2017, in the official gazette..., for enabling construction of the barrage in order to relieve the suffering of denizens of most backward areas of Srikakulam district in AP and Gajapathi district in Odisha,” Jagan said. He explained the importance of the project as almost 75 per cent of flood water, i.e. 80 TMC, goes waste P4 into the sea annually . The byelection was by and large peaceful. At a couple of places, villagers boycotted the poll citing local issues. TDP leaders alleged that YSRC mobilised bogus voters in a big way. However, the YSRC denied the charge of opposition TDP that it indulged in electoral malpractices The Tirupati Lok Sabha byelection recorded a low voter turnout on Saturday. Around 62 per cent of electorate turned up to exercise their franchise in the bypoll, compared to 78.99 per cent turnout registered in the general elections held in 2019. The contestants will have to wait till May 2 for the bypoll result. Like in the last elections, Tirupati Assembly segment recorded low voter turnout when compared to the other six segments in the parliamentary constituency The voter turnout . in Tirupati Assembly segment declined to 50.58 per cent in the bypoll from 66.05 per cent recorded in the last elections. Sullurpet recorded the highest voter turnout of 70.93 per cent. Polling began on a slow note with just 7.8 per cent turnout in the first two hours and it reached 54.99 per cent by 5 pm. In the last two hours -- of which one hour is exclusively for Covid patients, more than 10 per cent of electorate exercised their franchise taking the total poll percentage to 64.29. Though elaborate arrangements were made for the bypoll, besides creating awareness on polling, voters did not evince much interest in exercising their franchise as expected in the bypoll and this was attributed to the spike in Covid cases. Chittoor reported more than 1,000 new cases for the past two days, while Tirupati urban mandal recorded a daily count of over 300. The bypoll was necessitated following the death of sitting YSRC MP B Durga Prasad Rao P4 due to Covid-19 last year.
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