The great rush amid sharp spike Migrant workers stand in close proximity outside the Hatia railway station in Ranchi to board trains to go back home. Workers have been making a beeline for transport facilities amid a sharp rise in number of cases and fears of another complete lockdown leaving them stranded | PTI tirupati l monday l april 19, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l late city EDITION 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 Govt allots 6,000 doses of Covid vaccine to temple staff and their family members; Secretariat employees want to work from home TTD to reduce `300 ticket quota to 15K from May 1 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Tirumala @ New Delhi Amid dire scarcity of medical oxygen for Covid patients, the Centre on Sunday banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes — except in nine specified industries. The decision was taken based on the recommendations of the Empowered Group-II, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, adding it will come into effect from Thursday . Parallelly, the Railways decided to roll out an Oxygen Express to ease transport bottlenecks (see graphic). Delhi is staring at an unprecedented health crisis as it has less than 100 ICU beds vacant in its hospitals, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal revealed. On a day when over 25,000 people tested positive for Covid, Kejriwal said: “I spoke to Home Minister Amit Shah today and informed him of our dire need of beds and oxygen. We are constantly in touch with the Centre and getting help from it.” Also, the case positivity rate jumped from 24% to 30% in just 24 hours, he informed. He wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to increase the number of beds reserved for Covid patients in Central government hospitals NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 17 2,40,423 1,25,751 1,303 April 18 2,61,500 1,38,423 1,501 did in admitting that the present requirement of Covid beds and other healthcare facilities is more than the state administration’s capacity . In Madhya Pradesh, six critical Covid patients died at the Government Medical College Hospital ICU at Shahdol allegedly due to low oxygen pressure. The hospital though attributed it to co-morbidities. Social media sites were flooded with requests for help in arranging beds and oxygen. OXYGEN Express to plug Empty tankers demand-supply gaps to roll out from Mumbai today to bring liquid medical oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro Full-fledged service of Oxygen Express likely in a few days after green corridors are created 24.24% 30.38% 2.38% Chhattisgarh Rajasthan Goa 5.17% 23.33% 15.43% 18.99% 1.74% 17.80% 4.30% Madhya Pradesh Ladakh 1.22% 15.97% Haryana 2.83% 15.86% 0.94% 15.30% 3.58% Puducherry 14.47% 13.54% 13.91% 0.57% 3.05% 7.34% Chandigarh Maharashtra from 1,800 to 7,000. Delhi also sought uninterrupted supply of oxygen, which has reached a critical stage. Another grim data point was the national case positivity rate, which doubled to to 16.69% in 12 days. “The daily positivity rate in the last 12 days has doubled from 8% to 16.69%,” the Union health ministry said in a statement. And the national weekly positivity rate increased from 3.05% to 13.54% in the last one month (see chart). In Gujarat, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was can- Dadra and Nagar Haveli E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Delhi SOS as Delhi has less than 100 ICU beds; positivity rate doubles to 16.69% in 12 days ■ 11 Mar-17Mar ■ 11 Apr-17Apr India Oxygen ban on industry to save lives Change in weekly positivity rate of states/UTs 24.17% The deserted AIIMS during the weekend lockdown in New Delhi on Sunday; and a patient on oxygen and drips on a stretcher, apparently due to the lack of Covid beds, receiving primary care outisde the Kanpur LLR Hospital | PTI Expand jab drive, empower states, ex-PM tells Modi E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to incumbent Narendra Modi offering five suggestions to tackle the second wave of the pandemic. Highlighting the need for an intensified vaccination drive, Singh urged the Centre to look at percentages, not absolute numbers, to assess its impact. While over 12 crore people in India have been vaccinated as on April 18, in percentage terms it is below 9%, a far cry from 24% in the US, 56% in Israel or 28% in Chile. In the letter, Singh urged the Centre to data on doses ordered for the next six months and their scheme of distribution to help states appropriately plan. Singh appealed for greater leeway for states in defining frontline workers, who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age. He also advised the Centre to augment private facilities to improve production while allowing the import of shots cleared by credible international agencies without insisting on bridging trials. The decision follows proposals made by Maharashtra and MP governments requesting the Railways to help bridge the demand-supply gap Tankers would be placed on flat wagons (roll-on-rolloff) as part of the plan Heed them Publicise the number of doses ordered for the next six months. Place advance orders to meet the target Make distribution formula transparent so that states can plan their drive. Centre may retain 10% for distribution Let states define categories of frontliners who can be vaccinated Strengthen and expand the private manufacturing facilities Allow import of shots cleared by credible international agencies like USFDA The dimensions of the tankers were determined after a meeting between Railway Board, transport commissioners and industry representatives Ramps have been created at destination stations for smooth roll out Insurance cover ends for healthcare workers S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi The Centre has quietly decided not to extend an insurance scheme of `50 lakh for healthcare workers who die in the line of Covid-19 duty beyond a year, it has emerged even as the country is in the middle of a ferocious wave of the infection. A circular sent by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan to states last month said that the scheme had concluded on March 24. The Centre had last year announced the scheme to incentivise healthcare workers as part of its `1.7 lakh crore Covid-19 relief package. “Approximately 22 lakh ‘Sad and insensitive’ Doctors expressed dismay. “It’s really sad and insensitive on the part of the government,” said former IMA president Ravi Wankhedkar health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic,” the official statement had said. “Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered.” It also covered workers in the private sector. While there is no official data on the number of frontline workers who died of Covid-19 in India, according to the Indian Medical Association, at least 739 MBBS doctors, including three doctors in the second and ongoing wave of the pandemic, have succumbed to it. The scheme was first implemented for 90 days and later extended for a year. Bhushan did not respond to queries by this newspaper on the content of his letter. Rahul bites the bullet, cancels poll rallies E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Announcing the suspension of all his public rallies in West Bengal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday urged other leaders to consider the consequences of holding huge public rallies. “In view of the Covid-19 situation, I am suspending all my public rallies in West Bengal. I would advise all political leaders to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances,” he said on Twitter. In another tweet in Hindi, Rahul wrote: “One has seen such a crowd of the sick and the dead for the first time.” While the Congress has little stake in the West Bengal elections, it’s the biggies like the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee and the BJP that are locked in a no-holdsbarred fight for power. Though both parties are yet to react, Trinamool candidate from Bhawanipur Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said he has decided not to hold any major rallies in view of the Covid-19 situation. Bhawanipur goes to polls on April 26. It is the seat held by Mamata in the outgoing Assembly Both Mamata and BJP . leader Amit Shah held roadshows in different parts of Bengal on Sunday . Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill lauded Rahul Gandhi and said the BJP must follow him. Shergill said Rahul Gandhi was “leading by example” by cancelling his rallies in the interest of public health and safety . Shergill tweeted that BJP leaders must follow Rahul Gandhi’s footsteps to end this naked dance of death due to Covid case explosion. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has decided to minimise the rush of pilgrims to just 15,000 per day from May 1. It will reduce the `300 Seeghra Darshan ticket quota to 15,000 from the present 25,000 per day to minimise devotee rush at Tirumala. The TTD released the April quota of Seeghra Darshan tickets in March end. With the spike in Covid-19 cases in Chittoor district and more particularly in Tirupati urban limits, it has been decided to reduce the issuance of Seeghra Darshan tickets. The daily Covid count of Chittoor is more than 1,000 for the past three days and its overall tally have surged past the 1 lakhmark. Of the total count, majority of Covid cases have been reported from Tirupati urban mandal. “We will release the reduced Seeghra Darshan ticket quota for May on April 20 instead of 25th of every month,” Temple Deputy Executive Officer Harindranath told TNIE. The TTD had cancelled the issuance of free darshan tokens from April 1 in view of Covid spread. However, it will continue VIP break darshan and also entertain recommendation letters from the trustees, which will not be more than 2,000 a day . The temple administration has taken all necessary steps to contain the spread of Covid. Sanitisation of queue lines and the temple premises has been entrusted to the health department. Meanwhile, the TTD has announced that the annual Brahmotsavams of Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy temple at Vontimitta in Kadapa district will be celebrated in Ekantham in AP COVID TRACKER 9,62,037 9,09,941 Total cases 7,410 Total recoveries 44,686 2,93,595 Covid toll Active cases Tests per million 1,56,77,992 Total samples tested 6.14% Positivity rate STATE WIDE Fresh cases Samples tested Deaths Recoveries April 17 April 18 7,224 35,907 15 2,332 6,582 35,922 22 2,343 CM likely to chair high level meeting on Covid today Vijayawada: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to chair a high level meeting on Monday to take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the State. According to sources, the Chief Minister will take stock of the medical facilities and also the vaccination drive as the State has eight lakh doses of vaccine, which will be administered to healthcare workers and frontline staff on priority basis. The Chief Minister is likely to take a decision on conduct of SSC and Intermediate examinations in the State at the meeting. Several States have already cancelled examinations in view of the surge in Covid cases across the country. Rajahmundry GGH turns into Covid care hospital E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Rajamahendravaram With the surge in Covid-19 cases in East Godavari district, the Government General Hospital in Rajamahendravaram has been once again converted into an exclusive Covid care facility from Monday The dis. trict with a Covid tally of 1.29 lakh, has more than 4,000 active cases. The move came in the wake of severe pressure from Covid positive patients and their relatives for hospit a l b e d s a n d h e a l t h c a re facilities. GGH Superintendent Dr Somasundar Rao said all the healthcare services other than Covid will be stopped from Monday and non-Covid inpatients will be shifted to Aarogyasri hospitals in the city. All the 450 beds in the hospital will be allotted to Covid patients. However, outpatient services will be continued to avoid inconvenience to patients visiting the GGH from various parts of twin Godavari districts, he said. From Monday onwards, Covid positive cases will be admitted in all wards of the government hospital. All departments should provide medical care to Covid patients roundthe-clock without fail. A liquid oxygen storage tank with 10,000 litre capacity has been installed in the government hospital. About 50 doctors have also been deputed to the hospital to treat Covid cases. Dialysis services will also be provided to Covid patients at the hospital, Dr Somasundar P5 Rao said. Govt to take disciplinary action against ABV E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Vijayawada ABV asked to reply within 30 days In a GO issued by the General Administration Department, CS Aditya Nath Das said it was decided to take disciplinary action against AB Venkateswara Rao. The government directed Rao to submit a written statement of his defence and whether he desires to be heard in person, within 30 days view of Covid. The Kodanda Rama temple Brahmotsavams are scheduled from April 21 to 29. “As there is a sharp spike in Covid cases in the State in recent weeks, it has been decided to organise the Vontimitta temple Brahmotsavams in Ekantham this year also. All Vahana Sevas as well as Sri Sita Rama Kalyanam, which is slated for April 26, will be organised in Ekantham,” the TTD said. On the other hand, the TTD has decided to vaccinate all its staff and their family members without any age restriction and the vaccination drive will begin on Monday or Tuesday. Considering the plea of the TTD, the State government has allotted 6,000 doses of Covid vaccine to the temple staff and P5 their family members. The State government on Sunday decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against suspended IPS officer and former Intelligence chief in the previous TDP gover nment, A B Venkateswara Rao, for alleged violation of All India Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969. The article of charges framed against Venkateswara Rao was that he made utterances before the media with re- spect to the ongoing inquiry against him into the charges of irregularities in the process of procurement of Aerostat and UAV equipment for the State under the scheme of Modernisation of Police Force when he was the Intelligence chief. In a GO issued by the General Administration Department, Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das said it was decided to take disciplinary action against Venkateswara Rao under Rule 8 of the AIS (Discipline and ApP5 peal) Rules, 1969. express read Now, all eyes on new collegium New Delhi: All eyes will now be on a collegium headed by the designated Chief Justice of India, N V Ramana, when he takes over from the present Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on April 24, as to whether he will end the gender disparity visible in the top court along with the High Courts and trial courts across the country. Stand-off in Ladakh unlikely to ease soon New Delhi: The deployment of the Indian and the Chinese troops at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh is unlikely to ease in the near future as there is no pressure on the Chinese to disengage, believe defence experts. There are around 50,000 troops with arms and equipment, including armoured vehicle and artillery guns. 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