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 chennai l monday l April 19, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l vellore 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 Curbs on movement from 10 pm to 4 am from tomorrow; Class 12 boards postponed; shops to function at 50% capacity, shut at 9 pm Night curfew, complete Sunday lockdown in State E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Chennai @ 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 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. 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. 84 test positive at manufacturing firm in Erode dist Shops in Nanjaiuthukuli in Erode district were shut on Sunday after 84 employees of an animal-feedmanufacturing unit tested positive for coronavirus Migrant workers comprise a majority of the workforce, sources said “We are examining whether Covid can spread through products sent out by the company,” said District Collector S Kathiravan The district administration received 8,000 doses of Covid vaccines on Sunday It seems like 2021 is taking a slow U-turn to 2020. On a day Tamil Nadu recorded more than 10,000 new Covid cases, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a set of restrictions starting Tuesday early morning, to control the spread of the disease. The key announcements include a Statewide curfew from 10 pm to 4 am, and postponement of the Class 12 board exams. The ‘Sunday lockdown’, too, is back, and even grocery stores will have to remain shut. On other days, shops must close at 9 pm, and only 50 per cent occupancy will be allowed. While theatres and restaurants may function at 50 per cent capacity , all tourist places, including beaches, are closed to the public (details in graphics). The new rules were announced after the CM chaired a high-level meeting at his camp office on Sunday. The government said the restrictions will be in force until further orders, and warned of legal action against violators. Referring to the five-time increase in the number of infectees (from 13,070 to 65,350) within 20 days, the government attributed it to noncompliance with safety norms. Public health experts welcomed the restrictions, saying there is no other choice. Former Fearing a lockdown, migrant labourers queue up at the Central railway station to catch the Howrah Mail, in Chennai on Sunday | P Jawahar STATE WIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 17 April 18 9,344 5,263 39 10,723 5,925 42 director of Public Health, Dr K Kolandasamy, said, “This may prevent the spread now, but what is the guarantee that there won’t be a third wave? Enforcement of mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand-washing is key .” Infectious diseases specialist Dr Subramanian Swaminathan said, “First, we have to accept that there is a problem, and the government must strictly enforce the restrictions. Otherwise, people may think it’s a joke. I would like to see intent from the government.” He added that if not for the restric- tions, there may be anarchy in hospitals, with a shortage of beds and ventilators. But health experts felt restrictions must be enforced indoors as well, where there is no ventilation. “Hospitals and closed spaces are becoming a major hotspot for the spread. Places without ventilation must be shut,” said Dr Kolandasamy . The announcement came on a day Tamil Nadu reported 10,723 fresh Covid cases and 42 deaths. Senior Health Department officials have, meanwhile, confirmed to Express that the State only has stock of vaccines for three more days. With the footfall at centres increasing rapidly, the State’s 11.5 lakh doses on April 13 depleted to just 4.33 lakh doses on Sunday . What’s allowed and what’s not Here’s a quick look at the restrictions that will come into force from Tuesday crowd control 50% occupancy Religious events allowed at allowed if restaurants, permission was theatres granted before Only 100 people April 10 allowed at weddings No new restrictions Consecration, other on inter-State travel temple festivals Fuel pumps will must be postponed function as usual Night curfew l From 10 pm to 4 am l Vehicles may ply for emergencies, and to airports and rail stations l Transportation of essential items permitted Over 10K new cases in TN 10,723 fresh cases 3,304 of them are in Chennai 70,391 active cases 25,011 are in Chennai Complete lockdown on Sundays ‘Essential’ shops, pharmacies, fuel pumps may remain open Restaurants may serve takeaways from 6-10 am, 12-3 pm, and 6-9 pm City roads wear a deserted look in Chennai on Sunday | pti 40 workers at ISRO unit in Nellai dist test positive E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Tirunelveli As many as 40 contract workers at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday. They have been admitted to two Covid Care Centres in the district. Health officials said swab samples of 50 contract workers of the propulsion complex were tested after 30 people from Bihar and Jharkhand arrived at the facility. “Eleven workers have been admitted to the Covid Care Centre at Kudankulam Government Hospital and the rest are being treated at the care centre at Shivanandha Hospital in Pathamadai,” they said. Meanwhile, vaccination centres at Urban Primary Health Centres and Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital remained closed on Sunday due to a shortage of vaccines. Sources said new stock of vaccines has arrived at the district and would be distributed to vaccination centres soon. Open book end-sem exams at Anna Univ E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Chennai Anna University has announced that its April/May 2021 theory end-semester exams for all even semesters (2, 4 and 6) will be an ‘Open Book Type’ for all UG and PG students in its university departments. The open book exam is, however, not applicable for final-semester students. While the open book format has been used many times for internal assessments, this will be the first time it is used for end-semester exams, said a senior official from the varsity . However, this is expected to be a one-time measure due to the impact of Covid in the State. A decision is pending on whether the same would be extended to students in affiliated engineering colleges, said a source, adding that a call would be taken in a couple of days. The exams, though in the open book format, will be held through the online-proctored mode. The university said the first section of the exam, Part A, for a total of 10 marks, will have five two-mark questions — one from each chapter. The second part, for 40 marks, will have five eight-mark questions — one from each chapter. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) YOUR LIFE COACH
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