villupuram l wednesday l April 21, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION U.S. advises citizens to avoid India travel, issues guidelines Placing India on ‘Level 4: Very high level’ list, the Centers for Disease Control said even fully vaccinated people are at risk Exception made for urgent travel PM calls off porto visit for EU summit The advisory, suggesting travellers to reconsider their itinerary, comes a day after the UK imposed similar restrictions on flying to India. The CDC, however, made exceptions for pressing cases with certain conditions. “If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated. All travellers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” it advised ■ ■ Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Portugal for India-EU summit has been called off in view of the pandemic. The May 8 summit in the city of Porto would instead be virtual The change in plan for the 16th India-EU summit was decided after consultations with the EU and Portuguese leadership 80% Countries across the world have been deemed as risky by the CDC assessment 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 Save India from lockdown: PM Says protecting lives and keeping economy moving are vital for national fightback M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi Road to recovery A barricaded road in Chennai on Tuesday, when the ‘night curfew’ across Tamil Nadu began | Shiba Prasad Sahu Scam detected as dead man ‘tests negative’ S r eemat hi M @ Tenkasi Vinoth Victor Antony a native of Surandai in , Tenkasi district and a resident of Madampakkam in Chennai, was shocked when he got a message from Tenkasi Government Headquarters Hospital on Sunday, saying his wife tested positive for coronavirus and his father negative. He was startled because his wife and father weren’t tested; and his father died on September 22 last year, and his wife wasn’t in Tenkasi. Vinoth (30), a businessman, told TNIE he submitted a petition to the Directorate of Public Health and Tenkasi Collector GS Sameeran regarding the test results and seeking action against those who impersonated his wife and father. In an audio clip that has gone viral, officials at the Tenkasi conSTATE WIDE trol room are April 19 April 20 heard verifying Fresh cases 10,941 10,986 the names of his Recoveries 6,172 6,250 father, AnthoDeaths 44 48 nyraj, and wife, Jensi (28). Vinoth claimed there is no way they gave swab samples in Tenkasi as the last time he visited Surandai was to vote, and his wife last visited about six months ago. Sameeran said legal action would be taken against the impersonators. “All samples taken during the past week have been collected and are now being verified with people in the region,” he said. Tenkasi Government Headquarters Hospital superintendent Dr R Jesline said giving such false information is a criminal offence. Youngsters now at greater risk? Unlike last year, many youngsters now have severe Covid symptoms, and this wave has so far killed about 10 young people in TN who had no comorbidities. “Many youngsters are presenting respiratory symptoms and pneumonia. Early admission may save their lives,” said RGGGH dean Dr E Theranirajan | P4 Kovai kids falling ill This year alone, 2,775 children in Coimbatore under the age of 14 got Covid-19, compared to 2,318 between March and December 2020 | P4 TN tracker 79,804 Active cases 99,246 more people tested 10,13,378 tally 13,205 toll 3,711 new cases, 17 deaths in Chennai Prime Minister Narendra Modi was emphatic in his address to the nation on Tuesday that lockdown was not the way out to contain the exponential growth of fresh Coving cases, urging state governments to focus on micro-containment strategies instead. Stating that all efforts are being made for the wellbeing of the economy and the people, Modi said the country needs to be saved from lockdown, which should be the last resort for state governments. Modi also referred to reports of migrants thronging railway stations and bus depots to return home, and urged state governments to instill trust in the labour force that their employment would remain protected while they will be expeditiously vaccinated at their places of work. “I want to request the state administrations that they protect the trust of the labour force that they should stay where they are, and they will continue with their employment while they get vaccinated,” he said. Ensuring the labour force stays at their workplace is necessary for expeditious inoculation, as all above 18 years of age will be vaccinated from May 1, he pointed out. “Efforts of all of us are to save the lives, and also to ensure that livelihood and the economy are least affected,” he emphasised. His remarks came in the wake of a few of the state governments, including Delhi, imposing lockdown, which triggered panic among the migrant workers, wary as they are of a rerun of last year’s exodus. Reiterating his request for people’s cooperation in enforcement of the Covid-19 appropriate protocol, Modi called upon the youth, including children, to follow the good practices in their neighbourhood. “If the protocols are followed, there will be no need even for containment zones,” he said. Reassuring the people that the Covid-19 situation will be expeditiously brought under control, Modi said medical oxygen supply is being ramped up in a big way while pharmaceutical companies have already increased production of necessary medicines to treat Covid patients Appoint ad-hoc judges if vacancy is 20%: SC Allahabad, Punjab & Haryana, Madras, Bombay, and RajasExpressing concern over than — are responsible for the large number of pending 54% of the pendency of over cases in high courts, the Su- 57,51,312 cases. preme Court on Tuesday set “The Madras High Court the ball rolling for appoint- has among the highest arrears ment of ad-hoc judges in HCs in the country of 5.8 lakh casto clear pendency . es despite having fewer vacanA bench headed by Chief cies than most other high Justice S A Bobde said, courts (7%). This does “We have a docket exnot take away from the plosion in our country requirement of apand that it is difficult pointing ad-hoc Judgfor adjudication to es but supports the take place within a reaview that even if the sonable period of existing vacancies are time. This crisis situ- Timeline for few, a situation may ation must be tackled. appointing arise requiring the Some innovation is alexpertise of experiHC judges ways the rule of the enced Judges to be apThe Supreme game.” pointed as ad hoc Court also The bench said the Judges,” the court specified a process to appoint adheld. timeline of 3-4 hoc judges can be iniThe court also laid weeks for tiated if vacancies are down timelines for appointing HC more than 20% of the the government take judges if its sanctioned strength a call on appointment Collegium of the high court and of judges. The bench reiterates a cases in a particular said that once the name category are pending Centre receives infor over five years. puts of state governThe court clarified that ad- ment and the Intelligence Buhoc appointments cannot be a reau (IB), it would be desirable substitute for regular ones. that the file be forwarded to The number of ad-hoc judges the Supreme Court Collegium should be between two and within 8 to 12 weeks. Once the five in a high court, it added. Collegium reiterates a proposCiting data from the Nation- al, the government should noal Judicial Data Grid, the tify the appointment within court said five high courts — 3-4 weeks. K an u sa r da @ New Delhi Blast victims’ compensation cheques bounce A z ee f a Fat hima @ Virudhunagar Twenty-five out of the twentyseven cheques handed over to the family members of the deceased persons in Achankulam cracker unit blast have bounced, forcing the kin to run from pillar to post and to spend what little they have to get the cheques cleared. The fire mishap at Achankulam Sri Mariyammal Fireworks on February 12 this year claimed the lives of 38 persons and injured another 55. Sources said that except for two, all cheques given by the unit owner have bounced. Speaking to TNIE, Marikkani (63), who is yet to come to terms with the loss of his 52-year-old wife in the accident, said he was shell-shocked when the cheque bounced. “I deposited it in the bank two or three times, but they said there was no money in the account,” he said. Ganesamoorthy, a relative of another victim, said, “We cannot afford Govt compensation pending The State government announced a relief amount of `3 lakh and the Centre promised `2 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased. While 17 families received the amount, 10 are yet to get it as the Model Code of Conduct was enforced to take leave and go to the banks every now and then to enquire about the status of the cheques. We have to work daily to make ends meet. We believed the cheques would be cleared on time.” While the relatives of the victims were given `50,000 on the spot to conduct the last rites of the deceased, a cheque of `5 lakh was given to them from the company’s side. However, the cheques have been provided by several persons, including the owner, lessor and lessees. While all of them bounced, only the cheques provided to the kin of the deceased, Sandhya (19) and Gopal (30), got cleared. Continued on: P6 30 million Covaxin doses by next month Bharat Biotech to produce 30 mn doses next month. “This month we are reaching 20 mn, next month we will be making around 30 mn... by July-August we will be able to reach 700 to 800 mn doses production capacity per annum,” says its CMD Krishna Ella Maharashtra to import vaccines It’s happy with the Centre’s new vax policy, will import vaccines if need be with funds diverted from all the departments to carry out an extensive inoculation drive on the lines of the UK, says state health minister Rajesh Tope Kerala seeks free vaccines Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to provide entire quantity of vaccines needed by state govts free of cost, instead of the new policy to let states buy part of their requirement directly from manufacturers Maha headed for full lockdown? E x p r ess N e w s S e r v i c e @ Mumbai / New Delhi Rahul tests Covid +ve Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he has tested positive for Covid-19. “After experiencing mild symptoms, I’ve just tested positive,” he tweeted Maharashtra, where lockdown-like restrictions are already in place since April 15, is headed for a 15-day total lockdown. The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday unanimously decided to impose strict lockdown from Wednesday night. The final announcement will be made by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, health minister Rajesh Tope said. The Cabinet also decided to cancel Class 10 exam of the state board. Tope said the state is facing a severe shortage of medical oxygen and Remdesivir injection, while hospital beds are fully occupied. “If we don’t act now, things will be difficult to handle,” he added. Another minister, Jitendra Awhad, said Uddhav was initially reluctant to go for a complete lockdown but the ministers prevailed over him. NATIONWIDE April 19 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 2,72,191 1,44,178 1,619 April 20 2,57,409 1,54,761 1,761 Maharashtra has 6,70,388 positive cases with 2,46,119 patients admitted in hospitals. The situation in Delhi is equally bad with CM Arvind Kejriwal pleading the Centre “with folded hands” to rush medical oxygen. “Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi... Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen,” he tweeted. “ On Monday, the Delhi government had set up a 24-member committee to ensure “rational” use of medical oxygen for treatment of Covid-19 patients. P9
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