kochi l wednesday l april 21, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 l late 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 A health worker looks from a swab collection centre at Kaliyakkavila near the Kerala-TN border. RT-PCR test has been made mandatory for those travelling to TN | Vincent Pulickal NO WEEKEND LOCKDOWN IN STATE Death rate may go up T’Puram: State’s death toll is expected to increase as there has been a steep rise in Covid patients requiring ventilator facility, said experts. Chances of death are 20 to 40% high for those on ventilator. P2 E x p r ess N e w s S e r v i c e @ T’Puram THERE will not be lockdown in the state during weekends. A meeting chaired by Chief Secretary V P Joy took the decision on Tuesday. The meeting also decided to conduct mass testing in areas where the test positivity rate (TPR) is higher than the district average. All people living in those areas will be tested. Test positivity remained at an alarming 17.45% in the state on Tuesday while 19,577 contracted the virus, which is the highest since the outbreak of the pandemic. As many as 13,644 had tested positive on Monday. The government intends to bring the test positivity rate down to 3 per cent through mass testing. The meeting also decided to carry out a scientific study on the mutation occurred to the virus in the state during the second wave of infection through genome se● More on P4 quencing. Only 10 at a time T’Puram: The Travancore Devaswom Board on Tuesday imposed fresh curbs on devotees. As per the new advisory,only 10 people will be allowed at temples at a time. P4 STATEWIDE April 19 Fresh cases Active cases Deaths April 20 13,644 1,03,004 21 19,577 1,18,673 28 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 Covid-19 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 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 in HCs if vacancy is 20%, says apex court New Delhi: Expressing concern over the large number of pending cases in high courts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set the ball rolling for appointment of ad-hoc judges in HCs to clear pendency. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, “We have a docket explosion in our country and that it is difficult for adjudication to take place within a reasonable period of time. This crisis situation must be tackled. Some innovation is always the rule of the game.” The bench said the process to appoint ad-hoc judges can be initiated if vacancies are more than 20% of the sanctioned strength of the high court and cases in a particular category are pending for over five years. The court clarified that ad-hoc appointments cannot be a substitute for regular ones. Blow to Jaleel, HC upholds Lok Ayukta verdict E x p r ess N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi UPHOLDING the Lok Ayukta verdict on the nepotism charge against former higher education minister K T Jaleel, the High Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition seeking to stay the finding that he had abused his position as a public servant to obtain favour for a relative. A division bench comprising Justice P B Suresh Kumar and Jus- tice K Babu observed that the petition was without any merit and there were no procedural lapses from the forum as alleged by the petitioner. The plea is accordingly being dismissed ‘in limine’, the bench said. “Abuse of public resources or position in public life for private gain would certainly amount to corruption. The scope of cor ruption would increase when the control on public administrators is weak,” observed the bench. In fact, all public servants from the chief minister to panchayat members come under the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, it said, further pointing out that the very objective of the legislation was to eliminate corruption in public ● More on P7 service. STR U G G LE A G AINST O D D S Ostracised, an isolated family lives in deep forest for 20 yrs M an o j Vis w anat han @ Kochi express read Chad president killed after 30 yrs in power N’Djamena: Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled the central African nation for more than three decades, was killed on the battlefield on Tuesday while fighting rebels, the military announced on national television and radio. P11 18 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express COVID has taught our society what ‘isolation’ exactly means in terms of fear and frustration, but this tribal couple from Adichilthotti colony at Malakkappara knows it precisely after being ostracised by the Muthuvan community 20 years ago. For them, life has been a struggle against odds since then. Chellappan and Yasodha have been living in the deep forest — on the banks of Edamalayar river — fleeing from one place to another. They spend nights in makeshift huts, under the constant fear of elephant herds raiding their huts any time. Chellappan and Yasodha belong to the same community, but the Muthuvans follow strict rules on family relations. As Yasodha is a blood relative of Chellappan, they ostracised and banished them after they got married. The couple’s children Aji, 15, and Athul, 9, were staying in the tribal hostel at Vazhachal to pursue their studies. They returned to Edamalayar after Chellappan, Aji, Athul and Yasodha. schools were closed following Covid spread last year. They did not have the facilities to continue education online. The family doesn’t have an Aadhaar or ration card either, which would have made them eligible for the incentives from the government. They make a living by catching fish from the river and selling it in Vadattupara village in Kothamangalam. It takes them six hours to reach Vadattupara by their bamboo ● More on P7 raft. 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 the 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 active 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.
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