LATEST GUIDELINES ISSUED BY ICMR ON PLASMA, REMDESIVIR 1 Remdesivir can be used in patients with moderate to severe disease within 10 DAYS of symptom onset 4 Remdesivir must not to be used in patients who are not on oxygen support or in home settings 2 Plasma can be administered in early moderate disease within seven days of symptom onset; useless after 7 DAYS HYDERABAD SATURDAY APRIL 24, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION 5 OFF-LABEL USE OF TOCILIZUMAB IN CASE OF SEVERE DISEASE RECOMMENDED, PREFERABLY WITHIN 24 TO 48 HOURS OF THE ONSET OF THE DISEASE OR ICU ADMISSION 3 Remdesivir not recommended for those with severe renal impairment or hepatic dysfunction 6 Upper respiratory tract symptoms or fever without shortness of breath or hypoxia defined as mild disease, patients advised home isolation 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 Situation stays grim, SC puts off hearing 25 DEATHS IN 24 HRS IN GANGA RAM HOSPITAL Takes dim view of criticism by senior lawyers E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi A day after terming the current Covid situation as a national health emergency while taking suo motu cognisance of it and demanding an action plan from the Centre within 24 hours, the Supreme Court on Friday abruptly wrapped up its hearing and posted the case for Tuesday . It took a dim view of the worry of senior advocates that the SC’s intervention could hamper proceedings at six high courts that were already hearing the matter and passing speaking orders. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, who demitted office later in day looked angry , and told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, “You have imputed motives to us without reading our order. We never said a word and did not stop high courts. We had asked the Centre to go to HCs and report to them.” “We love my lords. But it was a genuine perception because my lords have done it in the past,” Dave countered. Justice S Ravindra Bhat, who is part of the bench, said, “We never said a word and did not stop HCs. We asked the Centre to go to high court and report to them. What kind of perception you are talking about? Talk about these proceedings.” CONTINUED ON: P7 NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 22 3,14,835 1,78,841 2,104 APRIL 23 3,32,730 1,93,279 2,263 Covid-19 patients, some of them on stretchers, waiting for beds outside the GTB Hospital in New Delhi on Friday | PARVEEN NEGI Crack down on O2 hoarding, black marketing, PM to CMs E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged chief ministers of the worst Covid-hit states to crack down on black marketing and hoarding of medical oxygen and key medicines for SARS-COV-2. Chairing a meeting with chief ministers of 11 states and Union Territories from where most Covid cases are reported, he asked them to facilitate seamless movement of medical oxygen. Calling for united response to the runaway pandemic, Modi told the CMs that Air Force and Railways are being pressed into service to transport oxygen. Modi urged states to set up a coordination committee for timely supply of oxygen to different hospitals in their states. “This committee should ensure that as soon as there is allotment of oxygen from the Cen- tre, it can deliver oxygen as per requirement in different hospitals of the state immediately said the PM. ,” NITI Aayog Member V K Paul gave a presentation in the meeting on raising medical facilities and targeted treatment of Covid patients. The CMs were urged to make the district administrations in their respective states accountable for making available key medicines for treating Covid patients. “India’s success during the first wave of the pandemic was our united efforts and strategy. We will have to address this challenge in the same way,” said the PM, assuring Centre’s full support to states. The meeting was live-streamed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, which drew the PM’s ire. Kejriwal’s office expressed regret but claimed they were not officially informed that the P7 meeting was confidential. Bengal infection count is climbing too P R A N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata WHEN horrified people looking at the humongous political rallies with mask-less supporters in West Bengal a couple of weeks ago wondered if such mobilisation was wise, the prompt reply of politicos was the state’s Covid-positive count was far below that of high incidence states. The numbers have since climbed with Bengal reporting a daily spike of 12,876 positive cases on Friday, compared to 4,511 on April 12. Within those 11 days, the toll went up four times from 14 on April 12 to 59 on Friday At least 80 large rallies were . held in the state during that period. On February 26, the day poll panel announced Bengal’s election schedule, the daily positive cases in Birbhum, Nadia and West Burdwan districts were 2, 6 and 10, respectively Almost a . month later, on April 22, the three districts recorded 624, 455 and 596 fresh positive cases respectively, indicating its rapid unspooling in rural Bengal. Two candidates have so far died of Covid-19 and others like state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chow- dhury have been hospitalised. While the Election Commission of India on Thursday, after a stinker from the Calcutta high court, banned roadshows and public meetings with more than 500 people ahead of the last two phases of the ongoing Assembly elections, surely someone should be held accountable for sleeping on the job. “ Among other reasons, big political rallies played a crucial role in the spread of Covid-19 in rural areas,’’ said an official of the state health department. IAF airlifts O2 tankers, docs IAF deploys transport aircraft C-17, C-130J, IL-76, An-32 and Avro to airlift big, empty oxygen tankers and containers to various filling stations across the country; Chinook and Mi-17 helicopters on standby Flies doctors and nursing staff from Kochi, Mumbai, Vizag and Bengaluru to various hospitals in Delhi Cadila jab Virafin gets nod Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila gets restricted emergency use approval from the from drug regulator to use antiviral drug Virafin for the treatment of moderate Covid19 infection. It is a single dose jab; drug will be available on the prescription of medical specialist for use in hospital/institutional setup, says company TAKING a serious view of the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the State, the Telangana High Court on Friday asked the government why its efforts to rein in the pandemic lacked conviction. A division bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, expressed dissatisfaction over the report submitted to it by the government on the measures taken so far to arrest the spread of the virus. The bench asked whether the mere imposition of night curfew would serve the purpose of safeguarding citizens against Covid-19. “How come there are no restrictions on cinema theatres, liquor shops and pubs,” the bench asked. The bench also wondered why there were no curbs on election rallies when similar restrictions were in force on weddings and funeral ceremonies. “How is it that elections are exempted from Covid-19 restrictions,” the court asked, and referred to allegations that the number of deaths being announced by the State government was far from realistic. Reacting to the government’s submission that the number of RT-PCR tests done between April 1 and 21 was 3.47 lakh, the bench wanted to know when the tests would be further ramped up. The government, in its report, had stated that the number of Rapid Antigen Tests done during the same period was 16.17 lakh. The bench directed the State government to ensure that people with Covid-19 symptoms were admitted to hospitals without insisting on a positive test report. It pointed out that testing must be ramped up in YadadriBhuvanagiri, Nir mal, Jagtial, Kamareddy and Medchal-Malkajgiri , districts, where the number of cases TELANGANA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 21 5,567 2,251 23 APRIL 22 6,206 3,052 29 was high. The bench wanted an expert committee constituted to ensure effective implementation of Covid-19 control measures. The court also wanted relief camps be set up for migrant labourers. It directed that all government and private hospitals should have boards displaying availability of beds. The court asked the government to ensure that oxygen was made available in all government hospitals, and adjourned the case to April 27. A grieving family member of a patient who died in Palghar hospital fire | PTI 13 COVID PATIENTS DIE IN MAHARASHTRA HOSPITAL BLAZE Mumbai: At least 13 Covid-19 patients died after a fire broke out at the intensive care unit located on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar, the extended suburb of Mumbai, on Friday. The fire started in the air conditioning unit of the hospital’s ICU due to a short circuit. There were 17 patients in the ICU at that time. The fire brigade rushed to the spot and doused the fire in five minutes. Howerver, within that short period, 13 out of 17 patients died. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced `5 lakh as financial help to the family of the deceased and `1 lakh to the injured EXPRESS READ UK variant found in 10.5% samples sequenced in TS Vaccine free for anyone between 18 and 45 years in AP Hyderabad: The UK variant of Coronavirus, labelled as a ‘Variant of Concern’ (VOC) in India, is now prevalent in Telangana. About 10.5 per cent of all Covid-19 samples collected at the community-level in the State were of the UK variant | P4 Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh will vaccinate people in the age-group of 18 to 45 years for free from May 1. A decision to this effect was taken during a high-level review meeting chaired by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday. There are 2.04 crore people in the said age-group | P5 KTR TESTS +VE FOR COVID-19 Telangana IT Minister is quarantined at home. He has mild symptoms, and his health condition is stable | P4 Telangana govt’s virus control measures lack conviction: HC E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad AMID a raft of SOS messages by individuals and hospitals seeking urgent supply of oxygen in Delhi, scarcity of the lifesaver killed as many as 25 “sickest” patients in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Friday. While the hospital did not spell the reason for the deaths, sources said low oxygen concentration could be the reason. “Critical patients need high-pressure oxygen supply said an official. ,” Early on Friday morning, the hospital had sent out an SOS saying the lives of many patients were hanging in the balance due to low stock of oxygen. “25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours... Major crisis likely. Lives of another 60 sickest patients in peril,” read a statement from the hospital. Following this, an oxygen tanker arrived at the hospital a little after 9 am. Many other hospitals in Delhi reported they were facing a similar situation. “Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, with 160 Covid19 patients, is left with another one hour of Oxygen cylinder stock. We have been waiting for the supply since last night, but no luck so far. Please help us at the earliest,” the hospital tweeted in the morning. Meanwhile, the government-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital reduced its Covid beds from 500 to 350 due to low oxygen availability . Max Hospital, too, said it will not accept new admissions due to shortage of oxygen supply but deleted the tweet within minutes. Some other hospitals made short-term arrangements for oxygen with the help of the district magistrate and the police but said stocks won’t last for long. Health Minister Eatala Rajender sees off IAF planes carrying empty oxygen tankers bound for Rourkela steel plant, at Begumpet airport on Friday TS to get Odisha O2 boost E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad IN what is being claimed as a first in the country the Telangana , government on Friday airlifted nine empty tankers from Hyderabad to bring back 150 tonnes of medical liquid oxygen from Rourkela steel plant in Odisha. The empty tankers, airlifted from Begumpet airport by IAF cargo flights, are expected to return with oxygen before April 27 by road. Airlifting of empty tankers will cut down the transportation time of oxygen by three days. Health Minister Eatala Rajender and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar saw off the IAF flights to Odisha. The Chief Secretary has been in touch with the Central government officials for the last couple of days, and had prevailed upon them to spare IAF flights to transport oxygen tankers, as they would reduce transportation time by a good margin. “This will not only save time, but also help resolve the oxygen shortage problem in the State to a great extent for a few days. This is the first time that oxygen tankers are being airlifted in the country,” the Chief Secretary said. The two C17 Indian Air Force flights were commandeered by Wing Commander Chaitanya and Wing Commander Nijhawan. Mutant variants driving rise in high-burden states New Delhi: Experts engaged in genome analysis say that one of the reasons behind the surge in the Covid-19 cases could be increasing mutant variants in many cities, especially in high-burden states | P7
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