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 3 Remdesivir not recommended for those with severe renal impairment or hepatic dysfunction KOCHI l saturday l april 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l 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 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 ess 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 April 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 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 ess n e w s se 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. No timely help, Covid-19 patient in home isolation dies; hosps running out of beds 3.75 lakh S h a i n u M o h a n @T’Puram “IF an ambulance had arrived in time, my father would still have been with us,” laments Arjun (name changed), a day after he lost his 59-year-old father to the dreaded Covid. It was on Thursday morning that the condition of Arjun’s father, who had been under home isolation for five days, suddenly started to deteriorate. As he had developed fever, the family contacted the health authorities, who in turn asked them to give him more fluids. “But his condition worsened by afternoon. We contacted the officials again and sought transportation and admission at a hospital. We didn’t get any help,” said Arjun, who hails from Aryanad. As his father’s condition worsened by 5pm, he was sure he couldn’t wait for an ambulance. “We took him to the nearest hospital in our car. But it was too late by then,” said the grief-stricken son. Arjun’s story is just one exam- Covid patients are under home isolation in the state as on Friday ple of the plight of several citizens trapped between a raging pandemic and a healthcare system on the brink of collapse. As hospitals in every district start to run out of beds to accommodate new patients, health authorities are now facing the mammoth task of managing scores of people under home isolation. As on Friday, nearly 3.75 lakh Covid patients are under home isolation in the state. “The 59-year-old patient’s death in Aryanad indicates the failure of the system and exposes bigger problems. The unavailability of beds and trans- port facilities alone points to the severity of the situation we are dealing with. Unfortunately, the authorities are not ready to admit this,” said a senior health official. It is high time the state ramped up facilities and resources to deal with this surge, the official said. “The daily trend shows that cases are only going to increase in the coming days. It is foolish to issue orders directing private hospitals to earmark 20% of their beds for Covid care. Instead of letting patients die on the road, the state should take over hospitals and hire resources to deal with such emergencies,” the official said. In Thiruvananthapuram, district authorities have proposed the takeover of three private facilities, including a few blocks of some premium private healthcare institutions, to ● More on P4 handle the surge. The government should act proactively and utilise funds to save lives. More human resources, ventilators and ICU beds are key to tide over the crisis A senior health official POORAM HELD IN RHYTHM & RITUALS Banyan tree branch falls, 10 injured, 2 critical Deity Paramekkavu Bhagavathi atop a caparisoned elephant and accompanied by 14 others, after emerging from the temple during Thrissur Pooram on Friday | Express Amid Covid restrictions, Thrissur Pooram was held on Friday with all rituals, but without permitting crowd into the venue, Thekkinkad Maidan. All artists and organisers had to produce either vaccination certificates or Covid negative papers Madhathil Varavu was held in the morning, with Kongad Madhu leading panchavadyam. Peruvanam Kuttan Marar led the Elanjithara Melam. Kizhakkoottu Aniyan Marar led Thiruvambady’s Pandi Melam. P4 Thrissur: Ten suffered injuries as a branch of a banyan tree fell on a group of people watching a panchavadyam performance held as part of the ceremony on Friday midnight. The incident occurred around 12.30am as the Madhathil Varavu procession was returning to Brahmaswam Madhom. Police said the condition of two was critical. The rescue operation was delayed as power lines got snapped. 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 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. 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 I5 lakh as financial help to the family of the deceased and I1 lakh to the injured Red light to weekend travel: State issues strict guidelines Infection count climbing fast in West Bengal E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ T’Puram P r a n a b M o n d a l @ Kolkata THE state government on Friday announced a set of stringent guidelines to restrict public movement and crowding, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urging people to avoid unnecessary travel during weekend and stay at home. Only institutions related to telecom, IT, health services, media, milk and water supply and electricity will function on Saturdays and Sundays. Vaccination centres will function on Saturday. Weddings can be held with not more than 75 people inside a hall and a maximum of 150 people in open spaces. Not more than 50 people can attend funerals. Those attending weddings should carry an identification document and the wedding invitation as well. The CM urged people to avoid long-distance travel. However, travel exemptions will be given for purposes such as wedding, funeral, visiting an ailing close relative and for buying food or medicines. Such travellers should carry self declaration form citing the purpose of travel. Rail and flight services will continue to operate during weekends. During police checks, rail or air travellers should produce ticket or boarding pass along with identity card. Hotels and restaurants have been allowed home delivery. People can visit restaurants to buy food, but should carry a self declaration form. No restriction has been imposed for doorto-door sale of fish. However, the vendors should wear mask and follow Covid protocol. EXPRESS READ ED summons Lavalin India top officials, seeks papers Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the sensational SNC Lavalin scam allegedly involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has issued summons to the vice-president and the director (finance) of the SNC Lavalin Engineering India, directing them to produce seven crucial papers. P5 CBI team records statement of Walayar girls’ parents Palakkad: A CBI team headed by SP Nandakumaran Nair on Friday visited the house of the two minor Dalit children who were found hanging at their house in Attappalam, Walayar in 2017 after being sexually assaulted, collected evidence and recorded statements. 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express All-party meet to discuss May 2 lockdown demand The state government on Friday informed the High Court that an all-party meeting on Monday would discuss the demand for a lockdown on the counting day of polls on May 2 and it would decide on the issue there. no Bevco outlets, bars on saturday & sunday The Bevco outlets and bars in the state will remain closed on Saturday and Sunday. The state government would take a call on whether to impose more restrictions in the Bevco outlets to control the crowds on Monday. K2.28cr in 45 hrs! CMDRF keeps ticking | P2 EDIT: KERALA BETTER PLACED, BUT NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY | P6 STATEWIDE April 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 23 26,995 6,370 28 28,447 5,663 27 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. Madrasa teacher gets 20-yr RI for abusing 11-yr-old boy E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Kasaragod AN ISLAMIC school teacher has been sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting his 11-yearold male student. Additional sessions court (I) judge T K Nirmala found Abdul Haneefa Madhani, 41, guilty on two counts -aggravated sexual assault by a teacher under Section 5 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012, and forced sodomy under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Public prosecutor (Pocso cases) Prakash Ammannaya said Madhani was sentenced to 20 years of RI under Section 6 of the Pocso Act and another 10 years of RI under Section 377 of the IPC. Both the sentences would run concurrently . The court also slapped a fine of `50,000 each under the two sections. If he does not pay the fine, he will have to serve an extra 12 months (six months each) in prison, said the prosecutor. According to the prosecution, the victim was sexually assaulted several times. “The last time he was assaulted was on May 31, 2016,” said Ammannaya. The Ambalathara police registered a case and arrested Madhani but he was released on bail. After the court found him guilty he was arrested. ,
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