HYDERABAD SUNDAY APRIL 25, 2021 `12.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION 8 DEAD, 31 MISSING IN U’KHAND AVALANCHE; RESCUE OPS ON Disaster struck Border Roads Organisation’s Sumna-Rimkhim road site in Chamoli near India-China border on Friday night 384 RESCUED AFTER GLACIER COLLAPSES SECOND MAJOR DISASTER SINCE FEBRUARY The avalanche occurred after a part of a glacier collapsed, trapping around 430 road construction workers. Search operations were mounted by the Indian Army and ITBP, resulting in the rescue of 384 people. Seven injured persons were flown to the Army hospital in Joshimath in helicopters. Both the Army and the ITBP’s forward camps in the area were unaffected | P8 ■ The site is located near the confluence of the Girthigad and the Kiogad, two streams that originate from the Dhauli Ganga river, which witnessed a calamitous avalanche in February, killing 80 ■ The road is crucial to gain access to locations like the disputed Barahoti area, where Chinese transgressions have been reported 18 inches ICE LOST PER YEAR IN GLACIERS SINCE 2000 DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE 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 ALL RISE... ANNOUNCEMENT Justice NV Ramana was sworn in as the 48th Chief Justice of India by President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday. He will hold the post for 16 months. Congratulating him, TS Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said: “I am sure that your scholarship and vast experience will benefit our country immensely.” | P8 Dear reader, India is going through its worst phase of the Covid pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling, many in vain, to exercise their right to live, as a ramshackle universal healthcare system proves that it has no answers to the challenges posed by a creepy bug. The health ministry’s daily bulletin of fresh positive cases and fatalities has hit the stratosphere, so have SOS messages from individuals and hospitals seeking oxygen refill and lifesaving medicines. Hospitals refuse fresh admissions for want of Covid beds. The rush at crematoriums is heart-breaking. Most of us already have friends or relatives who have succumbed to Covid-19 or are battling for life. In such a tragic time, we find it incongruous that the festival of cricket is on in India, with layers of bio bubbles creating protection. This is commercialism gone crass. The problem is not with the game but its timing. Cricket, too, must accept that we are passing through an unprecedented crisis. In the circumstances, The New Indian Express has decided to suspend IPL coverage in the newspaper with immediate effect till a semblance of normalcy is restored. This is a small gesture towards keeping the nation’s attention focused on life and death issues. We are sure that our readers will see the point. These are times when we must stand as one nation with one resolve. — Editor SOS MESSAGES FLOOD TWITTER @Tarunvijay My elder cousin brother, 91, no plasma available, no oxygen cylinder. Hospiral docsxsaidghar le jaiye. #Faridabad. Where are we heading t ? Those without any connection, those who do not know any influential person, those who are just commoners,,,, @malini_aisola @JaiveerShergill An Undertaking that loved ones are being asked to sign at @SarojHospital, Delhi hospital that says it is not the responsibility of the hospital if the patient dies due to scarcity of oxygen Need hospital bed for a 8month pregnant lady -oxygen level has dipped to 84 and situation not looking good at all. She is right now in Dwarka -Any leads please let me know!! @AdityaRajKaul #SOS DELHI Baby needs ventilator. In Critical State. Ad-Nehru vihar Mustafabad Delhi Age 2.2year Please help, Delhi!! @sumeetbhasin Requirement of Plasma Donor on urgent basis of “A or AB” blood group. Age - 53 Years/ Female Admitted in Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh thaman S @MusicThaman FIGHTING FOR LIFE A VERY GOOD MUSICIAN O+VE PLASMA VERY URGENT LOCATION DIYA HOSPITAL Free jabs for TS’ 4 cr citizens KCR says everyone, irrespective of age, to get free vax; `2,500 crore earmarked EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad TELANGANA Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to vaccinate the State’s four crore residents against Covid-19 for free, irrespective of their age. The beneficiaries include people from other states who reside here as well. The State government will spend `2,500 crore for the vaccination programme. It may be mentioned that around 35 lakh people have already been vaccinated in Telangana. Though the existing guidelines permit the vaccination of only those persons aged above 18, the Chief Minister has de- cided to vaccinate everyone, regardless of their age. Vaccine for children, which is still in its initial stage of research, would be rolled out once it is approved in the near future. A clarity on the Chief Minister’s free-vaccine-for-all statement is expected after he conducts a detailed review meeting on the matter, which may be convened in the next two or three days. “We needed `2,500 crore for the free vaccination of Telangana citizens. But people’s lives are more important than money And that is why we have . decided to give the vaccine to everyone for free,” the Rao said. He directed senior government @ New Delhi THE confusion over the cost of Covishield continued on Saturday with the Union health min, istry saying it would keep procuring it at `150 per dose, while the Serum Institute of India had said on record earlier it would sell the vaccine at `400 to the Centre after its initial order is fulfilled. The ministry’s clarification Govt to prevent O2 dearth The CM said that districtlevel incharges would be appointed for the successful conduct of the vax drive. He added that the State govt was taking measures to prevent shortage of oxygen Telangana hit by shortage of RAT kits, staff at PHCs D O N I TA J O S E @ Hyderabad GETTING tested for Covid-19 in Telangana has become a challenge for many with the State’s , Primary Health Centres (PHC) facing an acute shortage of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits. PHCs are now forced to issue tokens to citizens for tests at a later date — at least 1-3 days after a person approaches any given PHC. In s o m e c a s e s, t h e s e healthcare centres are forced to test only those people with symptoms. Express spoke to several State Public Health Officers (SPHOs), who are in charge of the PHCs where testing for Covid-19 is being conducted. While shortage of RAT kits was a common issue raised by them, a few of them flagged the poor quality of these test kits. Reduction in manpower at PHCs, in view of rising number of Covid-19 cases, has also im- pacted the pace of testing in the State. Long queues at PHCs People lining up for testing as early as 6 am, and some of them breaking into heated arguments have become a common sight at PHCs in Greater Hyderabad limits. “We are helpless, because we can only test around 100 samples per day When we run out of . test kits, we reach out to nearby PHCs to check if they have any kits left. People want us to extend test timings till evening, but we have been directed by higher authorities to upload all the test reports by 3 pm every day said an SPHO. ,” Another official said, “There are some kits in almost every consignment which lack either of the elements — a strip or a swab. Sometimes, the buffer is not enough. Such kits just go to CONTINUED ON P2 waste.” Centre says `150/dose, SII says `400 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE officials to make all the arrangements for the programme. The Chief Minister said that as Bharat Biotech was already producing Covid-19 vaccine, and other companies, like Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, had come forward for the same, there would be no shortage of vaccines in the State. Rao, who is currently under home isolation after he tested positive for Covid-19 on April 19, will convene the high-level meeting once he tests negative. “I will convene a meeting on vaccination in the next two to three days, and monitor the vaccination programme personally,” the Chief Minister CONTINUED ON P2 said. came at a time when Covishield manufacturer SII is facing intense criticism over its differential pricing. As part of its new policy, the Centre had recently created two streams of procurement with 50% going to itself and the rest being shared by states and private hospitals. The SII had announced `400 as the cost per dose for states and `600 for private hospitals. With the ministry and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh locked in a sparring match, the latter tweeted: “SII said `400 is the new price for ALL new govt procurements — States & Centre. What’s the truth?” CONTINUED ON: P7 The initial prices were kept very low globally as it was based on advance funding given by those countries for at-risk vaccine manufacturing — Serum Institute of India statement TELANGANA APRIL 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 23 6,206 3,052 29 7,432 2,157 33 Biological E gets nod for Phase-III trials E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad ANOTHER Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company developing a Covid-19 vaccine, Biological E Limited, has received the approval to conduct Phase-III clinical trials for its vaccine from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation’s (CDSCO) Subject Expert Committee. This was announced in a press release by the company on Friday The company completed the Phase I/ II clinical trials of its Covid-19 subunit vaccine candidate in India, which began in the second week of November, 2020. The trials were conducted on about 360 healthy subjects in the age group of 1865 years. EXPRESS READ 14K more Remdesivir doses for TS Hyderabad: After protests from the Telangana government over the meagre allocation of 21,000 doses of Remdesivir to the State, the Union Health Ministry revised the number to 35,000 doses, which may be used up to April 30. Telangana had initially placed an order for 4 lakh vials of the drug. But shortly after that, the Centre had taken control over the allocation of Remdesivir. W I T H T H I S I S S U E THE COVID GENERATION PLUS 12 PAGES State govts can buy Covaxin at `600, pvt hosps at `1,200 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi HYDERABAD-based Bharat Biotech on Saturday announced that its Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, will cost `600 per dose to state governments and `1,200 per dose to private hospitals, two days after its competitor Serum Institute of India declared the procurement rate for Covishield through non-Central government channels. The company’s vaccine will continue to be delivered to the Centre for `150 per dose. “We would like to state that more than 50% of our capacities have been reserved for Central government supplies,” it said adding that the vaccine has a distinct feature of having a 28-day open vial policy. This means, once opened, the vaccine can be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius for 28 days. Bharat Biotech also sought to justify the price, viewed as steep by many saying Covaxin , is an inactivated and highly purified vaccine, and that the manufacturing process is expensive. All costs towards product development, manufacturing fa- cilities and clinical trials were deployed primarily using internal funding and resources of Bharat Biotech, said the company . The company also said that “recovering costs is essential in the journey of innovation towards other vaccine such as intranasal Covid19, Zika, Chikungunya, Cholera and others.” Why prices are high Bharat Biotech sought to justify the price, saying Covaxin is inactivated and highly purified vaccine Delhi HC fumes as govts pass the oxygen buck K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Delhi High Court on Saturday pulled up both the Centre and the Delhi government for passing the buck in the midst of a pandemic and directed them to ensure smooth supply of oxygen to various hospitals in the national capital. In an urgent hearing on Saturday a bench of justices Vipin , Sanghi and Rekha Palli warned it will hang any person who tries to obstruct oxygen supplies to hospitals here. The court said those who have low immunity may eventually die but the problem comes when people who could be saved are also dying. “We are calling it a wave, it is actually a tsunami,” the court said. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said there might be a rapid rise in the number of cases in May and June and the country needs to be ready for the worst. He explained how the government is working round the clock to import oxygen and are exploring the remotest possibility of generating oxygen from wherever it is possible. The court was hearing submissions by the counsel for Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Batra Hospital and Saroj Super Speciality Hospital here over shortage of oxygen for treating seriously-ill Covid patients. “States are arranging from tankers to everything. We are just assisting them. But in Delhi, everything is put on us,” the Centre said. “Let’s try and not be a cry baby Solicitor General Tushar ,” Mehta said in response to Delhi government lawyer’s complaint that the Centre was not comply- Covid patients getting free oxygen, arranged by a Sikh organisation at Indirapuram Gurdwara, in Ghaziabad on Saturday | PTI NATIONWIDE APRIL 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 3,32,730 1,93,279 2,263 APRIL 24 3,46,786 2,19,838 2,624 ing with the guidelines for oxygen allocation. It also asked the Centre when the 480 MT of oxygen per day allocated for Delhi would see the light of the day. “You had assured us that 480 MT per day will reach Delhi. Tell us when will it come,” the court questioned Centre after the Delhi government said it was getting only 380 MT oxygen per day over the past few days and it received only around 300 MT on Friday . The court also questioned Delhi government officials as to what endeavour they have made to secure tankers to get the supply of oxygen allocated to it by the Centre. The court observed that while the tankers had reached the plant in Durgapur and were ready to be transported through railway for Rourkela and Kalinga Nagar, the Delhi government did not arrange tanker. “We know how people react (when they lose their loved ones). Let’s not have a law and order situaP7 tion,” the HC said. TWEETS CRITICAL OF GOVT TAKEN DOWN Twitter took down dozens of tweets in India, some of which were critical of the Centre’s handling of the pandemic, to comply with an emergency order from the government. The order had directed it to censor over 50 tweets, including some from prominent users We are calling it a wave, but it is actually a tsunami. We know how people react when they lose their loved ones. Let’s not have a law and order situation Delhi High Court
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