KOCHI l Sunday l april 25, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l 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 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 18 inches second major disaster since february ■ 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 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 Delhi HC asks Centre when 480 mt of O2 / day allocated for national capital would see light of the day, raps city govt for being inefficient; says those who could be saved are also dying Announcement 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 Ward-level committees set to be revamped T’Puram: The government has asked panchayats to reconstitute panchayat and ward-level committees for Covid prevention and control. Panchayat secretaries who fail to form the committees will face action, said the guidelines issued by panchayat director. P4 Breaking curbs: Horse race organisers booked Palakkad: Police on Saturday registered a case against the organisers of a horse race — conducted as part of the ‘Angadi Vela’ at Thattamangalam violating Covid protocol. P4 1,98,576 active cases in the state on Saturday STATEWIDE April 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 28,447 5,663 27 April 24 26,685 7,067 25 HC fumes as govts pass oxygen buck tweets critical of govt taken down 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 sub- 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 NATIONWIDE April 23 Covid patients getting free oxygen, arranged by a Sikh organisation at Indirapuram Gurdwara, in Ghaziabad on Saturday | pti Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths missions by the counsel for Maharaja Ag rasen Hospital, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Batra Hospital and Saroj Super Speciality Hospital here over shortage of oxygen for treating seriously-ill Covid patients. The hearing happened on a day when 20 Covid patients died in Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital and six patients at a private hospital in Amritsar reportedly due to shortage of medical oxygen. During the hearing, the Centre said, “States are arranging tankers. We are just assisting hi 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 situation,” the HC said. them. But in Delhi, everything is put on us (Centre).” “Let’s try and not be a cry baby,” Mehta said in response to Delhi government lawyer’s complaint that the Centre was not complying with the guidelines for oxygen allocation. “You had assured us that 480 mt per day will reach Delhi. Tell us when will it come?,” the court asked Centre after the city government said it was getting only 380 mt per day over the past few days and it received only around 300 mt on Friday . The HC also questioned Del- Volcano that can erupt anytime: CM on state’s Covid situation E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram ON A DAY when 26,685 Covid cases were reported and the test positivity showed a slight decline to settle at 20.35%, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan likened the pandemic situation in the state to a volcano that could erupt anytime. The chief minister said there was no need to panic seeing the Covid havoc in north Indian states. If the state exercises enough caution, it can tide over the present crisis, he said. Strict action will be taken against those who spread misinformation that creates panic among the people. Pinarayi urged people to voluntarily adopt Covid restrictions so that the daily cases do not cross the state’s surge capacity Social functions that can . be postponed should be deferred by a month. The limit of 75 people for social functions can be further reduced by people voluntarily he suggested. , The presence of the virus that has undergone genetic variation is strong in the second wave and people from other states should compulsorily undergo quarantine, the CM said. Strict action will be taken against those who violate quarantine. Break The Chain campaign needs to be strengthened in rural areas with the support of local bodies, he said. The CM said he has once again written to the PM saying it was unfair to charge states for Covid vaccine. ● More on P4 Oppn rallies behind govt Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala has asked the UDF workers to rally behind the state government’s efforts to combat the second wave of Covid. P4 ‘Recovered’ Covid patient dies 3 days after discharge but samples test +ve S h a i n u M o h a n @T’Puram ramana Takes charge as Chief Justice of India p8 ON Tuesday, S Shaj Kumar, 59, was discharged from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital (MCH), where he was undergoing treatment for Covid. The results of his antigen test had come negative, but his symptoms had hardly subsided, say his family members. Even a day after returning home, Shaj Kumar — who was the station manager at the Central Railway Station here — continued to experience severe cough and fatigue. On Friday, he collapsed and died. An RT-PCR test on his samples conducted later showed he was positive. “Had the hospital authorities let him continue his stay until his symptoms subsided, or at least carried out an RTPCR test before discharging him, he would have still been alive. We took him to the hospital immediately after he collapsed, but it was still too late,” said Vaisakan V S, Shaj’s son● More on P4 in-law. According to ICMR guidelines, a patient can be discharged from the hospital without carrying out an RT-PCR or antigen test after 10 days of admission KGMOA FLICKER OF HOPE Beedi worker keeps just `850 in account, sends `2 lakh to CM’s distress relief fund E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram MOST people don’t mind donating money to a good cause. But only a few would be willing to give away almost all their savings in charity. A beedi worker from Kannur, whose identity is yet to be revealed, has provided a flicker of hope in this depressing spell of darkness as he do- nated `2 lakh from his total saving of `2,00,850 to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund taking part in the vaccine challenge. The bank staff said they were surprised when the man asked to transfer `2 lakh from his account to the CMDRF. Because, after the transaction, the balance would be just `850. An officer asked the man how he would find money for a need that may arise in future. “His reply humbled us. He said his beedi job would fetch him `1,000 a week. Also that he was getting a disability pension,” the officer recalls. The officer had a chat with the man. “It seemed to me that he did not have a sound financial background,” ● More on P4 he said. 3,32,730 1,93,279 2,263 April 24 3,46,786 2,19,838 2,624 State govts can buy Covaxin at `600, PVT HOSPITALS at `1,200 Centre says K150/dose, Serum Inst says K400 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ 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 , W I T H The Covid Generation New Delhi: The confusion over the cost of Covishield continued on Saturday, with the Union health ministry saying it would keep procuring it at D150 per dose, while the Serum Institute of India had said on record earlier it would sell the vaccine at D400 to the Centre after its initial order is fulfilled. is an inactivated and highly purified vaccine, and that the manufacturing process is expensive. All costs towards product development, manufacturing facilities 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.” T H I S I S S U E PLUS 12 PAGES
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