KOCHI l monday l april 26, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 30 l LATE city EDITION 551 o2 generation plants to be set up in ghs Across india The dedicated pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants aim to arrest the acute shortage of oxygen across the country execution cost borne by pm-cares fund 162 sanctioned earlier, 33 operational The plants, funded by PM-CARES, would soon come up at identified hospitals in district headquarters to ensure they have a captive oxygen generation facility. Along with the ‘top-up’ liquid medical oxygen, these facilities seek to ensure that government hospitals do not face sudden disruption in supplies and have adequate stock to manage Covid patients ■ ■ Earlier, the Centre had claimed that 33 of the 162 approved PSA plants were functional. But ground reports suggested even that many were not operational. The 551 are in addition to the 162 Hospitals appear more comfortable at present with the oxygen refill system that is already in place instead of pushing for PSAs 150 tonnes liquid oxygen carried so far by the railways’ Oxygen express 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 US finally agrees to export raw materials Stung by the barrage of criticism it drew for refusing to lift export embargoes on raw materials to manufacture vaccines in India, the White House late on Sunday night decided to ease the curbs so as to help produce Covishield. The decision to ease the bottleneck came after the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on the phone | P9 NATIONWIDE April 24 battling it out Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths A patient who tested positive for Covid-19 being taken to a critical care unit at the MR Bangur Hospital in Kolkata on Sunday | Arunava Sen April 25 3,46,786 2,19,838 2,624 3,49,691 2,17,113 2,767 Our IPL Space Starting today, TNIE will gainfully utilise the space freed up by suspending IPL coverage. To begin with, we have a picture collage capturing grim Covid reality across the country PAGE 13 As cases spiral, Ernakulam goes for partial lockdown Cinemas shut till May 2; only takeaways from hotels; shops to be open only till 5pm E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi As the Covid-19 situation worsens with each passing day, the Ernakulam district administration has imposed lockdown-like restrictions from Monday, including shutting down of cinema halls till May 2 and closure of all shops by 5pm till further notice. According to the order issued by District Collector S Suhas, who is the chairman of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), all parks and entertainment centres have been shut. On Sunday Ernakulam accounted , for 4,468 of the total 28,469 new cases reported in the state — the highest among the districts. The district has been recording the highest number of new Covid cases — except for a day — for the past one week, forcing the collector to enforce stringent restrictions. As many as 23,924 fresh cases were reported in just six days. Besides, Ernakulam is reportedly one of the cities in the country with the highest number of cases per million. As per the health department statistics, 35,614 patients are undergoing treatment in the district. According to the district collector’s order, shops and establishments will be allowed to function only from 7am to 5pm, while restaurants and toddy shops, where in-dining is pro- Covid cases in last 6 days 4,548 4,468 4,396 3,980 3,212 April 20 April 21 Active cases: 35,614 April 22 April 23 3,320 April 24 April 25 hibited, will remain open only from 7am to 9pm. However, an exemption has been given to bars, which will be allowed to function normally till 7.30pm, by adhering to Covid protocol. “The functioning of hotels and restaurants should be limited to takeaway facilities,” said the order issued on Sunday . Weddings and funerals must be registered on the Covid Jagratha website. While a maximum of only 30 people are allowed to attend marriages, the number of people taking part in funerals has been restricted to 20. The DDMA order also prohibited all film shootings in the district from Monday The decision to shut down . cinema halls was taken after a discussions with theatre owners. Meanwhile, medical stores and petrol pumps have been excluded from the restrictions, and allowed to function as per their earlier timings. Other restrictions in district Functioning of amusement parks, entertainment centres, clubs stopped Shops and establishments to function only from 7am to 5pm Family meets and other get-togethers prohibited Operation of gymnasiums, other team sports activities banned Tuition centres can function only through online mode STATEWIDE April 24 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 26,685 7,067 25 April 25 28,469 8,122 30 2.18L active cases in state All exams — except SSLC and Plus-2 — should be postponed All govt meetings, private functions via online only 22.46% TPR One lakh new active cases in just 6 days Delhi extends lockdown by a week, Mumbai breathes easy E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi/Mumbai On a day the Delhi government opted for another week of lockdown to contain the spread amid erratic oxygen supply crippling its healthcare apparatus, Mumbai seemed to have turned the corner, with its municipal body on Sunday saying that a dip in numbers, fresh arrival of vaccines and adequate oxygen supply had bolstered its fight. Announcing the fresh lockdown till May 3, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the positivity rate had peaked to 37% during the ongoing shutdown, before dipping to under 30% on Sunday . “This is not to say that the disease is ebbing. It may increase or decrease in the coming days,” he said. The city government, however, allowed courier services and some sections of self-employed people to ply their trade, provided they possess e-passes. Stating that the oxygen situation in Delhi was dire, he said: “Delhi’s current requirement is 700 MT and what’s reaching us is 330-335 MT.” He said he has written to the CMs of all states to divert their surplus to Delhi to bridge the shortfall. Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said it would resume inoculation at all its centres with the arrival of 1.5 lakh fresh Covishield doses. Its municipal commissioner said that the oxygen situation, too, was ‘normal’ as all supply issues had been resolved. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 30 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) Govt hijacking vax, claim Cong-ruled states E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Accusing the Centre of step-motherly treatment, states ruled by the Congress and its allies on Sunday accused it of hijacking vaccines from manufacturers and doubted if they would be able to vaccinate people in the 18-45 year age group from May 1. At a joint press conference, the health ministers of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jharkhand said the Centre has already taken away a major portion of the stock and doses are not available to them. “How do we vaccinate adults of 1845 years as Serum Institute has said they will not be able to provide vaccine till May 15? We have the capacity , but not the vaccine. States should get the supplies. The Centre should provide vaccine,” Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma said. His Chhattisgarh counterpart T S Singh Deo alleged that the Centre was playing politics of vaccination. “There is no way shots can be No reason for states to complain, says Vardhan New Delhi: The Centre liberalised the vaccination strategy following requests from nearly all states to do so, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday, adding there was no reason for them to complain now administered if the vaccine is not available. How will we provide vaccination? We are ready to vaccinate, provided we have the vaccines. The country is being misguided. The Centre has made a joke of this,” he charged. Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said, “If the Centre does not support us, how can we roll out the vaccination drive? We are only hand-tomouth on vaccines,” Sidhu said. Jharkhand health minister Banna Gupta charged that “the government that talks of one Constitution, one tax, is now trying to derive benefit out of the pandemic through differential pricing of vaccines.” Explosive rise places B’luru at top of active Covid heap N i r a d M u d u r & B o s k y K h a nn a @Bengaluru Bengaluru has emerged as the city with the highest active Covid-19 case load in the country with 1,80,542 patients currently under treatment in hospitals and in home isolation. Experts are rattled by the explosion in cases, on which they are basing their desperate appeal for strict measures — even a complete lockdown — to stem the massive spread. Bengaluru recorded a whopping 151.35% increase in the volume of patients currently under treatment since April 15 when the figure was 71,827. With this jump, Bengaluru, in a dubious distinction, is far ahead of Delhi (93,080 active caseload) and more than double of Mumbai (75,498), the cities which stand ranked second and third, respectively . Bengaluru’s active caseload has increased so dramatically in the past few days that the number at present is 27.62% of the city’s total number of people who tested positive since March 2020, which on Sunday stood at 6,53,656. It is this explosion that has thrown the city’s health system out of gear, causing oxygen shortages and nonavailability of beds even for critically sick. Professor at Indian Institute of Public Health Giridhara R Babu, a senior epidemiologist and member of the state government’s Technical Advisory Committee, told TNIE, “There is a need to impose a lockdown, and this time should be utilised by the govern- worrying stats Bengaluru Urban has logged a whopping 151.35% jump in active cases in the last 11 days Date Total case Active cases Daily deaths 71,827 30 April 16 5,22,438 79,616 57 April 15 5,12,521 April 17 5,33,842 87,724 43 April 18 5,46,635 97,897 60 April 19 5,56,253 1,03,178 97 April 20 5,70,035 1,14,833 92 April 21 5,83,675 1,24,894 70 April 22 5,98,919 1,37,813 68 April 23 6,15,518 1,49,624 124 1,62,171 149 April 24 6,32,923 April 25 6,53,656 1,80,542 77 ment to shore up facilities like oxygen beds in all hospitals, medical colleges, nursing institutes, covid care centres, hostels, ayurvedic and homeopathic hospitals and colleges.” In the first phase more efforts were made than what is being done now, while in the second wave, the intensity and efforts need to be scaled up to five times, he said Looking at the way the growth in figures is occurring, he foresees the second wave peaking in mid-May. “The people and the government let their guard down, which has led to such a ● More on P9 rise in cases,” he said. E X P R ESS R EAD K R Gowri in critical condition at hospital T’Puram: The condition of former minister K R Gowri, 102, who was admitted to a private hospital here on Thursday night with fever and breathlessness, continued to be critical on Sunday. The doctors attending to her said efforts were being made to reduce the infection in her blood. CM writes to Yogi seeking treatment for journo Kappan T’Puram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking his intervention to provide adequate medical attention to jailed journalist Siddique Kappan. Tested Covid positive, Kappan is learnt to be facing health issues even as he has been hospitalised in UP. P6
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