KOttayAM l tuesday l april 27, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Wear masks even at home, govt says amid covid surge It is high time people followed Covid-appropriate behaviour inside their homes as well, says NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul Don’t step outside, don’t invite guests The statement came days after a new assessment published in The Lancet said there is consistent, strong evidence to prove that the SARSCoV-2 virus, which is behind the Covid-19 pandemic, is predominantly transmitted through the air. Paul added that people should avoid stepping out of their houses unnecessarily and also not invite guests at home | P7 ■ $190 No mask means 90% risk of infection ■ “The way the infection has spread, it will be better if we wear mask inside our homes if we’re sitting with someone,” Dr Paul said “If the mask is not worn properly, there is 90% chance an infected patient can transfer virus to an uninfected person,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Thailand p.m. Prayuth Chan-ocha fined FOR NOT WEARING MASK IN A MEETING 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 No lockdown in state but malls, parks, bars & cinemas to be closed from today All party meeting gives go-ahead to enforce curbs strictly as cases surge; all gatherings prohibited CM says urgent need to check spread, but without affecting economic activities and livelihoods E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram IN THE wake of alarming surge in Covid cases and increasing presence of UK, South African and crossover variants in the state, an all-party meeting on Monday decided against total lockdown, but gave the nod to enforce restrictions far more strictly . The meeting also said the weekendrestrictions must continue. Addressing mediapersons in the evening, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state is witnessWHAT’S ing a surge in all NOT ON districts in the ■ Malls ■ Bars second wave of ■ Bevco outlets the pandemic ■ Cinema halls despite the gov■ Clubs ■ Sports er nment makcomplexes ing earnest ef■ Swimming pools forts to contain ■ Gymnasiums and the spread. entertainment “There is an parks ■ All social, urgent need to political, cultural check the spread and religious through tougher functions/ restrictions, but gatherings without affecting economic activities and people’s livelihoods,” he said. As part of the move, malls, bars, Bevco outlets, cinema halls, clubs, sports complexes, swimming pools, gymnasiums and entertainment parks will be closed from Tuesday until further order. As part of restricting the victory celebrations on the counting day of polls, only essential and emergency services will be allowed on May 1 and 2. All social, political, cultural and religious functions/ gatherings are prohibited. The number of attendees at weddings (two-hour duration) and funerals has been limited to 50 and 20 respectively Weddings should be reg. istered on Jagratha Portal. ● More on P4 STATEWIDE Covid-affected students of St Mary’s HSS, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, wearing PPE kits writing the last of their higher secondary examinations on Monday | Vincent Pulickal Hosps to discharge mildly-ill to free up beds for critical patients U N N I K RIS H N A N S @ T’Puram IN A marked departure in Covid care in the state, hospital beds will now be reserved for people with severe infection. The health department has revised the discharge guidelines to free up beds. The state had so far been admitting asymptomatic patients who were then discharged in a time-bound manner. However, the new criteria are worrying many people who fear medical attention may not be available if the Covid resurgence could derail economy, says RBI E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Hyderabad Covid resurgence carries the risk of protracted restrictions and disruptions in supply chains with consequent inflationary pressures, according to RBI. Pandemic protocols, speedier vaccination, ramping up hospitals and ancillary capacity, and remaining resolutely focused on a post-pandemic future of strong and sustainable growth of macroeconomic and financial stability is the way forward, the central bank noted in its monthly bulletin on Monday . According to the banking regulator, India’s economic activity is holding up against Covid-19’s renewed Invisible helping hands Several people across India have used Twitter as a platform to launch one of the biggest SOS campaigns to help people survive Covid crisis onslaught. With activity indicators largely remaining resilient in March and growing beyond pre-pandemic levels, it said growth outlook is bright. “If the relatively conservative growth forecast of the RBI holds, India’s GDP in 2021-22 will exceed its level in the pre-pandemic year of 2019-2020,” it said adding there will be scars, some taking longer than others to heal. Retail inflation in March edged up to 5.5% but still was within the tolerance band. Meanwhile, the central bank hasn’t ruled out upside risks to inflation due to input price pressures in manufacturing and services as evidenced from the PMI data. Our IPL Space A novel initiative Fr John Puthuva, the vicar of a church in Kalady, has been visiting patients to offer comfort. He also launched #VaccineChallenge drive | P11 health condition of a patient deteriorates. The Covid First Line Treatment Centres and private hospitals have seen an influx of asymptomatic patients for a variety of reasons even after home care was advised long back. The reasons range from worry arising out of comorbidities to concern over infecting other family members. The state health system was further stretched on Monday after the test positivity rate shot up to 22.71% and 21,890 contracted the virus. P4 Higher secondary practical exams put off, new dates later E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram The higher secondary and vocational higher secondary practical examinations, which were originally scheduled to start on Wednesday have been , postponed in the wake of Covid spread, the general education director has said. Fresh dates will be announced later. Theory papers for both the streams got over on Monday. There is no change in the SSLC examinations scheduled for April 27, 28 and 29. The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had recently sought an explanation from the general education director in a case for postponing the practical examinations. K Byjunath, judicial member of the commission, asked the director to submit his version on Monday . The suo motu case was based on reports that students and parents are concerned over the decision to conduct the exams when cases are rising. In a statement, the commission said the students were apprehensive about sharing the laboratories. U n s un g h e r o This O2 tanker driver hasn’t met his kids for a yr A j i t h M S @ Mysuru Shankar Majhi, who drives oxygen tankers, has not seen his daughters for a year. But his bigger worry is about safely transporting liquid oxygen to hospitals on time, every time. A small misstep can leave many gasping, with Covid-19 cases in a spiral. Majhi, who has been driving oxygen tankers for the past 20 years, says he has never seen so much demand or done so many trips before. He and his co-driver, Md Hakeekath, both from Bihar, take turns to run at least three round trips a week – to Koppal and back to Mysuru – transporting oxygen without a break. “Many lives depend on this oxygen. We do not even stop for tea through the eight-hour journey. During decanting too, we have to be around. Until the tanker reaches the oxygen plant, we are on our toes,” he said. “Earlier, we used to take a day’s break between trips but now there is no time for that,” he added. Majhi, father of five daughters and a son, says he has not met his family since the pandemic started. “Every time my daughters call, I feel like going back, but my duty is more important now,” he said, adding that he gets only his basic pay though he’s putting in extra work and taking more risk. Md Hakeekath, who joined just six months ago, says he never expected it to be so hectic. “But when we see patients, we forget our problems.” April 25 April 26 Fresh cases 28,469 21,890 Recoveries 8,122 7,943 Deaths 30 28 Celebration, crowd to be checked on counting day Only counting-related arrangements, and essential and emergency services will be allowed on May 1 & 2 Only officials on election duty, candidates, counting agents and media representatives will be allowed at the counting centres on the counting day It is mandatory for the above category of people to produce either the certificate issued after receiving two doses of vaccination or a negative RT-PCR test report At 9.5%, West Bengal has highest case spike rate E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi NATIONWIDE At 9.5%, poll-bound West Bengal has the highest Covid-19 case growth in the country now, data shared by the Union health ministry showed. It was followed by Karnataka, which has a near explosive growth rate of 9%, while Delhi, reeling under a huge medical oxygen crisis, has the second lowest growth rate at 1.5% after Maharashtra (0.5 %), among the surge states. And at about 50%, Bengal’s capital Kolkata now has the highest test positivity rate. The stark West Bengal data showed a mirror to the Election Commission of India that till recently chose to ignore all violations of Covid-appropriate behaviour in the run up to the eight-phase elections in the state. Despite massive mask-less political rallies that created an uproar, the poll panel tried to wish them away till last week Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 25 3,49,691 2,17,113 2,767 April 26 3,52,991 2,19,272 2,812 when it got a stinker from the Calcutta High Court and was forced to act. India, now the worst-hit in the pandemic globally has been report, ing nearly 1,500 or more daily deaths since April 20. On Sunday the high, est 2,812 fatalities were recorded. There are also concerns that the fatality count is being majorly undercounted in most cities and towns. The country now has 28,13,656 active cases of which 3,52,991 were registered in the last 24 hours, but the Centre has not disclosed the number of people hospitalised, on oxygen support, in ICUs or those on ventilators. ECI responsible for 2nd wave: madras HC H A RIS H M U R A L I @ Chennai Censuring the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not stopping political parties that were deliberately abusing the Covid-19 protocol during pre-election rallies, the Madras High Court on Monday said the commission was “singularly responsible” for the second wave of the pandemic in the country The . court also warned that it would stop the counting of votes on May 2 if the poll panel didn’t put in place a strict Covid-19 protocol. When the ECI contended that it had earlier put safety measures in place, the bench orally observed, “Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?” It further stated, “Election Commission Officers should probably be booked on murder charges.” The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, made these observations on a plea moved by Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar, who sought a direction to the ECI to ensure strict adherence to safety measures to ensure fairness in the counting the votes. The petitioner also sought the installation of more CCTV cameras in the counting centre.
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