MADURAI TUESDAY APRIL 27, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE 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 Full lockdown in Karnataka, partial in Kerala EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru/Kochi/Chandigarh WITH Covid-19 cases spiralling gout of control, the Karnataka government on Monday announced a 14-day curfew across the state, while Kerala decided to enforce restrictions far more strictly starting Tuesday . Briefing reporters, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said all commercial activities will remain prohibited, but manufacturing units (except garments factories), agricul- tural production, medical supplies production and construction activities will be allowed. “No public transport will be allowed, but movement of cargo and goods vehicles will not be hindered. Shops selling croceries, milk, meat and other essentials will be allowed to open between 6 am and 10 am every day Night curfew, which is already . in place between 9 am and 6 am, will continue. If cases do not come under control, then we may have to extend these restrictions for another week,” Yediyurappa said. In Kerala, an all-party meeting on Monday decided against total lockdown, but gave the nod to enforce restrictions far more strictly As part of . the move, malls, bars, liquor outlets, cinema halls, clubs, sports complexes, swimming pools, gymnasiums and entertainment parks will be closed from Tuesday until further orders. All social, political, cultural and religious functions/ gatherings are also prohibited until further orders. The number of attendees at West Bengal weighed down by highest case spike in country Fresh infections spiralling at 9.5% in state; highest test positivity rate in Kolkata E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi 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 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 reporting nearly 1,500 or more daily deaths weddings (two-hour duration) and funerals has been limited to 50 and 20, respectively Weddings should be reg. istered on the Covid 19 Jagratha Portal, the government said. Meanwhile, the Punjab government also announced stricter restrictions by advancing weekday curfew by two hours. In a tweet, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said that the state was enforcing lockdown from 6 pm to 5 am on weekdays and a weekend lockdown that would begin at 6 pm on Friday until 5 am on Monday . NATIONWIDE APRIL 25 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 3,49,691 2,17,113 2,767 APRIL 26 3,52,991 2,19,272 2,812 April 25 TAKE 14,09,16,417 doses YOUR April 26 SHOT 31,74,688 doses Total: 14,50,85,911 doses Parties in State align, agree to produce oxygen at Sterlite E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai AMID the urgent demand for oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients, political parties in Tamil Nadu set aside their differences on Monday and unanimously decided to permit the reopening of the Sterlite Copper plant to produce medical oxygen. The decision was taken at an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the Secretariat. Meanwhile, Vedanta Limited, which runs the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, filed a special leave petition in court, saying the State government shouldn’t be allowed to take over the plant since it doesn’t have the requisite operational expertise. Palaniswami explained at the allparty meeting that Vedanta had sought the Supreme Court’s permission to operate the two oxygen-pro- ducing units at the Sterlite Copper plant to produce 1,050 MT of the gas per day and supply it to hospitals free of cost. The total volume of medical oxygen produced in India is about 7,500 MT per day . A resolution was then passed at the meeting, saying the plant may be opened for four months, only to produce oxygen, using electricity supplied by TANGEDCO. After this period, the electricity supply should be disconnected, it added. It further said that only the excess oxygen produced is to be supplied to other States, and only employees involved in oxygen production are to enter the plant, with the government overseeing security at the premises. Work at the plant is to be monitored by a team comprising the district Collector, SP , officers of the PCB and environmenP2 tal activists, among others. MODI THANKS BIDEN FOR OFFERING SUPPORT A Covid-positive patient on oxygen support waiting for admission in a car outside the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital in Delhi on Monday | PARVEEN NEGI since April 20. On Sunday the highest , 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 suppor t, in ICUs or those on ventilators. In a health ministry press briefing on Monday, several government authorities, including V K Paul, member, Niti Aayog and Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS Delhi, stressed that no healthcare infrastructure in the world can take the load of such huge numbers. Both Paul and Guleria, senior members of the national Covid-19 task force, urged patients to follow home isolation protocols unless hospitalisation is absolutely required. STATEWIDE New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked US President Joe Biden during a phone conversation on Monday evening for extending support. “Discussion with US president also underscored importance of smooth & efficient supply chains of vaccine raw materials, medicines,” Modi said in a tweet Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths ‘ECI responsible for 2nd wave’; HC threatens to stop vote-count APRIL 25 15,659 11,065 82 APRIL 26 15,684 13,625 94 HARISH MURALI @ 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 P4 May 2 if the poll panel didn’t put in place a strict Covid-19 protocol.
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