Indian strain across the world Ireland Netherlands Germany South Korea Italy Greece U.K. Belgium Cambodia U.S. Singapore India Guadeloupe Portugal Switzerland bhubaneswar l thursday l april 29, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION Indian Covid variant found in at least 17 countries: W.H.O. The UN healthy agency said on Tuesday that the variant contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in over a dozen countries Bahrain Australia New Zealand strain detected in U.K., U.S. & Singapore The World Health Organization said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, first found in India, had as of Tuesday been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database “from at least 17 countries”. “Most sequences were uploaded from India, UK, US and Singapore,” the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic ■ B.1.617 Spreads faster than other variants ■ The WHO said its preliminary modelling based on sequences submitted to GISAID indicates that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India “Studies have highlighted that the spread of the second wave has been much faster than the first,” the WHO added variant has 13 genetic mutations that result in changes to the virus 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 Mass registrations crash Cowin Many complained they did not get OTPs to complete the process on national portal; Centre describes it as a minor glitch, claims 80 lakh people enrolled themselves within three hours 3,60,960 3,52,991 3,23,144 3,49,691 3,46,786 3,32,730 3,14,835 2,95,041 2,73,810 2,59,170 2,61,500 2,34,692 1,619 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2,812 2,767 22 2,624 2,104 21 2,263 2,023 1,761 20 Deaths 23 24 25 26 3,293 1,501 2 cases 2,771 1,341 2,17,353 1,185 2,00,739 1,038 0 1,84,372 1,027 50000 1,61,736 879 100000 Deadly spiral in April 1 200000 150000 1,68,912 250000 1,52,879 Covid cases in April: 58,47,932 Total cases so far: 1,79,97,267 300000 Continued on: P7 904 Kanjikuzhi panchayat (Alappuzha) is undertaking a novel initiative to protect pets and livestock of Covidinfected families — a day care centre for cows, goats, dogs and other animals | P11 350000 1,45,384 Our IPL Space Covid deaths in April: 38,719 Total deaths so far: 2,01,187 400000 firewood and so on? I think that is hardly likely .” Public health researcher Oommen John, too, said that the number of reported deaths does not reflect the actual number of people who are in prolonged hypoxia (acute breathlessness), which is incompatible to survival. “This is a mystery and would warrant close attention.” What is alarming is the rapid increase in cases despite local restrictions. India, for instance, was reporting less than 75,000 daily cases in the beginning of the month but reached the 1 lakh mark, higher than the peak in September last within a week, which rose to over 2 lakh cases within another week. 839 Fauci on Covaxin Covaxin has been found to neutralise the B.1.617 variant, which is the Indian double mutant strain, White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday 1,31,968 @narendramodi 1,26,789 1 lakh portable oxygen concentrators will be procured, 500 more PSA oxygen plants sanctioned from PM-CARES. This will improve access to oxygen, specially in district HQs and Tier-2 cities. Close to 20% of all official deaths reported in India due to Covid-19, occurred over the last four weeks. Within the same time span, fresh Covid cases shot up a gargantuan 58,47,932. It works out to over 32% of the 1.80 crore reported in the country thus far. The official tally of 38,719 Covid deaths in April so far — out of 2,01,187 total fatalities due to the contagious disease in the country — may, however, be because of gross undercounting as is evident from the civic death records and grisly visuals from overwh e l m e d c re m at o r i u m s across cities and towns. Experts concur. They point 1,15,736 second dose gap The gap between the first and the second doses of Covaxin has just been officially increased from four weeks, perhaps due to the shortage. It can now be taken between four and six weeks @ New Delhi 794 8,386 4,521 10 The Delhi High Court on Wednesday objected to a change by the Centre in the Covid treatment protocol related to Remdesivir use amid a shortage of the drug, saying “it appears you want people to die”. out that while an average of 28,000 deaths are reported in India every day, crematoriums in cities would not be overflowing if the Covid fatality is just 2,000-3,000 a day , as is being counted officially as of now. Epidemiologist Jammi N Rao pointed out that the official toll on April 25 was about 2,850. “So assuming all other deaths were constant, the net addition due to Covid amounted to an extra 10% of the baseline,” he said. “Would that excess have resulted in the scale and magnitude of the chaotic scenes we witnessed with cremation grounds working round the clock, queues of bodies waiting for hours and hours to be cremated, the shortage of S U M I S U KA N YA D U T TA 780 6,073 4,089 10 Amid blatant violation of safety protocols and shortage of testing kits and beds, the Covid situation of the State Capital deteriorated further as a record 1,044 persons tested positive | P2 Total doses: 14,98,77,121 Delhi HC faults advisory on Remdesivir 685 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Apr 27 Apr 28 Capital sees a 25 pc jump in cases 20,49,754 doses 20% of India’s CoviD-19 deaths in April alone 630 ODISHA April 28 96,982 The worst fears of Odisha entering the explosive phase of Covid-19 that has the potential to overrun the healthcare system has begun to come true with the State registering a massive surge of 8,386 new cases on Wednesday . But what is more worrying is that the test positivity rate (TPR) has shot up to nearly 20 per cent that translates into one in every five persons tested. The fresh cases rose by over 38 pc in a day pushing the active cases over 50,000. The situation is more catastrophic in western Odisha districts with Kalahandi the worst hit. Every one in two persons getting tested in the district is turning out to be Covid-19 positive. The district with a population of 16 lakh has been recording more than 50 pc positivity rate for the last two days. While the TPR in the district was 62.38 pc on Monday, it was 55.75 on Tuesday . What is worrying is that the district continues to test less despite the explosive outbreak and the share of RT-PCR test is neg- the government is not in favour of lockdown, a complete shutdown of districts and cities having high TPR is the only possible way to block the transmission at this juncture. “If the TPR is above 50 pc with maximum antigen tests, the situation is really grim. The actual positivity rate will be much higher because there would be many asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients who are not getting themselves tested. We are not testing enough,” he observed. Director of Health Services, Dr Bijay Mohapatra, however, attributed the rise in infections in western region and cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela to community transmission and called for stringent containment measures. “The State has reported over 8,000 cases for the first time since the pandemic. We are closely monitoring the situation and ramping up health infrastructure in view of the rising cases. Districts have been asked to go for localised containment zones where more clusters are emerging. People need to cooperate, stay at home and shun all non-essential travel,” he added. Ten more patients, including three each from Puri and Rayagada districts, succumbed to the disease taking the cumulative death toll to 2,017. The number of active cases stood at 50,724. 24,55,869 doses 446 @ Bhubaneswar ligible. Of the 226 samples tested including 209 through rapid antigen kits, in the last 24 hours, 126 were found to be positive. Similarly 277 had tested positive , of the 444 samples the previous day The share of RAT was 281. . Not only Kalahandi, the TPR is above the State average of 19.7 pc in 13 districts. The positivity rate was 42.64 pc in Sundargarh, 39.4 pc in Sambalpur, 31.84 pc in Khurda, 30.5 pc in Jajpur, 26.7 pc in Nabarangpur, 26.3 pc in Bargarh, 25.9 pc in Angul, 25.7 in Jharsuguda, 24.2 pc in Nuapada, 23.2 pc in Balangir and 23.1 pc in Puri. While a bulk of the cases on the day were from Khurda with 1,840 people testing positive, eight western Odisha districts bordering Chhattisgarh contributed 3,035 cases to the tally. Among the worst hit districts, Sundargarh reported 933 cases, followed by Cuttack (496), Jharsuguda (433), Nabarangpur (388), Balangir (358) and Sambalpur (307). With 1,044 cases, the TPR in Bhubaneswar at 21 pc was the highest ever recorded so far. A member of the technical committee formed to advise the State on Covid management said even if Take your shot April 27 istration and online appointment is mandatory for this age group as walk-in shots are restricted to those above 45. Meanwhile, Serum Institute’s entire 6-7 crore/month Covishield production could be available in India as there is no clarity on export. But it is not clear how many jabs will go to the Centre how many to states. 1,03,558 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Jab-o-meter l Meanwhile, the govt announced ‘Y’ category security cover to him across the country citing potential threats to him 93,249 Odisha records massive surge, 1 in 2 persons Covid +ve in Kalahandi l CEO Adar Poonawalla called it a philanthropic gesture 478 committee, which advises the state government. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said harsh measures such as complete lockdown could be imposed if other restrictions fail to check the spread. According to Indian Medical Association state secretary Dr Gopikumar P the preparations , in the state had been for a worst-case scenario of 3.5 lakh patients at a time. The doubling time has now reduced to a week. It means the present 2.66 lakh active cases could be double by next week. 89,129 Kerala now has the dubious record of the highest growth rate of active Covid cases (11.11%) in the country forcing , the government to rework its strategies to handle eight lakh patients in the next two weeks. On Wednesday, one in four persons tested was found infected, but in some areas every second person became positive. By the current rate, the daily patient count is expected to be between 40,000 and 50,000 by mid-May and the number of patients requiring hospital care will go up to eight lakh. Health experts also warn that the death toll could rise if caseload keeps stretching the health infrastructure. The state reported 35,013 fresh cases on Wednesday tak, ing the active cases to a high of 2.67 lakh. “The speed with which the patient number is growing has exceeded all predictions. If not controlled, even a daily count of 50,000 will not be a surprise,” said a member Covid-19 core l Amid outrage on price gouging, Serum Institute of India trimmed the cost of Covishield for state govts from `400 to `300 per dose 513 @ Thiruvananthapuram Covishield cost for states cut to `300 81,466 U nn i k r i s h n a n S the first batch of Covid vaccine from Russia, Sputnik V is set to , arrive in India on May 1. “According to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the first batch of Sputnik V will be delivered to India on May 1, 2021,” said the Russian embassy in response to a query by this newspaper. It, however, did not specify how many doses will be sent to India. There are only three vaccines with over 90% efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 infection and Sputnik V is one of them. The other two are vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna. Sputnik was developed by the Gamaleya National Research In- NATIONWIDE April 27 April 28 stitute of Epidemiology and 3,23,144 3,60,960 Microbiology with funding from Fresh cases RDIF. The two-dose vaccine has Recoveries 2,51,827 2,61,162 to be administered 21 days apart Deaths 2,771 3,293 and costs around $10 (`750) per dose in the international market. Sources said RDIF is in talks with India authorities on the pricing in the country . The Centre has hinted that all foreign vaccines, including Sputnik, will be available only in private hospitals. Though no official response could be elicited from Dr Reddy’s on the development, its management has earlier said that the initial quantity of Sputnik V that will be supplied in India is set to be limited as they will be imported from Russia. RDIF’s manufacturing partners in India – at least four other companies apart from Dr Reddy’s – will start producing the vaccines locally by July this year, after which the supplies are likely to be scaled up. The news on Sputnik V comes amid concerns that vaccination has not picked up the required pace to arrest the spread of the infectious disease. 714 1 in 4 tests Covid positive in Kerala S U M I S U KA N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi 72,330 Skewed stadium priority An ambulance of a private hospital parked outside the Arun Jaitley stadium in New Delhi, while another one has been stationed inside, during the first IPL match in the city on Wednesday. Should precious healthcare resources of Delhi that is at its wits’ end trying to manage the pandemic, be spared on a day when over 24,000 fresh cases were reported in the city? | Parveen Negi The Cowin portal, which facilitates registration and scheduling for Covid vaccine, crashed on Wednesday soon after it opened for those in the 18-44 age group at 4 pm. Complaints of non-receipt of one-time password (OTP) to proceed with the process poured in. Many irate users took to social media to flag the technical problems they faced while trying to register for the third phase of the inoculation drive kicking off from Saturday . They also complained they could not schedule their vaccination as no slots were available for the next few weeks in their area. To this, the Centre responded saying appointments can be booked only after states and private hospitals fix their vaccination schedule. The health ministry rejected reports of the portal crashing as baseless. and claimed that 80 lakh registrations were done within three hours of opening up. “We close the day with 1.33 crore registrations on Co-Win and delivered 2.78 crore SMSes,” tweeted R S Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority . “Cowin Portal is working. There was a minor glitch at 4 pm that was fixed. 18 plus can 1st batch of Sputnik V will reach India on Saturday register,” read a tweet from Aarogya Setu, the Union government’s app for Covid contact tracing. The app also has a link to the CoWIN portal through which one can register and schedule vaccination. While all adults will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine from May 1, people in the 18-44 age group can take the shot only at centres run by state governments or private hospitals. Reg- 469 @ New Delhi 459 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e 27 28 a p r i l express read R e l i e f f r o m s c o r c h i n g s u mm e r & C o v i d Projects worth over `2,500 cr get SWCA nod Coimbatore couple pledges jewellery, donates 100 fans to Covid ward Bhubaneswar: The State Level Single Window Clearance Authority (SLSWCA) on Wednesday approved nine projects worth `2,570.54 crore in metal and metal downstream, manufacturing, plastic, cement, chemical and food processing sectors. The projects are expected to create employment opportunities for 2,755 persons in the State. A meeting of the single window panel chaired Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra cleared a 15 MTPA beneficiation plant in two phases by Amalgam Resources Private Limited with an investment of `882 crore at Joda in Keonjhar district | P3 E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Coimbatore HUMANITY is all that counts in these times of darkness and uncertainty While most people . are actively arranging oxygen cylinders and Remdesivir drug for needy patients through social media, one couple from Coimbatore is providing relief to infectees at the ESI hospital here. It was a sultry Tuesday afternoon when Radha* and Chandran* visited the hospital and Though the couple requested to avoid publicity, Express decided to carry the photograph released by the dean as they were anyway wearing masks offered to donate 100 pedestal fans to the Covid ward. The hospital administration was elated at not just their generosity, but their way of offering, for the couple had pledged their or naments to make this donation. M Raveendran, the dean of the hospital, told Express, “We were initially reluctant to accept the offer. But they just wouldn’t leave the premises without making the donation.” The couple had in fact, pledged gold ornaments worth `2.20 lakh to buy the fans. Since Radha and Chandran were so certain about their decision, Raveendran contacted District Collector S Nagarajan, and got a go-ahead to accept the offer. “The good samaritans also requested us to avoid publicising their contribution as they called it a favour they did for Covid patients,” said the dean. The fans donated by the couple are kept on the third floor where Covid patients are being treated. The dean said they had recently purchased about 300 fans to be equipped in Covid wards as they are not supposed to turn on air-conditioning. “We have also requested philanthropists to come forward and do- nate fans,” he added. When Express contacted the couple, they said the contribution was made for patients’ welfare and refused to comment further. However, the ESI hospital on Tuesday night, came out with a letter stating that a city-based couple had sponsored 100 pedestal fans by pledging jewellery . The couple did not have cash in hand and that is why they pledged the ornaments, the statement said. (*Names changed)
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