bhubaneswar l thursday l may 06, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION 25% of global Covid deaths last week were from india 46% global cases in the subcontinent WHO Epidemiological Update said that of the 93,000 global deaths between April 26 & May 2, India accounted for 23,000 Europe & Africa record lesser deaths Continuing the trend of spike that started around eight weeks ago, the global case count touched 57 lakh in the past one week, of which 26 lakh came from India. In the South-East Asia Region, case and death counts were high, with India accounting for over 90% in both categories. The WHO said the case count was at its highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic ■ ■ ■ Cases in India surged by 20%, the highest globally, followed by Brazil, which saw an increase of only 4%, the report added Case incidence in the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Africa & the Americas slumped, while the Western Pacific Region was stable Death count decreased in Europe, Africa and the Western Pacific 32% decrease in cases recorded in Turkey, followed by France’s 23% 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 Double mutant tied to surge, 3rd wave inevitable tight deadline SC puts Centre on leash while giving relief from contempt K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a contempt notice slapped on the Centre by the Delhi High Court but gave the government time till 11 am on Thursday to share its comprehensive action plan on ramping up medical oxygen supply to Delhi’s hospitals to 700 MT. “The plan shall indicate the sources of supply, provisions for transportation, and all other logistical arrangements necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the requirement of NCT of Delhi,” its order later said. A bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said exercising powers under contempt will not solve the problem faced by Delhi. “When country is facing a humanitarian crisis court must aim at problem solving,” their order read. “The Centre’s effort now has to be to comply. Putting officers in jail or hauling them up for contempt is not going to get oxygen to Delhi.” During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, “If Delhi gets 500 MT of oxygen, they will be able to manage.” However, Justice Chandrachud said, “As an institution, we can’t accept that. We ourselves have ordered you to supply 700 MT. We can’t go back.” Mehta said, “It is my assumption that a particular quantity is enough. It is the case of the Delhi government that they need 700 and after some days 900. Let there be an audit by an independent body on the real requirement.” Delhi received 585 MT on Wednesday . Justice Chandrachud said, “We will give you some time to calculate how much you can go up to tonight midnight and how are you going to achieve the 700 MT target. We can’t accept 585 MT for today or tomorrow. We have to inch as close to 700 MT as possible.” Maratha quota struck down by sc The SC refused to revisit its 29-year-old Mandal verdict putting cap on quotas at 50% as it quashed a Maharashtra law granting reservations to Marathas in admissions and government jobs | P8 NATIONWIDE MAY 4 MAY 5 V K Paul says all options to break the chain on table, doesn’t rule out national lockdown E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e A man with his horse walks on an empty road; Janpath wears a deserted look during lockdown in Bhubaneswar | Irfana Odisha battles sharp fluctuation in new cases, rise in fatalities E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Even as Odisha returned to a complete lockdown for 14 days from Wednesday, a steady increase in fatalities and drastic fluctuation in the number of new infections have left health experts confused. A day after slight drop on Tuesday fresh infections again , rose by nearly 20 per cent (pc) with 9,889 people testing positive for the virus and 16 more succumbing to the disease in last 24 hours. The test positivity rate (TPR) also shot up to 20.5 pc from 18.8 pc. An analysis of new cases and deaths for the past eight days ever since the State started reporting over 8,000 cases a day revealed that at an average of 8,689 cases and 12 deaths a day Odisha has recorded 69,512 , cases and 97 fatalities. As many as 3,64,365 tests have been conducted during the period with an average 45,545 tests a day and TPR of 19 pc. The sharp fluctuation in cases has been witnessed between April 28 and 29 when the infections dropped from 8,386 to 6,998 (despite 2,000 more tests) and the next day ( o n Ap r i l 3 0 ) t h e number of cases again rose to 8,681 (with an addition of around 1,000 more samples). The graph got steeper on May 1 when 10,413 cases were reported, so far the highest single day spike. The difference of cases was 1,732 with around 2,000 more tests than the previous day Surprisingly, . the number of cases fell to 8,015 on May 2 with a difference of less than 1,000 tests. While 47,462 tests were conducted on May 1, 46,560 tests conducted on May 2. The number is currently high in most of the western Odisha districts besides Khurda, Cuttack, Puri, Angul and northern districts like Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj, but the cases have been going up and down in the past few days. Raising doubts over the sharp fluctuation in cases, health experts said the numbers being made public today may not be of the same day and the State may be reporting cases a day or two late. There may be some backlog RT-PCR or antigen reports which are being released in a gap of one or two days, they CONTINUED ON: P5 said. India’s vaccine drive loses steam, 2nd doses delayed S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi The speed of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign is decreasing rapidly, owing to an acute shortage of doses, and the slowdown has triggered concerns that it could impede taming of the massive surge in cases across the country . The average daily doses administered has come down by nearly 80% over the last one month from its peak, when on average 3.5 million vaccinations had been done per day . According to the Centre’s own projection, the average daily vaccination between May 1- and 6 is only 7,17,100 — about 79% less than the average daily vaccinations done in the first week of April. The Centre has supplied states with 17.02 crore doses while 16.05 crore doses have been administered so far, as per the Union health ministry . ODISHA Jab-o-meter Take your shot 3,57,229 3,82,315 Fresh cases 8,216 9,889 Recoveries 3,20,289 3,38,439 Recoveries 6,164 6,176 3,449 3,780 15 16 Deaths States are struggling to procure vaccines independently under the new policy. The reduced supply from the Centre also means many people from priority age groups who have taken their first jabs are being forced to delay their second. The Union government on Wednesday said 36 lakh doses are set to reach states in 3 days. The health ministry plans to procure 11 crore doses of Covishield and 5 crore doses of Covaxin between May-July which will be supplied to states, but it may be available mainly for those over 45, and that too may not be adequate. Experts say India needs to vaccinate at least 6-7 million a day to cover the most vulnerable population within the next few months. “It is clear that the government did not plan well for the vaccination... And even now I see no sense of urgency said a ,” WHO India official. may 5 may 4 Fresh cases Deaths quired, will be taken.” Meanwhile, data shared during the briefing marked the The Centre on Wednesday B.1.617 variant – also known as came up with a grim warning double mutant – as a “variant that a third Covid-19 wave in of concern” for the first time. India was inevitable and admit- Samples collected from at least ted for the first time that 18 states, which underwent geB.1.617, an Indian mutant of nomic surveillance, showed the the virus, could be fuelling the presence of the variant. This massive surge in the country . variant, along with E484Q and “A phase three is inevitable, L452R mutants, was first identigiven the higher levels of the fied in February Its spread has . circulating virus, but it is not been exponential, overtaking clear on what time scale this several other local variants, inwill occur. We should cluding N440K and p r e p a r e f o r n e w Link between B.1.618, suggesting waves,” said K Vijay variant, surge that it was more transRaghavan, Principal missible. Data from Scientific Advisor to The director of the other countries sugNational Centre the Centre said on gest that while E484Q for Disease Wednesday . can escape antibody Amid clamour for Control said that neutralisation, L452R an exercise was stricter measures to increases infectivity . underway to contain the spread of According to the the fierce wave, Niti establish the link WHO, this Indian A a y o g m e m b e r between the rise strain has been de(health), V K Paul, of the variant and tected in at least 17 who also heads the na- the progression of countries, including tional Covid-19 task the disease in the t h e U K , U S a n d country force, did not rule out Singapore. the possibility of a naSources said that tional lockdown to break the following a request by the UK chain of the virus. government, India has agreed Listing the Centre’s guide- to send samples of B.1.617 for lines like night curfews and re- examining the efficacy of the strictions in districts with over available vaccines against it. 10% test positivity rate and Renu Swarup, secretary of more than 60% ICU bed occu- department of biotechnology, pancy Paul said: “In that direc- said initial data has shown that , tion there is a clear balanced vaccines in India effectively advisory. At the same time, if neutralised the variants in ciranything more is required, culation. More work is underthose options are always being way to fully establish the finddiscussed, and decisions, as re- ings, she added. @ New Delhi 35,35,250 29,70,476 24,33,551 21,14,639 Average daily vaccinations 7,17,100 Apr 3-9 24-30 May 1-7 Covaxin 1,50,18,420 Covishield 14,39,30,764 Vaccination by age so far 18-30 yrs 30-45 yrs 51,63,526 1,07,34,840 45-60 yrs 60 plus 11,49,009 doses 18,90,346 doses Total: 16,24,30,828 17-23 vaccine type (Total doses) May 4 May 5 10-16 5,95,46,821 53,75,143 S es a S e n @ New Delhi With the second wave of Covid infections peaking in many parts of the country and experts warning of a third wave, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday admitted that India’s economic outlook seems “highly uncertain” and that all projections can go awry . In an unscheduled address on Wednesday, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said the unexpected spike in Covid cases and localised lockdowns could stymie economic recovery . To cushion the blow to the economy Das unloaded various , monetary tools for banks and relief measures for small busi- Pandemic moving eastward: Govt A rise in the number of daily Covid-19 cases and mortality has been observed in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand, indicating the “pandemic is moving eastward”, the health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday City youths on mission to overcome blood crisis @ Bhubaneswar A police personnel donating blood at a camp organised by Niranjan and Haraprasad in Bhubaneswar | Express Among the worst sufferers of the raging pandemic are those suffering from blood diseases, who require regular transfusions. While the SOS calls for plasma donors have gone up manifold to save lives of Covid patients, normal blood dona- tion activities have almost come to a standstill leaving people with thalasemia, haemophilia and other critical patients in the lurch. With the State Capital gripped with an acute blood crisis, two youths have come forward to organise special blood donation camps to help thalasemia and other patients needing transfusion. Niranjan Pattanaik (26), a mechanic at Arundhati Motors and Haraparasad Mohapatra (34), the project manager of UNDP-funded plastic waste management programme in Bhubaneswar, have launched an initiative ‘Mission Raktadan’ to organise in-house blood donation camps at Capi- Maharashtra: Lockdownlike curbs imposed since April 5 Odisha: Two-week lockdown since May 5 Andhra Pradesh: Two-week noon-to-6 am curfew starting May 5 Kerala: Mini-lockdown till May 9, night curfew Telangana: Only night curfew so far Tamil Nadu: Shops selling essential commodities can function till 12 noon Karnataka: Corona Curfew extended till May 12 West Bengal: Shops to open from 7 am to 10 am and 5 pm to 7 pm Jharkhand: Lockdown since April 22 Madhya Pradesh: Staggered Janta Curfew in various districts Uttar Pradesh: Corona Curfew till May 10 morning Bihar: 11-day lockdown starting Wednesday Punjab: Non-essential shops shut till May 15 Haryana: Lockdown from May 3-10 Rajasthan: Virtual lockdown from April 19 to May 3 Chhattisgarh: Lockdown extended till May 15 J&K: Corona curfew in 14 districts till Thursday morning; four districts under curfew till May 10 Northeast: Almost all states have clamped night curfew; complete lockdown in Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district RBI warns of lasting economic pain, offers balm for most-affected sectors Life savers Sudarsan Maharana Lockdown-like situation already in many states tal Hospital blood bank. The blood bank has been reeling under acute shortage since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year. The duo had organised around 50 camps last year to support the blood bank. They have targeted 100 such camps this year of which 35 are already done. CONTINUED ON: P5 nesses as well as individuals. RBI announced a special `50,000 crore term liquidity facility with three-year tenor for banks to support entities such as vaccine manufacturers. Das also announced a one-time loan restructuring for individuals as well as cash-starved sectors. Banks will create a ‘Covid loan book’ and such loans will be considered as priority sector lending. Further, banks can park surplus liquidity equal to the size of such books with RBI for a rate 40 bps higher than reverse repo rate of 3.35%. While the announcement nudged banks to undertake fresh lending to the emergency health services, it may be noted that bank credit offtake was only 5.6% in FY21 despite a host of liquidity measures by RBI last fiscal. The central bank has offered a special `10,000-crore longterm repo operation of three years tenor for small finance banks for on-ward lending. This move is aimed at enhancing the flow of credit to microfinance institutions, which are grappling to raise funds. RBI also brought in a resolution framework for individuals and vulnerable small businesses. Borrowers with exposure up to `25 crore, who didn’t avail earlier facilities and where loans are standard as on March 31, 2021 will be eligible for restructuring in the second P10 round, Das said. 2 in Jaishankar’s G7 team to UK test +ve P u s h k a r B a n a k a r @ New Delhi Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Wednesday confirmed that members of his delegation who are in the UK to attend the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting had tested positive for the coronavirus and that the entire delegation is in self-isolation. “As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode,” Jaishankar tweeted. He joined the G7 meeting virtually . Sources said that the delegation had tested negative before leaving for London. News of two delegation members testing positive came hours after Jaishankar met in-person with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. “There is concern that the minister may have been exposed to the virus. No one is unwell. We are trying to work out with UK health authorities about the level of exposure,” sources said.
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