THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l friday l may 07, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION UGC tells universities to drop offline exams for may It has also asked the institutions to hold exams online after assessing the local situation to ensure the safety of students Conditional nod to hold Online exams Online exams would be allowed only if universities ensure they are prepared in all respects and adhere to the directions and guidelines issued by the Centre, states, the education ministry and the UGC. Earlier, the education ministry had directed all Centrally-funded institutions not to conduct offline exams in May. The decision will be reviewed again in the first week of June ■ 620 relook at Decision in june first week ■ ■ The UGC’s advisory is binding on all universities that come under its purview, including the state-run and private universities The idea behind the circular is to avoid physical gatherings at the campuses and provide relief to students, faculty and the staff The universities can revisit the curbs next month, it added Univeristies and thousands of affiliated colleges to toe the line 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 Lockdown is here Strict restrictions will be in place in state from tomorrow till May 16 All commercial and private establishments to be closed down E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram WHAT THE CURBS MEAN... 1 Shops selling food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meat and fish to remain open till 7.30pm 2 Restaurants allowed home delivery 3 Air and rail services allowed. All other modes of transport, including Metro, to be suspended 4 Plying of pvt vehicles allowed only for procuring essential items, medicines and for other permitted activities 5 All places of worship to be closed for public 6 Ban on all social, political and religious gatherings Pinarayi 2.0 to be sworn in on May 20 Police checking with a motorist about his purpose of travel amid the curbs imposed by the government in view of Covid surge, in T’Puram | Vincent Pulickal Banks can function with minimal staff from 10am to 1pm 7 9 express read For pre-fixed marriages, a maximum of 20 people permitted. The nearest police station should be intimated in advance M K Stalin to assume office as TN CM today Chennai: DMK president M K Stalin is all set to swear in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, along with 33 Cabinet colleagues, on Friday at a formal function at Raj Bhavan. P5 16 pages, including 4 pages of THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Express STATEWIDE The state government has announced a complete lockdown for nine days from Saturday in view of the deteriorating Covid-19 situation. The complete lockdown — from May 8 to 16 — comes after the state’s partial lockdown for five days, which came into effect on Tuesday, failed to contain the Covid spread. Besides, hospitals have started reporting shortage of beds and the death toll is shooting up. On Thursday Kerala re, ported 42,464 new Covid cases and 63 deaths — both a new high. The state has over 3.9 lakh active cases. As per the lockdown regulations, health-related services, including hospitals, laboratories, clinics and medical shops, will be allowed to function. While all road and waterway transport will remain suspended, air and rail services (except metro) will be operational. Restaurants can open Fresh cases 41,953 42,464 Recoveries 23,106 27,152 58 63 Deaths may 5 MAY 6 for home delivery services. Shops, including ration shops, dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish, animal fodder, poultry and cattle feed and bakeries, have been exempted from restrictions. All shops should be closed by 7.30pm Announcing the decision, a communique from the CM’s Office said the lockdown was announced in the wake of the surge in Covid cases in the second wave. Any person violating lockdown guidelines would be liable to face action as per the relevant provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005, Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020 and other relevant laws in P2 force, the order said. Stop fleecing by pvt hosps, HC tells govt SC push for universal vaccine policy E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi @Kochi The Kerala High Court on Thursday asked the state gover nment to regulate prices charged by private hospitals and clinics for PPE kits and oxygen to prevent fleecing of Covid patients and their kin. The court also suggested that the government may take over 50 per cent of the beds of all private hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients and set up a common toll-free number to enable Covid patients to get medical assistance and information on available hospital beds with oxygen and ventilator support. A Division Bench comprising Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice Kauser Edappagathu stated that the court has received several complaints, along with copies of bills, regarding overcharging by private ● More on P2 hospitals. The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to start preparing for the third wave of Covid-19, advising it to create a buffer stock of medical oxygen to prevent panic and prepare a comprehensive vaccination policy for all. During its hearing on the supply of oxygen to Delhi, a bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said: “You (Centre) need to look at the issue of oxygen supply on a pan-India basis. There is a need to look at oxygen audit and also reassess the basis for oxygen reallocation.” It pointed out that the third surge, according to experts, will affect children. When a child goes to hospital, the mother and father will also have to go. “That is why vaccination will have to be over for this group of people. We need to plan for this in a scientific way,” it said. Cautious optimism as US OK with waiver of vaccine patent S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi WTO negotiations on the subject are expected to begin next month. Tai warned that it would take time to reach a global consensus to waive protections under WTO rules. At least 100 of the WTO’s 164 nations are in favour of waiver, saying it would increase global vaccine production, but drugs manufacturers argue otherwise Pharma lobby opposing waiver says patents are not the primary obstacle, describes waiver as handing out a recipe without sharing the method or ingredients, which could lead to quality issues MAY 5 MAY 6 Fresh cases 3,82,315 4,14,182 Recoveries 3,38,439 3,29,113 3,780 3,980 NATIONWIDE Deaths V Muraleedharan’s convoy attacked Kolkata: Post-poll violence continued in West Bengal on Thursday as Union minister V Muraleedharan’s convoy was attacked and his vehicle vandalised allegedly Trinamool Congress supporters at Pachkudi in West Midnapore district. Though the minister escaped unhurt, the driver of his car was injured. P8 Not more than 20 persons allowed to attend funerals 10 8 Online taxis will be allowed to ply in emergency cases E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram The new LDF government under Pinarayi Vijayan is set to assume office on May 20. The CPM-CPI bilateral talks on Thursday came to an understanding to this effect, subject to the Covid situation in the state at the time. The swearing in has been delayed in view of the latest Covid restrictions, especially with lockdown being announced in the state from May 8 to 16. An LDF meeting on May 17 and the CPM-CPI leadership meets in the ensuing days are expected to finalise other aspects of government formation. The LDF parliamentary party is scheduled to meet on May 19. “The Governor’s convenience too is being checked to hold the swearing in on May 20. The function will be held adhering to Covid protocol, at a venue outside Raj Bhavan. Decisions on providing cabinet berths and allocating portfolios will be finalised at the LDF meet,” said a ● More on P4 source. Hospitals and all related medical establishments to remain open Courts step in After months of wavering, the US administration on Thursday announced its support to the temporary waiver of intellectual property protection on Covid-19 vaccines, a decision that could help Indian pharma majors produce foreign jabs at low cost, though experts were a tad wary . The idea of a waiver under the World Trade Organization (WTO) forum was first proposed by India and South Africa in October last year. Prodded by Democrat lawmakers, US President Joe Biden supported the waiver, reversing his country’s earlier position on the matter. His remarks were followed by a statement from his top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, who said: “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.” Experts in India, which has been struggling with supply side shortage of vaccines, welcomed the US decision, but adviced caution. “To my understanding, it is a laudable step and will help countries like India in procuring higher doses of vaccines at lower costs if the WTO agrees to the proposal and vaccine makers transfer their formula to local companies,” said Manisha Gupta, an intellectual property rights (IPR) expert. She, however, flagged the challenge of managing quality. “Countries like India will have to ensure that only companies that are capable of maintaining quality get the license to make generic versions of the vaccines,” she added. Others like IPR lawyer Deepshikha Malhotra stressed that the advantage could depend on the pacts between the patent holders and local license seekers. Also, companies that get the license through the international agreements may have to fulfil all the regulatory requirements, as is the case now, she said. Former Union health secretary Sujatha K Rao welcomed the development saying it brings hope for a much-needed vaccine equity to low- and middle-income nations. The wait and the agony A man dozing off while waiting to get an oxygen cylinder refilled at Rajasthan’s Ajmer on Thursday; a distraught man talking over phone to inform his family about the death of a loved one in Ajmer; and a man in PPE after lighting the funeral pyre of a deceased relative in Delhi’s Sarai Kale Khan cremation ground | PTI 480 booked for CSI retreat in Munnar E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram The Munnar police have registered a case against 480 people, including priests, staff and office-bearers of the local church at Munnar in connection with the annual retreat of Church of South India (CSI) South Kerala diocese held in the hill station last month allegedly violating the Covid-19 protocol. Bishop Selfless service To be kind, need a big heart, not a name E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram An elderly woman who lives alone in a residential colony on the city’s east border was the Good Samaritan who has been distributing food packets to police personnel on Covid-19 duty at LMS Junction here. After TNIE carried a picture of her gifting food packets to police officers on the front page of the newspaper on Thursday, several readers wanted to know more about her. The 89-year-old who was spotted by our photographer Vincent Pulickal happily giving away food packets had refused to share her personal de- The 89-year-old has been engaged in charity work in several ways and respects everyone who does selfless service tails. “Why? Do you wish to marry me?” was her instant reply when asked about her name and other details. She is firm on remaining unidentified and TNIE respects that. “She is like that only — a grandma for all of us. She radi- ates love and positivity It is not . the first time that we see valyammachi venturing out to help needy people,” said one of her neighbours. The woman, who is from Pathanamthitta and has been settled here for several decades, is doing charity in several ways. Her daughter and son-in-law are senior faculty members in a reputed college in Tamil Nadu. “She has a large heart and she respects all who do selfless service. She used to identify the needy and the deserving while going around the city and they would be rewarded instantly with ● More on P5 gifts,” he said. and CSI moderator Rev A Dharmaraj Rasalam and CSI South Kerala diocese secretary T T Praveen will be named accused in the FIR, though the individuals have not been named yet. Over 110 priests, including the bishop, contracted Covid after the event and two of them died subsequently . The priests and office-bearers have been booked under the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020, and Section 269 (whoever unlawfully does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 6 months, or with fine, or with both) of IPC. ● More on P4 ‘Quarantine must for visiting Central teams in Bengal’ E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kolkata The tense relations between the BJP-led Centre and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached another flashpoint on Thursday with the latter saying all visitors must produce a Covid-negative test report and stay in 14-day quarantine at their own cost. In other words, she sought to shoo off visiting Central teams. Responding to allegations that a Union minister’s vehicle was att a c k e d i n We s t Midnapore district, Mamata charged that he had come to stir up communal discord. Alleging that Union minister V Murlidharan’s visit was aimed at instigating BJP supporters, Mamata said: “Their continuous visits in the past six months have resulted in a record spike in infections. Now that all political meetings and rallies have been banned in the state, why are they still coming here? They want to instigate their supporters.” Stating that controlling the second wave was the priority , she said: “All visitors, including Union ministers, have to produce negative RT-PCR test report to enter the state. Rule is same for all.”
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07-05-2021 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram