BENGALURU SUNDAY MAY 09, 2021 `12.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION TELANGANA GETS NOD TO TEST DRONES FOR VACCINE DELIVERY The state has to meet the Centre’s conditions to begin trials by May-end for delivery beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) FASTER DELIVERY, IMPROVED ACCESS STRATEGY WILL HAVE TO SUBMIT REPORT TO CENTRE The approval is part of the Centre’s strategy to enhance the scope of drone usage in the country to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. On April 30, the state government was permitted to use drones for experimental delivery of shots within the visual line of sight. The ministry said this would serve its dual plan of ensuring faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare access ■ ■ ■ On April 22, the Indian Council for Medical Research was granted conditional exemption for a similar experiment with IIT-Kanpur One of the conditions laid down by the Centre mandates that drone operations shall be limited between sunrise and sunset After trials, the state will submit a Proof of Concept to the Centre 400 feet IS THE HEIGHT PERMITTED FOR THE DRONES TO FLY DURING THE TEST RUNS 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 WHAT’S ALLOWED KARNATAKA Getting groceries on foot till 10 am. Food takeaway till 9 pm. Standalone bars and liquor stores (6-10 am) Milk booths, shops selling essentials (6-10 am). Veg pushcarts Home delivery of food, e-commerce, essentials Flights and trains. Cabs to and from airport and rail stations Pharmacies, fuel stations, banks TAMIL NADU Milk supply, courier services, fuel outlets, Amma canteens Shops selling essentials (grocery, vegetable, meat, and fish) can function till 12 pm without running AC KERALA Essential, emergency travel Medical shops. Restaurants (takeaway and delivery) Banks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday Interstate travel on e-pass. Weddings & funerals with 20 attendees max AP Govt offices (8-11:30 am) Essential services Unhindered travel for Covid-19 management duties DELHI, UP, HARYANA, J&K, RAJASTHAN Essential shops TELANGANA Essential shops, Emergency travel Marriage and funeral attendance with ceiling JHARKHAND Essential shops, select govt & private offices Industry, construction, agricultural and mining CHHATTISGARH Essential shops, restaurants Banks and post offices BIHAR Home delivery from 9 am to 9 pm Weddings, funerals with ceiling on attendees PUNJAB Essential shops, travel with negative report Government offices with 50% staff Agriculture, grocery, hardware items and liquor till 5 pm on weekdays ODISHA Essential shops till noon on weekdays. Travel of 500 metres from homes Weddings and funerals within ceiling MP Essential and emergency services. Time window for shops to operate (varying duration) Govt offices, industries MOST OF INDIA SHUT DOWN Map shows level of restrictions and the active case load across states Arunachal Pradesh 1,893 Ladakh 1,400 Jammu & Kashmir 44,307 Meghalaya 2,466 Himachal Pradesh 29,513 Punjab 69,724 Uttarakhand Assam 67,691 Jharkhand 35,493 61,177 Delhi Sikkim Bihar 91,305 2,398 1,15,067 Uttar Pradesh 2,54,118 Haryana 1,15,963 Rajasthan 1,99,147 Madhya Pradesh 95,423 Gujarat 1,46,385 Nagaland 2,433 West Bengal 1,24,098 Maharashtra 6,57,019 Manipur 3,506 Mizoram 1,906 Tripura 2,533 Chhattisgarh 1,31,041 Odisha 78,602 Goa 31,716 Telangana 71,308 Karnataka 5,48,841 Andhra Pradesh 1,86,695 Tamil Nadu 1,35,355 Kerala 4,02,997 ACTIVE CASES PARTIAL LOCKDOWN LOCKDOWN NO LOCKDOWN Top Court forms task force to formulate ways to scientifically allocate oxygen Team to get six-months tenure, will draw resources from Centre for consultation, work out modalities K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Saturday constituted a 12-member national task force to formulate a methodology for scientific allocation of medical oxygen to all states and Union Territories. The order comes in the backdrop of several states complaining about an acute oxygen shortage and blaming the Centre for not providing sufficient quantum. Initially, the task force would get a six-month tenure, with the Pharmacies, shops selling groceries and vegetables, and takeaway food services are usually allowed in lockdown, though with some restriction on timing. Also, essential services such as telecom, cable TV, media are also allowed to operate as usual (check sidebar for more details) IMA roasts Centre for case explosion, lockdown hesitancy E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi HAD the Centre heeded to the experts’ advice and gone for a complete lockdown, the country could have been spared the huge uptick in cases, said the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in a strongly-worded statement on Saturday. Calling the Centre’s handling of the pandemic “extremely lethargic”, the IMA said the Cen- DRDO drug tre’s decisions were rarely in sync with the ground re- approved alities as it largely ignored the suggestions made by An anti-Covid health professionals. Blaming the Centre for the surge, the IMA said a na- oral drug tional lockdown of at least 10-15 days was necessary as developed by it would have given the struggling healthcare infra- the DRDO has structure breathing space to “recoup and replenish been approved both the material and the manpower”. It also dismissed by the DCGI for individual lockdowns and night curfews by states as emergency use as an adjunct ineffective in breaking the chain. The IMA lashed out at the Health Ministry for not therapy in charting out a roadmap for implementation of phase 3 moderate to of vaccine rollout. It said many centres had suspended severe cases. the drive due to lack of stock. It was also critical of the Clinical trials of Centre’s differential pricing system for purchases the drug showed made by states and private hospitals. Recalling the it helps in faster country’s success against smallpox and polio, the IMA recovery and said the victory against the dreaded diseases was made reduces supplemental possible only through free vaccination. The medical body also came down heavily on the gov- dependence on ernment for the logistics issues leading to a shortage oxygen | P7 of medical oxygen despite the country being self-sufficient in production. It also questioned the government data on the number of new cases and mortalities, asking why the actual Covid-19 statistics was not being released. Citing an example of false RT-PCR negative tests, the IMA said that authorities were not adding cases traced through CT scan. STANDING UP FOR WOMEN force at the national level is to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised knowledge,” the order read. The court said that a consensus had emerged on the need for ensuring allotment of medical oxygen on a scientific, rational and equitable basis and suggested that an expert body of renowned national experts with diverse experience in health institutions be formed. The Central and state govern- WITH the massive surge in Covid-19 cases, Karnataka, which has 5.49 lakh active infections, is the second-most affected state in the country after Maharashtra, where thousands are battling for life amid an acute shortage of liquid medical oxygen (LMO). The local administration everywhere is scrambling every day to get enough supplies, leading to oxygen wars between different districts. Even ministers are reaching out to oxygen plants to ensure adequate supplies to the districts they are in charge of. This has become more accentuated after the deaths of 24 patients at the Chamarajnagar District Hospital due to oxygen shortage. The incident immediately sparked a war of words with Chamarajanagar Deputy Commissioner M R Ravi pointing fingers at Mysuru DC Rohini Sindhuri for ‘rationing and restricting’ oxygen supply to the neighbouring district. The turn of events compelled the State Gover nment and Kar nataka Lokayukta to order separate inquiries into the entire episode. Over the last three days, oxygen supply to Chamarajanagar dis- trict has improved, meeting the requirement of 3.5 kilo litres per day after District In-charge Minister S Suresh Kumar visited the oxygen plants. The situation has come to such a pass that MysuruKodagu MP Prathap Simha has now appealed to the government to fix a quota of oxygen for Mysuru and neighbouring districts to end the tensions and ensure that Mysuru is not blamed for any shortages. While Mysuru district’s estimated requirement is 44-48 metric tons per day, it is supplied 24-28 MTs from four refilling plants. In neighbouring Mandya district, the daily requirement is 1517 Kl per day but it is being sup, plied with 10-12 kl once in two days. After District In-Charge Minister Narayana Gowda visited some oxygen plants, local MLAs and the MP have raised objection to him taking away cylinders when there are more than 2,000 beds in the district and plans are afoot to increase it to P5 7,000 oxygenated beds. STATEWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 7 48,781 MAY 8 47,563 28,623 592 34,881 482 CCB NETS GAS CO STAFFER FOR SELLING O2 IN BLACK BENGALURU: Officers of the Central Crime Branch on Friday raided the premises of Siga Gases Pvt Ltd located in the Peenya industrial area here, and arrested the branch in-charge for allegedly selling oxygen cylinders in the black market. The accused, Ravi Kumar (36), had joined the company 10 years ago. Kumar was allegedly charging D3,000 for a cylinder of 47-litre capacity, while the government rate for the same is D300. P5 Amidst the soaring demand for oxygen across the country, a man carries an empty cylinder to be refilled with the life-saving gas at Peenya in Bengaluru | SHRIRAM BN State will add 20K more oxygenated beds: DyCM FROM ACROSS THE STATE Experts say houses and apartments stocking up oxygen cylinders, preparing for any eventuality Hubballi district administration forms rapid oxygen supply team to help make the gas available at hospitals Two Covid Care Centres were opened in Kalaburagi district on Saturday E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Bengaluru WITH the supply of oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients set to increase from 965 metric tons to 1,200 metric tons after the Supreme Court refused to act on a Karnataka High Court order mandating the quantity, the State Government is now preparing to increase the number of oxygenated beds. Deputy Chief Minister and Covid Task Force Chairman Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said 20,000 oxygenated beds will be added across the state to treat Covid-19 patients. Measures are being taken immediately to add 10,000 oxygenated beds to overcome the shortage, the DyCM told reporters in Bengaluru on Saturday. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the oxygen demand was around 100 MT a day which has increased to 965 MT. As the cases are increasing, there is a need to add more oxygenated beds, he pointed out. The government has decided to have oxygenated beds in Covid Care Centres and de pute trained staff at the CCCs. BIG LOSS Hospitalisation norms relaxed MK KAUSHIK LOSES BATTLE 1980 Olympic gold medallist and former national coach MK Kaushik died on Saturday after battling Covid-19 for the past three weeks. He was 66 and is survived by his son and wife | P11 PLUS 12 PAGES E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi IN view of the difficulty being faced by Covid patients in getting timely medical care, the Centre on Saturday removed the requirement for positive test report for hospitalisation in both government and private hospitals. The move comes after many instances of hospitals turning away even critical patients for want of LOCKDOWN RELIEF test reports. The revised policy says no patient will be refused services for any reason. The Union Health Ministry said admissions must be based on need and that beds can’t be occupied by persons who don’t need hospitalisation. The Centre has asked the chief secretaries of all states to issue necessary orders within three days to enforce the new policy . Pharma companies, large factories are now essential services B A L A C H A U H A N @ Bengaluru THE Department of Commerce & Industries (C&I) has further given exemption to some more industrial establishments to function amid the 14-day lockdown-like restrictions in the State, beginning May 10. They have now been classified as essential services, Additional Chief Secretary, C&I, Dr Rajkumar Khatri said on Saturday . All units manufacturing drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical oxygen, their packing materials, raw material and intermediates will operate. Food processing units and related industries, cold storage and warehousing services, manufacturing units of essential commodities, production of which requires continuous process, industrial establishments and production units operating with insitu staff and workers are also allowed to function. ments shall provide complete and real-time data for facilitating the work of the task force as and when necessary “All private hos. pitals and other healthcare institutions shall co-operate with the task force. We expect that the leading experts in the country shall associate with the work of the task force both as members and resource persons. This will facilitate a meeting of minds and the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with an unprecedented human crisis,” it said. DISTRICTS FIGHT IT OUT AS COVID-19 CASES SPIKE ACROSS K’TAKA K S H I VA K U M A R @ Mysuru NO BAR ON ESSENTIALS Centre nominating two nodal officers, who would arrange logistics, including communication with members, and virtual meetings of the task force. In the 24-page order, a bench, comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah, said the taskforce shall draw upon the human resources of the Union Government for consultation and information. It would also be free to formulate its modalities and procedures for working. “The rationale for constituting a task Also, effluent treatment plants, petroleum refineries, large steel plants, sugar mills, rice mills, oil mills, roller flour mills, bakeries and confectionaries, agro-based industries, fish and poultry feed, large cement plants, large foundries, fertilisers and tyre manufacturing plants, automobile industry and vertically integrated large textile units are among those which will remain open throughout the restrictions. All other industries will remain shut during the lockdown. The government has also permitted marriages that are already scheduled. They have to be “conducted at their respective homes in a low-key manner” with close family members up to 40 people and after securing permission from the BBMP officers or tahsildars in districts, said Principal Secretary Revenue and , Member Secretary, State Executive Committee, N Manjunatha Prasad. CONTINUED ON: P3 EXPRESS READ Indian virus variant found in B’desh, Lanka Dhaka/Colombo: Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have reported the first cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus, also known as B.1.617, prompting authorities to exercise caution to contain its spread. Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are experiencing a surge in the coronavirus cases. In its report, the WHO had said the Indian strain of coronavirus has been found in at least 17 countries. Not being apprised of situation, WB Guv upset Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday expressed displeasure at not being updated on the law and order situation in the state with regard to post-poll violence by the Chief Secretary and DGP. “Unfortunately both came without any paper or reports sought. Directed them to send the same without delay. In a sense disgusted with such stance,” he tweeted.
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