KOLLAM l tuesday l may 11, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Nepal Prime Minister Oli loses vote of confidence culmination of long-drawn power tussle The result means Oli’s premiership ends with immediate effect. Monday’s voting was the culmination of a tussle between Prachanda and Oli for NCP’s control. Matters came to a head in December last when Oli dissolved the House, claiming Prachanda was attempting to run a parallel government. On May 6, Prachanda walked out, leaving Oli at the helm of a minority govt Needing 136 votes to win the motion in a 275-member House of Representatives, KPS Oli could muster support of only 93 Prachanda to ally with opposition ■ ■ The Prachanda faction is likely to join hands with Nepali Congress and other parties to form a coalition government at the earliest The alliance between Oli-led CPN (UML) and Prachanda’s CPN (Maoist Centre) had won a majority in the 2017 elections. After their victory, the two parties had formally merged in May 2018 P9 28 members of oli’s Party abstained during the voting 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 State caps treatment rates in pvt sector Enforced with immediate effect, hospitals flouting the rates liable to pay penalty 10 times the addl charges E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram FOLLOWING strictures from the High Court and several complaints of fleecing from different parts of Kerala, the state government on Monday capped the maximum amount that a private hospital can charge from a Covid patient undergoing treatment at a private hospital. The new rates have been enforced with immediate effect, said the order issued by the principal health secretary The . hospitals flouting the rates shall be liable to pay a penalty which shall be 10 times the additional charges. A patient staying in a general ward needs to pay only `2,645 per day, as per the order. The rate is inclusive of registration, bed charge, nursing, consultation, oxygen, medicines, lab tests, etc. However, charges for advanced investigations (CT scans), PPE kits, costly medicines such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab have been excluded. The rate for availing high dependency unit has been capped at `3,795, ICU at `7,800 and ICU with ventilator at `13,800 in hospitals not accredited by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH). The patients will have to shell out 10% more in an NABH-accredited hospital. Announcing the decision, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there will be a cap on the pricing of consumables including PPE kits. “Only two PPE kits can be billed per day for a patient in general ward and only five PPE kits can be billed per day for a patient in ICU,” he said. The billed price of PPE will be the same as the purchase price paid by the hospital. The rates fixed for patients who are beneficiaries of Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi, however, has been increased by 15-20%. Even after the latest order capping the rates, bills from private hospitals are likely to burn a hole in patients' pockets. “The announced rates are still very high for the people though in the time of a health emergency people would pay that to save lives. The MRP mentioned in a PPE kit is often very high. While the medical stores sell it for half the price, the hospitals extract the full rate from each patient even though the staff would be wearing one for attending all the patients in a ward,” said consumer rights activist Dijo Kappan. ● More on P4 Sputnik V set for rollout, to be available in pvt, govt hosps Activists say private hospital bills still on higher side, add MRP printed on consumables exorbitant KNOW THE RATES (Read as bed category, rate per day (non -NABH) - Rate per day (NABH) General ward H2,645 H2,910 HDU H3,795 H4,175 ICU H7,800 H8,580 `1,300 for kanji, `30 for dolo tablet! HC says can’t swallow ICU with ventilator H13,800 H15,180 Rates increased by 15-20% from those fixed in July 2020 for KASP beneficiaries Excluded High-end investigations such as CT scan, PPE kits, costly medications (Remdesivir, Tocilizumab) Private hospitals must follow govt order: HC | P4 Only two PPE kits can be billed per day for a patient in general ward and only five PPE kits can be billed per day for a patient in ICU — Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi THE Kerala High Court on Monday expressed concern over the exorbitant charges being collected by private hospitals for treating Covid patients and observed that the hospitals were looting ordinary citizens. It pointed out that PPE kits were priced at `22,000 and even 'kanji' (rice gruel) was charged at `1,300 by some private hospitals. "If 'kanji' is charged like this, we may find it difficult to swallow it," observed Justice Devan Ramachandran. The court also said that some private hospitals are charging `20 to `30 for a dolo/paracetamol tablet. The court urged the private hospitals not to indulge in profiteering and stand with the government during the pandemic period. Meanwhile, lauding the state's decision to cap the treatment charges at private hospitals, the High Court on Monday held the government order should be strictly implemented immediately Any hospital admission after . the issue of the order would be governed by the rates and conditions detailed in it, the court said. The court also ordered that private hospitals in the state, where 50% of beds are reserved for Covid patients, are bound to offer treatment strictly as per the order and any violation would be dealt with by the authorities strictly . PRICELESS! A High Court bench said that it is more than pleased with the government order since it provides for a specific mechanism of grievance redressal. The HC said it's a 'patient care' order Rates not practical, say hosps Kerala Private Hospitals Association submitted before the court that the rates now fixed by the government may not be practicable. They are willing to follow the order for a few days. NO INFO FAMILIES WORRIED Hundreds of families are left in the dark about the medical condition or whereabouts of their loved ones . P2 S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V will be available at both gover nment and private facilities within the next few days, TNIE has learnt. This could boost India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, which has failed to gather pace due to an acute shorta g e of Covishield and Covaxin. Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Labs, which conducted Sputnik V’s clinical trials, has the rights to supply 12.5 crore doses of the vaccine. The firm received the first lot of 1.5 lakh doses on May 1. “The rollout of the consignment will be subject to the necessary clearances, which will be processed over the next few days,” Deepak Sapra, CEO (API and services) at Dr Reddy’s told TNIE. Patient care order, says High Court Vax strategy equitable, little room for judicial interference: Centre E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi The Centre put up a stout defence of its Covid-19 vaccine policy before the Supreme Court and asked it not to interfere, claiming the ‘wisdom of the Executive should be trusted’ in times of grave crisis. In its 218-page affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Sunday night, the Centre addressed the bench’s queries on handling the crisis in great detail. “In the context of a global pandemic, where response and strategy of the nation is completely driven by expert medical and scientific opinion, there is little room for judicial interference. Any overzealous, though well-meaning, judicial intervention may lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences, in absence of any expert advice or administrative experience, leaving doctors, scientists, experts and executive very little room to find innovative solutions on the go,” the Centre said. However, a three-judge bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat could not continue its hearing on the suo motu case because of technical glitches and the matter was put off till Thursday . Elaborating on the vaccine drive, the Centre said it is the biggest ever and completely different from the immunisation drives of the previous decades. Also, unlike the vaccination campaigns of the past, the Covid-19 immunisation drive did not have the luxury of time. CoWIN platform helps tracking Centre justifies online registration on the CoWIN platform, saying it allows govt to track those who have received one dose and send them reminders for their second dose. Also, the database would strengthen the Centre’s ability to undertake macro-health planning in future Door-to-door vaccination was impossible due to logistical requirements. For example, the 30-minute observation window during at-home vaccination would needlessly tie up the healthcare worker Three-tier health infra to manage cases - Covid care centres for mild cases, Covid health centres for moderate cases and Covid hospitals for severe cases. For admission to a Covid health facility, positive RT-PCR or rapid antigen test report is not required “Earlier, there had been no requirement of an emergency vaccination drive like the sudden emerging situation since 2019 onwards. Secondly, scientists in the field of medicine and vaccination had enough time to develop the vaccine and thereafter, there was enough time to manufacture, distribute and administer the vaccines,” the affidavit read while assuring that there is equitable allocation of vaccines to states based on their population size. Dozens of decaying bodies spotted on the Ganga add to Bihar’s worries Ra j e s h K uma r T h aku r @ Patna An elderly woman collects a food packet from volunteers in Kochi on Monday. Several organisations across the state have started offering services again to the needy in the wake of Covid second wave | A Sanesh STATEWIDE may 9 MAY 10 Fresh cases 35,801 Recoveries 29,318 31,209 Deaths 68 3.5 lakh 27,487 65 doses of vaccine, the first batch of the one crore bought by the state directly from manufacturers, arrived in Kochi on Monday | P4 Active cases in state to touch 6L by May 15: CM T'Puram: Kerala has informed the Centre that it will be 'practically impossible' to allow oxygen to be taken outside the state owing to the huge domestic demand that may arise on account of rising Covid cases. In a letter to the prime minister, CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the number of Covid patients in the state is expected to rise to around six lakh by May 15. P4 MAY 9 NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 10 4,03,738 3,66,161 3,86,444 3,53,818 4,092 3,754 Jab-o-meter May 9 6,71,646 doses Take your May 10 shot 24,30,017 doses Total: 17,26,33,761 Dozens of bodies, in various stages of decay, of suspected Covid-19 victims were spotted in the Ganges at Chausa block of Bihar’s Buxar district on Monday morning, sparking a scare. While the locals said such sights were frequent ever since officials started dumping bodies into the river after running out of firewood at the crematoriums, authorities claimed the bodies had flowed into the state from upstream Uttar Pradesh. The Ganges flows into Chausa from the adjoining Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh. After the bodies were retrieved from the shallow waters and sandy banks, Buxar DM Aman Samir ordered an inquest and said that the expens- Cases surged from 16 to 1,216 in one month As per official estimates, Buxar has registered a huge uptick in the number of Covid patients during the second wave. The number of positive cases was 16 on March 31 and it jumped to 1,216 on May 8. It registered 26 deaths in the period es of Covid-appropriate cremations would be borne by the state. While the locals claimed that 40-45 bodies were spotted, the DM pegged the numbers at 30-35. “These bodies are not of the people from Buxar. It has come from upstream Ganges,” Samir told media. Locals said that spotting carrion birds and stray dogs eating half-burnt, bloated bodies had become common in Chausa. “Everyday bodies of Covid patients, either half-burnt or wrapped in plastic, are dumped into the river as there is a shortage of firewood at local crematoriums,” a local said. Chausa and Chitravans are two major cremation grounds in Buxar. However, the authorities refuted the allegations, saying the local crematoriums had abundant stock of firewood and bodies were being cremated as per prescribed guidelines at Chausa ghats. Buxar SDO KK Upadhayay later told media that the bodies had flowed into the state from faraway places. Meanwhile, health experts like Dr Rajiv Ranjan and Dr Madhusudan from Patna said such unceremonious disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims may lead to the spread of infection among humans and animals, too. adieu hitmaker e x p r e ss r e a d From human relations to vengeful underworld, he gifted everything Indian mutant classified as ‘variant of concern’ S h i b u B S @ Kochi Dennis Joseph 20-10-195710-05-2021 For Malayalam cinema, Dennis Joseph, who passed away in Kottayam on Monday, was simply another name for box-office success. Period. The celebrated script writer and director died of a massive heart attack at a private hospital late evening. He was 64. Dennis collapsed at his residence in Ettumanoor and was rushed to the hospital, but his life could not be saved. The genial writer kept the cash register ringing during the 1980s and ‘90s when he churned out hits one after the other at a seemingly improbable rate. No less than the two reigning superstars of Mollywood -- Mammootty and Mohanlal -- owed their careers to his Midas touch. “Dennis's untimely demise hurts me a lot. He was a dear brother and friend who stood firmly with me during the highs and lows of my career. He will be remembered forever through the films that he penned and directed,” said Mammootty in a Facebook post. While Dennis literally saved the sagging career of Mammootty with the blockbuster New Delhi (1987), he put Mohanlal firmly on the perch as a superstar with the runaway hit Rajavinte Makan (1986). And both the films and their protagonists -- G Krishnamoorthy a n d Vi n c e n t The untimely demise of Dennis Joseph makes me very sad. To me, he was a brother-like friend who stood by me during the highs and lows of my career — Mammootty Gomez -- have aged perfectly like wine and audiences from all generations continue to enjoy them whenever they are telecast by television channels. “Dennis was the king of script writing and I was fortunate enough to portray some of those memorable princes he created. He never expected anything in return, hiding everything behind a graceful smile. An unmatched talent who created innumerable racy tales, oceanic waves of emotions, the fire of anger, the sweetness of romance, dialogues steeped in emotions and tears. From bonds of human relations to the vengeful underworld, he had gifted everything to Malayalam cinema. I can never say enough of my bond with Dennis. So, I stop midway, with shivering hands... adieu Dennis,” Mohanlal posted. ● More on P5 Dennis was a king in the world of screenplay writing. I was lucky to give life to some of his princes. He loved without expecting anything in return — Mohanlal Geneva: The World Health Organization on Monday said it was reclassifying the highly contagious triple-mutant Covid variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern” at the global level. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said the agency will provide more details in its Situation Report on Tuesday but added the variant, known as B.1.617, has been found in preliminary studies to spread easier than the original virus and that there is evidence it may able to evade vaccines. “Even though there is increased transmissibility, we need more information. So we need targeted sequencing to be done,” she said | P9
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