ALBIN MATHEW TIRUCHY SATURDAY MAY 15, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION KERALA ON HIGH ALERT OVER FLOOD, CYCLONE THREATS With heavy rains pounding Kerala for the past two days, the state govt has started evacuating people from low-lying areas RAINS LASH STATE, SEA SWALLOWS HOUSES I.M.D. SOUNDS RED ALERT IN FIVE DISTRICTS While non-stop rains have led to waterlogging and uprooting of trees, high waves and sea incursion damaged several houses in coastal hamlets across the state. Chellanam, a coastal village in Ernakulam district, which is already reeling under Covid load with test positivity rate way above the state average, was among the worst-hit as tidal waves entered homes | P5 ■ IMD has sounded red alert in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod projecting extremely heavy rains due to a depression in the Arabian Sea, which is forecast to turn into Cyclone Tauktae. The cyclone is set to affect the entire western coastline right up to Gujarat, where it is likely to hit on May 18 MAY 31 SOUTHWEST MONSOON TO ARRIVE A DAY EARLIER THAN ITS NORMAL ONSET 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 2 bn a really tall order: Experts S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi A day after the Centre projected the availability of a whopping 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines in India during the last five months this year, experts expressed scepticism over the numbers saying they look impractical if not impossible. India at present produces 2.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine daily, which needs to be scaled up six-fold between August and December if the ambitious target is to be met. V K Paul, member Niti Aayog, who also heads the National Covid-19 task force, had on Thursday said 2.16 billion doses of Covid 19 vaccines will be be available in the country between August and December, enough to cover nearly 95 crore of India’s adult population. The projected doses include 75 crore of Covishield, 55 crore of Covaxin and 15.6 crore of Sputnik V whose local produc, tion will begin in July . The estimates also included NATIONWIDE MAY 13 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 14 3,62,727 3,43,144 3,52,181 3,44,776 4,120 4,000 30 crore doses by BioE, 5 crore of Zydus Cadila vaccine, 20 crore by Serum Institute of India’s Novavax, 10 crore of Bharat Biotech-Washington University’s nasal vaccine and 6 crore of Gennova vaccine, all of which are still under various phases of clinical trials. How can their production be ramped up so quickly? “It is a very ambitious target. I would be surprised if that’s achieved, but I am not sure how that is going to happen,” said microbiologist and immunologist Sudhanshu Vrati. According to R Ramakumar, an economist with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, as per the projections, SII will have to raise the production of Covishield to nearly three times per day to meet the target. “SII is already struggling to meet the promise of 3.3 million doses of Covishield per day by July. How are they going to make 6.4 million doses per day by December?” he asked. CONTINUED ON: P8 May 13 19,75,176 doses May 14 10,79,759 doses TOTAL DOSES: 18,04,29,261 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Modi red-flags Covid acceleration in rural areas M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi IN his first public comment after the second wave of Covid-19 wreaked havoc, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sent out a message of hope while warning farmers to stay on guard as the pandemic is fast advancing into rural India. “This pandemic is spreading fast in rural villages.... Aware- ness about this among rural people and cooperation of panchayat raj institutions are equally important,” he said. A recent report by SBI’s Ecowrap said the share of rural districts in new cases increased to 48.5% in May as compared to 36.8% in March. However, Modi added, “India is DR REDDY’S ROLLS OUT SPUTNIK V AT `995 A DOSE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad A day after it obtained clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories softlaunched Sputnik V vaccine by administering the first dose in Hyderabad on Friday . The company had got the first consignment of the Russian vaccine on May 1 and was awaiting clearance from CDL. While more consignments of Sputnik V vaccine are expected to arrive in the coming months, supply is expected to commence from Indian manufacturing partners, too. The imported vaccine is priced at an MRP of `948 plus 5% GST per dose, which comes to `995.40. The price is likely to be lowered when local supply begins. “With the rising cases in India, vaccination is our most effective tool in our battle against Covid-19. Contributing to the vaccination drive is our biggest priority right now to help Indians stay healthy and safe,” said G V Prasad, cochairman and MD of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. Meanwhile, Zydus Cadila announced plans to make 5 crore doses of its vaccine, which is under phase-3 clinical trial, by the year-end. not a nation that loses hope in tough times. This challenge will be overcome with strength and dedication,” while interacting with farmers to mark the transfer of the eighth installment of the PMKisan Nidhi scheme. M o d i ’s o p t i m i s m came at a time when the Centre and the states are sparring TAMIL NADU MAY 13 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 30,621 19,287 297 MAY 14 31,892 20,037 288 EXPRESS READ Black fungus disease grows among diabetics Madurai/Puducherry: As many as 12 cases each of mucormycosis (black fungus disease) have been reported in Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai and Puducherry over the past few weeks. Diabetic patients asked to be careful | P4 Glitch in Sterlite plant halts oxygen production Thoothukudi: Sterlite Copper halted the production of oxygen following a technical glitch in the plan on Friday. Authorities have roped in experts to fix the issue and provide real-time solutions to resume production | P4 over the availability of vaccines, high fatalities and lack of medical support to the affected people. While he refrained from fixing accountability for the lapses that led to the explosive second wave, he claimed the world is facing an invisible enemy and “every gover nment department is working day and night to ease the pain of the nation.” IYC PREZ QUESTIONED BY DELHI POLICE B V Srinivas, who has been applauded for aiding people in distress, was questioned on his supply chain of O2, meds and relief materials, drawing anger on social media | P7 With further restrictions, TN intensifies lockdown EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai JUST as the new Covid-19 cases per day have been hovering over 30,000 in Tamil Nadu in the last few days, the State government, on Friday intensified , the complete lockdown by imposing new restrictions. On Thursday the meeting of , leaders of all legislature parties agreed to intensify the lockdown to protect the lives of the people. In a statement here, Chief Minister MK Stalin said the new restrictions are being imposed due to unavoidable reasons and they will be in force between 4 am on May 15 and 4 am on May 24. Stalin said the police personnel should take immediate steps to enforce intensified complete lockdown. People should avoid coming out of their residences and should adhere to the guidelines issued by the government to prevent the spread of the infection. They are advised to buy groceries, provisions, vegetables etc., in the shops near to their living places and avoid travelling to the ones at long distances. The Chief Minister added that those who attempt to go to long er distances will be prevented. Chennai Corporation Commissioner and District Collectors should take steps for shifting the shops selling meat and fish as people are gathering in large numbers in these places, P4 Stalin said.
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