ALBIN MATHEW HYDERABAD SATURDAY MAY 15, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 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 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 ■ MAY 31 I.M.D. SOUNDS RED ALERT IN FIVE DISTRICTS 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 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 New Delhi: In his first public comment after the second wave of Covid19 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.... Awareness 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. HC stays govt order on e-passes for Covid patients to enter TS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad TAKING serious exception to the denial of entry for ambulances from Andhra Pradesh into the State, the Telangana High Court on Friday stayed the operation of the guidelines which mandated that all Covid-19 patients should obtain e-passes to enter Telangana. A division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli, after hearings on a lunch motion moved by a re- tired officer Venkatakrishna Rao, directed that the stay orders would be in force till further notice. The division bench also laid down that the State should not issue orders in any form restricting the movement of ambulances across the borders. The bench, during the hearing, took the State government to task, asking whether it did not know that such an action was in defiance of the court’s earlier orders. The division bench asked @ Hyderabad A day after it obtained clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, Dr Reddy ’s L a b o r a t o r i e s s o f t launched 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 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kurnool/Vijayawada P I N T O D E E PA K @ Hyderabad TENSION prevailed at Andhra Pradesh-Telangana border in Kurnool and Krishna districts on Friday with Telangana police disallowing ambulances carrying Covid-19 patients into the neighbouring State. Family members of some Covid patients entered into an argument with Telangana police for preventing ambulances from going to Hyd e r ab a d . A t o t a l o f 6 0 ambulances were stopped at the toll plaza since Thursday midnight and of them 12 were carrying Covid patients with various stages of severity Un. confirmed reports stated that two Covid patients, one from Kadapa and another from Nandyal had died due to undue delay at the toll plaza. However, Kurnool police said they verified the reports and no such deaths occurred. The Andhra Pradesh government impleaded in a house motion petition filed in the Telangana High Court against a circular issued by the Telan- Fresh cases 4,693 4,305 ENDING the day-long horror of Covid-19 patients from AndRecoveries 6,876 6,361 hra Pradesh gasping for life in Deaths 33 29 ambulances, the Telangana government issued orders late on Friday evening allowing decision. As the police rethem to pass through the in- moved the barricades on Friter-state borders. The decision day evening, the ambulances came after the Telanmoved into Telangana gana High Court as the patients and stayed the implementheir attendants tation of GO making heaved a sigh of repossession of an an e- No ambulance is lief, thankful to the pass mandatory to enHigh Court for combeing stopped ter the State. now. The details ing to their rescue. of patient and Even as tension Police officials at the hospital flared up at the borthese border checkwhere they are ders, the police reposts told Express mained firm, parrot- going are being that they have been recorded. Then ing out a reply that they are allowed told to allow ambulances with immedithey have orders to alto enter ate effect. “No ambulow ambulances with Telangana lance is being stopped Covid-19 patients only A police official now. The details of if they had e-passes the patients, vehicles issued by Telangana government. Many ambulanc- and hospital where they are es returned, looking for hospi- going to take treatment are betals in AP, as the High Court ing recorded and are allowed stepped in and rapped the to enter Telangana, without State gover nment on its insisting on e-passes,” said knuckles for its indefensible one official. CONTINUED ON P4 Kurnool MLA MA Hafeez Khan tries to convince toll plaza staff and Telangana police officials to allow ambulances carrying Covid patients to go to Hyderabad gana government barring entry of ambulances from Andhra Pradesh. Taking serious note of the issue, the Telangana High Court issued an interim stay on the circular iss u e d by t h e Te l a n g a n a government and adjourned the case hearing to June 17. However, Telangana police refused to allow ambulances at the inter-state borders stating that they are yet to receive orders from their higher officials on the High Court stay A . few ambulances with Covid patients waiting at Pullur toll plaza with a hope that the High Court will reopen the border were pushed into crisis when oxygen supply started depleting. Having learnt about the situation, Kurnool Superintendent of Police Fakeerappa Kaginelli immediately brought oxygen cylinders from the police hospital in Kurnool and connected them to two patients, who were running out of oxygen supply . CONTINUED ON P4 Citizens expose State’s claim on bed availability 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, co-chairman and MD of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. The company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfil the regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply . Meanwhile, Zydus Cadila announced plans to make five crore doses of its vaccine, which is under phase-3 clinical trial, by the year-end. D O N I TA J O S E @ Hyderabad THE Telangana government’s live dashboard showing bed availability has yet again come under fire from citizens for having misleading “live” data. An independent research carried out by individuals, who have been helping people find beds, has found that more than 300 hospitals listed on the dashboard have no beds for Covid-19 treatment. The government live dashboard shows that more than 6,000 are available in these hospitals. However, the volunteers note that the majority of the beds don’t exist. “We observed that day after day there were a few hospitals with zero occupancy. We decided to compile them all and to give these hospitals a call to check if the beds were really available. When we randomly began calling, a majority of them were clueless as to how their hospitals were enlisted as a Covid-19 treating centre,” said Sai Mani Varun Ch, one of the volunteers. CONTINUED ON P4 Vaccination drive suspended for two days WORKING TO ENSURE SMOOTH, TIMELY SUPPLY Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfil the regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply He said that it had been clear that the patients in other states should come to Telangana only after confirmation of a bed in a hospital. There has been a steady increase in the rush of Covid -19 patients from neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, AP and Karnataka. The petitioner prayed to the court to declare the denial of entry into Telangana for ambulances as ultra vires and ensure free passage for them to Hyderabad. AMID CHAOS AND CONFUSION, 60 TS govt finally relents AMBULANCES STOPPED AT BORDER and lets ambulances in DR REDDY’S ROLLS OUT SPUTNIK V AT `995 A DOSE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE whether the government did not know that refusing permission to an ambulance into Telangana was against the Constitution. The court pointed out that no State had so far denied entry to ambulances. It wanted to know who had given powers to the State government to deny permission to ambulances to enter Telangana. The government should understand that the Constitution has given to all the right to life, the bench said. The AG, defending denial of permission to ambulances, said the decision was taken keeping in view the lack of availability of beds for Telangana citizens who were finding it difficult to get admission in hospitals. He referred to the Delhi government also imposing restriction on admissions to hospitals. Deepak Sapra, Global Head of Custom Pharma Services at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, gets the first shot of Sputnik V in Hyderabad on Friday Hyderabad: The State Health Department has suspended vaccine drive for Saturday and Sunday. The announcement was made by the Director of Public Health’s office on Friday evening. The decision was taken in the wake of the centre increasing the interval between first and second doses of Covishield from the present 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks. The Health Department said that the campaign will resume on Monday, May 16. TELANGANA MAY 13 YSRCP MP Raghurama Raju arrested in Hyd EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada AP CID arrested K Raghurama Krishnam Raju, rebel YSRC MP of Narasapuram, from his residence in Hyderabad on Friday He was arrested on charges . of ‘hate speeches’ against certain communities and spreading ‘disaf fection’ against the government. According to sources, Additional Director General (CID) PV Sunil Kumar ordered an inquiry during , which it was revealed that through his speeches, the MP was indulging in systematic effort to cause tensions among the communities and by attacking various government dignitaries in a way, which will cause loss of faith in the govCONTINUED ON P5 ernment. RIPPLE EFFECT Now, oxygen diversion hits granite industry B SATYANARAYANA REDDY @Khammam OXYGEN may be saving the lives of Covi-19 patients but it is killing the livelihoods of workers in granite industry. The reason: no oxygen is available for the industry which it uses for cutting granite slabs as all life-saving gas is now going to hospitals. Due to non-availability of oxygen, more than half of the granite industry units have been shut down, throwing thousands of workers out of employment. With no alternative left, they had left for their native places. The industry is also suffering as it is incurring a loss of `2 crore every day . The Khammam district is the hub for black granite with about 435 granite units and as many as 100 tiles units, which were set up a long time ago. Every day about 2,40,000 square , ft of granite slabs are trans- ported to various states and some destinations abroad. After Covid-19 began spreading like the wrath of God making the patients breathless, granite industry was affected last year. As Coronavirus showed mellowing down since December, the industry began looking up. But the second wave, which has proved to be much more virulent and deleterious, has once again brought the industry down. With all ox- ygen having been ordered to be sent to hospitals, no granite unit is functional now. According to Granite Industries Association president Thammenani Venkata Rao and honorary president Talluri Madhusudhan Rao, the industry employs around 8,000 skilled workers from Chhattishgarh, Rajasthan, Bengal and Odisha. As many as 5,000 families get indirect employCONTINUED ON P4 ment. MAY 14 SUBDUED FESTIVAL Muslims offer prayers at Ibrahimpatnam Eidgah on the occasion of Id-ul-Fitr on Friday | VINAY MADAPU
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