THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l saturday l may 15, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l 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 A road which got inundated at Ottamassery in Alappuzha | Arun Angela 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 ■ 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 DOWNPOUR, DAMAGE; COAST BEARS BRUNT E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Rain to continue 2 23 die in rain-related incidents @ T’Puram relief camps functional in the state State expected to receive heavy rain on Saturday as well 9 NDRF teams deployed in the state, in Kollam, Alappuzha, Idukki, P’thitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, and Wayanad dists Orange alert sounded in 7 districts Ban enforced on fishing to continue till further notice A man searches for his belongings amid debris of his house at Kochuthope coastal village in Thiruvananthapuram following sea erosion on Friday | Vincent Pulickal Depression intensifies, says Met Department While the Southwest monsoon may take two more weeks to set in, heavy rain triggered by a depression in the Arabian Sea lashed the state for the second day on Friday, inundating several low-lying areas and causing widespread destruction. The sea turned rough and tidal waves rose one metre high, displacing many families in the coastal areas and fully or partially damaging houses. Two persons were killed in separate rain-related incidents. Adarsh K M, 19, son of Madusoodanan of Kizhakkedathu, drowned in Chenoth river in Kozhikode while taking bath. The body of an elderly man was found in a waterlogged area at Chellanam in Ernakulam. Water gushed into around 50 houses at Ponnani in Malappuram after the sea turned Met Department said the depression over the Arabian Sea has intensified into a deep depression and lay centred over the Lakshadweep Islands and adjoining southeast and east-central Arabian Sea, around 310 km westsouthwest of Kannur. rough while around 100 families were displaced in Kodung a l l u r. T h e B e y p o r e Gotheeswaram beach road in Ko z h i ko d e t o o s u f f e r e d damage. Sea erosion occurred at Kodungallur and Chavakkad in Thrissur, and Alappad, Thanni and Eravipuram in Kollam. Six ships including three Sri Lankan barges had to be anchored at the Kollam port because of rough weather. In Ernakulam, high waves battered areas like Chellanam and Vypeen leaving scores of houses flooded. Houses along the coastal stretches of Kadal u n d i a n d Ko y i l a n d i i n Kozhikode too suffered similar damage. According to the state control room, 17 relief camps were opened till evening sheltering 337 people, taking the total number of active camps in the state to 23 with 764 inmates overall. More camps will be opened and their status would be clear by Saturday, said an official. The revenue department is taking stock of the number of houses damaged in the rain fury . Meanwhile, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department said the depression over the Arabian Sea has intensified into a deep depression and lay centred over the Lakshadweep Islands and adjoining southeast and eastcentral Arabian Sea, around 310 km west-southwest of Kan● More on P4 nur. Triple lockdown in four 2 bn vax doses a tall order: Experts PM Modi warns districts from tomorrow rural India to S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi Statewide lockdown extended till May 23; More curbs in T’Puram, Ernakulam, Thrissur & Malappuram Vax for 18-44 from Monday E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram In the wake of the Covid-19 test positivity rate (TPR) remaining high in all districts, the ongoing state-wide lockdown has been extended by a week till May 23. Triple lockdown, with stricter restrictions like no inter-district travel, cordoning off containment zones with single entry/exit point and ban on infected persons and their contacts from stepping outside their houses, will be in force in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram from May 16 (Sunday) on account of the high caseload in these districts. Meanwhile, CM Pinarayi Vijayan also said vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group will begin on Monday with online registrations commencing on Saturday . Beginning Saturday, only those who have completed at least 84 days after receiving the first dose of Covishield vaccine will be allowed to take the second dose. The decision has been taken in the wake of the latest findings that it is ideal to take the second dose of Covishield between 84 and 112 days. However, people who take Covaxin can continue to take the second dose between four and six weeks, the chief minister said. Acknowledging the hardships people will face due to the extension of lockdown, Pinarayi said special measures are being taken by the government including continuing with the distribution of free grocery kits in June as well. “The distribution of social welfare pension for the month of May will also be completed soon. An assistance of `1,000 will be provided to members of various welfare fund boards,” Pinarayi said. While welfare fund boards that do not have its own funds will receive assistance from the state, BPL families without any assistance at present will be provided a one-time aid of `1,000. The salary of temporary workers will be ensured during the lockdown period. A revolving fund of `1 lakh will be provided to 19,500 Kudumbashree Area Development Societies (ADS). Chief Minister’s ‘Sahaya Hastham’ loan scheme and Resurgent Kerala loan scheme, being implemented by Kudumbashree, will receive an annual interest subsidy of `93 crore and `73 crore, respectively, in advance. P2 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 `995.4. The price is likely to be lowered when local supply begins. “With cases rising in India, vaccination is the most effective tool in our battle against Covid. 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. Meanwhile, Zydus Cadila announced plans to make 5 crore doses of its vaccine, which is under phase-3 clinical trial, by the year-end. 3 levels of locking down The four districts will be locked down in such a manner that nobody moves in and out of the district 1 Second lock is for containment zones in these districts 2 Third lock at houses where patients & primary contacts live 3 Police will take over surveillance of district borders and containment zones From now on, if a person tests positive in antigen test, an RT-PCR test for confirmation is not required and the person will be considered Covid positive. Also, Covid test will not be mandatory for discharge of patients who show no symptoms after treatment The distribution of social welfare pension for the month of May will be completed soon. An assistance of J1,000 will be provided to members of various welfare fund boards — Pinarayi Vijayan, CM STATEWIDE may 13 MAY 14 Fresh cases 39,955 34,694 Recoveries 33,733 31,319 97 93 Deaths EDIT | WHY NOT A VIRTUAL KERALA SWEARING-IN? | P6 A day after the Centre projected the availability of a whopping 2 billion doses of Covid 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 Nation- al Covid task force, had on Thursday said 2.16 billion doses of Covid vaccines will be available in the country between August and December, enough to cover nearly 95 c r o r e o f I n d i a ’s a d u l t 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 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 Mask, PPE kit ‘essential items’, state caps prices E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram The state government has capped the prices of 15 medical items, including sanitisers, PPE kits and masks, and declared them as essential items to ensure their availability and prevent fleecing. The Food and Civil Supplies Department issued an order in this regard on Friday . There have been several complaints regarding the exorbitant rates charged and black marketing in items such as pulse oximeter and PPE kits. Earlier, the government had capped the maximum amount that a private hospital can charge from a Covid-19 patient. The government had allowed the private hospitals to charge for PPE kits according to the maximum retail price. The new order on capping prices is expected to streamline the prices charged by various PPE kit manufacturers. Earlier this week, the Maharashtra government had also initiated steps to cap the prices of PPE kits and N95 masks and issued an order to manufacturers to revise the MRPs. 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. Maximum prices PPE kit K273 N95 mask K22 Triple-layer mask K3.90 Face shield K21 Apron (disposable) K12 Surgical gown K65 Examination glove K5.75 Sanitiser (500ml) K192 Sanitiser (200ml) K98 Sanitiser (100ml) K55 Sterile gloves (pair) K15 NRB mask K80 Oxygen mask K54 Flowmeter (humidifier) K1,520 Fingertip oximeter K1,500 stay on guard MA N IS H A N A N D @ New Delhi In his first public comment after the second wave of Covid-19 wreaked havoc, Prime Mini s t e r N a re n d r a 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. However, Modi added, “India is not a nation that loses hope in tough times. This challenge will be overcome with strength and dedication.” NATIONWIDE MAY 13 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 14 3,62,727 3,43,144 3,52,181 3,52,850 4,120 4,000 Jab-o-meter May 13 Take 19,75,176 doses your May 14 shot 10,79,759 doses Total doses: 18,04,29,261 ta k e n i n o pe n g o o ds tr u c k EXPRESS READ Suspected Covid patient carried in sack, dies Soumya’s body to be brought home today G e o r ge P o i k ay i l @Kasaragod On Friday, a disturbing video of four persons in PPE kits carrying a suspected Covid patient in a sack and transporting him in an open pickup truck to a hospital went viral on social media. Xavier Vettamthadam alias Sabu, 57, a native of Kooramkundu in Kinanur-Karinthalam grama panchayat, did not survive the journey His family said . they called the Corona Help Desk in the district headquarters for an ambulance but was not provided one saying Sabu was not on the list of Covid patients. Kinanur-Karinthalam panchayat does not have an ambulance. Xavier’s wife Annie tested positive for Covid on May Xavier Vettamthadam (top) being carried in a sack to an open truck 3. “But health officers told her husband and daughter that there was no need to get tested but they should remain in quarantine,” said Annie’s brotherin-law Saji George. On Thursday afternoon (May 13), Sabu started having trouble breathing. “He was not able to talk,” he said. George said he started trying for an ambulance at 3pm. “When I called 108 ambulance, an executive asked me to contact the Corona Control Cell,” he said. When he called the cell, George alleged, the executive refused to assign an ambulance saying he was not listed as a patient. The executive asked George to contact the health inspector of KinanurKarinthalam and shared the official’s number with him. When TNIE contacted the official in-charge of assigning an ambulance, he said the cell got a “vague” call enquiring for an ambulance and hung up. “The caller did not even identify himself or the need. He just asked if an ambulance was available for non-Covid patients. When the person who attended the call said an ambulance was available only for Covid patients and their primary contacts, he hung up,” said the incharge of 108 Ambulance distribution. He said the cell never denied ambulance to ● More on P2 anyone. Kochi: The mortal remains of Soumya Santhosh, the Malayali caretaker who died in a mortar shell attack at Ashkelon in Israel on May 11, will be brought to Kerala on Saturday. Union minister V Muraleedharan will receive the body at Delhi airport. P5 Actor P C George passes away Kochi: Actor P C George, 74, who played memorable anti-hero roles in Malayalam films of the late 1980s and early ’90s, died at a private hospital here on Friday. P5 16 pages, including 4 pages of THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Express
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15-05-2021 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram