visakhapatnam l thursday l may 20, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION rajasthan govt declares black fungus an epidemic Doctors operating on a patient with black fungus infection at Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur Medical College Hospital on Wednesday | PTI diabetes patients at higher infection risk Deaths due to mucormycosis — colloquially called black fungus — among Covid patients have been reported across states like Kerala (10+), Haryana (5) and UP (2). It is a common fungus in soil and decaying vegetation, but rarely affects those with strong immune system. In Covid patients, those with uncontrolled diabetes or on immunosuppression are at higher risk Wednesday’s declaration came after case count touched 100. A separate ward has been created at a Jaipur hospital ■ 50% Steroid use linked to fungus’ spread ■ ■ It can affect any organ, including skin or eye. A surgery or removal of the affected organ may be required to contain the spread There is no scientific evidence that oxygen pipes or humidifier are sources of its origin. It is not contagious, but has high morbidity Diabetes care and avoiding steroids can help arrest the infection Death rate once the black fungus infection is contracted 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 registers 1.58% GSDP growth, per capita income rises to `1.7 lakh Buggana to present State budget today Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath will present the State budget for 2021-22 in the Assembly on Thursday. Prior to that the State Cabinet will meet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy to give its nod to the State budget E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Despite the Covid-19 pandemic having an adverse impact on revenues of the government for more than a year, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Andhra Pradesh has registered a growth of 1.58 per cent at current prices for the finan- cial year 2020-21. The Socio Economic Survey (SES) for 2020-21, which was released by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday found , that the State has registered the growth of 1.58 per cent even as the nation’s growth was -3.8 per cent. According to the SES for 2019-20, the GSDP was 12.73 per cent. The per capita income of the State at current prices increased to `1,70,217 in 2020-21 from `1,68,480 in 2019-20. The all-India per capita income stood at `1,34,186 in 2019-20. Officials opined that agriculture, being the primary sector, contributes more to the economy of the State enabling it achieve rise in per capita income. When contacted by TNIE, Principal Secretary (Finance) SS Rawat said the impact of Covid on agriculture was less compared to industry and service sectors. This apart, priority to agriculture and allied sectors also contributed to the growth, he said. Further, provision of financial support to small and mar- Hinterlands becoming super-spreaders; lax testing, poor awareness & fewer good hospitals complicate situation Rural caseload spurt is a big healthcare challenge E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e I F metros and big cities bore the brunt of the first wave of Covid-19 last year, the second wave seems to be choking rural India in a way not seen before. According to a recent SBI report, the share of rural districts in new cases has been steadily increasing – from 36.8% in March to 45.5% in April and 48.5% in May Alarm. ingly, the fatality rate in interior regions is also high owing to lack of easy access to medical care, shortage of life-saving drugs, and lack of awareness, among other reasons. In Punjab, for example, 46% of the active coronavirus cases are from rural areas. Data show that interior regions account for 55% of the overall Covid deaths in the state. During May 1-15, as many as 55,411 cases were reported from Punjab’s 16 rural districts while the total infections in the state were 1,20,723. Out of 2,618 deaths in Punjab during the period, 1,434 were from rural areas. Likewise, 43% of Haryana’s Covid cases were from rural areas in the first two weeks of May. Also, 62% of the Covid deaths were from the 15 predominantly rural districts of Awareness in rural areas this time was less compared to the first phase. One can’t rule out negligence in rural areas. Persistent efforts and containment measures across Chhattisgarh helped us record a recovery rate of 86% Dr Subhash Mishra, Director of Epidemic Control, Chhattisgarh the state. During May 1-15, as many as 84,242 cases were reported from these districts, while the total cases across the state stood at 1,97,334. In terms of deaths, the figure is 1,456 from rural areas out of the state’s total of 2,330. Bihar has a peculiar problem. Nearly 89% of the state’s 13.12 crore population live in its 45,103 villages. In the second Covid wave, 76% of the total cases in the state are from rural areas. According to sources, at least 50% of the population in remote districts like Jamui, Aurangabad, Muzaffarpur, etc could be infected. “The actual degree of rural spread could be much higher, as access and willingness for testing is limited,” said Dr Vikash R Keshri, a health policy expert. Covid-19 is surging ahead in rural Bengal, too, with health department officials conceding that the situation in at least 18 districts is grim. For example, West Midnapore recorded 268 cases on May 1. The count went up to 653 on May 7 and 829 on May 15. Similarly 74 new cases , were recorded on May 1 in Jhargram. It jumped to 124 on May 8 and to 178 on May 15. In Andhra, while rural areas have been reporting more Covid-19 cases than urban regions, interior areas seem to have a slightly lesser fatality rate. According to data for April, the case load was higher in rural areas compared to urban. Of the 1.46 lakh cases reported, 56% of them, accounting for 81,365 cases, were in rural areas while the urban areas accounted for 44%. Explaining the reason, Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said the enforcement of partial curfew or restrictions would be more effective in urban areas and cities but not so in hintercontinued on P8 lands. ginal farmers under Rythu Bharosa, price stabilisation and other development initiatives of the government sustained the agriculture sector. Another official reasoned that continuation of welfare schemes and the government transferring money directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries under various PM’s Economic Advisory panel Fresh push for 1-time hike in corporate tax A n u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi rescued kids Street children having a meal at the launch of Operation Muskaan Covid-19 Phase 7 in Vijayawada on Wednesday | Express May 18 12,79,896 doses May 19 11,45,569 doses Total doses: 18,69,89,265 Jab-o-meter Take your shot NATIONWIDE MAY 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 19 2,63,533 2,67,334 4,22,436 3,89,851 4,329 4,529 RURAL LOAD FACTOR Andhra Pradesh Rural areas have more cases (56%) but fatality rate is lower than urban centres Bihar 90% of the 13-crore population lives in villages. Over 75% of active cases reported from rural areas Haryana 43% of the fresh cases and over 60% of deaths from hinterlands Madhya Pradesh Huge uptick in cases in districts adjoining Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand 100% jump in active cases from rural areas West Bengal Situation in 18 districts grim Punjab Over 45% of the fresh cases and 55% of deaths are from rural districts A controversial proposal to tax the rich is back on the table, with a section of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) strongly pushing to impose additional tax for a short period to make up for the revenue loss during the pandemic. “In the internal economic review meeting, many members of the PMEAC had suggested that many countries are using wealth tax to compensate for revenue. The proposal was that India can reconsider it for companies that are resilient or had posted a healthy double-digit growth as one-time measure,” a senior finance ministry official, who was aware of the meeting earlier this month, said. The meeting was attended by officials of the finance ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), PMEAC and Niti Aayog. Some officials of the finance ministry are also in favour of the proposal, the officer said. This is not the first time the rich tax has been mooted. When the proposal to slash corporate tax was first drafted, it had a wealth tax component on high profit earning govt to procure 15,000 vials from 3 firms to treat black fungus cases E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada A Navy ship provides assistance to a partially flooded tug off Daman | PTI Guj toll 45; bodies of 26 on barge found, 47 missing E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai/New Delhi Monster cyclone Tauktae that made landfall in Gujarat on Monday night left a trail of destruction, killing 45 people across 12 districts, apart from drowning at least 26 occupants of ONGC’s Barge-P305 35 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast. While the 26 bodies were brought ashore by a Navy team on Wednesday, 47 others who were on the barge on the ill-fated night are still unaccounted for. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday undertook an aerial survey of affected areas in Gujarat and the adjoining Union Territory of Diu to assess the devastation. Indian Navy and the Coast Guard continued their search and rescue operations for the third day. Modi later approved a grant of `1,000 crore for immediate relief activities in Gujarat besides `2 lakh compensation to the next of kin of all the victims of the cyclone. Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said, 186 crew members of Accommodation Barge P-305 and two from Tug ‘Varapradha’ have been rescued by Navy ships and aircraft so far. Efforts to locate the 47 missing personnel is in progress. INS Talwar assisted Support Station 3 and drill ship Sagar Bhushan, which are now being safely towed back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels. Food and water to the crew members of these vessels was also provided by naval helicopters from Mumbai earlier in the day . In Gujarat, 15 deaths were reported from Amreli district. Power supply snapped in over 9,000 villages. The State government has placed an order for 15,000 vials of Amphotericin B injection used for treatment of black fungus. Briefing the media about the Covid-19 situation in the State on Wednesday Principal , Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said the Centre had allocated just 1,650 vials of Amphotericin B to AP. In the wake of emergence of several black fungus cases in the State, the government had placed the order for 15,000 Amphotericin B vials. “As per the information that we are getting from media reports and hospitals, the number of black fungus cases may be more. About 60 vials are needed to treat a black fungus case,” he said. “After analysing the situation in the Covid Command and Control Centre, we have placed orders for 15,000 vials with Mylan Laboratories, Bharat Serums and Vaccines Limited and Sun Pharma so that there is a continuous supply of vials to treat black fungus cases once the vials allotandhra pradesh may 18 May 19 Fresh cases 21,320 23,160 Recoveries 21,274 24,819 Deaths 99 106 Samples tested 91,253 1,01,330 ted by the Centre arrive on May 22 or 23. Each pharma company was given an order for 5,000 vials,” he said. The vials will be sent to the hospitals notified by the government in 13 districts of the State to treat the fungal infection. Each vial costs around `5,000 - `6,000 and the total cost of treatment may be nearly `3 lakh. Black fungus has been included in the list of diseases covered under the YSR Aarogyasri as many people cannot afford the huge treatment cost, Singhal said. The technical committee Govt evolves 14-day treatment package The State government issued a GO on Wednesday including black fungus in the list of diseases covered under the YSR Aarogyasri Scheme, besides evolving a treatment package. According to the Medical and Health Department, the 14-day treatment package under the Post Covid with Mucormycosis Management costs `41,968 was asked to furnish data pertaining to expected number of cases in the next two months after consulting hospital superintendents and medical experts. The Medical and Health Department is likely to get the exact data of the expected number of black fungus cases by tomorrow. Based on the data, we will invite a short tender for more vials, he said. Singhal further said black fungus is not a new disease, but there is a spurt in cases now. “The disease is not new and there is a treatment for it. With the spike in black fungus cases due to Covid, the medicines currently available in the market are not sufficient. Hence, the Centre has started making allocation of vials to each State like in the case of Remdesivir,” he said. covid response DD Int’l coming to change global narrative E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Perhaps pummelled by the loads of bad press India’s Covid response has been drawing, national broadcaster Doordarshan had decided to launch an international channel to try to change the narrative. India’s Covid situation con- schemes even during the Covid pandemic also contributed to increase in the per capita income. In the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, AP improved its rank from four in 2018 to three in 2019 in overall SDG rankings among all the P4 States in the country . tinues to dominate headlines across a wide swathe of international publications and websites like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, The Australian, The Economist, and news agency Reuters. The public broadcaster last week floated an expression of interest (EOI) for DD International, inviting comments from private players to draft a detailed project report for the new channel. Bids were invited from reputed global consultants with experience in advising international broadcasters/media houses on projects. Prasar Bharati CEO S S Vempati said such a project was on the cards for some time now. “It has been a long overdue strate- gic objective to establish international presence for Doordarshan. The Prasar Bharati Board in its last meeting (March) gave the go ahead to develop a project roadmap for the same. This EOI is a step towards that,” he said. The EOI said bureaus would be set up globally and there would be round-the-clock world service streams. Demand to tax the rich growing globally The demand to tax the rich has increased globally, especially at a time when the income divide has widened during the pandemic with a large number of middle class people pushed into poverty while the ultra rich are getting richer firms. But in the final draft by then revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the wealth tax clause was dropped. Ahead of this year’s budget, the proposal was back on the table but was decisively rejected by the PMO, which wanted to present a business friendly image. According to Karthik Natarajan, partner, Bhuta Shah & Co. LLP , “The temptation, however easy, to load the thrust of taxes on a section of economic citizenry may best be avoided as the corporates are an inseparable part of the society and have larger contributions to make in terms of productive deployment of the factors of production.” Three suspected black fungus cases reported in East Godavari E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kakinada Three suspected black fungus cases have been reported in East Godavari district. According to official sources, a 57-yearold man working in a medical agency developed symptoms of black fungus and he is being treated at a private hospital in the city. A 56-year-old woman who initially got treatment in the Government General Hospital, was later shifted to a private hospital. The woman’s left eye had to be removed due to fungal infection. Meanwhile, a 48-year-old woman from Ramavaram village in Anaparthi mandal, who is being treated for Covid, too showed symptoms of the fungal infection. Dr V Koti Reddy of Ramavaram Primary Health Centre, said it is yet to be confirmed that she has developed fungal infection as she has been suffering from sinusitis. They approached the PHC on Tuesday after failing to get admission in private hospitals in Rajamahendravaram. The case was referred to the GGH. District Collector D Muralidhar Reddy said the Kakinada GGH is one of the 17 hospitals notified in the State to treat black fungus cases. GGH Superintendent Dr R Mahalakshmi said 10 beds in the emergency block were allotted for black fungus cases.
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20-05-2021 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam