Doctors operating on a patient with black fungus infection at Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur Medical College Hospital on Wednesday | PTI WARANGAL THURSDAY MAY 20, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 CITY EDITION RAJASTHAN GOVT DECLARES BLACK FUNGUS AN EPIDEMIC Wednesday’s declaration came after case count touched 100. A separate ward has been created at a Jaipur hospital 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 ■ 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 Rural caseload spurt is a big healthcare challenge While hinterlands becoming super-spreaders of virus, lax testing, poor awareness and fewer good hospitals complicate situation E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E With several vehicles hitting the road, traffic almost comes to a standstill on the Mehdipatnam-Tolichowki road, in Hyderabad, on Wednesday | S SENBAGAPANDIYAN A large number of motorists seen commuting, leading to a heavy traffic jam at Chaderghat, in Hyderabad, on Wednesday | VINAY MADAPU Is 4-hr recess killing lockdown in TS? TELANGANA MAY 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 3,982 5,186 27 MAY 19 3,837 4,976 25 PETROL BUNKS TO STAY OPEN ALL DAY The State government on Wednesday exempted petrol bunks from the lockdown. The bunks will now stay open round the clock in the State. Hitherto, petrol bunks in the State, except those located on National Highways, were functioning from 6 am to 10 am. “The Government hereby relaxes the timings of fuel stations/retail outlets in urban and rural areas for operating in the normal working timings during the day, since the procurement of paddy is going on in the State and trucks have to be operated for shifting paddy from the paddy purchasing centres to the designated rice mills and in view of agriculture demand and emergency service vehicular requirement,” the circular issued by the government said. D O N I TA J O S E @ Hyderabad Huge rush from 7.30-9 am THE four-hour relaxation period appears to have become counter-productive to the very objective of lockdown — to arrest the spread, and bring d ow n t h e i n c i d e n c e o f Covid-19. Everyday from 6 am, the city bursts into economic and social activity compressing and , capturing the entire day’s activity in a short span of four hours. While traders and vendors are happy that economic activity is running uninterrupted in those four hours, experts are worried about indisciplined crowds without spilling out onto the roads without wearing masks or maintaining social distance. Several commercial hubs in the city, like Jagdish Market, Madhapur, Kukatpally Ameer, pet, Charminar, various Rythu bazaars are brimming with people in the four-hour phase, so much so that the traffic in these areas takes about an hour to clear after the lockdown hours come into force at 10 am. In Hyderabad, there are more than 2.50 lakh street hawkers and vendors who do business on the roads, where people throng to make purchases. As per the Telangana Street Vendors and Hawkers Association, most of the rush is seen only between 7.30 and 9 am at these places. “The vendors cannot stop the heavy rush as the relaxation bracket is for a short duration. The only way it can be maintained is by extending the relaxation period,” says S Venkat Mohan, State president, Telangana Street Vendors and Hawkers Trade Union. Police say that they have been effectively enforcing Covid-19 appropriate behaviour during the four-hour window, but the situation on the ground shows a different picture. They say that the first lockdown in 2020 was completely different from the situation now. Nonetheless, they are trying to inculcate discipline in crowds. Says Rachakonda Police Commssioner Mahesh Bhagwat: “Anyone who violates rules is booked and action taken. After the relaxation period is completed, all officers are distributed to checkpoints and patrolling.” Lockdown 2020 rules better A few police officials recall that the lockdown in 2020 when except for establishments selling groceries, vegetables and a few other essentials, others used to be closed and people were allowed to travel only within 2km radius for any purchase. “The police department which was at the forefront in enforcing the lockdown, did it very strictly, But not anymore,” said one official. The State has to save lives and livelihoods, but the tasks are antithetical in nature. “While Telangana has more or less struck a reasonable balance between the two, it is important to ensure some restrictions that enforce Covid-19 appropriate behaviour among the people,” says Dr Subodh Kandumuthan, Director of Centre for Health Care Management at Administrative Staff College of India. CONTINUED ON P4 KCR visits Gandhi Hosp, soothes Covid patients E N S @ Hyderabad Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao lends an empathetic ear to a Covid-19 patient during his visit to Gandhi Hospital in Secunderabad on Wednesday DD International coming to change global narrative E N S @ 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 continues to dominate headlines across international publications and websites like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, The Australian, The Economist, and news agency Reuters. The broadcaster last week floated an expression of interest for DD Int’l, inviting comments from private players to draft a detailed project report for the new CONTINUED ON P7 channel. CHIEF Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday visited the ICU and other wards of the Gandhi Hospital and interacted with the Covid-19 patients in order to instil confidence among them. This is his first visit to a government hospital in the second wave of the pandemic. Rao, who recently recovered from Covid-19, visited the hospital without wearing a PPE kit. However, he wore a face mask as he went very close to the patients and interacted with them. He gave patients words of solace and courage. The CM spent almost an hour in the hospital and enquired with the patients about the treatment being provided by the hospital. Rao, who also visited outpatient and general wards, enquired about the quality of the food being provided to the patients. When some patients poured out problems, he gave on the spot instructions to the officials to resolve the isCONTINUED ON P4 sues. Cops don’t name Madhu in chargesheet EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Peddapalli AFTER hunting for Peddapalli Zilla Parishad Chair man Putta Madhu for nine days and interrogating him for four days, the police omitted his name from the chargesheet which they filed online in the Manthani Magistrate Court on Wednesday in connection with twin murders of High Court lawyer couple Gatti Vaman Rao and PV Nagamani. The duo were killed in broad daylight on February 17. The police interrogated Putta Madhu for four days after picking him up from his hideout in Bheemavaram in AP on May 8 and his wife Shailaja for one full day Later . they set them free, after telling them to make themselves available whenever summoned. The murders, whose investigation is in the notice of High Court, were committed at Kalvacherla in Peddapalli district. CONTINUED ON P2 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 is 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 Fresh push for 1-time increase in corporate tax A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi 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, 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 earnCONTINUED ON P7 ing firms. Govt appoints Janardhan Reddy as TSPSC chief EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE State gover nment on Wednesday reconstituted Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) and appointed senior IAS officer B Janardhan Reddy, who is currently the Principal Secretary Agriculture, as the chairman. He is the second chairman for the Commission, since the for- B JANARDHAN REDDY: Belongs to Peddayapalli in Mahbubnagar district. He did his Post-Graduation in Agriculture. Later, he joined the State government services. He is known among his colleagues as an honest and sincere officer mation of the State. While reconstituting the TSPSC, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao accorded priority to those who participated in the separate Telangana statehood movement. Educationalists, two Revenue officials and a journalist were taken as members of the Commission. “The Chief Minister considered the sincerity ability , and educational qualifications for the appointment of chairman and members,” the TRS sources said. The Chief Minister signed the related file and sent it for the approval of Gover nor Tamilisai Soundararajan. The Governor gave her consent for the same. Janardhan Reddy served the government in various capacities right from RDO to Horticulture CommisCONTINUED ON P3 sioner. 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 May 18 12,79,896 doses May 19 11,45,569 doses TOTAL DOSES: 18,69,89,265 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT 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 reas o n , P r i n c i p a l s e c re t a r y (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. 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 TAUKTAE EFFECT GUJ CYCLONE TOLL 45; 26 BODIES FOUND ON ILL-FATED BARGE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai/New Delhi MONSTER cyclone Tauktae that made landfall in Gujarat on Monday night left a trail of destruction, killing at least 45 people across 12 districts, apart from drowning at least 26 occupants of ONGC’s Barge-P305 35 nautical miles off Mumbai. 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 approved a grant of `1,000 crore for immediate relief activities in Gujarat besides `2 lakh compensation to the next of kin of all 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 sup- A Navy ship provides assistance to a partially flooded tug off Daman | PTI port vessels. Food and water to the 300-odd 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 in Saurashtra, the worst affected region. Eight persons each were killed in Bhavnagar and Gir Somnath districts, an official of the State Emergency Operation Centre said. Ahemdabad reported five deaths, two in Kheda, and one each in Anand, Vadodara, Surat, Valsad, Rajkot, Navsari and Panchmahal districts. As many as 30,000 structures, including 28,430 kachcha houses, 74,493 electricity poles and 674 roads were damaged, 68,753 trees uprooted and power supply snapped in over 9,000 Gujarat villages.
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.