NEW DELHI 23 MAY 2021 SUNDAY `12 PAGES 24 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard https://epaper.morningstandard.in The Unscrupulous Indian The Art of Healing PLUS: 12 PAGES EXCLUSIVE VOICES Prabhu Chawla T J S George Shankkar Aiyar Ravi Shankar The Raga of Longing The Funny Face of India MAGAZINE Bowled Out in Bombay Delving into the Unknown Pushpesh Pant Anand Neelakantan Gautam Chintamani Sathya Saran SADHGURU SPEAKS The Company Man A Child Needs No Instruction Manual Black fungus spreading, drug supply starts August date for Centre confirms 8.8K cases in India, over 23K vials to reach states E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi COMING out for the first time on the total number of back fungus cases in the country the , Centre on Saturday said 8,848 persons have been infected across the country . In view of the surge of mucormycosis cases, the government has sent over 23,000 additional vials of a key drug used in treatment of the fungal infection to the affected states, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertlisers DV Sadananda Gowda said. The government admitted that drugs used to treat this disease are limited in supply and its production is being augmented. “Amphotericin B was available in the country in limited supply Its availabil. ity and supply is now being increased. The Ministry of Pharma is coordinating with the Ministry of Health for providing licence to five additional manufacturers. Existing manufacturers are working towards LIMITED USE OF STEROID BETTER increasing production capacity,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary Union Health Minis, try at a Covid-19 briefing. , According to official data, Gujarat has reported the highest of 2,281 cases and it has been allocated 5,800 vials. Maharashtra, the second worstaffected state, has been given 5,090. Andhra Pradesh will receive 2,300 for 910 patients. Telangana with 350 cases has been allocated 890 vials. At the press briefing, the government said irrational and uncontrolled use of steroids on Covid-19 patients has led to the fungal infection. “Steroids are wonder drugs that help save lives. But when doses are given in an irrational manner, steroids start having a negative impact instead of helping the patient. One of these negative impacts is being seen in the form of black fungus. Such use of steroids can also complicate existing diabetes,” said Dr VK Paul, Member (health), Niti Aayog. The government has said that uncontrolled use of steroids to treat Covid-19 patients increases the risk of mucormycosis. Production of the drug to treat this is being ramped up. Asked if black fungus is a new disease that has come to light during the Covid pandemic, Paul said the infection existed even in pre-Covid times. “It is an uncommon illness that primarily affects the diabetic, but it has not spread in the form of an outbreak. Covid-19 did not start black fungus.” Mucormycosis is a rare fungal disease commonly detected in the Covid-19 patients who are in the recovery phase. The disease is caused by organisms called mucormycetes, which enter the body through breathing or skin injuries. These are naturally present in soil and decaying organic matter, but once inside humans, they can infect air pockets behind the forehead, nose, cheekbones and between the eyes and teeth. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kar nataka which are among the states that have been hit hard by the infection, have been given 1830, 1780 and 1270 vials. Delhi, which has reported 197 cases of the infection , will receive 670 vials. IMA hits out at Yoga guru Ramdev for allegedly misleading people by making “unlearned” statements against allopathy, demands minister to prosecute him under Epidemic Diseases Act | P7 E PRESS MAPS X DEMAND & SUPPLY RATIO A total of 23,680 vials of Amphotericin B have been allocated for the states and UTs to fight the black fungus infection... Himachal Pradesh 0 0 Ladakh 0 0 Chandigarh 8 50 Delhi 197 670 Punjab 95 320 Uttarakhand 2 50 Uttar Pradesh 112 380 J&K 0 0 *Haryana 250 640 Bihar 56 190 *Rajasthan 700 1,780 *Gujarat 2,281 5,800 D&D /D& N H 6 50 *MP 720 1,830 *Maharashtra 2,000 5,090 Goa 12 50 *Karnataka 500 1,270 Kerala 36 120 Patients CENTRAL INSTITUTIONS 442 1,500 TOTAL 8,848 23,680 Sikkim 0 0 Arunachal Pradesh 0 0 Assam 0 0 Nagaland 0 0 Manipur 0 0 West Bengal 1 50 Mizoram Jharkhand 0 0 27 100 Tripura Odisha 1 50 Chhattisgarh 15 87 300 50 Meghalaya 0 0 *Telangana 350 890 Andaman & Puducherry Nicobar Islands 0 0 0 0 *Andhra Pradesh 910 2,310 Tamil Nadu 40 140 drug allocation | *States highlighted have been given 75% of the total allocation Made in India Sputnik V vaccine E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi IN what could be a significant boost to the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines in India, Indian ambassador to Russia, DB Venkatesh Varma, on Saturday said that the Russian vaccine Sputnik V’s production in the country will begin in August this year. “The production in India is expected to start in August and 850 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be produced in India by about SeptemberOctober. Almost 65 to 70 per cent of Sputnik V vaccines produced anywhere in the world will be from India. Russia will export the vaccine to other parts of the world once the demand is met in India,” said Varma. India had already got 2,10,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month and by the end of May, thye country will receive another 3 million doses. By June, 5 million doses of the vaccine will be available in the country . As fars the one-dose Sputnik Lite is concerned, the Indian envoy said that once the regulatory approval is given, it would become another area of bilateral cooperation between India and Russia. On the delivery of the S400 missile system, Varma said that the equipment will be delivered on time in the last quarter of the year. There will be no delay . “Contracts that have already been concluded are proceeding according to the schedule, there is no delay in any of the contracts,” the ambassador said. The S400 deal is being closely watched and followed with interest because the US has threatened sanctions against India under CAATSA if the deal goes through. The production in India is expected to start in August and 850 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be produced in India by about September-October —DB Venkatesh Varma, Ambassador to Russia EU Parliament to support IPR vax waiver at WTO E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE European Parliament has passed a resolution to extend support to the India-South Africa proposal at the WTO, seeking a waiver of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on Covid -19 vaccines. “EU to set up a clear and coherent EU global COVID-19 vaccination strategy and therefore to support the Indian and South African World Trade Organization initiative for a temporary waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, equipment, and treatments while urging pharmaceutical companies to share their knowledge and data through the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP),” the resolution stated. The resolution comes weeks after US President Joe Biden announced that his government would support the proposal at the WTO. It is likely that the proposal would be taken up at the European Parliament during its session between June 7 and 10. In October 2020, India and South Africa had jointly initiated the proposal at WTO, but met with resistance from the West. The US’ approval for the proposal triggered support from other quarters. In March, a group of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) had urged the Eu- Kejriwal writes to Modi on supply of shots, Centre says he is doing politics E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi HELPING HANDS Health workers shift a patient from one ward to another at a Covid-19 hospital in Kolkata on Saturday | PTI EXPRESS READ WATER Oxford, Pfizer jabs 80% effective on mutant New Delhi: Two doses from either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer vaccine are over 80 per cent effective in preventing infection from the B1.617.2 variant of COVID-19, first discovered in India, a new UK government study has found. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is also being produced by the SII as Covishield. The UK findings are said to be based on data from Public Health England. No consensus on Covid passport issue: Centre New Delhi: The WHO is yet to reach a consensus on the vaccine passport issue for allowing international travel to those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus infection, the government said. So far there’s no consensus at the level of WHO over this, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said. “Discussion is still being done if vaccinated people will be allowed,” he added. RURAL PUNJAB IS NO MORE PARCHED The state has been able to provide potable piped water supply connections to 26.44 lakh rural households under its ‘Har Ghar Pani, Har Ghar Safai’ mission | P5 DELHI Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, expressing displeasure over shortage of Covid-19 vaccine supply . Listing out four suggestions, Kejriwal said the Centre should ‘direct ‘ and ‘not request’ vaccine manufacturers to start production on a war footing for large-scale vaccination of people in the country, including the national capital in order to prevent a third wave. However, the Centre responded by saying Kejriwal is doing politics. His suggestions to the BJP-led government includes asking foreign countries with surplus vaccines to give stocks to India, allowing foreign-made vaccines to start production and supply in the country . “Shortage in supply of vaccines has forced a very difficult situation. Nothing more tragic for a family which has to face a moral crisis of whether to get themselves vaccinated or to get their family members vaccinated. Our aim should be vaccinating more people in less time,” wrote Kejriwal. According to the Delhi government, it has administered almost 50 lakh vaccines so far. Delhi needs 80 lakh doses per month but received 16 lakh in May and will receive 8 lakh in , June. Given the current rate of supplies, it would take around 30 months to vaccinate all adults in the national capital. To augment vaccine production, Kejriwal has suggested that the Centre should buy and distribute international vaccines and also procure accines from nations with surplus. “International vaccine manufacturers should be permitted to manufacture vaccines in India. Centre should order all companies to make vaccines as Bharat Biotech has agreed to share Covaxin formula with other firms” said Kejriwal. MISMATCH Uttarakhand ‘backlog deaths’ boost under-counting claims V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun OF the total Covid-19 deaths Uttarakhand has reported, 42% of them are “missed,” prompting suspicion of underreporting of Covid fatalities in the state. Government wings have been labeling such fatalities as ‘backlog deaths’ for six days in the health bulletin issued by the state government. It means such deaths were not reported by hospitals across the state. Of the 923 deaths reported in six days in the bulletin, 384 are ‘backlog deaths’, making it 42% of the total Covid fatalities recorded in Uttarakhand. “After 65 deaths were discovered unreported in Haridwar by a private hospital, notices were served. Everyone is on alert now. No such thing happened in the first wave. This is the phenomenon of the second wave,” said a doctor of the state health department on the con- dition of anonymity . Interestingly hospitals which , failed to report these deaths include All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, other government hospitals and many private hospitals in Haridwar, Pithoragarh, Dehradun and other districts. The daily bulletin clarifies: “Deaths reported from the previous date added in cumulative figure”. In some cases, these deaths were reflected in district re- ports/daily bulletins, but not submitted timely to the State COVID-19 Control Room. The lacuna has led to the belief that the fatality figures in the state carry serious discrepancies. Anoop Nautiyal, from Social Development for Communities Foundation which has been collating and analysing data since March 15, 2020 when the first case of Covid surfaced in the state, said: “The fact that many government hospitals are una- ble to report deaths on time in Uttarakhand is a classic example of administrative collapse. We will never know all the reasons, but this is indicative of a systemic rot. If we seek improvements, we need to make serious and sustained efforts.” Officials from the state health department told this newspaer that this is not an attempt or effort to hide the causalities or cover-up theactual number of deaths in the state. ropean Commission, the highest decision making body of the EU, to support the proposal. The issue was discussed during the India-EU Summit on May 8 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the EU to support the joint India-South Africa proposal. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had also said that the issue was an important one and should be taken up open for discussion. India and the EU are major centres of vaccine manufacturing. SEEKING HELP Army officer writes to Sood, draws mild flak M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi INDIAN Army has disapproved the step of a Commanding Officer (CO) of an unit in the Western Sector seeking assistance from Bollywood Actor and Philanthropist Sonu Sood. The letter apprised Sood about a 200-bed Covid care facility at Jaisalmer Military Station. Disapproving the step, a senior officer termed the act “over enthusiasm” and said: “It is an over enthusiastic behaviour by the officer but the intentions are right aiming to get the facility started. But this is not the way and it should not have been done. He should have waited for procurement through government funds. There is no shortfall in public funds.” In his letter to Sood, the officer wrote: “With limited resources available with us, there is requirement of additional equipment”. The equipment mentioned to be provided under Corporate Social Responsibility included four , ICU beds, 10 oxygen concentrators, 10 jumbo oxygen cylinders (7000 lts), one X-ray machine and two generator sets. Army will remain ever grateful to Sood for his generous act, wrote the officer.
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