WARANGAL MONDAY MAY 24, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 28 CITY EDITION B.1.617 VARIANT: EXPERTS URGE GOVT TO RETHINK VAX POLICY The two major vaccines available in India may have less efficacy against the B.1.617 strain, say experts citing a recent UK study PFIZER JAB OFFERS BETTER PROTECTION: STUDY ‘NEED FRESH MODELLING, SEROSURVEYS’ According to a recent study by Public Health England, the two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine offer just 60% efficacy, while the protection after a single dose is much lower. The jab, however, has 66% efficacy after two doses against the B.1.1.7 strain, first detected in the UK. The study showed the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective against B1617 and 93% against B.1.1.7 ■ ■ According to virologist Gagandeep Kang, fresh modelling and serosurveys are urgently needed to optimise strategy for India It is better to reduce infection risk in a large number of people by offering one dose, rather than protecting a smaller group with the two-dose regimen, said virologist Sudhanshu Vrati | P7 GOVT CLAIMS BOTH COVISHIELD AND COVAXIN PROTECT AGAINST MOST COVID STRAINS 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 INDIA ON SUNDAY EVENING BECAME THE THIRD NATION AFTER U.S. & BRAZIL TO CROSS 3 LAKH CUMULATIVE FATALITIES Vaccine a distant reality in rural India, shows app Abysmally low rates of vaccination in rural districts across India Hundreds of vehicles wait in gargantuan queues as police stop the travellers from Andhra Pradesh, who are not having e-passes issued by Telangana, at Pullur border point in Kurnool district on Sunday TELANGANA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 22 MAY 23 3,308 4,723 21 2,242 4,693 19 POLICE UNMOVED BY TRAVELLERS’ PLEAS Barring ambulances and vehicles carrying patients of Covid-19, the police posted at different checkposts at the borders stood firm, despite pleas by the travellers to allow them. A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank officer, who was monitoring the situation at AP and Telangana border, said that they were given instructions in this regard by their senior officials Telangana e-pass is a must. This is a conscientious decision taken to prevent unnecessary crowd formation in Telangana. We have been asked to implement Telangana e-pass rule strictly and we are doing exactly that A Deputy Superintendent of Police PRANAB MONDAL, HARPREET BAJWA, S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I & R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Kolkata/Chandigarh/Mumbai/Jaipur Chaos at borders again as cops insist on e-passes issued by TS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE horror of vehicles waiting for interminable hours at the border checkposts for permission to enter Telangana returned on Sunday with the police setting up barricades and refusing to allow anyone without e-passes issued by the Telangana government. This has led to a long line-up of vehicles as the unwary travellers did not know that they had to obtain e-passes, which became mandatory overnight. Earlier, the Telangana police used to allow vehicles if they had e-passes issued by the States from where they began their journey . Barring ambulances and vehicles carrying patients of Covid-19, the police posted at differ- ent checkposts at the borders stood firm, despite pleas by the travellers to allow them. They kept showing the e-passes issued by their States but the police remained unmoved. The Telangana police erected checkpoints at Ramapuram of Nalgonda district, Nallabandagudem of Suryapet, Zaheerabad of Mumbai highway Des, inenipalem in Khammam district and at Pullur toll gate in Jogulamba Gadwal district and refused entry to the vehicles. They even resorted to mild lathi-charge at people coming from AP after they questioned the police’s actions. A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank officer, who was monitoring the situation at AP and Telangana border, said that they were given instructions in this regard by their senior officials. “Telangana e-pass is a must. This is a conscientious decision taken to prevent unnecessary crowd formation in Telangana. We have been asked to implement Telangana e-pass rule strictly and we are doing exactly that,” he said. As the police set up barricades, vehicles stopped one after the other for a distance of five km and when it appeared more number of vehicles would be joining the queue, the police, with no alternative left, allowed some of them into Telangana while telling others to return. The police, however, allowed vehicles carrying patients and ambulances, as High Court instructions to this effect are in force. Lockdown effect? Key numbers show decline M AYA N K T I WA R I @ Hyderabad IT looks as though the lockdown, about 10 days after its implementation, is having the desired effect in the State. The test positivity rate in Telangana has dropped to 5.2 per cent from 10 per cent recorded on May 1. The number of daily new infections is down by 70 per cent from 7,430 as of May 1 to 2,242 on May 23, against a total of 42,526 samples tested. The active caseload in the State has come down from 60,136 on May 11, before the lockdown, to 40,489 now. Fatality too is less now as, on May 11, 32 people died in Telangana while on May 23, 19 died. Healthcare personnel told Express that the caseload in hospitals had declined. Although government hospitals in the city are still busy , the lower load on them is perceptible. This becomes apparent from the fact that the number of occupied beds have reduced. According to the gov- er nment’s bed availability dashboard, there are a total of 20,996 oxygen-supported beds, of which 14,303 were occupied as of May 16 and 6,693 were vacant. On Sunday 12,832 , beds were occupied and 8,730 were vacant. Of a total of 11,429 ICU beds (ventilator supported), 8,351 were occupied and 3,078 were vacant as on May 16. Now, 7,647 beds are occupied and 4,036 are vacant. Last week, the government extended the lockdown in Telangana till May 30. As only a four-hour relaxation time is permitted, the State is under lockdown for 20 hours at a stretch every day . According to the predictions of the Central government’s National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee, the number of daily new cases in Telangana are likely to further drop to 1,800 to 2,000 by the end of May. They are likely to come down to 200 a day by the end of June, as per the predictions. Most states favour Class 12 ABUSIVE CHHATTISGARH exams, final decision on June 1 COLLECTOR SHUNTED OUT E JA Z K A I S E R @ Raipur E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi A high-level meeting on Sunday discussed whether to conduct Class 12 board exams at designated centres for 19 major subjects or hold shorter exams at schools but no decision was taken due to lack of consensus. The meeting was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Union ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal, Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani and Sanjay Dhotre, besides education ministers and secretaries of several states. According to sources, the CBSE has proposed that exams be held between July 15 and August 26 and the result declared in September. Most states left it for the Centre to take the call, but Maharashtra said the examinations should be cancelled altogether, while Delhi and Kerala sug- gested that all students must be vaccinated before the tests. “Following detailed discussion with states, it was decided that more deliberation will be carried out,” said an official. The states were asked to send their suggestions by Tuesday . Meanwhile, sources said neither the CBSE nor the government is in favour of cancelling the exams. “The option of holding CBSE board exams in 19 major subjects found support from many states. For other subjects, a different way such as internal assessments could be chalked out,” an official said. A decision is likely by June 1. YAAS IMPACT: The IMD has forecast THUNDERSTORMS thunderstorms with lightning PREDICTED ACROSS across the State till May 25, due TS TILL MAY 25 to the influence of cyclone Yaas P4 WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) FOLLOWING widespread outrage on social media over Surajpur collector Ranbir Sharma slapping a youth and smashing his mobile phone for allegedly flouting lockdown norms, the Chhattisgarh governemnt on Sunday Video grab of Ranbir transferred the IAS officer to the state Sharma slapping a youth secretariat. “I am upset with this incident. I apologise to the young man and his family said Chief ,” Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who also issued directions to compensate the youth with a new mobile handset. Sharma, too, apologised for slapping the youth, identified as Aman Mittal. “I am satisfied with the government action. Today I received a new mobile phone from the collector,” said Mittal. WORRYING TREND “VACCINE suna hai magar hum logo ko na mila. Kaise milega na jante hain (I have heard about the vaccine but not got it. I don’t know how to get it either),” said Raghunandan Paswan, 50, a daily wage labourer in Vaishali district of Bihar. Paswan’s lament sums up the progress of the vaccination in the rural areas. An analysis of data available on the CoWin app shows that vaccination in the rural belts of most states is lagging behind urban centres. Given that the Covid-19 pandemic is now raging in the villages, it has set off alarm bells in health circles. It’s a major concern, considering that medical facilities and awareness levels are below urban standards. Take the case of West Bengal, where Covid cases are out control following the recent elections. Till May 20, 30% of Kolkata and the adjoining urban pockets spread over four districts had been vaccinated. This is in sharp contrast to the 14 rural districts in the state, where seven districts have a vaccination percentage of less than 10. In north Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, only 5.8% of the population had been vaccinated. This is followed by Birbhum with only 8.74%. Among the better performing rural districts is South Dinajpur, with 15.3%. No other rural district crosses 12%. Even in these places, the gap is big between municipal centres and gram panchayats. Around 15,488 doses were administered in the Jhargram municipality area. In the rural Gopiballavpur block in the same district, with a population three times that of the pocket in Jhargram, the figure is 8,250 only . The rural-urban divide is stark in CONTINUED ON P8 Punjab also. BIHAR About 60% of urban Bihar vaccinated. Just 5% of rural population has got the shots. 76% of new cases and deaths reported from villages MADHYA PRADESH Vax in urban districts like Indore (27%), Bhopal (24%), Gwalior (24%). Rural districts like Agar Malwa (11%), Umaria (10%), Harda (11%), Alirajpur (8%) MAHARASHTRA Mumbai (43.11%), Pune (47.31%), Nagpur (48.55%) as against rural districts Gadchiroli (18.65%), Palghar (18.1%), Hingoli (17.17%) PUNJAB Bathinda (9.79%), Ferozpur (4.51%), Fatehgarh Sahib (9.63%), Muktsar Sahib (9.62%), Mansa (7.9%), Moga (9.56%), Sangrur (7.9%) BENGAL 30% of all doses administered in Kolkata and adjoining districts. In 14 rural districts, max vaccination in South Dinajpur (15.35%) RAJASTHAN Sawai Madhopur (19.9%), Dausa (16.36%), Pratapgarh (17.21%), Jalore (17.25%), Tonk (17.6%), Dungarpur (18%) LOCKDOWN EXTENDED IN DELHI, HARYANA, RAJASTHAN Lockdown was extended on Sunday in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Puducherry till May-end or beyond. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the process of 'unlock' will start from May 31. Rajasthan extended the lockdown till June 8, while Haryana's lockdown will stay till May 31 Moderna shoos off Punjab, sets trend for others S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi REFUSAL by Moderna, a US based Covid-19 vaccine maker, on Sunday to directly supply doses to the Punjab government came as a reminder that global bids by individual states to procure vaccines from the international market may not yield favorable results. Experts said the international tenders floated by several state governments like UP Ma, harashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala, apart from Punjab, pit them against one another, besides sending a wrong message that the Covid response in the country is uncoordinated. In a country already reeling under an acute shortage of vaccines, this development adds to the worries of the authorities as only around 14.4 crore people have received their first dose, while a meagre 4.14 crore have got the second one. The daily vaccination number, too, has come down to just 1-2 million a day after peaking to over , four million per day in early April. The Punjab gover nment, which had approached top vaccine makers, including Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, J&J and Sputnik V for direct supply, said Moderna got back claiming it would “only deal with Government of India”. CONTINUED ON P8 NATIONWIDE MAY 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 23 2,57,299 2,40,842 3,57,630 3,55,102 4,194 3,741 (Morn) KCR lands another blow, seeks probe into land grabbing plaint against Eatala’s son R P R I D H V I R A J @ Hyderabad CHIEF Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has delivered yet another blow on former Medical and Health Minister Eatala Rajender. He has ordered an inquiry into the allegation that Rajender’s son Nitin Reddy was in possession of a parcel of land in Medchal-Malkajgiri district that originally belonged to someone else. The Chief Minister, acting on the complaint from Peetla Mahesh Mudiraj from Ravalkol village in Medchal mandal in Medchal-Malkajgiri dis- Complainant alleges torture by accused When the complainant, Mahesh, objected to the change of ownership of the land in the records, those who claimed the land took him in a car, tortured him and tore up the documents he had to prove his claim trict, asked Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar on Sunday to inquire into the allegation. He also asked Revenue department and ACB Vigilance to probe the alleged encroachment and submit a report. Even as the inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister into “illegal” occupation of assigned lands by the family of Rajender in Masaipet mandal in Medak district and the encroachment of “endowment” lands of Seetharama Swamy temple at Devarayamjal in Shameerpet mandal in Medchal-Malkajgiri district were in progress, the Chief Minister chose to pack another iron-fisted punch at Rajender, who is at present examining several political options to hit back at his one-time CONTINUED ON P4 boss. HEALING HAND Bureaucrats, police officers who double up as doctors RAJESH ASNANI, RAJESH KUMAR THAKUR & ANURAAG SINGH @ Jaipur/Patna/Bhopal THEY are qualified doctors by training, but bureaucrats or police officers by profession. They had donned the white coat of medical practitioners before clearing the civil service examinations and becoming IAS or IPS officers. Now in this hour of crisis caused by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, besides doing their jobs as a chief executive or a district magistrate, they take out time to visit hospitals and double up as doctors to treat Covid patients. Meet Manju Sheoran Jakhar, S M Thiyagrajan and Anil Kumar among others, the first two being IAS officers of the Rajasthan and Bihar cadre respectively, and the third an IPS officer in UP. All three had studied MBBS. They are now putting their medical training to good use, playing a Manju Sheoran Jakhar S M Thiyagrajan double role with ease. Jakhar, a 2016 batch IAS officer, is the chief executive officer of the Udaipur District Council and oversees rural development work under the MN- REGA. She studied MBBS at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi and also completed her MS in gynaecology before cracking the civil services exam. Given her medical background, she was assigned the work of ensuring oxygen supply to patients and to fill the gap in Covid testing facilities. During her almost daily rounds of hospitals to ensure this, she takes out time to see patients in the wards of the RNT Medical College Hospital in Udaipur, among others. Jakhar also gives phone consultation to patients. “A lot of treatment is done on the phone itself as every family has someone or other suffering from Covid. I check their reports, symptoms and track their treatment. This will continue as I am doctor,” she said. To manage medical oxygen, her team collected data from hospitals requiring oxygen and then raCONTINUED ON P7 tioned it.
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