BHUBANESWAR l monday l may 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l JEYPORE 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 Vaccine a distant reality in rural India, shows app ‘Yaas’ heads for north Odisha-WB coast The low pressure over Bay of Bengal which turned into a depression on Sunday and on course to be a very severe cyclonic storm is gunning for a Wednesday evening landfall between Paradip and Sagar Islands (West Bengal). Though the exact place and time of crossing the coastline with precision will need another 24 hours, a large band between West Bengal-Odisha border could be the point of crossing when extremely heavy rains and high velocity winds in excess of 150 km per hour is expected over the sea and coastal parts. Once intensified, it will be called cyclone ‘Yaas’ named by Oman. This will be the second cyclone to hit Indian coast within 10 days after cyclone Tauktae crossed Gujarat on May 17 | P3 Abysmally low rates of vaccination in rural districts across India Pr a n a b Mo n d a l , H a r p r e e t B a j w a , 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 Fire Service personnel ready rescue boats and equipment for deployment in vulnerable districts, in Bhubaneswar | irfana Odisha readies rescue, restoration plan for ‘Yaas’ Express News Service @ Bhubaneswar As Odisha braces for the very severe cyclonic storm, likey to cross its northern shores on May 26, the State government has readied its rescue and evacuation plans in the regions along its projected path. The government is gearing up to deal with wind speed ranging from 120 to 165 km per hour, rainfall between 250 and 300 cm, and storm surge of three to four metre in coastal areas. Four coastal districts likely to be most affected by the cyclone, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur, have already finalised their evacuation plans and spruced up the cyclone shelters. Evacuation of people from all vulner- able places will start either from Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said the government has taken all preemptive and preparatory measures for evacuation of people from vulnerable areas keeping in view of likely inundation of low lying areas due to storm Abusive C’garh collector shunted out EJA Z K AISE R @ Raipur 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 transferred the IAS officer to the state secretariat. “I am upset with this incident. I apologise to the young man and his family said ,” Video grab of Ranbir Sharma slapping a youth Chief Minister B h u p e s h 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. ODISHA MAY 22 NATIONWIDE MAY 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 23 11,108 10,601 26 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths surge. He said 22 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), more than 50 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and more than 175 teams of Fire Services have been deployed in vulnerable zones of the districts. Besides, 10 more NDRF teams will be airlifted to Odisha, he added. The SRC said deployment of rescue and evacuation teams will be increased considering the severity of the cyclone and the path to be taken by it. There will be a more clear picture regarding the landfall of the cyclone and its speed by Monday evening, he added. As directed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the SRC on Sunday visited Balasore, the district presumed to be in the eye of the cyclone, and re- 12,852 11,627 28 viewed the preparedness with the collector and his counterpart at neighbouring Bhadrak. Stating that drinking water provision, power restoration, uninterrupted service to Covid hospitals will be top priority during the cyclone, Jena said he advised the collectors for coordinated action for evacuation and proper shelter management. Besides, collectors were asked for better compliance to Covid protocols in all the shelters, Covid and general hospitals during the period. Meanwhile, the SRC has advised elderly people not to venture out during cyclone and asked youngsters not to roam around on bikes after wind starts gathering pace. CONTINUED ON: P5 Most states favour Class 12 board exams, final decision on June 1 MAY 23 2,57,299 2,40,842 3,57,630 3,55,102 4,194 3,741 (Morn) 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 WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID), “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. 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 suggested 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 examinations. “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. 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 Manju Sheoran Jakhar S M Thiyagrajan 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 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 MNREGA. 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 rationed it. Continued on: P7 Worrying trend 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%) Moderna shoos off Punjab, sets trend for others S u m i S u k a n ya D u tta @ 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
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