30 per cent 50,00,000 40,00,000 (1 March 2021 - 24 May 2021) India’s daily cases dROP IN CASELOAD IN THE PAST 10 DAYS NATIONWIDE MAY 24 MAY 25 Fresh cases 2,22,315 1,96,427 Recoveries 3,02,544 3,25,850 Deaths 4,454 3,511 30,00,000 20,00,000 Jab-o-meter May 24 nagapattinam l wednesday l may 26, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Daily Covid cases go below 2 lakh, lowest in a month Single-day rise in new Covid infections fell to the lowest level in 41 days on Tuesday, according to Union health ministry data 0 1 Mar Source: mygov.in 10,00,000 1 Apr 1 May 24 May Daily test positivity rate, too, comes down Cases down in DELHI, but up in T.N., N-E A total of 1,96,427 new coronavirus infections were reported in the past 24 hours, while the toll tally climbed to 3,07,231 with 3,511 fresh fatalities – the lowest in 21 days, the data updated at Tuesday 8 am showed. India had registered 1,84,372 new cases on April 14. In another positive note, the daily test positivity rate came down to under 10% to settle at 9.54% ■ ■ Data show that active caseload in six states, including Delhi, has come down by half since mid-May. However, in Tamil Nadu and some north-eastern states, cases seem to be going up The Union health ministry said cumulatively, the active caseload in India has now come down to 25,86,782 | P7 23,65,395 doses Take your May 25 shot 18,77,419 doses Total doses: 20,04,94,991 1,84,372 fRESH CASES WERE REPORTED ON aPRIL 14, THE PREVIOUS LOWEST POINT 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 Cases drop: Chennai heaves a sigh of relief O M J A S VIN M D @ Chennai In what may be a relief for Chennai residents, Covid cases in the city have shown a drastic fall in the last seven days. Between May 11 and 17, Chennai recorded 47,595 cases while from May 18 to 24, it is 40,012. In other words, there has been a decrease of nearly 7,500 cases. On May 24, the city recorded fewer than 5,000 cases after a while. The positivity rate has also seen a huge fall from 26 per cent on May 10 to 17.16 per cent on May 24. Corporation officials said the bulk vaccination drive might play a key role in reducing the cases further. “Ever since we released the forms for bulk vaccine registration, there has been a huge demand. We have held camps at offices, apartment complexes, and even streets with a good turnout,” said corporation officials. Chennai so far, has vaccinated 18.59 lakh people and on average, in the past week, about 20,000 people were vaccinated every day Officials said . that Chennai has received 25 per cent of the total vaccines supplied to the State. In other good news, 89 per cent of the total Covid patients in the city have been discharged so far, and the active cases now stand at 10 per cent. Four corporation zones — Royapuram, Thiruvika Nagar, Teynampet, tamil nadu MAY 24 MAY 25 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 34,867 27,026 404 34,285 28,745 468 and Kodambakkam — have fewer than 10 per cent active cases. On the other hand, Sholinganallur zone has the highest at 15 per cent. Meanwhile, health officials said fines to a tune of `32 crore have been collected for Covid violation since March this year. “Zonal enforcement teams have been advised to impose fines on people roaming unnecessarily . They have also closed alternative routes to main roads and have put check posts to screen vehicles,” said an official said. focus shifts to west as kovai clocks 5x jump in active cases DEEPA K S AT H I S H @ Coimbatore WITH Covid cases in the northern districts including Chennai showing a downward spiral, health authorities are shifting focus to the Western region. “The prime focus now is on Coimbatore, Tiruppur, and Erode districts,” Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told Express. “The decline in the northern region is preliminary and we cannot take it as , a sure sign. Still, the focus has shifted to the West. We have advised the Coimbatore district administration of unified control measures, such as the ones we implemented in Chennai to arrest the spread.” The district has been recording a steep increase in the daily count with cases going up from 1,257 on May 1 to 3,632 on May 25. In the same period, the active case count has also witnessed a surge from 7,288 on May 1 to a whopping 34,253 on May 25. Sizing up economy stress HDFC Bank flags likely In the face of uncertainty, defaults in retail loan people are saving every repayment by individuals penny for a rainy day Sesa Sen @ New Delhi chained to track The axle of a train being chained at the Shalimar Station in Howrah to save them from cyclone Yaas, on Tuesday | Bibhash Lodh Phase 3 trial of new antiviral drug in India E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Phase 3 clinical trials in nearly 2,400 people in India have begun to test the efficacy of experimental antiviral drug Molnupiravir against Covid-19, following regulatory approvals by the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation. This drug, developed by Merck originally, is an oral broad spectrum antiviral agent that has shown promise in treating mild and moderate Covid cases in early-stage trials in some countries. In India, five companies have entered into voluntary licensing agreements to produce generic versions of it. And MSN laboratories has received permission to conduct the trials. Dr Suneetha Narreddy, senior consultant, infectious diseases, at Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad, which is one of the 40 sites in India where the phase 3 trials will be held, said that the drug is showing promise. “Data from early stage trials and preliminary analysis of phase 3 trials from outside India looks very promising but we should wait till the trials are concluded in India to say something definitive,” she said, adding it is being given to non-hospitalised patients with mild and moderate disease. “Final analysis will depend on how many of the patients with or without this drug in the placebo and treatment arm go on to develop severe disease or needed hospitalisation.” CISF chief S K Jaiswal is new CBI chief New Delhi: Senior IPS officer Subodh Kumar Jaiswal was on Tuesday appointed the new CBI chief for two years. An 1985-batch IPS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, Jaiswal is currently the director general of the Central Industrial Security Force. A high powered committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday shortlisted his name for the post. He also served as Maharashtra’s DGP in the past | ENS Express News Service WITH the pandemic still raging and no end in sight for the common man’s economic distress, banks are bracing for an era of retail loan defaults. Retail loans, which dominated the Covid restructuring of most private banks in 2020-21, are likely to see higher delinquencies as borrowers are busy fighting the impact of the second wave of infec- For the first time in tions, Sashidhar Jagdishan, CEO and MD so many years, we of HDFC Bank, said on Tuesday . probably may not Borrowers who had to avail cover un- have a grip on what der regulatory dispensations like mora- is going to happen. torium and restructuring after the first We should see asset quality come back Covid wave are more likely to default, the to what we saw in CEO said, implying that the lender will the March quarter be “cautious” in these extraordinary in a couple of times. HDFC Bank already saw an uptick quarters’ time in cheque bounce rates in April. Sashidhar Jagdishan, Talking to investors in a call hosted by Macquarie Research, Jagdishan said that CEO & MD, HDFC Bank the second Covid wave hitting the rural areas will have an impact on both business momentum and recovery . As on March 31, the bank restructured total loans worth `6,508.37 crore comprising 3.36 lakh accounts under the Reserve Bank’s one-time scheme. Of this, 2.87 lakh accounts were for retail loans amounting to `5,456 crore or 92.5 per cent. Corporate borrowers have largely stayed away from restructuring their dues. The trend is similar for other private banks, too. Total restructuring by Axis Bank amounted to `844.6 crore, of which retail loans accounted for `503.71 crore as on March 31. Similarly Kotak Mahindra Bank restructured loans worth `121.5 , crore, of which `82.38 crore consisted of retail loans. ICICI Bank and Yes Bank were outliers that saw more corporate loan recast. INDIANs have salted away a neat `1 lakh crore in bank deposits in just three fortnights of the current fiscal (FY22). Interest rates are literally nailed to the floorboards, so the big money flowing into banks, experts caution, could be a sign of rising household stress. It’s an unusual increase for the months of April and May and with lockdowns in , force, some believe it’s a sign of precautionary savings, compounded by the need to hold disposable cash to counter health and economic uncertainties. Typically, bank deposits and credit offtake decline in April and May. But, FY21 bucked the trend with deposits rising by a staggering `2.8 lakh crore in the first three fortnights. Now, FY22 is a torchbearer, with customers saving much more this fiscal, but whether this will have a sig- E X P RE S S READ Panel to probe student abuse cases soon? Chennai: Minister for School Education, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, on Tuesday said the State is mulling over setting up a committee to exclusively handle complaints of sexual abuse and harassment from students. “It is important to investigate such complaints and ensure that genuine ones are acted upon. We should also ensure that the innocent are not punished,” he said. ENS FOR Chandana Bauri, BJP’s MLA in Saltora, West Bengal, defeating the TMC candidate in the recent Assembly elections was easier than bowing to her party’s decision to provide all BJP Bengal legislators with central force personnel security cover. Chandana, the wife of a daily wage earner, found it impossible to offer the four central groceries using their own money and giving it to the MLA for arranging meals for them and her family as well. Chandana bagged victory from Saltora defeating her contender, a TMC veteran in the area, by 4,145 votes. “My husband is a mason. Our daily average earning is `400. Because of lockdown, the source of income has dried up. My husband and I are MGNREGA card holders,” she said. (H crore) Credits (H crore) FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 -1,75,73 -83,297 -56,379 2,82,876 1,03,334 -2,50,525 -1,04,780 -1,46,966 -1,19,028 -80,025 1st fortnight 2nd fortnight 3rd fortnight 1,01,357 -80,579 82,555 -60,333 -28,783 9,091 Source: RBI, SBI Research nificant salutary impact on consumption spending is unclear. As an OECD paper underscored last December, lockdowns in several countries strengthened motives for precautionary saving among households, discouraging investment and purchases of durable goods. continued on: P10 India’s GDP is likely to grow at 1.3% in the fourth quarter of FY21 and may see a contraction of around 7.3% for the full financial year, according to SBI research report ‘Ecowrap’. The NSO will release the GDP estimates on May 3 Narada scam CBI withdraws appeal in SC on house arrest E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi The CBI on Tuesday withdrew its appeal against a Calcutta High Court order allowing house arrest for four persons, including three Trinamool lawmakers, instead of judicial custody after their arrest in the Narada scam. A vacation bench comprising justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai took sharp note of the unusual five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court formed to hear the matter. “Special bench is assigned to protect liberty This is for the . first time that a special bench was assigned to take away the liberty Justice Gavai said. ,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, flagged the intimidation by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other top Trinamool leaders after the CBI arrested the four politicians. “Chief Minister Banerjee had gone to CBI office with her supporters and sat on a dharna; and the state law minister went with his followers to the special CBI court complex,” he said. But the bench said those incidents have to be seen separately and cannot influence the grant of bail. It, however, permitted Mehta to take back the appeal and raise all the grievances in the high court. The judges also said, “We don’t consider our judiciary to be that weak to be influenced like this. We don’t want to demoralise our courts.” Two Cong leaders get police notice in toolkit case E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi It was not just microblogging site Twitter that was issued notice by the Delhi Police Special Cell for tagging BJP leader Sambit Patra’s tweet as manipulated media in the alleged Congress toolkit case. The police also served notices on two Congress leaders — former Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda and Congress social me- dia head Rohan Gupta, it has now emerged. Both were asked to join the probe, said a senior officer, adding, “These notices were issued a week ago following a Congress complaint.” Notices to them and Twitter were sent on the same day May 22. , Rohan Gupta said, “We had filed our police complaint on May 18 but they did not register any FIR. Then we filed a complaint in Chhattisgarh and joined a case as co-applicant. Why this BJP MLA can’t afford protection of central forces force jawans, who were sent for her security, daily meals and make arrangements for accommodation for them. The homemaker-tur nedMLA’s husband, who is jobless because of the lockdown, and her two children reside in a dilapidated single-room hut with tiled-roof without running water or even a toilet. Touched by their protectee’s plight, the jawans have started buying vegetables from local Deposits GDP to grow at 1.3% in March: SBI REPORT Security Cover P r o n a b M o n da l @ Kolkata THE BIG CHANGE Measures include creating more Covid care centres with oxygen concentrators and establishing zero-delay wards among others. “At the zerodelay place, patients would be re-triaged after the examination. We have also suggested some action plans to Collector S Nagarajan,” the secretary added. Talking about Coimbatore, Radhakrishnan said the district has managed the oxygen crisis well. continued on p4 We have written to the Delhi Police seeking transfer of the case to Chhattisgarh.” The Congress on Tuesday pushed ahead further, demanded that Twitter add the manipulated media tag to tweets by 11 Union ministers like like Giriaj Singh, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dhar mendra Pradhan and Ramesh Nishank, for spreading malicious propaganda in the fake toolkit case. New Delhi: Amid speculation on the fate of social media firms for failing to align with India’s IT rules, Facebook said it needs more engagement with the Centre. Twitter declined comment | P8 BJP plays victim card New Delhi: After exploiting social media to spread its base, the BJP is now playing the victim card, blaming the platforms of bias | P7 HC calls for decongestion of prisons in TN, Puducherry EXPRE S S NEW S S ERVICE @ Chennai BJP MLA Chandana Bauri along with the central forces sent for her security by the party, in front of her dilapidated hut in Saltora, West Bengal Facebook on compliance The Madras High Court on Monday called for decongesting prisons due to surge in Covid cases by granting leave or interim bail to women prisoners who are accompanied by children aged below six, across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry . Chief Justice Sanjeeb Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said, “It is im- perative that such category of inmates at correctional homes be also allowed to return home or be granted parole or interim bail or the like.” The court directed the Executive Chairman of the TN State Legal Services Authority for expeditious action, and said the issue requires immediate action to determine the release of other convicts, too, by July 15. The plea was adjourned to Thursday .
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