KOCHI l wednesday l june 09, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE city EDITION ‘China’s vaccine was ready even before the pandemic’ Eminent virologist Dr T Jacob John told TNIE it is possible that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created in the Wuhan virology lab Beijing is hiding something: Dr John Jacob ‘Work on vaccine started a year ago’ “There is something mysterious about the Chinese episode (the suspected leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology). China’s Covid-19 pandemic was unique in the world. That means they are hiding something… or they are different… or China had prepared for this in advance. Everything is not what meets the eye,” said Dr John, ex-professor of Virology, CMC Vellore ■ ■ “There are smoking gun evidences in molecular biology that point to the possibility that it is a lab-manipulated virus,” Dr John said China must have started work on Covid vaccine at least a year earlier. Having a vaccine almost ready helped China curtail the virus spread right from the early days, he added. P5 Feb 24, 2020 China applied for vaccine barely two months after Covid outbreak 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 States empowered to prioritise age groups for jabs DISTRESS SIGNALS The economy continues to reel due to the pandemic. Here’s a look S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi Auto-debit payment failures Out of 85.7 million auto-debit transactions attempted in May, 30.8 million (36%) failed In April, out of 85.4 million such transactions initiated, 29.08 million (34%) failed Bank credit Bank credit growth hit 59-year low of 5.56% in 2020-21. It is expected to fall in 2021-22, too, with corporates deleveraging by repaying high cost loans through funds raised via bond issuances The credit availed by the Indian textiles and apparels industry fell 20% year-on-year to J1.62 lakh crore as of December 2020. This was mainly due to suspension of manufacturing activities in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19 lockdown last year, says the SIDBI-CRIF joint report In value terms, auto-debit transactions worth A22,000 crore failed in April primarily due to lack of funds | P10 statewide Fresh cases Recoveries june 7 june 8 9,313 15,567 21,921 20,019 221 Deaths NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 7 Walk-in registrations allowed for all age groups starting June 21; Centre urges people to go to private vax centres if they can afford to pay 124 june 8 1,00,636 92,719 1,74,399 1,62,280 2,427 2,222 VRS coming for public sector banks, Air India The Centre will soon announce a special voluntary retirement scheme for the employees of public-sector banks as well as Air India, finance ministry sources said. P8 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express A day after the Centre rolled back its controversial Covid-19 vaccination policy and decided to procure 75% of the total doses in India for all adults, it said it will continue to prioritise highly vulnerable sections for the inoculation drive. But it allowed states to decide their prioritisation within the 18-44 age group, after factoring in the vaccine supply . For the Union government, the priority population groups include healthcare and frontline workers, those above 45 years of age and beneficiaries whose second dose is due. The 18-44 group is last on its pecking order. The revised policy that will come into play from June 21, also provides the option of onsite registration at all government and private vaccination centres for all age groups, apart from advance booking on the CoWIN portal. The four-page document said vaccine doses will be provided to states based on factors like population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination, also warning that wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively . Covaxin dose costliest at pvt hospitals Vaccine Price per dose as declared by manufacturer (J)* GST@ 5% (J) COVISHIELD COVAXIN SPUTNIK V 600 1,200 948 30 60 47.40 Maximum Maximum service charge price that can per dose, be charged by inclusive of all private taxes (J) hospitals (J) 150 780 150 1,410 150 1,145 Note: These rates will be effective from June 21 Some experts saw in the latest advisory an underlying message that vaccines in government hospitals should continue to be given to the high priority population till their full vaccination coverage is achieved. “And that I think is a pragmatic thing to do,” said health systems specialist Chandrakant Lahariya. “In fact, I would have preferred it if the vaccination for the 18-44 age group would have been put on hold till the rest of the adult population is completed covered and the vaccine supply issue is fixed. That would have really streamlined the Covid inoculation process,” Lahariya added. The Centre also urged people who have the ability to pay, to take their jabs at private hospitals. Besides, it defended its decision to allow private hospitals to keep procuring 25% of the total Covid vaccines. “In order to incentivize production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also pro- vide vaccines directly to private hospitals,” it said. It said states need to aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance, based on which the Union government will facilitate supply to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority’s e-platform. “This would enable the smaller and remote private hospitals to obtain timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance,” the P7 Centre said. In Sudhakaran, Cong finds Pinarayi’s match High Court: Homoeo C y n t h i a C h a n d r a n @ T’Puram KANNUR MP K Sudhakaran has been appointed the new state Congress president. The party’s former chief Rahul Gandhi informed him of the high command’s decision on Tuesday . The high command appointed Sudhakaran — in tune with the selection of Opposition Leader V D Satheesan — ignoring the sentiments of major groups in the state Cong ress. MP Kodikkunnil Suresh and MLAs P T Thomas and T Siddique have been appointed working presidents. Sources said the presence of a stalwart leader like Pinarayi Vijayan in the opposite camp added to the relevance of Sudhakaran who is also from the latter’s home turf. Both Rahul and party president Sonia Gandhi spoke with Sudhakaran, 73, before the decision was made public. Sonia told Sudhakaran to consider the sentiments of the common party workers before making crucial decisions. Rahul advised him to put an end to the group politics forever. “I’m happy to accept the high command’s decision to appoint me as the state Congress president. At the same time, I’m aware of the huge responsibility. The difference of opinion among the leaders will be put to rest and everybody will work united. It is the organisation which is of paramount importance than the factions”, Sudhakaran who has been camping at this residence at Pettah here for the past two weeks told reporters. The high command’s decision was against the wishes of outgoing state chief president Mullappally Ramachandran, former opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and ex-CM Oommen Chandy The three were not will. ing to name any leader as the new state president when national general secretary Tariq Anwar sought their opinion. Several leaders close to the tall trio took a stand that Sudhakaran’s tough style of functioning will not suit the party . Speaking to TNIE, Sudhakaran confided that he is aware of his challenges. He said he would take everyone into confidence when the organisational revamping takes place, but merit will be the first criterion. Chandy, Chennithala and Mullappally extended a hearty welcome to Sudhakaran and promised him all support. Senior leader A K Antony said the appointment of Sudhakaran would help motivate Congress workers in the state who are disappointed with UDF’s election performance. Senior leader K V Thomas who was appointed as working president a few months ago was also removed from the post. docs can prescribe & dispense Covid drugs P R a m d a s @ Kochi K Sudhakaran interacts with workers and mediapersons at his residence in Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram, after he was named the state Congress president on Tuesday | B P Deepu New working presidents KUMBAKUDI SUDHAKARAN A leader baptised by fire Date of birth: June 7, 1948 Place of birth: Nadal, Kannur Educational qualification: MA History, LLB Kodikkunnil Suresh Political life has never been a cakewalk for K Sudhakaran. Coming from Kannur, the Communist fortress, his political life is marked by tough challenges and even tougher fights. P4 Began his career with KSU Joined Janata party in 1978, returned to Congress in 1984 Represented Kannur assembly from 1996 to 2009 P T Thomas Was forest & sports minister in Antony govt(2001-2004) Elected to LS in 2009, 2019 T Siddique The differences of opinion among the leaders will be put to rest and everybody will work unitedly. It is the organisation which is of paramount importance than the factions — K Sudhakaran QUALIFIED homoeopathy physicians not only can prescribe and dispense homoeo medicines for preventing Covid, but also treat symptoms of coronavious-like illnesses, the Kerala High Court said on Tuesday. Justice N Nagaresh issued the order while disposing of the petition filed by Dr Jayaprasad Karunakaran of Thiruvananthapuram, against the action of the officials of the state health department. Jayaprasad claimed he had treated and saved many serious Covid patients abroad. But when he attempted to do so in the state capital recently, he was informed by the state health officials that action would be taken against him under the Disaster Management Act. The court directed the government to ensure that the petitioner is not obstruct- ed in any manner from practising homoeopathy as per the guidelines issued by the AYUSH ministry, the Union government and the Supreme Court. Assistant Solicitor General of India P Vijayakumar submitted the Centre and AYUSH ministry had issued recommendations on using homoeopathy for preventive purposes, for symptom management of Covid-like illnesses and for add-on intervention to the conventional care. He said there was no prohibition to the extent indicated in the recom● More on P2 mendations. E X PRE S S RE A D 20 students test Covid +ve in Sainik School BJP leadership summons Surendran to Delhi T’Puram: As many as 20 students of Sainik School here, which has been functioning in a bio-bubble, tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. P2 T’Puram: Amid the raging controversies, BJP state president K Surendran is learnt to have been summoned to New Delhi by the party’s national leadership. P4 Police got brutal rape plaint on April 8 but waited ANI L K UMAR T @ Kochi THE police have drawn flak for their failure to arrest the prime accused in a shocking case in which a woman was raped and assaulted for two months in a posh apartment in Kochi despite filing a complaint on April 8. The case suddenly came under spotlight on Tuesday when a petition was filed in the High Court by prime accused Martin Joseph Pulikottil of Thrissur. An FIR was registered, but the culprit has been evading police for the past two months. As the photographs of the the police sat on the files for woman, a 27-year-old fashion over two months. The delay in designer from Kannur, with initiating an investigation into bruises all over her body sur- it is attributed to the election faced on social media, and lockdown, following the police on Tuesday a spike in Covid cases. issued a lookout notice “We received a comfor Martin, 34, a stock plaint from the victim trader, who is on the after a month of the run. crime. We tried to track The detailed statehis mobile phone tower ment of the girl was re- Martin Joseph location with the help of Pulikottil corded by Sub-Inspector the Cyber wing, but we Vidhya V. Another SI couldn’t do it as it was Gopi C K had filed the FIR and switched off. The police officforwarded it to the senior offic- ers also reached his home in ers on the same day. But de- Thrissur to trace him. We have spite it being a heinous crime, issued a lookout notice and strengthened the search. We are also tracking his friends’ movements,” said Aishwarya Dongre, DCP law and order. It , is learnt that the accused was roaming in Kochi limits itself and he visited his lawyer for submitting the anticipatory bail petition. On May 18, the Ernakulam Sessions Court dismissed Martin’s anticipatory bail plea, observing that the victim was brutally manhandled by the accused. Surprisingly even af, ter that court observation, the police allowed the accused to ● More on P5 remain at large. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his deputy Ajit Pawar (right) and minister Ashok Chavan at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday | Special arrangement ‘Wasn’t meeting Nawaz Sharif’: Uddhav’s riposte to one-on-one talks with Modi Express News Service @ Mumbai m e n t o r i n g S IMI L A R S T U D ENT S Payback time for this migrant worker’s daughter M A R a j e e v K u m a r @ Kannur Deepsikha Deb SHE recovered from Covid just recently. While speaking to TNIE over the phone from Delhi, she excused herself regularly to catch her breath. Still, Deepsikha Deb, 19, from Assam, who spent her life in Kannur, sounded happy and excited. For, life was turning around for this daughter of a migrant labourer. She had joined the BA (Sanskrit) course at Delhi University But more than that, she . was happy that she would soon be taking online classes for children of migrant labourers in Kerala as part of a project of Kairos Kannur, under the supervision of Caritas India. For Deepsikha, the daughter of Deepu Deb and Sheela Deb, life had been a continuous struggle. She was just six months old when her parents came with her to Kannur from Margharita in Tinsukia district in Assam. “Like many others, my father came to Kerala looking for job oppor tunities,” she said. Her childhood memories are mostly of her parents fight● More on P5 ing. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi to discuss a range of issues from Maratha quota to reservations in promotion and GST compensation. He had along with him Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress minister Ashok Chavan. But the juicy political talking point was his one-onone meeting later with Modi. Responding to a question on the one-on-one, Thackeray said: “There is nothing wrong to meet (Modi) one-on-one. I had not gone to meet (former Pakistan Prime minister) Nawaz Sharif. What is wrong if I have to meet him personally (one-on-one)?” He said during the last one year, there have been various instances when he had such conversations with Modi, adding, “Today po, litically we are not with them but that does not mean our relationship has ended.” Thackeray described the overall discussions as cordial. “It was a cordial discussion, keeping politics aside. We discussed various issues with the PM. He has assured to look into them. We discussed the transfer of the Kanjur Marg plot for Metro car shed as well.” Thackeray said they requested the PM’s intervention to remove the 50% cap on reservation. “We requested the PM to press this demand in the court. The 50% cap is affecting various reservations, including OBC quota in elections,” said Ashok Chavan. We also requested the PM to instruct the Maharashtra Governor to nominate 12 members to the legislative council from the Governor quota - Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra deputy chief minister
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