chennai l thursday l june 10, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 l late city EDITION Vax data sensitive, don’t share it: Centre to states We own all vaccine data: health ministry In a strange order, the Union health ministry on Wednesday asked states not to share vaccine availability status on public forums States are supposed to update the Centre on stock and transactions of all vaccines. The health ministry claimed it owns all vaccine-related data and that it cannot be shared with any third party, including the media. The letter evoked sharp reactions on social media with people wondering how data on stock and storage of Covid vaccine doses could be sensitive ■ eVIN Curious timing raises eyebrows ■ The letter, written by Pradeep Haldar, Advisor, Reproductive and Child Health, did not specify why the information is deemed sensitive or how sharing it will undermine the jab programme Curiously, the directive comes amid rising criticism against the Centre for its inability to support states with ample doses | P9 Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network tracks VAX stock status 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 2nd wave shock limited to Q1, recovery tied to vax, says FinMin E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi THE second Covid wave has somewhat dented the economy but its impact will be confined to the first quarter of this financial year, claimed the monthly economic report released by the Union finance ministry on Wednesday. However, this prognosis will hold true only if the vaccination drive becomes aggressive and all Budget announcements are implemented efficiently the re, port added. In other words, if the inoculation programme drags, it will drastically impact future economic recovery . “The onset of the second wave of Covid-19 since midFebruary 2021 and localised or state-wide restrictions adopted to combat its spread, have posed a probable downside risk to the momentum in India’s economic recovery in the first quarter of 2021-22,” it noted. The report added that with state-level lockdown restrictions, manufacturing and construction activities could experience a softer economic shock in Q1. “To avoid or lower the ferocity of subsequent waves, an accelerated vaccination drive is imperative. Vaccinating to achieve herd immunity (75-80% of population) will boost consumer and producer confidence and reinvigorate the engines of economic growth. For this purpose, challenges pertaining to vaccine supply, vaccine hesitancy, operational aspects to achieve high daily throughput, and widespread reach must be anticipated,” it said. The finance ministry has made a strong pitch to vaccinate 70 crore people with at least a single dose by September to boost confidence among DISTRESSED SECTORS SEND SOS messages Airport, hospitality firms say they can’t survive without govt help AIRPORT OPERATORS SEEK RELIEF Drop in air traffic hit revenues Struggling to sustain operations and meet debt obligations Unable to raise funds due to poor Wait gets longer for Covaxin phase 3 final data S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi The wait for published data on the final phase 3 clinical trials of Covaxin is getting longer despite a growing clamour to release it, amid new information that compared to Covishield, it may be triggering lower antibody response to Covid-19. On Wednesday, Bharat Biotech, which has developed Covaxin, with support from ICMR, said the final analysis of its efficacy trials between November-January will be made pub, lic only in July, after it is submitted to the drug regulator and peer reviewed journals with a timeline of about three months for publication. While announcing the second interim analysis of its phase 3 trial on April 20, the company had said that “safety NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 9 86,498 92,596 1,82,282 1,62,664 2,123 2,219 June 8 25,58,652 doses June 9 31,31,759 doses Total doses: 24,24,79,167 Jab-o-meter Take your shot and efficacy results from the final analysis will be available in June, and the final report will be submitted to a peer-re- for public use in “clinical trial mode” while still under efficacy trials on 25,800 people. “It is unusual to have such a delay, particularly when the second analysis was so close to the sample size of 130 symptomatic cases,” said a top virologist who did not wish to be named. Health systems and vaccine policy expert Chandrakant Lahariya said that while publication in a journal may take time, the company should at least release the findings on a preprint server for medical science. A recent comparative evaluation of immunogenicity responses to spike protein after the first and second doses of C ova x i n a n d C ov i s h i e l d showed that the former may have lower immunogenicity . Continued on: P10 cash flows and credit ratings 80-95 million Expected domestic air passengers this year vis-a-vis 140 million in 2019 HOSPITALITY SECTOR WANTS STIMULUS It has sought a sector-specific stimulus package that includes: Full waiver of interest on loans Extension on moratorium on the principal amount for all loans DBT of basic pay to employees `1.82 lakh crore Hospitality sector’s revenue in FY20. 75% got wiped off in FY21 | P12 people and regain the momentum of economic recovery . “With around 120 days to 31st September 2021, around 93 lakh vaccinations are required per day to achieve herd immunity . The peak daily vaccination rate attained till date is 42.65 lakh. This peak was achieved using one shift of 8-9 hours of vaccination. So, doubling the shifts and possibly vaccinating 24x7 for a couple of months – particularly in August and September when supply is expected to increase significantly – can enable the ambitious, but possible, throughput of 1 crore shots a day the finance minis,” try’s monthly report recommended, adding that this is ambitious, but possible. TN exhausts vax stock, new doses yet to come E XPR E S S N E W S S E RVIC E @ Chennai Tamil Nadu’s wait to recommence the vaccination drive against Covid-19 in several districts is getting longer as the expected stock of vaccines from the Central government had not been received till late Wednesday evening. According to the vaccine supply schedule sent by the Central government, the State was expected to receive 63,370 doses of Covaxin for the 18-44 years age group on Wednesday . The State was forced to suspend its vaccination drive in 34 districts, out of the total 38, due to a shortage of doses on Tuesday. With just 12,050 doses left (5,740 doses of Covishield and 6,780 doses of Covaxin), other districts continued to vaccinate people on Wednesday At . the end of the day, as many as 12,609 people were vaccinated, which means there is no stock left, according to the health department data. Of the 12,609 people, as many as 1,768 were aged above 60 years, 4,589 were in the above 45 years category, 894 were frontline workers, 446 were healthcare workers, and 4,912 were in the 18-44 age group. Meanwhile, Health Secretary J e x p r e s s r ead New guidelines for Class 11 admissions Five TN corporations get new Commissioners Twitter to appoint chief compliance officer soon Chennai: Government and aided schools can increase their Class 11 student intake in each stream by 10 to 15 per cent if they receive more applications than number of seats, TN School Education department said in its guidelines. Classes can be started from the third week of June, depending on the lockdown restrictions | p4 Chennai: The State government on Wednesday transferred 25 IAS officers. The transfers include new Commissioners for Municipal Corporations — Madurai, Salem, Tiruppur, Tirunelveli and Coimbatore. The Greater Chennai Corporation also has been alloted four new Deputy Commissioners in the latest rejig | P5 New Delhi: Social media giant Twitter is learnt to have written to the government that it is in advanced stages of finalising a chief compliance officer as per the recently notified IT rules and that additional details will be submitted to the government within a week. Sources said the letter was sent to the Ministry of Electronics and IT on June 7 | P9 in tn ’ s c o u r t Neutrino project hits green hurdle, again S V KRI S H NA C H AITANYA @ Chennai The ambitious India-based Neutrino Observatory project, proposed in Bodi West Hills in Theni, has hit a dead end as the construction site is reportedly falling inside the designated MathikettanPeriyar tiger corridor. Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) has filed an application seeking wildlife clearance, which is currently pending before the State Board for Wildlife. Sources told Express that the State may choose not to allow the project in the tiger corridor. “The decision will be made this week,” said a source. It looked like all hurdles were cleared when the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) issued a final june 8 viewed publication.” In the April statement, the company had claimed that the vaccine has shown a 78% efficacy against preventing infection while efficacy against severe Covid-19 disease was 100%, with an impact on reduction in hospitalisations — after accruing 127 symptomatic cases. This efficacy was lower by 3% from the one claimed in another statement to the press, issued in early March, based on 87 symptomatic cases. But, a delay in sharing the final data is bothering many, since phase 3 trial data of all other approved Covid vaccines, including the Russian Sputnik V, were published within 4-6 weeks of interim analysis. Also, Covaxin had been approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation Bodi West Hills press clusive notification of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) for Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala in December last year. The national park is located on TNKerala border and the notification provided ‘zero’ ESZ towards TN side, which placed the project outside the ESZ. This meant the INO project no longer needed wildlife clearance from the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). But, a closer scrutiny of the proposal by the State’s Environment and Forest Department revealed that the site was falling inside Mathikettan-Periyar tiger corridor. In 2014, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), had identified 32 major tiger corridors in the country and published them in a document titled “Connecting Tiger Populations for Long-term Conservation”, operationalised through prescriptions of a conservation Plan mandated under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. P2 Radhakrishnan told Express, “We have a meeting with the Union Health Ministry on Thursday and we will know about the new vaccine policy then.” Tamil Nadu had so far received 1.01 crore doses from the Centre, and about 97.6 lakh people were tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 8 18,023 31,045 409 june 9 17,321 31,253 405 Home quarantine suspended in few localities in Kovai Coimbatore: As the bed crunch has been easing in tandem with a declining caseload in Coimbatore, the health department has done away with home quarantine of Covid patients in certain localities that have been witnessing a spike in cases | P4 vaccinated till date. Nearly 3.5 lakh doses were wasted in the first phase of the vaccination drive. The Centre is also expected to send 40,000 doses of Covaxin for the above 44 years group on Thursday , and 3,65,800 doses of Covishield for the 18-44 age group on Friday P4 . Cong erosion on as BJP snaps up Jitin Prasada MANI S H ANAN D @ New Delhi The BJP set off alarm bells within the Congress on Wednesday by engineering the crossover of another young leader, former Union minister Jitin Prasada. With this, the party appears to have made clear its intention of poaching the remaining young talent within the Congress, a ploy that began with the induction of Jyotiraditya Scindia. A similar exercise in Rajasthan is a work in progress. Union minister for railways Piyush Goyal did the honours for inducting Prasada. Giving a perspective to the latest acquisition, BJP’s meJitin Prasada dia in-charge Anil Baluni recalled that Jitin’s father Jitendra Prasada had once contested against Sonia Gandhi for the Congress chief post, suggesting the door was open for leaders of substance who were otherwise rotting in opposition parties. While Prasada lost a couple of Lok Sabha elections ever since the rise of the BJP in UP he had served , as a minister during the UPA tenure. He was a signatory to the letter by 23 Congress leaders who had demanded a full-time Congress president earlier. Continued on: P10, P9 16th tn assembly Chief Minister MK Stalin invited Governor Banwarilal Purohit for his customary address to the 16th Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, scheduled to begin on June 21. The duration of the session will be decided by the Business Advisory Committee on that day | P5 CJI initiative Telangana HC judge strength to jump by 75% E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Aiming to reduce case pendency across the country espe, cially in high courts, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana is now pushing to increase their sanctioned strength of judges. To begin with, he has given his final approval to raise the sanctioned strength of judges from 24 to 42 at the Telangana High Court — a jump of 75% — where 2,37,000 cases are pending as on date. This is one of the biggest booster shots in the higher judiciary in a very long time. Of the 42 judges, 32 will be permanent while the rest will be additional judges for now. The proposal to increase the strength of the Telangana High Court had been pending with the Centre since 2019. After assuming office, CJI Ramana gave it fresh impetus by urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ministry of law and justice to expedite it. After receiving their green light, the CJI is learnt to have to have spoken to the HC chief justice and taken stock of the available infrastructure before giving his final approval. To fill up the vacancies, 28 will be elevated from the bar while 14 will be appointed from judicial services. A formal notification is expected soon. In a recent meeting with chief justices of all high courts, the CJI had shared his vision of creating a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation.
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