MADURAI TUESDAY JUNE 15, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION ANOTHER VAX CANDIDATE IN THE U.S. SHOWS HUGE PROMISE US-based Novavax said its vaccine had an efficacy of 90% against infection and 100% against moderate/severe disease NOVAVAX’s HIGH STRIKE RATE AGAINST ALPHA The firm, releasing its phase 3 clinical trial report, said the efficacy rates of its recombinant nanoparticle protein-based vaccine were based on trials on nearly 30,000 volunteers between January-April in the US and Mexico. The high efficacy rates were achieved predominantly against the infectious Alpha variant of the virus that was first detected in the UK ■ 21-DAY SERUM INSTITUTE’s BRIDGING TRIAL ■ After regulatory nod, Novavax plans to ramp up manufacturing capacity to 15 crore doses per month by December-end The results are significant for us, too, as the Serum Institute of India is a manufacturing partner. It is currently undertaking a bridging trial on 1,600 people before launching the Indian version GAP BETWEEN THE TWO DOSES OF THE VACCINE DURING THE PHASE 3 TRIALS 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 Food, fuel prices buoy wholesale, retail inflation May consumer price index-based inflation at 6-month high, wholesale prices break record E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi FEELING THE PINCH Item Infation rate Oil & fats 30.84% Egg 15.16% Transport & communication 12.38% Fruits 11.98% Fuel & light 11.58% Pulses & products 9.39% Meat & fish 9.03% Personal care & effects 7.99% Spices 6.86% Household goods & services 3.89% Milk & products 0.64% RISING fuel and food prices pushed retail inflation to a sixmonth high of 6.3% in May, breaching Reserve Bank of India’s targets, government data released on Monday showed. This is way above the projected levels, implying that the impact of the localised Covid-19 restrictions was more severe than expected. “The month-onmonth uptick in the CPI in May 2021, which saw widening statelevel restrictions, is nearly as high as the hardening seen in April 2020 during the nationwide lockdown, testing the assumption that supply disruptions have been limited in the second wave,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA Ltd. According to data by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, food inflation shot up to 5.01% in May from 1.96% in April. While vegetable prices softened, fruit price zoomed 12% and the cost of pulses and products rose 9.4%. Even the prices of nonalcoholic beverages rose 15%. In non-food items, the rise was steep in fuel and light, registering an inflation of 11.6%, and transport and communication at 12.4%. With wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation also touching a whopping 12.94% – the highest since 2013 – experts warn that inflation will worsen in the coming months. WPI-based inflation in May was pushed by fuel and power basket, which shot up to 37.6% in the month against 20.94% in April due to hardening global commodity prices. “If wholesale prices are rising, eventually it will start finding its reflection in retail inflation as well,” said Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist with India Ratings and Research. He warned that this trend will make things worse for the RBI. LIQUOR MAFIA NATIONWIDE JUNE 13 JUNE 14 Mystery veils death of journo who feared for his life in UP EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Lucknow A day after writing to the Uttar Pradesh additional DGP for security cover, a 42-year-old TV channel journalist died under mysterious circumstances in Pratapgarh district on Sunday late night. While preliminary probe indicated Sulabh Srivastava died in what appeared to be an accident, his family alleged foul play claiming Sulabh , was killed by the liquor mafia for running a news story against them. Sulabh, who worked for a leading television news channel in Pratapgarh, was found injured near Katra Crossing and was taken to a hospital, where he was declared ‘dead on arrival’. On Saturday, Sulabh had written to ADGP-Prayagraj Zone, expressing fears that his family and he could be targeted over his news report on illicit liquor dens of Pratapgarh. His report was telecast days after 22 people died in UP’s Aligarh district after consuming spurious liquor. Hours after claiming Sulabh had died in an accident, Pratapgarh East ASP Surendra Dwivedi on Monday said the police were looking into other angles as well. The police registered a case against unknown persons based on Sulabh’s wife Renuka’s complaint. Renuka said Sulabh was being threatened by the liquor mafia ever since his report was telecast. “Because of this, unknown mafia elements murdered my husband on Sunday night while he was returning from Lalganj after news coverage,” she said in her complaint. Figures are year-on-year provisional inflation rates for May 2021 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 80,834 1,32,062 3,303 70,421 1,19,501 3,921 June 13 34,84,239 doses June 14 22,15,947 doses TOTAL DOSES: 25,87,13,321 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT EXPRESS READ Kishore Swamy arrested for derogatory posts Chennai: Kishore K Swamy, a self proclaimed supporter of right wing groups, was arrested for posting derogatory comments of former DMK Chief Ministers C N Annadurai, M Karunanidhi and Chief Minister M K Stalin in Chennai on Monday morning. ENS AKS Vijayan is TN’s spl representative in Delhi Chennai: Former DMK MP AKS Vijayan (60) has been appointed the Tamil Nadu government’s Special Representative at New Delhi. He will hold the office for one year from the date of assumption of office. A threetime MP, Vijayan was also in a few parliamentary committees. ENS Unlock Day 1: TASMAC shops opened to avoid illicit liquor flow, says Stalin E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai CHIEF Minister MK Stalin on Monday justified the government’s decision to open TASMAC outlets in 27 districts where cases are receding. He also handed out a warning to the people that the relaxations announced would be withdrawn at any time if lockdown norms are violated. “Amid criticisms, TASMAC outlets have been opened to avoid spurious liquor playing havoc in the State. The shops will function completely adhering to the standard operating procedures,” Sta- lin said in a televised address. “If the restrictions are violated, relaxations will be withdrawn. People should understand those violating lockdown norms are doing harm. We should become self-disciplined without police’s surveillance,” he added. Expressing concern over people moving out unnecessarily during lockdown, he further said: “You should conduct yourselves in a way that would lead to the end of lockdown. If public transport has to be resumed, and schools and colleges are to be reopened soon, your support is a must. Let us prove that people’s power is supreme.” Explaining that his government was keen on a two-fold objective — eliminating Covid infection while seeing to it that people do not suffer due to the efforts, the CM said, “I have said the infection is under control. But that does not mean it has been eliminated. So, people should cooperate with the government.” GLARING SKEW IN FATALITY DATA There is a complete mismatch between death certificates issued across various districts and the official Covid count EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE WHILE the Centre recently bristled at an international news magazine pegging India’s ‘excess deaths’ due to the pandemic at 5-7 times the count put out officially, the fact that there is gross underreporting cannot be brushed under the carpet. Under pressure for an honest admission on the scale of the pandemic, Maharashtra and Bihar raised their fatality figures last week through data reconciliation after audit/validation by around 14,000 and 4,000. But allegations that not all deaths in private hospitals or of patients on their way to hospitals in rural areas were recorded under the Covid category refuse to go away, prompting the Patna High Court to direct the Bihar government to confirm whether its data revision was full and final. Death certificates issued by GHMC Apr 2019-Mar 2020 Plus 4% rise* Apr 2020-Mar 2021 *Bar indicates the assumption of a 4% normal rise from 201920 year-on-year fatality to 67,620 65,019 67,620 70,758 ON a day of key developments for the AIADMK, Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami strengthened his position in the party further. Palaniswami’s upper hand was visible in the appointment of office-bearers for the AIADMK legislature party. Meanwhile, all of the party’s MLAs rallied against VK Sasikala, the one-time confidante of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who has been vowing to reconstruct the party as it was during the times of late leaders MGR and J Jayalalithaa. Covid 3,496 GHMC issued 9,235 additional death certificates for 2020-21, but only 3,496 deaths have been recorded as Covid in Telangana so far. Subtracting the 4% normal increase (2,601) leaves 3,138 deaths not recorded as Covid Note: 998 certificates are being processed Hyderabad: Data discrepancy, to put it mildly, is visible across the country and under all political dispensations. Take Hyderabad. There was a 14.2% jump in deaths within the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits in the pandemic year of 2020-21, as compared to the same period in the previous year. A Right to Information query by this newspaper on the death certificates it issued revealed that the corporation handed out 9,235 more certificates between 2020 March and 2021 April (see box). Besides, 998 other death certificates are under process. Also, data was available only for 18 erstwhile circles of GHMC, which have now been reorganised into 30 circles within the same area. Yet, the cumulative count of Covid deaths recorded in the entire Telangana as on June 14 is just 3,496, though there were humungous crowds at the state’s burial and cremation grounds when the second wave was at its peak. A municipal officer in Hyderabad said an year-on-year increase of 3-4% in death certificates is normal because of continued migration and rising awareness of the need for death certificates. However, a 14.2% increase in a year when for three months the city was under lockdown was concerning, he said. “During lockdown there were hardly any road traffic deaths, which is one of the major contributors to daily toll,” he added. Mysuru: Sa Ra Mahesh, a legislator from Mysuru, disputes the district administration’s Covid-19 death figures. CONTINUED ON: P8 PRABHDEEP KAUR Deputy Director, ICMR-NIE ‘THIRD WAVE A POSSIBILITY’ The expert opines that lockdown is only a short-term measure to prepare and improve the health system’s capacity. A third wave is technically possible, she says, adding that the current variant is more infectious. We need to prepare for a third wave and resurgence within the second wave, states Dr Kaur FULL REPORT: P2 TAMIL NADU JUNE 13 JUNE 14 Fresh cases 14,016 12,772 Recoveries Deaths 25,895 267 25,561 254 Chirag removed as LJP chief as party implodes “I have not executed a spilt in the party Rather, I have saved the party . IN what appears to be a carefully so that it doesn’t deviate from the planned move, five of the six MPs path shown by late Ram Vilas Pasof the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on wan,” Paras told reporters. He addMonday united against LJP found- ed that 99% LJP leaders and worker late Ram Vilas Paswan’s son ers wanted to contest the last Bihar Chirag Paswan and electAssembly election as an ed Pashupati Kumar Paras NDA ally but Chirag deas their leader. cided to go in the opposite Paras is the youngest direction. “As a result, the brother of the late leader. LJP suffered a lot politiChirag’s unceremonically, virtually reducing ous removal comes after the party base in Bihar to months of disgruntlement zero. Now, we will be with among other party leaders the NDA in Bihar and the Chirag Paswan who felt the young politiCentre,” Paras said. cian’s functioning was autocratic. Expressing the new line of the According to sources, the five party, Paras also lauded Bihar CM MPs held a secret meeting on Satur- Nitish Kumar as ‘vikas purush’. day evening to give finishing touchEarlier in the day Chirag tried to , es to their plan. Later, they submit- meet his uncle but was made to wait ted a letter to Lok Sabha speaker at the gate for over 15 minutes beOm Birla demanding recognition fore he was let in. He spent nearly for the new LJP faction with Paras two hours there but could not meet as its national president. Paras as he was not at home. R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna It’s Team Palaniswami at AIADMK helm T M U R U G A N A N D H A M @ Chennai INTERVIEW AIADMK coordinator, O Panneerselvam, was reportedly bargaining hard to make one of his supporters as the party Whip in the Assembly Further, against the . general expectations, Panneerselvam agreed to become the deputy leader of the AIADMK legislature party while SP Velumani, a , key supporter of Palaniswami was named the party Whip. Palaniswami also convinced all the MLAs to send out a strong message to the AIADMK’s rank and file that the party would not tolerate anyone in contact with Sasikala, by expelling 16 office-bearers, includ- ing a former minister who spoke to her recently . Prior to the legislature party meeting, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam went into a huddle with senior functionaries at the ground floor of AIADMK headquarters for about an hour. The other office bearers of the AIADMK legislature party elected are: S Ravi, Arakkonam MLA, as the Deputy Whip; former minister Kadambur C Raju as the treasurer of the legislature party; former minister KP Anbazhagan as the secretary and PH Manoj Pandian as the P3 deputy secretary . ON THE LOOSE Following the relaxation in lockdown restrictions across 27 districts in the State, heavy traffic was seen on roads on Monday. A scene from the traffic signal at Nandanam Metro in Chennai | DEBADATTA MALLICK Cops in dark as hospital, family give up minor’s baby for adoption Two arrested, four others absconding Of the six people against whom cases were registered under several sections of the POCSO Act and the Juvenile Justice Act, two have been arrested. The remaining four people, including the doctor who did the delivery, are absconding, said the police EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Sivaganga A 17-year-old boy was booked for sexually assaulting a minor girl, while five others were booked for ‘selling’ the minor girl’s baby on Sunday . According to the police, the minor girl was in a relationship with the minor boy who was , her classmate. She became pregnant during the course of the relationship but did not tell her family about it. Recently the minor girl’s sister , was admitted to a private hospital. During one of the hospital visits, the staff asked the family members about the minor girl’s unusually large belly They said . that they had consulted a few doctors in the town about the condition but to no avail. So the private hospital staff conducted a few tests. The test result that came back on May 17 stated that the minor girl was pregnant.Two days later, she gave birth to a healthy girl child. “The hospital authorities failed to alert the police and health department officials about the minor girl’s pregnancy as well as about the delivery procedure,” said a police personnel. CONTINUED ON: P5
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