‘PFIZER IN FINAL STAGES OF VAX SUPPLY PACT’ US Pharma giant Pfizer is in the final stages of an agreement with India to supply anti-Covid vaccines, CEO Dr Albert Bourla said on Tuesday. Addressing the 15th edition of the India-US Bio Pharma & Healthcare Summit, organised by the US-India Chamber of Commerce, Dr Bourla also said that Pfizer has made a specific plan that the middle- and low-income countries, which include India, will receive at least two billion doses. BENGALURU WEDNESDAY JUNE 23, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 20 LATE CITY EDITION 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 Will vax students, teachers before colleges open: CM No discussion yet on reopening of schools, says BSY, referring to Devi Shetty report EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru THE Karnataka Government is mulling vaccinating all teachers and students on priority as the first step towards reopening colleges. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who received an interim report prepared by a 16-member high-level expert committee on the Covid third wave, said the committee’s recommendations to open schools and colleges in a phased manner will be considered. “The Committee has recommended that all schools and colleges be opened after vaccinating teachers and students above 18 years. We will make arrangements so that all students in the age group and teachers can be inoculated before reopening colleges. No discussion has taken place on reopening of schools yet,” the CM said. In its 91-page report, the committee, headed by renowned cardiologist Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, has put forth various suggestions, including additional equipment, manpower enhancement at government hospitals, vaccination and medicine management to tackle the third wave. “Opening of schools physi- Delta Plus, next big headache S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi Holding back doses for the big bang day? A whopping 88 lakh Covid-19 vaccination doses were administered on Sunday, but a closer look suggests states were perhaps accumulating their doses over last week to arrive at the big number. Take Madhya Pradesh, which topped the list with 17.14 lakh doses. Its figures for Saturday, Friday and Thursday were just 692, 22,006 and 14,862, respectively FULL REPORT: P9 A health worker vaccinates a senior citizen at K C General Hospital, in Bengaluru on Tuesday | ASHISHKRISHNA HP cally is recommended to optimise learning, physical health, mental health and nutritional aspects of children. Any further delay in school reopening may push children into malnutrition, child labour, child marriage, child trafficking, begging etc., making their condition worse. There is an urgent need to offer scientific and definitive guidance for school reopening as any delay in achieving near normalisation of schooling will be more detrimental than Covid itself,” the report states in multiple paragraphs on reopening of schools. The expert team has also recommended that district-level school safety review commitP4 tees be established. JAB-O-METER June 21 80,95,314 doses TAKE YOUR June 22 SHOT 52,12,628 doses TOTAL DOSES: 29,40,42,822 THE Centre on Tuesday declared the Delta Plus strain of the coronavirus a variant of concern (VoC) and asked Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh – where 22 such cases were detected – to take immediate measures to curb the virus spread. The suggested steps include preventing crowds, intermingling of people, and widespread testing. Of the 22 cases detected so far, 16 are from two districts of Maharashtra (Ratnagiri and Jalgaon) in clusters and six more isolated cases in two districts each in Kerala (Palakkad and Pathanamthitta) and Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal and Shivpuri). According to experts, spread of the Delta Plus variant, if not arrested forthwith, may lead to another wave in no time. There are also fears that this mutant version of the virus may be resistant to the vaccines available in India, though this is yet to be established. “There is an indication that the Delta Plus variant may be more apt to cause severe Covid-19 and is also looking better designed to evade monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for the infectious disease. These facts definitely are causing a lot of anxiety,” said an expert. According to a health ministry statement, the Delta Plus variant has these characteristics – increased transmissibility stronger binding to receptors , of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. In its advisory, the Centre asked the three states to send adequate samples of positive persons promptly to the designated laboratories of Covid genomic surveillance network Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be made. Among the other crucial measures are prompt tracing and vaccine cov- erage on a priority basis. INSACOG, a network of 28 laboratories in the country has , attached the Delta Plus variant with increased transmissibility , stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response, the Union Health Ministry announced. Apart from India, this variant has been identified in eight other countries – the US, the UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, China and Russia. Scientists working with INSACOG explained that the Delta Plus variant was formed by further mutation in the delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India, which was largely responsible for the ferocious second Covid wave. On Monday , Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope had said the spread of Delta Plus variant had been detected in 6-7 districts in the state but the Centre on Tuesday associated just two districts in the state with the variant. Cong has to be in national front: Oppn R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi REPRESENTATIVES of a clutch of Opposition parties attended a meeting hosted at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence here on Tuesday, but the sense was a national front cannot be cobbled together to take on the BJP if the Congress is out of the frame. The meeting, the participants later claimed, was nonpolitical. Among the attendees were leaders from the Trina- mool Congress, Left Front, Samajwadi Party RLD, National , Conference and Aam Aadmi Party. The Congress was not represented as some of its invited leaders excused themselves on personal grounds. Called under the banner of the Rashtra Manch floated by for mer Union minister Yashwant Sinha, the meeting discussed a wide array of issues, including the ongoing farmer agitation, spiralling fuel prices, unemployment, Covid situation and the economic slowdown. “The meeting was called by Yashwant Sinha, not Sharad Pawar. This was not a political meet. We called all like-minded people. We also invited Congress leaders. I called Vivek Tanha, Manish Tiwari, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shatrughan Sinha for the meeting. They couldn’t come. It’s not true that we didn’t invite the Congress,” said NCP P10 leader Majid Memon. TAKE-OFF PLAN NCLT nod for Kalrock-Jalan bid for Jet Air ARSHAD KHAN @ New Delhi THE National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has given approval to the Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan consortium’s bid for Jet Airways, eight months after the lenders had given a go ahead to its resolution plan. According to the resolution plan of Kalrock Capital and UAE-based NRI Murari Lal Jalan, which was approved by the Committee of Creditors in October 2020 by 97% vote share, around `1,100 would be paid in tranches in five years. The resolution professional of J e t A i r w ay s – A s h i s h Chhawchharia – had received claims of `44,000 crore out of which he admitted claims of around `15,400 crore. Resolution Professional Ashish Chhawchharia said he is hopeful of the airline reviving and that if everything goes well, Jet Airways could return to the skies by the end of 2021. CONTINUED ON: P13 NATIONWIDE JUNE 21 JUNE 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths KARNATAKA NCP president Sharad Pawar (middle) and Trinamool leader Yashwant Sinha (left), with other leaders at Pawar’s residence | PARVEEN NEGI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 53,256 78,190 1,422 42,640 81,839 1,167 JUNE 21 JUNE 22 4,867 8,404 142 3,709 8,111 139
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