Jab-o-meter Take your shot Jan 7 81,50,982 doses Jan 8 79,68,523 doses Total: 1,51,47,41,090 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths NATIONWIDE Jan 7 1,17,100 1,41,986 30,836 40,895 302 285 Jan 8 tamil nadu Jan 7 Jan 8 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 8,981 984 8 10,978 1,525 10 chennai l sunday l january 09, 2022 l `12.00 l PAGES 26 l late city EDITION EXPERT BODY LOOKS TO TAILOR VAX FOR OMICRON The NTAGI panel is discussing the possibility of restructuring existing jabs to make them more potent against new variant Redesign to reduce transmission rates Current jabs appear largely ineffective against preventing Omicron infection, though hospitalisations are lower now. “We want to push firms to redesign vaccines so that they are better suited against Omicron and to reduce transmission rates,” said N K Arora, head of Covid Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) ■ COVaxin EFFICACY RESULTS NOT OUT YET ■ Global firms such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have conceded that even three vaccine doses may not be able to curb rapid spread of the highly transmissible variant No results available yet on efficacy of Covishield and Covaxin against Omicron, and on whether three doses will help | P10 can be easily subjected to redesign experiment, ntagi sources SAID CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Punjab: 117 seats Single-phase voting on Feb 14 Uttar Pradesh: 403 seats Voting in seven phases l Feb 10 (58 seats) l Feb 14 (55 seats) l Feb 20 (59 seats) l Feb 23 (60 seats) l Feb 27 (60 seats) l Mar 3 (57 seats) l Mar 7 (54 seats) Uttarakhand: 70 seats Single-phase voting on Feb 14 Manipur: 60 seats Voting in two phases l Feb 27 (38 seats) l Mar 3 (22 seats) Goa: 40 seats Single-phase voting on Feb 14 Total 690 assembly seats 18.3 crore voters, 8.5 crore of them women Dos and don’ts l Campaign curfew between 8 pm and 8 am l No victory celebration allowed l N ot more than 5 people, including candidate, can do door-to-door campaigns l Parties told to adopt virtual campaigning l Online nomination option for candidates l Polling time increased by 1 hour l Covid booster dose must for poll officials COUNTING DAY: March 10 ‘Criminal’ candidates Parties fielding candidates with pending criminal cases must upload their full details on their websites. Parties will also have to give a reason for selecting such candidates Seven-phase polls from Feb 10 No rallies, public meetings in five poll-bound states till Jan 15; parties asked to do virtual campaigns; voting in UP spread across all 7 phases; CEC vows to make polls ‘Covid-safe’ K u m a r V i k r a m @ New Delhi ON a day when the country saw nearly 1.5 lakh fresh Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission announced the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur but in a first-of-its-kind move, all physical rallies, road shows and public meetings have been banned till January 15 owing to the ongoing pandemic. The Commission on Saturday said it would review its decision as the “ground situation is dynamic”. It also urged political parties and candidates to hold virtual rallies. While the first phase of polling will begin on February 10, the last phase will be held on March 3 and the results will be declared on March 10. Uttar Pradesh will see seven-phase voting between February 10 and March 7. In Manipur, polling will be in two phases, while Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand will have a single-phase election (see graphic). Explaining the decision to go ahead with polls amid the spike in Covid cases, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said holding timely elections is the “essence of maintaining democratic governance”. The CEC said the decision was taken after detailed discussions with the Union health secretary, home secretary, experts and health secretaries of the poll-bound states. He said the elections would focus on Covid safety measures to ensure maximum participation. Chandra asserted that vaccination rates in the five states had improved significantly during the last week. The CEC Candidates should conduct their campaign through virtual mode as much as possible. There will be no nukkad sabhas (neighbourhood meetings) on public roads and no victory procession after counting Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner also said it was incorrect to link polls with the rise in coronavirus cases, citing the examples of Maharashtra and Delhi, which recorded a high number of cases even when there were no elections. Chandra pointed out that 53% of the eligible population in Uttar Pradesh has been fully vaccinated, while the figure is an impressive 96% in Goa. The proportion of doublevaccinated is, however, lower in Punjab and Manipur at 45%. The EC had faced flak during the West Bengal polls in April 2021 as Covid-19 numbers dramatically rose during the second wave. It banned road shows only in the last two phases of the elections. P9 Rejig in Punjab police days after security breach H a r p r e e t B a j w a @ Chandigarh Three days after the prime minister’s convoy was stranded on a flyover in Ferozepur district in a major security lapse, Viresh Kumar Bhawra, a 1987 batch IPS officer, was appointed as the new Punjab director general of police, the state’s third in three months, replacing Siddharth Chattopadhyaya. His term will be for a minimum of two years, the state home department said in its order on Saturday. Sources said the UPSC had on Tuesday held a meeting in which it empanelled three officers for the top post including Bhawra and Dinkar Gupta, who was the DGP when Amarinder Singh was the CM. Chattopadhyaya is considered close to Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had pressured the government to appoint him. Although officially Bhawra’s posting was not linked to the security breach, Chattopadhyaya’s continuation had become untenable after the Wednesday incident when protesting farmers stopped the PM’s convoy. The change at the top came on a day when the Punjab government transferred nine police officers, including Ferozepur SSP Harmandeep Singh Hans. NEET fight: TN to reach out to other State govts EXPRESS NEWS SER V ICE @ Chennai After making little headway in their fight against NEET, political parties of Tamil Nadu, at an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday, decided to reach out to other States to build a consensus in opposing the medical entrance exam at the national level. The meeting also resolved to intensify the legal fight against the test and decided to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah if the all-party delegation, which has given a representation to the Centre, gets a call. It may be recalled that in October, Chief Minister Stalin had written to the Chief Ministers of 12 States seeking support against NEET. Following this, DMK MPs handed over the copy of the report of the A K Rajan Committee, appointed to study the impact of NEET on medical admissions in TN, to CMs of several States. While leaders of 12 parties supported scrapping of NEET at the meeting, BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan staged a walkout registering her opposition to the resolution. She said NEET does not affect social justice and students of Tamil Nadu, and strongly expressed her party’s support for the test. CONTINUED ON P7 EXPREsS READ Tamil Nadu fixes river sand at `1,000 per unit Left parties back KCR’s ‘BJP-mukt Bharat’ pitch Chennai: The State government on Saturday issued a G.O fixing the cost of river sand at `1,000 per unit. This comes after Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan had said, sand will be made available at a reasonable cost through online booking | P4 Hyderabad: Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao’s efforts to build a national level anti-BJP and anti-Congress front gathered steam on Saturday with the two main Left parties — the CPM and CPI — evincing interest in a ‘BJPmukt Bharat’, sources said | P7 WITH THIS I SSU E Cradle of Chaos PLUS 12 PAGES
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