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 ■ ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l thursday l January 20, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE city EDITION Next 3 weeks critical for state, decision on more curbs today Cabinet terms Covid situation serious; health min critical of CPM Tvm dist meet E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram worry lines 37.17% test positivity rate in state on Wednesday Districts like Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam — where high number of cases are reported — need special attention, say ministers Health Minister Veena George calls for people’s cooperation to prevent further deterioration of the situation NATIONWIDE Jan 18 Jan 19 Fresh cases 2,38,018 2,82,970 Recoveries Deaths 1,57,421 1,88,157 310 441 Jab-ometer Take your shot January 18 65,85,945 doses January 19 34,199 62,39,005 doses 8,193 Total doses 49 1,59,54,40,865 statewide Jan 18 Jan 19 Fresh cases 28,481 Recoveries Deaths 7,303 39 The state is facing an intense spread of Covid at the beginning of the third wave, Health Minister Veena George has said. And the next three weeks will be critical as the new virus variant, Omicron, can spread six times faster than Delta, Veena said. With the Covid surge continuing unabated, the cabinet which met on Wednesday observed that more restrictions need to be introduced to bring the situation under control. “The highly transmissible Omicron variant has contributed to the spread in the third wave. Though it causes less severe infection as compared to Delta, we should not lower our guard. If the spread increases, the number of people needing ICU admission and ventilator support will go up,” Veena told reporters here. Earlier in the day Veena briefed Chief , Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who joined the online cabinet meeting from the US where he is under treatment, about the prevailing scenario in the state. Other ministers also apprised the meeting of the Covid situation in the districts. The cabinet termed the situation serious and pointed out the need to introduce more restrictions to control the surge. The ministers felt that districts like Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam needed special attention. Pinarayi told the cabinet that a final decision on the pandemic management, including introduction of further restrictions, will be taken at the Covid review meeting scheduled for Thursday. Experts, senior officials, health and revenue ministers will join the meeting. On Wednesday, the state reported 34,199 new cases with a TPR of 37.17%. With 5,953 fresh cases, Ernakulam topped the chart, followed by Thiruvananthapuram (5,684). Actor and Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi and former Rajya Sabha member T N Seema also tested ● More on P4 positive on the day . Tardy relief: SC pulls up AP, Bihar E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Appalled at the slow pace of disbursal of Covid ex gratia by a few states despite multiple directions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the chief secretaries of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh to appear before it, stating people cannot be left at the mercy of the executive. The court directed states to share complete details about the number of Covid deaths as well as information uploaded on the Bal Swaraj Portal with their respective State Legal Services Authorities. Global 777 Flights Hit by U.S. 5G rollout E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Several global airlines, including Air India, have cancelled their flights to the US as a precautionary measure to avoid accidents due to the 5G rollout in North America from Wednesday . The move follows a warning from the US aviation regulator that the high-speed telecom service could interfere with the radio altimeters used by aircraft to take off and land. This is because the band on which altimeter works is very close to that on which 5G system works. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has allowed aircraft with accurate, reliable altimeters to fly into airports with 5G signals but the widely used Boeing 777 is not on the list, triggering large-scale flight cancellations. Many global airlines including Emirates, Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, All Nippon Airways, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and Austrian Airlines either cancelled their trips or used planes other than 777s. Air India cancelled eight flights on India-US routes till further notice. These include services between Delhi and San Francisco, Chicago and JFK, as well as between Mumbai and Newark. “We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible,” it said. US telecom groups AT&T and Verizon, which are rolling out 5G, claimed the services won’t interfere with aircraft technology The Federal Communications . Commission, which set a buffer between the 5G band and the spectrum that planes use, has also cleared the services in the Slap on Kerala’s wrist While Kerala’s official toll is 49,300 (as per the petition),it has received just 27, 274 claims. “What is going on in Kerala? Why are there so few claims? Why cannot officials reach out to the families or the kin for compensation? Let your people find out the families of victims,” the SC bench said. While Andhra Pradesh’s official records show 14,471 Covid deaths, after the Supreme Court’s orders in June and October to pay `50,000 ex gratia, the state received 36,205 claims as on January 16. But compensation had been given ● More on P4 to only 11,464 so far. express read Govt cancels Munnar ‘Raveendran pattayams’ T’Puram: The Revenue department has issued an order to cancel title deeds issued for encroached government land in Munnar. As many as 530 title deeds issued by Raveendran, an additional tahsildar in Devikulam in 1999 — known as ‘Raveendran pattayams’ — will be cancelled. P5 Why it’s a US problem While 5G has been introduced in other countries without creating safety concerns for airlines, the services planned in the US differ in several ways as they include the C-band frequencies, which are closer to those used by aircraft’s sensitive equipment, and at higher power levels vicinity of air traffic. However, the FAA saw a potential problem and telcos agreed to pause the service near airports while it is addressed. The 5G services were originally scheduled to start in the US in December 2021, but the operators delayed it by a month to allow time for safety reviews. Sexual harassment plaint: Vlogger absconding, say police Kochi: Vlogger Sreekanth Vettiyar, who has been accused of rape by a woman from Kollam, has absconded, the police said on Wednesday. Though the police had summoned him for interrogation, he did not turn up. P4 defection to BJP from Mulayam’s pariwar Lucknow: Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-inlaw Aparna Yadav joined the BJP on Wednesday, saying that she supports the good governance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the real reason was SP chief Akhilesh’s reluctance to give her a ticket for the upcoming polls so as not to create alternative power centres. Aparna is married to Prateek Yadav, the son of Mulayam’s second wife. Page 8 16 pages, including 4 pages of THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Express fight for justice With the nuns, in letter and spirit E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram An online campaign expressing solidarity with the survivor in the nun rape case and offering support in the fight for justice for her has taken social media by storm with hundreds, including several celebrities, joining the drive. The campaign, christened #Avalkkoppam and #WiththeNuns, began at 11am on Wednesday, marking the time at which the judgment acquitting Bishop Franco Mulakkal who had been accused of raping the nun was delivered a week ago. Some of the letters posted on social media Letters addressed to the survivor and offering support to the nuns in their fight are being posted on social media as part of the campaign. Those who take part in the campaign have also been asked to take a picture of the letter and mail it to email@example.com, created specially for the campaign. Among those who wrote letters supporting the survivor are actors Parvathy Thiruvothu and Rima Kallingal, director Leena Manimekalai and award-winning writer K R Meera. “The campaign kicked off as a collective effort after we started discussing the flawed judgment. If we remain silent, then rape will get decriminalised,” said writer and academic J ● More on P4 Devika. The naval brass band performs during a full rehearsal for Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI
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20-01-2022 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram