TUESDAY Joe Biden breaks his foot while playing with pet dog 01 DECEMBER, 2020 The US President-elect has hairline fractures and may need a walking boot for a few weeks epaper.morningstandard.in HAIRLINE FRACTURES SHOW UP IN CT SCAN facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard ACTIVIST TRAGEDY IN AMTE FAMILY Days after family feud, Baba Amte’s granddaughter ends life by suicide PAGE 8 78-YR-OLD A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Biden will be the oldest prez in US history when he takes oath on Jan 20 Biden twisted his ankle when he slipped while playing with Major, his two-year-old German shepherd. “Initial X-rays did not show any obvious fracture, but CT scan confirmed hairline fractures of lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the midfoot,” Biden’s physician said. ‘GET WELL SOON’, TRUMP TWEETS Biden’s last health record was released in Dec ’19. The physician said Biden is “healthy, vigorous”. Biden does not use tobacco or drink alcohol and exercises five days a week. President Donald Trump, who is yet to concede, tweeted, “Get well soon!” Shots work 100% in severe Covid cases: Moderna EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Farmers gather at Singhu border in the national capital on Monday during their ongoing Delhi Chalo protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws | SHEKHAR YADAV Stage set for talks with farmers today Late-night invite sent to unions for dialogue at 3 pm at Vigyan Bhavan; farmers firm on demand to nix 3 new laws EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Chandigarh WITH the farmers’ protest entering its fourth day on Monday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar sent out a late-night invite to the unions to come for talks at 3 pm at Vigyan Bhavan on Tuesday . Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Tomar for the second time in two days to find a way out of the stand-off at Delhi’s borders. Sources said the government was ready for unconditional talks on all matters but was firmly against repealing the three new farm sector reform laws that are at the centre of the agitation. Buta Singh, president of the B h a r a t i ya K i s a n U n i o n , claimed he received a phone call from Shah to resolve the issue but the minister’s office denied the conversation. “I spoke to Shah and he invited the farmers organisations for talks without pre-conditions. A formal invite is yet to arrive. If we get it, then we will decide ac- cordingly Singh said earlier. ,’’ Also, former Punjab minister and senior BJP leader Surjit Kumar Jayani said he was the conduit for the call between Shah and Singh. “I made Buta Singh speak to Amit Shah. A formal letter inviting farmers for talks will be issued without any conditions, as we met minister Narendra Singh Tomar,” he said. A host of issues were discussed at the meeting Shah had with Tomar, sources said, including the politicisation of the protests, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised ‘Modi must listen to our Mann ki Baat’ The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of 250 farmer unions, criticised the stout defence of the new farm laws, saying it was the turn of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their Mann Ki Baat in Varanasi. The sparring match between Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar and his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh over the protests also came up for discussion. The meeting happened at a time when the protesting farmers have threatened to block five entry points — Sonipat, Rohtak, Jaipur, GhaziabadHapur and Mathura — into the Capital. Meanwhile, Sombir Sangwan, an independent MLA from the Dadri segment in Charkhi Dadri, announced support to the agitation. He heads the Sangwan Khap that has influence in 40 villages in Bhiwani and Dadri districts. For his part, Capt Amarinder Singh asked the Centre to listen to the farmers. “If farmers are joining the agitation from so many states, then they must be really upset,” he said. As for the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, it said: “Our demand for the withdrawal of the new laws is not negotiable.” PM soft on agitators, harsh on Oppn spreading canards N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow AMID a battle of perception on the three new farm reform bills, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tore into the Opposition for allegedly misguiding the farmers by spreading canards in the name of baseless futuristic lurking threats to their interests. The PM, however, reached out to the agitating farmers, saying they cannot be blamed for the protests as they were misled by vested interests. Modi was addressing a gathering in Varanasi during a visit to his Parliamentary constituency to take part in the Dev Today we are now working to relieve the stress on farmers and our intent is as pure as river Ganga and as holy as Kashi Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Covishield in open market after March-April: SII S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi SERUM Institute of India (SII) could make the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca-Oxford University available in the private market in India after March-April next year, the company has told this newspaper. SII is manufacturing partner for Covishield and is also sponsoring phase 2, 3 trial of the vaccine in India on 1,600 volunteers. After the Prime Minister’s visit to the firm’s facility in Pune on Saturday, SII CEO Adar Poonawala had announced that his company is set to apply to the apex drug regulator for emergency use authorisation of the vaccine in two weeks. This comes after AstraZeneca made public the interim analysis of the late-stage trials of the vaccine from the UK and Brazil which showed that its average efficacy for two different dosing regimens is 70.4 %. Poonawala had said that the vaccine could be available for $5-6 in Indian private market. Responding to queries by this newspaper, the company, however, said that at present, under an at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license from the Drugs Controller General of India, it has already produced 40 million doses, and will be manufacturing 60-70 million doses, stretching up to 100 million doses by February 2021. “We have , already started manufacturing in small batches and we hope to reach about 400 million doses by June-July 2021,” it said. For the government, the cost of the vaccine, as of now, could be $2-3 per dose and every person to be inoculated needs two doses. Kerala govt bans PwC from its IT projects for two years E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi SWIPE TERROR IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE: INDIA Without naming Pakistan at the SCO meeting, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said that one member state was trying to raise bilateral issues at the grouping’s meetings PAGE 7 THE Kerala government has barred consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from projects promoted by the Electronics and IT Department for the next two years. The government said it found lapses by the consultancy firm in appointing Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the sensational gold smuggling case, as operations manager in the Space Park project under the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd. “PwC didn’t perform a comprehensive background check in the case of appointing an individual in the Space Park. This is a serious breach of con- tractual obligations on the part of PwC,” the order said. It also decided not to extend the contract for the Kerala Fibre Optic Network project. Swapna’s appointment at the Space Park was allegedly on the recommendation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar, also an accused in the gold smuggling case. PwC has a chequered history in India. It was the auditor of the infamous Satyam Computers. PwC was accused of colluding with the Satyam management. After a nine-year probe in 2018, Sebi banned PwC from auditing listed companies for two years. Deepavali celebrations on 84 ghats of the Ganga illuminated with around 15 lakh earthen lamps. “New laws have been brought to realise the promises we made to the farmers of our country. Policies are being framed not to deceive the farmers but with honesty and transparency Modi said. ,” Criticising the previous governments for allegedly deceiving farmers through subsidies, whose benefits never reached them, the PM said: “I feel the farmers should not be blamed for the agitation. It is natural for them to be suspicious as they have suffered deception for decades in the past.” “Private markets could be available after March-April,” SII further said, adding that further clarity will come as they move along. Many experts believe that Covishield could be the first vaccine to be available in India as Pfizer and Moderna have no plans for India yet. Bharat Biotech, whose indigenously based potential vaccine is now under phase 3 trial in over 16,000 participants, has hinted that its vaccine could be available for use in the second quarter next year. The government, meanwhile, hopes to receive about 500 million doses by June-July next year which will then be administered to the most vulnerable groups. EXPRESS READ States told to ensure fire safety at hospitals New Delhi: The Centre ordered all states and UTs to ensure proper fire safety at hospitals. The order comes in the wake of recent fire incidents in Gujarat hospitals, which killed 14 people. The Gujarat govt set up a panel to probe the Rajkot fire in which claimed five lives | P7 ‘Indian economy to contract 9% this year’ New Delhi: S&P Global Ratings retained its forecast of 9% contraction in Indian economy for the current fiscal, saying it will wait for more signs that Covid infections have stabilised or fallen. it projected economy to grow at 10% in the next fiscal US-BASED biotech major Moderna on Monday said its Covid vaccine candidate COVE showed 100% efficacy in severe cases, while it was 94.1% effective overall, as final results of of its phase 3 study in the US came in. This means that the company could be the second vaccine against coronavirus likely to receive US emergency use authorization this year after Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine candidate, which showed 95% efficacy in final analysis. The announcement comes after the study called phase 3 , COVE study, has exceeded 2 months of median follow-up post vaccination as required by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. Moderna’s phase 3 analysis involved 30,000 people given the jab in the US, of whom 196 became ill. Of these, 185 were in the placebo or non-vaccinated arm of the trial. Thirty people became severely ill and one even died but all of them were in the non-vaccinated arm of the trial, said the company in a statement. The trials also included substantial numbers of people in the most at-risk groups, with 7,000 people over 65 and more than 5,000 younger people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, severe obesity and cardiac disease. The full data has not been released, but will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in due course, the firm said. “This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine to prevent Covid-19 disease with 94.1% efficacy and importantly the abil, ity to prevent severe Covid-19 disease,” said Stéphane Ban- Seek nod from US, European agencies Moderna said it would ask American and European regulators to allow emergency use of its Covid vaccine as the new study confirm the shots offer strong protection ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the covid rampage worsens cel, company CEO. “We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalisations and death.” The vaccine, mRNA-1273— which like the vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech—uses genetic code and not inactivated or weakened virus to deliver antigen in the hosts, had met its primary efficacy endpoint in the first interim analysis of the study with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5%. Shortly after gaining emergency use authorisation, the American pharma major expects the vaccine to be shipped to designated distribution points throughout the US by the government’s Operation Warp Speed program and McKesson Corp, a drug distributor contracted by the government. COVID RT-PCR TESTING NOW `800, HOME VISIT `1,200 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi TO make testing more accessible to the residents, the Delhi government has decided to further reduce the pricing of the RT-PCR tests, considered the most reliable diagnosis to detect the presence of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes coronavirus disease. In an official order issued on Monday by the State Health Secretary the depart, ment said that samples collected by government teams as well as from collection sites by private labs has been priced at `800. Samples that will be collected at the labs, hospitals, collection facilities (including all charges-sample collection and testing cost at the site) has also been fixed at `800. However, if samples are collected through home visits (including all charges-visit, samples collection and testing cost), then the charge is capped at `1,200. “Private sector labs shall mandatorily collect the samples from the testing sites as requisitioned by government teams (district CDMO office or hospital). Processing of samples, sharing the reports with the client (government or individual) and updation of all reports on ICMR portal will be ensured latest within 24 hours of collection of samples. All labs/hospitals will display the revised rates at a prominent place latest with- TESTING STATUS 26,645 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 62,88,065 Total tests done so far 3,30,950 Tests per million DELHI COVID WATCH STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 5,824 5,28,315 DEATH 108 9,174 ACTIVE CASES -32,885 TOTAL +VE CASES 3,726 5,70,374 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 20,456 8,098 10,596 CARE CENTRE 7,942 465 7,306* HEALTH CENTRE 562 140 422 20,456 HOME ISOLATION *171 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights Source: Delhi health bulletin | November 30 I have directed that the rates of RT PCR tests be reduced. Tests are being conducted free of cost in govt establishments. This will help those who get tests done in private labs — Arvind Kejriwal, CM in 24 hours of this order. This order comes into effect immediately and is for strict compliance,” read the order. “I have directed that the rates of RT PCR tests be reduced in Delhi. Tests are being conducted free of cost in government establishments. This will help those who get their tests done in private labs,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted. The move seems to have been taken to increase Covid testing in Delhi which has been going through the “third wave” of the infection after relaxation in norms, more public spaces opening up including metro services and most importantly festive sea, son and Delhi’s extremely poor air quality . As per the latest data, the Covid positivity rate was 7.64 per cent while the mortality rate 1.83 per cent in Delhi.
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