SATURDAY 16 JANUARY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard Bird flu spreads to more states COLLECTION DRIVE PREZ DONATES `5L FOR RAM TEMPLE Avian influenza has been confirmed in total 11 states POULTRY BIRDS AFFECTED Nationwide drive to collect donations for construction of temple in Ayodhya kicks off A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 Vardhan, Kejriwal to inspect inoculation EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi HOSPITALS in the national capital are geared up for the Covid-19 immunisation beginning Saturday . Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is scheduled to arrive at AIIMS for inspection of the process while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain will be visiting Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital at 12 noon. According to the Chief Minister’s Office, Kejriwal and Jain will not be volunteering for the shot on the first day of the drive. Sources said three persons — a doctor, a nurse and a safai karmachari — will be given the dose in the presence of the CM and the health minister at LNJP Hospital. The Delhi government is aiming to vaccinate 9 lakh healthcare and frontline workers by March. Talking about the preparations, Aakash Healthcare Managing Director Dr Aashish Chaudhry said a designated building outside the hospital had been chosen where the vaccination will be done. “A team from the government will be present for execution. We will deploy a part of hospital security at the vaccination site to facilitate a smooth exercise. We had uploaded the data of all our healthcare workers on the link provided by the government. All those registered for vaccination will receive an SMS about the time to report at the centre,” he said. NUMBERS THAT MATTER 81 51 lakh Vaccination centres Total to be vaccinated in phase 1 42 lakh above 50 years of age and below50 years but with co-morbidities 3 lakh healthcare workers registered so far for vaccination 6 lakh frontline workers NEW DELHI J8.00 Infection in poultry has been confirmed from Anand/Bhagirath Kalosiya in Harda of MP, GS Poultry farm Balod of Chhattisgarh PAGES 12 DELHI READY FOR THE COVID VACCINE DOSE Timings for vaccination: Beginning timing varies in hospitals. To continue till 4pm Storage facilities: 603 cold chain points Vaccines distributed so far: 2.64 lakh doses of Covishield, 20,000 doses of Covaxin SHOT AT SITE Vaccination days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 6 central govt facilities for vaccinations: AIIMS, Safdarjung, RML, Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and two ESI hospitals Prominent Delhi govt run health facilities where shots will be administered: LN Hospital, GTB Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, DDU Hospital, etc BIGWIGS KEEP AN EYE BED CAPACITY REDUCED Beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients reduced from 30% to 15% and in case of ICU beds, from 40% to 25%, or at least twice the number of occupancy of such beds, whichever is higher, in 45 private hospitals providing Covid treatment and having total capacity of more than 100 beds Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan scheduled to arrive at AIIMS for inspection of the process today Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain will be visiting Lok Nayak Hospital at 12 noon DOWN BUT NOT OUT YET 295: Fresh Covid-19 cases on Friday, the lowest since May 9, 2020 0.44%: Positivity rate 66,921: Tests conducted on Thursday; 38,990 RT-PCR and 27,931 RAT Well done Delhi! Delhi records the lowest number of Covid cases in the last 8 months. The positivity rate stands at an all-time low at 0.44%. With the resilience of the Delhiites, we are committed to fight and beat Corona (sic) —Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM First jab today as mother of all vax drives begins 100 frontline beneficiaries to get inoculated at each of the 3,006 centres across India after Modi launches programme at 10.30 am EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi INDIA will roll out the world’s biggest vaccination programme on Saturday by inoculating over three lakh healthcare workers against Covid-19, which brought the entire country and the world, to a halt for , much of last year. A total of 3,006 vaccination centres across all states and union territories will be virtually connected as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the drive at 10.30 am, with 100 beneficiaries getting the shots at each site on the first day . PM Modi said the country will enter a “decisive phase” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday . Amid concerns over the efficacy of the indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine by Bharat Biotech, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday reiterated that both Covaxin and Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute, have “proven safety and immunogenicity records”. These two vaccines will be the “most important tool” to control the pandemic, he added. “Tomorrow is an important day it ... is the last phase of the battle against coronavirus. This is probably the beginning of the end of Covid,” he said. The minister, however, cautioned that even after vaccination, people should not lower their guard and must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. The immunisation drive will begin with healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors, getting the shots. While reviewing the preparation of the launch, Vardhan suggested that the CoWIN software be pre-populated with non-prioritised beneficiaries by seeding it with electoral database, in addition to other documents for registration. CoWIN, short for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network, is an online platform meant to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries for Covid-19 vaccine. It will also assist programme managers track beneficiary coverage, beneficiary dropouts, sessions planned versus sessions held and vaccine utilisation. The minister also advised the administrative machinery to go all out to counter the misinformation campaign being spread by vested interests, said a statement by the ministry . EXPRESS READ Haryana govt plans to set up film city Chandigarh: Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said the state government is formulating a plan to open a film city in the state for which land spanning 50 to 100 acres has been finalised. TN DOCS TO INSIST ON COVISHIELD S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi WHILE the Centre has given two Covid-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, accelerated approvals and a level playing field though the latter is yet to prove its efficacy , sections of doctors are wary , as they are first in line to get the jab along with other healthcare workers. In fact, the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association (TNGDA), a group of 20,000 healthcare professionals, has circulated an internal advisory asking its members to “insist on Covishield” when they are called for immunisation. The circular advises that while all practising doctors should go for vaccination, they should “insist on Covishield till the Covaxin phase 3 results are out”. In Tamil Nadu, both vaccines have been stocked, but the Centre has disallowed beneficiaries from picking and choosing their jab. “While our circular is advisory in nature, we do feel that it is much better to go for a vaccine whose efficacy is well-proven through a largescale clinical trial,” N Ravishankar, secretary of the TNGDA told this newspaper. The Drug Controller General of India has permitted restricted emergency use to Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech. But While our circular is advisory in nature, we do feel that it is much better to go for a vaccine whose efficacy is well-proven N Ravishankar, TNGDA ARMY CHIEF WARNS CHINA, PAK NOT TO TEST FORCES’ PATIENCE In a warning to China, Army Chief Gen M M Naravane said on Friday that no one should make the mistake of testing India’s patience Farmers’ delegation coming out of Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi after the ninth round of talks with the Centre on Friday | PARVEEN NEGI Ninth round of Centre-farmer talks fail, next meet on Jan 19 @ New Delhi / Chandigarh THE ninth round of talks between farmers’ unions and the Centre on Friday remained inconclusive but both sides agreed to meet again next Tuesday in a bid to break the deadlock over three contentious farm laws. “The gover nment urged farmers to form an informal group among themselves to prepare concrete proposals to be discussed in the next meeting,” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said. However, the unions rejected the suggestion. “The government and farmers should continue looking for solutions, formally and informally. Whatever we can agree on during these talks will decide the future course of action,” Tomar said after the meeting. Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab (Lakhowal group) said the Centre asked the union leaders to discuss their problems with the farm laws clause-wise. The farmers said no. They also turned down the government’s request to meet the panel formed by the Supreme Court. The apex court had on January 12 stayed implementation of the laws and set up a panel to talk to both the striking farmers and the government. The farm unions have welcomed the stay but refused to meet the panel saying it’s pro-government. The farmers have reiterated they won’t end their pro- ‘PM anti-farmer, protest on till laws are repealed’ Rahul Gandhi led Congress protest in Delhi against the agri laws on Friday and said the farmers will not relent till the three new laws are repealed. test until the three laws are withdrawn fully . All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee member Kavita Kuruganti said, “Both the government and farmer unions have reaffirmed their commitment to continue with the direct dialo gue process.” The next round of talks would be significant as the SCappointed committee will be present in the meeting. One of the panel members, Bhupinder Singh Mann, had on Thursday recused himself from the committee. Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU (Ekta-Ugeahan), said, “We urged the government to repeal the three laws, but it was unwilling to do so. The issue of NIA raids on transporters in Punjab who are supporting farmers’ protests and are providing logistic support for the agitation was also P7 raised at the meeting.” Kolkata: Birbhum MP Satabdi Roy voiced her discontent with the TMC, following which the party reached out to her. Later in the evening, Roy said she was still with the TMC and dismissed talks of joining the BJP. P8 the approval to Covaxin invited massive criticism as its phase 3 trial is yet to be over. The Centre, however, has procured 1.1 crore doses of Covishield and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin for the first phase of vaccination. While most states received only Covishield, 11 — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP and TN — have been sent both. In many places, like in Delhi, Covaxin can be administered only in centrally-run institutions, a fact that is being resented by government doctors. Doctors at Delhi’s AIIMS and Safdarjung hospitals have also expressed unhappiness over the fact that they have received only Covaxin and that they may be forced to take the jabs in order to establish public trust. GALWAN HEROES’ SACRIFICE WON’T GO WASTE The general said India is committed to resolving the military standoff with China through talks. At the Army Day parade in Delhi, Gen Naravane said the sacrifice of the ‘Galwan heroes’ in eastern Ladakh in June last year will not go waste and that the Indian Army will not allow any harm to the country’s sovereignty and security 200 TMC reaches out to sulking MP EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Infection has been confirmed in MP’s Burhanpur, Rajgarh, Dindori, Chhindwara, Mandla, Harda, Dhar, Sagar and Satna MILITANTS KILLED IN COUNTER-TERROR OPERATIONS AND ON LOC LAST YEAR 400 PAKISTANI TERRORISTS WAITING AT LOC Drone attack being displayed for the first time during the 73rd Army Day Parade at Army Parade Ground in New Delhi on Friday | PTI Gen Naravane said Pakistan continues to shelter terrorists and 300-400 of them are waiting in training camps on the Pakistani side of the LoC to infiltrate into India. For the first time, drone operations featured at the Army Day parade held in Delhi Cantonment on Friday | P7 MEMORIAL Major who took Tricolour to Tawang gets his due P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati THE Army officer who had effectively established India’s administrative authority over Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in 1951 will get his dues, finally . Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday announced that his government would recognise the contributions of Major Bob Khathing by constructing a memorial. Major Khathing is relatively an unknown figure for most of Arunachal and India, but the people of Tawang still remember him with respect for being the sole Indian official to come as their saviour when the Chinese threat loomed large. “Not many of us are aware of Major Khathing and his contribution to Arunachal. Once the memorial is constructed, visitors will come to know about him and his contributions,” Khandu said. The site of the memorial for the Army officer, who hailed from Manipur, will be selected by the Tawang district administration, he said. The foundation stone for the memorial will be laid on February 14, the day Maj Khathing is believed to have hoisted the Tricolour in Tawang. “This memorial will be our tribute to him,” the CM added. Khathing served in the British Army and fought in World War II. A British officer, who found it difficult to pronounce his name, Relengnao, decided to call him Bob. During World War II, he served in the V Force and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry . After Independence, he was inducted into the Tirap Division as an Assistant Political Officer in November 1950 and posted to Pasighat and then to Kameng Division with its headquarters at Charduar. Major Khathing is believed to have embarked on an arduous journey from Charduar with a team of soldiers from 5 Assam Rifles on January 17, 1951. This was the first such expedition to negotiate the extremely hostile terrain in subzero temperatures en route. To establish Indian presence up to the McMahon Line — demarcated as the border between India and Tibet in 1914 under the Shimla Treaty — required covering the area on foot. Major Khathing and his troops managed to reach Tawang on February 6. The frontier region was then sparsely populated and the road network was practically non-existent. He met and interacted with a number of village chieftains and had effectively established authority over Tawang.
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