MONDAY 19 APRIL, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard BENGAL CENTRAL FORCES FACE DIDI’S IRE CISF personnel will face legal consequences for high-handedness: Mamata A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 The special train is geared up to deliver consignments to states | RAILWAYS OXYGEN EXPRESS TO PLUG DEMAND-SUPPLY GAPS Empty tankers to roll out from Mumbai today to bring liquid medical oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro WAITING FOR GREEN CORRIDOR Full-fledged service of Oxygen Express likely in a few days after green corridors are created. The decision follows proposals made by Maharashtra and MP governments requesting the Railways to help bridge the demand-supply gap. Tankers would be placed on flat wagons (roll-on-roll-off) as part of the plan @ New Delhi AMID dire scarcity of medical oxygen for Covid patients, the Centre on Sunday banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes — except in nine specified industries. The decision was taken based on the recommendations of the Empowered Group-II, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, adding it will come into effect from Thursday . Parallelly, the Railways decided to roll out an Oxygen Express to ease transport bottlenecks (see graphic). Delhi is staring at an unprecedented health crisis as it has less than 100 ICU beds vacant in its hospitals, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal revealed. On a day when over 25,000 people tested positive for Covid, Kejriwal said: “I spoke to Home Minister Amit Shah today and informed him of our dire need of beds and oxygen. We are constantly in touch with the Centre and getting help from it.” Also, the case positivity rate jumped from 24% to 30% in just 24 hours, he informed. He wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to increase the number of beds reserved for Covid patients in Central government hospitals NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 17 APRIL 18 2,40,423 1,25,751 1,303 2,61,500 1,38,423 1,501 Minister Nitin Patel was candid in admitting that the present requirement of Covid beds and other healthcare facilities is more than the state administration’s capacity . In Madhya Pradesh, six critical Covid patients died at the Government Medical College Hospital ICU at Shahdol allegedly due to low oxygen pressure. The hospital though attributed it to co-morbidities. Social media sites were flooded with requests for help in arranging beds and oxygen. P7 30.38% 24.24% 2.38% Chhattisgarh Goa 5.17% 15.43% 23.33% Rajasthan 17.80% 18.99% 1.74% 4.30% Madhya Pradesh Ladakh 1.22% 15.97% Haryana 2.83% 15.86% 0.94% 15.30% 3.58% Puducherry 14.47% 13.54% 13.91% 0.57% 3.05% 7.34% Chandigarh Maharashtra from 1,800 to 7,000. Delhi also sought uninterrupted supply of oxygen, which has reached a critical stage. Another grim data point was the national case positivity rate, which doubled to 16.69% in 12 days. “The daily positivity rate in the last 12 days has doubled from 8% to 16.69%,” the Union health ministry said in a statement. And the national weekly positivity rate increased from 3.05% to 13.54% in the last one month (see chart). In Gujarat, Deputy Chief Dadra and Nagar Haveli EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Delhi SOS as Delhi has less than 100 ICU beds; positivity rate doubles to 16.69% in 12 days ■ 11 Mar-17Mar ■ 11 Apr-17Apr India OXYGEN BAN ON INDUSTRY TO SAVE LIVES Change in weekly positivity rate of states/UTs 24.17% Connaught Place is bereft of visitors during the weekend curfew in Delhi on Sunday; a Covid-19 patient receives primary treatment outside LLR Hospital in Kanpur on Sunday | PARVEEN NEGI & PTI Expand jab drive, empower states, ex-PM tells Modi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi FORMER prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to incumbent Narendra Modi offering five suggestions to tackle the second wave of the pandemic. Highlighting the need for an intensified vaccination drive, Singh urged the Centre to look at percentages, not absolute numbers, to assess its impact. While over 12 crore people in India have been vaccinated as on April 18, in percentage terms it is below 9%, a far cry from 24% in the US, 56% in Israel or 28% in Chile. In the letter, Singh urged the Centre to share data on doses ordered for the next six months and their scheme of distribution to help states appropriately plan. Singh appealed for greater leeway for states in defining frontline workers, who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age. He also advised the Centre to augment private facilities to improve production while allowing the import of shots cleared by credible international agencies without insisting on bridging trials. Suggestions Publicise the number of doses ordered for the next six months. Place advance orders to meet the target Make distribution formula transparent so that states can plan their drive. Centre may retain 10% for distribution Let states define categories of frontliners who can be vaccinated Strengthen and expand the private manufacturing facilities Allow import of shots cleared by credible international agencies like USFDA Insurance cover ends for healthcare workers S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE Centre has quietly decided not to extend an insurance scheme of `50 lakh for healthcare workers who die in the line of Covid-19 duty beyond a year, it has emerged even as the country is in the middle of a ferocious wave of the infection. A circular sent by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan to states last month said that the scheme had concluded on March 24. The Centre had last year announced the scheme to incentivise healthcare workers as part of its `1.7 lakh crore Covid-19 relief package. “Approximately 22 lakh Sad, insensitive: Doctors Doctors expressed dismay. “It’s really sad and insensitive on the part of the government,” said former Indian Medical Association president Ravi Wankhedkar health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic,” the official statement had said. “Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered.” It also covered workers in the private sector. While there is no official data on the number of frontline workers who died of Covid-19 in India, according to the Indian Medical Association, at least 739 MBBS doctors, including three doctors in the second and ongoing wave of the pandemic, have succumbed to it. The scheme was first implemented for 90 days and later extended for a year. Bhushan did not respond to queries by this newspaper on the content of his letter. Rahul bites the bullet, cancels poll rallies E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi ANNOUNCING the suspension of all his public rallies in West Bengal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday urged other leaders to consider the consequences of holding huge public rallies. “In view of the Covid-19 situation, I am suspending all my public rallies in West Bengal. I would advise all political leaders to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances,” he said on Twitter. In another tweet in Hindi, Rahul wrote: “One has seen such a crowd of the sick and the dead for the first time.” While the Congress has little stake in the West Bengal elections, it’s the biggies like the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee and the BJP that are locked in a no-holdsbarred fight for power. Though both parties are yet to react, Trinamool candidate from Bhawanipur Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said he has decided not to hold any major rallies in view of the Covid-19 situation. Bhawanipur goes to polls on April 26. It is the seat held by Mamata in the outgoing Assembly Both Mamata and BJP . leader Amit Shah held roadshows in different parts of Bengal on Sunday . Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill lauded Rahul Gandhi and said the BJP must follow him. Shergill said Rahul Gandhi was “leading by example” by cancelling his rallies in the interest of public health and safety . Shergill tweeted that BJP leaders must follow Rahul Gandhi’s footsteps to end this naked dance of death due to Covid case explosion. FACEOFF BETWEEN MVA & BJP IN MAHARASHTRA 60,000 vials of Remdesivir seized by police. BJP says it bought this to donate to the state government. NCP leaders claim it was bought with intention of hoarding PAGE 7 1,500 MT OF OXYGEN ALLOCATED FOR MAHARASHTRA MEETING HELD TO FINALISE DIMENSION The dimensions of the tankers were determined after a meeting between Railway Board, transport commissioners and industry representatives. Heartfelt gratitude to the Railway Minister who has given consent to run the Oxygen Express at the time of this crisis on the request of Madhya Pradesh —Shivraj Singh Chouhan, MP CM Kejriwal writes to PM Modi and Union minister Piyush Goyal to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen, ramping up of beds Delhi hospitals gasping for breath, says Kejriwal S I D D HANTA MI S HRA @ New Delhi DELHI COVID WATCH AS the healthcare system is nearing collapse in Delhi, with the city registering the biggest jump in daily Covid-19 cases, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday shot off letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal urging them to ramp up bed capacity in central government-run hospitals and to ensure “uninterrupted” supply of medical oxygen. “The Covid situation has become very serious in Delhi. There is a huge shortage of beds and oxygen. I request that at least 7,000 out of 10,000 beds in central government hospitals in Delhi be reserved for Covid patients and oxygen be immediately provided in Delhi,” he wrote to the PM. At present, only 1,800 of 10,000 central government hospital beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients, he added. In his letter to Goyal, Kejriwal urged him to ensure an “uninterrupted” supply of 700MT of oxygen on daily basis and restore the supply of 140MT of oxygen by a supplier INOX. Earlier in the day, the CM said he also spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and stressed the need for beds for Covid-19 patients. At a press conference, he said the Delhi government in the Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate APRIL 17 APRIL 18 24,375 15,414 69,799 167 11,235 99,230 24.56% 25,462 20,159 74,941 161 13,259 85,620 29.74% Airlines face the heat The city government will be lodging FIRs against four airlines for failing to check RT-PCR test reports of passengers arriving from Covid-hit Maharashtra Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inspects Covid care facilities inside the CWG Village on Sunday as coronavirus cases surge in New Delhi | PARVEEN NEGI next 2-3 days will come up with 6,000 beds with oxygen facility at Yamuna Sports Complex, Radha Soami Satsang Beas premises and schools. The government also directed all nursing homes and private hospitals providing Covid-related treatment to reserve at least 80 per cent of their ICU and ward bed capacity for patients. Kejriwal also visited the Commonwealth Games Village and a government school at Rouse Avenue to review the arrangements, while his deputy Manish Sisodia along with health minister Satyendar Jain visited DRDO’s Covid hospital near the airport. Chief secretary Vijay Dev wrote to the Railways to arrange up to 5,000 beds by deploying Covid-care coaches at the Shakur Basti and the Anand Vihar stations amid a rising number of Covid-19 cases in P4 the national capital. MADHYA PRADESH NSA to be invoked for illegal Remdesivir trade E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal THE Madhya Pradesh government has decided to invoke the provisions of the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against those indulging in black marketing of antiviral drug Remdesivir. “Any lab, hospital and associated individuals caught indulging in black marketing of Remdesivir will have to face action under the NSA,” said wellplaced sources. Shortage of Remdesivir injections has been reported from various parts of the state. There have also been reports of hoarding and black marketing of the injections which are in high demand for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. On Saturday, a large quantity of Remdesivir injections was reported stolen from the stock of the state-run Hamidia Hospital in Bhopal. The state has so far procured one Lakh Remdesivir injections which are being supplied to government and private hospitals. An additional 12,000 injections were procured from a Hyderabad-headquar tered pharma company on Sunday. These injections were flown by chopper and state planes to various parts of the state. Earlier, UP’s Adityanath government has also decided to invoke NSA against three persons who were arrested in Kanpur carrying 265 Remdesivir injection vials. Madhya Pradesh will also establish oxygen production plants in 37 districts. The state has been battling with a shor tage of life-saver oxygen amid the surging corona case. “The Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of the PWD department has been asked to select locations in all the 37 districts and set up the units within one to three months for meeting future requirements,” official sources associated with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Sunday . Any lab, hospital and associated individuals caught indulging in black marketing of Remdesivir will have to face action under the National Security Act —Sources in Madhya Pradesh government EXPRESS READ Oxygen shortage blamed for deaths Bhopal: Shortage of oxygen was blamed after six patients died at the Medical College hospital in MP’s Shahdol district. Authorities admitted oxygen pressure was low, but added that deaths were not caused by that. Relatives of the deceased refused to buy that version | P7
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