TUESDAY IN A FIRST FOR ANOTHER PLANET, NASA MARS COPTER TAKES FLIGHT 20 Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet APRIL, 2021 AUTONOMOUS FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard IN THE NEWS $85 MILLION COST OF CHOPPER DEMO FLIGHT T O D AY INGENUITY LOGS 39.1 SECONDS OF FLIGHT INDIA Didi demands tests West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday again urged the Election Commission to truncate the process, suggesting that things be wrapped up in two days, to check the spread of Covid-19. Vocal as usual against Narendra Modi and BJP and accusing them of spreading the disease in Bengal, Mamata also demanded that central security personnel on election duty be subjected to RT-PCR tests. Around 1,100 companies of Central forces from CISF, BSF, CAPF and police from other states are on duty in Bengal elections from March 27 to April 19. P8 LoC: Zero infiltration For the second consecutive year, there has been zero infiltration of militants in militancy-hit Kashmir from across the LoC in first three months this year, thanks to upgrading of the counter infiltration grid and heavy snowfall in the winter. The LoC in the Kashmir Valley falls in three districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora in north Kashmir. Due to the heavy snowfall, all the infiltration routes to the Valley got closed, they said. As the LoC is calm due to no ceasefire violations from Pakistani troops from mid-February, the officials are looking at means and ways to reduce infiltration to near zero even during the summer. P8 INTERNATIONAL Navalny hospitalised Russia’s penitentiary service said on Monday it was transferring ailing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to a prison hospital, as the EU warned it would hold Moscow responsible for the state of his health. The US on Sunday threatened Russia with “consequences” if President Vladimir Putin’s domestic opponent—who launched a hunger strike three weeks ago—dies in jail, with Navalny’s doctors warning he could pass away at “any minute”. Russia’s prison service said its doctors had decided to move him to a medical facility at another penal colony outside Moscow. P9 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS @ New Delhi THE Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has clarified that the government is in talks with another insurance company for extension of the `50 lakh cover scheme for healthcare workers on Covid-19 duty under the Pradhan Mantri , Garib Kalyan Package. Launched last year, this scheme was discontinued according to a letter to the states from Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. The letter said the insurance coverage was coming to an end on March 24 this year. In its clarification, the health ministry has added that it has been extended till April 24. The ministry said a “new dispensation will be provided to cover the Corona warriors, for which the ministry is in talks with the insurance company (New India Assurance)”. J8.00 PAGES 12 States can buy directly from manufacturers, who can also sell in open market; up to states, private players to procure foreign jabs S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi HEEDING to calls to reduce the age cap, the Centre on Monday opened its phase 3 vaccination drive to include all above 18 years of age from May 1, after a series of meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with different stakeholders. It also substantially eased its grip on vaccine manufacturers, empowering them to release up to 50% of their stock to states aa also sell the jabs in the open market at a pre-declared price. Importantly, foreign made ready-to-use vaccines will be available only in the market or procured by states but not by the Centre. States have also been permitted to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, and open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for it. Prominent among those who had pressed the Centre to expand the beneficiary basket were chief ministers Amarinder Singh (Punjab) and Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra). The decision to allow everyone above 18 years to get the vaccines also came on a day when the Centre reportedly extended a credit line of `3,000 crore to the Pune-based Serum Institute of India and `1,500 crore to Bharat Biotech. Manufacturers will make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that will be available to states and in the market, before May 1. Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals and industrial establishments among others can procure doses from the manufacturers. Private hospitals have to procure their supplies exclusively from the 50% earmarked for other than the Central government channel. “This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivising vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international. It would also make pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines open and flexible, allowing all stakeholders the flexibility to customise to local needs and dynamics,” said the Centre. All vaccinations, however, will be part of the national vaccination programme, and mandated to follow all protocols such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to Adverse Event Following Immunisation reporting and all other prescribed norms. Also, the second dose of all existing priority groups wherever it has become due, will be P7 given priority . CRITERIA FOR DISTRIBUTION OF CENTRE’S SHARE The Centre, from its share, will allocate vaccines to states based on the criteria of extent of infection and performance. Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criterion and will affect the criteria negatively. Based on these parameters, state-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the states adequately in advance ‘Court cannot stay spectators if govt has political compulsions’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Lucknow/Hyderabad Migrant workers at Kaushambi bus stand on the Delhi-UP border to board buses for their native places on Monday | PARVEEN NEGI Delhi under one week lockdown, Kejriwal says painful but necessary S I D D H A N TA M I S H R A @ New Delhi DELHI COVID WATCH DELHI was once again placed under complete lockdown for a week beginning on Monday night to keep the Covid-19 surge in check. Barring essential services, all other activities have been banned in Delhi until April 25. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hoped this will give a muchrequired breather to a tremendously strained healthcare system. The decision was taken after a high-level meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. “After reviewing the situation, your government feels it is pertinent to impose a lockdown in Delhi for a few days. Hence, a lockdown is being imposed from 10 pm tonight to 5 am next Monday morning. All Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate APRIL 17 APRIL 18 25,462 20,159 74,941 161 13,259 85,620 29.74% 23,686 21,500 76,887 240 15,039 90,696 26.12% essential services with regard to food, medicine would continue,” said Kejriwal. He added that the decision was “painful but necessary”. Despite Kejriwal’s appeal to migrant workers to not go back home, there were reports of huge rush at the Inter-State Bus Terminals, mainly the one at Anand Vihar situated at the border of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. “The last time when the lockdown was imposed in the Vardhan mocks MMS, Cong hits back @ New Delhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI VACCINE FOR ALL ABOVE 18 FROM MAY EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Corona warrior scheme to be continued: Govt Solar-powered helicopter became airborne at 12:33 LMST(Mars time) – a time the team determined would have optimal energy. It climbed to its prescribed altitude of 10 feet and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It, then, touched down on Mars surface after logging 39.1 seconds of flight Initial flight demonstration was autonomous – piloted by onboard guidance, navigation, and control systems. The flight was full of unknowns. The Red Planet has just one-third of Earth’s gravity and its atmosphere is thin with only 1% the pressure at the surface compared to our planet | P12 REACTING sharply to former PM Manmohan Singh’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving suggestions on how to tide over the pandemic, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said even Congress-ruled states don’t seem to agree with him. “It is saddening, Dr Singh, that while you very well understand the importance of vaccination as an important method of fighting the Covid-19 battle, people in responsible positions in your party as well as in the Boris cancels trip British Prime Minister BORIS JOHNSON cancels India visit, will instead speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month to launch their plans for bilateral partnership state governments formed by your party do not seem to share your view,” Vardhan wrote in his reply to Singh. Tweeting his reply, he said, “History shall be kinder to you Dr Manmohan Singh ji if your offer of ‘constructive cooperation’ and valuable advice was followed by your leaders as well in such extraordinary times!” Meanwhile, the Congress demanded an apology from Harsh Vardhan for his uncharacteristic remarks on the former PM. The party said the remarks were meaningless as the letter was addressed to PM Modi and not to the health minister. It also pointed out that the Centre has accepted most of the suggestions in Singh’s letter to the prime minister. “It is a welcome move that Government has woken up to Congress call of vaccination for all. Hope PM considers the other suggestions given by Dr. Singh & other experts as well,” tweeted Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. adds India red list of from where INDIA ON UK The UK are banned.to itsban comes countriescases of the B.1.617 flights The amid 77 RED LIST variant, first found in India, being detected in Britain Hong Kong suspends connecting flights All Hong Kong flights connecting it with India stand suspended from Tuesday till May 3. The suspension applies to Pakistan as well as the Philippines MANMOHAN TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID FRESH on the heels of the Mahakumbh, comes the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. After reports of many Covid cases in Haridwar, the annual pilgrimage to the holy shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri will begin on May 14. A cautious Uttarakhand government has made negative RTPCR test reports mandatory, among other guidelines. “We have made negative RT-PCR reports mandatory for Char Dham Yatra to ensure that the infection does not spread. The Yatra is a matter of faith and we are committed to provide every facility to the pilgrims from all over the world, “ said Uttarakhand’s Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj. Ravinath Raman, chairman of Char Dham Devsthanam Board, said the situation is assessed and an SOP is expected soon. “We have pretty much decided to stick to the precautions taken last year. Guidelines will be released soon,” said the senior bureaucrat. There was a steep fall in attendance last year. In comparison to over 38 lakh pilgrims in 2019, only 4.2 lakh visited in 2020. The SOP will include many conditions including reg- NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 18 APRIL 19 2,61,500 1,38,423 1,501 2,72,191 1,44,178 1,619 Immediately restore supply of oxygen to hospitals: HC to firm Former PM Manmohan Singh, 88, on Monday tested positive for Covid-19. He was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi with a mild fever on Monday afternoon. He is stable and doctors are monitoring his condition. Singh had taken both the doses of Covid vaccine. PM Modi was among those who wished him speedy recovery | P7 Maharashtra Some relief as Covid cases dip to 58,924 a day after logging the highest 68,631 positive cases on Sunday West Bengal Cases climb in poll-bound state, hitting its highest single-day spike of 8,426 After Kumbh, all eyes are on Char Dham yatra V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun entire country, we saw how a large number of migrant workers began returning to their villages. I would like to appeal to them with my hands folded that this is a short lockdown for six days. Please do not leave Delhi,” said Kejriwal. With the daily number of cases rising above 25,000, the CM has been pointing out that there is a huge shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen. Kejriwal said he never thought lockdown is a solution, but added that this will allow the system some time to manage the extra number of beds and get things in order. “We will use this lockdown to arrange oxygen and medicines. It is a humble request to all to follow the rules and not step out of home” P4 & 5 said Kejriwal. THE Allahabad High Court on Monday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities — Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur. The HC slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for “not planning” for a second wave of the pandemic and also criticised the State Election Commission for holding the p a n ch ayat e l e c t i o n s at this time. “Those in the helm of affairs of governance are to be blamed for the present chaotic health problems and more so when there is a democracy which means a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” it noted. If popular government has its own political compulsions in not checking public movements during this pandemic, the court can not remain mere passive spectators, it added. Similarly, the Telangana High Court directed the state to issue within 48 hours guidelines to minimise footfalls in liquor shops, restaurants, marriage halls, among others. istration and e-passes. Entry to the sanctum sanctorum of the shrines will be prohibited, masks will be compulsory and so will be social distancing and the use of hand sanitizers. Touching idols and offering flowers or sweets will not be allowed. The Uttarakhand government is also likely to limit the number of pilgrims in a particular shrine on a day. Last year, it was 800 for Kedarnath shrine , 1,200 for Badrinath, 600 for Gangotri and 400 for Yamunotri. Oxygen cylinders brought at Covid care centre in CWG Complex | PARVEEN NEGI EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi TAKING note of the overstretched health infrastructure due to a Covid wave, the Delhi High Court on Monday asked asked the Centre to look into the aspect of shortage of oxygen supply in Delhi hospitals on an urgent basis. It also asked the Centre to examine the availability of oxygen in different states for diverting it to badly-hit Covid areas. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli directed the Centre and Delhi government to file affidavits by Tuesday disclosing hospital-wise availability of beds for COVID-19 patients here. It said both the governments in affidavits shall also give details as to how many hospital beds are with or without ventilators and oxygen support. “Central government shall examine the availability of oxygen in different states and its need for treatment of COVID-19 patients so that oxygen can be diverted to areas where there is a surge in cases and where it is most required,’ the bench said. It also directed Inox, the firm which earlier supplied oxygen to Delhi hospitals and has suddenly stopped, to restore the oxygen supply immediately . The high court was told that the firm was supplying oxygen to other state. “We direct Inox to honour its contract and supply oxygen to Delhi government and hospitals here and restore 140 metric ton oxygen supply to Delhi immediately which shall inturn be distributed to needy hospitals.” The petitioner, an advocate, said many clinics have stopped home collection of in view of the AAP government’s 24-hour diktat.
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