WEDNESDAY U.S. ADVISES CITIZENS TO AVOID INDIA TRAVEL, ISSUES GUIDELINES 21 Placing India on ‘Level 4: Very high level’ list, the Centers for Disease Control said even fully vaccinated people are at risk APRIL, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard PUBLIC DEMAND METRO SCHEDULE REVISED Frequency every 15 minutes from 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 8 pm. PAGE 5 EXCEPTION MADE FOR URGENT TRAVEL A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 The advisory, suggesting travellers to reconsider their itinerary, comes a day after the UK imposed similar restrictions on flying to India. The CDC, however, made exceptions for pressing cases with certain conditions. “If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated. All travellers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” it advised PAGES 12 Save India from lockdown: PM appeals In address to nation, Modi says protecting lives and keeping economy moving vital for national fightback amid crisis Oxygen for Delhi 30 million Covaxin doses by next month The Union Home Ministry is making all efforts to make oxygen available to hospitals in Delhi and will try to ensure there is no shortage, officials said on Tuesday Sadar Bazaar wears a deserted look during the week-long lockdown in New Delhi on Tuesday | PARVEEN NEGI M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi I want to request the state administrations that they protect the trust of the labour force that they should stay where they are, and they will continue with their employment while they get vaccinated Narendra Modi, PM PRIME Minister Narendra Modi was emphatic in his address to the nation on Tuesday that lockdown was not the way out to contain the exponential growth of fresh Coving cases, urging state governments to focus on micro-containment strategies instead. Stating that all efforts are made for the wellbeing of the economy and people, Modi said the country needs to be saved from lockdown, which should be the last resort for state governments. Modi also referred to reports of migrants thronging railway stations and bus depots to return home, and urged state governments to instill trust in the labour force that their employment would remain protected while they will be expeditiously vaccinated at their places of work. “I want to request the state administrations that they protect the trust of the labour force that they should stay where they are, and they will continue with their employment while they get vaccinated,” he said. Ensuring the labour force stays at their workplace is necessary for expeditious inoculation, as all above 18 years of age will be vaccinated from May 1, he pointed out. “Efforts of all of us are to save the lives, and also to ensure that livelihood and the economy are least affected,” he emphasised. His remarks came in the wake of a few of the state governments, including Delhi, imposing lockdown, which triggered panic among the migrant workers, wary as they are of a rerun of last year’s exodus. Reiterating his request for people’s cooperation in enforcement of appropriate protocol, Modi called upon the youth, including children, to follow the good practices in their neighbourhood. “If the protocols are followed, there will be no need even for containment zones.” Reassuring the people that the situation will be expeditiously brought under control, Modi said oxygen supply is being ramped up in a big way while pharmaceutical companies have increased production of necessary medicines. Bharat Biotech said it will produce 30 mn doses next month. “This month we are reaching 20 mn, next month we will be making around 30 mn... by July-August we will be able to reach 700 to 800 mn doses production capacity per annum,” says its CMD Krishna Ella MAHARASHTRA TO IMPORT VACCINES State is happy with the Centre’s new vax policy, will import vaccines if need be with funds diverted from all departments to carry out an extensive inoculation drive on the lines of the UK, says Health Minister Rajesh Tope KERALA SEEKS FREE VACCINES Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to provide entire quantity of vaccines needed by state govts free of cost, instead of the new policy to let states buy part of their requirement directly from manufacturers Left with no options, Maha likely to go for 15-day complete shutdown EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai / New Delhi Rahul tests positive Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he has tested positive for Covid-19. “After experiencing mild symptoms, I’ve just tested positive,” he tweeted MAHARASHTRA, where lockdown-like restrictions are already in place since April 15, is headed for a 15-day total lockdown. The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday unanimously decided to impose strict lockdown from Wednesday night. The final announcement will be made by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, health minister Rajesh Tope said. The Cabinet also decided to cancel Class 10 exam of the state board. Tope said the state is facing severe shortage of medical oxygen and Remdesivir injection, while hospital beds are fully occupied. “If we don’t act now, things will be difficult to handle,” he added. Another minister, Jitendra Awhad, said Uddhav was initially reluctant to go for a complete lockdown but the ministers prevailed over him. “We have to break down the virus chain at any condition. People are gasping for oxygen. The state is bringing in oxygen but it will take time and in the meanwhile complete lockdown needs to be imposed. That will help us to reduce positive cases.” Maharashtra has 6,70,388 NATIONWIDE APRIL 19 APRIL 20 2,72,191 1,44,178 1,619 2,57,409 1,54,761 1,761 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths positive cases with 2,46,119 patients admitted in hospitals. NCP minister Nawab Malik said the Cabinet meeting has also decided to import as many doses of vaccines to the state. “We will write to the Centre seeking permission to import vaccines,” Malik said. The situation in Delhi is equally bad with CM Arvind Kejriwal pleading the Centre “with folded hands” to rush medical oxygen. “Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi... Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen,” he tweeted. “ On Monday, the Delhi government had set up a 24-member committee to ensure “rational” use of medical oxygen. SC stays order Three-fold rise in Covid beds, effort on to set up more on lockdown in Uttar Pradesh E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court order to implement lockdown in five Uttar Pradesh cities in the wake of the increase in coronavirus cases. The state government has been asked to report to the high court within a week the steps it has taken to tackle the Covid surge. The high court had ordered a lockdown till April 26 in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur. The UP government refused to enforce it on Monday evening and approached the Supreme Toll crosses Court on Tuesday. 10,000 The Uttar Pradesh governThe death toll ment through Solicitor Genfrom Covid-19 eral Tushar Mehta argued in UP crossed that locking down five cities the 10,000 by judicial order may not be mark on the right approach and a Tuesday with blanket lockdown imposed 162 more by the court would create imfatalities. mense administrative diffiInfection tally culties. It also said that the exceeded nine high court’s order infringed lakh after upon the state government’s detection of domain. The high court, while or29,754 cases. dering the cities to shut down, had said on Monday that the pandemic had virtually incapacitated the medical infrastructure especially in cities like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur. But the state government said such a lockdown was not needed and it had to protect both lives and livelihoods. The high court had also ordered a ban on social gatherings, religious activities, and said that shops, educational institutions and shopping malls should be closed. The Supreme Court will take up the case after two weeks. UPROAR VACCINE POLICY DRAWS CRITICISM Centre’s decision to allow states to buy directly from manufacturers will lead to inequity and affect the poorer, section, say experts | P7 Workers prepare beds at a Covid care centre inside a school hall, in New Delhi on Tuesday | PTI KEJRIWAL IN ISOLATION AFTER WIFE TESTS POSITIVE Delhi Chief Minister Arvin Kejriwal’s wife Sunita has tested positive for Covid-19. She is in home quarantine. A Delhi government official said Kejriwal has gone into isolation. Kejriwal was at the forefront of the Delhi government’s efforts to fight the pandemic. Extension for healthcare worker insurance scheme E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Tuesday extended the `50 lakh insurance coverage — for healthcare workers across India who die while doing Covid-19 duty — that had expired last month. It had earlier been extended till April 24 as an interim arrangement. The scheme under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, announced last year, had come to an end on March 24 and the government had said that it was meant to provide a safety net to about 22 lakh healthcare workers. The latest extension, after an agreement with New India Assurance, is for the next one year. So far, 287 claims have been settled under the scheme which includes claims from the families of 168 doctors who died after contracting Covid-19. A letter by the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, sent to the states on March 24, informing them that the scheme was expiring the same day and claims received for those deceased till date for a month will be considered for compensation had appeared on social media two days back and triggered massive outrage from the Indian Medical Association. THE Delhi government’s fight to increase the number of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients continues. As per stated plans, the government wants to use the week-long lockdown to achieve its targets. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain were at the forefront of this drive on Tuesday “The Delhi government is . working on a war footing to increase the number of beds in Delhi’s hospitals. In the last two weeks, the number of Covid designated beds in Delhi has been increased by three times. On April 3, th number of beds was 6,071. This became 19,101 on April 20,” said Sisodia, who is also the nodal minister for Covid in Delhi. Jain said that in view of the increasing cases, beds are increased at a fast pace. “The DELHI COVID WATCH APRIL 19 APRIL 20 Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate 23,686 21,500 76,887 240 15,039 90,696 26.12% 28,395 19,430 85,575 277 17,151 86,526 32.82% Delhi government has increased beds by more than three times in the last 10-12 days. Nearly 25,000 cases are emerging daily for the last three-four days. Similarly, about two and-a-half lakh cases are being recorded in the country every day. Covid-19 beds have also been extended to several other centers,” said the health minister. Later on Tuesday evening, Jain tweeted: “Visited the Sant Nirankari Ground at Burari. The place will soon be turned into a 1,000-bed Covid treatment centre. Extremely thankful to the Nirankari Sant Sa- magam for agreeing to provide infrastructure and food support to the patients.” Sisodia, meanwhile, once again warned hospital administrators regarding transparency in showing the number of beds, a day after the Delhi government had taken legal action against two hospitals in South Delhi which were not conforming with government guidelines regarding disclosure of exact number of beds. He said that if a hospital is showing false information on the app or refusing patients despite having beds, then action will be taken against that hospital. The minister also made an appeal to the public not to rush to hospitals with mild symptoms and go for home isolation. “If you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, the most effective way to fight Covid-19 is through home isoP4 lation” added Sisodia. TACKLING BACKLOG Supreme nod for ad-hoc HC judges K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi EXPRESSING concern over the large number of pending cases, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set the ball rolling for appointment of ad-hoc judges in high courts to clear pendency . A bench headed by C h i e f Ju s t i c e S A Bobde said, “We have a docket explosion in our country and that it is difficult for adjudication to take place within a reasonable period of time. This crisis situation must be tackled. Some innovation is always the rule of the game.” The bench said the process to appoint ad-hoc judges can be initiated if vacancies are more than 20 per cent of the sanctioned strength of the high court and cases in a particular category are pending for over five years. The court clarified ad-hoc appointments cannot be a substitute for regular ones. The number of ad-hoc judges should be between two and five in a high court. Citing data from the National Judicial Data Grid, the court said five high courts — Allahabad, Punjab & Haryana, Madras, Bombay and Rajasthan — are responsible for 54 per cent of the pendency of 57,51,312 cases. “The Madras HC has among the highest arrears of 5.8 lakh cases despite having fewer va- cancies than most other high courts (7%). This does not take away from the requirement of appointing ad-hoc judges but supports the view that even if the existing vacancies are few, a situation may arise requiring the expertise of experienced judges to be appointed as ad-hoc judges.” The court also laid down timelines for the government take a call on appointment of judges. The bench said once the Centre receives inputs of state government and the IB, it would be desirable that the file be forwarded to the Supreme Court Collegium in 8 to 12 weeks. Once the Collegium reiterates a proposal, the government should notify the appointment within 3-4 weeks. EXPRESS READ Delhi Capitals beat Mumbai Indians Chennai: Delhi Capitals moved to second on the IPL table after beating Mumbai Indians on Tuesday. It was a third win in four matches for the team led by Rishabh Pant | P11
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