FRIDAY UGC TELLS UNIVERSITIES TO DROP OFFLINE EXAMS FOR MAY MAY, 2021 It has also asked the institutions to hold exams online after assessing the local situation to ensure the safety of students 07 epaper.morningstandard.in CONDITIONAL APPROVAL TO HOLD ONLINE EXAM facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard CABINET MEETING PM MODI REVIEWS COVID SITUATION Says pace of vaccination drive must not come down despite restrictions A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Online exams would be allowed only if universities ensure they are prepared in all respects and adhere to the directions and guidelines issued by the Centre, states, the education ministry and the UGC. Earlier, the education ministry had directed all Centrally-funded institutions not to conduct offline exams in May. The decision will be reviewed again in the first week of June UNIVERISTIES AND THOUSANDS OF AFFILIATED COLLEGES TO TOE THE LINE ‘9.5K more beds if Delhi gets oxygen’ EX P R ESS N E WS S E RVI CE @New Delhi A youth gets vaccinated at a COVID-19 centre in New Delhi on Thursday | PARVEEN NEGI Cautious optimism as US waives off vaccine patent ABOUT 9,500 more beds for Covid patients would be added if Delhi continues to get adequate quota of oxygen, CM Arvind Kejriwal said while thanking the Centre for meeting the needs of hospitals. At a digital press briefing, the CM said that 730 metric tonnes (MT) oxygen was supplied by the Centre for the first time on Wednesday even as the present daily requirement is 700 MT. “Until the second wave of Covid subsides in Delhi, we will need 700MT oxygen daily . If Delhi gets an adequate supply of 700MT oxygen, it will be DELHI COVID WATCH MAY 5 MAY 6 Positive cases 20,960 19,133 Recovery 19,209 20,028 Active cases 91,859 90,629 Deaths 311 335 Containment zones 47,704 49,123 Tests 79,491 78,780 Positivity rate 26.37% 24.29% able to set up a centre with 9,000-9,500 beds.” Hoping that the Centre will continue supplying sufficient quantities of the life-saving gas as per the requirement, Kejriwal appealed to the hospitals to restore beds, which were reduced to non-availability WTO negotiations on the subject are expected to begin next month. Tai warned that it would take time to reach a global consensus to waive protections under WTO rules. At least 100 of the WTO’s 164 nations are in favour of waiver, saying it would increase global vaccine production, but drugs manufacturers argue otherwise Pharma lobby opposing the waiver says patents are not the primary obstacle, describes waiver as handing out a recipe without sharing the method or the ingredients, which could lead to quality issues The alternative, they say, is the UK and the EU’s system of licensing, as know-how is shared and there is oversight, like in the case of Serum Institute of India that is producing the AstraZeneca jab Serum Institute of India has signed pacts with AstraZeneca and Novavax while Biological E has entered into an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for its Covid-19 vaccine AFTER months of wavering, the US administration on Thursday announced its support to the temporary waiver of intellectual property protection on Covid-19 vaccines, a decision that could help Indian pharma majors produce foreign jabs at low cost, though experts were a tad wary . The idea of a waiver under the World Trade Organization (WTO) forum was first proposed by India and South Africa in October last year. Prodded by Democrat lawmakers, US President Joe Biden supported the waiver, reversing his country’s earlier position on the matter. His remarks were followed by a statement from his top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, who said: “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.” Experts in India, which has been struggling with supply side shortage of vaccines, welcomed the US decision, but adviced caution. “To my understanding, it is a laudable step and will help countries like India in procuring higher doses of vaccines at lower costs if the WTO agrees to the proposal and vaccine makers transfer NATIONWIDE MAY 5 MAY 6 Fresh cases 3,82,315 4,12,262 Recoveries 3,38,439 3,29,113 3,780 3,980 Deaths their formula to local companies,” said Manisha Gupta, an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) expert. She, however, flagged the challenge of managing quality . “Countries like India will have to ensure that only companies that are capable of maintaining quality get the license to make generic versions of the vaccines,” she added. Others like IPR lawyer Deepshikha Malhotra stressed that the advantage could depend on the pacts between the patent holders and local license seekers. Also, companies that get the license through the international agreements may have to fulfil all the regulatory requirements, as is the case now, she said. Former Union health secretary Sujatha K Rao welcomed the development, saying it brings hope for a much-needed vaccine equity to low- and middle-income nations. “In days to come, it is likely to enable vaccine production at very affordable prices helping governments provide it free to all and the price will no longer be a barrier to access,” she said. A few trade experts, however, pointed out that most Indian vaccine firms seem happy to work through exclusive pacts and do not favour free technology transfers. JAB-O-METER May 5 TAKE YOUR SHOT May 6 18,90,346 doses 22,98,530 doses TOTAL: 16,48,76,248 I took oath at 11 am and they (the Centre) sent me a letter at 7 pm on Wednesday. And this morning, a central team arrived in Kolkata. This is unprecedented... Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister A group of alleged Trinamool goons before they attacked Union Minister V Muralidharan’s convoy in West Midnapore district on Thursday | PTI Mamata cites quarantine rules as Centre-Bengal ties nosedive further EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kolkata THE tense relations between the BJP-led Centre and West Beng al Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached another flashpoint on Thursday with the latter saying all visitors must produce a Covid-negative test report and stay in 14-day quarantine at their own cost. In other words, she sought to shoo off visiting Central teams. Responding to allegations that Union minister V Muralidharan’s vehicle was attacked in West Midnapore district, Mamata charged that he had come to stir up communal discord. Alleging that Murlidharan’s visit was aimed at instig ating BJP suppor ters, Mamata said: “Their continuous visits in the past six months have resulted in a record spike in infections. Now that all political meetings and rallies have been banned in the state, why are they still coming here? They Action in Cooch Behar firing case In other front, an officer of the Mathabhanga police station was Thursday questioned by the CID which is probing the deaths of five persons in firing by CISF personnel in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of voting, want to instigate their supporters.” Stating that controlling the second wave was the priority, she said: “All visitors, including Union ministers, have to produce negative RTPCR test report to enter the state. Rule is same for all. Even for me. If anyone comes in a special flight, they too will have to either produce a negative report or get the test done. If the report is negative, they will have to undergo 14-day quarantine at their own cost,’’ she said. HELPING HAND EXPRESS READ Jaipur sisters feed Covid-hit families for free Plane lands on belly after malfunction R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur TWO sisters in the Rajasthan capital, one of the Covid hotspots, are making a small but significant contribution to helping the virus-infected families. They serve Covid patients and their families in Jaipur with free, hygienic and healthy home-cooked food. The historic city is recording over 3,000 new cases and nearly 40 deaths each day . The two sisters, Pooja, (37), and Vandana (49), live in Jaipur’s Bajaj Nagar and began with helping some known families. Later they took it to the families battling the dreaded virus. As the families struggle to look after their sick loved ones with medicines and oxygen, organizing food becomes an additional botheration. This is where Pooja and Vandana fit in, helping the desperate families. Last year, many members of their own family were infected and for about a week, it was difficult for them Pooja and Vandana are taking care of about 25 families in Jaipur | EXPRESS to organize food. The women then realized the importance of serving healthy food to Covid patients and their families. Last month as the situation turned into a crisis, the two recalled their personal experience and decided to help. Pooja is an IT engineer and owns a company in the US while her sister is a homemaker. The two pooled their resources and began their campaign. “We believe that the crisis is far more serious this time. We came to know about families known to us who were finding it tough to get food. So we decided we should do our best,” says Pooja. The two began with hopeful 700MT of oxygen would be available daily . “If we receive 700MT oxygen daily we can create several ox, ygen-beds in Delhi. Given the scarcity of oxygen, we can only create 5,000 beds in Radha Soami Satsang; 2,500 beds at two places in Burari; 1,000 beds in CWG Village; and 1,000 beds in Yamuna Sports Complex. Around 9,000-9,500 beds can be prepared if we get adequate oxygen. If we get 700MT oxygen daily I guarantee you that , no person will have to die because of oxygen shortage.” On vaccination drive, the CM said a total 35.74 lakh doses were administered so far. THIRD WAVE Challenges of quality management, terms of agreements remain S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi of oxygen. “I would like to thank the Central government on behalf of the people of Delhi. I would also thank the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court. It was because of their efforts that we were able to get 730MT oxygen,” said Kerjiwal. “We are grateful as innumerable lives can now be saved. It shouldn’t be the case that one day we receive 700MT and the next day we again get only 300400MT, because this will create turmoil in the hospitals again Kejriwal said that the hospitals, which had reduced their beds, should restore the number of beds as he was only a few families in their area; gradually they expanded their service to around 25 families living in distant colonies of the Pink City They drive their . own car or lend a helping hand to deliver food to Covid-infected patients and their families. The two are proud of their nutritious and healthy food. “We take every care to ensure that our food is tasty and nutritious. We pray before we cook and take care to make food according to the needs of the patients. We use organic vegetables to provide a balanced diet,” says Vandana, a Reiki Master. For lunch, they serve a few chapatis, vegetables, dal and boiled salad. For dinner they go for porridge, khichdi or vegetable pulao. They also send inspiring messages along with the packed food. “We try to make the affected people smile when they receive our food,” says Vandana. The two sisters use social media to inform people of their services and do not accept donations. Mumbai: A chartered plane carrying five people, including a patient, landed on its belly at Mumbai airport on Thursday evening. Foam was put on the runway to safeguard against fire. The air ambulance was flying from Nagpur to Hyderabad. ADIEU AJIT SINGH DIES OF COVID Political fraternity unites to mourn loss of former Union minister and RLD leader, who passes away aged 82 PAGE 7 Earlier, a Home ministry team landed in Kolkata in the wake of the post-poll violence. The four-member team of the MHA visited the state secretariat and held meetings with the chief secretary and the DGP . Hours after Mamata assumed the chief minister’s office on Wednesday the Cen, tre sent a terse reminder asking her government to submit a detailed report on post-poll violence and stop such incidents ‘’without any loss of time’’. “I took oath at 11 am and they sent me the letter at 7 pm on Wednesday And this . morning, a central team arrived Kolkata. This is unprecedented. When there is incident like Hathras, central team doesn’t go there,” she said. “When there is scarcity of vaccines and oxygen at hospitals, central team doesn’t go there. I would ask the BJP to show restraint and accept the mandate given by voters of Bengal.” P8 SC push for universal vax policy, oxygen buffer stock K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to start preparing for the third wave of Covid-19, advising it to create a buffer stock of medical oxygen to prevent panic and prepare a comprehensive vaccination policy for all. During its hearing on the supply of oxygen to Delhi, a bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said: “You (Centre) need to look at the issue of oxygen supply on a panIndia basis. There is a need to look at oxygen audit and also reassess the basis for oxygen reallocation.” It pointed out that the third surge, according to experts, will affect children. When a child goes to hospital, the mother and father will also have to go. “That is why vaccination will have to be over for this group of people. We need to plan for this in a scientific way it said. ,” “If you (Centre) make an error in policy framing, then you will be held accountable for it,” it said. The bench accepted the suggestion to form a committee of experts for oxygen audit. “Today we have 1.5 lakh doctors who have finished medical course but waiting for NEET exam. How do you tap them? There is fatigue amongst the healthcare professionals. We have to create spaces for the existing body of health professionals. They are at the end of their tether,” the court said. Kerala shut for 9 days; Maha crosses 60K again EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kochi/Bengaluru/New Delhi & Mumbai WHILE the Supreme Court directed the Centre to prepare for the third wave, the second wave itself was nowhere close it its peak, with the fresh case count on Thursday crossing the fourlakh-mark for the second time since April 30. Kerala, which accounted for over 10% of the nation’s tally, announced a rigourous nine-day complete lockdown till May 16, starting Saturday, as it recording its highest single-day spike of 42,464 and 63 deaths. Except select essential activities, all commercial and public activities would remain closed. While Karnataka’s oxygen situation is yet to be resolved, the Centre challenged in the Supreme Court an order of the Karnataka High Court directing it to raise the state’s oxygen share. The Centre claimed the HC had failed to consider the rationale behind its equitable allocation. The SC agreed to list the case after a bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah perused the files. Karnataka’s Thursday tally stood at 49,058 with 382 deaths. In Delhi, the city government was hauled over the coals by the high court after it objected to an observation that the existing medical infrastructure was ‘exposed’ and in ‘shambles’ when put to the test. The court ordered the Delhi gover nment to provide medical treatment to all people suffering from Covid-19 in the city, which saw an addition of 19,133 new cases and 335 deaths. It got over 730 MT oxygen for the first time. After almost a week of reporting less than 60,000 cases, Maharashtra’s tally increased by 62,194. The state reported 853 deaths. Mumbai registered a sharp fall in cases, with 3,028 testing positive.
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