WEDNESDAY ‘CHINA’S VACCINE WAS READY EVEN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC’ JUNE, 2021 Eminent virologist Dr T Jacob John told TNIE it is possible that the SARSCoV-2 virus was created in the Wuhan virology lab 09 epaper.morningstandard.in BEIJING IS HIDING SOMETHING: DR JOHN JACOB facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard “There is something mysterious about the Chinese episode (the suspected leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology). China’s Covid-19 pandemic was unique in the world. That means they are hiding something… or they are different… or China had prepared for this in advance. Everything is not what meets the eye,” said Dr John, ex-professor of Virology, CMC Vellore TWITTER SINGER’S ACCOUNT BLOCKED The action was taken against Jazzy B after the Centre’s request A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI PAGES 12 J8.00 Feb 24, 2020 CHINA APPLIED FOR VACCINE BARELY TWO MONTHS AFTER COVID OUTBREAK States empowered to prioritise age groups for jabs Walk-in registrations allowed for all age groups starting June 21; Centre urges people to go to private vax centres if they can afford to pay S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi ‘Homeo doctors can prescribe Covid med’ P RAMDAS @ Kochi QUALIFIED physicians can not only prescribe and dispense homoeo medicines for preventing Covid, but also resort to homeopathy for symptom management of coronavious-like illnesses, the Kerala High Court said on Tuesday . Justice N Nagaresh issued the order while disposing of the petition filed by Dr Jayaprasad Karunakaran. The petitioner said he had treated and saved serious Covid patients abroad. But when he tried to do so in Kerala, state health officials threatened him with action under the Disaster Management Act. The court directed the government to ensure the petitioner is not obstructed in any manner from practising homoeopathy as per the guidelines issued by the AYUSH ministry and the Supreme Court. Assistant Solicitor General P Vijayakumar said the Centre had issued recommendations on using homoeopathy for preventive purposes and symptom management of Covid-like illnesses. The court observed homeopathic physicians may provide add-on intervention to conventional care of Covid patients and prescribe drugs, adding the suggested medicine should be adjuvant to standard management guidelines. JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT June 7 31,04,989 doses June 8 25,58,652 doses TOTAL DOSES: 23,88,40,635 A day after the Centre rolled back its controversial Covid-19 vaccination policy and decided to procure 75% of the total doses in India for all adults, it said it will continue to prioritise highly vulnerable sections for the inoculation drive. But it allowed states to decide their prioritisation within the 18-44 age group, after factoring in the vaccine supply . For the Union government, the priority population groups include healthcare and frontline workers, those above 45 years of age and beneficiaries whose second dose is due. The 18-44 group is last on its pecking order. The revised policy that will come into play from June 21, also provides the option of onsite registration at all government and private vaccination centres for all age groups, apart from advance booking on the CoWIN portal. The four-page document said vaccine doses will be provided to states based on factors like population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination, also warning that wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively . COVAXIN DOSE COSTLIEST AT PVT HOSPITALS Vaccine Price per dose as declared by manufacturer (J)* GST@ 5% (J) COVISHIELD COVAXIN SPUTNIK V 600 1,200 948 30 60 47.40 Maximum Maximum service charge price that can per dose, be charged by inclusive of all private taxes (J) hospitals (J) 150 780 150 1,410 150 1,145 Note: These rates will be effective from June 21 Some experts saw in the latest advisory an underlying message that vaccines in government hospitals should continue to be given to the high priority population till their full vaccination coverage is achieved. “And that I think is a pragmatic thing to do,” said health systems specialist Chandrakant Lahariya. “In fact, I would have preferred it if the vaccination for the 18-44 age group would have Govt to soon unveil VRS for Air India, public sector banks EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar discuss before addressing the media on Tuesday | SHEKHAR YADAV ‘Wasn’t meeting Nawaz Sharif’: Uddhav’s riposte to one-on-one talks with Modi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai/New Delhi MAHARASHTRA Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi to discuss a range of issues from Maratha quota to reservations in promotion and GST compensation. He had along with him Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress minister Ashok Chavan. But the juicy political talking point was his one-onone meeting later with Modi. Responding to a question on the one-on-one, Thackeray said: “There is nothing wrong to meet (Modi) one-on-one. I had not gone to meet (former Pakistan Prime minister) Nawaz Sharif. What is wrong if I have to meet him personally (one-on-one)?” He said during the last one year, there have been various instances when he had such conversations with Modi, adding, “Today po, litically we are not with them but that does not mean our relationship has ended.” Thackeray described the overall discussions as cordial. “It was a cordial discussion, keeping politics aside. We discussed various issues with the PM. He has assured to look into them. We discussed the transfer of the Kanjur Marg plot for Metro car shed as well.” Thackeray said they requested the PM’s intervention to remove the 50% cap on reservation. “We requested the PM to press this demand in the court. The 50% cap is affecting various reservations, including OBC quota in elections,” said Ashok Chavan. We also requested the PM to instruct the Maharashtra Governor to nominate 12 members to the legislative council from the Governor quota —Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra deputy chief minister THE Centre will soon announce a special voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for the employees of public-sector banks as well as Air India, finance ministry sources said. The decision follows the Niti Aayog’s recommendation to this effect, the sources added. “VRS is under discussion. The Niti Aayog gave similar recommendations for Air India and a state-run insurance company, ahead of their privatisation drive. Many of them are over-staffed. Short manpower makes them more attractive and easier for the change of management,” a senior FinMin official told TNIE. The government will make the VRS package attractive so that it encourages the employees to go for it, the official added. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while unveiling Budget 2021-22 on February 1, had said the gover nment would take up the privatisation of two public-sector banks and one general insurance company. She also said the government will conclude pri- IN an apparent attempt to exploit the divisions in the BJP ranks and to nip any mass protest against the suspension of Mayor of Jaipur Municipal Corporation in the bud, the Ashok Gehlot government on Monday night appointed a loyalist of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s to the post. The decision took the wind out of BJP’s sails, which had called for a statewide agitation on Tuesday after Mayor Saumya Gurjar and three councilors were suspended on Monday . The Gehlot government ap- pointed BJP councillor Sheel Dhabhai as the officiating mayor, who took charge on Tuesday . Dhabai was earlier the chairman of the Finance Committee. Gurjar and three councilors had allegedly scuffled with the JMC (Greater) Commissioner Yagya Mitra Singh on Monday . A judicial inquiry has been ordered into the incident. While the BJP had launched a series of protests on Monday party leaders in, cluding state president Satish Poonia, Vasundhra Raje, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Arjun Ram Meghwal had called the move illegal and unconstitutional. However, Sheel Dhabhai said: “I have nothing to say at this at the moment. I have to focus on the responsibility given to me.” A known Raje loyalist, Dhabhai has served as mayor in the past, too. She was in the race to get the post, but the BJP leadership had favoured Saumya Gurjar. “Suspending the mayor and the three councillors shows the state government is acting out of vengeance. Today, the BJP protested the decision across the state,” Poonia had said, alleging Gehlot converted an “ordinary altercation” between officers and public representatives into a criminal case. IF a passenger wants to file a complaint about missing luggage or stolen mobile phone at New Delhi railway station, he/ she does not have to visit a police station now. The person can file a complaint/report at the station premises itself as the Delhi Police has developed a facilitation centre at Ajmeri Gate. It was inaugurated by Joint Commissioner of Police (Transport) Atul Katiyar on Tuesday . Harendra K Singh, DCP (Railways), who was present on the occasion, said, “This stateof-the-art centre will have the facilities to file lost reports, e-FIRs and police complaints. Earlier, passengers had to go all the way to the Paharganj Police Station for this. Round-the-clock presence of staff at the centre will also ensure better law and order, maintenance and facilitating passengers boarding public transport.” According to the Central government, the PSBs being considered for disinvestment are overstaffed. The Centre wants to right-size the manpower through VRS, so that these become attractive for the private sector. A tried and tested strategy, VRS was offered ahead of the recent consolidation of some public-sector banks. vatisation of Air India. According to sources, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Bank of India are being considered for privatisation. The government also plans to exit LIC-controlled IDBI Bank. Meanwhile, bank unions opposing the privatisation move had gone on a two-day strike in March. At that time, Sitharaman assured them privatisation would in fact ensure jobs are protected and that no employee would be fired. DISTRESS SIGNALS The economy is bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Here’s a look AUTO-DEBIT PAYMENT FAILURES Out of 85.7 million auto-debit transactions attempted in May, 30.8 million (36%) failed In April, out of 85.4 million such transactions initiated, 29.08 million (34%) failed BANK CREDIT Bank credit growth hits 59-year low of 5.56% in 2020-21. It is expected to fall this year, too, with corporates deleveraging by repaying high cost loans through funds raised via bond issuances The credit availed by the Indian textiles and apparels industry fell 20% year-on-year to `1.62 lakh crore as of December 2020. This was mainly due to suspension of manufacturing activities in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19 lockdown last year, says the SIDBI-CRIF joint report The number of active loans from the texiles sector stood at 4.26 lakh as of December 2020 Agra hospital sealed after mock drill clip E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Lucknow FIRE SCARE A building on fire near Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Trikuta hills in Katra on Tuesday. No one was injured in the blaze | PTI Exclusive point to report thefts at railway station EX PRESS N EWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Prepping the ground for privatisation vide vaccines directly to private hospitals,” it said. It said states need to aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance, based on which the Union government will facilitate supply to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority’s e-platform. “This would enable the smaller and remote private hospitals to obtain timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance,” the P7 Centre said. OXYGEN WOES GEHLOT APPOINTS RAJE LOYALIST AS MAYOR, CREATES DIVIDE IN BJP R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur been put on hold till the rest of the adult population is completed covered and the vaccine supply issue is fixed. That would have really streamlined the Covid inoculation process,” Lahariya added. The Centre also urged people who have the ability to pay, to take their jabs at private hospitals. Besides, it defended its decision to allow private hospitals to keep procuring 25% of the total Covid vaccines. “In order to incentivize production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also pro- The transport range of Delhi Police has also tied up with a company called INI foundation to provide immunity booster kits to scores of porters and other railway station workers as well as taxi and autorickshaw drivers. These kits will contain Chyawanprash, vitamin tablets and N-95 masks. JUNE 7 JUNE 8 Positive cases Recovery Active cases 1,00,636 1,74,399 2,427 86,498 1,82,282 2,123 DELHI Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate JUNE 7 JUNE 8 231 876 5208 36 11,420 63,610 0.36% 316 521 4962 41 11,094 71,879 0.44% NATIONWIDE A private hospital in Agra was sealed on Tuesday and a case was registered against its owners and management, following reports that oxygen supply to 96 patients was deliberately stopped for five minutes in April to find out who would survive or die for the want of oxygen. The patients admitted there were shifted to other hospitals, the district administration’s official statement said. The action was taken against Shri Paras Hospital, after a clip went viral where the hospital owner is purportedly saying that a mock drill was conducted at 7 am by cutting off the oxygen supply to 96 critical patients, to figure out how many of them would survive without oxygen. The video dates back to the last week of April, when there was acute shortage of oxygen all over the country No . deaths were caused due to this. In the video, hospital owner Arinjay Jain apparently says: “I was told by oxygen suppliers, that there is no oxygen supply anywhere. Modi Nagar is dry even the CM cannot get you , oxygen. Only option is to start discharging patients. Attend- Policemen guard the hospital from agitators in Agra on Tuesday | PTI ants weren’t ready to get their patients discharged despite acute oxygen shortage. So we decided to do a mock drill to find out who will survive and who will die in the absence of oxygen. At 7 am, the oxygen supply was made zero for five minutes, which led to 22 patients turning blue.” However, Jain tried to clarify the matter after the audio-visual clip went viral. “The video and audio in the clip has been distorted. No one died at the hospital at that time.” According to the Agra administration, the video dates back to April 28. Also, preliminary probe has revealed there was no oxygen shortage between April 25 and April 27.
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