WEDNESDAY PFIZER VAX IN FINAL STAGES OF GETTING INDIA APPROVAL 23 The US pharmaceutical giant is close to inking an agreement with the Centre, its CEO Albert Bourla disclosed on Tuesday JUNE, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in WILL CONTRIBUTE GREATLY TO THE POOL facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard “We are in the very, very final stages of finalising this agreement. First, we need to get approval of this vaccine in India to be able to import,” Bourla said. Though Covishield will remain the backbone of India’s vaccination drive, “getting the additional mRNA vaccines from us and also from Moderna will contribute significantly,” he said ALL IS WELL YOGI, MAURYA SHARE SMILES In a show of unity, the UP CM joined senior RSS, BJP leaders at his deputy’s home A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 PFIZER WILL MANUFACTURE CUMULATIVELY BY NEXT YEAR-END INDEMNITY COVER THE STICKING POINT It’s not clear if the government has approved Pfizer’s request for indemnity, which is a cover against lawsuits. Health ministry is in favour of providing it to draw more vaccine manufacturers. If Pfizer gets indemnity, the Serum Institute of India may step up the pressure on the government for a similar protection for it, too Delta Plus is India’s next big headache Covaxin efficacy 78% in final phase 3 trial Declared variant of concern; is highly infectious; 22 cases found in Maharashtra, MP & Kerala; experts warn it could trigger a new wave S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE Centre on Tuesday declared the Delta Plus strain of the coronavirus a variant of concern (VoC) and asked Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh – where 22 such cases were detected – to take immediate measures to curb the virus spread. The suggested steps include preventing crowds, intermingling of people, and widespread testing. Of the 22 cases detected so far, 16 are from two districts of Maharashtra (Ratnagiri and Jalgaon) in clusters and six more isolated cases in two districts each in Kerala (Palakkad and Pathanamthitta) and Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal and Shivpuri). According to experts, spread of the Delta Plus variant, if not arrested forthwith, may lead to another wave in no time. There are also fears that this mutant version of the virus may be resistant to the vaccines available in India, though this is yet to be established. “There is an indication that the Delta Plus variant may be more apt to cause severe Covid-19 and is also looking better designed to evade monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment APPOINTMENT Malleswari to head sports university for the infectious disease. These facts definitely are causing a lot of anxiety,” said an expert. According to a health ministry statement, the Delta Plus variant has these characteristics – increased transmissibility stronger binding to recep, tors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. In its advisory, the Centre asked the three states to send adequate samples of positive persons promptly to the designated laboratories of Covid genomic surveillance network Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be made. JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT June 21 80,95,314 doses June 22 52,12,628 doses TOTAL DOSES: 29,40,42,822 Among the other crucial measures are prompt tracing and vaccine coverage on a priority basis. INSACOG, a network of 28 laboratories in the country has , attached the Delta Plus variant with increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response, the Union health ministry announced. Apart from India, this variant has been identified in eight other countries – the US, the UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, China and Russia. Scientists working with INSACOG explained that the Delta Plus variant was formed by further mutation in the delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India, which was largely responsible for the ferocious second Covid wave. On Monday, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope had said the spread of Delta Plus variant had been detected in 6-7 districts but the Centre on Tuesday associated just two districts in the state with the variant. The Centre has advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh that the public health response measures have to become more focused and effective. Holding back doses for the big bang day? A whopping 88 lakh Covid-19 vaccination doses were administered on Sunday, but a closer look suggests states were perhaps accumulating their doses over last week to arrive at the big number. Take for example, Madhya Pradesh, which topped the list with 17.14 lakh doses. It’s figures for Saturday, Friday and Thursday were just 692, 22,006 and 14,862, respectively FULL REPORT: P7 AN expert panel of the country’s drug regulator on Tuesday approved the phase 3 trial data of Bharat Biotech’s vaccine Covaxin, which has shown an efficacy of 77.8% in preventing Covid-19 infection. This figure is similar to the 78% efficacy claimed by the company in April based on its second interim analysis of phase 3 data, which had also said that the vaccine developed using inactivated SARS-CoV-2 was 100% effective against severe disease. The company has been facing a barrage of criticism due to its long delay in publishing final data of the late stage trials that concluded on nearly 26,000 individuals in March. Sources in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation said that the data from the efficacy trials will now be reviewed by the Drug Controller General of India after being approved by the Subject Expert Committee on Covid-19. The data has not yet been published in a peerreviewed medical journal. Bharat Biotech, which has developed the vaccine with support from the National Institute of Virology-ICMR, had said earlier this month that the final analysis of its efficacy trials will be made public only in July . Its April data showing 78% efficacy, which came after studying 127 symptomatic cases, was lower by 3% as compared to the first interim analysis figure it put out in early March, based on 87 symptomatic cases. Covaxin is yet to receive emergency use listing by the WHO due to incomplete data. Sources said that the company has now submitted nearly 90 % of the required documents for the EUL. GUPKAR ALLIANCE TO RAISE SPECIAL STATUS WITH PM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi KARNAM Malleswari was appointed Vice Chancellor of the Delhi Sports University . The 46-year-old from Andhra Pradesh is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Olympics. She won a bronze in weightlifting at the 2000 Games in Sydney . “In exercise of the powers conferred under section 26 of Delhi Sports University (DSU) Act 2019, L-G Delhi, Chancellor of DSU, is pleased to appoint Karnam Malleswari as the first VC of DSU. Terms and conditions of appointment of the VC will be settled in due course as per the provisions of first statutes of Delhi Sports University,” read the order signed by Azimul Haque, director, higher education. Malleswari is a recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country’s highest sporting award. It was given to her in 1995. She also became a Padma Shri in 1999. DSU will offer programmes up to PhD level. A team is working on preparing course structures at different levels. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Gupkar leaders brief media after their meeting in Srinagar | ZAHOOR PUNJABI F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar THE Gupkar alliance on Tuesday decided to attend the June 24 All-Party Meeting (APM) convened by PM Narendra Modi, saying they would be pitching for restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and release of prisoners. The alliance stated that it was a chance for dialogue and they did not want to miss it as they need to put their viewpoint very forcefully . “All the Gupkar alliance leaders who have been invited will attend the APM,” its chairman and National Conference president Farooq Ab- dullah said after a meeting of leaders of the six-parties alliance at his residence. Abdullah said since the Centre had not specified the agenda for the meet, the alliance was free to talk on any issue. Alliance spokesperson and CPIM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said they would demand that “what was ours and should always remain ours. We don’t know the agenda but will reiterate our stand in the meeting”. “We will plead the case of the people of J&K and Ladakh. Whatever guarantees we have under the Indian Constitution, we will appeal to the PM for safeguarding those. We will appeal to reconsider the August 5, 2019 decisions,” he said. PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti said, “We are going to tell them that whatever was done on August 5, 2019 was totally wrong and has not served any purpose. In fact, it has totally alienated the people to the extent of separation. It has actually made the separatist sentiments stronger.” Mehbooba, who has been very vocal against Article 370 abrogation, said, “We will talk on whatever has been snatched from us. We will tell them that scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A was illegal and unconstitutional and without its restoration, peace cannot prevail in J&K.” Mehbooba said as a confidence building measure, the government should have released all the political prisoners or detainees lodged within and outside J&K. The alliance would push for their release at the APM, she said. Farooq and his son Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba and Tarigami are among 14 J&K political leaders invited for the talks. UNCOVERING GEMS Poverty produces a champion in Jharkhand M U K E S H R A N J A N @ Ranchi USUALLY, poverty is the biggest obstacle in the path of a person to achieve one’s dream. In case of Chanchala Kumari, poverty is the reason she has reached where she has. Chanchala will be the first player from Jharkhand to represent India at Sub-Junior World Wrestling Championship to be held in Budapost in Hungary from July 19-25. She stood first in the selection trials conducted recently in New Delhi. Chanchala is a student of the first batch of Jharkhand State Sports Promotion Society (JSSPS). She took to sports because her family couldn’t afford to continue her education. Her father Narendra Nath Pahan, who works as a plumber, besides doing farming, said the family’s poor financial condition proved a boon for his daughter. “Since she was good at studies, I wanted her to study further. But due to our financial condition, she was forced to take up sports.” “As I could not afford to bear the expense for her studies, we were preparing to send her to a government residential school so that she can get free education. But she appeared for the trial conducted by JSSPS and qualified easily,” said Pahan. The proud father said Chanchala was always confident she will play for India some day . Jharkhand State Wrestling Association president Bholanath Singh sees tremendous potential in Chanchala. “She has already won a few medals at national meets, such as silver in SGFI games in 2017 and also clinched two gold medals in these meets held the next two years,” said Singh. Chanchala was inducted into the India camp about a year back to hone her skills. She has been training at the Sports Authority of India’s Lucknow faciliity for a year. Chanchala will represent India at SubJunior World Wrestling Championship NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 21 53,256 78,190 1,422 JUNE 22 42,640 81,839 1,167 DELHI Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate JUNE 21 89 173 1,996 11 4,597 57,128 0.16% JUNE 22 134 467 1,918 08 4,502 67,916 0.20% NCP president Sharad Pawar (3rd from right) and Trinamool leader Yashwant Sinha (3rd from left) with other leaders at Pawar’s residence | PARVEEN NEGI Oppn agrees Cong has to be in national front R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi Tanha, Manish Tiwari, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and REPRESENTATIVES of a Shatrughan Sinha for the clutch of Opposition parties meeting. They couldn’t come. attended a meeting hosted at It’s not true that we didn’t inNCP chief Sharad Pawar’s vite the Congress,” said NCP residence here on Tuesday, leader Majeed Memon. but the sense was a national The centrality of the Confront cannot be cobbled to- gress to be part of the national gether to take on the BJP if front, since it is in direct fight the Congress is out of the with the BJP in 200 Lok Sabha frame. seats and is in a tough contest The meeting, the partici- in another 100 seats, did come pants later claimed, was non- up for discussion. political. Among the The leaders talked attendees were leadabout need to have a ers from the Trinablueprint on key ismool Congress, Left sues to counter the Front, Samajwadi We also invited BJP’s narrative and Congress leaders. I Party RLD, National , Sinha is expected C o n f e r e n c e a n d called Vivek Tanha, expected talk to othManish Tiwari, Aam Aadmi Party. er opposition parAbhishek Manu The Congress was ties on the matter in Singhvi... They not represented as coming months. couldn’t come. It’s some of its invited Others who atnot true that we l e a d e r s e xc u s e d tended the meeting didn’t invite the themselves on perincluded retired JusCongress sonal grounds. tice AP Shah, Majeed Memon, NCP Called under the former ambassador banner of the RashKC Singh and lyritra Manch floated by former cist Javed Akhtar. Union minister Yashwant SinSources said that Pawar ha, the meeting discussed a known for his negotiating wide array of issues, includ- skills will not discuss such iming the ongoing farmer agita- portant issues in such meettion, spiralling fuel prices, un- ings where none of the imporemployment, Covid situation tant leaders of political parties and the economic slowdown. were present. “The meeting was called by “It has nothing to with the Yashwant Sinha, not Sharad Third Front and when that Pawar. This was not a political will happen, it won’t be like in meet. We called all like-mind- this format of some 20-25 peoed people. We also invited Con- ple discussing it,” said an opgress leaders. I called Vivek position party leader. EXPRESS READ HD Deve Gowda asked to pay `2 cr damages In defamation case Bengaluru: Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda was asked by a court to pay `2 crore as damages to the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) for his “defamatory statement” against the company in a television interview 10 years ago. In an outburst against a NICE project, the JDS supremohad called it a ‘loot’. India, China likely to hold another round of diplomatic talks on June 24 New Delhi: India and China are likely to hold another round of diplomatic talks this week on Ladakh with a focus on moving forward in troops disengagement in the remaining friction points, sources said. The talks, which are expected to focus on broad principles to bring down tensions, may take place on June 24. Kalrock-Jalan bid for Jet Airways gets nod from NCLT, 20 routes initially A R S H A D K H A N @ New Delhi THE National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has given approval to the Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan consortium’s bid for Jet Airways, eight months after the lenders had given a go ahead to its resolution plan. According to the resolution plan of Kalrock Capital and UAE-based NRI Murari Lal Jalan, which was approved by the Committee of Creditors in October 2020 by 97% vote share, around `1,100 would be paid in tranches in five years. The resolution professional of Jet Airways – Ashish Chhawchharia – had received claims of `44,000 crore out of which he admitted claims of around `15,400 crore. Resolution Professional Ashish Chhawchharia said he is hopeful of the airline reviving and that if everything goes well, Jet Airways could return to the skies by the end of 2021. According to Chhawchharia, Jet will initially operate on 20 routes, with 20 narrow body aircraft and five wide-bodied aircraft. He, however, added it is difficult to say by when the issues of slots will be resolved. Among the challenges the airline may face in the future, the most daunting is to secure its historical slots at airports. The bankruptcy court has granted 90 days to the consortium to apply for the same. However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had stated that the airline cannot reclaim lost slots as they are not its asset but merely permission, which remain with the airline subject to fulfilment of certain requirements. It added that allocation of slots will happen in accordance with the existing guidelines. In a statement, the consortium said that “it awaits the written order by the National Company Law Tribunal approving the Resolution Plan and shall inform all stakeholders on next steps for the revival of their beloved airline – Jet Airways”. Airline once had about 700 slots Jet Airways had about 700 slots that allowed it to land/depart from busy airports such as Mumbai and Delhi. These slots were reallocated to other airlines after Jet suspended operations in April 2019 due to rising debt and shortage of funds.
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