DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM PHASE 2: MORE PRIVATE HOSPITALS TO BE ROPED IN Gehlot presenting the Budget. Rohit Jain Paras Rajasthan budgets for universal health; Right to Health soon HAMZA KHAN JAIPUR, FEBRUARY 24 INTHE backdropof the Covid-19 pandemic, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Wednesday announced a slew of measures to reinforce health infrastructureinthestateaswell as to ensure that healthcare is more accessible to its citizens. Presenting the state budget for 2021-22, Gehlot announced the ‘Rajasthan Model of Public Health’ (RMPH) wherein a Right to Health Bill will be brought, andthatthestatewilltakemeasures towards Preventive Care, Primary Care and Curative Care as envisioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Although he has previously said the state was working towards a Right to Health Bill, this is the first time it found mention in the state budget. As part of the Rajasthan Modelof PublicHealth,theChief Minister announced a Universal Health Coverage with an allocation of Rs 3,500 crore in the upcomingfinancialyear.Underthis, every family will get a Rs 5 lakh health cover. Those covered underAyushmanBharat-Mahatma Gandhi Rajasthan Swasthya Bima Yojana (AB-MGRSBY) as well as contract workers, and small and marginal farmers will be eligible for free, while others canavailthisschemethrough50 per cent cost of insurance premium (about Rs 850/year) at government and private hospitals for cashless treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh per year. As for the Right to Health Bill – its details are still being finalised – officials said it sought to guarantee quality healthcare to all citizens, without any “catastrophic” out of pocket financial burden on them. As per one of the drafts, the state hopes to ensure that no person is forced to pay any kind of fee or charge CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Next in line for vaccine on March 1: All above 60, 45-plus with comorbidities Free vaccination at govt hospitals, Govt to decide cost at pvt facilities KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 24 THECENTREsaidonWednesday that the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive will begin from March 1 — for all citizens above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities. While the vaccine will be available for free at the 10,000odd government healthcare fa- ■ Vaccine to be available for free at govt facilities; those who go to private hospitals will get it for a fee ■ So far, 1.07 crore doses have been administered KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 24 AN AGGRESSIVE vaccination strategyinthesecondphasewill help reduce transmission of infection, decrease mortality and also reduce the chances of mutation of the virus, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said. While the government is yet to make an official announcement on those who will be included in the over-45 age group with comorbidities, Guleria said those who are at higher risk of dying due to their underlying condition will be given priority. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BY UNNY Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during a rally at Dunlop ground in Hooghly. MOREREPORTS,PAGE3 ATRI MITRA KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 24 WITH ASSEMBLY elections approaching, West Bengal Chief MinisterandTrinamoolCongress leaderMamataBanerjeestepped up her attack Wednesday on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, saying the “game will be on” and “if you (voters) can de- PUNE, FEBRUARY 24 NATIONAL NETWORK The India-England Test match being played under lights at Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad Wednesday. @BCCI CONGCITESPATEL,BJPHITSBACKWITHINDIRA,RAJIV PAGE5 MATCHREPORT PAGE14 After new look, world’s largest cricket arena gets a name: Narendra Modi Stadium AVINASH NAIR AHMEDABAD, FEBRUARY 24 THEWORLD'Slargestcricketstadium hosted its first day of bigtime cricket with a stream of VVIPs, key announcements, a bunch of wickets — and a new name. The 130,000-seat arena at CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 24 Shiv Kumar was arrested on January 16 January16,fourdaysafterco-accused Nodeep Kaur was picked up.OnFebruary19,thecourthad directedtheSP,SonipatJail,toget KumarexaminedatGMCH,after his father, Rajbir, told the court CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Motera in the Prime Minister's home state of Gujarat, which was inaugurated Wednesday by President Ramnath Kovind, will be known as Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium and be a part of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave. KnownearlierasSardarPatel Stadium, or Motera stadium,beforethemassiveredevelopment, THE WORLD OLI WON’T RESIGN, READY TO FACE PARLIAMENT GHANA FIRST TO GET VACCINES UNDER COVAX INITIATIVE PAGE 12 THE EDITORIAL PAGE ECONOMY:AN UNEVEN RECOVERY BY SAUGATA BHATTACHARYA PAGE 6 Cricket fans outside the stadium. Nirmal Harindran thenewnamewasrevealedonly when President Kovind opened a digital plaque, which said that the “Narendra Modi stadium” has been inaugurated. This is the first such public structure to be named after Prime Minister Modi in the country, with the Gujarat government confirming later that it CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 UT top official named in MP’s suicide note, will probe: Deshmukh EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, AHMEDABAD, FEBRUARY 24 THE PURPORTED 15-page note leftbehindbyMohanDelkar,the MPwhowasfounddeadinahotelroominMumbaitwodaysago in a suspected case of suicide, contains the names of the Administratorandtopofficialsof the newly formed Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, MaharashtraHomeMinisterAnil Deshmukh said Wednesday. DeshmukhsaidMaharashtra Policewillprobethosenamedin the note. Delkar, who repre- sented Dadra and Nagar Haveli, was found dead in a room at Hotel SeaGreenSouthinMarine Drive on Monday. In December 2016, Praful Patel, who was a BJP MLA and Minister of State for Home in Gujarat from 2010-12, was appointed as the Administrator for Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THANKYOU Judge Rana’s verdict underscores what judiciary can — and should — do today PAGE 6 MAMATA TARGETS PM: GAME ON… IF BJP LOSES BENGAL, GONE FROM INDIA NAVY MAN MAY HAVE KILLED HIMSELF: POLICE PAGE 5, 7 feat them (BJP) in Bengal, then know that they will disappear from India”. AddressingarallyinHooghly, Banerjee accused the Centre of targeting women and daughters of her family. “You are entering my house and targeting young daughters and daughter-in-law who are 22-23 years old. Our daughtersanddaughters-in-law are all coal thieves? And what CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Facing objections, Govt scraps order curbing webinars AMITABH SINHA JAGPREET SINGH SANDHU PAGE 1 ANCHOR ■ Citizens above 60 and those over 45 years with comorbidities to get vaccine in next phase. There are an estimated 10 crore people above 60 Next phase crucial, says Guleria; beneficiaries can self-register, walk in BUSINESS AS USUAL Co-accused in Nodeep Kaur case has multiple injuries: Medical report A REPORT by the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH),Chandigarh,submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday, has said that a medical examination of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan president Shiv Kumar (24) showedmultipleinjuries,including at least two fractures on his left hand and right foot, “caused bybluntobject/weapon”.Theinjuriesare“morethantwoweeks old”, says the report. Kumar was arrested on cilities, the beneficiaries will have to pay at the estimated 20,000 private facilities that are expected to be roped in. Announcing the Cabinet decision, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “The cost of vaccinationintheprivatesectorwill be announced by the Union Health Ministry in the next twothreedays.Weareindiscussions with the private hospitals.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 10 CRORE ABOVE 60 Mamata targets PM: If BJP loses Bengal, gone from India FOLLOWINGOBJECTIONSraised by scientists and academics, the government has withdrawn a November 2020 order which had mandated prior political clearance for organising online conferences or seminars with “international” participation. “In view of the easing of restrictions on travel and assembly of people by the government of India, and state governments, guidelines issued… (on) November25regardingpolitical clearance for international conferences/seminars/training etc due to Covid19 pandemic are no longer applicable,” a new order by the Ministry of External Affairs, which had issued the originalNovember25order,said on Wednesday. The new order states that E X P L A I NE D THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES E Practical ● problems AS SCIENTISTS had pointed out, the requirement for prior approval would have meant delays in permissions and uncertainties in organising events. For the government, too, it would have been practically impossible to monitor the proceedings of all virtual seminars and conferences. rules that existed prior to the pandemic would continue to be applicable to these events. “All such events will, however, continue to be governed by the same rules and regulations CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A YEAR LATER NE Delhi riots: Chargesheets filed in 38 of 53 murder cases Compensation disbursed in 44 cases, 12 families moved out EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 24 OF THE 53 murder cases registered following the riots in Northeast Delhi in February 2020, the Delhi Police has filed chargesheets in 38, and arguments on charges in 17 have begun in court. Compensationfromthestate has been received in 44 cases, while at least 12 families have moved residence following the riots,TheIndianExpressfoundafter tracking down and speaking to the families of 51 riot victims. Communal violence had singed Northeast Delhi between February 24 and 26 in 2020, leaving over 500 injured and propertyworthcroresdamaged. Such was the destruction that several families had to move to At Northeast Delhi’s Shiv Vihar, one of the worst affected localities, Wednesday. Praveen Khanna RELATEDREPORTPAGE3 temporary camps for months following the violence. “Atotalof 755caseswereregistered, of which 400 have been solved. So far 1,753 people have been arrested — 933 Muslims and 820 Hindus,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express. Sixty-two cases, including the 53 murders, are being handled by three special investigation teams of the Crime Branch. An officer said 46 of these cases havebeensolved.“ThethreeSITs have arrested 390 people — 178 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kerala-born scientist tests sewage in Sydney to map Covid spread VISHNU VARMA KOCHI, FEBRUARY 24 A CRISIS is a terrible thing to waste — and so is waste, human waste, when it comes to the Corona crisis. In a pandemic where testing is at the heart of any containment strategy, Kerala-born Sudhi Payyappat and his team of 20 researchers in Sydney have zeroed in on a novel testing method that could be a model for the rest of the world: checkingsamplesof humanwastecollected from sewage treatment plants to map Covid in Australia. Payyappat, 50, was visiting relativesinThrissurwhenIndia's first case of Covid was reported in the district on January 30 last year. In February, after his return to Australia, he heard that a percentage of people infected with the virus shed it through waste thatended up in the sewagesystem. It struck him that this came within his area of expertise: for two decades, he has been runningresearchprojectsinthearea of molecular biology. A year and almost 2.5 million deaths worldwide later, his team is scouring waste water from treatment plants across New South Wales to detect hidden Covid cases that missed the testing radar. “What we do is founded on the premise that a person infectedwithcoronaviruswillstart sheddingthe viruswithinthreefour days through faeces. The shedding can also occur while coughing, showering, sneezing or brushing one’s teeth. Such virus fragments, travelling through toilets and drains, end up in sewage treatment plants. Samples taken from the sewage and subjected to intensive testing help the local health department in detecting the presence of the infection within a community even before a person with symptoms shows up,” says Payyappat, who has been working as a technical specialist with the government-owned Sydney Water for the past 20 years. He was “really surprised” by the sensitivity of this method, though. “If one person is sheddingthevirusinacatchmentof a 20,000-30,000 population, we will be able to pick it up in the treatmentplant.Ithashugeeconomicpotentialasitisequivalent tomonitoringthatmanypeople. It has helped in containing the spread of the infection,” he says. “Oncewemakeadetectionin a sample, we immediately give the results to the Department of Payyappat is a technical specialist with the govtowned Sydney Water Health. They put out an alert throughthemediathattheremnants of SARS-CoV-2 was found in a particular catchment. It means the virus is present in the community,” says Payyappat. Thebiggestadvantageof testing sewage, he says, is that authorities get to know if someone is infected in the community even before they start showing symptoms. “Once you get the virus, you may show symptoms only 6 or 7 days later. But you start shedding the virus within three days. That gives us plenty of timetoarrestthespreadof infection.Anotheradvantageisthat if theinfectionisalreadypresent in the community, through sewage testing, we can see if the numbersareincreasing,decreasingorstabilising.Theremightbe asymptomatic cases who could be potential carriers,” he says. “We have an organisation here called Water Research Australia (WRA) with a research programmecalledCollaboration on Sewage Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2.Iampartof theprogramme. When I got the early successful detection, I passed on the information to other partners,” he says. Extracting the genetic markers of Covid-19 from a sample is an incredibly com- plex and highly intensive process. “Since we don't have as many cases in Australia, one of the challenges was when the waste water comes to the treatment plant, there’s massive dilution. So we needed a sensitive method that would pick up very low numbers. The second challenge was that sewage can contain industrial waste and chemical compounds, which can interfere with detection,” he says. With the success of Payyappat’s model in Sydney, the testing regime has been expanded to other states of Australia. Kolkata
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