DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 DON'T LOSE HEART, WE SHALL WIN THIS FIGHT: MODI Must do our best to avert lockdown, states should use as last resort: PM PHASE III Maharashtra to immunise 8.5 cr people, to seek Centre nod to import vaccines EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, APRIL 20 WITH 67 per cent of its population aged over 18 years, Maharashtra has a target to immunise 8.5 crore people in the third phase of the vaccination drive, beginning May 1, and requires 17 crore doses. Also, the involvement of the private sector is set to increase with thestate government planningtoallowcampsincorporate officesto vaccinate their staffers. OnTuesday,thestateCabinet decided to request the Union government to allow Maharashtra import Covid-19 vaccinesavailableintheinternational market. With a population of around 12.8 crore, Maharashtra has till Tuesday vaccinated 14.09 lakh people with both doses and 1.12 crore with the first dose. This means, till now only 1.6 per cent of the targeted adult population has been fully immunised, and 13 per cent has received the first dose. It leaves over 8 crore people to get either second or both doses. At the current rate of vaccinating 3 lakh to 3.5 lakh people per day, the state will need eight to nine months to cover its entire adult population. “We will begin talks with Serum Institute of India and BharatBiotechtounderstandthe rates fixed. Till now, there is no communication from the government regarding price capping,”agovernmentofficialsaid, adding that the private sector CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Covaxin capacity to be boosted to 700 mn annual doses; J&J applies for bridging trial ‘Crisis in HCs’, SC sets timeline for Govt to clear judges’ names HARIKISHAN SHARMA & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 CALLING THE second Covid wave a “toofan” (storm) that has swept the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation Tuesday evening, called on citizens not to lose heart in this adversity and underlined that all steps need to be taken to avoid a lockdown. In his seventh such address since the first Covid outbreak early last year, and the first after the second wave that has escalated to unprecedented levels both in daily case and death counts, Modi said that the "right decisions in the right direction" would help secure victory against the virus. Saying that the situation today was different from the first time around -- there are vaccines, more medical insight into the virus and better infrastructure -- the Prime Minister said that along with saving lives, the Government's effort is to save economic activity and ensure that there is only a minimum impact on the livelihood of people. The Government is working with “speed and sensitivity” to meet the increasing demand of oxygen in various parts of the country, he said. He prefaced his 19-minute address saying he felt the pain of those who had lost their loved onesandwasgratefultothedoctors, nurses, frontline Corona CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 (Left) Prime Minister Modi addressing the nation; (above) a queue for vaccination at a hospital in Thane on Tuesday. PTI/Deepak Joshi Ministers seek full Before ramp-up, vaccine planning on the fly with lockdown, Uddhav statement likely today only 2 options in basket EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, APRIL 20 WITH THE existing restrictions notgettingthedesiredresultson breaking the chain of Covid-19, Maharashtra is set to go for a complete lockdown from Wednesday evening. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is expectedtomaketheannouncement on Wednesday. The ministers have demanded that 15 days of a full lockdown should be imposed. Thackeray chaired a state cabinet meeting on Tuesday, duringwhichtherewasareview of the Covid situation and the impact of the existing restrictions. "All the ministers have requested the CM to announce a complete lockdown in the state from 8 pm tomorrow. The cabi- net has taken a decision about the complete lockdown. The CM will make a final announcement," said Health Minister Rajesh Tope, adding that the guidelinesarebeingchalkedout. NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal said that the 15-day complete lockdown is required to stop the rising cases of Covid and to purchase the required medicines and equipment. A three-member committee headed by the chief secretary has been formed for medicines and equipment, said Bhujbal. Sources said that the governmentislikelytoimposecurbson public transport, which may be allowed to use only for health and emergency purposes. Other things under consideration are sealing the district borders and reducingstaff attendanceof government offices, said an official. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 STORM AFTER THE CALM TACKLING THE SECOND COVID WAVE AN EXPRESS SERIES PART THREE PRABHA RAGHAVAN & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 THE BIG-BANG — and muchawaited — announcement Monday to expand vaccinations to those above 18 gives the already strained machinery, fighting the rising Covid wave, all of 10 days to gear up for the logistical challenge. Of course, the 600 million now eligible are expected to be staggered by states dependingon profileandstocks, but the short lead time is reflec- Young kin gets vaccine, Don’t wash hands of vaccine, what Fadnavis says ‘distant’ about the poor: Opp states to Centre link, must follow rules BENGAL, KERALA CMs WRITE TO PM MANOJ C G & PRABHA RAGHAVAN VIVEK DESHPANDE NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 A DAY after the Centre opened upCovid vaccinationtoallabove 18 from May 1, Opposition CMs and some experts raised questionsonstocks andpricing given that50%hasbeenearmarkedfor the “open market.” Arguing that no other country had done this so far, they said this places a financial burden on the states. While BJP state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Assam both announced free vaccines for all, other states said the Centre was washing its hands of the responsibility. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reminded the Prime Minister that she had, in a letter to him in February, requestedhisinterventiontoallow West Bengal to purchase vaccines directly with state re- BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Migrants crowd buses at a Ludhiana station. Gurmeet Singh sourcesandgivefreevaccination to people of the state. “No response was received from your end. Now when the number of cases in the second wave is spiralling like anything, the Centre has chosen to tactically indulge in empty rhetoric and shy away from its responsibility for making available CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BENGALURU, APRIL 20 WORLD, PAGE 10 UP, ASSAM WILL VACCINATE ALL ABOVE 18 FOR FREE MORE STATES ANNOUNCE CURBS, CURFEW PAGE 5, 6 Joglekar confirmed that the youth had received the vaccine. “Tanmay Fadnavis took his second dose at the NCI. He had taken his first dose at the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai; under which provision he got his first dose is not known to us. He showed us the certificate of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EMPHASISING THE need to “facilitate timely appointment” of judges to resolve the “crisis situation” in High Courts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday laid down a timeline for the Centre toclearnamesrecommendedby the High Court Collegiums. The Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, also said that if the Supreme Court Collegium reiterates a recommendation sent back by the government, the “appointment should be made within 3 to 4 weeks”. According to the timeline fixed by the Bench, which included Justices S K Kaul and Surya Kant: ■ “The Intelligence Bureau (IB) should submit its report/ inputs within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of recommendation of the High Court Collegium, to the Central Government.” ■“It would be desirable that the CentralGovernmentforwardthe file(s)/ recommendations to the Bench led by CJI wants 18-week limit for action on names Change inMoP IN SETTING a fixed timeline, the Supreme Court has essentially altered the Memorandum of Procedure through a judicial order. The ruling comes in the backdrop of the SC repeatedly underlining that several names are pending with the government. REPORT, PAGE 5 Supreme Court within 8 to 12 weeksfromthedateof receiptof CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Amid Remdesivir row, state FDA Commissioner shunted out EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AMIDTHEcontroversyoverprocurement of Remdesivir from a Daman-based company, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday shunted out Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) CommissionerAbhimanyuKale, who signed off on the April 17 permission to the company to supply the drug in Maharashtra. Parimal Singh, a 2004-batch officer, will replace him. Sources said the action againstKalecamehoursafterthe matterwasdiscussedinthestate cabinet. Some ministers raised the issue and the delay in action against a BJP leader who allegedly distributed the Remdesivir in Nandurbar, sources said. Since Saturday, the ruling MVAand BJP havebeenengaged CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Bus had more than 100 people, bound for Tikamgarh. PTI Overcrowded bus with migrants from Delhi turns over in MP, three killed IRAM SIDDIQUE BHOPAL, APRIL 20 THREE MIGRANT workers were killed and at least seven injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior district after the heavily overcrowded bus they were travelling in overturned on an accident-prone stretch at Jourasi Ghati around 8.30 am Tuesday. Local police said the bus was carrying around 100 migrant workers who were returning to their homes in villages across TikamgarhfromDelhiwherethe government had imposed a weeklong lockdown the previ- ous day. A passenger told reporters that the bus was carrying around 350 people. Policesaidtheyareascertainingtheallegationlevelledbyseveral passengers that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, and that the bus had hit a truck earlier. The driver is absconding, they said. The dead have been identified as Mukesh Dimer (26), Matadin Ahirwar (37) and Jitendra Ahirwar (22). Officials said the injured were rushed to J A Hospital in Gwalior, and that two buses were arranged for passengers stranded at the spot CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pyres till 2 am at Bengaluru crematoriums, token for queues JOHNSON T A PAK GOVT YIELDS TO PRESSURE, NOTICE TO EXPEL ENVOY INSIDE A file photo of Devendra Fadnavis, Tanmay. Instagram NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, APRIL 20 NAGPUR, APRIL 20 FORMER MAHARASHTRA Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is caught at the centre of a controversy after a photograph of his nephew,TanmayFadnavis,inhis early 20s, taking his second Covid-19 vaccine shot, was widely circulated on social media on Monday. Fadnavis,inastatement,identified Tanmay as a “distant relative”. A close family source said Tanmayisthegrandsonofformer MLA Shobhatai Fadnavis, who is the ex-chief minister's aunt. The photograph, which surfaced on Monday, was shared by Tanmay on Instagram, and showed him getting vaccinated at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Nagpur. He has since deleted the post. NCI Director Shailesh tive of most milestones in the Centre’s vaccine policy. Beginning with January 11 this year, when it placed its first setof ordersforvaccines,justfive days before the campaign was rolled out. This is in sharp contrast to othercountrieswhichstockpiled their vaccines before launching the inoculation blitz. As early as May 2020, countries like the US began stockpiling through “at risk” investments in multiple manufacturers. Throughout last year, the UK ended up taking such at-risk options in all seven vaccines developed across the world. With an order for 400 million vaccine doses, it has evidently been “one of the world’s highest per-capita buyers” of vaccines. It is now on track to have more than 100 million surplus doses in due course. Israel followed another model: ANANTHAKRISHNAN G LATE MONDAY evening, as a prison ambulance with a body inside rolled up ahead of a line of six waiting ambulances, at the Hosapalya crematorium in south Bengaluru, a group of waiting drivers heckled the prison ambulance driver for jumping the queue. The crematorium had already carried out 14 cremations by its scheduled closing time of 5.30 pm on Monday and there were still six bodies waiting in ambulances lined up at the entrance of the crematorium. “We are following a firstcome-first-serve system for use of the two incinerators. Yesterday there were 31 bodies thathadtobecremated.Thecrematorium was working till 2 am this morning and reopened again at 5 am. Since October 2020, one or two Covid bodies were being brought in for cremation every day, but now the numbers are in two digits,'' said Chandra Kumar, a worker at the crematorium. A Covid-19 surge in Bengaluru is starting to exert pressure on healthcare and allied systems like it did at the peak of the first wave in AugustSeptember 2020. While Bengaluru reported 261 deaths per million population in September 2020 at the peakof thefirstwaveof thecoronavirus, it is now reporting 521 deaths per million population, compared to 188 per million for the state. On Monday, 97 deaths were reported in Bengaluru, the highest since the second wave began around March 23 this year; until then, daily deaths were in the range of 10 to 20. Family members and relatives wait for the funeral of a Covid victim at a crematorium in Bengaluru on April 16. PTI However, the case fatality rate (CFR or deaths as percentage of confirmed cases) in the city is down from the peak of 2 per cent last year to 1 per cent as on April 19. TheHosapalyaelectriccrematoriumof theBengalurucitycorporation is among seven in the citythatthestategovernmenthas set aside exclusively for free-ofcost Covid-19 cremations. “We have to wait seven to eight hours before the bodies that we bring in are cremated,'' said Rudresh S, an ambulance driver waiting in line at the Hosapalya crematorium. Withtheriseindemand,crematoriums have begun using a tokensystemtoensurethatbodies are cremated in the order of their arrival. Hospitals in Bengaluru are also reporting intense pressure due to a steep rise in Covid-19 casessincelateMarch.AsonApril 19,Bengaluruhad1,03,178active cases, around 72 per cent of the 1,42,084 active cases in the state. “We opened a new wing to accommodateCovid-19patients this week. Within two hours, all 100 beds were taken. Today we decided to stop taking CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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