DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2021, LUCKNOW, LATE CITY, 12 PAGES `5.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 RECORD 3,14,835 NEW CASES AND 2,104 DEATHS IN LAST 24 HOURS Delhi, UP, Gujarat, Haryana oxygen demand outstrips supply; PM holds crisis meeting HomeMinistrywarnsstatesagainsthoardingoxygenorblockingitssupplychains,saysmustfollowdistributionplan Uttar Pradesh Gujarat Haryana Karnataka Rajasthan Punjab Kerala -220 -47 -25 -18 0 0 10 10 CALLS FOR ‘NATIONAL PLAN’ SC takes up Covid cases: HC hearings ‘creating confusion’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 22 THE SUPREME Court Thursday took suo motu cognizance of some of the key issues related to Covid-19management,including the supply of oxygen and essentialdrugsanddeclarationoflockdowns. Noting that the matter was being heard in several high courts,"creatingsomeconfusion" and "diversion of resources", a BenchledbyChiefJusticeofIndia S A Bobde said there is “almost a national emergency” and asked the Centre to submit a “national plan” to deal with it. “We see that six High Courts are taking action. We appreciate that. But this is creating some confusion and diversion... We want to point out four issues -supply of oxygen, supply of essential drugs, method and mannerof vaccination,declarationof lockdown. We will issue notice for a national plan on these issues," the three-judge Bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, said, while adding that some high courts might prioritise one set of people and another, a different group. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 COUNTRY BEING RUN BY GOD: DELHI HC PAGE 4 Chhattisgarh TamilNadu 12 20 543 445 220 200 227 215 89 99 136 126 205 205 300 300 162 180 Delhi 1500 ■ Shortfall/Surplus(MT) 975 753 800 480 700 *MT=Metric Tonnes 1000 ■ Demand(MT)April20onwards ■ Allocation(MT)April20onwards 1661 OXYGEN DEMAND AND ALLOCATION IN 12 SURGE STATES Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra 98 161 HARIKISHAN SHARMA, DEEPTIMAN TIWARY & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, APRIL 22 WITH FOUR of the states worst hit by Covid battling a critical shortfall between demand and supply of oxygen in their hospitals, Prime Minister Narendra Moditoldofficialsduringahighlevel meeting Thursday to ramp up production and the Union HomeMinistryorderedallstates tostrictlyabidebyitsdistribution plan amid reports of some seizing supplies meant for others. As the country reported a record 3,14,835 new cases — the highest single-day figure for any country since the pandemic began — and 2,104 deaths in the last24hours,figuresobtainedby The Indian Express show that Delhi, UP, Gujarat and Haryana face severe shortfalls (see chart) CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 April, Nov last year: Officials, House panel flagged oxygen need, shortage STORM AFTERTHE CALM NEW DELHI, APRIL 22 AN EXPRESS SERIES PART FOUR HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, APRIL 22 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Executive Editor (National Affairs), The Indian Express, Joseph Leahy, Asia News Editor, Financial Times. Express ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU TACKLING THE SECOND COVID WAVE ALMOST DROWNED by the alarmbellsringingacrossthenation over the critical shortage of oxygeninthesecondCovidwave is the fact that the warning signs came clear and early: in April one full year ago and then again in November. Second wave will not affect big reform push, says Sitharaman A Covid-19 patient waits to get admission at the LNJP Hospital in Delhi Thursday. Tashi Tobgyal UNION FINANCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Thursday said the second wave of the Covid-19pandemicwillnotaffect theinstitutionalreforms, including the disinvestment plans outlined in the Budget, although the focusrightnowwastotakesteps towardsmeetingthe“immediate requirement of saving lives”. Speaking at the first of a seriesof online,agenda-settingdebates organised by The Indian Express and Financial Times, the Finance Minister said the situa- tionin2020(whenanationwide lockdown was announced) and thesituationnowareverydifferent. “Micro containment zones would be the way forward (now),” she said. “Even that said, there are numbersandthesurgeincertain pocketsthatissosignificant—as in Delhi — we have gone in for a week-long lockdown, which affects the movement of goods. Also, industry suffers because the movement of raw materials gets affected. I think it’s a bit too early for me to think, and this is what I have also got as an impression from industry, that this CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SC move follows censure 9 & counting: Singapore, UAE shut out Indian fliers of Centre, it did same with migrants last year PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, APRIL 22 APURVA VISHWANATH NEW DELHI, APRIL 22 NEARLY A week after at least six HighCourtsbeganhearingcases related to inadequacies in the officialdom’s response to the surging Covid pandemic and censured the Centre and state governments, the Supreme Court, on its own, suggested it would transfer these cases to itself to avoid what it called “confusion and diversion of resources.” The High Courts have issued a slew of orders and made criti- BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY cal observations on the way the crisis is being managed by governments. OnApril16,theNagpurbench of the Bombay High Court took cognizance of lack of availability of Remdesivir in the district. It revived a public interest litigation it had taken up on its own motion in 2020 on the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. On April 20, the Delhi High Court set up a special bench that began hearing cases related to Covid-19 in the national capital, especially on the shortage in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AT LEAST nine jurisdictions — the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, France, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong KongandOman—haveimposed freshrestrictionsontraveltoand from India on account of the surge in Covid-19 cases. Experts watching the sector closely said India currently poses the“biggestrisk”ofexportingnew variants of the coronavirus to countries around the world, and that they expected more borders to be closed for travel from India. As of Thursday morning, India had 22,91,428 active cases of coronavirus infection, an in- crease of 1,33,890 cases over the previous day, according to government figures. The UAE on Thursday became the latest country to close its borders for travellers from India, after Singapore imposed a travel ban and Australia announced it will reduce the number of its citizens who would be able to return from India and other red-zone countries. According to airline sources, UAE authorities on Thursday banned all flights from India for a period of 10 days from Sunday. Thesuspensionissubjecttoareview after 10 days. In a travel advisory, Dubaibased airline Emirates said: “Effective 24 April 2021 Saturday, 2359 local time Dubai CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 After HC rap over flouting of Covid norms, EC bans large roadshows, rallies in Bengal EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, KOLKATA, APRIL 22 THE ELECTION Commission (EC) on Thursday banned roadshows, vehiclerallies,andpublicmeetings of more than 500 people in West Bengal,notingthatpoliticalparties and candidates were “still not adhering to the prescribed safety norms”duringcampaigning. “We are unable to Permissions already reconcile the fact that given for such events the Election Commistood withdrawn, the ssion of India is not Commission said. ableto updateusasto The directive came hours after Calcutta High DECISION what actionbywayof enforcement of the Court censured the EC for 2021 circularshasbeenobnotdoingenoughtoensure WEST tained,” a Bench of that political parties were BENGAL Chief Justice Thottathil followingappropriateCovid19protocolsamidthedevastating B Radhakrishnan and Justice CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 second wave of infections. From beds to oxygen and medicines: How Chhattisgarh dropped Covid ball PAGE 1 ANCHOR GARGI VERMA RAIPUR, APRIL 22 IN THE second Covid-19 wave sweeping the country, Chhattisgarh is among the worst-hit states in terms of both cases and deaths, ranking only behind Maharashtra and Delhi on days. However, data show that between the last peak of August 2020 when it was seeing Not enough beds for symptomatic patients waiting for their test results at a Covid hospital in Jagdalpur. Express around 4,000 cases daily and now, when its daily caseload is 17,000-plus, the state has added just two Covid hospitals amounting to 722 extra beds. Documents accessed by The Indian Express also show that the actual number of ventilators in the state is 497, about half the number, 937, mentioned by the state on a government portal. Of these, only 32 are in dedicated Covid hospitals, against 384 claimedbythegovernment,apart from23inCovidcarecentres.The total number of ICU beds for CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Lucknow
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