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 THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 REGISTRATION ON COWIN OPENS FOR 18-45 AGE GROUP 1.33 cr sign in as vaccine doors open, states flag stocks shortage Serum rate cut for states, no clarity on pvt hospital stocks May 1 launch date a challenge in many places as they await word from Centre KAUNAIN SHERIFF M EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 THE GOVERNMENT on WednesdayextendedtheCovid19 vaccination drive to a larger and younger population group by opening up registrations on the Co-WIN platform to those in the 18 to under-45 age bracket. By the end of the day, the number of registrations touched almost 1.33 cr. Given the scale of the ‘rationed’vaccination —anaverage of 25-30 lakh does a day — the first day registration numbers of about1.33crpointstothedaunting challenge the government faces in the coming weeks. Huge pressure is expected since many young men and women are expected to seek vaccinationandgetbacktowork at the earliest. “Moreover, the large number of deaths every day and the second surge, we hope, has countered vaccine hesitancyinthisage group,”said aseniordoctorinAIIMS,whodid not wish to be named. India has 59.46 crore people in the 18-44 age group. When the platform was opened on March 1 for those CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Amidvaccineshortage,immunisationhaltedbyBMCatits‘jumbocentre’inBandra-KurlaComplex,among othercentres. Reuters PRINCIPAL SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR K VIJAYRAGHAVAN ‘Not possible to ramp up infrastructure in a year to cope with what we are seeing now’ PSA admits decline in sense of urgency, says surge could peak next month AMITABH SINHA PUNE, APRIL 28 ACKNOWLEDGING THAT the “sense of urgency” in ramping up health infrastructure had “declined” after the first wave of infections, K VijayRaghavan, PrincipalScientificAdvisortothe Central government, has said that even with best of efforts it would not have been possible to upgrade the infrastructure to a level adequate enough to meet the unprecedented requirements of the second wave. “Thereweremajoreffortsby Central and state governments in ramping up hospital and healthcareinfrastructureduring the first wave... But as that wave declined, so perhaps did the senseof urgencytogetthiscompleted,” VijayRaghavan, the topmostscientificofficerinthegovernment, told The Indian Express in an interview. “(But)... it is important to keep in mind that it is just not possible to amplify the capacities of a public health system CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Mumbai’s death rate rises even as fresh Covid cases plateau ` 70 per kilo ` 98 per kilo ` 119 per kilo ` 60 per Dozen COVISHIELD STOCK ON WAY, 63 GOVT CENTRES TO OPEN POST 12 PM TODAY PAGE 3 TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, APRIL 28 EVEN AS the daily number of fresh cases seem to indicate that Mumbai may have passed its second Covid-19 peak, there has been a grim rise in its death rate in the last few weeks. Until March first week, the death rate was as low as 0.2 per cent. Itgraduallyrosein amonth – to 0.87 per cent last week. The state death audit committee es- timates it might climb up to 1 per cent by the end of this week. Datashowstheweeklydeath rate between April 18 and 24 stoodat0.87per cent, at0.56 per cent between April 11 and 17 and at 0.35 per cent from April 4 to 10. “We expect this trend to continue for 10 days or so, and then the death rate will start declining,” said Dr Avinash Supe, who chairs the death audit committee. The city has plateaued in regard to daily new cases with less than 7,000 infections recorded since April 24. Supe said the decline in deaths will follow a few days after a sustained decrease in the daily number of fresh cases. There is a also a rise in the percentage of people dying within 48 hours of being admittedtohospitals.LastApril,40per cent of the infected had died within 48 hours of hospitalisation. The figure dropped to 15 percentbyJanuarybuthasagain risen to 20 per cent in April. According to doctors from CONTINUEDONPAGE2 ‘Everyone has been caught by surprise’ THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW P7 FROM MAY 1, private hospitals will have to procure doses of Covid-19 vaccine directly from manufacturers to administer themtobeneficiaries,bothinthe 45+ years age group, as well as the newly eligible 18-44 group. However, three days before vaccination is opened to the country's entire adult population, private vaccination sites have started to receive communication from Serum Institute of India (SII) that it will not be able to provide doses to them for the next 5-6 months. Pune-based SII, the world's largestmanufacturerof vaccines, is producing Covishield, the Indian variant of the OxfordAstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, SII asked Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (HIMSR), one of the largest private vaccination centres in Delhi's Southeast district, to approach “the state government for vaccine supplies which was provided earlier for the category of citizens over 45 yrs of age”. Due to its “current obligation to meet the Government’s CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Prime Criticare, a non-Covid facility, Wednesday. Deepak Joshi Fire in Mumbra hospital kills 4 admitted in ICU SAGAR RAJPUT MUMBAI, APRIL 28 FOUR PATIENTS admitted in the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Mumbra, near Mumbai, were killed after a major fire broke out early on Wednesday. A short-circuit in the meter box of the hospital — Prime Criticare, a non Covid facility — is suspectedtohavesparkedthefire, according to preliminary inquiry. Prime Criticare Hospital is a ground-plus facility located at Shimla Park, on old MumbaiPune road at Kausa in Mumbra. AccordingtoThaneMunicipal Corporation (TMC) officials, around 20 patients were admitted at the time of the mishap. MAHARASHTRA CABINET MEETING Free vaccination for all in 18-44 age group, curbs to be extended VISHWAS WAGHMODE MUMBAI, APRIL 28 THEMAHARASHTRACabineton Wednesday decided to provide free vaccination to all those in the age group of 18 to 44 years. However, the government said that it would not start the vaccination drive from May 1 due to unavailability of vaccines. Further, the state will divide the 18-44 age group into three age sub-groups. It is working on modalities on whether any of these sub-groups, including those with comorbidites, need to be given preference. Making the announcement of freevaccinationsforthe18-44 age group, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the health department is chalking out details of the programme. “People will be informed in advance. There should not be any unnecessary crowding at vacci- nation centres,” he said in a statement from his office. Thackerayaddedthatdespite facing an economic crisis, Maharashtra decided to provide free vaccines as the health of the peopleisitshighestpriority.“The vaccination programme will be chalkedoutbasedonsupplyand announcedaccordingly,” he said while instructing the administration to provide proper and clear instructions to the people. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Delhi RSS leader calls out state First policy shift in 16 yrs: India open to BJP: a fire raging, where are you? foreign aid, ok to buying from China NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 THE RASHTRIYA Swayamsevak Sangh’s Delhi state executive member, Rajiv Tuli, has hit out at theDelhiBJPfortheir“virtualabsence” in public during the current Covid surge that has wreaked havoc in the national capital. TakingtoTwitter,hewrotein Hindi: “There is fire everywhere in Delhi, has any Dilli wala seen BJP Delhi?” WEST BENGAL LASTPHASETODAY Repolling in Sitalkuchi Seats 35 of 294 283 Total candidates 35 Women WORLD BIDEN DETAILS $1.8 TRILLION PLAN FOR WORKERS, FAMILIES PAGE 12 “Where is BJP4Delhi? Or is thestatebody dissolved?”wrote Tuli, the former prant prachar pramukhof Delhiunitof theRSS. He did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment. When contacted, Delhi BJP presidentAdeshGupta,whowas brought in with an eye on next year’s MCD polls, said he does not know Tuli nor is he aware of his tweets. General Secretary of BJP’s Delhi unit, Harsh Malhotra, said he would not want to comment on Tuli’s remarks and CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 E E X P L A I NE D ABHINAV RAJPUT Reflects growing ● unease Rajiv Tuli’s remarks are the first by an RSS leader pulling up the party over the pandemic response. It reflects unease in Sangh since distress is over key supplies that cannot be ‘politically’ mobilised — like food, rations last year. SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 IN WHAT marks a major shift in policy in 16 years, India has now startedacceptinggifts,donations and aid from foreign nations as the country reels under a massive shortage of oxygen, drugs and related equipment amid a surge in Covid cases. There have been two other changes in approach that signal thisshift.Indianowhas“noconceptual problem” in procuring oxygen-related equipment and life-savingmedicinesfromChina, a source said, adding that on Pakistan, New Delhi has still not made up its mind on whether to acceptaid—thoughitisunlikely toacceptit.Besides,stategovernments are also free to procure these life-saving devices and medicinesfromforeignagencies, andtheCentralgovernmentwill not come in the way. All these three elements add uptoasignificantchangeinNew Delhi's strategy, which usually stresses on self-reliance and its ownemerging-powerimage.It's amarkedchangefromthepolicy of thelast16years,sincetheUPA government under Manmohan Singh decided to not accept aid from foreign sources. Untilthen,Indiahadaccepted aid from foreign governments -Uttarkashi earthquake (1991), Laturearthquake(1993),Gujarat earthquake (2001), Bengal cyclone (2002) and Bihar floods (July 2004). It was in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami that BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY CONTINUEDONPAGE10 Maharashtra has seen multiple critical incidents in hospitals in thelast one month. Last week, 14 Covid-19 patients in the ICU of a private hospital in Virar (West) near Mumbai died, at least 11 of them while asleep, after a faulty air-conditioning unit triggered a small blast and sparked a major blaze that gutted the entire ICU ward. On April 21, 24 patients died atahospitalrunbythemunicipal corporation in Nashik after oxygen supply was disrupted due to a leak in the main storage tank. At the Mumbra hospital, the authorities said a ward boy, Sadiq Engineer, first spotted fire in a cabin near the meter room. CONTINUEDONPAGE2 MORE REPORTS, PAGE 4 SC says shift Kappan to Delhi hospital, Centre objects EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 SAYING THAT the "most precious fundamental right to life unconditionally embraces even an undertrial”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that journalist Sidhique Kappan, arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police and charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), be shifted to a government hospital in Delhi for better treatment. "...owingtotheapparentprecarious health condition of the arrestee, it is necessary to provide adequate and effective medical assistance to him andto allayallapprehensionrelatingto his health, it would be in the interest of justice to shift Sidhique Kappan...eithertoRamManohar Lohia Hospital or to All India Instituteof MedicalSciences(AIIMS) or any other Government Hospital in Delhi for the proper medicaltreatment,”saidabench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana and with Justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna, addingthatafterrecovery,hecan be sent back to Mathura jail. The court added that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Counting the Covid dead in the capital: on paper, at the pyre, and in between PAGE 1 ANCHOR ANAND MOHAN J NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 THE HARROWING images playing out from cities and townsacross the country show mourners lined up outside crematoriums,rowsof funeralpyres burning with hardly a break, last-rites arrangements being hurriedly scrambled for the rising number of dead. In the capital, currently the Ground Zero of the fierce second wave, these images frame a growing gap between the number laid to rest and that puton paper as the official Covid death toll, records accessed by The Indian Express show. Data from the capital’s 23 key crematoriums andcemeteries maintained by Delhi’s three civic bodies based on death certificates and hospital reports explain theunprecedented scaleof the unfolding tragedy that goes beyond the daily Covid dashboard.Thenumberof funeralsat Muslim burial grounds as per Covid protocol is awaited. In the last 10 days, from April 18 to April 27, as many as A relative waits for his loved one’s last rites at a cremation ground in Subhash Nagar, Delhi, Wednesday. Praveen Khanna 3,049 died of Covid. And an almostequalnumber,3909,died suspected to have had Covid. "Thisgapindicatesthatthere are many more cases in the city than those being tested," said a senior doctor. "We always knew this gap exists but now that the case load is surging and many of them are dying, this evidence is more stark." Indeed, the total number of dead in the city in these 10 days (Covid, suspected Covid and non-Covid)was12,069.Contrast this with deaths in the city in pre-Covid year 2019 -- on an average, as per official data, 12,107 died in one month. That toll is now in just 10 days, the breakup of the funerals in this period shows: ■ Official Covid death toll: 3,049 ■ Number laid to rest as per Covid protocol: 6,958 ■Numberlaidtorestas“regular” (read without Covid protocol) funerals: 5,111 A Covid protocol funeral meansthatof apatientwhodied of Covid (tested and confirmed) and of those who had Covid symptoms and were suspected to have died -- had not been tested -- of the disease. Under Covid protocol, crematorium staff and mourners have to fol- low hand hygiene and use PPE while handling bodies. All Covid protocol funerals are held in a dedicated area of the crematorium. A senior MCD officer explained the process behind each funeral: "We have a tie-up with hospitals located in the respective jurisdictions of the three MCD zones. The hospitals inform us that the patient is either Covid positiveorhadsymptoms related to Covid, in which case he/she is designated as a suspectedcase.Inbothcases,the body is cremated as per Covid protocols. There are a few who CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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