DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021, JAIPUR, LATE CITY, 10 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 hesitancyinthisagegroup,”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,amongothercentres. 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 ‘Everyone has been caught by surprise’ THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW P3 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 Waiting since the night before to fill an oxygen cylinder for her mother at a Delhi workshop, Shruti Saha breaks down on learning Wednesday that she has died. Reuters/Adnan Abidi Oxygen need jumps 67% in 9 days as 22 states raise demand HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 THEDEMANDFORmedicaloxygenincreased67percentinnine days leading up to April 24, according to information collated fromoxygenallocationordersissued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It further shows that the demand spread from 12 states on April 15 to 22 states on April 24. Official records show that Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had on April 15 written to the Additional Secretaries/ Principal Secretaries/Secretaries (Health) of 12 states informing them about oxygen allocation against their demand for the week beginning April 20. The stateswereMaharashtra,Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. In his letter, Bhushan provided details of the generation units from which these dozen states were being provided oxy- CM in isolation as wife positive; ruckus blamed for a hospital death EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE JAIPUR, APRIL 28 RAJASTHAN CHIEF Minister AshokGehlotisolatedhimself on Wednesday after his wife Sunita Gehlot tested positive for coronavirus,evenasthestatereported over 16,000 new Covid 19 cases forthethirdstraightdayandregistered 120 deaths as per official figures. Gehlot tweeted that his wife has tested positive for Covid-19, though she is asymptomatic. He The triage area of a Jaipur hospital. 16,000-plus daily cases in state. Rohit Jain Paras saidthatasperprotocol,hertreatmenthasstartedunderhomeisolation and that he too will be in isolation as a precautionary measure and will hold the daily Covid review meeting with doctors and officers at 8.30 pm. Meanwhile, four patients died at Criticonix Khandaka Hospital in Jaipur late on Tuesday. Government-appointed Assistant Nodal officer for the hospital, Dr Richhpal Kudi, said, “The patients died as they were THE RASHTRIYA Swayamsevak Sangh’s Delhi state executive member, Rajiv Tuli, has hit outat 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?” WORLD CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ANAND MOHAN J PAGE 8 ● 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. ATRI MITRA MALDAH, APRIL 28 THE FLUTTERING posters on the closed gate of Kotwali Bhavan in Maldatown,theancestralhouse of Ghani Khan Chowdhury, tell the story of the Congress in the bastion of one of its tallest leaders. Asthelateleader'snieceand Rajya Sabha MP Mausam Noor convalesces from Covid-19 in the sprawling house, Khan Chowdhury's legacy is caught in the political fight between her and his nephew Isha. The posters at the gate canvass votes for both the TMC and the Congress, with Isha a fellow resident at the house. DECISION 2021 WEST BENGAL Insiders insist this shows the bonhomie between them despite being in rivals Congress and Trinamool. Isha Khan Chowdhury incidentally is married to Noor's elder sister. However, while the family and its many branches of politicians CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WEST BENGAL LASTPHASETODAY Repolling in Sitalkuchi Seats 35 of 294 283 Total candidates 35 Women 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 assistanceto himandto 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 BIDEN DETAILS $1.8 TRILLION PLAN FOR WORKERS, STUDENTS, FAMILIES AUSTRALIA TO UPGRADE BASES TO BOOST INDO-PACIFIC ENGAGEMENTS E CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPLAINED NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 gen.Thestateshad cumulatively demanded 4,880 metric tonnes of medical oxygen for the week beginning April 20, and allocations were accordingly made. Within 10 days, another letter by Nipun Vinayak, Joint Secretary, MoH&FW, to state health officials on April 24 informed them about allocation against their demand for oxygen from April 25 onwards. This shows that the number of states EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Officials receive polling material on eve of the last phase of Bengal Assembly polls, at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata. Partha Paul “Where is BJP4Delhi? Or is thestatebodydissolved?”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 BY UNNY SC says shift Kappan to Delhi hospital, Centre objects Delhi RSS leader calls out state BJP: a fire raging, where are you? Covid shadow over Ghani Khan home, BJP Reflects footprint outside, as Cong fights for bastion growing ABHINAV RAJPUT BUSINESS AS USUAL 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 paperas theofficialCovid death toll, records accessed by The Indian Express show. Data from the capital’s 23 key crematoriumsandcemeteries maintained by Delhi’s three civic bodies based on death certificates and hospital reports explain theunprecedentedscaleof 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. Jaipur 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 eitherCovidpositiveorhadsymptoms 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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