DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021, LUCKNOW, LATE CITY, 12 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 hesitancy in thisage 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 ‘Everyone has been caught by surprise’ THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW P5 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 First policy shift in 16 yrs: India open to foreign aid, ok to buying from China 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 UP to float global tender for 4 cr vaccine shots, may order more MAULSHREE SETH LUCKNOW, APRIL 28 THE UTTAR Pradesh governmentonWednesdayannounced its decision to float a global tender for four crore vaccine shots. The decision was taken at a government core committee meeting to help the administration meet the demand for vaccinesinthe18-44 age groupthat will be eligible for vaccination from May 1. The registration process for this age group was At a vaccination centre in Prayagraj, Wednesday. UP has administered 1.20 cr jabs till now. AP thrown open from 4 pm on Wednesday. Senior minister and government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh told The Indian Express, “While the registration process has started for vaccination,ithasbeendecidedtogofor global tender to meet the vaccine supply.” If things went as planned, the tender would be floated in a day or two, Singh said, adding, “The tender will be opened in a day or two for four crore doses 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,hewrote in Hindi: “There is fire everywhere in Delhi, has any Dilli wala seen BJP Delhi?” WORLD CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ANAND MOHAN J PAGE 10 ● 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. As the late leader's nieceand 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 assistance to him and to 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 E X P L A I NE D NEW DELHI, APRIL 28 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 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 put on paper as theofficialCovid 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 the unprecedented 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. "Thisgap indicatesthatthere 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 Lucknow
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