eye THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE LIVE A LITTLE KOLKATA,LATECITY MAY9,2021 From facing their fears to finding joy in a pot of mint, the elderly in India are braving the pandemic 14PAGES,`5.00 (EX-KOLKATA`7, `12 IN NORTH EAST STATES &ANDAMAN) DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA SC sets up task force for Covid response, oxygen audit, supply PAGE 6 ONE DAY IN A COVID ICU Centre suggests panel on oxygen, agrees to SC call to cover all issues; Delhi govt’s plea against oxygen audit rejected Stories and photographs from seven hours spent at Holy Family, one of the hospitals at the heart of Delhi’s coronavirus crisis SARMA, SONOWAL IN DELHI; PARTYMEET OVER CM POSTTODAY PAGE 5 ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, MAY 8 HOPE A resident doctor checks a newborn baby in an isolation ward of Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, Mumbai. There are 35 beds in the Covid ward and 15 in the isolation ward of the 450-bed hospital. PTI/Kunal Patil REPORT, PAGE4 VACCINE MAITRI As cases rose and stocks shrank, most vaccine exports went where Covid much less severe than India 6.6 cr doses, enough to vaccinate all adults in Delhi and Mumbai, went to 93 countries. Until last week, at least 61 had lower case and death per lakh population than India’s — 50 had less than half case load THE LULL & THE STORM A drive-in for vaccination of those above the age of 45 at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad Saturday. Nirmal Harindran PART V AN EXPRESS SERIES ON APRIL 6, as the Covid curve began rising like a sheer wall, asked about vaccines and the need to open them up, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan was dismissive. “The aim is not to vaccinate someone who wants it,” he said, “the aim istovaccinatethosewhorequire it the most.” Perhaps, the Ministry of External Affairs thought a little differently. For, neither requirement nor want appeared to define the Centre’s Vaccine Maitri initiative launched January 20. Undertheprogramme,effectively suspended end of March, more than 6.6 crore doses of Covid vaccines — almost all Covishield — were sent to 93 countries. This stockpile is enoughtosupportabout30days of vaccination nationwide at last week’s inoculation rate — and at two doses, could cover the adult population of Delhi and Mumbai. An analysis by The Sunday Express of theCovidburdenof all 93 recipient countries since January to last week, shows that right through Vaccine Maitri, to this day, most of them were better off than India when it comes CONTINUEDONPAGE2 WORLD 93 Countries recipients plus UN health staff, peacekeepers 6.6 crore Doses exported; enough for entire adult population of Delhi, Mumbai 60% Of exports to countries where cases & deaths/lakh lower than in India 64 Recipient countries had lower cases & deaths per lakh than India (Jan 21)* 61 Recipient countries had lower cases & deaths per lakh than India (April 30**) 21 Recipient countries recorded less than 100 cases/lakh** 14 Recipient countries did not report more than 1 death/lakh** * Jan 21, India (when Vaccine Maitri started): 769 cases/lakh; 11.1 deaths/lakh ** April 30, India: 1,360 cases/lakh; 15.1 deaths/lakh PAGE 9 DOMESTIC VACCINATION VS EXPORT UNTIL Inoculation Export (in lakh) 30JAN 28FEB 30MARCH 30APRIL 39 150 630 1,460 160 370 640 660 THE SUPREME Court has put in place a 12-member National Task Force (NTF), including top experts and doctors from across the country, “to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialiseddomainknowledge”. The Task Force would also undertake an oxygen audit for “formulating a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to states and UTs (Union Territories)". The Union Cabinet Secretary or a nomineeof theofficial will serve as Convenor of the NTF. “It is necessary that an effectiveandtransparentmechanism is set up within the Union government for the purpose of allocating medical oxygen to all states and UTs for being used during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Union Government has agreed to set up a National Task Force to streamlinetheprocess," a Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said initsMay6order,whichwasuploaded on Saturday. TheordersaidtheCentrehad suggestedthat“inordertoensure CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Relatives of patients admitted in a ‘jumbo’ Covid facility in Pune line up to deliver essentials on Saturday. Ashish Kale Oxygen, ventilators, ICU: Govt puts out data, steep rise in critical care demand EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 8 CLOSE TO 50,000 Covid patients inIndiaarecurrentlyinintensive care units, while more than 14,500areonventilatorsupport, according to Government data released on Saturday. Also, more than 1.37 lakh patients are currently on oxygen support, a Government statement said. This is the first time that the Government has released nation-wide data on Covid patients requiring critical care, and it shows how serious the second wave of infections has been, compared to the first wave last year. At the peak of the first wave in September, about 23,000 patients were in ICUs, less than 4,000 of them were on ventilators,andaround40,000required oxygen support, documents accessed by The Indian Express show. The latest numbers were sharedbyUnionHealthMinister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Fear in each family: Govt on the defensive, anxiety deepens within BJP and RSS ranks RAVISH TIWARI FOR THE first time since the Modi Government came to power in 2014, senior Union ministers and top functionaries in the BJP and the RSS are on the defensive and unsure of how — or even what — to communicate tothepeopleasthesecondCovid curve rages across the country. Yet, there is a consensus that “fear has touched each family” andpeopleneedtoseemore“effort and achievement” to feel some “reassurance”. To that effect, there are also voices in the partyandtheRSSspeculatingon the need for the government to “revamp its team” so that it can deliver. A fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, the Centre’s response trails way behind the curve, which shows few signs of alet-up.Onthemostpressingissue of oxygen, a series of High Courts and, the Supreme Court, too, have turned the screws on the Centre. The Sunday Express spoke to some Union ministers and several functionaries in the BJP and the RSS to get a sense of how the nationalanxietyisechoinginthe corridors of power. The most common refrain is that this was “sudden” and “unexpected.” When told that the uptick began in Mumbai midFebruary and all warning signs -fromneedof oxygentothepossible impact of the variant — came early and the Government had time to prepare, the chorus is that “no one anticipated such an intense wave.” Few are willing to discuss how the Centre misread the situation and the BJP passed a resolution praising the Prime Minister for success in the fight How good intentions but bad timing, not Suspect in attack on securing stocks, paved Bengaluru bed scam: road to the shortage Man linked to PA of BJP Maldives Speaker has MLA is under scanner Islamist group ‘links’ JAY MAZOOMDAAR NEW DELHI, MAY 8 FROM WHO chief Tedros GhebreyesusandCaribbeancricketingstarChrisGayleto Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, many praised India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonstrating “perhaps the most significant of benevolence, kindness and certainly of empathy... compared to any act of any other leader globally”. President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted a depiction of Lord Hanuman delivering a mountain of vaccines, a lifesaver likethemythicalSanjeevani,from India to Brazil. Until March. Then India’s growing struggle to vaccinate people at home prompted a pause on exports. This has hit hard the Covax program aimed to benefit over 90 poorer countries. As things stand, the African ● Union could miss the target to vaccinate 3035% of its population by the end of 2021. That’s why, experts say, much more thought and planning should have gone in both E CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JOHNSON T A BENGALURU, MAY 8 A POLICE investigation into irregularities in the allotment of beds through the centralised system of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) — highlighted by BJP South Bengaluru MP Tejasvi Surya recently — has led to the arrest of four people linked to the BBMP South Zone war room, searches at eight zonal war rooms and 16 differenthospitals.Policearealso looking at the role of a middle- man with close links to the personalassistantof aBJPMLAwho, incidentally,accompaniedSurya during a raid on the BBMP South Zone war room. The middleman reportedly had free, unregulated access to the war room, and was involved in the bed-blocking scam as allegedbySuryaandothers.Police have not been able to arrest or question him, however, as he is hospitalised for Covid-19. One of the four persons arrested is Rihan, an operator with the South Zone war room, who CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN MUMBAI, MAY 8 ONE OF the three men arrested for Thursday night’s attack on the life of Maldives Speaker and former president Mohamed Nasheedisbelievedtohavelinks with Islamist extremists, official sources told The Sunday Express. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But Maldives police chief Mohammed Hameed has said the attack is being investigated Mohamed Nasheed suffered extensive wounds. File as a “terrorist act”. Maldives has also raised its terror alert level to amber, the highest, Maldivian CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A law student, a 93-yr-old refugee, and a Covid centre bond PAGE 1 ANCHOR BLAST NEAR KABUL SCHOOL KILLS 4O, DOZENS INJURED EU SCEPTICAL ON VACCINE WAIVER, READY TO DISCUSS VIRUS AN AIRBORNE THREAT, THE C.D.C. ACKNOWLEDGES TAMIL NADU JOINS OTHER STATES IN ‘TOTAL LOCKDOWN’ COVID DRUG DEVELOPED BY DRDO GETS EMERGENCY USE NOD NEW DELHI, MAY 8 EXPLAINED NEW DELHI, MAY 8 INSIDE PAGES 4, 8 VACCINE MITRAS JAY MAZOOMDAAR PAGES 10, 11, 12 CENTRE PLEA ON DELHI HC CONTEMPT NOTICE SUNDAY STORY INSIDE WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TORA AGARWALA GUWAHATI, MAY 8 TILL A month back they lived on either side of an international border, oblivious of each others’ existence. On May 2, when they walked out of a hospital in Mizoram, arms intertwined, they were bound by more than just the virus they had beaten. To 24-year-old C T Ramnunmawii Parte, the 93- year-old refugee from Myanmar shenursedfor10daysisnow“pipi (grandmother in Mizo)”. For “pi-pi”, who doesn’t want to be named because of her uncertain status, Parteis“anangelthat god sent to me”. A law student, Parte tested positive for Covid on April 13. As per the guidelines in Mizoram, which has 1,902 active cases at present and has seen 17 deaths, she was taken to a Covid care centre in Aizawl. A week later, she recovered and was set to go home when she heard that “an old lady with no family” was going to get admit- ted to the same centre. “I saw her sitting on the floor. She didn’t know why she was there and she insisted that she wantedtogohome.Allshecould reveal was her name and she kept asking if her family was coming,” recalls Parte. Though scheduled to be discharged the next day, the 24year-old says she couldn’t turn awayseeingthewoman’splight. “I realised she could not even go to the toilet on her own.” The centre where Parte was lodged, a building developed to accommodate BPL families under a scheme of the Urban Parte holding the hand of the 93-year-old, as they headed home from hospital on May 2. Express Development and Poverty Alleviation Department, Mizoram,had300patientsatthe time, with three doctors, three nurses and three assistants. Parte immediately asked the authorities if she could be the elderly woman’s attendant. The authorities agreed, and bothwereadmittedtoahospital in Aizawl, Mizoram’s sole Covid hospital. As she conversed with the woman, Parte realised that the93-year-oldhadcrossedover from Myanmar — among the hundreds to have fled the country following the crackdown afterthemilitarycoupinFebruary. Parte says the 93-year-old didn’trememberwellthedetails of her journey, only that she was headed to live with her daughter, married to a person based in Aizawl. “She said she came by a vehicle up to a point... She is old so she can’t remember most things,” Parte says. The law student took it upon herself totryandfindthedaughter. “On April 19, I finally got through and found that the daughter and her family were in home quarantine,” she says, recallingtheirrelief inrealisingthe 93-year-old was fine. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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