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 FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 PROCURING SUFFICIENT DOSES Later rather than sooner: Govt unveils roadmap for supply of Covid vaccines 2 bn doses by year end: hope and a reality check In touch with Pfizer, Moderna and J&J, but they will talk in third quarter; will still have over 2 bn shots by Dec: Govt NEW DELHI, MAY 13 AMID A crippling shortage of vaccines across the country, the Centre has for the first time said that it has been in talks with three global manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — to supply to India. However, the government said on Thursday, the three KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 13 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHOTS ON WAY, ON PAPER AUGUST-DECEMBER (In crore doses) VACCINES DOSES STATUS Covishield Covaxin Bio E Zydus Cadila SII-Novavax BB Nasal Gennova Sputnik 75 55 30 5 20 10 6 15.6 11 cr doses in May-July 5 cr doses in May-July In phase 3 trials In last stage of Phase 3 Approval pending In phase 1-2 clinical trials In phase 1-2 clinical trials Available next week TOTAL 216 Source: Govt of India; in addition to these 2 bn doses, “other foreign vaccines may also become available” An aircraft carrying 176 ventilators from Germany, 324 oxygen cylinders from Finland, and 10 oxygen cylinders from Greece, arrives in New Delhi on Thursday. ANI States float tenders but know it’s a Some breathing space from long shot, say Centre’s job to buy science: Centre extends Creates unhealthy competition between states, says Tope PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, MAY 13 GLOBALTENDERS forCovid vaccines by the Mumbai civic body and the Uttar Pradesh government for 1 crore and 4 crore doses respectively, and plans of atleasthalf-a-dozenotherstates to call for bids, may yield little to no results, unless Russia and China step in with supplies. Such global tenders for vaccinesupplybysub-nationalgov- ernmentsamidsupplyshortages are the first publicly known instances during this pandemic. The states may be going through the motions to publicly announce their intent to citizens, BMC TENDER NOT IMPROPER, BUT FAVOUR SINGLE GLOBAL TENDER FOR COUNTRY, SAYS HEALTH MINISTER PAGE 4 but most reckon the slim chances since they have to compete with advance orders by other countries and procurement efforts by a global Covid19 vaccine facility. Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, told The Indian Express, “A state-wise global tender is actually the worst thing to do at a time like this but since the Government of India is not doing it, states can’t sit idle. Which is why, we CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Covishield gap to 16 weeks KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 13 JUST OVER seven weeks after it told states to increase the interval between two doses of Covishield to six-eight weeks, the Centre on Thursday extendedtheintervalfurtherto1216 weeks, citing “real-life evidence” from the UK. The Union Health Ministry said that the decision was based on the recommendation of the seven-member Covid-19 Working Group. Covishield accounts for 90 per cent of the 17.8 crore vaccine doses administered so far. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan conveyed the revised time frame to the states inaletterandsaidthatnecessary changes are being carried out in the Co-Win platform. The decision comes at a time when several states have complainedof ashortageof vaccines. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTRES Missing in vaccination: Rural service centres switch off, see tiny fraction of CoWin logins Lockdown curbs, confusion on pricing ensure mere 0.1% of registrations at CSCs AASHISH ARYAN NEW DELHI, MAY 13 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY PAGE 1 ANCHOR QUESTIONED BY the Supreme Court on its plan to increase vaccination in rural India, the Union Home Ministry said that people in the 18-44 age group living in semi-urbanandruralareascould make use of Common Service Centres (CSC) to register on the CoWin platform for their shot. That’s easier said than done. For, the CSCs, run by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, seen as critical nodes in bridging the rural-urban digital divide – helping residents with digital serv- At a vaccination drive-in, in Mohali Thursday. Kamleshwar Singh ices like Aadhaar or bank accounts — have been largely switchedoff thevaccinationprogramme, records obtained by The Indian Express show. Inwhathighlightsthecapacity gap and also raises questions on vaccine equity, of the roughly 3lakhCSCs,only54,460wereactive as on May 11. Theseregisteredatotalof just 1.7 lakh citizens for vaccination on the CoWin platform — given the total vaccination count at above 17 crore, that works out to just about 0.1 per cent. Thetopfivestatesbynumber vaccinated — with at least one dose — are Maharashtra, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ON THURSDAY, the head of the country's Covid-19 Task Force estimatedthe“emergingvaccine availability” for the period AugusttoDecemberatastaggering 216 crore — more than 2 billion — doses. The government's estimate, Dr V K Paul said, was based on data submitted by manufacturers of eight Covid-19 vaccines. “We have contacted the manufacturersandsoughtinformation on availability of vaccine for August-December... In this period, 216 crore doses would become available in India. Vaccine will be made available for all as we move forward...,” Dr Paul said. On paper, 2 billion shots ● would mean almost the entire adult population of the country can be expected to be covered by the vaccination drive by December. Realistically though, this woulddependentirelyontwokey factors: massive ramping up of vaccine manufacturing, and the availability of critical efficacy and safetydataof vaccinecandidates. Serum Institute of India (SII) will produce 75 crore doses of Covishield and 20 crore doses of the Novavax vaccine, Paul said — which adds up to 95 crore doses between August and December. According to the government, the Centre has so far E EXPLAINED KAUNAIN SHERIFF M pharma giants have communicated that they would be able to open discussions only in “Q3, 2021”. Even so, over 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines could becomeavailableforIndiabetween August and December this year, according to estimates given by vaccine manufacturers, the government said. “We have contacted CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHOULD WE HANG OURSELVES: UNION MINISTER PAGE 7 MARATHA QUOTA: CENTRE SEEKS REVIEWOF SC RULINGON102nd AMENDMENT PAGE 10 Maharashtra extends curbs till June 1, RT-PCR negative report must to enter state EXPRESSNEWSSERVICE MUMBAI, MAY 13 A DAY after state Cabinet ministers demanded the continuation of the current restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Maharashtra government on Thursday extended the restrictions until 7 am on June 1 across the state. It has also given powers to localdisastermanagementauthorities to decide on imposing general, sector or area-specific restrictionsbasedonlocalconditions.Theexistingrestrictionsare in force till 7 am on May 15. TheneworderissuedbyChief Secretary Sitaram Kunte stated thatanypersonenteringthestate from any part of the country by any mode of transport will have to carry a negative report for the RT-PCRtestconductedwithin48 hours before entry to the state. Milk collection, transport and processing will be allowed without restrictions, though its retail saleshallbeallowedsubjecttorestrictionsimposedonshopsdealing with essential items or through home delivery, it added. “Local district management authority (DMA) may decide to impose further restrictions gen- A crowded market in Mumbra, on the occasion of Eid, on Thursday. Deepak Joshi erallyortospecificsectorsorspecificareaswithintimationtostate disaster management authority (SDMA) and shall give at least 48 hours of public notice before making such further restrictions applicable,” the order stated. It said that the local DMA should keep special vigil on rural marketsandAgricultureProduce Market Committees (APMCs). If they find that people are not followingCovid-appropriatebehaviour,theDMAmaydecidetoshut the market or impose further restrictions, it added. Persons engaged in airport, port services and movement of cargo-related medicines or equipment for Covid management will be allowed to travel by the local, mono and metro train, the order stated. Nightmare runs on in Goa hospital: 15 more die as O2 dips MAYURA JANWALKAR PANAJI, MAY 13 A DAY after the High Court of BombayinGoadirectedthestate government to ensure there werenomoredeathsduetooxygen issues, Goa Medical College andHospital(GMCH),thestate's largestCovidfacility,reported15 more deaths between 2 am and 6 am on Thursday as oxygen supply pressure dipped. Relatives and resident doctors at GMCH made frantic calls through the night as the oxygen pressure started falling in the hospital's Covid wards around 1 am. One of the petitioners in the PILs filed in the High Court over Covid management said that after she received an SOS call, she reached out to the authorities, and that officials of the Health Department and police rushed over. However, doctors said, oxygen pressure could be restored only in 20 minutes, which proved fatal for 15 patients. TheHighCourthadurgedthe government to ensure there werenomoredeathsduetooxygen on Wednesday, after Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said deaths of 26 Covid patients at GMCH in the early hours of Tuesday might have been due to oxygen issues. Told about the fresh deaths Thursday, the court said, “We are sorry.” A resident doctor at one of the GMCH wards said pressure in the central pipeline started falling around 1 am Thursday, and three patients in his ward CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Anticipatory bail in rape case: HC says ‘insistence’ can’t be seen as ‘coercion’ SOFI AHSAN NEW DELHI, MAY 13 GRANTING anticipatory bail to Mumbai-based journalist Varun Hiremath in the rape case registered against him by the Delhi PoliceinFebruary,theDelhiHigh Court Thursday said that insistence (on part of the accused) cannot be construed as coercion or fear. “As noted in the statement of the prosecutrix... though she FIR alleged Hiremath raped woman in a 5-star hotel stated ‘no’ to the sexual intercourse, however on the insistence of the petitioner (Hiremath), she took off her clothes on her own. Insistence cannot be construed as coercion orfear,”saidJusticeMuktaGupta in the order. The court also noted that for oralintercourse,thewomansaid she kept shaking her head “which meant ‘no’”, and that while she agreed to vaginal intercourse with condom, she had said that in her mind, she thought she didn't want it. “What was going on in the mind of the prosecutrix would not be known to the petitioner,” observed the Bench. The court said that the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Less than a month after panchayat poll camp, teacher couple dead ASAD REHMAN LUCKNOW, MAY 13 “MY PARENTS were my world, I neverimaginedtheywouldboth leave us so soon and so suddenly,” says Aniket, 26. Meena Kumari, 55, and husbandLallanRam,59,diedwithin a fortnight of each other. Both principals of government schools, they had attended a training camp for panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh. Aniket says his parents were assigned election duty despite being in high-risk Covid group due to age and comorbidities, and devel- opedfeverwithindaysof returning. However, since they couldn't actually participate in the election process due to illness, the family is not sure if the government will compensate them for their loss. Meena Kumari headed Composite Vidyalaya Nibi, and Lallan Ram, Poorva Madhyam Vidyalaya, both located at Shohratgarh in Siddharth Nagar district. The training camp was held at the district headquarters on April 11, with the two assigned election duty for April 26 at Doomariyaganj. “My father, a heart patient, started showing symptoms within four days of returning from the camp. Initially, he was stable, but on April 20, when his symptoms got severe, we got a Rapid Antigen Test done. Since it wasnegative, no hospital agreed toadmithim.OnApril22,wegot an RT-PCR test, but the report was delayed. We went from one Gorakhpur hospital to another (Gorakhpur is around 80 km from Siddharth Nagar) and finally, through a source, got him admitted to a private hospital there,” says Aniket, a graduate, who lived with his parents. The couple also have three daughters, two of them married and teachers at government Meena Kumari, 55, and husband Lallan Ram, 59, died within a fortnight of each other. Express schools. The third daughter has completed her MBBS from Mahamaya Rajkiya Allopathic Medical College in Ambedkar Nagar district. Aniket says that at the hospital, his father's condition kept getting worse. “We tried everything but could not save him. I keepaskingmyself if Icouldhave done something different." The eldest daughter, Preeti, says when their mother, who hadakidneyailment,fellill,they found a Covid hospital in Siddharth Nagar, but it did not have proper arrangements. “Whenever we spoke to her, she said there was no one to take care of patients." On May 4, Meena Kumari was among the five casualties at the hospital. Breaking down, Preeti says, “She died because of lack of facilities.Shewouldhavesurvived, she had a lot of willpower and wanted to live." Aniket says that given their parents' condition, the family had taken a lot of care to ensure they would not be exposed to the coronavirus. “But then they wereassignedelectionduty...My parents said that at the camp, no socialdistancingnormswerefollowed, there was no thermal scanning and few wore masks.” Preeti,whoasteacheratapri- mary government school in Gorakhpur was also posted for election duty, says, “What was the need for panchayat polls at this time?... At Tikonia village where I was posted, there were people who had fever and were tooweaktoevenputtheirthumb impression on the ballot paper, so we held their hands for it." Preeti says she too got Covid symptoms later, but these remained mild. “I could not get tested. My sister advised me what medicines to take." Basic Shiksha Adhikari, SiddharthNagar,Rajendra Singh said he had forwarded the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.