DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES SINCE 1932 MODI MEETING WITH DISTRICT OFFICIALS, CMs P305 TOLL RISES TO 49, 26 STILL MISSING Safety onus on the barge owner, Capt ignored warnings: ONGC, Afcons MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, MAY 20 BARGE P305, the vessel doing work for the ONGC that crashed into a rig off Mumbai during Cyclone Tauktae and sank, leading to the death of at least 49 peopleonboard,hadbrokenfree of its anchor shortly after midnight on May 16. Had this information been passed on to the Mumbai-based Digital Communication (DGCOM) Centre of the Ministry of Shipping, a rescue effort could have been mounted much earlier, top sources in the ministry told The Indian Express. The DGCOM Centre was informed only at 10 am on May 17, by which time the cyclone had already entered the Mumbai coastal area, sources said. The barge had started sending distress signals too by then. Coast Guard, Navy and merchant ves- Study Covid spread, severity in children, young: PM to officials ‘Virus is mutating, we need to change our strategies accordingly, can’t lower guard; record experiences in a gazette’ BUSINESS AS USUAL HARIKISHAN SHARMA BY UNNY sels were diverted to its location only mid-morning. The barge finally sank around 5 pm, and the cyclone made landfall at Gujarat four hours later. Sources said the barge had broken free of its moorings due to the high-speed winds and choppy sea, that had set in before the cyclone. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, MAY 20 Navy rescues crew aboard barge GAL Constructor, which ran aground off Mumbai. All 137 were rescued. Indian Navy/Twitter Ordeal for Tauktae next of kin, only one body handed over so far as RT-PCR wait drags on thereis no mix-upwith the bodies, someof whicharehighly decomposedafterlonghoursinthe water. Police said till Thursday evening RT-PCR tests had been done on 18 bodies at JJ, with results awaited of several. Apart from 26 on barge P305, 11 crew members of tugboat Varapradacontinuetobemissing. JAYPRAKASH S NAIDU MUMBAI, MAY 20 AS THE death toll from the sunken barge P305 climbed to 49, only one body of the 26 at J J Hospital mortuary had been handed over till Thursday eveningtofamilymembers,who spent the day waiting outside. The authorities are conducting RT-PCR on the bodies to ensure families taking them home don’t face trouble in travel. DNA test is also being done to ensure CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Relatives waited outside J J Hospital mortuary all of Thursday to identify and take possession of bodies. Ganesh Shirsekar Global politics competitive, India will use all tools to stay strong: Jaishankar SHUBHAJIT ROY & KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, MAY 20 REITERATINGTHATtherelationship between India and China is at a crossroads, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Thursdaythatthedirectionof bilateral ties depends on whether Beijingadherestovariousagreements on maintaining peace along the border. The remarks come a day af- ter Army Chief General M M Naravanesaidthatde-escalation along the border in eastern Ladakh is yet to take place, after the first step at Pangong Tso in February, and till that happens the entire border with China across all sectors will see enhanced troop presence. Speaking at an Indian Express-Financial Times event, Jaishankar said: “I think the relationship is at a crossroads. And which direction we go, depends on whether the Chinese side would adhere to the consensus, whetheritwouldfollowthrough on the agreements, which we CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GUJARAT CYCLONE TOLL RISES TO 79 PAGE 9 INSIDE PUNE, MAY 20 MORE STRIKES BY ISRAEL BUT HOPES RISE OF A TRUCE IITs SEEK VACCINES FOR STUDENTS NCPCR URGES GOVT TO RAMP UP PAEDIATRIC INFRA PAGES 12, 6 BHOPAL, MAY 20 WHAT IF? That’s the question haunting Ajay Rohit, a 25-yearoldengineeringgraduate,forthe past 15 days. What if he had stopped his fatherBrajlalAhirwar,a58-yearold government teacher, from reporting for poll duty in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh? “My PAGE 1 ANCHOR During the campaign for the Assembly bypoll. Express father wishedthattheAssembly bypoll would be postponed. But he also believed that he would not get Covid as they were all given PPE kits,” said Rohit. Ahirwarreturnedfromhisassignment after voting was held onApril17,developedafevertwo days later and died on May 5 at the district hospital. A day later, his 51-year-old wife Pyari Bai, who was rushed to the hospital after testing positive, also died. In a chilling replay of the Covidfalloutfromthepanchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh that month, the Damoh administration has listed Ahirwal as one of the17governmentteacherswho succumbed to the virus after being involved in bypoll duty. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TEACHERS ON POLL DUTY: UP RELENTS P8 At meeting, ‘one nation, all humiliation’, says CM. CM’s office/PTI HCDEFERSTMCLEADERS’BAILHEARINGTOTODAYPAGE9 PM at the virtual meeting on Thursday. PIB/PTI dren in your district, and analyse them on a regular basis).” “Mera sabhi adhikariyon se agrah hai ki aap svayam bhi uska aankalan kijiye; iss se aage ke liye taiyyari karne mein madad milegi (I urge all officers to make an assessment yourself; this will help you in preparing for the future.)” While there is no significant shiftintheincidenceof Covid-19 infection towards younger individuals, the Health Ministry has for the first time come out with a clinical management protocol for children. Last month, ICMR Director GeneralDrBalramBhargavahad said that only a marginally higherproportionintheyounger age group had been affected after various activities were opened up: the 0-19 age group formed 5.8 per cent of infections CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pune lab develops India’s first home Covid test kit; at chemists’ for Rs 250 ANURADHA MASCARENHAS In wake of one MP bypoll, at least 17 teachers on election duty, politicians, kin succumb to Covid IRAM SIDDIQUE WITHCONCERNSrisingoverthe country’s youth and children fallingvictimtothesecondwave of theCovid-19pandemic,Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged officials to collect and analyse the data on the infection and its severity among these two groups. During a video conference, the Prime Minister also asked state and district officials to record their experiencesof dealing with the pandemic in a form of district gazette, which can be useful for coming generations. “Duetovirusmutations,concerns are now being expressed for youth and children as well, amid the second wave,” Modi told district collectors and field officials of 10 states. “So far, our strategy, the way youhaveworkedin thefield,has helped to prevent this concern from becoming serious, but we havetobemorepreparedforthe future,” he said. Therefore,thePrimeMinister said, “Sabse pehla kaam aap kar sakte hain ki apne zile mein yuvaon, bachchon mein sankraman or uski gambheerta ke aankde vyavasthit karein, alag se us par regular aap analysis keejiye (The first thing you could do is collect data on transmission and its severity among youth and chil- THE INDIAN Council of Medical Research(ICMR)hasgivenitsapproval to the country’s first home-based, self-use rapid test for Covid-19, the creators of the test, MyLab Discovery Solutions, announced on Thursday. The self-use test kit can be used by symptomatic individu- als and immediate contacts of confirmed cases as per the ICMR’s guidelines. The test kit, named CoviSelf, will cost Rs 250, and can be bought without a prescription frompharmaciesandonline,the company said. The test will require the user todownloadanappontheirmobile phone, but will not need a healthcareprofessionaltocollect a swab sample. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Why PM insecure, did not let CMs speak, we aren’t puppets: Mamata SANTANU CHOWDHURY KOLKATA, MAY 20 A FORTNIGHT after Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren complained that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would only speak and not listen, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the PM meeting with CMs on Thursday as “one-way humiliation”. “This was not a one-way communication... it was onewayhumiliation...Onenation,all humiliation,” Banerjee told media persons after attending the PM meeting with District Magistrates and some Chief E E X P L A I NE D YOGESH NAIK & KARUNJIT SINGH `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM ● HOW TO USE KIT REGISTER KIT on MyLab CoviSelf app. TAKE SWAB from each nostril with help of kit, dip in extraction buffer. PUT 2 DROPS on cassette and wait for result. Report to ICMR. EXPLAINED,PAGE13 To check Covid-linked black fungus, Centre makes the disease ‘notifiable’ MUST REPORT KAUNAIN SHERIFF M & SOFI AHSAN NEW DELHI, MAY 20 WITH SEVERAL parts of the country reporting a surge in the supplementary fungal infection mucormycosis in Covid-19 patients, the Health Ministry on Thursdaymadetheinfectionnotifiable, makingitmandatoryfor states to report both suspected and confirmed cases to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). Mucormycosis is a fungal CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A government hospital in Hyderabad now has a ward for mucormycosis. AP WHENAdiseaseismade ‘notifiable’,itbecomes mandatorytoreportevery casetothegovernment. Notifiablediseasesare trackedthroughthe IntegratedDisease SurveillanceProgramme todetectwarningsignals early, sothateffective actioncanbetaken. Severaldiseasessuchas cholera,leprosy,plague,TB andAIDSarealso‘notified’. Ministers on the Covid situation. “Eto insecure keno je Chief Ministerderkothaboltedeoahobe na?Etobhoykiser?ChiefMinisters ra puppets noy. Amra bonded labourers noi (Why so insecure thatheisnotevenallowingChief Ministers to speak. What is this fear about? Chief Ministers are not puppets. We are not bonded labourers),” she said. Describing the meeting as “casual,superflop”,shesaid, “All the CMs are feeling insulted and humiliated… All the CMs were sitting just like puppets. Nobody was allowed to speak. Then how dowespeakaboutthepublicdemands?” she said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 90 cr doses per annum: Biotech says Covaxin set for a boost PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, MAY 20 BHARAT BIOTECH Thursday announced it will manufacture additionaldosesofCovaxinatitsrabiesvaccinefacilityinGujaratand thisrampup,expectedtotakeup to four months, will increase its Covidvaccinecapacityby17million doses a month, according to Suchitra Ella,Joint Managing Director, Bharat Biotech. TheHyderabadcompanydecided to use its Chiron Behring vaccinefacility,whichitacquired from GlaxoSmithKline to make rabiesvaccinesin2019,toimplement a "quick" ramp up of the Covid-19vaccine,whichitdeveloped jointly with the Indian Council of Medical Research. "The company plans to produce 200 million doses of Covaxin per annum in the GMP facilities that are already operational for the production of vaccines based on Inactivated Vero Cell Platform Technology, under stringent levels of GMP and biosafety," stated the company in a press statement. The product is expected to become available from the fourth quarter of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Karnataka hospital staff sound alarm: Families at risk, vaccinate JOHNSON T A BENGALURU, MAY 20 OVER THE last two months, Naveen Raj, the head nurse at a government hospital in Bengaluru, has been at work every day — managing patients, nurses and staff, and also handing over bodies to families. Atthehospital,hisdaybegins at 7 am and goes on late into the nightwiththe36-year-oldflitting through the emergency, ICU and general wards in the over 150bedCovidhospital,sometimesin a PPE kit or with just a mask. At home, he says, he stays in his room and does not interact with others in his family, including siblings, because while he has the protection of a double vaccination, other members of his family do not. Raj’sdilemmacarriesanecho across India where vaccinations have shielded doctors and healthcare workersto alargeextent in the second Covid wave, but their family members remain unprotected amid a slowdown in vaccination. The Centre has told states that they do not have the discretion to add categories of beneficaries from the doses it procures and allocates to them for vacci- nating three priority groups free of cost: healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above the age of 45. However, states can make provisions for other categories from doses directly procured by them from the open market under the 50-50 formula unveiled on May 1. On Wednesday, Odisha was among the first off the block by including families of healthcare workers in its priority group for vaccination from the doses it procures independently. “Ihavegotyoungdoctorsand nurses who are working eight12 hour shifts. I am averaging A health worker after receiving a shot of Covaxin, that has been in short supply, at a centre in Mumbai, Thursday. AP around 10-12 healthcare workers who test positive every day,” said Dr Sanjiv Lewin, head of medical services at St John’s Medical College and Hospital, a 1,000-bed Covid hospital. “Mosthavemoderateormild symptoms,mostof ushavebeen vaccinated. They are, however, returning home to people who may not be vaccinated. I have come back after 10 days of isolationbecausemywifetestedpositive.Sheisadoctor.Wehaveelderly parents at home. We locked up the entire family for 10 days to deal with this crisis,” he said. “This isthe firsttime we have felt it hitting all our families. By not vaccinating our families, we are tying up the hands of healthcare workers again,” Lewin said. Unlikethefirstwavelastyear, when doctors, nurses and hospital staff could take a week off in quarantine after a week of working shifts, the insurance of vaccination has resulted in the doing away of the mandatory quarantine for Covid workers in many places — especially in short-staffed government hospitals, say health workers. “Nearly 99 per cent of deaths are among those who have not beenvaccinated.Thosewhohave beenvaccinatedaresafe,”saidDr Shivakumar, head of the emer- gencyunitatthe550-bedVictoria Hospital, the main government Covid facility in Bengaluru. A related challenge that big hospitals are facing is to find replacement workers when regularstaff fallill.WhilemedicalcollegehospitalslikeVictoriaandSt Johnscanfallback on interns,PG students and doctors from other departments, stand-alone government hospitals do not have that luxury. “Thoughwehavenotbeenin clinicalpracticeforover20years, we have been asked to fill in for regular doctors who fall sick on Covid duty. Since most of us are CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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