CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ■ ■ MADURAI SUNDAY APRIL 18, 2021 `12.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION 50% OF MAHA COVID SAMPLES SHOWING DOUBLE MUTATIONS HEALTH MINISTRY YET TO GIVE A CLEAR PICTURE The B.1.617 variant has also been found in samples from eight states but the proportion is much smaller than Maharashtra’s. Data from other countries suggest that E484Q can escape antibody neutralisation, while L452R is known to increase infectivity. The Health ministry, however, says there is no epidemiological link yet between the mutants and the second wave Genome sequencing showed presence of variants B.1.617-E484Q and L452R in nearly half of the samples, pointing to their role in the spike 16,79, 740 LOCALLY DOMINANT VARIANTS FOUND ■ ■ ■ Signals of locally dominant mutations driving outbreaks — N440 in Kerala and B.1.618 in West Bengal — have also been noted Maharashtra added 63,729 cases to its tally amid a crippling shortage of oxygen and hospital beds; 398 deaths were reported Karnataka, too, reeling under plasma, bed and drug shortage ACTIVE CASES IN INDIA; RECOVERY RATE HAS FALLEN TO 87.23% CAPITAL CRISIS ON OXYGEN SUPPLY Delhi and Mumbai running out of medical oxygen; situation “very serious”, says Kejriwal NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 16 APRIL 17 2,33,351 1,23,354 1,341 2,40,423 1,25,751 1,303 SOUTHERN COMFORT ANDHRA PRADESH BEDS: 11,194 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage TELANGANA BEDS: 26,823 (available) Patients with oxygen bag masks being taken to another hospital to make space for critical Covid patients, at Govt Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad on Saturday | PTI PA R V E Z S U LTA N @ New Delhi AS Covid-19 cases in Delhi saw an alarming spike of 24,000 within a single-day span — a jump of 4,500 from the previous day — Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the situation “very serious and worrisome” and said the city was facing s h o r t a g e o f ox yg e n a n d Remdesivir. The CM, however, added that he had spoken to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan to ensure adequate supply of oxygen and reserve more beds in central government hospitals, including in intensive care units (ICUs), for Covid patients. “Supplies of oxygen and Remdesivir are running short. Because cases are increasing rapidly we are facing shortage , of oxygen, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab (another drug) though a few days ago our assessment was that there is enough stock. Today, I had a meeting with senior officials and the scarcity of these three articles was noticed,” said Kejriwal while addressing a digital press briefing. ● Oxygen consumption has doubled to 2.4 MT per day ● Plan to stop industrial Stating that the central government has always helped Delhi in its fight against the pandemic, the Delhi CM said he is hopeful that this time too, the Centre would come to its aid. “I spoke with Harsh Vardhanji and requested for more beds in the central governmentrun hospitals and adequate supply of oxygen, Remdesivir, and Tocilizumab. The Central government has 10,000 beds and I have requested that 50% of them should be reserved for Covid patients. Private hospitals are facing more shortage of oxygen,” said Kerjiwal. He said the health infrastructure has its limitations and that beds, including those in ICUs, are running out fast. However, the government is making efforts to arrange more beds, particularly with oxygen facilities. He said the government is making arrangements for 1,300 beds in Yamuna Sports Complex and Commonwealth Games Village at Akshardham. At Radha Soami Satsang Beas campus, initially 2,500 beds will be available and 2,500 more will be added subsequently he added. , use of oxygen ● Hospitals told to rationalise oxygen use only for critical cases TAMIL NADU BEDS: 69,000 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage ● Tamil Nadu has an oxygen capacity of 1,167 kilo litres and close to 90% of it is available KERALA BEDS: 7,745 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage KARNATAKA BEDS: 23,176 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage ODISHA BEDS: 5,000 (available) OXYGEN: No shortage ● Stocking up oxygen 10 times the current availability of 231 MT Maharashtra mulls importing oxygen for hospitals via sea route S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai MAHARASHTRA is contemplating sea-route import of oxygen to keep enough supplies for Covid-19 patients. The state’s daily production of oxygen is 1,200 metric ton (MT). However, the demand has surged to 1,278 MT daily . “Many hospitals in the state have stopped admitting Covid patients because they do not have enough oxygen to provide to the patients. CM Uddhav Thackeray in his letter to PM Modi has said if positive cases continue to increase, then by April-end, Maharashtra would need 2,000 MT of oxygen,” said a health official. Sources ruled out supplies by air of a large quantity of oxygen. “We are weighing seaway options for which we’d need help from the central government. We need to act quickly before the situation gets out of hand in hospitals,” said a senior government official. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the Centre has suggested bringing the supplies from faraway places where steel plants are located. Bringing the supplies by road will take a long time, besides the quantity of oxygen would not be up to the desired level. “Therefore, we request the Centre to allow us to bring oxygen by railways. The Centre should also provide us adequate stocks of vaccines so that we can vaccinate at least eight lakh people daily. We have a good health infrastructure, but what we need is the central support,” Tope added. The state government has already approached the Centre with a slew of demands, including the increased availability of oxygen cylinders and Remdesivir. Pharmas slash Remdesivir prices in the country New Delhi: Following an appeal by the Centre to the Remdesivir manufacturers not to charge more than `3,500 per vial in India, drug makers on Saturday slashed the price of the injection that has emerged as a key experimental therapy for moderate to severe Covid-19. It will now cost `899-3,490 per 100 ml vial NIGHT CURFEW AHEAD? With the number of new Covid cases in Tamil Nadu crossing 9,000 for the first time on Saturday, officials say stricter restrictions are on the cards, but a full-fledged lockdown has been ruled out. Here’s a look at the situation in the State ■ Night curfew, restrictions on gatherings and closure of entertainment spots likely to be mooted in CM’s meeting with officials today 9,344 of the 1,00,804 new samples tested returned positive 2,884 new cases in Chennai 22 New deaths in Chennai 1,13,349 vaccinated on Saturday, compared to 2,01,495 on Friday STATE WIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 16 8,449 4,920 33 APRIL 17 9,344 5,263 39 Amid surge, PM directs beefing up health infra EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Hours after prevailing upon the largest seer group to conclude Kumbh gathering at Haridwar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening took stock of the Covid-19 situation. In a video conference, the prime minister discussed the roadmap for scaling up the availability of vaccines and ventilators with senior officials of various Union ministries, which were directed to increase the bed count through a slew of temporary hospitals and isolation centres. The meeting came on a day the country recorded its highest single-day spike so far (2,40,423 ). “The PM spoke about the need to utilising the full potential of India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet the rising demand of various medicines. He was briefed on the actions taken to address the shortage of Remdesivir, whose production has been increased to reach 74.10 lakh vials/month for May against the JanuaryFebruary figure of 27-29 lakh vials a month,” the PMO said. Urging caution, the Prime Minister directed officials to ensure that the use of Remdesivir and other medicines was consistent with the approved guidelines. Later, the prime minister ordered speeding up works on plants to address the shortage of medical grade oxygen. “The officials said that one lakh cylinders are being procured and they will be supplied to states soon. A supply mapping plan for 12 highburden states till April 30 has also been undertaken,” added the PMO. Earlier, heeding to Modi’s appeal for a symbolic Kumbh at Hardwar in the wake of mounting public concer n, Juna Akhara – the largest among the 13-seer group – announced formal conclusion of the gathering on its part. The decision came after the prime minister spoke to the head of the Juna Akhara, Swami Awdheshanand, on Saturday morning. A SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS HUMOURIST DEPARTS 78% voting, stray violence Terracotta die in Bengal 5th phase polls unearthed in NEW FIND S U D H I R S R I N I V A S A N @ Chennai Keezhadi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Sivaganga A six-faced terracotta die and farming implements made of granite have been unearthed during the seventh phase of excavation at Keezhadi, director of Keezhadi excavation R Sivanantham has said. T he seventh phase of Keezhadi excavation was inaugurated by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on February 13 through videoconferencing. During this phase, excavations are being carried out in three trenches at Kee zhadi, three at Ko n t h a g a i a n d o n e a t Agaram. Sharing details of the findings, Sivanantham said that during the excavation in a trench on land owned by a farmer named Ganesan, a sixfaced, square-shaped die made of terracotta, black and redcoloured potsherds and portions of farming implements, such as a plow made of granite, were unearthed. According to sources, rectangular-shaped dice made of terracotta and ivory were unearthed during the first phase of excavation, while squareshaped ivory dice were unearthed during the fourth phase of the Keezhadi excavation. The use of dice made of two different materials indicates that various strata of society existed (the rich used ivory dice and the poor used terracotta) and shows that the civilization had enriched arithmetic knowledg e, sources said. WE never worry about the mortality of seemingly omnipresent artistes like Vivekh. We don’t consider the possibility that some day they may not be , around to invoke laughter or incite thought — in Vivekh’s case, it ought to be ‘invoke laughter and incite thought’. For the last three decades or so of Tamil cinema, Vivekh has been a ubiquitous presence. He has enlivened our films with his socially-conscious comedy, and weaponised his humour against public issues like corruption, poor gover nance, casteism, superstition… Let’s well that you would rather that remember that he began doing the hero fall in harm’s way, not this at a time when the word him. He was whatever cinema ‘woke’ had not yet been ascribed with the meaning of so- needed him to be: The track comedian who would be a cial alertness. Vivekh has also been a necessary distraction charismatic presence as from the serious hero, an actor, bringing to his the well-meaning friend serious characters — quipping witticisms, like in Boys, Sivaji, Alaithe selfless guide, or ocpayuthey — a rare vulcasionally, even a pronerability that even 1961 — 2021 tagonist. This is why as some top actors fail to Tamil cinema evolved, register. Last year’s Dharala Pra- and many actors and comedibhu, among Vivekh’s last films, ans got left behind, Vivekh conwas a fitting example of his im- tinued to be relevant. As a new pressive range as an actor, and era of stars got ushered in — his ability to play a good man so and then, another — who should Arrear pending since ’90? Anna Univ lets you clear it S U S H M I T H A R A M A K R I S H N A N @ Chennai ANNA University has announced a special chance for students admitted since 1990 to clear their pending arrear exams. They will get three chances — in August/September 2021, February 2022, and August 2022. The university advised students to utilise these chances since it will be the final opportunity . It said two categories of students will be permitted for these special exams. “Students of university department of Anna University, Chennai, admitted in the academic year 1990 onwards — both UG and PG under full-time and part-time mode,” is one category . The consideration will also be extended to students of affiliated colleges of Anna University and students admitted to colleges affiliated at the time of admission. However, the chance will only be provided to students who were admitted since 2002 and those who were pursuing their third semester at least, in 2001. WITH THIS ISSUE MAKING WAVES PLUS 12 PAGES stand along them, taunting and supporting in equal measure, but the enduring Vivekh? The actor will be remembered as a man with the laugh of a child, as a comedian who inspired us to laugh so. In the self-serving world of cinema, his work aimed at changing the world for the better. And quite fascinatingly, when films seemed to take themselves too seriously he was there, a force , of balance, to lighten things up. This was a humourist who d e s i re d p o s i t ive ch a n g e but never at the expense of FULL COVERAGE: P2 mirth. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kolkata THE fifth-phase of Bengal Assembly polls on Saturday witnessed sporadic incidents of violence but the voter turnout robust at 78.36% as of 5pm. According to the Election Commission, 81.73% votes were cast in Jalpaiguri district, followed by Purba Bardhaman (81.72%), Nadia (81.57%), North 24 Parganas (74.83%), Darjeeling (74.31%) and Kalimpong (69.56%). A TMC supporter was injured when a BJP supporter allegedly opened fire in Shantipur Assembly constituency in Nadia district. In Chakdaha Assembly constituency, an independent candidate was seen walking with an improvised firearm in front of policemen. He finally dropped the weapon alleging that a TMC worker hurled the firearm at him and he was walking towards the cops to hand it over to them.
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