Defer offline exams, UGC tells varsities The University Grants Commission has asked universities not to conduct offline exams in May and decide on conducting online exams after assessing local conditions. The commission said that the decision would be revisited in the first week on June chennai l friday l may 07, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 30 l late city EDITION 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 Stalin era begins in TN; Cabinet to swear-in at 9 am today E X P R E S S NE W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai ma subramanian Medical and Family Welfare kn nehru Municipal Administration Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi School Education Palanivel Thiagarajan Finance mnm witnesses exodus after poll disaster Coimbatore: R Mahendran quit as V-P of MNM on Thursday, and alleged that party chief Kamal Haasan was misguided. A party meeting was held in Chennai in which other leaders, including M Muruganatham, AG Maurya, Umadevi, Kumaravel, Sekar and Suresh Ayyar, resigned | p5 DMK president MK Stalin is all set to swear-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, along with 33 Cabinet colleagues on Friday at a formal function in Raj Bhavan. This follows the invitation extended by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, after Stalin submitted MLAs’ letter to him the previous day . The function is to begin at 9 am. According to sources, only around 250 invitees are permit- ted for the swearing-in ceremony due to existing Covid restrictions. Of the invitees, each DMK MLA is given one entry pass while the ministers are given two passes. Stalin will reach the Secretariat after assuming charge as the Chief Minister and is expected that he will sign an important announcement. Earlier on Friday, he visited veteran political leaders, N Sankariyah of CPM, R Nallakkanu of CPI, and RM Veerappan of MGR Ka- Cautious optimism over US patent waiver S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi WTO negotiations to begin next month. The US warned that it would take time to reach a global consensus to waive protections under WTO rules At least 100 of the WTO’s 164 nations are in favour of waiver, saying it would increase global vaccine production, but drugs manufacturers argue otherwise Pharma lobby opposing it says patents are not the primary obstacle, describes waiver as handing out a recipe without sharing the method or the ingredients, which could lead to quality issues The alternative, they say, is the UK and the EU’s model of licensing, as knowhow is shared and there is oversight, like the Serum Institute of India producing the AstraZeneca jab After months of wavering, the US administration on Thursday announced its support to the temporary waiver of intellectual property protection on Covid-19 vaccines, a decision that could help Indian pharma majors produce foreign jabs at low cost, though experts were a tad wary . The idea of a waiver under the World Trade Organization (WTO) forum was first proposed by India and South Africa in October last year. Prodded by Democrat lawmakers, US President Joe Biden supported the waiver, reversing his country’s earlier position on the matter. His remarks were followed by a statement from his top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, who said: “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pan- demic call for extraordinary measures.” Experts in India, which has been struggling with supply side shortage of vaccines, welcomed the US decision, but adviced caution. “To my understanding, it is a laudable step and will help countries like India in procuring higher doses of vaccines at lower costs if the WTO agrees to the proposal and vaccine makers transfer their formula to local companies,” said Manisha Gupta, an intellectual property rights (IPR) expert. She, however, flagged the challenge of managing quality. “Countries like India will have to ensure that only companies that are capable of maintaining quality get the license to make generic versions of the vaccines,” she added. Others like IPR lawyer Deepshikha Malhotra stressed that the advantage could depend on the pacts between the patent holders and local license seekers. Also, companies that get the license through the international agreements may have to fulfil all the regulatory requirements, as is the case now, she said. Former Union health secretary Sujatha K Rao welcomed the development saying it brings hope for a muchneeded vaccine equity to low- and middle-income nations. “In days to come, it is likely to enable vaccine production at very affordable prices helping governments provide it free to all and the price will no longer be a barrier to access,” she said. A few trade experts, however, pointed out that most Indian vaccine firms seem happy with exclusive pacts and do not favour free tech transfers. zhagam, and received their blessings. Though it is the sixth government being formed by the DMK, it is the first one after Stalin took over the reins of the party following vet, eran leader M Karunanidhi’s death. It is also the first majority government of the party after the 1996 elections. The Cabinet has witnessed a perfect blend of seniors, who served as ministers in Karuna- nidhi’s regime, and juniors, including first-timers. Former Chennai Mayor Ma Subramanian will take over as the State Health Minister at a time the State is facing worst phase of the pandemic. A t 6 9 , M u t h u ve l Karunanidhi Stalin is the oldest first-time Chief Minister in the history of Tamil Nadu. Be that it may he put the five dec, ades of political experience to good use. Over the years, Stalin has donned many roles in the State’s administrative machinery, with some of them being Deputy CM and the Opposition leader. It is also to be noted that it is Stalin’s seventh term as an MLA. This poll victory adds another feather to his cap. Son of veteran politician M Kar unanidhi, he was no stranger to politics growing up. After Karunanidhi’s demise, Stalin was unanimously elected as the president of the party on August 28, 2019. MORE ON P2 Jab-o-meter May 5 Doctors, nurses seek full lockdown in Tamil Nadu Take your shot May 6 S i n d u j a J a n e @ Chennai NATIONWIDE MAY 5 MAY 6 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 3,82,315 3,38,439 3,780 4,12,262 3,29,113 3,980 18,90,346 doses 22,98,530 doses Total: 16,48,76,248 tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths may 5 may 6 23,310 20,062 167 24,898 21,546 195 Low oxygen supply cause of 4 deaths in Tirupattur? Tirupattur: A controversy erupted over the death of four patients admitted to the Tirupattur GH in the last two days following allegations of short supply of oxygen to them. Two died on Wednesday night and two others early on Thursday | P4 WI T H T H IS ISSUE CHENNAI’S BEST WEEKEND GUIDE 30 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF INDULGE (TABLOID) EVEN as the fresh set of restriction kicked in on Thursday, healthcare professionals on Covid duty called for a total lockdown in the State as the health system is over stretched and they couldn’t manage with the available manpower. There is no use in increasing the bed capacity when there isn’t adequate manpower, and resources like oxygen are depleting in the State, said the doctors. As a result, patients are not getting the care they need and there is a risk of more deaths, they added. Vaccination for those above 18 years is yet to begin, and in such a case, lockdown is the only solution. “There are only two doctors for 200 patients in our hospital, and we won’t know even if one patient needs immediate care or dies suddenly. That is the reason we are allowing attenders now, so that when their loved ones fall sick they can alert us,” said a doctor on Covid duty at the Chengalpattu GH. He added that though they prescribe medicines for the patients, the nurses are not getting time to administer it as they are burdened with so much paper work on admissions and discharges. “I have even seen a few patients dying before they could get the medicine. I am very disturbed.” As oxygen beds are almost full in Chennai and the queues are getting longer daily, the hospitals are also falling short in extending help. Even severe cases, with saturation as low as 75, who were supposed to be managed at tertiary care hospitals, are being sent to the newly set-up healthcare centres. P4
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