visakhapatnam l wednesday l june 09, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION ‘China’s vaccine was ready even before the pandemic’ Eminent virologist Dr T Jacob John told TNIE it is possible that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created in the Wuhan virology lab Beijing is hiding something: Dr John Jacob ‘Work on vaccine started a year ago’ “There is something mysterious about the Chinese episode (the suspected leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology). China’s Covid-19 pandemic was unique in the world. That means they are hiding something… or they are different… or China had prepared for this in advance. Everything is not what meets the eye,” said Dr John, ex-professor of Virology, CMC Vellore ■ ■ “There are smoking gun evidences in molecular biology that point to the possibility that it is a lab-manipulated virus,” Dr John said China must have started work on Covid vaccine at least a year earlier. Having a vaccine almost ready helped China curtail the virus spread right from the early days, he added | P5 Feb 24, 2020 China applied for vaccine barely two months after Covid outbreak 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 States empowered to prioritise age groups for jabs Walk-in registrations allowed for all age groups starting June 21; Centre urges people to go to private vax centres if they can afford to pay S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray with PM Modi in Delhi | EXPRESS Was not meeting Nawaz, says Maha CM E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi to discuss a range of issues from Maratha quota to reservations in promotion and GST compensation. He had along with him Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress minister Ashok Chavan. But the juicy political talking point was his one-on-one meeting later with Modi. Responding to a question on the one-on-one, Thackeray said: “There is nothing wrong to meet (Modi) oneon-one. I had not gone to meet (former Pakistan Prime minister) Nawaz Sharif. What is wrong if I have to meet him personally?” He said during the last one year, there have been various instances when he had such conversations with Modi, adding, “Today, politically we are not with them but that does not mean our relationship has ended.” Thackeray described the overall discussions with the Prime Minister as cordial. E XPR E SS R E A D Retired UP bureaucrat appointed as EC New Delhi: Former Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer Anup Chandra Pandey was appointed as an election commissioner on Tuesday. He fills the vacancy created by Sunil Arora, who demitted office as chief election commissioner on April 12. A day after the Centre rolled back its controversial Covid-19 vaccination policy and decided to procure 75% of the total doses in India for all adults, it said it will continue to prioritise highly vulnerable sections for the inoculation drive. But it allowed states to decide their prioritisation within the 18-44 age group, after factoring in the vaccine supply . For the Union government, the priority population groups include healthcare and frontline workers, those above 45 years of age and beneficiaries whose second dose is due. The 18-44 group is last on its pecking order. The revised policy that will come into play from June 21, also provides the option of onsite registration at all government and private vaccination centres for all age groups, apart from advance booking on the CoWIN portal. The four-page document said vaccine doses will be provided to states based on factors like population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination, also warning that wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively . Covaxin dose costliest at pvt hospitals Vaccine Price per dose as declared by manufacturer (J)* GST@ 5% (J) COVISHIELD COVAXIN SPUTNIK V 600 1,200 948 30 60 47.40 Maximum Maximum service charge price that can per dose, be charged by inclusive of all private taxes (J) hospitals (J) 150 780 150 1,410 150 1,145 Note: These rates will be effective from June 21 Some experts saw in the latest advisory an underlying message that vaccines in government hospitals should continue to be given to the high priority population till their full vaccination coverage is achieved. “And that I think is a pragmatic thing to do,” said health systems specialist Chandrakant Lahariya. “In fact, I would have preferred it if the vaccination for the 18-44 age group would have Task Force predicts ‘third wave’ might affect 4.5 lakh kids P H a r ee s h @ Vijayawada CM Jagan Mohan Reddy distributes aid under ‘Jagananna Thodu’ to a beneficiary at Tadepalli on Tuesday | Express Include infrastructure development in greenfield colonies in PMAY: CM to PM E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Vijayawada Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include creation of basic infrastructure in greenfield colonies taken up under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) as part of the Central housing scheme. At present, basic infrastructure in greenfield colonies is developed by the State governments. In a letter to the Prime Minister dated June 7, Jagan said the PMAY, a flagship programme of the Centre, is being implemented jointly by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD). The programme addresses housing shortage among economically weaker sections, including slum dwellers, by ensuring a pucca house to all eligible families by 2022, when nation completes 75 years of Independence. “This nationwide housing andhra pradesh june 7 june 8 Fresh cases 4,872 7,796 Recoveries 13,702 14,641 Deaths 86 77 Samples tested 64,800 89,732 programme has further progressed India’s journey of achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,’’ Jagan said. Stating that in the past seven years, the Centre has sanctioned 308.2 lakh houses and released `2.99 lakh crore to the State, he said three key components contribute to the success of it, which include developing basic infrastructure in the colonies apart from sanctioning house sites to beneficiaries and assisting them in construction of pucca houses P4 on their allotted sites. Noting that it is not possible to precisely predict the trajectory of a possible Covid-19 third wave, the Andhra Pradesh Paediatric Covid-19 Task Force Committee has projected that it might affect 18 lakh people in the State and around 4.5 lakh (25% of the total) could be children. About 90% of children (around 4.05 lakh) may need home isolation as they are likely to be mild cases. Around 36,000 children affected by Covid may be admitted to hospitals and another 9,000 in ICUs. The committee, which submitted its first report on ‘Paediatric Covid-19 management in possible third wave’ stated that the State government has to be prepared to treat 45,000 affected children and in the worst scenario, 533 children may be admitted to hospitals a day on an average. “We need to be prepared to treat 45,000 children over a period of 5-6 months with peak number of cases during the second - third month from the beginning of possible third wave. Assuming that 80 per cent of the 45,000 children get P Ramdas @ Kochi tients abroad. But when he tried to do so in Kerala, state health officials threatened him with action under the Disaster Management Act. The court directed the government to ensure the petitioner is not obstructed in any manner from practising homoeopathy as per the guidelines issued by the AYUSH ministry and the Supreme Court. Assistant Solicitor General of India P Vijayakumar submitted that the Centre had issued recommendations on using homoeopathy for preventive purposes and symptom management of Covidlike illnesses. However, the court held that advertisement by a homoeopathic physician is prohibited in view of the Homoeopathic Practitioners Regulations, 1982. Fire on the hill A building on fire near the Vaishno Devi shrine at Trikuta hills in Katra, J&K on Tuesday. Yatra to the temple remained unaffected | pti NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 7 june 8 1,00,636 86,498 1,74,399 1,82,282 2,427 2,123 June 7 31,04,989 doses June 8 25,58,652 doses Total doses: 23,88,40,635 Jab-o-meter Take your shot Antarvedi woman represents India at UN ocean forum @ Visakhapatnam Deepika Tadi, a resident of Antarvedi in East Godavari district, had a rare opportunity to represent India on the global platform and share the story of her village’s contribution in reducing ocean plastic pollution as part of ‘Antarvedi ZeroWaste Initiative’. The programme is hosted by the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, in partnership with Oceanic Global. The 40-year-old woman is a member of the Antarvedi ZeroWaste Initiative. It has been launched by Green Worms, a waste management company headquartered in Kerala, in as- Deepika Tadi of Antarvedi with her husband Pradeep Tadi | EXPRESS Public Health and Family Welfare Director T Geeta Prasadini directed medical officers to prepare the list of mothers having children with below five years of age village-wise. Tokens will be issued to all the mothers one day before vaccination as per vaccine availability admitted to hospitals in two months in that worst scenario. The State needs 2,750 beds dedicated to paediatric patients assuming that the average length of hospital stay is five days. Of the 45,000 cases, 9,000 may require PICU. “In that case, 7,200 PICU admissions need to be done, which comes to 120 cases per day. Assuming that the average length of stay in PICU is eight days, we may roughly require close to 1,000 PICU beds,” the report said, adding that 75% of cases comes to government hospitals. The 16-page report of the committee was discussed at the review meet on Covid chaired by the Chief P5 Minister on Monday . E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Zero-Waste Initiative D ee p i k a K o l l u r u Jabs for women with below 5-year kids vide vaccines directly to private hospitals,” it said. It said states need to aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance, based on which the Union government will facilitate supply to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority’s e-platform. “This would enable the smaller and remote private hospitals to obtain timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance,” the P7 Centre said. DISTRESS SIGNALS The economy continues to reel due to the pandemic. Here’s a look Auto-debit payment failures Out of 85.7 million auto-debit transactions attempted in May, 30.8 million (36%) failed In April, out of 85.4 million such transactions initiated, 29.08 million (34%) failed Bank credit Bank credit growth hit 59-year low of 5.56% in 2020-21. It is expected to fall in 2021-22, too, with corporates deleveraging by repaying high cost loans through funds raised via bond issuances The credit availed by the Indian textiles and apparels industry fell 20% year-on-year to `1.62 lakh crore as of December 2020. This was mainly due to suspension of manufacturing activities in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19 lockdown last year, says the SIDBI-CRIF joint report In value terms, auto-debit transactions worth `22,000 crore failed in April primarily due to lack of funds | P10 VRS coming for public sector banks, Air India Homoeo doctors can prescribe, dispense Covid medicine: Kerala HC QUALIFIED physicians can not only prescribe and dispense homoeo medicines for preventing Covid, but also resort to homoeopathy for symptom management of coronavious-like illnesses, the Kerala High Court said on Tuesday . Justice N Nagaresh issued the order while disposing of the petition filed by Dr Jayaprasad Karunakaran. The petitioner said he had treated and saved serious Covid pa- been put on hold till the rest of the adult population is completed covered and the vaccine supply issue is fixed. That would have really streamlined the Covid inoculation process,” Lahariya added. The Centre also urged people who have the ability to pay, to take their jabs at private hospitals. Besides, it defended its decision to allow private hospitals to keep procuring 25% of the total Covid vaccines. “In order to incentivize production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also pro- sociation with Smart Village Movement, an organisation working towards the betterment of India with a goal to collect plastic waste from coastal areas, temples, and other places. Green Worms sent a video of Deepika’s speech on coastal pollution prevention, biodiversity survival, and fishermen’s livelihood to the United Na- tions for World Oceans Day 2021 with the theme ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’. Green Worms has announced that Deepika is one of the 30 members selected by the UN after scrutinising entries. Speaking to TNIE, Deepika said she aspires to continue her work in the same way for mitigation of ocean plastic polP5 lution. THE Centre will soon announce a special voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for the employees of public-sector banks as well as Air India, finance ministry sources said. The decision follows the Niti Aayog’s recommendation to this effect, the sources added. “VRS is under discussion. The Niti Aayog gave similar recommendations for Air India and a state-run insurance company, ahead of their privatisation drive. Many of them are over-staffed. Short manpower makes them more attractive and easier for the change of management,” a senior FinMin official told TNIE. The government will make the VRS package attractive so that it encourages the employees to go for it, the official added. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while unveiling Budget 2021-22 on February 1, had said the government would take up the privatisation of two public-sector banks and one general insurance company. She also said the govern- Prepping the ground for privatisation According to the Central government, the PSBs being considered for disinvestment are over-staffed. The Centre wants to right-size the manpower through VRS, so that these become attractive for the private sector. A tried and tested strategy, VRS was offered ahead of the recent consolidation of some PSBs ment will conclude privatisation of Air India. According to sources, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Bank of India are being considered for privatisation. The government also plans to exit LIC-controlled IDBI Bank. Meanwhile, bank unions opposing the privatisation move had gone on a two-day strike in March. At that time, Sitharaman assured them privatisation would in fact ensure jobs are protected and that no employee would be fired.
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09-06-2021 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam