CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 20 JULY 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR AMERICAN CARNAGE, GLOBAL TRAGEDY ANAND CLAIMS ‘FAILED’ FOREIGN POLICY, DEMANDS ANSWRS P5 P7 P9 Congress presses for action on audio clips WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. One or two spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 34-26 degrees Celsius. CHAPPELL WANTS DRS OVERHAUL NETANYAHU GRAFT TRIAL RESUMES RAINFALL: 12.6 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CAPITAL PERIL Speculation that Ashok Gehlot may seek floor test this week Max. 86% P12 TEMPERATURE Min. 66 % Max: 34.4°C (+2) Min: 28.5°C (+2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:06 hrs 18:22 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 17:19 hrs 03:24 hrs New moon on 20 July THUMBNAILS A newly married couple mark the Teej festival at Amritsar’s Durgiana Temple on Sunday. AFP CESC bills: Amid protests over “exaggerated electricity bills for June in Kolkata, private power utility CESC has decided not to charge dues of April and May in the current month's bill, a company official said on Sunday. “In consideration of the inconvenience faced by a section of the society, we decided to keep in abeyance charging dues of the last two months included in the current bill of all low voltage domestic consumers,” a CESC official said. Clash over alleged rape-murder: At least 30 m persons, including police personnel, were injured when a group of BJP-led villagers clashed with the police after a 15-year-old girl was found murdered at Chachuraguchh in Sonapur under the Chopra police station area in North Dinajpur district on Sunday. The protesting villagers also torched three NBSTC buses and three police vehicles on National P2 Highway 31. IAF commanders to discuss Rafale deployment in Ladakh region JAIPUR, 19 JULY he Congress on Sunday demanded the resignation of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from the Union Cabinet, saying he has no moral authority to continue when he is heard on audio clips that suggest a BJP conspiracy to topple the government in Rajasthan. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot rejected the BJP's dismissal of the clip in which the minister's voice is purportedly heard, telling a television channel that he is prepared to quit politics over the charge that it is a fabricated tape. The Congress demand for Shekhawat's resignation came amid speculation that Gehlot may seek a floor test in the state assembly early next week to prove that the majority of the MLAs are with him in the tussle for power with dissident Sachin Pilot. The speculation was triggered by Gehlot's 45minute meeting Saturday with Governor Kalraj Mishra, officially on the Covid19 situation in the state. “The decision on when and how the floor test will take place has to be taken by the chief minister and the government, senior party leader Ajay Maken said when questioned over the speculation. It is the CM's discretion to go ahead when required and if it is required,” he told reporters. T The BJP's Gulab Chand Kataria, who is the Leader of Opposition in the assembly, said only a floor test can tell whether the government is in majority or not. The government's decision may also depend on Monday's proceedings in the Rajasthan High Court, where a division bench is hearing a petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs against the Speaker's disqualification notice. The MLAs want the court to quash the notice sent by Speaker C P Joshi on a Congress complaint that they had skipped two legislative party meetings despite a whip, and should be disqualified from the state assembly. The Speaker, who has sought the MLAs' replies, will act on the notices on Tuesday evening. Amid the face-off between the Gehlot camp and Pilot's group, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said it is now up to the rebel leader to fall in the BJP's illusory trap or return to the fold and discuss their differences with the family. He said senior party leaders had talked to him several times in recent days. In his press conference, Ajay Maken focused on the audio clips, on the basis of which the Special Operation Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police has registered an FIR. The FIR does not identify Gajendra Singh referred to the clip as Union minister Shekhawat, a senior BJP leader from Rajasthan. Shekhawat has earlier denied that he figures in the clip and said he is open to a probe. “If Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is claiming that it is not his voice and the reference in the audio clip is to some other Gajendra Singh, then why is he afraid of giving his voice samples,” Maken asked. He said the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the state police too has registered a case in connection with the audio clips. The Congress leader claimed that police in Haryana and Delhi are giving protection to the rebel Rajasthan Congress MLAs. He accused the Centre of invoking the CBI as a threat to the state government, so that it stops the probe into the conspiracy. Maken also asked why a Rajasthan Police team was stopped by Haryana Police when it went to a Gurgaon hotel to collect the voice samples of MLAs Bhanwarlal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh. The Congress says the MLAs in the Pilot group are holed up in two hotels in Gurgaon in BJP-run Haryana. If the BJP has no role in the plot, why did the dissident MLAs take shelter in Haryana, he asked. The MLAs belonging to the Gehlot camp are also camping together, at a resort the on outskirts of the Rajasthan capital. On Saturday, the BJP had demanded a CBI probe, accusing the Congress government of illegal phonetapping. The Centre has sought a report from the Gehlot government on the allegations. Including the dissidents, the Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-member assembly and the BJP 72. If the 19 Congress dissidents are disqualified, the current strength of the state assembly will reduce to 181, slashing the half-way mark to 91 and making it easier for Gehlot to retain majority support. Bengal sees 36 Covid-19 deaths, highest daily tally so far, in the last 24 hours STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 19 JULY KOLKATA, 19 JULY Top commanders of the Indian Air Force will carry out an in-depth review of the country's air defence system at a three-day conference beginning Wednesday which will include possible deployment of the first batch of Rafale fighter jets in the Ladakh sector in view of the bitter border row with China, military sources said. The main focus of the commanders' conference will be to deliberate on the overall situation eastern Ladakh and on ways to enhance the IAF's combat prowess over the country's air space in all sensitive sectors along the de-facto border with China including in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand, they said. The commanders are expected to specifically deliberate on deployment of first batch of around six Rafale jets in the Ladakh sector by early next month as the aircraft are set to join the IAF's fighter fleet by end of July, the sources said. The conference will be chaired by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is also expected to address the IAF commanders. The IAF has been carrying out night time combat air patrols over the eastern Ladakh region in the last few weeks, in an apparent message to China that it was ready to deal with any eventualities in the mountainous region. A number of IAF platforms participated in a military drill in Stakna in eastern Ladakh on Friday during the defence minister's visit to the region. The IAF has deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control PTI (LAC) with China. Thirty six Covid patients died in West Bengal in the last 24 hours, which is the highest daily death toll till now while another highest single-day spike of 2,278 fresh cases was registered today. There are currently 16,492 active cases in the state, though a total of 42,487 people have been detected Covid-19 positive in the state till now. The total death toll has risen to 1,112. Kolkata and the neighbouring four districts namely North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly continued to witness a surge in cases. The city recorded 662 fresh cases, taking its total case count to 13,344. North 24-Parganas and Howrah recorded 544 and 191 fresh cases respectively while South 24-Parganas recorded 152 and A Kolkata Police volunteer handing over essentials to residents of a containment zone at Sikderpara street in Kolkata on Sunday. SNS Hooghly 85 cases. Higher numbers of cases were also recorded from the north Bengal districts with South Dinajpur registering 142 cases, which is the highest till now, followed by Malda with 89 cases and Darjeeling with 65 new cases. Of the 36 deaths that were recorded in the state in the last 24 hours, the maximum number of deaths were recorded in the five most affected districts, with Kolkata accounting for 15 deaths, North 24-Parganas nine, Hooghly four and South 24 Parganas and Howrah three each. This apart, East and West Midnapore recorded one death each. Currently, active cases have been recorded in all districts with Jhargram and Kalimpong registering the least number of cases. A total of 1,344 Covid patients ~ this too being the highest daily figure so far ~ were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recovered patients to 24,883. The discharge rate of Covid-19 patients has increased to 58.56 per cent as of today. Again, the occupancy rate in Covid beds has increased to 36.76 per cent. A total of 608 asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients are in the 106 Safe Homes that have a total bed capacity of 6,908, according to the state government. NDRF personnel at the ITO slum in Delhi where 10 shanties were washed away due to heavy rain on Sunday. A man also drowned when his vehicle was submerged in water (DETAILS ON PAGE 4) under the Minto bridge. SNS Covid case fatality rate falls below 2.5 pc: Govt SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 19 JULY With a single-day jump of 38,902 cases, the country’s Covid-19 tally reached 10,77,618 cases on Sunday, even as the government said India’s fatality rate is“progressively falling” and is currently at 2.49 per cent, which is one of the lowest in the world. The death toll due to the disease rose to 26,816 with 543 fatalities, even as 23,672 patients have recuperated in the past 24 hours, the highest so far in a day, according to Union health ministry data updated at 8 a.m. There are 3,73,379 active cases in the country. This is the fourthconsecutive day that Covid-19 cases have increased by more than 30,000. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to have spoken to the chief ministers of seven states ~ Bihar, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand ~ over the telephone, and discussed the Covid situation in their respective states. The prime minister also took stock of the flood situation in Bihar and Assam. The Union health ministry said on Sunday that India's fatality rate of Covid19 patients is currently at 2.49 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. In a press statement the ministry said that fatality rate is progressively falling from 2.82 per cent over a month Church staff check the body temperature of devotees before a Sunday service in Hyderabad on July 19, 2020. AFP earlier to 2.72 per cent on July 10 and has further reduced to 2.49 per cent at present. “With effective containment strategy, aggressive testing and standardized clinical management protocols based on holistic standard of care approach, the CFR (case fatality rate) has significantly dipped," informed the ministry. Talking about the states, the Health Ministry said 29 states and Union Territories have case fatality rate (CFR) lower than the national average, 14 states and Union Territories have a fatality rate of less than 1 per cent, five states and UTs have a zero per cent case fatality rate. States and UTs with below the national average case fatality rate include Tripura (0.19 per cent), Assam (0.23 per cent), Kerala (0.34 per cent), Odisha (0.51 per cent), Goa (0.60 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (0.75 per 10,77,618 3,73,379 38,902 23,672 26,816 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. SUNDAY 19 JULY 2020 cent ), Bihar (0.83 per cent), Telangana (0.93 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (1.31 per cent), Tamil Nadu (1.45 per cent), Chandigarh (1.71 per cent), Rajasthan (1.94 per cent), Karnataka (2.08 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (2.36 per cent). Seven Indian pharma players in race to develop Covid-19 vaccine PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 19 JULY At least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus as they join global efforts to find a preventive to check the spread of the deadly virus that has already infected more than 14 million globally. Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India. Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within months because of the pandemic. Bharat Biotech has received approval to conduct phase I and II clinical trial for its vaccine candidate Covaxin, that has been developed and manufactured in the company's facility in Hyderabad. It last week started human clinical trials. Leading vaccine major Serum Institute of India has said that it is hoping to develop a Covid-19 vaccine by the yearend. “At present, we are working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine which is undergoing phase III clinical trials. In addition to this, we will also start human trials in India in August 2020. Based on the current situation and most recent updates on the clinical trials, we are hoping that the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine will be available towards the end of this year,” Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla told PTI. The company is also developing a live attenuated vaccine with US-based biotech firm Codagenix, which is undergoing pre-clinical trials, he added. “Apart from AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine and Codagenix, we have associated with multiple institutions worldwide as manufacturing partners for vaccine candidates that are being developed. These include Austria's Themis along with two others,” Poonawalla said. On the partnership with AstraZeneca, Poonawalla said: “Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca to produce and supply 1 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University.” These vaccines will be for India and middle and low income countries across the world (GAVI countries), he added. Pharma major Zydus Cadi- CMYK la has said that it is looking to complete clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D in seven months. The company had last week started clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate with the first human dosing. Depending on the study outcomes and if the data is encouraging and the vaccine is found to be effective during the trials, it could take a total of seven months for the trials to be completed and for the vaccine to be launched, Zydus Cadila Chairman Pankaj R Patel said in a statement. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech last week started human trials of its vaccine Covaxin at Rohtak's Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences. The phase I and II clinical trials of the vaccine for SARSCoV-2 by Bharat Biotech have been approved by the Indian drug regulator after pre-clinical studies demonstrated safety and immune response. The company has developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology. Panacea Biotec in June said that it was setting up a joint venture firm in Ireland with USbased Refana Inc to develop a vaccine for Covid-19. The company in partnership with Refana aims to manufacture over 500 million doses of Covid-19 candidate vaccine, with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year, Panacea Biotec had said. Indian Immunologicals, a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has inked an agreement with Australia's Griffith University to develop a vaccine for coronavirus. Others like Mynvax and Biological E are also working to develop vaccines for Covid-19. Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is tracking around 140 candidates vaccines, of which around two dozen are in various phases of human clinical trials. Chinese company Sinovac Biotech is moving into phase III trials in Brazil while University of Oxford/ AstraZeneca is in a combined phase II/III trial in the UK and has recently gone into phase III trials in South Africa and Brazil. US-based Moderna expects to start phase III trials of its vaccine candidate this month. Among other leading players, German firm BioNTech is collaborating with pharma major Pfizer to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.
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