MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 04 JANUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ARROGANT GOVT MUST WITHDRAW FARM LAWS P5 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Light rain/ thundershowers accompanied with gusty winds. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 18 and 10 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 14.8 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% Min: 82% TEMPERATURE Max: 15.8°C (-4) SUN RISES 07:15 hrs MOON RISES 22:49 hrs Min:07.9°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:38 hrs MOON SETS 11:40 hrs THUMBNAILS People stranded on the Jammu-Srinagar highway due to heavy snowfall. Vehicular traffic on the Jammu--Srinagar highway was shut on Sunday due to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir. Air services to Srinagar were also sus(P5) pended. SNS Indian cricket team: The entire Indian cricket contingent, including the five players who are in precautionary isolation, will travel to Sydney for the third Test against Australia together in the same chartered flight on Monday. The five players -- vice-captain Rohit Sharma, opener Shubman Gill, stumper Rishabh Pant, pacer Navdeep Saini and batsman Prithvi Shaw -- have not been barred from travelling with the team despite an ongoing investigation into an alleged bio-security protocol P12 breach by them. Sourav stable, decision on further angioplasty soon KOLKATA, 3 JANUARY BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who underwent angioplasty after a “mild” heart attack, is stable and his health parameters are normal, doctors said on Sunday. Ganguly was diagnosed with three blocked coronary arteries on Saturday, following which a stent was inserted in one to remove the blockage. Doctors said they will be deciding on conducting another angioplasty after assessing Ganguly's condition. A hospital spokesperson said the medical board is not thinking about the option of bypass PTI surgery. GOP GEARS UP IN BID TO DERAIL BIDEN WIN JOHNSON WARNS COVID LOCKDOWN MAY GET TOUGHER P10 JAMIESON’S 5-69 CURBS PAKISTAN P10 Emergency use nod for two Covid vaccines DCGI clears AstraZeneca’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for restricted use; Cadila gets nod for phase III trials of its vaccine Vardhan STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JANUARY 3 The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) on Sunday granted permission for restricted emergency use of two Covid-19 vaccines in ‘public interest with abundant precaution’ in India subject to certain regulatory conditions. The drugs regulator on Sunday approved OxfordAstraZeneca’s Covishield, manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India, and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use on the basis of recommendations by a Covid19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). The permission is granted for a ‘clinical trial mode’, to have more options for vaccinations, especially in case of infection by mutant strains. Meanwhile, the clinical trial of the two vaccines developed by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech would also continue, said a senior officer of the DGCI. “After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and, accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situations,” DCGI Dr V G Somani told the media. This clears the way for the roll out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days. The two vaccines have to be administered in two doses, Somani said. The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to 18K new cases take India's defends nod virus tally to 1,03,23,965 to Covaxin Roll-out Ready The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield, while Covaxin was indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 JANUARY Pune-based SII's shot is a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine (Covishield), encoding the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein with technology transfer from AstraZeneca/Oxford University. According to the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy date prepared by the Serum Institute, the vaccine efficacy was found to be nearly 70.42 %. The company had generated data from the 23,745 people who participated in the Covishield vaccine human trials Bharat Biotech developed Covaxin, a Whole Virion Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine in collaboration with ICMR and NIV (Pune), from where they received the virus seed strains, The country is now expected to start the immunisation drive within days and targeting to inoculate 300 million people. In the first phase of vaccination drive, frontline workers including doctors and people working in the healthcare sector will get the shots first. It will be free of cost for the first six to eight months of the drive. manufacture Covishield, while Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the approval a “decisive turning point” in India's fight against the coronavirus. “DCGI granting approval to vaccines of @SerumInstIndia and @BharatBiotech accelerates the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation. Congratulations India. Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators,” he tweeted. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan termed it a “watershed moment in India's battle against Covid-19”. Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted, “COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks.” In his media statement, Somani said Cadila Healthcare has been granted permission to conduct the Phase III clinical trial of its vaccine candidate in India. Pune-based SII's shot is a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine (Covishield), encoding the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein with technology transfer from AstraZeneca/Oxford University. “The firm submitted safety, immunogenicity and efficacy data generated on 23,745 participants aged 18 years or older from overseas clinical studies. The overall vaccine efficacy was found to be 70.42 per cent,” Somani said. Further, Serum was granted permission to conduct Phase-2/3 clinical trials on 1,600 participants within the country, he said. “The firm also submitted the interim safety and immunogenicity data generated from this trial and the data was found comparable with the data from the overseas clinical studies.” “The clinical trial ongoing within the country by the firm will continue,” he said. On Covaxin, Somani said, “Bharat Biotech has developed a Whole Virion Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine (Covaxin) in collaboration with ICMR and NIV (Pune), from where they received the virus seed strains. This vaccine is developed on the Vero cell platform, which has a well established track record of safety and efficacy in the country & globally.” India recorded a total of 18,177 fresh Covid-19 cases on Saturday, taking the country’s confirmed tally to 1,03,23,965, while the active caseload fell below 2.5 lakh. According to a detailed statement issued by the Union health ministry, the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 99 lakh, while the death toll due to the disease climbed to 1,49,218 with 224 new fatalities. India’s recovery rate has gone up to 96.12 percent, while the Covid-19 case fatality rate stood at 1.45 per cent, the Ministry said. The daily recoveries also outnumber daily new cases continuously for the last 37 days, it said. The ministry said there are 2,50,183 active coronavirus cases in the country, which accounts for 2.43 per cent of the total caseload. Delhi sees 424 cases, 14 deaths: Delhi today recorded 424 new Covid cases — the lowest in over seven The firm has generated safety and immunogenicity data in various animal species such as mice, rats, rabbits, Syrian hamster, and also conducted challenge studies on non-human primates (Rhesus macaques) and hamsters, he said. All these data have been shared by the firm with CDSCO, he said. The Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials were conducted on approx 800 sub- Protesting farmers brave cold, downpour PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 3 JANUARY Waterlogged tents, soaked firewood and blankets, and cold conditions ~ farmers camping at Delhi borders in protest against new farm laws had a difficult morning on Sunday due to overnight rains. The continuous downpour led to waterlogging at agitation venues and waterproof tents did not help much, according to protesters. Farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar, who is a member of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, said farmers have waterproof tents but they cannot protect them from biting cold and waterlogging. “The situation is very bad at protest sites due to rain which has caused waterlogging. There is so much cold after the rains, but the government is not able to see our misery,” he said. Gurwinder Singh, who is camping at the Singhu Border, said there is waterlogging at some places as civic facilities are not up to the mark but asserted that the weather will not dampen the spirit of farm- ers who have been protesting for over a month. “Despite facing several problems, we will not move from here until our demands are met,” he said. According to a Met Department official, heavy rainfall was reported in areas across Delhi and minimum temperatures have increased due to cloud- ing and easterly winds. “Safdarjung observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 9.9 degrees Celsius...with 25 mm rain. Palam observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 11.4 degrees Celsius with 18 mm rain. Rain with hail storm is expected until January 6,” the official said. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points ~ Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur ~ for more than a month, demanding repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) and two other issues. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) leader Sukhdev Singh, whose outfit is leading the protest at Tikri border, said arrangements made by farmers to brave the cold weather are not helping much because of rains and subsequent waterlogging. Veerpal Singh, a protesting farmer, said their blankets, clothes and wood are soaked. “Our clothes are soaked due to waterlogging caused by rains. Besides, we are facing difficulties to cook food as rain water has also soaked firewood. We do have an LPG cylinder but not everyone here has it,” he said. Dharmveer Yadav, who is camping at the Ghazipur border protest site, said farmers will not move an inch from their agitation venues. “We are ready to face any problem, be it heavy rain or storm, but we will not leave this place in any condition until our demands are met,” he said. (SNS photo) China’s new defence law expands power of military PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BEIJING, 3 JANUARY China has revised its National Defence Law, expanding the power of its armed forces headed by President Xi Jinping to mobilise military and civilian resources to defend its national interests both at home and abroad. The new law, effective from January 1, weakens the role of the State Council, China's Cabinet headed by Premier Li Keqiang, in formulating military policy, handing decision-making powers to the Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high-command of the two million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) headed by Xi. Xi, 67, has emerged as the Communist Party of China's (CPC) most powerful leader P12 after its founder Mao Zedong, holding the posts of CPC General Secretary, head of the military besides the Presidency with prospects of a lifelong tenure. He is the only civilian leader in the CMC, packed with highranking military officials. The amendments for the National Defence Law (NDL) were passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on December 26 last year. The revised law came into force after the key conclave of the ruling CPC in November last year finalised plans to build a fully modern military on par with the US by 2027. By the year 2027, which marks the centennial of the founding of the PLA, China will build a fully modern military, a goal that is in alignment with the national strength and will fulfil the future national defence need, official media reports earlier said. The revised law specifically stresses the need to build a nationwide coordination mechanism for the mobilisation of state-owned and private enterprises to take part in research into new defence technologies covering conventional weapons, as well as the non-traditional domains of cybersecurity, space and electromagnetics. Military and political analysts said the new NDL aimed to strengthen the country's military leadership under Xi, providing it with the legal grounds to respond to the challenges of accelerating confrontations between China and the USA. Deng Yuwen, a former deputy editor of the Communist Party publication Study Times, said the amendments aimed to legalise and formally apply the special nature of China's political and defence system when dealing with situations that could harm the regime at home and abroad. China's political nature is very different from many countries...it's not surprising for Beijing to enhance the leadership of the CMC when the PLA is going out to defend China's national interests across the world, Deng told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post daily. Chen Daoyin, a former professor of Political Science and Law at the Shanghai University, said the changes showed the regime had gained the confidence to legitimise its long-standing principle that the party commands the gun and stamp its absolute leadership over-armed and reserved forces. The move to include development interests' as a reason for armed mobilisation and war in the law would provide legal grounds for the country to launch a war in the legitimate name of defending national development interests, Chen said. Zeng Zhiping, a military law expert at Soochow University said one of the big changes of the law was the downgrading of the State Council's role in formulating the principles of China's national defence, and the right to direct and administer the mobilisation of its armed forces. NEW DELHI, 3 JANUARY months — and 14 fresh coronavirus-linked fatalities, even as the positivity rate dipped further to 0.62 per cent, the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin said. The city had yesterday reported 494 coronavirus infections and 14 Covidlinked fatalities, even as the positivity rate had stood at (SEE P2) 0.73 per cent. With some Congress leaders raising concerns over the grant of approval to Bharat Biotech's COVID19 vaccine, health minister Harsh Vardhan asserted on Sunday that Covaxin is more likely to work against newer variants of the virus, including the UK variant, and asked politicians not to “discredit well laid out sciencebacked protocols” followed for approving the jab. Some Congress leaders, including Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh, had raised concerns over the grant of approval to Covaxin for restricted use, saying it is “premature” and can prove dangerous. Responding to them, Vardhan said it is “disgraceful for anyone to politicise such a critical issue.” Tagging Tharoor, Ramesh and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yavad, Vardhan said in a tweet, “...don't try to discredit well laid out science-backed protocols followed for approving #COVID19vaccines. Wake up & realise you are only discrediting PTI yourselves!” jects and the results have demonstrated that the vaccine is safe and provides a robust immune response, he said. The Phase 3 efficacy trial was initiated in India on 25,800 volunteers and till date, approximately 22,500 participants have been vaccinated across the country and the vaccine has been found to be safe as per the data available till date, Somani said. “The SEC has reviewed the data on safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine and recommended for grant of permission for restricted use in emergency situations in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, to have more options for vaccinations, especially in case of infection by mutant strains. The clinical trial ongoing within the country by the firm will continue,” he said. 1,03,23,965 2,50,183 18,177 20,923 1,49,218 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 03 JANUARY 2021 23 dead, 15 hurt in roof collapse at Ghaziabad cremation ground PRESS TRUST OF INDIA GHAZIABAD, 3 JANUARY Twenty-three people, most of them attending a funeral, were killed and 15 others injured when the roof of a shelter at a cremation ground in Uttar Pradesh's Muradnagar collapsed on Sunday, police said. Several people had taken shelter under the recently constructed structure while it rained. The dead, all of them men, were mostly relatives or neighbours of Jai Ram, who was being cremated at that time, officials said. Rescue workers sifted through the building's rubble for hours to ensure that more victims were not trapped there. The local people were the first to arrive at the cremation ground in Muradnagar's Ukhlarsi village in Ghaziabad district, adjoining the national capital. Police followed by a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) unit also then reached the spot, pulling out the dead and the injured from the debris. Apart from the 23 dead, 15 others were admitted at different hospitals, Ghaziabad (Rural) Superintendent of Police Iraj Raja said. At least 18 of them had been identified by the evening. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the deaths. I express my condolences to the near and dear ones of those who lost their lives in this accident, and also hope for a quick recovery of the injured, Modi tweeted in Hindi. Adityanath announced Rs 2 lakh as financial relief for the families of each man killed. The chief minister also directed Meerut's Divisional Commissioner and Additional Director General of the police zone to submit a report on the incident. Union minister V K Singh, who is a Member of Parliament from Ghaziabad, and several senior police and administration officials visited the accident site. Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Atul Garg, who is the local BJP MLA, met some of the injured at the government hospital here. (IANS photo) SEE P3
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