THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 22 APRIL 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR AFTER RAUL, WHAT’S NEXT FOR CUBA? HARYANA STOPPED OXYGEN SUPPLY: SISODIA P2 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 34 and 17 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 73% P7 O2 tank leak in Nashik: 24 Covid patients die PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min: 19.2°C (-4) SUN SETS 18:51 hrs MOON SETS 03:24 hrs THUMBNAILS Deserted view of ghats at Har Ki Pauri on Ram Navami of Kumbh 2021 in Haridwar on AGENCIES Wednesday. Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh dies: Noted Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh (89), a Padma Bhushan awardee, died on Wednesday while he was in isolation at his residence after testing positive for Covid, his family said.Ghosh, 89, was found to be Covid-positive on 14 April.His condition deteriorated suddenly late on Tuesday night, following which he was given oxygen support, they said.He died around 8.30 am, they added.Considered to be having authority on Rabindranath Tagore, Ghosh is known for 'Adim Lata - Gulmomay' and 'Murkha Baro Samajik Nay', among other books. Soccer Super League dead in the water: Atltico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus all dropped out of the Super League on Wednesday, leaving the new competition essentially extinct before it even started. Only Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona are still officially involved. The moves by Atltico, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus came a day after the six Premier League clubs involved in the project gave up on the controversial breakaway competition. The project was overseen by Real Madrid president Floren- tino Prez, who promoted it as a way to save soccer and P12 the clubs struggling financially. WASHINGTON, 21 APRIL A US grand jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges he faced over the custodial death of African-American George Floyd last year, a chilling incident that sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police. The 12 jurors found Chauvin, 45, guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory in the US. Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest on 25 May after a convenience store clerk in Minneapolis alleged that Floyd tried to pass a counterfeit $ 20 bill. Chauvin pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He faces up to 40 years in prison, according to US media reports. With only his eyes visible as the rest of his face was hidden behind a surgical mask, Chauvin watched as the verdict was announced. A deputy handcuffed Chauvin and escorted him to a side room. He was later transferred to the Minnesota Correctional Facility. Judge Peter Cahill said sentencing is expected in eight weeks. The verdict prompted celebratory scenes outside the court and in Floyd's home town, where several hundred people cheered as it was PG 10 announced. P12 COVID TRAVAILS 24 NASHIK/MUMBAI, 21 APR IL A t least 24 Covid patients on ventilator support suffocated to death on Wednesday when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly because of a malfunction in the main storage at a civic-run hospital in Nashik in Maharashtra, officials said. While 22 patients died soon after the incident that occurred in the afternoon at Dr Zakir Husain Hospital in Dwarka area of the city, two other patients succumbed in the evening. The government will probe if the tragedy was due to negligence, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said. A private company looked after the tank maintenance at the hospital, District Collector Suraj Mandhare said, adding technicians closed the tank valve preventing more deaths. Three days before the tragedy, the Union health ministry's Covid data compiled between 16 March and 15 April from major Medical oxygen gas leaks out at Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital, in Nashik on Wednesday. An official said the incident occurred when oxygen was being filled in one of the tanks from a tanker, which disturbed the supply to the patients The family of each deceased will be given financial assistance of Rs five lakh each from the CM relief fund. cities showed Nashik the worst-hit city in the country in terms of cases per million residents. Wednesday’s disruption of medical oxygen supply was caused by leakage from a storage plant, officials said. Of the 150 patients admitted to the hospital, 23 were on ventilator support at the time of the incident while the rest were on oxygen support, a senior civic official said. The municipal corporation shifted cylinders from other facilities in the city to help the patients at the hospital after the leak, which was noticed around 12.30 pm, an official said. Hospital officials then contacted municipal commissioner Kailash Jadhav seeking technical help to stop the leakage. A 13 kilolitre oxygen tank was set up on the premises of the hospital, located in the Dwarka area of Nashik.“Around 10 am, a socket of the oxygen storage tank broke and the leakage started. When the hospital staff came to know about it, they deployed jumbo cylinders to supply oxygen and started shift- ing some of the patients,” an official said.The leakage has been stopped, the tank repaired and the oxygen supply is being normalised, he said. The family of each deceased will be given financial assistance of Rs five lakh each from the CM relief fund. An official said the incident occurred when oxygen was being filled in one of the tanks from a tanker, which disturbed the supply to the patients who were on ventilators as well as to those dependent on oxygen for breathing. Provide oxygen forthwith by whatever means: HC PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 21 APRIL Floyd death: Cop Chauvin found guilty on all charges P10 State govt to probe if the tragedy at hospital was due to negligence Min: 38% TEMPERATURE Max: 33.4°C (-5) SUN RISES 05:48 hrs MOON RISES 13: 46 hrs OF A CAPTAIN WHO HAS TO MAKE HIMSELF USEFUL PUTIN WARNS THE ENEMIES OF RUSSIA Issuing unusually strong strictures on the Modi government and private industries, Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to “forthwith” provide oxygen by whatever means to hospitals here facing shortage of the gas in treating serious Covid patients, observing it seems human life is not important for the state. “You are not exploring all avenues to augment oxygen supply. Beg, borrow or steal,” the court told the Centre, and asked why is it not waking up to the gravity of the emergency situation. It also warned that certainly all hell will break loose with the stoppage of medical oxygen to the hospitals.The court was conducting an urgent hearing on a public holiday on a plea filed by Balaji Medical and Research Centre, which owns and runs various hospitals in the name of Max, stating that if supply of oxygen is not replenished on an immediate basis, the lives of the patients who are critical and on oxygen support will be endangered. Do you want to see thousands of people dying in the country?” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli asked, as it came down heavily on the Cen- Record 2,023 fresh fatalities, 2,95,041 cases in single day PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 21 APRIL The single-day rise in new coronavirus infections inched closer to 3 lakh, pushing India's total tally of Covid-19 cases to 1,56,16,130, while the death toll reached 1,82,553 with a record 2,023 daily fatalities, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. The health ministry released a slew of comparative data, showing that the severity, virulence and demography of the victims in the ongoing second wave of Covid are about the same as the first wave, although the current number of active cases has already crossed the maximum figure of active Covid-19 cases last year. According to the health min- istry data, a total of 2,95,041 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours, while the active cases crossed the 21-lakh mark, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. Registering a steady increase for the 42nd in a row, active cases have increased to 21,57,538, comprising 13.82 per cent of the total infections, while the national recovery rate has dropped to 85.01 per cent. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said ,146 districts reported positivity rate of more than 15 per cent, while 274 districts reported case positivity between 5 and 15 per cent. Bhushan further shared data which showed that in those aged 30 and above, 67.5 per cent cases were reported in the first wave, and 69.18 per cent cases registered in the second wave. tre for not diverting sufficient oxygen supply from industries to hospitals. During the extraordinary hearing, the court said the responsibility to ensure oxygen supply lay squarely on the Centre's shoulders .“Why is the Centre not waking up to the gravity of the situation? We are shocked and dismayed hospitals running out of oxygen but steel plants are running,” the court said. Oxygen crisis rages amid exploding Delhi cases SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 21 APRIL 1,56,16,130 21,57,538 2,95,041 1,67,457 1,82,553 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 21 APRIL 2021 Several Delhi hospitals treating Covid patients faced a major medical oxygen crisis with their depleting stock for the second consecutive day, prompting the Centre to increase the city's quota to 480 metric tonnes against the AAP government's 700 MT demand. Delhi today recorded 24,638 fresh coronavirus cases and 249 deaths, according to the government’s latest health bulletin. Its positivity rate was 31.28 per cent while the active cases tally stood at 85,364. The city's Covid caseload soared to 9,30,179 while its death toll spiked to 12,887. The national capital had yesterday recorded its highest-ever 28,395 coronavirus cases and 277 Covid-related deaths. Health workers talk with Covid-19 positive patients at the Covid care centre at CWG, in AGENCIES New Delhi on Wednesday. Hospitals face oxygen shortage, Centre boosts states’ quota Covaxin shows 78 pc efficacy against mild, severe cases: Bharat Biotech PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 21 APRIL As India saw another record high of 2,95,041 new Covid cases and 2,023 deaths, the oxygen crisis precipitated by the second wave appeared to intensify with complaints of shortage from several states. The Centre announced on Wednesday evening that it was increasing the quota of oxygen in eight states, including Delhi, in view of the sudden spike in demand due to anexponential rise in the number of COVID patients admitted in hospitals. On the vaccination front, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh were the latest to announce free jabs for all aged above 18 years, after Uttar Pradesh and Assam made a similar decision, and officials presented data to assert that the vaccines reduce the risk of infection and prevent death and severe infection. At a press conference, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul appealed to the states, hospitals and nursing homes to ensure rational use of oxygen as it was a “life-saving” drug for the coronavirus infected patients. Noting that 7,500 MT of oxygen was being produced in the country per day and 6,600 MT is being allocated to states for medical purposes, the Centre said the Union government and stategovernments need to work together and respond promptly to the challenges posed by the pandemic. The central government announced that the quota of Maharashtra has been increased from 1,646 to 1,661 MT, from 445 to 543 MT in Madhya Pradesh, from 156 to 162 MT in Haryana, from 751 MT to 753 MT in UP and from 126 MT to 136 MT in Punjab. The allocation has been raised from 360 MT to 440 MT in Andhra Pradesh, from 83 MT to 103 MT in HYDERABAD, 21 APRIL A medic administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a man during a vaccination drive, in Gurugram, on Wednesday Govt waives customs duty on Remdesivir : The government waived customs duty on antiviral drug Remdesivir, its raw materials and other components used to make the drug. In a late night notification Tuesday, the Finance Ministry said this import duty exemption would remain in force till 31 SNS October 2021. Maharashtra restric tions: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday imposed several new restrictions including a ban on inter-city and interdistrict travel and curbs on office attendance in an attempt to bring the spiralling coronavirus infections under PTI control. Uttarakhand and from 378 MT to 480 MT in Delhi. The Centre's response came as Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra indulged in a blame game and squabbled over oxygen supply and distribution while demanding an increase in their quota. On Wednesday, several hospitals in the national capital like Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital, St Stephen's Hospital and Holy Family Hospital in Okhla said they only had oxygen for two to five hours. Other hospitals too had been facing a depleting stock for the last few days. Announcing the results of the phase III efficacy trial of Covaxin, the indigenously developed Covid vaccine Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research have said it has an overall 78 per cent interim clinical efficacy and 100 per cent efficacy against the severe form of the disease reducing hospitalizations. The efficacy against asymptomatic Covidinfection was 70 per cent suggesting decreased transmission in Covaxin recipients. The phase 3 study had enrolled 25,800 participants between 18-98 years of age and among them 10 per cent were above the age of 60. The analysis was conducted 14 days after the second dose. Prof. Balram Bhargava DG ICMR said: “I am also happy to note that Covaxin works well against most variants of SARS-CoV-2. These findings together consolidate the position of our indigenous vaccine in the global vaccine landscape.” The vaccine has been found to effectively neutralise most variants including UK, Brazilian and even the double mutant strain rampant in states like Maharashtra. The safety and efficacy results from the final analysis will be available in June and the final report will be submitted to a peer reviewed publication. Covishield price: Serum Institute of India's Covishield vaccine will cost private hospitals Rs 600 per dose and state governments Rs 400, a rate which will also apply to central government procurement once the existing contract for Rs 150 a dose ends, its chief executive said. SNS/PTI Matuas may make the difference in 6th phase of Bengal elections SOMA MOOKHERJEE & TIRTHANKAR MITRA KOLKATA, 22 APRIL An unprecedented situation forms the backdrop of the sixth phase of Assembly elections in Bengal tomorrow when the chiefs of the major political parties have cut short their campaign time amidst a raging Covid second wave. In all, 43 Assembly segments are going to the polls in North and South Bengal in which there is a fair sprinkling of the political heavyweights and new but much adored faces from the silver screen who aspire to be people's repre- sentatives. In North Dinajpur, apart from minister Gulam Rabbani contesting from Goalpokhar, some heavyweight leaders in the poll fray include Congress veteran Mohit Sengupta from Raigunj, Forward Bloc's Ali Imran Ramz from Chakulia, Trinamul's Abdul Karim Chowdhury from Islampur. Ranigunj seat will witness a seesaw contest between Trinamul's Kanaialal Agarwal, a sitting MLA from Islampur and veteran Congress leader Mohit Sengupta. The contest for Itahar constituency is no less interesting after Trinamul supre- FOCUS All eyes are on Krishnanagar (North) where one of the BJP's vicepresidents, Mukul Roy, will be contesting against film actress Koushani Mukherjee of TMC mo Mamata Banerjee denied ticket to Amal Acharya, the sitting MLA who later defected to BJP. The CPI, a part of the Sanyukta Morcha, has fielded former minister Srikumar Mukherjee who had earlier won from this seat. All eyes are on Krishnanagar (North) where one of the BJP's vice-presidents, Mukul Roy, will be contesting against film actress Koushani Mukherjee of Trinamul Congress. In Nadia, veteran Trinamul leaders like Kallol Khan from Nakasipara, Pundarikshya (Nanda) Saha from Nabadwip and Rukbanur Rehaman from Chapra are in the fray. Recently, the Trinamul Congress suspended block president Jaber Sheik of Chapra for anti-party activi- ties and now he is contesting as an Independent candidate. State jail minister Ujjwal Biswas is contesting from Krishnanagar (South). In North 24-Parganas, state food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick is contesting from Habra. In the 2019 election, Matua votes from Bongoan, Gaighata, Habra and Ashokenagar had switched over to the BJP. and thereafter the Trinamul government had constituted a Matua board and set up a college in the name of PR Thakur, Harichand Guruchand University and recognised all Matua colonies. It remains to be seen what quantum of Matua votes TMC can wrest from the BJP in this election. Actor and director Raj Chakraborty is contesting from Barrackpore. The sitting MLA Shilbhadra Dutta of Barrackpore having defected to the saffron camp is pitted against a new Trinamul candidate, Kajal Sinha, in Kardha as the state finance minister Amit Mitra is not contesting this time. Minister of state for health, Chandrima Bhattacharya is contesting from Dum Dum (North) and veteran Trinamul Youth leader, Partha Bhowmick from Nai- hati. Minister Swapan Debnath will contest from Purbasthali (South) and TMC candidate Rabindranath Chatterjee from Katwa. Minister Siddiqulla Chowdhury, a sitting MLA of Mangalkot chose to contest from Manteshar following differences with party strongman, Anubrata Mondal. In his place, Apurbra Chowdhury will contest from Mangalkot.In the wake of violence during earlier phases of the election, the Election Commission of India has decided to deploy at least 1,071 companies of Central forces in the sixth phase, an EC official said.
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