CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 24 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 ‘LOCKDOWN WILL INCREASE SUFFERING’ NAVALNY TO END PRISON HUNGER STRIKE ON 24TH DAY P10 Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 37 °C and 26 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P7 P11 P12 O2 crisis claims several Covid patients WEATHER Max. 90% KNIGHTS ARE ALL SET TO STARE ROYALS DOWN SHAHBAZ SHARIF WALKS FREE FROM JAIL Min. 24% Max: 36.4°C (+1) Min: 24.7°C (-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:10 hrs 18:00 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 14:08hrs 02:29 hrs Full moon on 27 April THUMBNAILS Devotees offer prayers at Vashi Ullah Mosque, in Prayagraj during Ramadan on Friday. AGENCIES 80 crore beneficiaries to get free food grains: The Central government on Friday decided to resume providing free food grains to 80 crore poor beneficiaries in May and June to help them tide over the economic hardship in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that would cost the exchequer around Rs 26,000 crore. “We will provide 5-kg additional food grains for free to PDS beneficiaries under the PMGKAY for two months. This time, we are not providing pulses under this scheme,” Food and Public Distribution secretary said. P5 NIA arrests one more cop in Hiran case: The NIA on Friday arrested Mumbai police inspector Sunil Mane in connection with the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence here and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, an official said. With this, the NIA has so far arrested three police officers in Mumbai, including suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Waze and his colleague Riyaz Kazi, in connection with these cases. Scramble for Oxygen leads to deaths of 25 ‘sickest’ Covid patients at Delhi hospital; similar scenes of death and despair across India PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 23 APRIL wenty-five of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s “sickest” Covid-19 patients died in 24 hours and the lives of 60 more hung in precarious balance, officials said on Friday as the scramble for oxygen got more increasingly more frantic in hospitals across the national capital. Sources said low pressure oxygen could be the likely cause of the deaths in Ganga Ram, one of the city’s biggest and most high-profile hospitals, where healthcare staff was reduced to manually ventilating patients in its ICU and emergency department. The hospital announced the deaths shortly after 8 a.m. After the unprecedented crisis of the morning, an oxygen tanker did reach Ganga Ram in central Delhi at 9.20 a.m. but it was enough to last up to about five hours depending on consumption, an official at T GANGA RAM TRAGEDY KEJRIWAL PLEADS FOR HELP Sources said low pres- sure oxygen could be the likely cause of the deaths in Ganga Ram, one of New Delhi’s biggest and most high-profile hospitals After the unprecedented crisis of the morning, an oxygen tanker did reach Ganga Ram in central Delhi at 9.20 a.m. but it was only enough to last up to about five hours depending on consumption Ganga Ram said. It is wrong to say the deaths occurred due to oxygen shortage. We provided oxygen to patients manually when the pressure dipped in the ICU, SGRH Chairman Dr D S Rana said. As hospitals big and small counted in hours and sometimes minutes how much oxygen supply they had left, changing the timeframe depending on the erratic supply, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal made an impassioned appeal to Prime Minister It is wrong to say the deaths occurred due to oxygen shortage. We provided oxygen to patients manually when the pressure dipped in the ICU People are in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure the smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi” AT A COVID MEET CHAIRED BY PM MODI DR D S RANA SGRH CHAIRMAN Narendra Modi to ensure the supply of oxygen to the city. “People are in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure the smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” he said at a Covid meet chaired by Modi. The Centre should take over all oxygen plants through the Army and every truck should be accompanied by an Army escort vehicle, he suggested, pressing for a national plan to deal with the crisis. “The oxygen supply scheduled to come to Delhi from Odisha and West Bengal should either be airlifted or brought through the Oxygen express started by the Centre,” Kejriwal added. Ganga Ram Chairman Rana verbalised the demand of all hospitals, struggling to replenish their oxygen stocks for the last Five die in MP hospital after O2 runs dry BHOPAL, 23 APRIL Five Covid-19 patients on oxygen support died in the ICU of a private hospital at Jabalpur late Thursday night and the kin of the deceased alleged that the deaths occurred because the hospital’s oxygen supply ended abruptly. According to health authorities, the incident occurred at the Galaxy Hospital in Jabalpur. Some patients in the ICU were on oxygen support, out of Hospital authorities said they were expecting 10 cylinders of oxygen but the vehicle carrying the cylinders broke down on the way whom five died allegedly when the oxygen supply ran dry and there was no provision of additional oxygen. Jabalpur Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Dr Ratnesh Kuraria said the authorities had already directed all private hospitals to ensure adequate additional oxygen supply. Police said the incident was reported in the intervening night of Thursday and Friday and soon after getting the news, a police team was rushed to the hospital. Some relatives of the deceased were highly enraged and trying to vent their ire on the hospital’s doctors and staff but the police personnel paci- four days in the face of the explosion in the number of Covid-19 cases. “All we need is uninterrupted and timely supply of oxygen, he said. More than 500 coronavirus patients, including around 150 on high flow oxygen support, are admitted in his hospital. “Ventilators and BiPAP machines are not working effectively. Lives of another 60 'sickest' patients at risk. Major crisis likely,” a senior official at the hospital said. The oxygen emergency was mirrored at the Max Hospitals as well. Though no deaths were reported, Max Healthcare sent out an SOS at 7.43 am, saying that Max Smart and Max Hospital Saket had less than an hour of oxygen left for the about 700 patients admitted. Outside the hospitals, too, despair escalated. Ambulances could be seen lined up, patients waited on stretchers, some visibly gasping for breath, and family members and friends desperately tried to get their loved ones a bed. Two Covid patients die sans O2 in WB fied them. Hospital authorities told police that they were expecting 10 cylinders of oxygen but the vehicle carrying the cylinders broke down on the way and so the additional oxygen could not reach the hospital in time. Police then arranged for another vehicle and got the required oxygen cylinders delivered to the hospital, which enabled the doctors to save the lives of other critically ill SNS patients. KOLKATA, 23 APRIL On Thursday night, a 77-yearold woman died of Covid-19 at her residence in Garpha after several hospital denied admission when she was suffering from severe respiratory distress. In another incident, a 67year-old Covid patient of Madhyamgram died allegedly after being denied admission. She was taken to Medical College Hospital with acute breathing distress but MCH referred her to the NRS where she was declared brought dead. (Page 3) Another hospital, another fire: 14 die in ICU blaze in Maha There were 90 patients in the hospital, 17 of them in the ICU, when the fire broke out after a blast in the AC unit Five patients were rescued and shifted to other hospitals in the area People mourn deaths of their relatives in a fire at a Covid-19 hospital in Virar, Maharashtra on Friday. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA VIRAR (MAHA), 23 APRIL Fourteen Covid-19 patients died in a blaze at the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Palghar district of Maharashtra on Friday, police said. There were 90 patients in the hospital, 17 of them in the ICU, when the fire broke out after a blast in the AC unit, an official said. While 13 were charred to death in the ICU, one patient died while being taken to another hospital, an official said. TV visuals showed the smoke-filled ICU in disarray after the blaze, with the ceiling falling off in some places, beds and other furniture strewn around and kin of the deceased wailing outside the hospital. The Over 3.32 lakh fresh cases in Air Force, Rlys to transport O2 tankers: PM India, record 2,263 fatalities PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ‘COORDINATION IS KEY’ NEW DELHI, 23 APRIL SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 23 APRIL India added a record 3.32 lakh new coronavirus cases in a single day taking the country’s tally to 1,62,63,695, while active cases crossed the 24-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Friday. The death toll increased to 1,86,920 with a record 2,263 new fatalities. Active cases increased to 24,28,616 comprising 14.93 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has dropped to 83.92 per cent. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan reported 75.01 per cent of the new cases. Maharashtra had the highest daily new cases at 67,013, followed by UP with 34,254 fresh infections. The number of new Covid19 cases added daily also continued to spurt in Bengal, which logged another record 12,876 fresh cases and 59 deaths linked to the infection today. Kolkata logged 2,830 cases and 17 deaths while North 24-Parganas recorded 2,585 fresh cases and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total case count has mounted to 7,13,780, with the death toll reaching 10,825 till now while there are 74,737 active cases. 1,62,63,695 24,28,616 3,32,730 1,93,279 1,86,920 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. FRIDAY 23 APRIL 2021 PM Modi, chairing the meet with 11 worst hit states, said all state governments need to work together to meet requirements of life-saving gas and medicines The PM’s call for coordination comes amidst multiple reports of medical oxygen supply being stopped at borders during transit Amidst several states flagging scarcity of medical oxygen in the Covid-19 fight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Railways and Air Force are being deployed to reduce the transportation time for oxygen tankers and all state governments need to work together to meet requirements of lifesaving gas and medicines. Chairing a high-level meeting with chief ministers of 11 states and union territories with maximum Covid-19 cases, Modi urged states to work as one and coordinate with one another to fulfil medical requirements, asserting that “if we work as one nation, there will not be any scarcity of resources.” Modi said every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, irrespective of its destination, is stopped or gets stranded, a statement said. The Prime Minister’s call for coordination and working together to meet the spiralling health crisis comes amidst multiple reports of medical oxygen supply being stopped at borders of one state or the other during transit. Modi noted that the Railways and Air Force have been deployed to reduce the travel time of oxygen tankers and assured states of the Centre’s full support in the fight against the pandemic. It was the Prime Minister’s third meeting with chief ministers in the last five weeks, while he also held his fourth review meeting in one week to review the oxygen availability situation, officials said. Modi asked states to take stringent measures against hoarding and black marketing of essential medicines and injections. He also called for making people continuously aware so that they do not indulge in panic buying. With some Oppositionruled states criticizing the Centre’s updated vaccination policy as discriminatory against states, Modi said that the Union government has already provided them more than 15 crore doses free of cost. He said each state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, irrespective of which state it is headed for, is stopped or gets stranded, and urged chief ministers to set up a high-level coordination committee to carry oxygen to different hospitals of the state. This committee should ensure that as soon as there is an allotment of oxygen from the Centre, it can deliver oxygen as per requirement in different hospitals of the state immediately, he said. Leaving with satisfaction, did my best: CJI Bobde Bengal govt urges Centre not to divert medical oxygen elsewhere PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 23 APRIL Outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde on Friday said he was leaving the Supreme Court with happiness, goodwill and very fond memories and the satisfaction of having done his best. Justice Bobde, who decided several key cases during his tenure including the historic Ayodhya verdict, was administered oath as the 47thCJIin November 2019 and is retiring today. He headed the Indian judiciary during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic ensuring that the apex court kept functioning albeit via video conferencing. I must say that last day has evoked mixed feelings which is difficult to describe. I have been a part of the ceremoni- Justice Bobde decided several key cases during his tenure including the historic Ayodhya verdict and headed the judiciary during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic al bench before but did not feel such mixed feelings which could enable me to say things clearly. I leave this court with happiness, goodwill with very fond memories of wonderful arguments, excellent presentation, good behaviour, commitment to the cause of justice from not only Bar but all connected with it, Bobde, who was speaking on his last in the apex court, said. Bobde said he was demitting office after 21 years as judge and it has been his richest experience in the top court and the camaraderie with brother judges has been wonderful. Contending that transition to the virtual mode during coronavirus pandemic would not have been possible without the registry, Bobde said that there are many unsatisfactory things about virtual hearings which can be ironed out. Attorney General K K Venugopal said the tenure of a CJI must be a minimum of three years. In March 2020 the world was suffering from Covid-19. Supreme Court also had to take a call and bar thought court will close down. But then CJI Bobde rose to the occasion and started virtual hearing and almost 50,000 cases have been disposed of. It's a great achievement, Venugopal said, adding that bar should unanimously applaud the CJI for the work he has done. Born on 24 April, 1956 in Nagpur, Justice Bobde practised law at the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court with appearances at Bombay before the Principal Seat and before the Supreme Court for over 21 years. He was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court on 12 April, 2013. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 23 APRIL Keeping in mind the current patient load and the rising trend of infections that might raise the oxygen consumption level in West Bengal, the state government has urged the Centre not to divert the medical oxygen available in the state to elsewhere. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on 21 April allotted 200 MT of oxygen from different plants located in West Bengal to outside the state. As per the current patient load and the rising trend of the infections, it is expected that the consumption level in West Bengal will radically rise to roughly 450 MT per day in the next cou- CMYK As per the current patient load and the rising trend of the infections, it is expected that the consumption level in Bengal will radically rise to 450 MT per day in the next couple of weeks ple of weeks. “Hence, present allocation of liquid oxygen to outside West Bengal will jeopardise the medical treatment of Covid patients in the state. So, West Bengal government has accordingly requested Government of India on 22 April to consider the need of the state and not to divert the medical oxygen available in the state to elsewhere,” a statement issued by the state government. The move comes close on the heels of chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the Union government is depriving her state of its quota of medical oxygen by diverting the supply to Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, in view of the current pandemic situation, the state government has made prior RT-PCR tests and Covid negative reports compulsory for flight passengers coming to West Bengal from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh from 12 pm on 26 April. This has already been made mandatory for flight passengers coming from Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana. fire broke out in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar shortly after 3 a.m., an official said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 5.20 a.m. Five patients were rescued and shifted to other hospitals in the area, he added. The other patients in the hospital were not affected as the damage was confined to the ICU, he added. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the tragedy, health minister Rajesh Tope said. Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said authorities should check if there was a fire safety audit of the hospital, which is over 50 km from Mumbai. The tragedy comes two days after 22 Covid-19 patients who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly due to a malfunction in the main storage at a civic hospital in Nashik. District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam said that the Virar hospital fire was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the ICU. Second wave tightens grip A medic takes samples for Covid-19 testing in Kullu India's Covid-19 graph may peak by 15 May: The ongoing second wave of the Covid19 pandemic in India may peak between 11-15 May with 33-35 lakh total ‘active’ cases and decline steeply by the end of May, according to a mathematical module devised by IIT scientists. P4 China to provide help to India: China on Friday said it firmly supports the Indian government and the people in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic and is in communication with New Delhi on its offer to provide assistance to deal with the surge in Covid19 cases in the country. Macron expresses solidarity with India: As India battles a massive spike in coronavirus cases amidst an oxygen shortage, the EU and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with the country and offered their support in dealing with the crisis. Travel bans mount: The red list Covid travel restrictions came in force for India on Friday, which bans entry for travellers from the country to UK. Canada has banned all passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days due to surge. The US has also advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Maldives.
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