SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 MAY 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 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY INCHES CLOSE TO MAJORITY KERALA’S WAY P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 35 °C and 26 °C respectively. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 87 % TEMPERATURE Max: 35.0 °C (N) SUN RISES 04:59 hrs MOON RISES 03:03 hrs New moon on 12 THUMBNAILS Shikaras anchored at the Dal Lake during curfew imposed to curb surging Covid-19 cases. In Srinagar on Saturday. AGENCIES WB guv summons chief secy over violence: Stating that the state Home Secretary failed to apprise him of law and order situation regarding post-poll violence, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday asked the Chief Secretary to see him by evening. Dhankhar tweeted that the home secretary did not forward reports of the state's DGP and Kolkata CP to him in this regard. Bomb kills 25 near girls' school in Kabul: A bomb exploded near a girl's school in a majority Shiite district of west Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 25 people, many them young pupils between 11 and 15 years old, Afghan government spokesmen said. The Taliban condemned the attack apparently aimed at civilians, and denied any responsibility. Hockey stars Ravinder and Kaushik dead: India on Saturday lost two of its most revered hockey stars, Ravinder Pal Singh and M K Kaushik-who were both members of the 1980 Moscow Olympics winning side -- to Covid-19. While the 60-year-old Singh passed away in Lucknow on Saturday morning after battling for nearly two weeks, Kaushik died after failing to recover from the ailment in New Delhi. Kaushik, who guided the Indian men's team to 1998 Asiad gold medal in Bangkok, was 66.(P12) P12 SC forms task force to ease supply of oxygen The likely future course of the pandemic must be taken into contemplation at the present time. This (task force) will ensure that projected future requirements can be scientifically mapped in the present and may be modulated in the light of experiences gained NEW DELHI, 8 MAY he Supreme Court has constituted a 12-member National Task Force of top medical experts to formulate a methodology for allocation of oxygen to states and union territories for saving lives of Covid19 patients and to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic. The top court named a sub-group for carrying out the audit exercise for Delhi’s health infrastructure and allocation of oxygen and said that it shall consists of Randeep Guleria of AIIMS, Sandeep Budhiraja of Max Healthcare and two IAS officers not below the rank of Joint Secretary~ one each from the Centre and the Delhi government. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and M R Shah said that the Union Cabinet Secretary will be the convenor of the national task force and may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him. The top court said in its order on 6 May that the Sec- T SUPREME COURT An IAF aircraft is loaded with an oxygen container in Singapore for India’s fight against Covid-19. retary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be ex-officio member of the force. The bench said that other members of the task force will include Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences; Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru; Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore; and JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore. The remaining five members are Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and MD, Medanta Hospital, Gurugram; Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund (Mumbai); and Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Shiv Kumar Sarin of Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), Delhi; and Zarir F Udwadia of Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital Mumbai. The top court said, “We expect the leading experts in India shall associate with the work of the Task Force both as members and resource persons as this will facilitate a meeting of minds and the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with an unprecedented human crisis. “The establishment of this Task Force will enable the decision makers to have inputs which go beyond finding ad-hoc solutions to the present problems. The likely future course of the pandemic must be taken into contemplation at the present time,” the bench said. SC orders release of prisoners to decongest jails PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 8 MAY Taking note of the “unprecedented surge” in Covid cases, the Supreme Court on Saturday moved to decongest prisons and ordered the immediate release of prisoners who were granted bail or parole last year. Observing that the decongestion of prisons housing around 4 lakh inmates across the coun- India, EU to resume FTA negotiations after 8 years In a far-reaching move aimed at changing the dynamics of their economic partnership, India and the European Union (EU) today decided to resume negotiations for a balance, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial free trade agreement (FTA) and resolved to work together to respond to global health emergencies like Covid-19. The decision was taken at the India-EU summit which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leaders of all the 27 EU member countries. P4 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min: 26.3°C (N) SUN SETS 18:06 hrs MOON SETS 15:18 hrs May NEW DELHI, 8 MAY P6 12-member expert team will facilitate public health response to Covid Min. 43% STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE VIRUS STINGS A FOURTH KNIGHT RIDER SUSPENSE CONTINUES OVER NEXT ASSAM CM “We agreed to enhance our trade and investment ties to realise its untapped potential thus contributing to inclusive and sustainable economic growth and recovery from the pandemic,” a joint statement said. Modi described the relationship between India and the EU as a “force multiplier for global good” in the 21st century. Deeply condoling the loss of lives in the second wave of Covid in India, the EU leaders agreed with Modi that defeating the pandemic through global cooperation and solidarity should remain the priority of the global community. try is a matter concerning “health and right to life of” prisoners and police personnel, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said all those who were allowed to go out on bail in March last year by the high-powered committees of states and UTs be granted the same relief without any reconsideration to avoid delay. “Further we direct that, those inmates who were granted parole, pursuant to our earlier orders, should be again granted parole for a period of 90 days in order to tide over the pandemic,” the bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant, said in its order. There is a serious concern about the spread of Covid-19 in “overcrowded prisons where there is lack of proper sanitation, hygiene and medical facilities, the bench said, adding there is a requirement for effective management of pandemic from within the prison walls so as to defeat this deadly virus. The top court took note of its 23 March, 2020, order by which it had directed all states and UTs to constitute high-powered committee (HPC) to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and the under trials for offences entailing up to 7-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of pandemic. DCGI approves DRDO drug for emergency use against Covid PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Clinical trials of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) showed that it helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence NEW DELHI, 8 MAY An anti-Covid oral drug developed by the DRDO has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe coronavirus patients, the defence ministry said on Saturday. Clinical trials of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) showed that it helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence, it said. The approval to the drug has come at a time when India has been grappling with a record-breaking wave of coronavirus pandemic that has stretched the country’s healthcare infrastructure to its limit. “In the ongoing second Covid-19 wave, a large number of patients are facing severe oxygen dependency and need hospitalisation. “The drug is expected to save precious lives due to the mechanism of operation of the drug in infected cells. This also reduces the hospital stay of Covid patients,” the ministry said. It said the anti-Covid-19 therapeutic application of 2-DG drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a leading laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Lockdown in Kerala, TN amidst southern surge STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI/KOLKATA, 8 MAY With the government of Tamil Nadu announcing a complete lockdown in the state from 10 to 24 May in view of rising Covid-19 cases, almost the entire south of the country is under full or partial lockdown. The Tamil Nadu government’s decision comes a day after Karnataka decided to impose a total lockdown for the same period. Kerala, meanwhile, came under a nine-day complete lockdown from Saturday morning amidst a southern surge of the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, India reported 401,078 confirmed cases, The Tamil Nadu government’s decision comes a day after Karnataka decided to impose a total lockdown for the same period. Kerala came under a nine-day complete lockdown from Saturday. Puducherry is already under lockdown including a record high of 4,187 deaths. India has more than 21.8 million confirmed cases and nearly 2,40,000 deaths. According to a press release from the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s office, the lockdown will last from 4 am on 10 May till 4 a.m. on 24 May. All shops. except those selling essentials, will be shut. All gatherings are banned. Beauty salons, spas, clubs, bars, auditoriums, etc would be closed. Private establishments, except those specifi- cally exempted, would have to implement work from home practices. Schools and colleges will also be shut and bus, taxi and auto services are also not allowed to operate. The state government said that a total lockdown had to be clamped against the backdrop of a sharp increase in daily new infections. Puducherry is already under lockdown till 10 May. Andhra Pradesh had announced a partial lockdown with curfew from 12 noon to 6 a.m. from 6 May for two weeks. Telangana has extended night curfew till 15 May. The Mizoram government has announced seven-day lockdown from 10 May and Sikkim has imposed lockdown-like restrictions till 16 May. Delhi, Haryana, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are all under one form of lockdown or another, while Rajasthan is to implement a strict lockdown from 10 to 24 May. Bengal cases: West Bengal registered 19,436 fresh Covid cases and 127 deaths today. Kolkata recorded 3,961 cases and 34 deaths. The total Covid case count is 9,73,718. 2,18,92,676 37,23,446 4,01,078 3,18,609 2,38,270 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 08 MAY 2021 Rising fungal infection cases among Covid survivors causes concern PRESS TRUST OF INDIA AHMEDABAD/MUMBAI, 8 MAY Cases of mucormycosis, a fungal infection, are rising among Covid-19 survivors, causing blindness or serious illness and even death in some cases, health officials in Maharashtra and Gujarat said on Saturday. The cost of treatment for this disease is also a matter of concern, some doctors said. Mathur Savani, chairman of Surat-based Kiran Super Multi-speciality Hospital, said mucormycosis patients are coming to his hospital from Surat district as well as other parts of Gujarat. “Fifty mucormycosis patients are being treated at our hospital and 60 more are awaiting (treatment). They all came to our hospital in the last three weeks and have recovered from Covid-19 recently,” Savani said. Seven such patients lost eyesight, he said. The civil hospital in Surat has set up a separate facility for such patients, said incharge Resident Medical Officer (RMO) Dr Ketan Naik. In Ahmedabad, at least five mucormycosis patients are being operated upon every day at the civil hospital at Asarva, a senior doctor said. “We are receiving five to 10 such cases (daily), since the second wave of Covid-19 started,” said Dr Devang Gupta, ENT specialist at the MUCORMYCOSIS ALERT Cases of mucormycosis, a fungal infection are causing blindness or serious illness and even death in some cases, health officials in Maharashtra and Gujarat said The cost of treatment for this disease is also a matter of concern This disease is not new, but it is on rise among Covid-19 patients because the use of steroids elevates sugar level and some medicines suppress the immunity of these patients. In such a situation, the fungus infects the patient easily DR TATYARAO LAHANE HEAD OF THE DIRECTORATE OF MEDICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, MAHARASHTRA hospital. “At least one out of five cases is related to eyes. Several of them are suffering from blindness,” he said. In Maharashtra, at least eight Covid-19 survivors have died due to mucormycosis while 200 others are being treated, said Dr Tatyarao Lahane, who heads the Directorate of Medical Education and Research of the state government. “They survived Covid-19 but the fungal infec- tion attacked their weakened immune system,” Dr Lahane said. This disease is not new, but it is on rise among Covid-19 patients because the use of steroids elevates sugar level and some medicines suppress the immunity of these patients, he said. “In such a situation, the fungus infects the patient easily. If it reaches the brain, it can prove fatal. In one such case, one of the eyes of a patient had to be removed permanently to save his life,” Dr Lahane said. The fungus, also called ‘black fungus’, is present in the environment, but those with suppressed immunity or comorbidities are more vulnerable to its infection, he said. Symptoms of mucormycosis include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial loss of vision, Dr Lahane said. Speaking about treatment, he said, “A patient generally needs a type of injection for 21 days. The basic cost of this injection is around Rs 9,000 per day.” Dr Hetal Marfatia, professor and head of the ENT department at the government-run KEM hospital in Mumbai, said a surge in mucormycosis cases is being witnessed in the last two weeks. “On average, two or three such patients are visiting the hospital every day,” he said. Many of these patients come from outside Mumbai and cannot afford the treatment cost, he said. During the first phase of Covid pandemic the fungal infection typically came to light a couple of weeks after patients were discharged, Dr Marfatia said. “But now, some patients are contracting this infection while undergoing Covid treatment,” he added. Niti Aayog Member(Health) V K Paul on Friday had said, “Mucormycosis is caused by a fungus named mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. It is happening to people who have diabetes. It is very uncommon in those who are not diabetic. There is no big outbreak and we are monitoring it,” he said. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad. “Being a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, it can be easily produced and made available in plenty in the country,” the ministry said. The drug comes in powder form in a sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water. “It accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique,” the ministry said. (With SNS inputs) Govt: Covid +ve test report not mandatory for hosp admission No patient will be refused services on any account, including oxygen and essential drugs, even if he or she belongs to a different city UNION HEALTH MINISTRY NEW DELHI, 8 MAY In a significant directive to the states and Union Territories, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday said requirement of a positive Covid-19 test report is not mandatory for admission to a health facility. In its revised national policy for admission of Covidpatients to various health facilities, public and private, the Union Health Ministry said no patient will be refused services on any account, including oxygen and essential drugs, even if he or she belongs to a different city. “In a significant directive to states, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has revised the national policy for admission of Covidpatients to various categories of Covid facilities. “This patientcentric measure aims to ensure prompt, effective and comprehensive treatment of patients suffering from Covid19,” the ministry said. The ministry also said, “It should be ensured that beds are not occupied by persons who do not need hospitalization. Further, the discharge should be strictly in accordance with the revised discharge PTI policy,” it said.
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