SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 23 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 NEPAL PRESIDENT DISSOLVES PARLIAMENT ‘NO SHIFT OF COMMITMENT ON ISRAEL’S SECURITY’ P10 P11 P2 Partly cloudy sky with possibility of thunderstorms. Temperature to be in the range of 37-20 degrees Celsius. Covid stabilising but positivity rate high RAINFALL: 18.6mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Centre says long way to go to handle second wave, cautions against laxity WEATHER Max. 100 % Min. 41 % TEMPERATURE Max: 35.1 °C(-5) SUN RISES 05:26 hrs MOON RISES 13:54 hrs Min: 18.0 °C(-9) SUN SETS 19:10 hrs MOON SETS 01:43 hrs 2,62,89,290 29,23,400 THUMBNAILS 2,57,299 3,57,630 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, MAY 22 Health workers carry a patient inside an ambulance to shift her from one ward to another at a Covid hospital in Kolkata on Saturday. IANS Kidnapped ONGC employee set free by ULFA: Responding to an appeal from Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the banned ULFA (I) outfit on Saturday freed ONGC employee Ritul Saikia kidnapped by them over a month back. Saikia, abducted on 21 April, was released near the Myanmar border in Nagaland. (P5) SpiceJet plane lands in Dubai after fuel SOS: A SpiceJet plane ferrying ace pugilist Mary Kom and 30 other members of an Indian boxing contingent from Delhi was forced to hover for around 45 minutes and declared a fuel emergency before it landed safely at the Dubai airport on Saturday. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is investigating the incident. MoE calls meet on class 12, entrance exams: The Ministry of Education (MOE) has called a crucial meeting on Sunday to decide on pending Class 12 board exams and subsequent entrance examinations that were postponed due to the second wave of Covid-19, Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said. (P5) T he Centre said that even though the Covid-19 pandemic is stabilising in large parts of the country, there is still a long way to go to battle this particular wave as the positivity rate is still over 10 per cent in 382 districts. Addressing a Press conference, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said India was able to come this far in controlling this pandemic through restrictions on social and economic activities and containment and care measures. “In large parts of the country, the pandemic is stabilising, the positivity rate and active cases are reducing and recovery rate is rising. It is also being seen that an increase is being seen in other states so this is a mixed picture but overall there has been a decrease in case burden but we have a long way to go to handle this wave and we also have to ensure that there should be no laxity in the steps we take,” he said. “As the situation improves we need to keep ensuring that the chain of transmission remains broken. In 382 districts, the positivity rate is over 10 per cent so there is still a long way to go to battle this particular wave,” he said. Agarwal said a continuous decline in the Covid-19 active cases has been noted in the last 20 days. “From 17.13 per cent reported on 3 May, the active cases now comprise 11.12 per centofthecountry’stotalinfections. A positive trend in the recovery has also been noted. The recovery rate which was 81.7 per cent on 3 May has increased to 87.76 per cent now,” he said. Also, the daily recoveries outnumbered daily new cases for ninth consecutive day, he added. The daily rise in coronavirus cases in India remained below the 3 lakh-mark for the sixthconsecutiveday,with2.57 2,95,525 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 22 MAY 2021 lakh new cases recorded in a single day, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. With the fresh cases, India’s tallyofCovid-19casesclimbed to 2,62,89,290. The death toll due to the disease rose to 2,95,525 with 4,194 fresh fatalities, the ministry data updated at 8 am showed.The active cases further reduced to 29,23,400 comprising 11.12 per cent of the total infections. Delhi cases dip: Delhi today reported 2,260 fresh coronavirus cases, its lowest since 31 March, and 182 Covidlinked fatalities with the positivity rate slipping to 3.58 per cent, according to the Delhi government'slatesthealthbulletin. ThisisthelowestCovidsingle-day cases tally since 31 March (1,819 cases). This is also the first time that the WHO’s vaccine passport list snubs Covaxin STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 22 MAY People who have been fully vaccinated with both doses of Covaxin will not be able to travel internationally for some time as the vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech has not been included in World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL). As the world is gradually coming out of the grip of the pandemic, countries are setting out regulations for vaccinated travellers. However, people who have taken both jabs of Covaxin will have to wait longer. The reason being that most countries are only recognising vaccines approved by their own regulator agencies or approved and included in WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL). However, the WHO’s latest guidance document shows Bharat Biotech has submitted its Expression of Interest, but that “more information is required”. WHO has said the presubmission meeting is to be planned in May-June. Thus, it will impact many people, including tourists, visitors and students. However, it will most impact students who aspire to study abroad as their session will start midAugust. These students are desperately looking to book a slot for Covidshield while avoiding Covaxin. “For the past three days, I have been trying to book a slot for Covidshield vaccination in Delhi. The only slot I got was in Firozabad, over 200 kilo- RULED OUT As the world is gradually coming out of the grip of the pandemic, countries are setting out regulations for vaccinated travellers. However, people who have taken both jabs of Covaxin will have to wait longer. meters from my home,” said Prakruth Prakash, who is scheduled to travel to Lithuania in August to pursue his Masters degree. Another worry for Prakash is the increase in duration between two jabs from two months to three months. If he fails to get the jab right now, he would fail to get the second shot by August, which means he will have to delay his departure. The scenario is no different for visitors too. Shalini Mitra, whose daughter studies in the US, has already taken the first available vaccine ~ Covaxin. As she visits her daughter once in a year, she is now worried. “I didn’t have any idea about this rule. But I wish I had taken Covishield instead of Covaxin,” Shalini said. Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India is on WHO’s EUL along with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, two AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccines, and Ad26.COV2.S developed by Janssen. The WHO has also granted approval to Moderna’s Covid vaccine and China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. VACCINE EFFICACY LONDON, 22 MAY Two doses from either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer vaccine are over 80 per cent effective in preventing infection from the B1.617.2 variant of Covid-19, first discovered in India, a new UK government study has reportedly found. The Oxford/AstraZeneca two-dose vaccine is also being produced by the Serum Institute of India as Covishield and being administered among the adult population in India to protect against the deadly virus. The UK findings are said to be based on data from Public Health England (PHE) and have also revealed that the two doses provide 87 per cent protection from the B.117 variant, first discovered in Kent region of England and also considered highly A beneficiary receives the first shot of a Covid vaccine in Srinagar on Saturday. transmissible. According to The Telegraph newspaper, the latest study’s findings were presented to a meeting of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) this week. The latest PHE statistics released earlier this week show that case numbers of the The UK findings are said to be based on data from Public Health England (PHE) and have revealed that the two doses of the Oxford/ Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine provide 87 per cent protection India has so far reported approximately 8,848 mucormycosis or black fungus cases, one of the rapidly spreading infections observed in those recovering from Covid. Taking note of the increasing numbers, the Central government has emphasised upon expediting the allocation of vials of Amphotericin-B, a key drug to treat raging mucormycosis. Centre has announced an allocation of 23,680 additional vials of Amphotericin-B. Gujarat has reported maximum of 2,281 mucormycosis cases followed by Maharashtra (2,000), Andhra Pradesh (910), Madhya Pradesh (720) Rajasthan (700), Karnataka (5,00), Haryana (250), Delhi (197), Punjab (95), Chhattisgarh (87), Bihar (56), Tamil Nadu (40), Kerala (36), Jharkhand (27), Odisha (15), Goa (12) and Chandigarh (8). Bengal reported its first black fungus death SNS on Saturday. count has gone below the 3,000-mark since 1 April, when 2,790 people tested coronavirus positive. The number of Covid deaths dipped to less than 200 for the first time since 18 April. (SEE P2) B1.617.2 variant had risen by 2,111 over the past week to hit 3,424 cases across the country. “I think it’s clearly growing, which anyone can see from the numbers as they are reported week by week, Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of Covid19 genomics at the Sanger Institute, told the BBC. The government has asked social media companies to immediately remove any content on their platform which mentions or refers to the term ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus, in a bid to curb spread of misinformation around Covid-19. Digital platforms said they have received the latest advisory. On Friday, the IT ministry wrote to all social media platforms emphasising that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not associated the term “Indian Variant” with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports. A notice issued Yaaslikely to intensify into very severe cyclonic storm; hit WB, Odisha on 26 May NCMC reviews preparedness STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 22 MAY NDRF team prepares for Yaas at Sagar Island on Saturday. PRIYA LODH SNS & AGENCIES KOLKATA, 22 MAY A low pressure area formed over east-central Bay of Bengal on Saturday, which is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and move towards West Bengal, adjoining north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts around 26 May morning, the regional met department said. The system is very likely to cross the coasts of the two states and the neighbouring country on 26 May evening, said Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) Director G K Das. Wind speed is expected to reach 90-100 km per hour gusting to 110 kmph from 26 May forenoon along and off West Bengal, north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts, and increase thereafter till evening, he said. According to weather officials, like cyclone Amphanlast year, the landfall could occur in South 24-Parganas and the Sundarbans. Das said light to moderate rainfall at most places of GangeticWest Bengal with heavy rain at isolated places is very likely to commence over coastal districts from 25 May with significant The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met today under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to review the preparedness of Central and state governments and various agencies to deal with cyclonic storm Yaas in the Bay of Bengal. India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra informed the meet that the cyclone was expected to reach West Bengal and adjoining northern Odisha coasts by the evening of 26th May. It will have wind speeds ranging from 155 to 165 kmph, and will be accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges in the coastal districts of these states. Chief secretaries of the concerned states apprised the Committee of the preparatory measures put in place to deal with the cyclonic storm. Evacuation of people from the low lying areas is being carried out. Adequate stocks of foodgrains, drinking water and other essential supplies have been arranged and preparations made to maintain essential services such as power and telecommunications. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed and made available 65 teams and 20 more teams are on standby. Rescue and relief teams of the Army, Navy and Coast Guard along with ships and aircraft have also been deployed. Necessary arrangements are also being made to ensure uninterrupted functioning of hospitals and Covid Care Centres, along with ensuring generation and supply of oxygen to Covid facilities across the country. Gauba told the meet that all measures should be taken in a timely manner so that loss of lives and destruction of property was minimized. There should be early evacuation of people from the areas likely to be affected by the cyclone. The return of all boats and vessels to the shores should be ensured, he said. increase in intensity and area subsequently. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today reviewed the disaster management preparedness for impending Cyclone Yaas and would herself monitor the situation from the special control room that has been set up at Upanna, near Naban- na on 25 and 26 May. "I have extensively reviewed the Disaster Management preparedness with regards to the impending Yaas cyclone today afternoon with all senior officers of relevant Central & State agencies along with DMs & SPs," Miss Banerjee tweeted. Barge tragedy: 26 still missing; Navy deploys diving teams HUNT FOR LIFE MUMBAI, 22 MAY A huge crowd tries to enter a vaccination centre to receive Covid-19 vaccine dose in Jalandhar on Saturday. AGENCIES Remove content about ‘Indian variant’: Centre to digital media NEW DELHI, 22 MAY P12 India logs 8,848 black fungus cases ‘Covishield 80 pc effective against B1.617.2 variant’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ‘NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY AH STILL SUITS ME’ DELHI’S VAX CENTRES FOR 18+ CLOSED AS STOCKS DRY UP by the IT ministry states that a “false statement” is being circulated online that implies that an ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus is spreading across the countries. The IT ministry said the matter has already been clarified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 12 May. The social media platforms have been asked to “remove all the content that names, refers to, or implies ‘Indian variant’ of corona virus immediately”. Previously, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued advisories regarding curbing of false news about coronavirus on social media platPTI forms. ‘Ramdev defamed scientific medicine’: Miffed IMA urges health ministry to take action SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 22 MAY The Union health ministry should take action against yoga guru Ramdev as he has misled people by making “unlearned” statements against allopathy and defamed scientific medicine, the Indian Medical Association said on Saturday. Ramdev should be prosecuted under the Epidemic Diseases Act as “untutored” statements are “a threat to the literate society of the country as well as to the poor people falling prey to him”, the apex doctors’ body said. Citing a video circulating on social media, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said Ramdev is seen saying that “allopathy ek aisi stupid aur diwalilya science hai (allopa- thy is such a stupid science)”. He also says that “lakhs of people have died after taking allopathic medicines”, the association said, adding that Ramdev claimed Remdesivir, Faviflu, and all other drugs, which were approved by the Drugs Controller General of India, have failed in treatment of Covid-19 patients. “The Union health minister (Harsh Vardhan) who himself is a practicing modern medicine allopathic postgraduate and head of this ministry, should either accept the challenge and accusation of this gentleman and dissolve the modern medical facility or boldly face and prosecute the person for his words of arson on the sovereignty of the country to save people from such unscientific utterances,” the IMA said. With no trace of 15 personnel from barge P305 and 11 from tugboat Varaprada six days after cyclone Tauktaefury rendered the vessels adrift, the Navy on Saturday deployed specialised diving teams to boost the search and rescue operations (SAR) off Mumbai coast. To augment the ongoing SAR ops for the missing crew of Barge P305 and Tug Varaprada, specialised diving teams onboard INS Makar with side-scan sonar and INS Tarasa (photo) sailed out early morning today from Mumbai, a Navy spokesperson tweeted. The death toll on barge P305 that sank in the Arabian Sea on Monday reached 60 on Friday with the recovery of 11 more bodies even as the Navy and the Coast Guard continued the search for the 15 missing personnel from the barge and 11 from Varaprada. When contacted, an official said updates on overnight SAR ops are awaited. Hopes of finding more survivors of the cyclone fury have receded, an official said. Of the 261 personnel who were on barge P305, 186 have been recovered so far. Of the 13 persons on Varaprada, two have been rescued. All the 440 persons on barges Gal Constructor and Support Station 3 (SS-3) and drillship Sagar Bhushan have been brought ashore to PTI safety.
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