YK MYK BENGAL POLL CAMPAIGN ISSUES SHOW STATE IS NOT UNIQUE OPINION KOLKATA MONDAY, 19 APRIL, 2021 PG-12, YEAR— 7, ISSUE— 331 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) MAX 36 C MIN 21 C SCREEN & CINEMA Morning India Rs. 3 WEATHER TODAY ADITI RAO HYDARI: I AM DYING TO GO BACK TO THEATRES Mamata writes to Modi requesting 5.4 cr doses of nCoV vaccine for Bengal MI NEWS SERVICE Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE VACCINATION KEY TO FIGHT COVID, MANMOHAN TO MODI NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, putting forward five suggestions to the government including ramping up the vaccination program and giving approval to the vaccines cleared by European agencies or PG 7 USFDA. FUTURE RETAIL BOARD, LENDERS APPROVE DEBT RESTRUCTURING PLAN MUMBAI: The board of Future Retail along and its lenders have approved a resolution plan to restructure the existing secured financial debt from the banks under the resolution framework for Covid-19 related stress. In a regulatory filing, the company said that the board approved the plan in its meeting on Saturday. 3 HELD IN BENGALURU FOR HOARDING REMDESIVIR BENGALURU: Three persons were arrested for allegedly hoarding the key remdesivir drug for treating Covid patients and selling it on the black market, police said on Sunday. "The accused trio - Rajesh, Shakeeb and Sohail were nabbed after their premises were raided and huge stocks of the drug stored illegally seized. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,48,77,438 TOTAL DEATH: 1,77,491 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 141,431,385 TOTAL DEATH: 3,026,506 KOLKATA: As COVID-19 cases across the country continue to rise at an alarming rate, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested the Centre for the supply of 5.4 crore more doses of COVID-19 vaccination, a steady supply of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab medicines and supply of oxygen. The Chief Minister said that the supply of vaccines from the Centre to the State had been 'scarce and erratic', which had negatively affected the vaccination program. "While Bengal is one of the best performers in vaccination, it is suffering because of uncertainties of supply from end of the Government of India. We have to vaccinate around 2.7 crore and we need 5.4 crore doses," she wrote. The Chief Minister also flagged the scarcity of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab (Actemra) and said that only 1,000 vials of the former are available daily and no fresh supply of the latter. "We need around 6,000 vials of the former and 1,000 vials of the latter were needed per day," she added. "The supply of oxygen, as you know, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gives blessing to a girl during a roadshow from Dhakuria Bridge to Kalighat Crossing ahead of the sixth phase of the West Bengal Assembly election, in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI Photo) must be assured and certain. SAIL is meeting up our need for the moment, and we shall be grateful if you kindly instruct them to ensure steady supply," she said. Banerjee further pointed out that she had written to him earlier in February to allow the State to purchase vaccination doses directly with State funds and launch a free vaccination campaign. "However, the State has not yet received the requisite clearance yet. In the meantime, the number of cases in Bengal has also begun to increase sharply, particularly in view of coming of large number of outsiders entering into the State for election campaign and other purposes at the behest of some political parties," she said. During an election rally ahead of the sixth phase of the State Assembly elections, Banerjee had hit out at the Prime Minister for exporting large number of vaccinations to other countries. "There is a shortage of Remdesivir and oxygen in country... Today there is no medicine in our country but medicines were sent to 80 countries. I don't have any problem if you send medicines. However, first provide it to your nation. You're doing this to glorify your name," she said. As per the Union Health Ministry, there are currently 45,300 active COVID-19 cases in Bengal. Record new nCoV cases in Bengal, 28 dead MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: The COVID-19 caseload of Bengal, where an eight-phased Assembly election is underway, soared to 6,59,927 as the State registered its highest single-day spike of 8,419 fresh infections on Sunday, a health bulletin said. Twenty-eight fresh fatalities pushed the State's Coronavirus death toll to 10,568, it said. Kolkata reported the highest number of new cases at 2,197, followed by 1,860 in neighbouring North 24Parganas district. It registered six fresh fatalities, fol- lowed by five in Kolkata. A total of 4,053 more people were cured of the disease, while the recovery rate among the Coronavirus patients in the State further dipped to 90.88 per cent. The State now has 49,638 active cases, while 5,99,721 people have been cured of the dis- Night curfew in Bihar from Sunday night, says Nitish PATNA: Amid the worsening Covid situation, the Bihar government has decided to impose night curfew from Sunday (April 18) across the state to break the chain of infection. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took the decision after meeting officials of the crisis management group. He had earlier participated in an allparty meeting under the chairmanship of Governor Phagu Chauhan on Saturday. "As per the decision of the crisis management group, we have imposed night curfew in the state. Besides, all educational institutions will remain closed till May 15. We have directed top officials of the district to implement the restrictions and take strongest possible action against the violators," he said. Nitish Kumar, however, said that competitive exami- nations such as the BPSC, the SSC and technical selection commission examination will be completed on scheduled time. The night curfew starts from 9 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. Marriages, cremation, burial and travelling are exempted, but for cremation/burial, only 25 persons are allowed and for marriages, 100 persons. The Chief Minister also announced that cinema halls, theatres, malls, gyms, swimming pool, parks, restaurant and eateries will stay closed till May 15. Restaurants and eateries can only provide home delivery. ease so far. The administration has thus far tested over 98.08 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 46,074 in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, Siliguri Police Commissioner D P Singh has tested positive for the infection and is in home quarantine, sources said. AFTER CBSE, JEE EXAMS POSTPONED DUE TO COVID SURGE Railways is getting fully ready to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen & oxygen cylinders across key corridors. ANI India records highest single-day rise of 2,61,500 cases, 1,501 deaths NEW DELHI: A record singleday rise of 2,61,500 coronavirus infections has taken India's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,47,88,109, while active cases have surpassed the 18-lakh mark, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday The death toll increased to 1,77,150 with a record 1,501 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed Registering a steady increase for the 39th day in a row, the active cases stand at 18,01,316, comprising 12.18?per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 86.62 per cent, the ministry said The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,28,09,643, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.20 per cent, the data stated India's COVID-19 tally had crossed 20 lakh on August 7,?30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and?50 lakh on September 16 It went past 60 lakh on September 28,?70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29,?90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19 RLYS TO CREATE GREEN CORRIDOR FOR FAST MOVEMENT OF OXYGEN NEW DELHI: Amid demand of oxygen across the country after Covid surge, the railways is getting fully ready to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and Oxygen Cylinders from one place to another. The railways has geared up to run oxygen Express trains through green corridor for fast movement of LMO as availability of oxygen is key in the treatment of certain medical conditions due to Covid infection. Ministry of Railways said that some state govts had approached it to explore whether LMO tankers could be moved by the railways. PAGE 7 According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 26,65,38,416 samples have been tested up to April 17?with?15,66,394?samples being tested on Saturday. NEW DELHI: After postponing the CBSE board examinations, the Union Education Ministry has decided to postpone the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) in India and abroad. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has asked the National Testing Agency (NTA) not to conduct the JEE Mains examination in view of the rising Covid cases. The JEE Mains examination was scheduled to be held on April 27, 28 and 30 this year. According to the Education Ministry, the students will be informed about the next date of examinations 15 days in advance. On the entrance test, Nishank said, "JEE (Main) 2021 April session date will be announced later. It will be announced at least 15 days before the exam and all students will be informed about it." The Union Education Minister said, "In view of the Covid surge, I have advised the NTA to postpone the examination for the JEE (Main) April 2021 session. I would like to reiterate that the safety of our students and their academic career is my major concern right now." The results of the JEE Main Exam Season 2, which was held in March this year, have been declared. The entrance exams were also conducted for the first time in foreign cities like Kuala Lumpur and Lagos. These exams were conducted in 12 foreign cities. RAM NAVMI CELEBRATIONS IN AYODHYA SCRAPPED ‘India to become top EV producer in due course’ AYODHYA: The Ayodhya administration has decided to call off the 'Ram Navmi Mela' on April 21, which attracts a huge gathering of pilgrims on the last day of Navratri. Ayodhya's borders will be sealed and nobody, including seers from Haridwar Kumbh, will be allowed entry. Hundreds of seers were scheduled to come to Ayodhya to offer prayers at Ram Janmabhoomi temple on Ram Navmi. Devotees will celebrate Ram Navmi at home. PAGE 7 NEW DELHI: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said that India will become the top electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing hub in due course of time. In his address at Amazon's Smbhav Summit 2021, the minister said that lithium-ion batteries will be fully manufactured in the country in the next six months. "India is moving ahead towards making electric vehicles. In due course of time, we will be the number one electric vehicle maker in the world," Gadkari said. Noting that India has got tremendous capability for making green power, he said that: "We are power surplus... This is time for Indian economy to use electric as power." Gadkari flagged off a fleet of electric vehicles of Amazon India virtually. In a statement, Amazon India said that with the latest development, it reaffirmed its commitment towards the electrification of its last mile delivery fleet to reduce its dependence on non-renewable resources. Amazon India recently announced that it is working with Mahindra Electric to add more electric vehicles (EV) in its delivery fleet. American export controls risk Indian vaccine production NEW DELHI: Production lines in India, making at least 160 million doses of Covid vaccine a month, will come to a halt in the coming weeks unless America supplies 37 critical items, The Economist reported. A report in The Economist said last week, the billionth dose of Covid-19 vaccine was produced. It is a sign of how greatly manufacturing capacity has expanded over the past six months that the next billion doses could be produced by May 27th, according to Airfinity, an analytics firm. "Yet this ambition is at risk from American export controls on raw materials and equipment. Production lines in India, making at least 160 million doses of Covid vaccine a month, will come to a halt in the coming weeks unless America supplies 37 critical items," the report said. Earlier, the world's largest vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India's (SII) Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla on Friday appealed to US President Joe Biden to lift the US embargo on exporting raw materials for Covid-19 vaccine production. SII is manufacturing Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine is not only being used in India but also exported to a number of countries. Tagging the Twitter handle of the President of the United States, Poonawalla wrote, "Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the US, I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the US so that vaccine production can ramp up." With the number of new Covid-19 cases nearly doubling over the past two months, approaching the highest infection rate the world has seen during the pandemic, the unequal distribution of vaccines is not only a moral outrage, but economically and epidemiologically self-defeating, the head of the UN health agency told a special ministerial meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Friday. "Vaccine equity is the challenge of our time," World Health Organisation (WHO) DirectorGeneral Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the gathering in his opening remarks. "And we are failing." Driving that point home, he said that of the 832 million vaccine doses administered, 82 per cent have gone to high or upper middle-income countries, while only 0.2 per cent have been sent to their low-income peers. In high-income countries alone, one in four people have received a vaccine, a ratio that drops precipitously to 1 in 500 in poorer countries. Rapidly spreading variants, the inconsistent use and premature easing of public health measures, fatigue with social restrictions and the "dramatic" inequity in vaccine coverage; all have led to an alarming spike in new cases and deaths, he said. The WHO chief called on countries with enough vaccines to cover their populations "many times over" to make immediate donations to COVAX. In March, the WHO called on all countries to drop restrictions on the export of vaccines and vital components, as a rush for Covid-19 jabs puts pressure on global supply, Irish Times reported. Several countries around the world have imposed bans or restrictions on exports of doses and key vaccine ingredients amid a scramble for stock, causing logjams in complex international pharmaceutical supply chains that could slow progress to end the pandemic, the global health body warned, as per the report. "Some countries have imposed legal restrictions on the export of critical supplies. This is putting lives at risk around the world. We call on all countries not to stockpile supplies that are needed urgently to ramp up production of vaccines," the WHO chief said.