YK MYK EC ACTED QUITE LATE IN BANNING BIG POLL RALLIES IN WEST BENGAL OPINION RANCHI SATURDAY, 24 APRIL, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—10, ISSUE—347 (RNI NO: JHAENG / 2012 / 44137) MAX 36 C MIN 21 C Sky will be partly cloudy. AT A GLANCE DID MY BEST, DON'T KNOW HOW IT CAME ACROSS: CJI BOBDE NEW DELHI: I did my best, I don't know how it came across," outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde said in his farewell address as he retired on Friday. Justice Bobde was administered oath as 47the CJI in November 2019 and had a tenure of over 17 months. Senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana has been appointed as the next Chief Justice of India. DAS, DEEPIKA ENTER ARCHERY WORLD CUP FINAL GUATEMALA CITY: Olympian Atanu Das and wife Deepika Kumari will compete in the individual men and women's recurve finals on Sunday in the Archery World Cup Stage 1. India will face USA in the mixed team recurve bronze medal match. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,63,34,411 TOTAL DEATH: 1,87,266 WORLD NATION Morning India Rs. 5 WEATHER TODAY SUPREME COURT INTERVENTION WRONG ON COVID: CONGRESS Be strict with hoarders of essential medicines: PM to States NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday requested the States to deal strictly with hoarding and black marketing of essential medicines and injections. Chairing a meeting of Chief Ministers of high burden states, Modi said that the Railways and the Air Force have been deployed to reduce travel time of oxygen tankers. The Chief Ministers of 11 states and Union Territories which have reported the maximum number of cases recently were present at the meeting. Noting that the virus is affecting several states as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities at once, the Prime Minister called for working together to fight the pandemic with collective power."The biggest basis of India's success during the first wave of the pandemic was our united efforts and united strategy and we will have to address this challenge in the same way," he said. Modi assured the Centre's full support to all the states in this fight. He added that the Ministry of Health is also in touch with the states and is monitoring the situation closely and issuing necessary advice from time to time. On oxygen supply, the Prime Minister took note of the points raised by the states. "There is a continuous Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a meeting with the Chief Ministers on COVID19 situations, through video conferencing, in New Delhi on Friday. ANI effort to increase oxygen supply. All the concerned departments and ministries of the government are also working together. Industrial oxygen has also been diverted to meet immediate requirements," Modi said. He urged all the states to work together and coordinate with one another to fulfil the requirements of medicines and oxygen. He also urged the states to check hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and medicines. "Every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is meant for any state, is stopped or gets stranded," the Prime Minister said. He urged the states to set GOVT TO PROVIDE FREE FOOD GRAINS TO AROUND 80 CRORE BENEFICIARIES The Government of India is set to provide free food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for the month of May and June 2021. Under the PMGKAY, 5 kg free food grains will be provided to the poor for the month of the next two months. PG 5 14 Covid patients Govt to build 500-bed killed in Palghar Covid hospital at Itki hospital fire SANJAY SAHAY PALGHAR: For the second time in 48 hours, Maharashtra was shocked when at least 14 Covid-19 patients, including five women, perished in a major fire that broke out at a private hospital in Virar town in Palghar district of Maharashtra, around 80 km north of Mumbai, early on Friday, officials said. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis and other leaders have expressed grief over the tragedy. The conflagration was noticed at around 3.15 am in the ICU ward located on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Tirupati Nagar in Virar. The Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) immediately rushed 10 fire-fighting teams and other rescue agencies to the spot to battle the blaze, even as horrified and grieving relatives made a beeline for the hospital. The fire -- caused by a suspected short-circuit in the hospital's air-conditioning plant -- was brought under control and extinguished after two hours at around 5.50 am, said MAHA GOVT ORDERS FIRE, OXYGEN AUDITS FOR HOSPITALS MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Friday directed the district administrations to conduct oxygen and fire audits at all hospitals in the state. These directives from Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte come in the backdrop of the oxygen leak incident at a state- run hospital in Nashik, in which 22 COVID-19 patients lost their lives and the fire at a hospital in Virar, where 13 patients were killed. VVMC Chief Fire Officer, Dilip Palav. While 13 patients perished in the flames that engulfed the ICU, one seriously injured victim died later while around four others undergoing treatment in the ill-fated ICU were rushed to safety before the blaze spread further. Taking serious note of the incident, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered a probe into the tragedy and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of all the decreased. RANCHI: The tuberculosis sanatorium at Itki would be used as a Covid centre with oxygen supported beds and ventilators. The state government would set up the facilities for a 500-bed hospital at the venue. Chief Minister (CM) Hemant Soren and senior officials visited the general laboratory and the outpatients department of the sanatorium on Friday. The CM said that the rapid rise in Covid affected cases in the second wave have led to a shortage of beds and other essential facilities like oxygen supported beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and intensive care units. He said that the government is trying its best to increase the number of beds and the oxygen supply, adding sanatorium would be converted into a Covid hospital in this regard. The CM stated that the government is striving to increase the number of beds in various hospitals while mentioning that 9098 beds have been added so far. He said that Ranchi along with five other districts is worst affected, adding people from other districts are also coming to Ranchi for bet- CM Hemant Soren in Itki on Friday. ter treatment. He added the government was making arrangement for improved treatment of patients in their own districts in order to reduce the load on Ranchi. The CM observed that the record rise in patients every day has made it impossible for the administration to arrange for beds for every patient. He said that people with mild infection could get rid of the disease by getting treatment in home isolation. He pointed out that the government is taking steps for proper care of people in home isolation. The CM said that the government was trying to pro- vide the best facilities within the limited resources. He said people should not take the Covid threat lightly and follow the rules under Swasthya Suraksha Saptah seriously. The superintendent of TB sanatorium Dr Ranjit Prasad said that the hospital currently has 104 beds and 52 cottages adding the latter is under repair. Principal Secretary to the CM Rajiv Arun Ekka, Urban Development Secretary Vinay Chaubey, Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Chhavi Ranjan and SSP S K Jha were present on the occasion. CPF CAN BE CONVERTED TO GPF SCHEME, SAYS MADRAS HC CHENNAI: In a significant judgment, the Madras High Court on Friday held government employees can convert their Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) scheme to that of General Provident Fund (GPF) and avail themselves of pension in accordance with the Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 1972. Justice M Parthiban gave the ruling while allowing a batch of writ petitions from Dr Kishore K Johan and eight others challenging an order dated November 18, 2019 of the Education Department of the Puducherry government, which denied the conversion. Among other things, the government denied the conversion on the ground that there was a considerable delay and latches in the plea. MORE ON PG 5, 7 RBI DIRECTS BANKS TO HALVE DIVIDEND PAYOUTS MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed the banks to restrict dividend payouts to 50 per cent in a bid to conserve capital and stay resilient. In a notification to all the commercial and co-operative banks, RBI said that in view of the continuing uncertainty caused by the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 in the country, it is crucial that banks remain resilient and proactively raise and conserve capital as a bulwark against unexpected losses. "Therefore, while allowing banks to pay dividend on equity shares, it has been decided to review the dividend declaration norms for the year ended March 31, 2021," it said. Banks may pay dividend on equity shares from the profits for the financial year ended March 31, 2021, subject to the quantum of dividend being not more than fifty percent of the amount determined as per the dividend payout ratio. "Cooperative banks shall be permitted to pay dividend on equity shares from the profits of the financial year ended March 31, 2021 as per the extant instructions," it said. RBI added that all banks shall continue to meet the applicable minimum regulatory capital requirements after dividend payment. While declaring dividend on equity shares, it shall be the responsibility of the Board of Directors to inter-alia consider the current and projected capital position of the bank vis-a-vis the applicable capital requirements and the adequacy of provisions, taking into account the economic environment and the outlook for profitability, it added. ‘VACCINATING ALL ABOVE 18 YEARS TO COST 0.36 PC OF GDP’ TOTAL CASES: 145,493,666 TOTAL DEATH: 3,088,553 up a high-level coordination committee to carry oxygen to different hospitals. This committee should ensure that as soon as there is allotment of oxygen from the Centre, it can deliver oxygen as per requirements to various hospitals of the state immediately. The Prime Minister informed the Chief Ministers that on Thursday he chaired a meeting on oxygen supply and will be attending one on Friday as well to discuss all the options for increasing the supply. Modi stated that the central government is working on all possible options to reduce the travel time and turnaround time of oxygen tankers NOT A SOUL A shopping mall at main Road wears deserted look in Ranchi on Friday. Hemant Sutradhar MUMBAI: The cost of vaccinating the entire population above 18 years of age will be only 0.36 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). As the second wave of Covid-19 sweeps the country with alarming speed and severity, the Central government has announced a liberalised and accelerated phase three strategy of vaccination. Under this scheme, all persons above 18 years of age will be eligible to get Covid-19 vaccine doses from May 1. This means that the total size of the population that will now be eligible for vaccination will be 84.2 crore out of the total population of 133.3 crore. Ind-Ra said this may cost Rs 67,193 crore of which the Central government will incur Rs 20,870 crore and state governments together will incur Rs 46,323 crore. The Central government has said that under the scheme, pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of coronavirus vaccines will be made flexible. This human molecule is helping Covid virus escape antibodies RESEARCHERS SAY BILIVERDIN PRESENT IN OUR BODY MAY BE THE REASON BEHIND FEW PEOPLE FALLING SO ILL NEW DELHI: A natural molecule called biliverdin present in human body is helping SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, escape antibodies - a discovery that can help explain why some Covid patients become severely ill despite having high levels of antibodies against the virus, report researchers. When SARS-CoV-2 infects a patient's lungs, it damages blood vessels and causes a rise in the number of immune cells. "Both of these effects may contribute to increasing the levels of biliverdin and bilirubin in the surrounding tissues. And with more of these molecules available, the virus has more opportunity to hide from certain antibodies," said Annachiara Rosa, first study author at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK. "This is a really striking process, as the virus may be benefiting from a side-effect of the damage it has already caused," Rosa said in the paper published in the journal Science Advances. In their research, teams from the Francis Crick Institute, in collaboration with researchers at Imperial College London, Kings College London and UCL (University College London), found that biliverdin and bilirubin, natural molecules present in the body, An elderly man waits to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center at Kaloor, in Kochi on Friday. ANI can suppress the binding of antibodies to the coronavirus spike. As vaccines are rolled out globally, understanding immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and also how the virus evades antibodies is critically important. The ability of the immune system to control the infection and the quality of the antibody response are highly variable, and not well correlated, between individuals. The scientists discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein strongly binds to biliverdin, a molecule which was giving these proteins an unusual green colouration. They found that biliverdin attaches to the spike N- THE RESEARCHERS ARE NOW EXPLORING IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO HIJACK THE BINDING SITE USED BY BILIVERDIN TO POTENTIALLY FIND NEW WAYS TO TARGET THE VIRUS. terminal domain and stabilises it so that the spike is not able to open up and expose parts of its structure. This means that some antibodies are not able to access their target sites and so cannot bind to and neutralise the virus. In the first months of the pandemic, scientists were extremely busy churning out viral antigens for SARS-CoV-2 tests. "It was a race, as these tests were urgently needed. When we finally found the time to study our green proteins, we expected a mundane answer. Instead, we were astonished to discover a new trick the virus uses to avoid antibody recognition," explained Peter Cherepanov, author and a group leader of the Chromatin structure and mobile DNA Laboratory at the Crick. The researchers are now exploring if it is possible to hijack the binding site used by biliverdin to potentially find new ways to target the virus.