19042021-TT-01.qxd 4/18/2021 11:17 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.141 no.107 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 haryana US, CHINA TO WORK ON CLIMATE CRISIS WORLD /thetribunechd MAMATA WRITES TO PM, FLAGS VACCINE SHORTAGE BACK PAGE RESTRUCTURE THE SYSTEM IN FARMERS’ FAVOUR INFOCUS /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com monday | 19 april 2021 Positivity rate doubles to 16% in 12 days, health infra reels under severe stress Delhi hospital ICUs packed to capacity |Shortage of oximeters, oxygen cylinders, hearses Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 18 The national capital on Sunday became the test case for collapsing health systems across the country as ICU beds reached 100 per cent capacity after Covid-19 cases surged nationally with record 2,61,500 daily infections and 1,501 deaths in 24 hours. India’s case positivity rate doubled alarmingly in 12 days from 8 to 16.69 per cent and the weekly positivity rate, a major indication of infection, rose from 3.05 to 13.54 per cent. Delhi today reported a whopping positivity rate of 30 per cent with Arvind Kejriwal becoming the first Chief Minister to write to the Centre saying less than 100 ICU beds were left in the city. The CM urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order 7,000 out of 10,000 Union Government hospital beds to be reserved for Covid patients with immediate effect. The scale of the unfolding human tragedy was evident in the capital today with the families of Covid deceased reporting shortages of hears- 3,000 Remdesivir doses seized from HP’s Baddi Chandigarh, April 18 Three thousand injections of Remdesivir were seized and six persons arrested for allegedly trying to sell the medicine used in the treatment of Covid-19 without any licence or permit, the Chandigarh Police said. Acting on a tip-off, a team raided a local hotel here and apprehended five persons for trying to strike a deal. The accused belonged to Kerala, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, they said. Also, a pharma unit was raided in Himachal Pradesh’s Baddi and 3,000 Remdesivir injections were seized, an official statement said. A director of the unit was arrested. A case under relevant Sections of the IPC, the Essential Commodities Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act has been registered. — PTI A HEALTH WORKER AT A BANQUET HALL, CONVERTED INTO AN ISOLATION CENTRE, IN NEW DELHI. GREEN CORRIDOR FOR FAST MOVEMENT OF CYLINDERS The Railways will run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country, the national transporter said on Sunday. BACK PAGE es to carry the dead. The Delhi Government has now ordered district magistrates to arrange vans for the purpose. The bodies could be seen lying outside mortuaries of many hospitals here ALARMING SURGE 2,61,500 DAILY INFECTIONS 1,501 DEATHS IN 24 HOURS with crematoriums’ managers reporting “unimaginable load of last rites”. Testing and tracking remains woefully low with private lab test bookings taking two to three days on an Bilateral? Jaishankar, Qureshi rush to UAE Tribune News Service NEW DELHI, APRIL 18 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi landed in Dubai on Sunday, but both sides insisted they had left their countries at a short notice to separately meet their UAE counterpart and no bilateral between them was planned. A senior UAE diplomat has owned up to his country’s role in brokering peace between India and Pakistan that began with a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in February. But the talks hit a hurdle after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan walked back on his decision to resume partial trade with India. The UAE is the hub of the PLAYING MEDIATOR ■ Though India-Pak officials called it a coincidence, sources insisted it wasn’t ■ India and Pakistan have ruled out any bilateral between the two ■ The UAE had played a key role in bringing India and Pakistan together recently “bouncing trade” between India and Pakistan, estimated at several billions of dollars every year. The goods that are prohibited from being traded between the two countries are sent to the UAE, where the label of origin is changed to satisfy both sides. India’s ties with the UAE had improved after the end of the Cold War and have now progressed to the point where both sides are considering a defence relationship. continued on page 9 SIX PATIENTS DIE DUE TO LOW-PRESSURE OXYGEN At least six Covid-19 patients died in the ICU of Government Medical College Hospital in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol late on Saturday night allegedly due to low pressure in the medical oxygen supply. — PTI average and people queuing up in hundreds outside several private labs just to get themselves tested. Gayatri Kumar, a South East district resident who tested positive on Wednes- day, is yet to be contacted by anyone in the Delhi administration for contact-tracing. “My mother tested positive on Wednesday, but no one from the Delhi administration has contacted our family yet. We are unable to test our mother’s oxygen saturation because medical shops have run out of oximeters and online sale is not before two weeks. Oxygen cylinders are not available anywhere,” said Kavita, Gayatri’s daughter who says her mother’s breathing troubles are compounding. The situation is expected to worsen in the coming days with the Delhi Government today notifying that in the 115 private hospitals where 2,262 ICU beds and 8,561 ward beds had been reserved for Covid-infected, ICU beds had reached 100 per cent capacity and ward beds 90 per cent capacity. New Delhi has been the third highest contributor to daily national Covid load for nearly a week now with cases above 25,000 and deaths above 160 and counting. The capital is just a mirror to the larger health system challenges most cities are today facing. 33 oxygen plants set up, nine in region Tribune News Service HOW THESE WORK New Delhi, April 18 With Covid cases rising at an alarming rate of 11 per cent daily, the Centre on Sunday stepped in to address medical oxygen shortage saying 33 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants to produce oxygen had been installed. Four of these plants are in Himachal Pradesh, three in Chandigarh and one each in Punjab and Haryana. The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the availability of life-saving medical equipment and drugs for Covid-19. “As many as 162 PSA oxygen plants have been sanctioned for installation in pub- The pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants allow separation of gases from the atmosphere to generate concentrated oxygen that can then be supplied directly to hospital beds via pipelines FORCES ROPED IN The medical wings of the armed forces have stepped up efforts to provide facilities that can be used by the civilian authorities. BACK PAGE lic health facilities in all states. These will augment medical oxygen capacity by 154.19 metric tonne. Of the 162 PSA plants, 33 have already been installed. Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 18 Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote his suggestions on Covid management to PM Narendra Modi, seeking flexibility for states to define frontline staff who could be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years. MUST INVOKE COMPULSORY LICENSING This is the time to invoke the compulsory licensing provisions so that a number of firms are able to produce the vaccines under a licence Manmohan Singh, EX-PM ❝ In a two-page letter to PM Modi, Singh said, “The key to the fight against Covid-19 must be ramping up the vac- US SHOOTOUT Aparna Banerji & Sanjeev Bakshi Tribune News Service Amarjit Kaur Johal (66), Salempur Masandan, Jalandhar Amarjit K Sekhon (48), Issewal village, Ludhiana Jaswinder Kaur (64), Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh Jaswinder Singh (71), Kotla Naudh Singh, Hoshiarpur SHOOTER’S FAMILY APOLOGISES Sikh community holds a prayer meet in Indianapolis. AP/PTI Sekhon (48) and Jaswinder Singh (71) were the others members of the Sikh commu- New Delhi, April 18 Delhi residents who have visited the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar or are planning to do so will have to undergo compulsory 14-day home quarantine on their return and upload their details on an official website, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority said in an order on Sunday.— PTI Ramp up vax drive: Manmohan to PM Shock, gloom in Punjab villages Jalandhar, April 18 The death of Amarjit Kaur Johal (66), among the four American-Sikhs killed in a shootout at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, US, has sent shock waves in Jalandhar’s Salempur Masandan village. Kaur and her husband Makhan Singh moved to the US more than 35 years ago. The residents described her as a pious and amiable person. “She did not deserve to die like this,” said a mourner. A grieving Sewa Singh Johal, Makhan Singh’s cousin, said the Johals would often visit the village and took a keen interest in the village affairs. “Warm and congenial, my sister-in-law was respected by all,” he said. Jaswinder Kaur (64), Amarjit Kaur 14-day quarantine for Kumbh returnees nity who died in the mass shootout. Jaswinder Singh belonged to Kotla Naudh Singh The family of the 19-year-old shooter, Brandon Scott Hole, in Indiana who killed eight persons, including four Sikhs, has apologised to the relatives of the victims, saying they were “devastated” by the actions of their son and that they tried to get him the help he needed. PTI village in Hoshiarpur. His two sons, Varinder and Jatinder, are continued on page 9 cination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers continued on page 9 Govt postpones JEE-Mains exam New Delhi, April 18 The engineering entrance exam, JEE-Mains, scheduled to be held from April 27-30 has been postponed in view of the Covid-19 situation, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced on Sunday. “Given the current Covid situation, I have advised the DG, NTA to postpone the JEE (Mains)2021 April session,” Nishank tweeted.— PTI IN BRIEF 5 killed in hospital fire, probe ordered RAIPUR: The authorities have ordered an investigation after five Covid-19 patients died in a fire at a ward of a private hospital in Raipur, the police said on Sunday. Collector Dr S Bharathi Dasan has ordered an investigation into the incident. — PTI Pipe bursts at Shanan In Delhi, bed with ventilator hard to find project, generation hit Despite pleas, a family was asked to take the patient Vibha Sharma Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Mandi, April 18 The power generation at the 110-MW Shanan hydro project in Jogindernagar has come to a standstill as a water pipe burst at the British era plant late last night. Though no loss of life was reported, the bursting of the pipe adjoining the penstock led to waterlogging inside the powerhouse, said sources. The penstock or sluice is a heavy steel pipe that carries water from reservoir to powerhouse for power generation. Resident Engineer Daljeet Singh told The Tribune that water leakage from the pipe forced them to stop power generation. He said the fault was likely to be rectified in a day or two. continued on page 9 The waterlogged powerhouse of Shanan project in Mandi. BRITISH ERA PLANT ■ Commissioned in 1932, the plant is controlled by the Punjab Government ■ It’s to be handed over to HP Government in 2024 after completion of a 99-year lease ■ It once used to fulfil the power needs of undivided Punjab and Delhi New Delhi, April 18 The ordeal that Madhu Sharda, a resident of Pitampura, and her family suffered in the past couple of days is a story of gaping inadequacies in the Capital’s health infrastructure. After the 71-year-old Covidpositive patient’s health deteriorated on Friday, her family (husband and daughter) rushed her to a leading hospital near their residence in West Delhi. Despite their pleas, they were advised to take Madhu home. There is no vacant bed and she will be managed better at home, they were told. Left with no choice, Madhu was brought home. However, as the night progressed, her condition worsened with oxygen levels dipping to dangerous levels, leaving her gasping home. She’ll be managed better, they were told. Family members wait outside a hospital in New Delhi. PTI for every breath that she took. The next day again the family took her to nearby facilities, hoping that now she will be admitted. While for most hospitals the sole criterion for admitting patients is oxygen saturation levels, they were again turned away for “lack of beds”. Their efforts to find “a bed with ventilator” also failed in hospitals that were otherwise showing vacancy on the Delhi Government websites. After hundreds of frantic phone calls to friends and beyond, Madhu was finally accommodated through “jaan-pehchaan” in a private hospital. Currently, she is on a ventilator, struggling for life with a “50-50” chance. Her husband says, “Madhu lost precious hours in getting what is her right as a citizen of the country. It is a complete failure of the government.” Madhu is lucky that she was able to get admitted, even if through “jaan-pehchaan”. Getting admission in hospitals in Delhi is becoming increasingly tough for Covid patients with the city witnessing manifold increase in the number of infections and deaths due to coronavirus. Amid reports of Remdesivir being sold on the black market, patients and their families are questioning what the governments, both the Centre and state, have been doing in past months. “The BJP and AAP claim to be parties with a difference but they have both proved to be just like other political Continued on page 9 Policemen try to restrain protesting farmers in Hisar on Sunday. Farmers show black flags to Hry agri min Deepender Deswal Tribune News Service Hisar, April 18 Continuing their protest against the ruling BJP-JJP leaders of the state against the Centre’s three farm laws, farmers broke barricades to show black flags and raise slogans against the BJP leaders, including Agriculture Minister JP Dalal, Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa and Sonali Phogat, who arrived for the Ambedkar Jayanti function here today. The police used mild force to restrain the protesters and keep them at some distance from the venue. The BJP leaders attended the event amid tight security. Seven protesters, including three women, were detained. They were released after the event. Continued on page 9
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).