22042021-TT-01.qxd 4/21/2021 11:07 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.141 no.110 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 haryana RUSSIA WARNS WEST OF HARSH RESPONSE WORLD /thetribunechd COVID SHAVES OFF ONE-FIFTH CAPITAL EXPENDITURE OF ONGC IN FY21 BUSINESS SECOND WAVE MODI-MADE DISASTER: DIDI BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com thursday | 22 april 2021 Oxygen leak leaves 24 dead in Nashik 3rd Indian vax by Aug: Govt 70K cases already, Pb’s April tally may cross1L Centre boosts O2 supply as states raise alarm Tribune News Service Vishav Bharti Tribune News Service Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 21 Ahead of the expansion of the inoculation drive to cover adults from May 1, the government today said the third India-made vaccine — a collaboration between Biological E and Biotechnology Few breakthrough infections after Covishield, Covaxin jabs Department — was expected by August and talks with foreign vaccine makers were progressing well. VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said Biological E and Biotechnology Department vaccine’s Phase 1 and 2 trials were over and Phase 3 trials would start soon. “They are submitting their data for review. They have a huge production capacity of seven crore doses. We hope the vaccine will be available from August,” he said. The ICMR also shared data to show only 2 to 4 persons in every 10,000 inoculated with Covaxin and Covishield continued on page 9 New Delhi, April 21 The Centre today augmented medical oxygen supplies to 12 high-demand states and UTs even as India’s Covid crisis worsened with daily cases nearing the grim 3-lakh milestone and an oxygen tank leak leaving 24 patients dead at a hospital in Maharashtra’s Nashik. Responding to oxygen supply alarms, the Centre increased quotas for 19 highdemand states and UTs— Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, continued on page 9 Health workers with patients at a Covid care centre in New Delhi. PTI OVER 2,000 DEATHS FOR FIRST TIME 2,95,041 2,023 1,82,553 FRESH INFECTIONS FATALITIES IN A DAY TOTAL DEATHS Chandigarh, April 21 With Punjab recording a new high of around 70,000 Covid cases from April 1-20, the state’s caseload this month is expected to breach the 1lakh mark. The state had earlier logged its highest monthly tally in September last year when around 60,000 cases were reported. Punjab’s cumulative tally surged to 3,09,316 on Tuesday with 4,970 fresh cases while the death toll climbed to 8,045 as 69 more patients succumbed to the disease, according to a medical bulletin. The state is currently ALARMING SPIKE MONTH Sept 2020 December Jan 2021 March April* CASES DEATHS 59,894 14,431 6,754 57,558 70,000 1,954 534 234 1,036 1,177 (*TILL APRIL 20) witnessing 4,000 to 5,000 cases daily with an average 1.5 per cent spike over 24 hours. Though the cases continue to surge, the state’s fatality has fallen to 2.6 per cent from a high of over 3 per cent for the past several months. The count, however, is still more than double the national death rate of 1.2 per cent. It’s abject failure: Priyanka Covaxin kills double mutant strain: ICMR New Delhi, April 21 Slamming the government’s alleged lack of preparedness to deal with the second wave of Covid-19, and terming its vaccine strategy an “abject failure”, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday said the BJP-led Centre cannot divert blame this time as Jawaharlal Nehru isn’t in charge, but Narendra Modi is and he should be protecting Indians. The Congress general secretary also questioned the government over oxygen exports in the past year and alleged the central leadership has failed to deliver oxygen to its own despairing citizens. She said constructive suggestions from the Opposition were being dismissed as politicisation. — PTI Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 21 In a major boost to made in India Covid vaccine endeavour, indigenous jab Covaxin has been shown to successfully neutralise the double mutant strain detected in certain parts of the country and the world, besides demonstrating 100 per cent efficacy against severe dis- Phase 3 study shows 100% efficacy against severe Covid, 78% overall ease and 70 per cent against asymptomatic infections. The vaccine was earlier shown to be effective against UK and Brazilian variants and today the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology announced that Covaxin works against the double mutant as well. The results were announced along with phase 3 interim data, which reveals Covaxin “demonstrates overall interim clinical efficacy of 78 per cent”. The vaccine efficacy against severe infection is 100 per cent and in asymptomatic cases 70 per cent. Covishield price: ~400 for govt, ~600 pvt clinics Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 21 The Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday announced its pricing policy ahead of the expansion of Covid vaccinations for all adults from May 1 saying the jab would cost Rs 400 a dose for the Centre and state governments and Rs 600 a dose to private hospitals. The SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker, said, “For the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up vaccine production. Going ahead, 50 per cent of our capacities will be served to the Government of India vaccination programme and the remaining 50 per cent to state governments and private hospitals.” continued on page 9 Haryana schools shut till May 31 Chandigarh, April 21 In the wake of the spurt in Covid cases, the Haryana Government today announced summer vacation in schools till May 31. “The schools will remain closed on account of summer holidays from April 22 to May 31,” Haryana’s Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar said in a tweet today. INSIDE Tracking Covid course in India very closely: US Washington, April 21 The United States is tracking the course of the Covid-19 outbreak in India “very closely”, the State Department has said. NO FLIGHTS TO & FROM UK DURING APRIL 24-30: AI The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised Americans to avoid travel to India. “We are tracking the course of the Covid outbreak in India very closely,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told the media. To a question, he said, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the issue during a phone call on Monday. “Whether India or any other nation, we are committed to doing what we can to control the virus,” he said. — PTI Delayed by snow, 2 lifelines to Ladakh reopen Ex-cop guilty of killing Floyd Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 21 After several spells of snow in March and April, the high Himalayan passes on the two road routes to Ladakh have reopened, facilitating the movement of tonnes of supplies like rations, fuel and equipment needed by the armed forces to the plateau. The Srinagar-Kargil-Leh route across the 11,500-foothigh Zoji La had opened in mid-February but fresh snow Snowfall in HP tribal areas Shimla, April 21 Cold conditions revived in mid and high hills of Himachal as the region was lashed by thunderstorm and hailstorm, accompanied by intermittent heavy rain, while tribal areas received another spell of snowfall. As many as 201 roads were blocked in the state. A maximum of 177 roads were blocked in Lahaul and Spiti, 13 in Chamba, seven in Kullu and four in Kinnaur. The local Met office has issued a yellow warning of heavy rainfall at isolated places tomorrow. INSIDE and avalanches left it unusable. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) re-established connectivity on Wednesday as ten trucks, carrying essential fresh supplies, traversed the Zoji La towards Kargil. The original plan was to open the pass for Army and civil traffic by February-end or early March. However, continuous bad weather conditions, poor visibility and heavy snowfall resulted in triggering of avalanches, thus delaying the opening. KEY BORDER ROUTES ■ Srinagar-Kargil-Leh route pass- es through 11,500-ft-high Zoji La ■ 425-km-long Manali-Leh route covers 5 high passes Vehicular movement across Zoji La has restarted. PHOTO: BRO The 425-km Manali-Leh route had opened in Marchend, but intermittent snow had led to its closure. A couple of hundred vehicles passed through the stretch for 25 days or so till the route got blocked with a fresh spell of snowfall. continued on page 9 Panel gives clean chit to Ultras abduct 3 ONGC UP cops in Dubey case employees in Assam Lucknow, April 21 The three-member inquiry commission probing the encounter killings of gangster Vikas Dubey and his five alleged associates has given a clean chit to the Uttar Pradesh Police because of lack of evidence, sources said on Wednesday. The commission is headed by former Supreme Court judge BS Chauhan. The other two members are former Allahabad High Court Judge Sashi Kant Agrawal and for- Gangster was killed in an encounter last year mer UP Director General of Police KL Gupta. The panel submitted its report to the state government on Monday, eight months after it was set up. “Yes the commission has submitted its report to the state government on Monday. A copy of the report will be submitted in the Supreme court also,” Gupta said. — PTI Guwahati/New Delhi, April 21 Five armed militants this morning abducted three employees of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) from a rig site in Assam using a company vehicle driven by a driver employed by the firm. The militants, suspected to be belonging to the banned ULFA(I) group, later abandoned the vehicle and its driver near Nimonagarh jungle close to the Assam-Nagaland border, a company official said. Lock 2 security guards posted at the site The incident occurred at the company’s remote rig site under the Lakwa oilfield in Sivasagar district of Assam around 1.30 am. The militants locked the two security guards posted at the site before bundling the three young employees into the company’s emergency-cum-medical vehicle stationed at the rig site to drive away. — PTI 1,133 protesting farmers get jab in Singhu, none at Tikri Mukesh Tandon and Ravinder Saini Tribune News Service Sonepat/Jhajjar, April 21 After the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) recently appealed to the protesting farmers to get vaccinated against Covid, as many as 1,133 farmers were inoculated at the Singhu protest site. In contrast, none of the protesters from Punjab came forward to receive the jab at the special booth put up by the health authorities at the Tikri border on Wednesday. BKU leader (Rajewal) Pargat Singh said a decision was taken not to go in for vaccination after a discussion with other farm unions in Tikri. “We do not have faith in the local administration and will call private doctors from Punjab, if needed,” Pargat Singh added. After the SKM’s appeal to farmers, the state Health Department constituted 10 teams for the testing and vaccination of the agitating peasants. Health Minister Anil Vij had earlier this week An elderly farmer gets a Covid vaccine shot at Singhu border. announced that RT-PCR testing and vaccination would be conducted at the protest sites in Haryana. Civil Surgeon Dr Jaswant Singh Punia said a meeting was held with Dr Balbir Singh, coordinator, Sadbhawna Mission, SKM, at the Singhu border on the vaccination programme. “Dr Balbir Singh promised to soon provide us a list of farmers above the age of 45 years. If they want, we will set up another vaccination centre at continued on page 9 Washington, April 21 A US grand jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges he faced over the custodial death of African-American George Floyd last year, a chilling incident that sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by the police. The 12 jurors found Chauvin, 45, guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory in the US. Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck during his arrest on May 25 after a convenience store clerk in Minneapolis alleged that Floyd tried to pass a counterfeit USD 20 bill. Chauvin pinned down Floyd, 46, with his knee on the pavement of an intersection for more than nine min- ■ Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter ■ Sentencing expected in eight weeks, says Judge Peter Cahill George Floyd’s death during his arrest on May 25 last year triggered protests worldwide We and ❝morecanreducewe must do to the likelihood that a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again. Joe Biden, PRESIDENT Kamala Harris, the first Black American V-P, urges lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Bill aimed at reforming policing in the US. JUSTICE FOR BLACK AMERICA IS JUSTICE FOR ALL OF AMERICA —FLOYD FAMILY utes. “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” were his last words. Chauvin pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He faces up to 40 years in prison, HP salary cut for Covid draws sharp reaction Tribune News Service Shimla, April 21 The Himachal Government’s decision to order a cut in salary of its employees for the HP Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund has evoked a sharp reaction from the public on social media. The Department of Health and Family Welfare today issued orders for deducting two-day salary of Class I and II officials and one-day salary of Class III and IV staff. The Health Department staff have been exempted from the cut. People took to social media to lash out at the government, bringing up the “wasteful expenditure” on luxury vehicles of ministers and bureaucrats and their travel expens- Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is led away in handcuffs. REUTERS CM, MINISTERS, MLAs TO CONTRIBUTE TOO ■ The CM and ministers will contribute a month’s salary and MLAs 2-day salary to Covid fund ■ The Cabinet approval will come at a meeting on Thursday, CM Jai Ram Thakur said es. Some criticised the decision while mentioning the government’s move to take on lease a Russian helicopter for the Chief Minister’s official engagements. Some said while enhanced pay and other benefits were yet to be given to employees, there was no check on government’s extravagance. “Despite several social welfare measures continued on page 9 according to US media reports. With only his eyes visible, the rest of his face hidden behind a surgical continued on page 9 IN BRIEF Vanita nominated to US Justice Dept WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden has said he has nominated “eminently qualified and highly respected” Indian-origin lawyer Vanita Gupta (46) to the Justice Department. If confirmed, Gupta will be the first woman of colour to serve as Associate Attorney General. — PTI Issue Chardham yatra norms: U’khand HC NAINITAL: The Uttarakhand HC has asked the state government to publish the standard operating procedures for the Chardham yatra in view of the Covid-19 cases, observing it cannot be allowed to turn into another Kumbh. The yatra is slated to start from May 14. — PTI
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).