Updated: May 10, 2021 8:50:54 am
The Big Story
More than a week after the Supreme Court asked it to revisit its vaccine procurement policy, the Centre defended the policy saying it was “just, equitable, non-discriminatory”. The policy requires “no interference by this Hon’ble Court…“, it said.
Only in the express
In part-3 of our Covid In The Countryside series, we visited Kasganj, one the several small towns in Uttar Pradesh that is reeling under a severe second wave. Across one day in Kasganj, we tracked down multiple political representatives, from different parties, to find that their focus was still on the panchayat elections.
With healthcare resources stretched in the country, often leaving Covid patients with no one to turn to, a group of around 400 doctors in the US and UK, mostly part of the diaspora from Bihar and Jharkhand, have taken it upon themselves to hear out Covid patients from back home. They hold daily Zoom calls, special webinars on weekends, and even one-on-one consultancy, all free of cost.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar writes: “…myth is being circulated that the central government dropped the ball on Covid management after the first wave and left it entirely to the states for the last few months. Nothing is further from the truth.”
From the Front Page
Union Minister of State Santosh Gangwar had written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath complaining about delays in admission of Covid patients in hospitals, black marketing of medical equipment such as ventilators, and key health officials in his Lok Sabha constituency Bareilly, not responding to phone calls.
With the seven designated crematoriums in Bengaluru for Covid-19 victims no longer able to take the load of bodies, an isolated granite quarry has been identified on the outskirts of the city to carry out cremations. All the seven Covid crematoriums in the city have been running virtually round the clock for the past three weeks.
Iqbal Singh Chahal, the Commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, while recounting night of April 16-17 during an Idea Exchange session, explains how he made oxygen shortage “history” in Mumbai, lists lessons for Delhi, including not pressuring hospitals to increase beds, and lays out plans for “vaccination tsunami”. On the intervening night of April 16-17, as many as 168 patients were evacuated in an emergency operation from six civic hospitals of the city as they reported a shortage in oxygen supply.
On May 1, the Central government updated its vaccine policy, dividing supply by 50% each between the Centre and states. However, the new model has led to fresh bottlenecks along the supply chain: first being the absence of scale now, compared with the earlier integrated hub-and-spoke model, and secondly, logistical impediments faced by procurers such as individual hospitals or chains and different states.
With the delivery of medical oxygen having almost doubled to 8,900 metric tonnes on May 8 from around 4,800 MT on April 15, the government’s Empowered Group has set tight internal deadlines for a range of tasks — from training oxygen tanker drivers to setting up dedicated PSA oxygen plants, and acquiring technical and logistic equipment including oxygen concentrators, cylinders, cryogenic tankers, and zeolites.
Amid a shortage of beds and resources in the Capital, veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan has contributed Rs 2 crore towards setting up a 400-bed facility at Delhi’s Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib that is set to be operational on Monday. This is in addition to the Rs 7 crore that Bachchan donated to various gurdwaras in the city last year, during the first wave of Covid-19.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.