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Friday, May 07, 2021

Daily Briefing: Delhi CM seeks PM Modi’s intervention in tackling Covid crisis; Serum Institute’s Rs 600/dose for Covishield is its highest rate in the world

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the Railways and IAF have been pushed into action to transport oxygen to a State Bank of India report stating stringent curfews and lockdowns imposed by several states will lead to a loss of Rs 1,50,000 crore for the country; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
April 24, 2021 8:44:28 am
A look at the top news today, May 06, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for personal intervention and guidance in tackling the escalating Covid crisis that has brought the national capital’s healthcare system to its knees, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned Friday that a “big tragedy” will unfold if “quick and meaningful steps” are not taken to resolve the situation, especially an acute shortage of oxygen.

The CCTV camera footage from the intensive care unit of Vijay Vallabh hospital in Virar, where 13 people died following a blaze, showed that the explosion in the second floor ICU took place within seconds of sparks starting to emanate from an air-conditioner that had been repaired by a technician just a day ago.

At Rs 600 per dose, Indians getting inoculated with Covishield at private hospitals from May 1 could end up paying the highest price in the world for this vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Even the Rs 400 procurement price — applicable to both State and new Central procurement orders — is higher than the price at which governments in countries such as the US, UK and in the European Union are sourcing directly from AstraZeneca. 

As the country battles a rapidly spreading virus and oxygen shortage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured 11 states and Union Territory hit hardest by the second Covid surge of the Centre’s “full support” and said the Railways and Indian Air Force have been pushed into service to transport oxygen. Oxygen Express has been started by the Railways, and empty oxygen tankers are being transported by the Air Force to reduce one-way travel time, the Prime Minister informed. 

A day after he was appointed amicus curiae to assist the Supreme Court in a suo motu matter related to management of the Covid-19 situation, Senior Advocate Harish Salve asked to be recused from the responsibility, saying he did not want a “shadow” over the “greatest and the most sensitive case” in the history of the court.

Only in the Express 

Between Thursday evening and Friday, former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had not only learnt about her death, but also joked about it. “False news of a person’s demise gives them a longer life,” she said. All of this started when MP Shashi Tharoor posted a condolence message on Twitter regarding Mahajan’s death and soon it became news and many leaders, cutting across party lines, flooded the micro-blogging site with messages.

Must Read 

As the Capital continued to fight an acute shortage of oxygen supply, three strangers lay outside GTB Hospital on Friday afternoon, sharing a single cylinder of oxygen. Members of the three families stood around their patients, periodically adjusting the connecting pipes and oxygen masks, as they waited to be admitted to the hospital’s Covid block. Doctors and nurses, too, did what they could, checking on them every hour with an oximeter.

The NIA arrested a Mumbai Police inspector in connection with the Ambani terror scare case and subsequent murder of Thane resident Mansukh Hiran. Sunil Mane, who was posted in the Local Arms Unit, is the fifth person and third serving policeman to be arrested in the case.

With the country witnessing a rerun of the mass exodus of migrants from big  cities and towns, though at a smaller scale as of now, the government announced it will be restarting the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) to provide additional 5 kg of foodgrains per month free to beneficiaries covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

The stringent curfews and lockdowns imposed by several states will lead to a loss of Rs 1,50,000 crore for the country, according to a report by State Bank of India (SBI). Of the total loss estimated at Rs 1.5 lakh crore, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 80 per cent of the loss, the research report said.


The armed forces have vaccinated nearly 99 per cent of its personnel with at least one dose and nearly 75 per cent of them have been vaccinated with both doses.

Zydus Cadila announced that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given “Restricted Emergency Use Approval” for the use of Virafin, Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegIFN), to treat moderate Covid-19 infection in adults.

SpaceX and NASA launched four astronauts into the International Space Station (ISS) using a re- cycled rocket and capsule, the third crew flight in less than a year for Elon Musk’s rapidly expanding company.

The Uttarakhand government issued an alert late on Friday following reports that a glacier had broken off in the Sumna area of Niti Valley near the India-China border in Chamoli district.

And Finally 

At a time when the football world — both fans and clubs — has risen as one to oppose the European Super League, La Liga president Javier Tebas said the creation of the controversial competition itself was no surprise, but within 48 hours, it was dissolving. The ESL was announced on Sunday and by Wednesday, all six teams from the Premier League that had signed up had withdrawn, as had Inter and AC Milan from Italy, and Atletico Madrid from Spain.

Delhi Confidential: At outgoing Chief Justice SA Bobde’s farewell, Supreme Court Bar Association president Senior Advocate Vikas Singh disclosed that a fracture, which kept the CJI away from work before his elevation in 2019, happened while he was trying out Singh’s Harley Davidson bike.

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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