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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Daily Briefing: Questions on price of Covaxin; Lack of oxygen tankers, plant location are challenges

From NSA Doval meeting ISI chief in UAE last year to Centre saying over 1 crore vaccine doses are left with states, here are the top news today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
April 28, 2021 8:45:57 am
Top news today, Daily briefing, Covid second wave, India vaccine policy, India oxygen shortage, Ajit Doval, IPL 2021, Indian expressA look at the top news today, May 12, 2021.

Good morning,

The Second Wave 

The Supreme Court questioned the logic behind adopting differential pricing for vaccines during a suo motu hearing on issues regarding Covid-19 management. “There are powers under the Drugs Control Act and Patents Act. This is a pandemic and a national crisis. If this is not the time to invoke such powers, what is the time?” the court told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. 

Bharat Biotech chairman’s tall claims that its Covid vaccine would cost less than a water bottle fell flat when it announced its pricing for states and private hospitals last week. Not just on pricing, there are also questions regarding his claim that the company did not receive any government funding for vaccine development. 

Meanwhile, countering vaccine shortage claims, the Centre released data to say more than one crore doses, to be administered to priority groups, were available with states and 86 lakh more would be distributed over the next three days.

Only in the Express 

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on India’s vaccine policy: “Centrally procure vaccines, but give states operational flexibility. And distribute them free. This is essentially what the United States did. And do all of this as fast as possible, if we are to prevent new mutants from arising. Instead, what we got in vaccine policy is a bizarre combination of ruthlessness and managing the headlines.”

National Security Adviser A K Doval and Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen Faiz Hameed secretly met, at least once, in the United Arab Emirates late last year before the two neighbours agreed to strictly adhere to the 2003 ceasefire understanding. Details of the meeting emerged at an iftar hosted by Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Must Read 

With hospitals scrambling to meet the medical oxygen demand, it turns out that there is no dearth of it. The oxygen crisis, according to key industry players, has been exacerbated by a shortage of tankers and the daunting logistics of transportation from distant locations. 

In the past few days, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has claimed on several occasions that there is no shortage of oxygen. At Kanpur’s Hallet Hospital, a sole doctor on duty for all the eight covid wards says while oxygen is not an issue, the lack of beds means two patients have to share one. 

Around 1,350 seers from various akharas and 25,000 devotees participated in the last shahi snan, three days before the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar comes to an end. The numbers were in sharp contrast to the 32 lakh devotees who took part in the first shahi snan. Attendance came down to 13 lakh on the third shahi snan on April 14.

Migrant Workers who returned to cities for work after the first Covid lockdown earned roughly five times as much as those who stayed back, and last year’s exodus affected women more than men, according to a Yale University survey.

And Finally

Author Devdutt Pattanaik on why all efforts to turn Indian Gods into Marvel comic-style superheroes fail

In today’s episode of Three Things, we discuss Madras High Court’s criticism of the Election Commission, why Tamil Nadu is allowing Vedanta to reopen its Sterlite copper plant, and what the Delhi High Court told the Delhi government on the medical oxygen crisis. 

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