log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday SUNDAY MAY 2, 2021 12 pages PRICE ` 6 9 India’s Covid surge: Variants to blame? IN SHORT >> Poll results of 5 States today NEW DELHI: The results for West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry assembly elections will be declared on Sunday (May 2). The counting of votes will start at 8 am and initial trends may get cleared by 10-11 am. The final picture with winning seats will be clear by around 5 pm. The counting in Bengal may take time as it was held in eight phases across 78,799 polling stations. SC advances its summer vacation NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday advanced its summer vacation, which would now commence from May 10 instead of May 14, due to a surge in Civid-19 cases. Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana took the decision after considering the suggestions of bar bodies. WHO approves Moderna vaccine GENEVA: The World Health Organisation has given the go-ahead for emergency use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. The mRNA vaccine from the US manufacturer joins vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson in receiving the emergency use listing. >> See pg 7 Cong wins in K’taka urban body polls BENGALURU: Karnataka Congress expressed happiness as the party won by gaining seven out of ten Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, the result of this election was the ruling BJP in the State has lost its referendum in times of hardship like Corona. Yet another hosp fire kills 16 in Guj AHMEDABAD: A massive fire at a Covid-19 hospital in Bharuch killed 16 people, including two staff members of the hospital, early on Saturday. The fire occurred at the Welfare Hospital, a four-storey building, and was brought under control in an hour. The cause is yet to be ascertained. Hight Court remarks uncalled for: EC to SC NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Saturday moved the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s observation on allowing political rallies amid Covid-19 spread. EC called HC’s remarks “uncalled for, blatantly disparaging and derogatory.” 6.8 magnitude quake hits Japan TOKYO: An earthquake of magnitude of 6.8 hit Japan’s northeastern coast on Saturday, leaving three people injured and shaking buildings 400 kilometres away in Tokyo city, authorities said. However, no tsunami alert was issued after the quake, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said. >> See pg 7 US expert for total lockdown in India NEW DELHI: Top US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci has suggested a complete lockdown for a few weeks in India as an immediate step to contain the spread of Covid-19 as its deadly second wave shows no signs of ebbing. WEATHER >> Max: 34.5 C Min: 26.6 C Humidity: 26.6% TIDES Low: High: 8:23 1:42 21:27 15:40 Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday The Goan (Playstore) PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VI, NO. 312 GOA Lockdown has little effect on KR services, but taxi biz hit hard 2 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 GOA NCB raids in N-Goa, Mumbai yield large haul of drugs, two arrested 3 8 SPORTS Under-performing Warner removed as SRH captain DEAD SERIOUS: GOOF-UP ON DEATHS n HEALTH BULLETIN PUTS TOLL AT 54, LATER REVISES IT TO 40 n DHS SAYS GLITCH IN SYSTEM THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The Directorate of Health Services (DHS) on Saturday committed a major blunder in its mortality bulletin by failing to give a clear number of Covid deaths which occurred in the state over the last 24 hours. The DHS initially issued a mortality bulletin listing 54 Covid deaths. However, in less than an hour, it issued a “corrected” mortality bulletin listing only 40 deaths by reducing the number of deaths which occurred at Goa Medical College and Hospital in Bambolim from 38 to 24. “Due to technical glitch in the portal, there were 14 deaths that occurred between April 29 and 30 at GMC which have been declared on Saturday,” the DHS explained. The nature of the “technical glitch” was not elaborated upon. However, it is pertinent to note that only 27 of these 54 deaths occurred on May 1 while 18 were recorded on April 30. Five deaths were recorded on April 29 and one each on April 24, 26, 27 and 28. COMPLETE MIS-MATCH DHS initially issued a mortality bulletin listing 54 Covid deaths In less than an hour, it issued a “corrected” mortality bulletin listing only 40 deaths by reducing the number of deaths which occurred at Goa Medical College and Hospital in Bambolim from 38 to 24 Due to a technical glitch in the portal, there were 14 deaths that occurred between April 29 and 30 at GMC which have been declared on Saturday The nature of the “technical glitch” was not elaborated upon Only 27 of these 54 deaths occurred on May 1 while 18 were recorded on April 30. Five deaths were recorded on April 29 and one each on April 24, 26, 27 and 28 Meanwhile, a total 2,303 of the 5,897 samples tested positive for Covid-19 and the the daily positivity rate stood at 39 per cent. Active cases stand at 23,884 As per the corrected bulletin listing 40 Covid deaths, 12 deaths occurred at South Goa District Hospital, 24 at GMC, one patient was brought dead to Primary Health Centre in Madkaim, two deaths at North Goa District Hospital and one death at a North Goa private hospital. The total Covid victim count now stands at 1,222. Reacting to the disorganized and callous manner in which the Health Department has handled the responsibility, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat stated, “The goof up between 54 and 40 Covid deaths in Goa by the irresponsible BJP government pops up another window of P’yats join war against Covid, declare stricter lockdowns THE GOAN I NETWORK MAPUSA With the government found wanting to control the Covid crisis, people are now taking over the fight against the deadly virus. Panchayats with the help of local MLAs have started declaring infected areas as containment zones and imposing lockdown within their jurisdictions. Following the footsteps of Calangute, Candolim and Arpora-Nagoa panchayats, two panchayats in Porvorim constituency – Penha-de-France and Salvador do Mundo – have called for a nine-day “containment red zone” in their villages from May 1 onwards and declared total lockdown in the area. Movement of the public has been restricted between 6 am and 11 am for purchase of essentials, while shutting down the entire village for the remaining part of the day and night. The direction is accompanied with a list of services permitted, prohibited and restricted. Interestingly, the panchayat order is accompanied with a footnote stating that all the conditions are subject to the collector’s order which will be VPs can take own decisions: North Collector MAPUSA: North Goa Collector Ajit Roy said the panchayats were carrying out “voluntary efforts” in addition to steps taken by the government to fire-fight the pandemic. “Local bodies have the responsibility of managing their own jurisdiction. They can take decisions to manage affairs within their areas,” Roy said. issued in due course. The decision was ostensibly taken due to the spike in Covid-19 cases and to break the chain of infection in the panchayat areas. “We were forced to take this decision as Covid cases have risen exponentially in our area. We have requested people to close the establishments from 11 am onwards. So far, we have received full cooperation from the people,” said Sandeep Salgoankar, Sarpanch of Salvador-do-Mundo. Two days ago, the three panchayats of Calangute, Candolim and Arpora-Nagoa had come out with similar orders and called for an 11-day lockdown within their jurisdiction up to May 9. Former minister and Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte informed that with the rising cases of Coronavirus in the constituency, the people had no option but to go for a lockdown. “The Covid situation in Porvorim has become dangerous and scary. The official number of active cases is 1,500 but the actual number will be double. Micro-containment zones cannot be identified in Porvorim because the spread is not at a single point. It is spread in wide areas. So we need to go into isolation and lockdown. We expect the nine-day lockdown will cut the spike,” Khaunte said. He said ground reality demanded proactive action, while the collector and the deputy collector were only interested in paperwork. “We followed all protocols and also had two meetings with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. The four-day lockdown is become a joke. The panchayats are moving and requesting all shops to close down in the interest of the >Continued on P5 Bed info helpline is good only on paper THE GOAN I NETWORK For 18+ group, private hosp dose at `1360 Manipal hosp to start vax drive for the age group from May 3 PANAJI Following a delay of eight days, the government on Saturday launched Goa’s centralized Covid helpline 08322494545 and online portal on https://goaonline.gov.in/ beds exclusively for relaying information pertaining to Covid bed availability at 27 government and private hospitals. While making the announcement, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the hospital-specific helplines announced earlier, which include ESI Covid Hospital (2703036), South Goa District Hospital (2727300) and SDH, Ponda (7020973897), will continue to remain operational. Unfortunately, both the helpline number as well as the online portal appear to be half-hearted initiatives with the crucial information being updated just once a day and at random times for each facility. With lives depending on the availability of not only beds but also ventilators, the absence of any information about the latter is causing heavy distress to Covid-19 patients. blunder by the insensitive government. It is clear that they tried to hide 14 deaths yesterday. Why? How many times in the past have they done it? Goa CM must answer.” Meanwhile, a total 2,303 of the 5,897 samples tested positive for Covid-19. While the daily positivity rate stood at 39 per cent, the active count of Covid cases in the state has risen to 23,884. India Covid cases hit a record high of 4 lakh in 24 hrs Govt’s lockdown work spree raises citizens’ hackles AGENCIES NEW DELHI Coronavirus cases in India hit a record daily high with over 4,00,000 new infections being reported in the last 24 hours, while the active cases crossed the 32,00,000 mark, according to date updated by the Union Health Ministry on Saturday. The infection tally rose to 1,91,64,969 with 4,01,993 new cases, while the death toll increased to 2,11,853 with 3,523 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 32,68,710, accounting for 17.06 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 81.84 per cent. The number of people, who have recuperated from the disease, surged to 1,56,84,406, while the case fatality rate stands 1.11 per cent, the data stated. India crossed the grim milestone of 15,000,000 on April 19. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 28,83,37,385 samples have been tested up to April 30, of which 19,45,299 were done on Friday. THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Manipal Hospital, Dona Paula announced that it is all set to commence the Covid vaccination drive for citizens aged 18 to 44 years from May 3 onwards between 10 am and 4 pm. However, a single dose of “Covaxin” has been priced at a whopping Rs 1,360. The vaccine will be administered by prior appointment only. Those wishing to avail the service have been asked to register on https://www.cowin.gov.in/home or Aarogya Setu App. Manipal Hospital will be the first to open its centre for vaccination of 18-44 age group category. It will also be the first to administer Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in Goa. Covaxin is being procured by private hospitals across the country at Rs 1,200 per dose. So far, the state has exclusively used Covishield of Serum Institute of India for vaccinating citizens above 45 years of age and all healthcare and frontline workers. Meanwhile, Apollo Hospitals Group, Fortis Healthcare, and Max Healthcare are reported to be beginning vaccinations for those between 18-44 years in select locations, as these facilities have managed to procure some doses of Covishield and Covaxin, the two vaccines that are currently available. Demolition of Dona Paula jetty & work on Miramar beach come under the scanner THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The State government and its agencies, including Stateowned corporations have done it again and launched into an unprecedented level of demolition and construction work in and around the capital city of Panaji just as the lockdown began on Thursday night. Residents of Dona Paula were shocked and confronted the contractor who has demolished the jetty which was proposed to be redeveloped through the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) Ltd, but is yet to get statutory approvals from the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) or other authorities. Residents also complained that no public consultation process has been held and they were also given no notice of demolition of the jetty where dozens of families earn their livelihoods selling wares to tourists. Recently elected councillor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) from the area, Nelson Cabral, said he confronted GOVT DRAWS FLAK OVER LAX, SHORT LOCKDOWN >> See pg 3 On the western end of the scenic Miramar beach, a JCB menacingly displaces sand dunes to reportedly make way for a concrete road. the contractor who informed him that he has been issued instructions to start work. “The contractor has feigned ignorance about the licences and approvals. The jetty re-development project has not got approvals under the CRZ notification,” Cabral told The Goan. Efforts to get the official version from the GTDC proved futile as officials either feigned ignorance or declined to offer any explanations. Activist-politician of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Cecille Rodrigues too expressed shock over the demolition of the jetty cutting off the area and jeopardising livelihoods of several locals. Rodrigues rued that all norms and rules under the law have been ignored. Closer to the city at its western end along the scenic Miramar beach area, bull-dozers and heavy earth moving machines were menacingly displacing chunks of sand dunes to reportedly make way for a ‘concrete road’. Writer Vivek Menezes, who resides in the locality called it “criminal” in a social media post. “Absolutely disgusted by whichever State agency is using #GoaLockdown as cover for the illegal bulldozing of a concrete path through the last intact strand of casuarina trees on Miramar beach, between the residency and the ocean” Menezes said in his post. Margao school roped in for Covid duty, nuns worry Covid-19 claims 3 of family in one month WHY NOT RAVINDRA BHAVAN? THE GOAN I NETWORK MARGAO n an interesting development, the district administration on Saturday sought requisition of the Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School at Ambaji-Fatorda under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, throwing up questions why the spacious Ravindra Bhavan premises was not considered to house the swab collection centre. While the nuns residing at the school campus were willing to permit the premise to be utilized for the proposed vaccination centre, they made a fervent plea to the authorities not to set up a Covid swab collection centre at the school premises as a number of nuns were staying inside the campus. The nuns approached local I The episode has thrown up questions why the spacious Ravindra Bhavan premises was not considered to house the swab collection centre Sources said that district hospital doctors had given their nod for the shifting of the swab collection centre from the district hospital to the Ravindra Bhavan Hospicio authorities had even made their presence felt at the higher secondary on Saturday evening However, by evening, the nuns were given an assurance that the premises will not be requisitioned for swab collection The district administration sought requisition of the school for Covid work under the Disaster Management Act Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai and also spoke to the district authorities with a plea to spare the school premises from becoming a swab collection centre as a couple of senior citizen nuns are also staying at the campus. A senior nun told The Goan that the nuns were all ready to given the higher secondary premises for the proposed Covid vaccination centre. In fact, the district authori- ties had issued a requisition order under the Disaster Management Act, requisitioning the ground floor of the Presentation Higher Secondary school, Ambaji-Fatorda, with immediate effect. While the head of the department/office was directed to hand over the possession of the premises to the Medical Superintendent, Hospicio hospital till further orders, the order had warned of action under section 57 of the Disaster Management Act in case of contravention of the order. Sources informed that the Hospicio authorities had even made their presence felt at the Presentation Higher Secondary School on Saturday evening. However, by evening, the nuns were given an assurance that the premises will not be requisitioned for swab collection. The nuns, however, knocked the doors of the MLA again after an order issued by the district authorities requisitioning the premises did the rounds on social media. Sardesai, however, assured that the proposal to requisition the higher secondary school has been dropped, giving relief to the nuns. Questions are being asked why the spacious Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, is not been utilized to set up a Covid swab collection centre. Sources said that district hospital doctors had given their nod for the shifting of the swab collection centre from the district hospital to the Ravindra Bhavan to avoid the chaotic situation and to make additional space for the Covid casualty. THE GOAN I NETWORK VASCO Any death is a traumatic period for the family, relatives and friends, but spare a thought for a family from Baina-Vasco which has lost four members, which included three Covid-related deaths, within a month. The Colaco family in Baina lost three members to Covid, after 41-year-old Franco Colaco succumbed to the disease on Friday. Franco Colaco was the son of former Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC) vice-chairperson Joaquim Colaco, who himself died of Covid. According to a source, Joaquim’s wife had breathed her last on April 3 and was buried on April 10, but her death was not linked to Covid. “Joaquim’s brother-in-law George Rodrigues, who was residing in the same house, had succumbed to Covid, followed by Joaquim Colaco on April 17.” “Incidentally, Joaquim’s son, Franco, was admitted to GMC hospital for Covid on the same day Joaquim had passed away. Franco breathed his last on Friday.” “It is a terrible period for the Colaco family, as four members of a family have died within a month and three of them succumbed to Covid. People have to be extremely careful and yet, we have seen many people taking the Covid infection very casually,” said the source.
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