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Doctor, 2 others arrested with Rs 36 lakh cash for black marketing Remdesivir

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On April 27, Ghaziabad Police and a Crime Branch team arrested renowned neurosurgeon Mohammad Altamash and two associated with black marketing Remdesivir injections in the Delhi-NCR region. As per reports, Dr Altamash, resident of Hazrat Nizammudin, has served at AIIMS for a long time and runs a clinic in Ghaziabad.

The Police recovered 70 Remdesivir injections, two Actemra injections and 36 lakh rupees in cash from his possession. The Police also seized a luxury car owned by Dr. Altamash.

Sanjay Pandey, in charge of Crime Branch, said in a statement that they had received information about a gang of doctors three days ago. A victim had approached them and informed them that he had bought an injection from this gang for Rs.48 thousand. Following the information, the Police started surveillance. They caught one associate of Dr Altamash, identified as Kumail Akram, a resident of Kaila Bhatha. Upon interrogation, they found that a man identified as Jazib, resident of Induwada, had provided him injection at a reasonable price from Delhi. Police then arrested Jazib, who told them about the involvement of Dr Altamash in the racket.

The doctor threatened Police with high-profile contacts

When the Police caught Dr. Atlmash red-handed, the accused doctor tried to threaten the Police with his high-profile contacts. He told the Police that he has relations with all the prominent leaders in the country and ministers at central government. However, when the Police showed some strictness, all the arrogance went away. He not only confessed to the crime but also directed the Police towards a consignment of the life-saving drug in his car. The Police seized the drugs and his vehicle.

Injections sold for up to Rs.50,000

Sandeep Kumar Singh, Chief Police Officer, City, said that the doctor used to get the drugs from AIIMS in his name and forwarded them to his associates. Accused Jazib and Kumail used to sell these injections in Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram. He adds that for every injection, they used to charge Rs.40 thousand to Rs.50 thousand.

The police officials had posed as prospective buyers to nab the doctor and his associates. Some plainclothes officer had contacted one of the accused and has told that they need 70 Remdesivir injections. A price of Rs 38,000 per injection was agreed. The accused was caught when he came to deliver the injections.

Dr Altamash reportedly is quite famous and influential in the area. He used to appear in TV as a health expert too.

Rs.36 lakh earned in a day

According to Police reports, the doctor had earned Rs.36 lakh 10 thousand in just one day by selling Remedesvir in the black market. Apart from this, he also gave around Rs.50 lakh to other people. He had raised all the money by black marketing life-saving drugs. Police suspect that there are other officials and employees at AIIMS who might be involved in the gang. The accused are being questioned to identify others involved in the racket.

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National Platform to Determine Impact of Covid-19 Vaccines to Be Established Soon

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A national tracking platform will be established soon to determine the impact of the jabs against COVID-19 and the breakthrough infections that are likely to occur among those with complete and partial immunisation, official sources said. The recommendation of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) to establish such a platform has been accepted by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 and the Union Health Ministry, they said.

“The COVID-19 Working Group which is part of NTAGI has strongly recommended to urgently establish a national vaccine tracking platform to determine the impact of the COVID vaccine(s) and the breakthrough infections that are likely to occur among those with complete and partial immunisation,” said Dr N K Arora, the INCLEN Trust chairperson who heads the COVID-19 Working Group. The vaccine tracker will be particularly important to monitor the impact of increasing the dosing schedule of Covishield, he said, as the government on Thursday accepted the working group’s recommendation to extend the gap between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks.

The current data harmonisation work of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other agencies can be leveraged to set up this facility for review of ground realities on real-time basis, the NTAGI has recommended. The government panel has also recommended that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any of the COVID-19 vaccines and that lactating women can be inoculated any time after delivery.

The NTAGI has also stated that those having laboratory test proven SARS-CoV-2 illness should defer COVID-19 vaccination for six months after recovery, the sources said. According to the health ministry’s current protocol, vaccine is to be taken four to eight weeks after recovery from COVID-19 infection and pregnant and lactating women are not to be administered the shots.

The NTAGI recommended that all pregnant women visiting for antenatal care (ANC) may be informed about risks and benefits associated with Covishield and Covaxin. Based on the information provided, a pregnant woman may be offered the choice to take any of the vaccines. An educational tool comprising information on risk of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, benefits associated with the vaccination and rare complications associated with vaccines like thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (with Covishield) may be developed.

In case of individuals who have received the first dose and before completion of the dosing schedule if they test positive for COVID-19, they should wait for 4-8 weeks after clinical recovery from the illness. Also, COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma may defer vaccination for three months from the day of discharge from hospital, the recommendations stated.

Individuals having any other serious illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the vaccine, it added.

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‘Delhi govt was not organizing the logistics, they were just complaining’: Siddharth Jain of INOX

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The demand for medical oxygen in India has jumped manifold amidst the more virulent second wave of Covid-19. Several states have raked the issue of lack of oxygen supplies and pinned the blame on the Centre for the crisis. Amongst all such states, Delhi has been at the forefront of playing the blame game.

For all this while, Delhi had been harping that the state has been receiving Oxygen way below its quota. Until May 12, the AAP govt was whining that it should be getting 976 MT of Oxygen per day, though it was allocated 730 MT of oxygen. This went on until the Supreme Court ordered an audit of oxygen used by various states, which the Delhi govt was vehemently opposing in the court.

No sooner did the SC order an oxygen audit than Delhi rushed to admit that they have access supply of the same and also offered to give the surplus oxygen to the States who need it. Its oxygen demand magically dropped to 582 MT per day despite the number of active Covid-19 cases dropping only marginally.

Later it was also revealed that Delhi’s actual demand was much less than what the Kejriwal government was demanding, and they had to ask the suppliers to take back oxygen and store it in their tanks as Delhi hospitals don’t have large storage tanks to keep the excess oxygen. 

Inox Air products director Siddharth Jain says Delhi wasn’t organising the logistics and was just complaining

While all the information available until now is more than enough to believe that despite the Kejriwal Government blaming the centre, it is more of its own shortcomings which have led to the oxygen crisis in the national capital, Siddhart Jain, the director of INOX Air Products has also affirmed the same.

Speaking to Quartz, Jain said that, unlike other states, Delhi was not arranging for logistics to call for the oxygen to the state, instead just complaining. “It was only later after a lot of pressure was put on them, they started moving it”, said Jain explaining how it is the job of the state, not the center, to organize the logistics and get the allocated product.

Clearing the air on India’s current oxygen crisis, the supply chain issues and the central and state government’s role, Jain said that it is not the union government’s job to pick up the oxygen and deliver it to end locations. 

“It is not their job to go to Odisha, pick up the oxygen and come to Mumbai and pour it in a tank. What do the states exist for? What is their job? It is the job of the state to go and organise the logistics and go and get the allocated product”, said the Inox director.

AAP Govt only one complaining about supply issues, Jain

Here it is important to mention hat Delhi is supplied oxygen by 4 suppliers, Inox, Linde, Air Liquide and Goyal Gases.

Jain reiterated here that the Delhi government is the only one complaining about supply issues and doing nothing to resolve it. Breaking down information for a layman, Jain said that there are only 70 plants that manufacture oxygen in India. He said that the central government’s job is to inform these manufacturers to produce a certain amount of oxygen. The Center formed a committee to approve the oxygen demand by the states and a chart that was made for each state with a name and an allocation volume. 

Here, he said that the role of the central government ends and that of the state begins. It is the job of the state government’s to arrange for logistics to make sure the supplies reach to them in the stipulated time, which unfortunately the Kejriwal government failed to do, confirmed Siddharth Jain.

Speaking about the logistical challenges, Jain rued that India has only 1,170 cryogenic transportation tankers out of which Inox has 320. “India has only 70 oxygen plants and these 1,170 containers were moving the entire production of oxygen. Earlier, out of 100 tankers that we would manufacture only 15 were going to medical, and 85 were going to industry. So all our plants are located in areas very close to industry, and not in the most densely populated areas where there are hospitals. But now, there is a requirement for oxygen everywhere. So we needed to transport these tankers to the entire country”, explained Jain.

Jain added that the production of medical oxygen has been ramped up in his plant, He said that his company has set up a new plant and also made investments in technological innovation inside their existing plants to increase its capacities. They have also reduced the capacity of some other gases that they make, such as nitrogen and argon, and are using those capacities to increase oxygen production.

While AAP Govt whines, data reveals Delhi returning oxygen to suppliers due to storage constraints

Meanwhile, while Delhi continues to bicker and indulge in petty politicking over oxygen, vaccination and other medical supplies, it has been cleared that in the last 10 days, Delhi received 530 MT of oxygen per day on average. But given the fact that the AAP govt returned 74 MT on 9th May and later asked the companies to store around 100 MT in their tanks, it means that the actual demand in Delhi is less than 500 MT. This means the union govt’s estimate of Delhi’s demand was correct and the Delhi govt was demanding 700 MT despite using less than 500 MT per day.

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Underwater Quake Shakes West Indonesia, No Tsunami Warning

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A strong undersea earthquake shook western Indonesia on Friday, but no tsunami warning was issued and no damage was immediately reported.

People were running from their houses,” said a local disaster mitigation agency official, Hiramo, who goes by a single name.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.6 quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles) and was centered 257 kilometers (159 miles) south of Sinabang, a town on the east coast of Simeulue Island, which lies off the western coast of Sumatra.

No tsunami warning was issued by the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, and no casualties were immediately reported.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 271 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

Indonesia’s latest major earthquake was in January, when a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500, while displacing more than 92,000, in West Sulawesi province.

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