Wednesday, March 3

Highlights

In one line, PM Modi hints at his stand on conditional lockdown extension
Highlights, India

In one line, PM Modi hints at his stand on conditional lockdown extension

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday tweaked the government’s approach to the 21-day lockdown ordered last month to stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus disease. The prime minister, who interacted with chief ministers, stressed that the new challenge was not only to save lives, but livelihoods also. PM Modi underlined that the motto of the government earlier was ‘jaan hai to jahaan hai’ [when you have life, you have the world]. “Now it is ‘jaan bhi jahaan bhi’ [save life, and livelihood],” he said, signalling a shift in the Centre’s approach. PM Modi didn’t elaborate. An official in the Prime Minister’s Office later said he would finalise the country’s strategy closer to April 14 after some more deliberations. Incidentally, chief ministers of several opposition...
‘Jaan bhi aur jahan bhi’: PM Modi messages CMs at Covid-19 lockdown meet
Highlights, India

‘Jaan bhi aur jahan bhi’: PM Modi messages CMs at Covid-19 lockdown meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again stressed the importance of a lockdown and social distancing in the country’s fight against Covid-19 as he spoke with chief ministers on Saturday, saying the measures will save lives. The Prime Minister also put in praise for Indian citizens, who he said have understood the importance of staying home to stay safe from the deadly infection, which has killed thousands and affected millions across the globe. Several chief ministers, including Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, urged the Prime Minister to extend the 21-day lockdown till the end of April saying it has helped in containing the deadly coronavirus pandemic. “Talking about the lockdown, I had said: jaan hai to jahan hai. When I had given a message to the nation, I h...
PM has decided to extend lockdown, tweets Kejriwal; Centre sends a clarification
Highlights, India

PM has decided to extend lockdown, tweets Kejriwal; Centre sends a clarification

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a decision to extend the nationwide lockdown and added that he backed the prime minister’s call since the lockdown measure had helped India manage the disease much better than many other developed nations. Kejriwal’s tweet came after the prime minister discussed the possibility of extending the lockdown with chief ministers of all states and the Union territories on Saturday. “PM has taken the correct decision to extend lockdown. Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is imp to extend it,” Kejriwal tweeted in support of the lockdown. It has been reported th...
Terrorists escape after gun battle in Kashmir’s Kulgam
Highlights, India

Terrorists escape after gun battle in Kashmir’s Kulgam

Two to three terrorists escaped from the site of a gun battle with security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, officials said on Saturday. A spokesperson for the police said an operation was launched with the army and central armed police forces at Nandimarg in Kulgam following information about the presence of terrorists in the area. “An exchange of fire took place immediately after the laying of a cordon around the target houses. It seems the militants ran away in the initial firing itself,” the spokesperson said, “One PIKA LMG (light machine gun) and material for making IEDs (improvised explosive devices) was found in the house of one Aslam. Now, a tracker dog is being used for tracking down the escaped militants,” the spokesperson added. The gun battle in Kulgam...
Considering request, says Centre on CMs’ pitch to extend Covid-19 lockdown
Highlights, India

Considering request, says Centre on CMs’ pitch to extend Covid-19 lockdown

Several chief ministers including Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to extend the federal lockdown till the end of April as it is helping to contain the deadly corona outbreak. Some chief ministers also demanded financial packages while expressing concern over the impact of the pandemic on the economy. PM Modi did not spell out his decision on the lockdown at the meeting. An official spokesperson confirmed that most states had requested the Centre to extend the national lockdown. “The Central Government is considering this request,” KS Dhatwalia, the government’s principal spokesperson said. Dhatwalia’s tweet came minutes after Arvind Kejriwal appeared to suggest that PM Modi had taken the decision to extend the lockdown by two weeks. In course...
‘I am always available’, PM Modi tells chief ministers during Covid-19 meet
Highlights, India

‘I am always available’, PM Modi tells chief ministers during Covid-19 meet

Wearing a mask Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference with chief ministers to discuss whether the lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus should be extended, assured them that he is open to suggestions. “I am available 24x7. Any chief minister can speak to me and give suggestions (on COVID-19) anytime. We should stand together shoulder-to-shoulder,” Modi said. Many other chief ministers were also seen wearing masks. The pandemic has affected more than 7400 people across India and killed 239 people so far. This is the third time the PM has communicated with CMs through a video conference. On Tuesday, he took feedback from the chief ministers on whether the three-week lockdown scheduled to end on April 14 should be extended. Odisha and Punjab have alrea...
On Covid-19 lockdown, PM Modi to strike a balance between saving lives and livelihood
Highlights, India

On Covid-19 lockdown, PM Modi to strike a balance between saving lives and livelihood

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hear out all the Chief Ministers on their views and suggestions on whether to lift or extend the lockdown, but his decision will be communicated directly to people closer to April 14. On April 9 and 10, PM Modi had six hours of presentations made by his principal advisors and empowered groups each to strike the balance between life and livelihood as India does not have the medical infrastructure to handle the community transmission of the coronavirus.   “The easiest call to make is to extend the lockdown, the toughest one is how to lift it so that India does not go into negative growth,” said a senior member of one of the empowered committees. On Thursday, Prime Minister Modi heard his key advisors led by Principal Secretary PK Mishra, Nat...
Coronavirus cases in India rise to 7447, death toll at 239
Highlights, India

Coronavirus cases in India rise to 7447, death toll at 239

More than 500 cases of coronavirus disease were reported in India in the last 12 hours, bringing the number of Covid-19 patients to 7447 on Saturday, the Union home ministry data showed. The country has registered 239 fatalities as of 8am on Saturday, on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold a meeting with chief ministers of all the states to decide whether to extend the 21-day lockdown. The country-wide restrictions are to end on April 14. In Maharashtra, the numbers of Covid-19 patients stood at 1872, according to the Union health ministry data, and there have been 110 deaths in the worst-hit state in the country. In Tamil Nadu, there were 963 cases of the coronavirus disease with eight deaths. Delhi followed with 941 Covid-19 patients, out of which 25 have bee...
LOCKDOWN: ‘My kids are getting to understand how I grew up in Zimbabwe’
Highlights, Sports

LOCKDOWN: ‘My kids are getting to understand how I grew up in Zimbabwe’

I currently live in Liverpool; I have been here for the last four years now. Though I still play club cricket, I am more focussed on my coaching career. I remember when I first heard about the coronavirus, I told my wife, Loveness, ‘For some reason, I think this is going to be deadly but I am not afraid of it.’ She replied, ‘Sweetheart, you don’t normally get affected by such things, then why with this virus?’ I said, ‘God knows.’ Things started getting a bit more serious when there were talks of schools being shut. That was when news from China and other places started pouring in. It got worse and worse. I actually know a few people in my area who have been infected with the Covid-19, although there have been no casualties so far. Luckily, I know a few doctors who keep us updated about...
How false negative results are complicating COVID-19 testing
Highlights, World

How false negative results are complicating COVID-19 testing

As COVID-19 tests become more widely available across the US, scientists have warned about a growing concern: Many people with negative results might actually have the virus. That could have devastating implications as a global recession looms and governments wrangle with the question of when to reopen economies shuttered as billions of people were ordered to stay home in an effort to break transmission of the deadly disease. The majority of tests around the world use a technology called PCR, which detects pieces of the coronavirus in mucus samples. But “there are a lot of things that impact whether or not the test actually picks up the virus,” Priya Sampathkumar, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, told AFP. “It depends on how much virus the pers...
If China is a developing nation, make US one, too: Trump hits out at Beijing
Highlights, World

If China is a developing nation, make US one, too: Trump hits out at Beijing

If China is considered a developing country, make the United States too a developing one, US President Donald Trump said on Friday, alleging that Beijing has taken advantage of his country. “China has been unbelievably taken advantage of us and other countries. You know, for instance, they are considered a developing nation. I said well then make us a developing nation too,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on coronavirus. The president was responding to a question on China. “They get big advantages because they are a developing nation. India, a developing nation. The United States is the big developed nation. Well, we have plenty of development to do,” he said. Reiterating that United States was taken advantage of by the World Trade Organizatio...
Covid-19 in India: Food prices surge 3 times as supply chain takes a hit
Highlights, India

Covid-19 in India: Food prices surge 3 times as supply chain takes a hit

The prices of key staples, barring cereals, have surged nearly three times from a month ago because of a noticeable supply shock amid the three-week nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, according to official and market data reviewed by Hindustan Times. Three main factors are driving food prices higher, according to data from the consumer affairs ministry, as well as a dozen agricultural produce market committees (APMCs), which are state-regulated wholesale points. One, arrivals of farm commodities in APMC markets have plunged sharply, down almost 60% in some markets from a month ago, that is, in the first week of March. Two, land transportation costs have risen sharply, as truckers struggle to cross interstate boundaries, despite exemptions from t...
Coronavirus cases in India mount to 6,412, death toll touches 199
Highlights, India

Coronavirus cases in India mount to 6,412, death toll touches 199

India reported 30 Covid-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours taking the number of fatalities to 199 across the country and 6412 cases of the coronavirus disease, the Union health ministry said on Friday morning. There are 5709 active cases and 503 people have been cured or discharged, the Union health ministry data showed at 8am. Out of the 199 deaths, Maharashtra has 97 fatalities and continued to be the worst-hit state in the country. The Union health ministry said there are 1364 Covid-19 patients in the state and 125 people have been discharged.   Tamil Nadu was next with 863 Covid-19 cases and eight deaths followed by Delhi. The national capital reported 720 cases out of which 25 people who have been cured and 12 deaths till date. The government has further ramped...
At UNSC meet, the US spotlights origin of Covid-19 in swipe at Beijing
Highlights, World

At UNSC meet, the US spotlights origin of Covid-19 in swipe at Beijing

At the UN Security Council’s virtual meeting on the coronavirus pandemic late on Thursday, the United States called for “science-based data collection and analysis of the origins, characteristics and spread of the virus”. “We cannot stress enough how important these methods are,” Ambassador Kelly Kraft told the security council at its first closed-door meeting to discuss the pandemic that has killed 90,000 and infected 1.5 million people across 200 countries. Ambassador Kelly Craft’s reference on the origin of the virus echoes a point that US President Donald Trump and his administration has frequently made, variously labelling the Sars-C0V-2 pathogen the “Chinese Virus” to underscore its origin in the Chinese city of Wuhan and message that Beijing should have acted faster to warn th...
‘J-K has been, is, shall continue to be an integral part’: India to China
Highlights, India

‘J-K has been, is, shall continue to be an integral part’: India to China

India on Thursday strongly rejected remarks on Jammu and Kashmir by a spokesperson of China’s permanent mission to the United Nations, asserting that the union territory “has been, is and shall continue” to be its integral part. Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said India expects China to refrain from commenting on the country’s internal affairs and respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said India also expects China to recognise and condemn the scourge of cross-border terrorism that affects the lives of the people of India, including in Jammu and Kashmir. The spokesperson of China’s permanent mission in the UN said the Kashmir issue remained high on the UN Security Council’s agenda and China is very closely monitoring the current s...