12 April 2020

12 April News: In India, Coronavirus fans religious hatred:NYT. Extreme lockdown was an immediate response, it’s now clear that cure is worse than disease: Congress Data, Technology cell chief. Lathi-wielding RSS activists ‘checking’ ID of commuters sparks outrage


12 April 2020: 17 Shaban 1441: Vol: 12, No: 179


 In India, Coronavirus fans religious hatred:New York Times

After India’s health ministry repeatedly blamed an Islamic seminary for spreading coronavirus — and governing party officials spoke of “human bombs” and “corona jihad” — a spree of anti-Muslim attacks has broken out across the country. Young Muslim men who were passing out food to the poor were assaulted with cricket bats.  Other Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched, runout of their neighborhoods or attacked in mosques, branded as virus spreaders. In Punjab State, loudspeakers at Sikh temples broadcast messages telling people not to buy milk from Muslim dairy farmers because it was infected with coronavirus. Hateful messages have bloomed online. And a wave of apparently fake videos has popped up telling Muslims not to wear masks, not to practice social distancing, not to worry about the virus at all, as if the makers of the videos wanted Muslims to get sick. In a global pandemic, there is always hunt for blame. Here in India, no other group has been demonized more than the country’s 200 million Muslims, minorities in a Hindu-dominated land of 1.3 billion people. From the crackdown on Kashmir, a Muslim majority area, to a new citizenship law that blatantly discriminates against Muslims, this past year has been one low point after another for Indian Muslims living under an increasingly bold Hindu nationalist govt led by PM Narendra Modi and propelled by majoritarian policies.  A single religious movement, Tablighi Jamaat has been identified as being responsible for a large share of India’s 8,000-plus coronavirus cases. nytimes

 Extreme lockdown was an immediate response, it’s now clear that cure is worse than disease: Congress Data, Technology cell chief

Praveen Chakravarty, political economist and head of Data and Technology cell of Congress, says India should evolve a strategy of functioning with idea of coronavirus around for a long time. Chakravarty, said, "We have to wait and see what the government is going to do exactly. As of now, there are reports indicating that the current form of extreme lockdown will be extended until April 30. If govt is also simultaneously thinking about a gradual “unlock” process, it is welcome. As Chief Scientist of WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, today said, disease is going to be with us for a long time and we need to start planning for life with virus and cannot be in a lockdown and wait for virus to be eliminated completely, which will take a long time." He added, "The current form of extreme lockdown was an immediate response to an unknown crisis and hence understandable. But it is clear now that the cure is worse than the disease. We run risk of losing as many if not more lives due to the lockdown. It is not a “rupees vs lives” but a “lives vs lives” issue. The under-privileged are bearing the brunt of this — ostracisation, lack of hospital care, loss of wages, homelessness, hunger etc. This extreme lockdown seems to be a case of the privileged transferring their epidemic risk to under-privileged." Replying to the question that Centre says if there was no nation-wide lockdown, by now India would have seen over 8 lakh cases, Chakravarty said, "This is plain rubbish. Anyone who understands basic data and statistics will tell you that it makes no sense to do a linear extrapolation of an early trend to predict a counterfactual. This is like, claiming in cricket, that after a team gets 10 runs in the first over, team will score 500 runs in 50 overs.As we test more, we will report more cases. Based on trends from global and Indian data on COVID-19, it now seems clear that the virus is very contagious but not as fatal as some of initial wild estimates of epidemiologists predicted."thehindu

 Centre’s report ignores issue of minimum wages to migrant workers: Harsh Mander, Anjali Bharadwaj in SC

In their rejoinder to the Centre's status report on the issue of the welfare of migrant workers, petitioner-activists Harsh Mander and Anjali Bharadwaj point out that the report does not "in any way deal with the issue of ensuring payment of minimum wages to migrant workers", reported. Instead, it is asserted that the government has only engaged in making "unfounded allegations" and "appears to give advice to the Supreme Court on how to deal with the present matter". Centre had earlier urged that such filing of petitions and sitting in appeal over every action of govt ought to be discouraged as it diverts attention and effort from statutory functions and that the Court may not allow itself to be deviated from its Constitutional functions and divert the Human Resources of the Central and State governments to answering such "sceptical contentions" and "vague pleas".nationalheraldindia

 UP: Mother throws 5 children into Ganga river after finding no food during lockdown

Bhadohi:In a shocking incident on Sunday, a woman threw her 5 children into the Ganga river in Jeghangirabad in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi district.As soon as police were informed, senior police officials reached the spot and divers were pressed into service to locate the children. Woman has been arrested and police officials said that she seemed mentally unsound. Sources, meanwhile, said that the woman had earlier said that she and her children were not getting food in the lockdown and money inflow had stopped because she was a daily wage earner.“Our priority is to rescue the children as soon as possible,We will carry out other investigations later,” said a police officer.IANS

 Coronavirus: Telangana, West Bengal announce extension of lockdown till April 30

The state govnts of Telangana and West Bengal decided to extend the lockdown till April 30. 21-day nationwide lockdown, imposed to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, was to end on April 14.Odisha, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have already extended their lockdowns till April 30. Punjab has extended it to May 1.scroll

 Red, Orange, Green Zones In Centre's Plan To Navigate COVID-19 Lockdown

Red, orange and green - colour code for traffic lights will now be used on the country's map to COVID-19 and virus-free zones, and therefore people's movement. After a meeting with at least 13 CMs yesterday, PM Narendra Modi had indicated that the lockdown will be extened - but there will be relaxations in certain areas and cases to ensure the survival of the economy as well.This is where the colour coding comes in, some of the participating Chief Ministers, including CM of Puduchery, told the media after the meeting. Green zones will be districts where there is no COVID-19 case. Sources said there are 400 districts, where there have been no COVID-19 cases. Orange zones will be places which saw less than 15 cases and there have been no increase in the number of positive cases. Here, minimum activities like opening of limited public transport, harvesting of farm products will be allowed. Any place which had more than 15 cases will be considered a Red zone, where there will be no activity.ndtv

 Aviation Sector May Escape Lockdown Phase 2, But Curbs Apply: Sources

Clampdown may soon be removed from the crucial aviation sector, sources said, with matter being discussed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with CMs yesterday. Passenger air traffic - domestic and international - was halted even before PM Modi announced 21-day countrywide "curfew-like" lockdown on the evening of March 14. As of now, only cargo flights and special flights are operating. Sources have now said even though the lockdown is likely to be extended for another two weeks, a recommendation has been made to ease it from the aviation sector.ndtv

 UP govt reopens 5,200 industrial units during lockdown

UP govt has facilitated the reopening of over 5,200 industrial units engaged in the manufacturing of medical supplies and essential commodities during ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.Till date, 5,281 industrial units have been restarted in UP after the government proactively resolved their issues pertaining to labour, passes, transport etc. The process of facilitating the early functioning of other plans, which had closed down following announcement of lockdown last month,

 Congress, BJP share tweet unity as US comedian Bill Maher slams China for ‘Wuhan virus’

New Delhi:Famous US talkshow host, political commentator and satirist Bill Maher unconsciously kindled a moment of bipartisanship between Congress and BJP as he defended the description of coronavirus as “Chinese virus”. Addressing a segment titled “Virus Shaming” on his show Real Time With Bill Maher, aired Friday, 64-year-old said coronavirus wasn’t the first disease to be identified with its place of origin, citing Ebola (Ebola River), Zika (Zika forest) and Spanish flu as examples. He then went on to question the “liberal” argument that referring to coronavirus as “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” is racist. The argument found a fan in Congress leader Milind Deora, who retweeted the video with a pointed jab at “wokeness” — a term that describes one’s awareness about social justice, but which has come under criticism (including from Maher) for spawning too much political correctness.The tweet was immediately retweeted by BJP spokesperson Baijayant Panda, who said video shared by Deora was “worth watching”.Others who expressed support for Maher’s video included former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao.Maher was referring to reports from earlier this month that the city of Wuhan, where coronavirus is believed to have originated, was limping back to normalcy along with its wet markets.He then cites research to question Chinese practice of eating bats, which are believed to be the reservoirs of several coronaviruses.“Eating bats is batshit crazy,” Maher says, adding that world should blame China for coronavirus. According to a report in New York Post, this monologue by Maher has put him “in line with Donald Trump and many of his conservative allies who have sought to play up China’s role in Covid-19”.  theprint

 ‘Journalism as genocide, bigotry as big business’: backlash on India Today TV’s ‘investigation’ on Madrasas

Madrasas are hostels that house poor, destitute children and orphans who have nowhere to go. The madrasas provide them shelter, food and education. But India Today TV, a news channel, on Saturday broadcast what it called an ‘investigation’ carried out with spy cameras and showed children huddled in small rooms. The programme was called “Madrasa Hotspots”.Even before the programme was aired, it faced an immediate backlash on social media. Activist Kavita Krishnan posted a video and described the programme as shameful. Rahul Kanwal and TV channel were communalising a pandemic instead of investigating why Govt had failed to take timely action and why it had failed to even procure PPE for medical professionals. Calling Kanwal a disgrace to journalism, Krishnan fumed that he would be judged by History. His place would be in the dustbin of history, said Krishnan. Her open video message can be heard here: Kanwal remained unfazed and blandly tweeted, “Folks, a story is a story and it needs to be told. You cannot love one kind of probe because it unearths something you want exposed and then dislike the next reality check because it throws up an image you had rather not see. Being trolled is like water off our backs.” The outrage caused by the programme provoked people to ask, “ Has the Indian media lost plot ! A Madrasa is a hostel! Where are the kids going to go…and of course they will be together—there are ashrams, hostels and slums where people are together—do you want them to be out?”Another tweet wondered at a sting operation on orphans and asked, “ A "sting operation" on poor and orphaned children and call it investigative journalism ? You have to achieve a special kind of moral depravity to do this.In another scathing video posted by Barrister, writer and founder of New York based @project_polis Suchitra Vijayan called Kanwala ‘ useful idiot to the state’ and called upon Indian journalists to get familiar with idea of ‘journalism as genocide’.International Human Rights Tribunal in 2003 had named 3 Rwandan journalists and held them guilty of war crime and crime against humanity, she pointed out.Remarkably, the programme was aired despite international condemnation of profiling of pandemic victims in India. Both US and US State Dept.have voiced concern at attempts to communalise pandemic in India. Hashtag #RahulKanwalHateMonger trended on Twitter on Saturday evening.nationalheraldindia

 Our COVID aid not for Tablighis, jihadis, write Assam Foreigners’ Tribunals’ members

Guwahati :A letter offering a donation of over Rs 60,000 for COVID-19 relief work, with names of 12 members of Assam’s Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) listed as contributors, has specified that money should not be used for providing relief to those who attended Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, “jihadis” and “jahil”.The letter, dated April 7, is addressed to state Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and is signed by Kamalesh Kumar Gupta, member of an FT in Baksa district.When contacted, Gupta, a former advocate and notary, confirmed that he had written letter but said he has withdrawn it and that it was not sent to the government. On its contents, he said, “Whatever is there in the letter. I do not want to discuss further.” “Our only prayer is that the help may not be extended to the members of violators Tablighi Jamaat, Jihadi and Jahil. Kindly accept our donations as above for saving the humanity from the clutches of COVID-19 pandemic infection.” it read.FTs are quasi-judicial bodies that sit in judgment on whether a person is an ‘illegal foreigner’ or not as per Foreigners Act.  The letter on COVID donation was published by a local daily on Saturday, after which it started doing the rounds on social media. Response from government officials is awaited on whether they received the letter. One of 12 contributors, however, said the letter was withdrawn after some members raised objections. He said the document was internally discussed and then discarded. indianexpress

 UP Police Offer Cash Reward For Information On Tablighi Jamaat Members

Uttar Pradesh police have announced a cash reward Rs 5,000 for those with information about Tablighi Jamaat members who are yet to report to authorities in Azamgarh, police said.The police have so far quarantined 33 Jamaat members who were staying in various mosques, madrassas and homes in Azamgarh."Jamaat members are still hiding. We have made an appeal to them that if they come up and appear before the authorities, no action will be initiated against them," SP Triveni Singh said.PTI

 Lathi-wielding RSS activists ‘checking’ ID of commuters sparks outrage

Hyderabad:Photographs circulating on social media purportedly showing lathi-wielding RSS activists, standing near a barricaded highway and checking commuters’ documents, has sparked outrage.The incident is said to have happened on Thursday near Gudur checkpost in Bibinagar. The photographs showed at least seven persons dressed in RSS uniform — khaki trousers, white shirts and black caps — and carrying lathis, as they ‘checked’ the documents of those seeking to cross barricades.The photos were shared by several Twitter users who sought to know in what capacity and under whose authority the activists were present there. The images were also tweeted by the handle ‘@friendsofrss’ which described it as ‘RSS volunteers helping police’. “Why do they have sticks? And what power they hold? Is it authorised? @KTRTRS,” tweeted Sai Kiran, a Twitter user.Social activist S.Q. Masood expressed concern and tagged Telangana DGP M. Mahender Reddy and Rachakonda Commissiner of Police Mahesh Bhagwat and sought a clarification, describing the incident as ‘unfortunate’. “Photos show some policemen standing in the background. This is an alarming situation,” he told The Hindu. Bhagwat said, “I was informed of the incident and the photos came to me. They [RSS activists]had come to us asking if they could volunteer. We said, ‘Nothing doing’. We have decided not to take help from any religious or political organisation.” thehindu


Muslims face social boycott in Buldhana, business too hit

Nagpur: With 17 positive cases of Covid-19, Buldhana is the second most-affected district of Vidarbha. As 16 of 17 patients are Muslims, this has led to the community facing social boycott, said social and political activists here.Social media messages have been doing rounds urging people to keep members of the community away and not buy essential items from shops owned by Muslims. A medical practitioner from Raipur village in the district has also been booked for spreading hate messages.Shabana Parveen, whose husband is a state government employee, alleged that her daughter who is seven months pregnant was turned back from three different sonography centres.“Finally, it appeared that it was because of our religion. At the third hospital, I was asked to come on April 30. First they took her in, but later my daughters and others from our community were simply asked to go,” said Parveen. The doctor had asked to get the sonography done in a day, added father.A senior police officer in district admitted that there has been discrimination against members of the community. A departmental store has simply refused entry to people from Muslim-dominated localities like Iqbal Chowk and Mirza Nagar. ROI


 13 booked for sheltering 16 Tablighis in C'garh mosque

 Korba:13 people, including 3 COVID-19 patients, were booked on Saturday in Korba in Chhattisgarh for allegedly hiding information about the presence of Tablighi Jamaat members in a mosque, police said. 13 are residents of Purani Basti, a COVID-19 hotspot in the state, while the 16 Tablighi Jamaat members had come from Maharashtra last month, an official said. "They hid information about the 16 Tablighi Jamaat members from police. They also organised mass prayers and a feast in mosque with Tablighi Jamaat members, thus flouting lockdown and social distancing directives," he said.PTI



Police allegedly attacked in Patiala, ASI’s hand chopped off; seven arrested

Chandigarh:A group of people on Sunday allegedly attacked police officials and cut off the hand of one of the officers at a vegetable market in Punjab’s Patiala, the police said.Police have arrested seven accused from a Gurdwara in village Balbera, where they had taken refuge after fleeing from the scene of the incident.“7 fugitives, donning the robes of Nihangs, have been arrested from the Gurdwara in village Balbera. One of these was injured in police firing and has been rushed to hospital,” said K.B.S Sidhu, Special Secretary, Punjab.Earlier in the morning, the group injured a few police officers and a Mandi Board official at Sanaur vegetable market in Patiala, in which an Assistant Sub-Inspector Harjeet Singh’s hand got cut off, police said. He has been taken to Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh for a surgery.thehindu


Mosques, madrassas should not give shelter to strangers: Wasim Rizvi

UP Shia Central Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi has appealed to mosques and madrassas not to provide shelter to any member of Tablighi Jamaat, failing which Board will recommend action to be taken under NSA against those who hide information in this respect.UNI


Delhi govt replaces 'Markaz Masjid' in COVID-19 health bulletin with 'Special Operation'

 In a recent development, Delhi government dropped the name 'Markaz Masjid' from its daily health bulletin of COVID-19 status and replaced column with 'Special Operation'. Replacing 'Markaz Masjid' with 'Special Operations' is a key development as it has come days after Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) raised the matter with Health Department asking it to drop any mention of Tablighi Jamaat event in its daily bulletins on COVID-19 cases in Delhi.ANI



TN: 10 foreign jamaat members arrested, kept in isolation

10 foreign Tablighi Jamaat missionaries and their 2 guides were arrested by Mayiladuthurai police on April 9 on charges of violating the lockdown norms and Foreigners Act. They were produced before Mayiladuthurai judicial magistrate, who remanded them in judicial custody.  They were later admitted to isolation wards in Mayaliduthurai govt hospital in Tamil Nadu and their samples sent to Tiruvarur Govt Medical College Hospital for Covid-19 tests.TOI


Maha books 156 foreigners sneaking in for Tablighi event

Mumbai:Cracking down further, the Maharashtra government has booked 156 foreigners from 18 countries for violating their visa rules and attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi last month, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said here on Sunday."The police have booked 156 foreigners for visa rules violations under the Foreigners Act''s Section 14B and relevant IPC sections, and further investigations are on," he said, in a statement.The minister said that all these foreigners had been granted a tourist visa for India, but they flouted the norms by visiting the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi last month.IANS


Arrest of Hindutva activist: Probe against 2 police officers

Hassan:SP R. Srinivasa Gowda has initiated an inquiry against two police officers of Belur taluk over arrest of a Hindutva activist who had posted objectionable content on Facebook. The probe decision comes after Minister for Tourism C.T. Ravi supported activist and urged Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai to act against police.Belur circle inspector S. Siddarameshwara and Arehalli sub-inspector Balu will face the inquiry.Balu, on Friday, arrested Thej Kumar Shetty of Bikkodu in Belur taluk on a suo motu complaint. The charge was the content was intended to disturb harmony and hurt the religious feelings of certain sections. On Sunday, Mr. Ravi came out in support of the accused. He wanted to know what was wrong in sharing a post on Tablighi Jamaat about spread of COVID-19. Within hours of his tweet, the department ordered an inquiry.


Haryana : Muslim welder's shop set on fire in Kaithal

Kaithal: 2 days after some miscreants set a Muslim welder's shop on fire in Kaithal district's Keorak village -- adopted by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar as part of Vidhayak Adarsh Gram Yojana -- Kaithal SP Shashank Kumar Sawan, SDM Kamal Preet Kaur and other officials visited village on Friday and assured the Muslim community of their safety and prompt action against the culprits. SP said the miscreants had set the shop on fire after the victims refused to remove their skullcaps and shave their beards.TOI


Inaction of Delhi Govt led to spread of COVID-19, Plea in SC seeks CBI probe into migrant gathering, Markaz issue

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the “inaction of Government of Delhi” in containing the spread of COVID-19.The plea also seeks a CBI probe into the “assembly of people” at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal and at the Markaz in Nizamuddin.The plea by Advocate Supriya Pandita, filed through Advocate-on-Record Om Prakash Parihar and Advocate Dushyant Tiwari, urges the Court to ask the Union government and Delhi government to show what steps have been taken to contain the spread of the pandemic in Delhi.barandbench


90 Health Workers Infected With COVID-19, Total Cases Over 8,000 In India

New Delhi: Highly infectious novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has infected 8,356 people in India, killed 273, Union Health Ministry said today, adding that 909 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, 34 people died. According to sources, at least 90 healthcare workers including doctors and nurses were infected with COVID-19 in India. ndtv


6 Times Group employees test positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai, 4 are from Mirror Now

New Delhi: 6 employees of Times Network have reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Mumbai. These include four workers of group’s English news channel Mirror Now. In a statement to media website Sunday, the leading broadcaster said, “Despite practising all safety measures and precautions while fulfilling their duties, four of our colleagues at Mirror Now and two support staff members have tested coronavirus positive. Following BMC guidance, they have been shifted to the mandatory quarantine facility at a private hospital in Mumbai and are doing fine.”theprint


SC to hear PIL seeking quashing of PM CARES Fund on 13 April

New Delhi: The Supreme Court would hear a PIL seeking quashing of the Centre’s decision to set up PM CARES Fund to deal with the situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic, where citizens can donate money, on Monday.On March 28, Centre set up Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by coronavirus outbreak and provide relief to those affected.PM is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the defence, home and finance ministers are its ex-officio trustees.PTI


Covid-19 pandemic won’t affect S-400 deliveries: Indian Ambassador in Russia

Moscow: All major military contracts, including the deliveries of S-400 air defence missile systems, between Russia and India will be on schedule and the coronavirus pandemic will have no effect on their timeframe, according to India’s top diplomat here.“I don’t think there will be any impact. There has been slight dislocation of a couple of weeks but all the major contracts will be on schedule, we don’t anticipate any problem on that,” Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma was quoted as saying by TASS.PTI

93 cases, 274 arrests for violating coronavirus lockdown in Uttarakhand

Dehradun: A total of 93 cases were registered on Sunday for violating the lockdown in the state while 274 people have been arrested, police said.Till now, a total of 1,401 cases have been registered and 5,539 people have been arrested in the State.ANI


Centre: Mamata govt not enforcing lockdown in some pockets and lists ‘Muslim areas’

Kolkata: Modi government has written to Mamata Banerjee administration in West Bengal reiterating the need to strictly enforce the lockdown in the state.  The central government has listed a number of places in Kolkata where it claims there “are no regulations” and a “number of exceptions” are being for marketplaces including those selling fish, vegetables and mutton. Of the seven places in Kolkata named in the letter, 5 — Rajabazaar, Topsia, Metiabruz, Gardenreach and Ikbalpur — are Muslim-dominated regions.  theprint


With dwindling rations, Rohingya refugees on the verge of starvation

Gurugram :For the past two days, Mohammad Hussain, a Rohingya Muslim refugee, has been largely surviving on cucumbers and other raw vegetables that he can source from his neighbours. The 23-year-old who lives in a refugee camp in Nangli, Nuh, says that his family of three finished whatever little ration they had and is at the mercy of neighbours.“The rations dried up two-three days ago. Since then, we have been surviving on cucumbers or tomatoes, which some refugees continue to have. Neither can we step out to buy anything nor do we have enough money to buy more vegetables,” Hussain, who lives with his wife and mother, says.HT


Migrant Workers Returning Home Could Spread Coronavirus In India: World Bank

World Bank on Sunday said migrant workers returning home could become vectors carrying the coronavirus to unaffected states and villages and that preliminary findings indicated in India many outmigration areas are likely to have COVID-19 cases.In its biannual regional report, the World Bank said South Asia is one of the highest population density areas in the world, particularly urban areas, and that preventing domestic coronavirus transmission is an enormous challenge in the region.PTI


40 COVID-19 vaccines at various developmental stage, but none at final: ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that no vaccine has yet been developed for the treatment of coronavirus. However, over 40 vaccines are under various stages of development but none have reached the final stage. Dr Manoj Murhekar of ICMR said, "More than 40 vaccines are under development but none have reached the next stage. As of now, there is no vaccine.""In the last five days, the average number of samples that have been tested is 15,747 per day and the average number of samples which tested positive is 584," he added.livemint


Fever And Face Detection Cameras Integrated With Aadhaar Can Be Game-changer Against Covid-19: Experts

China has made the successful use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in fight against Coronavirus and results are obvious to world. In India, experts say,UIDAI can play an unprecedented role in tackling an unseen enemy like Coronavirus. UIDAI officials say that if a camera that can capture an individual’s image along with the body temperature is placed at a public place and is integrated with Aadhaar data, it can prove to be a game-changer.outlookindia


Rapid Screening Kits ‘Diverted to US’, Coronavirus Testing in Cluster Areas Suffers Setback

New Delhi: India is witnessing a setback in testing coronavirus in cluster areas due to unavailability of serological test kits as "some consignments have been diverted to US", sources in Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) admitted on Sunday."The states have complained to us. This survellience test would have helped us lift lockdown from clusters and districts," a scientist within ICMR said, adding that it is a setback to the lockdown. Serological tests use small amounts of blood, usually from a finger prick, to test whether a person has been exposed to a particular pathogen, like the new coronavirus, by looking at their immune response. News18


Coronavirus: Rapid test kits from China sent to US hence the delay, says Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Shanmugam admitted delay in receiving rapid test kits from China as a consignment meant for India was sent to US, one of the worst affected COVID-19 countries. The state had placed orders for 1 lakh kits from China much before Centre instructed states to buy the testing kits. The first consignment was to arrive in India on Thursday night but is being delayed. He said China has sent the first consignment of rapid test kits that provide results in half-hour to US and second consignment is expected to be shipped to India. deccanherald


Delhi Now Has 43 Coronavirus Hotspots

10 new coronavirus hotspots have been identified in Delhi in a 24-hour period, it was announced Sunday evening, taking the total number of hotspots in the national capital to 43; there were 30 on Friday and 25 on Thursday. There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases in the city with 19 deaths linked to the virus. ndtv

Delhi : Several Streets in Zakir Nagar and Abul Fazal Enclave Part-I Sealed, People Scared

NEW DELHI:With several streets in Zakir Nagar and one street in Abul Fazal Enclave Part-I of South Delhi, near Jamia Millia Islamia, having been ‘sealed’ owing to discovery of several COVID-19 positive cases, has not only forced the local residents to confine themselves within 4-wall of their houses but also created scare among the residents of other streets that are free from ‘sealing’.People in Abul Fazal Enclave did not know the meaning of ‘sealing’ in practical sense till Saturday evening when police put up barricades on either of a street where a COVID-29 positive patient was discovered living in one of the houses after his medical test. Though it has not been described a corona ‘hotspot’ because only one case has been so far here, the action by police and health department led to a kind of psychological scare among the people.   Street in G-Block, Abul Fazal Part-I was sealed with such a speed that many residents of the street who h ad gone out to buy essential commodities were left outside and not allowed to come back. And many people who wanted to go out to buy milk and other essentials were strictly told not to venture out, with police keeping strict watch. Many people keen to know what is ‘sealing’ came from other streets to see a ‘sealed street’. But they all kept themselves at large distance as if the air coming from the ‘sealed street’ would infect them with dread coronavirus. Ever since G-Block street was ‘sealed’, police have been regularly announcing on microphone asking people not to come out unnecessarily. Personnel of RAF are also patrolling the area.India Tomorrow


Covid-19: Only 7 Muslim burial grounds listed with BMC, officials seek options

Mumbai:After BMC issued a directive that COVID-19 patients bodies should be cremated irrespective of religion, an official from Bandra insisted to conduct a ward-wise survey to explore more options where burial of coronavrius patients can take place. The civic body has given a list of 7 Muslim cemeteries across the city which qualify for the burials.Congress corporator from Bandra, Asif Zakaria said this has caused hardships for citizens. In a letter to municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, he insisted local ward officers to conduct a survey of additional burial grounds. “Ward-wise survey can be conducted and with decided parameters of disposal of COVID-19 dead bodies more such graveyards could be found. This will reduce the burden, delay and over stretched infrastructure on these limited burial grounds.” Zakaria said.indianexpress



COVID-19: UK Oppn joins calls for probe into higher ethnic minority deaths

UK's Opposition Labour Party has joined calls alongside Indian-origin doctors for a probe into the "disproportionate" number of black and minority ethnic (BAME) medics dying from the novel coronavirus in the country.The move comes as UK health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that 19 National Health Service (NHS) workers have died with coronavirus since the outbreak began, around 10 of whom were of BAME backgrounds including Indian-origin doctors." The disproportionate number of BAME doctors who have died from coronavirus is deeply disturbing," said Marsha de Cordova, Labour's Shadow Women and Equalities. "It reflects the shocking underlying inequalities facing BAME communities as a whole- who are disproportionately represented in numbers of people getting the virus. The government must urgently investigate why BAME communities are more vulnerable to this virus," she said.The shadow minister's intervention came as British Medical Association (BMA) doctors' union and British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) also called for similar in-depth research and investigation."We have heard the virus does not discriminate between individuals but there's no doubt there appears to be a manifest disproportionate severity of infection in BAME people and doctors. It comes days after BAPIO wrote to CMO of England, Professor Chris Whitty, and Medical Director of NHS England Stephen Powis requesting all the official data available on COVID-19 hospital admissions for an in-depth research into greater susceptibility of BAME and Indian-origin patients developing more severe symptoms of coronavirus and dying of COVID-19. Indian-origin cardiac surgeon from Wales, 58-year-old Jitendra Kumar Rathod, originally from Gujarat, and Birmingham-based Hamza Pacheeri, 80, from Kerala are among Indian-origin doctors who died of coroavirus.PTI

UK PM Johnson Discharged from Hospital Week After Being Admitted for Covid-19 Treatment

British PM Boris Johnson has been discharged from hospital and will continue his recovery from COVID-19 at Chequers, his official country residence, his Downing Street office said in a statement on Sunday.Johnson, 55, was taken to St Thomas' Hospital in central London on April 5, suffering from persistent symptoms of the disease caused by the new coronavirus. On April 6 he was moved into intensive care, where he remained until April 9.Health officials say 657 more people in England have died from the new coronavirus, raising total UK deaths over 10,000. reutersAP


Coronavirus | Global death toll climbs to 109,307 with declared cases crossing 1.7 million

Worldwide number of deaths from coronavirus pandemic rose to 109,307 on Sunday, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.More than 1,780,750 declared cases have been registered in 193 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in Dec. Of these cases, at least 359,200 are now considered recovered. US has registered the most deaths in the world with 20,608 and the most infections with 530,006.Italy is the second worst-hit country with 19,468 deaths from 152,271 infections. It is followed by Spain with 16,972 fatalities from 166,019 confirmed infections, France with 13,832 deaths and 129,654 infections and Britain with 9,875 deaths from 78,991 cases. China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — has to date declared 3,339 deaths and 82,052 cases, with 77,575 recoveries. It reported no new deaths and 99 new cases since 1900 GMT Saturday.Europe has listed 909,769 cases and 75,018 deaths to date, the U.S. and Canada together have 553,203 cases with 21,286 deaths, Asia 137,072 cases and 4,878 deaths, the Middle East 98,400 cases and 4,768 deaths, Latin America and the Caribbean 61,098 cases with 2,548 deaths, Africa 13,697 cases with 742 deaths and Oceania 7,515 cases with 67 deaths. AFP

Spain daily coronavirus deaths rise again


Iran reports 117 new virus deaths, raising total to 4,474; intercity travel ban to be lifted on April 20

Iran on Sunday announced 117 new deaths from coronavirus, bringing overall official toll to 4,474, even as it eased some restrictions that had been imposed to slow spread of illness.Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour also said that 1,657 new infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 71,686.On Saturday, it allowed small businesses to reopen outside the capital and this will be extended to the capital Tehran on April 18. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani also announced in a cabinet meeting that an intercity travel ban in place since last month would be lifted on April 20. AFP


Israel tightens quarantine in Jerusalem to halt spread

Israeli government approved a tight quarantine of several areas of Jerusalem on Sunday, including historic Old City of Jerusalem, in a bid to slow spread of coronavirus in the city’s most susceptible neighborhoods.A ministerial committee approved the shutting down of movement in and out of several predominantly ultra-Orthodox areas of the city in order to contain the disease that has already resulted in over 100 deaths in Israel and almost 6,000 around Middle East, about 3 quarters of which come from Iran. The measure, which takes effect at noon on Sunday but had been debated for days, faced resistance from ultra-Orthodox ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government who rejected singling out their constituency. At Jerusalem’s Western Wall, where Jews can pray, a limited quorum of some 10 men gathered to perform Priestly Benediction, the customary prayer held during the week-long holiday of Passover. Among those participating in the prayer was US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. AP


Vaccine against coronavirus could be ready by September

London: A vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready by September, according to a scientist leading one of Britain’s most advanced teams.Sarah Gilbert,professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, told Times that she is “80% confident” the vaccine would work, and could be ready by Sept. Experts have warned the public that vaccines typically take years to develop, and one for the coronavirus could take between 12 to 18 months at best.In the case of the Oxford team, however, “it’s not just a hunch, and as every week goes by we have more data to look at,” Gilbert said.theprint


Saudi extends coronavirus curfew indefinitely

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman extended a nationwide curfew until further notice due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the interior ministry said on Sunday, after the kingdom reported more than 300 new infections on each of the last four days, reports Reuters.Last week Saudi Arabia placed its capital Riyadh and other big cities under a 24-hour curfew, locking down much of the population to stem the spread of the virus.Elsewhere, the curfew which began on March 23 runs from 3 pm. to 6 am.middleeastmonitor


'We need food':Tunisians struggle under lockdown

Tunis: When Hadda Chalbi received a call from the local hospital last week, she did not expect to be told that her only brother had set himself on fire and fallen into a coma.Unemployed, physically disabled and with a child on the way, Hammadi Chalbi's desperation had become too much to bear, leading the 32-year-old to self-immolate outside the local government offices in Maktar, some 160 kilometres  southwest of Tunis.The local administration had repeatedly declined to issue Hammadi a vendor's permit, Hadda told Al Jazeera, which she attributed to favouritism within the local government.aljazeera



Delhi Police arrests Jamia Coordination Committee member for organising anti-CAA protest in Jaffrabad

Delhi Police on Saturday arrested a media coordinator of Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) in connection with the Delhi riots.Police arrested Safoora Zargar, accusing her of organising an anti-CAA protest in North East Delhi's Jaffrabad area.It was after the protest at the Jaffrabad Metro Station, that clashes broke out in the area at the end of Feb. According to police sources, Zargar can be seen in video footage from the area. Delhi Police on April 2 arrested another student of Jamia Milia Islamia for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite communal riots in northeast Delhi. Meeran Haider (35), a PhD student at Jamia, is president of RJD youth wing's Delhi unit.Haider was later sent to 3-day police custody by a Delhi court. Rajya Sabha MP and RJD leader Manoj Jha tweeted, "Delhi Police called him for investigation and then received orders from above and arrested Meeran Haider, who has been helping people during the time of coronavirus outbreak."Chhatra RJD unit of JNU also demanded the release of Haider and said the police should become 'people-friendly' and not scare people. JCC condemned the arrest and demanded his immediate release. Earlier this week, Muslim organisations and civil society members wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah urging him to stop the "harassment" of social activists and students by the Delhi Police during the ongoing lockdown. A statement issued by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind mentioned names of Maulana Tauqeer Raza, president, Milli Ittehad Parishad, ex MP Udit Raj, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission, Syed Sadatullah Hussaini, Ameer Jamaat e Islami, among signatories of the letter.indiatoday


World Bank sees FY21 India growth at 1.5-2.8%, slowest since economic reforms 30 years ago

India is likely to record its worst growth performance since 1991 liberalisation this fiscal year as coronavirus outbreak severely disrupts the economy, World Bank said. India’s economy is expected to grow 1.5% to 2.8% in 2020-21 fiscal which started on April 1, World Bank said in its South Asia Economic Focus report.It estimated India will grow 4.8% to 5% in 2019-20 fiscal that ended on March 31.PTI


Editors Guild criticises UP govt over notice to Varadarajan

Lucknow:Editors Guild of India has criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for registering an FIR against the Founding Editor of The Wire news portal Siddharth Varadarajan.Meanwhile, UP Police have served a notice to Mr. Varadarajan asking him to appear in Ayodhya on April 14 in connection with FIR, said Nandini Sundar, noted sociologist and wife of  Varadarajan.thehindu


Magnitude 3.5 Earthquake Rocks Delhi-NCR, Epicentre in East Delhi

New Delhi: An earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale rocked Delhi-NCR on Sunday evening. The epicenter of earthquake was east Delhi, ANI quoted IMD as saying. NDRF DG Satya Narayan Pradhan said the quake struck at a depth of 8km at 5:45pm.He said there are no reports of damage yet. "So far we haven't received any report of any damage to property or human life. Our control room is on the job," he said. The earthquake has struck while Delhi is under lockdown along with the rest of India, leading to funny reactions on social media with many mocking its timing. Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, too, joined in.news18


UN Middle East envoys urge warring parties to cease fighting now

United Nations envoys in Middle East have urged all warring parties in the region to end hostilities and turn their focus to "the true fight of our lives" - tackling the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.In a statement, the envoys for Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stressed that solidarity is required to face the challenge of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. But this cannot happen "if the guns of war and conflict are not silenced", they said.aljazeera


Taliban set to release 20 Afghan government prisoners

Taliban is set to release 20 Afghan government prisoners in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar - first handover by the armed group since the beginning of a peace process."Today, 20 prisoners of the Kabul administration will be released," Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter, adding that group would be handed over to representatives of the International Committee of Red Cross. The announcement follows a string of releases of Taliban prisoners by Afghan government and came after head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan met Taliban leaders to discuss a reduction in violence in the war-weary country. Since Wednesday, Afghan government has released 300 Taliban prisoners as part of an agreement signed between US and Afghan armed group aimed at ending 18-year-long war.aljazeera


Bangladesh hangs killer of Mujibur Rahman

Authorities in Bangladesh have executed a killer of the country's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, nearly 45 years after the assassination.Abdul Majed, a former military captain, was hanged at the central jail at Keraniganj near the capital, Dhaka, a minute after midnight of Saturday, said Inspector General of Prisons Brigade General AKM Mustafa Kamal Pasha.Majed was arrested in Dhaka on Tuesday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, adding that the arrest was "biggest gift" for Bangladesh this year.aljazeera


Israel's president denies Netanyahu rival Gantz more time to form coalition government

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s election rival Benny Gantz asked for additional time on Saturday to try to form a govt with the long-time leader, to end more than a year of political deadlock, reports Reuters.However, Israel’s president on Sunday denied request, deepening country’s political deadlock.Israeli political commentators said Reuven Rivlin’s decision, announced from his spokesman, made the prospect of a fourth national election, after inconclusive ballots in April and Sept.2019 and last month, more likely.A 28-day mandate to put together a governing coalition, following an inconclusive March 2 election, expires on April 14. Gantz, an ex-armed forces chief who heads the centrist Blue and White party, asked President Reuven Rivlin for a 14-day extension to the mandate. Middleeastmonitor

*views, Articles, FEATURES*

Lockdown may contain Covid-19, but it can’t curb the virus of Islamophobia in India:PRIYA RAMANI

What Migrant Workers Are Revealing In SOS Calls To Us:Rajendran Narayanan

Indians vote on caste, religion because they lack information on MP, MLA performance: Study:PRERNA KUNDU

Why a total lockdown of India after 14 April will be counter-productive;SHEKHAR GUPTA

Covid-19 and Great Recession can be fought only if nations come together, like in 2008:BØRGE BRENDE

Centre's Financial Action Plan was big factor in pushing migrant workers to leave towns:P Chidambaram

MPLADS is a nimble tool for targeted intervention:Manish Tewari

‘Lockdown’ a let-down, how will extending it help? Aakar Patel

Hysteria over Tablighi Jamaat turns out to be counterproductive: Vikas Bajpai

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 9:18 PM).  



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