QBullet: Abrupt End to Curbs Unlikely, Says PM; UP Hotspots Sealed

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Published
India
6 min read
PM Discusses COVID-19 Crisis Over Video With Floor Leaders.
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1. Abrupt End to Curbs Not Possible: PM

PM Discusses COVID-19 Crisis Over Video With Floor Leaders.
PM Discusses COVID-19 Crisis Over Video With Floor Leaders.
(Photo: ANI)

“It’s not possible to lift the lockdown abruptly,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a meeting with the floor leaders of political parties in Parliament in the strongest message yet from the government that the nationwide three-week lockdown it had clamped to fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) will not be lifted in its entirety when it ends on 14 April.

“Nobody is saying that lockdown should be lifted. I will talk again to CMs. But as of now, the mood is that entire lockdown lifting is not possible. For us, lockdown is the only way to save our people,” Modi added in the video conference.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. COVID-19 Clusters in 15 Uttar Pradesh Districts to Be Sealed Till 15 April

Representational image.
Representational image.
(Photo: PTI)

In a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus through “community transmission”, the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday, 8 April, decided to seal areas in 15 districts which have emerged as hotspots with more than six positive cases till 15 April.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Chief Secretary RK Tiwari said, “So far we have decided to seal hotspots in these 15 districts, where in rest of the district normal lockdown would continue. Hotspots are places from where a cluster of coronavirus cases have been reported. These places would be sealed and only medical services and home delivery would be allowed in these areas.”

The identified hotspots in the 15 districts are – Agra (22), Ghaziabad (13), Gautam Buddh Nagar (12), Kanpur (12), Varanasi (4), Shamli (3), Meerut (7), Bareilly (1), Bulandhshahr (3), Basti (3), Firozabad (1), Saharanpur (4), Maharajganj (4), Sitapur (1), Lucknow (8) big and (4) small which would be sealed.

(Source: The Indian Express)

3. Government to Clear Pending I-T Refunds up to Rs 5 Lakh

Income Tax Department. Image used for representational purpose only.
Income Tax Department. Image used for representational purpose only.
(Photo Courtesy: Wikimapia)

The government on Wednesday, 8 April, unveiled a raft of measures to ensure availability of cash in the system, including speeding up of refunds worth Rs 18,000 crore linked to income tax returns, customs and GST, while deciding to prioritise spending on areas like health, pharma, food, rural development, railways and aviation.

The move suggests the Centre’s cash position may be stressed during the first quarter of the current fiscal. Separately, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari directed the NHAI to release all dues of developers and construction companies.

(Source: The Times of India)

4. Masks Mandatory in Delhi; 23 ‘Zones’ Sealed Fully

People lined up for check-up outside a clinic run by the Delhi Government during the nationwide lockdown imposed in view of the coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi, Wednesday, 8 April 2020.
People lined up for check-up outside a clinic run by the Delhi Government during the nationwide lockdown imposed in view of the coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi, Wednesday, 8 April 2020.
(Photo: PTI)

Authorities in Delhi announced on Wednesday, 8 April, a hard lockdown of 23 neighbourhoods with large number of COVID-19 cases and ordered all citizens to wear masks while stepping out of their homes, tightening curbs to combat the outbreak even as 93 new cases took the total number of infections in the national capital to 669.

In these zones, people will need to mandatorily keep indoors and all businesses – including grocery stores and banks that have been exempted from curbs as essential services – will be shut. Critical services such as food and medicine will be home-delivered by government personnel.

“There are 20 areas that have become hot spots and are being turned into containment zones. These areas will be completely sealed while the administration will ensure door-to-door delivery of essential items. No one else will be allowed to enter or exit the area,” Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters following an urgent meeting called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his top officials.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

5. COVID-19 Tests in Approved Govt, Private Labs Must Be Free of Cost: Supreme Court

Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock)

With COVID-19 cases showing no signs of easing in India, the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 8 April, ordered that novel coronavirus tests in approved government or private laboratories should be conducted free of cost. It also directed the Centre to immediately issue directions in this regard.

“Tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government Laboratories or approved private Laboratories shall be free of cost,” a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat, which heard the matter via video conferencing, said.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. JeM Commander Dead in J&K Gunfight as Pak Terror on Rise

Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.
(Photo: The Quint)

A 23-year-old Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander was killed after a day-long gun battle with security forces as part of an ongoing counter-insurgency operation in Jammu & Kashmir’s Sopore town on Wednesday, 8 April, the police said.

The gun battle is the latest in a series of firefights between militants and security forces in J&K since Saturday.

The escalation in violence has coincided with the lockdown in the region as part of the nationwide measures taken to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

7. Donald Trump: ‘PM Modi’s Strong Leadership Helping Not Just India, but Humanity’

File photo of PM Modi and US President Donald Trump.
File photo of PM Modi and US President Donald Trump.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Changing his stand on the export of hydroxychloroquine from India, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, 8 April, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity” in the fight against the new coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter, Trump said, “Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!”

Earlier in the day, Trump had praised PM Modi and India’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying “the US bought more than 29 million of hydroxychloroquine from India and the country put a stop because it was needed there”.

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. COVID-19: Govt Working on Bailout Package of up to ₹75,000 Crore to Revive Growth

Medical workers attend to a suspected coronavirus patient. Image used for representation.
Medical workers attend to a suspected coronavirus patient. Image used for representation.
(Photo: PTI)

The government may set up a fund with a corpus of about Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 75,000 crore to revive industries, particularly labour-intensive small and medium units, as part of an economic stimulus package currently under consideration to revive growth in the post-COVID-19 era, two officials aware of the plan said.

The corpus, which is yet to be finalised, is expected to be partly funded by a cess proposed to be levied on certain commodities such as fuels, and partly from budgetary support, the officials said, requesting anonymity.

“The purpose of the fund is to provide low-cost money to industrial units, particularly micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs), for their immediate working capital requirements so that they can expeditiously complete pending orders and receive payments. This will ensure synchronised movement of the wheels of the economy,” one of the officials said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

9. Bernie Sanders Drops out of US Presidential Race

Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
(Photo: AP/Matt Rourke)

Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist democrat from Vermont who electrified America’s collegiate constituency over two election cycles, is dropping out of the 2020 Presidential race, leaving the route clear for establishment candidate Joe Biden to clinch the party nomination to take on Donald Trump.

Sanders made the announcement in a call to his campaign staff on Wednesday, and he is expected to offer a more public explication later in a day, even as there is some suspense over how the long, theatrical election cycle will proceed n course of the year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

(Source: The Times of India)

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