QBullet: Sharp Bump in Corona Tally; Kamal Nath Throws in Towel

Catch all the top headlines of the day.

Published21 Mar 2020, 01:16 AM IST
India
6 min read

1. Sharp Bump in Corona Tally Warns of Potential Dangers

India’s battle to effectively contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continued on Friday as the number of infections doubled in just four days to 236, even as experts reiterated that not enough people were being tested and that an undetected spread could overwhelm the country’s health care infrastructure.

On Friday, 20 March, India reported 63 fresh cases, taking the tally up from 173 a day earlier. Several states across the country have announced large-scale shutdowns to stop the outbreak from entering the stage of community transmission, a point when a person’s infection can’t be traced to its origin.

Experts said that a sudden and sharp spike in cases could hinder efforts to prevent the outbreak from taking hold if more aggressive and random testing is not carried out across India.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. Nath Throws in Towel Before MP Floor Test

After two weeks of political drama, sparked by the shock defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia to the BJP which eventually led to the collapse of the Congress government, Kamal Nath handed in his resignation as MP chief minister on Friday, 20 March, saying betrayal by “Maharaj” and “political greed” had defeated the hopes and belief of the state.

At 1:15 pm, with the clock ticking on the Supreme Court-ordered floor test, Nath’s convoy rolled into Raj Bhavan, where he handed over his resignation which said, “In my 40 years of public life, I have always practiced politics of cleanliness and gave priority to democratic values. Whatever happened in the past two weeks in Madhya Pradesh, is a new chapter in the devaluation of democratic values.”

(Source: The Times of India)

3. Singer at Party Tests Positive, Fear Travels From Lucknow to Parliament

Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor has contracted the coronavirus.
Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor has contracted the coronavirus.
(Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

The threat of coronavirus infection reached Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament on Friday, with BJP MP Dushyant Singh announcing he was self-quarantining himself after attending a party in Lucknow where a Bollywood singer who later tested positive was also there. Two other MPs, Anupriya Patel and Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien, who came in touch with him, have gone into self-isolation.

An MP from Rajasthan, Dushyant was present at a party thrown by a nephew of former MP Akbar Ahmad Dumpy in Lucknow on 15 March, also attended by singer Kanika Kapoor, along with his mother and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Kanika flew back from London a few days ago and tested positive on Friday, four days after the Lucknow party.

On Friday night, the Lucknow police registered an FIR against Kanika under sections dealing with disobedience to orders promulgated by a public servant and acts likely to spread disease dangerous to life.

(Source: The Indian Express)

4. Capital, Mumbai Shut Down More Commercial Activities

Malls and multiplexes in Delhi closed till 31 March
Malls and multiplexes in Delhi closed till 31 March
(Photo Courtesy: iStock Images)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, 20 March, ordered the closure of all malls, with the exception of grocery shops and pharmacies within their premises, with similar shutdowns being clamped in the financial hub of Mumbai to shield citizens from contracting and transmitting the highly contagious coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on a day when prospects of a worsening crisis emerged with the number of infections climbing to 236.

Public health experts said the five dozen fresh cases showed an alarming trend and could trigger a chain of local transmissions if the measures to test people were not scaled up immediately and made more randomised. They said the current limited testing pattern by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) could result in the infections spreading undetected.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

5. Sheena Bora Murder Case: Peter Out on Bail After 4.5 Yrs

Peter Mukerjea tells court he doesn’t want to die in custody.
Peter Mukerjea tells court he doesn’t want to die in custody.
(Photo: PTI)

Four-and-a-half years after former media mogul Peter Mukerjea was arrested for the murder of his stepdaughter Sheena Bora, on Friday, 20 March, he walked out of Arthur Road jail on bail. Mukerjea is the first accused in the case to be granted the relief.

Two others, his ex-wife Indrani Mukerjea and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna are in jail. A fourth accused turned prosecution witness, Mukerjea’s former driver Shyamvar Rai, is also lodged in Thane jail. On Thursday the six-week stay on the Bombay high court order granting Peter bail ended with the CBI not moving an appeal before the Supreme Court.

(Source: The Times of India)

6. Exodus From Mumbai, Pune as Migrant Workers Pack Trains Headed East

An exodus began in Mumbai and Pune due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
An exodus began in Mumbai and Pune due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
(Photo: AP/Rajanish Kakade)

As shops and establishments prepared to shut down following a Maharashtra government order that all private businesses and companies must remain closed from Saturday until 31 March, an exodus began in Mumbai and Pune with tens of thousands of workers in the unorganised sector, as well as auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers, thronging railway ticket counters to return to their hometowns, mostly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In scenes that were just the opposite of the government’s advice to people to remains indoors, and will raise concerns among public health officials about efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and cross-country transmission, people thronged inter-city stations in Pune and Mumbai, lining up at ticket counters and gathering on platforms as they waited for trains to take them home.

(Source: The Indian Express)

7. Sensex Stages a Stunning Rebound After Bloodbath

A man watches the screen outside BSE building as Sensex nosedives.
A man watches the screen outside BSE building as Sensex nosedives.
(Photo: PTI)

After a tumultuous ride, Indian stock markets gained nearly 6 percent on Friday, 20 March, the biggest single-day rise in six months, as investors hoped for a government package to boost the economy amid the Covid-19 crisis. Global equities also lent support. The BSE Sensex ended the day at 29,915.96, up 1627.73 points, or 5.75%, while the Nifty was at 8,745.45, up 482 points, or 5.83 percent.

“Indian markets bounced back on the back of positive global cues. Central banks across the world have announced various fiscal and monetary measures to cushion the impact of coronavirus. The news flow on the spread of coronavirus continues to be mixed with an exponential jump in new cases in the US though there is improving trend in China. Thus, the volatility could persist in the near term,” said Gaurav Dua, head, capital market strategy and investments, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

8. Govt Asks All Hospitals to Set Aside Beds, Notify Pneumonia Cases Too

Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.
(Photo: PTI)

The Centre issued an advisory on Friday, 20 March, to all hospitals and medical education institutions – both public and private – asking them to set aside beds, prepare isolation facilities, procure sufficient numbers of ventilators, high-flow oxygen masks and mobilise additional manpower to step up combat readiness to take on the spread of Covid-19.

The measures come as cases continue to rise, though there’s still no surge or a spike, and reflect the government’s assessment that the healthcare system needs to be ready for a contingency of a large number of patients. Though there is no community spread yet, medical facilities are being prepared for such a scenario and to also ensure a more even distribution of resources.

(Source: The Times of India)

9. No Train to Run on Sunday During Janta Curfew

In an extraordinary decision, Indian Railways announced on Friday, 20 March, that it would stop its services across the country from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday during the Janta Curfew called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It, however, clarified that if long-distance and inter-city trains have good occupancy figures (since long-distance trains are booked in advance), the zonal railways may decide to run them. Officials said zonal general managers will assess the final situation on Saturday.

The Railway Board, in its order to zonal general managers, said all passenger trains (about 2,400), will remain cancelled from Saturday midnight to 10 pm Sunday. About 1,300 mail express trains will also not run from 4 am Sunday.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!