News Flash – 12 February 2020

National News



5 Injured in Restaurant Blaze

UP IN FLAMES: Police suspect a short circuit in the kitchen caused the fire. Ten workers managed to escape but some sustained burns.



Bengaluru: Five men were injured when a blaze ravaged a restaurant near Wipro signal, Koramangala, on Tuesday evening. The incident took place around 7.15pm in the restaurant. Police said 10 workers inside the restaurant managed to escape but some sustained burns and were shifted to Green View Hospital near Agara Lake. A fire and emergency services personnel said they received a call at 7.20pm and two fire tenders were rushed to the spot. People inside several other shops and outlets in the building were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The flames were doused in two hours. Police suspect the blaze was caused by a short circuit in the restaurant kitchen.



3 Held for Amazon Warehouse Theft



Gurgaon: Three men who allegedly barged into an Amazon warehouse in Manesar last month and looted cash and goods worth Rs 4 lakh have been arrested. However, a former Amazon employee, who was also involved in the crime, is still on the run, police said. The accused identified as Ajay, Dharmendra and Diwan were arrested from Zui village in Jhajjar district on Monday by the crime unit of Manesar. They were produced in a court on Tuesday and remanded in three-day police custody. “During preliminary interrogation, they told us that the fourth accused had worked at the warehouse and knew the place where the money had been kept,” said ACP Prit Pal. “We will interrogate them again to know the whereabouts of the absconding person. Anyway, we have recovered all the cash and goods from the arrested men”.



Corona Panic Spreads Faster than Virus in Telangana

Dr Vasant Kumar with police personnel and media at Gandhi Hospital on Tuesday (above). Cops managed to capture the doctor who was threatening to set himself on fire. He was rescued by the police (left) and taken for counselling.



Hyderabad: Among the 140-odd people in the state who have been currently kept in isolation facilities at home or hospitals for over 28 days, many are under the false impression of having contracted the disease, even after testing negative for the virus, said officials on Tuesday. Officials said that few members have been constantly asking for retesting and are calling district level monitoring teams seeking guidance. At least two repeat tests were done at the ICMR lab recently to assuage the panic-stricken patients. “While so far severe psychological illness has not been reported in the suspected patients, there are some who had returned from China and tested negative for the virus but continue to believe that they are infected. They are very worried on what to do or what not to do. They are being counselled,” said Dr Shiva Balaji, head of state, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).



Meanwhile, being in quarantine means that a person cannot go out of a room or not meet and speak to anyone for days together. This can easily take a toll on the mental state of the person in quarantine, say experts. “Being in quarantine can cause severe psychological distress to the suspected patients if the aspect of their mental health is not addressed. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression are common in such cases as their social health can be kept be viewed as a separate entity. Heightened fear regarding their health and death can lead into panic attacks, which can develop into an anxiety disorder in patients. Sometimes not getting timely updates on their health and not having someone to discuss or instill confidence can cause psychological trauma,” said Dr Virinchi Sharma, consultant psychiatrist, speaking about mental health implications.



International News



Toll Crosses 1,000 as Fears Grow for China Economy

A man speaks to his mother who is on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan. Over 130 people on ship have been infected.



Guangzhou/Geneva: The coronavirus outbreak in China may be over by April, the country’s senior medical adviser said on Tuesday, but deaths surpassed 1,000 and the World Health Organization warned of a global threat potentially worse than terrorism. The world must “wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. As the epidemic squeezed the world’s second-biggest economy, Chinese firms struggled to get back to work after the extended New Year holiday, hundreds of them saying they would need loans running into billions of dollars to stay afloat. Company lay-offs were beginning despite assurances by President Xi Jinping that widespread sackings would be avoided, as supply chains for global firms from car manufacturers to smartphone makers ruptured. China’s foremost medical adviser on the outbreak, Zhong Nanshan, said numbers of new cases were falling in some provinces and forecast the epidemic would peak this month. “I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April,” added Zhong, 83, an epidemiologist who won fame for his role in combating the SARS outbreak 2003.



WHO said on Tuesday 1,017 people had died in China, where there were 42,708 cases. Only 319 cases have been confirmed in 24 other countries and territories outside mainland China, with two deaths: one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines. World stocks, which had seen rounds of selloffs due to the coronavirus’ impact on Chinese and global economy, surged to new record highs on Zhong’s comments. Tedros said the coronavirus should be regarded as akin to a terrorist attack. “A virus can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist action. If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as Public Enemy NO. 1, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons.” The first vaccine was 18 months away, the WHO chief said. With travel curbs, lockdowns and production suspensions all affecting China’s economy, many were trying to calculate and predict the probable impact. JPMorgan analysts downgraded forecasts for Chinese growth this quarter, saying the outbreak had “completely changed the dynamics” of its economy. Inside China, more than 300 firms are seeking bank loans totaling 57.4 billion yuan (a little over $8 billion) to help cope with the disruption, banking sources said. Prospective borrowers include smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp and ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Chinese firm Xinchao Media said on Monday it had laid off 500 people and restaurant chain Xibei said it was worried about how to pay its 20,000 workers.

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