News Flash – 28 January 2020

National News

 

 

Tardeo Man Quarantined after China Trip for Suspected nCov

 

Mumbai: Three more individuals returning from China, including a 36-year-old Tardeo man and two Pune residents, have been quarantined for the suspected novel coronavirus (nCov), taking the count of quarantined patients in the state to six. With the virus continuing to spread globally, the state decided to approach private hospitals to ready their isolation wards as backup, besides starting a toll-free number (104) to disseminate information on the disease. The latest to be isolated at Kasturba Hospital, Chinchpokli, that houses the city’s only quarantine facility, was the Tardeo resident, who complained of cough with sputum for five days and had an episode of fever on Sunday. BMC officials said the individual stayed in Shanghai (January 3-7) and then in the Chinese city Guangzhou (January 7-11), before returning to Mumbai on January 11 via Hong Kong. His samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. Three others, including a 31-year-old Nalasopara woman, a 36-year-old man from Kalyan and a 65-year-old Britisher, remain quarantined at Kasturba as a hospital discharge policy for isolated patients was drawn up on Monday.

 

 

Quarantined patients will now be allowed to go home only after they have tested negative in two consecutive tests carried out at a four-day interval. At the meeting of Maharashtra Communicable Diseases Prevention, Control, Technical Committee (MCDPCTC) attended by officials from public health department, BMC and NIV experts, it was decided to follow up suspected patients, including those who test negative, till 28 days. “We will follow them over the phone or they can self-report,” said Dr Archana Patil, additional director, health services. State official said 15 of the 3,756 passengers screened at Mumbai international airport are under observation. “People under observation are asymptomatic now,” Dr Patil said. BMC executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said the Tardeo patient was stable and was given symptomatic treatment. “He doesn’t have a history of travel to any fish market or of meeting anyone with similar illness in China,” he said. Former public health minister Dr Deepak Sawant, who was at the MCDPCTC meet, said the toll-free number will be activated in a day or two. Dr Subhash Salunkhe of MCDPCTC said those who arrived in Mumbai from China from January 1 will be monitored for double the incubation period for coronavirus, which is 14-15 days.

 

 

Gang Involved in Stealing ATM’s Dusted, 3 Arrested

 

 

New Delhi: A gang of criminals from Mewat, which was allegedly involved in stealing automated teller machines (ATMs) from the kiosks around south-west Delhi, was busted on Sunday. Three men were nabbed while they were scanning empty ATM kiosks near Dwarka. A police probe revealed that they had ripped off an ATM machine from a kiosk in Uttam Nagar on New Year’s Eve and spent the money on parties. The gang would travel to Delhi from Haryana, cut open the machines with gas cutters and break open the box for cash. DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said that Aashik, Ishtiyaq and Farmoon were caught in a car, along with two pistols, knives and equipment used to break ATMs. Two cash trays of the ATMs they had robbed in the past fortnight were also recovered. All the accused are from nearby villages and work as drivers. Aashik, who has been earlier involved in several crimes, was the kingpin of the gang. He knew ways to cut the ATM machine and used a gas cutter during his last ATM theft. They were planning to strike after Republic Day celebrations, thinking that the cops will be taking rest after long duty hours. On Sunday, they drove out in a stolen car to recce an ATM, which they could target later at night. They were carrying a few tools required to cut an ATM and were planning to borrow a gas cutter from an associate later at night. When intercepted by a police team, they tried to ram their vehicle and escape. However, the cops forced them to stop and arrested them.

 

 

Wrestler Caught Stealing from ATM

IN THE NICK OF TIME: The Punjab wrestler and his aide had cut through an ATM by the time police landed at the kiosk; (inset) The duo had covered a CCTV camera with chewing gum

Harsh Aror and Samarjoth Singh.

 

 

Bengaluru: A wrestler and his associate from Punjab, who entered an SBI ATM kiosk in southwest Bengaluru early on Sunday and cut open the cash-vending machine, were arrested after blank visuals from the kiosk were noticed by the bank’s control room in Mumbai. Harsh Aror, 36, a wrestler in Jalandhar, and his associate, Samarjoth Singh, 32, from Sri Muktsar Sahib city, had removed Rs 13 lakh cash from the ATM and stuffed it into a bag, when police arrived and arrested them. The cops were alerted by the bank. Ramesh Banoth, DCP (west), said the incident took place between 1.20am and 1.50am on Sunday at the SBI kiosk opposite BHEL. “The two masked CCTV cameras installed outside the ATM with chewing gum. After entering the ATM, the miscreants, who wore helmets, blackened the cameras inside. But SBI’s control room staff in Mumbai noticed the visuals going blank and suspected something amiss. Officials alerted the Bengaluru police control room, but we were not told which kiosk had been targeted. We asked night patrol cops to verify all SBI ATMs from JJ Nagar till Rajarajeshwari Nagar,” Banoth said. Chandra Layout inspector Brijesh Mathew, who was on night patrol, and three Hoysala staffers zeroed in on the kiosk near BHEL. “Our men found its shutter rolled down and could smell something burning,” Banoth said.

 

 

The duo inside the kiosk, however, put up a fight. According to Brijesh’s complaint, they hit head constables Basavaraj and Anand with an iron rod on the leg and hand, respectively. “We nabbed the duo red handed and seized the stolen money, a gas cutter, cylinder, oxygen masks, pipes, a car and other material from them,” Banoth said. Harsh Aror and Samarjoth Singh had planned to loot ATMs to clear the debts they had incurred after suffering loss in their cloth business. Aror and Singh were staying in BTM Layout, southeast Bengaluru. for six months. They failed to loot ATMs in their first two attempts but succeeded the third time and took away Rs 23.5 lakh from a kiosk at Parappana Agrahara on the night of December 28. “They initially watched videos about looting ATMs on online platforms, including YouTube. They realised a gas cutter would help them open the metal kiosks,” an investigating officer said. The suspects were produced before the court, which remanded them in police custody for 14 days. Police said Harsh was a wrestler and car driver, while Samarjoth ran an apparel business, in which he lost huge sums of money.

 

 

Thai Woman’s Death Prompts Probe; Tests Rule out Infection in Chinese National

A woman on the ID Hospital (above) campus fixes a mask on her child.

 

 

Kolkata: The death of a 32-year-old Thai national and the admission of a 28-year-old Chinese woman to the isolation ward at ID Hospital, Beliaghata, on Monday sparked coronavirus panic in the city. While health officials breathed a sigh of relief when they could finally rule out coronavirus infection on the Chinese national, swab samples of the Thai national have been collected for confirmatory tests. “ID Hospital has received the swab samples of the Thai woman, which will be sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, for confirmatory tests,” a senior health official at Swasthya Bhawan said. The Chinese woman, Zno Huamin, had landed in Mumbai on January 24 before taking a train to Kolkata. When she complained of fever, headache and abdomen pain, a friend took her to Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals early on Monday. She was immediately sent to ID Hospital. Doctors at the state run-hospital and health officials were on their toes right after the patient arrived around 2.30am. She was immediately put in the isolation ward that had been kept ready for patients suspected to be infected with coronavirus. Hospital administrators, including medical superintendent and vice-principal Asish Manna, reached the hospital and informed Swasthya Bhawan.

 

 

A team from the public health unit at Swasthya Bhawan and director of medical education Debasis Bhattacharyya visited the hospital. Huamin said she had left China about five months ago for globetrotting. The Swasthya Bhawan team, along with ID Hospital medicine department head Tapan Biswas found no coronavirus infection symptoms. But as a precaution the team got in touch with NIV, Pune, and sent her medical reports. They were relieved when NIV ruled out coronavirus infection and informed that her swab samples would not be necessary. “The patient is doing well. But we shall keep her under observation for now,” Manna said. However, the nature of infection in the deceased Thai citizen is yet to be known. Her swab samples have been sent to ID Hospital. They will also be sent to NIV. According to sources, the Thai woman, Surin Naktoy, was admitted to the emergency unit of Ruby General Hospital on the night of January 21, with acute respiratory distress. She was being treated at the ICU where she died around 5pm on Monday. “Since it was case of acute respiratory distress syndrome involving a foreign national, we informed the health department. Her swab samples have been submitted,” said Debasis Datta, GM of operations, at Ruby General Hospital. The hospital had kept the Thai consulate and the patient’s family in the loop during treatment. Like China, Thailand, has been affected by the coronavirus. Naktoy was on a business tour to Kolkata.

 

 

International News

 

 

5 Million Wuhan Residents on Move, Some of them Possible Carriers

 

Beijing: More disturbing news emerged from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak of the new strain of a coronavirus (nCoV). Mayor Zhou Xian Wang disclosed on Monday that five million people had left the city as part of the annual travel exodus during the ongoing Spring festival even as the outbreak toll rose to 81 and the number of those infected touched 3,000. The holiday exodus from Wuhan has led to fears that a good number of people are unknowingly carriers of the disease which has spread across China and to different parts of the world. China’s National Health Commission has said many people do not show symptoms of the disease although they may be carrying them. Isolating such a vast number of people poses a grave challenge and the real situation would be known when they return to Wuhan. “We also must not treat the people of Wuhan and Hubei as if they are virus spreaders regardless of where they just came from and whether they have passed the incubation period,” state controlled Global Times said in an editorial. Besides Hubei province, which has nearly 1,500 infected patients, five other Chinese provinces have more than 100 confirmed cases each, official sources said. There are signs that the coronavirus has spread to most of the country’s provinces. China extended the ongoing new year holiday by three days to Sunday to discourage people from returning home before the administration has enough time to make additional arrangements for disease prevention.

 

 

Chinese corporate giants including Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings Ltd said they have asked staff to work from home for a week. Alibaba said the measure applied across all its divisions, including to workers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau as well as in mainland China. The Shanghai government also imposed a similar measure, announcing that all companies in the city would not be allowed to start work before February 9, as did the nearby city of Suzhou, home to a big industrial park for pharmaceutical firms and tech companies. The decision by the Shanghai government will affect companies such as Tesla Inc., General Motors and Volkswagen which either own factories or operate them in the city through ventures with local partners. TikTok owner Bytedance was among the most stringent, requiring employees who travelled during the holidays to quarantine themselves and work from home for 14 days. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited hospitals in Wuhan and met medical personnel to assess the situation and ensure that social stability was not affected in the city. There are widespread complaints about shortage of food items and absence of internal transport which has been cut off. Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus landed in Beijing to discuss the measures being undertaken to control the spread and challenges about shortage of medicines and absence of a vaccine.

 

 

Plane Skids onto Highway in Iran

 

NARROW ESCAPE FOR 144: An aging Iranian airliner carrying 144 people crash-landed on a runway and skidded onto a major highway next to the airport in the city of Mahshahr on Monday. Authorities said two people suffered injuries in the hard landing of the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 flown by Caspian Airlines. Passengers exited through a door near the cockpit and another over the plane’s wing, a video showed. Images showed the plane had ground to a halt not far from a populated area. The McDonnell Douglas MD-83, a single-aisle workhorse introduced in the mid-1980s, has been phased out of commercial air travel in the West. However, Iran has struggled to obtain parts for its aging airliners amid sanctions by the US.


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