News Flash – 29 February 2020

National News



Phone Thief Drags Woman Out of Moving Train Near Borivli Station



Mumbai: A 28-year-old woman, who is employed as a visual effects artist, was dragged out of a moving Vapi passenger train when she caught the man who snatched her phone near Borivli station. The accused, Wasim Shaikh, was later arrested. Cops said he is a history-sheeter who had been extended from railway property. The incident took place on February 20, when the woman (name withheld on request) was returning from Palghar. “I usually commute by local trains, but when the Vapi passenger arrived at 6.50pm, I boarded it as it was getting late. The train was packed, but I managed to get a seat in the general coach,” she told TOI. By 8.11pm, the train reached Borivli’s platform 10. “The train halted for nearly 10 minutes at the station. I dialled my mother, but as I was not getting network, I moved to a single seat closer to the door.” Just then the train started moving. As she was going through photographs on her phone, a man, who was in the coach, snatched her phone. “I grabbed his arm, confident that he could not escape as the train had left the platform. But to my horror, he jumped out of the moving train and dragged me along. I landed on the tracks and hurt my head and shoulders even as he scaled a wall and fled. I screamed for help and a couple from a building near the tracks came to my rescue,” she said. They offered her water and cotton to stop the blood flowing from her head, and helped her reach the platform where a policewoman rushed her to hospital. “I couldn’t register a complaint at that time, but did after I got better,” she said. Based on the description given by the woman and going through CCTV footages of various stations, the police tracked down Shaikh, who lives on a pavement in Borivli. “Shaikh led our team to Rahul Kahar (20) who had bought the stolen phone. He too was arrested,” said senior inspector Bhaskar Pawar, Borivli GRP.



Two Held for Attempting to Break Pen ATM



Chennai: Two men were arrested on Friday for attempting to break open an ATM as they could not withdraw cash at Rathan Bazaar in Parry’s on February 25. A police team solved the case with the help of the CCTV camera footage and the arrested Sudhakar and Suryah, both are natives of Chidambaram, employed as coolie in Parry’s.



International News



Coronavirus Slows in China, But Gallops Across the Globe


China: After Brazil confirmed its first coronavirus patient this week, cases have now been reported from every continent except Antarctica, forcing countries to take drastic measures for its containment. Italy has at least 11 towns on lockdown while parts of UK, Japan, Iran and Germany have shut down schools. In California, 8,400 people are being monitored for the virus. Several countries, including India, have either lowered flight frequency to affected countries or issued travel advisories. Saudi Arabia has banned foreign pilgrims. Amid a warning from the World Health Organisation that the new coronavirus has “pandemic potential”, TOI tracks its global march as the death toll touches 2,867 and confirmed cases cross 83,000 on Friday. In US, preparation for pandemic On his Indian visit, US President Donald Trump cast coronavirus as “a problem that’s going to go away”, but experts disagree. The US State Department and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it expects Covid-19 to spread in the US. Dr Nancy Meissonier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was quoted by CBS News as saying, “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more of a question of exactly when this will happen.” The US has recorded 60 confirmed cases and Trump has announced a new team led by Vice President Mike Pence to tackle the virus. Tourists trapped as Europe locks down Italian towns in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto remain under lockdown with schools, churches and markets shut with the country reporting 655 cases and 17 deaths. The Vatican is shutting all catacombs open to public as humidity and limited space in the underground burial sites can favour spread of the virus, according to CNBC. Neighbours are nervous too. Several European countries now have confirmed cases and many of them can be traced back to Italy.



Earlier this week, a dozen UK schools sent home students and teachers who had returned from skiing trips in the Italian Alps, according to The Guardian. About 1,000 holidaymakers and workers were quarantined in a hotel in Tenerife, a top destination in Spain’s Canary Islands, after two Italian guests tested positive. India issues travel advisories Iran, one of the worst affected nations outside China, said its deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, tested positive for the coronavirus. By Friday, 34 people had died out of 338 positive cases. Dubai and UAE have halted all flights to Iran and several nations have advised citizens to avoid travel. India has issued an advisory that people from Iran, South Korea and Italy or having such travel history since February 10, 2020, may be quarantined for 14 days on arrival. Travel to Singapore is also not advised. On Thursday, India temporarily suspended visa on arrivals for nationals of Japan and South Korea. South Korea, which has the largest outbreak outside mainland China, has recorded 13 deaths and 2,337 confirmed cases. Japan’s botched quarantine Media reports have quoted Japan’s health minister as admitting that many who were allowed to disembark the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, which remained moored in Yokohama for several weeks, have developed symptoms, including fever, and will now undergo tests. Nearly 1,000 passengers were allowed to leave the ship last week after testing negative. PM Shinzo Abe on Thursday asked schools to close until April. Improvement in China? The number of daily cases reported outside China have exceeded the number of cases reported within the country. Cities in China have started lowering their emergency response level, local media reported. Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, however, remains under lockdown with mainland China recording 2,788 deaths and 78,824 infections.



WHO Raises Global Virus Risk to Top Level after 56 Nations Hit

NOT TAKING CHANCES: School children disinfect their hands before leaving school in Osaka. Japan has ordered schools across the country to close from Monday to check spread of the new coronavirus.



Beijing: From eastern Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa, a steady stream of new cases on Friday fuelled the sense that the new coronavirus epidemic may be turning into a global pandemic, with some health officials saying it may be inevitable. At least 210 people have died from coronavirus in Iran, in various cities, as of Thursday night, BBC Persian reported on Friday, citing hospital sources. An Iranian health ministry spokesman, however, rejected the claim and said that only 34 people had died in the country of the virus so far and that 388 were infected. In Japan, officials in the northern island of Hokkaido declared a state of emergency because of the pace of new infections there. South Korean officials are rushing to test thousands of members of a church at the centre of that country’s outbreak. The virus has had wide-ranging impact, even forcing K-pop megastars BTS to cancel four Seoul concerts due in April. Africa has long been a source of concern, and a case in Nigeria raised fears that more infections might lurk there undetected. Nigeria aid the patient was an Italian citizen who had returned to Lagos, the country’s largest city, from Milan on Tuesday. The patient was stable, did not have “serious symptoms” and was being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos.



In Europe, Wales and Northern Ireland both reported their first confirmed cases, and Switzerland banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people. More than 83,000 people in at least 56 countries have been infected, and more than 2,800 have died, according to NYT. New infections outside China are now outpacing those within the country, the site of the first and by far the largest outbreak. The World Health Organisation on Friday raised its global risk assessment of the new coronavirus to its highest level. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the risk was being raised to “very high” because of the continued increase in cases and the number of new countries affected in recent days. These developments “are clearly of concern”, Tedros told reporters in Geneva. But he added: “We still have a chance of containing this virus, if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts.” The WHO does not officially use the word “pandemic,” often defined as the worldwide spread of a new disease, but many health experts say the coronavirus epidemic is one, or soon will be. The virus has proliferated around the globe over the past week, emerging on every continent except Antarctica, prompting many governments and businesses to try to stop people travelling or gathering in crowded places. Still, signs in China offered hope that the outbreak could be contained. China reported 44 more deaths on Friday, raising its toll to 2,788, with 327 new cases the lowest daily figure for new infections in more than a month.

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