News Flash – 29 January 2020

National News



Corona Scare: 5 More From Hyderabad Kept in Isolation


Hyderabad: Five more people from Hyderabad were put in isolation at Fever Hospital on Tuesday. Of the five other cases that were reported in the past few days, two have tested negative, while the other three are being monitored at home as they have not shown any symptoms after initially reporting fever. Health authorities said that the five latest cases are people who returned from China last week and walked into the hospital with complaints of fever. Names of the cities they visited, have however, not been disclosed. They have currently been kept under observation. Depending on their symptoms, officials said, it will be decided whether their swab samples will be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune for testing for the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Dr K Shankar, superintendent Fever Hospital, said: “Three members of a family husband, wife and their daughter returned from China a week ago. They came to the hospital around 2.30pm and have been put under observation in the isolation ward. They have reported with cold and fever and are stable. We are closely monitoring their condition if their symptoms are persistent we will take their swab samples and send for testing”. Apart from the three, two more people who had visited China in the last week approached the hospital authorities on Tuesday evening and was put in the isolation ward. With the five new suspected cases, the total number of people who had been suspected for Coronavirus in the city have touched ten now, of which five have already been declared clear. Those cleared are being monitored by rapid response teams and surveillance teams of Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) in the state. Meanwhile, one of the person who had travelled to Wuhan and was previously admitted to the hospital but tested negative, came back with symptoms of gastric problem. The patient was tested and sent back on Tuesday evening.



Theft in ‘Secure’ Gated Society Leaves Seniors in ‘Unsafe’ Madurdaha Rattled


Kolkata: The daring robbery at an elderly woman’s flat in a protected and posh residential complex at Madurdaha off EM Bypass has made elderly neighbours in nearby houses and high-rises jittery and re-evaluate their security measures. “A robbery or a theft is nothing new in our neighbourhood but what is scary is that the robbers have started targeting elderly people living in protected complexes that have numerous security guards and CCTV cameras. If residents are not safe even inside such complexes, what will happen to us?” feared Pradip Pal (72), who have been living with his wife at a standalone house at Madurdaha for the last 10 years. His son stays in Barasat and his daughter is in the US. The Madurdaha neighbourhood has always been in the news for criminal activities from former West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency director SP Gon Chaudhuri being robbed at his home in 2013 to numerous incidents of snatching and thefts being reported every now and then. Madurdaha, along with Kalikapur, Anandapur and Mukundapur, is a part of east Kolkata’s rapidly expanding but poorly planned neighbourhood spanning between KMC wards 105 and 110. They are interspersed with swanky apartments, poorly maintained roads and ill-lit streets.



“Most of the people staying here are retired and want to live peacefully with their children away from them. But this area lacks some of the basic facilities, like transport options and adequate policing. In fact, the roads are so deserted in the afternoon and evening hours that we don’t even dare to move out of our house to the local market,” said Nirupama Dutta, an octogenarian local. New apartments in Madurdaha, from where one can walk to EM Bypass in 5 minutes, are selling at Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 per square feet. But basic infrastructure is almost non-existent. Sewers don’t exist in large parts and the narrow approach roads are rickety at best. Large swathes of Madurdaha still fall under the Kheadaha 2 GP, a panchayat area. The concrete carriageway that connects the area with EM Bypass is within the jurisdiction of KMC but the dirt tracks that then branch out to housing societies are in panchayat’s jurisdiction. “The area has turned into an island of elderly people and with incidents of crime like this, we are having a tough time. Incidents of theft and snatching are almost regular in this area. Such has been the situation that we ourselves have formed a group where a majority of residents in the area pay Rs 125 a month to hire night guards,” said Bankim Chandra Pal (70), a retired school teacher, whose son works in Hyderabad and daughter is settled in the US.



International News



Xi Vows to Beat “Demon” Virus

People wear protective facemasks at a station in Bangkok. Thailand announced plans on Tuesday to screen all arrivals from China for symptoms of the coronavirus and confirmed six more infections among such visitors, taking its tally to 14, health officials said.



Beijing: The death toll in the coronavirus outbreak in China rose nearly 30% in one day, taking the toll to 106. The number of infections jumped 80% in one day to reach 4,600. Infections will be tracked at a more rapid pace both because the mechanism for identifying the infected has now been established and millions of Chinese are returning home from travels related to the Spring festival holidays. Calling the Coronavirus, a demon, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a war to get rid of the challenge. “The epidemic is a demon and we cannot let this demon hide,” state television quoted Xi as saying. “China will strengthen international cooperation and welcomes the WHO participation in virus prevention … China is confident of winning the battle against the virus”. State media quoted visiting WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying that China has taken all the necessary measures to fight the crisis and its performance is an example for other countries. The autonomous city of Hong Kong announced measures to check the flow of people from mainland China while several countries cancelled flights connecting the region around Hubei, the most affected province in central China. Wearing a protective mask, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced that high-speed trains and ferries that cross the border will be suspended from Thursday. She also said that flights from the mainland would be reduced. She urged Hong Kong residents to return from the mainland as soon as possible and quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.



China has suspended nearly 2,000 long-distance trains and suspended long-distance bus services. There is as yet no sign of evacuation although the state media reported earlier that US citizens have been allowed to leave the locked down city and return home. Chinese authorities are evaluating the medical risks connected with allowing people to leave the isolated city. There are also concerns that local people might react adversely if foreigners are allowed to go. US health officials expanded their recommendation for people to avoid non-essential travel to any part of China, rather than just Wuhan and other areas most affected by the outbreak. The Philippines stopped issuing visas on arrival to Chinese nationals on Tuesday though there have been no confirmed cases in the country. “We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov,” Jaime Morente, the commissioner of the Philippines’ bureau of immigration, said in a statement. Sri Lanka on Tuesday too suspended its visa on arrival facility for travellers from China, its third largest tourism source market, a day after authorities here detected the country’s first coronavirus infection. Many international companies, including Facebook, restricted or banned travel to China by their employees. Chinese companies sent out messages to their staff to stay at home on paid leave till mid-February to avoid transmission of the disease. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Hong Kong announced they have succeeded in separating the virus from an imported case of the infection and have developed a vaccine. But it will take them a long time to test it on animals. Scientists from mainland China and the US are also working on several projects to isolate and identify the virus before producing the right vaccine.



Germany, Japan Confirm Human-To-Human Transmission of Virus



Health officials on Tuesday reported what appear to be the first known cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Germany and in Japan. Another case was recently reported in Vietnam. The cases show that countries across the world are now faced with the task of limiting the spread of the disease on their own soil, not just seeking to identify and quarantine ailing patients who had travelled from China. Japan’s ministry of health, labour and welfare said the first Japanese national and the sixth person in Japan overall to be diagnosed with the coronavirus was a man in his 60s. He had never been to Wuhan, but he had worked as a bus driver earlier this month for two different group tours from that city, officials said. The man began experiencing symptoms on January 14 and was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Tuesday. The infected German, whose case was also confirmed on Tuesday, is a 33-yearold man from Bavaria who had been in contact with a Chinese woman in Germany, officials said. The woman was diagnosed with the virus after flying home to China. The man was in good condition, German officials said. “It was to be expected that the virus would come to Germany,” Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, said in a statement on Tuesday. The WHO said on Friday that there appeared to have been a case of human-to-human transmission in Vietnam. The person had never been to China, but had a relative who had visited Wuhan, and was confirmed to have the virus.

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