News Flash – 9 March 2020

National News



Corona Cases Rise to 39 as 5 More Found Infected in Kerala


New Delhi: The number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 39 on Sunday, with five people from Kerala a couple and their son who returned from Italy on February 29 and their two relatives testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Some reports said one person had died in Ladakh and another in West Bengal. Both were admitted in Covid-19 wards. Union health ministry hasn’t yet put them in the list of confirmed cases. Kerala health minister K K Shailaja said the state has been put on high alert. Shailaja said the Kerala couple, in their 50s, and their son (24) did not report at the airport health desk or any other health centre. Their travel history became known only on March 6, when one of their relatives went to a hospital with fever. Due to the couple and their son’s irresponsible behaviour, two of their relatives have also got the virus now. We have learnt that they have also attended several functions and visited several relatives after their return to Ranni (a small village in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala) where they live,” Shailaja said.



The couple and their son, local authorities said, even refused to cooperate with health officials, following which they were forcibly admitted to the isolation ward of the Pathanamthitta general hospital. “As of now their condition is stable,” the Kerala health minister said, adding two nonagenarian members of their family will be shifted to the Kottayam Medical College hospital as a precaution. According to a recent WHO study, based on the assessment of Covid-19 outbreak in China, 88% people with Covid19 had fever. Dry cough was seen in about 68% cases, followed by fatigue (38%), sputum production (33%), shortness of breath (19%), sore throat (14%) and headache in about 14% cases among others. The report also said deaths happen mostly in patients with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular diseases (13.2%), diabetes (9.2%), hypertension (8.4%), chronic respiratory disease (8%) and cancer (7.6%). The WHO report also says only about 2% of patients aged 18 years and under suffered from Covid-19.



65-Year-Old Loses Rs.50k in ATM Fraud



Kolkata: A 65-year-old man has lodged a complaint with Ultadanga police station, alleging that someone had stolen his debit card last month and siphoned off Rs 51,533 from his account by making multiple transactions over the last one week. The complainant, Goutam Mukherjee, a retired state government employee, said that he had come to know about the theft only last Thursday when his card was not responding. Having checked with his bank about the matter, Mukherjee realised that someone had swapped his card and stolen the money through multiple transactions. He blocked the card and approached the police. Preliminary investigation revealed that the man had used the debit card at an Ultadanga Road ATM last on February 28. He claimed that while coming out of the ATM, he had bumped into someone and the card had fallen from his hand. The person whom he had collided with bowed down, lifted the card and handed it over to him. He put the card in his pocket and left the ATM kiosk. “It is possible that while Mukherjee was putting the password in the machine, the person might have noted it down, standing outside the kiosk. The latter intentionally collided with him to swap the card and then withdrew the money. We have started a case of theft and cheating and are checking the CCTV footage of the ATM for investigation,” said a senior police officer.



No Security Staff to Frisk Users of First Metro Train

BIG LAPSE: Security was not on duty around 4.30am at the Thirumangalam metro station.



Chennai: Footfalls may have increased at metro rail stations, but Chennai metro rail is not taking passenger security seriously. Security staff in charge of frisking commuters and manning baggage scanners are not present in the mornings when the stations open for the first service at 4.30am. On Saturday, a TOI photographer swiped his metro card and reached the platform early in the morning without being frisked as no staff was available at the security kiosk and the ticket counter at the Tirumangalam metro station. The station was readied for services and the turnstiles were switched on, a few commuters were waiting near the ticket counter for the staff to issue tickets, but there was no one to screen the baggage or frisk the passengers. This was not a stray incident. Commuters who take the first metro train say security staff arrive late. A metro rail staff said that security duties such as scanning of bags and frisking of commuters have been outsourced to a private company, but the personnel take time to arrive in the morning.



Since operations staff have to keep the stations ready for the first train, the counters and turnstiles for entry to the ticketed areas are switched on as per the train timings. “We cannot wait for all the security personnel to be in to open the stations,” the metro rail staff said. Though metro rail has installed door frame metal detectors and baggage scanning machines, the checks are not done strictly. Pandian, a frequent user, said a few days ago two drunk commuters created ruckus inside a train in Anna Nagar. “I was surprised how the two managed to get in as they were heavily drunk. They created nuisance inside the train. Other commuters were sitting quiet and did not interfere. The security staff should be more watchful. I have complained to metro rail authorities but I am yet to get a response on the action taken,” he added. All the stations are supposed to have armed police personnel at the entrance. But of late, they are not to be found. Metro rail officials said that they would require time to comment.



International News



Italy’s Death Toll Surges by 133 to 366. It has 2nd Most Fatalities, Infections after China

The Grand Princess cruise ship that has been held off the coast of California after more than 20 people on board tested positive for the coronavirus will dock on Monday at the port of Oakland, the vessel’s operator said. Passengers on the ship who require acute medical treatment and hospitalisation will disembark first and be taken to facilities in California, according to the boat’s operator, Princess Cruises. Other guests on board who are California residents will be quarantined in a federal center in the state, the statement late Saturday said. California has emerged as an early centre for the virus in the US, with about 100 cases in all.



Italy: The global fight against the coronavirus entered a new stage this weekend as Italy ordered an unprecedented peacetime lockdown of its wealthiest region, New York’s governor declared a state of emergency, and a cruise ship carrying at least 21 infected people was set to dock as early as Monday in California. More than 1,07,500 cases of the virus have been confirmed across at least 95 countries. More than half of those infected have recovered, according to a global database maintained by Johns Hopkins. At least 3,654 people have died, all but 557 in mainland China. Italy on Sunday recorded the second-highest coronavirus toll in the world, after reporting a sharp jump in deaths and overtaking South Korea on infections. The number of fatalities nearly tripled, rising from 133 to 366 on Sunday, according to the civil protection agency, with most deaths occurring in the hard-hit Lombardy region in Italy’s wealthy north. The country now has the most deaths of any country outside China, and the second most COVID-19 infections in the world, after the number of cases rose by a single-day record of 1,492 to 7,375. South Korea currently has some 7,313 cases, and Sunday said its rate of infection was slowing. Civil protection agency chief Angelo Borrelli said Italy was ordering 22 million surgical masks to help stop the spread.



The US has counted more than 450 cases across 32 states and the District of Columbia, and 19 deaths. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday. The state’s caseload rose from 89 on Saturday to 105 on Sunday, including a driver in New York City who worked for Uber and two unexplained positive tests of people 321km to the north. Anthony Fauci, the head of the infectious diseases unit at the National Institutes of Health, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that after initial missteps distributing tests, there should be 4,00,000 more tests available by Monday and 4 million by the end of the week. As recently as Saturday, US President Donald Trump said he would continue to hold his political rallies, which sometimes draw up to 20,000 people. The Democrats competing to challenge him in the November 3 presidential election, US Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, have not cancelled any campaign events so far. Fauci said authorities in the US may also need to consider steps to keep people out of crowded places if the virus continued to spread. Still, he downplayed the likelihood of the type of large-scale quarantines put in place in China and Italy, while saying nothing could be ruled out. He urged those most at risk to limit travel.

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