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Formulate a national plan for handling Covid-19: Kapil Sibal to govt

He also called upon the judiciary to evolve a policy to ensure that the justice delivery system is considered an essential service during such a crisis.

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Kapil Sibal Speech

New Delhi, April 25 : The Congress on Saturday bemoaned the Central government’s “conspicuous silence” on the Disaster Management Act (DMA), 2005, and asked it to formulate a national plan for handling the coronavirus crisis, saying it’s time the government rethink the lockdown measures.”

“You cannot have a lockdown of people and a lockout of the economy. That’s not the way to formulate a policy. We are not criticising. We are only saying it is time to rethink. We are with the government. This is constructive criticism,” said senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal at a press conference via video-conferencing.

He said that as per the DMA, the Union government was duty-bound to formulate the national plan to deal with Covid-19, but “strangely, the government has maintained conspicuous silence”.

The Union government, in the absence of a national plan to deal with Covid-19, seems to have delegated its responsibilities under the DMA to state governments.

“Without the necessary infrastructure, both human and physical, and adequate financial resources, state governments are not in a position to effectively deal with this pandemic,” he said.

“Our Prime Minister’s limited role, so far as we can see, is addressing the nation from time to time. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) made no preparations to put in place a plan despite the WHO declaring the virus to be a public health emergency towards the end of January,” he said.

“Why were detailed plans not made within seven weeks of the WHO declaration? Only on March 24, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown,” said the Congress leader.

“We are in the fourth week of April and there is no plan in place even now”. The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), presumably presiding over the National Executive Committee (NEC) under the Act, is issuing directions to state governments to deal with the situation,” he said.

Sibal also highlighted the plight of the migrant workers stuck in various states amind the nationwide lockdown.

“We would like the Prime Minister to inform the people about the minimum standards of relief that are required to be provided to persons affected by the disaster. Instead of discharging its solemn responsibilities to provide succour to the poor and helpless stranded migrants, the Union government has chosen to shift the onus to state governments to do what they can without a plan and without guidelines prescribing minimum standards of relief,” he said.

Hitting out at Modi for setting up PM-CARES Fund, Sibal said, “It is ironic that instead of using the provisions of the Act for grant of relief, the Prime Minister has set up a Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) fund asking people to generously donate.”

He said that is precisely the money that should go to the NDRF for relief and rehabilitation of those affected by the lockdown. “The purpose of setting up of PM-CARES should be made public when private donations can be made to the NDRF,” he said, adding that otherwise, the motive for setting of PM-CARES may evoke suspicion.

He also called upon the judiciary to evolve a policy to ensure that the justice delivery system is considered an essential service during such a crisis.

India

Bengal transport staff demand safety after corona positive case

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Kolkata, Jul 14 (IANS): A group of employees of state-run West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation on Tuesday staged protest at the Sector-V depot after a colleague tested coronavirus positive to demand health safety measures.

Sources said a Transport Department employee was also detected with Covid-like symptoms.

They demanded immediate sanitisation of the Sector-V depot and the barrack where they live.

“We are protesting to demand immediate sanitisation of the bus depot and the barrack where we stay. The Transport Department has to assure us that they will take care of our health during the pandemic,” said Abhijit Hore, a corporation staff.

Hore said that the government must take necessary measures to protect the health of transport employees who are running bus services.

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India

Number of recoveries five times higher than active cases in Delhi

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With 1,606 new coronavirus cases and 35 deaths in the last 24 hours, the national capitals Covid-19 tally touched 1,15,346 on Tuesday, while 3,446 people have succumbed to the deadly virus so far.

According to Delhi government’s daily health bulletin, as many as 93,236 people have recovered, almost five times the number of active cases which stands at 18,664. A total of 1,924 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

On June 23, the city had witnessed the highest single-day peak of 3,947 cases, but the figures have come down steadily since then despite the number of tests increasing.

Testing numbers in the city have also gone up since the commencement of rapid antigen tests last month. Over 5,650 RT-PCR and 15,413 rapid antigen tests were conducted on Tuesday.

Currently, 4,194 beds are occupied in the hospitals out of a total capacity of 15,300 — 2,041 in the dedicated Covid Care Centres out of 9,294 and 128 in the dedicated Covid Health Centres against the availability of 544 beds. Over 10,695 people are under home isolation.

The number of containment zones in the national capital stood at 657, one less than the previous day.

Last week, the number of containment zones increased by more than 150 after the city government decided to break the existing hotspots into smaller clusters for better surveillance.

Source: IANS

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4,526 new corona cases in TN, 4,743 discharged

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Chennai, Jul 14 (IANS): Tamil Nadu on Tuesday registered 4,526 new coronavirus cases while the number of such patients cured and discharged from various hospitals totalled 4,743, the Health Department said.

With new cases, the southern state’s total tally is 147,324, including 97,310 cured persons. There are now 47,912 active cases in Tamil Nadu.

A total of 67 more COVID-19 deaths in the last 24-hour cycle took the state’s death toll to 2,099.

The number of infected children in the state in the age group 0-12 went up to 7,304.

The state capital Chennai continued to head the Covid-19 infection table with 1,078 new cases and a total tally of 79,662. Active cases in the city total 15,814, with 1,858 patients discharged in Chennai on Tuesday.

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