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India specific strategy needed to combat Covid-19: Rahul

“We have looked at #COVID for 2 months since February and have spoken to experts. No country in the world has attempted a lockdown with huge migrant labour without arranging for their stay, food and ration & pushing them back home.”

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, April 2 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has emphasised that the country needs India specific strategy to combat Covid-19 which has been declared pandemic and number of cases are rising daily.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “At the Congress CWC meeting today I emphasised the urgent need to devise an India specific strategy to combat the #COVID19 Pandemic & for Congress workers & leaders to help soften the blow by assisting the poor & the most vulnerable sections of our society in every possible way.”

Rahul Gandhi while speaking in the CWC meeting said, “COVID-19 particularly attacks aged persons, people with lung disease, diabetics, persons with heart disease, making them most vulnerable. All State Governments need to issue special advisory for these categories and take care.”

“We have looked at #COVID for 2 months since February and have spoken to experts. No country in the world has attempted a lockdown with huge migrant labour without arranging for their stay, food and ration & pushing them back home.”

The former Congress President first raised the alarm on coronavirus on February 12 and urged the government to take action. In a letter to the Prime Minister he even said that he supports the 21-day lockdown initiative by the government and suggested to do more for the poor and daily wagers.

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608 flights ferry over 41k passengers today

According to the minister, India’s airports have handled 325 departures and 283 arrivals with 41,673 passengers till 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

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Air India Flight

New Delhi, May 26 : A day after India resumed domestic flights, a total of 608 services ferrying 41,673 passengers were operated till 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Taking to Twitter, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said smooth operations were witnessed on Tuesday.

According to the minister, India’s airports have handled 325 departures and 283 arrivals with 41,673 passengers till 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Smooth operations of domestic civil aviation… Our airports have handled 325 departures & 283 arrivals with 41,673 passengers till 5 p.m. on May 26, the 2nd day after recommencement of domestic flights. Final report for the day will be prepared after details come in at midnight,” he tweeted.

Earlier during the day, the minister in a different tweet said the number of passengers and flights were set to rise as air services to Andhra Pradesh were resumed on Tuesday.”

“Airports are abuzz & passengers are back,” Puri tweeted.

He had said that 58,318 passengers flew to their destinations on 832 flights on May 25, the first day of resumption of air services after two months. “These numbers are set to soar,” he tweeted.

But for West Bengal, domestic flights have been resumed to all states.

Industry insiders said the majority of bookings on Monday and the subsequent few more days were for flights between Metros due to the “pent-up demand”.

Airlines have reported healthy load factors and expected passenger count levels.

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Supreme Court takes cognizance of migrant workers’ plight amid Covid-19 lockdown

The top court said that there have been lapses on part of Centre and State governments and immediate measures are required to be taken to provide travel, shelter and food to migrant labourers.

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Migrant Workers on Truck

New Delhi, May 26 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of problems of migrant labourers who were stranded in different parts of the country during the nationwide lockdown to contain Covid-19 outbreak.

The Supreme Court said the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on foot or cycling for long distances.

“Although the government of India and state governments have taken measures, there have been inadequacies and certain lapses. We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation”, said a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on May 28, and asked the Registry to serve a copy to the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, as well states and Union Territories. The cognizance has been taken after several petitions were filed in the top court highlighting the plight of migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

“In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of society needs succor and help by governments, especially steps need to be taken by the government of India, state governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend helping hand to these migrant labourers,” said the top court.

The top court said it has also received several letters and representations from different sections of society highlighting the problem of migrant labourers. “The crisis of migrant labourers is even continuing today with large sections still stranded on roads, highways, railway stations and state borders”, said the bench.

The adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of costs, added the bench.

“They (migrants) have also been complaining about not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or on the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on foot, cycles or other modes of transport”, said the apex court.

Issuing notice to the Centre and all states/Union Territories, the top court asked them to submit their responses looking into the urgency of the matter.

“We direct the suo motu petition to be taken up day after tomorrow and we request the learned Solicitor General to assist the court, and by the next date of hearing, bring to the notice of the court all measures and steps taken or to be by the government of India in this regard”, said the bench.

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445 people died from Australia bushfires smoke: Experts

Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra all had periods where they had the worst air quality in the world as a result of the smoke.

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Canberra, May 26 : Smoke from Australia’s devastating 2019-20 bushfires killed at least 445 people, health experts revealed on Tuesday.

Fay Johnston, a public health expert from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania, told the bushfire royal commission on Tuesday that her team estimated that 445 people died as a result of the smoke that blanketed much of the nation’s east coast, reports Xinhua news agency.

It takes the total death toll from the 2019-2020 bushfire season, which has been dubbed the “Black Summer”, to nearly 480 after 34 people lost their lives directly.

According to modelling produced by Johnston and her colleagues, 80 per cent of Australians were affected by the smoke at some point, including 3,340 people who were hospitalized with heart and lung problems.

“We were able to work out a yearly cost of bushfire smoke for each summer season and… our estimates for the last season were A$2 billion in health costs,” Johnston said.

“There’s fluctuation year to year, of course, but that was a major departure from anything we had seen in the previous 20 years.”

Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra all had periods where they had the worst air quality in the world as a result of the smoke.

Commissioners also heard on Tuesday that the increasing frequency of significant bushfire events in Australia meant that survivors no longer feel safe during the recovery phase.

“Disasters are no longer perceived as rare events, they are often seen as climate change, and they’re part of our new reality,” Lisa Gibbs, a child welfare expert from the University of Melbourne, said.

“We don’t know how that is going to affect recovery because the seeds of hope are a really important part of people’s ability to deal with what has happened and to get back on track.”

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