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Modi dials Sonia Gandhi, Ex-Presidents, PMs, seeks views to tackle coronavirus

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New Delhi, April 5: Seeing the rise in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former Presidents, Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Devegowda and Opposition leaders and sought their views on how to tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Modi also called up opposition leaders Sonia Gandhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, K Chandrashekar Rao, MK Stalin and Parkash Singh Badal to discuss a more coordinated and unified fight against the novel coronavirus.

The reason being Prime Minister’s outreach is despite the lockdown , the coronavirus cases have been increasing and other problems such as shortage of personal protection equipment for the medical staff, ventilators for saving the lives of COVID-19 positive patients and another several factors of providing facilities such as food, shelter , hygiene conditions to migrants and the most important fall out of COVID-19 being the country’s economy.

Last week, he held a video-conference with various chief ministers. Prime Minister was criticised for not taking the opposition or even the state Chief Ministers views on how to implement the lockdown so that the needy people do not suffer and to deal with the ongoing corona crisis.

It is worth mentioning that Sonia Gandhi has slammed Modi for implementing the lockdown in an unplanned manner as it has resulted in chaos and pain among millions of migrant labourers.

Highlighting the plight of poor and disadvantaged, Sonia said, “In our country, those who are most vulnerable to the consequences of this pandemic are the poor and disadvantaged. We must come together for their sake and do all we can to support them through the difficult days that lie ahead,” she said.

“It has been heart-breaking to see lakhs of people walking for hundreds of kilometres towards their villages without food or shelter. It is the duty of us all to do our utmost to lessen their suffering,” she added.

Modi has also reached out to various public personalities including cricketers and artistes to underscore the dos and don’ts to control the spread of the virus so the message reaches the people.

Over the last 24 hours, the country recorded 472 cases of coronavirus, which took the total to 3,374. So far, 77 people have died in the country.

Business

Centre to sell stake in certain pharma PSUs: Goyal

He said the market players should look at large untapped markets in Eastern Europe and Russia.

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, May 31 : Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday said that the Union government has decided to disinvest in certain pharmaceutical public sector units (PSU).

During an interaction with industry leaders of the pharmaceutical sector, he invited the Indian companies to use PSUs for ‘plug and play’ model of manufacturing.

According to an official statement, Goyal also said that India should become a self-reliant country in the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as early as possible with the government taking steps in that direction in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

He assured the industry of full government support in the industry’s expansion, diversification and strengthening.

Mentioning the Centre’s initiatives to make the country self-sufficient in terms of APIs, he said that the government has already approved the scheme on promotion of bulk drug parks for financing common infrastructure facilities in three bulk drug parks.

Also, Production Linked Incentive Scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical KSMs or drug intermediates and APIs in the country has been given a go ahead, he added.

During his interaction, Goyal lauded the pharma industry for making India proud, by rising to the occasion during the Covid crisis. He said that India has been recognised as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ as over 120 countries got some essential medicines, during the last two months, including 40 of them getting them in the form of grant, free of cost.

The minister said that the anti-dumping investigation process has been expedited and assured that in case of ongoing bilateral free trade agreements, if any roadblock or unfair competition is being noticed, the government may be informed and prompt remedial action will be taken.

He said the market players should look at large untapped markets in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Calling upon a collaborative route in the R&D efforts, the minister said the academicians, universities, ICMR and private sector should join hands.

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Cities

With 299 new cases, Karnataka Covid tally crosses 3K

In total, 2.93 lakh samples have been tested so far, of which 2.86 lakh were negative.

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Bengaluru, May 31 : Karnataka’s Covid tally crossed 3,000-mark, a record jump of 299 infections in the past 24 hours, mostly constituting returnees from Maharashtra, raising the state’s tally to 3,221, an official said on Sunday.

“New cases reported from Saturday 5 p.m. to Sunday 5 p.m. are 299,” said a health official.

Continuing the trend of past several days, domestic returnees formed the lion’s share of new cases, accounting for 258 or 86 per cent of the cases.

Of the 258 returnees, 252 returned from Maharashtra alone, 98 per cent of the domestic returnees.

Returnees from other states are a miniscule — two from Delhi and one from Andhra Pradesh.

Unfortunately, three young healthcare workers working at an isolation ward in Davangere has also contracted the virus.

There were seven international passengers who got infected on Sunday, four from Doha, two from Malaysia and one from Indonesia.

Incidentally, cases with contact history rose to 34.

In the past 24 hours, cases spiked in Vijayapura, Bengaluru Urban, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Mandya, Yadgir, Belagavi, Udupi, Davangere, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada.

Among the new cases, Bengaluru Urban contributed 21, followed by Yadgir (44), Kalaburagi (28), Mandya (13), Raichur (83), Udupi (10), Bidar (33), Belagavi (13), Davangere (6), Dakshina Kannada (14), Vijayapura (26), Uttara Kannda (5), Ballari, Shivamogga and Kolar (1 each).

Of the new cases, 168 are men and 131 women, including 33 children below 10.

On Sunday, two patients succumbed to the virus, a 50-year-old man from Raichur and a 75-year-old man from Bidar.

Across the state, 1,950 are active cases, 1,218 discharged, 51 deaths and 15 patients in ICU.

On Sunday, 221 patients got discharged.

In the past 24 hours, Karnataka has tested 13,358 persons, of which 12,841 tested negative.

In total, 2.93 lakh samples have been tested so far, of which 2.86 lakh were negative.

Top five places with active cases in the state include Yadgir (275), Raichur (214), Mandya (209), Kalaburagi (146) and Bidar (131).

Of the total, Bengaluru Urban has so far accounted for 10 deaths, followed by Kalaburagi (7), Dakshina Kannada (6) and Vijayapura and Bidar (5 each) among others.

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Cities

Punjab shops, beauty parlours to open 12 hours daily

Bicycles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws will be allowed subject to compliance of the SOP as issued by the Transport Department.

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, May 31 : In line with the Central government’s guidelines for ‘Unlock 1.0’, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday ordered formulation of clearly defined guidelines for opening up of hotels, hospitality services, shopping malls, places of worship, and restaurants for in-dining, from June 8, while announcing immediate opening up of shops, including liquor and barber shops, beauty parlours, spas, etc, from Monday in the non-containment zones.

He has directed the Health and Transport Departments to come out with detailed SOPs for permitted activities and movement in this phase of the lockdown, beginning June 1 till June 30, for the areas outside containment zones.

In the containment zones, however, only essential activities will be allowed and there will be a strict perimeter control. Such zones will be demarcated by the district authorities, after taking into consideration the guidelines of the Union bMinistry of Health and Family Welfare.

The district authorities would also identify buffer zones outside containment zones wherein restrictions as considered necessary, may be put in place.

The movement of individuals for all the non-essential activities shall remain prohibited between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. as per the Centre’s guidelines and district authorities have been directed to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC and ensure strict compliance.

As per the directives of the Chief Minister, effective June 1, shops in main bazars will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and liquor vends can remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Deputy Commissioners have been authorised to exercise their discretion in staggering the timings to avoid crowding, in main bazars, market complexes and rehri markets.

Subject to compliance with SOPs to be issued by the Health Department, barber shops, hair-cut salons, beauty parlours and spas are also allowed to open up from Monday.

E-commerce is now permitted in Punjab for all goods, including non-essential, as per the latest guidelines issued on the directives of the Chief Minister.

Sports complexes and stadia can also open without spectators.

As far as inter-state travel is concerned, buses will ply with the consent of other states.

There are no restrictions on either inter-state or intra-state movement of passenger vehicles such as taxis, cabs, stage carriers, tempo-travellers and cars, but self-generated e-pass would need to be downloaded from COVA app.

Bicycles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws will be allowed subject to compliance of the SOP as issued by the Transport Department.

For inter-state movement of trains and domestic flights, the inward passengers would have to follow the SOPs of the Health Department and would be required to either download Cova-app and get self-generated ‘e-pass’ or declare their particulars at the railway station.

The passengers would also be home quarantined for 14 days.

All categories of industries, and construction activities are allowed to operate, without any restriction, in both rural and urban areas, along with agricultural, horticultural, animal husbandry, veterinary services.

No separate permission would be required by the industries and other establishments to resume their operations.

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