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PM Modi to reach Kerala over CM Chandy invitation row

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Prime minister Narendra Modi will begin his two-day visit to Kerala today and will arrive in Kerala’s port city of Kochi in afternoon amid a raging controversy over chief minister Oommen Chandy’s name being omitted from the ceremonies. This will be his first to the state after assuming office as in May last year.

During his two-day visit, the first to the state as prime minister, Modi is expected to clear the air about the omission that the Congress has blamed the BJP central leadership and Prime Minister’s Office for.

Modi will travel to the temple town of Thrissur on Monday to address a workers meet that state BJP leaders say will have nearly two lakh workers in attendance. Prominent religious leaders like the Thrissur Arch Bishop and the Maulavi of Kodungaloor Cheraman Masjid, one of the oldest mosques in the country, have also been invited.

Chandy, who was invited as one of the main the guests initially, was apparently asked to skip the unveiling of the statue of former chief minister R Shankar that the prime minister will preside over, citing it was a private function. The unveiling will take place in south Kollam district on Tuesday.

Chandy’s name was initially inscribed on a marble plaque for the event. But the plaque was replaced with another carrying the name of the backward Ezhava leader, Vellapally Natesan, and the general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP).

With the change in guests and subsequent boycott of MPs, Modi, who was earlier slotted for 15 minutes, will address the function for up to 35 minutes.

Taking potshots at critics, Natesan said, “If the prime minister speaks more, it is better for the state and backward communities.”

However, the Congress is hoping to corner the BJP over the issue, and will observe a prayer meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, blaming the prime minister for “slighting the state”.

Kollam MP, N K Premachandran and MLA P K Gurudasan and mayor V Rajendra Babu are among those boycotting the function.

The Congress’ main concern at the moment is the BJP hijacking the legacy of R Shankar who was a prominent leader of the party, hailing from the backward Ezhava community.

With four months left for crucial assembly elections in Kerala, the state BJP is counting on PM Modi to set the tone for its campaign and hopes to give a tough three-cornered contest in at least 30 seats.

The prime minister will also visit the Sivagiri Mutt, birthplace of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.

According to the police, about 2,000 officers headed by five superintendents have been deployed to ensure security.

Modi will also attend a commanders’ meet off the coast of Kochi on Tuesday before he leaves Kerala.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Premji foundation donates Rs 1,000 crore to fight COVID-19

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Jagan Mohan Reddy

Bengaluru, April 1 (IANS) The Azim Premji Foundation has donated Rs 1,000 crore for a comprehensive on the ground response to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, an official said on Wednesday.

“Modern global society has not confronted a crisis of this magnitude and type and all must work together to not only deal with this crisis and minimize its human impact, particularly on the disadvantaged,” said Azim Premji Foundation’s spokesperson in a statement.

The foundation’s 1,600-member team will coordinate with the government institutions in collaboration with the 350 member strong civil society partners to put the funds to good use.

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1st coronavirus death in UP

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Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), April 1 (IANS) A 25-year-old man from Basti district, who died on Monday evening in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, has become the first COVID-19-linked death in Uttar Pradesh.

His samples tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, two days after he died.

Government officials are now worried about the number of people who may have been infected or exposed since he was earlier admitted to a hospital in Basti, which is around 50 kilometres from Gorakhpur.

Originally a resident of Basti, the youth had a history of travel to Mumbai but he hid this from the doctors.

The man had been admitted to Gorakhpur’s BRD medical college hospital on Sunday, with breathing problem. However, here too he was admitted to the general ward and not the one reserved for COVID-19 patients.

After his condition worsened, he was shifted to the ICU where he succumbed to his medical condition on Monday.

His body was handed to relatives who brought it to Basti for the last rites.

The patient was admitted to the general ward, where the virus may have spread to staff and other patients.

The BRD Hospital doctors had sent his saliva sample to Lucknow’s KGMU where his samples tested positive on Wednesday.

KGMU media in-charge Dr Sudhir Singh said that this makes him the first established death in the state due to coronavirus.

Dr O.P. Singh, hospital-in-charge, told reporters, “The man gave no information he had a travel history. This is the fault of the patient and his relatives. He said he had been ill for a month and had no fever at the time. He was diagnosed at the OPD (outpatient department) and admitted to general ward. If he or his relatives had said, even once, that he had returned from Mumbai, we would have immediately sent him to the Corona virus ward.”

The Basti district administration has now sealed off the area in which he lived. All relatives he had contact with, have been identified and put into quarantine and also the doctors and paramedical staff at both, Basti and Gorakhpur hospitals.

Patients and relatives who came into contact with him during his stay at either hospital have also been identified and will be isolated and tested.

Gorakhpur is the constituency of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

While 104 cases have tested positive from various districts of Uttar Pradesh so far, this is the first death due to the disease.

According to state government data, Uttar Pradesh has, so far, confirmed 103 cases of the novel coronavirus. The biggest clusters are in Noida in the National Capital Region (39 cases) and Meerut district in the western part of the state (19 cases).

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Coronavirus: Overall tally crosses 1600 mark in India

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New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The total tally of novel coronavirus cases in India crossed 1600 mark on Wednesday, said the health ministry.

The country has reported 1637 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, since the first case was reported on January 30 in Kerala’s Thrissur.

Of 1637, at least 1466 people are currently affected by the highly contagious COVID-19 disease, 132 people have recovered and discharged from the hospital while 38 people have lost their lives. One person migrated from the country.

Meanwhile, with one more death and total 321 cases have been reported in Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh has reported 103 cases of Novel coronavirus. Eight new coronavirus positive cases were reported in Gujarat on Wednesday, all of them in state’s financial capital Ahmedabad. Till now, 82 active positive cases are present in Gujarat, with six deaths due to corona outbreak. Fortunately, no new coronavirus positive case has been reported on Wednesday till 9 a.m from Rajasthan, state health officials said. Total tally stands at 93 though.

On Tuesday, some places were identified as hotspots across the country. These are Dilshad Garden and Nizamuddin in Delhi, Noida and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Bhilwara in Rajasthan, Ahmedabad, Kasargod and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, Mumbai and Pune. The identification of cases at these places will help ramp up the testing process.

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