CHENNAI SUNDAY MARCH 22, 2020 `6.00 PAGES 32 LATE CITY EDITION SPORTS FACILITIES COULD TURN INTO MEDICAL CENTRES In times of global pandemic, Sports Authority of India centres are made avaiiable to health ministry to combat COVID-19 SAI CENTRES HAVE BEEN GIVEN DIRECTIVES Facilities across the country could be converted into isolation wards or intensive care units as deemed fit. The sports ministry has directed the SAI to allow health departments of state and centre to use its facilities wherever available. Except for select Olympic-bound athletes all trainees have left hostels | P19 ■ 1500 WUHAN HAS ALREADY DONE IT ■ Public and sports facilities were converted into makeshift hospitals in Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak District administrators may convert Rohtak’s National Boxing Academy into a quarantine facility or a medical centre. There are reports of such a move at Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune THE FACILITIES CAN EASILY HOUSE AT LEAST 1500 INDIVIDUALS CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI DUTCH FLIGHT TURNED BACK A Dutch airline said its Delhibound flight with 120 Indians on board was turned back due to “conflicting” information on entry restrictions CURIOUS CASE IN WEST BENGAL Due to the restrictions in view of the coronavirus pandemic, Chennai’s Besant Nagar beach, normally bustling with people, wore a deserted look on Saturday | RISHI DEVARAJAN A woman covers her head with a plastic bag in the Philippines on Saturday | AP EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi SATURDAY saw an unusual spike in coronavirus cases with 60 more infections being reported, taking the overall national tally closer to the 300mark. According to the figures released by the Union health ministry on Saturday evening, confirmed cases in the country stood at 283 while 23 recovered from the disease. The official Covid-19 toll stood at four. The Union health ministry pegs active cases in India at 256. However, these figures are a little conservative as they don’t include fresh numbers announced by states. On Saturday, Kerala witnessed a jump in fresh cases for the second consecutive day as 12 Gulf returnees tested positive for Covid-19 taking the state’s overall tally to 49. Maharashtra also reported 12 fresh infections, while 11 new cases were reported in Punjab. Gujarat saw six new cases while Karnataka report- INDIA STEPS INTO BATTLE MODE Largest single-day spike of 60 cases on Saturday; Kerala, Maharashtra report 12 new infections each; Many states announce partial lockdowns ed five new cases. With the number of cases soaring, many states are in a battle mood to arrest the spread of the virus. Among the steps taken are drastic measures like imposing restrictions on people’s travel and gatherings, and partial shutdowns in highrisk districts. Rajasthan has ordered a total lockdown in the state from March 22-31 except for essential and medical services. Similarly, Goa announced a lockdown till March 31. Gujarat has asked non-essential businesses to shut shop till March 25. Delhi is also reportedly mulling a lockdown. Forty per cent of Odisha will come under lockdown for a week starting Sunday . Maharashtra is already in partial lockdown. Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Thane have been in lockdown since Friday . Kerala’s Kasaragod district, which reported six cases on Saturday, was put under complete lockdown to contain the spread. INDIA Assam reported its first case with a four-and-a-half-year-old girl in Jorhat district with no travel history abroad testing positive. A similar case was reported in West Bengal, too. With new cases rising, the government has widened the scope of testing to include asymptomatic individuals as well, in view of the surge in cases. “This is a rapidly evolving situation and, hence, we are revising our testing strategy ” , said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary (health). The health ministry plans to conduct a nationwide mock drill on Sunday to check emergency response to handle Covid-19 cases. Globally, the Covid-19 toll was fast approaching 13,000 while the number of confirmed cases zoomed past 3 lakh. Italy continued to report the highest number of deaths per day with 793 fatalities on Saturday Spain reported 285 deaths . raising the country’s tally to 1,378. In Iran, 123 more people P8, 11, 15, 17, 19 died. WORLDWIDE CONFIRMED CASES: 283 CONFIRMED CASES TOTAL DEATHS RECOVERED CASES 3,03,051 12,955 94,625 SBI opens emergency credit line, govt unveils `55,000 cr package RECOVERED CASES: 23 TOTAL DEATHS: 4 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi / Hyderabad WHILE the central government has not specifically announced a big-bang stimulus package to deal with the economic impact due to the coronavirus crisis, the Union Cabinet on Saturday cleared a proposal to spend `55,000 crore over five-to-eight years to incentivise production of electronics items, bulk drugs, active pharma ingredients and medical devices. The package for promoting electronics manufacturing is worth `44,995 crore, while that for pharma is to the tune of `13,760 crore. These schemes were in the works for some time but were rushed after supplies of products from China stopped in the aftermath of the pandemic. Meanwhile, state-owned SBI has opened a Covid-19 Emergency Credit Line for needy companies. Analysts expect more public and private sector banks to introduce similar measures next week. EXPRESS READ Man molests minor, throws her to death Chennai: In an incident that sent shockwaves across the city on Saturday, a 29-year-old man allegedly sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl and threw her from the terrace of a three-storey building at Maduravoyal in the wee hours. The class V girl succumbed to her injuries. The suspect, P Suresh, was booked under the POCSO Act | P5 WITH THIS ISSUE MP political crisis: Rebel MLAs join BJP Bhopal: Twenty-two rebel Congress MLAs, whose resignations from the Madhya Pradesh Assembly led to the fall of the Kamal Nath government, joined the BJP on Saturday, national general secretary of the party Kailash Vijayvargiya said. These leaders, along with Jyotiraditya Scindia, met BJP president J P Nadda on Saturday | P9 VIRUS WAR PLUS 12 PAGES SBI borrowers can avail up to 10% of the existing fund based working capital limits, subject to a cap of `200 crore. Firms also expect SBI’s emergency credit line to lead to relaxation in NPA recognition norms, allowing them to remain as standard account in the event of delay in repayments. According to sources, the government is also considering deferring taxes due from businesses and self-employed, relaxing NPA norms from a current 90 days to 150 days. P17 JANATA CURFEW TODAY 7 am to 9 pm 24-HOUR CURFEW IN TELANGANA The state will observe a curfew for 24 hours instead of 12 hrs as PM suggested. Buses from other states will not be allowed to enter the state during the period STRICT ACTION AGAINST THOSE VENTURING OUT In Bengaluru, police warned of strict action against those breaking the curfew What will be affected A 57-year-old man with no known history of foreign travel tested positive for the novel coronavirus in West Bengal on Saturday CHAOTIC SCENES IN DELHI AIRPORT Delhi airport continued to witnessed chaotic scenes on Saturday as foreign travellers were asked to go through a mandatory screening process ONE BILLION PEOPLE CONFINED TO HOMES Close to one billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Saturday as the global coronavirus death toll shot past 11,000 EU CLEARS €300 BN VIRUS PACKAGE The European Commission on Saturday approved a proposal by France to guarantee up to 300 billion euros in state aid to ease the economic burden 300 FOREIGNERS QUARANTINED RAIL SERVICES No passenger or express train will originate from any railway station in the country between Saturday midnight and 10 pm on Sunday. This is likely lead to the cancellation of around 2400 passenger and 1300 express trains More than 300 foreign travellers were admitted to quarantine facilities in Mumbai on Saturday, the local authorities said The Eastern and South Eastern Railway have cancelled all mail/express trains originating from the two zones between 4 am and 10 pm on Sunday GOVT LAUNCHES WHATSAPP CHATBOT CABS Uber and Ola have urged their driver partners to observe the curfew. “We will have limited availability of vehicles to support essential and emergency travel,” Ola said AIR TRAVEL Air carriers like GoAir, IndiGo and, Vistara have announced that they will be curtailing domestic operations on Sunday SHOPPING MALLS Most shopping malls and retail shops will remain closed. Shops selling essential items can stay open AUTOS AND TAXIS Autos and regular taxis will by and large stay off the roads in the national capital and elsewhere as most autorickshaw and taxi associations have backed the curfew METRO SERVICES Metro services in many cities across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad will remain suspended The Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai metros will mostly be closed The Hyderabad Metro Rail would be closed, but five trains have been kept on stand-by to attend to any emergency TAMIL NADU Chennai Corporation will use its schools to provide shelter to the homeless Milk suppliers will end distribution by 6.30 am Amma canteens in Chennai will remain open Section 144 in Puducherry from Monday till March 31 Federation of Madras Merchants and Manufacturers Associations asked members to close businesses from Monday to Wednesday Readers are welcome to share photos of people’s curfew (with captions), clicked without stepping out of their homes, on firstname.lastname@example.org TN to provide sub-quota for govt school students cracking NEET E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai ADMITTING that the number of government school students studying medical courses has come down since the introduction of NEET, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday announced in the Assembly that his government was considering a legislation to provide sub-quota for government school students who pass the national-level test. The sub-quota would be applicable to students who have studied from Class one to 12 in gover nment schools, municipal corporation schools, schools run by the Adi Dravida and Tribal Welfare Department, Kallar Reclamation Schools, and Forest Department schools. “A commission headed by a retired justice would be set up to facilitate enactment of such a legislation,” Palaniswami said. “Secretaries to the School Education, Health and Law Departments and two educationists would be members of this commission.” Union govt has launched a chatbot to address user queries around the pandemic. Users can send Whatsapp messages to +91 9013151515 Three from abroad test positive in TN E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai/Erode THREE more persons, all of them coming from abroad, tested positive for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu on Saturday , taking the total tally up to six. The development was confirmed by Health Minister C Vijayabaskar. Addressing the media after a meeting with the Deans of all medical colleges, the minister said: “Two of them are Thai nationals, and the third is an Indian returning from New Zealand.” Fortunately, all six cases are person with a travel history “None of these are community transmissions. The . new cases have already been quarantined and are on our radar,” the minister said. “Screening has been intensified at railway stations, ports, and interstate borders.” The minister, however, refused to reveal the hospitals at which these patients were being treated. However, Erode Collector C Kathiravan has confirmed the two Thai nationals are in the district, and are undergoing treatment at the IRT Government Medical College. A press release from the collector said the duo was part of a six-member group. The person from New Zealand has P3 been admitted to Apollo, said sources. MODI CONGRATULATES EPS FOR COVID-19 MEASURES: P3 CLASS 10 EXAMS POSTPONED The class 10 public exams scheduled from March 23 will begin only on April 15. Schedule of class 11, 12 exams unaffected
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