CHENNAI l WEDNESDAY l MARCH 25, 2020 l `5.00 l PAGES 20 l LATE CITY EDITION OLYMPICS CALANDER SHIFTS TO 2021 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE IT looked inevitable, and it finally happened on Tuesday . After mounting pressure from national committees and sportspersons due to the devastation that the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the postponement of the 2020 Games to next year. Never before in its history has the quadrennial crown jewel of sport seen a delay during times of peace. Though the event will be held in 2021, it will still be called Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. After telephonic conversations between Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach culminated in the decision, the panel put out a statement which stressed that the event “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021”. While IOC stood by its no-delay stance in February outrage from , sporting fraternities in March and Canada’s eventual pull-out precipitated the postponement. Now, greater challenges remain. From rescheduling of dates to qualification of athletes, everything will need a rejig. P14,15 1 ORGANISERS FINALLY BOW TO PRESSURE ■ ■ ■ Decision arrived upon after telephonic conversations between IOC president Thomas Bach and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “Must not be later than summer 2021,” said the pair With an estimated budget of $12.6 bn, this delay could result in short-term losses to the tune of $6 bn THIS IS THE FIRST TIME OLYMPICS HAS BEEN DELAYED IN PEACE TIME IN THE WAKE OF TOKYO DRIFT This will deal a massive blow to Tokyo, with venues finished in advance and tickets sold out 21-DAY Since swimming and athletics Worlds are slated for 2021, allocating a window for the 16-day event may prove difficult. But both federations have promised flexibility The Olympic flame will stay in Japan, and the Games will retain the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 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 A NOTE TO READERS T he world is passing through an inflection point that will be long remembered in history India, and all of us . who are part of its citizenry are pres, ently going through times that are akin to a war — except that it is a different kind of war, and the enemy is one that we cannot see. Even as the government and hundreds of professionals in the health sector battle tirelessly against coronavirus, it devolves upon all of us to remember our collective responsibility too as a thinking public. Just like in wartime and other emergencies, there is another enemy that stalks us alongside: fear. It manifests itself as a fear of the unknown, and is therefore directly linked to knowledge or its absence. Knowledge is an empowering, enabling thing, and its lack breeds a variety of dark tendencies in human society It is an ironi. cal fact of contemporary life that, while our information networks buzz along the most sophisticated social media channels, they also carry the very antithesis of real knowledge: rumour, doubt and outright fake news. One such fake claim doing the rounds is how printed newspapers could be virus carriers. This, despite repeated assertions by medical professionals from all over the world, including India, that there is absolutely no evidence of the same. At least in our country, fighting rapid circulation of fake news seems as challenging as containing the spread of the virus. We say this because some of the fake news doing the rounds could turn out to be detrimental to public health, with reports indicating that people are even falling prey to the use of wrong drugs. It is here that the role of media, especially traditional print media where every report we publish passes through multiple checks, becomes a vital necessity We need to appreciate the med. ical world is only on the fringes of understanding the COVID-19 virus, and thus has only embarked on evolving a correct treatment protocol and, ultimately a vac, cine. In this situation of an expanding, embryonic knowledge, our only defence against ignorance is clear, reliable and authenticated information. In a world riven by panic and anger, it is only such positive information that acts as the vital antibodies in our body politic. The lack of access to correct information can make fear go out of control: that could lead to social unrest on the one hand and faulty self-medication or protection techniques on the other. The media, therefore, brings oxygen. Apart from medical and other public related operations, print and electronic media has been rightly categorised as an essential service by the Government of India. It is of utmost importance that smooth passage is assured for our channels of printing and distribution, and all the professionals engaged with the process of collecting and disseminating news. The New Indian Express allies itself with the people in this hour of anxiety, hopeful that darkness will yield to light sooner rather than later. - Editor Omar Abdullah freed after eight months in detention E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Srinagar FORMER Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was on Tuesday freed after nearly eight months in detention with the administration revoking the Public Safety Act against him. Soon after his release, Abdullah demanded that all others detained in J&K be freed as well. He also asked the Centre to remove communication restrictions in the region. EXPRESS READ Two killed in forest fire near Bodi Theni: A 45-year-old woman and her two-year-old granddaughter were killed and eight others injured in a forest fire that broke out near Araliyuthu, under Rasingapuram range near Bodi on Tuesday. Forest and fire personnel rescued the eight survivors. LOCKDOWN ACROSS INDIA FROM MIDNIGHT Modi urges people not to cross Lakshman Rekha of their respective homes, as the virus has the potential to push back India’s growth by 21 years POSITIVE CASES VALIDATED BY UNION HEALTH MINISTRY Ladakh 13 J&K 4 Delhi reporting one fatality each. Describing the gravity of the FIRST came the gentle day-long problem, Modi cited World Health janata curfew to take on the dead- Organization data and the spirally coronavirus outbreak. Buoyed ling infections in the advanced its success, various states cur- countries like the US, Italy and tailed services to varying degrees Germany, saying it is happening till March 31. The real deal unfold- despite the best of the health ined on Tuesday when Prime Minis- frastructure there. “With folded ter Narendra Modi announced an hands, I am pleading with you as unprecedented three-week-long your family members — not as lockdown across the country, be- Prime Minister — that you should ginning this midnight. stay where you are. State governGoing by his timetable, the full ments and local bodies must enshutdown will last till April 14. sure the total lockdown to break However, India will get its first re- the chain of the virus,” said Modi. alistic chance of combating the Quoting experts, Modi stressed outbreak, as Modi’s decision is in on social distancing to deal with line with the call of healthcare ex- the outbreak. “If it is not conperts to take bold, aggressive trolled, the country and families steps. As the PM put it, will go 21 years back. the 21-day lockdown is Many families will be essential to save India destroyed. There will be from slipping back by a heavy economic cost. 21 years amid fear of Therefore, it’s very espossible community sential that the only prispread of the virus. ority of the state governOn a day India rements right now should ported over 550 cases of be to deal with the outthe virus, Modi adbreak,” he emphasised. dressed the nation to Stating that the Cenexplain the tough meastre has approved `15,000 ure “with folded crore fund to strengthen hands”, appealing to Relax, says PM the heath infrastrucpeople to forget what it “There is absolutely ture, including isolation is to step out of their facilities, ICUs, ventilano need to panic. homes for 21 days. tors and manpower Essential “India may have to commodities would training, Modi urged all pay a heavy price if the be available. Centre citizens not to breach global pandemic is not the Lakshman Rekha of and various state prevented from spreadtheir respective homes, govts will work in ing. From midnight, close coordination adding: “India is at a there will be a total to ensure this,” the stage where our actions lockdown throughout will decide to what exPM later tweeted the country Ek tarah se . tent we can prevent the yeh curfew hi hai (in a way it’s a spread of the virus.” curfew), though the lockdown will With India is combating the vibe tougher than the March 22 ja- rus on a war footing, nearly 1.9 nata curfew. This is essential for lakh people are under surveilthe decisive battle against corona- lance to break the chain of transvirus,” said Modi. mission. Also, 26 private lab The number of positive cases chains have registered with ICMR saw its biggest jump in Kerala (14) for Covid-19 testing. These labs followed by Karnataka (8) and UP have 15,500 collection centers na(4). And deaths due to coronavirus tionwide. As of now, about 1,330 rose to 11 with Maharashtra and samples are been tested each day . E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Punjab 29 1 Haryana 14 14 Rajasthan 30 2 Gujarat 32 1 1 Madhya Pradesh 7 Maharashtra 86 3 2 Karnataka 37 1 Kerala 87 8 Chandigarh 7 Himachal Pradesh 3 1 Delhi 29 1 2 Uttarakhand 3 1 Uttar Pradesh Manipur 1 32 1 Bihar 3 1 West Odisha Bengal 2 9 1 Chhattisgarh 1 Telangana 25 10 Andhra Pradesh 8 Puducherry 1 Tamil Nadu 13 2 TOTAL Indians 476 Foreign nationals 43 Death 10 CENSUS, NPR PUT ON HOLD n Delhi reports second death from coronavirus; Maharashtra witnesses third fatality n The man who died in Mumbai had returned from the UAE to Ahmedabad. Was brought to Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai on March 20 for treatment. He had high BP and diabetes as well n Kerala reports 14 fresh cases, 6 from worst-hit Kasaragod district; state’s total now at 105 n 1.9 lakh people across the country under surveillance n Cases were booked against hundreds of people across India for violating prohibitary orders n The Census enumeration and the controversial NPR updation that were slated to commence in April, have now been put off indefinitely | P6,7,9,11,13 ENFORCING strict lockdown for 21 days in a democracy is not going to be easy So, the Union home min. istry has empowered District Magistrates to deploy executive magistrates to ensure people take the PM’s advice seriously Those who . step out of their homes for nonessential purposes could be punished under various provisions of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code, a detailed advisory said. Giving a sense of what will be open and what will not, the guidelines said only essential services such as healthcare, public utilities, police and media will operate. All public transport services — buses, trains and flights — will continue to be shut till the lockdown is in place. Ration shops and shops of essential commodities such as groceries, Two persons who flouted lockdown guidelines being punished in Patiala | PTI medicines, milk booths, meat, fish, animal fodder will remain open. However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimise public movement. Petrol pumps, banks, ATMs, insurance offices internet, broadcasting and cable services will continue to function. All state and central government offices -- except those exempt such as police, fire service, defence, par- Six new COVID-19 cases as TN enters lockdown Later in the night, he tweeted that the condition of the Madurai man who tested posiSIX more persons tested posi- tive was deteriorating. tive for COVID-19 on Tuesday , Addressing reporters, Vijaytaking the total number of cas- abaskar said quarantine is es in Tamil Nadu to 18. mandatory for those who reEven as the State prepared turned from abroad and peoitself for a lockdown, Health ple should show a sense of reMinister C Vijayabaskar sponsibility. “I order people tweeted about three of who returned from the six cases, who are foreign countries to Killed for from Chennai and had strictly be under advice travelled abroad. home quarantine for A35-year old In a tweet, he said a 28 days. We will seize 74-year-old man from man was killed the passports of those in a quarrel Porur and a 52-year-old who violate the orwoman from Pura- that broke out der,” he said. after he sawalkam, who had reBorders closed turned from the US, allegedly asked another to are at Stanley; and a Meanwhile, police 25-year-old woman maintain social closed all district borfrom Keelkattalai who distancing at a ders at 6 pm. tea shop in came back from SwitOn whether the State Ooty. zerland is at Kilpauk would issue a fresh orMedical College. der in view of Prime Confirming the three other Minister Narendra Modi’s call cases later in the evening, he for a nationwide lockdown for tweeted that a 65-year-old man 21 days, a senior government who returned from New Zea- official said the State had alland is at a private hospital; a ready issued an order effective 55-year-old woman from Sai- till 6 am April 1. So, a new ordapet is at KMC and a 25-year- der is not immediately needed. old man, who returned from The government will take a London, is at RGGH. They call during the course of the have been kept in isolation. week, he added. P3 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai FM offers some relief; more coming A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi FINANCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced a slew of measures providing compliance relief for individuals and businesses, while promising a larger package soon. Among the measures announced are extension of deadline to file income tax returns to June 30, reduction of interest rate to 9% from 18% on delayed tax payments and TDS deposit. This will help ease the burden of compliance for individuals and businesses struggling to meet the March 31 deadline No panic buying, please. Grocery, vegetable shops to remain open E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Quarantine notice being pasted at a house in Kilpauk, Chennai | ASHWIN PRASATH amilitary treasury public utilities, , , power generation, post offices -will remain shut. Print and electronic media will be allowed to operate, the ministry has said. Hospitals and related healthcare establishments both in the public as well as private sector will remain open. “The transportation for all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, and other hospital support services will be permitted,” the guidelines stated. The government invoked special powers under Section 6 (2) (i) of the National Disaster Management Act to ensure that all states and Union Territories follow the Centre’s directive on the shutdown uniformly . The implementation of the lockdown will be monitored by Home Ministry on a daily basis, the government said. amid a lockdown. To help individuals who have been asked to stay at home, the government decided that no charges will be levied for withdrawing cash from any other bank’s ATM by debit cardholders for the next three months. This, the finance minister explained, is being done to stop people from travelling long distances to get the cash they need during this period. Sensing a delay in salary and payments, the government also ordered that the minimum balance fee levied by banks be waived for this period. Besides, trade finance consumers will now have reduced bank charges for digital trade transactions. “The PMO itself is monitoring the economy Today . we came up with compliance issues. Soon we shall come with a financial package as well,” she said. To help MSMEs that have missed loan repayments, the default threshold has been raised from `1 lakh to `1 crore, to prevent insolvency proceedings against them. CONTINUED ON: P13 `1,000-RELIEF FOR ALL FAMILY CARD HOLDERS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai ALL family card holders will be entitled to `1,000 as relief and free ration — rice, dal, sugar and cooking oil — for April owing to the lockdown, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced in the Assembly on Tuesday . “To avoid crowding at ration shops, the relief will be provided by token system on an allotted day and time. Those who want to give up this relief can register on the website concerned or app. Those who failed to get their provisions for the month of March can get them along with the provisions for April,” he said. Daily wage labourers, agricultural labourers, auto and taxi drivers, construction workers, street vendors, senior citizens and other unorganised sectors stand to be the most affected as Section 144 of the CrPC is to be imposed in the State, Palaniswami said, adding that a total relief package of `3,280 crore has been set aside for monetary relief. “Construction workers and auto drivers will be given a special relief of `1,000 each along with 15 kg rice, one kg of dal and one kg of cooking oil,” Palaniswami said. CONTINUED ON: P3 ALLOCATION `3,280 crore has been set aside for monetary relief, says Edappadi K Palaniswami
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