THRISSUR l SUNDAY l MARCH 29, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l CITY EDITION NO SPORTS WORLD OVER, BUT THEIR eGAME’S STILL ON S W A R O O P S W A M I N AT H A N @ Chennai WITH the calendar left in disarray, sportspersons world over have been forced to put their dreams on hold. But that’s not the case for a unique bunch, who only need a relia- ble internet connection and a good personal computer to keep their hopes going. Meet India’s eSports enthusiasts. With the discipline set to become a medal event at the next Asian Games (2022) and a possible demonstration event at the Olympics within the next decade, these gamers have quietly soldiered on. On the third day of the lockdown, Tirth Mehta — who won India’s only medal at the 2018 Asian Games’ demonstration event — logged on to his computer to take part in a Hearthstone event. An hour later, the H yd e r a b a d - b a s e d g a m e r logged off, one step closer to an invite for the Hearthstone Masters meet in Jonkoping (Sweden) in June. “The qualifier is one in a series of meets. Do well and you might get invited to Sweden.” Tirth’s dreams, though, could yet come crashing down if the pandemic continues to spread, considering that it has affected a few international eSports meets. But Tirth can only hope. Abhinav Tejan is busy preparing for a domestic tournament on Sunday The total prize . pool — `4,000 — isn’t big, but the Tekken player isn’t complaining. “A few of the bigger meets got cancelled, but I am happy that we can still play .” Abhinav and Tirth are hopeful that the threat recedes soon so that they can focus on their long-term goals: Olympic appearances and Asiad medals. IPL ON? SCRAPPING OF 2020 T20 WORLD CUP MAY OPEN A WINDOW FOR T20 LEAGUE With Australia’s closing of its borders for six months further denting hopes for the event (Oct 18 to Nov 15), a cancellation could free 34 days for BCCI to conduct the tournament 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 RUSH HOUR STATE GOES FOR RAPID TESTS TO CHECK FOR COMMUNITY SPREAD Kerala records first corona death ● Six positive cases on Saturday ● 165 patients under treatment EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram/Kochi ON a day when Kerala reported its first Covid-19 death and six fresh cases, the state government decided to go for rapid tests to check for community transmission. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said rapid tests will ensure early results, enabling effective intervention by the government. The state on Saturday reported six positive cases, taking the number of total confirmed cases so far to 182. With four more persons getting cured, a total of 165 patients are currently under treatment. While two new positive cases were reported from Thiruvananthapuram, one each was reported from Kollam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kasaragod. Meanwhile, Yakoob Hussain Sait, 69, a native of Chullikkal at Mattancherry in Ernakulam, who was under treatment at Ernakulam Medical College at Kalamassery, died around 8am on Saturday, recording the first death caused by the epidemic in the state. Yakoob, who had returned from Dubai on March 16, was admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital on March 22 after his swab samples tested positive. He was suffering from acute pneumonia and was surviving with ventilator support. A cardiac patient with high blood pressure, he had also undergone bypass surgery . WORLD FIGURES Worldwide cases cross 6 lakh 832 DEATHS U.S. CASES SURGE OVER 100,000 The US had nearly 105,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Saturday. The country’s biggest cluster is in the New York state, home to nearly half of all the positive cases in the US TRUMP SPRINGS INTO ACTION The US President on Saturday ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to build new hospitals and invoked the Defense Production Act to force General Motors to produce ventilators IN A DAY The death toll in Spain from the novel coronavirus hit 5,600 on Saturday after a record 832 people died in 24 hours. With 72,248 positive cases Spain is only second to Italy–with 86,498 positive cases—in Europe PUBLIC FURY People in China’s Hubei trashed public vehicles after they were stopped from traveling to a neighbouring province on Saturday UK DEATHS CROSS 1,000 THE NUMBER OF DEATHS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM JUMPED BY 260 IN ONE DAY ON SATURDAY TO PASS 1,000. THE COUNTRY NOW HAS MORE THAN 17,000 POSITIVE CASES THE EPIDEMIC OF FEAR PLUS 12 PAGES The chief minister, addressing his customary press conference, said the comparatively fewer number of positive cases on Saturday doesn’t mean that the concerns are over. “We will have to heighten our surveillance further. While doing so, it will be ensured that the health workers are also better prepared for the fight against Covid-19,” ● More on P4 said Pinarayi. TOTAL DEATHS WITH THIS ISSUE MAJOR DECISIONS All entrance examinations postponed Treasuries to operate from 9am to 5pm Service pension to be disbursed in the state from April 2 Local bodies to ensure that the food prepared and distributed through community kitchens are reaching eligible people 6,22,490 28, 809 137,391 CONFIRMED CASES WUHAN REOPENS The Chinese city that became the Ground Zero for the coronavirus pandemic partly reopened on Saturday after more than two months of almost total isolation. People were allowed to enter the city, and the subway networks restarted RECOVERED CASES More than 100,000 cases were reported worldwide in just the last two days India’s tally surges past 900; PM sets up fund to fight Covid-19 THE case of a Class X student testing positive for the novel coronavirus has pushed the district to the brink of community transmission, if it has not already happened. The girl, aged 15, has written two examinations after coming in contact with her infected father who had returned from Dubai on March 17. The case brings to the fore the district administration’s failure in the timely testing and isolation of overseas returnees. The district administration has gone into an overdrive since the girl was confirmed Covid-19 positive Friday evening. “Now there are no route maps,” said District Medical Officer Dr A V Ramdas. “We will be collecting the swabs of all those who came in contact with the girl. Our main job is to track down all her contacts.” While tracking will be an arduous task, the lapses have put several other students at risk. The girl’s father, who works in Naif -- a Covid hotbed in Dubai -- landed at the Kozhikode International Airport. He cleared the thermal scanning at the airport, took a train and reached the Kanhangad railway station. ANAND VIHAR, DELHI Centre steps in as migrant workers land in dire straits amid lockdown With the 21-day national lockdown entering its fourth day on Saturday thousands of migrant daily-wage workers across the coun, try were stranded far away from their homes, deprived of food and water. Thousands of people waited in long queues to board buses at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Interstate Bus Terminal on Saturday As . their plight gathered public attention, the Union Home Ministry directed the states and the Union Territories to immediately set up relief camps along the road sides. The states were told tap into the State Disaster Response Funds to provide food, accommodation and medical care for stranded migrant workers. M K ASHOK KUMAR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE THE number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 900 on Saturday, with Maharashtra alone reporting a spurt of 28 fresh infections. Deaths, too, rose to 21. In Telangana, a 74-year-old patient with a history of travel to Delhi, succumbed to the disease at a private hospital. With the spike in new cases, Maharashtra’s tally surged past 180 on Saturday The state also has the largest number of deaths . at five, while Gujarat has reported three deaths. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh two each, while Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have reported one each. We have detected According to the Union health ministry early signs of data released at 5.45 pm, there were 909 concommunity firmed Covid-19 cases in the country while 80 , transmission as were either cured or discharged. three patients While the government is yet to officially without any international acknowledge community transmission, a travel history or senior official with the Indian Council of contact history Medical Research admitted it may have alwith corona ready started. “We have detected early signs positive persons, of community transmission as three patients have been without any international travel history or infected contact history with corona positive persons, An ICMR official have been infected,” he said. Meanwhile, the Centre sought to play down criticism that the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced without any planning, saying that its response to Covid-19 outbreak has been “pre-emptive, pro-active and graded”. The Information & Broadcasting Ministry said screening of incoming air passengers was done much ahead of many other countries. “Thermal screening of incoming international passengers from China and Hong Kong was started on January 18, much before the first case of coronavirus was detected in India on January 30,” it said. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the creation PM-CARES Fund urging citizens to contribute to help government in its fight against Covid-19. People who wish to make contribution can visit www.pmindia.gov.in. Class X student tests +ve in Kasaragod; chinks in armour exposed G E O R G E P O I K AY I L @ Kasaragod ANIL SHAKYA There too he cleared the thermal scanning, said his wife who is now in hospital. “But I was worried because I have been seeing too many reports of corona cases from Dubai,” she told TNIE. “And we have four children. I had to think of their safety too.” , She took her husband to the District Hospital on March 18 and 19. On both occasions, the authorities did not take his swab. “The doctors said it will be futile to take swab without symptoms and they sent us back,” she said. On both these days, their daughter had Class X exams. And now the race is on to trace hers and her friends’ contacts. Her father had tested positive on March 23, and the family has been shifted to the District P2 Hospital. TIRUCHY, TAMIL NADU Workers are on a foot-puncturing journey to reach native places Close to twenty people, who were working in Tiruchy as construction workers and cooks started their travel by foot towards Tenkasi and Virudhunagar, their native districts, as all transport services stand suspended. With no work and income, survival has become a challenge for these intra-state migrant workers. They reached the Amma Mandapam in Srirangam on Saturday afternoon and were hoping for anyone to provide them with food. Travelling under the scorching heat of the sun, they were halted then and there by the police for questioning. EXPRESS KURNOOL, ANDHRA PRADESH Deprived of food and water, daily-wage workers plead for help Hundreds of labourers from Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district, who were returning home amid the lockdown, were stranded in parts of Guntur and Prakasam districts on Saturday after they were stopped by the police. Deprived of food and water, they pleaded the state authorities for help. “There is no water to drink and nothing to eat. Shopkeepers are keeping us at a distance and not selling us anything, even biscuits,” one of them complained. “Even when we begged for drinking water, people are not giving us,” another said. At least 5,000 daily-wage workers were reportedly stranded in the two districts.
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