KOTTAYAM l FRIDAY l APRIL 03, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION CARLSEN’S HEAVY EIGHT $250,000 GAMBIT ON BOARD World champ announces ‘Magnus Carlsen Invitational’, a first of its kind online event. Competition to begin from April 18 KEEPING MIND ACTIVE IN HISTORIC EVENT MATCHES TO BE STREAMED ON CHESS24 The prize money is one of the biggest for an invitational event. The format is going to be everybody-plays-everybody in a best of four Rapid match series, with each tie lasting 60 minutes. The league stage’s top four will advance to the knockouts. It’s expected that most of the players who took part in the Candidates last month will be approached to take part. ■ ■ The Norwegian outlined initiative on website part-owned by him. “We have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to players and fans around the world who need a distraction (...).” All matches will be streamed on chess24.com, with commentary available in nine languages. Event will run till May 3 | P11 $70,000 GUARANTEED PRIZE MONEY FOR WINNER 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 ECONOMIC STIMULUS LEARNING FROM SAARC, ASEAN ANTIDOTE TO THE PANDEMIC S U N I T H A N AT T I @ Hyderabad THE Covid-19 pandemic is mass destructing both lives and livelihood. Despite countries fighting a common enemy, the extent of human loss and the severity of economic fractures will differ. Various governments have spread out stimulus buffets, but nations will likely need even more generous helpings until the pandemic passes and recovery begins. India, too, dashed off its first `1.7 lakh crore save-thecountry relief package comprising cash transfers, free gas cylinders and food grains supply for three months covering two-thirds of the population or 800 million, among others. But, is it enough? Perhaps, a peer review of Asean and Saarc nations may help understand what’s going on elsewhere. The Indian subcontinent can’t be strictly compared to any of the 18 member countries because of the sheer size of our population and economy Still, a sneak peak indi. cates that our stimulus efforts need more meat on the bones. Other countries, despite strained finances and relatively being smaller economies, measured up to India. Some others did even better. While export-dependent Vietnam deferred rentals and payments to pension pots for five months, Thailand lowered water and electricity bills, besides cash transfers to 9 million workers outside the social security system. For those within the social security net, it lowered contribution of employees and employers. Singapore scrapped property taxes, waived student loan interest for one year plus cash giveaways to self-employed. Malaysia, which consistently runs fiscal deficits since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, went all guns blazing with its largest-ever aid aggregating one-fifth of the GDP. What’s on offer? Almost everything from free internet to electricity bill discounts to temporary paid leave to special allowances for healthcare workers. And guess for how long? Not three months, not five months, but until the pandemic ends for good. The Philippines is giving 0% interest loans to small farmers and fisher folk besides financial aid to 18 million vulnerable households, while the $1-trillion Indonesian economy vowed to give stipends for even job seekers. Smaller nations like Laos rolled out a 13-point economic stimulus package including lower electricity tariffs and tax reliefs to industry Others like Brunei offered fis. cal assistance including flexible financing for real estate and restructuring of credit card loan dues. The tiny nation Nepal took it upon itself lowering electricity charges besides urging private schools and internet service providers to extend freebies to customers. Neighbouring Bangladesh with reliance on textile exports extended its stimulus package to 4 million textile workers among others. India did well to some extent with the government volunteering to pay both employees and employers’ contribution towards EPF. However, but that generosity is limited to companies employing less than 100. India Inc is worried as the Centre is yet to mount a rescue effort for industry Other than RBI’s interest pay. ment deferrals on working capital loans, relief measures are largely limited to households. FISCAL LUBRICANT: P12 DISTRESS SIGNALS A look at the impact of Covid-19 on various sectors of the economy Manufacturing down In March, India’s manufacturing sector grew at its slowest rate in four months with IHS Markit India Manufacturing PMI falling to 51.8 from 54.5 in February. According to Eliot Kerr, economist at IHS Markit, Indian manufacturing may witness a much sharper negative impact in the coming months Agriculture woes India’s rabi harvest could be impacted due to logistics disruption and labour scarcity due to the lockdown. The inability of wholesale markets in various states to pick up the produce has already led to huge losses for the horticulture sector Hiring frozen, salary budgets cut Nearly 45% of India’s MNCs have paused their hiring process indefinitely in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic; another 25% enterprises have either deferred their appraisal cycle or reduced salary budgets, says consulting and research firm Zinnov Credit ratio at 3-year low Credit rating agency CRISIL said on Thursday that India Inc.’s credit ratio has fallen to a threeyear low for the second half of FY20; it gave a ‘negative’ outlook for FY21 expecting downgrades to outpace upgrades because of the economic impact of Covid-19 State fiscal deficit Extra expenditure in health and sanitation sectors, coupled with a shortfall in tax collections, will push state fiscal deficit above 3% in the coming year on account of slowdown and coronavirus outbreak, says an SBI Research report US unemployment peaks Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as the country’s economy collapsed under the weight of Covid-19 pandemic. The stunning revelation came from the Labor Department, buttressing fears that job cuts are mounting as businesses have shut down in the US and across the world FULL COVERAGE | P10 Mission Gulf: Kerala braces for huge inflow Emirates airline prepares to fly again; the state gears up to ready quarantine and isolation facilities on a mass scale “We haven’t received any information on the Emirates flights to KERALA is bracing itself for an Kerala. Usually we are informed if , influx of Non-Resident Keralites any such decision is made,” said (NRKs) from the United Arab Harikrishnan Namboothiri K, Emirates (UAE) when the skies chief executive officer of NORKA reopen for passenger flights. For Roots, an agency handling expatrithe Gulf country has emerged as a ate Keralites’ affairs. major ‘import’ source of the novel Covid-19 cases in the Gulf councoronavirus, as evident in an over- tries are rising and the UAE alone whelming number of cases in the has confirmed 611 coronavirus state. cases, with five deaths as on The head of Emirates airThursday The total number . line, in a tweet, announced of infections in the six Gulf it has received approval Arab countries stands at from the UAE authorities more than 3,700, with 18 to start flying a limited deaths. number of passenger Chief Minister Pinarayi flights. Vijayan, meanwhile, in a “From 06 April, these letter to External Affairs flights will initially carry Minister S Jaishankar, travellers outbound from urged the Centre to take Workers in the the UAE. Details will be immediate steps to lift Gulf countries often stay in a announced soon,” tweeted the ban on passenger Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed room with more flights from the Gulf counAl Maktoum, chairman than one person. tries so that Malayalis can This is not an and chief executive, Emirreturn. ideal situation in ates Airline & Group. “Workers in the Gulf the current He, however, did not countries often stay in a scenario specify the names of the room with more than one Pinarayi Vijayan, countries to where Emirperson. This is not an ideal Chief Minister ates would start flying. An situation in the current email to the Emirates scenario,” Pinarayi said, spokesperson did not elicit adding relatives of Malayany response till the time of going alis who die even without Covid-19 to press. are unable to bring bodies to KeraThe number of Covid-19 cases la due to the travel ban. imported to Kerala is worrying for According to T hiruvananthe authorities. Out of the 286 posi- thapuram-based Centre for Develtive cases reported in the state, 200 opment Studies (CDS), the Gulf are imported ones. Of the 200, region accounts for about 19 lakh more than 80 per cent are from the migrants from Kerala. Of this, the Gulf countries. UAE alone has 8.3 lakh. ● More on P4 KERALA CASE DIARY R A J E S H A B R A H A M @ Kochi 286 21 new cases were reported in Kerala on Thursday 28 cases have been confirmed Three Tablighi attendees among 21 who tested +ve; 7 dists identified hotspots EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE 256 are currently under treatment have recovered so far A1646.28 CR has been sanctioned to local bodies for prevention and control activities 28.36L people buy essential items through ration shops in two days A32.01 CR CM’s Distress Relief Fund received as donation on Thursday @ T’Puram THREE persons who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conclave at Nizamuddin, Delhi, were among the 21 fresh Covid-19 cases reported in the state on Thursday . “As many as 157 persons from the state had attended the conclave . They were from all 14 districts and the government has collected their details. Some have been put under home quarantine and others in isolation at hospitals. A few are still in Delhi,” Chief Minister P i n a r ay i Vi j aya n t o l d mediapersons. Among the new infected cases, Kasaragod had eight. The others were from Idukki (five), Kollam (two), Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, T h r i s s u r, M a l a p p u r a m , Kozhikode and Kannur (one each). Nine of them are imported cases while nine are contacts. With positive cases going up, the state government has identified seven districts — Kasaragod, Malappuram, Thrissur, Kannur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram — as Covid-19 hotspots. It means the authorities will increase the surveillance there and adopt stringent measures to prevent community spread. “The government is making all preparations keeping in mind that community transmission could lead to an emergency situation,” the CM said. Pinarayi also reiterated that to avoid community transmission, those who had come to Kerala from from abroad and other states between March 5 and 24 and those who made contact with them should remain in 28-day mandatory home quarantine. The CM also had a word of caution against the spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya. People should take steps to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in their surroundings, he said. 21-DAY LOCKDOWN EXIT TO BE STAGGERED: PM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi GRIM REAPER IN BRAZIL Workers bury a person at Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The largest cemetery in Latin America, it has seen a 30% increase in the number of burials amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed over 250 in the country so far | AP 12 more deaths India has 1,860 active cases of coronavirus, including 328 in the last 24 hours. Also, 12 new deaths have been reported, taking the toll to 53. On the positive side, 150 cured/discharged Health workers attacked Reports of attacks on people on healthcare workers came in from a few places, including Indore and Bengaluru. Seven persons were arrested for the Indore attack First recovery in Srinagar Flights after lockdown A 67-year-old woman in Srinagar was discharged from hospital, the first J&K patient to have fully recovered from the virus. Eight new cases in J&K Flights can start operations in a calibrated manner after the lockdown is lifted. But international flights will be approved on a case by case basis Robust testing in Bihar Bihar is the only state to have tested everyone who arrived from abroad, claimed dy CM Sushil Modi. Measures like turning school in every panchayat into quarantine centres helped Meds for Maldives The IAF airlifted 6.2 tonnes of essential medicines and hospital consumables to Male in Maldives. They were stuck in various cities of India due to lockdown EXPRESS READ HC stays govt’s order on liquor Govt staff may face salary cut Scared elderly takes her life Kochi: Terming the state government order to provide alcoholics with three litres of liquor on doctor’s prescription to counter withdrawal symptoms as a ‘recipe for disaster’, the High Court on Thursday stayed it for three weeks. A division bench issued the interim order while admitting the petition filed by MP T N Prathapan and KGMOA. P4 T’Puram: Kerala will be forced to regulate the salary of government employees if the crisis due to Covid-19 continues, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said on Thursday. Isaac said extreme steps like salary cut can be avoided if all employees donate their one month’s salary to the government. The minister said the challenge would not be compulsory. P4 Kanhangad: The fear of coronavirus led an elderly woman to end her life in Pallikkara, the Bekal police have said. Bekal subinspector Ajith Kumar said the woman was in a state of delirium because of the “lockdown and talk of coronavirus all around”. The deceased has been identified as Dakshayani (60) of Kuttakkani near Pallikkara. WITH coronavirus cases rising exponentially across the country Prime Minister Nar, endra Modi on Thursday made it clear that the return of full normalcy will have to wait even while states rushed to trace the Tablighi Jamaat carriers of the virus. Modi underscored the importance of working out a common exit strategy for the staggered reemergence of the population after the 21-day lockdown, so that the benefits of the current exercise at social distancing are not frittered away . He urged all states to share ideas for the uniform relaxation of curbs. Sources said it could include a temporary bar on mass gathering, restrictions on religious places and the gradual opening of offices and other work spaces. Modi said the global situation is far from satisfactory, adding there is speculation of a possible second wave of the virus in some countries. The lockdown is scheduled to end on April 14. Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh attended the video conference with the chief ministers. The presence of the two heavyweight ministers underlined the gravity of the situation, as carelessness at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Delhi has made it the epicentre of the virus, with its activists accounting for almost one-fifth of positive cases in India. For their part, the chief ministers briefed the prime minister on the actions taken to track down the Tablighi activists and their contacts, besides earmarking dedicated infrastructure for treatment of the Covid-19 patients. “The Covid-19 has attacked our faith and belief. It’s threatening our way of life. Each one of us should reach out to community leaders and social welfare organizations at state, district, town and block levels to build a united front based on community approach in the battle against the pandemic,” Modi said. With cases spiking in the last few days, Modi is learnt to have urged the chief ministers to expeditiously put in place a dedicated infrastructure for treatment of Covid-19 patients, seamless movement of raw materials for manufacture of necessary medical equipment, speedy training of healthcare personnel, and tapping the resources of alternative healthcare set ups, including Ayush. Hospitals in Mangaluru told not to treat Kerala patients EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mangaluru EVEN as Kerala is exerting pressure on Karnataka to open its borders to allow ambulances carrying patients from Kasaragod to Mangaluru, the local authorities in the border district of Dak- shina Kannada on Thursday issued an order directing hospitals in Mangaluru not to admit patients from the neighbouring state. It also ordered to block vehicles carrying Covid-19 patients from across the border. The border at Thalapady remained shut on Thursday P5 .
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