THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l THURSDAY l MAY 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 l LATE CITY EDITION LOCKDOWN EXEMPTION FOR BOARD EXAMINATIONS: MHA The Ministry of Home Affairs has already written to all the state governments informing them about the exemptions DECISION TO HELP LARGE NO. OF STUDENTS SOCIAL DISTANCING, SCREENING MUST The relaxation Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla mentioned in his letter to states referred to the bar on opening of schools under the lockdown regime, saying it will be temporarily eased to conduct board exams. This decision has been taken after factoring in “the academic interest of a large number of students”, Bhalla explained in his letter ■ ■ ■ However, the exemption comes with some conditions No exam centre will be permitted in containment zones and face masks will be worn by teachers, staff and students There shall be provision of thermal screening and sanitiser at exam centres and social distancing norms have to be followed May 31 WHEN THE NATIONWIDE LOOKDOWN IS SUPPOSED TO COME TO AN END 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 Fly from Monday, middle seat will not be left vacant Social distancing to be enforced as commercial flights prepare to resume in calibrated manner K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi 190 People make way through gusty winds as Amphan makes landfall in Odisha’s Bhadrak district on Wednesday | PTI EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kolkata/Bhubaneswar EXTREMELY severe cyclone Amphan made landfall between Digha, West Bengal, and Hatia island in Bangladesh on Wednesday leaving a trail of destruction and claiming at least two lives in Bengal and one in Odisha. One teenager died in Howrah district and a woman passed away in Minakha, Nor th 24-Parganas district of West Bengal. The extent of damage could not be immediately ascertained. EXAM FLIP-FLOP May 6 Pending SSLC, HSE, VHSE exams from May 21-29 May 13 Rescheduled to May 26-30 May 18 CM: No change in dates despite Centre’s guidelines May 20 Postponed to June first week May 20 CM: Exams will be held from May 26 to 30 Post flip-flops, SSLC, HSE exams set for May 26 start EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram AFTER much uncertainty, the pending SSLC, Higher Secondary and Vocational Higher Secondary examinations will begin on May 26. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the decision to go ahead with the examinations as per the time table announced earlier was taken after the Centre relaxed its lockdown restrictions. The CM’s office had made an announcement earlier in the day that the SSLC, HSE and VHSE examinations have been postponed to the first week of June. But in the afternoon, the Centre wrote to the states that Class X and XII Board exams could be conducted during the lockdown period with certain conditions. “Arrangements will be made for all students to appear for the examinations. Students and parents need not have any anxiety If any . issue is brought to the government’s notice, it will be solved,” Pinarayi said during his media briefing on Wednesday . The CM added that all safety precautions against Covid-19 would be taken. kmph cyclone tears into Bengal, Bangla After making landfall at around 2.30 pm, the cyclone with wind speed of 160 to 170 kmph, gusting to 190 kmph, coupled with heavy rain, cut through the coastal areas, flattening dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles. TV visuals showed gigantic tidal waves crashing into a seawall in Digha, close to the landfall site. Thick sheets of rain blurred the vast coastline and surging waters engulfed mudand-thatch houses. The landfall process continued for four hours, said an IMD official. Talking to reporters in Delhi, India Meteorological Department director-general Mrityunjay Mohapatra said the eye of the monster cyclone — the most explosive part of the cyclonic system — had touched the land, triggering copious rain in the three districts. The eye of the storm itself was 30 km in diameter, he said. In Kolkata, several trees, light-posts and signal-posts were uprooted. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was at the control room at Nabanna, the state secretariat, to monitor the works of disaster management teams. EXACTLY two months after they were shut down to contain the coronavirus outbreak, domestic commercial flights will resume in a calibrated manner across the country from May 25. While all the social distancing norms will be enforced, middle seats will not be ke p t va c a n t d u r i n g fl i g h t operations. “Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday May , 25, 2020. All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations,” Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted. Standard operating procedures (SOP) for passenger movement are expected to be issued in due course. One indication of what the SOP could contain came from Puri’s remark to a news agency that he would not recommend a configuration where middle seats are vacant. “It’s not viable to keep the middle seat vacant. Even if you keep middle seat vacant you’ll still have a situation where prescribed distance for social distancing isn’t followed. If NORMS SUGGESTED IN DRAFT SOP l Cabin baggage not allowed, fliers have to fill up a questionnaire seeking details on their past travel history l Flyers have to reach airports at least two hours before departure l Green status on Aarogya Setu app, web check-in, temperature checks for all departing and arriving passengers l Middle seats will not be vacant l Airports will have an isolation zone in the terminal building as well as the airside for those showing Covid symptoms l Airports have to put in place distance markings, disinfect all common areas you were to do it then you’ve to hike up airline ticket price by 33%,” Puri said. Sources also hinted that the ministry was against airfares going up. If middle seats are kept vacant, airlines would seek to shift the burden to the passengers by jacking up fares, drawing protests from fliers. As for the resumption of services, sources indicated that airports in red zones may not open immediately though some of the busiest , routes might see flight operations. COVID VICTIMS Cab aggregator Ola on Wednesday announced 1,400 employees, 35% of its workforce in India, would be laid off. The company’s revenues dropped 95% in the past two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a look at other new-age companies that have resorted to lay off staff to save cash: Ola’s rival Uber fired 6,700 employees across various departments all over the world India’s second largest online food delivery company Zomato said it would trim 13% of its entire workforce - 520 employees Zomato’s rival Swiggy plans to let 1,100 staff go as a cost-cutting measure HOTEL CHAIN OYO HAS FIRED NEARLY 5,000 EMPLOYEES GLOBALLY. IN INDIA, IT PLANS TO ASK SOME EMPLOYEES TO PROCEED ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY Treebo group of hotels has launched a ‘voluntary resignation scheme’ to 400 EMPLOYEES B2B e—commerce platform Udaan has sacked over 1,000 contractual staff members WeWork India has laid off 100 employees, which is 20% of its workforce Scooter rental firm Bounce has fired 120 employees Online home design and decoration start-up LivSpace has removed 450 employees (15% of the workforce) Expatriates with confirmed coronavirus infection allowed to take flights to Kerala A N UJA SUSA N VA RG H ES E & VISHNUPRASAD K P @ Kochi/Malappuram A 34-year-old pregnant nurse, who recently returned to Kerala from Kuwait, tested positive for Covid-19 on her arrival. But, it was later revealed that she had been undergoing treatment for the disease in the Gulf country. After her first result turned negative, she boarded the flight to Kerala, without waiting for the second. Three expats, all from Kollam, travelled from Abu Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram hiding their infection. They tried to hide the fact even after arrival, but were identified and isolated. A 24-year-old-woman and her son, both natives of Malappuram, came from Kuwait without waiting for test results though her father-in-law, with whom she and her family stayed, had tested positive. KERALA CASE DIARY 24 cases reported on Wednesday The instances of expats returning to Kerala by concealing their medical history including Coro, navirus infection, have sent the alarm bells ringing in the state. Lacunae in testing protocol followed by other countries and the returnees’ reluctance to reveal their medical condition have increased the chances of virus spread in the state. “It’s definitely a concern. It has come to the state’s notice that many countries are not following the standard operating procedure (SOP) of allowing only Covid-negative people to board flights. The state had alerted the Centre immediately after realising it. But 14 days of home quarantine and testing those arriving with Covid symptoms are the only options we have. We can’t tell them not to come,” said Dr B Ekbal, who chairs the state expert commit● More on P4 tee on Covid-19. 666 cases have been confirmed so far Consider state’s plea on test: HC to Centre Kochi: The High Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to consider the request of the state government to conduct RT-PCR tests on returning expatriates in their countries before they board the flights to India. At the same time, the division bench comprising Justice Anu Sivaraman and Justice M R Anitha said the Centre will undoubtedly do so. P7 Chennai returnees hide disease Palakkad: Health authorities’ worst fears of coronavirus-infected persons from other states entering Kerala hiding their disease status came true when two persons from Chennai tested positive on Wednesday. P4 The chief minister has said that with a significant increase in the number of patients following the return of Keralites from other places, the state is moving to a serious situation. 502 have recovered A surprise Iftar gift of gold coins and a 20-yr-old story THE Covid-19 pandemic, it seems, is also the time to correct past mistakes and seek forgiveness. An unexpected incident on the 26th day of Ramzan took Basariya — a homemaker in Nellikkunnu in Kasaragod — back by 20 years. Late in the evening on Tuesday, when Basariya was preparing for Iftar, a young man knocked on the door with a large food pack. She was pleasantly surprised, but it is not uncommon for families to exchange Iftar food. She asked the person, who was wearing a helmet, who he was. But the young man re- Workers place deck slabs on the pillars of the under-construction Kazhakoottam elevated highway near Attinkuzhy bypass in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. Though many migrant labourers employed in the project returned home, the work is being carried out with the help of limited number of people | B P DEEPU Tough times ahead, says CM SEEKING FORGIVENESS G E O R G E P O I K AY I L @ Kasaragod ELEVATED SPIRIT plied that he was just a delivery boy and that someone else had sent it. Before she could press further, azan — the call for prayer — echoed from the mosques and Basariya went inside for a short prayer and to break the fast. The delivery man also left. The food pack had rich ghee rice and steaming beef curry But it also had . a small jewellery box. Inside it, she found two gold coins and a handwritten message on a paper torn from a school notebook. The message read thus: “I had got the gold you lost 20 years ago. I could not return it to you then. Please accept these coins and ● More on P7 forgive me.” 161 under treatment 3 deaths + 1 Mahe native died in Kannur Bail granted if ready to work as Covid warrior EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal A CLUTCH of accused in serious cases of crime were granted bail by the Gwalior Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court over the last few days on the condition that they would register and serve as Corona warriors in their respective districts after they go back home. The crimes they were accused of ranged from murder, attempt to murder, assault on a woman, jumping bail, drug peddling, facing charges under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) and the Vyapam scam. FOREIGN INVESTORS PULL OUT $16 BN J AYA N TA R O Y C H O W D H U R Y @ New Delhi FOREIGN investors have been pulling out of India, says a recent US Congressional Research Service report on Covid-19’s effects on the global economy. “Foreign investors have pulled $26 billion out of developing Asian economies and $16 billion out of India, increasing concerns of a major economic recession in Asia,” it noted. This is corroborated by data from Indian bourses. Foreign portfolio investors have been pulling out of India since January and by March, their panic-selling brought foreign institutional ownership of the top 500 BSE-listed Indian companies to a six-year low. As on March 30, FII ownership of BSE 500 companies came down drastically to 12.3%. In all, FIIs were net sellers of equity worth `83,859 crore this quarter. “FII selling continued in April when they were net sellers of stock worth `5,208 crore. In times of high risk, it is natural for funds to flee emerging markets and go for safer havens such as US treasury bonds, gold etc,” said Amit Banerjee, an independent merchant banker. Analysts fear future FDI inflows would be hit. “There are question marks on future FDI inflows. Despite improving on ease of doing business index, most foreign investors will play safe and conserve funds at this time,” said Prof Biswajit Dhar, JNU. EXPRESS READ ‘Bev Q’ is new app to buy liquor online T’Puram: The Excise Department has fixed the name ‘Bev Q’ for the new online app being introduced by the Kerala State Beverage Corporation for liquor sale. The start-up company which developed the app as part of introducing virtual queue system in liquor outlets has completed the Google registration formalities. THE SPECTRUM CALLED MOHANLAL As Mohanlal turns 60, ace director Unnikrishnan B, who has worked with the acting legend in many movies, shares his rich experience | T’PURAM EXPRESS P1, 4 18 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF THIRUVANANTHAPURAM EXPRESS
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21-05-2020 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram
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