KOTTAYAM l SUNDAY l JUNE 07, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 28 l CITY EDITION BIDEN WINS DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT He won the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination after Tuesday’s primaries in seven states and DC ‘U.S. CRYING OUT FOR LEADERSHIP’ The former vice president has been the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee since April when his principal challenger Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race. After clinching the nomination on Saturday, Joe Biden resumed his criticism of President Donald Trump. “The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us,” he said 77-yr-old OPINION POLLS PUT HIM AHEAD OF TRUMP ■ Several opinion polls put the veteran Democrat ahead of Trump. For instance, a recent CNN poll showed 51% backing him. RealClearPolitics gives him a 7.1 point lead over the president ■ Biden has time and again spoken in favour of deepening US’s strategic partnership with India on regional and global issues BIDEN HAS TWO UNSUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL BIDS TO HIS RECORD 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 Maharashtra, Home quarantine for all returnees, conditions apply Delhi stare at 108 1,029 Covid explosion KERALA CASE DIARY 20% of all who test for the virus turn out to be positive in Maharashtra and 18% in Delhi S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi ALMOST one in five persons undergoing a Covid-19 test in the past one week in Delhi and Maharashtra has tested positive, suggesting an infection explosion in the two states. Data released by the National Institute of Epidemiology under the Indian Council of Medical Research shows that the average test positivity rate in Maharashtra was above 20. In other words, more than 20 of the 100 tested for the virus are testing positive. Delhi fares marginally better, where 18 out of 100 persons tested turn out to be positive. The test positivity rate in the two states, where reports of severely sick Covid 19 patients being denied ICU beds are becoming common, is nearly thrice the national average. The situation was not so grim until a few days back. The test positivity rate in Maharashtra was 14 while in Delhi it was above 10. The cumulative cases in the two states are 80,229 and 26,334, respectively . The steep rise in positivity rate has led many experts to warn that unless enough tests are carried out, the quantum of cases would become unmanageable in the immediate future. Oommen C Kurian, the lead of the health initiative with the Observer Research Foundation, said the increasing test positivity rate was an indication of states not testing enough and the increasing spread of the virus. “Some states have to under- stand that tests are a multipurpose weapon against the virus. It helps prevent the spread in districts with low numbers and more importantly it helps slow , down the spread in districts with high numbers through systematic isolation of positive cases and quarantining of contacts,” Kurian said. The country’s average sevenday test positivity rate is above 6, but the figure is rising in many states, including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Haryana, West Bengal and Odisha. “The test positivity rate close to or above 20 is extremely worrying and it’s obvious that large-scale community transmission is taking place in Delhi and Maharashtra,” said Dr Anupam Singh, an infectious disease expert in Ghaziabad. Singh stressed the need for widening the testing criteria in order to catch new infections early and allowing autonomy to doctors to decide whom to test. “We are seeing a large number of patients in the DelhiNCR region who are asymptom a t i c o r h ave a t y p i c a l symptoms,” he said. “Containment and mitigation strategies cannot be effective until there is aggressive focus is on testing, tracing and treating.” The views of the experts run counter to the Delhi government’s order recently to not test all patients. Even on Saturday Chief Min, ister Arvind Kejriwal asked the public not to head to Covid-19 centres and hospitals to get themselves tested if they did not have symptoms of the disease. cases reported on Saturday 1,807 under treatment 762 have recovered so far cases have been confirmed so far 15 DEATHS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram KERALA recorded 108 new Covid cases on Saturday taking , the total number of patients under treatment in the state to more than thousand for the first time. At present, there are 1,029 active cases in the state. The state also recorded its 15th Covid death. Parappanagandi native E Hamsakkoya, a former Santosh Trophy player who had returned from Mumbai on May 21, died at Government Medical College Hospital, Manjeri. Of the new cases, 98 were returnees -- 64 from abroad and 34 from other states. Despite the returnees accounting for most of the cases, the state government did away with the mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine for those coming from abroad, subject to certain conditions. They could instead undergo the mandatory quarantine for 14 days at home. Those who are already in institutional quarantine can also avail of the new facility . “Based on a guideline from the health ministry on May 24, a state executive meeting of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority was convened on May 27. In that, it was decided to treat all residential facilities/dwelling units identified @T’Puram/Kozhikode COVID RITUALS AHEAD OF REOPENING Staff sanitise the premises of Bengaluru’s Venkateshwara Temple on Saturday. Temples across Karnataka will reopen on June 8. Devotees must keep distance from each other and use face masks in accordance with the official guidelines | PANDARINATH B KERALA TELANGANA ANDHRA PRADESH In Kerala’s Sabarimala and Guruvayoor temples, only 50 devotees will be allowed to be present inside the premises at a time to avoid crowding. Those above 65 and below 10 won’t be allowed entry In Telangana, temples will be sanitised before opening and no theertha prasadam will be distributed. Devotees will have to wear masks, sanitise their hands and maintain physicial distancing in the temple premises. Tirumala temple will open on June 11 with entry restricted to 6,000 devotees per day. Social distancing and wearing of masks mandatory in line with state govt’s guidelines. No entry for those over the age of 65 DEATHS RECORD 294 DAILY DEATHS IN INDIA; W.H.O. ADVISES USE OF THREE-LAYERED FACE MASKS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi RECORD 294 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours—the highest yet in a day— took India’s coronavirus toll to 6,642 on Saturday In total, . there were 2.36 lakh confirmed coronavirus cases after accounting for the day’s 9,887 new cases. India now ranks 6th globally in terms of the number of cases, overtaking Italy, which was once the worst-hit country in the world. The US, Brazil, Russia, the UK and Spain are the five countries that have more confirmed cases than India now. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization on Saturday issued new guidance on the use of face masks saying, senior citizens and people with health issues should wear medical masks if maintaining social distance is not possible. All others should wear a three-layer fabric mask—the first layer of absorbent cotton, followed by a polypropylene layer for filtration and finally a synthetic layer that is water-resistant to restrict droplets reaching the nose and mouth. The world health body also emphasised that masks alone will not protect people from the deadly Covid-19. Cong moves Guj MLAs to resort EX PRESS N EWS SERVICE @ Mumbai ALARMED by the resignation of three Gujarat MLAs over the past three days, the Congress party moved its legislators to resorts in a bid to thwart any ‘poaching’ bid ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. In March, five Congress legislators had tendered their resignations days after the RS elections were announced. With the resignations of Akshay Patel and Jitu Chaudhary on June 3 and that of Brijesh Merja on June 5, the Congress’ strength in the 182-member House has been reduced to 65. The BJP has 103 MLAs. Rajya Sabha poll for four seats in Gujarat was to be held on March 26 but it was postponed due to the Covid19 lockdown. The poll has now been rescheduled for June 19. Adding to Kerala’s worries, 10 Malayali expats died in the Gulf on Saturday alone, in one of the highest single-day counts abroad. With this, 192 Keralites have died due to coronavirus infection in the Gulf countries. The deaths on the day include three each from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, two from Oman, and one each from UAE and Bahrain. According to reports, so far, a total of 89 Keralites have died in the UAE, 54 in Saudi Arabia, 38 in Kuwait, four in Qatar, five in Oman and two in Bahrain due to the pandemic. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE India, China hold top military-level 1,159,42 1,140,72 6,642 talks to defuse month-long standoff CURED/DISCHARGED 10 Malayalis die in Gulf Major mosques won’t reopen for now, will help state fight virus NATIONWIDE ACTIVE CASES and approved by district administrations or local self-government units as institutional quarantine facilities,” said a senior health department official. According to the official, though home quarantine is allowed it can’t be availed of by everyone. It will be based on the verification by the local body concerned through the medical officer of the primary health centre that such an option could be availed. It will be ensured that there are proper facilities for room quarantine and there are least chances for disease transmis● More on P4 sion. @ New Delhi Twitter The meeting started at 11:30 am at Moldo Border Personnel Meeting Hut on the Chinese side of the LAC and was on till 5:30 pm A Senior Army officer General Lin Liu. Eight other officers from both sides were also present. Lt Gen Harinder Singh briefed the Army Chief General M M NAravane and Jama Ath Council. Four mosques in Kozhikode city -- Palayam Muhiyudheen Mosque, Pattala Palli at Mananchira, Puthiyapalli at Nadakkavu and Livahul Masjid at SM Street -- too have decided not to reopen for now. The reason cited by all the mosques is that it would be difficult for them to abide by the Covid protocol. “As a mosque in the heart of the city, hundreds of people come in for prayer. We cannot ensure strict Covid protocol for all,” said C Mohammed Arif, secretary of P a l ay a m M u h i y u d h e e n Mosque. Pattala Palli committee organiser Abdul Kareem P M said if any transmission of the virus happens, it would be difficult to contain as there are many shops nearby . Sabarimala temple to open on June 14 EX P R ESS N EWS S E RV I C E INDIA strongly put across its views aiming to resolve the month-long standoff during the talks between military commanders of the Indian Army and Chinese People’s Liberation Army held on Saturday sources said. , A senior Army officer said the meeting lasted for six hours with lunch break in between. “The meeting started at 11:30 am at Moldo Border Personnel Meeting Hut on the Chinese side of the LAC and was on till 5:30 pm.” The Indian delegation was led by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh and China was represented by South Xinjiang Military Division Corps Commander Major THOUGH the Kerala government has allowed places of worship to reopen from June 9, major mosques across the state have decided not to open their gates to worshippers for the time being. The Palayam Juma Masjid in the state capital was among the prominent mosques that decided against reopening next week. According to Shuhaib V P Imam of the masjid, , mosques in the city may pose a higher risk of virus spread as they are visited by strangers and travellers in large numbers. Meanwhile, the state committee of Mahallu Jama Ath Council has approached the state and Union governments against reopening of religious centres in the state. “The government should review its decision to allow reopening of religious places. The efforts taken during this Covid pandemic period will go in vain if the government allows religious centres to open. Health experts’ opinion needs to be taken into consideration,” said K A Kareem, general secretary, Mahallu Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Y K Joshi after he reached Corps headquarters at Leh. The briefing of the talk was also given to the officials in the Ministry of External Affairs. The Prime Minister’s Office was also updated. The two sides have held around a dozen rounds of talks since the first week of May when the standoff started at Pangong Tso Lake in the Eastern Ladakh. KCBC issues directive on church reopening T’Puram: The Sabarimala shrine will open for monthly puja for the month of Midhunam on June 14, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said here on Satuday. While the monthly puja and festival will be held from June 14 to 28, the ‘arattu’ ceremony will be held on the final day. Entry to the shrine will be on the basis of virtual queue and only 200 people will be allowed entry every hour. Registration will be allowed only for people in the age group of 10 to 65 years. Kochi: The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) on Saturday said it had issued a directive regarding the opening and conducting of rituals in churches. KCBC urged the faithful to follow directions issued by the state and Union governments as part of the Covid containment strategy. Faithful should undertake all precautionary measures to avoid community spread, said the press release issued by Fr Varghese Vallikkatt, deputy general secretary of KCBC. WITH THIS ISSUE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR P L U S 1 2 PA G E S TNIE INITIATIVE Here’s your chance to help Kerala ensure food self-sufficiency E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi WITH the lockdown bringing in restrictions on inter-state traffic, Kerala, which depends on the neighbouring states for essential goods, is striving to attain self-sufficiency in vegetable production. Extending a helping hand to the state government’s efforts to promote cultivation of vegetables, The New Indian Express, in association with the Department of Agriculture Development and Farmers’ Welfare, is distributing vegetable seed packets to its subscribers on Sun- day, which is also the World Food Safety Day, through its initiative ‘My Home, My Vegetable’. Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council of Keralam has also extended its support to the initiative. The aim is to promote cultivation of vegetables in kitchen gardens and rooftops, making best use of the space available in urban areas and encourage community projects in rural areas. The initiative was inaugurated by Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar at the Aluva Palace on Thursday . T he gover nment has launched ‘Subhiksha Keralam’ project to ensure food security . As part of the project, the state aims to bring 12,500 hectares of land under cultivation, thus enabling it to become self-sufficient in food production. TODAY’S ISSUE CARRIES A FOUR-PAGE SUPPLEMENT ON WORLD FOOD SAFETY DAY
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