CHENNAI WEDNESDAY JUNE 10, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 14 VELLORE EDITION GOOGLE MAPS TO SHOW COVID-19 RELATED INFO NEW FEATURE ROLLING OUT IN INDIA SOON The new feature will alert users about coronavirus-related travel restrictions to help them plan their trips better “When you look up public transit directions for a trip that is likely to be affected by Covid-19 restrictions, we’ll show relevant alerts from local transit agencies... Transit alerts are rolling out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the US,” the company’s official blog said ■ 1 billion USERS TO GET ALERTS FOR CHECKPOINTS ■ Google Maps will alert drivers about checkpoints and restrictions along the route. The user will see an alert on the directions screen if the route is impacted by these restrictions Google said the new update will allow commuters to check how crowded a train station might be at a particular time ESTIMATED NUMBER OF PEOPLE USING THE GOOGLE MAPS APP IN A MONTH 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 TN BOARD EXAMS CANCELLED Trimming of syllabus, instructional EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai BRINGING cheer to lakhs of students in the State, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday announced that public examination for SSLC and examinations for the pending subjects of Plus One for the academic year of 2019-20 have been cancelled and all students have been promoted without exams. Supplementary examinations for PlusTwo have also been postponed. The dates for these examinations will be announced later depending upon the situation. In a public address through television channels, Palaniswami said, “We are cancelling the exams as there is a need to safeguard the students. The infection is going up in Chennai and a few other districts and health experts are of the view that it may not come down in the near future. Besides, there have been requests from parents and the Madras High Court has also suggested that we reconsider holding the exams.” The Chief Minister said the public examinations for SSLC and pending examinations for the subjects of PlusOne — chemistry, accountancy, geography (new syllabus and old syllabus) were scheduled between June 15 and June 25. “Eighty per cent of marks for the stu- We are cancelling the exams as there is a need to safeguard students. Health experts are of the view that the infection may not come down in the near future - CM Edappadi K Palaniswami hours for students on cards this year dents will be given based on the marks they scored in quarterly and half yearly examinations, while 20 per cent will be given based on their attendance,” he said. Stating that petitions had been filed before the Madras High Court regarding these examinations and the court had asked the government to consider postponing the exams, Palaniswami said the government had studied this issue in detail. The government’s announcement has been welcomed by the Opposition DMK and parents of students, who have termed it P2 a big relief. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre is considering trimming the syllabus and instructional hours for school students for the coming academic year, Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said on Tuesday . “In view of the current circumstances and after receiving a lot of requests from parents and teachers, we are contemplating the option of reduction in the syllabus and instructional hours for the coming academic year,” he tweeted. Pokhriyal asked teachers, educationists and academicians to share their views with the ministry to help to take a final decision on the matter. Officials in the HRD ministry said at first syllabi for classes X and XII, whose students will take board examinations next year, could be reduced. Later, the pattern can be extended to other classes. The plan by the ministry follows a meeting between Union school education secretary Anita Karwal with state education secretaries on Monday in Partial pullback of troops along LAC on eve of talks TN rules out plan to denotify part of bird sanctuary S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai De-escalation in Galwan Valley & Hot Springs but impasse on at Finger-4; bilateral gesture ahead of Divisional Commanders’ meet M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi THINNING of Indian and Chinese troops at multiple standoff points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh was reported on Tuesday, by there was no change in the situation at the focal point at Finger-4 where the impasse continues. The positive gestures came on the eve of the bilateral meeting of divisional commanders ahead of the next interaction between Corps Commanders of the two countries in the near future. A senior Army officer said, “Troop de-escalation has taken place from Patrolling Point 14 and Patrolling Point 15 in Galwan Valley and from Patrolling Point 17A lying in the Hot Springs Sector.” But the focal issue remained unresolved. “The stand-off at Finger-4 area continues and it is to be discussed again at the Corps Commanders meeting to be held later,” a source said. Also, the Indian “Reserve Force” of a little over 8,000 — moved in after China increased deployment on its side SUO MOTU CASE Register all the migrants, offer local jobs: SC K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi TAKING note of the plight of migrant workers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered states and Union territories to ensure registration of around one crore migrant workers at village and block levels to determine their employability and provide jobs suitably in the home states. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said, “There are huge lapses on the part of the state authorities in implementing state policies and decisions and most of the claims are only on paper,” the bench’s order read. The bench gave the Centre and states 15 days to send back migrants and directed the Railways to provide a train within 24 hours of a demand raised by any state. It also asked states to consider quashing all criminal cases against migrants who had proceeded on foot, and withdraw all complaints and prosecution against those who violated lockdown rules. — remains at its designated locations. The Chinese had gradually moved in tanks and artillery and India matched its deployment. The thinning of troops is being attributed to the first-ever Corps Commander-level talks on June 6 at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC, said sources. H e av y ve h i c l e s from both sides were moved back on May 25, as first reported by this paper. Another marginal troop retreat took place on June 2. In the coming days, multiple meetings of the highest ranking officers of the front, Division Commanders and Sector Contentious points The points of contention are the roads at the base of Finger-4 and the link road connecting the DarbukShyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road to Galwan valley. Chinese troops had attacked Indian soldiers with rods, stones and fists. India retaliated Commanders of both sides, will take place to chalk out area wise troop withdrawal. These will happen before the next Corps Commander-level meeting. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had on Monday claimed that the first Corps Commander-level talks were positive. “Both India and China have agreed to resolve the border dispute in future and also the present tussle with talks,” he added. “The Major General (Division Commander) level meeting, is likely to be held on Wednesday, depending on the weather, to pave the way for future step wise de-escalation,” said sources. The stand-off locations extended from the Galwan Valley to Finger-4 along the northern flank of the Pangong Tso Lake in Eastern Ladakh. It started at Finger-4 in the intervening night of May 5-6, as reported first by this paper, and stretched to locations in the Hot Spring Sector and the Galwan Valley . Chennai to get 1,000 more Covid beds EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai A day after the government dismissed ‘rumours’ of shortage of beds to treat Covid patients, 1,000 more beds were added to government facilities in Chennai on Tuesday includ, ing 500 exclusively for highrisk patients, at the National Centre for Ageing (NCA). The State on Tuesday reported 1,685 fresh cases of which 1,242 were in Chennai. A total of 21 deaths were reported — of which 20 were in the capital city — taking the toll up to 307. Addressing the media at the King Institute in Guindy, where the NCA is located, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said 200 of the beds there would have oxygen supply. “The centre will be a standby, exclusively for highrisk patients. We have already appointed 81 specialist doctors. MBBS doctors and other health workers will be appointed soon,” he said. That apart, the Port Trust hospital and Egmore eye hospital will have 300 Covid beds, each. “The measures have been taken keeping the next 60 days requirements in mind.” A statement said the Minister had spoken to representatives of 400 private hospitals via video conference, requesting them to cater to more patients and increase their number of beds. “I request the private hospitals to also update bed vacancy, occupancy and ventilator status on www.stopcoronatn.in,’’ the statement said. On Monday, Vijayabaskar assured there were adequate number of beds available in the city and threatened , those spreading rumours with P4 strict action. TN COVID-19 BATTLE FRESH CASES DISCHARGED DEATHS TALLY 1,685 798 21 34,914 which many state authorities had recommended that syllabi in NCERT textbooks be cut due to massive disruptions in academic activities since March, when the Covid-19 pandemic started spiralling across the country . Pending CBSE board exam for class X and XII that had had to be suspended due to the lockdown, have been rescheduled for July . Officials, meanwhile, also said the Centre is planning to reconsider its decision to open schools within the next two months. REST IN PEACE Police officer salute as pallbearers bring the coffin into the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas for the funeral for George Floyd, whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism, on Tuesday | AFP THE Forest Department on Tuesday swung into damage control mode on the proposal to denotify 40 per cent of Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary . In a release, S Yuvaraj, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, said the department has no plans to de-notify the outer 2 km of the sanctuary rather it , will be declared as eco-sensitive zone. “The proposal was to make 1 km surrounding the tank as core, the next 2 km as buffer and the outer 2 km as eco-sensitive zone in line with the Union Environment Ministry guidelines.” Need intensive demand stimulus: India Inc Job outlook bleakest in 15 yrs LOCKDOWN BLUES Companies are adopting a wait-andwatch policy in the post-lockdown era Only 5% of the 695across India firms Net job outlook is the weakest since ManpowerGroup Survey began surveyed plan to hire in the next three months FIFTEEN years ago 88% Wholesale & retail trade industry the worst hit as 88% of them reported businesses were in trouble WHERE HIRING IS LIKELY Mining & construction, finance, insurance, real estate sectors expected to drive job market in Q3 Most hirings recorded in mediumsized organisations, followed by large-sized and small-sized firms Source: ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Covid-19 pandemic has dealt the worst blow to the Indian economy since Independence and a short but intensive bout of demand-side stimulus has become utmost necessary . This was the key takeaway from Tuesday’s panel discussion on mitigating the impact of the pandemic, organised by TNIE and the Confederation of Indian Industry . The panel, moderated by TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla, comprised industry heavyweights Naushad Forbes, co-chairman, Forbes Marshall; Sanjiv Bajaj, MD & CEO, Bajaj Finserv; Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon; R Dinesh, joint MD, TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons; Shankar Acharya, honorary professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations; Shobana Kamineni, executive vice-chair person, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise; and Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, Indian Hotels Company . With job losses deepening and incomes falling, Bajaj said short-term demand stimulus to spur individual consumption is crucial. “If there is a patient who has just had major trauma, the doctors will give a cocktail of medications for a few days. If you give it for weeks and months, it can kill. It needs to be short term, to get things moving… to take our economy out of this comatose state,” he said. Two large asset classes — home and automobiles — could be incentivised to achieve this, he added. Forbes also said there were other areas which should be addressed. “One, the government should pay its bills. There are huge outstanding dues to both PSUs and private firms,” he noted, “Second, a huge public works programme and infra investments from the government is needed”. Forbes reiterated the CII had recommended three key focus areas to boost demand: direct cash transfers to the poor, income and wage support for enterprises in the form of gover nment guarantees, and emergency stimulus to the worst-hit sectors like hospitality retail, and real estate. , Extra government spending means a higher fiscal deficit and accompanying concerns, but he added that without higher spending, economic activity and, subsequently, government tax collections, could lead to a “bigger deficit”. “That’s the argument for boosting demand,” he said. But, caution needed to be taken to see deficits did not balloon to un-manageable levels, Acharya warned. “In a pandemic situation, you obviously have to change your view… But, if your debt to GDP ratio is going to be very high, you will have a loss of confidence all across,” he said. MAN vs TIME Drug out of stock, man drives 1K km to save dad K V N A V YA @ Chennai WHEN doctors told Joel Pinto that his father had a better chance of beating Covid if treated with Tocilizumab, the 28-year-old ran pillar to post in search of the drug. It was then that Joel realised the drug has not been available in the city for the last 15 days. Tocilizumab, a patented drug made by just one manufacturer, is used to suppress inflammation, and costs anywhere between `75,000 and `95,000. Joel Pinto “The doctors initially told me they would arrange for it to be delivered in two days. Later, they asked me to try as they were uncertain of the arrival. I called hundreds of pharmacies in the city, placed several requests over the social media,” recalls Joel. “I couldn’t find the drug, but I realised a lot of others were scrambling like me for Tocilizumab, to save their loved ones.” Joel’s father had a lung infection two years ago. He needed the medicine to reduce inflam- mation and breathing difficulties. “Monday was the 13th day of my dad being admitted in hospital. The doctors warned me that time was running out. If it gets any late, treatment may not be possible. I cannot express the fear I felt then.” Joel kept on calling pharmacists. Finally one in Otteri told , him he could get it from Hyderabad. The catch was that it would take at least three days for the drug to come by post. Joel had to go there and get it P5 himself.
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