CHENNAI SATURDAY JUNE 13, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION U.S. MAY SUSPEND H-1B VISA AS UNEMPLOYMENT BITES The White House said President Donald Trump is considering a range of options to protect the jobs of American workers ONE OF MANY OPTIONS ON THE TABLE STOCKS OF TECH GIANTS PLUNGE The proposed action would restrict only the new H-1B holders from coming to the US for work, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday citing senior administration officials. Those already there are unlikely to be affected. The H-1B suspension is among a range of options being considered by Trump to limit the pandemic’s damage on the US job market, officials said ■ ■ Apart from H-1B, H-2B visa for seasonal workers and the J-1 visa for short-term workers could also be suspended Stocks of Indian IT giants tumbled on Friday after reports of possible suspension of visas. HCL Infosystems fell 4.96%, Tech Mahindra 2.96%, Wipro 2.26% and Infosys 1.63% on the BSE 4.4 crore U.S. WORKERS HAVE FILED FOR JOBLESS BENEFITS SINCE MARCH 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 Delhi situation horrendous and pathetic, says SC Top court issues suo-motu notices to Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Friday called patient care during the Covid-19 pandemic in Delhi as “horrendous” and “pathetic” and asked the Arvind Kejriwalled city government to explain the rationale behind reducing testing when the number of cases is shooting up. The SC also reprimanded Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal for not handling the crisis well and observed Covid-19 patients were treated “worse than animals”. It issued notices to their chief secretaries with a direction to bring on record relevant statistics on p at i e n t m a na g ement system, number of patients, availability of beds, doctors etc. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay K Kaul and M R Shah was hearing a suo motu matter on treatment of Covid-19 patients in staterun hospitals and handling of dead bodies when it took a grim view of the situation in Delhi. “The large number of beds in Government Covid Hospital being vacant in a situation where patients suspected of Covid-19 are running from pillar to post to get admission in any hospital tells about the mismanagement and sorry state of Government hospitals in Delhi. The State is not only duty-bound to increase the number of beds but also to provide appropriate infrastructure and staff for manning the Covid-19 patients,” the bench stated in its order. Coming down hard on the city government, the bench said, “This is a very sorry state of affairs. There is no adherence to the Central government’s guidelines either. Hospitals are not giving due care to the dead bodies,” the bench recorded in its order. When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that showing no respect to a dead body is also an offence under the Indian Penal Code, the bench asked him as well as the Delhi government counsel, “What have you done despite knowing all this? Patients are crying in pain and there is nobody to attend to them. One video from LNJP hospital showed how badly the dead bodies are being treated. There is absolutely no respect for dead bodies too.” The bench noted more than 2,500 beds are vacant in the Delhi government’s hospitals because nobody wants to go there. The court also sought response from the Central government and LNJP Hospital on these issues. The matter will be heard again on Wednesday P7 . TA M I L N A DU COV I D -1 9 BAT T L E Ranipet 4 Tiruvallur 92 Kancheepuram 26 Vellore 4 Chennai 1,479 Dharmapuri 3 Perambalur 1 Chengalpattu 128 Ariyalur 4 Tiruvannamalai 22 Namakkal 2 Villupuram 16 Coimbatore 5 Kallakurichi 13 Karur 1 Cuddalore 4 Dindigul 2 Tiruchy 7 Theni 3 Nagapattinam 8 Madurai 31 Tiruvarur 6 Virudhunagar 4 Thanjavur 5 Tenkasi 4 Pudukkottai 6 Sivaganga 12 Thoothukudi 18 Tirunelveli 15 Ramanathapuram 5 Kanniyakumari 5 STATE TALLY CROSSES 40,000 New cases took the tally to 40,698. As many as 49 came from other States and countries. Chennai had 1,479 cases, taking the city tally to 28,924. OVER 20K CURED TILL DATE The State tested 18,231 samples on Friday. Chennai’s neighbouring districts continued to report significant number of cases — Chengalpattu (128), Kancheepuram (26) and Tiruvallur (92). The total number of cured patients till date stands at 22,047. 15 DECEASED WERE FROM CITY Among the 18 deceased, one had no comorbidities. As many as 15 were from Chennai, two were from Chengalpattu and one from Tiruvallur. All the deceased were in the 38-75 age group. FRESH CASES 1,982 DEATHS 18 DISCHARGED 1,342 ACTIVE CASES 18,281 Radhakrishnan replaces Beela Rajesh as health secretary to tackle pandemic EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai EVEN as Covid curve in Tamil Nadu showed no signs of abating, the State government on Friday appointed J Radhakrishnan as Health Secretary replacing Beela Rajesh. , A Government Order issued by the Chief Secretary K Shanmugam, said Radhakrishnan will continue to hold additional charge as Commissioner of Revenue Administration until further orders. Beela Rajesh was posted as Secretary of Commercial Taxes and Registration Depart- ment replacing Muruganandam. Radhakrishnan had served as Health Secretary for over seven years before being posted as Transport Secretary . After a brief stint, he was posted as Revenue Administration Commissioner. On May 1, he was appointed special nodal officer for Chennai Corporation to fight the pandemic. Radhakrishnan is known for his relief work in Nagapattinam as Collector, when the tsunami wreaked havoc across the district in 2004. His efficiency in han- dling the crisis and administrative skills were lauded by former US President Bill Clinton. The Sri Lankan government had sought his guidance in carrying out relief work. The transfer comes in the backdrop of the State recording over 1,500 cases every day for the last one week. Radhakrishnan, a 1992 batch IAS officer, has also served as Chennai Corporation Commissioner. A veterinary doctor, he was Health Secretary from September 2012 to February 2019 when Beela Rajesh succeeded him. No lockdown plan for Chennai: Govt EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai PUTTING an end to rumours on social media, the State government on Friday told a division bench of the Madras High Court that it has no plans of implementing a total lockdown in Chennai or its surrounding areas or other parts of the State. Additional Advocate General for the State S R Rajagopal made the submissions during a virtual hearing in response to a question raised by a division bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and R Suresh Kumar on Thursday . Saying that the situation was alarming, despite steps being taken by the State, the bench had asked whether the government had devised any special scheme, including a complete lockdown or a curfew to contain the spread of the infection in Chennai and the surrounding areas. “Cases are spiralling in the city and the State has taken stringent measures to contain the spurt. However, till now there is no proposal to implement 100 per cent lockdown. We are containing only the streets where cases are high by restricting movement of people,” New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday lashed out at the Centre over non-payment of doctors’ salaries saying, “you do not keep soldiers unhappy during war.” A three-judge bench asked, “Can you see that doctors were on strike recently? You need to do more. This is a matter of concern”. Meanwhile, the SC told private companies they can negotiate with employees on payment of pending wages | P7, 8 @ New Delhi ONE Indian national was killed and three others were injured on Friday when Nepal’s security forces opened fire at a group of Indians at the India-Nepal border along Bihar’s Sitamarhi district. The Director-General of the Sashastra Seema Bal—a Central police force guarding India’s border with Nepal— Rajesh Chandra said the incident happened in Nepal’s territory, and at least 15 rounds were fired. “The incident happened deep inside Nepal (around 1.5 kilometers inside) and was a local issue triggered by an altercation. It is not something that was brewing for a long time,” Chandra said. But the shooting comes amid rising tensions between India and Nepal over a plan by the Nepalese government to include disputed territories —Lipulekh, Limiyadhura and Kalapani—in the new political map. Residents of the Janakinagar village in Sitamarhi’s Sonabarsa border area said the firing took place in the early hours of Friday when a group of Indians went to work They snatched our weapons: Nepal The Indians, who came from Bihar’s Sitamarhi, were trying to enter Nepal despite the lockdown and even snatched weapons from an officer who told them to go back, a Nepal police official alleged Ram, 40 and Shivdayal Rai, 45 are the three injured. They are undergoing treatment at a private clinic in Sitamarhi, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Sitamarhi district Anil Kumar said. Following the incident, Indian and Nepalese security personnel held a consultation and the situation has returned to normalcy . RELIEF FOR THOSE DELAYED GST FILING PRISTINE BEAUTY GUNFIRE at a field in Narayanpur, which is now a part of the Himalayan nation, if one goes by their new political map. The firing reportedly happened amid an altercation between Indian workers and Nepali forces, who objected to their presence in the area. The deceased has been identified as Vikesh Yadav, 25, son of Nageshwar Rai of Jankinagar. Uday Thakur, 35, Umesh Rajagopal said. The bench, hearing the submissions, asked about reports that people from Chennai were not being allowed to travel to other districts and that the issuance of e-passes had been stopped. Denying it, Rajagopal said e-passes were being issued by the District Collectors concerned and the reports were incorrect. SC LASHES CENTRE OVER DOCS’ PENDING SALARIES WHY NOT TEST MORE, COURT ASKS RAJESH KUMAR THAKUR Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, issuing a stern warning to rumour-mongers, said that no announcement has been made on implementing another lockdown in TN or Chennai. Speaking to reporters at Salem, he said, “Some people have been misusing my name to spread rumours on social media about another lockdown. Even today, I saw many people not wearing masks. The pandemic cannot be contained without people’s P3 cooperation.” EXPRESS READ The number of samples tested in Delhi was 6,018 on May 27 but it slipped to 5,077 on June 11, while Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu tested 16,000 and 17,675 samples, respectively. Noting that non-testing of patients is not a solution, the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government increase testing by govt hospitals and private laboratiories CIVILIAN KILLED IN FIRING BY NEPAL FORCES NEAR BORDER EPS WARNS RUMOUR MONGERS The onset of monsoon heralding rain clouds from across the western mountain range in Coimbatore on Friday | U RAKESH KUMAR 11,000 S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi FOR the first time, India reported more than 10,000 Covid-19 cases in a day period on Friday As many as 10,956 fresh . cases—44 short of 11,000— were reported in the 24-period till Friday morning. There were also a record 396 deaths during the period. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 2.97 lakh. As many as 8,498 people have lost their lives to the infection. On the positive side, over 1.47 lakh people have re- India’s Covid-19 tally overtakes that of UK’s, now 4th in the world covered from Covid-19. With Friday’s new cases, India’s case count has surpassed that of the UK to become the fourth-highest in the world. Only the US, Brazil and Russia are ahead of India, according to the global dashboard maintained by the US’s Johns Hopkins University The high number of cases being reported is despite India lagging far behind other worst-hit countries in terms of testing. India’s testing rate stands at 3,889 per million people. In contrast, the US’s testing rate is 70,256 per million. “If we test more we will find 10-20 times or maybe even higher infection size. India needs to aggressively ramp up its testing capacity,” said Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, researcher and a senior doctor at M e d a n t a h o s p i t a l i n Gurugram Maharashtra reported 3,607 new cases and 152 deaths on Friday. Delhi saw 1,877 cases and 101 more deaths—the highest single-day toll for the UT. Maharashtra—the state with the highest case burden—now has a whopping 97,648 cases. NATIONWIDE CURED/RECOVERED 1,47,194 1,41,842 8,498 ACTIVE CASES DEATHS The test-positivity rate in Delhi is now 23, the highest in the country, meaning for every 100 tests done, 23 turns out to be positive New Delhi: In a relief to small taxpayers with turnover up to `5 crore, the GST Council on Friday halved the interest on delayed filing of GST returns for February, March and April to 9%, provided the returns are filed by September 2020. Also, the deadline for filing returns for May, June and July has been extended till September, without any interest or late fee, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said | P10 MODI TO HOLD TALKS WITH CMs NEXT WEEK New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi will hold a fresh round of consultation with chief ministers on June 16 and 17 as the country gradually emerges out of the coronavirus lockdown, his office said on Friday. Modi will hold the videoconferencing with chief ministers on June 16 and 17. States have been divided in two slots for the two-day virtual meet. This would be the PM’s 6th round of consultation with CMs. THUNDERING RUMOUR Fake chopper crash at Pudukkottai sends media into tizzy S O W M YA M A N I @ Pudukkottai AROUND 10 am on Friday res, idents of Thirupanavasal near Avudayairkoil heard a “big noise.” A few minutes later, locals noticed a fire on a nearby field. A few passers by who captured the fire on video allegedly put it out on WhatsApp groups saying a helicopter had crashed near the Melavasantham irrigation tank. Even as the video went viral, a photograph also made its way into social media and a few TV channels began airing the ‘news’ of a helicopter crashing at Thirupanavasal. By the time officials arrived at the ‘location of the crash,’ a large number of people had Officials said no helicopter parts were found on the spot | EXPRESS gathered there and ‘news’ of an Army chopper with six persons onboard crashing at the village had spread. However, officials ruled out a helicopter crash saying that the fire was because of the burning of a karuvelam tree. The photograph circulated on the media was that of a crash in which basketball player Kobe Bryant was killed on January 26 this year in the US. One of the officials who inspected the spot, said, “We were shocked by the information spread by people. Even before we reached the spot, people were talking of helicopter parts being found. People living as far as Karaikudi said P2 they heard a sound.”
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