REPRESENTATIVE PICTURE CHENNAI TUESDAY JUNE 16, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION ICMR APPROVES NEW METHOD TO SPEED UP COVID-19 TESTING The antigen-based testing kits will allow infected patients to be diagnosed much faster, without a lab examination RESULTS IN LESS THAN 30 MINUTES 4,186 ANTIGEN-BASED KITS ARE ‘RELIABLE’ The kit called Standard Q COVID-19 Ag costs about `500 and will show results within 30 minutes. Experts say the new method will significantly boost India’s testing rate, which has been criticised as insufficient. The current method—RT-PCR—costs `2,500 per kit and samples need to be transported to and examined at a limited number of laboratories ■ ■ Antigen-based kits test for the presence of molecules of the pathogen that triggers an immune response in an infected person The new kits have been recommended by the ICMR considering their very high specificity and relatively lower sensitivity levels, meaning they can produce results that are reliable PER MILLION PEOPLE IS INDIA’S PRESENT COVID-19 TESTING RATE 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 INTENSIFIED LOCKDOWN FOR 12 DAYS TN Cabinet announces intensified lockdown from June 19 to 30 in Chennai and parts of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu WHAT’S OUT Call taxis, pvt vehicles unless for emergency EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai Tea shops No employees from containment zones Workers not part of permitted sectors WHAT’S IN Hospitals, ambulances, labs, pharmacies, mortuary vans State, Central Govt offices with 33% staff Banks with 33 % staff only on June 29 and 30 ATMs Ration shops in noncontainment zones from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vegetable/grocery shops, petrol bunks between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mobile vegetable/ fruit sellers between 6 am and 2 pm Only takeaways at hotels between 6 am and 8 pm Amma canteens, community kitchens for destitute Press and media With the State government announcing an intensified lockdown of Monday, Chennaiites started buying and stocking up essential commodities. A scene at a departmental store at Konnur | R SATISH BABU TA M I L N A DU COV I D -1 9 BAT T L E Ranipet 34 Tirupattur 1 Krishnagiri 2 Salem 3 Tiruchy 8 Tiruppur 2 Nilgiris 3 Coimbatore 3 Karur 1 Dindigul 2 Theni 9 Madurai 33 Virudhunagar 9 Tenkasi 6 Kanniyakumari 5 Tiruvallur 50 Vellore 20 Kancheepuram 39 Chennai 1,257 Chengalpattu 120 Tiruvannamalai 32 Villupuram 13 Kallakurichi 11 Cuddalore 27 Ariyalur 1 Nagapattinam 8 Tiruvarur 10 Thanjavur 12 Pudukottai 8 Sivaganga 9 Thoothukudi 34 Tirunelveli 17 1,834 FRESH CASES, 44 DEATHS The State recorded 1,843 new Covid-19 cases and 44 deaths on Monday, the highest single day toll. The tally stands at 46,504 and death toll at 479. With rising deaths every day the mortality rate of Tamil Nadu rose from 0.67 to 1 per cent. As many as 35 of 44 deaths are reported in Chennai. Eleven had no co-morbidities. WE ARE NOT STRUGGLING TO CONTAIN COVID: MINISTER The disease is spreading at lightning speed, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said in a televised press meet. But, he refuted charges levelled by DMK leader MK Stalin that the government was struggling to contain the spread. “The government is functioning efficiently and that is why it is able to maintain a low mortality rate. Even as there is shortage of Tocilizumab drug in the country, the government is making it available in government hospitals,” Vijayabaskar said. be disinfected twice a day .” Ambulance services would TN Chief Minister Edappadi K continue and the supply of essenPalaniswami on Monday an- tial commodities and emergency nounced an intensified lockdown medical assistance would be coin Chennai and parts of Tiruval- ordinated by special control lur, Kancheepuram and Chengal- rooms, he said. Reiterating that pattu from June 19 to June 30 to recovery rate in TN remained contain the spread of Covid. This high while fatality rate remained the lowest when compared to othmeans the gradual easing of curbs that had been rolled out e r S t at e s i n t h e c o u n t r y, Palaniswami said the efwhen unlock 1.0 was anforts to contain the vinounced on June 1 will rus had been intensified cease to exist for these in Chennai and its a r e a s f o r 1 2 d ay s. neighbouring districts. On June 21 and 28, both “The spread of infecSundays, there will be a tion can be contained complete lockdown with only if people avoid goper mission only for ing out unnecessarily milk and essential serand adhere to the guidevices that include hospilines issued by the govtals and pharmacies. ernment. If people noBesides ambulances tice symptoms of and mortuary vans, infection, they should only those private vehiInfection can be approach the nearby cles carrying medical contained only if requirements will be al- people avoid going hospital,” he said. The lockdown will be lowed to ply . out unnecessarily enforced in: Police limThe decision was takand adhere to the its of Greater Chennai en as per the recommenguidelines issued Corporation; Tiruvaldations of health exby govt Edappadi lur, Gummidipoondi, perts and the Cabinet. K Palaniswami Ponneri and Minjur All rice card holders, town panchayats, Poonmembers of welfare boards of unorganised workers amallee, Ekkadu and Sholavarand members of other welfare am panchayat unions and village boards will be given `1,000 as re- panchayats; Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar, Nandivaramlief assistance. Palaniswami said in a state- Guduvancheri, Kattankulathur ment, “Intensified lockdown will panchayat union and village panbe enforced strictly in contain- chayats which falls within Greatment zones. Local bodies will en- er Chennai Police limits; areas sure supply of essential commod- under Greater Chennai limits in P4 ities to houses. These areas will Kancheepuram district. Shah push for political unity to combat coronavirus in the Capital E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CONTINUING his exercise to fix the healthcare problem in the Capital, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday urged all political parties to bury the hatchet and join hands to fight the coronavirus. Addressing an all-party meeting, he urged leaders to ensure that decisions taken by the Centre are implemented properly on the ground. The meeting came a day after Shah announced a slew of measures to ramp up testing facilities and enhance the bed capacity for Covid-19 patients in Delhi. Shah briefed the parties about the decisions taken by the government after he held two separate meetings with Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and the mayors and commissioners of Delhi’s three municipal corporations to strengthen the strategy to fight the coronavirus on Sunday . Shah also paid a sur- prise visit to the Lok Nayak Jay Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital here to inspect how it was dealing with Covid cases. He directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to install CCTV cameras in corona wards of all designated hospitals for proper monitoring. I appeal workers of all parties to ensure that decisions taken by the Central government in the interest of the residents of Delhi are implemented in earnest at the ground level - Amit Shah Pak frees Indian mission staffers after drama P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi PAKISTAN on Monday released two Indian High Commission staffers from detention hours after India summoned their charge d’affaires in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest. Earlier in the day the two staff, ers posted in Islamabad were reported missing after leaving the mission’s premises. The two drivers were from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and were on deputation. According to sources, the duo left the High Commission prem- ises in the morning to pick up an embassy official, but did not reach their destination. Sources pointed fingers at Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. Local media quoted Pakistani officials as saying that the duo was arrested for their alleged involvement in a hit-andrun case, which left a person injured in Islamabad. Earlier in the day, Pakistan’s Charge d’affaires in New Delhi Syed Haider Shah was summoned by the ministry of external affairs and told that the two officials must be released imme- diately without interrogation or harassment. Their safety and security, it was underlined, was Islamabad’s responsibility . The two Indian officials went missing close on the heels of a video that surfaced showing Indian Charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia being chased by security personnel on bikes. A few days ago, India arrested two Pakistan High Commission officials on charges of espionage and ordered them to leave the country within 24 hours. Monday’s incident is being seen as a tit-for-tat by Pakistan. Later in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal emphasised that there will be no extension of lockdown. “Many people are speculating whether another lockdown in Delhi in being planned. There are no such plans,” he reiterated in a tweet. Delhi reported 2,224 new cases on Monday, taking its tally to 44,661. It had 878 new recoveries and 56 deaths as well. HUNT ON FOR OLX BUYER OF SHIP MICROPROCESSOR 10% NEET quota for govt school students EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THE Cabinet chaired by CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday approved 10 per cent horizontal reservation in medical admissions to government school students who clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). An Ordinance is likely to be promulgated within a few days to give effect to this from the current academic year. A few days ago, Justice P Kalaiyarasan filed his report in this regard to the government. The decision comes in the backdrop of the popular sentiment that the national-level entrance exam favours those children who can afford costly private tuitions and puts the government school students, who mostly hail from economically weaker sections, at a disadvantage. On March 21, A welcome Palaniswami told the Assembly that move the number of government school students joining the medical courses Even as has come down after the introduction teachers of of NEET, and the State government government was, therefore, considering the enactschool have ment of a legislation to provide reserwelcomed the vation for students who take the test. move, legal Students, who have studied from experts have Standard I to Standard XII in governsaid that the ment schools, schools run by municidecision may not stand legal pal corporations and municipalities, schools run by Adi Dravidar and Tribscrutiny al Welfare Department, Kallar Reclamation Schools and Forest Department schools, and pass the NEET examinations will get this reservation. Even as the intention was to help the disadvantaged students, the decision may not stand legal scrutiny, said Justice K Chandru, a former judge of Madras High Court. For a horizontal reservation to be passed, P3 the government needs strong supporting data. EXPRESS READ T O B Y A N T O N Y @ Kochi Sector commanders meet on LAC stand-off OF the 20 computer components stolen from an under-construction Indigenous Aircraft Carrier at the Cochin Shipyard last year, the suspects managed to sell only one — a microprocessor. They traded it on the OLX platform and it is yet to be recovered. All others components have been seized from the two suspects, Sumit Kumar Singh of Bihar and Daya Ram of Rajasthan. They have been remanded in seven-day NIA custody The NIA alleged that the . suspects sold the microprocessor to a person in Kerala while staying in Kochi for `5,000. “One hard disk and a RAM was recovered from Singh’s residence in Bihar. Other goods, including three hard disks, five microprocessors and nine RAMs, were recovered from the house of his brother in Surat, Gujarat,” said a source. New Delhi: Sector Commanders of Indian and Chinese Army met in Galwan area of eastern Ladakh on Monday to discuss de-escalation measures. The talks are aimed at firming up details for possible decision making at the next Corps Commander-level talks. Maharashtra schools to reopen in July Mumbai: Maharashtra government has decided to allow students of classes IX, X, XII to return to schools in non-red zones from July 1. Students of 6th to 8th standards will have to wait until August. Online classes will be held in areas where schools can’t reopen, the government said. OLD WINE, NEW BOTTLE Double whammy — House helps battle the virus and class discrimination N I R U PA M A V I S W A N AT H A N @ Chennai I T’s not just the virus that can mutate or get updated — even discrimination can. New forms take shape even when the entire world is facing a pandemic. It is ironic that the International Domestic Workers Day this year, observed today, falls amid the lockdown. For the virus has managed to add another layer of classbased stigma to our already fragmented society . Several house helps who have resumed work are now faced with unreasonable demands, taunts, and are even being look upon as “carriers” of the virus from shanties to apartments. Selvi, one such house help, is confused and perplexed. Her employers expect Selvi to bathe once before entering their house for work. But, they will not provide their own bathrooms. “I work at five homes, one af- ter the other. As I go to their homes after having worked elsewhere, they expect me to shower before entering, but I am not allowed to use their bathrooms. Where am I supposed to go and bathe?” Even in the era before the virus, bathrooms of employers were out of bounds for the domestic helps. Those working in apartments are among the lucky few, as they are allowed to use the common bathroom on the ground floor, reserved Employers expect me to shower before entering their house, but I am not allowed to use their bathrooms. What do I do now Selvi, domestic help Women in some houses unlock the doors and sprint to the other end of the room every morning, as if we come laden with the virus. It’s funny and humiliating at the same time Sushma (name changed) AMIT BANDRE for watchmen and drivers provided they agree to it. If not, for half a day or more, these women have to resist the urge to relieve themselves. Sushma (name changed) works for homes in Bharathi Nagar of Vyasarpadi. “The women in those houses unlock the doors and sprint to the other end of the room every morning, as if we come laden with the virus. It’s funny and humiliating at the same time,” says Sushma. “They have not asked me to stop coming, yet, but keep making snide remarks.” The worst, she says, is being told: “Please don’t give us the virus, there are small children here.” Earlier, some of them used to give her some coffee and tiffin at the end of work. That, too, has now stopped. “The fear is that I may contaminate the utensils.” Domestic helps residing in parts of the city where cases are high have been told not to come to work P2 by their employers.
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