India holds naval drill with US amid tensions with China Navies of India and the US carried out a swift exercise close to the Andaman and Nicobar islands on Monday. The exercise involved a US Navy strike force, led by supercarrier USS Nimitz CVN-68, which was returning after a deployment to the South China Sea. THRISSUR l TUESDAY l JULY 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION 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 More docs, staff test positive, medical colleges under stress Functioning of various depts hit; 49 doctors in quarantine at T’Puram MCH CAUSE FOR WORRY 794 more test positive for Covid-19 on Monday 519 contract infection through local transmission 245 recovered Covid death toll in the state rises to 43 after swab samples of 73-year-old Claire tests positive Sea erosion adds to the worries of Chellanam, which saw 19 more test positive through local transmission ● Pattambi taluk and Nellaya panchayat in Palakkad to go into lockdown from Tuesday after sudden spurt in Covid cases ● The licences of Pothys textiles and Ramachandran hypermarket in T’Puram were cancelled after employees tested positive EXPRESS READ British firm brings out new drug Synairgen, a British biotech company, on Monday claimed that its respiratory drug remarkably improved clinical outcomes in hospitalised Covid-19 patients and reduced their chances of slipping to severe stage of the disease by 79 per cent. LS, RS sessions separately? New Delhi: Both Houses of Parliament may be convened separately during the upcoming monsoon session and chambers of both could be used to seat members to ensure physical distancing at the time of the Covid pandemic. EC to seek views of health dept With preparations for local body polls being affected adversely due to Covidrelated restrictions, the State Election Commission will soon convene a meeting of the health department to decide on the precautions required for the polls, to be held in mid-October. Man held for raping daughter Nileshwar police on Monday arrested a 50-year-old former madrassa teacher for sexually abusing his 16-year-old daughter repeatedly over the past two years. It also booked six youths for sexually abusing the girl and arrested three of them. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram A DAY after 18 health workers at Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) in Thiruvananthapuram tested positive for Covid-19 and another 150 went into quarantine, the situation in other state-run medical colleges also turned grim. With doctors and other staff being instructed to go into quarantine in these hospitals, the functioning of certain departments has hit. Medical college authorities are making special arrangements to avoid further Covid cases. As on Monday, close to 20 health workers, including seven doctors, at Thiruvananthapuram MCH have tested positive. Unconfirmed reports say that 14 patients and 10 bystanders have also tested positive in the hospital. As many as 49 doctors and 75 medical staff have been placed under quarantine. The hospital has also decided to restrict the number of patients who can seek direct treatment to 50. Patients will have to buy a token and consult doctors only from 9am to noon, irrespective of department. In non-emergency cases, people can contact the concerned doctor over the phone. The entire MCH at Kozhikode is on high alert after a staff nurse with the nephrology department contracted the infection while she was on duty in a nonCovid ward. “Though a few health workers have been infected, we are making sure no further incidents are reported,” said Dr V Rajendran, principal, Kozhikode GMCH. In Kottayam, 19 healthcare workers -- seven doctors, five nurses, two nursing assistants and five cleaning staff — were instructed to go into quarantine after two patients in the orthopaedic ward tested positive on July 16. The ward which was closed for fumigation opened on Monday. On Sunday, one patient who was admitted to the hospital for cataract surgery tested positive, following which 10 health workers were ● More on P4 placed under quarantine. Name-calling at a new level in Rajasthan row RAJESH ASNANI & RICHA S H A R M A @ Jaipur/New Delhi IN his sharpest attack on ousted state Congress unit chief Sachin Pilot yet, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot called him worthless and idle, who was out to topple his government. “I knew he was nikamma (worthless) and nakara (idle). He was just creating enmity among people,” Gehlot alleged, adding Pilot had been conspiring with the BJP since the last six months to unseat him. “ No one could believe he was capable of doing it. With an innocent face and good command over English and Hindi, he impressed the media. Though the people of Rajasthan knew the truth, we never questioned him, keeping party interest in mind,” Gehlot said. “Nobody believed me when I said there was a plot to topple the government. He (Pilot) even used to say he has not come here to sell vegetables, but to become the CM,” Gehlot went on. Gehlot’s attack on Pilot is being seen as an attempt by him to send a message to the party high command to take the rebel leader out of Rajasthan if they want any rapprochement. Sources said Gehlot is aware that the leadership is still in touch with Pilot, much against his wishes. Indications are Gehlot would not mind if Pilot is accommodated in some party position in New Delhi. Left front to review situation on July 28 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram THE ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) will meet on July 28 amid allegations against the chief minister’s office in the gold smuggling case and awarding of consultancy services. At the meeting, the front is expected to finalise counter-campaigns to defend the government and the front. “The Left front will discuss the ongoing political situation in the state. The front also has to finalise the political campaign for the local body elections,” said LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan. The decision to hold the meeting was finalised during the bilateral discussions held between the CPM and the CPI on Saturday. Significantly, the CPM has also called another meeting of the personal staff of its ministers as part of an attempt to strictly enforce the code of conduct for ● More on P4 them. Worthless, idle slurs “Rajasthan is the only state where no demand was raised to change the PCC president in seven years though we knew he is nikamma (worthless) and nakara (idle),” Gehlot said. In the HC, hearing resumed on the rebels’ petition challenging the disqualification IndiGo decides to fire 10% of its employees A R S H A D K H A N @ New Delhi INDIA’s largest private airline IndiGo said on Monday it will lay off 10% of its 24,000-odd employees to mitigate the financial crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With this, IndiGo, India’s only cash-rich airline, has become the first major carrier to formally announce lay-offs even as others have been quietly reducing their headcount since March. A senior IndiGo official told TNIE the move will affect pilots as well as managerial staff. The impacted employees will get three months’ gross salary plus benefits. ONE-TIME PLAN Loans taken from Oct to be restructured Why banks want it Restructuring allows banks to modify the terms of loans such as repayment period, repayable amount, number of instalments, or rate of interest to help borrowers undergoing financial stress ANU RADHA S HU K L A @ New Delhi WITH the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expected to come up with a one-time loan restructuring by August first week to help businesses bogged down by the Covid-19 pandemic, the finance ministry has proposed a timeframe for loans to be elible for the scheme. According to infor med sources, the ministry is in favour of allowing loans taken up to six months before the lockdown to be restructured by banks. The proposal will be sent to the banking regulator for taking the final call. “In the last meeting, RBI wanted loan restructuring to exclude already stressed sectors such as real estate, telecom and power to avoid misuse of the restructuring scheme. One solution discussed was to narrow down the timeframe of loans,” a sen- ` ior official from the finance ministry said, who was part of the discussion with RBI, said. According to the ministry’s proposal, the scheme will cover loans from companies that have defaulted between October 2019 and December 2020 and such accounts will continue as standard accounts, the official explained. The official claimed it will include sectors that have been directly impacted by the pandemic such as travel, hospitality and large manufacturing.
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