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. KOCHI l TUESDAY l JULY 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE 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 positive, med college hospitals under strain Functioning of various depts hit; 49 doctors in quarantine at T’Puram MCH CAUSE FOR WORRY 794 more test positive on Monday 519 contract infection through local transmission 245 recover Covid death toll in the state rises to 43 after swab samples of a 73-year-old nun test positive Sea erosion adds to the worries of Chellanam, which saw 19 more getting infected 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 the state capital cancelled after employees test positive EXPRESS READ British firm brings out new drug London: Synairgen, a British biotech company, has claimed that its respiratory drug improved clinical outcomes in hospitalised Covid-19 patients remarkably and reduced their chances of slipping to severe stage of the disease by 79 per cent | P9 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 | P8 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 | P4 Man held for raping daughter Nileshwar police on Monday arrested a 50-year-old former madrassa teacher for abusing his 16-year-old daughter sexually over the past two years. Six youths were also booked for abusing the girl | P5 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram THE state’s health department came under pressure on Monday after several doctors and staff of various medical college hospitals (MCH), which have been playing the lead role in the Covid-19 fight, tested positive or were sent into quarantine. The state reported 794 cases on Monday of which 519 people were infected through local contact. The number of healthcare workers who tested positive at the Thiruvananthapuram MCH rose to 20 after two more contracted the virus on Monday As many as . 49 doctors and 75 medical staff have been placed under quarantine so far. With the number of patients going up in the state capital — 182 on Monday 170 of , whom through local spread — the crisis at the MCH is a cause for concern. The functioning of various departments was also hit at Kozhikode and Kottayam MCHs. Situation looked better in terms of infection among healthcare workers in Thrissur and Pariyar- am, yet many had to quarantined. MCH authorities are making special arrangements to avoid further Covid cases among health workers. Unconfirmed reports say that 14 patients and 10 bystanders also tested positive at the MCH in the state capital. The hospital has decided to restrict the number of patients who can seek direct treatment to 50. Patients can consult doctors of all departments only from 9am to noon after buying a token. In non-emergency cases, people have to contact the doctor concerned over the phone. The Kozhikode MCH is also on alert after a nurse with the nephrology department got infected while working in a non-Covid ward. “Though a few health workers have been infected, we’re making sure that no further incidents are reported,” said college principal Dr V Rajendran. In Kottayam, 19 healthcare workers were instructed to go into quarantine after two patients in the orthopaedic ward tested positive on July 16. ● More on P4 Name-calling at a new low in Rajasthan row the truth, we never questioned him, keeping party interest in mind,” Gehlot said. IN his sharpest attack on oust“Nobody believed me when ed state Congress unit chief I said there was a plot to topSachin Pilot yet, Chief Minis- ple the government. He (Pilot) ter Ashok Gehlot called him even used to say he has not worthless and idle, who was come here to sell vegetables, out to topple his but to become the CM,” government. Gehlot went on. “I knew he was niGehlot’s attack on Pikamma (worthless) lot is being seen as an and nakara (idle). He attempt to send a message to the party high was just creating enmity among people,” command to take the Gehlot alleged, adding Ashok Gehlot rebel leader out of Rajasthan if they want Pilot had been conspiring with the BJP since six any rapprochement. Sources months to unseat him. “ No said Gehlot is aware that the one could believe he was capa- leadership is still in touch ble of doing it. With an inno- with Pilot, much against his cent face and good command wishes. Indications are Gehlot over English and Hindi, he im- would not mind if Pilot is acpressed the media. Though commodated in some party the people of Rajasthan knew position in New Delhi. RAJESH ASNANI & RICHA S H A R M A @ Jaipur/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 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 contracts. 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. At the High Court, 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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