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Airlines connect on social media as planes stay grounded




A protective cover sits on a wing engine fitting of an undelivered Airbus A320neo passenger jet operated by IndiGo | Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg
An undelivered Airbus A320neo passenger jet operated by IndiGo in Toulouse, France | Balint Porneczi | Bloomberg

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New Delhi: As India entered its 17th day of the three-week lockdown Thursday, private Indian airlines engaged in a witty exchange on Twitter and imposed upon the need to stay home by asking each other to “stay parked, stay safe”.

The playful banter started when IndiGo poked fun at fellow airline Air Vistara asking “not flying higher these days we heard?” with the hashtag #StayingParkedStayingSafe.

To this, Air Vistara, whose tagline is ‘you fly higher’, responded by saying: “No IndiGo, these days being on-ground is a wonderful thing. Flying would not be the ‘smart’ choice, what say @goairlinesindia? #StayingParkedStayingSafeGo”.

Agreeing with Air Vistara, Go Air replied saying: “Staying home is the safe feeling. We can hardly wait till everyone takes to the skies, coz at the moment it’s not like now everyone can fly”, and brought Air Asia into the conversation as well.

The thread continued with Air Asia insisting that staying home was the “red, hot spicy thing” to do and tagged SpiceJet.

With no other airline to bring into the conversation, SpiceJet then tagged the Delhi Airport’s Twitter handle, saying: “Been a while since this bird flew out of her cage. But we’re happy creating a safer tomorrow, today! Right Delhi Airport?”

Rounding up the conversation, Delhi Airport commented saying: “The Indian skies will be coloured with you soon but for now thanks for giving us a reason to smile! Together in the skies, and together on ground too!”

Also read: IndiGo to deep clean aircrafts frequently, temporarily suspend meals post lockdown

India and Covid-19

The lockdown, called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March, included grounding of all airlines as well as suspension of railways and metro services in the country. It also included the closure of restaurants, malls, fitness clubs and spas.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has impacted the entire world, has led to nearly 6,000 positive cases in India and 199 deaths.

According to reports, India Thursday recorded the highest single tally of Covid-19 cases, with more than 700 new infections reported of the virus.

Also read: ‘Know how critical it is’: IndiGo, SpiceJet join relief efforts to fight the pandemic


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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