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PM Modi holds meeting with Chief Ministers to decide on extension of 21-day lockdown

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File photo | PM Narendra Modi talks to chief ministers on plan to tackle coronavirus | Narendramodi.in
File photo | PM Narendra Modi talks to chief ministers on plan to tackle coronavirus | Narendramodi.in


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New Delhi: As India battles the COVID-19 crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a video conference with chief ministers primarily to take their feedback on whether the 21-nation-wide lockdown be extended beyond April 14 to stem the tide of the infections.

The Central government is understood to have also obtained views on the issue from all the relevant agencies and stakeholders involved in the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The video conference, which began at 11am, comes amidst indications that the central government may extend the nationwide lockdown with some possible relaxations even as Punjab and Odisha have already announced extending the lockdown beyond April 14 when the current spell of 21-day shutdown across the country ends on Tuesday.

The Union Home Ministry has sought views of state governments on various aspects, including whether more categories of people and services need to be exempted. In the current lockdown only essential services are exempted.


Also read: After Odisha, Punjab extends coronavirus lockdown till 30 April


 

This is for the second time the prime minister is interacting with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed.

During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a “staggered” exit from the ongoing lockdown.

A PTI tally of numbers reported by various states as on Thursday at 9.30pm showed a total of 7,510 having been affected by the virus nationwide so far with at least 251 deaths. More than 700 have been cured and discharged. However, the last update from the Union Health Ministry put the number of confirmed infections at 7,447 and the death toll at 239.

Addressing floor leaders of various parties who have representation in Parliament, Modi had on Wednesday made it clear that the lockdown cannot be lifted in one go, asserting that the priority of his government is to “save each and every life”.

According to an official statement after the Wednesday interaction, the prime minister told these leaders that states, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

Before the lockdown was announced on March 24, the prime minister had interacted with the chief ministers on March 20 to discuss ways and means to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.


Also read: Modi’s lockdown has worked, but now India needs Sanjivani Booti, not Hanuman’s mountain


 

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India

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

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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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