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6 Times Group employees test positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai, 4 are from Mirror Now

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New Delhi: Six employees of The Times Network have reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Mumbai. These include four workers of the group’s English news channel Mirror Now.

In a statement to media website BestMediaInfo.com Sunday, the leading broadcaster said, “Despite practising all safety measures and precautions while fulfilling their duties, four of our colleagues at Mirror Now and two support staff members have tested coronavirus positive. Following BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) guidance, they have been shifted to the mandatory quarantine facility at a private hospital in Mumbai and are doing fine.”

The rest of the network’s staff has tested negative and “continue to be lodged with us safely”, said the statement.

“As per standard protocol, BMC has conducted anti-virus sanitisation at our Lower Parel premises, and it will be ready for resuming operations by mid next week,” it added.

The four positive Covid-19 positive cases reported from Mirror Now are ancillary staff, meaning, they work on the desk, while the other two are pantry staff from ET Now, sources told ThePrint.


Also read: Vaccine against coronavirus could be ready by September


Alternative facility

Following the development, the Times Network has moved the operation of both Mirror Now and ET Now to an alternative facility.

“To ensure non-stop news to our viewers, the operations of Mirror Now and ET Now have been shifted to an alternative location in Mumbai, which was kept ready for an emergency scenario. This is being managed by a fresh standby team,” the statement to BestmediaInfo said.

It also said the staff required to manage operations that can’t be run from home is being kept at the company premises at different locations to minimise their contact with the external environment. The staff members who tested positive were staying on company premises.

“To minimise external contact, our News HQ and tech teams were accommodated in captive locations within our premises and other boarding locations in Mumbai and Delhi, with dedicated sanitised transportation to ensure they did not have to travel from home daily and risk their families and colleagues,” the statement said.

“In spite of this mishap, we will continue with the strategy of housing our teams in captive locations as we believe this is the safest option to ensure they don’t get infected from multiple external environments and pass on the risk of infection to their families and into the community,” it added.

The development came hours after news daily Mumbai Mirror, also under The Times Group, reported that three journalists from a media house have tested positive for Covid-19 and 37 of their colleagues have been put under quarantine.


Also read: Why a total lockdown of India after 14 April will be counter-productive


 

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

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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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