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Lockdown extended until 3 May, PM Modi says India is in a much better position




PM Modi's address to the nation on extension of lockdown on 14 April. Photo | YouTube
PM Modi’s address to the nation on extension of lockdown on 14 April. Photo | YouTube

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday announced that the 21-day lockdown that ends today will be extended by another 20 days — until 3 May.

However, some relaxations are likely after April 20, as the government could allow limited agricultural and economic activities in places with no hotspots.

“Till 20th April, all districts, localities, states will be closely monitored, as to how strictly they are implementing norms. States, which will not let hotspots increase, could be allowed to let some important activities resume, but with certain conditions,” Modi said.

However, Modi cautioned that the relaxations will be withdrawn immediately if the areas report new hotspots.

As on Tuesday, India has 10,363 Covid-19 cases, with 339 deaths having been reported so far. The government, Modi said, would come out with extensive guidelines Wednesday.

‘Working to ensure farmers face minimal problems’ 

Sporting the Assamese gamcha (cloth towel), Modi in his third address to the nation in less than a month said the new guidelines would be made keeping in mind the interests of the poor and daily wage workers.

“Harvesting of rabi crops is also under way. Central government and state governments are working together to ensure that farmers face minimal problems,” Modi said.

Appreciating the efforts made by the people to adhere to the lockdown norms and follow social distancing, Modi said people have gone through hardships to save India. “I know how many difficulties you faced. I respectfully bow to the people of India for their sacrifice.”

Also read: India can prevent long-term lockdown, contain Covid if 90% people download Aarogya Setu

India took quick decisions, PM says  

Conceding that India may have paid a big economic price because of the lockdown, which resulted in economic activities coming to a near halt, the PM said there was no other alternative to saving human lives.

“Somebody could not get food, somebody could not travel but still all of you adhered to your duty by following the lockdown with discipline for the sake of the country,” the PM said.

Comparing India’s fight against the Covid-19 outbreak with other developed countries, Modi said India is in a much better position due to its holistic approach and quick decisions.

“Even before Covid-19 cases touched 100, India made it compulsory for foreign returnees to remain in 14 days’ isolation. We imposed a 21-day lockdown when we had 550 cases,” Modi said.

The PM said that India did not wait for the problem to escalate. “Rather, as soon as the problem appeared, we tried to stop it by taking swift decisions. I can’t imagine what the situation would have been if such quick decisions were not taken,” he said.

Reflecting that the citizens’ efforts in the fight against the outbreak is a true tribute to B.R. Ambedkar on his birthday, Modi said, “This display of our collective strength is a true tribute to B.R. Ambedkar on his birth anniversary.”

Enough food and medicines

The PM also assured the citizens that there is adequate stock of medicines and ration in the country.

Modi said Covid-19 testing is being done in over 220 labs across India.

According to the world’s experience of tackling the pandemic, he said, 1,500-1,600 beds are needed when cases reach 10,000. “We have over 1 lakh beds in India and over 600 hospitals to treat patients. We are expanding these facilities.”

Seeking the support of people for seven things, Modi urged them to take care of the elderly in the house, adhere to the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of lockdown and social distancing, make wearing masks mandatory, and take care of the poor and needy.

He also urged employers to be sensitive towards their employees and not terminate their services during this period of economic hardship. He also urged the people to respect corona warriors, which includes doctors, nurses, sweepers & police personnel.

“We have moved ahead strongly in our fight against Covid-19. Now, we should not allow coronavirus to spread in other areas,” Modi said.

Also read: ‘Hydra-headed war’, ‘jaan, jahaan’, ‘0% leeway’ — prime time primes itself for lockdown 2.0


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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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