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Ban on flight services to be lifted when Covid-19 no longer a threat: Hardeep Singh Puri

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File photo of Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri
File photo of Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint


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New Delhi: India won’t allow commercial flights to operate until it is confident that the coronavirus outbreak is under control, the aviation minister said, piling further pressure on the country’s cash-strapped airlines.

The ban will be lifted only when the government determines that the virus is no longer a threat, Hardeep Singh Puri wrote in a Twitter post. Airlines had been selling tickets in advance even though the government said there’d been no decision on allowing them to operate, Puri wrote in a series of tweets. Airlines will be given “sufficient notice and time” to resume flights, he said.

A regulatory order banning ticket sales, which applies to local and foreign airlines, means carriers will likely have to take more steps to reduce costs having already put some staff on leave without pay and reducing salaries. Airlines use funds from advance ticket sales to cover day-to-day expenses.

Shares of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., which operates the nation’s biggest airline IndiGo, fell as much as 5.8% Monday in Mumbai. Smaller rival SpiceJet Ltd. slid more than 1%.

India initially announced a 21-day lockdown until April 14, and airlines had started selling tickets before the extension to May 3 was announced last Tuesday. Most carriers have been offering credit instead of refunds if flights are canceled, a practice that other airlines around the world are also using.

The travel restrictions mean the three months ending June 30 will be “virtual washout” for the Indian aviation industry, CAPA Centre for Aviation said earlier this month. Local airlines, some of the world’s biggest customers for Airbus SE and Boeing Co., are likely to defer taking delivery of 200 new planes by as long as two years, according to CAPA. –Bloomberg


Also read: India asks airlines to take bookings after final decision on lockdown and flight restrictions


 

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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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