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Saturday,17-April-2021

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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh bans political gatherings, violators to be booked

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Amarinder-Singh

As Covid cases continue to remain high in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a total ban on political gatherings till April 30 and said that violators, including political leaders, will be booked under the DMA and Epidemics Act.

The Chief Minister also announced extension of night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., which hitherto was imposed in 12 districts, to the entire state and reduced the number of attendees at funerals, cremations and weddings to 50 people indoors and 100 for outdoors.

Wearing of masks has been made mandatory for all government employees while in office.

These restrictions, coupled with the ones imposed earlier, which include closure of schools and educational institutions, will remain effective till April 30.

However, there was some respite for shop owners in malls, as the Chief Minister allowed entry of 10 people per shop at any given time, as against the earlier order of not allowing more than 100 people in a mall at one time.

This would imply that 200 people will be allowed in a mall with 20 shops at any given time.

Amarinder Singh, in his weekly review of the Covid situation, expressed concern at the high positivity and mortality rates in the state.

He said it was a matter of concern that over 85 per cent of cases in Punjab are of the UK strain, which is more contagious and virulent.

He said he had no option but to go in for stricter measures to further control the ongoing surge, even though the number of positive cases had somewhat stabilized in the last few days due to curbs imposed earlier.

He said he had been forced to order a ban on political gatherings, as his pleas to all political parties to refrain from organising such events had been ignored, despite the fact that the Congress party had unilaterally announced its decision of not holding any rallies or public meetings last month.

Expressing surprise at the behaviour of certain political leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and SAD’s Sukhbir Badal, who had been attending political rallies without following safety protocols, the Chief Minister said such irresponsible conduct doesn’t behove them.

“How do you expect people to be serious about the spread of the disease if senior political leaders behave like this,” he said, adding that his government would need to be tough to tackle such violations and political leaders would also need to be booked.

He ordered the police and the districts administrations to register cases against the political leaders, organizers and participants of political gatherings under the DMA and Epidemics Act, besides booking the owners of the tent houses, who provide the infrastructure for such gatherings.

He said even the venue owners, who would provide space for such events, will not be spared and they too would be booked and their venues sealed for three months.

He further said that no social, cultural or sports gatherings and related functions will be allowed till April 30.

In-person public dealing will be restricted in all government offices and online and virtual modes for grievance redressal will be encouraged, he said, while adding that all government employees will need to compulsorily wear a mask while attending office.

Amarinder Singh said citizens should be encouraged to visit public offices only for essential services and the departments concerned should issue instructions for limiting daily appointments for works like registries, etc.

He said restrictions on running cinema houses at 50 per cent of their capacity and closure of schools and educational institutions, except medical and nursing colleges will continue till April 30.

The Chief Minister also directed Punjab DGP, Dinkar Gupta, to ensure strict implementation of the night curfew.

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Lalu Prasad to remain in AIIMS Delhi for treatment

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AIIMS

Despite the Jharkhand High Court granting bail to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, he will remain in AIIMS Delhi until he recovers fully.

Tejashwi Yadav, RJD leader and younger son of Lalu Prasad, said that he is suffering from multiple diseases and severe infection in both the kidneys.

“The Jharkhand High Court has given bail to Lalu Ji but we are extremely concerned about his health. He will undergo treatment in AIIMS Delhi. We have contacted doctors and they said that Lalu Ji has to stay in hospital. He has severe infection in both the kidneys and is also having breathing problems. He is under close monitoring of expert doctors of AIIMS,” Tejashwi said after a virtual all party meeting on the corona crisis in Patna.

“We highly appreciate the Jharkhand High Court for granting him bail. We have complete faith in the judiciary of our country. There is happiness among the people of Bihar that their idol and messiah of the poor has been released from jail,” Tejashwi said.

Anand Vij, the lawyer of Lalu Prasad, said that he was given bail on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. Besides, he has to pay Rs 10 lakh penalty and also surrender his passport in court.

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National News

Covid surge: Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah closed till April 30

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Hazrat-Nizamuddin-Dargah

The management of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah has decided to close the dargah for devotees till April 30 in view of the unprecedented rise in Covid cases in the national capital. During this period, devotees will neither be allowed to chant at the dargah nor enter inside the tomb.

Qashif Nizami, general secretary of the Nizamuddin Dargah Committee, told IANS, “Corona cases are increasing rapidly in Delhi. A number of restrictions are being imposed by the government to prevent further infections. Weekend curfew on Saturday and Sunday has been clamped. People come from all over the country to the dargah, so there is a risk of infection.”

He said, “Precaution is very important to avoid infections. People should wear mask as well as follow social distancing norms. The dargah has been closed till April 30 for the safety of the people. Entry to the dargah will be forbidden. If the current situation prevails even after April 30, the dargah will be closed further.”

Covid cases in the national capital have been rising rapidly with 19,486 infections recorded in the last 24 hours. At least 141 people died in Delhi in the same time span.

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India’s 10 states report 86% deaths; Maharashtra, Delhi on top

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Health-worker

India’s 10 states on Saturday accounted for 85.83 per cent of the new deaths in which Maharashtra, Delhi and Chhattisgarh reported more than half of the total number registered in the last 24 hours.

A total of 1,341 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said on Saturday.

Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (398) followed by Delhi (141), Chhattisgarh 138, Uttar Pradesh (103), Gujarat (94), Karnataka (78), Madhya Pradesh (60), Jharkhand (56), Punjab (50) and Tamil Nadu (33).

Fortunately, nine states and union territories (UTs) have not reported any Covid-19 death in the last 24 hours. These are Ladakh (UT), D&D & D&N, Tripura, Sikkim, Mizoram, Manipur, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, India’s total active caseload has reached 16,79,740. It now comprises 11.56 per cent of the country’s total positive cases. A net incline of 1,09,997 cases recorded from the total active caseload in the last 24 hours.

The five states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala cumulatively account for 65.02 per cent of India’s total active cases. Maharashtra alone accounts for 38.09 per cent of the total active caseload of the country.

The report comes when India’s daily new cases continue to rise with 2,34,692 new cases registered in the last 24 hours.

10 states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan report 79.32 per cent of the new cases.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 63,729. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 27,360 while Delhi reported 19,486 new cases.

However, India’s cumulative recoveries stand at 1,26,71,220 on Saturday. The national recovery rate is 87.23 per cent. A total of 1,23,354 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours.

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