DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2020, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES BORDER MEETING OVER LADAKH TENSIONS Delhi, Beijing work the lines, commanders to hold LAC talks today UNLOCKING THE ECONOMY WISHLIST & ROADMAP AN EXPRESS INTERVIEW SERIES PIRUZ KHAMBATTA CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR, RASNA ECONOMY, PAGE 13 Transmission slowest ever, Maharashtra load big factor now and later AMITABH SINHA PUNE, JUNE 5 CONTRARY TO fears, gradual relaxationsinthelockdownoverthe past month have not triggered a major surge in the novel coronavirus infections in the country. The transmission rate, or the number of people getting infected by an already infected person, has been going down steadily — and is now the lowest since it began to be calculated early in the outbreak. The transmission rate, also knownasthereproductionnumber,R-value,orsimplyR,isavery goodmeasureof howfastanepidemicisgrowinginapopulation. Just before the first phase of the lockdown began on March 24, scientists at the Institute of MathematicalSciences(IMSc)in Chennai had calculated R to be 1.83. That meant that every 100 infected people were transmitting the disease to another 183 individuals on average. Due to the lockdown, this number declined to 1.49 and subsequently, to 1.29. But what is surprising is that it has continued to decline even after the restrictions have been eased, and people have been allowed to move around. AnewanalysisbyDrSitabhra Sinha and his colleagues at IMSc shows that the reproduction number is now down to 1.22 – which means only 122 people are getting infected on average by every 100 already infected people. It is important to note, however, that the beginning of the end of an epidemic can be said to have started only when the Rnumber falls below 1. Also, while the decline in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Officials say can be first of several meetings, India seeks status quo ante SCREENED SHUBHAJIT ROY & SUSHANT SINGH Ganga Ram told to SC signal to Centre, admit more patients, states: 15 days to but can’t test for Covid transport all stranded migrant workers ASTHA SAXENA NEW DELHI, JUNE 5 CHEMOTHERAPY sessions on hold, a surgery for breast cancer delayed and a late night scramble at the emergency ward to treat a 12-year-old — doctors at the premier Sir Ganga Ram Hospitalsayithasbeenastruggle eversincetheDelhigovernment askedthemtostopCovidtesting. On June 3, the hospital received an order from the Delhi government for allegedly flouting ICMR guidelines for testing coronavirus patients. “RT PCR sampling for Covid-19 suspect/ confirmed cases should be stopped withimmediate effect,” the notice read. The same day, the Delhi government announced that the 675-bed hospital will have to reserve 80 per cent of its beds for treatment of Covid-19 patients. Accordingtodoctors,thetwo decisions — asking the hospital to start admitting more Covid patients and then to stop testing for the infection — are at odds with each other. “I am flooded with calls from patients who are supposed to be administered chemotherapy. They are supposed to come once every week or two weeks. We havemaintainedtheyshouldget Covid tests done once every two weeks because chemotherapy on a patient who is Covid positive can be disastrous. They are immunocompromised and administeringchemotherapyleads to further immune-suppression,” said Dr Shyam Aggarwal, medical oncologist and bone marrow transplant specialist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. “They are now calling to ask CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE IDEAS PAGE EXPRESS NETWORK KICKING THE CANCERCAN DELHI: IF BEDS FULL, HOSPITALS MUST SHIFT PATIENTS BY ROSHAN FAROKH CHINOY PAGE 9 PAGE 3 TEST REP RTS FROM THE FIELD U.S. ENTERS SECOND WEEK OF PROTESTS OVER GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH PAGE 12 THE SUPREME Court said on Friday that it intends to give the Centre and states 15 days to complete the process of transporting all stranded migrant workers to their home states. It alsoaskedstatestogiveinformation on “how they will provide employment and other kinds of relief” to the returnees. “What we intend to do is give you and the states 15 days time to transport all migrants. States should bring on record how they will provide employment and other kinds of relief to migrants who returned. There should be registration of migrants,” Justice Ashok Bhushan told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Centre. The bench, which included Justices S K Kaul and M R Shah, BY UNNY was hearing a suo motu petition on the issue of migrant workers. Reserving its order, the bench said it would pass detailed guidelines next week. It said states should prepare a villagewise list of returnees. On May 28, the court had taken suo motu cognizance of TRACKING INDIA’S COVID CURVE LOCKDOWN DAY CASES: 73 2,26,770 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Satellite imagery shows how Chinese changed status quo on Pangong bank KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, JUNE 5 AN ANALYSIS of high-resolution satellite images of the Pangong Tso area in Ladakh shows that not only have the Chinese changed the status quo at the Fingers, the mountain spurs along the lake, but also built “substantial” structures in the contested region of the Line of Actual Control. Colonel S Dinny, who was commandingofficerof anIndian Army battalion at Pangong Tso between 2015 and 2017, told The Indian Express after looking at satellite images from May 27 that the structures were not there earlier. “Thatdefinitelywasnotthere before. It is not a normal thing that goes on between Finger 4 and Finger 8. It is what we call a change in status quo in the disputed area.” RECOVERED: 1,09,461 | DEATHS:6,348 TESTS:43,86,379 | DOUBLINGRATE:15.74** TOTAL CASES SURGEIN 24HRS 7-DAYAVG. DOUBLING GROWTH* RATE ** 77,793 2,933 3.98% 18.50 ■ Gujarat 18,609 492 2.58% 27.93 ■ Delhi 25,004 1,359 6.32% 11.39 ■ Tamil Nadu 27,256 1,384 5% 14.40 ■ Bihar 4,452 126 4.9% 14.69 ■ West Bengal Inside the Covid ward at Jalgaon hospital. Tabassum Barnagarwala 6,876 368 6.12% 11.76 * Compounded Daily Growth Rate over last 7 days ** Calculated over 7-day growth CONCERN 2. Of the total 42 cases till then, 14died haddiedin five days. The district, known more for banana cultivation, had recorded the first Covid-19 case on April 28. Over the next 30 days, 100 PAGE 1 ANCHOR more died. Jalgaon’s death rate todayismorethanfourtimesthe national averageof about 2.8 per cent.Of thosedead,60wereover 60 years of age, 47 in the 50-60 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 He said the Chinese have in the past pitched tents in the region but not on the scale as now, andthiswillnotbeacceptable to India.Thestructuresvisiblenow, hesaid,maynotbeabletohouse “thousands” of Chinese troops “but definitely a substantial numbercanbeaccommodated”. “This time, there is a substantial number (of tents), no doubt. One cannot make out how many troops are there. Have they been taken off? One cannot be sure. Thatkindofactivityhashappened before. In all probability, after the talks between the Generals, this will also be taken off. I don’t see anythingelsebeingacceptableto our side,” Dinny said. The May 27 images by Planet Labs show dozens of new structures,mostlikelytents,thathave come up between Finger 8 and Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, one of the main points of contention in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ■ Maharashtra Colombo to Dhaka: Beijing dials up its Covid diplomacy CAUTION A GLIMMER HARYANA: Over 320 cases on Thursday, total past 3,000. Almost 12% growth rate WEST BENGAL: After stabilising, growth picking up. Over 2,300 new cases last week CHANDIGARH: The Union Territory has reported new cases in single digits last week Based on daily data by Centre, ICMR, state governments OVERTHElastmonth,asChinese and Indian soldiers face off in Ladakh and Beijing fights US-led global mistrust over its handling of the corona virus, China's top leadership has been actively engaged with countries in the south Asian region. India, too, is engaged in aggressive Covid diplomacy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday, and earlier this week, he spoke to US President Donald Trump, with the conversation including the situation at theLAC.ForeignSecretaryHarsh Shringla briefed his Russian counterpart about it in a conver- Tougher tightropewalk IN TENSIONS with Pakistan, Delhi is able to dial SAARC capitals and make most of them fall in line. Given the stakes for them in balancing between the two powers, this might prove more difficult when it comes to China. sation that also touched on Afghanistan and the pandemic. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Modi has spokenwithleadersof morethan40 countries since March 11, when WHO declared a Covid pandemic. India has sent medicines to Indian Ocean countries such asMaldives,SriLanka,Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles, and Comoro Islands, and sent Covid aid to all South Asian countries, except Pakistan. Aside from the March video conference with SAARC health ministers, Modi spoke with President GotabayaRajapaksa of SriLankaonMay23;andonMay 25 with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh. His conversation with Prime Minister Kharga Prasad Oli was in April, predatingthepresentcrisiswith NepaloverterritoryatLipuLekh. And he spoke to Afghanistan PresidentAshraf GhaniinMarch, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In locked down Bengal, fears rise of trafficking of girls ATRI MITRA & RAVIK BHATTACHARYA KOLKATA, JUNE 5 WORLD BUSINESS AS USUAL NEW DELHI, JUNE 5 KEYSTATES TOWATCH JALGAON, JUNE 5 BY SANJEEV SANYAL PAGE 8 ANANTHAKRISHNAN G Satellite images from May 27 showing Chinese tents on the north bank of Pangong Tso. Planet Labs via Reuters MUMBAI, JUNE 5 TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA WHATIS ATMANIRBHAR? UP says 21.69 lakh brought back; Bihar says skill-mapping done for 10 lakh STEPPINGUPeffortsaheadof the Saturdaymeetingoftheirtopmilitary commanders to resolve the tense situation along the Line of ActualControlineasternLadakh, IndianandChineseambassadors joinedavideocallbetweendiplomats of their border working mechanism Friday to underline that“thetwosidesshouldhandle their differences through peaceful discussion” and “not allow them to become disputes”. XIV Corps Commander Lt GeneralHarinderSinghwillmeet his Chinese counterpart at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting pointat8.30amSaturdayaspart of efforts to resolve the LAC crisis that is threatening relations between the two countries. Officialscautionedagainstexpectations of any immediate resolution,sayingtheSaturdaymeeting could be the first of several. Military anddiplomatictalks sofarhadpointedtoChinese“intransigence”, but both New Delhi and Beijing sent out clear signals Friday that the two sides need to work “in accordance with the guidance provided by the leadership” — a reference to the ‘strategic guidance’ following the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in April 2018. The video call between Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East) in Ministry of External Affairs, and Wu Jianghao, Director General in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN TRACKINGTHEVIRUS, LOCKDOWN THE EDITORIAL PAGE NEW DELHI, JUNE 5 Relative of a patient at LNJP Hospital, a designated Covid facility in Delhi, Friday. Amit Mehra 112 in a month: Why Covid death rate in Jalgaon is four times India’s AT 12.3 PER CENT, the death rate for Covid-19 in Jalgaon, a district 400 km north-east of Mumbai, is the highest in Maharashtra. Four cities — Jalgaon, Bhusawal, Amalner and Pachora — account for 80 per cent of the 112 deaths till June 4. ForDistrict CollectorAvinash Dhakne, alarm bells rang loud more than a month ago on May `6.00 (`8 PATNA & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 LAST MONTH, a 17-year-old girl showed up at the office of the Block Development Officer (BDO) in Hariharpara in West Bengal's Murshidabad district. She had made the two-and-ahalf-hour journey from her home 11 km away because her family was forcing her into marriage, she told the officer, and begged him to protect her. The severe economic distress of the lockdown — and subsequently the devastation and dislocations caused by cyclone Amphan — have made girls and young women belonging to marginalised sections of society in West Bengal extra vulnerable. There are data to show that attemptstoforceminorgirlsinto marriage rose more than twoand-a-half times the normaltime average during the first month of the lockdown, and activists and government officials fear a major spike in crimes, including trafficking of women and girls in the coming weeks and months. Between March 23 and April 23, the West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) received 136 complaints — more than four every day on average — about underage girls being forced into marriage. The largest number of these complaints came from the districtsof Murshidabad,Northand South24-Parganas,EastandWest Midnapore,Malda,andUttarand DakshinDinajpur,thedatashow. Duringnormaltimes,only about 50 such complaints are received every month on average. The reason, officials from the government and nongovernmental organisations told The Indian Express, could be acute An awareness campaign against early marriages at Bhaktidaha village in North 24 Parganas district. Partha Paul poverty, exacerbated by the loss of jobs and incomes due to the lockdown. The distress and uncertainty could be nudging those living on the fringes to try to get rid of the perceived burden of feeding girl children; and the reduced cost of a wedding during the lockdown could have seemed like an added incentive. Also,officialsandsocialworkers said, the closure of schools had shut down the primary sourceof informationfortheauthoritiesonattemptsbyfamilies to marry off minor children. They said that the distress — which would only have wors- ened in the wake of cyclone Amphan — would likely increase the attempts at trafficking minor girls with promises of jobs and marriages outside the state. This pattern had been seen after cyclone Aila devastated Bengal last year, they said. “It is very unfortunate that in this time of lockdown, parents are thinking that since the administration is busy, they can easily marry off their minor girl children,” SCPCR chairperson Ananya Chakraborty said. “But we have built a strong network; we are getting information on almost all incidents, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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