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Maharashtra extends lockdown till 31 July; what’s allowed: Non-essential markets in Mumbai to stay open from 9-5; private offices can start with 10% strength

The Maharashtra government on Monday extended the lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 till 31 July.”It is directed that, considering the local conditions the concerned district collector and the commissioners of the Municipal Corporations in the state may enforce certain measures and necessary restrictions in specified local areas on…

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The Maharashtra government on Monday extended the lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 till 31 July.

“It is directed that, considering the local conditions the concerned district collector and the commissioners of the Municipal Corporations in the state may enforce certain measures and necessary restrictions in specified local areas on the permitted non-essential activities and the movement of persons to contain the spread of the epidemic,” said Ajoy Mehta, Chief Secretary, government of Maharashtra.

“It is further directed that the movement of persons for the purposes of non-essential activities like shopping and the outdoor exercises, shall be restricted within the neighbourhood area limits with all necessary prescribed mandatory precautions of wearing masks, social distancing and personal hygiene,” Mehta added.

The state government has issued a list of permitted activities in municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad, Malegaon, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amaravati and Nagpur. Following are the economic activities that have been allowed in these areas.

WHAT IS ALLOWED IN MAHARASHTRA

-All essential shops that were allowed to remain open before Monday’s order can continue to remain open.

-Non-essential shops will be allowed to open based on the policies of the individual municipal corporation. Non-essential markets and market areas can remain open from 9 am to 5 pm. Liquor shops can continue to operate if permitted, whether for home delivery or otherwise.

-E-commerce is allowed for both essential and non-essential items.

-All industrial units that are presently open can continue to operate.

-All construction sites where work has been allowed can continue to operate.

-Restaurants are allowed to keep their kitchens open, but only home delivery is permitted.

-Activities related to online and distance learning are allowed.

-Government offices can function with a strength of 15 percent or 15 people, which is higher. However, this limit does not apply to offices dealing with emergencies, health services, police, food and civil supplies, municipal services, etc.

-Private offices can function with 10 percent staff strength or 10 people, whichever is more.

NDTV also quoted the Maharashtra government directive as stating that movement of people for non-essential activities “shall be restricted within the neighbourhood area limits with all necessary prescribed mandatory precautions of wearing masks, social distancing and personal hygiene.” Only those attending offices and dealing with emergencies will be allowed unrestricted movement.

Maharashtra has a total of 1,64,626 COVID-19 cases of which 7,429 patients have succumbed to the infection, said the Union Health Ministry on Monday.

There are 70,622 active cases in Maharashtra, it added.

With inputs from ANI


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India’s COVID-19 tally goes past 6 lakh with single-day rise of 19,148 cases; number of people tested to touch 1 cr soon

India’s COVID-19 tally went past six lakh on Thursday with a single-day increase of 19,148 cases, just five days after it crossed the five-lakh mark, while the toll rose to 17,834, according to the Union health ministry’s data.It took 110 days for coronavirus infections in the country to reach one lakh, while it took just…

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India’s COVID-19 tally went past six lakh on Thursday with a single-day increase of 19,148 cases, just five days after it crossed the five-lakh mark, while the toll rose to 17,834, according to the Union health ministry’s data.

It took 110 days for coronavirus infections in the country to reach one lakh, while it took just 44 days more to go past the six lakh mark.

The country’s COVID-19 caseload increased to 6,04,641 on Thursday, while 434 persons have succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

This is the sixth consecutive day when coronavirus infections increased by more than 18,000. There has been a surge of 4,14,106 COVID-19 cases from 1 June till date.

Meanwhile, the country has also crossed the nine-million mark in conducting COVID-19 tests, with 90,56,173 samples having been examined till 1 July, officials said on Thursday.

Number of people tested to touch 1 crore soon

The Union Health Ministry said the total number of people being tested for COVID-19 in the country will soon touch one crore.

“This has been (made) possible due to the removal of all bottlenecks by the government of India. Various steps taken by the Central government have paved the way for enhanced testing for COVID-19,” the ministry said.

Representational image. AP

Through a significant step announced by the Central government on Wednesday, COVID-19 testing can now be done on the prescription of any registered practitioner, and not exclusively of a government doctor.

The Centre has strongly advised states and Union Territories to take immediate steps to facilitate testing at the earliest by enabling all qualified medical practitioners, including private ones, to prescribe COVID-19 test to any individual fulfilling the criteria for testing as per ICMR guidelines.

Officials of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also said there are now 1,065 testing labs in the country — 768 in the public sector and 297 in private.

The daily testing capacity is also growing fast, they said, adding it was around 1.5 lakh per day on May 25 and is more than three lakh per day now.

As many as 2,29,588 samples were tested on Wednesday, which took the cumulative number to 90,56,173, the country’s apex health research body said.

Starting with just one laboratory, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, and having 100 in the beginning of the lockdown, the ICMR on June 23 validated 1000th testing lab, it said.

Amit Shah holds meet with CMs of Delhi, UP and Haryana

Amit Shah held a meeting with the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the national capital and its adjoining areas, located in the two neighbouring states.

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) have seen a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, leading to the home minister stepping in to handle the situation and improve the health infrastructure.

Shah reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Delhi-NCR with the three chief ministers, a home ministry official said.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was also present in the meeting.

The NCR comprises districts belonging to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The prominent ones being Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida) and Ghaziabad (both Uttar Pradesh) and Gurgaon, Faridabad (both in Haryana).

Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi — Yogi Adityanath, Manohar Lal Khattar and Arvind Kejriwal respectively — attended the meeting through video-conference.

The novel coronavirus has infected 89,000 people in Delhi and killed 2,803 as on Wednesday.

In Uttar Pradesh, the coronavirus tally has reached 24,056 cases and 718 deaths.

In the NCR district of Gautam Buddh Nagar, 2,362 COVID-19 cases have been detected positive and 22 people have lost their lives so far.

In Ghaziabad, so far 851 people have been infected by the coronavirus and 56 have died.

State-wise cases and deaths

Of the 434 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, 198 are from Maharashtra, 63 from Tamil Nadu, 61 from Delhi, 21 each from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, 15 from West Bengal, nine from Madhya Pradesh, eight from Rajasthan, seven each from Telangana and Karnataka, six from Andhra Pradesh, five from Punjab, four each from Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, three from Bihar and one each from Chhattisgarh and Goa.

Of the total 17,834 deaths reported so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest 8,053 fatalities followed by Delhi with 2,803 deaths, Gujarat with 1,867,Tamil Nadu with 1,264, Uttar Pradesh with 718, West Bengal with 683, Madhya Pradesh with 581, Rajasthan with 421 and Telangana with 267 deaths.

The COVID-19 death toll reached 253 in Karnataka, 240 in Haryana, 193 in Andhra Pradesh, 149 in Punjab, 105 in Jammu and Kashmir, 70 in Bihar, 41 in Uttarakhand, 25 in Odisha and 24 in Kerala.

Jharkhand has registered 15 deaths, Chhattisgarh 14, Assam and Puducherry 12 each, Himachal Pradesh 10, Chandigarh six, Goa four and Meghalaya, Tripura, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh have reported one fatality each, according to the health ministry.

Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases at 1,80,298, followed by Tamil Nadu at 94,049, Delhi at 89,802, Gujarat at 33,232, Uttar Pradesh at 24,056, West Bengal at 19,170 and Rajasthan at 18,312 according to the ministry data.

The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 17,357 in Telangana, 16,514 in Karnataka, 15,252 in Andhra Pradesh, 14,941 in Haryana, and 13,861 in Madhya Pradesh.

It has risen to 10,249 in Bihar, 8,582 in Assam, 7,695 in Jammu and Kashmir and 7,316 in Odisha. Punjab has reported 5,668 novel coronavirus infections so far, while Kerala has 4,593 cases.

A total of 2,947 people have been infected by the virus in Uttarakhand, 2,940 in Chhattisgarh, 2,521 in Jharkhand, 1,396 in Tripura, 1,387 in Goa, 1,260 in Manipur, 990 in Ladakh and 979 in Himachal Pradesh. Puducherry has recorded 714 COVID-19 cases, Nagaland 459, Chandigarh 446 and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu together have reported 215 COVID-19 cases.

Arunachal Pradesh reported 195 cases, Mizoram has 160 cases, Sikkim has 101, Andaman and Nicobar Islands has registered 100 infections so far, while Meghalaya has recorded 52 cases.

Odisha to start plasma therapy

The Odisha government decided to start plasma therapy for treatment of critically-ill COVID-19 patients in the state, official sources told PTI.

According to the sources, the decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the state”s Health and Family Welfare Minister NK Das, who asked the department officials to constitute a technical team to prepare a line of treatment for critically-ill COVID-19 patients through plasma therapy.

The minister also asked the officials to set up a plasma bank to facilitate the treatment, they said. The state took the decision keeping in view the high rate of recovery of patients.

With inputs from PTI


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Ahmedabad shopkeepers say won’t sell Chinese phones, plan to remove signboards of brands due to border tension

Ahmedabad: Amid escalating border tension between India and China, the shopkeepers in Ahmedabad city’s largest mobile phone market said they have decided not to sell Chinese gadgets henceforth, and urged Indian companies to manufacture good quality and affordable devices to provide an alternative.These vendors have also covered the signboards of Chinese brands in their shopping…

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Ahmedabad: Amid escalating border tension between India and China, the shopkeepers in Ahmedabad city’s largest mobile phone market said they have decided not to sell Chinese gadgets henceforth, and urged Indian companies to manufacture good quality and affordable devices to provide an alternative.

These vendors have also covered the signboards of Chinese brands in their shopping complex with banners saying “Made In India”.

The multi-storey Murtimant Complex on Relief Road in the eastern part of the city houses over 50 retail as well as wholesale shops, which sell mobile phones and accessories worth lakhs of rupees every day.

As calls for boycott of China-made goods erupted across the country after 20 Indian soldiers died in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan valley last month, the shopkeepers in Ahmedabad decided not to sell any products manufactured in the neighbouring country.

“We have decided to boycott Chinese items. In the coming days, we will permanently remove the signboards of the Chinese mobile phone brands. Since we have already stocked China-made devices, we will sell them in the next one month and then buy only Indian or South Korean goods,” said Rakesh Mehta, a shop owner.

Another shopkeeper said that no one is interested in selling Chinese goods if traders get such devices from Indian manufacturers.

“I support this call for boycott, but it’s also a fact that Chinese goods is a lot cheaper. We are selling it because customers are not ready to shell out more for the high-end products,” said a wholesale trader.

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena also started a movement against Chinese goods and urged the shopkeepers to stop the sale in the next one month.

“We have requested all the shopkeepers to stop the sale of Chinese items. We gave them one months time to clear the stock. All of us need to stand firmly with our country and show our patriotism. China is using our money against our own army. This must stop” said Gujarat chief of the outfit, Raj Shekhawat.

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including TikTok, UC Browser, SHAREit and WeChat, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.


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Delhi riots: HC vacates interim stay on bail granted to school owner Faisal Farooq amid Centre, AAP govt tussle

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday vacated its interim stay on the bail granted to a private school owner in a north-east Delhi riots case as the counsels for the Centre and the AAP government could not agree on who was representing the police.Justice Suresh Kait said the controversy over who will represent…

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday vacated its interim stay on the bail granted to a private school owner in a north-east Delhi riots case as the counsels for the Centre and the AAP government could not agree on who was representing the police.

Justice Suresh Kait said the controversy over who will represent Delhi Police in the matter has been going on since 22 June, the first day of hearing, and was likely to continue and if the stay remained in force, it will prejudice the accused.

“This cannot continue like this,” the judge said and vacated the interim order of 22 June which had directed not to release the school owner Faisal Farooq.

The high court also directed all counsels to give their written arguments on the issue of who will represent Delhi Police in the matter and listed it for hearing on 22 July.

The 22 June order had come on the police plea challenging a 20 June order of a trial court granting bail to Farooq.

The controversy over who will represent the police in the instant case continued to plague the matter with lawyers of the Centre and AAP government continuing to oppose each other’s claims regarding representing the probe agency.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi contended that he has a letter from the Lieutenant Governor authorising him to appear in the matter and placed the communication before the court.

The contention was vehemently opposed by Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, who said the 1 July letter was issued illegally as the LG took the decision without aid and advise of the Council of Ministers.

Mehra said there were judgments of the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court which clearly said that LG cannot appoint special prosecutors without aid and advise of the Council of Ministers.

Opposing Mehra’s arguments, Lekhi said that the apex court and HC judgements he was referring to did not pertain to appointment of a law officer of the Attorney General’s office to appear in a criminal matter as a prosecutor.

The judgements pertained to appointment of private lawyers as special prosecutors, Lekhi said.

He said Mehra’s reliance on those judgments were “utterly and totally misconceived” as facts in those decisions were totally different from the instant case.

The ASG further argued that it was “outrageous” to say that central government needs to take the state government’s permission to appoint a law officer as a special prosecutor in matters in which the Centre is “interested”.

delhi police2

He also said that a client has the right to decide whom to appoint to represent it.

Countering the ASG’s arguments, Mehra said these were “diversionary tactics” of the central government law officer.

“They are impersonating the state. Under which provision of law is it permitted? If this is allowed, it will happen in Bengal, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh..,” he said.

Mehra further argued that Delhi Police was not like an ordinary client and it cannot choose whom to hire to represent it.

“If police starts to choose its lawyers, then investigation and prosecution would be hand-in-glove. Prosecutors would become mouth piece of the investigation,” he said and added that this was not permitted under the criminal procedure law.

After hearing their arguments, Justice Kait said that this controversy first cropped up on 22 June, when the matter was first heard, and “the said issue continued till date”.

The judge further said that apart from the instant case, Farooq was also arrested in another FIR and if he seeks bail in that matter and is granted the relief, the 22 June order would prejudice him.

Justice Kait, thereafter, proceeded to vacate the 22 June order.

The ASG urged the judge not to do so, saying it would have serious consequences, but Justice Kait did not agree with him.

On Wednesday, the high court had directed the central government counsel, Amit Mahajan, to show that he was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to represent the probe agency in the matter.

The 1 July letter placed before the court on Thursday indicated that apart from Mahajan and Lekhi, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and other law officers were also appointed by LG to represent the police in the instant matter.

In the instant case, Farooq, owner of the Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar locality, was among the 18 arrested for alleged involvement in burning and damaging property of the adjacent DRP Convent School.

The Delhi Police had on 3 June filed a charge sheet before a trial court against Farooq and 17 others in the incident in which the building of a private school was burnt down in North East Delhi.

The trial court, in its bail order, had noted that the charge sheet filed against him in the case was bereft of material showing his alleged links with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group and Muslim clerics.

It had directed Farooq to surrender his passport and not leave the National Capital Region without permission of the court. He should mark his attendance on every alternate Wednesday at the police station concerned. It also asked him not to tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses.

The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police had filed the charge sheet against the accused for allegedly conspiring with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group, Jamia Coordination Committee and Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz for creating riots, in and around his school.

It has also been alleged that protestors against the CAA had received funds from the PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).


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