Fourth wave fears
Masks become mandatory in Delhi again as new Covid-19 cases in India shoot up by 2,380 in 24 hours.
REPORT ON PAGE 3
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
APRIL 22, 2022
MCI (P) 034/10/2021
ALL TOP BOLLYWOOD
IMF MD: India’s high growth rate
‘positive news’ for world
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
chief Kristalina Georgieva on Wednes-
day lauded India’s high growth rate –
as projected in the latest World Eco-
nomic Outlook – saying that it was
positive news for the world.
“India is one of the economies that
are growing at a high rate. Even with
the small downgrade, growth is pro-
jected for this year to be 8.2 per cent,”
said Ms Georgieva, adding “healthy
for India, but also positive in a world
where growth slowdown is creating a
Police arrest dozens after mob
attack in Hubballi
At least 88 people were arrested in
connection with violence against po-
lice personnel after a comment insult-
ing Muslims went viral online.
A mob attacked police personnel
and vandalised public property on
Saturday in Hubballi, 480km north of
Twelve police personnel were in-
jured in the violence. The person who
posted the message was arrested.
Lightning, storms kill 14 in Assam
At least 14 people were killed and
many others injured after heavy rains,
lightning and storms lashed Assam last
“Eight people were killed on Friday
and six deaths were reported on Satur-
day,” said an officer at the Assam State
Disaster Management Authority.
The storms left a trail of destruction
including damaged houses, uprooted
trees and snapped electric lines.
2 killed, 8 injured in stampede
during festival in Tamil Nadu
Two people were killed and eight
others injured in a stampede last
Saturday during the Chithirai festival
celebrations at Goripalayam in Tamil
Nadu’s Madurai district.
“The stampede happened when
devotees surged to witness the immer-
sion of an idol into the Vaigai river,”
said a government officer.
Many people were admitted to the
Government Rajaji Hospital after they
Tata Steel to stop doing business
Tata Steel will stop doing business with
Russia, India’s largest steelmaker by
revenue said on Wednesday, making it
the latest global company to cut ties
with Russia for invading Ukraine.
“Tata Steel does not have any
operations or employees in Russia. We
have taken a conscious decision to stop
doing business with Russia,” the com-
pany said in a statement.
Tata Steel imports coal from Russia
for its steel-making process.
Former judge to help negotiate
blood money for Kerala nurse
Former Supreme Court judge Kurian
Joseph will coordinate efforts to secure
a pardon for Kerala nurse Nimisha
Priya, who is facing the death penalty
in Yemen for murder.
Nimisha has been in jail since last
yea for murdering Yemeni Talal Abdo
Mahdi in July 2017. She injected him
with sedatives so that she could re-
trieve her passport which was in his
Mr Joseph was approached by the
Save Nimisha Priya International Ac-
tion Council, which has been leading
efforts to get Nimisha back to India.
FIR in Karnataka against top
Congress leaders over protest
A first information report was filed on
Monday against former Karnataka
chief minister Siddaramaiah and Con-
gress leaders D.K. Shivakumar, Ran-
deep Surjewala and others after they
led a protest outside the residence of
Karanataka Chief Minister Basavaraj
Bommai last week.
The Congress leaders were demand-
ing the arrest of minister K.S. Esh-
warappa, who quit last week amid
protests against a contractor’s death.
The 73-year-old is accused of pushing
contractor Santosh Patil, found dead in
Udupi on April 12, to suicide.
Amway India assets frozen
Assets worth over Rs750 crore belong-
ing to direct-selling consumer goods
company Amway India have been
seized under the anti-money launder-
ing law, the Enforcement Directorate
said on Monday.
The seized properties of Amway
India Enterprises include land and a
factory building at Dindigul district in
Tamil Nadu, machinery and vehicles.
The company’s bank accounts and
fixed deposits have also been frozen.
BJP leader shot dead outside home
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader
Jeetu Choudhary was shot dead out-
side his house in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar
He was rushed to a nearby hospital,
where he was declared brought dead.
It is not known who carried out the
shooting. The police are investigating.
Teacher opens fire in UP school
A teacher allegedly beat up the princi-
pal of a government primary school in
Uttar Pradesh’s Jalalpur Santhal on
Tuesday after he was questioned for
marking “false attendance”.
Dighendra Pratap Singh also fired
shots in the school premises, a video
of which went viral on social media.
Principal Arvind Kumar later filed a
police report and suspended the
teacher, who has absconded.
Modi announces special mark for
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi
on Wednesday announced a special
mark for Ayush products, among new
initiatives for the sector. Ayush stands
for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy,
Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy – the
Indian systems of medicine.
“We are already witnessing unprece-
dented growth in the production of
Ayush medicines, supplements and cos-
metics,” said Mr Modi at the Global
Ayush Investment & Innovation Sum-
mit 2022 in New Delhi.
“In 2014, the Ayush sector was less
than US$3 billion, today it has in-
creased to more than US$18 billion.
An unprecedented effort has been
made in the past years to promote the
export of Ayush products.”
Sham eye clinic to be investigted
after woman loses eyesight
The Uttar Pradesh government has
ordered a probe into an eye clinic in
Jalaun district after a woman who had
gone there for treatment was left blind.
Preliminary investigation has re-
vealed that the clinic is fake.
According to official sources, the
owner of the clinic Kuldeep, who does
not have a medical degree, was treat-
ing patients with eye problems.
IPL side Delhi Capitals hit by
New Zealander Tim Seifert became
Delhi Capitals’ second overseas player
to test positive for Covid-19 on
Wednesday prompting the organisers
of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to
shift today’s cricket match from Pune
The Capitals had reported five posi-
tive cases on Tuesday including Aus-
tralian all-rounder Mitch Marsh.
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V.K. Santosh Kumar
Channel Excellence Lead
British Prime Minister Boris John-
son arrived in India on Thursday
touting job-creating investment but
facing long odds to get his reluctant
counterpart Narendra Modi to back
Western action against Russia.
Mr Johnson touched down in
Gujarat – Mr Modi’s home state and
the ancestral home to half of the
United Kingdom’s British-Indians –
where he met business leaders and
took a cultural tour of Ahmedabad.
He will leave for New Delhi to
meet Mr Modi today, providing Mr
Johnson some respite from the “par-
tygate” controversy over his crimi-
nal violation of pandemic lockdown
rules back home.
The British Prime Minister indi-
cated on Wednesday that he is ready
to offer more visas to India in return
for a free-trade deal that could boost
annual bilateral trade.
Britain has made getting a trade
deal with India one of its post-Brexit
priorities. India wants greater oppor-
tunities for Indians to live and work
British PM to offer more visas to India
A fine of Rs500 will be imposed on violations.
The authorities in New Delhi on
Wednesday made the wearing of
masks compulsory again following the
rise in Covid-19 infections in the
Indian capital in recent days.
“In view of the rise in Covid
positive cases recently and as advised
by the experts, it was decided there’ll
be enhanced testing, focus on vaccina-
tion coverage of targeted population
and strict enforcement of Covid-appro-
priate behaviour,” Delhi’s Lieutenant
Governor Anil Baijal tweeted.
Hospitalisations have remained un-
der 1 per cent but Mr Baijal said: “It
was decided the wearing of masks
would be made mandatory in public
The Delhi government has begun
genome sequencing for all Covid-posi-
tive samples collected from April 9
onwards, its spokesman said. The mea-
sures follow the detection of the highly
transmissible XE variant in Mumbai
earlier this month.
Delhi accounted for 1,009 of the
2,380 new infections that India re-
ported on Thursday, taking the coun-
try’s running total to more than 43
million. This is the third time this week
that daily cases have crossed the 2,000
mark, more than double from a week
Deaths nationwide rose by 56,
mostly from Kerala, lifting the total to
522,022. The actual toll is believed to
be as high as four million.
However, the Indian government
has repeatedly rejected those higher
estimates saying the mathematical mod-
els used to estimate deaths in smaller
countries cannot be relied on for India.
The tally of daily infections in India
has hovered around a month-high in
recent days after most precautions,
including penalties for not wearing
masks, were dropped a few weeks ago.
The risk of rising cases, along with
India’s ramping up of booster shots
“demands monitoring,” Bank of Amer-
ica said in a note on April 19.
“Major metro cities have started to
see sharp increases in cases again.”
While there are no immediate signs
of India’s healthcare system getting
overwhelmed like it did last summer
when daily cases topped 400,000 as
the Delta variant ripped through the
crowded nation, the World Health
Organisation has been warning about
the emergence of new variants and the
need to maintain vigilance.
An India-wide consortium of
genome-testing laboratories said in a
letter recently that it had sought fur-
ther investigation into the XE variant
detected in Mumbai.
The country’s financial hub is lo-
cated in Maharashtra, which has also
eased all the curbs.
The Central government, in an
April 19 letter, asked states including
Maharashtra and Mizoram to tighten
Covid protocols again.
Several northern districts neighbour-
ing New Delhi have made masks
compulsory again. Other states have
also brought back rules – scrapped
after a downward trend in caseloads –
requiring the compulsory use of masks
in public places.
Globally the emergence of the XE
variant has further fuelled concerns
over a possible rush of infections in
However, the recent increase in
Covid cases is unlikely to be the fourth
wave, a doctor who served as the head
scientist for Epidemiology and Commu-
nicable Diseases at the Indian Council
for Medical Research told news agency
“I don’t think this is the fourth
wave,” Dr Raman R. Gangakhedkar
said on Wednesday as he also empha-
sised the continued use of masks.
“The world continues to witness the
BA.2 variant affecting people. Some of
us have misunderstood that removal of
mask restrictions means that people
won’t get infected.”
The doctor also said masks must be
worn, especially by those at greater
risk of infection.
“No new variant has emerged so
far,” he said, “but those who are older,
who have not taken vaccines and those
who have been infected need to re-
member to use a mask.”
Reuters, Indo-Asian News Service
India’s Supreme Court has stepped in
to stop the authorities from demolish-
ing illegal shops and walls around a
mosque in a predominantly-Muslim
area of New Delhi, near the site of
clashes between Hindus and Muslims
At least 20 people were arrested in
connection with the clashes which
erupted during a procession at a Hindu
Local police and paramilitary forces
were present on Wednesday in Ja-
hangirpuri, a residential area that is
home to scores of low-income Muslim
families, when bulldozers razed shops
A three-judge panel ordered a stay
on tearing down structures in Jahangir-
puri, which was led by a civic author-
ity. It followed a petition stating that
municipal authorities did not alert
local shopkeepers about the demoli-
“My entire shop is ruined. Equip-
ment and bikes have all been de-
stroyed in the demolition drive,” said
Ashu, who gave only his first name.
India in recent weeks witnessed a
rise in small-scale religious clashes.
Earlier this month, several homes
and shops were torn down in Madhya
Pradesh and Gujarat in the aftermath
of communal violence on the day of
another Hindu festival.
Delhi reimposes mask mandate
Top court halts demolition drive
A bulldozer dismantling illegal structures in Jahangirpuri.
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