Majority wants India to suspend flights from UK, SA amid jump in covid cases: Survey

News Network
March 28, 2021

New Delhi, Mar 28: As many as two-thirds of the people want the government to suspend flights from the UK and South Africa amid a near sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country in recent weeks, according to a survey.

At the same time, another 43 per cent of the people covered under the survey, conducted by online platform SocialCircles, were in favour of suspending all international air services to contain the 'second wave' of the pandemic, it said.

The survey findings are based on the responses received from over 8,800 citizens from across 244 districts in the country, as per a statement.

Scheduled international operations remain suspended since late March last year. Amid this, special international flights have been allowed under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year and under bilateral "air bubble" arrangements with select countries since July.

Also read: Covid-19: Daily deaths over 300 for first time this year

The direct lineage of SARS-COV2 variants, especially the UK and South African variants, has been detected in different parts of the country amid an upward trajectory in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the country, with over 60,000 cases now being reported daily, LocalCircles said.

This is a five-fold increase in the daily caseload in 45 days which were about 12,000 on February 12 this year, it added.

It is estimated that the UK variant has spread to over 70 countries, while the South African variant is in more than 30 countries, said the statement. In the wake of this, LocalCircles asked citizens if any restrictions on international flights should now be implemented via a survey, it added.

"Sixty-five per cent of the citizens (are) still in favour of suspending arrivals of passengers from the UK and South Africa to limit coronavirus variants, (while) 43 per cent (are) in favour of suspending all international arrivals for a month," LocalCircles said in the statement with survey findings.

There were also 32 per cent of the citizens who said "suspending flights is not the solution", while 3 per cent did not have an answer, it said.

Read more: India sees over 62,000 Covid-19 cases for second straight day in the highest daily spike so far this year

According to many citizens, the damage has already been done and the variants are at different stages in India primarily due to all the international arrivals in the last three months. However, at least shutting flights now will not bring in new infections and new strains, LocalCircles said.

In fact, the platform had in late December, based on public feedback, escalated to the government the risk of mutant coronavirus, urging that all flights from the UK and other high-risk countries be shut till the end of January. In the survey, at that time, 64 per cent of citizens wanted bubble international flights shut with countries, particularly the UK, having cases of the new strain.

The same was done. However, the UK flight shutdown was resumed from January 8 after keeping them on hold for about two weeks, LocalCircles said.

With limited capacity to do genome testing, some 10,787 samples from 18 Indian states have shown so far 771 cases (736 of UK variant, 34 South African variants, and 1 Brazilian variant), according to the statement.

It said Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh has announced that 81 per cent of the cases found in his state based on genome testing are of the UK variant type. Punjab has direct flights between the UK and Amritsar that have been running as part of the Vande Bharat programme. it added.

"It is not just Punjab that has identified the existence of B.1.1.7 in 18 states. Maharashtra is seeking the highest-ever surges with 35,000 case per day; and in Delhi, the daily caseload has tripled from 500 to 1,500 in a matter of five days," LocalCircles said.

According to the platform, as many as 60 per cent of citizens in a related survey felt that this new surge is driven by variants. "While the government has not accepted that yet, it is known that the B.1.1.7 is 50-60 per cent more transmissible than the original Covid-19 strain. The strain has also impacted the young much more than the previous Covid-19 strain," it said.

Though there will be no vaccine for the young at least till the end of this year, India has crossed six crore inoculations of adults and is vaccinating between 20-30 lakh citizens daily, as per the release.

However, it will be the end of 2022 before the entire citizens in the country can be vaccinated, and "that is why this second wave of Covid-19 is extremely worrying to many", it said.

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News Network
April 16,2021

Mangaluru, Apr 16:  Karnataka Minister for Fisheries S Angara has assured to draw the attention of the Chief Minister towards the problems faced by the fishermen due to non-release of diesel subsidy and get the pending Rs 45 crore subsidy released at the earliest.

He was speaking to reporters after visiting the old fisheries port and meeting fishermen leaders here on Friday.

He said that he has also spoken to the fishermen leaders on the works relating to the extension of a third jetty at the port.

On the opposition to the Coastal Berth project at Bengre, he said the pros and cons of the project must be discussed and all locals must be taken into confidence.

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News Network
April 9,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 9: Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa today asked transport employees in Karnataka, who are on strike for the third consecutive day, to resume duty while asserting that the government will not meet their demand for wages as per the 6th Pay Commission. 

“Don’t be stubborn by listening to some people,” Yediyurappa appealed with transport workers. 

Government bus services remain largely suspended across the state, crippling life for many citizens who depend on them on a daily basis. Authorities have roped in private buses to tide over the crisis. 

“Wages as per the 6th Pay Commission cannot happen in the current circumstances. When you know we won’t do it, why are you expecting something like this? It’s wrong,” he said. 

The administration has met 8 out of 9 demands made by the transport employees, Yediyurappa pointed out. “What else is there to talk about? We’ve met eight demands. And, I’ll set right any shortcoming in the fulfilment of these eight demands.”

Laying bare Karnataka’s financial situation, Yediyurappa said 85 per cent of the state's revenue went toward non-plan expenditure such as salaries and pensions. “Even Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said in the legislature session that the government had just 15 per cent funds for development. This being the case, transport employees shouldn’t be so rigid,” he said.  

The CM also pointed out that the government pumped Rs 2,300 crore toward transport employees’ salaries in the pandemic-hit 2020. 

“When people are suffering (during a pandemic), is the strike justified? Employees should ask themselves,” Yediyurappa said.

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 13,2021

Mangaluru, Apr 13: The coastal district of Dakshina Kannada witnessed heavy rains accompanied by a gusty wind that uprooted many trees and led to the falling of electricity poles in many places last night.

The power supply was disrupted in many parts of the district after many electricity poles were uprooted. 

Local residents assisted Mescom personnel in carrying out repair works and succeeded in restoring the power supply in a few areas by midnight. Six electricity poles came crashing down when a huge tree fell on them on Elyar-Newpadpu road.

The electricity poles were uprooted after a tree fell on them at Innoli. A few houses were damaged in Shambur, Madiwalapadpu and Mithakatta in Bantwal taluk after a tree fell on them.

Houses were partially damaged in Ullas Nagara, Malar, Tippu Nagara, Akshara Nagara and Arastana in Pavoor.

The asbestos sheets of rangamandira, toilets, and library of a school at Panelabarike in Pajeer were blown away by the gusty wind.

A mother and her daughter suffered injuries after lightning struck the house at Kavalapadoor in Bantwal taluk. The injured were identified as Geetha (29) and her daughter Rashmitha (10). Both were admitted to a hospital in Bantwal. 

Rain damages were also reported at Sajipamunnur, Shambur, Balthila, Kavalapadoor, Narikombu, Sajipanadu, Pudu, Badagabellur, Kodman and Naringan.

Losses due to the downpour are estimated to be Rs 15 lakh. Eighteen houses and a cowshed in Bantwal taluk were damaged. Horticultural crops too were damaged at four places.

A pump house was damaged after a tree crashed on it at Kempimajalu in Uppinangady. A portion of a house owned by Meenugadde Babu Naik was damaged after a huge tree fell on it at Kuchooru. As heavy rain is expected till April 14, a Yellow alert was sounded in coastal districts.

According to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNMDC), 80 mm of rainfall was recorded in 24 hours between 8.30 am on April 11 to 8.30 am on April 12 in Mangaluru. KSNMDC’s forecast was light to moderate rain with isolated heavy rainfall likely over Malnad and coastal districts.

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