The Asian Age

Govt pushes ‘work from home’, cases up to 173

Face floor test by 5 pm today, SC tells Nath


■ Continued from Page 1 different people, including former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, shot down the Speaker’s plea and left it to the MLAs to exercise their choice.

Hailing the verdict, Mr Chouhan said the Kamal Nath government would fall in the floor test, paving the way for the formation of a new BJP government in the state.

He said the Kamal Nath government was reduced to a minority after 22 Congress MLAs resigned from the House, and it had dishonoure­d the directive by the governor to face a floor test twice recently.

“The ruling Congress had resorted to all kinds to tricks available to save its government in the state. The rebel Congress MLAs were terrorised by the Congress leaders to force them to support the Kamal Nath government”, Mr Chouhan alleged.

“The SC verdict has vindicated our stand that the Kamal Nath government has lost its majority. We will stake our claim to form the government after the fall of the Kamal Nath government in the floor test”, BJP chief whip in the Assembly Narottam Mishra said.

A Congress spokesman, however, said that the Kamal Nath government would win the floor test on Friday.

The ruling Congress had a strength of 114 in the 230-member MP Assembly. Two MLAs recently passed away, reducing the strength of the House to 228.

A total of 22 Congress MLAs sent their resignatio­n letters to the Speaker as well as the governor on March 10.

■ Continued from Page 1 to contain the spread of coronaviru­s, which has so far claimed four lives in the country. There were 18 new cases in the last 24 hours, with Chhattisga­rh and Chandigarh reporting their first Covid-19 patients early on Thursday. A fresh death was reported from Punjab on Thursday. Health ministry officials said the deceased person was an elderly man suffering from ailments like diabetes, cardiovasc­ular diseases like hypertensi­on, etc. He was in Germany and had come to Punjab via Italy and was admitted to the PGI Chandigarh.

Out of the 173 positive cases in India, 25 persons are foreign nationals. One Indian pilgrim who tested positive for Covid-19 has died in Iran, marking the first death of an Indian overseas. He was among the 253 Indians who tested positive in a pre-embarkment test done by Indian doctors in Qom, the epicentre of the outbreak in that country.

India has already evacuated 211 Indians from Iran — both pilgrims and students. On, March 21, a special Air India 787 Dreamliner will be sent to evacuate nearly 230 Indians, largely students, from Rome, the current hotbed of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Indian embassy in Washington has, meanwhile, urged the US government to mitigate the difficulti­es of Indian students in America after the closure of universiti­es and educationa­l institutio­ns due to the pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly holding meetings with senior officials to work out a strategy to contain the spread of the virus. Health ministry officials said there was no evidence of community transmissi­on of Covid-19 in India as of now.

Officials said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had conducted tests on 826 random samples for Covid-19 and all have been found to be negative in reports that have emerged on Thursday. “This indicates that the virus is still not at the community transmissi­on stage. Such random tests will be done continuous­ly to see how the virus behaves,” said Mr Aggarwal.

Several states have already started imposing complete shutdowns. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot directed the shutdown of all government, semi-government and autonomous institutio­ns till March 31. The Delhi government too shut down restaurant­s and prohibited the gathering over 20 people but clarified takeaway and home delivery services will continue.

The authoritie­s in Srinagar announced restrictio­ns in parts of the city, including the Khanyar area, where the first positive case of coronaviru­s in Kashmir has been detected. The area within a 300-metre radius of the house of the 67-yearold Covid-19 patient has been sealed. The National Conference suspended all political activities in

Kashmir in the wake of the first positive Covid-19 case in the Valley. The authoritie­s have quarantine­d 78 people in Srinagar who arrived from Leh on suspicion of having coronaviru­s.

There were eight confirmed cases in Ladakh, where Covid-19 reached through the pilgrims who returned from Iran, the home ministry said Thursday. A total of 58 people were quarantine­d in various hospitals of Ladakh and 18 people, including positive cases, were kept in isolation in hospitals, it added.

The Meghalaya government closed all tourist places in the state till March 31; while Himachal Pradesh banned the entry of all domestic and foreign tourists.

Chandigarh got its first case when a 23-year-old woman, who returned from London, tested positive. The UT administra­tion has suspended public dealings at the secretaria­t as a precaution­ary measure and the entry of people to offices during usual visiting hours has been kept in abeyance. Department­s have also been advised to dispose of public work quickly so that people are not forced to visit offices. Several private companies have asked people to work from home. The ICSE and CBSE boards have postponed Class 10 and Class 12 examinatio­ns, while the UGC told universiti­es to postpone all exams and suspend evaluation work till March 31.

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