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Delhi govt to conduct COVID-19 test on mediapersons in national capital: CM Arvind Kejriwal

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After 53 reporters from Mumbai tested positive for Coronavirus,  Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said his government will conduct COVID-19 test on mediapersons in the national capital as well.

The journalists reporting on ground, and being as susceptible to the virus as any other fronline workers like doctors, medical staff, police personnel or the sanitation staff,  have been doing their duty relentlessly  since the Coronavirus outbreak.

While responding to a tweet in which a person requested the CM to arrange mass COVID-19 test for mediapersons in Delhi on the lines of the one carried out in Mumbai, Kejriwal said, “Sure. We will do that.”

However, the Chief Minister did not elaborate.

During a special camp organised at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai on April 16 and 17 for COVID-19 testing of scribes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had collected swab samples of 171 mediapersons, including electronic and print media journalists, photographers and cameramen.

“Out of the 171 mediapersons, 53 tested positive for coronavirus,” BMC spokesperson Vijay Khabale said on Monday, adding that most of those who tested positive are asymptomatic at present.

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Final term university examinations to be conducted by Sept end; Home Ministry gives nod

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The final term examinations in universities and institutions, which had been pending due to the novel Coronavirus, will now be conducted by the end of September, following safety guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health.

Announcing the same, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” late on Monday tweeted that the UGC has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.

In view of the safety, career progression and placements of the students and their larger interests, after consulting the Union Home Ministry and Ministry of Health, he said it has been decided that “Intermediate semester students will be evaluated based on internal assessment” while “Evaluation of the terminal semester students, which was to be done through examinations in the month of July, will now be conducted by the end of September-2020”.

Pokhriyal had asked the UGC on Sunday to “revisit” the academic calendar and guidelines released in April.

According to the new guidelines, the final university exams can be held online and offline. In case a student cannot appear in September, provisions will be made so she can take the exams later.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had on Monday permitted conduct of examinations by universities and institutions. The MHA wrote a letter in this regard to the Union Higher Education Secretary.

“The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the universities,” said a statement issued by the Home Ministry.

The MHA, however, cautioned that the examinations should be held as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Shortly after, the UGC issued revised guidelines on examinations and academic calendar.

All schools, colleges and universities were closed after India imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the country. As a result, examinations too could not be held.

States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have cancelled all higher education exams and decided to promote students on the basis of previous performances.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Monday, while seeking the UGC and the HRD Ministry’s stand on whether to cancel the final year examination of degree courses, said that holding exams is not just a technological issue but also needs to take in account the mental preparedness of students.

“…the UGC and the Central government, ought to also bear in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in enormous mental distress and agony to students. There are families which are suffering medical illnesses and giving of examinations is not just a technological issue but the state of mental preparedness of the students also needs to be assessed,” said the court.

The court was hearing a petition filed by several students of the final year of the Delhi University seeking cancellation of the examinations in wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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With 1,379 new cases reported in last 24 hours, coronavirus tally in Delhi crosses 1 lakh mark

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Delhi on Monday has crossed the one lakh mark in terms of cases of coronavirus with 1,379 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

The total number in the national capital stands at 1,00,823.

“Coronavirus cases in Delhi cross 1 lakh mark, with 1379 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases stands at 1,00,823 including 72,088 recovered/discharged/migrated and 25,620 active cases,” Delhi government said.

“With 48 deaths reported today, the death toll is at 3,115,” it added.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had appealed to the cured Covid-19 patients to donate plasma to treat those infected with the virus.

“Our team is calling up people requesting them to donate plasma, if you receive such a call please don’t refuse. Hospitals should also give counselling to patients who have recovered and encourage them to donate plasma,” Delhi CM said.

“The number of people who need plasma is more than those coming forward to donate it. I urge all those who are eligible to come forward and donate plasma,” he said.

The Chief Minister also appealed to the cured COVID patients to come forward for the noble cause so that others can be treated, and informed that “pick and drop facility” will be given to the donor.

In terms of overall cases, India on Monday has overtook Russia to become the third-highest coronavirus caseload in the world.

Now only Brazil and USA are ahead of India in terms of the cases.

In a separate development, the Delhi High Court has suggested the authorities to appoint a Nodal Officer to redress grievances of healthcare workers and to act as a window system where nurses can raise their issues like non-availability of safety gear.

The suggestion came while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that claimed to highlight the blatant violation of human rights of the nurses and other healthcare workers deployed in the forefront of private nursing homes or hospitals in Delhi.

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Earthquake tremors felt in Delhi, nearby areas

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Tremors of the earthquake were felt in Delhi on Friday evening prompting people to come out from their homes.

The earthquake was of magnitude 4.5 on the Richter Scale, according to India’s National Center for Seismology.

As per the agency, the epicentre of the earthquake was 63 km southwest of Gurgaon in Haryana.

Strong tremors were felt in the national capital and surrounding areas for several seconds.

No casualty has been reported yet.

In the last couple of months, multiple earthquakes have hit the national capital and nearby areas.

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