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Daily NEWS Summary:07.05.2020

Covid Times: The number of coronavirus cases in India is 54,280 and the death toll is 1,832. The Covid-19 account of Tamil Nadu has exceeded 5,000, while Kerala has recorded no new cases for the second day consecutive. The Indian Navy INS Jalashwa arrived at the port of Malé in the Maldives to evacuate stranded Indian citizens. Air India has also opened reservations for stranded Indians overseas.

Kerala government has clarified that people seeking to enter Kerala from Red Zone locations in other parts of the country are expected to undergo institutional quarantine for a mandatory period of 14 days. Meanwhile, they would have to pay for food and shelter. The government previously insisted that returnees from other states in the country, including the red zones, be held hostage in a government facility for only seven days. Authorities said the prevalence of Covid-19 infections in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra required a change in the containment strategy.

All visas for foreign citizens and OCI visa-free travel for people of Indian origin remain suspended until restrictions on international travel to and from India are in effect, said the Indian Embassy in Washington. However, all foreign citizens in the country whose visas have expired and who cannot travel outside of India can apply for their visa extension at no additional cost, he said in a statement.

Vizag Gas Leak: At least 10 people, including a six-year-old girl, died and hundreds were admitted to hospital following the toxic gas leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, this morning. The gas leak occurred at the LG Polymer factory between 2:30 a.m. and 3 am Poisonous gas has spread within a 3 km radius, affecting at least five cities, including R.R. Venkatapuram, Padmapuram, British Columbia Cologne and Kamparapalem. Some reports indicate that around 800 people have been transferred to hospitals. According to the ITP, nearly 250 were in treatment, including 20 with a ventilator. Styrene, the gas that escaped from the factory, is a toxic and flammable gas used in the plastics industry to make products like disposable cups and containers. When inhaled, it can affect the central nervous system and cause nausea, headache, loss of balance and a burning sensation in the eyes. However, to date, no studies have reported deaths from short-term exposure to styrene gas. Therefore, it is not clear whether the deaths were caused by styrene alone or a combination of chemicals.

In another development, more than eight workers were injured when a boiler exploded at a Neyveli Lignite Corporation thermal power station in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district. Reports suggest that the explosion could have been caused by overheating.

On the movement of migrant workers to their state of origin, Government of Karnataka turned around and decided to resume special train services for migrant workers stranded in the state. The government canceled all trains on Tuesday after major housing developers worried about the exodus of workers. Uttar Pradesh was the first state to announce the availability of buses and other means to recover its migrant labor stranded in other states when the blockade came into effect. Key ministers fear that economic recovery in their states after the closure will be hampered if all migrant labor returns to their  origin.

Longer working hours in M.P: The Madhya Pradesh government has increased factory working hours from eight to 12. It has also authorized up to 72 hours of overtime. The increase in working hours is only applicable if the employees are ready to work. And they have to be paid for overtime, newly opened industrial units will be exempt from the requirement to keep records and inspections. In addition, industries can change shifts at their convenience. New industries will be exempt from all sections of the Factory Act 1948, except sections 6, 7, 8, 21-41 (H), 59, 67, 68, 79, 88 and 112, the sections relaxed for three months and offered the Center to extend the relaxation by 1,000 days.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh approved a proposal to cut 9,304 positions in the Military Engineering Service (MES), this is consistent with Lt. Gen. D.B. Shekatkar Committee (retired), who suggested measures to improve combat capabilities and rebalance defense spending for the armed forces.

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