TS records its highest 1-day spike in cases

1-892 Covid-19 cases reported, result of city lab withheld.

Showing its biggest-ever increase in the incidence of covid-19, the state recorded a mammoth 1,892 cases on friday. Of there, 1,658 patients were in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits. 

This Tally has not factored in results from a laboratory which reported 2,672 positive cases. The data has been kept on hold.

The High Tally may entail strict measures from the government which had earlier hinted at a lockdown and day-time curfew. On friday, this was the fourth highest nationwide tally, behind Maharastra (6,364), Tamil Nadu (4,329), Delhi (2,520).

The state recorded eight deaths, which is the highest since the health department began issuing its daily Covid-19 medical bulletins. The toll stands at 283 in the state.

Most districts showed a huge rise in cases. Ranga Reddy had 56 new cases, Medchal 44, Sangareddy 20, Mahbubnagar 12, Warangal Rural 41, Mahbubabad 7 and Nalgonda 13 cases. The government has warned a pricate laboratory which has shown a very high positivity rate. The lab reported 2,672 cases as positive of the 3,726 samples which it tested. The positivity rate is 71.7 per cent and this is stated to be in gross violation of the norms.

The results of these cases have been kept on hold and till the expert committee looks into it these will not be counted. Experts state that this stand of the government is unjusitied as there would be people coming from clusters which are testing positive. The testing module is the same across the city and only those laboratories which have certification from Indian Council of Medical Research are allowed to test.

Boy got hooked on to Free Fair, used money to buy 'weapons' over 20 days

Mom loses Z5.6 lakh to son's online games

An innocent 13-year•old boy's online adventure, after a session of online classes, ended up proving very expensive for the fam-ily. The transactions led to his mother's two bank accounts being emptied of Z5.60 lakh when her son used the money to pay for online games. The family of Shaik Razia Sultana from Amalapuram town in Konaseema, East
Godavari district, is regis-tered as below the poverty line. Her son got hooked onto an online game called Free Fair. The Amala-puram police said that the boy was playing the game since June 20.
His father works in Kuwait. After the online classes, the boy down-loaded the game thinking it was a "free".
On checking the cell-phone, the police found that he bought "weapons" at 1400 and reached a limit of 130,000 per day. As per rules, he couldn't play beyond that. The gaming app appears to have sought more payments and the boy obliged. 

On Saturday. his mother, Sultana came to know of the loss when she tried to withdraw money from an ATM and lodged a com-plaint with the police.

When the police verified the cellphone messages and bank accounts, they found receipt messages of purchasing "weapons" from the game. The Amalapuram Town Circle Inspector in-charge Suresh Babu said that the boy was playing the game for 20 days and had purchased it. 

Amalapuram SI Yesu-babu said that the police were inquiring into the case and taking the help of experts to register a case. He said that the rules of the game say the game should be played only by those above 18 years of age.

The parents were saving the money as the boy's father wanted to return to India and start a business. It is a salutary reminder to parents to keep an eye on their kids when they use smartphones, computers, laptops or other electronic gadgets.

Pilot steers Gehlot into crisis with 30 legislators

The crisis in the Rajasthan government deepened on Sunday with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot virtually declaring open rebellion, claiming he has the support of 30 party MLAs and some Independents. 

A statement released on Pilot's WhatsApp group claimed that the Ashok Gehlot government was now in a minority. The statement came just after 9 pm, when MLAs were supposed to gather at Gehlot's residence in the state capital. 

It is learnt that Pilot, who was in New Delhi on Sunday with his supporters, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi's close aide Ahmed Patel and conveyed his unhappiness over the police notice issued to him for questioning over the alleged destabilisation of the Gehlot government.

The high command reportedly was also unhappy over such notices being sent to senior leaden. Pilot has now decided to skip the Congress Legislature Party meeting due to held at Gehlot's Jaipur residence at 10.30 am on Monday.

It is learnt Sonia Gandhi may speak directly to both Pilot and Gehlot to resolve their differences and save the state government.

The Congress' main fear is that Pilot may "do a Scindia" in Rajasthan, just like Jyotiraditya Scindia switched sides to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh in March along with 22 sup¬porters, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath government. Pilot, incidentally, met Scindia in New Delhi on Sunday.

Earlier, Pilot, who was in New Delhi with his supporters, was asked by the Congress leadership to return to Jaipur and work under Gehlot.

The AICC also rushed a team of three observers to attend the MLAs' meeting — Delhi leader Ajay Maken, senior spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala and Rajasthan PCC chief Avinash Pande — and Pilot was asked to meet them.

The political drama esca-lated on Friday after Gehlot alleged that the BJP was trying to bring down his government, offering crores of rupees to MLAs to defect. The BJP, however, dismissed this, saying it was a power struggle between Gehlot and Pilot, who is also the state PCC president.

The Deputy CM has been fuming ever since the Rajasthan police's special operations group sent notices to Gehlot, Pilot and the government chief whip Mahesh Joshi, seeking time to record their statements.

Sources said Pilot felt a notice under the sedition provision was an "attempt to humiliate" him.
But, in a tweet on Sunday, Gehlot noted that the notices had gone to several people, including himself, and the police indicated more people would soon be sent notices.

Earlier in the day, sources close to Pilot told reporters in New Delhi that the police notice had made it "untenable" for the MLAs supporting him to work under Gehlot's leadership. They said this "humiliation" had "crossed all limits" and that they cannot work under Gehlot as chief minister.

AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, said, meanwhile, that the state government was stable and would last its term. He said party chief Sonia Gandhi was apprised of the situation and added: "All Congress MLAs are in touch with me and the government in Rajasthan is stable and will last its MI term."

However, Pande said he had been trying to get in touch with Pilot for the past two days. "I have left messages for him," Pande said.

Hours before the 9 pm meeting at the CM's residence, ministers Harish Choudhary, Tikaram Jully and Raghu Sharma and several MLAs met Gehlot. 

Sports minister Ashok Chandna urged party MLAs to take a lesson from the developments in MP. 

48 positive in Raj Bhavan

Covid-19 has made its presence felt at the Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor, with a total of 48 individuals, either directly working at the Raj Bhavan or related to the employees, testing positive for Coronavirus infection over Saturday and Sunday.

Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan underwent a Covid-19 test and said on her official Twitter handle that her test result was negative. The Raj Bhavan said that among those who tested positive were 28 members from the police personnel posted at the Governor's residence. Ten others were staff and the rest were members of families of the staff who live in residential quarters next to the Raj Bhavan.

In all 395 persons associated with the Raj Bhavan were tested over Saturday and Sunday using Rapid Antigen Test kits of whom 347 tested negative. The tests were initiated after health department discovered that some personnel of the Special Police Battalion had earlier tested positive through R1. PCR tests, had primary contacts among security staff at the Rki Bhavan. All the police personnel who tested positive have been sent to isolation while the 10 Raj Bhavan staffers and the 10 mem¬bers of their families have been admitted to the Government Ayurveda Hospital, SR Nagar for further treatment.

The Raj Bhavan said the Governor who volun-teered to get tested, led from the front in ensuring that everyone at the Raj Bhavan was tested.

Nurses reject Etala sop

State offers 230,000 salary, nurses want wage board pay

Under pressure from the fight put up by the Gandhi Hospital nurses, who are at the forefront of the tight against the Coronavirus at the state's Covid-19 centre of excellence, and the intervention from Union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy, the state government agreed to increase the salary of the 220 outsourcing nurses who have been on strike for three days.

Health minister Etela Rajendar suggested that the hand of the government had not been forced on the matter. Speaking exclusively to Deccan Chronicle, Rajendar said, "The file of the Gandhi Hospital outsourcing contract nurses was under process. The government had already decided to hike their pay as well as provide an Incentive for each day of their work." The nurses will be paid 125,000 per month, with an incentive of 1300 or 1500, per day, he said.

The services of the nurses at the Covid-19 hospital are remarkable. The government will always stand by them for the services they rendered, especially in the time of the Coronavirus crisis." He said. "The file is almost ready for clearance, we do not understand why the nurses have gone on strike." There was no decision on the other main demand of the nurses, who have worked at the hospital on contract for 13 years, that their services be regularized and that they be taken on government rolls. Asked about the minister's statement, the protesting nurses said the
offer had been made by the health department. "We have not agreed. One of our demands is pay according to the wage board, that is 2134,000," said Kanaka Durga, an outsourced nurse at Gandhi Hospital.

M. Sarala, another protesting nurse. We are being offered pay equal to those who have joined a few days back in this same hospital." The recently recruited nursing staff, who are also under outsourcing contract, are being paid t25,000, and those with five years expe¬rience. Z28,000.

Earlier in the day, the nurses had met minister of state G. Kishan Reddy, who was on a visit to Gandhi Hospital on Sunday. They explained their situation to Kishan Reddy and said the state government had sidelined them. The minister assured the nurses that the matter will be taken to the notice of the Centre. 

The nurses also met the Director of Medical Education Dr N. Ramesh Reddy to request that their longpending demand of being made regular employees be granted. They asked how new recruits were paid double the salary of the protesting nurses.