Slum dwellers leave after collecting food from an NGO amid the nationwide lockdown | PTI
Slum dwellers leave after collecting free food from an NGO in New Delhi amid the nationwide lockdown | PTI
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New Delhi: Most news channels had their eyes set on next week, specifically 3 May — the day lockdown 2.0 is supposed to end. Is there even a lockdown plan, asked India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, while ABP’s Rubika Liyaquat questioned the need to lift the lockdown if it was working.

Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said, on India Today, that we needed to learn to live with Covid-19, as the virus will continue to play “hide and seek” and we couldn’t possibly be under lockdown for the next six months while Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot presented his state’s Covid-19 report card on ABP News.

Republic TV, however, was focused on waiting for its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami to leave his reported 12-hour interrogation session with the Mumbai Police — correspondents and cameramen stood patiently outside the police station waiting for him to emerge.

So it was no surprise then that at Republic’s 9 pm debate with Arnab Goswami, there was no Goswami. The news ticker indicated that he was questioned by the Mumbai police “non-stop” for 12 hours yesterday, while also displaying the hashtag #Soniascaresnobody.

Goswami had been called in for questioning by the police regarding complaints by Congress workers about his comments on Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi and the Palghar lynching incident.

Clips of Goswami heading to the police station at 9.25 am with his “head held high” and “armed with facts” played on a loop. Goswami said he stood by his statements and had the “truth on his side”, and that he would continue to question Sonia Gandhi. When on air, he also requested the police commissioner to investigate the attack on him and his wife, a senior editor at Republic TV. Two of his alleged attackers were earlier arrested and have been granted bail Monday.

On India Today, anchor Rajdeep Sardesai looked visibly distressed at the state of lockdown affairs. “Does India have a lockdown plan?,” he demanded. “We didn’t really see it in today’s meeting. Is the lifting of the lockdown in phases the only option? How do we find the balance PM keeps talking about between lives and livelihoods?”.

He turned to Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac for answers and whether he agreed with the idea of phases based on red, green and yellow zones. “No,” Isaac said emphatically, adding that he believed that we “have to learn to live with Covid-19”. Sardesai looked even more worried.

“Coronavirus is not going to exit in the next few months till a vaccine is developed. Are we going to lockdown till the end of the year?,” he asked. He then argued for a flexible policy, as the virus will continue to play “hide and seek”.

But Sardesai was still not convinced, and said that it seemed too easy to say the curve was flattened and declare a zone green, but new cases kept being reported in those zones in Kerala. “Is this how it will be, that one day a district will be green, and the next day it will become orange?”

“Yes, what to do?,” laughed Isaac, and explained that there were many districts with fluid borders.

On CNN IBN’s ‘The Right Stand’ with Anand Narasimhan, the focus was also on the “big expectation” of what will happen a week from now on 3 May. He said that with data shows that there have been 6,184 recoveries and 28,000 patients and it was clear that more than 1 in 5 persons are recovering.

He added that 16 districts have reported no new cases in the past 21 days, and the Covid-19 mortality rate had also dropped to 1.25. “But we need to do much more,” he said, explaining that the convalescent plasma therapy that was already on trial in 12 states can help “corona fighters” and requested those who have survived to donate plasma.

On ‘Seedha Sawal’ with ABP News’ Rubika Liyaquat, it was also all about 3 May and thereafter. The Prime Minister had conferred with chief ministers for the fourth time for a “maha manthan” (mega discussion), said Liyaquat. But the question is, if the lockdown is proving to be effective, then should it continue?  If the lockdown is withdrawn“…..toh kya, uske liye desh tayar hain?” she asked slowly, raising her eyebrows.

She also spoke to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot about Rajasthan’s high rate of Covid-19 cases but also how well the state is tackling the crisis. Gehlot argued that Rajasthan was excelling in all parameters. While in India, 405 per million people were being tested, the count in Rajasthan was 1,173 per million as opposed to 203 per million in Uttar Pradesh and 132 per million in Bihar.

Gehlot also claimed that while cases in India were doubling in 9.2 days on an average, they were doubling in 11 days in Rajasthan. Finally, he said that the “ruthless” Bhilwara model was having a good impact, and the state’s efforts were appreciated by PM Modi during the meeting.

On Aaj Tak’s ‘Special Report’ with Chitra Tripathi, the anchor said that the havoc caused by corona was ceaseless because of it’s “behroopiya” (multi-faced) nature. She said that first the strain of the virus found was classified as A, B, or C, but now in India there is also an S and an L strain.

“By the time scientists study one form, it comes out in another,” she declared. In Kerala, S ne machayi tabahi (S strain caused destruction), while in Madhya Pradesh L ne felaya zeher ( L is spreading poison). She said that coronavirus was so wicked that it changes with “jal vayu jagah” (air, water, land).

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