New Delhi: On prime time news Thursday, English networks tried to decipher whether India’s coronavirus curve was flattening while Hindi news channels were filled with visuals of pizza after a pizza delivery boy in South Delhi tested positive for Covid-19.
Zee News dedicated an entire segment to #CoronakiHomeDelivery, while ABP questioned if coronavirus was also being home delivered, along with essential goods.
NDTV 24×7 delivered some good news– coronavirus cases are falling according to data provided by the government, while Republic TV slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, for questioning the country’s low testing numbers, and The Indian Express for a news report.
On ABP News’ ‘Samvidhan Ki Shapath’, anchor Romana Isar Khan noted government claims that coronavirus is under “kaabu” (control) and that community spread has not begun, but the news of a pizza delivery boy testing positive for the disease has shocked the country.
While on one hand there is talk about relaxation of the lockdown in some parts, she questioned how one could remain sure that “suvidhayon ke saath kahi ho na jaye corona ki home delivery?” (Along with essentials, coronavirus is also not delivered?).
The pizza outlet has been shut and decontaminated, but the anchor claimed this was still not enough because the damage had been done. “Lockdown ki lakshman rekha tuti, pizza ke fer mein, 72 gharon ki kadi judi” (The lockdown’s barrier was broken, in the quest for pizza, 72 houses are not linked).
Zee News was slightly more filmy about pizza — it showed slow motion visuals of pizza being prepared and delivery boys out in the city with dramatic background music to denote danger and trouble.
In a segment called #CoronakiHomeDelivery, ‘Taal Thok Ke’ host Sachin Arora discussed how people have been following the lockdown orders in anticipation of returning to normalcy following PM Modi’s requests. “But something or the other happens in the country that breaks the country’s hopes,” he said.
“Pizza delivery boy pizza hi nahi, muft mein coronavirus ki muft mein delivery bhi kar raha tha,” he added. (Pizza delivery boy didn’t just deliver pizza, but also delivered coronavirus for free)
Even though the boy’s co-workers and all the people he delivered to are now under quarantine, Arora questioned if this incident could result in further spread of coronavirus in Delhi.
“How safe is home delivery in the time of corona, since it has been going on since the time the lockdown began?,” he asked.
“Pizza aaya, coronavirus bhi saath le aaya” (Pizza arrived, along with coronavirus) was Aaj Tak’s contribution to the rhymes of the night, as the anchor exclaimed, “Savdhani hati, aur bimaar lagi” (caution subsided, and then disease followed).
He said the most shocking thing was that the delivery boy was showing symptoms of coronavirus for nearly 20 days, but because of his carelessness, the “jung” (war) against corona has suffered a “gehra dhakka” (major blow).
“Swaad badi cheez hai, par ye swaad ek nahi, do nahi, 72 families ke liye museebat le ke aaya,” he declared. (Taste is a big thing, but this taste has caused trouble for not just one or two, but 72 families)
On NDTV 24×7, ‘Left Right Centre’ host Nidhi Razdan delivered “some good news” — zero new cases in 325 districts and the number of new cases has also fallen for the second day in a row. She said that the government data also pointed out that there were no new cases in 25 districts for the last 14 days.
Her colleague Sanket Upadhaya said this data didn’t make the government happy, but did make it feel “comfortable”.
India Today host Rajdeep Sardesai, too, looked at numbers — 12,759 cases and 420 deaths
“Is India testing enough?,” he asked, pointing out that a little over 2,17,000 patients had been tested and the ICMR and the government insist that they are following global testing protocol. But Rahul Gandhi is unconvinced, and questioned this strategy saying India needs to test more. Sardesai then played a clip of a troubled Gandhi from his press conference Thursday.
“Without testing, we cannot beat this virus because we will not know where it is. You’ve made hotspots and non-hot spot areas, if you don’t test in the non-hotspot areas then you won’t even know when it becomes a hot spot,” said Gandhi.
However, Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami was having none of it. He admitted that he was no epidemiologist, but a mere observer of trends nevertheless, he expected the curve to be flattened in the next 10 days. “We do hard work to read the graphs here at the Republic network, we are not illiterates like Rahul Gandhi,” he yelled.
He said that according to their reading, the graph was flattening, but the Vadra-Gandhi family still insists the lockdown is not working. “We will beat this, Sonia, much better than the country you come from,” he said addressing Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
He then turned his attention to another favourite topic, fake news.
He said that according to fake news spreaders, the treatment for coronavirus in the country is based on a Hindu-Muslim segregation. He then said that such news published by The Indian Express was “very damaging”, “factually, wholly incorrect” and “communal”. He said that the doctor who had been quoted in the newspaper’s story has come out and said he was misquoted.
“I want to ask the newspaper, along with Congress mouthpiece — National Herald, who also said Hindus and Muslims are segregated in Gujarat hospitals — do they owe us the people of India an apology?”