New Delhi: No surprises for guessing what prime time news Thursday was dominated by. As the novel coronavirus continues its surge across the country, with more than 700 confirmed cases, news anchors were optimistic about India’ victory in the coronavirus battle. However, it was not all sunshine, on India Today, an official from the World Health Organisation gave an ominous and alarming warning, “We will have to learn to live with the virus”.
India TV featured a special interaction with Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava and the conversation was all about sakhti (strictness) and narmi (warmth). When asked about the police’s approach to this lockdown, after videos of police personnel making people do sit ups emerged, he said, “I would say that we always have to apply the approach of sakhti and humanity”.
Aaj Tak’s anchor Rohit Sardana focused on Ayodhya and how it was managing the coronavirus outbreak. In an interaction with Anuj Jha, DM, Ayodhya, Sardana asked, “Lots of tourists must come to visit Ayodhya. In light of the same, how did you manage?”
Jha was straightforward, “It is a big relief that no one tested positive for coronavirus in Ayodhya.”
“The Epidemic Act gave us powers to deal with the situation, and we could impose travel restrictions,” he added.
In Zee News’ ‘Taal Thok Ke’, anchor Aditi Tyagi hollered, “Coronavirus par 20 mahashaktiyon ka prahar” (20 superpowers and their attack on coronavirus). To those who didn’t understand, Tyagi was shouting about the latest G20 summit Thursday to combat coronavirus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi out forth a proposal for a G20 summit during his last SAARC conference — a fact Tyagi did not let anyone forget for even a second.
Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP spokesperson, was effusive in his praise for Modi, “We are so fortunate to have a leader like PM Modi, who not just worries about his own country but also his neighbouring countries”.
In true BJP spokesperson fashion, Pakistan had to be introduced into the equation. Hussain said, “Even though we don’t have a great relationship with Pakistan, PM Modi hopes to combat coronavirus together”.
Rajdeep Sardesai, on India Today, didn’t get a moment to speak while interacting with Dr David Nabarro from the WHO.
Dr Nabarro had many words of wisdom, “I believe that we must all learn to live with the coronavirus”.
“If we are on defence consistently, then we can avoid the scale of outbreak… I don’t think that we can talk in terms of ending the whole thing. We have to learn how to run our lives with coronavirus. At the same time, it doesn’t have to mean that our life will stop.”
Sardesai was flabbergasted by the end of it, “I will never forget these words, Dr Nabarro.”
On Mirror Now, anchor Tanvi Shukla picked on the “confusion” aspect of the 21-day lockdown and was visibly annoyed, “It is day 2 and confusion prevails among the police and authorities on what’s allowed or not”.
She was also speculative, “Either that, or they have been given instructions to go and shut everything down”. Shukla also pointed at a video from Haryana and sounded disgusted, “Look at these policemen harassing shopkeepers selling dairy, fruits and vegetables.”
Arnab Goswami started his sermon on Republic TV with, “If we as a country have the resolve and tenacity to tide through the challenging phase then we will win and the curve will be flattened.”
And just when you thought this was going to be a positive show, in true Goswami fashion, he raised his finger and yelled, “But!”
“There are COVID villains! They are trying to weaken us!” Well, it wouldn’t be a Goswami show if he didn’t coin a new phrase.
On the other side of the world, CNN was asking a sensible question. Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans revealed that in the US, “Over 3.28 million people filed for first time unemployment benefits.”
“It just shows what shutting down the economy does,” she added.
Romans had compelling questions, “Do we see more weeks like this? Does stimulus slow its pace? At what point does the economy reopen and the virus slowdown?”
While on the other side of the spectrum, on Fox News, Tucker Carlson, attacked news channel MSNBC, “One way to see people’s real characters is whether they tell the truth about the powerful or suck up to them.”
Carlson was as cut-throat as usual, “Today at MSNBC, on their morning show, everyone nodded in bovine agreement while a WHO official gushed about the fascist government of China”.