Today's News in Five: 27 May 2020

From 75 cops testing positive for Corona in the past 24 hrs, a swarm of locusts wreaking havoc, to a curb on free speech amidst lockdown 4.0, 'The Watchdog News' curates and brings five of today's top news stories. Read on to stay informed.

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Today's News in Five: 27 May 2020

1.) 75 Cops Test Positive for COVID-19 in Past 24 hrs

Constable on the front line

“In the last 24 hours, 75 police personnel have tested positive for COVID-19. The total number of Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra Police has risen to 1,964 with the death toll at 20,” said the Maharashtra police in an official statement. 849 police personnel have recovered from the virus, while 1095 are yet to recover from the Coronavirus.

In what has been perceived as a scathing attack on the fundamental right of ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression, Mumbai Police, Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Pranaya Ashok, issued a ‘Gag Order’ effective from 25 May to 8 June, which

“prohibits any inciting mistrust towards government functionaries and their actions are taken in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and thereby causing danger to  human health or safety or a disturbance to the public tranquility.”

The order has been issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), specifically directing legal ramifications against those questioning the state or its functioning during the pandemic.

Gag Order 

3.) Successful Recovery of 1002 Patients from GS Ward

In a positive development, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aditya Thackeray tweeted that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has successfully recovered 1002 Coronavirus patients from the GS ward.

With a surge in COVID-19 cases plaguing the state and the country's financial capital, The BMC had formulated a new strategy to deal with the rising number of cases, especially in the cities population-dense slum establishments; which pose the highest risk for community spreading.

The city's slum establishments account for more than 70% of Coronavirus cases, prompting the BMC to test and quarantine at least 15 close contacts of Corona positive patients as compared to the earlier five contact policy. The civic body has also revisited its operational protocols as the country enters the fourth phase of the lockdown.

4.) Swarm of Locusts Wreak Havoc on Crops in Maharashtra

Swarm of locusts flying over a field

A swarm of crop-eating locusts have entered Maharashtra after desecrating fields in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. These locusts identified as ‘short-horned grasshoppers’ have entered the state of Maharashtra entering through the Amravati district, subsequently invading the eastern parts of the state over the past week.

The swarm of locusts, notorious for wreaking havoc to crops have already laid carnage to fields in other states and have now begun to lay havoc on the fields of Maharashtra. In a bid to counter the locust menace, the Central Integrated Pest Management Centre has initiated containment measures by spraying chemicals over crops where the insects were located.

5.) E-Pass not required for Mumbai Airport: Clarifies Mumbai Police Spokesperson

Mumbai Airport

Following the Maharashtra State Government's decision to resume the operation of domestic flights both in and out of the state, the Mumbai police have announced that passengers will be allowed to move ‘to and from’ the Mumbai airport without an e-pass.

Speaking about this development, Mumbai Police Spokesperson, Pranay Ashok told The Watchdog News that the same applies to those dropping or picking up passengers.

“Those driving to drop a passenger or receive at the airport need not carry an e-pass. But at the same time, they should carry a soft copy of the boarding pass of the passenger/s,” clarified the police spokesperson.

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