F&B outlets in Changi Airport Terminal 3, Junction Nine among locations visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period


SINGAPORE: Food and beverage outlets at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 and Junction Nine shopping mall have been added to a list of places visited by COVID-19 cases during their infectious period, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Dec 1).

The Heavenly Wang cafe at Changi Airport Terminal 3 was visited twice, on Nov 19 and Nov 20, while the Kopitiam food court at the same terminal was visited four times, on Nov 22, Nov 24, Nov 25 and Nov 26.

Wak Min foodcourt at Junction Nine shopping mall was visited on Nov 22.

UPDATED MAP: All the places that COVID-19 community cases visited while they were infectious

The full list of locations is as follows:


As a precautionary measure, anyone who was at the listed locations during the specified timings should monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit, said MOH.

They should see a doctor promptly if they develop symptoms of acute respiratory infection, as well as a fever and a loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

Those who have been identified as close contacts of cases would have been notified by the health ministry.

READ: 10 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including Changi Airport cleaner and dormitory resident

Singapore confirmed two locally transmitted cases on Tuesday – one in the community and another in a dormitory.

The community case is a 66-year-old woman who works as a cleaner at the transit area of Changi Airport Terminal 3. She is currently unlinked to previous cases, and was detected through the authorities’ bi-weekly routine testing of workers at the “frontlines of COVID-19 operations”.

“Her serological test result is negative, which indicates a likely current infection,” said MOH.

There were eight imported cases, all of whom were all placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

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Vaccine: Frankfurt Airport prepares for logistical challenge of a lifetime


As a string of COVID-19 vaccines near approval, Frankfurt Airport staff are gearing up to handle the unprecedented logistical challenge of transporting millions of life-saving doses worldwide.

Frankfurt is Europe”s largest hub for transporting pharmaceutical goods, and will be key to the success of inoculating millions of people against the deadly coronavirus.

“The stress is increasing now that we’re entering the ‘hot’ phase,” Karin Krestan, Lufthansa Cargo’s director of operations, told AFP during a tour of the temperature-controlled “Cargo Cool Center” terminal.

Krestan, who uses her skills as a former nurse, is sure her team is ready for the task.

“The processes have been established, we’re very confident and we feel well prepared,” she said.

In fact, Max Philipp Conrady, head of freight infrastructure at Fraport, told AFP: “We’ve been ready since August”.

Frankfurt’s cargo terminal has been working around the clock since the pandemic began, delivering medicine, surgical gowns and masks and supporting global supply chains as passenger numbers collapsed and airlines grounded planes.

The vast temperature-controlled hangar, a few kilometres from the main passenger terminal, handled 120,000 tons of vaccines, drugs and other pharmaceutical products in 2019, airport operator Fraport said.

It has 12,000 square metres of temperature-controlled warehouses, essential for storing medicines, with 2,000 square metres of cold storage, ideal for vaccines.

Fraport recently boosted investment in high-tech refrigerated “dollies” that transport vaccines from cold-storage hangars to planes, and now have 20 so several freighters can be loaded at the same time.

Some vaccines, such as one produced by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, can be shipped at normal refrigerator temperatures.

But Pfizer’s, developed at the BioNTech lab in Mainz, around 20km from the Frankfurt airport, must remain at around -70 degrees C (-94 F).

That requires car-sized containers which use dry ice to keep contents at stable, ultra-low temperatures.

They can do so for up to 120 hours without a power supply, long enough to reach far-flung destinations.

The EU recently agreed to buy 300 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, presaging a huge logistical operation, much of which will involve Frankfurt in the coming months.

While the airport has the capacity to handle the extra-cold freight, Krestan noted that flight capacity will be a major factor in the pace of distribution.

Providing a single dose to the world’s nearly eight billion people would require 8,000 jumbo jets, the air transport association IATA estimated in September, adding that the cargo industry faces “its largest single transport challenge ever”.

Cargo planes can normally carry up to a million doses, unless sub-zero temperatures must be maintained.



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Cyclone Nivar live updates | Chennai airport, metro stop services till tomorrow


The severe cyclonic storm ‘Nivar’ is likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and is expected to cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram during midnight of November 25 and early hours of November 26, according to the Indian Met Department.

Cyclone Nivar | List of emergency numbers

The governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have declared public holiday and advised people to stay at home.

A view of the water level at Chembarambakkam reservoir, Chennai on Wednesday after its shutters were opened.  
| Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

 

Here are the latest updates:

6.30 pm

Public holiday in 16 districts tomorrow

Tamil Nadu government has announced a public holiday in 16 districts, including Chennai, on Thursday, November 26.

Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tirupattur, Vellore, Ranipet and Nagapattinam (including Mayiladuthurai) districts fall under this ambit.

“All government offices, including offices of local bodies, government undertakings/corporations, boards, banks, financial institutions, etc., will be closed in 16 districts of the State on November 26. However, all essential services shall function as usual,” said the government order.

6 pm

Chennai airport to remain shut till 7 a.m. tomorrow

Chennai airport will remain shut from 7 p.m. on Wednesday till 7 a.m. on Thursday due to the cyclone. All international, domestic and cargo services remain suspended.

This decision follows the afternoon update announcing the cancellation of 12 departures and arrivals from and to Chennai airport. Flights cancelled include those to Kannur, Kozhikode, Vijayawada, Tiruchi, Thoothukudi, Bengaluru, Mangalore and Hubli. – Sunita Sekar

The metro rail services too will remain suspended from 8 p.m. today, with the last service at all terminals departing at 7 p.m. Services will resume tomorrow depending on the weather conditions.

5.30 pm

Why do we track a cyclone’s landfall?

The cyclone is expected to make landfall at around midnight on November 25, according to the IMD. But what exactly does that mean?

The U.S. National Hurricane Center defines landfall as the intersection of the surface center of a tropical cyclone with a coastline. Usually, it occurs when the eye of the storm moves over the land. When a cyclone makes landfall, it brings with it strong winds, severe rain and turbulence in the sea, which could be dangerous for life and property.

Typically, we track the landfall because the cyclone tends to lose speed and energy once it touches land as both of these are derived from the warm ocean waters.

Puducherry | 5 pm

Puducherry prepares for post-cyclone scenarios

Puducherry, which is one of the worst affected areas, is preparing to tackle the post-cyclone scenario in earnest. As seen during previous cyclones, one of the hardest tasks after the immediate danger passes is to restore civil amenities, including removing water-logging, clearing roads and  providing immediate medical attention. To this end, a team of hundred personnel attached to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) unit from the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff in Chennai has reached Puducherry to assist civil administration in rescue and relief operations.

The HADR team, which is part of the Defence Forces, will work in tandem with the three teams of NDRF already in place. The defence team was dispatched following the government’s request, Development Commissioner A. Anbarasu told reporters during a review meeting.

The Commissioner said that the electricity outages will be fixed with four to six hours. District Collector in-charge Purva Garg said that the Department of Civil Supplies has been instructed to stock up provisions to provide food for three to four days. Uninterrupted milk supply would be ensured through Ponlait, she said.

Puducherry

Puducherry Helpline

The following are the emergency numbers for the public during the impact of the Cyclone Nivar.

Apart from the general number 100, 101, 112, and 1031, the police control rooms will redirect distress calls to the department concerned, 104 is for medical and 108 for ambulance support and 1070 and 1077 emergency natural disaster relief.

The Electricity Department can be reached on 2339532 or toll-free line 1800-425-1912. The public can also message on WhatsApp (9489080401).

Karaikal: Free helpline numbers – 1070/ 1077, Control Room – 04368 – 228801 227704, Whatsapp number – 99438 06263.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Helpline numbers

People can dial toll free number 1077 for any assistance.

Here are the district-wise numbers

Cuddalore:  District Collectorate -04142 220700/233933/221383/221113; Revenue Divisional Office – 04142-231284

Chidambaram: Sub-Collector Office 04144-222256/290037

Vriddhachalam: Sub-Collector Office 04143-260248.

Tiruvarur: WhatsApp number 93453 36838

Pudukottai: 04322-222207

Chennai

Here’s a list of helpline numbers of various depts

Chennai Corporation: 04425384530

24X7 control room: 1913

Flood control: 044-24331074

Chennai MetroWater: 04428454040/04445674567

Ambulance service: 108/ 04428888105/ 7338895011

Electricity board

Chennai South-I: 9445850434/04424713988

Chennai South II: 9499050188/ 04423713631

Chengalpet: 9444099437/ 04427522119

Kancheepuram: 9445858740/ 04427282300

Chennai North: 9445850929/ 04428521833

Chennai Central: 9445449217/04428224423

Chennai West: 9445850500/04426151153

IMD update | 4.00 pm

Landfall likely post midnight

The Met Department has once again said Cyclone Nivar is likely to cross between Mamallapuram and Karaikkal as a very severe cyclonic storm after midnight.

Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall/thunderstorm over coastal and north interior Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Karaikal, south coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema on November 25 and 26, and southeast Telangana on November 26.

Isolated extremely heavy rainfall over coastal and north interior Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Chennai, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu, Myladuthirai, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurchi, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Puducherry and Karaikal) on November 25, over Nellore and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh on November 25 and over Rayalaseema and southeast Telangana on November 26, 2020.

IMD update | 3.50 pm

Storm surge

The IMD bulletin released at 2.30 p.m. predicts tidal wave of about 1-1.5 m height above the astronomical tide and is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of north coastal districts of Tamil Nafu and Puducherry near the place of landfall.

Fishermen are advised not to venture into Southwest and adjoining Westcentral Bay of Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts and Gulf of Mannar during November 25 and 26. Total suspension of fishing operation is also advised for these areas.

Chennai | 3.30 pm

Many schools cancel online classes in Chennai

Many schools on Wednesday called off online classes for students across classes taking into consideration possible power outages and internet connectivity issues that might arise due to the prevailing weather conditions.

Schools in Tamil Nadu have remained shut since March owing to COVID-19. While the school education department did not make an announcement specifically for the cancellation of online classes due to the weather, many schools took into account the public holiday announcement made by the state government and announced on Tuesday evening that online classes were cancelled.

Following heavy rains on Wednesday morning, some schools in Chennai took a late decision and sent out messages to parents announcing a cancellation of online classes for the day. With the cyclone expected to make a landfall on Wednesday evening, several schools are expected to cancel online classes for Thursday as well, considering the weather.

Puducherry | 3.00 pm

Stay indoors: Kiran Bedi

As Cyclone Nivar approaches, the Puducherry government said the administrative machinery is fully geared up to meet any exigency arising out of the situation.

In a video message, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Wednesday appealed to the residents to stay indoors. She also asked people to move to safer places wherever the is a need.

Most of the roads and thoroughfares presented a deserted look because of the order.

The entire beach road has been closed and police have been deployed to ensure that there were no visitors at the sea shore.

Railways | 2.40 pm

Trains cancelled

The Southern Railway has fully cancelled 12 trains and partially cancelled 11 trains due to Cyclone Nivar.

In a press release the Kanniyakumari-Nizamuddin and the Rameswaram-Manduadih trains are cancelled on Wednesday.

Similarly on Thursday none trains including the Dr. MGR Central-KSR Bengaluru, Central-Tirupati, Tirupati-Chennai Central, between Chennai and Coimbatore (3 trains), Karaikkudi-Chennai Egmore, Madurai-Egmore and Egmore-Tiruchi services will operate.

 On Saturday the Nizamuddin-Kanniyakumari train stands cancelled.

The commuters could get their refunds for fully cancelled train services on cancellation of tickets.

Chennai | 2.30 pm

Firemen rescue octogenarian from his house

The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) rescued a 83-year-old man who was stranded in his house in Maduvankarai in rain water on Tuesday evening.

According to TNFRS personnel, they got a call from  Lawrence residing in Maduvangarai around 6 pm. “He told us that a 83-year-old man named Charles was stuck in his house in in Gopalakrishnan Street, Ganesh Nagar, Maduvankarai, Guindy. Being an elderly person he was not able to move out of his house,” said Syed Mohammed Shah, District Fire officer, Guindy.

The firefighters team from Nandanam headed by Station Fire Officer  Jayakumar comprising fire fighters – Sreenivasan, Senthil Kumar, Ramesh, Thangamari, Kalaivanan and  Ajithkumar – rush to the house by 6:30 p.m. “When we went inside, we saw Mr Charles sitting on his bed unable to walk out as there was water till his thighs and it was about to raise over the bed, ” said Senthil Kumar, who was part of the team. 

The firefighters brought Mr Charles, a retired LIC officer out in a chair and took him to his relatives house in the same locality.

Chennai | 2.15 pm

Key roads closed

The city traffic police closed all major roads off Marina beach and other coastal areas of Chennai in view of Cyclone Nivar.

Following a high level decision, the city police commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal instructed the officers and personnel to stop the movement of vehicles on these roads immediately.

The  Kamarajar Salai, East Coast Road, Rajiv Gandhi Salai and Ennore Express Highway have been closed immediately by police personnel. A senior police officer said, “No vehicle will be allowed on these stretches since they are located in coastal areas. This step has been taken as part of precautionery measure and for the safety of motorists.”

Meanwhile, the city police appealed to the public not to venture out to beaches.

Chennai | 2.10 pm

Cyclone Nivar: scenes from across Tamil Nadu

 

Incessant heavy rainfall lashed several areas in and around Chennai as the severe cyclonic storm Nivar approached closer to the coast on Wednesday.

The above video shows different locations in Tamil Nadu as Cyclone Nivar moves close to cross the coasts.

Chennai | 2.00 pm

Eight helicopters for rescue operations

Boats have been parked on the roads for safety as cyclone Nivar approaches coast on Wednesday.

Boats have been parked on the roads for safety as cyclone Nivar approaches coast on Wednesday.
 
| Photo Credit: R . Ragu

 

Eight helicopters are in the stand by for rescue operations, said Minister for Disaster Management R.B. Udhayakumar. He also said the relief camps can accomodate over 13 lakh people and appealed people in low-lying area to approach the nearest camp as soon as possible.

Tamil Nadu | 1.40 pm

TN declares public holiday in Chennai, 12 districts tomorrow

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, inspects Chembarambakkam reservoir after its shutters were opened on Wednesday after a period of almost five years following heavy rains due to Cyclone Nivar on Nov 25, 2020.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, inspects Chembarambakkam reservoir after its shutters were opened on Wednesday after a period of almost five years following heavy rains due to Cyclone Nivar on Nov 25, 2020.  
| Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

 

Owing to cyclone Nivar, Tamil Nadu government has declared public holiday tomorrow in 13 districts, including Chennai.

Holiday has been declared in Thiruvallur, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur, Mayiladudurai, Tiruvannamalai, Ariyalur and Perambalur.

Chennai | 1.00 pm

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami visits Chembarambakkam reservoir, whose shutters were released at noon today.

IMD update | 12.30 pm

Puducherry will impact most: IMD

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and Minister for Revenue M.O.H.F. Shahajan inspecting cyclone preparedness in a coastal hamlet at Kalapet on Wednesday.

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and Minister for Revenue M.O.H.F. Shahajan inspecting cyclone preparedness in a coastal hamlet at Kalapet on Wednesday.
 
| Photo Credit: T Singaravelou

Cyclone Nivar is gradually intensifying according to IMD. “It could cause structural damage, uprooting of trees, damage to thatched or tin houses, and damage to banana and paddy crops,” said Mr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, DG, IMD.

“There’ll be strong winds and heavy rain. The most impact will be in Puducherry and Karaikal,” he added.

Chennai | 12.05 pm

Shutters of Chembarambakkam reservoir opened

Authorities opening the the shutters of Chembarambakam reservoir on Wednesday noon.

Authorities opening the the shutters of Chembarambakam reservoir on Wednesday noon.  
| Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

After nearly five years, the shutters of Chembarambakam reservoir was opened on Wednesday noon as a cautionary measure to prevent inundation, particularly in the upstream stretches.

Central Water Commission has advised Airports Authority of India to be cautious and keep a vigil if water levels rise in the Adyar river as it runs under the runway of Chennai airport.

The State Disaster Management Authority has asked people living near the banks of Adyar river, especially in low lying areas such as Kanu Nagar, Choolaipallam, Thideer Nagar, Amman Nagar, Burma Colony, Jafferkhanpetm Kotturpuram, and Chitra Nagar to relocate to the nearby relief camps.

Chennai | 11.30 am

Chennai Corporation orders removal of hoardings

As a precautionary measure, Chennai Corporation staff remove banners. Seen here is Cathedral Road.

As a precautionary measure, Chennai Corporation staff remove banners. Seen here is Cathedral Road.
 
| Photo Credit: K. V Srinivasan

 

The Greater Chennai Corporation has ordered the removal of all hoardings in the city to prevent accidents during the cyclone landfall.

Corporation Commissioner G.Prakash on Wednesday ordered the regional deputy commissioners of north, central and south regions to remove all hoardings by noon. Disaster management experts have stressed the need for removal of all hoardings to reduce the risk of accidents to motorists, pedestrians and residents during the cyclone.

Zonal officers will ask all owners to remove the hoardings and banners to avoid any danger. “Before noon all such hoardings, even if it is under court orders are to be removed due to the emergency. It is very urgent,” said Mr.Prakash.

According to the amended statutory provisions, hoardings will be permitted only on Corporation lands. Earlier, private land owners were erecting hoardings and banners illegally.

On Wednesday, civic officials started removing hoardings and banners to prevent accidents during the cyclone landfall.

According to estimates, such structures have been located in more than 500 spots. In addition to such structures, weak structures on top of high rise buildings will also be removed by civic officials.

Tamil Nadu | 11.30 am

Heavy rains in Chennai, light showers in other districts

Rainwater inundates the famous rock temple in Mamallapuram on Wednesday.

Rainwater inundates the famous rock temple in Mamallapuram on Wednesday.  
| Photo Credit: R. Ragu

 

In Chennai, Nungambakkam received the highest amount of rainfall with 16 cm for the day ending 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Several other weather stations in and around the city recorded ‘heavy to very heavy’ rainfall during the same period. The areas include Anna University, Meenambakkam and Sholinganallur with 15 cm each and Taramani, DGP Office, MGR Nagar receiving 14 cm each. 

Areas such as Mamallapuram, Alandur, and Puzhal recorded 12 cm each and Tambaram and Ambattur 11 cm each.

However, weather stations in other districts have received only light rains so far. 

Puducherry, Tirupoondi in Nagapattinam district, Cuddalore, Chidambaram, and Tindivanam have registered 2 cm each.

 

Chennai | 11.15 am

Residents on the banks of Adyar asked to relocate

The Chennai Corporation has requested residents of Kotturpuram, Jafferkhanpet and other areas on the banks of river Adyar to relocate to relief centres owing to the risk of flooding in Adyar River after release of water in Chembarambakkam lake at noon.

A flood alert has been issued by the corporation for neighborhoods on banks of Adyar river in Kodambakkam, Adyar, Valasaravakkam, and Alandur zones. A total of 169 relief centres have been opened.

The Corporation has also requested the owners to remove all hoarding and banners as a precautionary measure to minimise damages.

For assistance: Call 1913, control room 044-25384530 and 044-25384540. Aloysius Xavier Lopez

Tamil Nadu | 11.00 am

Nivar approaches closer to TN coast

Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Service personnel with emergency equipments leave to coastal areas of Nagapattinam district in view of cyclone Navir, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.

Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Service personnel with emergency equipments leave to coastal areas of Nagapattinam district in view of cyclone Navir, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.  
| Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

 

Incessant heavy rainfall lashed several areas in and around Chennai as the severe cyclonic storm Nivar approached closer to the coast on Wednesday. 

Places in and around Chennai received heavy to very heavy till 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Nungambakkam received nearly 17 cm of rainfall and Meenambakkam recorded 12 cm. The other weather stations in Taramani (12cm), West Tambaram(10 cm) and Ennore 9 cm too recorded rains of heavy to very heavy intensity. 

However, other places such as Chidambaram, Cuddalore, Karaikal, Nagapattinam have received only light rains so far till 8.30 a.m.  

According to India Meteorological Department, the severe cyclonic storm Nivar has moved west-northwestwards and lay centered over southwest Bay of Bengal, about 290 km east-southeast of Cuddalore, about 300 km east southeast of Puducherry and 350 km south southeast of Chennai. It is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm by afternoon. 

It is now moving at a speed of 7 km per hour. – K. Lakshmi

 

Puducherry | 10.50 am

Puducherry port hoists cyclone warning 10

The Port Department in Puducherry has hoisted Storm warning signal 10 indicating Great Danger to the por

The Port Department in Puducherry has hoisted Storm warning signal 10 indicating Great Danger to the por
 
| Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

 

Puducherry port has hoisted cyclone warning number 10, which indicates ‘great danger’ and also means a severe cyclone is likely to cross over/near the port.

A visual storm warning signals are signage permanently hoisted at the mast of ports to alert ships of the weather condition in the ports they approach. While certain countries hoist flags, India uses distinct signs for day and night. Day signals are a combination of cylinders and cones, while night signals are red and white lamps.

Click here to know why we should worry more for signal 11 and less for 1.

Tamil Nadu | 10.40 am

NDRF teams ready: Minister

According to Minister for Disaster Management, R.B. Udhaya kumar, six NDRF teams were positioned in Cuddalore, three teams each in Chengalpattu and Nagapattinam, and two teams in Villupuram and Mayiladuthurai districts.

The Ministers said the low-lying areas and reservoirs are being monitored continuously. “A total of 22 fishing boats from Karaikal that were involved in deep-sea fishing were brought back to safety,” Mr. Udhaya Kumar said.

Chennai | 10.15 am

Shutters of Chembarambakkam reservoir to be opened by noon

After nearly five years, the shutters of Chembarambakam reservoir will be opened on Wednesday noon as a cautionary measure to prevent inundation, particularly in the upstream stretches. Residents need not fear flooding in the Adyar river as water release will be minimal.

As a precaution, flood warning has been issued to low level areas along Adyar river and surplus courses such as Kundrathur, Sirukalathur, Tirumudivakkam and Tiruneermalai.

The Adyar river has been widened to carry up to 1 lakh cusecs in the downstream stretch near Saidapet, officials noted. – K. Lakshmi

 

Chennai | 10.00 am

Position of Chennai reservoirs

Chembarambakkam’s storage now stands at 3,028 million cubic feet against its capacity of 3,645 mcft. The three other major reservoirs are getting steady inflows too.

While Poondi reservoir, which did not receive much rainfall, gets mostly Krishna water as inflow, Red Hills reservoir received an inflow of 1,063 cusecs at 8 a.m. and its water level stands at 17.49 feet against full level of 21.20 ft. 

In Kancheepuram and Chengalpet districts, 148 tanks of the total 909 tanks maintained by Water Resources Department have filled up so far. Nearly 254 tanks have reached above 75% of their storage capacity. The water level at Pillaipakkam tank, which drain into Chembarambakkam reservoir, has reached 12.08 feet against its full level of 13.20 feet.

The level at another tank in Sriperumbudur located upstream of Chembarambakkam too has touched 16. 19 feet against full level of 17.90 feet and is being monitored by WRD.  – K. Lakshmi

Chennai | 9.30 am

Waterlogging at 53 locations; 128 mm rainfall in Chennai

A policeman gestures as he manages traffic on a road during heavy rain, triggered by Cyclone Nivar, in Chennai, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.

A policeman gestures as he manages traffic on a road during heavy rain, triggered by Cyclone Nivar, in Chennai, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.
 
| Photo Credit:
PTI

 

Greater Chennai Corporation has identified waterlogging in 53 neighborhoods of the city ahead of the landfall of cyclone Nivar. According to a press release, civic employees cleared waterlogging at eight locations.

Civic officials are yet to control waterlogging at 45 locations. Residents have reported waterlogging in areas including George Town, Nungambakkam, Madipakkam, Sholinganallur, Perungudi, Vepery, Kilpauk, Anna Nagar, Aminjikarai, Arumbakkam, T.Nagar, Shenoy Nagar, Mogappair, Adyar and Vadapalani.

According to data compiled by Greater Chennai Corporation, the city has received a total rainfall of 516 mm during the 27 days after the onset of the northeast monsoon on October 28.

The city received a rainfall of 128 mm from 8.30 a.m. November 24 to 7 a.m. November 25.

At least 116 trees have been uprooted after the onset of the northeast monsoon. A total of 77 relief centres have been opened in the city. Motor pumps have been installed at 15 locations to bale out water. — Our Correspondent

IMD update | 8.35 am

Nivar becomes ‘severe cyclone’

The rough sea in Nagapattinam district along with gusty winds on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.

The rough sea in Nagapattinam district along with gusty winds on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.  
| Photo Credit:
M. Moorthy

The cyclonic storm NIVAR over southwest Bay of Bengal has burgeoned into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ and lay 370 km east southeast of Chennai and 310 km southeast of Puducherry, according to a morning update from the India Meteorological Department on Wednesday.

It is likely to intensify further into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ by noon and make landfall by late evening between the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts, around Karaikal and Mamallapuram with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph.

Severe damage is expected to standing crop, plantation, orchards and thatched rooftops are expected to be blown away.Nivar is expected to begin ebbing in intensity by midnight after landfall and ease out by Friday though windspeeds and associated rainfall are expected to be significant until Friday, the IMD said. — Our Corrrespondent

Delhi | 8.30 am

Army deploys 12 teams

The Indian Army is ready to deploy 12 Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) teams and two Engineer Task Force units during Cyclone Nivar.

“The Army is ready to assist the government and civil administration in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, maintaining communication with concerned officials”, a defence press release said. — Our Corrrespondent

Chennai | 8.20 am

Flights cancelled at Chennai airport

Twelve departures and arrivals from and to Chennai airport have been cancelled so far due to Cyclone Nivar. Flights to Kannur, Kozhikode, Vijayawada, Tiruchi, Thoothukudi, Bengaluru, Mangalore and Hubli were cancelled.

Officials of Airports Authority of India (AAI) had said they have been making arrangements to see how best flight operations can be operated. AAI has been coordinating with the Meteorological Department, National Disaster Response Force and State government officials as well.

“The smaller ATR aircraft have been taken away from the airport by an airline because they feared it may be damaged when the cyclone makes a landfall. Those are the cancelled flights we see now. There may be delays through the day or diversions depending on the weather,” an official said.  — Staff Reporter

Tamil Nadu | 8.15 am

Thousands of police personnel deployed in coastal areas

Thousands of policemen, including commandos trained in disaster operations, have been deployed along the coastal areas as heavy rain lashed Chennai, Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts since Tuesday afternoon.

With meteorological experts warning that Cyclone Nivar, located 450 km southeast of Chennai, was likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours, Director-General of Police J.K. Tripathy reviewed the deployment of manpower and infrastructure at the police headquarters.

Andhra Pradesh | 7.45 am

Nellore, Prakasam administrations on tenterhooks

Authorities in south coastal Andhra Pradesh are on high alert as the cyclonic storm Nivar over southwest Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm late on Wednesday.

Fishermen, who had ventured into the sea, rushed back as squally wind speed reaching 30 to 40 kmph prevailed. The fishermen started moving their boats to safer places as sea water advanced up to 100 metres in the coastal mandals, reminding them of the “Laila” cyclone that left a trial of destruction in 2010.

 

Puducherry | 7 am

Puducherry, Cuddalore gear up to deal with Cyclone Nivar

According to Chennai Corporation data the city received a rainfall of 128 mm from 8.30 a.m. November 24 to 7 a.m. November 25. A scene at Kamaraj Salai on Wednesday, November 25, 2020

According to Chennai Corporation data the city received a rainfall of 128 mm from 8.30 a.m. November 24 to 7 a.m. November 25. A scene at Kamaraj Salai on Wednesday, November 25, 2020  
| Photo Credit: S. R. Raghunathan

The Puducherry and Cuddalore district administrations are gearing up to deal with any eventuality arising out of Cyclone Nivar, which is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.

Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Puducherry, Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Parangipettai and Karaikal, to carry out relief and rescue operations.

 

IMD | 2.45 am

Severe cyclonic storm lay centered near Cuddalore

Cyclone Nivar live updates | Chennai airport, metro stop services till tomorrow

 

Cyclonic storm Nivar intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and lay centred at 2330 hrs IST of 24th November, 2020 over southwest Bay of Bengal. It is about 310 km of Cuddalore. It is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during next 12 hours.

Chennai | November 25, 2020, 12.15 am

 

Heavy rainfall in Chennai

Cyclone Nivar live updates | Chennai airport, metro stop services till tomorrow

 

Heavy rainfall recorded in Chennai from 0830 hours IST to 2030 hours IST of November 24, 2020: Nungambakkam: 106 mm Meenambakkam: 94 mm

 





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Qatar airport police officers charged over invasive searches of women


Judicial police officers working in the Airport Security Department broke the law when they summoned female medical staff to conduct the searches, the public prosecutor said in a statement on Monday, local time.

The police officers acted unilaterally and face “penalties of a maximum of three years,” it said.

The public prosecutor did not say what crimes had been committed, how many police officers had been charged or detail the penalties they faced, such as imprisonment, if convicted.

The public prosecutor said it had also charged the child’s mother, who had left the country, with attempted murder and that it had launched legal proceedings to arrest her.

A surveillance image, obtained by Doha News, shows officials holding an allegedly abandoned baby at Hamad International Airport. Credit:Doha News/AP

The mother, identified as of “Asian nationality”, faces a maximum penalty of 15 years if convicted, the statement said.

It also said a male defendant had been identified as the father of the child after a DNA test, without saying how they were able to initially locate him.

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The mother of the abandoned child had messaged the father telling him she had just given birth and that she was abandoning the child and leaving the country, the prosecutor said.

It was not clear what charges the father faced.

The baby girl is being taken care of by Qatari authorities.

The prosecutor said in the statement that the medical staff had been summoned to conduct “external examination of female passengers”, contradicting Australian officials who said the women had been invasively searched.

Reuters with staff reporters

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Chaotic scenes as Shanghai airport workers undergo mass COVID-19 testing


Videos on social media purportedly from workers showed what appeared to be chaotic scenes at the airport as they were given last-minute orders to get tested. In the videos, people are seen standing in large groups pushing back and forth against officials in hazmat suits.

Workers in hazmat suits prepare to administer COVID-19 tests for employees at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.Credit:AP

Shanghai has been more selective with mass testing, targeting people associated with a particular place, such as the airport or the hospital where someone who has tested positive had worked, rather than an entire district.

Experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater in cold weather. Recent flareups have shown that there is still a risk of the virus returning, despite being largely controlled within China.

In Tianjin, health workers have collected more than 2.2 million samples for testing from residents in the Binhai new district, after five locally transmitted cases were discovered there last week.

In Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000 people, local health authorities are testing all residents after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also shut down all schools and public venues and banned public gatherings such as banquets.

China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found – shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighbourhoods, and testing millions.

Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralised quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found.

China’s approach to controlling the pandemic has been criticised for being draconian. It locked down the city of Wuhan, where cases were first reported, for more than two months to contain the virus, with the local government shutting down all traffic and confining residents to their homes. Domestically, however, China has called its strategy “clear to zero” and has boasted of its success.

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“In the entire world, only China has the ability to get to zero. Other countries don’t have this ability,” Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a webinar hosted by Chinese media in September. “It’s not just getting to zero, even for them to control the first wave of the epidemic is hard.”

“‘Clearing to zero’ is actually the most economically effective way to do epidemic prevention. If you don’t do that, then this problem will get more troublesome,” he said. “Use a heavier hand, and get to zero, then people will feel reassured.”

AP

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Ethiopia conflict: Tigray rebels accused of destroying airport as government issues 72-hour surrender ultimatum | World News


Rebels have attacked an airport in northeast Ethiopia, the country’s state-run media has said, having been given 72 hours to surrender by the prime minister.

Forces from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which have been battling with soldiers deployed by the central government, destroyed an airport in the ancient town of Axum, according to state-affiliated media.

Axum, which lies near the border with Eritrea, 133 miles (214km) north of the regional capital, Mekelle, is a popular tourist draw and UNESCO World Heritage site.

Its history and ruins, including fourth-century obelisks, are what give Ethiopia its claim to be one of the world’s oldest centres of Christianity.

Legend says the town was once home to the Queen of Sheba, who features in both the Bible and the Koran, and that the Ark of the Covenant was once housed in one of its churches.

News of the assault in Axum – reported by the state-affiliated Fana broadcaster – came after Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, gave rebels 72 hours to lay down their arms before federal troops attacked Mekelle.

They are currently circling the city at a range of about 30 miles, seemingly ready to strike if the demand is not met by Wednesday.

The threat from the prime minister was a cover for government forces to regroup after a series of defeats, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael told Reuters news agency.

But there was no immediate response from either side to the other’s latest comments, and Reuters could not confirm their statements.

Claims by all sides are hard to verify because phone and internet communication has been taken down in Tigray, a mountainous northern zone of five million people, cutting it off from the world.

Image:
Buses take Ethiopian refugees to a camp inside Sudan

Hundreds, possibly thousands, have been killed in fighting and air strikes that erupted on 4 November, sending about 40,000 refugees into neighbouring Sudan.

The conflict, a long-running power struggle between Addis Ababa and the region’s leaders, has spread beyond Tigray, with the TPLF firing rockets into both the neighbouring Amhara region and across the border to Eritrea.

Some rockets fired into Amhara were targeted at the city of Bahir Dar, the government has said.

The United Nations is among those calling for mediation, but to little avail.

Ethiopian refugees who fled the fighting in the Tigray region gather on the banks of a border river with Sudan
Image:
Ethiopian refugees who fled the fighting in the Tigray region gather on the banks of a border river with Sudan
An Ethiopian fleeing the fighting in Tigray crosses the Setit River to get to Sudan
Image:
An Ethiopian fleeing the fighting in Tigray crosses the Setit River to get to Sudan

Mr Abiy’s government has repeatedly said it is only targeting TPLF leaders and facilities to restore law and order after they rose up against federal troops. It denies hitting civilians.

Its taskforce for the Tigray conflict said in a statement: “Our women and men in uniform have shown great care to protect civilians from harm during the law enforcement operation they have carried out in Tigray so far.”

The TPLF says Mr Abiy has “invaded” its region to dominate it and is inflicting “merciless” damage on Tigrayans.

Mr Gebremichael said in a text message to Reuters on Monday: “We are people of principle and are ready to die in defence of our right to administer our region.”



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Sydney airport traffic plummets 94 pct in October on year due to COVID-19


SYDNEY, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — Australia’s busiest airport, Sydney Airport, has seen a 94.3 percent drop in passenger usage in October year on year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport said in a statement Friday.

In October, 225,000 passengers passed through the gates at Sydney airport, 38,000 of which were international travellers, 94.3 percent less than the same month last year.

Most of those travelling internationally were Australians arriving back in the country, the rest were made up primarily of citizens from China, New Zealand, India and the United States.

A lifting of domestic border restrictions saw a modest increase in the number of interstate travellers between the months of September and October with more states allowing arrivals from New South Wales (NSW).

“The downturn in passenger traffic is expected to persist until further government travel restrictions are eased,” the airport said in a statement on Friday.

With COVID-19 clusters under control in NSW and Victoria, further reopening of domestic borders are planned for before the end of the year, with the exception of Western Australia which has so far largely chosen to remain isolated.



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Children not immune; CDC on airport temperature checks






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SA residents to be questioned at Melbourne airport after shock cluster


“This is this is very much deja vu. This is very similar to what happened in Victoria,” said Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist at the University of South Australia.

New restrictions will be placed on those living in South Australia from Tuesday, including gym closures, a limit of 10 people allowed in each household and no stand-up drinking, while international flights to the city have been suspended for the rest of the week.

People queuing at the COVID-19 Testing site at Parafield Airport.Credit:Kelly Barnes

People will be urged to wear masks when they can’t keep a distance from others, especially on public transport.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said they would act “hard and early” so the restrictions could be kept in place for the shortest period of time.

“We are facing our biggest test to date but we can and must rise to this new challenge,” he said.

South Australia was due to reopen its border to Victoria on December 1. However, with Victoria recording three active cases of coronavirus, compared to South Australia’s 34 cases, that reopening is now in doubt.

Victorian and NSW premiers had expressed an unwillingness to introduce new border closures.

Late on Monday afternoon, the Victorian health department announced that all flights coming from Adelaide to Melbourne would be met by health officials, where people would have their names taken, be asked about their symptoms and have their temperature checked.

Those who come from hotspots will need to go into isolation.

“They will be asked to isolate and get tested if they are coming from an area of risk identified by the South Australian Government,” said Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Allen Cheng.

“If they refuse to get tested they will be treated as a close contact and be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.”

More than 800 people died in Victoria from coronavirus, mostly when the disease made its way into dozens of Victorian aged care facilities after escaping from hotel quarantine, prompting an inquiry into the program’s failures.

Premier Daniel Andrews offered his support to South Australia on Monday, while also highlighting the role security guards may have played in the outbreak, a possibility that is being investigated through genomic testing.

SA cluster alert

SA Health is racing to contact anyone who attended the emergency department at Lyell McEwin Hospital between 5.30pm on Friday and 4am on Saturday who may have been a close contact of the woman in her 80s.

Alerts have also been issued for Parafield Plaza Supermarket in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, while a Hungry Jack’s restaurant in Port Adelaide has closed after an employee worked there while infected.

Mawson Lakes School and Preschool have closed after a student was a close contact of a confirmed case.

“I’ll leave it to South Australian Premier [Steven] Marshall to go through the details of these things. But it seems like there’s some security guards, that’s gone out of hotel quarantine, large family, and look, anything we can do anything we can do, we’re more than happy to help,” said Mr Andrews.

South Australia medical experts have expressed confidence in the state’s contact tracing team.

AMA’s South Australian president Dr Chris Moy said at the beginning of the pandemic South Australia had double the number of public health officers per capita compared to Victoria, and the state was “well ahead” on contact tracing and testing.

Professor Esterman said South Australia had a long history of conducting contact tracing that dated back to the 1980s monitoring HIV, but he warned it would be challenged if the cluster was to grow further.

“If they crack down on it now, they will be fine. If it gets too much bigger, we’ll be struggling to have enough contact tracers.”

South Australia is reportedly adopting the “third ring” strategy of isolating cases, a resource-hungry measure involving close contacts and contacts of close contacts introduced in Victoria at the end of the state’s second wave.

Two of the 17 cases associated with the South Australian outbreak are also in hospital as a precaution, due to their age and vulnerability, while others have been moved into “medi-hotels” – the term South Australia uses to describe its quarantine system.

South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the youngest was a baby aged one and the eldest a man in his 80s.

“It’s a large family that make up the majority of this cluster. This family have been extremely helpful and have really supported our efforts working through this,” she said.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital will become the dedicated centre for any coronavirus patients.

Dr Michael Farquharson, an Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society representative who works at the hospital, said South Australia was prepared to double its 48-bed intensive care unit, or more, if needed.

Nevertheless, Mr Moy said the cluster had come as a shock to many South Australians, who had enjoyed eight months without a case of community transmission.

“We are, frankly, extremely worried about where it’s at,” he said.

“We’ve been watching Victoria from afar for the last few months, but it’s almost been an alternate reality to South Australians.”

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