India is facing the worst surge in Covid-19 cases for the last few weeks. The unexpected rise in the number of infections made India the centre of attention for media across the globe. Unfortunately, the focus of many media houses is not on the coverage of how India is managing the pandemic’s second wave but minting money on the pretext of the misery.
The photographs of the customary Hindu funeral pyre have become a valuable commodity for photo agencies. If someone scrolls the British-American media company Getty Images and look for India Pyre or Delhi Pyre with a 30-day window, it is easy to find hundreds of photographs showcasing the Indian funeral pyres lit ablaze.
The photographs depicting India’s misery are the hotcakes selling under the Editorial section for Rs.23,000 per piece on the stock image site, which is the standard price for a large version of editorial photographs on Getty Images. A smaller version of the same images can be downloaded for a lesser price.
When we looked at the list of the names associated with the images on Getty Images, we found out that among around 820 photographs of pyres, Hindustan Times is the most significant contributor of such pictures on the website, followed by Agence France Presse, Bloomberg, Nur Photo and several others agencies and independent contributors. Here is a list of contributors with a sample screenshot of their uploads on the stock image website.
Hindustan Times: The largest contributor of pyre photographs from Delhi on Getty Images, news agency Hindustan Times has uploaded 330 images in the last 30 days. The photographs are taken by several photographers associated with the media house, including Amal KS, Raj K Raj, Sakib Ali, Mohd Zakir and others.
Nur Photo: The Italian Photo Agency uploaded 77 such photographs on Getty Images under the Editorial section in the last 30 days.
Agence France Presse: There are a number of photographers associated with AFP in India. Among those who contributed to the pyre images are Sajjad Hussain, Prakash Singh, Money Sharma, Tauseef Mustafa, Jewel Samad, Punit Paranjpe and Sanjay Kanojia. AFP uploaded 175 photographs collectively clicked by these photographers.
Anindito Mukherjee: Anindito Mukherjee is an independent photojournalist from India. He is a regular contributor for Bloomberg. There are 109 photographs of pyres in his name on Getty Images that were uploaded in the last 30 days.
SOPA Images: The Hong Kong-based photo agency contributed 139 images on the topic in the last 30 days.
Bloomberg: Bloomberg is a US-based agency, and it has uploaded 54 such images on Getty.
Other contributors are Pacific Press, Turkey-based photo agency Anadolu Agency and Independent contributor Abhishek Chinnappa.
Note: All images in the report are screenshots taken from the Getty website, and no copyright violation is intended as the report is on the stock image platform
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Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: Kejriwal said the citizens of Delhi had played a big role in reducing the number of fresh cases by strictly following the lockdown rules.
Delhi police interrogates Youth Congress president in court ordered probe
The Delhi police today questioned Youth Congress president Srinivas B V over the allegations of illegal procurement and distribution of Covid-19 drugs in an ongoing investigation ordered by the Delhi High Court. The police have already questioned some AAP and BJP leaders in the case, and will question more politicians from various parties.
A team of the Delhi Police Crime Branch today reached the headquarters of the Indian Youth Congress to interrogate President Srinivas B V about the source of COVID-19 relief material his organisation is using to help the people. The police were acting on the directions of the Delhi High Court, who had asked it to conduct an enquiry into the involvement of politicians in the alleged illegal distribution of COVID-19 medicines.
दिल्ली पुलिस की क्राइम ब्रांच की टीम यूथ कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष श्रीनिवास से पूछताछ करने पहुँची है,पूछ रहे हैं ज़रूरतमंद लोगों के लिए राहत सामग्री कहा से लाते है ? pic.twitter.com/uUAHdEoFai
— Aadesh Rawal (@AadeshRawal) May 14, 2021
While the Congress party raised an outrage over the questioning, and ‘neutral’ journalists questioned the appropriateness of investigating someone for distributing Covid-19 aid, it may be noted that BJP leaders have also been questioned and are being questioned in the same case. On May 11, Delhi BJP leader Harish Khuranna had informed that he was also questioned by Delhi Police, and he had given a statement.
“I gave them my statement and said I have never hoarded, purchased or sold any medicines. I went through official channels to help people get access to medicines. They showed me a copy of the High Court order based on which the enquiry is taking place,” Khurana said.
On the same day, the Delhi Police Crime Branch had questioned AAP MLA Dilip Pandey too in connection with alleged “illegal distribution of Covid medicines, etc”.
Delhi HC directs Police to enquire into the charge of “medical-mafia-political nexus” in the distribution of COVID-19 medicines
The inquiry by the Delhi Police is being conducted in accordance with a Delhi High Court order, which asked them to carry out an investigation into the involvement of politicians in the alleged illegal distribution of COVID-19 medicines. The Delhi Police is likely to summon BJP MP Gautam Gambhir, who is also at the forefront of helping people during the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.
A petition was filed by Dr Deepak Singh, Chairman of Hruduya Foundation, in the Delhi High Court, seeking a CBI probe into an alleged “medical mafia-politician nexus” and illegal distribution of COVID medicines by politicians. The petitioner had mentioned Gambir, Srinivas, as well as BJP leaders Sujay Vikhe, Gautam Gambhir and Shirish Chaudhari, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Congress MLA Mukesh Sharma, NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Rohit Pawar, citing the instances of Remdesivir distributed by them. The petition had also asked for the detention of such persons for allegedly indulging in black-marketing of Covid-19 medicines as per the National Security Act, 1980, and to disqualify the MLAs and MPs.
The court on May 4 had turned down the plea of filing FIR and CBI probe, but had asked the Delhi Police to examine the issue. The Court had asked the police to look into the instances of politicians allegedly directly procuring Remdesivir and distributing them to Covid-19 patients, and to file FIR if any irregularities were found. The court asked the state to file a status report within a week and listed the case for hearing on May 17.
“In case alleged incidents are found to have taken place in Delhi, Delhi Police should take appropriate steps by registration of FIR,” said the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli in an order.
Surge Tests, Vaccine Measures as B1.617.2 Covid-19 Variant Spreads Rapidly in Parts of UK
The case numbers related to the B1.617.2 variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, have more than doubled within a week in the UK, resulting in further surge testing and enhanced vaccine measures to be deployed in parts of the country where the strain is beginning to spread increasingly rapidly. Public Health England (PHE) said on Thursday that its latest analysis shows the number of cases of the highly transmissible variant first detected in Maharashtra has risen from 520 last week to 1,313 cases this week.
Most cases are in the northwest of England, with some in London, and additional measures are being put in place to “rapidly break chains of transmission”. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the health authorities are monitoring the situation very carefully and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary, indicating that the roadmap to lifting all lockdown measures from June 21 may have to be reassessed.
This data demonstrates why our swift and decisive measures are in place. Everyone has a part to play in controlling this variant, from participating in surge testing, to following the rules, to getting the jab, said Hancock. We are committed to working with local areas and deploying our world-leading genomic sequencing to get this variant under control. We are supporting areas where the cases of this variant are rising, he said.
The minister said it is imperative that people who live in one of the 15 areas currently covered by surge testing processes get a free PCR test and everyone who’s eligible needs to come forward and get their vaccine. PHE said that while there is no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on the severity of disease or that it evades vaccines, the “speed of growth is concerning”.
Cases of this variant are rising in the community and we are continuously monitoring its spread and severity to ensure we take rapid public health action, said Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 Strategic Response Director at PHE. Testing and isolating when required not only limits spread, it helps us to better understand how the variant behaves in the community which is vital to taking effective and proportionate action moving forward “The way to limit the spread of all variants is the same. Keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, cover your nose and mouth when inside, keep buildings well ventilated and meet people from other households outside, she said.
The variant was confirmed as a “Variant of Concern” by PHE on May 7 after a rise in cases and evidence of spread in some areas. Since then across the northwest of England, significant work is underway with local councils and partners. In Bolton, mobile testing units have been deployed and door to door PCR testing has been offered to 22,000 residents. A vaccine bus has been established in the heart of the community to increase vaccine uptake as part of a wider drive.
PCR testing, whole genome sequencing and enhanced contact tracing are being used throughout London to target the many small dispersed clusters. All positive tests in London with a high enough viral load are also being prioritised for genomic sequencing to check for variants, and surge testing can begin immediately if it is needed. Taking this community-led approach has already proved effective in reducing transmission of variants in London to date, PHE said.
To help identify variant cases, surge testing is being deployed in 15 areas across England to suppress transmission, with more than 800,000 additional PCR test kits distributed. According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), over 4,400 cases and over 14,000 close contacts have been traced and instructed to self-isolate.
Over 200 existing test sites and 130 schools have distributed test kits, with Mobile Testing Units deployed to provide PCR testing for people without symptoms. The public is also being urged to continue to take up the offer of two free rapid tests a week, to help identify asymptomatic cases. Anyone who does test positive in this way should take a follow-up PCR test, which can be sent for genome sequencing to help catch new variant cases.
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- Delhi police interrogates Youth Congress president in court ordered probe May 14, 2021
- Surge Tests, Vaccine Measures as B1.617.2 Covid-19 Variant Spreads Rapidly in Parts of UK May 14, 2021
- National Platform to Determine Impact of Covid-19 Vaccines to Be Established Soon May 14, 2021
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