The New Indian Express released a statement on Sunday that it is suspending its coverage of the ongoing Indian Premier League 2021 in view of the COVID-19 situation in India. In a letter from the editor that was published on the front page of the daily’s Sunday edition on April 25, the newspaper said this is a “small gesture towards keeping the nation's attention focused on life and death issues”, given that India is going through its worst phase of the pandemic.
Read the full letter here: “India is going through its worst phase of the Covid pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling, many in vain, to exercise their right to live, as a ramshackle universal healthcare system proves that it has no answers to the challenges posed by a creepy bug. The health ministry's daily bulletin of fresh positive cases and fatalities has hit the stratosphere, so have SOS messages from individuals and hospitals seeking oxygen refill and lifesaving medicines. Hospitals refuse fresh admissions for want of Covid beds. The rush at crematoriums is heart-breaking. Most of us already have friends or relatives who have succumbed to Covid-19 or are battling for life.”
“In such a tragic time, we find it incongruous that the festival of cricket is on in India, with layers of bio bubbles creating protection. This is commercialism gone crass. The problem is not with the game but its timing. Cricket, too, must accept that we are passing through an unprecedented crisis. In the circumstances. The Sunday Standard and The Morning Standard will suspend IPL coverage in the newspaper with immediate effect till a semblance of normalcy is restored. This is a small gesture towards keeping the nation's attention focused on life and death issues. We are sure that our readers will see the point. These are times when we must stand as one nation with one resolve,” the letter added.
The New Indian Express & Morning Standard have decided to stop IPL coverage until normalcy is restored to some extent. "Problem not with the game but its timing".— Atreyo Mukhopadhyay (@atreyom) April 24, 2021
New Indian Express stops IPL coverage saying 'crass commercialism' has gone too far. Mixed feelings. I'm no IPL fan but isn't the entire point of entertainment that it allows us to forget our reality for some time? Still great to see an Indian paper taking on paisa league— Sudipto Mondal (@mondalsudipto) April 25, 2021
We took this decision. What next? Call to stop IPL? Is this not the time when every resource and money in any field is freed up and used for nothing else other than saving lives and ensuring basic care? Shall we build that pressure, Twitter friends? https://t.co/MIszkKoyoB— GS Vasu (@gsvasu_TNIE) April 25, 2021
Friends from the same paper, however, point out that while this decision makes sense, the NIE insisted that staffers come to office until recently.— Rohini Mohan (@rohini_mohan) April 25, 2021
As one journo put it, "Field reporting, yes. But office?!"
Many deskers now have Covid, a couple admitted with low O2.
India has been reporting an alarmingly high number of COVID-19 cases every day. Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist has taken to Twitter to ask whether it is correct to hold a large-scale cricket tournament at a time when the country is going through a severe health crisis. "Best wishes to all in India. Frightening Covid numbers. #IPL continues. Inappropriate? Or important distraction each night? Whatever your thoughts, prayers are with you," he tweeted.
India logged a record 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections in a day, taking its total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,69,60,172, while active cases crossed the 26-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. The death toll increased to 1,92,311 with a record 2,767 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 26,82,751 comprising 15.82% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 83.05%. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,40,85,110, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.13%, the data stated.
With PTI inputs