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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Covid - Kerala model ... and collection of stamp duty amidst Corona !

South Africa all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius  tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 ahead of the T20I series against West Indies and had tobe replaced. While all the other South Africa squad members arrived safely in Grenada,   Pretorius tested positive   and did not travel with the T20I squad .. .. a stroll outside today in Chennai suggested that people have overcome Corona and have sort of forgotten that there was one !   .. .. so when will it officially end, and when will the World return back to normalcy !!

The World Health Organization was the first to announce that the world was in the midst of a pandemic in March of 2020. Sometime in the future, the WHO will be the body to announce when it's officially over. However, there isn't a set standard to mark the end of the pandemic, either. Healthcare and medical experts point to vaccination rates as a guide to when the COVID-19 pandemic might end.  If a very high % of populace gets  vaccinated against the coronavirus, it may soon end.

Hospital wards across Uganda are filling with COVID-19 patients as the country faces an aggressive surge in cases. One of the biggest issues have: a serious shortage of oxygen.  Greenslade says inadequate supplies of oxygen have been a problem in many parts of the world during this pandemic but the shortages in Africa are acute. While countries like Brazil and India have industrial plants creating oxygen, much of Africa does not. Sierra Leone, for instance, has only two plants for the entire country !  .. it may sound similar – there was a time, when one could replace Uganda with any Indian State .. .. but the Central Govt has certainly handled the oxygen crisis very well.

Kim Jong un has sacked senior officials over what he called a 'crucial' lapse that had caused a 'great crisis with grave consequences,' in an apparent reference to a Covid-19 outbreak. The North Korean dictator recalled the country's Politburo and berated high-ranking Communist officials on Tuesday, signalling that the country's Covid defences had been breached. He lashed them for neglecting their duties and 'creating a great crisis in ensuring the security of the state and safety of the people and entailed grave consequences.' The official Korean Central News Agency did not elaborate on what the dictator was referring to and it is not known how many senior officials have been sacked or what has happened to them.

North Korea has so far claimed to have had no coronavirus infections, despite testing thousands of people and sharing a porous border with China - the source of the disease. Experts say the claim is highly dubious and have warned that any outbreak could easily overwhelm the isolated country's poor health infrastructure.

There was a time last year when everyone was singing and heaping praises on Kerala model of handling Covid – the Health Minister got UNESCO award while the CM kept speaking of his achievement.   Now that bubble has burst all over as Maharashtra and Kerala continue to contribute a lion’s share of India’s reduced Covid-19 cases. While Maharashtra has remained one of the worst affected states right from the beginning of the pandemic, Kerala reportedly had controlled  the outbreak  during the first wave, only for cases to skyrocket over the past couple of months. Kerala on Wednesday logged 13,658 fresh Covid-19 cases and 142 deaths, pushing the tally to 29,24,165 and 13,235 respectively.

                    Tamil Nadu added 4,512 fresh Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, and number of deaths crossed the 100-mark to 118 after reporting 91 deaths on Sunday and 98 on Monday. After discharge of 6,013 patients, the state had 39,335 people undergoing treatment for the viral infection. Cumulative case tally touched 24.75 lakh while the toll reached 32,506. Director of public health Dr TS Selvavinayagam said fresh cases and positivity rate have been steadily dropping across Tamil Nadu. “The state has relaxed lockdown restrictions in several areas, but it is still important for people to stay at home unless it is required to step out. Wear masks and maintain social distance,” he said.  It appears that there is no fear in people and there is no lockdown of any sort in the capital Chennai. 

Moving away a glance in Money Control provided some interesting news.  Domestic carrier SpiceJet has posted a net loss of Rs 235 crore in the fourth quarter of financial year 2020-21. The airline, similar to other carriers, have been hit due to the stringent travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Another report stated that Cricketer Rohit Sharma has sold a property worth Rs 5.25 crore located in the hill station of Lonavla, documents accessed by show. The property is spread across 6329 sq.ft. The sale deed was registered on June 1. The per sq ft value of the property works out to be around Rs 8,300 per sq ft.   A stamp duty of Rs 26 lakh was paid by Sharma, the vice-captain of the Indian cricket team, the documents said. The buyer is a woman named Sushma Ashok Saraf, the documents said.  – sounds too much of intrusion in to the privacy of the Cricketer … but are people buying properties in the midst of such severe Corona ?

Despite the Maharashtra government deciding not to extend the stamp duty waiver on property registrations in March this year, the collections in the month of June 2021 stood at Rs 420 crore which was at 93 percent levels of June 2019 when Rs 450 crore was collected by the exchequer, an analysis by Propstack has indicated. This data clearly indicates that homebuyers are gradually trickling back into the market as vaccination picks up and the second wave appears to be waning. In May 2021, Rs 268 crore worth of stamp duty was collected due to the onset of the second wave. This was almost half of the collections in May 2019 (Rs 534 crore), the analysis said.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th June 2021. 

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