Indian police crackdown on illegal liquor suppliers after 86 die

Punjab Police (DIG) Hardial Singh Mann (L) along with Police officers speaks to media persons at Tarn Taran, some 25 km from Amritsar on August 1, 2020. At least 40 people have died in three Punjab's districts including Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran, after reportedly drinking spurious liquor over two days, local media reported on July 31. (AFP)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Indian police crackdown on illegal liquor suppliers after 86 die

  • Punjab police have so far arrested at least 25 people
  • Deaths from illegally-produced alcohol, known locally as “hooch” or “country liquor,” are a regular occurrence in India

NEW DELHI: Indian police raided rural hamlets and made arrests to break up a bootlegging cartel on Sunday, after 86 people died from consuming illegally-produced alcohol this week in the northwestern state of Punjab, officials said.
“We have conducted raids at more than 30 places today and we have detained six more persons,” Dhruman H. Nimbale, a senior police officer in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district, told Reuters.
Nimbale said the first death occurred on Wednesday but police were only alerted on Friday, and then launched an investigation to determine whether the fatalities were linked.
Punjab police have so far arrested at least 25 people and conducted more than 100 raids across three districts, seizing hundreds of liters of liquor from villages and road-side eateries, the state’s police chief Dinkar Gupta said on Saturday.
A government official said some of the seized liquid was denatured spirit, which is typically used in the paint and hardware industry.
Deaths from illegally-produced alcohol, known locally as “hooch” or “country liquor,” are a regular occurrence in India, where many cannot afford branded spirits.
Recent coronavirus-related lockdowns have also made it difficult for consumers to enjoy a regular tipple. On Friday, 10 men died in a southern Indian states after consuming sanitizer derived from alcohol, as local liquor shops were closed, police said.


COVID-19 spread harder to control without common effort says French PM as daily cases double

Updated 11 August 2020

COVID-19 spread harder to control without common effort says French PM as daily cases double

  • French health authorities reported 1,397 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours on Tuesday
  • New clusters have mushroomed as people let their hair down on holiday, families hold reunions and workers return to offices

PARIS: The renewed spread of coronavirus in France could become harder to control without a collective effort to stop a rise in the infection rate, its prime minister said on Tuesday.
The public was becoming careless, Jean Castex warned, after official data recorded nearly 5,000 new COVID-19 cases from Saturday to Monday. The epidemic has now killed more than 30,300 people in France.
French health authorities reported 1,397 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours on Tuesday, almost twice Monday’s tally.
The Health Ministry website said there were 15 new deaths in hospital due the disease, compared to an increase of 16 over a three-day period between Monday and Saturday,
“If we don’t act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control,” Castex said during a visit to a hospital intensive care ward in southern France.
France’s 7-day moving average of new infections climbed to 1,640 on Monday from 1,056 on July 31. The 7-day measure reached a post lockdown low of 272 on May 27, a little over 2 weeks after the government eased one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.
But as in most neighboring European countries, new clusters have mushroomed as people let their hair down on holiday, families hold reunions and workers return to offices and France is desperate to avoid another full-scale lockdown.
Britain has said it will not hesitate putting more countries on its quarantine list, including France, where hordes of Britons spend their summer vacations.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron held a video conference with top ministers from his Riviera summer retreat.
During the meeting, it was decided France would draw up new restrictions for the 20 largest cities to curb the rising infection rate and that a ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people would be extended until Oct. 31.
Some cities have already taken action. Paris on Monday joined Toulouse, Lille, Biarritz and others in imposing a mandatory face mask order in crowded outdoor zones. They are already compulsory nationwide in shops and banks.
The prime minister said testing was “more than satisfactory,” with more than 600,000 tests being conducted weekly, but said more could still be done to target those with symptoms, the prime minister said.
Talking of the risk of another lockdown, Castex said: “no one wants to live through that again.”