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The Week Ahead: Mumbai gears up to reopen colleges and cinemas; ICC Men’s T20 World Cup begins

Mumbai On the back of zero Covid-19 deaths in Mumbai on Sunday October 17, the city is gearing up for another round of unlocking this week – with colleges, universities, cinema halls and auditoriums reopening after 18 months of brick-and-mortar inactivity
Security staff checks temperature of a student after schools reopen with all Covid-19 protocols in place in Mumbai on October 04. (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 17, 2021 10:46 PM IST
BySachin Kalbag

Mumbai On the back of zero Covid-19 deaths in Mumbai on Sunday October 17, the city is gearing up for another round of unlocking this week – with colleges, universities, cinema halls and auditoriums reopening after 18 months of brick-and-mortar inactivity. The country’s worst-affected city with 751,659 cumulative cases and 16,180 deaths has been gradually reopening following a dramatic drop in both cases and deaths.

BMC, the city’s civic body, allowed reopening of shops on all days up to 10 pm in the first week of August, followed by the reopening of local trains for fully vaccinated citizens on August 15. In September it allowed Ganesh festival celebrations for citizens following Covid-appropriate norms and restrictions. The city allowed schools to reopen for Grades 8 to 12 to reopen on October 4, with religious places allowed to start functioning from October 7.

This week’s developments will be closely watched by the state’s Covid task force.

Meanwhile, nationally, India will have vaccinated 75% of its adult population early next week. As of 9 PM on October 16, the number of persons that had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine was 695.36 million. India’s projected adult population is 940.2 million.

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In other data, Google mobility index on retail and recreation had reached 96% of baseline levels on October 11, the latest date for which the data is available, the highest since March 12, 2020. This is expected to rise when the data is available for the week that went by, thanks to the festive season.

It will also be worth taking note of the trend in new Covid-19 cases, the seven-day average of which has been falling since May 9 this year. The average of 16,907 cases in the week ending October 15 is the lowest since the average in the week ending March 7 this year, when the seven-day average was 16,744.

There is some cheer for cricket fans who may have felt deprived of fast-paced T20 action following the conclusion of this year’s IPL. The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup begins this Saturday, with two lip-smacking matches – Australia play South Africa and England face-off against defending champions West Indies. India plays its first match on Sunday against Pakistan, a team it has never lost to in any ICC tournament. Will the law of averages finally catch up?

UEFA Champions League action returns after international football break. On Tuesday, Manchester City plays Club Brugge. In addition, there is Atletico vs Liverpool and PSG vs Leipzig. On Wednesday, there’s Benfica vs Bayern and Manchester United vs the Italian club Atalanta.

In the Spanish La Liga, Barcelona play their first El Clasico on Sunday since Lionel Messi’s departure. In other leagues the same day, Manchester United face Liverpool in the English Premier League while Juventus play Inter Milan in Serie A in Italy.

Meanwhile, let’s hope Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra participates at the national javelin championships in Delhi this Friday and Saturday.

Back to the more serious world of politics and law enforcement, though. A Muslim bangles seller’s bail plea will be heard in Indore on October 20. The four accused, who were arrested for thrashing him, have been granted bail and the seller Taslim Ali is still in jail for allegedly sexually harassing a minor girl.

The Madhya Pradesh high court is likely to give its judgment on October 20 in an OBC reservation case where demand is to increase the quota from 14% to 27%.

In Uttarakhand, the BJP will start Shahid Samman Yatra from October 18 from Garhwal to honour soldiers killed in action. Assam will start classroom teaching for students of Classes 1 to 8 on October 19, after a six-month break. In Kerala,

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is expected to visit landslide-affected areas of Kottayam and Idukki on Tuesday after the water subsided on Sunday. The Congress is likely to announce the Pradesh Congress Committee list on Wednesday after much delay because of infighting within the party state unit.

In Chhattisgarh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to reach Raipur during the Chhattisgarh tribal festival, which starts from Friday. State Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel will reach there on Thursday on a two-day visit to Bastar. There is, however, no confirmation of Gandhi’s visit even though state Congress leaders are making all preparations for Friday, party leaders said.

President Ram Nath Kovind will be in Bihar to participate in the centenary celebration of the Bihar Legislative Assembly building on October 21. It had hosted its inaugural session of the joint Bihar and Orissa Provincial Council on February 7, 1921.

Goa will see a two-day session this week of the state Assembly, the final one for the current tenure. It will likely set the stage for the election season to begin in earnest. One of the bills listed is an amendment to the Goa Preservation of Trees Act to remove the need for having a mandatory tree census.

In foreign affairs, external affairs minister S Jaishankar will visit Israel for meetings with leaders of the new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and to take forward cooperation in diverse fields. This will be the first major contact between the two sides following months of political turmoil that led to the ouster of former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. UK foreign secretary Liz Truss is expected to travel to New Delhi and Mumbai for meetings that will focus on an interim trade deal and broader security cooperation across the Indo-Pacific.

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