Arsenal 1 Leicester City 1

Jamie Vardy’s late equaliser gave Leicester City a vital point to keep their Champions League hopes on track and end Arsenal’s recent winning streak. The Gunners looked on course for a fifth successive victory to maintain their own outside chance of a place in Europe’s elite competition next season after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swept in his 20th league goal of the season in the first half. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel kept Arsenal at bay with a string of fine saves before the interval, twice denying Alexandre Lacazette as well as Bukayo Saka – and it proved to be a vital contribution.

Arsenal were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes left when Eddie Nketiah was sent off four minutes after coming on as substitute for a high challenge on James Justin, and Leicester cashed in when Vardy slid home Demarai Gray’s cross in the 84th minute, the goal finally awarded after a lengthy VAR check for offside. It was Vardy’s 22nd league strike of the season and restored his two-goal advantage over Aubameyang at the top of the Premier League scoring charts. Leicester drop to fourth, four points ahead of Manchester United having played a game more, but this was an important point that left Arsenal frustrated in seventh.

Arsenal’s recent run of league wins, away at Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers and at home to Norwich City, sparked hopes they could force their way into the Champions League places, especially with the lingering possibility of Manchester City being banned from the competition. Their hopes will have risen once more as they held the lead in impressive fashion but in the end Vardy’s equaliser left manager Mikel Arteta cutting a frustrated figure at the final whistle.

There is, however, still plenty to admire about how Arsenal are developing under Arteta, especially teenager Saka, whose superb delivery for Aubameyang’s goal was his 12th Premier League assist this season, with only Kevin de Bruyne (19) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (14) ahead of him. Arsenal have a potent striker in Aubameyang and there is a tempo and focus about their play that certainly has Arteta’s stamp – he will still feel the pain of those lost points so late on.

Like TVM, Cochin May Too Go Into Triple Lockdown

Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram was placed under a weeklong ‘triple lockdown’ starting July 6 after several Covid-19 cases turned up without a specific origin of infection. This has led to fears of a local transmission of the virus within the city. The areas falling under the jurisdiction of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation will witness an effective containment strategy devised by the Kerala Police seeking to suspend the movement of the public and allow more time for health officials to carry out contact tracing measures. The ‘triple lockdown’ strategy entails focused interventions by the police at three different levels to minimise the impact of the community spread, if present, or prevent it altogether.

Due to the number of infected people rising, Kochi too may go into a triple lockdown as far the news indicates. The first lock is a general containment strategy to prevent the movement of the people all over the area. Except for one road for entry/exit, all other roads and bylanes leading to the area are shut down using barricades and police officers posted for security. Public transport is suspended. Private transport is allowed only for essential purposes. While grocery, vegetable stores and medical shops are allowed to operate, the public are advised to remain at home and call helpline numbers for doorstep delivery of services. Police officials and volunteers will engage in such services. People stepping out of their homes for essential reasons must carry signed declaration forms stating why they are outside. Police officers will verify such documents and allow them if found valid.

Criminal cases and fines will be imposed if people are found violating the lockdown without valid reasons. Movement of trucks carrying essential supplies, medical personnel, journalists, defence and health personnel, taxis ferrying people from railway stations and airports will be allowed. Government offices, religious places and educational institutions will remain shut.

The second lock is on the specific geographical areas called clusters where primary and secondary contacts of the infected persons are staying in quarantine. These are essentially containment zones where there will be intensified police presence. The third lock involves much more focused intervention on the households of the infected persons and well as those of their primary and secondary contacts. These are persons who are at greater risk of transmitting the virus to a large number of people. While those who test positive are ferried off to hospitals, asymptomatic primary or secondary contacts are monitored strictly so that they don’t step out of home.