China, Vietnam show way of dealing with covid without vaccine: IMF

News Network
January 10, 2021

Washington, Jan 10: China and other countries in Asia like Vietnam have shown that there is a way of dealing with a pandemic even in the absence of a vaccine, allowing the economy to get back on track, according to a top IMF official.

The playbook here is the one that includes local restrictions, rapid testing, rapid tracing and seeing these measures through until the end, until localised outbreaks subside, said Hlge Berger, Mission Chief for China and Assistant Director, Asia and Pacific Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I think China, but not only China, but other countries in Asia, look, for example, at Vietnam, have shown that there's a way of dealing with a pandemic even in the absence of a vaccine, that will allow the economy to get back, at least close to normal operating capacity by learning how to deal with local outbreaks,” Berger told reporters during a conference call.

That’s an important takeaway in a narrow sense from the experience of China that is particularly applicable to low-income countries that are facing pressures for the vaccine, he asserted.

“Other developments that I would stress have to do with digital enhancements of otherwise not online businesses; for example, in many low-income countries you do have well-developed electronic communication networks through cell phones. So, progress along these lines is helpful as well,” he said.

Vaccines, of course, are ultimately what will be needed to make sure so that all economies and the global economy gets back to normal, defined as the pre-pandemic normal, he noted.

“And here, I note that China has pledged to help facilitate the supply of vaccines to low-income countries; together with other economies, of course, it's not just China. But that is an important endeavour and at the Fund we encourage this, and we think it's important for the global economy and to help us all to overcome the pandemic, ultimately and go back to normal,” Berger added. 

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February 16,2021

Mangaluru Feb 16: Condemning the arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi for supporting the farmers’ agitation on social media, Mangaluru MLA U T Khader said that it was the responsibility of Karnataka government to raise voice for her as she belongs to Bengaluru. 

Speaking to media persons here, the Congress leader and former minister said: “It is disgusting that BJP leaders in Karnataka defending the arrest of Bengaluru-based activist by Delhi police”

“What was the need for arresting the 21-year-old girl for social media activist? As far as I know, Toolkit is just an open document. This arrest is an assault on democracy and freedom of expression,” he said. 

Mr Khader went on to criticise Karnataka chief minister and home minister for their silence when the state’s activist is arrested by the police of another state. “It is shameful to see state government’s silence and surrender to suppression," he said.

"The motive is to silence those who stand in favour of farmers and quell the farmers' protest. The state government should come up with a clarification and break its silence over the arrest of Disha Ravi," he added.

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Agencies
February 17,2021

Washington, Feb 17: Millions were left without power as a winter storm gripped the southern and central United States on Tuesday with record-low temperatures in ill-prepared areas, and a tornado claiming three lives.

More than 20 storm-related deaths have been registered so far, including in traffic accidents in Texas, Kentucky and Missouri, according to local media.

In hardest-hit Texas — where freezing conditions prompted utility companies to implement rotating blackouts — a woman and girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a car to generate heat, according to NBC News.

In Houston on Monday, a homeless man was killed “possibly from exposure,” according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, and the city’s police chief said another man had been found dead after potential exposure to low temperatures.

A man in Louisiana died when he hit his head after slipping on ice, and a 10-year-old Tennessee boy died after he and his six-year-old sister fell through the ice into a pond Sunday.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday vowed to provide additional emergency resources for those affected by the “historic storm”.

He also thanked “road workers, highway patrol officers, and first responders who are taking swift action in horrific conditions to save lives,” according to a White House statement.

The winter storm spawned at least four tornadoes, according to Atlanta-based weather.com, including one in coastal North Carolina late Monday that killed at least three people and injured 10 more.

“It is estimated that at least 50 homes were affected in the incident and several power lines were damaged, causing power outages,” Brunswick County Emergency Services said in a statement.

Photos and video broadcast by US media showed downed trees, flattened homes and smashed cars.

According to the Poweroutage.us tracking site, more than three million residential, commercial and industrial customers were without electricity in Texas as of Tuesday evening.

In the state capital Austin, the temperature dropped to -12 degrees Celsius, well below February’s average low.

In Mississippi, residents woke up to discover much of the Deep South state transformed into a snow-and-ice-covered landscape.

Authorities were reportedly struggling to clear roads, as they did not have snow plows because the state so rarely needs them.

Officials across the US urged residents to exercise caution in navigating the perilous conditions.

Weather-related emergencies have been declared in Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi and Oregon — where nearly 200,000 customers were without power.

Across the southern border, Mexican officials said six people died after temperatures plunged and frozen pipelines bringing natural gas from the United States caused rolling power outages.

Four died in Monterrey, three of them homeless people who succumbed to exposure and one person who died at home from carbon monoxide poisoning from a heater. Two agricultural workers also died in neighboring Tamaulipas from hypothermia.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the winter storm will move towards the northeast US before “making a beeline for eastern Canada.”

“But not before it causes heavy snow and freezing rain in parts of the eastern Great Lakes and New England,” the NWS said.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered emergency services to prepare for sleet, ice and freezing rain.

“This massive weather system is making its way across the country and ready to deliver a one-two punch of snow, ice and heavy winds across the entire state for the next two days,” he said in a statement.

Further inland, Chicago was expecting to see up to 14 inches of snow before the end of the cold snap. The weather had caused almost 60 flight cancelations at local airports by Tuesday morning, the local ABC affiliate reported. 

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Agencies
February 24,2021

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New Delhi, Feb 24: Nineteen states and union territories have not reported any death due to COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours, while India's active cases stood at 1,46,907 accounting for 1.33 per cent of the total number of infections, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

A total of 13,742 new cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours, whereas 14,037 recoveries were registered during the same period. It has led to a net decline of 399 cases in the total active caseload, the ministry said.

Maharashtra reported maximum positive changes with an addition of 298 cases whereas Kerala has recorded maximum negative change with subtraction of 803 cases, the ministry stated.

In the past one week, 12 states have reported more than 100 average daily new cases. These are Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana, Delhi and Haryana.

Kerala and Maharashtra reported more than 4,000 average daily new cases in the past week, the ministry said.

Nineteen states and UTs which have not reported any COVID-19 death in a span of 24 hours are Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chandigarh, Assam, Lakshadweep, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Till February 24 morning, the vaccination coverage was 1,21,65,598 through 2,54,356 sessions, according to a provisional report.

These include 64,98,300 healthcare workers (1st dose), 13,98,400 healthcare workers (2nd dose) and 42,68,898 frontline workers (1st dose).

The 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose. Vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2.

On Day 39 (February 23) of the vaccination drive, 4,20,046 vaccine doses were given. Out of which, 2,79,823 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 9,479 sessions for first dose and 1,40,223 received second dose.

Out of total 1,21,65,598 vaccine doses, 1,07,67,198 have received the first dose and 13,98,400 received the second dose.

The ministry said 12 states and UTs have administered more than 75 per cent of the registered healthcare workers (HCWs). These are Bihar, Tripura, Odisha, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, UP and Rajasthan.

Ten states and UTs have vaccinated more than 60 per cent of registered FLWs. These are Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Rajasthan, Lakshadweep, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.

India's cumulative recoveries surged to 1,07,26,702. The gap between total recovered cases and the active cases is constantly rising and stands at 10,579,795 as on date.

The ministry said 86.26 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in six states.

Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of single-day recoveries with 5,869 newly recovered cases, while 4,823 people recovered in Kerala in a span of 24 hours, followed by 453 in Tamil Nadu.

The ministry said 86.15 per cent of the new cases are from six states.

Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 6,218. It is followed by Kerala with 4,034 and Tamil Nadu 442.

Besides, 104 deaths were reported in a span of 24 hours.

Five states account for 81.73 per cent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (51). Kerala reported 14 deaths and Punjab reported 10 deaths.

Thirteen states have reported 1 to 5 deaths; two states have reported 6 to 10 deaths; one state has reported 10 to 20 deaths and one state has reported more than 20 deaths.

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