Delta variant ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving new spike in deaths: WHO

Agencies
July 13, 2021

The Delta variant is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in cases and deaths, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, warning that the variant, now in over 104 countries, is expected to soon be the dominant Covid-19 strain circulating worldwide.

Addressing a press briefing on Monday, he said that last week marked the fourth consecutive week of increasing cases of Covid-19 globally, with increases recorded in all but one of WHO’s six regions, adding with concern that after 10 weeks of declines, deaths are increasing again.

“The Delta variant is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in cases and deaths,” the Director-General of the World Health Organization said.

“Delta is now in more than 104 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant Covid-19 strain circulating worldwide,” he said adding that the world is watching in real-time as the Covid-19 virus continues to change and become more transmissible.

“My message today is that we are experiencing a worsening public health emergency that further threatens lives, livelihoods and a sound global economic recovery. It is definitely worse in places that have very few vaccines, but the pandemic is not over anywhere,” he said, underscoring that the world should battle together to put out this pandemic inferno everywhere.

Noting that as the Delta variant spreads, not everywhere is taking the same hit, the WHO chief said “we’re in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent.”

In places with high vaccination coverage, Delta, first detected in India, is spreading quickly; “especially infecting unprotected and vulnerable people and steadily putting pressure back on health systems.”

In countries with low vaccine coverage, the situation is “particularly bad”, he warned, stressing that Delta and other highly transmissible variants are driving catastrophic waves of cases, which are translating into high numbers of hospitalisations and deaths.

“Even countries that successfully managed to ward off the early waves of the virus, through public health measures alone, are now in the midst of devastating outbreaks.”

Ghebreyesus emphasised that for health workers that have been in a “titanic battle” for more than a year and have record waiting lists to attend to, increased hospitalisations at any level is a challenge to them and their patients and to the overall capacity of the health system.

He stressed that as countries lift public health and social measures, they must consider the impact on health workers and health systems.

He also voiced concern that particularly in low-income countries, exhausted health workers are battling to save lives in the midst of shortages of personal protective equipment, oxygen and treatments.

Ghebreyesus underlined that while vaccines have never been the way out of this crisis “on their own”, this current wave is demonstrating again just what a powerful tool they are to battle back against this virus.

Voicing concern that the global gap in vaccine supply is hugely uneven and inequitable, he said some countries and regions are actually ordering millions of booster doses before other countries have had supplies to vaccinate their health workers and most vulnerable.

“I ask you, who would put firefighters on the frontline without protection? Who are the most vulnerable to the flames of this pandemic? The health workers on the frontlines, older persons and the vulnerable,” he said.

Reiterating that vaccination offers long-lasting immunity against severe and deadly Covid-19, the WHO chief said the priority now must be to vaccinate those who have received no doses and protection.

“Instead of Moderna and Pfizer prioritising the supply of vaccines as boosters to countries whose populations have relatively high coverage, we need them to go all out to channel supply to COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and low- and low-middle income countries, which have very low vaccine coverage,” he said.

While tens of millions of vaccine dose donations are starting to come through, he said there is a need for more and faster.

“We need an all-out, no regrets, accelerated building up of new vaccine manufacturing hubs. For that to happen quicker, pharmaceutical companies must share their licenses, know-how and technology,” he said.

AstraZeneca has led on licensing their vaccines around the world to increase vaccine capacity quickly.

“As well as Europe, India and the Republic of Korea, I am pleased to announce two more manufacturing sites, in Japan and Australia, which have now received a WHO Emergency Use Listing, bringing AstraZeneca’s EUL’s to five,” he said adding that this gives the green light for COVAX to buy vaccines from these additional facilities, and enables countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and roll out vaccines.

The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is among the key suppliers of Astra Zeneca doses to the COVAX facility.

''We need other manufacturers to follow this example. Thousands of people are still dying every day and that deserves urgent action...No more talk about vaccinating low-income countries in 2023, 2024. This is no time for a lull, we want to see progress being built on and a surge of action to scale up the supply and sharing of lifesaving health tools."

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News Network
July 31,2021

Mangaluru, July 31: In the wake of sudden spike in covid cases in Karnataka districts along Kerala border, virologist and state Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) member Dr V Ravi has warned that if the test positivity rate (TPR) breaches 5%, it’s a cause for worry.

As per the latest state war room report, four districts along the Kerala border have a weekly TPR (average of seven days from July 23 to 29) inching towards 5%: Dakshina Kannada (4.42%), Chikkamagaluru (3.67%), Kodagu (3.44%) and Udupi (3.39%). Dakshina Kannada currently has 2,688 active cases, up from 1,933 two weeks ago.

“At Talapady check-post near Mangaluru along the Kerala-Karnataka border, about 150 to 170 people who have no negative RT-PCR test report or vaccination certificate are being swabbed daily. At railway stations, up to 50 swabs are being taken daily. The plan is to ramp up testing at 12 such entry points into the state across the district. People from Kasargod, which reports 700 cases daily, come here every day,” said Dakshina Kannada district health officer Dr Kishore Kumar.

Interstate buses were recently allowed between Kasargod and Mangaluru.

As per the figures shared by Dr Ashok H, Dakshina Kannada district nodal officer for Covid-19, taluks with a weekly TPR higher than 5% are Mangaluru (5.42%) and Sullia (5.89%).

Belthangady and Puttur also come close with 4.57% and 4.29% TPR respectively. Bantwal reported 3.43% TPR. Out of 44,812 samples tested from July 23 to 29, the district had 2,016 patients testing positive and the TPR reached 4.5%.

Exactly a month ago, Dakshina Kannada was elevated into a category-1 district with respect to unlocking measures as it had shown a reduction in TPR, which reversed on Thursday.

Dr Kumar pointed out, “Almost all activities were opened up four weeks ago. There’s no weekend curfew like before. The main aspect the district administration will focus on is increasing the number of tests. The migrating population will be strictly screened at checkpoints. Even in interior rural areas, our staff are conducting tests.”

While 1,422 active cases were reported in rural areas of the district in the last 14 days, 1,070 cases were reported in urban areas.

Compounding the problem is the fact that the district received 9,000 odd vaccine doses last Monday and hasn’t received a single dose after that.

“We’ve been told that 15,000 more doses have been allocated but we haven’t received any. The district has a target of vaccinating 1.78 lakh college students and staff. About 80% of them have been given at least one dose. But we don’t know how many medical students from Kerala coming to Mangaluru have been vaccinated,” he added.

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News Network
July 23,2021

nazeerali.jpg

Dubai, July 23: An Indian expat from Tamil Nadu who lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now planning to start his own cafeteria after winning Dh500,000 (approximately Rs 1.02 crore) in the latest ‘Mahzooz’ draw.

53-year-old Nazeer Ali, a former human resources executive who has been unemployed for some months, matched five out of the six winning numbers -- 7-12-31-35-39-43 -- during a live draw held on July 17 to split the Dh1 million second-tier prize with an anonymous winner.

After losing his job, Nazeer Ali, a father of two, had to send his family back home. He said: “I’ve been jobless for a few months. I had to send my family back home to cut down on expenses during this uncertain time. I felt down and lonely, but I never lost hope.”

“I always believed in the power of luck and always saw the light at the end of the tunnel. My big win with Mahzooz has proved that optimism and positivity always bring great things in life,” he added.

“I received an email from Mahzooz informing me that I’d won a whopping Dh500,000. I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. It took a while for this life-changing win to sink in. I called my family immediately and happily told them that all our worries had come to an end,” he continued.

Winning such a large sum of money has given Nazeerali the opportunity to fulfil his long-standing dream to become an entrepreneur.

“I’ve always dreamt of starting my own cafeteria in Dubai, but I thought that this would be impossible for an ordinary man like me. But now I know for sure that nothing is impossible,” noted a joyful Nazeer Ali.

He added: “Once I start my own business, I will bring my family back so that we can reunite. My wife and my two children are eagerly waiting for those good days to come. I can’t wait for the four of us to be together again.”

Experiencing the hardships of being unemployed, Nazeer Ali said he will allocate a portion of his winnings to help others.

“I have faced several hardships and disappointments while I was looking for a job. I know very well how it feels to be without work. So, I will support the unemployed members within my extended family,” he promised.

Who will win Dh50M?

Many people have won the second, third and four tier prizes but the Dh50M first prize has yet to be won. The 35th Mahzooz weekly draw is scheduled on Saturday (July 24) at 9pm (UAE time). Entry price is Dh35. Entrants can participate by registering at Mahzooz website.

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News Network
July 21,2021

encounter1.jpg

Uttar Pradesh minister Anand Swaroop Shukla triggered a controversy when he dubbed those who had stayed back in India during the partition of the country in 1947 ''conspirators trying to break the country again'', and said that such people would be killed in 'encounters'.

Shukla, a minister of state in the Yogi Adityanath government, made the remarks while speaking to reporters in Ballia on Tuesday evening.

His remarks came in response to the reported statement of noted Urdu poet and Sahitya Academy Award (Urdu Literature) winner Munawwar Rana that he (Rana) would leave UP if the BJP returned to power after the 2022 Assembly polls in the state and Yogi Adityanath became the chief minister of the state again. He had also said that UP was not 'safe' for the Muslims anymore.

''Munawwar Rana is among the Muslims, who chose to stay back in India during the partition in 1947, as part of a conspiracy to divide the country against,'' Shukla said.

''Aise sabhi log, chahe woh jo bhi hon, encounter mein mare jayenge'' (all such people, whosoever they are, will be killed in encounters), he remarked.

Rana, an acclaimed Urdu poet, had returned the Sahitya Academy Award in 2015, a year after receiving it, and had vowed never to accept any government award in protest against the ''rising intolerance'' in the country.

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Ramesh Mishra
 - 
Saturday, 31 Jul 2021

HINDU-MUSLIM: Read the history and the consequences of war. UP and Indian Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and the people of different religious faith learn to live together to preserve the future of India and its children.
Ramesh Mishra

Patriot
 - 
Wednesday, 21 Jul 2021

Confront will start now, RSS and Godse dynasty will cease to overthrow

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