Coronavirus outbreak was first reported on December 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China. It originates from a family of viruses found in both animals and humans. The common and mild symptoms of 2019-nCoV, include runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. In some cases, it becomes more severe and ultimately leads to pneumonia or other breathing problems. People who already suffer from diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease and older adults are more prone to fall severely ill when faced with this virus.
Global Mortality Rate reaches 3.4 per cent
The World Health Organisation says that the global death rate of the virus has now become 3.4 per cent. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General said in a news conference at Geneva that Covid-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu, but it does not transmit as easily. “Globally, about 3.4 per cent of reported Covid-19 cases have died,” said Dr Tedros. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 per cent of those infected.”
The coronavirus spread from Central China to almost 83 countries. The outbreak is growing fast in South Korea, the US, Italy and Iran. The number of infected has reached up to 98,000 and killed above 3,387 worldwide.
In South Korea, hospitals are struggling to find beds for numerous infected patients. As on March 6, 518 new cases have been reported in the country brought the total number of infected patients to 6,284, including 42 deaths. In contrast, China recorded only 146 new cases, taking the total number of infected to 80,555 and 3,042 death.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that out of the 42 deaths reported mostly older adults had other underlying illnesses. Most of the cases of infections were from the southeastern city of Daegu, a city of 2.5 million people.
The US has started expanding testing for the people who fear that they, too, have been infected by the virus. The official stated that there would be no restrictions on testing for the coronavirus and would allow the testing of people who have even mild symptoms.
At least 14 people have died due to this virus, with 233 confirmed cases of infected in the country as of March 6. Facebook temporarily closed down its office in Seattle after an employee fell sick. An Amazon employee at the e-commerce giant’s Seattle office also reportedly tested positive making the situation more vulnerable.
Even though the virus is slowing down, as, on March 5, the death toll in Italy has increased to 107; the total number of confirmed cases as per March 6 is 3,858, killing 148 people. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that all professional football matches and other big sporting events would take place without the presence of fans until April 3, 2020. This is a preventative measure taken to avoid the spreading of the virus. Conte posted a 5-minute video on Facebook to reassure the citizens.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Iran has been forced to suspend the Friday prayers in major cities. It is struggling to contain the virus as the number of deaths and confirmation are continuing to increase day by day. As of March 6, the total number of infected cases has gone up to 3,513 and 108 deaths.
Saudi is said to ban the ‘Umrah’ pilgrimage to stop foreigners from visiting Islam’s holiest states. This is a precautionary measure taken by the Saudi government so that the virus does not spread further.
Last week, Saudi Arabia said it was preventing foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and the Kaaba, the building at the centre of the Great Mosque. It also said travel was suspended to Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina.
Japan’s Olympics minister flagged the Summer Games would go ahead as planned. His statement came the same day that Japan reported its biggest one-day increase in new confirmed cases which made the total cases to 1,023 nationwide, of which 706 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
World Bank extends help
World Bank has decided to set aside 12 billion dollars (£9.4bn) in aid especially for the developing countries which are struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus. This emergency packet includes all the necessities such as low-cost loans, grants and technical assistance.
This act came after the leaders around the world were seen trying to shield their country from the economic impact that this outbreak has caused. World Bank has sent warnings that post this outbreak the nations might be tipped into recession.
According to the World Bank, this aid is issued to help countries improve their public health response to the crisis and work with the private sector to reduce the economic impact.
The organisation is going to prioritise the poorest countries and the ones which are at an absolute risk to distribute the aid. The countries which are said to be most vulnerable to the outbreak are the ones with weak health systems, limited financial resources and close economic links with China.
Coronavirus Update in India
India, as on March 5, has confirmed 30 cases, after a new case of infected reported in Ghaziabad.
The government has now decided to screen all passengers coming from abroad besides testing people coming in through open borders. Earlier the airport authorities were only screening passengers coming in from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar stated more than 600,000 people had been screened for the coronavirus across 21 airports. Furthermore, he added that one million people coming in through the country’s open borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar have also been screened.
Health Minister Vardhan said the government is also setting up additional labs where the confirmation test can be performed. He further added Phase one of that had 15 labs, some of which are already functional. Phase two will have 19 new labs.
The government has also advised all public hospitals in Delhi to be armed for more such cases. Vardhan said: “We will ensure that all facilities are of the highest order to handle patients that require any isolation.”
As a precautionary measure to prevent the possibility of spread of COVID-19 amongst our children, Delhi Government has directed immediate closure of all primary schools (Govt/ aided/ private/MCD/NDMC) till 31/3/20
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) March 5, 2020
Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia said all primary schools would be closed till March 31, in Delhi. He further said that all government, aided, private and schools run by the civic body will remain shut.
Stretching the precautionary measures at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Mughal Gardens will be closed for public from March 7 to avoid any large public gathering.
Escalation Of COVID-19 Cases Across The Globe
The United States, India, and Brazil have the most confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. There are very few locations that have remained undisturbed.
Since the middle of last year, confirmed cases have been increasing. Although the actual scope of the first outbreaks in 2020 is unknown because testing was not generally available at the time. The 100 million COVID-19 cases were discovered at the end of January, over a year after it was first diagnosed. As of 6:30 p.m. CEST on July 30, 2021, WHO has received reports of 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,200,412 fatalities. A total of 3,839,816,037 vaccination doses has been delivered as of July 28, 2021.
After reaching a record high of over 0.9 million cases on April 28, 2021, new daily instances of the coronavirus continued to decline, reaching a low point on June 21, when over 0.3 million cases were reported. Since then yet, there has been a global increase in cases. On July 15, 0.53 million daily cases were reported, and over three million new cases were reported in the second week of the month. As of July 15, 188.9 million patients have been recorded worldwide. The transmissive Delta form accounting for most infections in 111 countries. Most instances were recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Colombia in the last week. With the steepest increases in Zimbabwe (72%), Indonesia (44%), the United States (38%), Bangladesh (35%), and the United Kingdom (30%). Many Asian nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, have reported many daily cases. However, the spread was under control.
The number of new cases in Indonesia has been on the rise, with each day seeing a significant increase over the previous day. Indonesia is now the new Asian epicentre, with 56,757 cases recorded on July 15; India reported 39,000 patients on the same day. COVID-19 fatalities are high, according to WHO. After decreasing for nine weeks, with the highest increases in Africa and Southeast Asia. COVID-19 fatalities worldwide surpassed four million on July 7. The last million deaths occurred in under 90 days, the lowest time interval for every one million deaths ever recorded.
High vaccination coverage has been shown in the United States and much of Europe to lower fatalities and even hospitalizations. For example, United Kingdom rises in incidence. There has been fewer hospitalizations and deaths over 87% of the adult population, as they are vaccinated with one dose and over 67% with two doses. In the United States, the increase in cases is concentrated in states with low vaccination coverage, with unvaccinated people accounting for most deaths. Over 55% of Americans have received one dosage, and 48% are completely immunized. It shifts the focus back to improving vaccination coverage and achieving global vaccine equality to avoid fatalities and the spread of dangerous strains. Some nations debate a booster dosage. Even though many African countries’ healthcare professionals have not been completely vaccinated, booster injections have begun to be given to patients with weakened immune systems in Israel.
In comparison, booster shots have been ruled out in the United States for the time being. With vaccine shortages reported in many Indian states. Even among the vaccinated, rigorous adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour is the only option to postpone and mitigate the consequences of a third wave.
This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. But the global numbers continue to grow. The Delta variety leads them to well-vaccinated regions such as Western Europe and the United States, low but rising infections. This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. Vaccine doses have been given to over 4 billion individuals globally (52 for every 100 people), yet the discrepancy is striking. More than 80% of the population had at least one shot in some wealthy nations. In contrast, the proportion is as low as 1% in many of the poorest.
Why Taliban Could Not Control Panjshir Valley In Afghanistan Yet?
Taliban took over Afghanistan last week, and Panjshir valley in the north is the last hope for the people of Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban.
As it was 25 years ago, there is still a part of Afghanistan that tries to oppose the Taliban; it is the Panjshir valley. The villages that rebelled against the Soviets and Taliban’s, it is now that they’re fighting against the spread of the Islamic Emirate.
Valley Of the Five Lions, also known as Panjshir Valley, is in Northern Afghanistan, 150 kilometers north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. Due to its location in the Hindu Kush Mountain range, the Panjshir Valley is only accessible through the narrow Panjshir River; this makes it easy for forces defending. Panjshir is also famously known for emeralds. It has been the base of operations for the Taliban since the 1990s. Since it was never under their control, the area has become a key target for the US-led forces.
Around 150,000 people live in the valley, and the majority are Pashtuns. The valley’s ethnic majority is Tajik. The area’s history has made it the base of operations for the Taliban. Panjshir has never been captured by the Taliban during their earlier rule, nor by the soviets. The resistance, therefore, chose to base its operations in the area due to its history.
After the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, a civil war broke out in the country. Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was the most notable anti-Taliban fighter, led a group of militants to fight against the separatists. He was eventually killed by al-Qaeda terrorists in 2001, just two days before the 9/11 attacks.
Following the father’s footsteps, Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud, declared the start of armed resistance against the Taliban forming in the Panjshir. The Northern Alliance flag has been raised in Panjshir province, confirming the legitimacy of this movement, officially back since 2001. The National Resistance Front (NRF), based out of the Panjshir Valley, led by Ahmad Massoud and the former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, leading an anti-Taliban Movement.
The Panjshir Valley stands tall against the Taliban under the leadership of Ahmad Masood. Resistance movements have begun with the formation of the Northern Alliance. Bernard Henri Levy, the French philosopher, spoke to Ahmad Massoud on a phone call and quoted saying, “I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, and surrender is not part of my vocabulary.” The Resistance has just begun; this is just the beginning.
The Washington Post published an op-ed on Wednesday in which Massoud reiterated his plea for help, asking the United States to supply his military with arms and ammunition. “The United States can still be a great arsenal of democracy” by supporting his fighters, he wrote.
Since President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, Saleh has declared himself as the interim president. The Taliban has been massing its forces near Panjshir. The Salang highway has been closed. He further tweeted that the militants are avoiding any confrontations with the enemy forces.
India Takes Rein Of UNSC For August
As per procedure, India received the Presidency of the UN Security Council for August this year. The three major points that the Indian Presidency aims to focus on are maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism policies.
What is the UN Security Council?
The security council is a body of the United Nations responsible for international security and peacekeeping. The body settles disputes and identifies unwanted threats and aggressions against member States.
There are 15 Members as a part of the council. They are obligated to abide by the decisions made by the Security Council. Out of these, there are five permanent and ten non-permanent members, India being a part of the newly elected non-permanent contingent.
India is currently serving as President of the UNSC for August and is expected to do so again in 2022. They succeed France who previously presided in July this year. The order of Presidency succession is decided alphabetically. Each member gets a fair chance to preside over the peacekeeping body.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian PM to chair a meeting of the UNSC.
India in UNSC
India has joined the UNSC for the eighth time as a non-permanent member, serving a term of two years. The last time India was on the council as a member was in the year 2011-12, during the Middle East Crisis.
In the August meetings this year, the primary concern is said to be that of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and mortality. India also aims to bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC and hence a high level of involvement is expected.
India plays an important role in the UNSC as it along with other members of the G-4 (Brazil, Japan, and Germany) are insisting on an expansion in permanent membership for countries. They want the permanent seats to be offered to countries other than the current five that hold the veto power, giving India a chance to display its potential at a global level.
India has previously chaired the counter-terrorism committee at the UNSC and introduced the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorism globally. They also successfully establish the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF).
This time around, India aims at improving maritime security and peacekeeping while returning to the counter-terrorism policies establish worldwide.
India’s efforts as President in August 2021
India is expected to organise three high-level meetings for the three topics that they have decided to focus on (maritime security, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism). A traditional breakfast of PRs was held by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti. Along with the normal breakfast, Tirumurti put a display of Indian grains with items exquisitely prepared with those ingredients. A treat of Alphonso mangoes was also included in the breakfast. Tirumurti also presided over all meetings of the UNSC on day one.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of the UN Council virtually, while external affairs minister, Jaishankar will chair the meetings in person.
S Jaishankar expressed opinions on the opportunity to preside over the UNSC for August via his Tweet, saying that India looks forward to taking over the Presidency of the Global Organisation for the month.
As we take over UNSC Presidency for August, look forward to working productively with other members.
India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law. pic.twitter.com/kPRGnFOz87
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 1, 2021
Indian PR Tirumurti also thanked their predecessor France and announced the takeover via his Tweets while expressing his elation on the occasion.
— PR/Amb T S Tirumurti (@ambtstirumurti) August 1, 2021
India began their eighth term on January 1 this year. This non-permanent arrangement will span for two years, giving the possibility of another Presidency in late 2022. India has been grateful for its turn in chairing the UNSC and hopes to make decisions and resolutions that will be beneficial to the Indian Foreign Policy and countries around the Globe.
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