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COVID-19

No end in sight to COVID crisis, its impact will last for ‘decades’

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(Last Updated On: August 2, 2020)

The World Health Organization’s emergency committee has warned that there is no end in sight yet to the COVID-19 public health crisis that has so far infected more than 17 million people and killed over 650,000 people. 

Following its fourth emergency meeting, the emergency committee, convened by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “unanimously agreed” the outbreak still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. 

In a statement issued on Saturday, the WHO highlighted the “anticipated lengthy duration” of the pandemic, noting “the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts.” 

‘Once-in-a-century health crisis’

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come”, Tedros told the Committee in his opening remarks on Friday. 

“Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths. And some that had large outbreaks have brought them under control.” 

The Committee made a range of recommendations to both WHO and Member States. 

It advised the agency to continue to mobilize global and regional multilateral organizations and partners for COVID-19 preparedness and response and to support Member States in maintaining health services, while also accelerating the research and eventual access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. 

It advised countries to support these research efforts, including through funding.

The committee also advised countries to strengthen public health policies to identify cases, and improve speedy contact tracing, “including in low-resource, vulnerable, or high-risk settings and to maintain essential health services with sufficient funding, supplies, and human resources.” 

Countries were also advised by the committee to implement proportionate measures and advice on travel, based on risk assessments, and to review these measures regularly.

 

COVID-19

India’s COVID-19 caseload now over six million mark

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

India’s confirmed coronavirus tally has bypassed the six million mark with another 82,170 cases reported in the past 24 hours. 

The health ministry reported that the COVID-19 caseload was now at 6,074,703.

At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542.

New infections in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world and are expected to surpass the US tally, which is at 7.1 million, within the next few weeks. 

According to Johns Hopkins University data, almost one in every three new infections reported in the world and one in every five reported coronavirus deaths came from India.

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India’s COVID-19 infection tally now at 5.9 million

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

India’s coronavirus tally reached 5.9 million cases on Sunday after 88,600 new infections were recorded in a 24 hour period. 

The total number of cases is now at 5,992,532 public health ministry data showed. 

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have reported the most new cases in the last 24 hours and together account for around 55 percent of the country’s new infections on Sunday.

Both Houses of Parliament adjourned last week due to the virus as over 20 MPs tested positive for the virus. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India would help in vaccine production. 

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Modi said: “As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today.” 

“India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.” 

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meanwhile welcomed Modi’s assurance that India will use its vaccine production capacity in helping nations fight the pandemic. 

He said on Twitter: “Thank you for your commitment to solidarity .. Only together, by mobilizing our forces and resources jointly for the common good can we end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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UN calls for global action against spread of COVID-19 misinformation

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

The United Nations and its partners have called on countries to take urgent action to address what they describe as the “infodemic” around the COVID-19 pandemic and put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information.

In a statement issued by the UN on Thursday, the organization said the pandemic is the first in history in which technology and social media are being used to both inform people and keep them connected but also to undermine global response to the crisis and jeopardize measures to contain the disease.

“WHO and partners are calling on all countries to put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information and to combat misinformation.

They also called on the media, tech companies, civil society, researchers and people everywhere to keep the infodemic from spreading”.

“Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive”, the partners said in a statement. 

“We call on Member States to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting the timely dissemination of accurate information, based on science and evidence, to all communities, and in particular high-risk groups; and preventing the spread, and combating, mis- and disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.” 

Authorities also were urged to empower communities to develop solutions and resilience against the infodemic. 

Stakeholders such as the media and social media platforms were called on to collaborate with the UN system, and each other, “to further strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation.” 

 

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