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Fresh China clusters concern;Stay alert incase of resurgence:WHO

By Neeraj Bajpai

Fresh  China clusters of Coronavirus have triggered fresh global concerns.WHO has advised “Countries must stay alert to the possibility of a resurgence takes place. There are more than eight million confirmed coronavirus cases globally with 437,000 deaths to date.

Populous India is another major hotspot with 10,657 fresh cases in the last 24 hours to touch the tally of 3,43 lakhs and 9,900 deaths. Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with state chief ministers and heads of the union territories to take stock of the situation amid speculations of fresh lockdowns to keep escalating cases under check. Additional facilities are being created to meet the mounting number of cases.

Today’s interaction was the first part of the two-day interaction and witnessed participation of States and UTs including Punjab, Assam, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Manipur, Nagaland, Ladakh, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra Nagar Haveli & Daman Diu, Sikkim, and Lakshadweep.

Prime Minister Underlined that all modes of transport are now open, lakhs of migrant laborers have traveled back to their villages, thousands of Indians have returned from abroad, and even though India has a huge population, coronavirus has not assumed as life-threatening a form as in the rest of the world

The government said During the last 24 hrs, 10,215 COVID-19 patients were cured. A total of 1,80,012 patients, so far, have been cured of COVID-19. The recovery rate rises to 52.47%, which is indicative of the fact that more than half of positive cases have recovered from the disease.

COVID lockdown fears gained momentum globally with some countries witnessing a steep hike in infections and deaths because of people’s casual attitude towards social distancing norms. Infections spiked in developing economies and populous swathes of the world. The worldwide caseload mounted to 7.96 million and 433,958 deaths.

New Chinese clusters, always a concern

To that point, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said the emergence of new clusters always raises a concern, especially when the driver is not recognized.  WHO recommends taking immediate measures that involve investigating thoroughly, testing, isolating, and quarantining contacts. These efforts have led to virus containment, whether related to religious communities, markets, migrant dormitories, or other settings.

Beijing is a dynamic and connected city, he added, and the level of concern is reflected in the response of Chinese authorities to the latest outbreak, in the capital.  A WHO team based in Beijing, led by a country representative and supported by epidemiologists permanently embedded there, is working with China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. WHO may supplement its country office in the coming days as the investigation develops.

As to the risks of air travel, he said WHO is advising the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association and will issue considerations for travelers in the coming days.  “There is no zero risks in any environment,” he stressed. If someone falls ill, the ability to track anyone who has been on the plane is essential.  “We need to make the air travel experience as safe as possible.”

Despite the ongoing global response to COVID-19, the world cannot lose sight of the significant public health risk posed by influenza, which affects every country every year and takes its own deadly toll, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday.

“As we enter the southern hemisphere influenza season…we must ensure influenza remains a top priority”, the agency chief said during his media briefing.  “Co-circulation of COVID-19 and influenza can worsen the impact on health systems that are already overwhelmed.”

According to him, Globally, more than 7.8 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 430,000 deaths caused by the virus have been reported to WHO to date, he said.  More than 100,000 cases have been reported each day for the last two weeks – almost 75 percent of them from 10 countries in the Americas and South Asia.

“Countries must stay alert to the possibility of a resurgence,” he said. Just last week, China reported a new cluster of cases in Beijing after more than 50 days without a single case in the city.  With more than 100 cases now confirmed, the origin and extent of the outbreak are being investigated.

‘Highly Functional’ System

At the same time, he said more than 500 million people are vaccinated against flu each year, based on recommendations made by WHO on the composition of flu vaccines.  To know which viruses are circulating, WHO relies on information reported by 125 countries through the Global Influenza Surveillance and Reporting System, which the agency uses to make recommendations for the composition of flu vaccines.

“The infrastructure, people, skills and experience built up through [this system], WHO Collaborating Centres and National Influenza Centres have been the foundation for detecting COVID-19”, Tedros explained.  However, the system – in place since 1952 – is experiencing significant challenges, with flu surveillance either suspended or declining in many countries, and a “sharp” decline seen in the sharing of flu information and viruses, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dramatic fall in flu testing

Compared with the last three years, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of specimens tested for influenza globally, Tedros said, along with a 62 percent drop in virus shipments to WHO Collaborating Centres and a 94 percent fall in the number of flu viruses with genetic sequence data uploaded to the Surveillance and Response database.

“These decreases due to a combination of issues, including the repurposing of staff and supplies, overburdened laboratories and transport restrictions”, he said.  The disruptions could lead to the loss of capacities for detecting and reporting new influenza viruses with pandemic potential.

Tedros pointed to WHO guidance on how to integrate surveillance for COVID-19 into routine influenza surveillance as an efficient way to track the two respiratory illnesses. “This is not only cost-effective”, but he also said. “It’s also essential for protecting the world against the next flu season.”

Wenqing Zhang, Director of WHO’s Global Influenza Programme, agreed that there will always be competing disease priorities or threats.  “But influenza is always there”, she said.  “This is really a very solid and highly functional foundation…to monitor influenza.”

Every COVID-19 case must be tracked

More broadly, Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on COVID-19, fielded questions on safely handling protests taking place in many countries.  It is important to consider whether the area is one of active virus transmission and whether there are ways to keep people physically distanced.  If someone falls ill, a system must be in place to quickly detect and monitor any subsequent cases.

“Any opportunity where people are in crowded places and the virus is present, and appropriate proper measures are not in place, the virus can transmit”, she clarified.  “Every single case of COVID-19 is significant and must be followed up and cared for appropriately.”

India is emerging as a major hotspot with an increasing load of cases to 3.32 lakhs and 9520 deaths amid hits and trials of vaccines, medications, and escalating usage of indigenous medicines around the world. The COVID 19 infections have diseased 7.93 million and killed 433,958 globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain was admitted to hospital last night with high fever and complaints of breathing trouble, a day after he attended a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others. He will be tested for coronavirus today at Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, where he’s being treated.

In a tweet this morning, the 55-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader wrote: “Due to high-grade fever and a sudden drop of my oxygen levels last night I have been admitted to RGSSH. Will keep everyone updated (sic)”.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, the state government has announced total COVID lockdown again from 19th June to 30th June in Chennai, Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram, and Chengalpattu districts. In  Puducherry RTC bus driver among the eight new cases of Covid-19 in the UT, tally reaches 202.

Besides new Chinese clusters, COVID lockdown fears grew around the world with an uptick trend following the further spread of the virus. Amid growing concerns for escalated cost of treatment and paucity of hospital beds, several nations have braced up to face the emerging situation by augmenting arrangements.

Union Home minister Amit Shah called on the parties to mobilize their party workers to help implement the decisions taken by the Central Government for the welfare of the people of Delhi. He appealed all parties to rise above political differences in the interest of the people. Political unity will create confidence among the public and lead to an improvement in the pandemic situation in the capital.

Higher turnouts in the across world anti-racism protest rallies on weekends have triggered fresh worries about the deterioration of the coronavirus situations as social distancing turned out to be the highest casualty. The vociferous protests against the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American in the US, in police custody have roiled various parts of the world with a theme of #black lives mater.

The increased COVID-19 Infections cases have already catapulted India to the fourth-worst affected nations’ slot. Pandemic coronavirus’s community Transmission is certainly not there in India so far but rising cases have fueled speculations that there might be fresh lockdowns but the government has dubbed it as fake news.

The COVID-19 Infections cases globally topped 8063,488 with 437,532 deaths globally.

Reports trickling from China, from where the COVID-19 Infections epidemic spread across the globe, say that fresh lockdowns were clamped in some areas like the Xinfadi market that meets 90 percent of Beijing’s demand for meat and vegetable.some residential areas and some KG schools have been locked down after emergence of new clusters.

Media reports say the virus was detected on a chopping board of a salmon seller. The testing has been ramped up around the area. The market Xinfadi agricultural products wholesale market in the city’s Fengtai district has been closed temporarily.

China, erstwhile epicenter, has a total of 84,378 cases and 4638 deaths. South Korea has reported 12155 cases and 278 deaths. South Korea has got some fresh coronavirus cases while the country has been credited globally for combating the menace effectively. These figures are on the basis of Johns Hopkins university’s real-time tracker.

The US  also witnessed coronavirus uptick trend as it clocked  2,114,026 cases and there were 116.127 deaths.  Chances of the fresh uptick can not be ruled out as several states in the US  have shown more cases. The cases are rising in 18 states after the relaxation in lockdowns and laxity in the social distancing mainly during the current protests.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced low-risk youth sports for regions in phase three of reopening can begin on July 6th with up to two spectators allowed per child. Governor Cuomo also announced the state is extending the special open enrollment period in the New York State of Health Health Plan Marketplace for an additional 30 days through July 15, 2020. The Governor also reminded bars and restaurants that any violations of reopening rules and guidelines can result in the loss of that establishment’s liquor license

Spike in the cases has triggered debates among the public in various parts of the world regarding the availability of beds, economic affordability of patients, the possibility of fresh lockdowns, the exact tally of figures and testing facilities, increasing unemployment, vaccine time lime, social distancing protocols during protest rallies and other big gatherings, etc..

The Russian Federation has reported 544,725 Cases with 7274. According to the latest figures from Johns University on the World COVID-19  infections, In Bangladesh, over 94481 cases were reported and it has lost 1267.

In Sri Lanka, 1896 cases came into light with 11 deaths only. Nepal today reported 19 deaths while its cases touched the 6591 marks. Bhutan has reported 66 cases and no deaths.

Cases are on increase in Pakistan that has now  148,921 cases and 2839 deaths. In Afghanistan, the case figures stand at 25257 and 478 deaths.

Cases in Peru are spiking. Visuals show to scramble for oxygen cylinders. Peru has reported about 232,992   cases and over 6688 deaths. The biggest rise in caseloads can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Haiti, Argentina, and Bolivia.

Brazil now has the second-highest number of cases globally. It has registered more than 43,959 deaths and 888,271 cases.

The UK has reported a total of deaths 298,315 cases and about 41821 deaths. Spain has so far reported 244,109   cases, and 27,136 deaths while Italy’s death toll is 34,371 and cases mounted to 237,290.

In Germany, there are 187,682 cases and over 8807deaths. France has reported 194,153 cases and 29,410 deaths against Japan’s 17,439 cases, and 929 deaths.

Sweden has reported 52383 cases of  COVID -19 Infections and 4891 deaths. Canada has reported 100,763  cases and 8228   deaths. In Norway, there are 8631cases and 242 deaths due to COVID19 infections.

Likewise, Belarus has reported 54,680 COVID19 infections and 312 deaths. Mexico has reported 150254 cases and 17580  deaths.

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Singapore has 40,818 cases and 26 deaths. Vietnam has reported 332 cases and no death against Taiwan’s reportage of 443 cases and seven deaths to date. South Africa has reported 77,533 cases and 1568  deaths

In Saudi Arabia,136,318 cases surfaced with 1052 deaths. Iran has reported a total of 9065 deaths and 192439  In UAE, the death toll is 291 and cases are 42,636.

Coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about its impact on women, children, and young people.“The indirect effects of COVID-19 on these groups may be greater than the number of deaths due to the virus itself”, agency chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said on Friday. The coronavirus situation ic has overwhelmed health systems in many parts of the world, which means women may be at greater risk of dying from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The COVID-19 crisis has caused a dramatic spike in the number of Syrian refugees in need of emergency assistance in the last three months, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday, in an appeal for funding to confront new challenges posed by the health emergency.

Now into its tenth year, the Syrian conflict has created more than 5.5 million refugees seeking shelter in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

“The number of vulnerable refugees who lack the basic resources to survive in exile has dramatically surged as a result of the public health emergency,” said UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic.

Since pandemic lockdown measures have been implemented, Mr. Mahecic noted that in addition to families already identified as vulnerable, UNHCR had seen “another 200,000 refugees just in this period of three months who because of the impact needed emergency assistance”.

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