Maldives to reintroduce curfew amid Covid-19 surge


Maldives to reintroduce curfew amid Covid-19 surge

The HPA has also introduced a 10-day quarantine period for political campaigners and poll workers travelling across islands for the local council elections scheduled for April 10.

The Maldives’ Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that a curfew will be re-imposed in the capital region of Greater Male due to a spike in fresh Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru announced that the curfew will be imposed between midnight and 4 a.m. in the Greater Male region, while all parties and public gatherings will be prohibited, reports Xinhua news agency.

The renewed restrictions include a quarantine period for individuals travelling form the capital to other islands, as well as a 10-day quarantine period for Maldivians entering the country from abroad.

The HPA has also introduced a 10-day quarantine period for political campaigners and poll workers travelling across islands for the local council elections scheduled for April 10.

The Maldives is currently experiencing a a resurgence with an average of around 100 cases per day in recent weeks.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has increased to 15,247, while the death toll stood at 51.




How to prevent food-borne illnesses


How to prevent food-borne illnesses

Foodborne illnesses are quite common and it is important to know the causes and ways to prevent these diseases to keep oneself away from the agony that is caused by these diseases.

According to a survey done by the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, it is estimated that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.

Foodborne illnesses are caused by contamination of food that has occurred at any stage of the food production, delivery, and consumption chain. They can happen from various forms of environmental contamination including pollution in water, soil, or air. Foodborne illnesses can also occur from unsafe food storage and processing.

These diseases are borne from food encompass a wide range of illnesses from diarrhea to cancers. Most of them cause gastrointestinal issues, though they can also produce neurological, gynecological, and immunological symptoms. Diseases that cause diarrhea are a major problem in all countries of the world and mostly affect children under 5 years of age. Although foodborne diseases are quite common, it’s also important to know the causes of foodborne illnesses. The causes fall into the following 3 categories:

Biological hazards are the most common cause responsible for foodborne illnesses. These include microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Bacteria and viruses are responsible for most foodborne illnesses. Biological hazards are the biggest threat and problem to food safety. They can be inherent in the product or can be transferred due to mishandling (e.g., time/temperature abuse).

 Chemical hazards generally include natural toxins and chemical contaminants. Most of the time there are some natural toxins associated with the food itself that lead to its contamination (i.e., certain mushrooms, PSP in molluscan shellfish) and in some cases, the food gets contaminated by pathogens when it is time or temperature abused (i.e., histamine development in certain seafood species). Apart from this, some additives, such as sulfites, can be a hazard for some people.

 Physical hazards can include metal shavings from cans and plastic pieces or broken glass present in food that lead to its contamination.

The symptoms of foodborne illnesses range from mild to severe and depend upon the microbe that has been ingested. However, common symptoms are as follows:

Upset Stomach
Vomiting
Nausea
Fever
Abdominal pain
Diarrhoea
It might take hours or days to develop symptoms after you consume contaminated food.
Foodborne illnesses are quite common and it is important to know the causes and ways to prevent these diseases to keep oneself away from the agony that is caused by these diseases. So, let’s know tips in order to prevent these illnesses 

Practice hygiene – Practicing hygiene the first step towards the prevention of food-borne diseases. One should wash hands before handling food and often during food preparation and after going to the washroom. Washing and sanitizing all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation is imperative. Care should be taken to protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests, and other animals.  It is equally important to clean fruits and vegetables well. Using a natural and safer solution like Marico’s Veggie Clean is the best way to do so.  This unique, naturally-derived solution will help you get rid of all those pesky germs, bacteria, chemicals, and waxes, which tend to go unnoticed on all your fruits and vegetables, rendering them squeaky clean in no time! Simple to use, one is only required to soak and hand rub the fresh produce in a solution made of half capful of Veggie Clean and 1 liter of water followed by rinsing the soaked produce in running water 2-3 times for about 30 seconds.

Separate raw and cooked food – It is important to separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods. This can be done by using separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods.

Storage– The majority of times, food contamination occurs at the time of food storage. Care should be taken to store containers separately in different containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods. 

Cooking – Cooking plays a vital role in preventing foodborne illnesses. One should cook food thoroughly, especially animal products like meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood.

Temperature – Keep food at the correct temperature. Make sure to not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. All cooked and perishable foods should be refrigerated promptly (preferably below 5°C).

Water-Water plays a very important role to prevent food-borne diseases. Make sure to use safe water while washing raw materials and vegetables. Cook food using clean and safe water.

Footnote

Foodborne illnesses are quite prevalent in today’s time. What is important is to maintain hygiene and being aware during the process of food procuring, handling, and storage.




India and France joint Air Exercise Desert Knight-21 to feature Rafale by both sides


India and France joint Air Exercise Desert Knight-21 to feature Rafale by both sides

The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces.

Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) will conduct a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 21.

The French side will participate with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel. The Indian Air Force aircraft participating in the exercise will include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft.

The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces. As part of Indo-French defence cooperation, Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of Air Exercises named ‘Garuda’, the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France.

As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilising available opportunities to conduct ‘hop-exercises’. The French Air and Space Force deployment while ferrying to Australia for Ex Pitchblack in 2018 was hosted by IAF at Air Force Stations Agra and Gwalior for exercise with fighters and MRTT aircraft.

Presently, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their ‘Skyros Deployment’ and will ferry in forces to Air Force Station Jodhpur.

The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides and is indicative of the growing interaction between the two premier Air Forces. As the two detachments commence their air exchange from 20 Jan onwards, they will put into practice operational experience gained across terrains and spectrums and endeavour to exchange ideas and best practices to enhance interoperability.




Leaders from neighbouring countries greet PM and GoI for successful launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive


Leaders from neighbouring countries greet PM and GoI for successful launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing on Saturday. This is the world’s largest vaccination program covering the entire length and breadth of the country.

Leaders from neighbouring countries have greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Government for the successful launch of the vaccination drive against COVID-19 on 16 January 2021.

In a tweet, the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, “My heartiest congratulations to Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi on the successful roll out of the #COVID19 vaccine & his generosity towards friendly neighbouring countries.”


In a tweet, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa said, “Congratulations PM @narendramodi and the Government of India on taking this very important step with this massive #COVID19 Vaccination drive. We are starting to see the beginning of the end to this devastating pandemic.”


In a tweet, the President of the Republic of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said, “Congratulations to PM @narendramodi and the Indian government for its landmark program to vaccinate India’s population against COVID-19. I’m highly confident that you’ll be successful in this endeavor and that we are finally seeing an end to the COVID-19 scourge.”


In a tweet, the Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr Lotay Tshering said, “I would like to congratulate PM @narendramodi and the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic.”


Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing on Saturday. This is the world’s largest vaccination program covering the entire length and breadth of the country.




Joe Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants


Joe Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants

As a candidate, Biden went so far as to say the Obama administration went too far in its aggressive deportations.

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the country without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies.

The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies and mass deportations.

It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favoured by many Republicans, making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.

Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the legislation and granted anonymity to discuss it.

As a candidate, Biden called Trump’s actions on immigration an unrelenting assault on American values and said he would undo the damage while continuing to maintain border enforcement.

Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other basic requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to pursue citizenship.

For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements.

The bill is not as comprehensive as the last major immigration overhaul proposed when Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.

For example, it does not include a robust border security element, but rather calls for coming up with strategies. Nor does it create any new guest worker or other visa programs.

It does address some of the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States, and provides grants for workforce development and English language learning.

Biden is expected to take swift executive actions to reverse other Trump immigration actions, including an end to the prohibition on arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries.

During the Democratic primary, Biden consistently named immigration action as one of his day one priorities, pointing to the range of executive powers he could invoke to reverse Trump’s policies.

Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and enough other GOP senators to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades.

That kind of major win even if it involves compromise could be critical as Biden looks for legislative victories in a closely divided Congress, where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities that involve rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending.

As a candidate, Biden went so far as to say the Obama administration went too far in its aggressive deportations.




Chinese mainland reports 109 Covid-19 cases


Chinese mainland reports 109 Covid-19 cases

The Chinese mainland has reported 109 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which 93 were locally transmitted and 16 arrived from outside the mainland, the National Health Commission said on Monday.

Of the locally transmitted cases, 54 were reported in Hebei, 30 in Jilin, seven in Heilongjiang, and two in Beijing, the Commission said in its daily report.

Two new suspected cases arriving from outside the mainland were reported in Shanghai on Sunday, said the commission, adding that no new deaths were registered, reports Xinhua news agency.

By the end of Sunday, the number of imported Covid-19 cases rose to 4,518 on the mainland.

Among them, 4,234 had been discharged from hospitals following recovery, and 284 remained hospitalized.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the mainland reached 88,336, including 1,301 patients still receiving treatment, 43 of whom were in severe condition.

A total of 82,400 patients have been been discharged, while the overall death toll stood at 4,635.




US House Speaker calls for President Donald Trump to be urgently removed from power


US House Speaker calls for President Donald Trump to be urgently removed from power

AFP | Washington | 
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Thursday for President Donald Trump to be urgently removed from power, branding him “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office.”

“This is an emergency of the highest magnitude,” the top-ranking Democrat in Congress said as she urged Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment, one day after a pro-Trump mob entered the Capitol with his encouragement in a bid to overturn the presidential election results.

If the 25th amendment, allowing for a cabinet majority to replace a president deemed unable to discharge his duties, is not invoked, Congress is prepared to move forward with impeachment, she said.

 




French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for Covid-19, will self-isolate for next week


French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for Covid-19, will self-isolate for next week

Macron will now, in accordance with national regulations, “self isolate for seven days. He will continue to work and carry out his activities remotely,” the presidency said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, the presidency said, adding that he would now self-isolate for the next week.

“The president tested positive for Covid-19 today,” it said in a statement, adding that he had been tested after the “onset of the first symptoms”.

Macron will now, in accordance with national regulations, “self isolate for seven days. He will continue to work and carry out his activities remotely,” it said.

The French president is one of several heads of state and government around the world who have contracted Covid-19, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump.

France earlier this week eased restrictions imposed to battle the second wave of the coronavirus but infection rates remain high.

There is still a nationwide overnight curfew from 8 pm to halt the spread of the virus while restaurants and cafes as well as theatres and cinemas remain closed.

Over 59,300 people have died in France of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures.

The recording of over 17,000 new cases on Wednesday alone has also generated concern as people shop and travel more intensely ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Like other EU states, France is pinning its hopes on a vaccine to quell the virus and Prime Minister Jean Castex said Wednesday the country will receive around 1.16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by year end.




Covid-19: Singapore migrant workers infections were three times higher


Covid-19: Singapore migrant workers infections were three times higher

Out of Singapore’s 58,341 total positive PCR tests to date, 93% have been among that migrant worker community.

New data shows that 152,000 foreign workers – 47 per cent – have been infected.

In comparison, it is estimated less than 11 per cent of London’s population have been infected since the pandemic began, the BBC reported.

Without counting the migrant workers, fewer than 4,000 people have tested positive in Singapore.

The men, the majority of whom live in large dormitories where several men share a room amid cramped facilities, have essentially been quarantined from the rest of the population since cases exploded in April.

Over the past months, infections in both the general population and the migrant dormitories have dropped to almost zero and authorities have just announced a further easing of restrictions for the general population.

But Singapore’s foreign workers – typically low-wage migrant labourers from South Asia who largely work in the construction and manufacturing sectors – still face restrictions on their freedom of movement which will only be gradually lifted next year.

“There is no justification for Singapore to treat migrant workers like prisoners,” Alex Au of the charity Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) said. “Many have been locked in for eight months.”

The new figure is a combination of the normal PCR coronavirus tests – which check whether a person currently has the virus – and a separate drive of serology tests which trace whether a person has had it at in the past.

Around 54,500 workers have tested positive in the PCR test while another 98,000 were found via the serology test. The previous number had been public before, while the latter was released only on Monday.

Singapore’s Health Ministry said that by August, the entire worker population had been tested at least once, with either of the two types of tests.

The ministry said anyone who tested positive was isolated including those that were found to only have carried the virus in the past. Authorities also said they provided the workers with medical care and assistance.

The combined 152,000 cases among the foreign workers make up almost half of the 323,000 workers living in dormitories across the island state.

But with some 65,000 workers’ serology tests still pending, the percentage might still go up.

“These new figures don’t surprise us,” Mr Au said. “During the middle of the year, workers who tested positive were telling us that they were told to stay in their rooms and not taken into isolation. They remained in contact with their room-mates.”

“But this is history,” Mr Au said. “We’re more concerned that Singapore continues to treat the workers as prisoners even though the same statement by the ministry says that ‘since October, no new cases were detected in the dormitories on many days’.”

He argues that since the active infection rate is virtually zero and workers are tested regularly every two weeks, there is no reason to place such hard restrictions on them.

The country’s first coronavirus cases were were registered in January but a meticulous contact tracing programme managed to keep the infections in check initially.

But when the virus began spreading among migrant workers, authorities struggled to trace and isolate all of the infected and numbers began to skyrocket in that community.

Out of Singapore’s 58,341 total positive PCR tests to date, 93% have been among that migrant worker community.

In response to the high infection rate, many of the dorms – often holding thousands of workers – were placed under quarantine in April, essentially locking the workers inside.




France’s Covid cases up by 11,532; deaths top 59,000 as lockdown ends


France’s Covid cases up by 11,532; deaths top 59,000 as lockdown ends

As the virus circulates faster than expected, the government introduces a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., an hour earlier than planned.

France reported on Tuesday 11,532 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, and 790 new deaths as the government relaxed restrictive rules ahead of year-end festivities, health authorities data showed.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, France has witnessed 2,391,447 people infected with the novel coronavirus, as well as 59,072 fatalities, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 307 patients in hospitals had succumbed to the flu-like disease in one day, down from 371 reported on Monday, while 483 fatalities were reported in nursing homes in the same period.

Hospital admissions fell by 241 to 25,240, while 2,881 positive cases were in intensive care units, 25 fewer than Monday’s figure.

The nationwide confinement in force since late October ended on Tuesday, allowing people to move freely and travel without restriction in the daytime.

As the virus circulates faster than expected, the government introduces a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., an hour earlier than planned. The nighttime ban on people’s movement would be lifted on December 24 but not for New Year’s Eve.

Initially scheduled to reopen on December 15, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, museums, circuses, zoos and casinos have to wait three more weeks as the number of daily COVID-19 cases plateaued at a high level, fuelling fears of eventual virus resurgence, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

“There was no other alternative, otherwise I would not have taken this decision,” Castex told local broadcaster Europe1 early Tuesday.




Top