Commentary: 7 decades on, China-India ties face ample chances for new development

Commentary: 7 decades on, China-India ties face ample chances for new development

BEIJING -- In the hard battle against the ravaging coronavirus epidemic, Beijing and New Delhi have offered each other staunch support and timely help.

This vividly reflects the two countries' growing partnership as they mark on Wednesday the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship.

Over the past seven decades, the dragon and the elephant have reached a growing consensus, that is, the only right choice for their bilateral ties is to dance together.

Such an expanding consensus is built on the ever deepening political mutual trust and increasingly frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have in the past two years held two informal meetings during their visits to each other's country, and sat down face to face many more times on the sidelines of such multilateral occasions as the BRICS summits and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gatherings.

Practical cooperation between the two sides has also been making new strides.

China and India are key trading partners to each other. In 2019, bilateral trade reached more than 90.1 billion U.S. dollars, up by 1.6 percent year-on-year, according to China's General Administration of Customs.

The two sides have also seen robust exchanges and cooperation in hi-tech and cultural sectors. Chinese tech firm Xiaomi's Redmi smartphone series have topped India's sales ranking. Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, offered technological know-how and financial support for India to develope its largest mobile payment platform Paytm. For their part, Indian films like "3 Idiots" and "Dangal" have made impressive box office takings in China.

As the two economies are highly complementary, China's development means ample growth opportunities for India, and vise versa. Thus, huge potential is waiting for both sides to tap in various areas such as finance, investment, manufacturing and infrastructure.

While promoting their mutually beneficial cooperation, it is also imperative for the two countries to implement the important consensus reached between Xi and Modi at their second informal meeting in the Indian city of Chennai to properly manage their differences on border issues and maintain peace and tranquility in the region.

China is now the world's second largest economy, and India has been one of the fastest growing emerging market economies. Their cooperation transcends bilateral dimensions and bears a regional and global significance.

At a time when the world is undergoing profound changes, China and India are obliged to shoulder increasingly important responsibilities in safeguarding global stability, promoting common development, and addressing global challenges such as pandemics, terrorism and climate change.

The two countries should also jointly oppose trade protectionism, and advocate multilateralism by bolstering international cooperation via such platforms as the Group of 20, BRICS and the SCO.

China and India are the only two countries in the world with more than 1 billion people each. As long as one third of the global population can join hands, they can yield more benefits for not only themselves but also the wider world. The ongoing epidemic fight offers a chance to do exactly that.


Coronavirus Update: 35 overseas Chinese students diagnosed with COVID-19: official

Coronavirus Update: 35 overseas Chinese students diagnosed with COVID-19: official

BEIJING -- Thirty-five Chinese students studying abroad have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) so far, said an education official.

According to information collected by Chinese embassies and consulates, all of the diagnosed students have received timely treatment, and 11 of them have recovered, Liu Jin, the official with the Ministry of Education (MOE), said at a press conference Tuesday.

About 1.42 million of some 1.6 million overseas Chinese students are abroad at present, she added.

The MOE has been releasing epidemic-related information through an official WeChat account since Jan. 25, reminding overseas Chinese students to pay attention to epidemic prevention, Liu said.

Noting the overall shortage of epidemic prevention materials abroad, Liu said Chinese embassies and consulates have sent epidemic prevention materials to Chinese students studying abroad, especially to those in severely affected regions.

The MOE has stepped up communication and consultation with government departments and universities of relevant countries, Liu said, adding that the ministry has set up coordination mechanisms for epidemic prevention and control with the education ministries of Japan and the Republic of Korea, to jointly protect the legitimate rights and interests of overseas students from both sides.

Liu advised overseas Chinese students to reduce long-distance travel to avoid cross-infection.


Grocery store throws away food worth $35,000 after woman intentionally coughs on it

Grocery store throws away food worth $35,000 after woman intentionally coughs on it

Well, what could make people panic amid the coronavirus outbreak? It's definitely sneezing or coughing. This brings us to the question: Have you ever tried stopping yourself from sneezing or coughing even if it was caused by dust or allergies? We are sure most of us have done that.

In the times of panic and shortage of essentials, a woman intentionally coughed on food worth $35,000 at a grocery store in Pennsylvania, said the police.

She allegedly entered a grocery chain Gerrity's supermarket in Hanover Township and coughed on bakery items, meat and other food items.

However, the staff immediately removed her from the store and informed the Hanover Township police and took her into custody, reported CNN.

The police said that the woman had intentionally coughed on the food and they are also going to file criminal charges against her after she is treated for her mental health.

The store owner said that the police officials don't think that she has CoVid19 but will however get it tested.

Further, the store disposed off food items worth $35,000- that the woman had coughed on and also disinfected the area.

Fasula said that they considered the woman's act to be a prank but asked a local health inspector to disinfect the area.

Fasula said that they feel bad about the loss of food and its a shame that the food is being wasted when so many people are worried about food security.

WHO warns of 'dramatic evolution' of virus in Africa

WHO warns of 'dramatic evolution' of virus in Africa

Paris: The World Health Organization's regional director for Africa on Friday warned the continent faced a "dramatic evolution" of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 47 countries in the WHO Africa region -- which includes sub-Saharan Africa and Algeria -- 39 nations are now affected, compared with only one a month ago, Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti told French television channel France24.

Moeti said there have been about 300 cases per day in recent days, and called for "intensified action by African countries".

"The situation is very worrying, with a dramatic evolution: an increase geographically in the number of countries and also an increase in the number of infections," Moeti said.

Cases have risen across the world's poorest continent over the past week to a total of nearly 3,500 cases and 94 deaths, according to an AFP tally that covers all of Africa.

African nations have ordered curfews and lockdowns in response to the growing pandemic, amid fears that weak health infrastructure will leave the continent terribly exposed to an outbreak on the scale of virus-stricken Europe.

Moeti acknowledged that measures were being taken to contain the spread of the virus and to isolate suspected cases.

Governments have banned religious gatherings and sporting events, while schools were closed in 25 countries, she said.

She noted that 42 countries are now able to diagnose the disease. "A few weeks ago, only two countries had the diagnostic capacity," she said.

But Moeti stressed that the continent was poorly equipped to deal with a major health crisis.

"It is true that in many African households people live in large families. It's very difficult sometimes for everyone to have their own room," she said.

"There is a very strong community life. We have to find other hygiene methods to minimise the spread of the virus."


COVID-19 epicenter Wuhan resumes bus services, China reports 47 new imported cases

COVID-19 epicenter Wuhan resumes bus services, China reports 47 new imported cases

Beijing/Wuhan: Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday resumed bus services within the city for the first time since the nine-week lockdown even as 47 new imported cases were reported from the country, threatening a second wave of infections.

China on Tuesday decided to lift the three-month lockdown on more than 56 million people in the central Hubei province.

However, the prolonged lockdown of Hubei's capital Wuhan will end on April 8, lifting the mass quarantine over the city with a population of over 11 million.

While Hubei and Wuhan has not reported any new COVID-19 case, four people died in the city taking the death toll in China to 3,281, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.


China on Wednesday said that no new domestically transmitted case was reported on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday.

Forty seven new imported COVID-19 cases were reported in the country on Tuesday, taking the total of such cases to 474, it said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that majority of the imported cases are the Chinese nationals returning from abroad.

Of the 427 confirmed imported cases reported on March 23, 380 are Chinese and the rest 47 are foreign nationals.

Also on Tuesday, four deaths and 33 new suspected cases were reported on the mainland with three of the deaths reported in Hubei.

The overall confirmed cases on the mainland reached 81,218 by the end of Tuesday. This included 3,281 people who died of the disease, 4,287 patients still being treated and 73,650 patients discharged after recovery, the NHC said.

It said 134 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.

By the end of Tuesday, 386 confirmed cases including four deaths were reported in Hong Kong, 26 confirmed cases in Macao and 216 in Taiwan, including two deaths.

Meanwhile, bus services began in Wuhan for the first time since January 23 as a bus departed from its terminus at Hankou railway station at 5:25 am on Wednesday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The city resumed a total of 117 bus routes starting Wednesday, around 30 per cent of the city's total bus transport capacity, the municipal transport bureau said.

It would resume outbound transport services from April 8.

Apart from the driver, a safety supervisor is also present on each bus whose duty is to make sure all passengers are healthy as their health code is being checked before boarding.

People in Wuhan will be allowed to leave the city and Hubei Province, if they hold a green health code, meaning no contact with any infected or suspected COVID-19 cases.

"For those who do not use smart phones, they should bring with them a health certificate issued by the health authorities," said Zhou Jingjing, a safety supervisor aboard a bus departing from Wuchang railway station complex.

From Saturday, six metro lines are expected to reopen to the public. The service time will be published on the stations.

On January 23, Wuhan declared unprecedented traffic restrictions, including suspending the city's public transport and all outbound flights and trains, in an attempt to contain the epidemic within its territory.

Similar restrictions were later introduced in other areas in Hubei.

The provincial authorities ended restrictions on outbound traffic starting Wednesday, with the exception of its capital city of Wuhan, which will lift outbound travel restrictions on April 8, according to a provincial government notice issued Tuesday.


Coronavirus infected dead bodies found in Spain

Coronavirus infected dead bodies found in Spain

Spanish army troops disinfecting nursing homes have found, to their horror, some residents living in squalor among the infectious bodies of people that authorities suspect have died from the new coronavirus. Prosecutors have launched a judicial probe.

Defense Minister Margarita Robles said the elderly were "completely left to fend for themselves, or even dead, in their beds." She said the discovery included several nursing homes and several bodies but did not give exact locations for the nursing homes or exactly how many bodies were found.

The news came as Spain on Tuesday announced a record daily rise of 6,584 new coronavirus infections, bringing the overall total to 39,673. The number of deaths also jumped by a record number of 514 to 2,696.

Madrid took over a public skating rink Tuesday after the city morgue overflowed. To date, 1,535 people have died in the hard-hit Spanish capital, more than half of the national total. The region has over 12,350 infections.


Latest Coronavirus Update: China reopens Great Wall

Latest Coronavirus Update: China reopens Great Wall

China on Tuesday reopened a section of its iconic Great Wall to visitors, as the country limped back to normalcy after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Badaling section of the Great Wall will be open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. The daily number of visitors will be capped at 19,500. Around 60 kilometers from Beijing, it's the most popular section of the wall for tourists.

As of 2 pm on Tuesday, a total of 892 tickets had been reserved by visitors to visit the area, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China in January closed all its museums and tourist centres all over the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

To be permitted entry, visitors must book tickets on the official website or through social media app WeChat in advance and register with their personal information to get a health code.

On their arrival at the Badaling Great Wall, they will have their temperatures checked.


Coronavirus update: Apple employee tests virus positive at US office

Coronavirus update: Apple employee tests virus positive at US office

San Francisco: An Apple employee in Los Angeles has been found to be coronavirus positive. The employee worked at Apple's Culver City offices, reports Variety.

"A team member in our Culver City office has informed us they tested positive for COVID-19. The individual had no symptoms when they were last in the office, and remains in self-isolation at home," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.

"We recognize this is a challenging time for our global community and our thoughts remain with those around the world personally affected by COVID-19 and the heroic medical professionals and researchers fighting it," the spokesperson added.


Apple employees at the office campus have been alerted to take extra precautions.

"The news comes a day after the news broke that Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has been hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus," said the report.

Grainge's 60th birthday celebration on February 29 in Palm Springs was reportedly attended by Apple CEO Tim Cook, veteran music manager Irving Azoff, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue.

Cook last week announced to temporarily close all retail stores outside of Greater China till March 27, along with committing $15 million to help with global recovery.

Cook said at all of the offices, "we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China".

"That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space. Extensive, deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks," the Apple CEO said.

"We're also announcing that we are matching our employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally, and internationally," he added.

Coronavirus update: Nearly 14,000 new virus cases reported globally in 24 hours, tally exceeds 167,500; WHO

Coronavirus update: Nearly 14,000 new virus cases reported globally in 24 hours, tally exceeds 167,500; WHO

Geneva: Nearly 14,000 people were infected with the novel coronavirus globally over the past day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases above 167,500, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its report on Tuesday.

A total of 167,511 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 13,903 new ones over the past 24 hours. At the same time, the global death toll rose by 862 to 6,606.

Cases of the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been reported in over 130 countries, including India, where over 110 people have been infected.


Coronavirus update: Pakistan virus cases increases to 183

Coronavirus update: Pakistan virus cases increases to 183

Islamabad: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan has increased to 183, after Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) confirmed 115 and 15 new infections, respectively.

This is the single largest increase in coronavirus cases in the country so far, The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday.

"This exponential increase is largely due to the recent inflow of pilgrims brought in from Taftan border after a purported quarantine," Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information Murtaza Wahab tweeted.

On Monday, Sindh Health Minister Azra Fazal Pechuho said there are 76 confirmed cases in Sukkur (all patients arrive from the Pakistan-Iran Taftan border), 26 in Karachi and one in Hyderabad.

Wahab, earlier in the day, had said another 11 people who have reached the province from Taftan have tested positive.

Meanwhile, KP reported 15 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday.

"Just received news that 15 out of 19 individuals received in KP from Taftan have tested positive for coronavirus. These are the first positive cases in KP," provincial health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said in a tweet.

"They are being well looked after in quarantine in an isolated facility in DI (Dera Ismail) Khan..."

The other confirmed cases were reported in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad and Punjab.