Categories
-Top News Asia News

China’s zero-Covid policy makes Tibetans’ life a living hell

China’s zero-Covid policy mismanagement of the virus has left the Tibetans suffering from a shortage of necessary supplies…reports Asian Lite News

China’s zero-Covid policy has made the life of local Tibetans a living hell. They suffer inhuman Covid restrictions that leave Tibetans tortured, traumatised, harassed, and helpless, as they are not even allowed to protest or contact their families outside Tibet.

China’s zero-Covid policy mismanagement of the virus has left the Tibetans suffering from a shortage of necessary supplies. This includes both medical and food-related items. They are not allowed to protest and express their opinions, Tibet Press reported. A video was posted on Twitter which showed that the food prices in Tibet have increased and people who speak against it have been subjected to state-instigated violence.

The video shows Chinese guards assaulting locals, handcuffing them, and stopping them using pepper spray. Their phones had also been snatched so that they are not able to contact anyone, Tibet Press reported referring to a video from Free Tibet.

Because of the Tibetans being treated inhumanely by Chinese authorities, five people committed suicide from the top of a building in Lhasa. Such suicides were a form of silent protest against the extremely strict Covid protocols implemented by China in Tibet.

The Chinese authorities instead of controlling the disease are just tightening the Covid protocols even further which is causing more harm than benefit to locals.

Residents queue up for nucleic acid testing at a COVID-19 test site in Dongcheng District of Beijing, capital of China, April 28, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin/IANS)

People in Tibet have even lost the spirit of protest as they will be stripped from the minimum supplies that they are getting currently from the Chinese oppressors. Tibet Press reported citing a pro-Tibet advocacy group International Campaign for Tibet report that the Chinese authorities even in these critical conditions that the Tibet locals are exposed to have been pouring effort into controlling social media as this could lead to the whole world knowing about the atrocities that China has made Tibet go through.

These Covid protocols and other restrictions are biased against the locals from Tibet. Around 200 locals were jailed while suppressing a major protest that broke out in October this year in Lhasa and this was the largest protest after 2008. This group consisted of Han Chinese migrants that had come to Lhasa in search of jobs. These protests broke into a scuffle between Chinese officials and locals. There were even cases when people threatened to burn themselves if these Covid protocols were not lifted.

Although, most of the Chinese migrants were released the Tibet locals were still held back saying that they will be released on October 29. But Tibet Press quoted Radio Free Asia’s local source that said, as of now there is no information regarding these detained Tibet individuals from the Chengdu region and Tibet. The source claimed to be a friend of one of these detainees held in prison.

Yet another report mentioned that all these restrictions in Lhasa were imposed without any further notice and this left all the locals without preparations. In some cases, these restrictions were made so strict that the detection of one case got the whole building and even whole compounds sealed in some cities.

In September this year Tibet Press released a report which said that these restrictions are sheer mismanagement of Covid as most of the countries are actually recovering from Covid but China is still suffering from it. And all these Covid restrictions are making the conditions worse as many Tibetans have left Tibet under the pressure of these restrictions.

These restrictions are not only making the life of Tibet locals worse but there has been no improvement in the conditions of the locals. And in between all this China is still producing an image of controlling Covid in the best way possible. But all this must come in front of the world and China must be made to answer for all the atrocities that it has exposed Tibetans to. (ANI)

ALSO READ: More firms shut down amid China Covid lockdowns

Categories
-Top News Asia News

Outcry in China as teen dies in Covid-19 quarantine centre

The video comes as Communist leaders are meeting in Beijing for their party Congress – the most important meeting of China’s five-year political cycle….reports Asian Lite News

Reports that a 16-year-old girl has died at a Covid quarantine centre after pleas from her family for medical help were ignored have caused anger in China, where ongoing tight pandemic controls have started to take their toll on a weary population, a media report said.

Videos of the girl have spread across Chinese social media in the last 24 hours, The Guardian reported.

The distressing footage, which The Guardian has not been able to independently verify, shows the teenager ill, struggling to breathe and convulsing in a bunk bed at what is purported to be a quarantine centre at Ruzhou in Henan province.

In the video, a woman who claims to be the girl’s aunt says her niece died after exhibiting fever, experiencing convulsions and vomiting. She said the family had been asking for medical help, but none came for days and calls to official phone lines went unanswered.

“We have been calling for help since 3 am last night, including the mayor’s hotline and the centre for disease control and prevention, but we couldn’t get through,” she said.

“I just want all my family and friends to see this video and spread it, so I can find a place for help, and seek justice. I just want to know what is the reason behind her death.”

The video comes as Communist leaders are meeting in Beijing for their party Congress – the most important meeting of China’s five-year political cycle.

Authorities have been under pressure to ensure that there are no signs of unrest during the meeting but frustration has broken through, The Guardian reported.

Last week, in a rare protest in Beijing, incendiary slogans against Xi Jinping, including references to anger at strict Covid policies, were hung from a central overpass. The same slogans have begun to appear in other locations.

In Henan, which has a population of nearly 100 million people, 26 Covid cases were reported on Tuesday and 13 on Monday. But China’s zero-Covid policy requires authorities to contain and eliminate all outbreaks. It has resulted in sudden lockdowns on buildings, neighbourhoods and cities, and mass quarantining of cases and people considered “close contacts”, The Guardian reported.

ALSO READ: China jails Tibetan activists, writers for ‘inciting separatism’

Categories
-Top News Asia News COVID-19

How Team India won the war against Covid-19

At a time when many developed countries struggled with the anti-vaxxers movement, Indians showed through their overwhelming participation in the vaccination drive that it’s a country where scientific temper trumps hesitancy hands down, writes Adar Poonawalla

In the far from normal last two-and-a-half years, where humanity came the closest to living in a science fiction, India and Indians under the untiring leadership of PM Narendra Modi can collectively claim that we learnt crucial, once-in-a lifetime lessons during the Covid-19 crisis and we demonstrated resilience, determination and strength that has earned respect of the world.

Such a claim can be made for the vaccine space, too in India. Be it the vaccine manufacturing prowess of India; be it innovation trials in R&D; be it unleashing the potential of public-private partnerships; be it digitization of vaccination drive; be it how government departments came together on a mission mode; under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, efforts taken to communicate and convince a billion people to take life-saving jabs, we can claim to have put together lessons of decades into two years, to succeed on many fronts. That’s no small achievement, particularly amid rapidly shifting realities, and real-time evolving science and given social discord and vaccine hesitancy in so many different countries

The development of safe, effective vaccines for a novel virus like SarsCoV2 in less than a year, will go down as one of the most impressive feats in the history of modern science. And the role of India’s vaccine ecosystem will get etched in that history. Despite myriad local challenges such as accidents, and global ones such as acute shortage of raw-materials, Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by doses and other Indian vaccine-makers churned out well over 2 billion doses, sufficient to cover almost a third of humanity on the planet if one dose offered immunity to an individual. That scale of manufacturing is a mere indicator of the potential India has to offer to the world as vaccines grow more high-tech and offer life-course protection against several other diseases across ages.

The country also excelled in providing health tech solutions best showcased by Co-Win, the digital backbone of the vaccination drive. The speed with which India adopted e-Vin, its smart vaccine supply chain management system used in universal vaccination programme meant for children and expecting women into Co-Win has been exemplary. India had started issuing digital vaccine certificates right from the start, at a time when many developed countries were struggling to digitise vaccine certificates and were issuing it manually. Co-Win remains that valuable platform that can prove handy if other universal or age-specific vaccines are to be administered, either responding to an emergency or in a well-planned programme. It’s an asset that can also be adapted for other public health programmes in various ways.

Three areas where the country took a leap in attempting novel experiments and reaped rich learnings are vaccine research and development, the drug regulatory system, and the deep engagement of the government, across departments with private players to shape the Covid-19 response. First, fully aware of how uncertain the path of vaccine discovery could turn out to be particularly during a raging pandemic, the government chalked out a well thought out strategy.

That made sense, as one didn’t know at the time which one would click, and even if multiple vaccine candidates succeeded, which one would emerge the safest, most efficacious and most convenient to use. In vaccine-making, a science so complex, the first is not necessarily the best. Betting on a pipeline that was numerically rich, and technology-wise diverse, meant that the scientific community and innovation ecosystem packed a decade of learning into a year. It also showed us what was possible in vaccine development if companies, policymakers, and scientists came together.

Our drug-regulatory system, traditionally badgered as slow-moving, learnt to put in place accelerated pathways to approve vaccines, like many global regulators in mature markets. Keeping patient safety as the top priority, these lessons of agility and efficiency would seep into the workflow of the regulatory system, if the war against other diseases, equally or more dreaded than Covid-19, have to be waged effectively and forcefully.

What also helped in shaping the pandemic response was the way the government turned into one ‘whole’. Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a number of inter-disciplinarian inter-departmental empowered groups broke the culture of working in specialised silos and practiced what is now hailed as ‘whole of government’ approach taking swift decisions. Industry too was involved as an important stakeholder in many areas. All stakeholders including media, local influencers, civil societies and international as well as national partners played supportive roles. Continuing this approach well into the future has the potential to strengthen our country’s response to other public health challenges.

Finally, one of the most fundamental but valuable lessons we have learnt is to communicate transparently and engage effectively with the community in public health contexts and exhort them to place their faith in science in a language they understand best. From cutting-edge technologies like drones to deeply traditional auspicious symbols such as turmeric, from 24×7 public health and risk communication disseminated across the county, coupled with a range of innovative communication strategies were employed to invite people for vaccination or reach the last mile with vaccines.

At a time when many developed countries struggled with the anti-vaxxers movement, Indians showed through their overwhelming participation in the vaccination drive that it’s a country where scientific temper trumps hesitancy hands down. Despite being the second most populous country, 96.7% of the eligible population have been vaccinated with the first dose, 89.2% have taken both doses, and over 18.7 crore precaution doses have been administered. It is a clear testament to Covid-19 vaccination’s grand success. Special campaigns are being conducted across the country to encourage eligible beneficiaries to take up their due doses.

In 2021 alone, Covid-19 vaccination programmes averted nearly 20 million deaths globally, according to an estimate cited in Human Development Report 2022. Despite all the challenges, India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has truly turned the response to covid pandemic into a janandolan (people’s movement) through the whole of government approach thorough the participation by all stakeholders.

(Adar Poonawalla is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Serum Institute of India)

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

ALSO READ: Over 200 Indian Sikhs to visit Pakistan for centenary event

Categories
-Top News Canada

Canada to remove Covid-19 border and travel measures

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, travellers will no longer be required to undergo health checks for travel on air and rail…reports Asian Lite news

The Canadian federal government has announced the removal of all Covid-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada, from October 1.

Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement on Monday that the removal of border measures has been facilitated by a number of factors, including modelling, that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 fuelled wave, high vaccination rates, lower hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters, rapid tests, and treatments for Covid-19.

According to the statement, all travellers will no longer have to submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website; provide proof of vaccination; undergo pre- or on-arrival testing; carry out Covid-19-related quarantine or isolation; and report if they develop signs or symptoms of Covid-19 upon arriving to Canada.

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, travellers will no longer be required to undergo health checks for travel on air and rail; or wear masks on planes and trains. Cruise measures are also being lifted, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We expect Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses will continue to circulate over the cold months, so I encourage everyone to stay up-to-date with their Covid-19 vaccination, including booster doses and exercise individual public health measures,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journey, the statement added.

“Canada’s travel measures successfully mitigated the full impact of COVID-19 for travellers and workers in the transportation sector, and helped keep communities safe. Thanks to Canadians who rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated, we are able to take this great step towards easing measures and returning to normal,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

ALSO READ: Canada struggles to restore power after storm

Categories
-Top News UAE News

‘We’re prepared for future emergencies’ says UAE as Covid cases pass 1m

Sheikh Sultan pointed to the creation of the Frontline Heroes Office as one of the many legacies of our leadership’s work to help ensure the UAE is always protected by a world-class healthcare system…reports Asian Lite News

Public commitment has enabled the UAE leadership to deliver on its pandemic management strategy by following testing protocols, practicing social distancing and mask wearing, quarantining when required and committing to getting both vaccines and boosters, according to Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Frontline Heroes Office.

Sheikh Sultan underscored that the UAE is recognised as one of the most resilient countries in the world for pandemic response and management, consistently ranking high for government efficiency, quarantine system, healthcare management, vaccination rates and other key aspects of pandemic response.

“Surpassing the one million mark for positive COVID-19 cases reaffirms the UAE’s future emergency preparedness network and continued social and economic prosperity. Our people responded by acting together as one. As a result, the UAE consistently ranked as having one of the lowest infection and mortality rates of any country in the world. And that’s what it’s all about, protecting the health and wellbeing of our people,” he said.

Sheikh Sultan stated, “This week, the UAE is expected to exceed the 180 million PCR test mark and we are rapidly approaching 25 million COVID vaccines administered. These milestones speak directly to the high level of trust in government that exists across the country. Our leadership set out a clear path for protecting our people during the pandemic and moved quickly and efficiently to put in place massive infrastructure and deploy essential and well-trained Frontline Professionals.”

“All of these elements of the UAE response are also why as a nation we were able to achieve such incredible economic resilience throughout the pandemic, with recent reports showing the UAE economy is set to post its strongest annual expansion since 2011 after growing by 8.2 percent in the first three months of 2022,” he added.

Sheikh Sultan pointed to the creation of the Frontline Heroes Office as one of the many legacies of our leadership’s work to help ensure the UAE is always protected by a world-class healthcare system as well as a robust, resilient and always-ready network of Frontline Professionals well-trained and prepared to protect against any future emergency situation.

“While the 1 million COVID-19 case mark itself is nothing to either fear or celebrate, there is so much behind it that speaks volumes about the UAE and our bright future together. How we apply the critical experiences and learnings from this shared journey we’ve all been on in reaching these milestones will greatly affect our ability as a nation to ensure we are well-prepared for any future challenges. And we all trust in our visionary leadership to chart the course of our nation to ensure that our future generations are well-prepared to sustain and build on the great legacy of the UAE for years to come,” Sheikh Sultan concluded.

ALSO READ: UAE, UK join forces to back major project in Senegal

Categories
-Top News China COVID-19

Nearly a million in lockdown in Wuhan

Of the four cases, two were reported 48 hours ago as a result of regular testing, which was quickly followed by the third and fourth via contact tracing…reports Asian Lite News

Nearly a million people in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province where the Covid-19 pandemic was first recorded, have been placed under a lockdown after four asymptomatic cases were detected, the media reported on Thursday.

According to a BBC report, the lockdown has been imposed in the city’s Jiangxia district and the residents have been asked to stay inside their homes or compounds for three days.

Of the four cases, two were reported 48 hours ago as a result of regular testing, which was quickly followed by the third and fourth via contact tracing, the report said.

Soon after, the city’s authorities imposed the lockdown.

Wuhan, a city of 12 million people, became popular across the world as the first place where scientists detected the Covid-19. It was also the first city to be put under harsh restrictive measures as the global pandemic broke out in early 2020.

A staff member helps a villager disinfect baggage when he returns to Lianqin Village of Beicai Town in Pudong New Area, east China’s Shanghai, April 26, 2022. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang/IANS)

Earlier this week, scientists said there was “compelling evidence” that Wuhan’s Huanan seafood and wildlife market was at the centre of the Covid outbreak, says the BBC report.

Two peer-reviewed studies have re-examined information from the initial outbreak in the city.

Meanwhile, China has adopted a “zero Covid-19” strategy under which authorities conduct mass testing, declare strict isolation rules and impose local lockdowns.

In June, Shanghai emerged from a strict two-month lockdown, but residents are still adapting to a “new normal” of frequent mass testing, the BBC report adds.

As of Thursday morning, China has reported a total of 2,167,619 confirmed Covid cases and 14,647 deaths.

ALSO READ: Blackouts in China after record power usage amid heatwave

Categories
-Top News USA

US reports 6 million child Covid-19 cases in 2022

More than 13.9 million children in the US have tested positive for Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic….reports Asian Lite News

More than six million child Covid-19 cases have been reported in the US in 2022, with nearly 287,000 cases added in the past four weeks, according to the latest report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Child Covid-19 cases in the US are far higher as compared to that in 2021. There is an urgent need to collect more age-specific data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as potential longer-term effects, said the AAP in the report released on Monday.

“It is important to recognise there are immediate effects of the pandemic on children’s health, but importantly we need to identify and address the long-lasting impacts on the physical, mental and social well-being of this generation of children and youth,” the AAP added as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

More than 13.9 million children in the US have tested positive for Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic.

Recently, a study led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that a second booster shot significantly improved effectiveness against widespread variants Omicron BA.1 and BA.2/BA.2.12.1.


All variants of Omicron are known to evade both vaccine induced immunity as well as those derived from prior infections.

With the first booster, vaccine effectiveness against these variants was only 68 per cent (lower than against previous variants) and declined to 52 per cent effectiveness after six months.

With the second vaccine, effectiveness against BA.1 and BA.2/BA.2.12.1 variants climbed to 80 per cent within the first six months, according to the study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

However, data is not yet available for effectiveness after six months, the researchers said.

“The findings of this study are important because they provide an answer to a question that many people are asking: Should I get the second booster shot? The data clearly show that a second booster significantly increases vaccine effectiveness against these variants-which while no longer dominant in many areas, are still present,” said Shaun Grannis, vice president for data and analytics at Regenstrief Institute and professor of family medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

“As we go into the fall, when viruses typically pick up, we want to encourage people who are eligible for a second booster to be proactive and to strongly consider getting one because it will provide greater protection. It will reduce the need for Covid-19-related emergency department visits and hospitalisations,” Grannis said.

Current CDC recommendations for a second booster (fourth shot of the vaccine) are for people 50 and older as well as for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals who are 12 and older.

ALSO READ: US successfully tests hypersonic missile

Categories
-Top News Asia News

Lanka: Citizens urged to take 4th jab

The vaccines can be obtained at all state hospitals, medical offices of health, and stipulated vaccination centres…reports Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry has urged the people to take the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine given the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant.

Director General of Health Services Asela Gunawardena on Monday said that more than 95 per cent of the people have received their second dose of the vaccine, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, a significantly lower percentage of the people have taken the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, he added.

Taking four doses of the vaccine minimised the risk of contracting the virus and in case of infection, the severity of the disease will also be lower, the Health official said.

The vaccines can be obtained at all state hospitals, medical offices of health, and stipulated vaccination centres, Gunawardena added.

ALSO READ: Easter attacks probe: Lanka seeks UK’s help

Categories
Arab News COVID-19

Israel reports 11 new monkeypox cases

The number of monkeypox cases in Israel rose to 66 with 11 new cases reported, the state’s Health Ministry has said…reports Asian Lite News

In addition to the vaccines that have already been used in the country, Israel is purchasing third-generation vaccines against the virus, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the ministry.

It called again on the residents to see a doctor if they developed a fever, blistering rash, or were near a person suspected of being infected with the virus.

An upcoming shipment from the Danish manufacturer Bavarian Nordic is expected to include 2,000 vaccine doses, which will be enough to vaccinate 1,000 people, according to the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

ALSO READ:Israel Ministry announces Covid-19 vaccination for kids under 5

Monkeypox is common in wild animals like rodents and primates, and humans can also get infected with the virus.

Symptoms include skin rashes, fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

The rash eventually forms a scab, which later will fall off, indicating that the person is no longer infectious.

Categories
-Top News World World News

Covid-19 nowhere near over, warns WHO

Last Friday, the WHO’s Emergency Committee concluded that the virus remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and warned of several interlinked challenges….reports Asian Lite News

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is “nowhere near over” as the number of new cases worldwide has risen by 30 per cent in the last two weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

“I am concerned that cases of Covid-19 continue to rise — putting further pressure on stretched health systems and health workers. I am also concerned about the increasing trend of deaths,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists here on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, the recent increase in the number of newly reported Covid-19 cases has been largely driven by Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, and by the lifting of public health and social measures. Recent changes in testing policies have also been hindering the detection of new cases and the monitoring of the evolution of the virus, he said.

Global Covid caseload tops 526 mn

Last Friday, the WHO’s Emergency Committee concluded that the virus remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and warned of several interlinked challenges.

For instance, though Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 continue to drive the new waves of infections, hospitalizations and deaths around the world, surveillance – including testing and sequencing — has dropped significantly, making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission and the effectiveness of countermeasures.

“New waves of the virus demonstrate again that Covid-19 is nowhere near over, and the virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity,” Tedros said.

He urged governments to deploy tried and tested measures like masking, improved ventilation and test and treat protocols, while regularly reviewing and adjusting Covid-19 response plans based on the current epidemiology and also the potential for new variants to appear.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 booster dose gap reduced to 6 months