Antonia Latin America Covid hot spot

More than 12 million COVID-19 cases and over 552,000 deaths worldwide


Latin America and the Caribbean are going through massive health, social and economic shocks, UN warns.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that a 9.1%contraction in GDP is expected this year in the region, which would be the largest in a century.

Latin American political leadershave tested positive for COVID-19. Jeanine Añez Chávez, the president of Bolivia, confirmed that she was infected with coronavirus. 

In a tweet, she said that she plans to stay in isolation for 14 days, after which she will get tested again. Chávez said that she would continue working from isolation.  

Her positive result comes at a time when Bolivia’s hospitals are overwhelmed by demand and struggling to admit COVID-19 patients. Bolivia currently has 42,984 cases

Latin America and the Caribbean have become a hot spot for the COVID-19.

U.N. chief said in a video and briefing report that a 9.1% contraction in GDP is expected this year in the region, which would be the “largest in a century.” “COVID-19 represents a massive health, social and economic shock with an immense human toll for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean,” the report said.

Venezuela’s socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello, considered the second-most powerful person in the country after President Nicolas Maduro, said he too tested positive for COVID-19.   

Cabello said on Twitter that he is isolating and getting treatment. ”We will win!” he wrote, pledging to recover soon from the illness.  

Media agencies

Taiwan’s WHO exclusion

Pompeo says Taiwan’s WHO exclusion shows it puts politics ahead of health.

 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained Thursday (July 9) the reasons behind the country’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO), stressing the health body had demonstrated an inability to fulfill its fundamental mission by refusing Taiwan’s participation.

During a teleconference at the Foreign Press Center, Pompeo was asked by a CNA reporter about U.S. support for Taiwan’s inclusion in global health conversations and its stance on the WHO. He noted the WHO had constantly shown deficiencies that prevented it from ensuring the world’s safety during the coronavirus pandemic, largely due to influence from Beijing.

Pompeo criticized the WHO for its reluctance to identify China’s “patient zero” and hold the superpower accountable for the life-threatening pandemic. He added the organization’s decision to turn down Taiwan’s request to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer was enough to prove its politicization of public health and show it was at Beijing’s beck and call.

Pompeo added that the U.S. had spent a significant amount of energy attempting to reform the WHO and invested US$500 million annually on the global health body. However, he said the day had come when it no longer made sense for the U.S. to continue its support, reported CNA.

WHO Set up covid panel

Time for self-reflection’: WHO sets up independent panel to review its handling of pandemic

‘Time for self-reflection’: WHO sets up independent panel to review its handling of pandemic

World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that it was setting up an independent panel to review its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the response by governments.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to head the panel and choose its members, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He was speaking at a virtual meeting with representatives of the WHO’s 194 member states.

“This is a time for self-reflection,”Tedros said. WHO member states in May unanimously called for an evaluation of the global response to the pandemic.

The WHO said on Tuesday that its experts would travel to China on the weekend to prepare a study of the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it jumped from animals to humans. “The best place to start is clearly where the disease emerged in humans first,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program

Series of explosion in Tehran

 IRIB news agency didn’t reveal the details of the blast, but cited social media reports as a source. Journalist Hasan Sari said that the blast allegedly targeted a missile facility of the IRGC.

Iran’s state owned news agency reported an explosion in the western part of capital city Tehran in the early hours of Friday.

Large explosion in Western Tehran, Iran. This comes after other sensitive sites were sabotoged in recent weeks in North, South, and East of Tehran

Large explosion in western Tehran.

A series of explosions have rocked the outskirts of the Iranian capital Tehran, as well as the cities of Garmdareh and Quds, Iranian media reported amid speculation that missile depots were the intended target.

Citing social media, the official news agency IRIB reported an explosion in western Tehran in the early hours of Friday local time. More explosions were reported in Garmdareh and Quds, the Mehr News Agency added.

The Saudi-based Al-Arabiya television reported that the explosion took place in missile depots of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), southwest of Tehran. Iranian officials have neither confirmed nor denied that claim as of yet.

15th India-EU Summit

15th meeting of India-EU Summit to be held in virtual mode on 15th July

The 15th meeting of the India-European Union Summit will be held in virtual mode on 15th July.

The Summit will be co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of European Council Charles Michel and President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Briefing media virtually this evening, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Summit will review India-EU cooperation covering political and security relations, trade and investment and economic cooperation.

He said, the Summit is also expected to discuss developments around the Covid-19 pandemic and contemporary global matters of interest to both sides. 

The 14th India-EU Summit was held on 6 October 2017 in New Delhi.

Protest in Greek cities

Violence as thousands march against law. Greece have approved a law to curb public protests, prompting a mass demonstration that turned violent. Police responded to gasoline bombs with tear gas and flash grenades.

Greek police use tear gas to disperse demonstrators gathered outside parliament to denounce a draft law attempting to regulate street protests in the country

Demonstrations are being planned in Athens and around 40 other Greek cities and towns to oppose plans by the center-right government to restrict public protests, AP reports.

Protest on anti protest bill has passed the Greek parliament and with it any semblance of social normalcy for the coming years. With the incoming covid outbreak in Greece and economic depression the authoritarian and libertarian conflict will come alive flouting covid norms.

Many of the rallies planned for Thursday have been backed by the Greek Communist Party. Labor unions and Greece’s left-wing main opposition party have also organized rallies.

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ year-old conservative government says it is determined to stop small protest gatherings from disrupting traffic and commercial activity. “The right to hold peaceful gatherings must be protected… but it must be done in a way that will not interrupt the activity of an entire city,” Mitsotakis told parliament.

Critics argue that plans to prosecute protesters attending unsanctioned rallies and to hold protest organizers responsible for damage caused if rallies turn violent are “legally troublesome.” The government said clarifications had been added to the bill to address those concerns.

Gangster Vikas Dubey killed

Vikas Dubey, accused of staging the ambush in Kanpur where eight cops were killed, was finally arrested from the Mahakaleshwar temple in MP’s Ujjain on Thursday.

Gangster Vikas Dubey killed in encounter when he tried to flee after road accident: IG, Kanpur Mohit Agarwal.

According to police, 4 policemen were injured after a car from UP STF convoy bringing back #VikasDubey from Madhya Pradesh, overturned today morning.

Gangster Vikas Dubey has been killed after a car in the Special Task Force (STF) convoy, taking him from Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain to Uttar Pradesh’s Shivli, overturned in Kanpur.

Gangster #VikasDubey was killed on Friday morning after being critically injured in an alleged shootout with #STF officials.

He was shot when he reportedly tried to flee, following a road mishap in which the vehicle he was travelling in overturned.

Gangster Vikas Dubey attempted to flee after the car overturned. Police tried to make him surrender, during which he fired at the policemen. He was injured in retaliatory firing by police. He was later rushed to the hospital: SP Kanpur West

Bihar 10 Districts in Lockdown

Complete lockdown imposed on ten districts of Bihar amid spike in Covid-19 cases

A complete lockdown has been imposed on ten districts of Bihar including capital Patna beginning today due to an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases. Three-day lockdown has been imposed in four districts of Buxar,Nawada  Supaul and Kishanganj. In Khagaria, lockdown has been placed for five days till 14th of this month. In Patna, Munger, Madhepura, Kaimur and Purnea districts lockdown will continue till 16th of this month.

The State government has also ordered a complete lockdown in districts of Begusarai, Nalanda and Vaishali for six days starting tomorrow.

As part of the containment measures, Government offices and Public corporations shall remain closed. All private and commercial establishments will also remain closed. However, Ration shops, dairy, Vegetables and meat shops will remain open between 6 am and 10 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm. All places of worship and religious gatherings will also be closed. All kinds of e-commerce and home delivery will be allowed. Public transport service will also be allowed in the lockdown period. However, private vehicles will be limited to essential works only. Train and flight services have been allowed. Wearing of masks has been made mandatory for all. 14 days home quarantine has been made necessary for all rail passengers.

Meanwhile the state recorded 704 new COVID-19 positive cases, taking the total tally to 13,978. On the other hand, 9,792 persons have recovered so far, while 4076 patients are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. The recovery rate in Bihar stands at 70 per cent. 103 people have died due to Corona in the state. 

Uttar Pradesh government has decided to impose fresh restrictions of 55 hours in the state from this evening amid spurt in Covid-19 cases. The restrictions will be in place from 10 PM today till 5 AM on 13th July.

Officials correspondent reports, as per the directions issued by Chief Secretary of State RK Tiwari, All offices, business institutions and markets in urban and rural areas across the state will be closed during the restriction period. Although All emergency services will continue as usual.

Apart from the continuous working units in urban areas and industrial units in rural areas all other industrial activities will be closed. These restrictions will not affect rail and air services along with movement on national highways and road transportation including goods services.

No community transmission

India not yet reached community transmission stage of COVID-19: Health Ministry.

Centre’s assertion came on a day India registered a record single-day surge of 24,879 COVID-19 cases, taking the caseload to 7,67,296.

The death toll climbed to 21,129 with 487 new fatalities, the updated data at 8 am showed.

The Health Ministry said that India is effectively dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and the country has the lowest caseloads and deaths in terms of its population in comparison to other nations. It said, there is no community transmission in the country.

Briefing media in New Delhi today, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry said, as per the World Health Organization report, India has 538 cases per million in comparison to the global average of one thousand 497.

In terms of death, India registered 15 deaths per million compared to the global average of 69.3. It said, most of the deaths have been registered in the high risk age group of 45 to above 75 which constitute 26 per cent of the population.

It said, maximum 39 percent deaths have been registered in the age group of 60 to 74 which is eight percent of the total population.

The Health Ministry said, recovered cases are progressively rising and the total recoveries reached 1.75 times of the active cases.

A total of four lakh 76 thousand 378 people affected with coronavirus have recovered in the country so far and the recovery rate reached 62.08 per cent. Presently, the total number of active corona cases in the country is two lakh 69 thousand 789.

Health Ministry reiterated that there is no community transmission in India. It said, localized outbreak happened in few geographical area and 49 districts alone constitute 80 percent of the caseload.

On the vaccine trial, Health Ministry said, two companies in India have been given permission to initiate phase I and II human clinical trials for its potential COVID-19 vaccine and trial will start soon.

On the reports of airborne transmission of the Covid-19, Health Ministry said, it is an evolving situation and government is keeping abreast with the information coming out from the WHO on this aspect.

It said, from the initial stage of the Covid-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested keeping the social distancing for protection.

Health Ministry said, it has come to the notice of the government that patients are facing difficulty to get the few drugs like Remdesivir. It informed that Drug Controller General of India has asked the companies to start helpline for the people.

Meanwhile, Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said government is adopting test, track and treat strategy to contain the spread of the corona virus.

It said, testing has been ramped up in the country and total one thousand one hundred 32 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for Covid-19. It said, one crore seven lakh 40 thousand 832 tests have been conducted so far.

Home Ministry said, strict measures have been implemented in the Containment zones to contain the spread of virus. It said, testing facilities have been ramped up in Delhi and now more than 20 thousands tests are being conducted in the city.

Health Ministry said, sero prevalence study has been conducted in Delhi and 22 thousand samples were collected from 27th June to 5th of July.

It said, in near future ICMR is planning to conduct a follow up sero survey study at the pan India level as a follow up to the earlier study.

WHO:None gains

None gains: On U.S. withdrawal from WHO

The U.S. stands to lose by withdrawing from the WHO; it will forego health intelligence
On July 6, when the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. reached over 2.8 million and nearly 0.13 million, respectively, the U.S. officially notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw membership from the World Health Organization. This comes after President Donald Trump announced on May 29 his decision to halt funding and pull out of the global health body. After accusing WHO of being “China-centric” on multiple occasions, this unfortunate development is one more attempt by Mr. Trump to deflect blame for gross mismanagement of the crisis. In a May 18 letter, he officially demanded that the WHO make “major substantive improvements” in 30 days while charging that the global body lacked “independence” from China, was slow to respond to the threat, and had “repeatedly made inaccurate or misleading claims” about the virus. Since the decision has apparently been taken without the approval of Congress, and as the withdrawal will become effective only on July 6 next year, there is a possibility that Congress or courts might reverse the withdrawal. Already, Democratic challenger Joe Biden has promised to revoke it if elected President. There is much at stake and unsurprisingly Congress is already under pressure from academia and medical associations to reject the withdrawal. The capricious decision to withdraw from WHO will have dire consequences for global public health. The departure of the U.S. will be a significant blow to the WHO in terms of loss of technical expertise and, according to Mr. Trump, an annual funding of about $450 million.