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Friday, January 1, 2021

Covid handling by various Governments and diluted appreciations by media !

At Chennai General Hospital (Rajiv Gandhi Govt General Hospital) – the Dean has initiated a good scheme named ‘Anbu Suvar (wall of kindness)  - anyone who wishes to contribute can drop in at Tower III & place the contribution, which can be availed by the needy patients.  

Covid-19 cases reported in  Tamil Nadu   in the past 24 hours fell below the 1,400-mark for the first time in six months (184 days). On Friday, 1,391 fresh infections took the case tally to 7,87,554 — fourth highest in the country, next to Maharashtra (18.3 lakh), Karnataka (8.9 lakh) and Andhra Pradesh (8.7 lakh). The true ranking of any state in how well it is testing its population is the number of PCR tests being conducted. Tamil Nadu stands out far above the rest of India - it is the only state to have conducted over 1 crore PCR tests, also reflecting the highest number of tests per head of population with nearly 1,400 tests per ten thousand of its citizens. Karnataka is the second-best state with over 13,00 PCR tests per ten thousand citizens.

The global picture is somewhat gloomy !!  For the third day in a row, the United States registered a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, reaching nearly 230,000 new infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. US also recorded 2,527 Covid-related deaths. For two weeks, the US has regularly topped 2,000 deaths per day, as it had in the spring at the height of the first wave of the country's outbreak.

The United States has recorded more than 14.6 million Covid cases and more than 281,000 related deaths since the start of the pandemic. India's total COVID-19 active caseload dropped to 4,09,689 on Saturday,according to the Union health ministry. The ministry said that the present active caseload comprises 4.26% of the total positive cases, and new recoveries have led to a net decline of 6,393 in the total active cases, the ministry said in a statement. "India's total active caseload has dropped below 4.10 lakh (4,09,689) today. This is the lowest after 136 days. The total active cases were 4,11,133, on July 22," it said.  

Just as some mindlessly hailed Kerala as having administered too well which has later turned out to be statistically untrue, the neighbouring Pakistan too was hailed as good in Corona administration which again has proved to be incorrect.

From a peak of over 6,000 daily Covid-19 cases in mid-June to just 300-odd daily fresh cases in September, Pakistan has witnessed a dramatic decline in the numbers over the last few weeks. It has reported 297,512 cases so far, which includes 6,335 deaths and 282,268 recoveries. Currently, there are just 8,909 active cases in the country… .. was the earlier report.  Now the number of active coronavirus cases in Pakistan crossed the 50,000 mark on 2.12.2020, reaching yet another grim milestone as the second wave of COVID-19 infections surge across the country, according to the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) tally. The country reported 3,499 new infections in the past 24 hours, raising the total tally to 406,810 as active cases climb to 51,654.

Pakistan's  former judge Arshad Malik, who convicted deposed premier Nawaz Sharif and was subsequently sacked over a video scandal, passed away on Friday due to coronavirus. Arshad Malik, the anti-corruption court's former judge, was on a ventilator in Islamabad's Shifa International Hospital for the past two days.  Malik convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in December 2018 in the Al Azizia case and sentenced him to seven years in jail but he acquitted the former prime minister in the Flagship corruption case.  A probe against judge Malik was launched and he was sacked in July 2020 by the Lahore High Court's administration committee on charges of misconduct.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has requested the international community for debt suspension till the end of the coronavirus pandemic for low-income and most affected countries as well as cancellation of debt of least developed nations, according to a media report on Friday. Cash-strapped Pakistan’s economic woes have further worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic and Khan’s government is arranging finances from world bodies, including the International Monetary Fund, to tide over the crisis.

Presenting a 10-point agenda for urgent action before the UN General Assembly special session on Covid-19 on Thursday, Khan underlined the measures the international community needs to take to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dawn newspaper reported.  The first item on his list is a request for debt suspension till the end of the pandemic for low-income and most affected countries. The second one is “cancellation of debt of least developed countries” that are no longer in a position to repay their loans, it said.

Khan also called for immediate action to stop the massive illicit financial outflows from developing countries to rich countries, to offshore tax havens. He also suggested immediate return of assets stolen by corrupt politicians and criminals back to these countries.

The media that hailed Pak and Imran as adeptly handling Covid should read the admission of Paki PM that it is among most affected countries and is among least developed countries.

Moving on to Cricket, India are getting into this tour. Victory in the final ODI and the opening T20I means there is a bit of spring in their step as they return to Sydney for the final two white-ball matches before attention firmly switches to the Test series, although while these matches are taking place the SCG Test preparations will be ramping up for others against Australia A across town at Drummoyne Oval.

The South Africa squad has returned a full set of negative Covid-19 results, meaning the ODI series against England will start on Sunday after the tour was thrown into doubt by the positive test that was announced shortly before the first ODI was due to start in Cape Town on Friday.  The entire South Africa squad was retested on Friday evening following the confirmed case which brought into question the safety of the biosecure bubble both teams are in. CSA said it had looked into the possibility of a breach at the team hotel and was satisfied protocols were being followed.

Down under, the Pakistan contingent on tour in New Zealand will continue their managed isolation in Christchurch, but won't be given any exemptions that allow them to train in groups. This is due to "ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infections within the squad," according to New Zealand's Health Ministry. Out of the 54 members on tour, 44 have returned negative tests while six players remain Covid-positive. The cases of four others are deemed to be "historic".

Mixing in hotel hallways, sharing food and not always wearing masks were the clear violations of strict Covid-19 isolation protocols in New Zealand that have led to stark warnings that more breaches could see the entire team being sent back. Sarfaraz Ahmed, Rohail Nazir, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Abid Ali and Danish Aziz returned positive Covid-19 tests after landing in New Zealand and the man behind New Zealand's successful quashing of the pandemic has warned further positive tests could emerge. "Rather than being in their own rooms, which is a requirement for the first three days, there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks," Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the country's director-general of health, told RNZ, New Zealand's public-service radio broadcaster.

As things stand, the entire contingent will complete the extended quarantine period on December 9, after which they can begin training subject to clearance from the New Zealand government.  In a statement issued by the board, Wasim Khan, the PCB CEO, termed the move as "disappointing", while also questioning the reasons for non-exemption for the 44 players who have tested negative. He also expressed disappointment that the negative tests weren't made public, while all positive tests were reported immediately.  The Pakistan team, with a squad of 34 players and 20 support staff, were all found to be Covid negative on the day of departure. They arrived in Auckland with stopovers in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur on November 22 and should have completed their 14-day quarantine on December 4, which was later revised because six players returned positive on the second day upon arrival. Pakistan are scheduled to play three T20s and two Test matches, beginning in Auckland on December 18, in just over two weeks.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar




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