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WHO mission returns from China empty-handed

During the WHO visit, including a visit to a propaganda exhibition celebrating China's recovery, Beijing didn't let reporters meet the experts


A joint WHO and China team that was investigating the origins of Covid-19 wound up their work today without being able to lay their hands on the genesis of the pandemic, as one of West Asia’s worst hit countries started a vaccination campaign.

Liang Wannian, head of the Chinese contingent, said that transmission from animals was likely, but the hosts of the virus, which claimed more than 2.3 million lives and devastated the global economy, “remain to be identified.”

Fears of a whitewash dogged the WHO mission, which Beijing repeatedly stonewalled, while the US demanded a “robust” probe and China fired back with a warning not to “politicise” the investigation.

During the closely-monitored WHO visit, which included a visit to a propaganda exhibition celebrating China’s recovery, Beijing did not let reporters meet the experts.

Backed by WHO foreign expert Ben Embarek, Liang said that there was “no indication” the sickness was circulating in Wuhan before December 2019 when the first official cases were recorded.

This, despite journalists finding in June 2020 that the coronavirus outbreak had begun not in December but in August 2019!

Sirf News report dated 9 June 2020

Embarek is not ready to accept the theory that the virus had leaked from a lab as the British and collaborating other intelligence agencies had found out. A group of Americans had, in fact, sued China based on this contention. He calls it “extremely unlikely”.

Sirf News report dated 5 April 2020

Last year, the WHO was in the eye of a storm when its Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus assured the world, while on a China visit, that coronavirus would not cross the species barrier. The agency was accused also of declaring Covid-19 as a global pandemic too late.

In the meantime, Beijing persecuted doctors who objected to the delay in telling the world the viral disease would threaten the world. China’s second-largest company Tencent accidentally or otherwise posted data that would make the Communist Party of China uncomfortable — even as a few Chinese people exiled from China told the world, from a safe distance from the authoritarian regime, what was going on.

Sirf News report, 4 February 2020
Sirf News report, 6 February 2020

The world that the WHO cannot help

As the global figure of infections crossed 106 million, the United Kingdom was expected to become the latest country Tuesday to announce mandatory coronavirus tests in quarantine for all arrivals.

began its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 today to fight the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the illness. It will use in the beginning Russia’s Sputnik V shots, with 4.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines also expected under the Covax mechanism, which intends to ensure procurement and equitable international distribution of jabs.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University-developed vaccine, which the Serum Institute of India in Pune is manufacturing frantically, constitutes the bulk of initial Covax deliveries to some 145 countries, mostly in poorer parts of the world. However, it suffered a setback recently with a trial showing it only offers minimal protection against the coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa.

The results forced South Africa to delay the start of its vaccination campaign, but the WHO insisted Monday that the AstraZeneca shot remained vital to the global fight against Covid-19.

Richard Hatchett, head of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), said it was “vastly too early to be dismissing this vaccine”.

“It is absolutely crucial to use the tools that we have as effectively as we possibly can,” he said at a WHO press briefing.

AstraZeneca has stood by its vaccine, though. It said researchers are working on an updated version that can be effective against the new variants. WHO authorisation for the shot is expected next week. Despite the vaccine rollouts, the virus remains on the march with more than 106 million known infections worldwide.

The most vulnerable have been forced to take the risk of catching Covid-19 by going out to work and make ends meet.

“They tell us not to go out. But what are we going to eat?” said Gerardo Acevedo, who has a stall selling socks in downtown Mexico City.

The economic devastation is near-universal, including in the United States, the world’s biggest economy and the nation worst-hit by the virus. A section of political observers say that the way Covid-19 was handled was the biggest factor behind Donald Trump’s defeat.

New US President Joe Biden is aiming to ramp up vaccinations, saying Monday his administration hopes to have enough vaccines for 300 million people before the summer.

Among Biden’s key aims is to ensure the safe reopening of schools, with experts and parents warning of a mental health crisis among children who have been away from classrooms for months.

“It makes me feel lonely because I’m just sitting down here in the basement all by myself, all day, pretty much almost every day,” said Daniel Mooney, a third-grader in the city of Falls Church in Virginia. “And there’s really nothing I can do about it. The only thing I can really do is say that I really, really want to be back in school,” he added.

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ভয়ঙ্কর সুন্দর! প্রকৃতির তাণ্ডবলীলার মধ্যেও যে অপরিসীম সৌন্দর্য্য লুকিয়ে থাকতে পারে, সেকথা আবারও প্রমাণ হয়েছে সম্প্রতি সোশ্যাল মিডিয়ায় ভাইরাল হওয়া একটি ভিডিয়ো থেকে

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