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India launches portal to help stranded foreigners

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By Krishnan Nayar New Delhi, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) – The Indian Ministry of Tourism today launched a portal called “Stranded in India” to help thousands of foreigners – including tourists from the Gulf – who arrived in India before the COVID-19 pandemic and are now stuck in various parts of the country following cancellation of domestic and international flights, trains and inter-state buses.

“The aim of the portal is to extend support to foreign tourists who are stranded in India and to disseminate information regarding the services that can be availed of by foreigners who are stuck far away from their homeland,” the government’s Press Information Bureau said in an announcement. “The portal aims to act as a support network for foreign tourists stuck in various parts of India.”

“Stranded in India” says in its introduction to those seeking the Tourism Ministry’s help that “the world is facing an unprecedented situation today. The Ministry of Tourism is with you in these difficult times. We are truly committed to the safety of one and all. If you are a foreign traveller stranded anywhere in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can help you get in touch with the concerned authorities.”

The Press Information Bureau asserted that “it is a constant endeavour of the authorities in India to ensure the well-being of tourists, especially the ones that arrive here from foreign countries. Accordingly, the Ministry of Tourism is constantly staying vigilant and encouraging various initiatives to help the ones in need.”

The portal’s services may also help Indian citizens who live abroad and want to return to countries where they work or do business as expatriates.

The portal has the following information that will hopefully be of use to thousands of stranded foreigners at this time: comprehensive information about COVID-19 helpline numbers or call centres which foreigners can reach out to for help; information around state-based or regional tourism support infrastructure; help and support section to extend help to the ones in need of further information and connect foreign tourists to the concerned authorities.

The portal also has detailed of information on the round-the-clock helpline for worldwide coordination on COVID-19 of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs along with their contact information.

The Emirates News Agency, WAM, had exclusively reported on March 19 the setting up of this helpline with designated officers in charge of the Gulf region.

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UAE registers 53 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death: MoHAP

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ABU DHABI, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) – The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, announced on Tuesday, 53 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 664.

According to the Ministry, the identified cases were determined upon examining individuals who were in contact with previously confirmed cases, and did not adhere to social distancing rules. Others, were individuals who came from abroad, MoHAP added.

The newly identified cases belong to the follow nationalities: one individual each from Algeria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, Kuwait, Switzerland, Turkey, the Philippines, Italy, France, and the United States, two individuals each from Egypt and Nepal, three individuals from the UK, four from the UAE, and 31 from India.

The MoHAP added that all the individuals are in a stable condition.

The Ministry also announced the death of another individual as a result of complications arising from COVID-19. The deceased was identified as a 67-year-old Asian national, who had chronic illnesses related to the heart, blood pressure, and diabetes. This latest death brings the total number of the deceased to six, the Ministry added.

The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and conveyed its best wishes for the recovery of all individuals diagnosed with the coronavirus.

MoHAP advised members of the general public to adhere to the preventative health and personal hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

It noted basic protective measures such as the frequent washing of hands, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or into ones elbow, and to seek early medical care if symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing arise.

The Ministry also advised individuals with respiratory illness symptoms to avoid mixing in crowded places. It also called on members of the public to seek information from official sources, and avoid spreading misinformation.

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corona virus COVID-19 Local News

WAM: G42 and BGI announce groundbreaking high throughput detection lab to fight COVID-19

G42 and BGI announce groundbreaking high throughput detection lab to fight COVID-19

 

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corona virus COVID-19

WAM: Global Council for Tolerance and Peace lauds dedication and sacrifices of health authorities

Global Council for Tolerance and Peace lauds dedication and sacrifices of health authorities

ABU DHABI, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — The Global Council for Tolerance and Peace lauded doctors, nurses, pathologists, paramedics, and medical researchers as selfless fighters who had to cut themselves off from their own families and loved ones to avoid infecting them with the coronavirus, to save the lives of others, and to race against all odds in the quest to develop a cure and a vaccine.

”A medical staff member who swears to God to remember that he/she treats a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability; cares adequately for the sick; prevents disease whenever he/she can; protects the environment which sustains us in the knowledge that our continuing health and that of our societies is dependent on a healthy planet; and remembers that he/she remains a member of the society, with special obligations to all his/her fellow human beings, those of sound mind and body, as well as the infirm is our true frontline hero of the coronavirus war,” said Ahmed Bin Mohamed AlJarwan, President, Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, in a statement on Tuesday.

”They have laid down their lives for our salvation, they are staring at desperate faces suffering from the virus, healing them and bringing them back to safety, sometimes fighting losing battles, and putting their lives at risk,” he added.

”It is time for humanity and appreciation. All around the world, people are finding creative ways to thank our current frontline saviours battling the coronavirus. While being in self-isolation, they stand at open windows or on balconies singing, encouraging and applauding, even though they know their intended audience is too busy to listen. They are checking in on their neighbours, calling older relatives, and offering to help the elderly, and the disabled, sending gratitude, cheering, and offering letters and messages of support to the community through social media,” he added.

“Respect to those fighters putting themselves at risk on the frontlines of the pandemic that is forcing citizens all around the globe to stay home. But gratitude alone is not enough. When this crisis is over, there must be a reassessment of who all we value the most and how we treat them. We need to find ways of investing in the health care system, in advancing medical research and technology, and in acknowledging that they are the warriors of our new battles. That will be the best recognition we can give to those angels, heroes and true saviours of the 21st century,” Al Jarwan said in conclusion.

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corona virus COVID-19 International News

WAM: Russia records 500 coronavirus cases over past day

Russia records 500 coronavirus cases over past day

MOSCOW, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in Russia has increased by 500 in the past 24 hours, reaching 2,337, the Russian News Agency, TASS, reported on Tuesday.

According to the federal coronavirus task force, 121 people have recovered and 17 have died.

 

[Image Credit: Russian News Agency, TASS]

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WAM: Kuwait reports 23 new COVID-19 cases

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KUWAIT, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced Tuesday that 23 people were infected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the last 24 hours.

The announcement brings the country’s tally of confirmed virus cases up to 289, according to ministry’s spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad.

In addition, 216 virus patients are still receiving necessary treatment, while 13 others are in intensive care units; including three in a critical condition, KUNA reported.

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WAM: Indonesia registers 114 new coronavirus infections

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JAKARTA, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — Indonesia confirmed 114 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,528, Reuters quoted a health ministry official as saying.

Another 14 people had died taking the total to 136, the official added.

 

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WAM: Kuwait announces recovery of one COVID-19 case

Kuwait announces recovery of one COVID-19 case

KUWAIT, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — Kuwait on Tuesday announced the recovery of one person (an 82-year-old woman) from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 raising the country’s total recoveries to 73.

The Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, quoted Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah as sating that necessary lab tests and analyses had shown the recovery of the senior citizen.

The already treated patient will be admitted to a rehabilitation ward before being discharged from hospital within a couple of days’ time, the minister added.

[Image Credit: Kuwait Times]

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WAM: Indonesia bans entry of foreigners to curb COVID-19 spread

Indonesia bans entry of foreigners to curb COVID-19 spread

JAKARTA, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — Indonesia barred foreign nationals from entering the country as the world’s fourth-most populous country stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jakarta Post.

The travel ban, to be effective soon, will also cover foreigners transiting through the country, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Jakarta Tuesday. The curbs will not apply to holders of work permits, diplomats and other official visitors, she said.

 

[Image Credit: The Jakarta Post]

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wam: US$2.5 trillion COVID-19 rescue package needed for world’s emerging economies

GENEVA, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — The economic fallout from COVID-19 is likely to get “much worse” before it gets better for some six billion people living in developing economies, the UN said on Monday, in an appeal for a US$2.5 trillion rescue package to boost their resilience to further hardship.

According to new analysis from UNCTAD, the UN trade and development body, commodity-rich exporting countries will face a $2 trillion to $3 trillion drop in investment from overseas in the next two years.

An economic downturn in these emerging economies was already evident in the last quarter of 2019 – before the new coronavirus outbreak emerged in central China last December, said Richard Kozul-Wright, UNCTAD director of globalisation and development strategies.

“The health crisis is still to come in many developing countries,” he told UN News. “Now, if that crisis comes as these countries have been significantly weakened by the economic shockwaves from the crisis. And that is a very vicious combination of an economic crisis and a health crisis. So we’ve got to find ways of strengthening the healthcare system and services in developing countries and building up resilience on that front very quickly.”

Rich industrial nations have already announced a $5 trillion global rescue package plan to provide an economic safety net to their businesses and workers.

This unprecedented measure should reduce the extent of their shock “physically, economically and psychologically,” said Kozul-Wright.

It is also expected to create $1 trillion to $2 trillion of demand among the major G20 economies, boosting global manufacturing by two percent, he writes in his latest report.

“Even so, the world economy will go into recession this year with a predicted loss of global income in the trillions of dollars – this will spell serious trouble for developing countries, with the likely exception of China and the possible exception of India,” Kozul-Wright warned.

UNCTAD believes that part of the problem for many developing countries is that informal workers form the backbone of their emerging economies, which amplifies their difficulties in responding to the crisis.

Faced with a “a looming financial tsunami” this year, UNCTAD’s four-pronged strategy initially calls for a $1 trillion investment injection for weaker economies.

This would come from so-called “special drawing rights” governed by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, which would need to “go considerably beyond” the 2009 allocation made in response to the global financial crisis, the agency’s report explains.

The second measure is a debt freeze for distressed economies, involving an immediate standstill on sovereign debt payments, followed by significant debt relief.

By way of example, UNCTAD cites how half of Germany’s debt after World War Two, was cancelled.

Based on this precedent, around $1 trillion in debt should be cancelled this year, overseen by an independently created body, the UN agency maintains.

The third measure targets $500 billion investment in poorer countries’ emergency health services and related social relief programmes.

Finally, UNCTAD urges the implementation of State-led capital controls to curtail already surging capital outflows from these developing countries.

This would help to reduce a cash shortage driven by sell-offs in developing country markets and to arrest declines in currency values and asset prices.

The proposed package is similar in size to the amount that would have been delivered to developing countries over the last decade if countries in the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had met their 0.7 percent Official Development Assistance target.

“Advanced economies have promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop their firms and households from taking a heavy loss of income,” said Kozul-Wright. “But if G20 leaders are to stick to their commitment of ‘a global response in the spirit of solidarity,’ there must be commensurate action for the six billion people living outside the core G20 economies.”

 

[Image Credit: UNCTAD]

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WAM: Egypt records 47 new COVID-19 cases, one death

Egypt records 47 new COVID-19 cases, one death

CAIRO, 31st March, 2020 (WAM) — Egypt confirmed 47 new cases of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and one more death over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases infected with the virus to 656, according to a statement from the country’s Cabinet.

Egypt Today also quoted the country’s Ministry of Health saying that the death toll in the country due to the COVID-19 has risen to 41 after recording one more death, while the number of those who recovered and have been tested negative for the virus rose to 182 people, including 132 cases who were discharged from the isolation hospitals so far.

 

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WAM: Belgium reports 82 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours

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BRUSSELS, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — Eighty-two new deaths caused by the new coronavirus have been reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll of the virus in Belgium to 513.

Of the 82 deaths, 46 took place in Flanders, 22 in Wallonia and 14 in Brussels, said professor Steven Van Gucht, at the daily press briefing by the FPS Public Health and the National Crisis Centre on Monday.

Since Sunday, 536 people have been hospitalised, but 168 people have also been discharged. The total number of people infected with the Coronavirus currently in the hospital is 4,524. Of those patients, 927 are being treated in intensive care, an increase of 60 in the last 24 hours.

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WAM: Spain’s Coronavirus cases rise to 85,195, surpass China’s

MADRID, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — Spain’s total number of Coronavirus cases rose to 85,195 on Monday from 78,797 on Sunday, Reuters has quoted the country’s health ministry as saying. The infections surpassed those reported in China, at 81,470 according to the latest data.

The death toll from the virus in Spain rose to 7,340 on Monday from 6,528 on Sunday, the ministry said.

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WAM: Philippines confirms seven coronavirus deaths, 128 more infections

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MANILA, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Philippines’ Health Ministry on Monday reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 128 more infections.

Total deaths have risen to 78 and infections to 1,546, Health Under-Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a regular news conference. With the arrival of thousands of testing kits and the start of operations of more laboratories, authorities are able to detect more infections, she added.

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WAM: Kuwait reports 11 new Coronavirus cases

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KUWAIT, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced Monday that 11 people were infected by the novel coronavirus, in the last 24 hours, Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, reported.

This brings the country’s tally of confirmed virus cases up to 266, the ministry’s spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad said in a daily news briefing.

Earlier in the day, Kuwaiti Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah announced the recovery of five additional people from the novel coronavirus, raising the country’s total recoveries to 72.

In addition, 194 virus patients are still receiving necessary treatment, while 13 others are in intensive care units; including three in a critical condition.

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WAM: Palestine reports seven new coronavirus cases, total stands at 115

RAMALLAH, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — Palestine has confirmed seven new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total to 115.

Ministry of Interior Spokesman Ghassan Nimr, said that new cases were reported in the village of Qatanna, east of Jerusalem, where the total number of cases rose to 39.

According to Nimr, 629 individuals were tested in the past few hours and all results came out negative. Of the confirmed cases, he said, 20 have recovered and one death has been reported.

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WAM: Saudi Arabia announces 96 new COVID-19 cases

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RIYADH, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — Saudi Arabia has announced the detection of 96 new cases of coronavirus, COVID-19, taking the tally to 1,299.

The country has had 66 recoveries and eight fatalities following the virus outbreak.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aali, spokesperson of the Saudi Ministry of Health, disclosed in a press conference on Sunday evening that the confirmed cases covered many cities in the Kingdom, including 27 in Riyadh, 23 in Dammam, 14 in Madinah, 12 in Jeddah, seven in Makkah, five in Khobar, two in Dhahran, and one case in each of Qatif, Ras Tanoura, Saihat, Hafouf, Taif, Khamis Mushait and Tabuk.

The Saudi Press Agency, SPA, noted the spokesperson as saying that of the four fatalities, two were residents in Madinah and two were in Jeddah. Al-Aali added that there were eight critical cases in Madinah, two in Riyadh, and one in each of Dhahran and Hafouf.

Al-Aali stated that the accumulated number of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom are 1,299, adding that the number of recoverees is 66 with eight confirmed deaths. He disclosed that the laboratory tests reached 55,990 (1,730 tests per one million).

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WAM: Kuwait announces recovery of another five COVID-19 patients, count at 72

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KUWAIT, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — Kuwaiti Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah on Monday announced the recovery of five additional people from the new coronavirus, COVID-19, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 72.

The recovered individuals were five women – three Kuwaitis, and two residents – the minister told KUNA.

Following analyses of lab tests, results showed the patients had recovered from COVID-19, he added, noting that they will be admitted to a rehabilitation ward before discharging them from hospital within a couple of days.

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WAM: Egypt announces 33 new coronavirus cases, four deaths

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CAIRO, 30th March, 2020 (WAM) — Egypt has registered 33 new positive cases of coronavirus, COVID-19, and four deaths.

According to the country’s Ministry of Health and Population, all new cases are Egyptian nationals who were in contact with positive cases that were previously discovered and announced, through surveillance and investigation procedures, according to the World Health Organisation guidelines.

The ministry further stated that eleven Egyptians were discharged from isolation centres following their complete recovery, bringing to 132 the number of recoverees so far. “Four deaths are for Egyptians from Cairo governorate, with ages range from 58 to 84,” it added.

The total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Egypt amounted to 609, including 40 dead and 132 recovered and discharged.

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WAM: UAE reports 102 new COVID-19 cases, three recoveries, one death

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ABU DHABI, 29th March 2020 (WAM) – The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) today announced the detection of 102 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 570.

The new cases were identified when examining individuals who were in contact with previously confirmed cases and did not adhere to social distancing rules. Others were individuals who came from abroad.

The new cases belong to the following nationalities: one each from New Zealand, Slovakia, Morocco, Greece, China, France, Germany, Algeria, Iraq, Colombia, Venezuela, and Poland; two each from Brazil, Sweden, Ethiopia, Canada, Lebanon, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Portugal; three each from Italy and Ireland; six from Egypt; seven each from the UAE and the Philippines; 16 from Britain, and 30 from India. They are all in stable condition and receiving the necessary treatment.

The Ministry also said that an Arab woman, age 47, died from a coronavirus infection. She had prior chronic illnesses that complicated her ability to fight the disease.

The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and conveyed its best wishes for the recovery of all individuals diagnosed with the coronavirus.

MoHaP also announced three people, one Filipino and two Indian nationals, fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection after receiving the necessary treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 58.

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