COVID-19: Low cost Dexamethasone proves to be first life-saving drug

COVID-19: Low cost Dexamethasone proves to be first life-saving drug

In a major breakthrough for treatment of Coronavirus infection, UK’s Oxford University scientists have identified Dexamethasone, a steroid drug of significantly reducing mortality in patients with severe respiratory complications.

Dexamethasone is a low cost steroid drug that is used for treatment of asthma, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis.

The UK experts say that this is a major breakthrough in the treatment of coronavirus infection as Dexamethasone is a widely available and cheap drug. The drug is a part of the world’s biggest trial for testing the existing treatments regarding their efficacy.

The study reports that dexamethasone use can reduce the deaths by one-third in patients on ventilators and by one-fifth in those on oxygen therapy.

The researchers in Oxford University suggest that if the drug had been used since beginning of pandemic in the UK, it could have saved lives of up to 5000 patients who couldn’t survive the virus. Furthermore, the fact that this drug is cheap and widely available makes it advantageous for poor countries with high Covid-19 case tally to avail the benefits of this drug.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated this achievement by the researchers in the direction of Coronavirus treatment. He said, “We have taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.” UK government has over 200,000 courses of dexamethasone in stockpile. NHS will be making the drug available to patients soon, said UK health secretary Matt Hancock.

The trial

The trial which began in March in NHS hospitals in the UK, began with 2,104 patients being given 6 mg of dexamethasone once a day for 10 days, orally or through intravenous injection. This sample was compared with control sample of 4,321 patients who were not given the drug.

Dexamethasone was found to reduce the mortality in one-third of ventilated patients and one-fifth in patients only on oxygen therapy.

Dexamethasone status in India

In India, dexamethasone is widely available in form of injectables and tablets, and is used in treatment of sepsis and other life threatening infections. The annual sale of the drug is of over INR 100 crore. The largest manufacturer of the drug in India is Ahmedabad based Zydus Cadila. Many small scale manufacturers also produce the drug.

Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj Patel said, “There are enough supplies in India. It’s been used for over four decades in several indications and is very affordable.”

The price of dexamethasone is capped under Drug Price Control Order, at INR 5-6 per injection.  

Effects of Dexamethasone

Statistics show that of 20 patients of coronavirus, 19 recover without having to be admitted in hospitals. These patients may require ventilators or oxygen therapy and are considered to be high risk patients. Dexamethasone appears to be helpful in these patients.

The drug has anti-inflammatory properties for which it is indicated in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and many skin ailments.

When body’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight off the coronavirus infection, some damage appears to be caused in body. Dexamethasone helps to stop or minimize this damage. This overdrive, also known as “cytokine storm” can be deadly. The researchers however warn against over the counter use of this drug. Dexamethasone does not show any effects on patients with milder symptoms.

North Korea blows up joint liaison office in Kaesong as defectors’ leaflet campaign row escalates

North Korea blows up joint liaison office in Kaesong as defectors’ leaflet campaign row escalates

Just a few hours after North Korea threatened to send in military troops across the heavily guarded border, it blew up the liaison office with South Korea in Kaesong.

The liaison office was built near the North Korea’s border town of Kaesong in 2018 to help the countries communicate, especially during a state of war. It was a result of successful talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea President Moon Jae-in.  Since January 2020 however, it has been empty due to the coronavirus induced restrictions.

South Korea has responded to this action by North Korea warning that it would “respond strongly” if North Korea “continues to worsen the situation.” South Korea said over the latest development, “The destruction of the office abandons the hopes of everyone who wanted the development of inter-Korean relations and peace settlements in the Korean peninsula. The government makes it clear that all responsibility of this situation lies in the North.”

Background of the increasing rift

The tensions between the countries have been on a rise since weeks over defector groups in South sending propaganda across the border.

The anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets being sent by the defectors’ groups to North Korea across the borders haven’t gone too well by the country leading to the rapidly escalating situation.

Why the North blew up liaison office?

Kim Yo-Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had threatened of demolishing the “useless” office on weekend. She is being viewed as a strong ally to the leader with an increasing influence.

On Saturday she said, “Before long, a tragic scene of the useless North-South joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen.”

So why did North Korea decide on acting on the situation now? There are many possible scenarios being interpreted by Seoul.

One probable reason, but that is more likely an excuse, is that Pyongyang is blaming Seoul of its inability to curb the anti-regime propaganda leaflets passing across the border by the defectors. The leaflets were blamed to give North Koreans a reason to “rally around”.

This “leafleting” has widened the cracks in North Korea system as the leader has failed to bring economic prosperity in country since his regime beginning in 2011. The international sanctions strictness remains a major concern too. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the rural North Korea has given the citizens a reason to voice their protest – something feared by the leadership tremendously.

This escalation of situation by blowing the liaison office might be a way to “punish” South Korea and gain a leverage in future peace talks. It can also be an attempt to gain a stronghold back in the country with fear and panic spreading.

Deciphering the Group of 7: Time to evolve?

Deciphering the Group of 7: Time to evolve?

The G7 summit that was scheduled for June, 2020 in Washington D.C. has been rescheduled to a ‘to be decided’ date by the host President Donald Trump of U.S. The decision followed the Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opting out for the “in-person” summit, on the grounds of Covid-19 travel restrictions. Anyways, the past G7 meetings haven’t been particularly fruitful.

President Trump, who has postponed the summit to at least September this year has been touting expansion of the Group 7 with some additions and some negating of members. He has clearly declared “G7 is a very outdated group of countries and no longer properly represent of what’s going on in the world.” Rhetorically speaking, he stressed on the question “why is it G7, why can’t it be G10 or G11”? Trump is often seen advocating the inclusion of India, Australia, South Korea and Russia in the group. However, the inclusion of Russia is being opposed strongly by the member countries after it was ousted in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea.

This logic of expansion sounds pretty decent and self-explanatory – worth giving a thought.

The White House Director of Strategic Communication indicated that President Trump wanted to include countries, including the Five Eyes Countries – Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom, that form the intelligence alliance. China’s future in the group is also under scrutiny, President Trump suggested.

India’s Position

China has reportedly opposed India’s permanent inclusion in the group, but that doesn’t necessarily affect India’s “attendance” and “presence”. India has in fact attended several G7 summits in past as a special invitee.

G7 – Past worth knowing

In the early 1970s, G7 was founded, a club of rich democracies.

When an embargo was imposed by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) against Canada, Japan, Netherlands and U.S., their economies were rattled. This was an aftermath of 1973 Arab-Israel War that led to quadrupling of oil prices.

France was however, spared from this embargo, the reaction of OPEC was experienced across the countries. Post this, France invited Finance Ministers of five most economically developed countries – United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, and United Kingdom. With the inclusion of Canada following year in 1976, and European Union (European Commission at that time) a year later led to the official founding of G7.

G7 became G8 in 1998 with the Russian Federation joining with initiation from US President Bill Clinton and UK PM Tony Blair. However, in 2014 Russia was expelled post Crimea annexation leading to the present day G7.

Economic picture – Then, Now and in Future

G7 at the time of its establishment had countries whose GDP was almost two-thirds of global GDP. As per PwC report, these countries now account for less than one-third of Global GDP. This figure is based on the basis of PPP (purchasing power parity) and MER (market exchange rates).

The Emerging 7 or E7 are the seven largest emerging or growing economies. These include India, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey and Russia. These economies constitute more than a third of global GDP based on PPP and MER.

India is world’s third largest economy currently based on PPP.

PwC predicts that by 2050, leading six economies would be China, India, US, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia. It projects that China would be the leading economy followed by India and US as number three. India’s GDP is expected to increase from $17 trillion in 2030 to $42 trillion in 2050 based on PPP.

Reform needed in the G7 institution

Covid-19 pandemic has put the world in distress with global economy shattered. Countries need a flexible and resilient system to cope with the current situation flux and a multilateral approach to resolve the global scenario. Existing group and other international stages have failed to get ahead in task. A new approach is maybe needed to accentuate the existing system.

The smart decision would be to include the emerging economies to the G7 structure. But it is in high probability that if President Donald Trump loses the reelection, this might take a back seat for few years at least.

How the pandemic has redefined use of coal worldwide?

How the pandemic has redefined use of coal worldwide?

The pandemic showed a complete new use of energy minus the use of the most polluting fossil fuel-coal. But as people went into lockdowns, the usage of this black rock diminished. It made the skies clearer and air felt breathable again.

Observatories worldwide reported dramatic drop in pollution levels. For UK, there was no coal usage for almost 60 days till June 01 when the country officially started to open itself up post a long lull.

The National Grid in the UK, while speaking to BBC has admitted that they don’t see the generator coming back into action sooner. Surprisingly, in the US aswell, around the Covid-19 pandemic times, more renewable energy was consumed than coal fueled energy for the first time ever this year; and all this was despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to support the industry.

Even for India, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, there is more talks about moving to renewable forms of energy, post the pandemic scare that had rendered coal fueling facilities without manpower.

India is one of the fastest growing users of coal. With the demand for the fuel having fallen anyway, there are first indications of actual reductions in the country’s carbon dioxide emissions in 37 years. The industrial revolution hit the nation a decade after independence and coal saw most corruption and black marketing around it.

According to International Energy Agency (IEA), coal usage has never been so low since the World War II.  Blame it on a trend where many nations are moving towards green energy use that has been pushed by environmental conscious lobby and NGOs.  Once you have invested in a green energy facility, it will run on natural and free resources like air, water and sunlight. Then, there is no use of incurring unnecessary costs of procuring and then feeding coal to your facility, which might have dual usage; but that’s in rare cases.

India is pioneering into round-the-clock green electricity modes. If the model is to be replicated, coal is out of business.  Speaking to Sunil Dhaiya, an energy analyst, one realizes that the virus hit the Indian coal industry in ways leaving it effectively bankrupt. “Our coal-based power plants are operating at less than 60% of capacity”, he told BBC correspondent. “They can’t pay back the money they have been lent.” There are therefore reasons to believe that international investors are already fleeing the sector.  The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund (the world’s biggest) and the French bank BNP Paribas have joined financial giants like Blackrock, Standard Chartered and JP Morgan Chase to blacklist coal investments.  This has been a recent development. But as the trend is going, governments are going to be deciding the fate of the coal sector. If this is a norm followed worldwide, most maybe reluctant in investing in a sector that does not give back any sizable return. After all, they will not like to subsidize failing industries for any emotional reasons either. Here there are none, except that the environmental concerns are glaring everyone in their face; and governments cannot ignore this hugely important mandate of the people if they want to continue to hold office in whichever country they govern.

New agreement between Italy and Greece: gas, fishery, and geopolitics

New agreement between Italy and Greece: gas, fishery, and geopolitics

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Italy and Greece signed in Athens the new bilateral agreement, which includes the demarcation of the exclusive economic zones in the Mediterranean. The deal is an extension of a previous arrangement on the demarcation of the maritime borders, back to 1977, and aims to be a step for the exploitation of maritime resources in the Ionian Sea by the two European countries.The new bilateral agreement includes not only the delimitation of maritime areas, but also the prospects for the energy dossier, new strategies against illegal immigration and a lot of geopolitics.

The two countries have taken hold of a dossier as strategic as it is delicate because it fits into the Euro-Mediterranean chessboard, where Turkey has already signed an agreement with the Libyan government of Fayez Al-Serraj in Tripoli but ‘forgetting’ the island of Crete, belonging to an EU Member State.Ministers Di Maio and Dendias intended to give breath, after several years of negotiations, to the new exploration rights which consist of an extension of the 1977 agreement on the continental shelf. A contingency that also brings with it the potential dismantling of Albania’s problems for demarcations, a passage that should be subject to a similar revision between Tirana and Athens.

Both governments speak of a very important and very positive development for the two sides of the Adriatic, which inevitably also affects Turkish provocations in the Aegean. The agreement aims to reaffirm Italy as a player in the energy and Libyan dossier. In recent months, there had been discussion about a gas field, on the border between Salento and the Hellenic Ionian coast, which until yesterday it was of Hellenic prerogative. The deal is essentially linked both to the theme of the fighting illegal immigration and to the Libyan case, where Ankara is directly involved.

For Greece, the deal is part of a confirmation of strategies, as the proximity alliance with Italy is physiological. From a cultural point of view, the combination is strong, also thanks to the Tempo Forte initiative strongly desired by the Italian embassy in Athens. From an industrial point of view, the talks between Italy and Greece for military interlocutions have not waned. But at the moment, Athens is distracted by the front of Evros, which has become a priority due to the European consequences that a new case-migrants could generate. At the same time, the joint Greece-Italy Declaration on Mediterranean resources was also signed, through which the two countries express their commitment to a balanced and sustainable management of these resources. They also agree to hold periodic consultations to evaluate the impact of various factors on existing methods of fishery in the two States.

Coronavirus infection spread: Symptomatic vs Asymptomatic, What do we know?

Coronavirus infection spread: Symptomatic vs Asymptomatic, What do we know?

Coronavirus infection transmission rate and the potency of infection spread from asymptomatic patients is still “unknown”, World Health Organization clarified on Tuesday. This was after Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’S COVID-19 technical lead said on Monday that infection spread from asymptomatic cases is “very rare”. The fact that this observation was based on a small study group, makes it not reliable.

Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan said that undoubtedly there is transmission of infection from asymptomatic sources and that he was “absolutely convinced” about it. Just the question left is that “how much” infection spread rate is from patients displaying no symptoms.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who is also the WHO’S Head of Emerging Diseases clarified the distinctive features between three categories of coronavirus patients/ carriers.

  • Asymptomatic patients – these are the ones who never develop any symptoms to infection, and therefore sometimes might go undetected.
  • Pre-symptomatic – These patients do not have any symptoms when they are tested positive, but they develop them later on.
  • Mild symptomatic – These people have very mild or common (atypical) symptoms and they usually do not realize they have the infection, and go undetected.

These minor differences between categories, which are seldom not mentioned in the reports, along with small sample size for study make it significantly difficult to draw any conclusions regarding carriers and spread of coronavirus infection.

But Dr. Van Kerkhove suggested that available evidences indicate lower infection spread instances from patients who never develop the symptoms or are asymptomatic, when compared to patients with mild or moderate-severe symptoms.  

According to studies conducted by the WHO in various random sample groups of asymptomatic cases, when contact tracing was done it was discovered that there were very low secondary infection cases among people who came in contact with asymptomatic patients.

WHO published in “guidance on wearing masks” on weekend, based on the study concluding “The available evidence from contact tracing reported by member states suggests that asymptomatically-infected individuals are much less likely to transmit the virus than those who develop symptoms.”

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) in UK after consistent sample testing of patients concluded that only 29% of positive tested patients of COVID-19 reported “any evidence of symptoms” when they were tested positive, or previous or following visits.

Symptomatic patients – highest risk carriers

 Contact tracing sample studies in many countries provides evidence that “true asymptomatic” cases “rarely transmit” infection. But the studies also indicate that there can be infection transmission before or on the day symptoms appear when they are mild in severity, stated Prof. Babak Javid who is an Infectious Diseases Consultant at the University of Cambridge.

Around three days before the patients first develop symptoms, there can be a detectable load of virus present in their system, which is capable of transmission relatively higher just before or on the day of symptoms appearance.

The asymptomatic cases can transmit the infection, but the relative high infection spread by symptomatic patients provides suitable evidence that they are the “highest risk” category of carriers.

The evidence collected through studies suggests – a positive case doesn’t directly indicate the transmission capacity of the patient or how much virus is in their system, also known as “Viral Load”. But when a patient displays symptoms like sneezing and coughing and the amount of contact he has with other people, directly influences how likely he can transmit the infection. It has been substantially determined that coronavirus mainly “passes through infectious droplets”. This determines that when a patient sneezes or coughs, he is most prone to pass on the infection, pointed out Dr. Van Kerkhove.

How misinformation plays Trump card around George Floyd death

How misinformation plays Trump card around George Floyd death

The African American citizen George Floyd was a previous offender and criminal. But the brutality of his death has shaken up America and many other nations alike. The 46 years old African American lost his life to police brutality, something which was filmed and viewed millions of times on various social media handles.

A multitude of civilians already harried due to corona virus scares and loss of jobs is angry, mobbing city bounds across the globe, shouting out for justice against racial discrimination. Previous instances of similar cases have also found mention in the mass protests that have rocked the world intrepidly over the weekend.

The world has not recovered from the uncertainty of survival to the Corona Virus. Yet people have busied themselves mimicking the death of Floyd by lying on the floor face down showing their solidarity. Floyd was pushed to the ground for almost nine minutes before he went unconscious and was later declared dead.

Photo and video grabs show people thronging streets and prominent city centres and historical hotspots. Some have gone ahead and defaced public property and given rather violent outcome to peaceful protests. Media sources are confirming the play of miscreants that are taking advantage of the sentiments of the masses.

The protests have stretched to Tokyo, Berlin, Spain, UK, Denmark, and Hungry not to forget the epicenter of the eruption- America itself. All four officers present at the time of his arrests, have been charged- one with second degree murder as well.

But what has blown the protests out of proportions is a blatant use of social media and a whole lot of misinformation that has done rounds on various channels. The social media has given the common man power; and sometimes too much of it as well. The crime was committed, recorded and therefore cannot be ignored. It might have had racial implications behind the police brutality. But the wave of misinformation that has come with it, is becoming difficult to handle for city administrations and police personnel across the globe.

According to Euronews, there has been a lot of misinformation doing rounds on the social media. Old clips are being posted and circulated. Most of them are isolated cases of assault that occurred anytime between the years 2014-2020, has been implicate to George Floyd’s death and is now (wrongly) building up hatred for police personnel in America.

The correspondents from major dailies in America and the UK have admitted that visual investigation has never been as important as it has become today, owing to the fact that a lot of misinformation could have lead to other catastrophic outcomes, had there not been visual evidence to substantiate what actually happened with George Floyd.

With the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ the globe is resonating and shouting against racial discrimination at every level, which includes various such instances of the past where Asians being subjugated in Australia as well. They might not hold relevance here right now but will only add more fuel to this uncontrollable fire.

George Floyd lost his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police man who pinned him down ,handcuffed as Floyd begged for him to free his neck, as he said ‘I can’t breathe’ for almost 16 times.

Similar demonstrations have been seen in Toronto itself. The same has seen solidarity from the prime minister who himself is said to have kneeled on one knee with his mask on to show solidarity amongst Americans and unity for all.

In Paris, several thousand demonstrators ignored a protest ban — issued due to the coronavirus pandemic — and assembled within sight of the U.S. Embassy, kept back by imposing barriers and riot police. An estimated 15,000 people gathered in the heart of Manchester, England, while 2,000 people joined in a demonstration in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

The mass protests are a breeding ground for easy corona virus contractions and can push the various countries into second and third waves of infections again. Political analysts are right in fearing this.

In US anti-racism movement, role of Russia’s hybrid warfare

In US anti-racism movement, role of Russia’s hybrid warfare

The onset of protests against racism across the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd is a potential example of a hybrid war against the administrative leadership in the country. Amid the growing turmoil across several countries, experts are exploring possibilities of involvement of Russian intelligence in inciting racial unrest in the United States.

According to a report in the International Policy Digest, Russian organization namely Internet Research Agency has been creating large volumes of websites with content related to the Black Lives Matter movement and police violence in America in recent times. Furthermore, it has been stated that Russian secret services are working on setting the stage for social unrest on racial grounds in the US through various ways of hybrid warfare in a bid to control the actions at the time of such a conflict.

Reportedly, representatives of the American far-right are being recruited by Russia to mobilize groups against each other. Moreover, Russian has been reportedly setting up a network of free combat training centers for African-Americans in the US to radicalize American society. At the same time, a POLITICO analysis indicates that Russia and China have been targeting the ongoing racial tensions in the US with swamp of posts on social media platforms. Aiming at inducing conflict, experts have warned that both countries are pushing disinformation and stepping up their online-game targeting the upcoming US presidential election.

Significantly, this cannot be regarded as the first instance of Russia using hybrid war tactics against the US. Western countries have been witnessing aggressive methods used by Russia against NATO for a long period of time. Russia has been using criticism of American racism for its propaganda since the Cold War era.

While experts have a different understanding of Russian hybrid war activities such as influence campaigns which can be hostile in nature, they pose a serious threat to the power dynamics in the global political discourse. Nevertheless, the 21st century is witnessing an evolution of hybrid warfare which has the potential to cause paramount impact on society with the least usage of conventional ways of war. Taking note of changing perspectives across several parts of the world, a geopolitical paradigm shift is in all likelihood evident in the world order.

Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands joined forces for a COVID-19 vaccine
Europe, Geopolitics

Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands joined forces for a COVID-19 vaccine

Around the world, several companies and governments are looking for a vaccine for COVID-19, with the risk that the first to find it will produce it first for its population, leaving the others, in particular the least developed countries, at the mercy of a second epidemic to coincide with the next flu season. For this reason, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands have joined forces in the research and production of the vaccine against the new coronavirus, an “inclusive” drug, as stated in the note expressed by the Dutch authorities published by France Presse.

The note affirms that the four countries jointly explore several promising initiatives and are in talks with different pharmaceutical companies, for which joint strategy and investments are conceived to reach a “widely accessible” vaccine, even from the least wealthy countries like African ones. German Health Jens Spahn wrote to the European Commission along with his counterparts from France, Italy and the Netherlands to announce that they have joined to “achieve the fastest and best possible outcome in negotiations with key players in the pharmaceutical industry.”

The four EU countries have identified the development of a vaccine as “one of the most urgent issues that the European Union has to address at present.” Doctors announced a new coronavirus outbreak in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, for which authorities decided the reintroduction of preventive measures such as the closure of schools for a week, after their reopening on May 23rd.In the German city, have been recorded 80 new cases of Covid-19, and at the base of the outbreak, there would be a private party between families without masks and social distancing.The EU is also preparing to use a €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) fund to make advance purchases of vaccines, Reuters news agency reported. The use of the emergency fund is yet to be officially announced.

Over 380,000 have died from coronavirus worldwide. According to Johns Hopkins, the total number of infected people recognized as such is 6,404,872, while the healed are 2,743,777.The situation is improving in Italy, where people can leave their region without restrictions from yesterday. The latest data of Civil Protection reports of 71 deaths in the last 24 hours and 321 new infections, most in Lombardy, the first epicenter of the pandemic, in northern Italy. The total number of infections rises to 233,836, of which the dead are 33,601, while the recovered are 160,938.

The US has already secured almost a third of the first 1 billion doses planned for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca experimental vaccine by pledging $1.2 billion (€1.07 billion). AstraZeneca is one of several companies that Germany is now in talks with.The situation is still alarming in Latin America and in particular in Brazil, where at the beginning Jair Bolsonaro caught the epidemic: in the last 24 hours the deaths were 1,262, a number that brought the total of deaths to 31,199 28,936 new cases were recognized, for a total of 555,383.

Hong Kong Security Law: Britain asks China to “step back”

Hong Kong Security Law: Britain asks China to “step back”

The British government on 2 June asked China to “step back from the brink” and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. It also warned that if the former British colony’s autonomy is compromised, the government will offer British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders citizenship to those who are settled in the region.

The statement was made by the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in the House of Commons. The House held a physical meeting despite ongoing corona pandemic to highlight that autonomy of its former colony is of great importance.

The leader also added that China should “respect” its international obligations.

China’s proposal to enact stringent security laws for Hong Kong has attracted sharp reactions from the US and UK.

The Foreign Secretary warned that if China proposes to enact such a law, Britain will also look to at its other options as they have a responsibility towards Hong Kong. Secretary Raab added if any legislation impacting the autonomy of Hong Kong is announced, they can initiate change for the BNO passport holders.

When Britain signed the Joint Declaration in 1984 with China, granting BNO status to Hong Kong residents was part of the deal. The Joint Declaration was arrangement entered into with China before Hong Kong’s handover.

Hong Kong residents with a BNO passport can seek UK consular support in third countries. BNO Passport holders can also enter Britain visa-free and stay in the UK for up to six months.

If the proposed security law is enacted, the UK will allow Hong Kong BNO passport holders to stay beyond six months. The minister also added that those passport holders could also explore the option of getting citizenship in Britain.

China’s National People’s Congress on 22 May proposed a new security law for Hong Kong. After six days, the Congress adopted this proposal.

The new legislation, according to the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, will forbid “treason, secession, sedition, and subversion.”

The British minister described the new law would threaten the “One Country Two Systems,” arrangement. This system makes Hong Kong stay autonomous.

Hong Kong residents fear that their freedom will be compromised if this law is implemented.

The Boris Johnson government is talking to the US and Australia to mount pressure on China to reconsider its decision.

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