Tag: Pandemic

Is coronavirus lockdown leading to a surge in domestic violence?
Americas, Asia Pacific Focus, Europe

Is coronavirus lockdown leading to a surge in domestic violence?

The coronavirus lockdown is no less than a nightmare for people living with abusive partners. Reports suggest that there have been manifold increase in domestic violence cases since the lockdown began in different countries as a preventive measure to beat Covid-19.

French authorities witnessed 36% increase in domestic violence cases in Paris only, while rest of France showed 32% rise in reported cases since the lockdown began on March 17.

China, which was first to be engulfed by the pandemic outbreak, reported twice as many cases of domestic violence as compared to the normal times, after the lockdown began in January. Soon the hashtag translating as #AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic started going viral.

Spain also reported a violent case wherein a 35-year-old woman (mother of two) was killed by her partner last month during the lockdown. The country is facing the second-worst outbreak in Europe after Italy.

According to Oxfam India, the global figures suggest that almost 1 in 3 or the 35 per cent of women worldwide have “experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime .”

Experts believe that coronavirus-deemed shutdown has put society under stress as many fear losing jobs, many are combating with food shortages, economic and mental insecurities. And in such stressful times, confinement aggravates frustration, increasing the likelihood of conflicts, leading to domestic and sexual violence. The lockdown increases the danger as it puts the victim under constant touch of the perpetrator.

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Anti-domestic violence organisations are finding it not only hard to work from home as they are unable to reach out to the victims due to shutdown but also not able to help victims due to lack of refuge. Hope the governments and welfare agencies are not losing sight of this grave issue amid Covid-19 pandemic. Though many have come forward in support of the abused victims.

Suzanne Jacob, chief executive of British charity SafeLives, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “It’s a perfect storm. Lockdowns will lead to a surge in domestic abuse, but also severely limit the ability of services to help.”

The French government is trying to help victims by putting them in hotels and setting up approximately 20 consultation centres in stores. The French Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, announced on March 26 that victims of domestic violence could drop a message to local pharmacists if they are in danger. The government also announced fund of about 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in funds for anti-domestic abuse organizations to facilitate them in helping people and keep up with increasing demand for their services in the current situation.

In Spain’s Canary Islands code word ‘Mask 19’ is used by the victims at nearest pharmacy to help them reach out to authorities for rescue.

Germany and Austria have made facilities, providing refuge or helping in removal of violent family members from quarantined households. Several other nations, in partnership with NGOs are devising more such plans but a lot of nations have not made any arrangements for the victims.

What’s dangerous is that this upward moving graph of domestic violence cases is only of reported cases, while there many cases which remain unreported since in nations like India domestic violence is seen as a normal. Hope the lockdown and coronavirus both recede soon.

Wimbledon 2020 cancelled due to Coronavirus, players express sadness

Wimbledon 2020 cancelled due to Coronavirus, players express sadness

For the first time in 75 years (since second World War), the Wimbledon 2020 has been cancelled by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak that is looming across the world. The tennis tournament was scheduled to take place from June 29 till July 12.

In a statement released by AELTC on social media, the management expressed regret and stated concerns over public health in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the cancellation of the oldest tennis tournament this year. The decision has been taken by the AELTC after extensive consideration and consultation with the Committee of Management of The Championships, the statement said.

Furthermore, chairman of the Main Board of the AELTC, Ian Hewitt, maintained that in the light of the ‘global crisis’, it is the ‘right decision’ to cancel The Championships. He added that the decision has been taken keeping in mind the health and safety of the workers, staff members, players, public of UK and visitors from across the world. The management has further maintained that the people who paid for the tournament tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot will be refunded.

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Reacting to the announcement, an array of Tennis players expressed sadness over the cancellation of the tournament. Eight-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer, who was hoping to make a comeback in this year’s Wimbledon, took to social media and said that he was “devastated” on the development. Leading Tennis player Serena Williams said that she is “shooked” following the news. 16-year-old Coco Gauff said that she will miss playing the Wimbledon this year, requesting the people to stay safe amid the pandemic outbreak.

Following the cancellation, the 134th Wimbledon will be conducted from June 28 to July 11 in 2021. This is not the first global sporting event that has been cancelled/postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was postponed to 2021, and the Euro 2020 has also been deferred. The French Open which was scheduled to kickstart from May has now been postponed to September.

As the globe witnesses the biggest lockdown in an attempt to contain the virus, the number of Coronavirus cases continue to rise in several parts of the world. Meanwhile, the governments are taking adequate measures in order to protect the citizens from the pandemic. As of April 2, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in UK surpassed 29,000 with over 2,000 deaths and 135 recovered from the virus.

Effects of Coronavirus pandemic over climate change spark debate

Effects of Coronavirus pandemic over climate change spark debate

In just few months of its inception in Wuhan city in December 2019, the Coronavirus outbreak has led to a temporary shutdown of economies, in order to curb the escalation of the virus across of the world. This economy and social shutdown has surprisingly led to significant reduction in pollution in various countries including China, Italy, US and India.

Air pollutants and emission of greenhouse gases has notably fallen from last year owing to the cutback in the global economic activities, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As per reports, pollution level in New York has reduced by almost 50 percent following the steps taken by the government to contain the pandemic. Similarly, the emission of greenhouse gases has dropped down by nearly 25 percent after industries and factories were ordered to remain shut amid the virus outbreak.

Satellite images have shown that the emission of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has faded over parts of Italy and Spain. Moreover, in Venice, the water in canals has become cleaner. In India, with 1.3 billion under lockdown, data has shown fallen levels of dangerous gases and subsequent blue skies.

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Amid the largest global lockdown, while the consumption of domestic energy has increased with people working from their homes, there is a significant drop in the use of commercial energy.

However, there has been an ongoing debate over the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the environment. While some experts are arguing that the positive changes in the environment can help in strengthening climate goals as specified in the Paris Climate Agreement, while others are indicating that climate change benefits from COVID-19 are likely to be negligible. Notably, the positive changes that the pandemic has brought in for the climate will be short-lived if there is a global failure to decarbonize the world economy.

According to a report, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has also asserted that in the long run, efforts made by global entities in order to get COVID-19 pandemic under control will further help in accelerating the fight against climate change.
Arguments have emerged suggesting that the countries will soon start working on restoring their economies from the pandemic shutdowns, thereby outweighing the short-term positive impacts of the outbreak on the environment.

Meanwhile, a series of meetings of world leaders to discuss the climate crisis have been deterred in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic. While a number of international meets have been delayed, some of them have gone digital in an attempt towards continued work. Nevertheless, there is still an uncertainty over the climates change talks in the upcoming months.

Increasing Coronavirus: Who is to blame?
Americas, Asia Pacific Focus, Europe

Increasing Coronavirus: Who is to blame?

Coronavirus, the biggest global pandemic of the century, is not the only virus which has infected the world and taken down millions of lives. The world has fallen victim to Ebola, Yellow fever, Zika virus, Nipa virus, MERS (CoV), scarlet fever, SARS, Enterovirus 68 and many more. Today, we have more viruses and diseases than ever before. According to a research paper, “Deposition rates of viruses and bacteria above the atmospheric boundary layer”, published in 2018, there are about 800 million viruses on every square meter of the planet. But not all viruses cause pandemics. Well, not all viruses even enter the human lives.

According to scientists, wet forests are the breeding grounds for most of the viruses in the world as the region is rich in terms of biodiversity. Rodents, mammals and bats are the maximum carriers of viruses but the most dangerous of all are bats as they have a strange ability to carry a lot of viruses, in their saliva, urine, and faeces. And they can easily spread these virus as they can fly to different places.

Dr. Kevin Olival, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, who has been studying emerging viral infections for over a decade, said that over the last 60 years, the number of viral diseases has gone up four times and the outbreaks per year has increased three times.
He added that there are thousands of new viruses in the world. Interestingly these are new only to the world of humans and science as they have been existing among the wild for thousands of years.

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Viruses are not coming to humans, but humans are going to them. It is humans, who are getting into the forest, and using the forest land to build malls, estates or convert them into plantations, including soya bean plantation in Amazon, palm oil plantation in Indonesia, Malaysia, live stock ranching, agricultural expansion, logging etc.

Dr. Barbara Han, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York, said, “Whatever survives, spills out. Deforestation is closely tied to disease emergence.” Dr Han said that by 2050, more than half of the world’s population is expected to live in the tropics and subtropics. Where as at present only 15 percent of the world’s rain forests still remain untouched, but the rest has been burned down.

Human activities are rapidly impacting the environment and hampering the balance of existing biodiversity. With all these changes, comes along the era of new and deadly viruses. We witness it a lot many times that, if deforestation happens in certain area then animals show up in nearly farm lands or houses. In the same manner if these virus-carrying animals or bats enter human space or spit or pee or poop on a human or in our farm lands then these viruses enter human race.

In 2017, Dr. Olival was working on project ‘PREDICT’, along with a team from the EcoHealth Alliance, who were trying to investigate where the most dangerous unknown pathogens are likely to be living. The team predicted that the next pandemic would emerge from bats, as they are already known to be cause of many human pandemics, including Sars, which emerged from cave-dwelling bats in China, and Ebola.

Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, raised a pertinent point. Dr. Morse told BBC, “I think we are better able to respond to pandemics today than ever, but part of the problem is mobilising the resources and political will to take them seriously. I feel the greatest problem is not so much the pathogen – it’s complacency.”

The key causes of increasing rate of viruses are rampant human consumerism, globalisation, overselling of tourism industry and growing clutches of capitalism, in-short human expansion into the wild. We, humans need to learn from past and from our catastrophic mistakes before becomes a past.

Coronavirus. The six stages of the pandemic, how it develops and how will end
Americas, Europe

Coronavirus. The six stages of the pandemic, how it develops and how will end

Each pandemic has its own course. From the declaration of the beginning of a pandemic wave to the peak and deceleration, to then prepare for a future wave. These are the steps that need to be addressed every time an epidemic spread globally. These are the reference adopted internationally by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CoC). The scientists believe that the progression of a pandemic occurs in six steps. The first is the appearance of a new dangerous microorganism for humans, as happened in China in late 2019 with the coronavirus SarsCoV2. In this phase, the first objective is to assess the level of risk and aggressiveness. The second step is to identify all cases of contagion to understand the potential spread and to adopt containment actions. The third step marks the beginning of a global spread infection, the pandemic. The fourth step corresponds to the acceleration of the pandemic wave, with an epidemiological curve pointing upwards. Public health actions focus on containment interventions, such as the closure of schools and social distancing, as well as the use of drugs and the search for a vaccine. The goal of these combined actions is to reduce the spread of the virus into population. The fifth step consists in the progressive and constant reduction of cases and, in parallel, of containment actions as happened in China, in Italy and how is happening in the USA now. The sixth and final step marks the end of the pandemic and at the same time the beginning of a phase of preparation for further waves.

But how will all this end? An answer comes by Ed Yong, Science writer at The Atlantic and author of I CONTAIN MULTITUDES, a New York Times bestseller on animal-microbe partnerships. Yong affirms in his paper that whether through accumulating herd immunity or the long-awaited arrival of a vaccine, the virus will find spreading explosively more and more difficult. The Science writer stress that it’s unlikely to disappear entirely. “The vaccine may need to be updated as the virus changes, and people may need to get revaccinated on a regular basis, as they currently do for the flu. Models suggest that the virus might simmer around the world, triggering epidemics every few years or so”. The expectation is that the severity of the virus would decline, and there would be less societal upheaval. In this future, COVID-19 may become like the flu is today — a recurring scourge of winter. Perhaps it will eventually become so mundane that even though a vaccine exists, large swaths of Gen C won’t bother getting it, forgetting how dramatically their world was molded by its absence. Ed Young write on Medium (https://medium.com/the-atlantic/how-the-pandemic-will-end-c6200beea706).

After the pandemic, people who recover from COVID-19 might be shunned and stigmatized, as were survivors of Ebola, SARS, and HIV. Health-care workers will take time to heal: One to two years after SARS hit Toronto, people who dealt with the outbreak were still less productive and more likely to be experiencing burnout and post-traumatic stress. People who went through long bouts of quarantine will carry the scars of their experience. “My colleagues in Wuhan note that some people there now refuse to leave their homes and have developed agoraphobia,” says Steven Taylor of the University of British Columbia, who wrote The Psychology of Pandemics. But there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma. Already, communities are finding new ways of coming together, even as they must stay apart. Attitudes to health may also change for the better.

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Brazilians protest under quarantine by clanging pots and pans, saying Bolsonaro ‘Get out!’

Brazilians protest under quarantine by clanging pots and pans, saying Bolsonaro ‘Get out!’

President Jair Bolsonaro faces outrage from citizens as they come out in their balconies and windows to protest against his administration. People clanged pots and pans with wooden spoons and chanted Fora Bolsonaro!” (“Get out, Bolsonaro!”).The Guardian reported.

The Covid-19 has taken nearly 15,000 lives across the world and seems set to do the same in Latin America in the coming weeks. The regional government is shutting borders and closing down big cities to control the virus from spreading.

The quick trigger for the protest against Bolsonaro is due to his reaction to the covid-19 pandemic, as he recently stating that coronavirus is a hysteria, media stunt, and fantasy.

As the pandemic made its first advances into Brazil recently, Brazil’s pioneer sparked outrage as he continued mingling with fans despite being advised to remain quarantined after getting ill during a trip to the US.

As per the Guardian, Wilma Dutra de Oliveira, a language teacher from Leblon, expressed that “We can no longer acknowledge an individual like this as our leader,” “The inclination I have is that the presidential seat is vacant,” and we don’t have a president instead we have a clown who doesn’t have a clue what he is doing.”

However, Mauro Ventura, a Brazilian author, said the window-side protest reflected greater, pent-up discontent against Bolsonaro’s administration the coronavirus emergency had made to detonate.

Oliveira stated that she didn’t anticipate that the present protests will bring about a quick change. Even though numerous intellectuals trust Bolsonaro has irreparably crippled, his odds to get re-elected in 2022.

Article Credit: The Guardian/Reuters

America continues sanction tactic to penalise Iran

America continues sanction tactic to penalise Iran

Despite the world doused in the fear of the coronavirus pandemic, the US has no plans of relaxing its sanction tight noose over Iran, the Trump administration has communicated this to the media recently.

As economies worldwide are pumping in resources to keep themselves afloat and not sink in despair, the Trump administration has sent a stark message to Iran in three new rounds of sanctions. America has been getting calls to ease off its pressure on Iran which has reported the worst management strategy of handling the widespread pandemic as more than 10,000 prison inmates were severely infected in the matter of days of being exposed.

However, this week, the Treasury Department went ahead and sanctioned five firms, adding to actions earlier in the week by the State and Commerce Departments. This time, the US has come down heavily on all those who have been instrumental in exporting petroleum products and nuclear operations despite the previous sanctions.

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As it stands now, the new U.S. steps has systematically and collectively blacklisted more than a dozen companies and executives and five nuclear scientists for allegedly helping export petroleum products, a critical revenue source.

This has been done because it is the belief of American sources that the Iranian regime has made use of revenues from petroleum and petrochemical sales to fund its terrorist proxies, instead of using it for the health and well-being of the Iranian people. Iran has constantly increasing cases of infection and has decided to keep its economy open and running, unlike other nations which have resorted to a complete lockdown to contain the spread of the contagious virus.

With its economy further sinking into an abyss, Iran has, in the first time in six decades as for an emergency credit line from the International Monetary Fund. America’s recent sanctions has also been frowned at by hopeful Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders along with others who feel this is too severe a blow and will ultimately affect the common Iranian.

In response, Trump administration officials might be right is saying that Iran’s woes are actually in large part, the result of the government’s policies, systemic corruption and mismanagement, including its handling of the pandemic.

UK’s Boris Johnson calls Saudi Crown Prince Salman to discuss coronavirus pandemic
Europe, Middle East & Africa

UK’s Boris Johnson calls Saudi Crown Prince Salman to discuss coronavirus pandemic

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Sunday afternoon, telephoned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the global coronavirus outbreak.

10 Downing Street announced that the prime minister updated the Crown Prince on the measures that the UK is taking, driven by scientific guidance, to control the spread of the disease.

The two leaders concurred on the requirement for a universally organized response to the outbreak, especially on developing a vaccine and checking the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.

They resolved to work intently on this, including through the G20 that Saudi Arabia is going to host this year.

The G20 Summit is scheduled in the Saudi capital Riyadh between November 21 and 22.

Johnson has spoken via phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the past few days regarding the outbreak.

Johnson is due to chair another Cobra crisis committee with health authorities on Monday to co-ordinate the British government’s response, which a few people have criticized for including less stringent measures than those of other European countries.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has stated the legislature would take measures for people over 70 years and public vulnerable to Covid-19 to self-isolate, conceivably for months.

On Sunday, 10 Downing Street statement said Johnson and senior ministers would have daily press meetings on the pandemic, upheld by medical specialists and scientists.

G7 pioneers will examine global efforts to fight the infection over a phone call on Monday. Johnson will request all pioneers to help the World Health Organization with fundings and expertise for research. Hoping that would guarantee quick advance to build up a vaccine and drive help to relieve the economic impact of the emergency.

Article Credit: The National/Reuters

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The #CoronavirusLockdown is no less than a nightmare for people living with abusive partners. Reports suggest that there have been manifold increase in domestic violence cases since the lockdown began in different countries as a preventive measure to beat #COVID19

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