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COVID-19 pandemic alarming as global cases surpass 90 mln, new variant spread

Global cases hit 60 million on Nov. 25, surpassed 70 million on Dec. 11 and hit 80 million on Dec. 26. It took 16 days to climb from 60 million to 70 million, 15 days from 70 million to 80 million, and 15 days from 80 million to 90 million.

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New delhi, Jan 11: The raging COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating as confirmed cases worldwide have exceeded 90 million and a new variant genome has been detected in Japan.


The global case count reached 90,045,410, with a total of 1,931,571 deaths worldwide as of 3:22 p.m. local time (2022 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.


The United States has been the hardest-hit country worldwide both in terms of infections and fatalities with 22,293,281 cases and 373,588 deaths, accounting for 24 percent and over 19 percent of the global total respectively, followed by India with 10,450,284 cases, and Brazil with 8,075,998 cases but with the world’s second largest death toll of 202,631.


Countries with more than 2 million cases also include Russia, Britain, France, Turkey, Italy and Spain, while other countries with over 50,000 deaths include India, Mexico, Britain, Italy, France, Russia, Iran and Spain, according to the CSSE tally.


Global cases hit 60 million on Nov. 25, surpassed 70 million on Dec. 11 and hit 80 million on Dec. 26. It took 16 days to climb from 60 million to 70 million, 15 days from 70 million to 80 million, and 15 days from 80 million to 90 million.


NEW COVID-19 VARIANTS


Japan’s health ministry said on Sunday that four passengers who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport from Brazil earlier this month had been infected with a new variant of COVID-19.
The ministry said the four people, who arrived at Haneda airport on Jan. 2 from Amazonas, Brazil, tested positive after the airport quarantine.

Among them, a man in his 40s had been hospitalized due to breathing difficulty and a woman in her 30s had symptoms of throat pain and headaches, said the ministry. A male teenager had developed a fever while a female teenager had shown no symptoms.


Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases said there was no evidence so far that the new mutant strain was highly infectious though the variant showed some similarities to those reported in Britain and South Africa.


Besides, the variants earlier found in Britain and South Africa have spread to many countries during the past 24 hours.


As of Sunday, France confirmed 47 cases of the new COVID-19 variant detected in Britain after seven people were diagnosed with the mutated virus in Marseille, the country’s second largest city, local authorities said.


Also on Sunday, Iran’s Minister of Health and Medical Education Saeed Namaki confirmed four people infected with the new variant of the virus have been detected and placed under quarantine.


The new variants have also been spreading to India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Vietnam, among other nations.

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COVID-19: Strict week-long Lockdown in Bangladesh from April 14

(Asian News Hub) – A strict 7-day lockdown is going to be enforced in Bangladesh, from April 14, allowing only emergency services to remain in operation, it was announced on Friday.

All government and private offices, and factories will remain closed during the week-long lockdown to curb the Covid-19 spread, Public Administration Farhad Hossain said.

A gazette notification in this regard will be issued soon, he added.

IANS

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Myanmar: 114 civilians killed in deadliest day since Coup

(Asian News Hub) – At least 114 civilians were killed across Myanmar on Saturday as the military junta continued to crackdown on peaceful protests, CNN reported citing Myanmar Now.

The killings in 44 towns and cities across the country would represent the bloodiest day of protests since a military coup last month.

Among those killed is a 13-year-old who was shot in her house after the junta’s armed forces opened fire in residential areas of Meikhtila.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot ‘in the head and back.’

Despite this, demonstrators against the February 1 coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns.

On February 1, Myanmar’s military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency while detaining civilian leaders including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The coup triggered mass protests which were met by the junta’s deadly violence.

The United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres and the UN office in Myanmar spoke out against the violence.

‘The continuing military crackdown, which today resulted in the highest daily death toll since demonstrations against the coup began last month, is unacceptable and demands a firm, unified and resolute international response. It is critical to find an urgent solution to this crisis,’ said a statement issued by Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general.

‘The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the killing of dozens of civilians,’ Haq said.

The UN office in Myanmar said it ‘is horrified by the needless loss of life today with reports of dozens of people shot dead by the military across the country, in the bloodiest day since the coup.’

‘The violence is completely unacceptable and must stop immediately. Those responsible must be held to account,’ the UN office added.

‘As the Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener has said, ensuring peace and defending the people should be the responsibility of any military, but the Tatmadaw has turned against its own people,’ it added.

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Horrifying day of bloodshed in Myanmar

(Asian News Hub) – Security forces killed more than 90 people, including some children, across Myanmar on Saturday in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses said.

The lethal crackdown, which took place on Armed Forces Day, drew strong renewed criticism from Western countries. British Ambassador Dan Chugg said the security forces had “disgraced themselves” and the U.S. envoy called the violence horrifying.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade to mark Armed Forces Day that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”. Despite this, demonstrators came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, as they have done almost daily since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces.

At least 29 people, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed in Mandalay, and at least 24 people were killed in Yangon, Myanmar Now said. A boy as young as five was earlier reported among the dead in Mandalay but there were conflicting reports later that he may have survived.

Another 13-year-old was among the dead in the central Sagaing region.
“Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,” Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group set up by deposed lawmakers, told an online forum.

Meanwhile, one of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people – including a lieutenant colonel – and losing one of its own fighters.

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces or the insurgent attack on its post.

“They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,” said Thu Ya Zaw in the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were killed. “We will keep protesting regardless… We must fight until the junta falls.”

The deaths on Saturday would take the number of civilians reported killed since the coup to well over 400.

REUTERS

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