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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Biden unveils the national plan Trump ignored

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Biden unveils a pandemic strategy that Trump shied away from

Even as thousands died every day of Covid-19, Trump had long avoided a centralised concerted response to the pandemic. Stamping his authority on governance, Biden outlined a national pandemic plan aimed at taming the virus that has killed over 400,000 in the United States. In a sharp reversal from the previous Trump administration, the strategy mandates mask-wearing on public transport, setting up a national testing board and mandatory quarantine for foreigners arriving in the country. Biden termed the approach a “full-scale wartime effort.” The pandemic is one the most pressing challenge Biden faces in the early days of office even he warned that deaths from will hit 500,000 mark next month. Read here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 97,560,171

Change Over Yesterday: 653,459

Global deaths: 2,092,500

Nations with most cases: US (24,631,890), India (10,625,428), Brazil (8,697,368), Russia (3,637,862), United Kingdom (3,553,773).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.

Mexico saw more than one Covid death per minute on Thursday

If we take into account that there are 1,440 minutes in a day, Mexico has recorded a daily increase of 1,803 confirmed deaths on Thursday, the highest daily toll since the pandemic began. The country also reported highest daily increase of 22,239 confirmed infections, according to the health ministry data. However, given the low testing numbers, the number of daily deaths and infections could actually be higher than what was reported. Mexico has rolled-out its inoculation drive by vaccinating health care workers with Pfizer shot. Read here

WHO platform for pharma firms unused since pandemic began

A World Health Organization (WHO) platform for pharma companies to share Covid-related knowledge, treatments and technology so they can be more widely distributed was left unused in the eight months since it was established, according to a report in the Guardian. The platform called the Covid-19 technology access pool (C-Tap) was set up in May last year to to facilitate the sharing of patent-protected information to fight the virus, including diagnostics, therapeutics and trial data. Consultations have been held in recent months, but as of January no technology or treatments have been shared, according to a WHO spokesperson. Read here

Philippines’ lawmakers pass bill to create new Covid-safe greeting

The has upended the way people greet each other world over. The traditional handshakes and hugs were dismantled, paving the way for fist and elbow bumps and footshakes to reduce transmission of the virus. Lawmakers in the Philippines recently passed a bill to legislate a new, Covid-safe form of greeting in an effort to reduce contact during the pandemic. According to the bill, the new gesture will involve “gracefully laying the palm of the right hand over the centre of one’s chest while simultaneously lowering the head, with eyes either closed or cast down”. One lawmaker called the new greeting “Bating Filipino”. Read here

Japan insists Tokyo Olympics will go ahead

Despite growing alarm over the infections in Japan, the government is pressing ahead with its plan to organise the Tokyo Olympics this summer, putting to rest multiple reports that the games will be cancelled. Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, said he “completely denied” a report in the Times of London that the government had resigned itself to scrapping the games. Recently, the London Olympic organising member said, looking at the pandemic situation, it is highly unlikely the games will be conducted as per schedule. Read here

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