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COVID 19

U.S. dispatches medical supplies to the Maldives.

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Following yesterday’s statement by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the U.S. would be dispatching medical aid to the Maldives, a shipment of the aid has arrived in the Maldives aboard the American Kalitta Air flight.

According to the U.S. embassy in Sri Lanka, more than 600 oximeters  and 292,000 pieces of medical equipment. The shipment arrived at the Velana International Airport earlier today at 07:46 after dropping off aid in Islamabad, Pakistan.

USAID Maldives tweeted that the shipment contains “life-saving medical assistance containing personal protective equipment and oximeters to meet the urgent needs of the Maldivian people”.

The US Embassy in Sri Lanka also tweeted that the equipment was an example of the strong and growing partnership between the U.S. and the Maldives.

COVID 19

India’s Telangana to lift all COVID-19 restrictions.

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South Indian state of Telangana has announced that it would be lifting COVID-19 restrictions in the state. The announcement stated that the restrictions would be lifted starting today.

According to Telangana state authorities, the restrictions, including night time curfews will be lifted starting today. However, they still urged the people to follow COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing.

The decision was made by a cabinet meeting with Telanganu Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. This comes after the state saw a drop in its number of new positive cases.

However, health professionals have warned that an inevitable third wave of COVID-19 will come to India in the coming months. They have warned to strictly follow health guidelines.

India has recorded over 29 million cases of COVID-19 with over 385,137 deaths.

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WHO: 30-40 countries unable to give second shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that 30-40 countries are unable o provide the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. They also stated that most of the countries experiencing shortage of vaccines were those who administered the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes as India banned the export of all COVID-19 vaccines. This includes the AstraZeneca vaccine being produced by the serum institute of India. The vaccines were planned to be distributed through the WHO led COVAX program.

Bruce Alyward, a senior advisor at WHO stated that “We have a huge number of countries currently that have had to suspend the rollout of their second doses of vaccine,”. He also noted that Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Middle East as well as neighbors of India are affected by the shortage.

WHO Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Katherine O’Brien stated that many of those countries are at the verge of exhausting their supply of vaccines. She also warned that the current situation was brought by discontinuous supply chains and that it could cause a loss of confidence by the public.

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HEOC: Over Five COVID-19 variants spreading in the Maldives.

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Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has confirmed the spread of over five COVID-19 variants in Maldives.

In a press conference on Tuesday evening, HEOC spokesperson and epidemiologist Dr. Nazla Rafeeg stated that the results identified the existence of the variants Delta, Alpha, G, GR, and Sub Lineage (Peru/Chile) in Maldives and a percentage of other variants. Dr. Nazla Rafeeg said the samples sent for sequencing are taken from both locals and foreigners and are sent in batches of 30 samples.

According to Dr. Nazla Rafeeg, 27 percent of the samples tested positive for the Delta variant -first discovered in India, 20 percent for Alpha variant – first discovered in the United Kingdom, and 13 percent for G variant.

She said that HEOC plans on sending more samples, and also increasing the number samples that can be sent for sequencing.

the risk of new variants from across the world getting imported to Maldives is high with the borders open said Dr Nazla Rafeeq.

Maldives experienced a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in April and May, resulting in a steep rise in fatalities with 88 COVID-19 deaths in May, alone.

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