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COVID-19: Racism, Blame Shifting and Politicizing a Pandemic.

Hamdhan Shakeel

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The spread of the COVID-19 virus and the global pandemic has also paved way for a new wave for Anti-Asian hatred and rhetoric’s. Due to disinformation and fake news fueled by global politics, the Asians, especially China has been blamed for the COVID-19 virus.

This accusation and following hysteria have been further exacerbated by some global powers such as the U.S. and its allies specifically blaming China and accusing that the COVID-19 virus originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

First promoted by then U.S. President Donald Trump as a part of his feud against China, the “Wuhan Lab-Leak Theory” was dismissed by Scientists and journalists as a conspiracy theory.

However, when China curbed the spread of the virus and initiated one of the world’s most successful and largest vaccine drives while the U.S. recorded 35 million cases with 610,000 deaths along with it, Anti-Chinese rhetoric’s once against became mainstream as the U.S. struggled to maintain its dominance over the rest of the world.

In a classic Chinese move, China gained the support of the globe by providing the much-needed aid. While the U.S. was hoarding COVID-19 vaccines enough for more than 3 times its adult population according to The Washington Post, China engaged in humanitarian work by donating and providing medical supplies and the COVID-19 vaccine to the rest of the globe.

Till date, China has provided more than 300 billion masks, 3.7 billion protective suits, 4.8 billion testing kits and over 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 200 countries.

However, instead of working on eliminating the COVID-19 pandemic which has had devastating effects on the global economy and tracing the origin of the virus in a scientific manner, some western states backed and coerced by the U.S. is attempting to shift the blame to China by distorting facts and spreading disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

An undeniable fact is that finding the origin of the COVID-19 virus is paramount to ensuring that health professionals are ready for when the next such pandemic strikes. The recently publish joint WHO-China report on the origin of the COVID-19 is the much-needed foundation and guideline on which the rest of the world should conduct their scientific studies on the origin of the COVID-19 virus.

The notion that the virus originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China is also highly unlikely as the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a highly specialized and respected institute with international standards of safety. The idea that the virus escaped due to poor security features is another aspect that one needs to analyze when looking into the accusations that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan. The age-old racism fueled viewpoint that all Chinese products and institutions are of inferior quality is undeniably a part of what is fueling the allegations that the virus leaked from an internationally accredited lab in Wuhan, China.

Even following the publication of the joint WHO-China report on the origin of the virus, a few countries have politicized the efforts to find the origin of the virus. While this has been met with criticism from the vast majority of the world, these few states continue to act in a bid to politicize and blame shift for the current situation.

In reaction to this, 48 countries around the globe have written to the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging the WHO to act according to the resolutions made by the World Health Assembly. They called for the WHO to push forward the “Global probe on traceability of the virus”.

The 48 countries stated that the virus is the common enemy of humanity and that it can only be conquered through a joint effort by the global community.

They also stated that the probe on the origin of the virus is a scientific work and that it should not be politicized.

This sentiment was backed by several academics including Professor Su Jingjing from the Peking University’s School of Health Humanities, who stated that while tracing the origin of a virus is critical to ensuring the medical professionals are better equipped to coping with future outbreaks, finding it however, is a massive scientific effort and a “great deal of luck”.

If we are to look at other similar incidents, it took scientists nearly 2 decades of global research free of political bias before they could identify the patient zero of HIV/AIDS. In case of the Ebola pandemic, scientists have been researching its origin since the 1970’s to no avail.

This in itself is proof that tracing the origin of a virus is a highly scientific work requiring multiple disciplines and years of research without political influence or disinformation.

The politicization of the tracing of the origin of the COVID-19 virus will undoubtedly interfere and obstruct the scientific effort required to successfully trace and establish proper procedures to combat the next such pandemic. If the WHO and other global powers are to successfully curb the spread of the virus and achieve normalcy, all states need to refrain from racism, blame shifting and politicizing a global pandemic.

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Gov’t spends USD 298 million on PSIP so far in 2022

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The President’s Office has revealed the administration spent USD298 million on Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) so far in 2022. The Spokesperson at the President’s Office Miuvaan Mohamed made the remarks during a press conference that focused on sharing information on projects under the PSIP initiated by the administration.

Speaking at the press conference, Spokesperson Miuvaan highlighted the administration had spent USD298 million on PSIP projects by the end of August and that it accounted for 76% of the total budget allocated for PSIP projects from the state budget. He conveyed statistical updates and detailed the progress of the projects in various developmental stages including the development of essential services such as electricity, water, and supply networks as well as housing projects. He said changes might be made to the timeline of the projects, depending on changes to global prices and the availability of resources but that all projects will resume without halt, adding that no island has been neglected in terms of developmental initiatives.

Furthermore, Spokesperson Miuvaan also shared insight into the notable events of the past week and elaborated on some of the upcoming events. He highlighted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s recent visit to four islands of Haa Alifu Atoll and Haa Dhaalu Atoll, during which he met with the island councils and Women’s Development Committee (WDC) members. He noted that the representatives of the islands expressed their appreciation to the president for bringing development to the islands without bias. He also said, previously, the primary concern of council representatives was the delays in providing essential services but that it was no longer the case as the administration has been adamant about developing infrastructure in the islands.

 

Source: psmnews

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President renames Maldivian Embassy in the US

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has renamed the Embassy of the Maldives in Washington to the Embassy of the Republic of the Maldives to the United States of America (US).

The announcement was made public through a directive released by the President’s Office. He made the decision under the discretion vested in the President by Section 116(a) of the Constitution of the Maldives. The directive also specifies that the number 488 should be used in all official documents sent to the Maldivian embassy in the US.

Recently, President Solih appointed Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed as the Ambassador to the United States (US).

 

Source: psmnews

 

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President makes first official trip on RTL ferry

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has travelled from Utheemu to Dhidhdhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll on a Raajje Transport Link (RTL) ferry.

President Solih concluded the National Day celebrations in Utheemu and received a warm welcome from the residents in Dhidhdhoo upon his arrival. He travelled to the island to officially inaugurate the commencement of the RTL high-speed ferry service in Zone 1 of the National Public Ferry Network. He is accompanied by Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) Adam Azim.

The RTL ferry service was established in Zone 1 of the National Public Ferry Network, which consists of Haa Alifu Atoll, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, and Shaviyani Atoll. Over 50,000 passengers used the service in the first three months and MTCC plans to sign a contract to manufacture 65 ferries to expand the service.

The National Public Ferry Network is a large-scale project that introduces efficient, affordable, and convenient passenger and cargo ferry services to all administrative islands of the country. In line with the Decentralisation Act, it aims to facilitate inclusive regional development by connecting people and services, accelerating social and economic growth, improving efficiency in the delivery of public services, and improving mobility and accessibility for all citizens in all areas of the nation. The government aims to connect all Maldivian islands using the ferry network by the end of 2023.

 

Source: psmnews

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