In a major to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra government’s morale, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded their success over the Covid-19 outbreak in Dharavi – Asia’s largest slum.
WHO Director-General Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, at a press conference late on Friday, referred to the achievements made in the Dharavi among other similar examples globally.
“Even in Dharavi, a densely packed area in Mumbai, a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission, and suppressing the virus,” Ghebreyesus said.
In this context, he pointed out that there are many, many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the Covid-19 outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control, as in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Korea.
Responding quickly, the BMC said: “Thank You, WHO for acknowledging #Mission Dharavi where it partnered with citizens to ‘Chase the Virus’ from one of the most populous blocks of the city”.
“With your guidelines and Mumbai’s community efforts, we will beat Covid-19 one block at a time by Tracing, Tracking, Testing and Treating,” the BMC’s return tweet said.
Ghebreyesus also stressed the need for community participation and collective solidarity – akin to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s appeal two days ago for forming Corona Vigilance Committees right down to the village levels, and asking NGOs to adopt Mumbai slums with public partnership to beat the Coronavirus.
Reacting to the WHO DG’s comments, Health Minister Rajesh Tope admitted that “we have worked very hard from day one along with the people of Dharavi” and even in Malegaon, Nashik, and now the results are showing in both places.
“It was an aggressive fight, surveillance of the population, early detection of symptoms, isolation in government quarantine centres in a huge way, all precautions like fogging the area regularly, disinfecting public toilets repeatedly daily, starting fever clinics, providing portable chest x-ray machines, temperature guns, etc, even in Malegaon,” Tope told IANS.
He said that in both places, “we have managed to flatten the curve, we don’t expect it to worsen any further, but we also can’t take chances so will continue to remain vigilant”.
Education Minister and MLA from Dharavi Varsha Gaikwad said she was “proud of all Dharavians.. as today they have set an example for the world.
“WHO has recognized and praised our efforts against this war (vis-A-vis) Corona… Let’s keep up the good work and we will fight in the strongest way,” a thrilled Gaikwad tweeted.
The WHO head also cautioned that from countries where there is exponential growth to places that are loosening restrictions, are “now starting to see cases rise”.
For this, Ghebreyesus assured that WHO will continue to work with partners to ensure that the poorest and most marginalized are prioritized.
“That means restarting routine immunization and ensuring that medical supplies reach health workers across the worlda Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn the Covid-19 pandemic around,” Ghebreyesus asserted.
After the success in Dharavi — chronicled in a series of reports by IANS over the past three months — the model is being replicated in north Mumbai where there has been a huge spike in recent weeks with a public-private-partnership.
However, both Maharashtra and Mumbai have a long way to go yet as the state has 9,893 deaths and 238,461 cases while Mumbai stands at 5,205 fatalities and 90,461 cases till date.
India, China to hold 9th round of talks to resolve border dispute
India and China Flags.
Indian and Chinese militaries will hold a ninth round of talks aimed at resolving the border disputes in Eastern Ladakh after a deadlock prevailed since the last negotiations in November 2020, sources said.
The latest “Corps Commander level meet is likely to take place in the next few days, probably in a day or two”, the sources, adding contours of the dialogue were being worked out and some changes are expected.
A Ministry of External Affairs representative is likely to be part of the dialogue.
The eight round had taken place on November 6, 2020.
Though the talks ended in a deadlock, both countries agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and also to take forward the discussions, push for the settlement of other outstanding issues, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
Earlier this month, Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had said that the force is ready for a long haul along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), while hoping for an amicable solution in its nine-month-long conflict with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
“We are prepared to hold our ground where we are for as long as it takes to achieve our national goals and interest,” he had said.
On August 30, 2020, India had occupied critical mountain heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop that were unmanned till now.
India has also made some deployments near Blacktop also after the Chinese tried to make a provocative military move.
Now, dominance at these 13 peaks allow India to dominate Spangur Gap under the Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.
India releases Chinese soldier apprehended for crossing disputed border
Indian authorities on Monday released a soldier of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who was apprehended for crossing the disputed border in Eastern Ladakh.
“The PLA soldier who had been apprehended on January 8, was handed back to China at Chushul – Moldo at 10.10 a.m. today,” said a senior Indian Army officer.
The solider was interrogated for spying on deployment of Indian forces at the disputed border region in Ladakh.
He had crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at friction point between both the countries at South of Pangong Lake.
The Indian Army had stated that the PLA soldier had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in the area.
Troops from either side are deployed along the LAC since friction erupted last year due to unprecedented mobilisation and forward concentration by Chinese troops.
It was on August 28, 2020 and August 29, 2020, Indian troops in a precautionary deployment, pre-empted Chinese expansionist designs and occupied heights along the southern bank of Pangong Tso.
Two weeks ago, the Defence Ministry in its year end review had stated that PLA escalated the situation at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh by the utilisation of “unorthodox weapons and amassing large number of troops”.
The Ministry that Chinese made unilateral and provocative actions to change the status quo by force, in more than one area on the LAC.
Thereafter India responded to in a firm and non-escalatory way, ensuring the sanctity of claims in Eastern Ladakh.
India has categorically conveyed China that any attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo at the border is unacceptable and that India is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
India and China are engaged in a nine-month-long standoff at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.
Pakistani Foreign Minister embarks on 2-day visit to UAE
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday embarked on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for talks on bilateral matters, according to an official statement issued here.
The Foreign Ministry statement said Qureshi will hold discussions with the UAE leadership on all areas of mutual interest including regional and global issues, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The Foreign Minister will exchange views on bilateral cooperation, in particular, trade, investment and the welfare of Pakistani diaspora,” it said.
The UAE is home to the second-largest Pakistani community abroad.
The visit is part of the high-level exchanges between Pakistan and UAE, according to the statement.
“High-level visits are an important feature, which not only exhibit cordial ties between the two countries but also accord the leadership an opportunity to give further impetus to strengthening bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues,” it added.
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