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COVID 19

President Solih, It’s public health over private wealth. Not the other way around.

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COVID 19 has without a doubt devastated the fragile economy of the Maldives. Decades of repetitive economic policies to cash in on the nations beautiful islands and beaches with little regulation on maximizing income and nonexistent penalties on tax evasions has made our nation exceedingly dependent on the tourism sector.

Incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his reactionary policies against COVID 19 has allowed the economy disrupting COVID 19 to not only come to our welcoming sunny shores, but taken a hold of the whole nation by its neck. While today Tourism Minister Ali Waheed boasts about how he will not endanger the public for the sake of the resort operators, it is an undeniable truth that he did in fact, endanger the public for the resort operators.

Not only did President Ibrahim Solih, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Health Minister Abdulla Ameen and Director General of Public Health Maimoona Abu Bakr refused to close the airports following months of criticism by the public who called to close our borders as early as February 2020, they chose to keep operations running up until the first community spread was flagged thereby forcing them to close the airports in a classic Solih reactionary measure.

If we dwell in to the realm of hypotheses, consider an alternative reality where the current ruling executives actually chose public safety and health over the income of a few resort operators. Tourism sector would take a hit but, the rest of the economy would keep going on allowing the public to go on with their lives. Construction, delivery and transportation, import and export businesses and other offices would have been able to continue on had the current government chosen public health over private wealth.

But the blame on the current situation does not solely lie on the too slow too little policies of President Solih. Ruling Party MDP holds a supermajority over the parliament. In fact, they have a stronghold over every single government institution and organizations, why haven’t they done anything to aid the public in this time of struggle?.

Current ruling party holds 65 seats along with an additional 5 seats from the government coalition partners giving them a total 70  out of 87 seats in the parliament. This staggering majority is enough to pass any bill unobstructed to aid the public in this crisis but till date the ruling party MDP with its  sizable parliamentary group even has failed to aid the public.

The level of incompetence by the ruling party has even allowed room for conspiracies with the public alleging the ruling party of working to keep the public poor and desperate to keep us relying on the rich elites in a bid to control the public’s outrage. This is only further fuelled when oppositions bills on rent moratoriums and COVID 19 aid bills are rejected by the parliament controlled by the ruling party MDP without any reasoning.

Keeping aside conspiracies, current government and its parliaments indulgence in corruption and embezzlement along with their aimless policies directed to divert public attention without actually solving any critical problems has furthered public outrage at the current government. No amount of PR by the dedicated staff at the President’s Office will now clear President Solih, his cabinet and his party of endangering the public and then abandoning it.

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COVID 19

G7 to donate 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to COVAX.

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The leader of the G7 countries have finally reached a consensus on the agreement to share vaccines with the rest of the world. According to the agreement, the G7 will be donating 870 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the WHO.

It has been reported that of the 870 million doses, 435 million doses would be delivered to the WHO by the end of 2021.

WHO has confirmed the G7’s commitment in a statement. According to the WHO, the G7 countries will donate a total of 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the COVAX program.

The COVAX program is a WHO led initiative to make COVID-19 vaccine accessible to even the poorest countries.

While the international community has welcomed the decision, they are also calling for the continued donations of vaccines and for the licensing not-for-profit production of the vaccine by other countries. This comes as several countries are facing the worst waves of COVID-19 while the COVAX program is running low on its supply of vaccines.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that “any other countries are now facing a surge in cases — and they are facing it without vaccines. We are in the race of our lives, but it’s not a fair race, and most countries have barely left the starting line, we need more, and we need them faster.”.

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency.

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COVID 19

The ugly side of Thailand’s latest COVID-19 outbreak

Mariyam Mohamed

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Photo by: Adam Dean.

After months without a single confirmed case of local transmission in Bangkok, the pandemic has now radiated from luxury nightclubs to the warrens of slums that hug Bangkok’s highways and railroad tracks.

According to Thailand health ministry officials, Thailand’s biggest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak is linked to the famous Krystal and Emerald nightclubs which caters to the rich and famous. Many people linked to the club have tested positive, including an ambassador and a government minister.

The infections have spread to the less privileged and cramped areas where social distancing is impossible. It has also spread to prisons, construction camps and factories.

In late May 2021, Thailand reported more than 5,800 cases on a single day. The total number of infections now stands above 175,000.  As many western nations approach a semblance of normalcy, Thailand is among one of the countries impacted by the late-outbreak of the virus in Southeast Asia, where vaccines are not yet adequately available. Thailand is counting on AstraZeneca vaccine production by a local company that has never manufactured vaccines before.

However, Thailand’s elite book overseas tours to get vaccinated abroad. Most of the infected poor in need of treatment are forced to wait for beds at government field hospitals set up in stadiums or other areas.

During this pandemic inequality and corruption has increased where less privileged suffer the most. Many have lost their jobs and are dependent on government welfare. The social issues arising from the pandemic are even more severe than the economic impact. However, less priority is given to increasing social issues.

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COVID 19

HEOC resumes random sampling in Greater Malé city area.

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Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has recommenced the collection random samples. According to HEOC, collection of random samples would begin in Greater Malé city area from this Thursday onwards with a target of 380 samples per day.

Random sampling was discontinued in the capital following a surge in COVID-19 positive cases last May, which led to increased sample collection through the flu clinics.

As a result of strict measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, the numbers seem to be gradually declining.

According to the latest figures announced by the Health Protection Agency this Thursday, out of 3,819 samples collected within the last 24 hours, 323 tested positive, bringing the total number of cases up to 69,536. With 191 COVID-19 deaths, the recorded fatality rate in Maldives is 0.27%.

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