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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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President and First Lady depart to Bahrain on an official visit

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed have departed for Bahrain on an official visit.

The Spokesperson at the President’s Office Miuvaan Mohamed said President Solih will be visiting Bahrain from October 5-8 at the invitation of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

During the visit, President Solih is scheduled to sign a number of high-level agreements with Bahrain, which will further strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.

President Solih last travelled abroad to the United Kingdom (UK) last month to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

 

Source: psmnews

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Education sector essential for building nation’s workforce: President

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated the education sector is essential for building the nation’s workforce and human resources. He made the statement in a written address to the nation on World Teachers’ Day 2022.

In the address, President Solih reflected on the changes in the education sector over the years, noting the unprecedented advances in science and technology. He emphasised the importance of teachers familiarising with the new technology and modern teaching techniques and said the goal of the education sector should be to raise children who are knowledgeable enough to adapt to these advances.

Additionally, President Solih said anyone who wants to bring positive changes to society should begin their work in the education sector since societal reform is closely linked to the education sector. He went on to say the education sector is essential for building the nation’s workforce and human resources. He conveyed his best wishes to all teachers and educators in the Maldives on the occasion of Teachers’ Day and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for their invaluable service to the nation.

In an earlier tweet, President Solih conveyed his gratitude and deep appreciation to teachers across the Maldives by highlighting the positive impression that teachers leave on students. He said individuals owe much to their selfless hard work to educate children and to guide and prepare them for life.

The theme of World Teachers’ Day 2022 is The Transformation of Education Begins with Teachers.

 

Source: psmnews

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President says next top priority will be to improve health sector

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that the primary focus of the administration next year will be to improve the healthcare sector. He made the remark at a meeting held at the President’s Office with senior officials from healthcare providers across the Maldives.

At the meeting, President Solih stated that the administration will prioritise the development of healthcare services in the coming year and that some transformative changes in the sector have already been achieved. However, he noted that there was still room for improvement in healthcare services.

At the meeting, the managers of health centres from across the country highlighted the recent notable achievements in the sector. They also discussed with the president the need for the standardisation of healthcare centres, staff shortages, mobile laboratory management, the steady supply of prescription drugs, and mechanisms for managing public health services.

Furthermore, President Solih briefed participants on the plans of the administration to improve the healthcare sector further and provided updates on the status of ongoing initiatives. He also assured them that the health sector would soon see some progressive changes.

Vice President Faisal Naseem also attended the meeting. He stated the administration had surpassed all previous governments in reforming healthcare services in the atolls across the country.

Source: psmnews

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