The World This Morning: December 22, 2020
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INDIA HAS SUSPENDED ALL FLIGHTS FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM TILL DECEMBER 31st
The Civil Aviation Ministry has said that this decision has been taken in view of rising covid infections in the country. It has also said that the passengers coming from the UK through flights till midnight today would be tested for Covid-19 on arrival at airports. Over two dozen countries have banned flights from the UK. The British government said that the increasing number of infections is getting out of control. They have already imposed a strict new lockdown from 20th December.
NEW STRAIN OF CORONAVIRUS IN UK TRIGGERS SERIES OF TRAVEL BANS AHEAD OF HOLIDAY SEASON
It is said to be 70 per cent more transmissible and has left the UK in strict lockdown. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that London could be under a lockdown for months, as it will be "very difficult" to keep the highly infectious mutant strain of the novel coronavirus under control until vaccinations are rolled out. The new tighter restrictions will be reviewed on December 30.
THE WESTERN INDIAN STATE OF MAHARASHTRA HAS IMPOSED NIGHT CURFEW FOR THE NEXT 15 DAYS
The curfew will be effective in all municipalities across the state for 7 hours between 11 pm and 6 am till January 5th. Christmas and New Year celebrations will be low key in the state as people will not be allowed to step out at night. The state government has also decided to keep all travellers from European and Middle-Eastern countries in institutional quarantine for 14 days. These precautionary measures are being taken as the mutation of the coronavirus infection found in Britain is believed to spread faster than its previous strains.
EUROPEAN REGULATOR HAS APPROVED THE PFIZER/BIONTECH COVID VACCINE
A number of EU countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccination programmes from Sunday. They will start from their most vulnerable groups like the established global protocols. European governments are enlisting medical students, retired doctors, pharmacists and soldiers for an unprecedented inoculation programme that will initially target frontline healthcare workers and elderly residents of care homes.
IN CANADA, THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT IS EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE COMPLETE LOCKDOWN AFTER CHRISTMAS
The province has been reporting over 2000 cases per day for the last 7 days. There were 17 deaths on Monday alone. Ontario has had a respectable recovery rate of 85.3 per cent but with the growing infections, the healthcare workers have been overburdened. The government decision to impose widespread restrictions may help stem the spread of the virus.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP FACES HUGE BACKLASH FROM CHINA OVER HIS SUGGESTION ON THE RECENT CYBER ATTACK
Trump suggested that the Chinese were involved in the recent cyberattack on the United States without any evidence. China is one of the most advanced governments in developing cyber warfare abilities. They say that Trump has politicised the issue and is spreading false news to tarnish China's image in the world.
EXPERTS IN ARGENTINA WORK TO IDENTIFY THE REMAINS OF OVER 600 PEOPLE WHO WENT MISSING DURING THE DICTATORSHIP ERA
The civic-military dictatorship lasted from 1976 to 1983, and an estimated 30,000 people were murdered by government operatives. The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team is in the process of carrying out DNA sampling for final identification. The project has been ongoing for 36 years. It is an effort of the Argentinian government to provide closure to the families that suffered during the dictatorial regime.
PANAMA BUILDS FIELD HOSPITALS AS THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 HITS THE COUNTRY
The authorities have started the process of converting non-hospital structures like gyms and parking lots into emergency field hospitals. With a population of over 4 million and having limited hospital beds, government and healthcare workers have been forced to get creative in accommodating the rising virus caseload. At present, the nation has 35,265 active cases.
EYEBROWS ARE BEING RAISED BECAUSE OF THE CHINA-PAKISTAN AIR FORCE DRILLS. BUT CHINA IS DEFENDING THEM AS ROUTINE AND NOT AIMED AT INDIA.
The sensitivities between India-China are high as the two nations continue a military stand-off at the Line of Actual Control. The air forces of the two countries have been holding their annual exercises Shaheen (Eagle)-IX in the southern Sindh province of Pakistan since the second week of December. The exercises are being viewed as a show of strength and the collaboration that the two countries could have if a war breaks out. But China said that the drills were not directed against any third country.
FIRST SHIPMENT OF COVID-19 VACCINES ARRIVES IN SINGAPORE
Making Singapore the first country in Asia to receive the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The shipment was transported on Singapore Airlines, which departed on Sunday from Brussels. Singapore authorities had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use.