Connect with us

news

As COVID-19 cases surge, WHO provides over 340 MT of essential supplies to countries in South-East Asia Region

Published

on

NEW DELHI: To support countries across South-East Asia Region respond to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, WHO has provided over 340 MT of essential medical supplies and medicines, and continues to mobilize more to fill critical gaps.

“Thousands of oxygen concentrators, testing kits, hospital beds, tents and  personal protective equipment  are among critical supplies that are being shipped to countries and rushed to areas where they are needed the most,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, adding.

In India, which in recent weeks accounted for a large proportion of global cases, essential supplies have reached 26 States and Union Territories, within days of a major consignment of medical equipment landing in New Delhi.

“These supplies will help meet immediate needs while countries make long term arrangements,” the Regional Director said.

Last week, 4,000 oxygen concentrators, more than 120 tents, 400 medical beds for mobile hospitals, 1.2 million respirator masks, and 650,000 disposable sampling kits were flown into Delhi.

Most recently, WHO has rushed 60 metric tons of much needed diarrheal disease kits, and (personal protective equipment) PPEs to Bangladesh. The rapid deployment of these life-saving medicines and medical supplies is vital to WHO’s ongoing health emergency response efforts, Dr Khetrapal Singh said.

Earlier, WHO provided 43 metric tons of supplies including PPEs, diarrheal disease kits, tents, pulse oximeter, infrared thermometers and field deployment kits to Timor-Leste to respond to pandemic as well as floods that hit the island country last month.

Jointly assessing needs and gaps with countries in the Region, WHO is bringing in more supplies in the coming weeks for Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

“Collective efforts are needed to strengthen pandemic response. WHO is committed to working with all countries in the Region and supporting them in the current surge and beyond,” the Regional Director said.

With support from partners and donors, supplies worth USD 15 million have been provided to countries in the current surge.

Since early 2020, WHO has been working alongside governments to respond to the pandemic. Assisting with surveillance and monitoring, repurposing and deploying WHO staff wherever needed and most recently preparing roll out COVID-19 vaccination.  Providing funding and assistance with supplies such as PPEs, laboratory reagents and other equipment continue to be among key areas of WHO support.

“This is a battle that cannot be fought alone. To curtail the pandemic, we must work together and step up to help each other within and outside our borders,” he said.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

news

Debt-ridden CEB goes ahead with shocking pay hike amidst pandemic

Published

on

Workers offered 25% increase this year…12% annually over three-year period
 

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Two days after the Presidential Secretariat stated that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) owed two state banks––Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank, a staggering Rs 85 bn, the cash-strapped enterprise announced an annual 12 percent salary increase to its employees.

Vijitha Herath, Chairman, of the CEB, yesterday (15) said that the salary increase in terms of the collective agreement for 2021-2023 period would enable the workers to receive 25 per cent in the first year whereas annually it would be 12 percent over a period of three years.

The ministry said that in spite of severe difficulties caused by the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic, the salary increment was granted in response to workers’ request.

Declaring that the Cabinet and the Board of Directors of the CEB had approved the salary increase, the ministry has sought cooperation of the CEB trade unions to finalise the collective agreement.

The ministry claimed that CEB workers had been granted a spate of privileges not given to other state sector employees hence consensus on collective agreement was expected soon.

The Presidential Secretariat on Sunday explained that one reason for the banking sector crisis was the failure on the part of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the CEB to settle Rs 562 bn and Rs 85 bn, respectively.

The Presidential Secretariat issued the statement in the wake of SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, triggering a political storm by demanding Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila’s immediate resignation over recent increase in fuel prices.

The CEB Chairman also claimed that they had been able to bring down the accumulated losses to Rs 56 bn last year from Rs 97 bn in the previous year.

Continue Reading

news

Indian fishers riled by SL moves to create new fish breeding grounds

Published

on

By Dinasena Ratugamage

 

Fishermen from Rameswaran will hold a protest today (16) against Sri Lanka’s decision to submerge 20 old buses in the seas off Jaffna to create breeding grounds for fish.

Members of 17 fisheries associations in Tamil Nadu and Rameswaran claim that this will affect their yield as more fish will be attracted to the breeding grounds created by submerged buses.

The Ministry said that sinking those buses was nothing new and that such buses provided a hard surface for invertebrates to live on, some of which could not live on the sand bottom that is naturally there.

“Some fish are not fast swimmers, so they need a structure to provide both food and shelter; they wouldn’t, for example, be able to outswim a shark, but they could duck into the shelter instead,” a Sri Lankan fisheries association representative said.

However N. Devadas, the head of the Indian fishermen’s association in Rameswaram, said that they would also hand over a petition against that decision to the Sri Lankan government. Sri Lanka has been submerging old SLTB buses in the deep sea for many years as a part of the Deep Sea Fish Development Project.

 

 

Continue Reading

news

Three more weeks needed to see drop in COVID deaths – Dr. Fernandopulle

Published

on

It would take at least three more weeks to see a drop in COVID-19 related deaths in the country, Minister of COVID Disease Control, Dr. Sudharshini Fernandopulle said yesterday.

There had been a drop in the number of cases reported already, she said.

“The number of patients is coming down but there has been an increase in deaths. However, this too will come down.

Continue Reading

Trending