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Image: Courtesy of the Economic Times.

Viewpoint by Manish Uprety F.R.A.S. and Jainendra Karn *

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Since time immemorial, humanity has confronted natural disasters and pandemics continually, and yet survived. But COVID-19 is unique in the sense that it has shaken and stirred both the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the world to the core. With over 5.9 million COVID-19 cases and over 362,000 deaths globally, the very experience is the most overwhelming in our living memory.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Viewpoint by Vijay Prashad*

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

KOLKATA, India (IDN) – On March 20, just after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on March 11, the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) sent a cable to U.S. State Department instructing officials how they should speak about China and the novel coronavirus, according to the Daily Beast, which obtained the cable.

Photo: India’s communist party workers engaged in packing of vegetable kits to be distributed.

By Yadul Krishna*

NEW DELHI (IDN) – The left-ruled Indian State of Kerala remains in the global spot for its effective and efficient measures in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The state subjugated the Indian news headlines, projecting its potential, strength and humane approach to the outer world, leaving an operative model that other states can follow.

The government’s apt and adaptive state-interventionist strategy even garnered widespread attention across the world, with international media and academic journals, including that of MIT and Oxford, praising the robustness of the ‘Kerala Model’ of development.

Image: Collage of flags of Australia and China from Wikipedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) – Australia is entering what observers here say could be a deep recession, the first in almost 30 years. It was the rise of China that helped this sparsely populated vast continent to avoid a recession for the past three decades, the most extended period of economic growth in Australian history.

Rather than being thankful to China, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in a local TV interview on April 19 called for an "independent" inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan expressing concerns about transparency from China on the issue.

Image credit: Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York.

By Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sr Lanka President

The following is the text of the Sri Lankan President's address on May 4 to the online summit meeting of the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) under the theme "United Against COVID-19":

COLOMBO (IDN) – I am pleased to be participating at this Summit, in support of global solidarity, unity and renewed multi-lateral cooperation in overcoming COVID-19.

Sri Lanka firmly believes that this Summit will serve as an important platform for the NAM Member States to support collective global action in combating this deadly virus and sharing best practices and lessons learnt.

Photo: Children, highly vulnerable to COVID-19, look to the future with optimism. Credit: Dilrukshi Handunnetti.

The Small Indian Ocean Island Deserves Recognition

Viewpoint by Dr Palitha Kohona

The writer is former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, and former Foreign Secretary.

COLOMBO (IDN) – Sri Lanka has been successful so far, compared to most countries in the world, in the fight against Covid-19. The mind-numbing figures of death and infection streaming in from many parts of the globe are not being reflected in Sri Lanka. An infection rate of around 700 with 7 deaths in a population of over 21 million are figures to arouse excitement. But surprisingly, no glowing headlines applauding the success of this small relatively poor Indian Ocean island embellish the front pages.

Photo: U.S.-Sri Lanka month-long military training continued in March and April at Sri Lanka's strategic Trincomalee air and naval base despite travel sanctions and Covid-19 spread on the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier based in the Indian Ocean - Guam. Credit: Sri Lanka Navy.

Viewpoint by Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

The writer is an anthropologist affiliated with the International Center for Ethnic Studies in Colombo.

"The claim that coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines is highly questionable .. there's little evidence to confirm that premise ..and current estimates about the Covid-19 fatality rate may be too high by orders of magnitude' – Dr. Eran Bendavid and Dr  Jay Bhattacharya, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.

Photo credit: Minorities Rights Group International.

By Jaya Ramachandran

LONDON (IDN) – A new report warns that the minorities and other marginalised communities are even more exposed to the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is hitting South Asia. It has come at a time when governments are inflicting sustained assaults on their rights. Minorities face severe obstacles in accessing their right to nationality amidst rising majoritarian nationalism across many parts of the South Asia, says the South Asia Collective (SAC) in its annual flagship report, South Asia State of Minorities Report.

Photo: Chinese Emergency Medical Teams at Wuhan. Credit: World Health Organization.

Viewpoint by Vijay Prashad*

This article was produced in partnership by Indian Punchline and Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute where it first appeared. This is the first part of a two-part series. The second is available here.

‎KOLKATA, India (IDN) – On April 14, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump addressed a news conference at the White House, where he said that his administration would “halt [all] funding” for the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO, founded in 1948, is the principal United Nations agency tasked with the improvement of the health of the world; it is also widely acknowledged as an agency that is best suited to deal with health emergencies.

Photo: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (left) and Australian PM Scott Morrison (right) who is spearheading an international enquiry into China's lack of transparency and the WHO's mistakes in regard to COVID-19. A collage of pictures from Wikimedia Commons and Spotlght Nepal.

Viewpoint by John McCarthy *

MELBOURNE (IDN) – Australia's decision to spearhead an international enquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemicread China's lack of transparency and the WHO's mistakes — is a nice hoary bellow from the domestic political ramparts, but it is a policy mistake.

The Australian opposition's support for the decision does not bathe the policy in divine light. It merely doubles the weight of the mistake.

Whichever country had decided to initiate such a policy, it would have been a bad idea.


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