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‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Michael nears Florida

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Hurricane Michael

Washington, Oct 10 : Hurricane Michael was upgraded to an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm on Wednesday, hours before it is due to make landfall in the US state of Florida, where it could blow ashore as the strongest storm to hit the country this year.

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century. Hurricane Michael is upon us, and now is the time to seek refuge,” Governor Rick Scott said.

The hurricane was expected to make landfall in the afternoon, causing “potentially catastrophic” damage to the region, CNN reported.

Michael, packing winds of 230 kph (145 mph), was moving north at 20 kph (13 mph) towards the Florida Panhandle, the National Hurricane Centre said in public advisory.

More than 370,000 people in the state were ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground. Florida, Alabama and Georgia declared a state of emergency.

Forecasters said the storm’s torrential rains were likely to cause widespread flooding, cutting off low-lying areas on the coast.

At least 13 people reportedly died in Central America over the weekend as a result of storm rains and floods.

The Florida Governor called Michael a “monstrous storm” and urged residents to listen to officials. Schools and state offices in the area will be shut this week.

State officials issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in at least 22 counties on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen.

President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida.

Heavy rains were forecast for the Carolinas, which were drenched by Hurricane Florence in September.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents: “I know people are fatigued from Florence, but don’t let this storm catch you with your guard down.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties, while Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter it was “in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael”.

IANS

Disaster

Boris Johnson says UK at ‘critical moment’ in Covid-19 fight

Addressing a briefing from 10 Downing Street in London, Johnson struck a sombre note as he called for “collective forbearance, common sense and willingness to make sacrifices” in order to avert another nationwide lockdown, even as he warned that he would not hesitate to impose further restrictions if needed.

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Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said the UK is at a “critical moment” in its fight to control the spread of coronavirus, as a further 71 deaths took the country’s death toll from the deadly virus to 42,143.

Addressing a briefing from 10 Downing Street in London, Johnson struck a sombre note as he called for “collective forbearance, common sense and willingness to make sacrifices” in order to avert another nationwide lockdown, even as he warned that he would not hesitate to impose further restrictions if needed.

His warning of a high number of infections and “tragic increase” in deaths came as this week marked the biggest rise in daily cases since the pandemic began, with a further 7,108 infections recorded on Wednesday and the number of patients with Covid-19 on ventilators hitting 312.

“These figures show why our plan is so essential. We have to stick to it together and we should stick to it with confidence,” said Johnson.

“I know some people think we should give up and let the virus take its course despite the huge loss of life that may entail. I profoundly disagree. I don’t think the British people want to throw in the sponge, they want to fight and defeat this virus,” he said, adding that the UK will “get through this”.

He was joined by his scientific and medical experts who reiterated that the coronavirus cases were “heading in the wrong direction”.

Johnson’s briefing came as the House of Commons passed by 330 votes to 24 an extension to the Coronavirus Act, the emergency legislation which needs parliamentary approval every six months.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to the members of the Parliament that they would be given votes “wherever possible” on any new coronavirus rules before they come into force in future. The assurance comes amid growing disquiet within Johnson’s own Conservative Party over some of the tough and hard to interpret localised lockdown measures being imposed in large parts of the country.

In a rare intervention, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle delivered a harsh rebuke on the government for its failure to seek parliamentary approval for these measures.

“The way in which the government has exercised its powers to make secondary legislation during this crisis has been totally unsatisfactory,” he said. Hoyle warned that he was “now looking to the government to rebuild trust with the House and not treat it with the contempt it has shown”.

As a result, any further tough lockdown moves are likely to be first tabled for a vote in Commons.

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10,453 new cases take K’taka’s Covid tally to 5,92,911

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Coronavirus India

Bengaluru, Sep 29 : A whopping 10,453 new Covid-19 cases were registered across Karnataka till Monday midnight, taking the state’s tally to 5,92,911 till date, including 1,07,737 active cases, the state health bulletin said on Tuesday.

“As many as 6,628 people were discharged on Tuesday, taking the total number of recoveries to 4,76,378, while 8,777 have succumbed to the virus so far, including 19 a day ago,” said the bulletin.

The epicentre of the pandemic, Bengaluru, registered 4,868 fresh cases, taking its Covid tally to 2,28,437, including 46,610 active cases, while 2,373 were discharged till Monday midnight, taking the city’s total number of recoveries to 17,89,143 since March 8.

With 67 succumbing to the virus on Monday, the city’s death toll rose to 2,912.

Of the 815 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) across the southern state, 261 are in Bengaluru, followed by Dharwad (93), Ballari (80), Hassan (62) and Kalaburagi (40).

Among the districts, Hassan reported 475 cases on Monday, followed by Mysuru (414), Dakshina Kannada (362), Shivamogga (347), Udupi (319) and Ballari (313).

Among the districts with high discharges, Tumakuru reported 519, followed by Mysuru (350), Koppala (324), Bengaluru Rural (304), Ballari (295) and Dakishna Kannada (232).

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Official COVID-19 death toll probably underestimates true total – WHO

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World Health Organisation

GENEVA: The official global toll of deaths from COVID-19 probably underestimates the true total – suggesting it could be over a million already, a World Health Organization official said on Monday.

“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted COVID-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a briefing in Geneva.

“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly but I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of COVID,” he said.

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