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Google launches new global Covid-19 map for journalists

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San Francisco: Google in collaboration with Stanford University has launched a global Covid-19 map that makes it possible for journalists to embed up-to-date visualisations of the pandemic on their sites for readers.

Unlike other coronavirus case maps, the ‘Covid-19 Global Case Mapper’ allows local reporters to embed a map of their area or even a national case map.

The map shows cases in relation to population.

“It’s coloured by numbers of cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days and shows you the severity of outbreak by the number of people in each location, making it easier to compare where you live to the world as a whole,” said Simon Rogers, Data Editor, Google News Lab.

Earlier this year, the team launched a US version of the map.

The new version expands that embeddable view across the globe through data for 176 countries in addition to the US, plus additional state and regional data for 18 countries.

The team has used Google Translate so the experience can be viewed in more than 80 languages.

The data is from the New York Times’ open Covid-19 county dataset and the Covid-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University and is updated daily.

Stanford University’s Big Local News and Pitch Interactive has launched the new global map with support from the Google News Initiative (GNI).

“More in-depth, country-level data will be added over time as the map is developed further and as journalists around the world use it to explain how the pandemic has spread,” Rogers said in a statement on Monday.

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 20 million mark, while the deaths have increased to over 734,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Another earthquake jolts Jammu and Kashmir

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Earthquake Strong

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale jolted Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. According to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the tremors were felt at 12:02 pm today.

The epicentre of the earthquake was yet not known.

There were no immediate reports of any loss of life or damage to property due to the earthquake.

More to follow…

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WHO Board to get 1st update from Covid panel on Oct 5-6, report next year

A diplomat said it is improbable that the independent panel set up by the WHO would be severely critical of the WHO’s handling of the disease in context of China

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Xi Jinpin and UN Chief

The independent panel on Covid-19 announced by World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in July will submit its first update to the world body’s executive board at its meeting on 5-6 October.

The panel was set up at the World Health Assembly against the backdrop of sharp criticism aimed at the WHO chief and Beijing for their handling of the contagious virus that is believed to have originated in China’s Wuhan. Beijing locked down domestic travel in the early weeks of the infection but allowed flights to freely leave the country, spreading virus across the globe.

At last count, John Hopkins University tracker of Covid-19 infections across the world indicates the virus has infected more than 31 million people worldwide and almost killed a million people. China, from where the disease started late last year, has reported only a small proportion of infections, less than even Oman’s 95,000 cases. The United States and India are among those hit hardest.

The US had led the demand for an independent review of WHO’s response that was seen to have let Beijing guide its hand in the early days of the pandemic. At the UN General Assembly this week, Donald Trump – who pulled out the US from the world health body over its handling of the disease – lashed out at China again and asked the UN to hold China “accountable” for unleashing “this plague” on the world.

Diplomats in New Delhi and Geneva, however, suggest that this is unlikely to happen. One of them said it was improbable that the independent panel – co-chaired by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – would be critical of the WHO’s handling of the disease in context of China.

Already, Tedros and the independent panel have made it clear that the exercise was not a fault-finding exercise but an effort to improve the world’s response to the next pandemic.

“While we are clear that The Independent Panel must shed light on what has happened and why, this exercise is not a blame game” said Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Co-Chair of the Panel at its first meeting last week, according to an official statement.

The panel’s co-chair Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she hoped their report would lead to “bold, credible, robust and implementable solutions that ensure our world is better prepared for the next pandemic”.

The panel is scheduled to submit its final report before the next World Health Assembly (WMA) in May next year but will come up with regular updates for other meetings. Like when the WHO’s top policy-making body, the WMA, resumes its meeting on 9-14 November.

The US isn’t part of the panel. Preeti Sudan, a retired civil servant who was India’s Union health secretary when the coronavirus disease broke out, is a member of the WHO panel.

China has sent Zhong Nanshan, the pulmonologist who is credited by Chinese media for having spearheaded the country’s fight against the outbreak of a new coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

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Experts say second wave of Covid-19 at peak in Delhi, says CM Kejriwal

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Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

New Delhi: The second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is at its peak in Delhi right now, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday. He also said that “experts feel that number of cases will decline in the coming days”.

“From July 1 to August 17, cases were in control. We noticed that cases increased and it reached 4,500 new Covid-19 cases on September 17 and are now coming down. So experts are believing that the second wave of coronavirus which had hit Delhi is now on peak and its intensity will be less in the coming days,” news agency ANI quoted the Delhi chief minister as saying.

Kejriwal also said that the daily testing of samples for Covid-19 has been increased in the national capital to 60,000 from the earlier 20,000 a day mark.

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“When new Covid-19 cases were reported in the large number, we had controlled the coronavirus cases with the help of the central government, NGO, and Delhites. I want to thank everyone for their efforts,” Kejriwal said.

Speaking about a high-level virtual meeting to review Covid-19 management with the Prime Minister, the chief minister said that it was fruitful.

As of Wednesday, Delhi’s Covid-19 caseload is at 2,56,789, including 2,20,866 recoveries and 5,087 deaths, according to the figures published by the state health department.

Since the last week of August, there has been a resurgence of Covid-19 infection in the city. However, for the last four days, the number of daily cases has been below the 4,000 mark, indicating a drop in the spread.

The daily average test positivity rate for the infection too has dropped to 6.89 per cent in the seven days ending Wednesday, from 7.18 per cent recorded over the seven days before that.

On Wednesday, Delhi recorded 3,714 new Covid-19 cases and 36 deaths in the 24 hours.

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