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Indonesia’s most active volcano erupts

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Mount Merapi, Indonesia

Jakarta, June 1: Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, erupted on Friday and spewed a column of ash 6 km into the air.

Mount Merapi situated in the borders of Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces erupted at 8.20 a.m. with volcanic ash spreading to the west of the crater, spokesman of national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

“A red Vona (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) alert has been issued with immediate effect,” he told Xinhua news agency, referring to the highest level of the notice meaning planes are not allowed to pass through the volcano area.

Still, its level could change in line with the development of the latest situation, Sutopo cited.

On May 24, Mount Merapi erupted releasing poisonous gases into the air, according to the volcanology agency.

The alert status of the volcano has been scaled up to the third highest with no-go zone in the radius of 3 km from the crater, according to the agency.

Merapi is located about 28 km north of Yogyakarta city, which has a population of 2.4 million and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano.

One of Indonesia’s 129 active volcanoes, Merapi has regularly erupted since 1948.

In November 1994, pyroclastic flow from a large eruption killed 27 people, and another major eruption occurred in 2006.

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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.

Click here for full Covid-19 coverage

“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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