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Myanmar should take back Rohingya refugees: Bangladesh envoy

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Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Bangladesh High Commissioner in India Syed Muazzem Ali on Monday expressed concern over the condition of the one million Rohingya refugees staying in Bangladesh and appealed to the Myanmar government to take these people back by giving them citizenship rights and security.

“Nearly one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are now staying in Bangladesh. If you do not accept your own people and force them to come to our country… If there is a flare up due to this in our region, all of us will be affected.

“So I request the government of Myanmar to take back their own people and give them their rightful citizenship and give them security. I hope they can live in peace and also let us live in peace,” Ali said while speaking at a seminar on “Bangladesh’s Graduation from LDC: Prospects of Bangladesh-India Economic Engagement” organised by the MCCI.

Pointing out that his country has no bilateral dispute with Myanmar, the Bangladeshi envoy said the Rohingya crisis snowballed after Myanmar refused to accept the residents of their country’s Rakhine State as their citizens.

“We do not have any bilateral dispute with Myanmar. The problem is that Myanmar doesn’t accept the residents of its Rakhine state as Myanmar nationals. But everybody knows who they are and what is their origin,” he said.

Ali said like many other south Asian countries, Bangladesh also faces a number of issues with its population and termed it as one of the most vulnerable countries with regard to natural disasters.

“The magnitude of loss we suffer due to natural calamities like cyclone, is not seen anywhere in the world. So the south Asian countries like Bangladesh have demographic pressure,” he said.

The envoy said the current regime in Bangladesh, under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has shown zero tolerance towards terrorism and terrorist funding after coming to power in 2009, which has successfully reduced terrorist activities in and around the country.

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Global Covid-19 cases top 31mn mark: Johns Hopkins

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The overall number of global coronavirus cases on Monday surpassed the 31 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 960,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases stood at 31,044,033 and the fatalities rose to 960,826, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 6,805,629 and 199,512, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,487,580, while the country’s death toll soared to 87,882.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,544,629), Russia (1,105,048), Peru (768,895), Colombia (765,076), Mexico (697,663), South Africa (661,211), Spain (640,040), Argentina (631,365), France (467,614), Chile (446,274), Iran (422,140), the UK (396,744), Bangladesh (348,918), Saudi Arabia (329,754) and Iraq (319,035), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 136,895.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (73,493), the UK (41,866), Italy (35,668), Peru (31,369), France (31,257), Spain (30,495), Iran (24,301), Colombia (23,665), Russia (19,420), South Africa (15,953), Argentina (13,053), Chile (12,286) and Ecuador (11,090).

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UK PM to address nation over ‘winter lockdown plans

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to brace citizens for “winter lockdown plans” in preparation for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media reports said.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

He is looking at making pubs and restaurants close early and banning households from meeting up, it added.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance will reportedly make an address ahead of the Prime Minister, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

The scientists will outline the consequences of taking no action to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, a government adviser, Professor Susan Michie, told The Telegraph on Sunday that every day of delay could have dire health outcomes.

“We need a stitch in time. We need to learn the lessons of the spring. Every day’s delay to a step change in measures to restrict transmission when it is increasing exponentially will be expensive in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term,” she added.

Johnson has previously admitted that second national lockdown would be “nothing short of disastrous”‘ for the UK, the Metro newspaper reported.

The development comes as more than 10 million across the UK are placed in some form of local lockdown.As of Monday, the UK has reported a total of 396,744 coron mm mm u huhavirus cases, with 41,866 deaths.

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4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.