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‘US to purchase 3 billion dollar dairy, meat, produce to aid struggling farmers’

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Donald Trump

Washington, May 10 : The US will purchase $3 billion worth of dairy, meat and produce from farmers and ranchers starting early next week, President Donald Trump announced.

“The USA will be purchasing, from our farmers, ranchers & specialty crop growers, $3 billion worth of dairy, meat & produce for food lines & kitchens,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

The President noted that the government purchase was part of the “Farmers to Family Food Box”, calling it “great news for all”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Demands for agricultural products have plummeted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as widespread lockdowns since late March have disrupted supply chains across the nation, even forcing some farmers to destroy their products that can’t be stored.

Some of the country’s largest slaughterhouses have closed due to growing infections among workers at certain facilities, presenting additional challenges for farmers.

Trump has recently signed an executive order to keep meat-processing plants open, but it has drawn backlash from the country’s largest meatpacking union.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union on Friday announced its opposition to the re-opening of 14 meatpacking plants under the recent executive order, raising concerns about the serious safety issues at these facilities that put workers and the food supply at risk.

Meanwhile, farmers and ranchers have been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, with year-on-year farm bankruptcies increasing 23 per cent, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Wisconsin was the hardest hit with 78 filings in the 12-month period, followed by Nebraska with 41 filings and Iowa at 37, the American Farm Bureau Federation noted.

More than 50 per cent of the filings were in the 13-state Midwest region, followed by 19 per cent in the Southeast.

Trump had recently announced a $19 billion- relief program to help farmers and ranchers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with $3 billion in purchases of fresh produce, dairy and meat for distribution at food banks.

The coronavirus food assistance program will also provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted by the pandemic, according to the Department of Agriculture.

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Chinese mainland reports 49 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

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Coronavirus

BEIJING, Aug. 10 : Chinese health authority said Monday that it received reports of 49 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Sunday, including 35 imported cases and 14 locally-transmitted ones.

All the 14 locally-transmitted cases were reported in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.

One new suspected COVID-19 case, which was imported from outside the mainland, was reported in Shanghai Municipality.

No deaths related to the disease were reported Sunday.

A total of 64 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery on Sunday, the commission said.

By the end of Sunday, a total of 2,169 imported cases had been reported on the mainland. Of them, 2,037 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 132 remained hospitalized, with one in serious condition. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.

As of Sunday, the overall confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland had reached 84,668, including 802 patients who were still being treated, with 41 in severe conditions.

Altogether 79,232 people had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 had died of the disease on the mainland, the commission said.

There were still seven suspected COVID-19 cases, it added.

According to the commission, 2,305 close contacts were discharged from medical observation on Sunday, and there were 24,055 close contacts still under medical observation.

Also on Sunday, 31 new asymptomatic cases, including 24 from outside the mainland, were reported, and three asymptomatic cases were re-categorized as confirmed ones.

The commission said 283 asymptomatic cases, including 136 from outside the mainland, were still under medical observation.

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Coronavirus: Covid hits 3,800 central security personnel in northeast

Many Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and National Disaster Response Force personnel have also tested positive for coronavirus.

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BSF Jawan Tripura

Guwahati/Agartala/Aizawl, Aug 10 : As coronavirus spreads across the northeast, nearly 3,800 central security force personnel have so far infected by the disease in almost all the states in the region, officials said on Sunday.

According to the health officials, the eight northeastern states have so far recorded around 75,000 Covid-19 cases, including 57,714 in Assam.

Of the 3,800 Covid cases among the central armed forces personnel, the highest number are in Nagaland, at 1,226, followed by 823 in Manipur, 738 in Arunachal Pradesh, 360 in Tripura, 350 in Mizoram and 300 in Meghalaya. Many of their family members, including children, were also infected.

A significant chunk of the coronavirus patients among the central forces are from the Border Security Force (BSF). Two BSF jawans in Tripura and one in Meghalaya also succumbed to the highly infectious virus.

Many Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and National Disaster Response Force personnel have also tested positive for coronavirus.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga even made a plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure suspension of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) movement into the state till August 31, noting that around 70 per cent of Covid-19 positive cases in the state are from the military and paramilitary forces.

A senior BSF official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS that the BSF men and other central force personnel, after completion of their leave period or when they are transferred, have to move by train or by air for their destinations from different parts of the country. “During transit or in their hazardous duties along the borders or various vulnerable places, the jawans come in contact with the dreaded virus,” the official said.

As the eight northeastern states share over 5,000 km of borders with China, Myanmar Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and some are also battling against terrorism, there is a heavy deployment of armed forces as well as central paramilitary forces in the region.

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Union Minister who endorsed ‘papad’ to boost immunity against Covid-19 tests positive

A video of the minister endorsing ‘Bhabhiji papad’, which he called a health supplement, had gone viral on social media.

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Arjun Ram Meghwal

New Delhi, Aug 8 : Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who had recently endorsed an indigenous “papad” brand claiming that eating the “papad” will help fight the deadly coronavirus, on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19.

“Meghwal was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at around 10 a.m. after he complained of difficulty in breathing,” a doctor told IANS.

However, his condition is said to be stable now. He is receiving treatment under Neeraj Nishchal, who is a professor at the department of Medicine at AIIMS, as per sources.

Meghwal, who is the Junior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, recently made headlines after he claimed that a particular brand of the ubiquitous Indian snack, ‘papad’, had a role in boosting the immunity and antibodies that could help cure COVID-19.

A video of the minister endorsing ‘Bhabhiji papad’, which he called a health supplement, had gone viral on social media.

–IANS

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