India sending 500,000 HCQ tablets to Afghanistan to help treat the coronavirus patients
The Khaama Press | 15th April
The government of India has decided to send 500,000 hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets to Afghanistan in a bid to help with the treatment of the COVID-19 patients, it has been reported.
India will use the Saarc Covid-19 emergency fund set up to send the tablets to Afghanistan.
A senior government official has told the Hindustan Times that New Delhi is currently working on options for the shipment of the tablets to Afghanistan in view of relations with Pakistan.
COVID-19 Strengthens the Relationship Between Maldives and India
Maldives Times | 14th April
The Maldives is very much dependent on the imports of daily essentials from neighbourhood countries, mainly from the Republic of India. India has put its own crisis aside to demonstrate the nation’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy and this has resulted in the strengthening of India’s relationship with the Maldives.
Amidst the pandemic of COVID-19, India has gone to the total shutdown of the nation. However, India has assured the supply of staple food and other essentials to the Maldives during the shutdown.
Historic ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19
Myanmar Times | 15th April
The leaders of ASEAN Plus Three (APT), namely Korea, China, and Japan, assembled on April 14 to discuss on their collective response to COVID-19. It was the first time that the leaders of the region met via a video conference. As different threats require different strategies, the unseen specter of the corona virus shifted the paradigm of gathering among regional leaders. Following the first ever extraordinary G20 leaders’ video summit on March 26, the APT summit meeting showcased unequivocal political commitment of the regional leaders in fighting collectively against this unprecedented challenge
Kabul denies reports of temporary halt to Taliban prisoner release
Afghanistan Times | 16th April
The National Security Council has turned down the reports that say the Afghan government has temporarily halted the prisoner release process of the Taliban inmates.
Spokesman for the council, Javid Faisal told Afghanistan times that the release would be continuing and that there is no plan on suspension of the process.
Khalilzad, Taliban leaders to discuss ‘challenges in implementing the U.S.-Taliban agreement’
The Khaama Press | 13th April
The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad left for Doha, the capital city of Qatar, to discuss the challenges in implementing the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement.
The State Department in a statement said “Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad departed on April 12 for travel to Doha.”
The statement further added “In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will meet with Taliban representatives on April 13 to discuss current challenges in implementing the US-Taliban Agreement.
Bangladesh sends food, medicines to Maldives
Bangladesh Post | 15th April
A Bangladesh Navy ship set sail Wednesday for the Maldives carrying more than 100 metric tons of food, medicines and medical equipment as assistance for Maldives, the foreign ministry said.
As per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the Bangladesh High Commission in Male is facilitating dispatch and delivery of the materials to the Maldives in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic cases being detected in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Covid-19: Dairy farmers struggle with 90% milk unsold
Dhaka Tribune | 16th April
Local dairy farmers across the country are now struggling for survival. 90% of the milk they produce remains unsold due to the countrywide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The pandemic has reduced milk demand, cutting prices and threatening the promising business on which thousands of people depend for their livelihoods.
“Each day around 12,000,000 lakh tons of milk worth Tk60 crore remains unsold, which is 90% of our production,” Said Shah Emran, general secretary of the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association (BDFA).
Five million more people to get ration cards: PM Hasina
Prothom Alo | 16th April
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina asked her party leaders and activists as well as public representatives to provide relief materials to the people who truly need these, reports UNB.
“Don’t consider who are my voters or who aren’t. The general people who’re in trouble have to be enlisted. Bangladesh Awami League works for people. It doesn’t need to consider who belongs to which party,” she said.
EU provides Euro 8.5M to support RNR and LG
Kuensel | 17th April
The European Union (EU) on April 4 released Euro 8.5 million (M) to support Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) and local governance (LG) sectors in Bhutan.
The tranche release is a part of the larger budget support initiative for a total value of EUR €48.8M implemented by the government for the period from 2017 to 2022, according to a press release from the EU.
With the release of the 4th tranche, the EU has so far transferred EUR 29.6M to the government. Funds are implemented directly by the government through the national budget.
Maldivian Temporarily Halts All Its Domestic Operations
Maldives Times | 15th April
The national airline, Maldivian has temporarily ceased its domestic operations following the 24-hour lockdown in the capital Male’ city.
Director-General of Public Health, Maimoona Aboobakuru, issued the order for lockdown due to the confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in the capital.
This marks the sixth Maldivian to test positive for COVID-19, and the 21st confirmed case in the Maldives. HPA informs that 16 out of the 20 have made full recoveries. Two Maldivian patients are being treated at designated quarantine facilities, whilst another two had been repatriated to their home country of Italy.
COVID-19: Maldives successfully delivers majority of 'care packages'
The Edition | 16th April
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, announced that a large number of the 'care package' facilitations were distributed to the intended recipients.
According to the Foreign Ministry, of the total of 1153 packages it received, 887 packages were delivered.
The Ministry noted being unable to contact some of the families, due to them having returned to Maldives prior to the package delivery. However, it stated, efforts are underway to deliver the remaining 266 packages.
More than 15,000 Myanmar migrant workers return from China
Myanmar Times | 16th April
More than 15,000 Myanmar migrant workers will return from China and pass through the Kachin State border gates starting April 16, a senior state minister said.
The return of the thousands of migrant workers from China will further stretch the already limited resources of the government in dealing with the pandemic, coming a few weeks after tens of thousands of workers from Thailand also returned to the country.
Myanmar Pastors Face Prosecution for Defying Ban on Religious Gatherings Amid COVID-19
The Irrawaddy | 14th April
Myanmar police filed cases against two pastors and their followers in Yangon for breaching the government’s COVID-19 control directives after they held religious gatherings and some of their followers, including one of the country’s most famous rock stars, tested positive for the disease.
The Yangon regional government announced that cases were filed on Tuesday against Pastor Saw Kwe Wah, U Saw Ray Gandi, Pastor David Lah and U Wai Tun under the Disaster Management Law for organizing public Christian activities as recently as early April in Yangon. The regional government on March 13 banned mass gatherings until the end of this month to curb the spread of the coronavirus. If found guilty, the quartet will face up to a year in prison.
Qatar used coronavirus pandemic as a ruse to expel Nepali migrant workers, Amnesty International says
The Kathmandu Post | 16th April
The Qatari authorities used the global health pandemic of Covid-19 as a cover-up to expel Nepali migrant workers illegally, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights advocacy group has accused the Qatari authorities of rounding and expelling dozens of migrant workers after telling them that they were being taken to be tested for Covid-19 in March.
Amnesty International said it had interviewed 20 Nepali male migrant workers who were apprehended by Qatari police, alongside hundreds of others, last month.
Govt urged to protect rights of marginalised, needy people
The Himalayan Times | 16th April
A high-level human rights situation monitoring committee headed by the National Human Rights Commission today expressed serious concern about the desperate humanitarian situation of thousands of daily wagers in Kathmandu valley, patients requiring medical checkup and follow-up and people taking a long walk home amid the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government.
The monitoring committee was recently formed to monitor various issues, including government’s performance in the fight against COVID-19, arrangement of medical treatment, consumer rights, freedom of expression, access to justice and civic duties during the ongoing crisis.
SC asks govt to bring back migrant Nepalis stranded in foreign lands
The Himalayan Times | 16th April
The Supreme Court issued an interim order to the government asking it to take care of the health needs of Nepali migrant workers living in foreign countries and to repatriate vulnerable Nepali workers from foreign countries to Nepal.
A single bench of Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla issued the order in response to a writ petition filed by Advocate Som Prasad Luitel and others against the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and others seeking relief for Nepali workers stranded in foreign countries.
Coronavirus: IMF approves $1.386bn funds for Pakistan
The Nation | 17th April
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $1.386 billion funding for Pakistan to meet the urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Executive Board of the IMF approved a purchase of Pakistan under the RFI equivalent to SDR 1,015.5 million ($1.386 billion, 50 per cent of quota) to meet the urgent balance of payments needs stemming from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the IMF said in a statement.
Chinese doctors to leave for China today; nationwide tally crosses 7,000
The Express Tribune | 17th April
The Covid-19 respiratory illness caused by this mysterious contagion has so far infected more than 2 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 128,000 of them have died and counting.
Pakistan, despite its close proximity with China, remained coronavirus-free until February 26 when a young man from Karachi tested positive after returning from Iran – one of the worst-hit countries. After a brief hiatus following the first case, Covid-19 cases spiked as more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the virus.
Imran emphasises need for reliable data to tackle Covid-19
Dawn | 17th April
Decision-makers need accurate data for tackling the coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan said at a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre convened to review measures to cope with the disease during Ramazan.
The meeting decided to establish quarantine facilities in all major cities across the country to treat Covid-19 patients.
PM lauds debt relief measures by G-20, IMF, and WB
The Nation | 17th April
Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated debt relief measures by G-20 countries, IMF, and World Bank for developing countries, including Pakistan. He was talking to Finance Advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in Islamabad.
The Finance Advisor informed the Prime Minister about the planned approval of an additional 1.4 billion dollars concessionary financing from IMF to deal with economic impact of coronavirus.
IMF to review Sri Lanka’s request for Rapid Credit Facility
Colombo Page | 17th April
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is starting to review Sri Lanka’s request for Rapid Credit Facility this week, the global lender said.
Responding to media queries at the Asia and Pacific Department press briefing on Wednesday, Changyong Rhee, Director, Asia and Pacific Department of the IMF confirmed that they have received a letter from Sri Lanka government about the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) program.
SL performs well in fighting Coronavirus & ranked 9 in GRID Index
Daily Mirror | 16th April
Sri Lanka and its leadership were ranked 9th in the Global Response to Infectious Diseases (GRID) Index which evaluates how efficient and effective the leadership of the country and the preparedness of its health system were in tackling COVID-19 pandemic.
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) of Australia commissioned the research study to evaluate the response and leadership shown in each country to develop the Global Response to Infectious Diseases (GRIDTM) index.
Sri Lanka President envisions a robust new economy amid COVID-19
Colombo Page | 16th April
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa meeting with the secretaries to ministries at the Presidential Secretariat has discussed rebuilding the economy in the face of the current challenges.
According to the President’s Media Division, a focal point of the discussion was on returning to normalcy. To do so, President emphasized the need for the public and private sectors to recommence its business activities. Therefore, curfew needs to be eased to allow these functionalities to proceed without undue obstruction.