Joe Biden, India, Uruguay

Joe Biden, India

India logs record jump in virus infections as Biden hails US vaccine drive

India's health ministry data on Thursday showed 314,835 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours – the most of any country since the pandemic began.

22/4/2021 12:00:00 PM

India 's health ministry data on Thursday showed 314,835 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours – the most of any country since the pandemic began.

India on Thursday posted a global record for the number of coronavirus cases in a day, as US President Joe Biden hailed his government's 'stunning' vaccination drive.

AdStreamen Sie Netflix or Pay TV channels such as SKY, DAZN, Maxdome, beliebigen Filme oder Fernsehsendungen auf Ihren Großbildschirm.South China Morning PostCoronavirus: Chinese expert rails against WHO chief and Wuhan lab leak theoryA Chinese scientist on the joint international team investigating the origins of Covid-19 has accused WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of being “extremely irresponsible” for pursuing the “lab leak” theory. The rare public display of discontent – voiced by an anonymous expert and reported in local state media – showed how Beijing subtly protested against the World Health Organization’s pursuit of a hypothesis that China preferred to abandon while leaving room not to bruise ties with the UN agency. The issue might potentially sour the relationship between China and the world health body but would not fundamentally change it, an observer said.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. China has been firmly pushing back against any suggestions that a leak from a high-level biosecurity lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan started the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also insisted China was very cooperative and transparent with the investigation. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday afternoon that all parties should respect science and the opinions and conclusions of scientists, and the WHO in particular, should play an exemplary role. Last month, following the release of the report by the Chinese and international experts on their 28-day mission to study how Covid-19 erupted in Wuhan, Tedros expressed concern that the international team had difficulty gaining access to raw data during the visit early this year and that the team was too quick to dismiss the laboratory leak theory. He told member states during a meeting in late March that the laboratory leak required further investigation, potentially via additional missions involving specialist experts he was ready to deploy. “Tedros’ remarks were extremely irresponsible,” state-owned broadcaster Hubei Media Group reported, citing an unidentified Chinese expert from the mission. There were 17 Chinese experts in the joint mission. Hubei province administers Wuhan, where the investigation mission took place. Scientists call for new probe into coronavirus origins – with or without China The unnamed expert expressed “surprise” and “discontent” that Tedros made such comments after scientific facts and expert consensus showed the laboratory leak hypothesis was unfounded, the report said. “As an authoritative body in the field of global public health, the WHO should have shown more respect for science, held science in awe and taken the lead in maintaining the authority of the report. However, director general Tedros disregarded the experts’ painstaking research and scientific consensus, which should not be the WHO’s position,” the expert was quoted as saying. The expert said Tedros’ remarks were being used by “forces with ulterior motives” to attack the report, although did not elaborate. The expert said foreign counterparts in the mission were under pressure from the United States and senior officials from the WHO in their exchange. Such remarks by Tedros might jeopardise future coronavirus tracing work, the expert warned. “There are already forces with ulterior motives seizing on the director general’s statement to question the authority and scientific validity of the report. The joint experts are very worried about it, and even discontent,” the expert said. “If the next phase of global virus origin tracing is thus stalled because of this, then the WHO should also be held responsible.” Tedros, who prompted criticism for publicly praising China for its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak after his visit to the country in January 2020, has been caught in the crossfire between China and the US over the handling of the outbreak during the early stages. He was personally attacked by then US president Donald Trump, who accused the WHO of being China-centric, writing in an open letter to Tedros that the WHO must show its independence from China. The accusations by the anonymous expert was a reversal of China’s long-time call for supporting the WHO, though Tedros had been consistent in keeping the lab leak theory hypothesis open. Liang Wannian, leader of the Chinese side of the investigation team, has said repeatedly that biological samples and data could not be taken out of the country or photographed, citing China’s privacy law, but that international experts could view the database and materials just as much as Chinese experts could. Beijing’s floating of views through unofficial channels and with anonymous sources is not an uncommon method. An anonymous expert from the Chinese team told the Global Times last month he was “surprised” after the WHO announced the release of the investigation report without telling China first and was concerned the report would be a “deviation from consensus”. The report was eventually released later than the WHO’s original announcement. Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank, said that even though it was unclear whether the expert’s view represented the official stance of the Chinese government, publication by a state media outlet showed it had received official approval. “I feel it’s not so much indication of China’s displeasure of what Tedros said as China’s frustration that WHO is siding with the US and some Western countries to pressure China,” Huang said, adding that China had repeatedly indicated the origin tracing had become a political issue rather than a scientific one. Unseen Wuhan research notes could hold answers – and why lab-leak rumours refuse to die This display of discontent could sour the China-WHO relationship and it remained to be seen how damaging it was, Huang said. “I don’t think China will act like Trump [by starting to exit the WHO] because it would undermine China’s image in the global health leadership. I don’t think this will fundamentally change the relationship between China and the WHO,” Huang said. “China seeks to play that leadership role in the world health governance and they count on the WHO’s support in critical events.” But the episode was likely to have an impact on the future of tracing the coronavirus origins in China, Huang added.More from South China Morning Post:Coronavirus: US diplomat Anthony Blinken criticises China, insists on ‘need to get to the bottom’ of pandemic originWHO team probing coronavirus origins in China pushes back as report faces global criticismCovid-19 hunt needs more research and better data-sharing, says WHO chief after Wuhan report fails to find originWhy limiting AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines over blood clot fears could do more harm than goodCoronavirus vaccine scams pose a growing threat to the global economy and public healthThis article Coronavirus: Chinese expert rails against WHO chief and Wuhan lab leak theory first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

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23 hours agoThe Chinese-American stepping up to take on hate crimesNew Yorker Fred Teng has a simple message. With thousands of hate crimes against Asian-Americans reported amid the coronavirus pandemic, the president of the not-for-profit America China Public Affairs Institute wants to make one thing clear. “We just want to be equal. We don’t want to be more, we don’t want to be less. And this country belongs to us, as well as anyone else,” Teng said.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. As part of that mission, Teng has joined the newly created Hate Crime Review Panel, a partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) that will help police determine which cases should be investigated as hate crimes. Teng is one of five community leaders from the city’s Asian, Black, Jewish, LGBTQ and Muslim communities who will help the force establish if a victim’s actual or perceived race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation were motivating factors in possible hate crime. NYPD chief of department Rodney Harrison said the panel would offer insight into cases that presented significant challenges in proving an assailant’s intent was hate. “They may help us see things we may not have seen. And ultimately ensure justice for victims, which is what we all want,” Harrison said. The new panel builds on the work of the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force created in August to deal with a rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. The team’s 25 Asian-American police officers can communicate with victims without the help of translators, according to the NYPD. For Shanghai-born Teng, who moved to Hong Kong at age five and the United States at 15, direct input is essential. “We are from the community. We know the culture, histories and language and nuances of our community so we could add value,” he said. Teng’s appointment comes as advocacy groups say there have been thousands of reports of racism targeting Asian Americans. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of such groups, said it received nearly 3,800 reports of racism targeting Asian Americans between March 2020 and February this year. AAPI stands for “Asian-American and Pacific Islander”. Around 11 per cent of those reported incidents involved physical assault and more than 40 per cent of the cases were reported by Chinese, according to the nationwide data. Last month the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism said hate crimes against Asian-Americans rose by 149 per cent in 2020 in 16 major cities compared with 2019. At the time, then-US president Donald Trump repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as the “China virus” and “kung flu”. Fear keeps elderly Korean-Americans at home in LA amid rising anti-Asian attacks Teng said much of this violence was targeted at the Chinese community and associated with a decline in relations at the top. “While this is called anti-Asian crime, I think this wave is really against the Chinese,” he said. “The pandemic led to economic downturns and frustration, but also because of government officials’ speech.” According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a hate crime is a criminal offence motivated by biases against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. But the cases could be more difficult to prosecute than regular criminal charges, prompting some prosecutors in the past to avoid the cases, Teng said. He said he hoped the panel could help change that by working within the system. New Yorkers rally as attack suspect faces anti-Asian hate crime charge “[It’s] not that we have the ultimate power to control whether the district attorney can prosecute or not. But if they don’t [after] the NYPD determined it is a hate crime … as a panel and an independent civilian board, we will issue a letter to the district attorney,” Teng said. “If it’s reviewed by the police and us, we hope that the district attorney will take it on, rather than taking an easy route out of lesser charges so that they can win. “You can have lots of people demonstrating and a lot of my friends go out. It’s great what they are doing, but it does not have as much of an impact directly. For us [the new panel] is a starting point.”More from South China Morning Post:US Pacific Islanders highlight their cultures and concerns as pushback against anti-Asian hate sees them swept up in AAPI acronymNew Yorkers rally as stomping attack suspect faces anti-Asian hate crime chargeChinese-American NFL star Taylor Rapp to donate NFT funds to anti-Asian hate campaign – ‘it was a responsibility’Two men charged with Asian hate crimes in separate incidents in Seattle and San FranciscoThis article The Chinese-American stepping up to take on hate crimes first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

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