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Coronavirus News & Updates

Corona Virus Live Updates

Khafee

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looks tasty
Oh it is, especially with curries, since it is thick and soaks it up. So the semi-sweetness of the bread and the savoriness of the curry make it a nice combo.

I used to have a batman who could make all sort of delicious breads without a tandoor, in an oven. One benefit of his retirment was that I got my waistline under control |0|
 

Khafee

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I have seen people eating korma with taftaan but I absolutely hate this combination, Can’t even chew it properly let alone enjoy the taste...
Have you tried it with Karak?
 

mtime7

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The Coronavirus and Pakistan: Why People Must Immediately Began Social Distancing
The combination of a poor health system and crowded conditions could lead to chaos and death in Islamabad.

by Muhammad Salar Khan Farah Latif
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, a pandemic as it has spread from Wuhan China to 185 countries of the world. This shows how insignificant geographical boundaries have become and how the consequences of human actions are not limited to national borders. Any country that does not take the necessary precautions advised by health experts will soon be walloped by the disease. As Ph.D. students at George Mason University in the United States who are witnessing the flippant manner in which Pakistanis are reacting to the pandemic, the observation raises red flags and serious concerns for Pakistanis.
Leading global experts agree on the necessity of good hygiene and social distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Social distancing, which is basically physical distancing, is the practice of reducing physical contact with anyone outside of close family and avoiding large social gatherings. In Pakistan, social distancing has been a significant challenge. Pakistan recently recorded 645 confirmed coronavirus cases and two deaths and that number is increasing.

Pakistan has all of the conditions that would allow the coronavirus pandemic to run rampant.

First, the geostrategic location of Pakistan as a gateway to Central Asia and the Middle East makes it vulnerable to transmission of the disease.

Second, Pakistan borders the two most affected countries—China and Iran, both with frequent social, religious, and economic tourism with Pakistan. Moreover, there is astrong Chinese presence in Pakistan due to China’s Built Road Investment (BRI) in the country.

Third, the official response toward the pandemic has been insufficient at best. The prime minister of Pakistan, who has responded to the pandemic poorly, stated in a televised address to the nation that the country could not afford to take an economic break by enforcing social distancing. Furthermore, officials mishandled the infected pilgrims returning from Iran. Consequently, in the absence of a bona fide crisis response, the public is churning out myths and conspiracy theories and turning to totkay (sorcery and unscientific treatments) for Coronavirus.

Fourth, communal gatherings and social settings are a lifeline for Pakistanis, thus offering the pandemic more infesting grounds if these are not restricted.

Lastly, Pakistan is a densely-populated country. For comparison, Pakistan is geographically close to fourteen times smaller than the United States, but it has a population of about 220 million compared to the United States’ population of 330 million. This considerable population and crowded spaces are what Coronavirus requires for its transmission.

Analyses predict that physical distancing would flatten the curve, which projects its future transmission, thus reducing the health-care burden. What this means in practice is that health providers will not become overwhelmed. Comparing numbers from cities enforcing distancing with those from cities not applying or delaying distancing substantiate the recommendations. For instance, research on the Italy outbreak showsthe effectiveness of early action. The coronavirus disease was first detected in Italy, in the Lodi province, which imposed restrictions starting February 22 (colored orange in the figure below). Whereas, Bergamo province, which started with fewer cases but did not enact restrictions until March 7, far surpassed the number of cases in Lodi.

Beyond the confirmed 645 cases, the number of undiagnosed cases is likely to be much higher because of people’s reluctance to get diagnosed, stigmatization, and the scarcity of resources. With a high transmission factor, researchers predict that the actual number of infected people in the United States would be ten times to hundred times the confirmed number. Considering undiagnosed cases existing in Pakistan to be ten times the official number, there may be as many as forty-five hundred active cases today. Acompelling prediction suggests that community spread could increase the active cases to eighty thousand in a month.

Is the health-care system in Pakistan equipped to deal with the coronavirus outbreak? The numbers suggest that it is not.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country has close to 1.5 million beds available. Not only is this number inadequate, but the ratio of general to intensive care unit (ICU) beds is also concerning. The WHO recommends a 50:1 ratio of general wards to ICU beds, and there must be a trained nurse for each bed in the ICU. A leading news agency of Pakistan reports that the number of ICU beds in twelve major tertiary care hospitals in the largest province Punjab adds up to only 250. One of the largest hospitals of Punjab, Jinnah Hospital, has thirty-four ICU beds out of a capacity of 1250 beds. In addition, there is only one nurse available to serve two thousand people in Pakistan. According to the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Pakistan (NDMA), the country has a total of 1,700 ventilators available to fight the coronavirus.Several reports highlight the current poor state of medical equipment in the country, which is more dire in rural areas.

In the face of an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases, the country will witness an acute shortage of beds, health personnel, and medical equipment.

Given the premise, Pakistan still does not realize the severity of the situation. Markets are bustling. People are partying. Greetings rituals do not suffice with a handshake, people also hug at every encounter.

Even though Muslim countries across the world and the Middle East have closed mosques for daily and Friday prayers, many of Pakistan’s hardliners are still debating whether or not shutting down congregational activities in the mosques is illicit.

The fact is that the pandemic will not disappear any time soon. We are all likely to be targets or carriers of the disease at some point. Thus, we must reorient our behavior in favor of collective interest. While researchers try to investigate this virus, one effective strategy, as learned from Italy and other countries, is to observe a lockdown and to quarantine (or practice distancing from others).

A lockdown can only be fruitful if people are willing to accept it. The sooner Pakistan implements a lockdown and enforces quarantine, the sooner it can contain a community spread. In this regard, public gatherings of all sorts should be banned. Offices should give employees the facility to work from home. Ensuring social safeguards such as the provision of food to daily wage earners should be a central part of the lockdown strategy. In addition to observing quarantine and lockdown procedures, proper hygiene must be practiced to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Importantly, in a country where ulemas (religious scholars) are revered and looked up to for guidance, they should play a decisive role in educating the public while drawing from authenticated guidance. In particular, they should remind the people that Prophet Muhammad advised that people from communities with an epidemic disease may not leave and those from healthy communities should not enter the inflicted communities. Similarly, they should remind people of the Hadith (the Holy Prophet’s saying) about proper hygiene practices, for example, the Holy Prophet said that the blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating. For those who overemphasize the congregational prayers while undermining the necessary precautions (social distancing for instance) either by mocking or stigmatizing others, ulema should narrate the following story, conveyed by ninth-century scholar Imām Al-Tirmidhi:

One day, Prophet Muhammad saw a Bedouin man leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin responded, “I put my trust in God.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in God.” This story indicates the significance of religion attaches to the adoption of precautionary measures.

The precautionary measures are for the safety and well-being of not only our families and communities but are also consequential to those separated by human-made borders. While the researchers are working hard to come up with a cure to combat the pandemic, a piece of simple yet potent and universal age-old advice is to focus on prevention.

Since anyone exposed to the coronavirus can be a silent carrier, physical or social distancing seems a reasonable strategy for the greater good. Research suggests that young and healthy individuals can develop immunity to the disease yet they can unknowingly transmit it to others, including the elderly and those with a vulnerable immune system. Therefore, the higher and longer prevalence of the virus could strain the already burdened healthcare system in the United States and Pakistan as it has already significantly harmed many social capacities. We all must act quickly to combat the coronavirus pandemic effectively.

To avoid transmitting the disease, people in Pakistan, the United States, and other countries must assume that they are carriers of the disease and change their behavior as such—at least until the global community can figure out other ways to cope with the virus. This attitude should shape our narratives and collective action. It should lead to limiting physical meetups and interactions, among other things.

Muhammad Salar Khan is a Ph.D. Public Policy candidate and graduate research assistant atSchar School of Policy & Government, George Mason University. He tweets at @salarppolicy.
 

TomCat

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mtime7

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Countries are starting to hoard food, threatening global trade
Isis Almeida and Agnieszka de Sousa 13 hrs ago



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It’s not just grocery shoppers who are hoarding pantry staples. Some governments are moving to secure domestic food supplies during the conoravirus pandemic.
A vendor waits for customers at a bazaar in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on March 11, 2020.
© REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev A vendor waits for customers at a bazaar in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on March 11, 2020.
Kazakhstan, one of the world’s biggest shippers of wheat flour, banned exports of that product along with others, including carrots, sugar and potatoes. Serbia has stopped the flow of its sunflower oil and other goods. Russia is leaving the door open to shipment bans and said it’s assessing the situation weekly.

To be perfectly clear, there have been just a handful of moves and no sure signs that much more is on the horizon. Still, what’s been happening has raised a question: Is this the start of a wave of food nationalism that will further disrupt supply chains and trade flows?

“We’re starting to see this happening already -- and all we can see is that the lockdown is going to get worse,” said Tim Benton, research director in emerging risks at think tank Chatham House in London.

Though food supplies are ample, logistical hurdles are making it harder to get products where they need to be as the coronavirus unleashes unprecedented measures, panic buying and the threat of labor crunches.

Consumers across the globe are still loading their pantries -- and the economic fallout from the virus is just starting. The specter of more trade restrictions is stirring memories of how protectionism can often end up causing more harm than good. That adage rings especially true now as the moves would be driven by anxiety and not made in response to crop failures or other supply problems.

As it is, many governments have employed extreme measures, setting curfews and limits on crowds or even on people venturing out for anything but to acquire essentials. That could spill over to food policy, said Ann Berg, an independent consultant and veteran agricultural trader who started her career at Louis Dreyfus Co. in 1974.

“You could see wartime rationing, price controls and domestic stockpiling,” she said.

Some nations are adding to their strategic reserves. China, the biggest rice grower and consumer, pledged to buy more than ever before from its domestic harvest, even though the government already holds massive stockpiles of rice and wheat, enough for one year of consumption.

Key wheat importers including Algeria and Turkey have also issued new tenders, and Morocco said a suspension on wheat-import duties would last through mid-June.

a close up of a map: Food Dependence
© Bloomberg Food Dependence
As governments take nationalistic approaches, they risk disrupting an international system that has become increasingly interconnected in recent decades.

Kazakhstan had already stopped exports of other food staples, like buckwheat and onions, before the move this week to cut off wheat-flour shipments. That latest action was a much bigger step, with the potential to affect companies around the world that rely on the supplies to make bread.

For some commodities, a handful of countries, or even fewer, make up the bulk of exportable supplies. Disruptions to those shipments would have major global ramifications. Take, for example, Russia, which has emerged as the world’s top wheat exporter and a key supplier to North Africa.

“If governments are not working collectively and cooperatively to ensure there is a global supply, if they’re just putting their nations first, you can end up in a situation where things get worse,” said Benton of Chatham House.

He warned that frenzied shopping coupled with protectionist policies could eventually lead to higher food prices -- a cycle that could end up perpetuating itself.

“If you’re panic buying on the market for next year’s harvest, then prices will go up, and as prices go up, policy makers will panic more,” he said.

And higher grocery bills can have major ramifications. Bread costs have a long history of kick-starting unrest and political instability. During the food price spikes of 2011 and 2008, there were food riots in more than 30 nations across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

“Without the food supply, societies just totally break,” Benton said.

Ample supplies have kept prices relatively low since the 2011 spike
© Bloomberg Ample supplies have kept prices relatively low since the 2011 spike
Unlike previous periods of rampant food inflation, global inventories of staple crops like corn, wheat, soybeans and rice are plentiful, said Dan Kowalski, vice president of research at CoBank, a $145 billion lender to the agriculture industry, adding he doesn’t expect “dramatic” gains for prices now.

While the spikes of the last decade were initially caused by climate problems for crops, policies exacerbated the consequences. In 2010, Russia experienced a record heat wave that damaged the wheat crop. The government responded by banning exports to make sure domestic consumers had enough.

The United Nations’ measure of global food prices reached a record high by February 2011.

“Given the problem that we are facing now, it’s not the moment to put these types of policies into place,” said Maximo Torero, chief economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “On the contrary, it’s the moment to cooperate and coordinate.”

Of course, the few bans in place may not last, and signs of a return to normal could prevent countries from taking drastic measures. Once consumers start to see more products on shelves, they may stop hoarding, in turn allowing governments to back off. X5 Retail, Russia’s biggest grocer, said demand for staple foods is starting to stabilize. In the U.S., major stores like Walmart Inc. have cut store hours to allow workers to restock.

In the meantime, some food prices have already started going up because of the spike in buying.

Wheat futures in Chicago, the global benchmark, have climbed more than 6% in March as consumers buy up flour. U.S. wholesale beef has shot up to the highest since 2015, and egg prices are higher.

At the same time, the U.S. dollar is surging against a host of emerging-market currencies. That reduces purchasing power for countries that ship in commodities, which are usually priced in greenbacks.

In the end, whenever there’s a disruption for whatever reason, Berg said, “it’s the least-developed countries with weak currencies that get hurt the most.”
 

mtime7

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They were way too late in New York, it might have been too late when the Mayor of NYC wanted shelter in place, and now people in NYC are complaining about all the teenagers running around. I live in a Medium to large size city, and they put us in shelter in place after 10 to 15 cases
 

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They were way too late in New York, it might have been too late when the Mayor of NYC wanted shelter in place, and now people in NYC are complaining about all the teenagers running around. I live in a Medium to large size city, and they put us in shelter in place after 10 to 15 cases
The whole country was too late, the President should have enforced the measures early on. Remember NY responded pretty early compared to other states but it is in a unique position because of business travel to and from there.

Your city might not be doing enough testing. Or you live in a rural area. But, it's good to take measures as early as possible. We in Michigan shut down schools after only 1 case reported in one of our Universities(MSU). Our shelter in place order came about two days ago though. We have a high number of cases because we are doing extensive testing compared to other states.
 

mtime7

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yes, but states have rights, and I an not even sure if the President has that authority. Although it never went to the courts many said that President Bush had over stepped his authority taking over Katrina rescue efforts (I think it was after 10 days) without permission from the Governor. These are calls for Governors to make and some are making them, some are leaving it up to Mayors to make the call for their cities, which they should have allowed in NYC case, and some are too late.
 

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Exclusive: Iran Imprisoning Coronavirus Whistleblowers, State Department Says



Adam Kredo - MARCH 25, 2020 12:30 PM

Tehran is lying to the international community about the number of citizens infected and killed by coronavirus and imprisoning dissenters for speaking out, the U.S. State Department tells the Washington Free Beacon.
"The regime has imprisoned dozens of Iranians for sharing statistics and forced hospital officials across Iran to falsify the number of cases and deaths," said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
The Iranian regime claims the numbers of those infected and dead stand at 24,811 and 1,934, respectively. But the United States and other observers say there are far more casualties. In a bid to keep the actual infection rate and death toll secret, Iranian officials have resorted to violence and subterfuge. Their efforts include enlisting U.S. allies in a campaign to weaken the Trump administration's tough economic sanctions on the country, a move that could provide the regime with billions in cash.
"We can be sure that the same regime that lied about shooting down a passenger jet and that still hasn't revealed the number of protesters killed last November is not being transparent with the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus today," Ortagus said, referring to Iran's downing of a commercial airliner last year that killed everyone on board.
Iran, through its state-controlled press organs, claims 8,913 citizens have recovered from the coronavirus as of Tuesday evening. Several senior Iranian leaders have already died from the illness, while others have been forced to admit they are infected. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an exiled opposition group that seeks to depose the hardline government, alleges that nearly 6,000 Iranians have died from coronavirus as of last week. The group said its data were collected by dissidents operating inside the country.
As Iranian officials mislead the international media about the scope of the situation in their country, they also have seized on the virus as an opportunity to push for full-scale sanctions relief.
The European Union is already poised to send Iran more than 20 million euros in relief funds. Tehran also has petitioned the International Monetary Fund to provide at least $5 billion in emergency funds—a lifeline that sources say European allies will support.
This money has emerged as a flashpoint within the Trump administration and among its allies on Capitol Hill. Critics in the administration are concerned the cash will not be used for medical purposes, but to fund Tehran's terrorist proxies across the Middle East. The Iranian regime already stands accused of stealing more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo challenged Iranian leaders on Monday in a blunt statement outlining the regime's lies. Billing his statement as a fact check on the regime, Pompeo accused Iranian officials of pocketing more than a billion dollars in humanitarian funds that should have been used to combat the coronavirus.

"Regime officials stole over a billion euros intended for medical supplies," Pompeo said.

The secretary of state also accused Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei of spreading conspiracy theories alleging the United States is responsible for creating the virus and infecting the world.

Iran's pleas for sanctions relief have received attention in the U.S. media.

Former officials from the Obama administration's so-called echo chamber—a network of pro-Iran activists, media figures, and government officials who coordinated to ink the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran—have disseminated falsehoods about the nature of U.S. sanctions, which do not limit humanitarian aid to the country.

While Tehran has rebuffed repeated Trump administration overtures to aid its coronavirus response, it has falsely claimed that American sanctions are blocking the delivery of medical supplies.

Iran "rejected this offer because [Khamenei] works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritizes ideology over the Iranian people," Pompeo said earlier in the week.

Richard Goldberg, who served as a senior Iran adviser on Trump's National Security Council, told the Free Beacon that Tehran is seeking to dupe Europe into giving it cash assets.

"What's really happening is that everything America said about the Islamic Republic is proving true," said Goldberg, who is now a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "Rather than invest in their own people, the mullahs spend money on terrorist proxies outside Iran's borders, expensive missile tests, and costly nuclear expansions. Now they have to choose whether to keep funding their illicit activities or spend money on the people—and they'd rather get an international bailout or sanctions relief so they won't have to choose."
 

TomCat

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I have yes besides many others.



I drink tea with any bread I eat. No mix with anything else except the regular made white bread.
How about you do this one, you will love it.
Get some Naan (Tandoor Afghan Bread), at night. In the morning, On a fry pan, put half table spoon ghee, spread it throughout, And wash your naan under tap water, Then directly heat it on the fry pan which has ghee.

It will get crispy and heavenly, Try it with tea
 

Khafee

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I have yes besides many others.



I drink tea with any bread I eat. No mix with anything else except the regular made white bread.
How about you do this one, you will love it.
Get some Naan (Tandoor Afghan Bread), at night. In the morning, On a fry pan, put half table spoon ghee, spread it throughout, And wash your naan under tap water, Then directly heat it on the fry pan which has ghee.

It will get crispy and heavenly, Try it with tea
I think we should start a new thread on tasty easy to make snacks (:-)
 

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