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Having a health insurance policy for senior citizens is a must these days. However, buying one is tricky as there are so many plans available in the market. A health insurance plan allows senior citizens to go ahead with the required treatment without worrying about savings and financial security. Owing to different plan options offered by different health insurance companies, choosing the best possible plan with comprehensive coverage can be daunting. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our vulnerability to health emergencies. The elderly being the most vulnerable group need to be secured against such medical emergencies, Ankit Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO InsuranceDekho, told FE Online. However, health insurance for senior citizens is highly advised. Having a health insurance policy by side at a crucial stage of life not only provides financial security but also offers mental support when needed the most. Therefore, careful selection of a health insurance policy for the elderly is a must to make the overall experience worthwhile. Policy terms and conditions must be thoroughly read to avoid confusion at the last moment and prevent inconvenience, said Agrawal. According to Aatur Thakkar, co-founder and director Alliance Insurance Broker, it is important to choose a policy that guarantees maximum coverage, as these days, treatments are very expensive. One should always choose a policy that provides maximum coverage in terms of covering illness, including critical diseases. Senior citizens should also check what is the waiting period for pre-existing diseases (lesser the waiting period better will be the policy). Also, one should always choose a policy with the shortest waiting period as there are more chances of hospitalization among senior citizens. There are different age criteria for buying a policy or renewing it and this varies from insurer to insurer Some insurers do not allow the purchase of a policy if the policyholder has crossed 80 while some policies do not have any maximum entry age. Some policies only allow renewal up to the age of 80 while some policies do not have that limit. To avoid further surprises, one should be aware of these age criteria while buying a policy, Aatur Thakkar told FE Online. Domiciliary Treatment and daycare cover also forms an important aspect. One should always check with the insurer whether the policy he\/she chooses will be considering home care treatment cost on the prescription of the medical practitioner or not. Senior citizens should notice that the claim settlement process is easy. While buying a health insurance policy, it is advisable to look for an insurer that has simple settlement procedure with both cashless and reimbursement facility, he added. Key points to consider Ankit Agrawal shared some key things to consider when buying health insurance for senior citizens: Age Cap: Many policies have an entry cap of 60-75 years. Extensive coverage with an increased entry cap is ideal for senior citizens as it provides financial aid for a longer period. Several health insurance providers offer policies that do not have any entry age limit. While entry age is an aspect to consider, you must also take into account the renewal age for the policy as many health insurance policies for senior citizens do not allow renewal after 80 years. Network Hospitals: Always choose a health insurance policy that can be accepted at a wide network of hospitals. Make sure you always check the list of network hospitals before buying a plan for the elderly. The more hospitals in the network, the more likely there will be one in your vicinity, which would be a major support for you during medical emergencies. Coverage for Diseases: Since senior citizens suffer from different kinds of ailments, consider a policy that provides you with adequate coverage against most diseases. Opting for a health insurance policy with comprehensive coverage against a variety of diseases will prevent inconvenience at the time of medical emergency. Existing Health Issues: If the elderly in your family has an existing health issue, look for a policy that provides coverage for the same. Do not forget to check along the waiting period associated with the disease. Go for a policy that has the shortest waiting period for the existing disease, as chances of being hospitalized due to the same could be higher. It must be noted that pre-existing conditions must always be declared while buying the health insurance policy. Not declaring the pre-existing conditions can lead to claim rejection. Claim Process: A simpler claim process leads to faster claim settlement. When it comes to the selection of a health insurance policy for the elderly, this is an important factor to consider. So, make sure you check the claim settlement process for the policy you purchase for the elderly in your family and make their health insurance claim experience smooth and hassle-free. Premium: Health issues increase with the passing age. Since health risks are high in the case of senior citizens, their medical treatment is also expensive. The healthcare cost in India may not be sky-high, but this should not be one of the reasons for you to settle for a lower sum insured just to pay lower premiums. Some insurance policies provide the facility of sum insured refill, which means that you can restore the sum insured in case you drain the existing amount in a particular year. So, make sure you pick a policy not because it comes at a low premium price, but because it offers you benefits beyond a low premium price.
Rail Kaushal Vikas Yojana: Indian Railways to train youths under rail skill development! The East Coast Railway zone has announced that it will train 2,500 youths as part of the rail skill development scheme, an official statement said on Tuesday. According to a PTI report, youths, who are in the age group of 18 years to 35 years and have passed at least matriculation, will be given free training in three years in the East Coast Railway zone. The training of youths will be imparted in electrician, welding and fitter trades at Electric Loco Sheds in Angul and Visakhapatnam, Diesel Loco Shed in Visakhapatnam, as well as Carriage Repair Workshop in Mancheswar, the statement said. It further mentioned that the course will consist of 100 hours of training, spanning across three weeks. On weekdays, training classes will be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Saturdays, training classes will be held from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The application form for these rail skill development training classes is available on the website of East Coast Railways and also at the respective training centres. The last date for submission of application form for Electrical Loco Sheds at Angul and Visakhapatnam is 31 August 2021, and for Carriage Repair Workshop at Mancheswar and Diesel Loco Shed at Visakhapatnam is 3 September 2021, the statement added. Applicants must submit the form with full name, address, father Besides, applicants must also attach a self attested copy of their Matriculation Certificate showing their birth date, 10th pass mark-sheet as well as one of the photo ID amongst Voter ID, Aadhar card or Driving License. If the mandated certificates are not attached with the form, the application will be rejected. The trainees will be selected on merit, on the basis of marks obtained in 10th class.
Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today August 28 Highlights: The crisis is deepening further in Afghanistan with every passing day. Those still stuck in Afghanistan are racing against time as the evacuation deadline of August 31 comes closer. In less than 48 hours after a suicide bombing by ISIS-K killed at least 13 US soldiers and 169 Afghan civilians, the US has launched a drone strike against an Islamic State attack planner in eastern Afghanistan. The US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that the perpetrators cannot hide, and he vowed to strike back at the Islamic State groups Afghanistan affiliate. We will hunt you down and make you pay, he said after the ISIS-K bombing in Kabul. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, many are trying to flee the country as the future is still unclear. As the situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan, several nations intensified evacuation efforts. In fact, the Kabul attack forced countries to speed up their evacuation efforts. Several countries like Turkey and Spain have reached the completion of airlifting operations. The US has so far evacuated over 110,000 people from Afghanistan. The Taliban has rejected the offer to extend the August 31 deadline for evacuation. But what happens to those who are still in Kabul? There are already reports of the Taliban fighters conducting surveys and making a list. The Taliban gunmen have erected 15 check-posts on the way to the Kabul Airport. The situation is already very critical. It is anybody In the meanwhile, the evacuation of civilians at Kabul airport is continuing at a very fast pace, said a Western Official. Stay with us as we bring you the latest on the Afghanistan crisis:
India The expected rebound in economic growth would also stand testament to the strong consumer activity, unfazed by the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic. A recent poll of 41 economists conducted by news agency Reuters indicated that the gross domestic product (GDP) rose 20 per cent in the June quarter, compared to the record contraction of 24.4% in the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India4%. RBI Monetary Policy Committee: Domestic economic activity is starting to recover with the ebbing of the second wave. Looking ahead, agricultural production and rural demand are expected to remain resilient. Urban demand is likely to mend with a lag as manufacturing and non-contact intensive services resume on a stronger pace, and the release of pent up demand acquires a durable character with an accelerated pace of vaccination. Elevated levels of global commodity prices and financial market volatility are, however, the main downside risks. Taking all these factors into consideration, projection for real GDP growth is retained at 9.5% in 2021-22 consisting of 21.4% in Q1; 7.3% in Q2; 6.3% in Q3; and 6.1% in Q4 of 2021-22. Real GDP growth for Q1:2022-23 is projected at 17.2%. State Bank of India Ecowrap: Based on the SBI Nowcasting model, the forecasted GDP growth for Q1 FY22 would be around 18.5% (with upward bias). The GVA is estimated at 15%. What is important is the possibility of a wide divergence between GVA and GDP because of strong tax collections. This is lower than RBI4%. If the corporate results announced so far are looked at, a substantial recovery is visible in corporate GVA (EBITDA + Employee cost) in Q1 FY22. Overall, the corporate GVA of 4069 companies registered a growth of 28.4% in Q1 FY22. However, this is lower than growth in Q4FY22, thereby corroborating the lower GDP estimate than what was anticipated earlier.2% y\/y in Q2 21 (April-June, or Q1 of fiscal year 2021- 22), as a low base and a much smaller loss of activity due to the second COVID wave push growth to an all-time high for a single quarter. Our forecast suggests upside risks to our FY 2021- 22 GDP projection of 9.2%, and if our forecast is realized, GDP growth could be close to double digits for the current fiscal year. In our view, the Q2 data will show a clash of two contrasting themes. Although sequential momentum slowed due to COVID outbreak, the robust performance of India Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer, Acuit4%YoY contraction in Q1FY21 GDP. While the intensity of the second wave of Covid and the subsequent lockdowns across almost all states have disrupted the contact intensive services again in Q1, the growth print is likely to be supported by the relative resilience of the industrial sector in this phase of the pandemic, steady uptick in exports and improved government capital expenditure levels apart from the base factor. A lower impact of the lockdowns on the industrial sector is manifested in the IIP print for Q1 which recorded 44.9%YoY growth. The buoyancy in the export sector is reflected not only by the 86.0%YoY growth but also an 18.0% growth over that in Q1FY20. We have projected a GVA YoY growth of ~20.0% and a GDP growth of ~22.0%-23.0% for Q1FY22. However, the absolute levels of output will still be lower compared to the pre-Covid levels i.e first quarter of FY20, implying that the economy still needs to cover some lost ground before embarking on a sustainable growth path. A double-digit sequential contraction in GVA and GDP is also expected vis- Nirmal Bang Institutional equities: We peg GDP growth for 1QFY22 at 16%, up from our earlier estimate of 10% on a relatively swift recovery in June In addition, since lockdowns were mainly concentrated in May Finally, while the formal economy was resilient amid the second covid wave, even the informal manufacturing economy did not go into a complete shutdown, unlike in 1QFY21. With the better-than-expected performance in 1QFY22, we raise our GDP forecast for FY22 to 8.5% from 7% earlier. Our GVA forecast for FY22 stands at 8.3%. While we do not rule out a third covid wave and consequently intermittent containment restrictions, we believe that its economic impact is likely to be more muted compared to the second covid wave and is largely factored into our Forecasts. Moreover, as vaccination picks up pace, the impact of any third covid wave, even on contact intensive services may be more subdued. We expect growth in 1QFY22 to be led by industry (excluding construction) growing by 35% YoY while agricultural and allied sector growth may moderate to 2.5% YoY. Services (including construction) are expected to grow by 12.7% YoY, led by the construction sector.
By Reya Mehrotra American model Bella Hadid made headlines, and heads turn, at last months Cannes Film Festival. Wearing a black deep-cut Schiaparelli gown, she sported a huge chunky chain-link necklace that branched out covering her bare breasts. In July, singer and actor Lady Gaga, too, was seen pairing a belly chain-link design with a bikini. If one is a fan of model Hailey Bieber, her gold chains couldnt have gone unnoticed. Be it a bikini, tank top, pyjamas or dress, the model never leaves her gold chains behind. Most recently, singer Dua Lipa wore a chain-link anklet and posed for Instagram. It was in the year 2019 that the design started to emerge prominently. Several celebrities were seen sporting chain-link necklaces, bracelets, etc. The year, in fact, saw spring runways adorned with chain-link designs. From Bottega Veneta to Zimmermann and Brandon Maxwell, every fashion house sent models sporting the look down the runway. But then came the pandemic, which confined the world indoors, resulting in a temporary halt to the trend. As the world slowly opens up again, the trend is out and everywhere now. From Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Aniston and Emily Ratajkowski to Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, everyone has embraced it. American model Ashley Graham, who is all about embracing body types and sizes, is a regular with chain-link necklaces on her Instagram feed. In one of her posts, she can be seen sporting the necklace with the initial J for her husband, director and cinematographer Justin Ervin. Its clear that the chain-link design in jewellery has become a must-have for fashionistas around the world. From actors and models to working professionals and even the common man, everyone is sporting the design, be it in the form of a multilayered gold chain or a plain chain-link accessory. The reason is simple: the design is trendy, bohemian and cool. The chunk is real In the 1983 film Scarface, the character of Tony Montana, portrayed by actor Al Pacino, became a cultural icon. What made Montana stand out, though, was his personal style Since then, dons on celluloid have often sported gold chains. The look, in fact, has become a staple for the bad boys onscreen. But today, it is no longer just the gangsters accessory, as the chain-link style that Pacino sported in the film to add to the carefree and cool look of his character is being worn by everyone. One of the first major designers to experiment with the design was Alexander Wang, who designed his debut jewellery line in 2015. His collection had only a few pieces, but it defined the trend in its entirety. It was inspired by industrial chains and consisted of chain earrings in both rhodium and rose-gold plating, chain-lock necklace and a lock cuff. The designs also featured in Wangs Spring\/Summer 2016 collection. The design, as per Wang, was rooted in a sense of individuality, self-expressiveness and immediacy, with a DIY sensibility. In India, too, theres increased interest in such pieces and so many jewellery brands are coming out with stylish offerings for consumers. Watch brand Titan Raga, for one, has included chain-link straps in its collection. In 2020, the brand came up with its Moments of Joy collection featuring the design. The collection is an amalgamation of beauty and elegance, and connects with the woman of today, offers Bengaluru-based Kalpana Rangamani, chief marketing officer, watches Jaipur-based Rishita Sharma, co-founder of fashion jewellery label Soraya Jaipur, shares that there has been an increased demand for chunky jewellery and accessories since two years. These are both affordable and trendy, and can be styled with different accessories on a day-to-day basis, says Sharma. The design also goes well with double or multilayered chains or even Cartier bracelets. Mumbai-based celebrity stylist Shaleena Nathani, who can be seen wearing the chain-link design herself, endorses it, too, for her high-profile celebrity clients actor Deepika Padukone. Chains are popular since ancient times and were sported by royalty. Even then, people wore thick chains that were inspired from ropes and looped rings, says Kolkata-based Suvankar Sen, CEO, Senco Gold and Diamonds, a jewellery retail chain. Such handmade and machine-made chains are one of the highest-selling categories now. We have the chain collection for men under our Aham collection and for women under the Everlite collection. There are traditional handmade chains (and these can) also be worn with saris. Mia by Tanishq is another major Indian jewellery brand that has adopted the trend. There was a period of minimalism during the lockdown, but now maximalism is trending as the world unlocks, wherein flaunting is the word of the hour, offers Shyamala Ramanan, business head, Mia. After staying in and dressing down for so long, the want for dressing up has triggered an obsession with everyday chains and bracelets paired with watches or bangles to brighten up the day, or help one feel dressed up for any last-minute virtual calls or quick outings. With chains, flexibility is the key word-they are light, comfortable, (can be) long or short, (one can) wear just one or add more, mix and match. One can layer already existing neck chains or bracelets, which one might have had for years, with new ones to put together a curated look that tells your story through jewellery, says Ramanan, adding that Mia by Tanishq will be launching new chain collections for their Diwali edit later this year. Unisex appeal Not very long ago, men embraced pearls and diamond jewellery. Harry Styles, for instance, is a regular with pearls. In India, Ranveer Singh has embraced both diamonds and pearls. But while not many men might like the idea of diamonds or pearls, the chain-link design is one that caters to everyones taste irrespective of gender. Louis Vuittons jewellery collection, for one, has chain designs for both men and women. The same goes for designers Pascale Monvoisin and Matthew Williams. Other international brands that have launched chain-link looks include Swarovski, Paco Rabanne, Jool by Martha Calvo, Pomellato, David Webb, Walters Faith, Shay, Spinelli Kilcollin, Bauble Bar, All Blues and J Hannah. Italian designer Ilaria Icardi, who launched her jewellery collection last year, focused primarily on the chain design. Actor Robert Pattinson was also spotted wearing jewellery brand Alighieris chained design. American jewellery designer Ippolita Rostagnos 18-carat gold necklace in chain-link style is priced at $4,995, while Tiffany Cos 18-carat gold earrings in chain-link design are priced at $5,200. In India, jewellery brands like Legend Amrapali, Kesya, Zariin Jewellery, Valliyan, Outhouse Jewellery, Misho, The Olio Stories, Jaipur-based Tanzire, The Slow Studio Jewellery, etc, have launched chain-link collections in bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. Chains have always been a staple of mens fashion and jewellery, and we have a truly unique, intricate and bold cycle-chain design neckpiece, shares Delhi-based Armaan Narang, founder, AMYR, a fine jewellery brand for men. The inspiration for this was the bicycle, which revolutionised transportation and paved the way for the advancement of society and industry alike after it was invented in the 19th century. We paid a tribute to this marvel with a thick, bold neck chain, finished with intricate details and designed to mimic the chain used in bicycles. Narang says that thick chains and minimalist contemporary pendants are the talk of the town for mens jewellery this season, with the two often being stacked together to complete a bold yet understated look. Mihir Jain, brand development director, Shivin Jewellers, Jaipur, says that gold accessories are also becoming popular in tri-colours The great deal here is that these are unisexual designs and can be sported by men and women both. They are chic and classy, and can be styled with both formal and casual looks, says Jain.
State-owned UCO Bank on Saturday said the government has extended the term of its MD and CEO Atul Kumar Goel for two years. The central government, through a notification dated August 26, extended the term of office of Atul Kumar Goel as UCO Banks managing director and chief executive officer (MD CEO), for a period of two years or until further orders, whichever is earlier, the bank said in a regulatory filing. Goels current term was to expire on November 1, 2021. On Friday, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Maharashtra had also informed about extensions given to their MD CEOs. The government has also extended the terms of two executive directors each in Punjab National Bank and Union Bank of India, and one executive director of Central Bank of India.
Coronavirus is not out of the woods yet and the threat of the third wave is doing the rounds. While maintaining all Covid-19 protocols is the need of the hour, one also needs to ensure there is adequate health insurance coverage to fall back upon in times of hospitalization. But, of late, there have been apprehensions about the Covid-19 related insurance claims not being accepted by insurers or claims getting delayed or partially paid to the policyholders. Health insurance companies have received a total of 23.06 lakh claims worth Rs 29,341 crore as on August 6, 2021, according to figures compiled by the General Insurance Council. However, insurance firms have settled Rs 17,813 crore involving 18.99 lakh claims so far. In order to clear the air around insurance claims and the mechanism for the policyholders to raise a grievance, FE Online in an email interview sought the answers around settlement of claims from Abhishek Tripathi, Managing Partner, Sarthak Advocates Solicitors. Excerpts: What is the course of action if a claim is denied? What is the process and timeline before lodging a complaint with the insurer, Ombudsman and consumer court? If the claim is denied, the policyholder must inquire about the reasons. Often rejection on the grounds such as inadequate bills or documents can be resolved by submitting the relevant documents. Against the rejection of a claim, the first recourse is to the grievance committee of the insurer. Although no timeline has been specified for the same, it will be ideal to avail this remedy within 3 years of rejection of the claim to avoid the claim becoming time barred under laws of limitation. Against the grievance committee The communication from the insurer should specify the details of the Ombudsman to be approached. Ombudsman must be approached within one year from the date of rejection of the complaint by the insurer If the consumer is dissatisfied with the Ombudsmans determination, (s)he can approach the consumer courts within 2 (two) years. It is pertinent to note that IRDAI has established an online complaints registering system called the Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) where the form with the complaint can be filled and submitted. Complaints submitted on IGMS are forwarded to the insurer as well as IRDAI. IRDAI monitors the disposal of the complaint submitted on IGMS portal. In case a claim is partially settled, should one accept and later on approach court etc to settle full dues? It is common for the insurance companies to seek a letter or undertaking from the insured releasing the insurer of any further claim. It is advisable to avoid giving such undertakings, and where such undertakings are forced, a protest is lodged immediately with the insurer. Partially settled claims can, thus, be accepted under protest, and the courts may be approached for the settlement of the remaining claim. Courts may have to be convinced, in such cases, that the release, if any, executed by the consumer was executed under duress and should be disregarded. What is the general trend in terms of Covid-19 claims being settled by the insurance companies? Claim settlement turnaround time has been reduced by most insurers following IRDAI According to the industry data, as on July 19, 2021, of the total reported claims of Rs 27,640 crore, claims worth Rs 16,396 crore were settled. Settlement amounts ranged between 55 per cent and 65 per cent of the claim. In the first Covid wave (up to February 22, 2021), insurers reported claims worth Rs 13,736 crore, of which claims worth Rs 7,125 were settled. In the second wave As per IRDAI, within how many days should insurers make reimbursement to the policyholder? According to the guidelines issued by the IRDAI, insurers are required to settle or reject the claim, as the case may be, within 30 days from the date of receipt of the last necessary document. Where investigation is warranted, the insurer is required to complete the investigation within 30 days and accept or reject the claim within 45 days of receipt of the last necessary document. If there
MISFIT by boAt, a self-care and grooming brand, has brought onboard Shanaya Kapoor, Vir Das, Divyendu Sharmaa, and Rohit Saraf as brand ambassadors. The brand has also launched an integrated campaign #NeverFitIn. It encourages people to break away from the stereotypical outlook around perfection and urges them to see the beauty in authenticity. The campaign has been conceptualised and executed by the in-house team and creative agency, Digitas. MISFIT Each of the ambassadors brings his\/her unique personality and values to the entire campaign. The campaign is now live across all social media platforms. Since the launch, we have received rave reviews about the brand and the products. Our brand ambassadors celebrate and personify the new socio-culture. With this new campaign, we want to tickle the jester in you, After working with boAt for more than a year across various campaigns, we are thrilled to have been an active part for the launch of MISFIT by boAt. We have always wanted to tell the youngsters of today that they can be anything they want to be, even if that means being a MISFIT. Breaking the category code of always being prim and proper for the camera is what inspired us to come up with such a unique campaign which is a complete MISFIT in itself, Sonia Khurana, COO, Digitas India added. With MISFIT, boAt is looking at breaking the clutter by introducing a range of beauty and personal care products, that are innovative and value-driven. The brand also plans to launch a range of womens care products in the Indian market soon. Read Also: MAC Cosmetics signs Bhumi Pednekar as its first brand ambassador in India Follow us onTwitter,Instagram,LinkedIn,Facebook
Covid-19 Pandemic Endemicity Phase: As the healthcare authorities ready hospitals for an impending Covid-19 third wave, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation Dr. Soumya Swaminathan giving some ray of hope said that India might be entering some kind of stage of The level of transmission she said will be normal to moderate and exponential growth and peaks that the country witnessed a few months ago are unlikely. Swaminathan in her latest interaction also said that the situation in India will continue with ups and downs considering the size and heterogeneity of the population and their immunity status. Hence only the vulnerable population where there are low levels of vaccine coverage can see peaks and troughs for the next several months. What is endemicity According to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a disease reaches an endemic stage when a population learns to live with the conditions. It means its spread is limited to a particular area and its rate is predictable. Unlike an epidemic, it does not overwhelm a population, says Columbia University The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that endemic Covid-19 is not going to end completely but we will have to learn to live with it. We should continue wearing masks and this has been the biggest learning over the last year Throughout the month, the hospitals at the capital struggled for medical supplies, oxygen, and hospital beds, with fatalities touching a record high. Lockdown was imposed to control the situation. Cases took a dive from 25,212 on May 1 to 946 on May 30, registering a steady decline through the month. The metro reported 39 new Covid cases on Tuesday and zero fatalities for the fifth consecutive day. A PTI report said, experts like Dr. Suresh Kumar, medical director of Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital, Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh, Resident Medical Director, Amrita Hospitals in Faridabad has also opined that although zero cases is an unlikely figure as the virus keeps mutating but there will be few cases in the coming days. Gauri Agarwal, IVF expert and founder of Seeds of Innocence. How pandemics or epidemics end up being endemic and rarely leave Every disease pathogen that has affected people over the last several decades stayed in some form or other as it is impossible to fully eradicate them. Pathogens like malaria that are as old as humanity still exert a heavy disease burden and so are epidemics like tuberculosis, measles, leprosy, and younger pathogens like Ebola virus, MERS, SARS, and recent SARS-CoV-2. Even Plagues returned every decade, each time hitting vulnerable societies and taking its toll during at least six centuries. The only disease that has been eradicated through relentless mass vaccination campaigns is Smallpox. What Covid-19 turning to an endemic means According to immunologist Yonatan Grad, the optimistic view is enough people will gain immunity through vaccination or from natural infections and the pace of transmission will fall considerably. But with the emergency of new variants, especially the latest
China went on the offensive Wednesday ahead of the release of a US intelligence report on the origins of the coronavirus, bringing out a senior official to accuse the United States of politicising the issue by seeking to blame China. Fu Cong, a Foreign Ministry director general, said at a briefing for foreign journalists that scapegoating China cannot whitewash the U.S. If they want to baselessly accuse China, they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China, he said. China, the U.S. and the World Health Organization are entangled in a feud that centers on whether the virus that causes COVID-19 could have leaked from a lab in the city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected in late 2019. A joint WHO-China report earlier this year concluded that a lab leak was extremely unlikely, and China wants the investigation to move on to other possibilities. The most likely scenario, the report said, is that the virus jumped from bats to another animal that then infected humans. But the findings are not conclusive, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in late March that all hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies. U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a 90-day review by intelligence agencies of both theories. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that an unclassified version of the report was expected to be released within several days. China has responded to continuing speculation about a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology by suggesting the virus could have escaped from Fort Detrick, a U.S. military lab in Maryland. Fu, who heads the Foreign Ministrys Arms Control Department, denied that China is engaging in a disinformation campaign. He said that if other parties insist on pursuing the lab leak theory, then the WHO team of researchers should visit Fort Detrick. He portrayed it as a fairness issue, since the WHO has been to the Wuhan institute twice. If Dr. Tedros believes that we should not rule out the hypothesis of a lab leak, well, he knows where to go, Fu said. He needs to go to the U.S. labs. China notes that the Fort Detricks infectious disease institute has studied coronaviruses and that it was closed for several months in 2019-20 for safety violations.