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From Bank of America to UN — what global institutions are saying on fight against Covid-19

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Illustration of the adverse economic impact of covid-19 | Pixabay


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As the world wrestles with the unprecedented implications of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, “we are facing a human crisis unlike any we have experienced” and our “social fabric and cohesion is under stress.”

That was the assessment of UN Deputy-Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed during a digital meeting of the Forum’s COVID Action Platform on 8 April.

Launched last month, the platform aims to convene the business community for collective action to protect people’s livelihoods, facilitate business continuity and mobilize support for the global response to the virus. To date, more than 1,300 companies, organizations and individuals have joined the platform.

In addition to Deputy-Secretary-General Mohammed, participants on this week’s digital meeting included Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank and Member of the Forum’s Board of Trustees; Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust; Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America and Chair of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council; and André Hoffmann, Vice Chairman of Roche and Member of the Forum’s Board of Trustees.

Here are some of the key quotes from the call:

On the economic impact of the crisis:

“We have moved to a recession that will be worse than the one we experienced in 2008,” said Mohammed.

“Given the nature of the crisis, all hands should be on deck, all available tools should be used,” said Lagarde. “We are providing support, as attractively as we can, so that from the household to the large big corporate account, all economic players can access financing through their banks,” she added.

Moynihan noted: As a result of central bank actions across the globe, markets have been “flooded with liquidity that has been able to stabilize markets to a certain degree across the board.”

On the role of business:

“The number one thing is to focus on is employees and customers,” Moynihan said on how companies should set priorities and manage the ongoing crisis. When it comes to taking care of employees, he added, the goals should be: “keep them well, keep them employed and keep them mentally healthy.”

Moynihan also encouraged businesses of all sizes to adopt the Stakeholder Principles endorsed by the World Economic Forum and businesses on 1 April: to keep employees safe; to secure shared business continuity with suppliers and customers; to ensure fair prices for essential supplies for end consumers; to offer full support to governments and society; to maintain the long-term viability of companies for shareholders; and to continue sustainability efforts, including to fight climate change.

Mohammed, meanwhile, said companies should focus on “scaling up production, making sure supply chains are alive and reliable,” retaining workforce and engaging young people.

On the need to find a vaccine:

“This infection is not going to disappear…without science leading us to vaccines, we will get second and third waves of this,” said Farrar on the long-term destructive damage the coronavirus could wreak on the globe.

“Unless we do produce drugs and vaccines we are not going to have an exit strategy,” he added.

Similarly, Hoffmann said: “There is no solution to this crisis without a properly functioning vaccine.”

This article was first published in World Economic Forum


Also read: How India can buck the trend of global recession caused by coronavirusHow India can buck the trend of global recession caused by coronavirus


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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